Time is fast running out to stop irreversible climate change, a group of global warming experts warns today. We have only 100 months to avoid disaster. Andrew Simms explains why we must act now - and where to beginAnd he goes on to say:
Because in just 100 months' time, if we are lucky, and based on a quite conservative estimate, we could reach a tipping point for the beginnings of runaway climate change. That said, among people working on global warming, there are countless models, scenarios, and different iterations of all those models and scenarios. So, let us be clear from the outset about exactly what we mean.
The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere today, the most prevalent greenhouse gas, is the highest it has been for the past 650,000 years. In the space of just 250 years, as a result of the coal-fired Industrial Revolution, and changes to land use such as the growth of cities and the felling of forests, we have released, cumulatively, more than 1,800bn tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Currently, approximately 1,000 tonnes of CO2 are released into the Earth's atmosphere every second, due to human activity. Greenhouse gases trap incoming solar radiation, warming the atmosphere. When these gases accumulate beyond a certain level - often termed a "tipping point" - global warming will accelerate, potentially beyond control.What I think I understand from the first paragraph is that in 100 months (at most i.e. sometime before 1 Dec 2016) we could start the runaway climate change thing. and the second quoted paragraph is where our greeny starts to explain why. Unfortunately as Tim notes, CO2 is not the most prevalent greenhouse gas either in terms of how much is in the atmosphere or how much greenhousing it does; water vapour beats it on both counts. This is a bit of an embarrassment but it isn't the worst problem.
We are still in the validation phase in developing this new product. It will be part of the Version 6 data release, but for now those of us working on it are intensively validating our results using in situ measurements by aircraft and upward looking fourier transform IR spectrometers (TCCON network and others).
The AIRS CO2 product is for the mid-troposphere. For quite some time it was accepted theory that CO2 in the free troposphere is “well-mixed”, i.e., the difference that might be seen at that altitude would be a fraction of a part per million (ppmv). Models, which ingest surface fluxes from known sources, have long predicted a smooth (small)variation with latitude, with steadily diminishing CO2 as you move farther South. [...]
Since our results are at variance with what is commonly accepted by [t]he scientific community, we must work especially hard to validate them.In other words we can now guess that the reason why the models are wrong is that CO2 is not uniform, hence leading to Garbage In, Garbage Out. And hence if you aren't a global warming true believer, a requirement to get the science right before taking actions that will impoverish the planet.
In terms of what is possible in times of economic stress and isolation, Cuba provides an even more embarrassing example to show up our national tardiness. In a single year in 2006 Cuba rolled-out a nationwide scheme replacing inefficient incandescent lightbulbs with low-energy alternatives. Prior to that, at the end of the cold war, after losing access to cheap Soviet oil, it switched over to growing most of its food for domestic consumption on small scale, often urban plots, using mostly low-fossil-fuel organic techniques. Half the food consumed in the capital, Havana, was grown in the city's own gardens. Cuba echoed and surpassed what America achieved in its push for "Victory Gardening" during the second world war.Cuba is one of the worlds less functioning economies. It is also a dictatorship so it can do things like force replacement of lightbulbs that politicians in other countries don't do without getting a certain amount of negative feedback. Somehow one suspects that Cubans grow their own food because they (and their coutnry) are too poor to import it or grow it efficiently. When (not if) there is a crop failire for some reason Cuba is going to starve following in the footsteps of it's fellow communist state - N Korea. It is also