Ice Melt In the Pipeline

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Yves here. The IPCC’s ideological prejudices have led to an unduly relaxed view of the speed of ice melt and rises in ocean levels. An arguably more realistic view includes “fast feedback” factors which point to rapid increases, which in turn will be highly disruptive, particularly in Asia.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

North America after 200 feet of sea level rise (see National Geographic Interactive map for more; archive version here)

For those who follow climate news, James Hansen is working on a paper, called “Global warming in the pipeline,” that examines long-term effects of human-caused climate change, slow feedbacks that when they are triggered, cause sudden change.

Ice-free earth is one of them, since when that occurs, all the white that reflects solar energy back to space will be gone, all of it being converted into heat, not just some of it. Another “slow feedback” is change in the ocean currents, like the Gulf Stream. These changes may be slow to occur, but the results, once present will be fast — in this case, a sudden drop in European temperatures, making Paris in winter like Montreal.

The paper is in draft at the moment and available for comment. The latest version is here.

Hansen and Sea Level Rise

Hansen announced this version of his paper to his mailing list, where he writes, among other things, that:

the present greenhouse gas forcing is 70% of the forcing that made Earth’s temperature in the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum at least +13°C relative to preindustrial temperature


there are 60 m of sea level in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets between today and an ice-free planet[.]

In other words, 70% of the planet-wide energy imbalance that drove Earth temperature to 13°C higher than today, is present today.

About sea level rise: For Americans, 60 meters is about 200 feet. (For most of the rest of the world, it’s 60 meters.) Philip Bump, writing in the Atlantic, concurs, by the way; those sea level rise calculations are not in doubt.

The So-Called ‘Asian Century’

The map at the top, courtesy National Geographic, shows North America after all ice melts (archived here). You can view their other maps at your leisure, but I want to draw your attention to Asia.

Notice that Beijing is now a coastal city. Notice also that the North China Plain, the Chinese “breadbasket” and engine of Chinese growth, is now under water. In the image below, the green area south of Beijing is the North China Plain. Green shows how close it is to sea level today. It will flood early in the process.

Needless to say, there won’t be a Asian Century.

Paleoclimate Data

But back to Hansen and his latest paper. It’s a fascinating read, especially if you’re interested in what paleoclimate events tell us about where we’re headed and understand the basic language of these papers, terms like “climate sensitivity.”

I’d like to parse just a few of the main points. From the Abstract:

Improved knowledge of glacial-to-interglacial global temperature change implies that fastfeedback equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is 1.2 ± 0.3°C (2σ) per W/m2. Consistent analysis of temperature over the full Cenozoic era – including “slow” feedbacks by ice sheets and trace gases – supports this ECS and implies that CO2 was about 300 ppm in the Pliocene and 400 ppm at transition to a nearly ice-free planet…

Translation: Looking at the full Cenozoic Era — the period from the death of the dinosaurs to today — global temperatures were very high at the start, preventing the formation of ice, much less permanent glaciers. According to Hansen’s latest calculations, the crossing point between an ice-free earth and one where glaciers could form is at roughly 400 ppm CO2.

I’ve marked the graph below with a blue oval to show when this change occurred. Note that the graph’s atmospheric CO2 number, though calculated from earlier data, is in line with Hansen’s current one.

Today’s atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa is above 420 ppm, with CO2 rising at a little under 1% per year. You don’t have to do the math to do the math.

Back to Hansen’s Abstract (emphasis added):

Equilibrium global warming including slow feedbacks for today’s human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) climate forcing (4.1 W/m2 ) is 10°C, reduced to 8°C by today’s aerosols. (emphasis added)

He explains this later in the paper (Section 6.6):

[T]he human-made climate forcing exceeds the forcing at transition from a largely ice-free planet to glaciated Antarctica, even with inclusion of a large, negative, aerosol climate forcing [“aerosols,” i.e., air pollution, are a climate cooling agent; without them, earth would be hotter by several degrees]. Equilibrium global warming for today’s GHG level is 10°C for our central estimate … including the amplifications from disappearing ice sheets and non-CO2 GHGs (Sec. 4.4). Aerosols reduce equilibrium warming to about 8°C. Equilibrium sea level change is + 60 m (about 200 feet).

In other words, the long-term earth will probably be ice-free, all ice will enter the sea, and all those maps above will describe our world, whatever “our” means by then.

IPCC: Corrupt and Comfortable

Why doesn’t the IPCC worry about this issue?

