It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Today's Post is an Easy One

on my end, anyway.

Watch.

22 comments:

Hank Roberts said...

Chuckle.

I'd love to see a timestamp so you could see when someone first clicked that video, and when they posted a response. Any way?

Lou Grinzo said...

One minor point: At about 1:15 in the clip, Gore shows 730 billion tons of carbon in permaforst. The latest data I'm aware of says the total is more than double that, around 1,600 billion tons.

As best I can tell, that doesn't include the methane hydrate deposits on land and under water.

For background on the 1.6 trillion number, see: http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1732779/permafrost_could_be_climates_ticking_time_bomb/index.html?source=r_science

King of the Road said...

I know Al Gore means well. I know he's brought these issues to the fore with respect to the public. But I believe he's become such a lightning rod for criticism that his public presence may be counterproductive. He's very easy to make fun of (even I could do it) and to criticize as a hypocrite, regardless of the truth. The "opposition" loves to set him up as a straw man, they're quite good at it, and it hits home for some who might otherwise be convinced. Maybe he could take a back seat for a while...

Michael Tobis said...

Well, Hank, you were first.

Note that he who must not be named was not actually named in the article, though. That may make the automatic trolls take a little longer to show up.

Michael Tobis said...

Rob, maybe so, but did you catch that trick with the iced-over lake?

Whoa...

King of the Road said...

Michael,

Yes, stunning. I've seen similar video elsewhere. Actually, it seems like it might have been here.

Apropos to comments in a previous post of yours, it all runs together after a while.

Michael Tobis said...

I hadn't seen that bit before today.

But I missed this Ted talk when it came out in February.

Dean said...

In the video, Gore refers to and quickly shows that graph of an increase in weather disasters. I don't remember seeing what the vertical axis was measuring (not dollar amount I hope), but I'd appreciate it if anybody can provide me with some links that discuss this evidence. Last I looked in the IPCC report, the evidence seemed fairly equivocal.

Hank Roberts said...

> timestamp

Yep, I watched it through to the last minute or so then clicked to comment. Just wondered if at your end the timing interval was detectable.

> iced-over lake

They'd drilled a hole in the ice and lit the escaping methane, and got a steady flame several feet high -- then someone tried to whack at the base of the flame to put it out, and got a huge puff-of-gas explosion.

Watching, I was wondering how much photosynthesis might be going on at the bottom of the ice surface (we know it happens in the Arctic Ocean, but I don't know about freshwater lakes). As they lit the thing, it occurred to me to wonder if they might be standing over a big flat bubble of mixed methane and oxygen gas under the ice, if so, once the pressure was bled off a bit through the hole, whether the flame might go down into the hole.

I saw something like that happen one time -- a fellow was sitting in with a country music group and 'jugging' -- took a recently empty gasoline can, took off both the filler and vent caps, and started blowing into the larger opening -- getting a nice base 'jug' note from the thing.

Then someone leaned over and put a match to the vent, and he suddenly had a nice orange flame dancing up and down each time he blew into the other opening.

For about four more "ooom" notes.

At that point he'd put enough air into the jug that it blew back and took his eyebrows and eyelashes.

Apparently that lake wasn't ready to do that, at least not that time. Could've been a fairly big bang.

But hey, it's a different world all of a sudden. Likely to surprise us.

Hank Roberts said...

> timestamp

Yep, I watched it through to the last minute or so then clicked to comment. Just wondered if at your end the timing interval was detectable.

> iced-over lake

They'd drilled a hole in the ice and lit the escaping methane, and got a steady flame several feet high -- then someone tried to whack at the base of the flame to put it out, and got a huge puff-of-gas explosion.

Watching, I was wondering how much photosynthesis might be going on at the bottom of the ice surface (we know it happens in the Arctic Ocean, but I don't know about freshwater lakes). As they lit the thing, it occurred to me to wonder if they might be standing over a big flat bubble of mixed methane and oxygen gas under the ice, if so, once the pressure was bled off a bit through the hole, whether the flame might go down into the hole.

I saw something like that happen one time -- a fellow was sitting in with a country music group and 'jugging' -- took a recently empty gasoline can, took off both the filler and vent caps, and started blowing into the larger opening -- getting a nice base 'jug' note from the thing.

Then someone leaned over and put a match to the vent, and he suddenly had a nice orange flame dancing up and down each time he blew into the other opening.

For about four more "ooom" notes.

At that point he'd put enough air into the jug that it blew back and took his eyebrows and eyelashes.

Apparently that lake wasn't ready to do that, at least not that time. Could've been a fairly big bang.

But hey, it's a different world all of a sudden. Likely to surprise us.

