Open Mind

It’s going to get worse

May 22, 2009 · 63 Comments

Since 1975 the planet has warmed at an average rate of about 0.017 deg.C/yr. If that rate is sustained, we’ll see at least another 1.5 deg.C warming this century. Add that to the 0.8 deg.C warming we’ve experienced over the last century, and the globe will be hotter than pre-industrial times by more than 2 deg.C — the amount which many consider to be extremely dangerous climate change. That’s a problem.


But the worse problem is, in all likelihood we’ll see more warming than that. For one thing, part of the reason we’ve only seen 0.8 deg.C so far is the vast thermal inertia of the oceans. But as time passes, the seas will “catch up” with the rest of the planet surface and the mitigating effect of the oceans will subside. In fact, even if we hold greenhouse gas levels at their present values we’ve still got more than half a deg.C warming “in the pipeline.”

For another thing, we won’t hold greenhouse gas levels at their present values. Despite the best efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, those emissions aren’t going to zero any time in the foreseeable future. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, with no sign of slowing their increase, in fact there are definite signs that the increase is accelerating.

As if that weren’t bad enough (and it is!), we haven’t had to pay the “full price” for our greenhouse gas emissions to date. That’s because only about half of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activity remains in the atmosphere; the rest is absorbed into other “sinks,” most notably the oceans. But as the oceans warm, their ability to absorb excess atmospheric CO2 declines; we may before long be in a situation where the vast majority of our emissions persist in the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect of every gigaton of emissions.

And as if that weren’t bad enough (which it certainly is!), warming itself can trigger the release of carbon dioxide and methane (another potent greenhouse gas) from natural systems. As the arctic warms (and it’s warming quite a bit faster than the planet as a whole), the permafrost melts, which threatens to release massive stores of CO2 and methane from soils and frozen plant matter. Then there are those “methane clathrates,” which figure prominently in quite a few disaster scenarios.

As if all of that weren’t bad enough (oh boy is it!), a recent study from MIT indicates that the growth of industrial activity is likely to increase, dramatically, the rate at which humankind is changing the climate. The study, from the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, is unique in that it attempts to account for the effects of economic activity coupled with the effects of atmospheric, oceanic and biological systems. The report is published in the Journal of Climate.

The model estimates that the median rate of surface warming by 2100 is 5.2 degrees, more than double the median rate of 2.4 degrees estimated six years ago. Nonetheless, strong policies to cut greenhouse gases are as effective in curbing global warming as in past models.

As the Joint Program’s website points out, “Other research … demonstrates that just as there are costs to cutting down on greenhouse gases, there are significant economic gains –- especially where human health is concerned. For example, our researchers predict positive health impacts if China were to increase regulations of industrial pollutants. Compelling arguments have been presented that decisions about regulating greenhouse gases and airborne pollutants should include considerations of health costs and benefits.”

Without action “there is significantly more risk than we previously estimated,” says Ronald Prinn, the co-director of the Joint Program and director of MIT’s Center for Global Change Science. “This increases the urgency for significant policy action. There’s no way the world can or should take these risks.”

Categories: Global Warming

63 responses so far ↓

  • B Buckner // May 22, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Reply

    The ocean is heated directly by solar radiation, and is cooled in part by the interactions of the ocean surface with the atmosphere. It is not physically possible for a warming atmosphere, which is still colder than the ocean surface, to warm the ocean. It can only slow its cooling. So where does this heat in the pipeline come from?

  • Jim Eager // May 22, 2009 at 7:31 pm | Reply

    Still trying to use the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics argument, are we?

  • johnG // May 22, 2009 at 8:12 pm | Reply

    I just refered a friend to this site, and I was trying to compose an explanation to him on how to ask basic questions without getting branded a denialist or troll. B Buckner’s question could have just as easily come from my friend who is neutral, inquisitive, and unaware of the history of propoganda against climate science. I would enjoy hearing someone’s answer to B Buckner’s question. My guess is that the answer is in his question: if the atmosphere slows down the heat loss from the ocean, a stronger greenhouse effects allows the ocean to store heat it wouldn’t otherwise get, which in turn it releases as it interacts with the surface and atmosphere.

    thanks
    jg

  • Ray Ladbury // May 22, 2009 at 9:59 pm | Reply

    B. Buckner, Didn’t you answer your own question: The same energy per unit time going in, a lower energy coming out (due not only to decreased delta-T, but also the skin effect), and the ocean has to warm. How is this mysterious?

    Keep in mind that we are not talking about closed systems here. There are exchanges of energy, mass and momentum atmosphere to ocean and vice versa.

  • Paul Tonita // May 22, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Reply

    I’m from an area in Nova Scotia where we feel the effects of sea temperatures quite a bit. Colder summers and warmer winters than the inland areas of the province. I don’t see how the ocean must be colder than the atmosphere. I routinely see temperatures in the summer above 20°C out on a lobster fishing vessel, while the seawater temperature is less than 14°C.

    I thought ocean waters mixed…you can see the phytoplankton blooms when this happens. I would expect some heat distribution from cool waters that upwell and warm at the surface, but I’m not a climatologist so that could be a faulty assumption on my part.

  • Ray Ladbury // May 23, 2009 at 12:37 am | Reply

    Paul, you are correct–the atmosphere has much less mass, so when the air is cold, the water may be warmer and vice versa. The temperature of the oceans always lags behind that of the air with the seasons. What is more, different regions in the ocean have different temperatures, mix to different depths or follow certain currents. It is a complicated system.
    Nonetheless, my point is that Mr. Buckner’s argument is a nonstarter, since an ocean where energy leaves more slowly and enters at the same rate, will of necessity heat up.

  • MikeN // May 23, 2009 at 12:55 am | Reply

    If China reduces its industrial pollutants, doesn’t that reduce the aerosol negative feedback, and make global warming worse?

    As for ocean heat, it has been dropping, and Gavin, Hansen, and others said this was a validator of global warming models.

    [Response: No, it hasn't, and no, they didn't.]

