Do not rely on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendations

by Ginosar  

Most proposed cuts of Greenhouse Gases, GHG, proposed in Congress and internationally, are based on Intergovernmetal Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, AR4. However, we can not rely on the AR4 to set limits to GHG emissions since it was very constrained politically, ignored potential catastrophic events - tipping points- and some of its negative predictions were already exceeded. We already have more relevant data and more insight.

 

A. The starting point for most regulatory activities against global warming are based on the 2007, IPCC-AR4 findings and recommendations. We owe thanks to IPCC and especially the many excellent scientists that worked with great dedication to discover the data and develop this information for the IPCC to analyze. (The IPCC did not develop original climate information, but evaluated data developed by others.) Both the original scientists and the scientists at IPCC did a good job alerting us to the danger of GW. Just reading carefully the details of AR4-SPM - should wake us up to realize the severity of coming impacts of GW. However, now the situation seems even graver than depicted in AR4.


During 2009, some three years after the cutoff date of inputs, we need to rethink our reliance on AR4 because the recommendations were:

Soften down severely by politics,

Did not include some relevant data,

Disagreed by scientists inside IPCC,

Ignored potential catastrophic events,

Some climatic projections have been already exceeded.

And most important - we have more information and insight now.


Some of the limitations of AR4:

 

1. The latest data for AR4 was 2006, some much earlier.


2. China data was before 2001, before the latest explosion of growth and its vast energy use.


3. AR4 modeling did not include some known negative climatic events. For example:  "Note: CO2 emissions in most models do not include emissions from decay of above ground biomass that remains after logging and deforestation, and from peat fires and drained peat soils." AR4 SMP p21

Above decays can be significant contributors to GHG. Deforestation emits 20% of GHG and is right behind the emissions of China and US.


4. AR4 did not cover potential catastrophic climatic events of mass release of stored GHG. They should not be ignored.


5. AR4 was a politically controlled document and was soften by several governments, including the previous US administration, China and Saudia. Several IPCC scientists fought hard against the constrained climatic predictions. Compromises forced.

 

6. Some of the AR4 negative predictions have already been greatly exceeded*. That means that in a very brief time it is already obvious that AR4 underestimated some noticeable negative impacts of GHG. And if these short term predictions are already in error so quickly, some longer term impacts may be underestimated even more severely. Longer term predictions, by their nature, have wider range of possibilities.


7. AR4 used scientific information that was well researched, peer reviewed and dismissed unproven, although logical issues such as catastrophic events.

The IPCC was: "too little, and too late."

 

It is the nature of scientists to seek verifiable data, scrutinize it to understand, seek independent confirmation, and submit to peer review. This is admirable but not possible and even dangerous when dealing with GW. We do not have the ability or the time to experiment. We can not draw on previous experience.

Science failed humanity intolerably regarding global warming.

The desire for peer respect, and sometimes fear of being considered "An Advocate" slowed down considerably alerting decision makers to the magnitude and urgency of GW. This is continuing even now. Also, no scientist wants to be considered "an alarmist" either. So most save themselves from embaresssment rather than alert us to the danger.


B. Note item 6 above. Here is a clear example of AR4 mistaken prediction: Rapid contraction of North Pole (NP) ice. The NP  minimal ice coverage shrunk from 3.01 Million square miles in 1980, to 1.81 M sq. miles, in 2008, a 42% drop, decades ahead of AR4 projection.

To visualize the significance of this let's look at the dimensions involved: The minimal ice coverage of the NP in 1980 was 3.01 million square miles, nearly identical to the area of the contiguous US - 3.1 million square miles. The minimal NP ice coverage shrunk to 1.81 million square miles by 2008. Picture it, the ice coverage that disappeared is almost half the size of theUnited States!

That means that during some of the summer, a reflective surface almost half the size of the US is now blue sea that absorbs sunlight, while reviously it reflected most sunlight energy back into space.

This ice-free zone is now in a natural positive feedback mode, self-amplifying the ice shrinkage. More sun energy absorption by the blue ocean increases the region's temperatures and melts more ice, and the melting continues even without any increase in GHG.




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