Discussions between the first author (JEH) and field glaciologists 20 years ago revealed a frustration of the glaciologists with the conservative tone of IPCC’s assessment of ice sheets and sea level. One of the glaciologists said – regarding a photo of a moulin (a vertical shaft that carries meltwater to the base of the ice sheet) on Greenland – “the whole ice sheet is going down that damned hole!” Their concern was based on observed ice sheet changes and paleoclimate evidence of sea level rise by several meters in a century, which imply that ice sheet collapse is an exponential process. Thus, as an alternative to the IPCC approach that relies on ice sheet models coupled to atmosphere-ocean GCMs (global climate models), we made a study that avoided use of an ice sheet model, as described in the paper Ice Melt. [here].

I’ll come back to the passages I’ve bolded in the paragraph above.

About the IPCC and the paper Ice Melt, Hansen writes:

Ice Melt was blackballed from IPCC’s AR6 report in a form of censorship, as alternative views normally are acknowledged in science. Science grants ultimate authority to nature, not to a body of scientists. In the opinion of JEH [Hansen], IPCC is comfortable with gradualism and does not want its authority challenged. Caution has merits, but with a climate system characterized by a delayed response and amplifying feedbacks, excessive reticence is a danger, especially for young people. Concern about locking in nonlinearly growing sea level rise is amplified in our present paper by the revelation that the equilibrium response to current atmospheric composition is a nearly ice free Antarctica.

The IPCC is indeed “comfortable with gradualism” if judged by what they do, not what they say.

But there’s more. Hansen’s too polite to add, perhaps, that the IPCC is funded by fossil fuel-controlling nations like Saudi Arabia and fossil fuel-controlled nations like the U.S. This leads them to a kind of censorship that comforts the wealthy at the expense of the victimized poor. (For a look at some of this censorship, see “How Fossil Fuel Governments Control the IPCC,” by yours truly.)

What About the Timing?

What about the timing, you ask? When will this occur? Hansen is unspecific in this paper, but he does mention exponential growth of “ice sheet changes and paleoclimate evidence of sea level rise by several meters in a century” (my emphasis).

It’s true that the rate of increase in CO2 emissions is unprecedented in earth history. It’s also true that very rapid increases in global temperature in the run-up to previous inter-glacial periods (periods like the one we’re living in now, but earlier) have been steep. Here’s a look at temperatures in the previous interglacial, called the Eemian, compared to the present interglacial, the Holocene. (Note that this graph, past to present, reads right to left.)

The steepness of the Eemian temperature rise is striking. In addition, at its peak, global temperatures were roughly 3°C above the Holocene average.

How Much Should We Worry?

So, should we worry about sea level rise of “several meters in a century”? I would answer this way:

  1. Everything in the climate prediction world is wrong to the slow slide. Things are happening faster and sooner than anyone predicts. For example, in a paper titled “Deep Adaptation,” Professor Jem Bendell writes:

    For instance, the IPCC previously assigned a probability of 17% for crossing the 1.5 °C global ambient warming mark by 2030, which underestimated a few key factors, which “bring forward the estimated date of 1.5 °C of warming to around 2030, with the 2 °C boundary reached by 2045” (Xu, et al. 2018). The natural fluctuations in the Pacific “raises the odds of blasting through 1.5 °C by 2025 to at least 10%”.

    The latest prediction is a 66% chance of crossing at least once above +1.5°C before 2027. I discussed the tendency, to be wrong to the slow side, here: “Erring on the Side of Least Drama.”

  2. Sea level rise of “several meters in a century” places the problem of relocating coastal cities like New York in this generation. If the estimate is wrong and we do act anyway, it’s undeniably good. If it’s right and we don’t act at all, the country collapses before us as we watch.
  3. Even if it takes a century or longer for these predictions to come true, they will come true. No one with power is slowing climate change. They’re offering excuses instead, or appealing to the manly virtues of “energy independence” — meaning, more fracked oil to sell; more money for the rich who control it; more warming for everyone else as the price of that wealth. The day will come when children of earth will scramble like mice from a burning barn, which they set on fire themselves — into a burning world they also lit up. Disbelieve that prediction when our betters act differently.
  4. Even if this generation escapes and successfully passes the whole climate disaster on to its children, how is that not a world-historical act of shame? What does it say of us, if we condemn our kin to chaos and slavery so our own ability to eat more than we need, drive more than we should, consume the goods of the earth just to throw them away, can be preserved till we ourselves are dead? Nero on his couch of gold deserves more honor than a generation that sells out its own to save a life of excess for those who have it.

