Max Planck Institute For Meteorology Director Not Worried About Climate Tipping Points…Worried About Panic

In an interview with flagship daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ here), Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPIM) Director Dr. Jochen Marotzke said predicting how many degrees of warming we need to prepare for was like reading tea leaves and that he is not worried about “climate tipping points”. 

He also spoke of the wide disagreement among climate models.

Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPIM) Director Dr. Jochen Marotzke told the FAZ he doesn’t worry about climate “tipping points”, but worries about panic. Image: MPIM

He told the FAZ that the worst case scenarios put out by some models were useful for the purpose of risk assessment, i.e. scenarios that are unlikely but cannot be ruled out. “In the latest generation of models, there are some models that are much more sensitive to greenhouse gases than previous models in terms of their temperature increase,” he said.

Five degrees “very very unlikely”

When asked about the results of the French model released earlier this year, which assumes five degrees of warming for a doubling of atmospheric CO2, Marotzke expressed his amazement, telling the FAZ what he thought of the French scientists: “My God, what are you doing? Because it is very, very unlikely that the true climate is as sensitive as these new models show.”

“The issue of climate sensitivity is extremely complex. Therefore, the results of a model should first be treated with caution,” Marotzke said.

When asked why the French model produced such a high warming for a doubling of CO”, Marotzke said he didn’t know why: “No one understands why they published it without first reflecting. The British did it differently, they said the new value is a mystery to us. They first want to investigate what the reason is and whether the warming rate is realistic.”

No worries about climate tipping points

Later in the interview, the FAZ touched on the so-called “tipping points in the climate system”, which are “threshold values that set irreversible processes in motion that, once started, can no longer be stopped.” Possible tipping points named by some scientists include the Greenland Ice Sheet, Gulf Stream, West Antarctica:, coral reefs, Amazon dying etc.

On whether they could happen, Marotzke views it as “conceivable” and that it “cannot be ruled out” and with “almost all of them we don’t know where we stand.”

When asked which one is most worrying, he replied: “None”.

“I don’t see any risk with Greenland”

And not even the melting of the Greenland ice sheet worries the MPIM Director. He told the FAZ:  “It’s gonna take so long – a couple thousand years. I don’t see any risk with Greenland.”

Arctic not a tipping element

On the subject of the Arctic, Marotzke says he is “quite sure that it is not a tipping point” – and that the ice albedo feedback “is not the dominant effect”.

“The ice comes back every year – in winter, said Marotzke, who has been Director at the MPIM in Hamburg since 2003. “When the temperature goes down again, the sea ice will come back.”

No worries about thawing permafrost

He is also not worried about the permafrost thawing, saying the contribution to warming “is relatively small.”

“Besides, even if the permafrost thaws, it is uncertain how much of the methane actually reaches the atmosphere,” said Marotzke. “Methane can be converted by bacteria to CO₂. I am not worried about methane.”

Worries “panic will backfire”

When asked about what he is worried about, he replies: “That the panic will backfire.” Marotzke warns against spreading panic: ” It can become incendiary. The question is, at what point do the risks of climate protection measures exceed the risks of climate change? Panic does not help here, only relatively sober analysis and weighing up – and a democratic discussion will help.”

Hat-tip: Die kalte Sonne

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August 14, 2020 at 11:24AM

Energy Freedom Resolution

Ed. Note: The Resolution below brings together a number of pro-consumer, pro-taxpayer, free-market groups in favor of affordable, plentiful, sustainable energies. An opening membership list is provided here.

This resolution is a statement on the relationship between energy, freedom, and human wellbeing. The members of this coalition agree: a free market is the means through which affordable, reliable energy can best enhance people’s lives, here in America and across the world.


I. Affordable, reliable energy is a vital aspect of human wellbeing, providing electricity for our factories and hospitals, heat and light for our homes and schools, and locomotion for the cars, trucks, trains, and ships that move people and goods about the planet. Affordable, reliable energy enables the modern standards of wealth and health we enjoy.

II. Energy derived from carbon-based fuels fits the affordable, reliable profile necessary for human wellbeing. Carbon-based fuels—given their energy density, abundance, portability, and dispatchability—are key resources, both here in America and across the globe, where as many as a billion people still lack electricity. If technological developments give other energy sources advantages over carbon-based fuels, then people in a free market will naturally adopt them.

III. Political schemes designed with the explicit intention of increasing the cost of the carbon-based fuels deprive people of affordable, reliable energy. A tax on carbon dioxide emissions, commonly called a carbon tax, is one such scheme. A carbon tax would hinder access to affordable, reliable energy and therefore harm our quality of life.

IV. Private decisions made in a free market best reflect people’s interests. Central planners claim the mantle of the public good, but through energy taxes, mandates, and subsidies—whoever the beneficiaries may be—they only impede our decision-making. Energy freedom—the liberty to produce and use affordable, reliable energy—empowers people to manage life’s challenges as they see fit.

V. The American principles of individual liberty and decentralized governance endorse energy freedom. Implementing a carbon tax in order to satisfy speculative computer models is contrary to those principles. Energy freedom ensures affordable, reliable energy will continue to promote human wellbeing, here in America and abroad.

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Interested in learning more about the Energy Freedom Resolution or adding your organization to the coalition? Contact Us

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August 14, 2020 at 11:10AM

BBC promotes its climate agenda on the back of recent train crash

Credit: BBC

Another round of the usual ‘scientists agree’ assertions without saying which scientists, what exactly they supposedly agree on, and where the evidence – if it exists – can be found.
– – –
It’s already clear that torrential rain played a significant part in the first fatal derailment in the UK since 2007.

