How Can We Stop Global Warming?

 

Strange Facts and Questions about Global Warming ACADEMIA and the CLIMATE EMERGENCY ITS THE LIFESTYLE, NOT THE SCIENCE Sceptics and Deniers Contact the Author, Michael Tuckson References and Acknowledgements Short CV For Beginners and the Bewildered COPENHAGEN and  AFTER BLOG WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW My Sitemap
 

 

stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net

An Independent, Global and Flexible Approach: This site has no national, political or scientific sub-theory bias. It is regularly Updated and Improved.

 

Surface Earth System Feedbacks 

Dr. Michael Tuckson

www.stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net

This section is mainly based on Hansen et al (2008) Hansen (New Scientist, July 2007) Houghton (2004) and Flannery (2005).

Human created greenhouse gases (GHG) are causing the surface of Planet Earth to warm above its natural temperature and change the existing climate. Feedback on the whole tends to raise the temperature even further. Feedbacks or feedback loops are process output factors causing inputs that tend to change the rate of the process. Whereas positive or amplifying feedbacks increase the rate of the process, negative feedbacks decrease the rate of the process. The terms positive and negative here are purely biophysical and have no meaning for human values. In the case of surface earth systems, fast feedbacks take place within hours to years, while slow feedbacks appear within decades or centuries, and very slow ones, thousands or millions of years. All positive feedbacks tend to cause a further temperature rise or warming and all negative feedbacks cause a relative cooling. Also the feedbacks interact with each other.

Fast positive or amplifying feedbacks include:        

  • Surface ocean warming causes evaporation producing water vapour that acts as a GHG causing further warming roughly doubling the temperature.
  • Surface ocean heating reduces the net rate at which carbon dioxide is dissolved in the ocean (from1.8 gigatonnes carbon per year in the 1980s to1.6 in the 1990s) . Some that is dissolved is re-released and possibly dissolvedd again in an ongoing cycle.
  • Surface ocean absorption of carbon dioxide increases the acidity that in turn lessens the oceans ability to absorb carbon dioxide contributing to the above change.
  • Sea ice and snow cover melting reduces sunlight reflection increasing warming eventually by about 20 percent.
  • High cloud formation from water vapour adsorbs more radiation from earth and emits more radiation than reflects sunlight. Cloud effects are uncertain making prediction difficult.    
  • Temperate and tropical forest fires release carbon dioxide due dieback and fire

 

Slow positive feedbacks include:

  • Melting of land ice sheets will decrease reflection further
  • Increased carbon dioxide emissions and reduced carbon uptake due to forest fires, diseases and pests, increased breakdown of forest debris through respiration. A 5 degree increase in temperature increases respiration by 40 percent.
  • Changes in vegetation at high latitudes decrease reflection
  • Increased methane emissions from permafrost and ocean sediments mainly at high latitude.

 
Negative feedbacks include

  • A rise in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere causes fertilization of plants causing faster plant growth and so increased uptake of carbon dioxide.   
  • Increased low cloud tends to reflect more than radiate and so tend to cool the earth. 
  • Increased cloud formation raises snow over large land ice sheets 
  • Marine dimethyl sulphide, derived as a bi-product of zooplankton grazing on phytoplankton in cold regions, is diffused to air in turbulence and oxidized to aerosols that stimulate cloud formation that predominantly reflects sunlight, cools the ocean and increases phytoplankton production  
  • A major negative feedback could result from increased ocean evaporation and increased rainfall over the ocean that in one region reduces the salinity, in another reducing sinking and thus can reduce deep currents, and thus shallow currents in the North Atlantic causing cooling there.
  • Desertification from global warming causes increased wind erosion that gives rise to globally spreading dust that reflects sunlight. The dust also fertilizes the ocean and other lands causing increased take up of carbon by water and land plants. But given that the erosion reduces the soil fertility in arid but still usable land it reduces carbon uptake there - a longer-term effect.

It is predicted that positive feedbacks will in total become stronger than negative feedbacks. When the surface earth system becomes dominated by positive feedbacks, as will happen if it gets out of human control we could call it a feedback system, while we are still alive.

