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Whatever happened to the Global Warming "Tipping Points?"


Whatever happened to the Global Warming "Tipping Points?"15-08-2013 13:21
DavidFProfile picture☆☆☆☆☆
(1)
During the last half of the of the first decade of this century (2005-2010), there was a plethora of articles being written about numerous so-called Global Warming "Tipping Points." The dominant theme of the articles was that these irreversible tipping points were a grave threat to global climate and humanity. Articles appeared on the Internet literally by the hundreds, claiming that if immediate action were not taken to mitigate anthropogenic global warming (AGW), there was a grave threat to humanity and the well being of global climate.

In 2008, James Hansen got into the act, writing a lengthy article about a Global Warming "Tipping Point". Following my reading of Hansen's article, I began collecting links to the many articles in an effort to determine if there was actually any truth to the notion that Global Warming tipping points were/are a threat. Many of the articles declared that the threat was very real.

For a couple of years, by googling the articles, I kept a personal record of what was being written. By the time I had documented 1,505 links, the alarm about AGW "tipping points" had subsided and I ended the project. I realized that the tipping point scare had faded into almost into oblivion. Over the last couple of years, very few articles about AGW "tipping points" have appeared. Almost no one is talking/writing about alarming tipping points these days.

My question is, what ever happened to the so-called "Global Warming Tipping Points?" Are they real, or are they just another passing fad of in the game of global warming alarmism. So far as I've been able to discern, none of the alarming tipping points have occurred, nor is there any threat to such on the horizon. Perhaps someone can enlighten me on what ever happened to the threat of global warming tipping points...


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24-08-2013 10:50
Enviro0801
☆☆☆☆☆
(5)
I am not aware of most of the rhetoric that came out about "tipping points", but I might be able to clear up a few things for ya. I will at least try!

First of all I think it's important to point out that the real science behind global warming is vastly different than what you get from the media, political realm, and even internet. I'm a environmental science student, so I am exposed to recent data and research on the subject. Honestly, I don't hear much about tipping points in the science journals and organizations I'm exposed to (IPCC, EPA, NOAA, etc.). I can only think of one scenario I've come across, and it had to do with the disruption of the thermohaline cirrculation in the North Atlantic. Basically the theory was that the North Atlantic current could potentially be disrupted, or even shut down, due to the melting of Greenland's ice sheets. Without getting too technical, the freshwater produced by the glacier melting could potentially change the salt content of the North Atlantic. The high salt content of the surface water up there is essential to the "thermo (temperature) haline (salt) cirrculation. Basic chemistry, salt water is more dense and sinks, and this causes the cold arctic waters to meet up with the North Atlantic current the runs beneath the surface waters, and carries that water south across the equator and towards the Antarctic. If that salt water were to be mixed with enough fresh water from Greenland's ice sheets, then potentially it would not sink, and the Atlantic current could shut down. This scenario was discovered by studying past climates. I believe it was the Younger Dryas period about 15,000 years ago (also called the little ice age). Based on paleo data, that period experienced a drastic glaciation of the northern hemisphere, especially along the North Atlantic. Leading theory was the scenario I just gave, a drastic global warming (caused by tectonic activity I believe) melted the Greenland ice sheets, which triggered the glaciation event.

Having said all that, there is not "alarming" data to suggest that this is an inevitable result. It was only presented by scientist's as a possible scenario. Science usually doesn't deal in absolutes, politicians and media folk do. Which brings me to an important point. Science is done objectively by experts in the field. They present data and results to their constituents. Those people present it to the government if they determine it's significant. After a few more hands, the information then reaches the politicians. This is where it all goes to hell. Politicians don't speak science, they don't understand science. They understand politics and people. They usually have very specific motivations, often funded by special interest groups. So by no fault of the scientist, the politician with take the data, throw some attention getting words in there like "alarming", or just completely misrepresent the data altogether. The science advisers for the administration are also a complete joke. They are appointed to office and don't really advise science, they ask the administration how they want to spin the information, and they have just enough expertise to make it sound "scientific" for credibility purposes. Science completely fails to work once it reaches the government. There is no peer-review, there is no checking of the data. There is just the rhetoric created by the politicians, motivated by the economic super powers that pay for their campaigns, and who also own the major media outlets. It is one of the most heart-breaking processes to see happen as a enthusiastic science student. The information that I see come out of the media and politicians on global warming and climate change literally makes me cringe at times. There is SO much misinformation, horrible interpretation of statistics, rhetoric, exaggerations, and sometimes it seems like they just make shit up.

