23 votes

What's really warming the world?

13 comments

  1. [3]
    Thrabalen
    Link
    I've said before that I had doubts about how much influence we had (I was always 99% sure that we were 99% responsible, though), but that was honestly because no article before this had ever...

    I've said before that I had doubts about how much influence we had (I was always 99% sure that we were 99% responsible, though), but that was honestly because no article before this had ever "shown their work" to this degree. It was always a quick "yep, it's us, just take our word for it" kind of affair. Seeing it explained, it's clear. Thank you.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      emdash
      Link Parent
      I think another important way to look at this problem—at least pragmatically—is that the geological record indicates most climatic changes induced by non-anthropogenic change, barring cataclysms...

      I think another important way to look at this problem—at least pragmatically—is that the geological record indicates most climatic changes induced by non-anthropogenic change, barring cataclysms like asteroids, took place over thousands of years; and more fundamental changes took orders of magnitude longer than that.

      The neat little problem here is that we've invented all these fancy units of time and suffixes+prefixes to dull the otherwise sheer magnitude of how long "a thousand years" is. So when you look at the Earth's current climatic shifts, where we're seeing changes taking place on almost decadal levels (a great example of this is the arctic ice coverage plotted annually), it's really quite astonishing to think that the changes that are occurring now are happening 100 times faster or more than during historical, non-anthropogenic times.

      That really puts in into perspective for me that something is a bit amiss. Given what we know about CO2 interacts with certain photons in the infrared spectrum, all the pieces of the puzzle seem otherwise obvious after this.

      8 votes
      1. Nitta
        Link Parent
        Indeed the problem is mostly how fast the change is happening. Temperatures on Earth used to be up to around 10 degrees warmer than now during the last 500 million years, here's a Wikipedia article

        Indeed the problem is mostly how fast the change is happening. Temperatures on Earth used to be up to around 10 degrees warmer than now during the last 500 million years, here's a Wikipedia article

        5 votes
  2. [9]
    Kiloku
    Link
    Technically, it's the sun. We're just stopping it from cooling down.

    Technically, it's the sun. We're just stopping it from cooling down.

    2 votes
    1. [8]
      pleure
      Link Parent
      I'm a fan of the idea of putting loads of mirrors into space to reflect some of the sunlight. By which I mean it's the only thing stopping be from becoming a total fatalist because the revolution...

      I'm a fan of the idea of putting loads of mirrors into space to reflect some of the sunlight.

      By which I mean it's the only thing stopping be from becoming a total fatalist because the revolution isn't going to come and abolish commodity production within the next fifteen years and the other geoengineering plans are sheer lunacy.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Pykors
        Link Parent
        Last I looked into this it's actually way more cost effective to seed particles into the atmosphere so the Earth reflects more light, rather than block the light from the sun in space. Space is...

        Last I looked into this it's actually way more cost effective to seed particles into the atmosphere so the Earth reflects more light, rather than block the light from the sun in space.

        Space is really cool, but sadly it's still really expensive to get up there.

        4 votes
        1. pleure
          Link Parent
          Atmospheric seeding terrifies me because it's not clear what impact adding those particulates would have on the climate. Space is expensive but you're only messing with one variable instead of an...

          Atmospheric seeding terrifies me because it's not clear what impact adding those particulates would have on the climate. Space is expensive but you're only messing with one variable instead of an incomprehensibly complex system.

          4 votes
      2. [5]
        Kiloku
        Link Parent
        But that would probably cause a whole other set of problems, don't you think? Which regions will be under the shade? Wouldn't that cause problems for the species that live there (even if the shade...

        But that would probably cause a whole other set of problems, don't you think? Which regions will be under the shade? Wouldn't that cause problems for the species that live there (even if the shade isn't during the whole day, some of those things are pretty fine tuned)

        Granted whatever it causes would probably be less apocalyptic than what we're currently in danger of.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          pleure
          Link Parent
          It wouldn't be a giant mirror like when Mr. Burns tries to block out the sun, it would be a swarm of tiny ones encircling the whole planet. ...which of course has its own issues with satellites...

          It wouldn't be a giant mirror like when Mr. Burns tries to block out the sun, it would be a swarm of tiny ones encircling the whole planet.

          ...which of course has its own issues with satellites and space travel in general

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            cfabbro
            Link Parent
            It would be much more efficient to have a small cloud of space sunshades in between the Earth and Sun at the L1 Lagrangian point rather than encircling the whole planet... and even that is...

            it would be a swarm of tiny ones encircling the whole planet.

            It would be much more efficient to have a small cloud of space sunshades in between the Earth and Sun at the L1 Lagrangian point rather than encircling the whole planet... and even that is estimated to cost >$5 trillion with only a 50 year lifespan so is pretty unlikely to happen (unless things get really, really bad here on Earth... which they might).

            4 votes
            1. super_james
              Link Parent
              Last time I looked at this the suggestion was lenses are more efficient than mirrors as they take less energy to correct for the push from the suns photos. (Focus & deflect away from earth rather...

              Last time I looked at this the suggestion was lenses are more efficient than mirrors as they take less energy to correct for the push from the suns photos. (Focus & deflect away from earth rather than reflect at a 180 degree angle. )

              1 vote
        2. spctrvl
          Link Parent
          Best thing to do would be to shade the arctic, and help stop the feedback loop of reduction in reflective sea-ice increasing absorbed heat. I also wonder, if you had good tracking, if you could...

          Best thing to do would be to shade the arctic, and help stop the feedback loop of reduction in reflective sea-ice increasing absorbed heat. I also wonder, if you had good tracking, if you could shade and cool the ocean surface near a tropical storm enough to stop it from progressing into a hurricane.

          1 vote
  3. alessa
    Link
    I really appreciate how great their presentation is, with the interactive graph plotting out the estimations for each model as you scroll. That's slick. The section at the end about methodology...

    I really appreciate how great their presentation is, with the interactive graph plotting out the estimations for each model as you scroll. That's slick. The section at the end about methodology which includes their sources is the cherry on top.

    2 votes