    I find interesting that after posting about trend lines and linear fits, you post a trend from 1975. The trend from 1940 is about .04 C per decade, as is the trend from 1850.

    [Response: Please get real. Aerosols don't accumulate because they don't persist in the atmosphere longer than a few months at most unless they're in the stratosphere, in which case it's a few years. So they don't have the long-term cumulative warming effect of long-lived greenhouse gases like CO2.]

  • Deech56 // May 23, 2009 at 2:15 am | Reply

    Back to the article. In reading the abstract, it appears that we may be looking at “only” 4.1C (depending on whether the ocean has been warming – I assume that this is based on the corrected record). The optimistic view is that Waxman-Markey will be the beginning of a sane policy to reduce carbon emissions, but there are lots of hurdles and BAU has a good chance of prevailing.

    I wonder at which point choices will start to be made for us; we are seeing changes at 0.8C, can global economy tolerate a 2C increase? I would question whether the global economy can keep humming along in the face of a couple more degrees of warming. Of course, temperature increases may be due if certain feedbacks kick in (can’t access the manuscript, so I don’t know how the numbers were derived).

  • stewart // May 23, 2009 at 3:55 am | Reply

    B Buckner:
    You’re forgetting something – when the atmosphere is warmer than the ocean, the atmosphere will warm the top layer of the ocean, especially in areas where cold water is upwelling. Don’t prematurely forget possibilities (and the laws of thermodynamics are not optional).

  • Greg Simpson // May 23, 2009 at 4:44 am | Reply

    “The model estimates that the median rate of surface warming by 2100 is 5.2 degrees…”
    Did you really mean to specify a rate there, or is that the total expected change?

    [Response: The statement comes from the study, and I believe it's an estimate of the total warming.]

  • Hank Roberts // May 23, 2009 at 6:07 am | Reply

    Yes but it’s nature doing it. See here, we got pictures and a transcript:
    http://www.seattlepi.com/dayart/20090522/cartoon20090522.jpg

  • Dan Satterfield // May 23, 2009 at 7:14 am | Reply

    Not at all a faulty assumption Paul. Ray Ladbury has the correct Physics.

    dan

  • Barton Paul Levenson // May 23, 2009 at 9:11 am | Reply

    Note, too, that the oceans also warm from infrared back-radiation from the atmosphere, not just from solar radiation.

  • Tim // May 23, 2009 at 10:28 am | Reply

    Excellent as always, Tamino.

    Apathetic/disinterested snowboarders are going to be shocked when their snow seasons disappear.

    Sad times ahead for shredquestors.

    Tim @ Heresy Snowboarding

  • B Buckner // May 23, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Reply

    Ray and others:

    The ocean will warm because it is retaining heat it recieved from the sun. How will an ocean that is retaining more heat, and warming because of it, release more heat to the atmosphere? It is warming because it is retaining the heat and not releasing it. I’m not trying to spew denialist retoric, I just want to understand the issue of “heat in the pipeline.”

    [Response: Consider this situation: you put a blanket over yourself. As a result, your thermodynamics is out of equilibrium, so you start to warm up. Ten minutes later you're 0.8 deg.C warmer. But you're still not in equilibrium -- so you keep warming up even though your physical arrangement is now constant. In fact you won't stop warming until you reach a new equilibrium at another 0.6 deg.C increase. So you've got 0.6 deg.C "in the pipeline" even though you're no longer adding extra blankets.

    The climate system is not yet in equilibrium, so even if we keep greenhouse gas levels constant (which ain't gonna happen, but "even if") we still have warming in the pipeline until we reach the equilibrium level corresponding to present greenhouse gas levels.]

  • Ray Ladbury // May 23, 2009 at 1:55 pm | Reply

    B. Buckner, OK, the thing to remember is that the greenhouse effect occurs because the ghgs take a big bite out of Earth’s blackbody radiation. At equilibrium, energy absorbed from the Sun=energy out under the blackbody curves. Now energy-out decreases, so the system warms. As it warms, the blackbody curve shifts toward higher frequency/more energy. Equilibrium returns when the energy under the new blackbody curve again equals energy absorbed. Now let’s think what happens when some of the “heating up” during re-equilibration goes into the deep ocean. That doesn’t increase the surface temperature, so it doesn’t increase the outgoing IR energy–our approach to equilibrium slows. Thus, there is more warming to come–it’s in the pipeline, we’re committed to it.

    I have grossly oversimplified things here. Feedbacks (e.g. albedo changes) can also change the amount of energy absorbed as well as changing the amount of IR escaping.

    What is at issue is how the warming occurs. Do we see steady warming of the surface all at once, followed by very slow heating of the deep oceans, or does the warming of the deep oceans and surface occur simultaneously and so much more slowly. Make sense?

  • naught101 // May 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Reply

    Actual paper without subscription requirement is here: http://globalchange.mit.edu/files/document/MITJPSPGC_Rpt169.pdf

  • MikeN // May 23, 2009 at 3:02 pm | Reply

    What do aerosols have to do with the choice of 1975? Why did you choose that year instead of 1940 or 1850? The trends from either of those years is about .04C per decade.

    [Response: The trend is nonlinear. We can say definitively that it's different for the 1940-1975 time span than the 1975-present. This is a statistical result; it doesn't depend on aerosols.

    Silly claims like "the trend has changed over the last 10 years" are NOT statistically valid, they're just wrong.]

    As for ocean heat, perhaps I am misunderstanding Gavin’s statement
    ‘On this basis the ocean heat content changes remain a good validation of the climate model simulations.’

    [Response: Ocean heat content has NOT declined -- your previous statement that the decline was posited as validating climate models is non sequitur.]

    Perhaps he is just saying that the current ocean heat numbers are validating the models, but a counter result doesn’t invalidate the models.

  • MikeN // May 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Reply

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/06/the-global-warming-hypothesis-and-ocean-heat/

    Here’s the analysis for ocean heat content dropping, claiming that they ahve adjusted for errors in the buoy data.

    [Response: That's your evidence? A post on Watts, referring to analysis by Loehle? Pathetic.]