Now I don't know these "articles" you're speaking of, but I am confident they mostly are not peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. Most of those require subscription fees, and I would be skeptical of any that didn't just because it's so rare in real science journals. Luckily I'm in school, and get access to most of them free of charge while I'm enrolled. If you want the real, raw information, then don't listen to the media or these politically motivated science journals. Talk to an expert in the field, or try to get your hands on the peer-reviewed literature. I'm not picking sides politically either. I'm not a fan of Al Gore, personally. In fact I think he helps the other side more by being so dramatic, makes him an easy target. Now most of the misinformation does come out of the right-wing conservative outlets. Al Gore is mostly guilty of making some exaggerations, and using emotional manipulations to draw attention. The conservative side has intentionally lied about the information at times, or just show their ignorance on the subject. The right claims there is a left conspiracy, the left claims there is a right conspiracy, and in the meanwhile the scientists are just doing science and presenting data as best they can.

The whole idea (sewn up by the right) that these scientists falsify data because they don't want to lose their funding is some of the dumbest rhetoric I've heard. I'm sure there are the occasional corrupt scientist that might try and manipulate the system a bit. However this would be EXTREMELY hard to do in any significant level in science. That is what the peer-review process, the multidisciplinary collaborations, the reproducing of experiments by second/third parties to confirm validity is all about! The publication of science journals is extremely thorough in making sure the information is as accurate and scientifically sound as possible. It pisses me off to no end when I hear some scum-sucking media jack@ss, or some half-wit politician, ALL of which have obvious political or economic motivations, have the nerve to question the motivation of scientists that have spent the majority of their lives studying and experimenting in their field. Scientists can't defend themselves, most of them are horrible public speakers. Only a few circulate through the media, and they are usually jokes. It's like school yard bullying and it's disgusting.

Anyways, sorry for the long rant. I just get frustrated with the disconnect of what I learn in my studies, and what I hear on the tv or from much of the public (who listen to the tv). Take home point is be skeptical of the media and politicians first and foremost. They are experts in rhetoric and misinformation to sway public opinion. That's essentially their job. I'd say be skeptical of the science too, but honestly most laymen can't understand the science (many scientists have a hard time too). There is plenty of skepticism among scientist's anyways, one of their favorite activities is trying to find fault in one of their peer's results. Many scientists hope to be proven wrong. That often results in better understanding than being proven right. It is almost the opposite of how our economic/political realm is run, with a few exceptions. I hope I have somewhat answered the question of why there are alarming and intense claims that are not always grounded by real science. It's a complex society we live in, and unfortunately our government is not interested in accurate information and the education of its citizen. It has a whole other agenda.
02-09-2013 13:23
Gray-Wolf
☆☆☆☆☆
(13)
If we are to see a 'tipping point' then I would look to the ice/snowcover levels across the N.Hemisphere?

When you look at the endings of past glacial epochs you'll see that the warm forcings , brought to bear on the ice, make little difference for quite a while and the 'whammo!' , we see a sudden warming with large temperature hikes over a matter of decades ( as opposed to the speeds that glaciation sets up this is near instant) . This shift is mainly facilitated by the albedo flip that occurs once the ice sheets/sea ice is thin enough to completely melt out over the summer season.

The impacts of our ice make a huge difference to the 'average' state of the climate with it quite likley that were there no ice sheets on the planet then the current energy balance would be enough to keep the planet 'ice free'.

Sea ice behaviour , since the 07' crash, seems to hint at a step change having occurred there with 'average summer conditions bringing us the record lows of 2012 ( no 'perfect storm' needed to bring us a further 18% reduction in ice cover.....as was needed to bring us the 2007 22% drop in ice cover) and a 'cold season still dropping levels well below the 81/2010 'avarage' levels for sea ice.

2010 saw us lose the last of the Arctic's 'paleocryistic' ice and 2013 saw the Canadian ice service introduce a new ice category of 'rotten ice' so have we seen us reach a 'tipping point' across the Arctic?

Recent shifts in the planets albedo ( mainly over northern snowfields and sea ice) appear to be leading to changes in our polar Jet's behaviour ( by lessening the temp/pressure gradient 'twixt pole and equator) and so bringing melt and record temps across large swathes of the northern permafrost. Should this 'forced pattern' persist then our planet is set to receive the long stored carbon from the permafrosts adding into the greenhouse blanket and aiding further warming/melting no matter what mankind does to his GHG emissions.

