With the Paris accord not signed, can the world still be saved? A look at the Arctic.

Now, with the Paris accord in jeopardy, can the world still be saved?

I want to reply to what climate alarmists say:  My conclusions on climate change are not in line with science logic. Being a climate realist, I never said that increasing CO2 is unimportant, only that the negative effects are vastly exaggerated, and the positive effects are ignored. let me explain:

Climate alarmists and IPCC believe that the thermal response to increasing CO2 is a feedback gain from increasing water vapor that results from higher temperatures, leading to much higher temperatures. Current climate model averages indicate a temperature rise of 4.7 C by 2100 if nothing is done, 4.65 C if U.S keeps all its Paris commitments and 4.53 C if all countries keep their part of the agreement. In all cases, with or without Paris agreement we are headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.

As the chart indicates, implementing all of the Paris agreement will delay the end of mankind as we know it by at most 4 years.

Myself and quite a few scientists, meteorologists, but mostly engineers believe the feedback loop in nature is far more complicated than that, in fact, there is a large negative feedback in the system, preventing a temperature runaway, and we have the observations to prove it.  The negative feedback manifests itself in 2 ways:

Inorganic feedback, represented by clouds. If there were no clouds, the tropics would average a temperature of  140 F  thanks to the greenhouse effect. The clouds reflect back up to 300 W/m2 into space rather than the same energy being absorbed into water or soil. Clouds are highly temperature dependent, especially cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds. Cumulus clouds are formed in the morning, earlier the warmer it is, and not at all if it is cold, thunderstorms appear when it is warm enough. The feedback, which was positive at low temperatures becomes negative at warmer temperatures, and in the equatorial doldrums, surface temperature has found its equilibrium. No amount of CO2 will change that. Equatorial temperature follows the temperature of the ocean, warmer when there is an el niño, cooler when there is a la niña. Here is a chart of temperature increases since satellite measurements began as a function of latitude.

The tropics follow the ocean temperature closely, no long term rising trend, the extratropics are also stable.

Not so at the poles. the temperature record indicate a noticeable warming with large spikes up and down, up to 3 degree Celsius difference from year to year, especially the Arctic. So, how much has the Arctic melted? Here is a chart of Arctic ice cover for 31 May for the last 39 years.

If this trend continues, all ice may melt in 300 to 400 years, faster if there is further warming and nothing else is changing. Let’s take a look at the Arctic above the 80th latitude, an area of about 3,85 million square kilometers, less than 1% of the earth’s surface, but it is there where global warming is most pronounced. Here are two charts from the last 2 years, ending with Jun. 3 2017.

Starting at summer 2016, the Arctic was melting quite normally, but something else happened that is not shown in the chart. Every 5 years or so, the Arctic suffer a large storm with full hurricane strength during the summer. In 2016 there was no one, but two such storms, and as they happened late in the season when the ice is rotten they result in a large ice loss, making the ice minimum the lowest on record, and the ice volume nearly 4,000 Gigatons (Gt) less than the 30 year normal. Then the temperature from October thru April did run 7 degree Celsius warmer than normal with a spike as high as 20 degrees warmer. Yet today the deficit is down to 2,500 Gt. What happened? It snowed more than normal. In the Arctic, it gets warmer under clouds, warmer still when it snows. Take a look at Greenland and what has happened this freezing season. It has snowed and snowed and Greenland has accumulated 150 Gt more ice than normal. So, at this point in the season we are a total of 1650 Gt ahead of last year, and this is with Arctic temperatures being seven degrees warmer than normal during the cold season. The counterintuitive conclusion is that it may very well be that warmer temperatures produces accumulation of snow and ice, colder temperatures with less snow accumulates less. What happens during the short Arctic summer? With more snow accumulated it takes longer to melt last years snow, so the temperature stays colder longer. If this melting period ends without melting all snow, multi year ice will accumulate, and if it continues unabated, a new ice age will start.

The second feedback loop is organic. More CO2 means more plant growth.  According to NASA there has been a significant greening of the earth, more than 10% since satellite measurements begun. This results in a cooling effect everywhere, except in areas that used to be treeless where they have a warming effect. The net effect is that we can now feed 2 billion more people than before without using more fertilizer. Check this picture from NASA, (now they can publish real science again) showing the increased leaf area extends nearly everywhere.

In addition, more leafs changes the water cycle, increases evapotranspiration, and more trees and vegetation reduces erosion and unwanted runoff. Good news all around.

In short, taking into account the negative feedback occurring the earth will warm up less than 0.5 degrees from now, not at all in the tropics, and less than 3 degrees at the poles.

We need energy. It takes a lot of energy to clean up the planet. Developing nations should be encouraged to use electricity rather than cooking by dried cow-dung. Coal is limited, and we should leave some for our great great grandchildren. Oil and gas should be preserved for aviation, since there is no realistic alternative with a high enough energy density. Therefore I am an advocate for Thorium based nuclear energy, being safer than Uranium based nuclear energy, and, properly implemented will produce about 0.01% of the long term radioactive waste compared to conventional nuclear power plants. And there is a million year supply  of Thorium available. Once the electricity power plants have fully switched away from coal and gas, then and only then is it time to switch to electric cars.

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Engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, and chip manufacturing. Presently adjunct faculty at PSU, teaching one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

2 thoughts on “With the Paris accord not signed, can the world still be saved? A look at the Arctic.”

  1. This post is informative. It hits all the right notes too.

    I have have written similar postings in the past. I have first-hand observations of how much faster over the past 15 years or so trees and brush have grown in New Hampshire compared to my youth experiences. For the warmists, it seems colder nearly every season with a few hot to warm spells mixed in, which tends to average out “normal”.

    I am a engineer specializing in electronic imaging and hyperspectral techniques. I have understood the band-passes of normal atmospheric conditions as one has to consider that for data analysis and system design. One thing not mentioned in this post is that for all intents and purposes, the effect of CO2 on insolation is that it’s concentration is nearly saturated, that is, more CO2 does not capture or absorb necessarily more energy from the Sun. The primary bands are around 4.26 microns are saturated and those around 10 microns are nearly so. Think about what that means. First, space is nearly a perfect black body (good gray body) and is nearly 0 deg. K. Say it is a few K. Clouds and the gasses not water vapor are constituents of the atmosphere but vary as to partial pressure. I must admit, right now as I write this, I do not know what the partial pressure of CO2 at 40K feet is but assume a linear relationship. So CO2 absorbs energy at various spectral bands and heats the atmosphere. That heat is distributed to clouds and the upper atmosphere. CO2, as an absorber (several bands) around 10 microns contains that heat energy. A gray body at about 300K (the Earth) preferentially re-radiates (black body theory) best at around 10 microns. So, what one has is a mass of substance containing heat preferentially radiating out into a near 0 deg. K black body. That is to say, the heat that is captured in the MWIR (4.26 micron) is transferred by convection and conduction to other bands which preferentially re radiate back into space at night or anytime. Clouds by their many absorption bands, often in lower shorter wavelengths, are not as efficient in radiating heat back into space.

    My understanding is that to call CO2 a greenhouse gas is not the same as glass windows in a greenhouse. Glass is of very low emmisivity and does not radiate very much at all except at visible wavelengths. CO2 is not glass. A greenhouse glass windows does keep the heat in and that is why glass windows are and have been used for houses for centuries.

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