Just to show how ‘new’ the concept of feedback is in earth systems to some people, my 845 page 1998 edition of the Penguin Dictionary of Science has no comment on feedback in earth systems even though James Hansen and his various teams have been modelling them since at least 1984. Now they are threatening our existence. 

Note that the ultimate tipping stage in surface earth systems has little equivalent in the social sciences, where although writers occasionally refer to tipping points, very few need be permanent in terms of the human future. An exception is the death of non-written languages, and the cultures of which they are a part. Global warming will certainly hasten this process.

Other than feedbacks, aerosols from industry, motor vehicles and forest burning have an important cooling effect on specific regions, including a direct effect on sunlight and an indirect effect by contributing to the formation of mainly low clouds. Aerosols also support plant growth as they diffuse light and thus significantly increase uptake of carbon dioxide.

The case for keeping aerosol pollution going until alternative ways of stopping warming are in place should be considered.

Apart from fossil fuel emissions, forest destruction is causing emissions while timber plantations (not reforestation) are increasing carbon absorption. The potential for carbon uptake by tree planting, timber construction and burying biochar in soil is significant.

 

  Copyright © 2009 Michael Tuckson.  All Rights Reserved 


 Print this page
   |     Bookmark this page

 

Language Links Above

减缓气候变化的新对策  

NUEVAS ESTRATEGIAS PARA MITIGAR CAMBIO CLIMATICO

วิธีหยุดโลกร้อน 

Các chiến lược mới để làm giảm nhẹ sự thay đổi khí hậu      

Semi-Random Slogans

Invite a denier to lunch

Eat less meat every day

Form a small climate group

Inertia will kill us, twice

Holiday on bicycles

Learn how to plant and nurture trees

Drain your rice fields sometimes 

Auction caps 

Grow and store carbon 

Write to a newspaper in a denier region 

Help the employees, not the fossil fuel owners

Read a book, not a newspaper, on the bus

350 not 450

Study tropical forest protection

Why are most deniers men?

Carbon tax before cap and trade

Look for a home closer to work

Write a new page for this website

Oppose lobbying

Put a new slogan on your bicycle or bag every day 

Study the latest climate science first

No air-conditioning before lunchtime

Drink just a little cow milk

Study Earth's thermal inertia

Learn how to teach

Send parts of this website to a politician

Grow and store carbon in houses 

Organize exchanges with Asian universities 

Grow crops not livestock

Rationing is equitable

Study thermal inertia in buildings

Practice dialogue, not argument

Behaviour before technology

Make a bicycle path plan

Don't use concrete

Drive a much smaller car

Study the denier claims

1.5 not 2.0

Don't use trees for offsets

Work with a bilingual person 

Eat even less meat every day

Support better democracy

Do deniers care for their grandchildren? 

Paint your roof white

Oppose advertising by polluting companies

Consume less, save money

Form an international group 

Help a politician to learn

Making cement emits CO2.

Education must be global 

Grow and store carbon in the soil

Fans, not air-conditioning

Lobbying is bribery

Study growing algae

Improve the school curricula

You can't read driving a car

Find dated photos of glaciers

Study which companies bribe political parties 

How do you entice a denier to want to learn?

Share your job with an oil driller

Plant trees to absorb carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere

Have you tried Tahini dip?

What do deniers understand?

Dress less formally in the heat

Design a more tempting commuter bus

Get to know a denier's children

Pay tax to fund retraining

Less clothing, not fans

Eat kangaroo meat 

E-commute

Improve the university curricula

One is enough

Interview a climate scientist on video

Insulate your home

Open a wind turbine factory in a coal town

Study Earth feedback processes

300 not 350

Wheat is safer than rice

Take men's fashions up, and women's down

Use a condom in emergencies

Share some job-time

Protest forest destruction

Wear a cotton coat

Study tree plantations

Eat just a little cheese

Get to know a denier's grandchildren

Why do the rich want to grow?