Single-use plastic. 380 million tons of this stuff are produced each near, then immediately thrown away. Modern life.

But frankly and ultimately, I don’t blame the many — the billions who struggle to walk the earth each day — for the state of our world. I blame the few — the thousands who live to control — for blocking the rest of us from fixing it.

We live to serve the few in so many ways. We’ll serve them in this as well, till we decide to stop.

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  1. marcel

    The single big issue is that nobody has a good handle on the rate of glacier melt. While 60m/200 feet of melt is now a given (who’s going to extract and store those gigatonnes of CO2 from the oceans & atmosphere?), nobody can say whether this takes 500 years or a millenium or more.
    (eg even if all of Greenland’s ice turned to water overnight, it would still take a serious amount of time of have it flow into the ocean).
    When Hansen announces a rate of ‘several meters per century’ he’s probably right, but we don’t know which century.
    The ~latest data show acceleration (some say that Antarctic melt is becoming visible): ~5mm/year in 2020, ~10mm/y in 2030, ~15mm/y in 2040 .. which leads to 30cm (10 inches) by 2050 and 2m (6 feet) by 2100.
    There is no reason to believe it will be less, there are indications it might be more.
    From a NOAA report from 2022: “Sea level along the U.S. coastline is projected to rise, on average, 10 – 12 inches (0.25 – 0.30 meters) in the next 30 years (2020 – 2050), which will be as much as the rise measured over the last 100 years (1920 – 2020).”

    1. mrsyk

      “(eg even if all of Greenland’s ice turned to water overnight, it would still take a serious amount of time of have it flow into the ocean).”
      No, this is an inaccurate description of how melting ice sheets contribute to rising sea levels. Ice sheets tend to break up when melting, releasing ice into he ocean and making an immediate contribution to rising sea levels.

      1. redleg

        Piling on: glaciers move faster when lubricated with meltwater. Fast moving ice breaks up, creating more surface area for melting, crafting more meltwater… See the feedback?

        Also, the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps don’t have to melt to raise sea level. The ice simply needs to get to the ocean and stay there. Solid or liquid, it’s in the ocean, and the volume of water increases.

    2. Piotr Berman

      “if all of Greenland’s ice turned to water overnight, it would still take a serious amount of time of have it flow into the ocean”??? Under this hypothetical, it would take a week? a month? What flow speed are you suggesting?

      OTH, the northern half of Greenland is so cold that it should not melt on the surface even after a substantial warming up. We would need to know more about ice melting at the bottom of thick sheets where the pressure is high, this melt lubricates the crawl of the glaciers toward the sea. But this is the process that may decrease the thickness of polar ice sheets, and as the thickness decreases, I would expect that pressure induced melting would go down. One could also conjecture that if ocean surface ice decreases, the water vapor in Arctic/Antarctic winds may increase, accelerating ice growth.

      Nevertheless, all scenarios require significant and expensive adaptations from humanity. The green breadbasket of China is up to 150 m, so perhaps most of safely above 60 m. A bigger issue is the precipitation pattern that would ensue, plus bread baskets in the lowlands of Bengal, Myammar, Thailand, Vietnam etc.

      One prescription is that humanity should become richer and more decadent resulting in negative population growth, already present in more advanced societies. One could hope that once it results in lower population densities, the instinct to multiply would kick in again.

      1. NoFreeWill

        All the major breadbaskets are in the middle of hot spots on the world drought map (search for drought maps 2070 or something like that), including China, Ukraine, Midwest US, idk about india/SE asia. So regardless of whether we drown them famine is coming on massive scale. IN what world would this result in anything other than the worst kind of negative population growth.

        The population problem is entirely rich people, even within 1st world countries the rich out-emit by 8-20x the average person, the solution is elimination, redistribtuino of wealth or the wealthy’s blood or both.

  2. southern appalachian

    Thought at one time to trace to the degree possible Bartrams Travels on a bicycle, since most of the places he went will eventually underwater as the oceans rise. Sort of bookends to the civilization.

    Then worked on infrastructure along the eastern U.S. coast- there’s not much elevation change in the coastal plain, and there is some subsidence in places. Which means prior to inundation years of increasingly frequent flooding and I suppose consequences of that for health, whether mold or contaminated water supply or what have you. Which is to say a place will not need to be completely underwater to be abandoned, so an even quicker timeline.

