100 Months to the Tipping Point

Wow — it turns out that after hundreds of millions or even billions of years of remaining stable, the world climate will, due to (at most) a few tenths of degrees of man-made warming and an increase of a trace gas composition in the atmosphere by about 0.01%, go past its tipping point or point of no return and run away to catastrophe.  I sure wish there was a prediction market where I could bet against this.  See this end of the world website here (HT to a reader). 

Given a bit more time, I will try to take on in depth the underlying article behind this site.  But for now, suffice it to say that underlying hypothesis is that the world’s climate is dominated by positive feedback, a hypothesis, if true, that would set climate apart from nearly every other natural process that we know of.  In fact, the only major natural process I can think of that is dominated by positive feedback and tipping points is nuclear fission.  Here are many articles on how catastrophic forecasts assume large positive feedbacks and why this assumption is unlikely.

  • joshv

    an increase of a trace gas composition in the atmosphere by about 0.01% – a classic abuse of percentages. The increase in the quantity of CO2 has been approximately 40%. The fact that it is a ‘trace gas’ is irrelevant in any discussion of its effects.

    underlying hypothesis is that the world’s climate is dominated by positive feedback, a hypothesis, if true, that would set climate apart from nearly every other natural process that we know of – you must be incredibly ignorant. You’ve never heard of the simple example of foxes and rabbits?

  • The original joshv

    That first post is not me – it’s Scientist. I would suggest that unregistered posting by discontinued, as our childish “Scientist” can’t seem to handle the responsibility of posting under his own name.

  • Excellent post, Warren. Now that the natural cycle of climate appears to be shifting from a warm phase to a cooler phase, it is time for the alarmists who inhabit the “Holy Warmer Orthodox Religion of Climate Holocaust” to cool their heels a bit. No, you fools, it is not all about you anymore.

  • Doug

    I bet the same people who created this Doomsday clock would derisively laugh at a guy walking around with a “Jesus is coming” sign. It all depends on whether you prefer old-tyme religion or the newfangled variety. Same message, though.

  • Peter

    joshv: “That first post is not me – it’s Scientist”

    No prizes for guessing then? 😉

    Only Scientist confuses decreasing negative feedback with increasing positive feedback.

  • Peter

    joshv: “That first post is not me – it’s Scientist”

    No prizes for guessing then? 😉

    Only Scientist confuses decreasing negative feedback with increasing positive feedback.

  • Scientist

    As it should be obvious, it wasn’t me who posted at August 27. And as it also should be obvious, it isn’t me who’s posting too, right now.

  • Mike

    100 months makes sense. It allows them time to sell their idea and make money off of it with books and TV appearances.

    If they said they world was ending this weekend, no money.

    Follow the money.

  • I noticed that you can send spam mail to your friends from the onehundredmonths site with an option to fetch all your Facebook or MySpace friends or your contacts from your Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, or AOL inbox. Do you really trust them to not store your email and password?

  • kuhnkat

    ” The fact that it is a ‘trace gas’ is irrelevant in any discussion of its effects.”

    Hmmm, I wonder if it would make a difference if it WASN’T a trace gas???

    Does this mean that there is no difference in Mars and Venus??

  • Tipping points are plain dumb stuff.

  • Earle Williams

    joshv,

    – you must be incredibly ignorant. You’ve never heard of the simple example of foxes and rabbits?

    I must be equally ignorant. Pray tell, how do foxes and rabbits demonstrate a natural process dominated by positive feedback?

  • markm

    I thought that was lynxes and snowshoe hares. In some near-arctic regions, if there are too many lynxes, hares get hard to find and lynxes starve to death. Too few lynxes, the hares breed out of control, eat all the vegetation and starve; meanwhile, the plentiful hares make it easy for lynxes to feed their litters so the lynx population soars. That’s three examples of negative feedback. However, these feedbacks are delayed, so the system tends to oscillate between too many lynxes and too many hares.

    That’s because this arctic ecosystem is too simple. In a temperate zone North American forest, foxes have many other things to eat, and are hardly the only predator on hares. There are wolves (or domestic dogs and humans that have displaced the wolves), coyotes, bobcats, weasels, hawks, owls, … So if the foxes can’t keep up with a hare population surge, other predators will soon notice that hares are becoming easier to find and spend more time hunting them. On the other hand, a drop in the hare population causes predators to switch to hunting mice, gophers, squirrels, etc. It would be possible to get a fox/rabbit oscillation similar to the lynx/hare oscillation if humans eliminate too many of the other players, and maybe there are places in England where it happens.