If you are 'looking' for tipping points then I suggest you look back to the end of the noughties when the post 17' Arctic failed to recover ice and left us with a basin at risk from 'average' summers........god knows what the next 'perfect storm' will accomplish there?
09-10-2013 15:27
Tim the plumber
★★★★☆
(1295)
Just a fad within a fashion.

The doomsayers needed something to make to science which said there might be a slight change into "we are all doomed".
01-10-2015 02:33
muddy
☆☆☆☆☆
(4)
It appears to me that collectively the planet has pretty much accepted that the tipping point is in the past and we are now on a hiding to nowhere. We have decided this by not making any real response to CC and business as usual with a few taken gestures to winning the next election. But people being people we have also decided to try and make the most of the "never ending new" roles we find our selves in. The rich keep wanting to get richer because that is what they have always done. The airlines try and exploit new routes and markets (last chance to see the world deals) the supercar builders are exploiting any new technologies that crop up to build a more super supercar. Mothers bring up children if they can, father try and build a house better than they grew up in or go off to a war of money, sport, power, death etc or something.
We will keep fighting this planet for our right to survive on it; build sea walls, shift cities, build bigger and bigger structures out of sand, look up to some people and look down on others. Wage more deadly wars in the pursuit of the ultimate cock contest, keep populating the planet and famines and mass exoduses and invassions.
Sorry that the tipping point was not very dramatic, more of a very rounded apex of near infinite radius it would seem. Does not sound the same does it "Tipping Point" vs "Going slowly over a very rounded apex of near infinite radius" Maybe "tipped point" or "apex century".
I can see why the "Tipping Point" is so last year, but the future - some will say the '50's were the best years and some will say the '70's. The world population doubled from the '50's till now and trebled from the '20's or something like that
01-10-2015 04:02
IBdaMann
★★★★★
(4578)
muddy wrote:It appears to me that collectively the planet has pretty much accepted that the tipping point is in the past and we are now on a hiding to nowhere.

It appears to me that the Marxists collectively have pretty much acknowledged that the days of Global Warming remaining an active religion are severely numbered. It's dying and continuing to put all their capitalism-attacking eggs in the Global Warming basket will put them on a heading to nowhere.

muddy wrote: We have decided this by not making any real response to CC and business as usual with a few taken gestures to winning the next election.

They have realized that they are all recognized as being scientifically illiterate the moment they open their mouths to speak on the subject, and they end up driving people away in droves. Republicans found it advantageous to conservative causes to invite Marxists to come and speak on behalf of Global Warming. Other leftists began pulling Marxists aside to ask them to just shut up because they were doing far more harm than good.

muddy wrote: The rich keep wanting to get richer because that is what they have always done.

Marxists simply couldn't stay disciplined enough to stick with "greenhouse gases" cause a "greenhouse effect" without letting a "We must kill capitalism and redistribute all the world's wealth" slip out every few minutes.


Global Warming: The preferred religion of the scientifically illiterate.

Ceist - I couldn't agree with you more. But when money and religion are involved, and there are people who value them above all else, then the lies begin. - trafn

You are completely misunderstanding their use of the word "accumulation"! - Climate Scientist.

The Stefan-Boltzman equation doesn't come up with the correct temperature if greenhouse gases are not considered - Hank

:*sigh* Not the "raw data" crap. - Leafsdude

IB STILL hasn't explained what Planck's Law means. Just more hand waving that it applies to everything and more asserting that the greenhouse effect 'violates' it.- Ceist
01-10-2015 18:17
trafnProfile picture★★★☆☆
(779)
Hi DavidF,

Yes, I agree, "tipping points" seem to have mistakenly come and gone like many other scientific/political fads. But, I think in the case of climate change, we already passed its tipping point in 1901. I wrote about this on this website at:

http://www.climate-debate.com/forum/we-passed-the-tipping-point-on-climate-change-in-1901-d6-e711.php

For your convenience, I'll cut and past my post here:

There's lots of talk today about the tipping point (of no return) for climate change and whether or not we've passed it. Discussions usually focus around rising atmospheric CO2 levels, melting polar caps or rising sea levels. But I believe we passed the tipping point on climate change back on January 10, 1901 at 10:30 a.m. when the Lucas One oil well came in at Spindletop, Texas. This was an oil well like no other in history. On January 10, 1901:

1. It was estimated to be producing about 80,000 to 100,000 barrels per day.

2. It was producing more oil than over half the oils wells in the U.S. combined.

3. It put the U.S. ahead of Russia in global oil production (the day before, Russia was pumping about 250,000 barrels per day and the U.S. only 180,000).