  • FredT34 // May 23, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Reply

    Tamino’s post lists all the causes for warming (I think we can add political inaction and lack of will as another major cause).

    If you’re a new reader here, and are interested about the consequences for a 1, 2, 3…6°C warming, I suggest reading “Six Degrees” from Mark Lynas – so you’ll understand why we must limit global warming.

  • Timothy Chase // May 23, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Reply

    Deech56 — check your inbox.

  • Deech56 // May 23, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Reply

    RE: MikeN // May 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Reply

    “Here’s the analysis for ocean heat content dropping, claiming that they ahve adjusted for errors in the buoy data.”

    You might want to check out what John Cook has to say about this issue. You might also want to poke around this site and the recent paper by Easterling and Wehner (description here) to see the danger of basing conclusions on short-term trends.

  • Timothy Chase // May 23, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury wrote:

    Equilibrium returns when the energy under the new blackbody curve again equals energy absorbed. Now let’s think what happens when some of the “heating up” during re-equilibration goes into the deep ocean. That doesn’t increase the surface temperature, so it doesn’t increase the outgoing IR energy–our approach to equilibrium slows. Thus, there is more warming to come–it’s in the pipeline, we’re committed to it.

    This is the bit that has tripped me up in the past. The heat going into the deep ocean doesn’t mean that in the long-run, once the surface reaches local equilibrium, the surface is going to be warmer than it would be without the ocean being there. It will be whatever it has to be for the rate at which energy leaves the climate system to be equal to the rate at which energy enters the climate system — given the increased “opacity” of the atmosphere to infrared radiation — in those parts of the spectrum that are affected by higher levels of carbon dioxide (and water vapor — given the higher absolute humidity that results from higher temperatures). What it means is that it takes longer for the surface to reach equilibrium.

    Thus if someone were to argue (as has often been argued — even when the fallacy involved has been pointed out) that climate sensitivity to to carbon dioxide can’t be as great as what mainstream science says it is because look at how much we have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and look at how little the temperature has risen so far, what they are failing to take into account is the fact that we won’t see the full extent of the warming that will result from the carbon dioxide that we have already put into the atmosphere for several decades.

    As a matter of fact, even if we were to suddenly stop all carbon dioxide emissions right now, there would be very little difference between that and business as usual until about 2040-50 — because of the inertia of the system, that is, all the warming that is still in the pipeline simply as the result of the emissions that have already occured. However, by the end of the century the difference can easily double the rise in temperatures experienced by cities on the US East Coast, for example.
    *
    If anyone doubts that carbon dioxide has this effect upon infrared radiation, they might want to check out the following:

    Aqua/AIRS Global Carbon Dioxide
    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003400/a003440/index.html

    The dark orange off the east and west coasts of the United States? That is carbon dioxide at roughly 8 km altitude — infrared at 15 μm in wavelength has been absorbed and emitted at lower levels of the atmosphere, but this is where it gets emitted for the last time before escaping to space — and as such the brightness temperature at that wavelength reflects the cooler temperature at that altitude – and signifies the trapping of thermal energy in the layers below it.

    • naught101 // May 24, 2009 at 1:29 am | Reply

      That’s an interesting image Timothy. I wasn’t aware that we already have satellites capable of measuring CO2.

      Those large holes over east Antarctica – would that be related to the way East Antarctica hasn’t been warming as fast as the rest of the world? Or are they just artefacts?

  • Igor Samoylenko // May 23, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Reply

    MikeN said: “Here’s the analysis for ocean heat content dropping, claiming that they ahve adjusted for errors in the buoy data.”

    Gavin’s reply at RealClimate seems quite appropriate here:

    “Try someone who knows what they are doing i.e. Levitus et al, 2009.”

  • John Mashey // May 24, 2009 at 1:55 am | Reply

    re: 1940-1975, statistics, aerosols,etc.

    If good statistics say something happened, one can say:

    a) It’s magic … which doesn’t help much, although some people like to do it, i.e., under the “climate is always changing” banner.

    OR

    b) There must be *some* plausible reason, and unless one wants to do serious work, it’s probably enough to recognize the existence of effects whose sizes are at least in the ballpark.

    In any case, I’ve found it useful to compare:

    0) GISS Temperature,specially the top chart, Northern Hemisphere, which generates most sulfur dioxide. Aerosol plumes are localized, and can change much faster than CO2 concentrations.

    and

    1) Historical sulfur dioxide emissions 1850-2000, Figure 3 shows global *sulfur dioxide* emissions tripling between 1945 and 1975, and then falling back as Clean Air Acts stared taking effect, especially visible in Europe and North America. By eyeball,that’s from ~23,000 metric Kilotonnes to a peak of ~75,000, and increase of ~52Mt.

    3) Mt P9inataubo is believed to have emitted ~17Mt So2. Of course, not all SO2 is equal, as some is blasted into stratosphere and sticks around longer, whereas other SO2 falls out quickly.

    Since Pinataubo’s 17MT caused a temporary ~.5-.6C dip in Northern Hemisphere, it seems plausible (by no means proved, just looking at order-0f-magnitude effects) that a 52Mt increase in yearly emissions could generate a ~ .4C NH dip from ~1945-1975, even allowing fourruse, all this is overlaid by the usual noise.

    4) If one wants to get serious, there’s: Hansen papers, see 1992-1993, especially POTENTIAL CLIMATE IMPACT OF MOUNT PINATUBO ERUPTION.

  • B Buckner // May 24, 2009 at 2:45 am | Reply

    Thanks Ray, that was helpful.

  • MikeN // May 24, 2009 at 5:10 am | Reply

    Gavin didn’t say a decline validated global warming models, he said that the decline hadn’t happened, and that the actual numbers validated the models. I understood his statement to mean that a decline would invalidate the models. Is this correct?

    [Response: You'll get a better answer asking Gavin. Ocean heat content has shown decadal-scale fluctuations over the last century, so we know such fluctuations are normal even in a warming world -- so I doubt they would invalidate the models. But as I say, go to RealClimate and ask the experts.]

