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Darker Arctic Boosting Global Warming 378

The Grim Reefer sends this news from an Associated Press report: "The Arctic isn't nearly as bright and white as it used to be because of more ice melting in the ocean, and that's turning out to be a global problem, a new study says. With more dark, open water in the summer, less of the sun's heat is reflected back into space. So the entire Earth is absorbing more heat than expected, according to a study (abstract) published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That extra absorbed energy is so big that it measures about one-quarter of the entire heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide, said the study's lead author, Ian Eisenman, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California. The Arctic grew 8 per cent darker between 1979 and 2011, Eisenman found, measuring how much sunlight is reflected back into space." The same decrease in ice contributes to the weather circumstances that led to extremely low temperatures across parts of the United States this winter.
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Darker Arctic Boosting Global Warming

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  • Re:Let it be (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @06:19PM (#46280803) Journal

    The Earth isn't, but people are, and a good many are living in fairly marginal areas, and not just in terms of agriculture. Will humanity die out. Most certainly not. But there will be consequences, and they will ultimately be fair more expensive than if we had tried to curb emissions.

  • Re:nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chas (5144) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @06:21PM (#46280819) Homepage Journal

    Yet, when a specific locality talks about an unusually warm spot of weather, we have people screaming "CLIMATE CHANGE!"

    The problem is, there's too damn much noise at BOTH edges of the issue and it's completely drowning out the center.
    There's been WAY too much alarmist bullshit injected into the discussion, and it simply distorts said discussion away from the facts of the matter.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @06:23PM (#46280837)

    Earth ultimately doesn't care; it's older than we are and will outlive us.

    We care because civilization as we know it is really shockingly dependent on climatic patterns like rainfall and seasonal temperature and parameters like sea level being what they are.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @06:28PM (#46280883) Journal
    There is not a scap of evidence for what you claim in your post, unless of course you belive in the fanciful IRIS theory.Yes it's been hotter and colder in the distant past and those extremes usually coincided with mass-extinctions, 98% of all marine species went extinct during the Great Dying due to high levels of C02 turning the ocean acidic. It's not the planet that's in trouble it's our civilization, we can do our worst and life will enthusiastically bounce back after we have gone, just like it has with every other mass extiction.

    Each time it's damped out cycles of extreme warming and extreme cooling all by itself

    It did that by putting carbon into the ground as coal, peat and limestone, humans are doing their best to put it back in the atmosphere by burning the coal and peat, and releaseing the CO2 from limestone to turn it into concrete. The problem with your sig and issues such as this is that your wrong decisions have a negative effect on everyone else, you rights are not infinite, they end when they negate the rights of others.

  • Re:BS junk science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hamburger lady (218108) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @06:37PM (#46280955)

    north, north central, midwest, and eastern, and southern parts of the U.S.. How much global warming do you see?

    i didn't know that the entire globe consisted merely of those portions of the US.

  • Re:nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @06:37PM (#46280957) Journal

    No scientist is going to point to a specific event and go "That's caused by AGW". The theory cannot hope to explain every weather event. But what it can explain are trends.

  • Not Prudent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @06:41PM (#46280993)

    I also think it is prudent to act as if climate change were real.

    Not if it involves spending billions or trillions to simply reduce CO2 emissions, when it could have gone to medical or space research.

    Or even in fact to reducing REAL pollution.

    There's no sign anything like a runaway greenhouse effect is going to happen. CO2 levels have continued to increase even as global average temperatures have hit a lull. In the simplified glass jar experiments that is not what happens, so pretty obviously the earth is lots more complex than a glass jar with CO2 inside. The current rate of ocean level rise is less than foot over the next 100 years, not exactly a panic situation.

    Lets get back to spending money on real issues instead of a bogeyman created to funnel large sums of government money in the hands of special interest groups or creating new things for financial moguls to get rich off of (looking at you carbon credits).

  • by Oligonicella (659917) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @07:12PM (#46281313)
    This cuts both ways. Your rights to insist someone stop something must have fact, not fear behind them. The current state of our understanding of the climate doesn't support the claims being made. The fact that a number of those claims have fallen is further evidence that it needs further study not immediate action.
  • by prisoner-of-enigma (535770) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @07:17PM (#46281351) Homepage

    98% of all marine species went extinct during the Great Dying due to high levels of C02 turning the ocean acidic.