4. If you removed the U.S. and Russia from global oil production, it was producing approximately twice as much as the rest of the world.

5. It was responsible for the price of oil dropping from $2.00 per barrel to $0.03 per barrel, which made large scale production of gasoline economically feasible, leading to the creation of mass transit based on the combustion engine.

6. In the 8 days it took to cap it, 50,000 people traveled by horse to what was then the middle of nowhere to see it.

7. It imprinted on people's minds the concept that energy resources were readily available, cheap to produce, inexpensive to use and without consequence when consumed.

Thus, the tipping point which occurred at Spindletop was not a physical one, but a mental one which changed our behavior forever and lead us down the path to where we are today. Therefore, unless we reform our values surrounding energy consumption, nothing we do will make a difference.
02-10-2015 03:29
muddy
☆☆☆☆☆
(4)
Hi IBdaMann,
Strange how people think that argueing for or against the "science" is a positive or negative action, I think in the scheme of things it will prove to be rather neutral.
The thought that 7billion+ of us rushing around "seeking our potential" could have any impact on the environment, ecology and hence climate has been with me most all my life. If the climate adapts with time to natural or unnatural events could result in natural or unnatural selection.
The banners we wave be they Marxist or Capitalist, East or West, Male or Female on top, or if our money is paper or digital; will make as much difference as if I am right or wrong.
Water has been found on Mars.
Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking(keen to try out his mars buggy), NASA and FEMA are all keen to rush up there with a few beautiful women to start a colony to keep Human DNA alive and well while the rest of perish down here in our bucket list war / disease / food extinction / economic demise.
It could be that Man has already been on Mars and ruined it before coming to Earth to repeat agalactic historical mistake.
From a scientific perspective I doubt if that matters how the argument plays out.
02-10-2015 17:20
IBdaMann
★★★★★
(4578)
muddy wrote: Hi IBdaMann,
Strange how people think that argueing for or against the "science" is a positive or negative action, I think in the scheme of things it will prove to be rather neutral.

I think it's good to sort out what we understand from what we don't. I think it's good to sift out those assertions that are based on scientific understanding from those assertions that are based on religious dogma.

muddy wrote: The thought that 7billion+ of us rushing around "seeking our potential" could have any impact on the environment, ecology and hence climate has been with me most all my life.

Sorry, but no. I know you felt the need to throw the word "climate" in there, probably due to your religious committment to Global Warming dogma, but there is no such thing in science.

muddy wrote: If the climate adapts with time to natural or unnatural events could result in natural or unnatural selection.

Isn't "Climate" omnipotent or something like that? Why would "Climate" have to adapt to anything? Before we discuss your spiritual metaphysics, you'll need to give me the rundown on your pantheon, who the players are, etc...

muddy wrote: The banners we wave be they Marxist or Capitalist, ...

Marxists wave Marxism banners. Capitalists do not wave Capitalism banners.

muddy wrote: NASA and FEMA are all keen to rush up there with a few beautiful women to start a colony to keep Human DNA alive and well while the rest of perish down here in our bucket list war / disease / food extinction / economic demise.
It could be that Man has already been on Mars and ruined it before coming to Earth to repeat agalactic historical mistake.
From a scientific perspective I doubt if that matters how the argument plays out.

That sounds more like the kind of cataclysmically fatalistic religious point of view I would expect from the doom-n-gloom Global Warming congregation.


Global Warming: The preferred religion of the scientifically illiterate.

Ceist - I couldn't agree with you more. But when money and religion are involved, and there are people who value them above all else, then the lies begin. - trafn

You are completely misunderstanding their use of the word "accumulation"! - Climate Scientist.

The Stefan-Boltzman equation doesn't come up with the correct temperature if greenhouse gases are not considered - Hank

:*sigh* Not the "raw data" crap. - Leafsdude

IB STILL hasn't explained what Planck's Law means. Just more hand waving that it applies to everything and more asserting that the greenhouse effect 'violates' it.- Ceist
03-10-2015 05:04
muddy
☆☆☆☆☆
(4)
Feel free to write up what I really was getting at for me to read, cheers.
03-10-2015 06:05
IBdaMann
★★★★★
(4578)
muddy wrote: Feel free to write up what I really was getting at for me to read, cheers.

This is so typical of warmazombies. They really are never "getting at" anything more than fear-mongering, but when that is pointed out, they pout and say something to the effect of "That's not what I said."