  • bouldersolar // May 24, 2009 at 5:54 am | Reply

    I read both Levitus and DiPuccio’s submittal on ClimateScience. Levitus et al 2009 is silent about the lack of heat content change in the oceans for the last six years. My question for Tamino is how many years of no significant change in the heat content of the oceans will it take before the GCM’s are falsified? 10 years? More?

    [Response: I think the obsession with "falsifying GCMs" is motivated by the desire to deny global warming, not by evidence or by the desire to understand climate change.

    To demonstrate significant departure of models of ocean heat content from observations, first you'd have to show that the departure is statistically significant. Then you'd have to show that it's significantly different from decadal-scale fluctuations previously observed in an unambiguously warming world. Finally, you'd have to know what the models actually say.

    Climate models are like statistical models; as George Box said, "Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful." Those who find any imperfection in model results and declare that as a consequence, "the models are wrong" (and by implication, useless) reveal more about their prejudices than about science.]

  • michel // May 24, 2009 at 8:08 am | Reply

    Question: how many gigatons of the stuff is it safe to emit per year, and starting when, to avert the 5 degrees? And if, as people seem to think, the required reductions, whatever they are, can be made by other means than reducing energy consumption, what are they?

    This is the real issue, surely? Everything short of this is starting to be handwringing.

  • JCH // May 24, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Reply

    “what are they? …” – michel

    Massive, probably unilateral, geoengineering projects.

  • Marko // May 24, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Reply

    Last year NPR reported that they expected a “pause” in global warming for up to 20 years. This blog post doesn’t have any mention of that.

    That question seems relevant, but that probably depends whether the target audience is broad, e.g., believers and deniers, or more narrow, e.g., the choir.

    [Response: Perhaps you're referring to the German modelling group whose model showed a more extended pause, followed by soaring temperatures? It's one result from one study, and hardly represents a concensus view -- but maybe you want to claim concensus ("they" expect) when it allows you to deny but not when it forces you to face the truth? Or maybe you're just preaching to your own myopic choir?]

  • Marion Delgado // May 24, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Reply

    Temperature is a BS indicator anyway – it doesn’t account for:

    Phase changes – heat absorbed as energy of fusion

    Thermal expansion

    Decreased absorption of CO2 – which is non-linear and varies over large regions

    Changes to the subduction currents at the poles

    And the breaking up of ice sheets.

    for starters.

    Plus, we’re quite possibly missing temperature changes deep in the oceans.

    so, much worse. The pipeline is the pipeline, and it’s not just % of unabsorbed/precipitated CO2 in the atmosphere.

  • Sam Weiss // May 25, 2009 at 12:11 am | Reply

    “As if all of that weren’t bad enough (oh boy is it!), a recent study from MIT indicates that the growth of industrial activity is likely to increase…”

    Does this expectation for increased industrial activity take into account the peaking of fossil fuel production? Does not peak oil, peak natural gas, and peak coal limit the amount of CO2 from industrial activity?

  • Timothy Chase // May 25, 2009 at 4:10 am | Reply

    naught101 wrote:

    That’s an interesting image Timothy. I wasn’t aware that we already have satellites capable of measuring CO2.

    Oh yes, we have been taking those for a while now. I did some digging to try to find out when we first started satellite imaging of CO2 but haven’t found it yet. However, I found the following — which is what I actually wanted to include in yesterday’s comment:

    Measuring Carbon Dioxide from Space with the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder
    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/story_archive/Measuring_CO2_from_Space/

    … and the following might look oddly familiar:

    CO2 bands in Earth’s atmosphere
    http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=37190

    I use it as my avatar.

    I got tired of “climate skeptics” trying to claim that the only reason why we believe higher levels of carbon dioxide will result in higher temperatures is some sort of statistical correlation — and then asserting that correlation does not imply causation. The science underlying climatology is a great deal more advanced than this — and I get a certain satisfaction by reminding them.

    naught101 wrote:

    Those large holes over east Antarctica – would that be related to the way East Antarctica hasn’t been warming as fast as the rest of the world? Or are they just artefacts?

    I don’t think that what we are seeing there are necessarily artefacts — it may be more a matter of atmospheric circulation. You see similar patterns of a sort involving tropospheric aerosols in the arctic regions. Although in that case what you tend to see are fairly high concentrations. However, I doubt that the lower concentrations in East Antarctica are having much of an effect upon the rate at which warming is taking place there. Far more likely that what you are seeing is the result of a stronger Antarctic Polar Vortex — which is itself the result of colder temperatures in the stratosphere (due to the ozone hole resulting in less absorption of UV from sunlight) and the consequent increased temperature differential between the stratosphere and the troposphere.

    You can more or less see that here:

    Antarctic Temperature Trend 1982-2004
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=6502

    … where the region of strongest cooling is the Antarctic Polar Vortex itself.

  • Ray Ladbury // May 25, 2009 at 10:52 am | Reply

    Sam Weiss, Don’t forget Peak Tar Sands and Peak Oil Shale, followed closely by Peak Wood and Peak Animal Dung.

  • Ray Ladbury // May 25, 2009 at 10:57 am | Reply

    Marion, Global temperature is not a perfect indicator, but it is important to remember that most of the feedbacks and tipping points are thermally activated–with every hundredth of a degree rise, we know we’re closer to the edge.

    The other thing to remember is that the oceans and cryosphere represent very significant heat reservoirs. Now they are providing inertial on the cooling side. If we ever stabilize and reverse CO2 increases, they’ll be inertia keeping us warmer. And contrary to what many denialists think, inertia is not a negative feedback.

  • John McCormick // May 25, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Reply

    Ray,

    As I focus more on Himalayan glacier meltback and note their altitudes (ave. 3 – 4.5 km) and altitudes of the snow masses (2-4 km) below the highest glaciers, I also note the temperature increases at those elevations are higher than lowland temperature increases.

    From this, can I assume the infrared excitation of the CO2 compound in the troposphere is radiating heat back to earth and depositing that heat at the highest elevations when the heat is likely greatest as it is eminating from the CO2/infrared radiation collision?