    The exact causes of the Permian–Triassic extinction event you reference are not known. High CO2 are but one hypothesis, alongside many others, all of which have at least some supporting evidence. CO2 may be the favorite whipping boy these days but it is a blatant falsification on your part to claim CO2 was the sole driver of this particular extinction event. CO2 may have been the sole cause. It may have been a contributing cause. Or, in the case of something like a catastrophic impact, it may have had *absolutely nothing* to do with the event. I don't know the answer, but you most certainly don't either.

    The problem with your sig and issues such as this is that your wrong decisions have a negative effect on everyone else, you rights are not infinite, they end when they negate the rights of others.

    And your wrong decisions don't have similar impacts were they to be implemented as national policy? Of course they do! But you're naively assuming you're the only "right" person in this discussion. You've made up your mind and that's the end of it, despite plenty of evidence to show that there just *might* be other climate factors out there that could be just as -- or perhaps even more than -- contributory to what's going on with the climate. It's that kind of dogmatism that marks you as a zealot, and subsequently makes logical people tune you out.

  • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:00PM (#46281665)

    This cuts both ways. Your rights to insist someone stop something must have fact, not fear behind them. The current state of our understanding of the climate doesn't support the claims being made. The fact that a number of those claims have fallen is further evidence that it needs further study not immediate action.

    The wait until the car drives off the cliff before thinking about putting on the brakes theorem .

    The problem is that while on the surface, your statement sounds quite reasonable, there are a lot of people who simply will not accept any evidence at all, either because of personal incredulity, or being paid for their opinion. In the grand process of Baksheesh, It will take more than the gradual uptick in temperature to change any of that.

    Plus of course, with the tendency for people to determine that climate is what they see out their window, it's cold today, so climate change isn't happening. Which is to say, don't worry, Deniers have won.

  • Re:Not Prudent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:39PM (#46281949)

    Just because CO2 does not directly cause adverse changes the way Chernobyl or Bhopal did does not mean that CO2 is not pollution.

    The fact that the entire plant kingdom relies on CO2 rules it out as pollution for me. The Earth's whole ecosystem is devoted to processing CO2. It's probably the most benign thing we could possibly be emitting.

    A rapid increase in temperatures basically undermine all that investment we have made.

    As I said it's clear that will not happen. CO2 levels have risen heavily, temperatures is flat. It's clear that the levels of XO2 we are producing are not enough to cause a runaway effect.

    Many of our largest population and industrial centers are in areas directly threatened by rising sea water.

    NOTHING is threatened by sea level rise of around a foot over 100 years. That is LOTS of time to adapt and shift. We also can tell now the absurd predictions of 20 feet sea level rise are not going to happen either. Even the IPCC admits that now.

    We should do our best to mitigate that and slow down the increase in the greenhouse effect

    Why should we expend any effort to stop something that is not happening, when all that effort can go to fight real issues?

    That's the thing that tans my hide. People are expending so much effort to fight CO2 that real problems are utterly ignored. The planet is being fucked for sure but it's not by CO2, and all action taken against CO2 is to me the same as action against the planet.

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:48PM (#46282011) Journal
    Not a single IPCC5 model matches reality [], nor even comes close. The real data disagrees with the models; which do we believe?
  • Re:Not Prudent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flaming error (1041742) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @09:34PM (#46282281) Journal

    "it could have gone to medical or space research."

    That's rich. Who do you think has been at the forefront of identifying the problem?

  • Re:Not Prudent (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @09:49PM (#46282365)

    You can use that standard it you want to but it's kinda useless in practice. Say it turns out that low levels of background radiation are good for us, does that mean radiation is no longer pollution?

    Actually yes.

    There are background levels of radiation. In amounts around as high as that, radiation is not really pollution.

    The same goes for CO2. The amounts we are emitting are not nearly enough to be pollution, the ONLY concern was the RUNAWAY greenhouse effect, which is not happening.

    Forget about decades of research and thousands of peer reviewed papers.

    You are forgetting about the same decades having many papers showing there is no runaway warming.

    There's also the worry that the changing climate will lead to larger storm surges

    The "more XTREME Weather" line is the equivalent of "we took away all your privacy and freedom because of the CHILDREN".

    Because all the science indicates that it almost certainly IS happening.

    Science should look up the overall levels of Earth temperatures because there is no runaway warming, and hardly any warming of any sort at the moment.