In this case, muddy could have just as easily written what he was really "getting at" if there were something else he was "getting at" but since there isn't, he's hoping I'll somehow do that for him.

muddy, you were preaching a Global Warming sermon of impending doom. You had no point of any value to be made. You made it clear that nothing matters anymore and that you, at least, have resigned yourself to our unstoppable demise. You gave us your version of how the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Oh, I don't share your pessimism.


Global Warming: The preferred religion of the scientifically illiterate.

Ceist - I couldn't agree with you more. But when money and religion are involved, and there are people who value them above all else, then the lies begin. - trafn

You are completely misunderstanding their use of the word "accumulation"! - Climate Scientist.

The Stefan-Boltzman equation doesn't come up with the correct temperature if greenhouse gases are not considered - Hank

:*sigh* Not the "raw data" crap. - Leafsdude

IB STILL hasn't explained what Planck's Law means. Just more hand waving that it applies to everything and more asserting that the greenhouse effect 'violates' it.- Ceist
03-10-2015 12:11
muddy
☆☆☆☆☆
(4)
Its nice that you found some one to talk to.
05-10-2015 20:07
trafnProfile picture★★★☆☆
(779)
Hi Everyone,

I have enjoyed participating on various threads over the past few weeks here on Cimate-Debate.com. It is wonderful to have a place where we can freely exchange ideas on this topic.

Unfortunately, some of the threads like this one have taken on negative overtones which no longer facilitate ongoing goodwill which is the foundation of this website. In cases such as this, I have decided that the best way to respond to such threads is by not responding to them at all and ceasing any further participation in them.

The reason I'm posting this is to let you know that instead of continuing participation here, I have created my own new thread, and I invite you to do the same. You can join my new thread at:

http://www.climate-debate.com/forum/the-2-minute-warning-clock-on-climate-change-d6-e714.php

To assist in maintaining a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere on my thread, I'm going to suggest the following guidelines:

1. Please stay on topic. If you find my new thread inspires tangential ideas which you'd like to share with others, then create a new thread of your own for that purpose and post an invitation to it from my thread.

2. Please direct your critical posts/comments to the message and not the messenger (i.e. - anyone expressing themselves either on this website or outside of this website). Agreement is not required, but respect is requested.

3. Please avoid posting road blocks. Repetitive and redundant posts serve only to draw attention to oneself and create conflict.

Given I lack the capacity to take authoritative action, I cannot moderate my new thread. However, think of me like a janitor who aspires to maintain a welcoming environment for everyone.

If someone does not follow the thread's guidelines, I will post a request asking them to amend their post of concern. Should they refuse, then in the spirit of maintaining goodwill here I will contact the website administrator/moderator and ask that they intervene.

Should you find another participant violating these guidelines, I would ask that you not respond to them. Instead, if I have not already addressed your concerns by post in my new thread, please notify me so that I might do so immediately.

I look forward to your participation in my new thread and the opportunity to exchange ideas with you.

Sincerely,

Trafn
05-10-2015 20:18
drm
★☆☆☆☆
(67)
I still see occasional reference to possible tipping points. The 2 degrees C threshold of warming is one such concern. As with many things related to AGW, we won't actually know we've passed a tipping point until it is well past. It's really another way of saying that positive feedback could ramp up if something happens to trigger it. The biggest example would be if we were to start seeing a lot of methane being released from the deep sea.
05-10-2015 20:23
IBdaMann
★★★★★
(4578)
drm wrote:
I still see occasional reference to possible tipping points. The 2 degrees C threshold of warming is one such concern. As with many things related to AGW, we won't actually know we've passed a tipping point until it is well past. It's really another way of saying that positive feedback could ramp up if something happens to trigger it. The biggest example would be if we were to start seeing a lot of methane being released from the deep sea.

What?!

Who was trying to tell me this somehow is not wacky religious dogma? This is pure preaching with no substantiation for anything.


Global Warming: The preferred religion of the scientifically illiterate.

Ceist - I couldn't agree with you more. But when money and religion are involved, and there are people who value them above all else, then the lies begin. - trafn

You are completely misunderstanding their use of the word "accumulation"! - Climate Scientist.

The Stefan-Boltzman equation doesn't come up with the correct temperature if greenhouse gases are not considered - Hank

:*sigh* Not the "raw data" crap. - Leafsdude

IB STILL hasn't explained what Planck's Law means. Just more hand waving that it applies to everything and more asserting that the greenhouse effect 'violates' it.- Ceist




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