    If that is an accurate description, then it is easy to explain why glaciers are melting rapidly and, with increased CO2, melting will accelerate faster. Thus, complete melting of smaller glaciers and snow masses will come sooner than melting of all glaciers and ultimately complete melting might occur in less than 50 years.

    For the Himalayan border nations, that is their catastropic future while increasing population, indistrialization calls for more water than India, Pakisatan and Afghanistan have currently.

    I’d appreciate a critique on the troposphere CO2 intaction with infrared and heat radiating back to the highest peaks first and delivering the most heat there.

    Thank you. John McCormick

  • Timothy Chase // May 25, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury wrote:

    Marion, Global temperature is not a perfect indicator, but it is important to remember that most of the feedbacks and tipping points are thermally activated–with every hundredth of a degree rise, we know we’re closer to the edge.

    One point I wouldn’t mind seeing mentioned more often is that when we speak of climate sensitivity to either carbon dioxide or methane, the climate doesn’t care much whether the these gases are anthropogenic or not. The climate sensitivity that we see in the past half-million or so years of the paleoclimate record is climate sensitivity to the gases that are in the atmosphere — whatever their origin.

    Thus if we manage to trip some positive feedback from the carbon cycle either through the melt and bacterial decomposition of Yedoma permafrost in Siberia (where once the organic decomposition gets going it starts to generate its own heat) or the melt of methane hydrates off shallow coastal waters in the Arctic or Antarctic, the same climate sensitivity will apply to the greenhouse gases that result from this as to our own emissions.

    We know that the climate sensitivity per doubling of carbon dioxide is roughly 3°C. The paleoclimate record tells us as much. But we really don’t have a handle as of yet on how much positive feedback we might get from the carbon cycle — and this hasn’t been included in IPCC projections. And by definition, that sort of feedback isn’t included in the Charney climate sensitivity of 3°C.

  • des // May 25, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Reply

    Dear All
    Can someone here clarify the Greenhouse Effect for me? I’m engaged in a debate at the moment on this and would like some help.

    My understanding is:
    1. the sun is hot and therefor radiates at a short wavelenght (Wien’s law?).
    2. the atmosphere is transparent to SW radiation and the SW radiation warms the Earth and atmosphere.
    3. the earth is cool so radaites heat at a LW and GHG are opaque to this.
    4. CO2 bands are saturated near the surface (does this mean that they are absorbing all they can for LW rad?)
    5. This saturation pushes the area where radiation is emitted to higher up in the atmosphere (where CO2 isn’t saturated…although I don’t know why not!)
    6. With lapse rates this means that the atmosphere is colder and therefore a poor emitter (Stefan-Bolzmann?).
    7. to become a better emitter the Earth has to warm, which allows emission to increase its rate.
    8 Therefore the atmosphere warms and eventually equilibriates with the incoming SW radiation.

    Is this anywhere near right? Thanks for your help.

  • Philippe Chantreau // May 25, 2009 at 8:07 pm | Reply

    John, Ramanathan has shown that black carbon (such as what composes the ABC) is having a significant atmospheric warming effect at the altitudes of these glaciers. They’re getting double hammered because of the dark deposits and atmospheric warming at their altitudes. There was a discussion on this blog about it a while ago, in this thread:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/abc/

  • Ray Ladbury // May 25, 2009 at 8:48 pm | Reply

    Des, A couple of misconceptions in your explanation. First, as the concentration of CO2 rises, you get more collisions between CO2 and other gasses. This distorts the bonds in CO2 and winds up broadening the band(s) in which CO2 absorbs. So rather than no absorption at low altitude, you get absorption in the wings. This leads to a logarithmic increase in CO2 forcing, rather than zero at low altitude. The other thing is that the CO2, once excited by an IR photon is much more likely to relax by colliding with another molecule and turn the excitation energy into molecular kinetic energy. Thus, the energy gets distributed over all gas molecules, not just the greenhouse gas molecules.

    Other than that, the “higher-is-colder” idea is pretty much true. Just remember that the size of the bite you are taking out of Earth’s blackbody radiation distribution changes with both temperature and with the amount of ghg in the atmosphere. You do also have to remember that you’ve got a very complicated system with land, ocean and air all coupled and interacting. Any simple picture is going to be inaccurate, and denialists are good at taking even the tiniest inaccuracy in a description and claiming it invalidates the real model.

  • guthrie // May 25, 2009 at 8:58 pm | Reply

    John McCormick-
    Don’t forget the effects of soot:
    http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=16674
    That will help give an idea, but some of the melting of the glaciers etc in the himalayas will be due to soot from India and china.
    Plus there is seemingly a hot spot in the troposphere, centred above the 4km line admittedly, but things do warm up more higher up as rising masses of air from the warmer ground rise higher into the atmosphere bringing even hotter air into higher areas.

  • Timothy Chase // May 25, 2009 at 10:18 pm | Reply

    des wrote:

    Can someone here clarify the Greenhouse Effect for me?…

    Actually I think you did rather well. However, I would look at these two statements…

    des wrote:

    4. CO2 bands are saturated near the surface (does this mean that they are absorbing all they can for LW rad?)
    5. This saturation pushes the area where radiation is emitted to higher up in the atmosphere (where CO2 isn’t saturated…although I don’t know why not!)

    But before I go any further I should mention that I am no expert. As a matter of fact I was a philosophy major. You can see a few of my short essays in the philosophy of science here:

    Short Essays in the Philosophy of Science
    http://axismundi.sitepages.org/0/005.htm

    … and two of my longer essays here:

    Larger Essays
    http://axismundi.sitepages.org/0/010.htm

    “A Question of Meaning” might be of some interest as it is a history and critique of early twentieth century empiricism through Popper and Quine.

    With that said, it isn’t so much that the CO2 bands are saturated. For one thing, when saturation occurs, it shifts the absorption which takes place to the wings, and as more of the peak region becomes saturated, the absorption which takes place is shifted even further out into the wings. This is basically what gives rise to the logarithmic relationship between CO2 partial pressure and absorption.