    But in reality of course, many real scientists would not agree with your statement.

  • by bunratty (545641) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @10:05PM (#46282419)
    You're calling missing by a few tenths of a degree "not even close"? We're experiencing possibly the lowest solar activity in hundreds of years [] and the temperatures are higher than we've seen in hundreds of years []. It seems that something other than the sun is causing warming somehow. Hmmm... I wonder what it could be?
  • by PortHaven (242123) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @10:11PM (#46282449) Homepage

    Really, cause it's like we moved 1 degree, when the temperature range of the earth's history is like 30-40 degrees.

    Just saying...

  • by kwbauer (1677400) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @10:59PM (#46282757)

    When starting with "Given that humans are a major cataclysm..." it is easy to make that argument.

    Start with the opposite statement (and belief) and it becomes much more difficult.

    Personally, I believe that every person who believes humans a "virus" or "plague" or what have you, should stop being hypocritical and remove themselves so they are no longer a plague upon the earth.

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @11:39PM (#46282925) Journal

    Please check the link []. You'll see the average IPCC model misses measured data by 0.6 deg C; the vast majority of models are off by 0.4 deg C or more. Given that there is so much wailing and gnashing of teeth over a projected 1 deg C change over the next half century, I'd say an error of 0.4 deg C over 17 years is significant.

    Now there IS ONE model [] that actually got the current stall spot-on. Of course, that model doesn't rely upon CO2, and it's not by a climatologist (just a geologist), so many discount it. But considering he nailed the stall - and has a rational, reasonable explanation as well, it is worth considering.

  • by stjobe (78285) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @04:50AM (#46284241) Homepage

    First, is the planet getting warmer? On that I'd say there's general agreement, although it is not a 100% consensus.

    It's a 99.something% consensus, which is as solid as any consensus among a large population is ever going to get. Out of 13,950 peer-reviewed climate articles from 1991-2012, only 24 reject global warming. (source [])

    Second, if it is getting warmer, is it caused in large part by human activity or is it part of some natural variation? This is the sticking point. If it's part of a natural variation in temperature -- and I will point out many such variations have happened in the past few million years, all without any input from humans -- then there is no need for us to radically alter our life to stop it because such actions will have no positive climatic effect while having a signficant negative effect on quality of life.

    All the evidence we have for previous natural variations show them to be slow (or extremely rapid, as in catastrophically rapid - impact events or super-volcano eruptions); the changes we're seeing today is way too rapid to conform to any known natural cycle. The difference, of course, is that we're around and actively adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. In short, not a "natural variation".

    Third, if it is anthropogenic, what should we do about it? Curtainling greenhouse emissions is an obvious choice, but is it the best one? How severe are the predicted warming effects? The economic and socio-political upheavals from drastic policy changes might be worse than adapting to a changing climate. And how much confidence can we have in the predictions regardless of how severe (or not) they may be?

    We don't know; that's the problem. We don't have any crystal balls, so we don't know what the most effective strategy is, or exactly how severe the effects will be. What we do know is that large climate changes historically have been responsible for some of the most drastic extinction events we know of. And it's pretty easy to speculate about what a massive dying-off of e.g. marine life would do to coastal communities - as is the effect on the same communities of rising sea levels.

    These are not minor issues. They deserve to be studied and debated *in depth* before drastic action is take, if for no other reason than to determine that we're taking the *most effective* action possible. This whole "the debate is settle and if you don't agree with us you're a denier" smacks of the same kind of thinking that gave us an Earth-centric cosmic model and burned "deniers" as heretics.

    No, these are not minor issues, and the ramifications of the decisions are huge. In the end though, doing nothing is probably the worst decision; there is a tipping point somewhere (the edge of the cliff, so to speak) which going past that there is no turning back. More research and discussion is always welcome, but that should not and cannot stop us from starting to act - if nothing else to slow down the rate at which we're approaching that tipping point.

    The analogy with the earth-centric cosmic models and burning of a few heretics is really stretching it when we're talking about the possibility of mass extinctions of not only humans but a lot of other species as well.

    The earth will survive, and life itself will survive. The question is, will we? And even if we do, in what kind of society? One that has planned for such an eventuality, or one that has had to just react to it. One is liveable, the other is a post-apocalypse society; I know which one I'd rather (have my kids) live in.

"For the man who has everything... Penicillin." -- F. Borquin