Monday, October 22, 2007

A new way to tell the same thing

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 34, L19703, doi:10.1029/2007GL031018, 2007

Received 15 June 2007; accepted 7 September 2007; published 6 October 2007.

Long term climate implications of 2050 emission reduction targets

Andrew J. Weaver
School of Earth and Ocean Science, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Kirsten Zickfeld
School of Earth and Ocean Science, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Alvaro Montenegro
School of Earth and Ocean Science, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Michael Eby
School of Earth and Ocean Science, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

A coupled atmosphere-ocean-carbon cycle model is used to examine the long term climate implications of various 2050 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. All emission targets considered with less than 60% global reduction by 2050 break the 2.0°C threshold warming this century, a number that some have argued represents an upper bound on manageable climate warming. Even when emissions are stabilized at 90% below present levels at 2050, this 2.0°C threshold is eventually broken. Our results suggest that if a 2.0°C warming is to be avoided, direct CO2 capture from the air, together with subsequent sequestration, would eventually have to be introduced in addition to sustained 90% global carbon emissions reductions by 2050.

(My italics)

As I said in the blog of 28/10, (why it needs two..) , it is not enough with reductions. More efficient measures need to be done. Only an extreme reduction of the effluents of greenhouse gases plus a strenuous sequestration effort might do the job.

Sequestration is easy, good for the soil, and might be profitable, so why not do it?

A small company, Purity, making kettles for water heating and purification, has taken up the idea: They calculate how much carbon dioxide emissions the making of their product generate and will contract a group of farmers in Ethiopia to make and bury charcoal to improve their soils under the supervision of an independent company. After that, Purity can claim that their products are carbon negative! (Since more carbon is buried than actually is released.)

Something for the big oil companies to take after?

Or buy carbon emission permissions... from a person who actually buried the same amount of carbon as charcoal!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What are rainforests good for?

The above picture is a false-color picture of the OLR, Outgoing Longwave Radiation of the Earth in the early nineties, made by NOAA. You can see the contours of the continents. Blue on the map represents 'cool' radiation, while red represents 'hot' radiation. One could also say exergy-poor and exergy-rich radiation. (Never heard about exergy? Go to my homepage and look up thermodynamics).
What is interesting with the picture is that the temperature radiation is not evenly spread over the world. It is not so, that the radiation from the poles is cool and the radiation from the equator is warm. On the opposite, form the equatorial regons, we have a rather cool radiation, at least form the areas where we have rain forests. The intensive exergy consumption done by the equatorial ecosystems actually cools the area (and that is not only by the strong evaporation in the area).
This is something that also happens in the small scale. Do you want to tell if a flower in a pot is a real flower or an almost perfect model, made of plastic? Hold a leaf between your fingers. The living leaf is cooler than room temperature, while the plastic leaf has the same temperature as room temperature.
For the living ecosystems, it is the same. The more mature it is, the cooler it is.

So, when we destroy the rain forest, issues of biodiversity, medicine, beauty, native population are often brought to discussion. The very important issue of global cooling is often neglected. In principle, one can say that the more mature an ecosystem is, the cooler it is, and the more counter-impact it has on global warming.

If you can read Swedish, a longer discussion on this is available.