    However, in the troposphere we aren’t simply dealing with CO2. There is also water vapor to worry about, a great deal more water vapor than CO2, and in the lower atmosphere water vapor effectively saturates the spectrum over which any absorption by CO2 would take place. But water vapor tends to remain in the lower troposphere. It has a scale height of somewhere between 1.5-2 km, which is the so-called e-folding distance where the partial pressure of water falls by a factor of e (~2.7) for each e-folding distance above sea level.

    Thus whereas absorption by water vapor essentially swamps the effects of CO2 in the lower troposphere, CO2 becomes a player in the upper troposphere and beyond.

    But now lets throw something else into the mix. Whatever is a good absorber is also a good emitter — at a given wavelength. Under conditions of Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium (LTE – where a given molecule tends to undergo 1,000,000 or more collisions over the half-life of a state of excitation responsible for a given wavelength of radiation — e.g., 15μ for CO2 — which if I remember correctly is a rotationa-vibrational state of excitation for CO2 — as described by quantum theory), the radiation that gets emitted by a given material is in thermodynamic equilibrium with the material itself. Or to state this a bit more exactly, under LTE conditions, the absorptivity and the emissivity of the material will be equal. But this does not mean that the absorption and emission are equal.

    As you pointed out with your reference to the Stefan-Boltzmann law, if the material is too cold, it still won’t be very good at emission. At any given wavelength, emission is proportional to the temperature to the power of 4. Instead, absorptivity and emissivity refer to the proportion of radiation which will be absorbed/emitted relative to that of a black body at the same wavelength and temperature. Black bodies are “perfect” absorbers and emitters, therefore nothing will have a higher absorptivity or emissivity than a black body — at any given wavelength.

    So at lower temperatures, as the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the upper troposphere increases more radiation will be absorbed without a corresponding increase in emission — until the temperature in the lower atmosphere increases such that given the lapse rate, the temperature in the upper troposphere increases sufficiently for more emission to take place. Until then the energy tends to be thermalized rather than being emitted, or for that matter emitted for the last time and escaping to space.

    But even when the earth once again achieves quasi-equilibrium where in accordance with radiation balance theory, the total amount of radiation (energy) leaving the climate system is equal to the total amount of radiation (energy) entering the system (and therefore the temperature is no longer increasing), the effective radiating height (where radiation tends to escape from the climate system) will be higher than it was before — in accordance with the lapse rate.

    In any case, you might find the following by Tamino:

    Lapse Rate
    July 16, 2007
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/07/16/lapse-rate/

    …Real Climate:

    A Saturated Gassy Argument
    26 June 2007
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument

    26 June 2007
    Part II: What Ångström didn’t know
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument-part-ii

    … and Eli Rabett:

    Temperature
    July 04, 2007
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/07/temperature-anonymice-gave-eli-new.html

    Pressure broadening
    July 05, 2007
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/07/pressure-broadening-eli-has-been-happy.html

    High Pressure Limit. . . .
    July 08, 2007
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/07/high-pressure-limit.html

    How well can we model pressure broadening?
    July 12, 2007
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/07/how-well-can-we-model-pressure.html

    However, all of this is for your own understanding, not his. Chances are the blanket analogy would work better for him for the time being.

    In any case, I hope this helps…

  • Timothy Chase // May 25, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Reply

    PS

    In the above, the last bit should have read

    … helpful. However, all of this is for your own understanding, not his….

    Likewise, 15μ should have read 15μm.

  • K. Justin // May 26, 2009 at 1:36 am | Reply

    B. Buckner raises a very important question.

    Is the ocean surface actually warmer than the atmosphere at the surface?

    It looks to me that average ocean surface temperature is about 1 or 2 degrees warmer than the surface atmospheric temperatures.

    This is a very important issue that deserves an answer since it does raise a question about the assumptions of the ocean thermal response timelines.

    The very deep ocean is still 1.5C compared to the surface at 14C, but if the ocean surface averages 16C, then there is a problem of how does the ocean warm in response to warming at the surface.

  • yourmommycalled // May 26, 2009 at 2:36 am | Reply

    MikeN rather that just repeating the drivel from a washed up TV newsreader, why not go to http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/
    where you can learn that Josh Willis who published the original paper suggesting that there was a problem with http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/the Argo instruments as Argo’s indicated ocean cooling when all the other instruments suggested warming. It is an interesting read on how real science is done as opposed to politically motivated scrambling for random facts to score points.

  • Timothy Chase // May 26, 2009 at 3:56 am | Reply

    K. Justin wrote:

    Is the ocean surface actually warmer than the atmosphere at the surface?

    It looks to me that average ocean surface temperature is about 1 or 2 degrees warmer than the surface atmospheric temperatures.

    … and the second law of thermodynamics would prevent heat from flowing from something cold to something warm, right? There those physicists go again, forgetting something as basic as the second law of thermodynamics, just like those confused biologists…

    Or are they?

    Well first of all, we aren’t talking about net heat flowing from the atmosphere to the ocean. If in fact the ocean were warmer than the atmosphere this would be prohibited. However, a blanket is generally cooler than the body that wraps itself in it to keep warm. Correct?

    We aren’t dealing with a closed system. If energy is entering the ocean in the form of sunlight at the same rate as before an enhanced greenhouse effect when it was in quasi-equilibrium but is now leaving the ocean at a reduced rate due to the enhanced greenhouse effect, then the temperature of the ocean will rise. And it will continue to do so until its temperature rises sufficiently that the rate at which it loses energy (e.g., by radiating infrared where the rate at which energy is radiated is proportional to the temperature to the fourth power) is equal to the rate at which energy enters the ocean.

    Problem solved, I believe.
    *
    But which is warmer or cooler on average — the ocean or the surface of the atmosphere that is in contact with the ocean. I would presume this is seasonal. Given the higher thermal inertia of the ocean, it should be warmer during the cold months and cooler during the warm months.

    But on average?