  • if you check out this graph you will need there is no need to worry about a slight c02 buildup….its been as high as 5000ppm in the past. http://biocab.org/Carbon_Dioxide_Geological_Timescale.html

  • This is my absolute first visit to this site. The guy who writes it is amazing. The dialog is fantastic understandable and correct on many points.

    To write with such clarity, is incredible. I am just a engineer entrepreneur who has become disgusted enough with the anthropogenic climate change rhetoric that I started my own blog. This guy is doing a great job, I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out who he or she is and gave up.

    Who are you? What is your background?

    I don’t want to study climate, it is somewhat interesting but there are many other things I want to spend my time on. Writing, music, my company — it would be nice to not have to study climate change to stop this idiocy. It may, however, be my lot in life.

  • This is my absolute first visit to this site. The guy who writes it is amazing. The dialog is fantastic understandable and correct on many points.

    To write with such clarity, is incredible. I am just a engineer entrepreneur who has become disgusted enough with the anthropogenic climate change rhetoric that I started my own blog. This guy is doing a great job, I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out who he or she is and gave up.

    Who are you? What is your background?

    I don’t want to study climate, it is somewhat interesting but there are many other things I want to spend my time on. Writing, music, my company — it would be nice to not have to study climate change to stop this idiocy. It may, however, be my lot in life.

  • Jeffld,

    The guy who owns this blog is Warren Meyer, his book is the one show near the top of the right-hand panel above. And, yes, he does a credible job of explaining, enlightening, adn educating his readers.

    Except for a few miscreants like Scientist, who appears to be posting under several other readers’ names, the discussion is almost always on track with what is actually happeing in the real world.

  • darwin

    100 months is being used because by then the earth will be deep into a cooling period and the AGW alarmists and chicken littles will claim that all the money they stole from everyone worked.

  • SkippyBing

    100, it’s a nice round number, it looks good in headlines. 97 or 103 would just look silly.

  • Gore, and others, switched to 100 months because their “within ten years” predictions were starting to come due bu the promised apocalyps isn’t rearing its ugly head on schedule. Just change the focus, 100 months is 8.3 years, but it has more immediacy. Something that might happen in 8 years is a long way off, but wow, in just 100 months, that’s alarmingly close. Gore has been saying that everything woould go to hell in a hand cart in just 10 years, for about 20 years now. Hansen gave us about 10 years back in the 80’s. I’d predict that in another 50 months, they will start talking about 2,500 days or something equally absurd.

  • Ham on 05

    C’mon, it’s obviously the Aztec End of Days*TM, for Christ’s sake…….

  • Warren

    jnicklin – can you point out the paper in which James Hansen “gave us about ten years”?

  • Dean

    Just read the report… I was wondering if Vicky and Andy have stopped putting ANY “global warming” gases into the atmosphere? If they are currently driving a vehicle then they do not believe their own work and are contributing to the demise of the Earth

  • Stephen

    can you point out the paper in which James Hansen “gave us about ten years”?

    Here ya go:

    Decades of hysteria

  • Warren

    You seem to have quoted a statement made in 2007. Please, show us the article or statement from which you derived your belief that Hansen gave us about 10 years back in the 80’s.

  • Doug G.

    So, are they going to rename their website every month? Will it be “99 Months” next month?

  • Over here in Vancouver Island it’s been pretty cool and damp for August, and my relatives in the UK tell me that this summer (2008), like last (2007), is “A bit of a washout”. The sun is ‘quiet’. According to Spaceweather.com, the Aurora Borealis has been observed in northern Quebec, a phenomenon I thought was always associated with Winter.

    As for the “hundred months” statement, that particular meme seems to have been running for quite some time, I believe since 2007. I think it originally came from a Greenpeace press release. Now, because the mainstream media have only just caught on to it they are gleefully trumpeting that the “hundred months” has only just started. The whole thing is a meaningless soundbite and an invitation to economic seppuku.

    I still say that the whole ‘Climate change’ concept is an elaborate fiction which diverts us from dealing with real threats to the environment like overfishing and pollution. “Tipping points” my left buttock. That has the ring of one time UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s “Twenty four hours to save the health service”. A catchy soundbite, but just as meaningless.