    1. chris

      That’s true. In addition you have the obvious surface level infrastructure like roads and culverts that will need to be replaced over and over and over again. How many times do the citizens of North Carolina want to pay for road repairs on the Outer Banks? And why does DC or New York deserve an ocean wall while Flint and other cities can’t have clean water? Scarcity brings out the ugly in people. The US has never really had to deal with it in this context. I don’t think the spreadsheet class knows what’s coming for them and their way of life.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Sobering article. I wish we’d hear more analysis about “what’s in the pipeline” for the other aspects of climate change. One thing that makes this all seem less critical is that people assess the risk based on current conditions, not the conditions that are already locked in because the carbon is already in the atmosphere. We also need to be reminded about the Business as Usual projection, i.e. where are we headed if we don’t fundamentally change how we do things and how we live.

    One minor criticism: it might be better to use systems terminology and talk about balancing and reinforcing loops rather than “feedback.” When we look at those temperature charts, we can see how stable temperature has been in the Holocene. That’s why humans have been so successful with agriculture in the last 5,000 to 10,000 years. That stability is the product of the interaction of the complex set of reinforcing and balancing loops. As we lose balancing loops like the albedo effect of ice cover reflecting heat back toward space, the climate becomes not just warmer but less stable. The same is true when we hit tipping points that create new reinforcing loops like new sources of methane from melting permafrost. My speculative guess is that this increased instability will make agriculture much less successful so that food shortages and the attendant social instability will bring down civilization long before sea rise becomes an issue for most places.

    As one scientist put it, “We are living in an experiment.”

      1. Janie

        From Salem, Oregon: flowers but no apricots or peaches, a few plums (3 trees), usual number of cherries. No apple blossoms. Most ever strawberries. Too cold and rainy to plant spring veggies, then one day – boom – warm enough to plant tomatoes, presuming you warmed the soil. Potatoes went in the first of this month instead of March and April. Leeks went in from starts at the store rather than seeds. No insects visible whatsoever when the stone fruit trees were blooming.

        1. TimH

          This is a very good reminder… a new house build should include a built in, south facing greenhouse tacked onto the outer wall, but built at the same time so plumbed into water and sewer.

        2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

          On the Dry Side of the Cascades …. prunes, pears, and cherries are all going gonzo. On the other hand, we had peaches out the wazoo last year and this year, between four trees, we will have literally 5 peaches.

    1. Ignacio

      Yep, the potential effects on agriculture in the form unstable production might be severe. Particularly cereal production. With immediate effects other that sea rising. We, including AI amongst us, are unable to do proper risk assessment.

  4. Morpheus

    I absolutely love point number 4. I have been thinking for some time whether it makes sense to point out to friends who have children (my wife and I are childless by choice) that although they would vehemently reject the idea, it is clear that they do not really love their children because they are doing nothing to mitigate the climate disaster that will impact their lives in ways we can only really imagine. Then again, I probably would prefer to keep some friends until disaster strikes us.

    1. Paul P

      I have yet to witness a parent explain to their child that they must expect less from this world than they themselves have enjoyed . After 70 (childless) years I have only seen parents trying to provide the ‘best’ , and every child has grown up with the expectation of a lifestyle equivalent to or ‘better’ than that of their parents . The things that define ‘better’ and ‘best’ are listed at point 4 – perhaps a change in our value system might lead to some mitigation ? Tough love .

    2. some guy

      Assuming these friends are middle class more or less, what are they supposed to do to mitigate the climate disaster when they live in a country without any democracy or governmental legitimacy at the national level? ( Assuming you are living in America . . . )

      The only real thing I could imagine them being able to do at their individual and family level is to tell their children what is coming and teach their children what Survivalism they can, perhaps by learning it themselves and making the learning of Survivalism a whole family project.

  5. BeliTsari

    It’s terrifying to have learned much of this in 1964. Then hear virtue signaling conversations between our betters in NYC a couple days ago, at the Museum O’ Natural History; clutching desperately at any raggedy shard of denial they could snip from Guardian, Atlantic, MSNBC or NewYorker? We were drilling wells to 37K’ with 2 1/4″ wall Q125 & titanium casing, or from floating platforms in 6,900′ by the mid-90s before Katrina laid waste to MARS platform & Macondo (MC252) blow-out enabled slickwater fracking & bitumen pyramid schemes, we’re picking trade war with Russia, to perpetuate? Like overlapping, unannounced novel COVID variants or exponential precariate income disparity, it’s an offhanded conversation stopper, right up there with police shootings & all us boomers becoming selectively senile, simultaneously? I’m guessing we’re programmed by 70s disaster movies, into recognizing the foreshadowing snippets, from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, through Shaun of the Dead? API knew time was running out, by 1965.

