Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Agnotology of Sea Level Rise Via Ice Melt

Fig. 1 USGS (click to enlarge)
Whether intentional or not, the discussions of sea level rise (SLR) are problematic (Agnotology).

On Internet sites, in newspapers, and in magazines, SLR discussions tend to be either inaccurate, unclear, and overly complicated, or a combination of all three.

It becomes more accurate, clearer, and more simplified, when our focus is sharpened by isolating the fundamental dynamics involved.

That can easily be done by:
1) knowing the SLR potential
2) knowing key active melt zones
3) focusing on acceleration of melt
4) knowing how much SLR is catastrophic
The first item is shown in Fig. 1 above.

The second item is also shown in Fig. 1 (Greenland & Antarctica).

The third item for those two locations has been expressed by noting that from 2009 through 2013 the melt in those two locations doubled to 500 km3 yr. (according to Cryosat-2 satellite data).

Greenland's share of that acceleration was 75% of that melt (375 km3 yr.), and Antarctica's share was 25% of that melt (125 km3 yr.).

That is detailed at Will This Float Your Boat - 5.

IMO, the answer to the fourth item is: "a three foot SLR would severely damage global civilization as we know it" (The Question Is: How Much Acceleration Is Involved In Sea Level Rise?).

Thus, all we need to know is when the ongoing melt in Greenland and/or Antarctica will result in a 3 ft. global SLR (which is a function of acceleration of SLR).

Those who are crafting risk management plans have detected some problems with our ability to know when future acceleration will be catastrophic:
"As ports are operational hubs for the logistics supply chain, it is appropriate for ports to undertake an assessment in partnership with key logistics providers and /or local governments. While climate change may impact ports locally, it is often disruptions to the supply chain and local infrastructure that compound disruptions at the actual port, emphasising the need to work collaboratively on a broader climate risk and adaptation strategy [think global SLR impact].

However, several barriers to climate adaptation have been recognised (Becker 2011, IAPH 2011, UKCIP 2007), including inconsistency between organisational planning timeframes (5 – 15 years) compared with climate projections of 30 – 90 years; as well as the uncertainty of local climate projections leading to decision-makers delaying action until there is perceived to be more certainty. To help address these concerns, this report proposes a hybrid “risk / vulnerability” approach to understanding and adapting to climate change. That is, consideration of current day vulnerabilities to extreme weather events, integrated with an assessment of future climate risks." (Climate Resilient Ports, emphasis added).

"First proposed more than 20 years ago, the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project has been studied and delayed more times over the past two decades than anyone can count. So it’s no surprise that the big news at the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) this year has been the approval of the massive project to deepen the Savannah River and harbor to expand the Port of Savannah’s capacity.

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) finally got the go-ahead in October – 15 years after it first received a congressional OK in 1999 – when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Georgia Department of Transportation and the GPA signed a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA). After years of studies, delays and lawsuits that both stalled the project and pushed projected costs sky high, construction was scheduled to begin by the end of 2014 on what has been called the most critical infrastructure development project in Georgia in decades." (Georgia Trend, emphasis added).
This illustrates two major problems: 1) the problem that arises when science is done for scientists, rather than for the public safety and benefit; and 2) the problem of the speed of climate change induced SLR acceleration, compared with the speed of officialdom "adapting to" any kind of appropriate change.

One does not have to be a climate scientist or oceanographer to look at contour maps in order to be able to see where SLR will show up further inland, literally moving coasts and boundaries around the world:
"Sliced by population rather than city, and looking at today rather than the future, the report found that about 10 percent of the affected cities’ populations, or a total of about 40 million people, and $3 trillion of property, are already susceptible to these devastating, once-in-a-century floods (and of that $3 trillion, 60 percent is found in just three countries: the U.S., Japan, and the Netherlands). By 2070, says the report, the combined effects of population growth, migration to cities, and rising seas will boost those numbers to 120 million people and $35 trillion.”
(SLR for 20 Global Ports, emphasis added; cf. SLR @ Coastal Cities). The difficulty comes with trying to determine when SLR becomes catastrophic to world civilization (What Do You Mean - World Civilization?, 2).

Scientific groups, for some time now, have realized that "determinations of when" have been consistently underestimated and/or overlooked:
Changes in the area and volume of the two polar ice sheets in Antarctica ... and Greenland are intricately linked to changes in global climate, and could result in sea-level changes that could severely affect the densely populated coastal regions on Earth. Melting of the West Antarctica part of the Antarctic ice sheet alone could cause a sea-level rise of approximately 6 meters (m). The potential sea-level rise after melting of the entire Antarctic ice sheet is estimated to be about 73 m. In spite of its importance, the mass balance (the net volumetric gain or loss) of the Antarctic ice sheet is poorly known; it is not known whether the ice sheet is growing or shrinking. As a result, measurement of changes in the Antarctic ice sheet has been given a very high priority in recommendations by the Polar Research Board of the National Research Council, by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), and by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs.
(USGS 2005, emphasis added). Therefore, they are leaning toward changing that defect.

