date: Wed, 24 Oct 2007 16:59:51 +0100
from: "John Davies" <john.daviesatXYZxyz.co.uk>
subject: THE GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS
Dear Dr Phil Jones,
You are probably aware of this paper but just to be sure here it
The relevant paper is `The big melt'. The section I find most concerning and interesting is
on page 3 and 4 `The accelerating loss of the Arctic ice sheet'. Also see page 1 point12.
I think it is essential that a plan is devised to ensure that the Arctic Sea Ice does not
melt even though there is a remote possibility it might do so as early as August/September
2008. Enclosed are two Short papers as I now think the estimate I gave prior to the 2007
Ice Melt was overly optimistic.
All the Best,
John B Davies personal
GLOBAL TEMPERATURE UP UNTIL 2014 JB DAVIES.
A PAPER BY Dr DOUG SMITH OF THE HADLEY CENTRE RECENTLY FORECAST A GLOBAL RISE IN
TEMPERATURE WHICH COULD CAUSE
GLOBAL ECOLOGICAL DEVASTATION WITHIN THE NEXT DECADE.
This is a response to the paper by Dr. Doug Smith et al of the Hadley Centre regarding
`Surface Temperature Predictions for the coming decade'. Reference
[cid:image002.gif@01C8165F.47E67950] And [cid:image004.gif@01C8165F.47E67950]
This paper forecasts a significantly larger rise in global temperature in the short term
than has generally been thought likely hence it is extremely urgent to ascertain how
accurate this forecast is likely to prove.
ARCTIC ICE LOSS 2007.
This response also looks at how the loss of arctic ice in 2007 relates to Dr Smiths paper.
Global Warming is generally considered a fact by most climate scientists and indeed most
people and generally accepted as devastating in the long term though the short and medium
term climate future is much less studied.
This paper was extremely useful especially for those needing climatic prediction for
planning in the relatively short term. It shows that in the next few years global
temperatures are likely to be significantly higher than in the instrumental record. Though
the report does not say this it would be reasonable to suppose that global weather patterns
will also be significantly different to what has been experienced in the last few hundred
years or more recently and this is likely to cause all sorts of problems for humanity and
other life forms. This report shows that we need to ascertain what the likely outcomes are
and plan to deal with a disastrous rise in temperature in this period should it happen.
A major negative feature of this report is that if in the next few years there is not a
significant rise in global temperatures, then climate sceptics will say Global Warming is a
lot of hot air and most people and governments will believe this to be true. The result
will be that any attempts to halt Global Warming will be curtailed.
Dr. Smith is predicting a rise in global temperature between 2004 and 2014 of almost 0.3
degrees Celsius, most of which will occur between 2008 and 2012.
This report is predicted on the assumption that there is no volcano in this period which is
large enough to place large amounts of dust into the Stratosphere and thus cool the earth.
In the event that there is such a volcano then the forecast temperatures in this period
will be invalidated.
A WARMING OF 0.20 DEGREES WORLDWIDE OR MORE ABOVE 2004 LEVELS WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY CAUSE A
RUNAWAY GREENHOUSE EVENT. A great deal of this can be avoided if humanity takes responsible
corrective action now. Hence the importance of this report.
PROBABLE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE
The probability of a volcano putting large amounts of dust into the Stratosphere before the
end of 2014 is almost 30%.
Dr Smith forecasts a rise in global temperature on 2004 levels of 0.25 degrees Celsius by
2012 and almost 0.30 degrees Celsius by 2014. There is a 90% chance that global temperature
will be within plus or minus 0.21 degrees Celsius of these levels and 60% within plus or
minus 0.10 degrees Celsius of these levels. There is clearly a 50% chance that global
temperature will be above the forecast level and 50% chance they will be below it.
THE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE FORECASTS ARE HORRENDOUS.
I have felt illogically and unscientifically that if there had been going to be a dangerous
level of global warming prior to the present and if it were to happen in the near future,
the timescale this paper deals with, then the world will initially be lucky and be
protected in the very short term by a large volcano erupting and cooling the earth. I think
this solely because I feel lucky, there is no science in this view though I think it will
happen nevertheless. This needs saying because despite it's illogicality it is probably
Should the global temperature exceed a rise of 0.20 degrees Celsius above the 2004 level
the consequences will be devastating. It is necessary to note at this point that there have
been claims that at the end of the Younger Dryas period at the close of the last ice age
the world warmed by five degrees Celsius in five years.
My view is that the world will warm by 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2014 unless there is a huge
volcano which will have the effect of cooling the earth.
A CHECKING THE TEMPERATURE FORECAST AND
B PLANNING FOR A HUGE RISE IN GLOBAL TEMPERATURE
Dr Smith's paper warns us that global temperatures may surge in the next few years. It is
also comparatively easy to check. These are two very great virtues.