    1. mrsyk

      Thanks BT, I’ve been to that museum. Spring semester, 1981, my environmental science prof explained, with a straight face, that we were not to worry about the parabolic curve displayed when graphing emissions. “It will be sorted before it goes too far” (paraphrasing).

      1. BeliTsari

        Well, part of their conversation was; trying to IGNORE: we’re currently in a WAR, blowing up pipelines & shorting AGW-mitigating Asian equities to SAVE Albright’s collapsed fracking pyramid scheme (which might well have ALREADY unleashed run-away methane release?) And it’s easily recognizable, when PMC & retired yuppies tune you out of their denial walled little garden. What’s resulted from LOTE/ Blue, no matter WHO & RussiaRussiaRussia Resistance, UDP & Lincoln Project is a PRODIGIOUS & exponential expansion in methane fracking, ethane cracking & burning bitumen stories we’ll never hear about. I’m convinced, the whole spectacle of dragging journalists, leakers & whistleblowers in front of monsters like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is to distract & wrangle blog aggregators away from Biden’s trying to CRUSH renewable, efficient, smart & regenerative equities that did just FINE during Trump’s trying to kill PV, PHEV, Wind, carbon sequestration… and perpetuating ICE (SUV/ truck) sales?

    2. Raymond Sim

      It’s terrifying to have learned much of this in 1964.

      So my recollection that I learned about it in first or second grade may be accurate? I had long since concluded I must have misremembered, since nobody else my age seemed to recall anything similar, and many were skeptical that I could have. Honestly, people are so frustrating.

      1. BeliTsari

        Jim Mullaney, at Pittsburgh’s Buhl Planitarium (we’d leave there & watch Rachel Carson interviewed, as the NBC affiliate was setting up their “Studio Wrestling” set! Bruno SanMartino might well have been part of the kid’s chatter?) It was between IGY, Sputnik & ARPNET, where MIC realized poor-ass prole nerd kids had to be thrust into rich honkey chilluns, since we could learn calculus & work missile trajectory computers & build nuclear subs, high on acid & miscegenating?

        The concept was first published ~ 1824 & calculations performed by 1896.

      2. MaryLand

        March of 1970 was the first official Earth Day in the US. It was my first year teaching and was assigned to develop a program for our elementary school. My fourth grade class made corsages from trash (!) found on the playground and presented them to their moms along with flyers on how to lower their footprint on the earth. We had a parade around the playground carrying signs for parents to enjoy. That’s the earliest I know about, but there may have been forward thinking teachers earlier that you remember.

    3. tegnost


      Oh c’mon, man!!!

      Covid will knock the useless population down and a little nuke on moscow will cool things off…!
      The future is so bright, I gotta wear shades!

      1. BeliTsari

        I’d figured, a LOT boomer yuppies & MAGA types had some, “Pakistani/ Indian limited nuclear exchange precipitating a mini Ice Age, that’d conveniently irradiate Chinese crops” fantasy? And we’d ALL awaited Israel up & launching on any-damn-somebody any day, now? I’m convinced, quite aside from Lincoln Project’s neo-Confederate psychopaths feeding non-Aryan Ukrainians into the flames to save US fracking & cracking; some part of establishing a SCARY Ubermensch Israel 2.0 on Russia’s border had something to do with irradiation of seed oils & cereal grain, along with cheap, plentiful, relatively clean Rooski natural gas percolating up, from where permafrost used to be?

  6. John

    Point #4: Precisely! Sea level rise will be all but unobservable before I am gone. But the next generations are condemned to live with our folly. Classic liberalism is all about the rights and freedoms of the individual and perhaps the few who have and will benefit from that stance are unperturbed by the trials of the vast majority. (I’ve got mine Jack. Too bad about you.)

    But nothing will happen until the water is lapping at the feet those-who-may-not-be-disturbed. Then they will move to their bunker on higher ground.