    Well, particularly on land you are going to have a difficult time calculating the average temperature — as this varies a great deal upon local conditions. Just a few miles away from one location you might find that temperatures tend to be a couple of degrees warmer or cooler depending upon atmospheric circulation and the lay of the land. Likewise, thermometers at different locations will be different distances from the ground, or as the result of the land’s distance above sea level, be cooler – with increased distance – or warmer – with decreased distance. However, there tend to be strong correlations with regard to temperature anomaly at different altitudes and over distances of hundreds of miles. Consequently when we measure trends, we don’t measure trends in average temperature but trends in temperature anomaly.
    *
    So what are the trends in average temperature anomaly for land and ocean?

    If you look at:

    Land and Ocean Temperature Changes
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A4.gif

    … in the section “Annual Mean Temperature Change for Land and Ocean” of:

    GISS Surface Temperature Analysis
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/

    … you will notice that ocean temperature anomaly is in fact lagging considerably behind land temperature anomaly. I would make the land temperature anomaly out to be approximately 0.75°C and the sea surface temperature anomaly out to be about 0.3°C. So it would appear that the ocean has a little catching up to do — even if you are only looking at the surface.

  • Hank Roberts // May 26, 2009 at 4:51 am | Reply

    K. Justin — taking your question to teh google:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=how+does+the+ocean+warm+in+response+to+warming+at+the+surface

  • Hank Roberts // May 26, 2009 at 4:54 am | Reply

    Oh, and always compare what Scholar finds. It’s a good question with plenty of information available.

    Short answer to: “how does the ocean warm” in response to warming at the surface” — circulation and mixing.

    A variety of chemical tracers are used to figure out where a particular surface layer goes and how fast it gets there:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=ocean+circulation+tracers

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=ocean+circulation+tracers+%22sulfur+hexafluoride%22

  • Marion Delgado // May 26, 2009 at 5:54 am | Reply

    Ray I think, alas, the reports are all ignoring the pipeline, or close to it. We’re estimating the problem (publicly) as if inertia did not exist helping us – “it’s just not that bad” – and planning for remediation as if it weren’t GOING to be there.

  • Ray Ladbury // May 26, 2009 at 9:31 am | Reply

    K. Justin, the scientists are way ahead of you. First, water absorbs visible light strongly down to depths of 10s of meters. Back radiation also decreases the temperature gradient across the ocean’s top millimeter or so. Google “skin effect” and read:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-gases-heat-the-ocean/langswitch_lang/de

  • Barton Paul Levenson // May 26, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Reply

    Des–These might help:

    http://www.geocities.com/bpl1960/Greenhouse101.html

    http://www.geocities.com/bpl1960/Saturation.html

  • Timothy Chase // May 26, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Reply

    K. Justin,

    My apologies for misunderstanding you and the problem that you were posting. I should have read the last paragraph a little more closely.

    Actually there have been recent and fairly important developments in the area of heat transport within the ocean. It appears that at roughly a third of the energy of tides gets dissipated by turbulence along the ocean floor — in essence, the breaking of those waves not on the surface, but along the floor.

    Please see:

    Special Issue—Bathymetry from Space
    Connections Between Ocean Bottom Topography and Earth’s Climate
    Jayne, S.R.
    OCEANS, 2005. Proceedings of MTS/IEEE
    Volume , Issue , 2005 Page(s): 1 – 4
    http://www.tos.org/oceanography/issues/issue_archive/issue_pdfs/17_1/17_1_Jayne_et_al.pdf
    *
    Interestingly enough, we discovered this as the result of scientists trying to better predict the rising of sea levels, but in the process we are gaining a better understanding of heat transport within the ocean, oceanic poleward heat transport and climate oscillations. If I may say so, this is an excellent illustration of the interconnectedness of scientific discovery that I pointed out about eight weeks ago in relation to a conspiracy theorist:

    However, I would argue that another (albeit related) key problem is the decentralized nature of the process of scientific discovery. Those who determine what funding gets done won’t know beforehand what will be discovered — and they wouldn’t be able to keep track of all of the interconnections which will be discovered by the vast number of independent and highly intelligent minds that are involved in this process. To do so would greatly exceed the intelligence of any central authority, whether it be an individual or committee.

    Real Climate: Comment 171 to Michael’s New Graph
    30 March 2009 at 9:33 PM
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=664

    *
    Additionally, it would appear that hurricanes play a greater role in ocean circulation than previously believed — which may help to explain prehistoric subtropical conditions in the Arctic indicated by the fossil record — and may have important implications regarding the future.

    Please see:

    We estimate tropical cyclone-induced upper ocean cooling to be ~35% higher than our previous estimates based on reanalyzed ERA40 and NCEP surface data… Furthermore, we observe a strong positive relationship between PD and ocean surface cooling, providing further evidence for the likelihood of cyclone-induced climatic feedbacks. These results support the hypothesis that tropical cyclones play an active role in the tropical surface ocean heat budget by cooling the tropical upper oceans through enhanced vertical mixing, which likely represents a net warming beneath the oceanic mixed layer. Thus, to the degree that vertical mixing is important for regulating the ocean’s meridional overturning circulation and poleward heat transport, tropical cyclones may be an important contributor to Earth’s climate system. This further confirms the results of Emanuel (2001, 2002) and Sriver and Huber (2007b) that possible future changes in integrated cyclone intensity associated with warmer SST may provide possible climatic feedbacks through enhanced vertical mixing and increased ocean heat transport, thus buffering the tropics to increased temperatures while amplifying the warming at higher latitudes.

    Sriver, R. L., Huber, M., and Nusbaumer, J. (2008), Investigating tropical cyclone-climate feedbacks using the TRMM Microwave Imager and the Quick Scatterometer, Geochem., Geophys., Geosyst., 9, Q09V11, doi:10.1029/2007GC001842.

  • des // May 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Reply

    Dear Ray and Timothy
    Thanks for your reply to my post re GE. I’ll have a good read and get back to you if I have any more questions.

  • anarchist606 // May 26, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Reply

    Something I don’t get about global warming denailism – why they never bother to support their arguments? By this I mean they (and their supporters) have pumped millions and millions of dollars into PR campaigns, fake grass roots organisations, scientists-in-your-pocket to lend credibility and loads of lobbyists – all used to back the same rough set of three arguments; it’s not really happening/the science is not clear so lets not nothing/it is happening but it is not all bad.

