New York Magazine David Wallace-Wells decided to go full doomer with “When the Earth will become uninhabitable”. They got their most read article ever, so they will probably keep it up.
The combination of dooms proposed
* maximum climate warming per models which have overestimated warming to this point
* adding in maximum feedback effects in particular having all carbon released from the permafrost by 2050 or 2100. The 2012 paper suggest that if 5-30% of the permafrost carbon was released by 2100 that it would be 0.13-1.7 degrees celsius of warming by 2300
* agricultural collapse
* acidic oceans
* economic collapse
* Hydrogen sulfide poison release for mass extinction
Permafrost soils contain an estimated 1,700 Pg of carbon, almost twice the present atmospheric carbon pool. As permafrost soils thaw owing to climate warming, respiration of organic matter within these soils will transfer carbon to the atmosphere, potentially leading to a positive feedback. Models in which the carbon cycle is uncoupled from the atmosphere, together with one-dimensional models, suggest that permafrost soils could release 7–138 Pg carbon by 2100. Here, we use a coupled global climate model to quantify the magnitude of the warming generated by the feedback between permafrost carbon release and climate. According to our simulations, permafrost soils will release between 68 and 508 Pg carbon by 2100. We show that the additional surface warming generated by the feedback between permafrost carbon and climate is independent of the pathway of anthropogenic emissions followed in the twenty-first century. We estimate that this feedback could result in an additional warming of 0.13–1.69 °C by 2300. We further show that the upper bound for the strength of the feedback is reached under the less intensive emissions pathways. We suggest that permafrost carbon release could lead to significant warming, even under less intensive emissions trajectories.
Scalable ways that could prevent and reverse climate change and CO2 with ten years of conditions getting sufficient to get serious
The good news is that their simulations showed that if both methods are deployed in concert, it would decrease warming to pre-industrial levels, as desired, and on a global level rainfall would also stay at pre-industrial levels. But the bad news is that while global average climate was largely restored, substantial differences remained locally, with some areas getting much wetter and other areas getting much drier.
Researchers including Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira, Long Cao and Lei Duan of Zhejiang University, and Govindasamy Bala of the Indian Institute of Science—used models to simulate what would happen if sunlight were scattered by particles at the same time as the cirrus clouds were thinned. They wanted to understand how effective this combined set of tools would be at reversing climate change, both globally and regionally.
Caldeira’s key contributions to science are his relatively early recognition of the threats posed by ocean acidification, his pioneering investigations into the environmental consequences of intentional intervention in the climate system (“geoengineering”), and the first peer-reviewed study to estimate near-zero-emission energy needs consistent with a 2°C climate stabilization target. Kenneth Caldeira is an atmospheric scientist who works at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology. He researches ocean acidification, climate effects of trees, intentional climate modification, and interactions in the global carbon cycle/climate system. He also acted as an inventor for Intellectual Ventures, a Seattle-based invention and patent company headed up by Nathan Myhrvold.
The cost to construct a Stratospheric Shield with a pumping capacity of 100,000 tons a year of sulfur dioxide would be roughly $24 million, including transportation and assembly. Annual operating costs would run approximately $10 million. The system would use only technologies and materials that already exist—although some improvements may be needed to existing atomizer technology in order to achieve wide sprays of nanometer-scale sulfur dioxide particles and to prevent the particles from coalescing into larger droplets. Even if these cost estimates are off by a factor of 10 (and we think that is unlikely), this work appears to remove cost as an obstacle to cooling an overheated planet by technological means.
Preliminary modeling studies suggest that two million to five million metric tons of sulfur dioxide aerosols (carrying one million to 2.5 million tons of sulfur), injected into the stratosphere each year, would reverse global warming due to a doubling of CO₂, if the aerosol particles are sufficiently small and well dispersed. Two million tons may sound like a lot, but it equates to roughly 2% of the SO₂ that now rises into the atmosphere each year, about half of it from manmade
sources, and far less than the 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide released over the course of a few days by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Scientific studies published so far conclude that any increase in the acidity of rain and snow as several million additional tons a year of SO₂ precipitate out of the atmosphere would be minuscule and would not disrupt ecosystems. The new work indicates that additional cloud thinning would offset side effects.
A 2016 study that claims feeding cows a diet with 2% seaweed along with their normal diet of grass can reduce methane emissions by up to 99 per cent. This would reduce the equivalent of global CO2 by 2-4 billion tons per year.
Macro-algae forests covering 9% of the world’s ocean surface, which could produce sufficient biomethane to replace all of today’s needs in fossil fuel energy, while removing 53 billion tons of CO2 per year from the atmosphere, restoring pre-industrial levels. This amount of biomass could also increase sustainable fish production to potentially provide 200 kg/yr/person for 10 billion people. Additional benefits are reduction in ocean acidification and increased ocean primary productivity and biodiversity.
Iron can be placed into the ocean to restore iron levels to what they were centuries ago. Every 100 tons of iron placed into the ocean can be used to trigger algae blooms which would die in a few weeks.
Treating 20 million square miles of ocean each year would sink 3.5 billion tons of CO2 every year. In 2009, researchers, aboard the Royal Navy’s HMS Endurance, have found that melting icebergs off the coast of Antarctica are releasing millions of tiny particles of iron into the southern Ocean, helping to create huge ‘blooms’ of algae that absorb carbon emissions. The algae then sinks to the icy depths, effectively removing CO2 from the atmosphere for hundreds of years.
Iron releasing systems could be towed behind container ships and cruise as they move about the oceans.
* Iron in some parts of the Ocean are at 2-4 parts per trillion when it should be at 10-15 parts per trillion for healthy amounts of plankton and algae.
* Tens of millions of tons of soil is blown into the ocean from deserts. That soil is 1 to 5% iron. Volcanoes also naturally deposit a lot of earth materials with iron into the oceans
* The 120 ton iron dumping in 2012 generated record salmon harvests in 2013 and 2014. The 2012 iron fertilization generated an algae bloom that fed salmon at the right time to boost the salmon population
* the salmon bloom died in days and then fell to the bottom of the ocean taking large amounts of CO2 with them
The combinations of putting iron into the oceans, more seaweed, geoengineering cocktail might be a few tens of billions of dollars per year but the doomsday scenarios talks about tens of trillion per year in damage. So eventually the choice will be easy. Geoengineering will be fast, easy and cheap versus other proposals for trillions to be spent on modifying the global economy and how everyone lives.
Harassing people to do the expensive, hard and so far futile changes has not worked. We should shift to things that will work and are affordable and relatively easy.
Meanwhile we get articles like NYMag. Temperatures will rise a degree per decade but you will do nothing and the world will die. Now repent and sign onto the stupid plans to upend the world economy because you are a carbon sinner. Your plans to restore iron levels in the oceans and to cheaply restore the climate does not make everyone suffer enough.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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