Michael Tobis said...

Dean re insurance graph. Good question. I'm not sure what that was. People shouldn't show graphs without enough info to track them down.

Any ideas out there?

Michael Tobis said...

Hank - sounds like an All Time Great Redneck Fail to me. Shame nobody caught it on YouTube.

Speaking of rednecks, I think if something were growing on the ice, this wouldn't be a new phenomenon. Surely some ice fisherman has tossed a live match in the hole by now.

And that was a LOT of methane. Anyway isotopic evidence would seal the deal.

It seems pretty clear that that methane was clathrate the previous summer.

Aaron said...

Photosynthesis on at the bottom of the fresh water ice depends on nutrient levels. Many Arctic lakes had very low levels of nutrients. However, thawing/ thermokarst formation is releasing large amounts of nutrients very rapidly.

Paul said...

Hank,

I thought I had a misspent youth. Lighting farts was where we was at!

Paul

amoeba said...

I would like to have seen references, does anyone know of such a list? Not because I doubt Al Gore, [I don't], but I'd like to dwell over the sources and understand them better.

My one criticism of Gore is that it looks like renewables alone cannot provide anywhere like sufficient power to replace coal. I have been persuaded from my formerly totally anti-nuclear position by the urgency of climate change together with arguments put forward by Barry Brook [http://bravenewclimate.com/] and others that nuclear, particularly fast nuclear reactors [IFRs] despite their challenges are the way ahead.

IFRs potentially offer a true long-term energy solution, while fuel & processing requirements make weapons proliferation unequivocal. Also IFRs could burn the radioactive waste and excess warheads we've already accumulated, while generating electricity and give us more than enough time to crack the fusion generation route if that's possible.

Hank Roberts said...

amoeba, the best way to get the references is to go to the library and ask the reference librarian for help. Start from a transcript.

A librarian can find more information, more accurately, than you can find online.

Particularly now.

From now through December, the Intertubes are going to be flooded with denial copy paste stuff.

There's very little there but there are many, many, many copies using the keywords people search for, full of denial and nonsense.

It's a denial of service attack; Google lost this one.

Right now, using google or even google scholar for search terms -- well, just try it yourself. Search Google, then Google Scholar, then Google Images, for:

citation reference "climate change" "al gore"

Note by the way you'll be seeing more "copyright" claims on material posted by, for example, co2science. Keep looking, they're trying to prevent people from pointing out their manipulation of material easily checkable.

L. Carey said...

Amoeba, it seems that my post of yesterday disappeared into cyberspace. I think that the chart that Al Gore used probably came from the big German reinsurance company Munich Re. See here for more similar charts and info:
http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6129

Sorry I haven't had time to track down the cites to the actual Munich Re materials referenced in that post.
Regards.

amoeba said...

@ Hank Roberts,
I'm sure you meant well, but you kind of answered your own post. As you mentioned, the amount of garbage that has to be waded through:
a) wastes time
b) can really make things difficult for us non-scientists

I reiterate that I would like to have seen references. I am sure I'm not the only one. After all, this list must exist somewhere.

It wasn't at all clear where some of these sources came from, and the transcript wasn't much help either.

amoeba said...

@ L. Carey
Thankyou for your helpful post.

amoeba said...

I was a little surprised that my mention of nuclear went apparently ignored. I realise it was a little OT, but it was genuinely meant and I believe it is a genuine flaw in Gore's otherwise excellent message.

From what I have read so far, renewables have little chance of replacing coal. If we are truly serious about decarbonising our economy, and the science indicates strongly that we must. We are going to have to stop using energy profligately, and we will need nuclear and a great deal of it.

IFRs seem to be the answer, once the bugs are ironed-out.

I just don't know how this can be sold to the public and the environmentalists.

skanky said...

Here's a post from the Rabett, that contains links to work by Munich Re, and is probably relevant amoeba's request, even if it doesn't exactly fulfil it (I haven't watched the Al Gore clip yet, sorry).

I also apologise to our host about the other name mentioned at said link. Feel free to just link directly to the FRs, and not post this comment.

http://rabett.blogspot.com/2009/01/john-fleck-is-right-ok-eli-is-obsessed.html

Michael Tobis said...

Note to a frustrated commenter: I do post contrary opinions, but only if I find them interesting.

I run this blog for purposes other than debating the first order questions of anthropogenic climate change, yea or nay. This is not in my opinion an open question. Hashing it out constantly leaves the impression given in all too many places that it is.

There are plenty of other places you can take your opinion so as to indulge your interest in a flame war. Far too many for my taste, but certainly the services you seek are available elsewhere. I did my share of online flame wars in the 1990s and have moved on.