What was "poorly known," as recently as ten years ago, is now becoming known to "a more reasonable degree" (as pointed out by the earlier discussion of Cryosat-2 data).

What we see, then, is that civilization had spent untold trillions in order to make endless war, go to the moon, asteroids, comets, and other planets, but we had not all arrived on Earth yet (You Are Here).

We did not know about the great danger of Antarctic ice melt, which would bring down current civilization (240.53 ft. of SLR, see Fig. 1).

As a result, we do not know exactly when we will destroy our civilization, or ourselves (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

Nevertheless, it is becoming much more clear, day by day, that we are failing The Test (The Tenets of Ecocosmology).

Oscillation in Greenland melt rates:

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What Do You Mean - World Civilization? - 2

Totten Glacier: when is sea level rise prediction real?
I. Introduction

One series of posts at Dredd Blog gives an indication of some difficulties that repeatedly arise.

Difficulties that arise any time anyone seriously and honestly wants to be accurate about future Sea Level Rise (SLR) on planet Earth, and the impact that SLR will have on civilization.

Yes, when one wants to be accurate enough to present a reliable projection of SLR that even Goldilocks could "live with," which is, not too high and not too low, but "just right."

That Dredd Blog series is Will This Float Your Boat, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, which shows that Goldilocks is not going to be very happy with the results, no matter how those projections might eventually end up.

What I want to do here, then, since this blog has far fewer posts compared to Dredd Blog, is to condense the dynamics involved into a simple description of some of the techniques being used to calculate future SLR.

The exercise is not to discover "what technique would Goldilocks subscribe to,"  because, we are concerning ourselves with projections of future SLR.

Remember that Goldilocks only worked with the exact present, not with the less certain future, so, she could make ultimate conclusions that were ultimately accurate.

We can't.

But, we can be scientific and comprehensive, which generally requires us to be empty of fear, underestimation, and overestimation, to a reasonable degree.

II. Question: What Is At Stake First?

We can ask the ultimate question for the future, which is, "how much SLR will it take to bring down current civilization?"

Which begs the question: "what do you mean 'civilization'?"

That question has been asked and answered previously in 2009:
World civilization means the nations of the world interconnected by trade, travel, treaties, and international commerce.

So, when climate change scientists talk about dangers to the existence of civilization they do not mean that the population of human beings as a species is going to become extinct.

In other words, the human species would live on even if civilization ended.

For example, Greenland alone has enough ice that if that ice was to melt it
Fig. 1 (click to enlarge)
would raise the world's ocean level by 21 feet (7 meters).

That alone would destroy the ocean-port cities of the civilized world, and thereby destroy world civilization by destroying its primary commerce.

But if you add Antarctica to the equation, much more than just the coastal ports would be lost, because the ocean level would rise beyond belief.

Scientists have not been worried about Antarctica before 2006 when it was shown that some of its western ice sheet was getting a bit shaky.

The eastern ice sheet, however, was considered to be "inviolate", meaning "not to worry", nothing will ever happen to it.

But like many things climate scientists considered to be "inviolate", the eastern ice sheet of Antarctica is now going somewhere ...
(What Do You Mean - World Civilization?). Civilization, in the sense that it is something being damaged by SLR, is a realm of trade in high volumes of goods and services.

Goods and services that are constantly being negotiated 24/7 between and among nations around the globe.

A three-foot SLR, IMO, will curtail that commerce abruptly.

That is because the seaports, where international commerce takes place and where goods are shipped and received incessantly, will be impaired by SLR.

Civilization, as we know it, will go through changes to the point that we will not easily recognize it as the civilization it once was, once SLR gets done with it.

Stop-gap measures (such as air freighting everything, or anchoring cargo ships off shore, then ferrying smaller amounts to shore with a flotilla of smaller vessels), won't be sufficient enough to keep prices, delivery schedules, and the like, "economically civilized" as it is now.

III. One Method of Graphing Future SLR

The technique used to generate a graph below, (Fig. 3), begins by using the USGS data (Fig. 1 above) indicating the maximum SLR possible from ice melt at various locations around the globe.