    1. chris

      I don’t think that’s quite true. I think we’ll start to see curious migration patterns pick up speed well before the water is at the door. We’ll see the wealthy buy up all the good farmland that is high and dry and has water rights. We’ll see people in Miami moving north to areas that used to be mainly for poor people (we’re already seeing this). And when the poor and less aware try to move to get away from the problem they’ll find an impenetrable wall of property rights in their way. IMO, that is when the next US Civil War starts. When we have internal climate migration that needs to happen for any number of reasons and people are told either “no, you can’t” or “no, you don’t have enough money to afford life here”.

      1. Brunches with Cats

        > We’ll see the wealthy buy up all the good farmland that is high and dry and has water rights.

        Happening in Ukraine right now, the hidden war inside the war. Officially, Ukraine’s land market isn’t open to corporations until Jan. 1, 2024, and foreigners are excluded from direct ownership. LOL. BlackRock’s got methods for that sort of thing.

        BTW, guess who rammed the land market bill through Ukraine’s parliament and signed it into law, essentially under orders by the Washington-based IMF? You might not have recognized him, clean-shaven, in a suit.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I would not be so sure much of anything will sell. European buyers are rejecting Ukraine grain now. When the Trokia was tryig to close the Greek deficit, they penciled in 15 billion euros for asset sales. All sorts of property like hotels and beachfront got no bids. And Greece was not wartorn with half the population gone and reports suggesting they don’t want to return.

          1. Brunches with Cats

            Gotta run right now, will be out for most of the day, but will email you as soon as I can with sources from my large and growing file…

  7. Phil R

    3. Even if it takes a century or longer for these predictions to come true, they will come true.

    Although every prediction made by us “experts” and “scientists” over the last 30 years has been false, this prediction will come true, honest, pinky sear. We saw it in our magical crystal ball.

    It always seems that the longer it takes for the predicted apocalypse to occur, the worse it will be when it finally does happen.

    1. mrsyk

      Phil, If you want to troll the environmental alarmist crowd, try the “it’s way too late to do anything about it so shut up already” route. It’s a significantly more honest play than the “science is no more credible than a crystal ball” statement.

      1. BeliTsari

        Yep, every prediction came true, 30-60 yrs early; if you couldn’t afford to ram fingers two knuckles deep, into your head, rammed deep into the burning permafrost? The video the troll’s ignored, about spooky outliers on Exxon’s carbon graph, are from Schlumberger, who’s presentation was about what percentage of fracked bores, casing & cement-jobs would fail. And ALL of the balance of my citations WERE from OLD gas & oil service industry sources. So, it’s ALWAYS Energy in Depth trolls, just making shit up, to call ANY of this alarmist. Most of the predictions (like NYC & Western Appalachia having “nicer” weather, at first; while tornado alley, polar vortices, firestorms, drought, pests, flooding happened elsewhere, have already come true? Censorship, militarized police & oilgarch media were part of the predictions; since “The Space Merchants” & “The Wanting Seed? “

      2. Phil R


        Thanks for your response. I expected a little pushback after I posted my comment. Yes, I do disagree with the environmental alarmist crowd but I don’t consider myself a troll. That comment, IIRC, was only my second comment on this site, which I generally find very interesting and informative.

        My disagreement is not necessarily with the idea of glogal warming, but I do have a huge, fundamental problem with apocalyptic predictions that are made for a hundred years from now, and if not then certainly sometime after that. That wreaks of apocalyptic millenarianism,

        And quick response to BeliTsari. I’ll ignore the ad hominem. I’m just curious what prediction came true 60 years early when they weren’t even making climate crisis predictions 60 years ago.

        1. mrsyk

          Fair enough. I take back the troll part but I’ll stick with the crystal ball/science part. Cheers

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          “I do have a huge, fundamental problem with apocalyptic predictions that are made for a hundred years from now…”

          Frankly, I do too. [I had worried about the futures my children would face and my grandchildren — if there were any. I no longer harbor any hopes for grandchildren, and I am not even sure my children will survive me, though I am entering my seventies.] Predictions for a hundred years in the future are the kind of predictions the IPCC most extremely strongly, prefers to make, promote, and protect from all criticism or contradiction. But forget hundred year predictions, and regard decadal predictions fitting my expected lifetime — I had hoped things might not turn to shit before the middle of this century as predicted by the very rough-cut model used by the 1972, “Limits to Growth” models.