Scotland’s Transport Minister Michael Matheson has confirmed the conditions were a factor and Network Rail footage shows there were landslides in the area.

The climate is changing and scientists agree it’s very different to when the railways were built by our Victorian ancestors, claims BBC News.

Though landslips are not uncommon, particularly in that area around Stonehaven, climate change means they are happening much more frequently as the land struggles to cope with the volume of water.

Just two years ago a passenger train hit a landslide on the West Highland line near Glenfinnan.

Fortunately, in that crash no-one was hurt.

There are questions over how we can modernise the railway and strengthen its resilience.

So are we doing enough?

Rail engineering consultant Gareth Dennis told BBC Scotland: “More could always be done. You’re looking at investment in new technology to manage and monitor assets remotely which means a better use of resources.

“Ultimately the pressures aren’t really financial, they are about human resources; the number of skilled people we have to maintain this infrastructure.”

The main line of defence just now are yellow trains, nicknamed the Flying Bananas, which run over every stretch of the network about once every two weeks.

They are called New Measurement Trains and cameras film the track at speeds of up to 125mph while computers on board carry out hundreds of checks a second.

But the breaches can come suddenly, particularly with freak storms.

Continued here.

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August 14, 2020 at 11:03AM

Claim: Warming Greenland ice sheet passes point of no return

Even if the climate cools, study finds, glaciers will continue to shrink

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

IMAGEIMAGE
IMAGE: ICEBERGS NEAR GREENLAND FORM FROM ICE THAT HAS BROKEN OFF–OR CALVED–FROM GLACIERS ON THE ISLAND. A NEW STUDY SHOWS THAT THE GLACIERS ARE LOSING ICE RAPIDLY ENOUGH THAT, EVEN IF… view more CREDIT: PHOTO COURTESY MICHALEA KING

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Nearly 40 years of satellite data from Greenland shows that glaciers on the island have shrunk so much that even if global warming were to stop today, the ice sheet would continue shrinking.

The finding, published today, Aug. 13, in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment, means that Greenland’s glaciers have passed a tipping point of sorts, where the snowfall that replenishes the ice sheet each year cannot keep up with the ice that is flowing into the ocean from glaciers.

“We’ve been looking at these remote sensing observations to study how ice discharge and accumulation have varied,” said Michalea King, lead author of the study and a researcher at The Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. “And what we’ve found is that the ice that’s discharging into the ocean is far surpassing the snow that’s accumulating on the surface of the ice sheet.”

King and other researchers analyzed monthly satellite data from more than 200 large glaciers draining into the ocean around Greenland. Their observations show how much ice breaks off into icebergs or melts from the glaciers into the ocean. They also show the amount of snowfall each year–the way these glaciers get replenished.

The researchers found that, throughout the 1980s and 90s, snow gained through accumulation and ice melted or calved from glaciers were mostly in balance, keeping the ice sheet intact. Through those decades, the researchers found, the ice sheets generally lost about 450 gigatons (about 450 billion tons) of ice each year from flowing outlet glaciers, which was replaced with snowfall.

“We are measuring the pulse of the ice sheet–how much ice glaciers drain at the edges of the ice sheet–which increases in the summer. And what we see is that it was relatively steady until a big increase in ice discharging to the ocean during a short five- to six-year period,” King said.

The researchers’ analysis found that the baseline of that pulse–the amount of ice being lost each year–started increasing steadily around 2000, so that the glaciers were losing about 500 gigatons each year. Snowfall did not increase at the same time, and over the last decade, the rate of ice loss from glaciers has stayed about the same–meaning the ice sheet has been losing ice more rapidly than it’s being replenished.

“Glaciers have been sensitive to seasonal melt for as long as we’ve been able to observe it, with spikes in ice discharge in the summer,” she said. “But starting in 2000, you start superimposing that seasonal melt on a higher baseline–so you’re going to get even more losses.”

Before 2000, the ice sheet would have about the same chance to gain or lose mass each year. In the current climate, the ice sheet will gain mass in only one out of every 100 years.

King said that large glaciers across Greenland have retreated about 3 kilometers on average since 1985–“that’s a lot of distance,” she said. The glaciers have shrunk back enough that many of them are sitting in deeper water, meaning more ice is in contact with water. Warm ocean water melts glacier ice, and also makes it difficult for the glaciers to grow back to their previous positions.

That means that even if humans were somehow miraculously able to stop climate change in its tracks, ice lost from glaciers draining ice to the ocean would likely still exceed ice gained from snow accumulation, and the ice sheet would continue to shrink for some time.

“Glacier retreat has knocked the dynamics of the whole ice sheet into a constant state of loss,” said Ian Howat, a co-author on the paper, professor of earth sciences and distinguished university scholar at Ohio State. “Even if the climate were to stay the same or even get a little colder, the ice sheet would still be losing mass.”

Shrinking glaciers in Greenland are a problem for the entire planet. The ice that melts or breaks off from Greenland’s ice sheets ends up in the Atlantic Ocean–and, eventually, all of the world’s oceans. Ice from Greenland is a leading contributor to sea level rise–last year, enough ice melted or broke off from the Greenland ice sheet to cause the oceans to rise by 2.2 millimeters in just two months.

The new findings are bleak, but King said there are silver linings.

“It’s always a positive thing to learn more about glacier environments, because we can only improve our predictions for how rapidly things will change in the future,” she said. “And that can only help us with adaptation and mitigation strategies. The more we know, the better we can prepare.”

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This work was supported by grants from NASA. Other Ohio State researchers who worked on this study are Salvatore Candela, Myoung Noh and Adelaide Negrete.

From EurekAlert!

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August 14, 2020 at 08:35AM