  • AGWDoubter

    Funny how the admin name for that site is one Oliver Tickell.
    http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/results.jsp?whoistoken=5

    As in Alarmist Oliver Tickell who continually gets trounced by Lomborg. see http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/25/climatechange.scienceofclimatechange

    I also note he’s not a ‘climate scientist’ though I doubt that Oreskes or Hansen have him in mind when they complain about unqualified people writing about climate change…

  • Warren,

    Specifically, no I can’t, but in the 80’s Hansen told us that unless we severely cut emmissions, we would see catastrophic warming, soon. I guess what he meant by soon would be up for debate. We are now 20 years on from his dire warnings to Congress and we haven’t seen his predictions come true, yet. Nor does it look like they will come true given the last 10 years of, how shall we say, weather. I have seen some articles where Hansen is now saying that we have 10 years to avert catastrophe. All that said, I will retract my comment about Hansen giving a 10 year prediction in the 80’s. We must be fair about these things.

  • Here’s an idea for a website – a site that shows all of the climate/environment tipping points that have been proposed so far by James Hansen, Prince Charles, the WWF etc., plus the dates they were proposed and a counter next to each one showing exactly how many years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds to go before the point will be reached. Maybe the counters could be red LEDs like the bomb detonation displays in action movies. And when the point is reached? I dunno, maybe a graphic of a mushroom cloud and big scary letters saying “TOO LAAATE!” We’ve probably missed a few of these points already, but there should be plenty left to run (and more to come??)

  • Warren

    jnicklin – I’d like to press you on this if I may. I found a copy of James Hansen’s 1988 testimony here. I cannot see any dire warnings. What are you seeing that I am not?

    Mister Jones – According to Spaceweather.com, the Aurora Borealis has been observed in northern Quebec, a phenomenon I thought was always associated with Winter. – the only association between aurorae and winter is that you can only see them at night, and there is more night in winter. They are caused by ionised particles from the Sun striking the atmosphere, so their appearance pays no heed to what season it is down here, only how many particles the Sun is putting out.

  • Well, now that I’m fairly sure that Warren is not Warren, no further comment is required. Nice try whoever you are. I’m thinking Scientist. The link goes nowhere BTW.

    Would the real Warren please stand up?

  • Keith

    Yeah, j, I kinda figured he was trying another name on for size. He has a distinctive writing style in how he responds and is also the only regular poster to use HTML to indicate quotes. I think it makes him feel superior. He is not the only one here that can use it (I do when in a dispute with him and providing links to support my views), and is not a requirement. I actually find it easier to cut and paste URLs into another tab in Firefox rather than lose the source page of the post I am reading.

  • Posing as other commentators is both childish and foolish. It also demonstrates a lack of conviction to one’s position. Unfortunately, it makes these polluted threads almost useless in terms of dialogue.

  • Warren

    I messed up the link. This is the correct one. Not sure what you’re on about asking for the ‘real Warren’ (who is that?), or why you shouldn’t answer challenging questions if you think you don’t like the person who asked them. I’d really like to know what dire predictions you have read from Hansen in the 1980s. I’ve looked and I can’t find them.

    Keith – you could right-click the link, then say “open in new tab”. Two clicks and you’re there and you’ve still got the page you were looking at.

  • Well Warren, I have no problem answering questions. The link you provided has Hansen using words like “extreme events” would, which, in my estimation would be a dire warning. Hansen is an alarmist, and quite frankly, I think he is unhinged. His recent remarks about trials for skeptics and big oil and coal executives is an indication that he has lost touch with reality. With his penchant for revising climate history, he demonstrates that he has little faith in his predictions.

    His notion that climate change is either accidental or man-made is ludicrous. Climate changes and always has, without any assistance from our species.

    Hansen claims to be muzzled by the administration. Proof of that would be a reduction in public speaking engagements, not an increase. In any other business, he would have been fired long ago for insubordination, for some reason, NASA keeps him on. I find it interesting that NASA, through Hansen, continually downplays that value of its own space-based sensors. He may be the father or god-father of global warming, but other prophets of doom have come and gone while the earth continues to orbit the sun doing its own thing regardless of what species has dominance at any given time.

    Those are my observations and considered opinions. Your opinions may vary, that is your right.

  • Charlie B

    I’m sorry. but Al Gore tipped over long long ago.

  • Warren

    I’m sorry but you’ve misunderstood the 1988 statement. The first reference to extreme events says “the greenhouse effect is already large enough to begin to effect [sic] the probability of extreme events such as summer heat waves”. If you think that’s a dire warning, then you must be an extremely timid person.

    Government attempts to silence people often backfire. I do not know whether his claims in that respect have any basis whatsoever, but his number of speaking engagements is not a useful diagnostic. I recommend that you do a google search for Walter Wolfgang, who was the victim of a British political party’s attempt to silence him, and who became a much more prominent figure within the party as a result. You couldn’t say that because he became more prominent, there could not have been an attempt to silence him.