          The Earth’s systems affecting Climate Chaos intersect in a nexus of many systems, human and natural, resulting in a Gordian Knot of connections with chaotic interactions. Many of those systems affect matters of crucial importance to Humankind — matters like the supply of water or food, livable surface temperatures and humidity, sea levels, the welfare of animal life — besides our own — and plant life, the ranges for pests and diseases.

          One problem with chaotic systems is that they are chaotic. Watch the behavior of an extremely simple chaotic system:
          Double Pendulum
          Double pendulum | Chaos | Butterfly effect | Computer simulation

          Making climate predictions suitable for use on your smartphone calendar or appointment reminder app is impossible. Study of past climates, Paleoclimates, offering somewhat similar conditions to those of our times, does suggest an idea of what to expect in our very very near future. The quality of the proxy data available for building a picture of Paleoclimate — in lieu of reports recorded and archived for us by observers in the distant past — is spotty and inexact. However, what we do know about Paleoclimates strongly indicates that the present age of a lull in climate change is momentary … illusory. Humankind played with the quiet climate that fostered the rise of Humankind. There are no recent precedents — where recent means within the last hundred million years or so — for the rate of increase in CO2 which has resulted from Humankind’s manifold uses of fire. Earlier increases in CO2 have left relatively few proxies to use in recreating data for past climate changes, but what we can decipher from the more distant past suggests the possibility for catastrophic changes.

          What lessons are there? One lesson perhaps: “momento mori” as we await our turn to join in the Danse Macabre. Or you might join with our Elite Classes and chant “…lalala…” while enjoying as much of the pleasures money can buy while hoping and believing “Après moi, le déluge”. If you have altogether too much money you can fashion weird fantasies of life on Mars. Of course most of Humankind, living in conditions few of us reading this blog can fully grasp, cannot waste time worrying with events beyond the immediate.

          Whether Climate Chaos is apocalyptic or not — in the fullest sense of the word — depends on how we use the time we have to save as much as possible for future generations. I believe there will be future generations. I also believe the u.s. Empire is collapsing, lately collapsing right before our lying eyes, and I believe the Earth’s climate is changing rapidly, that change is accelerating, and I may still be alive when the first effects of that change directly affect what is left of my life and the lives of my children.

    2. some guy


      If you are correct and global warming is either a liberal hoax or a liberal moral panic, then you have a historic contrarian investing opportunity lying at your feet and extending all around you.

      Just study all the predictions which “didn’t come true” and study the next predictions for the next few decades and which areas they are predicted to impact and if you think those predictions will also not come true and those areas will not be impacted, invest all the money you have and all the money you can borrow into physical assets ( land, houses or maybe just one house, etc.) in those areas.

      When the impacts fail to occur, the way you say they will fail to occur, and the panicked herd regrets its panic and decides it wants to buy back into everything it sold itself out of; you or your descendants will be in a position to make huge profits from the sadder-but-wiser returnees.

      If this opportunity is as huge as your prediction of “nothing globally-warming is going to happen” would make it to be, you really don’t want to miss out on this chance to plant the seeds of future fortune.

      Buy land in Florida and/or along the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

  8. Democracy Working Someday

    Just finished a quite brutal climate-apocalypse novel (The Deluge by Stephen Markley) that includes a scientist warning about tipping points and reinforcing loops for decades exactly as Hansen has been doing. The book is like Ministry of the Future on steroids, with a truly grim depiction of the US policy-making process as well as all manner of state, societal, and storm- and heat-triggered violence and death (including ecoterrorism, which in KSR’s novel took place discreetly offstage). Not for the faint of heart but sadly plausible, with an excellent ensemble of characters.

  9. jefemt

    Lest we forget the sea-wall ‘solutions’ involve carbon-intensive cement/ concrete, huge equipment belching NO2 SO2 particulate laden diesel exhaust.. and money, which according to the current headlines, is in Very short Supply, almost as scarce as collective Political Will.

    Glaciers and snowfields are going away and the mountains are falling…. just watch youtube videos….
    Geology happens, but the melt/ freeze/ thaw/ rain/ storm cycles are disrupted of late, and mountain fall is more pronounced, more people out and about, and more gizmo’s in hand to capture the drama.

    Ditto catastrophic weather events. The sky is, indeed, falling.

    Arable land/potable water/ molded lead futures.