Second, we calculate the current melt rate of ice taken by a satellite, Cryosat-2, specifically designed and put in orbit for that purpose:
Measurements from ESA’s CryoSat mission have been used to map the height of the huge ice sheets that blanket Greenland and Antarctica and show how they are changing. New results reveal combined ice volume loss at an unprecedented rate of 500 cubic kilometres a year.
The resulting maps reveal that Greenland alone is reducing in volume by about 375 cubic kilometres a year.
The researchers say the ice sheets’ annual contribution to sea-level rise has doubled since 2009. [Table 1 type contribution - i.e. thermal sea level rise (additional) is not included in that doubling]

Glaciologist Angelika Humbert, another of the study’s authors, added, “Since 2009, the volume loss in Greenland has increased by a factor of about two and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet by a factor of three."
(ESA Cryosat, emphasis added). Next, we use a formula to reduce the 2009-2013 exact measurements, done by that satellite, into a useful acceleration percentage:
L = [ (f / s)(1 / y) ] - 1 :
L = acceleration of ice-volume-loss per year
f = final volume of loss-per-yr (~500 km3)
s = starting volume of loss-per-yr (~250 km3)
y = number of years (~5)
L = [(500/250)(1/5)] - 1
L = (2.2) - 1
L = 1.148698355 - 1
L = .148698355
L = 14.87% annual ice loss increase 1/1/09 - 12/31/13

Test (2009-2013):

2009) 250 x 1.148698355 = 287.17458875
2010) 287.17458875. x 1.148698355 = 329.876977695
2011) 329.876977695 x 1.148698355 = 378.929141631
2012) 378.929141631 x 1.148698355 = 435.275281653
2013) 435.275281653 x 1.148698355 = 500.000000006

Ok, that checks out.
Next, the 14.87% acceleration rate for that time frame is used pro rata on the various locations, using each SLR value provided in Table 1 above (USGS data) as the applicable SLR in a given area on which that acceleration takes place.

That is, we can extrapolate and apply that acceleration rate to SLR values, at each location, based on their percentage of global SLR (e.g. Greenland has a 21.49 ft. maximum SLR, while W. Antarctica has a 26.44 ft. maximum SLR).

One caveat here is that this acceleration rate, which actually doubled the ice volume loss in 5 years, could be a surge.

That is, it may not be a continuing acceleration rate, so we must watch that rate from time to time, then make adjustments accordingly if the rate fluctuates.

IV. The Melt Zones

Another factor, involved in graphing future SLR, is that Greenland and Antarctica have zones where various rates of melt, or no melt, are taking place at different times, or at the same time.

Fig. 2 (click to enlarge)
This is illustrated by "Bell" curves, "Hubbert" curves,  "Gaussian" curves, or whatever you want to call them (see The Question Is: How Much Acceleration Is Involved In Sea Level Rise?).

The gist of it is that melt of various sorts is ongoing both sequentially and concurrently.

The coastal zones began, or will begin, to melt first in each location.

Later, peak melt is reached, then it gradually subsides, until all the ice in that zone has melted into water, which then  flows into the ocean (causing SLR).

Meanwhile, another zone further inland begins to melt, peak, subside, and so on and so forth.

The difficulty is to know when the melt begins, peaks, and subsides completely, which is why we call the software (which generates the values we use to make the graphs) a "model."

On the bright side, beginning with known values makes the models work better, even in those mysterious "when" zones of future melt, and subsequent SLR.

V. A Graph To Test The Model

The graph, Fig. 3, is a model projection which extends out to the year 2200, which, as you can see, has some lines that end abruptly.
Fig. 3 (click to enlarge)

That happens when the USGS figures for maximum SLR, in a particular location, have been reached.

For example, Greenland's line will stop when 21.49 feet of SLR has taken place, and areas with lesser SLR values will stop sooner, eventually leaving only the line for Antarctica (because it does not all melt in the graph's time frame).

This is not as shocking, at first blush, as one might think if a quick computation is made.

A computation based on a recent scientific observation that for every 1°C of global temperature rise, there is a ∼2.3 meter SLR (Strauss PNAS, PDF, cf Potsdam Institute).

A 4°C rise in temperature is expected before 2100 (ibid), which equates to a 9.2 meter SLR (4 * 2.3 = 9.2).

The 9.2 meter SLR equates to a 30.1837 ft. SLR (9.2 m = 30.1837 ft.).

The Fig 3 graph above, generated by the model's projection algorithm, indicates a 21.0734 ft. SLR by 2100 (software model's print out for that year: "2100, .... , 21.0734").

That is 9.1103 ft. (30.2%) below the 30.1837 ft. maximum potential SLR implicated by a 4°C rise in temperature.

Which is not inconsistent, because some delay between temperature rise and SLR is to be expected.

But the timing of the delay (how much when), is not easy to calculate because of all the variants.

Nevertheless, we do know, by Cryosat-2 measurements, that 500 cu. km3 of ice is currently melting each year.

It was only 250 cu. km3 in 2009, so the melt amount doubled between 2009-2013, which is a 14.87% acceleration rate as shown above in Section III.

So, the projected melt in the model that produced Fig 3. seems to be reasonably within maximum SLR expectations.

During the 85 years of that quantity of ice loss between now and 2100, a significant acceleration of temperature also means an acceleration of ice melt.