    But what they have never done is fund some science. I don’t mean a conference or opinion piece by a paid denial scientists, I man the think they all claim to be about; the truth – real objective science.

    For example recently the Cato Institute ads; it must have cost in excess of $1 million as just the New York Times ad costs $150,000. So why not spend the PR cash on financing a expedition to the Arctic to uncover the truth – publish the results in a peer-reviewed journal – then the ‘consensus’ would collapse under the one thing that can’t be ignored; the truth?

    I mean Exxon was estimated to have spent around £100 million over the past 10 years – imagine how much science they could have done? Why were they not sending teams to to measure glaciers or uncover the climate sink data of the oceans? I man we heard over-and-over that the climate science we do have is bias and part of some ill-defined conspiracy to fleece research funds; so why did the denialists not simply fund un-bias research?

    Could it be because, like the creationists, they know deep down the people with the chequebooks who fund this stuff know they are wrong (as Exxon has admitted) and the PR battle is the only place they have a chance of winning?

  • Timothy Chase // May 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Reply

    anarchist606 wrote:I mean Exxon was estimated to have spent around £100 million over the past 10 years – imagine how much science they could have done?

    If you mean on disinformation, I believe Exxon spent considerably less than this, although still a considerable amount:

    A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists offers the most comprehensive documentation to date of how ExxonMobil has adopted the tobacco industry’s disinformation tactics, as well as some of the same organizations and personnel, to cloud the scientific understanding of climate change and delay action on the issue. According to the report, ExxonMobil has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science.

    Scientists’ Report Documents ExxonMobil’s Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science
    January 3, 2007
    http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/ExxonMobil-GlobalWarming-tobacco.html

    anarchist606 wrote:

    … I man we heard over-and-over that the climate science we do have is bias and part of some ill-defined conspiracy to fleece research funds; so why did the denialists not simply fund un-bias research?

    Could it be because, like the creationists, they know deep down the people with the chequebooks who fund this stuff know they are wrong (as Exxon has admitted) and the PR battle is the only place they have a chance of winning?

    You may want to read:

    Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate
    By ANDREW C. REVKIN
    Published: April 23, 2009
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/science/earth/24deny.html

    Particularly the Editors’ Note appended May 2, 2009 that begins:

    A front-page article and headline on April 24 reported that the Global Climate Coalition, a group that throughout the 1990s represented industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, knew about the scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions could cause global warming but ignored it in a lobbying and public relations campaign against efforts to curb emissions…

    … and includes a slight correction to the original article.

    There is also this highly informative video by a scholar who I believe has written a book:

    The American Denial of Global Warming
    by Naomi Oreskes, Ph.D.

  • Hank Roberts // May 26, 2009 at 5:51 pm | Reply

    > Could it be because … the PR battle is the only
    > place they have a chance of winning?

    They aren’t trying to win. See, e.g., John Mashey:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/free_publicity_from_andrew_bol.php#comment-1647316;

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/free_publicity_from_andrew_bol.php#comment-1651062

    expanding on
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/12/the_australians_war_on_science_28.php#comment-1272743

  • David B. Benson // May 26, 2009 at 9:27 pm | Reply

    K. Justin // May 26, 2009 at 1:36 am — Where did you find such a large temperature difference between SST and the air above? The SSTs are actually measured somewhat below the surface, but since the top few meters rapidly mixes due to wave action, that is of no import.

    The shipboard air temperatures are typically read off the instruments above the bridge, sometimes on the mast. The result also depends upon the ship’s speed, so the various temperature products use the SST; at least GISTEMP does.

  • dhogaza // May 26, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Reply

    omething I don’t get about global warming denailism – why they never bother to support their arguments? By this I mean they (and their supporters) have pumped millions and millions of dollars into PR campaigns, fake grass roots organisations, scientists-in-your-pocket to lend credibility and loads of lobbyists – all used to back the same rough set of three arguments; it’s not really happening/the science is not clear so lets not nothing/it is happening but it is not all bad.

    But what they have never done is fund some science. I don’t mean a conference or opinion piece by a paid denial scientists, I man the think they all claim to be about; the truth – real objective science.

    A very simple rewrite is equally true, and provides insight I think (i.e. it’s a political/cultural battle, not a scientific one):

    omething I don’t get about global warming

    evolution denailism – why they never bother to support their arguments? By this I mean they (and their supporters) have pumped millions and millions of dollars into PR campaigns, fake grass roots organisations, scientists-in-your-pocket to lend credibility and loads of lobbyists – all used to back the same rough set of three arguments; it’s not really happening/the science is not clear so lets not nothing/it is happening but it is not all bad.

    But what they have never done is fund some science. I don’t mean a conference or opinion piece by a paid denial scientists, I man the think they all claim to be about; the truth – real objective science.

  • dhogaza // May 26, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Reply

    Blech, I messed that up, let me try again…

    Something I don’t get about global warming evolution denialism…

  • John Mashey // May 26, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Reply

    Timothy:

    1) While it is hard to tell, and I don’t have solid numbers, I reiterate, as I’ve said elsewhere;

    Much climate anti-science is funded by wealthy family foundations., like Scaife, Koch, etc.
    For a good discussion, see:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/research-sponsors-behind-heartlands-new-york-climate-change-conference

    2) Naomi’s book (on this topic) isn’t out yet. Should be late this year, early next year. I’ve reviewed a few early chapters, and it is good material.

  • Timothy Chase // May 26, 2009 at 10:51 pm | Reply

    John Mashey wrote:

    Much climate anti-science is funded by wealthy family foundations., like Scaife, Koch, etc.

    Understood, and I apologize for not including that. I was simply focusing on Exxon because that is what anarchist606 brought up — and I thought it important not to exaggerate how much they had spent. Likewise, of course, there is also Shell (which appears to be becoming a major player in the Canadian tar sands), the coal industry, etc.

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