  10. The Rev Kev

    I cannot see anything serious being done to reverse, well mitigate really, what is coming down the pipeline. For this to happen, you would need real leadership by intelligent people cooperating with each other. So at present, let’s see who this would be – Joe Biden for America, Sunak for the UK, Macron for France, Scholz for Germany, von der Leyen representing the EU, Sánchez for Spain, Rutte for the Netherlands, Yoon Suk Yeol for South Korea. Shall I go on? The leadership is simply not there nor the will for that matter. None of those leaders are serious people and are more interested in their political survival rather than the survival of humanity.

    1. some guy

      I think we will see India and China try to do something serious to mitigate what is coming. I think we can expect China and India to try surrounding the earth with an upper troposphere shroud of sulfuric acid micro-droplets to reflect enough incoming sunlight before it reaches below that shroud so as to deprive the earth surface of some of the sunlight which has to convert into heat/ infra-red re-radiation before it can be trapped by the greenhouse gases.

      I think China and India will dare the rest of the world to try stopping their geo-engineering with military force.

      And that’s where serious efforts to mitigate will come from.

  11. Cyril Blanchard

    > An arguably more realistic view includes “fast feedback” factors which point to rapid increases, which in turn will be highly disruptive, particularly in Asia.

    Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Make a prediction? You won’t dare.

  12. Lex

    Consider that the steep temperature rise after the last glacial maximum occurred well into human history (though not written history). And consider that flood myths are common to almost every, known human culture. Or consider paleoclimate maps showing coastlines at the last glacial maximum compared to today. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that people then as now tended to settle near water, so it’s a fascinating question of what archeology doesn’t know because it’s submerged. (Even without Hancock’s theories of super civilizations.)

    Now I’m going to the Nat Geo link to see if all this sea level rise might rid us of England.

  13. some guy

    Here is some more global warming denialism from Republican PrezNomSeeker DeSantis.

    In all honesty, global warming realists above the near-term and mid-term high water mark should reach out to global warming realists in Florida and help them all move out of Florida. And the global warming realist community, if there is one, should help every possible global warming denier to move to Florida to replace all the global warming realists whom one hopes would begin moving out in their few millions.

  14. some guy

    Here is an article saying that large parts of the US east coastal lands are themselves subsiding even as the sea level slowly rises. Seaside land subsidence would make the effect of sea level rise even stronger.
    The article is titled and subtitled . . . ” That Sinking Feeling: The U.S. East Coast Is Subsiding
    Rising water levels and land subsidence a double whammy for coastal populations.”

    Here is the link.

  15. KD

    Trying to be objective, the claim is that at current carbon levels, all the glaciers in the world will melt and the sea will rise 200 feet. No claim made about the time frame or the rate, although some historical evidence presented to suggest it will happen very rapidly when it comes round to happening.

    On one level, how is this different from nukes? So many nukes in the world, if WWIII breaks out, you will see a massive nuclear winter. While the nukes aren’t flying now, if they start flying, one would predict the rate of nuclear weapons to escalate once they start flying. So nuclear war-based climate change will happen very rapidly when it happens. Further, there is some chance, no matter how small, that it breaks out every year, and over a long enough time horizon, it will become an almost certainty. And when you look at the morons in positions of power playing brinksmanship, the chance is probably higher than anyone wants to admit.

    Because we can’t predict when it will happen in either case, I think you could make the case that why worry about the ice sheets when we are going to blow up the world and send ourselves into nuclear winter before the glaciers melt away. Not saying that this is correct, but the important variables for any of this to constitute actionable intelligence on either count are precisely the one’s missing. [Not to mention the giant comet.]

    This doesn’t mean efforts shouldn’t be made to seriously reduce nuclear stock piles, or that efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels shouldn’t be made, but at the same time, there are serious structural reasons that these problems exist in the first place, so even if we lived in a high school civics textbook “democracy” these would be difficult to address. Second, people tend to think fossil fuels are about gas and fuel oil, when our economy and way of life are deeply rooted in fossil fuels from fertilizer (and crop yields), plastics, industrial lubricants, chemical production, etc., all the way up the chain, so its not just getting everyone to drive EV cars, wear wool sweaters, and put up more windfarms.

  16. Jeremy Grimm

    Considering the many comments related to sea level rise, I look forward to the paper from Hansen et al. discussing sea level rise. Quoting from page 3, tail sentence of the 2nd paragraph of the recent draft of “Melt” referenced by this post:
    “Response of ocean circulation and ice sheet dynamics to global warming– already outlined in the Ice Melt paper – will be addressed further in a later paper. The working title of the paper is “Sea level rise in the pipeline.”


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