    Could you give me an example of NASA, through Hansen, continually downplaying the value of its own space-based sensors?

  • Luis Dias

    Keith, if your mouse has three buttons, then press the middle one on the link. It will automatically create another tab for you.

  • No, Warren, I did not misunderstand Hansen’s comment. You asked me to identify what I thought was a “dire” warning or statement. I provided such evidence.

    Perhaps, you in your obvious infinite wisdom could provide us with evidence that NASA fully supports the use of satellite temperature data in its GISS database.

    I really don’t know why I feed the troll.

  • Warren

    You said earlier “I have no problem answering questions” but obviously you do if a couple of very simple ones cause you to describe me as a troll. That is a very lazy insult to throw.

    Fine, if you think that saying the probability of a hot summer has increased from 33 per cent to 40-60 per cent is a dire warning, then you are free to think that. Most people would not see that as particularly dire. Most people would probably see that as a good thing. I see nothing at all in the 1988 statement that describes the predictions in a negative way.

    As for satellites, I quote directly from the GISTEMP page:

    A global temperature index, as described by Hansen et al. (1996), is obtained by combining the meteorological station measurements with sea surface temperatures based in early years on ship measurements and in recent decades on satellite measurements

    So two thirds of the data which goes into the GISTEMP mean temperature is from satellites. Again I will ask, what evidence justifies your belief that “NASA, through Hansen, continually downplays the value of its own space-based sensors?”

  • You don’t read very well. I said that using words like “extereme events” constituted a dire warning. I said nothing about the rest of it. You wanted an example, I gave you one. Now you want to bait and switch to make it look like I was questioning the percentages of this or that. If you think that predicting extreme events from the data he had at hand was a positive, warm and fuzzy prediction, I guess you learned English in a different place than I did.

    You would be better served to stick to the point. Or does that challenge you?

  • Oh, BTW Warren, I asked you to provide evidence that NASA full supports the use of satelliet data in the GISS database. I’d like to press you on this if I may.

  • Warren

    No value, negative or positive, can be read into the words ‘extreme event’. Winning the lottery would be an extreme event, as would getting hit by a car. The word ‘extreme’ only means far out of the ordinary. But I guess you learned English in a different place than I did. There were no “dire warnings” in the 1988 statement – none at all.

    You seem to have missed the quote I already gave, showing that GISTEMP data is two-thirds satellite data. In any case, I am not the one making a claim which the data does not support. You said that NASA, via Hansen, “continually downplays that value of its own space-based sensors”. It does not appear that there is any factual basis for that claim. You have yet to provide any, anyway.

  • B.D.

    Warren:

    According to Hansen et al. 1996:
    Satellites provide uniform sampling of SST, but their temporal coverage is limited and care is needed to
    avoid biases

    Land surface is 24-hour coverage and satellite is not so the land stations have a disproportionally higher impact. GISTEMP is not really 2/3 satellite data.

  • Warren

    You mean that land measurements get a weighting greater than the land fraction of the earth’s surface, in calculating the global mean? I can’t find anything in the GISS papers that says this is so. Can you point anything out?

  • Peter

    A couple of things bother me about land temperature measurements.
    Firstly, it’s really the near-surface atmospheric temperature that’s measured and not the actual surface temperature. Given the poor thermal conduction of air, there can be a very substantial difference between the temperature of the surface and that of the air a few feet above the surface – especially in calm conditions. And the IR radiation from the surface depends on the surface temperature. As I understand it, satellites measure the actual sea surface temperature.
    Secondly, do land-based stations record the actual 24-hour average, or is the median of the minimum and maximum temps recorded?

  • kuhnkat

    Warren:

    “You seem to have quoted a statement made in 2007. Please, show us the article or statement from which you derived your belief that Hansen gave us about 10 years back in the 80’s.”

    First, please tell us which decade you think we are in. We need to establish an area of common facts before we can talk to you.

  • Tony Edwards

    http://www.real-debt-elimination.com/real_freedom/Propaganda/Global_Warming_Myth/prejudiced_authors_prejudiced_findings-2.htm

    The advert at the top of this page has to be seen to be believed. The rest of the page is interesting, too.

  • OneHundredMonths.org is only about 1 year off of the Al Gore Doomsday clock on Rush Limbaugh’s website:

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/free_estack_pages/algore10yearstodoom.guest.html