Put on an extra jumper when its cold outside

Offer a new job to a coal miner

Adopt two

Join an NGO today

Political bribes, not donations

None is enough

Holiday close to home

Invest in a diverse plantation

Wear less in the heat

Talk to migrants about emailing home

Make compost

Promote eco-tourism for locals

Read more of this website

Ask a politician have they read James Hansen

Eat less cream

Jumpers are cheaper than gas

Arrange a climate debate

Build a thick-walled house

Study how to turn moderate deniers

Study fast growing trees

Hand out appropriate leaflets at railway stations

Study your local energy organization

Learn about the delights of veganism

Study Chinese

Practice walking

Shirts are enough in hot weather

Support rapid research on how to turn deniers

Try an IUD

Asians make blankets from cotton and kapok

Get to know your neighbours

Recycle jumpers and coats

Holiday by mass land transport

Drink red wine, not milk

Support rapid research on capturing CO2 from the air.

Hand out leaflets at bus stops

Men's legs are beautiful too

Talk to local government about recycling biological waste

Keep a stock of morning after pills

 

Adopt another one

When will the USA go metric?

Write and publish leaflets

Holiday on a sailing ship

Start a course on climate change and solutions

Exercise periodically when its cold

Farmers now support the Green party

Give a talk at the local school

Chocolate's great with soya cream

Climate crisis not climate change

Share a car with your neighbours

Study tipping points and irreversibility

Email government ministers

Form a climate group with your neighbours or friends

Read Climate Cover-Up

Study palaeo-climatology

Soon meat becomes less tempting

Improve your foreign language skills

Adopt a baby girl 

Write an article for your local newspaper

Read Storms of My Grandchildren (after reading some climate science such as on this website)

Take plastic packaging off at the shop

Climate emergency not climate crisis

Ask you government to make a good video on the climate emergency

Move your company to where your workers live

Invite your favourite denier to a vegan lunch

Ask the supermarket to turn off half the lights

Study carbon taxes in more than one nation

Join yours with other climate groups

Shop at dimly lit shops

Email people you know abroad

Ask a climatologist to explain the various! meanings of CO2e

Plant and nurture trees in your garden till its full

Learn about biochar

Study the bus routes in your town or city

Support James Hansen for the Nobel Prize for physics, peace or whatever.

Protest new oil exploration

Install a solar thermal hot water heater

Shop for food where the fridges have lids or doors

Plant 10 trees a month in neighbours' gardens and in parks

Ask your adult children what they think

Write a better letter to the newspapers

Organize a demonstration outside coal company offices.

Where are the Nobel prizes for Earth and social sciences?

Form a climate group at work

Give a talk at a school in a coal town

No children is best

Buy a glass of wine for a denier

Start an NGO

Support honest and intelligent politicians

Study short-term GHGs

Join a good political party

Give a talk at a school at an oil town

Study hire-purchase for solar panels

Stake out a coal energy factory

Don't export coal or oil

Work in a vulnerable area

Invest in geothermal

Live with a farmer family in the holidays and help them plant trees

Build a sailing ship

Give talks at the local town.

Hand out leaflets at another station

Video a debate

Move to a swinging seat in time for close elections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 
 

 Michael Tuckson

The website author and publisher, December 2009.

 

Easy Summary

 

We must try to understand up-to-date climate science coming out over the last few years that warns of possible disaster. Ice shelves and sheets are melting much faster than before. Global temperatures are rising, with oscillations due to ocean oscillations. Natural causes are minor compared with pollution. This understanding must be spread by advanced adult education, especially among the powerful. As many readers as possible must spread understanding.

 

Denier leaders are funded by the fossil fuel, tobacco and similar corporations and/or are ideologues. Their arguments are always against, not considering pro and con, as with real science. They rarely call for better understanding, just attempt to confuse. None are climate scientists. Their motivation is salary and weak government, not salary and discovery. Either they do not care about their descendants or they do not understand the probable future.

 

We must put more emphasis on the short-term greenhouse influences such as methane. Carbon dixide must be captured from the atmosphere. Also we must lead with behaviour change before appropriate technology spreads. Birth control is important in some regions. Job-time sharing and retraining can reduce any unemployment resulting from mitigation measures. Mitigation must be coordinated globally by government and citizens in modern sectors. City pairing could be useful.