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Responses to Monckton of Brenchley_10!1!10

Responses to Monckton of Brenchley_10!1!10

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Published by: manderson on Jan 26, 2010
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08/07/2010

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1
Responses to Monckton of Brenchley’s article
 A Non-Problem Spun into a Global Crisis
http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/NonProblem_Spun_Into_Global_Crisis.pdf by Dr Andrew GliksonEarth and paleo-climate scientistInstitute of Climate ChangeAustralian National UniversityFollowing the distribution of a piece titled “
Climate QaA
” by Andrew Glikson, Earthand paleoclimate scientist, communicated on behalf of a member of theAustralian Parliament, December, 2009, a response was published by Moncktonof Brenchley (MB), titled “
 A non-problem spun-up into a global crisis
” (http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/NonProblem_Spun_Into_Global_Crisis.pdf). In a different context MB also proposed a meetingwith the Australian Prime Minister to brief him on the climate(http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/03/climate-change-proposed-personal-briefing/).MB’s response includes (A) technical points, and (B) critical comments regardingthe scientific integrity and honesty of climate scientists, science researchorganizations and of the IPCC.Given MB’s hundreds of points, my responses below are restricted to essentialscientific/technical points. In so far as the principal observations of climatescience are correct, which I suggest is beyond reasonable doubt, as based ondirect observations around the world as well as on physics and chemistry, thisinherently vindicates the position climate scientists have taken with regard to thenature and dangerous consequences of current global warming.The hacked CRU E-mail issue, which diverted attention from the increasinglyserious climate change developments around the globe, is resolved in the PewCentre for Global Climate Research document: http://www.pewclimate.org/docUploads/east-anglia-cru-hacked-emails-12-07-09.pdf I cite Professor Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impacts and climate advisor of the German Government: “
Were simply talking about the very life support system of this planet. A recent comprehensive study confirms this in showing that we are going beyond thelimits of the Earth. Yet, we are still chugging along like we have no need to solvethese issues any time in the near future. We are not even near the reductionsthat are necessary 
.” (http://ecoworldly.com/2009/10/02/is-the-us-climate-illiterate/).Dr Andrew GliksonEarth and paleoclimate scientistAustralian National University10 January, 2010
 
2
Glikson’s Climate QaA,MB’s comments,Glikson’s (AG) responses to MB’s comments
1.
 
 Are human activities contributing to climate change? How do we know the atmosphere build up of greenhouse gasesis due to human activity? 
Glikson QaA-1a: Since the industrial revolution in the mid-18th century,combustion of fossil fuel resulted in the emission of more than 320billion tons of carbon in the form of CO2. This is more than half the pre-industrial carbon content of the atmosphere of 590 billion tons. About200 billion tons stayed in the atmosphere, raising CO2 concentrationfrom 280 parts per million (ppm) to the current level of 388 ppm.
MB
: So CO2 occupies one part in ten thousand more of the atmosphere than it did 250 yearsago. If we do not reduce our emissions, it will occupy one part in 2000 more in another 100years. The warming effect of each additional molecule of CO2 is less than that of itspredecessor. The CO2 that is already in the atmosphere is causing very nearly all of thewarming that CO2 can cause.
AG Response to MB 1a
Despite attempts to argue to the contrary, global warming since the 18
th
centuryhas reached levels above any measured or studied through proxies for theHolocene (since 11 kyr) (compare Figure 1a with Figure 9), whereby the lastdecade includes the 3 warmest years on record.CO2 constitutes the second-most important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas afterwater vapour. The CO2 in the atmosphere has not absorbed "
very nearly all of the warming that CO2 can cause
". A further increase in CO2 comparable to thatso far caused by anthropogenic activity since the industrial revolution, that is,about 100 ppm, can further raise global temperature, as indicated by
climatesensitivity 
estimates (the relation of CO2 with mean global temperatures, definedat 3+/-1.5 degrees C per doubling of CO2) (Charney, 1979, Hansen et al., 2007,2008) (see Figure 1) This translates into 3°C to 4°C rise in the polar regions,leading to the directly observed extensive melting of the Arctic Sea ice, Greenlandice sheet, West Antarctic ice sheet (http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n12/full/ngeo694.html).Recent satellite data indicates ice loss in East Antarctica glaciers (Nathan Bindoff,Professor of Physical Oceanography, Antarctic Climate Ecosystems CooperativeResearch Centre, Hobart: “The data shows that East Antarctica has beenshedding about 57 billion tonnes of ice mass each year since 2006. And most of this loss has occurred in the coastal fringes.” http://www.abc. net.au/pm/content/2009/s2751232.htm).MB’s comment, which refers to the low concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere(few hundred parts per million, as compared to the major atmosphericcomponents: Nitrogen ~78%; Oxygen ~21%), ignores the fact that CO2 andwater vapour constitute the most important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gases inthe atmosphere, with radiative effects which far exceeds their absoluteconcentrations (see Figures 1 and 2). The greenhouse effect of water vapour areimportant in the tropics but are minor over the deserts and polar regions—which
 
3warm the fastest. Further, water vapour have an atmospheric residence time of only 9 days (http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~ramirez/ce_old/classes/ce422 _ramirez/CE422_Web/WaterVapor/water_vapor_CE322.htm), by contrast to thewell-mixed CO2 with residence time of centuries to millennia (Eby et al., 2008).From the relations between CO2 and mean global temperature, defined as “
climate sensitivity 
” (Charney, 1979; Hansen et al., 2007, 2008), doubling of CO2levels in the atmosphere leads to temperature increase of ~3+/-1.5
o
C. During the20
th
century on average a rise of 1 ppm CO2 can drive atmospheric heat energyby approximately 0.015 Watt/m2. The relations between CO2 and temperaturesare portrayed in Figure 1b.
Figure 1a
. NASA/GiSS mean global land-sea temperature changes 1880-2008.

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