VI. Implications

The three foot level I talked about, in Section II above, is shown on the graph (Fig. 3) as taking place in 2033, a little less than two decades from this year (2015).

But, SLR does not stop there does it?

VII. Conclusion

That, if accurate, clearly shows why global warming induced climate change has been called, by the President and the Pentagon, the number one threat to national security.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Good Nomenclature: A Matter of Life and Death

In this post I will emphasize the importance of competent nomenclature as a foundation of coherent communication.

Our civilization is now endangered because of defective communication which damages understanding and nullifies intelligence.

First off, let's look at some recent disasters, and some that happened further back in time, to see exactly why nomenclature and coherent communication is vital.

Not many know that the sinking of the Titanic is an example of a disaster caused by bad nomenclature:
The saga of the Titanic now takes a new turn, with the benefit of the viewpoint of a family member of one of the officers who was on the Titanic:
Two different [steering] systems were in operation at the time, Rudder Orders (used for steam ships) and Tiller Orders (used for sailing ships).

Crucially, Mrs Patten said, the two steering systems were the complete opposite of one another, so a command to turn 'hard a-starboard' meant turn the wheel right under one system and left under the other."

She said when the helmsman, who had been trained in sail, received the direction, he turned the vessel [to the right] towards the iceberg with tragic results.

Mrs Patten has worked the story of the catastrophe into her latest novel, Good As Gold.

She said that while Charles Lightoller was not on watch at the time of the collision, a dramatic final meeting of the four senior officers took place in the first officer's cabin shortly before Titanic went down.

There, Lightoller heard not only about the fatal mistake, but also what happened next up on the bridge.

While the helmsman had made a straightforward error, what followed was a deliberate decision, she claimed.

Lightoller was the only survivor to know that after the iceberg was hit, Bruce Ismay, chairman of Titanic's owner, the White Star Line, persuaded Captain Smith to continue sailing [causing the ship to sink quickly].

The truth of what happened on that historic night was deliberately buried, she said.
(BBC News). That recent revelation, hidden for a century, can be used to look at the current political structure of the USA.
(Titanic Mistakes Using The W Compass). The directive 'hard a-starboard' meant two different things, it meant either 'left' or 'right' as it were.

That defective nomenclature caused many deaths, and it is not limited to ships on the waters:
Unlike the control yokes of a Boeing jetliner, the side sticks on an Airbus are "asynchronous"—that is, they move independently. "If the person in the right seat is pulling back on the joystick, the person in the left seat doesn't feel it," says Dr. David Esser, a professor of aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. "Their stick doesn't move just because the other one does, unlike the old-fashioned mechanical systems like you find in small planes, where if you turn one, the [other] one turns the same way."
Robert has no idea that, despite their conversation about descending, Bonin has continued to pull back on the side stick.

The men are utterly failing to engage in an important process known as crew resource management, or CRM. They are failing, essentially, to cooperate. It is not clear to either one of them who is responsible for what, and who is doing what. This is a natural result of having two co-pilots flying the plane. "When you have a captain and a first officer in the cockpit, it's clear who's in charge," Nutter explains. "The captain has command authority. He's legally responsible for the safety of the flight. When you put two first officers up front, it changes things. You don't have the sort of traditional discipline imposed on the flight deck when you have a captain." (What Really Happened Aboard Air France 447)
(Titanic Mistakes Using The W Compass - 2). Over at Dredd Blog there is a post showing how coherent remedial response to global climate change is similarly plagued:
"... I want to focus on those beliefs that "God is doing the climate change if there is any, because human civilization is not capable of doing anything that could change the climate" (Ergo Anthropogenic Deigenic climate change).

Let's use the religious beliefs of two human public figures, Pope Francis and Senator Inhofe, to get the criticism in gear.

Pope Francis is of the faith that anthropogenic climate change is the reality, and that endangering and harming humanity by damaging the Earth is sin (Message of Science & Religion - Western - 2).

Senator Inhofe thinks the Pope is arrogant to have the faith that people could damage the Earth's climate ("the arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate").
(Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 39). The consensus of scientists is that the problem is anthropogenic climate change, while some religious tenets agree with that, others do not.

It amounts to a theory of deigenic climate change (God is doing it) or anthropomorphic climate change (human civilization is doing it).

There are two steering systems to correct those two different conclusions, one humanly operated, the other not.

So, those who are under the sway of Oil-Qaeda want governments to stay out of "God's climate system" while the others under the sway of science want governments to stop the emission of green house gases so as to avert catastrophe (Global Warming / Climate Change Will Generate Dangerous Religion, The Baby Is Not The Bathwater; The Guilty Are Not The Victims).

The two remedies would be:
1) prayer by the deigenic climate change believers, or

2) technological changes to implement a new energy system that is free from fossil fuels by those who adhere to the science about anthropomorphic climate change.
The fate of civilization depends on the proper outcome (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4, 5).