Initially it would be very useful to know what other research units think of this paper and
if they agree with its conclusions. This will go some way to inform government as to how
serious the short term situation really is.
A more effective check is to re-examine this forecast and see how accurate it is possibly
by asking Dr Smith's group and another scientist to re examine their
conclusions in late 2009. The additional data at their disposal ought to enable them to
give a far more accurate forecast for the following five years.
It is possible, that the rise in temperature by 2014, or even 2012, could be large enough
to cause catastrophic climatic changes which could lead into a runaway greenhouse event.
The sort of thing which might happen is that this could cause the arctic sea ice to melt .
THE ARCTIC SEA ICE
The arctic sea ice is retreating despite the relatively constant global
temperature since 1997. The retreat of the sea ice is the first major impact of Global
Warming and is likely to cause a runaway greenhouse event. The total minimum area
of sea ice was lower in late summer 2007 than any previous time on record.
Fortunately there was no retreat of sea ice in the Svalbard area or between there and
Franz Josef Land. There was a huge retreat on the American side of the arctic. In the
Svalbard area sea ice traditionally retreats to higher latitudes than elsewhere. Despite
the small area of arctic sea ice in late summer 2007 there was no contiguous area of
ice free sea linked to the open ocean north of 81 degrees North and in no year has
there been ice free sea linked to the open ocean in any year north of 82 degrees North.
It is fairly safe to conclude that though the ice is retreating it will not retreat
northward of 82 degrees North until the global temperature rises slightly, say by 0.15
The sea ice at its minimum extent was roughly circular with pack ice extending from
90 degrees North to 80 degrees North but with a narrow bridge of ice extending to the
Russian Coast at one point. This means that most points on the perimeter of the
permanent ice were equally threatened with melting rather than the Svalbard to Franz
Josef Land area being most at risk. The North West passage was open for a few weeks
but the North East passage was not. This is a little surprising because there have been
times in the past when the ice was much more extensive but the North East passage
was open. A British tramp steamer actually navigated the whole passage in the
1930's, being a tramp of course this was unintentional, and the ship eventually got a
cargo back to its home port of Hull.
The NSIDC reported that the minimum extent of arctic ice fell to 1.59 million square miles
in early September 2007 compared with the previous record of 2.05 million square miles in
2005 and an average minimum figure for sea ice of 2.6 million square miles in the 1979 to
2000 period. The minimum extent of sea ice in 2007 was 38% less than the average minimum in
the 1979 - 2000 period. The sea ice extent at its minima was 20% less in 2007 than the
minima in the previous record year of 2005.
At times when the total area of ice decreases to record minima in late summer it is almost
certain that the average thickness of the remaining ice is less than the average thickness
than in those years when the minimum extent of sea ice was much larger. Hence it is
probable that the total volume of arctic sea ice at the time of the 2007 minima was just
less than half the average volume of sea ice for the average minima of the 1979 - 2000
A small rise in global temperature will almost certainly hasten the disappearance of sea
ice south of 82 degrees North in late summer. My best estimate of the global temperature to
cause significant sea ice retreat north of 82 degrees North is 0.68 degrees Celsius above
the global temperature until 1976. The present global temperature is averaging 0.53 degrees
Celsius above the level until 1976 so a small rise of anything above only 0.15 degrees
Celsius will prove devastating. Any significant retreat north of 82 degrees North will lead
to total loss of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean because the area of remaining sea ice will be
too small to sustain itself.
This problem of the loss of sea ice with such a small rise in global temperature needs to
be examined closely at a high level as a matter of extreme urgency. This is a matter of
life and death in the medium term. Dr Doug Smith thinks the global temperature could quite
likely reach 0.84 degrees Celsius above the 1976 level by 2014. It seems likely that the
global temperature will exceed 0.68 degrees Celsius above the global temperature until 1976
by 2014 unless there is a large volcano which puts dust into the Stratosphere.
Unless the required volcano materialises then the Arctic Ocean is likely to be ice free in
late summer by 2015. Recently the ice has not retreated to new lows in consecutive years
but despite this there is a remote chance that the Arctic Ocean could be ice free at the
end of summer next year, 2008. This just might happen because there is a hint that this ice
is retreating to some extent independently of rising global temperature. However Doug Smith
indicates it is unlikely that global temperature will be as warm as in 1998 in either 2008
or 2009 but might well be in 2010 and may reach 0.15 degrees Celsius above the present as
soon as 2010. This seems to be a realistic assessment. This might be sufficient to cause
the arctic sea ice to melt completely in this year. Urgent action needs to be taken to stop
this happening. It is not immediately obvious what action needs to be taken but it needs
urgent attention at the highest level with an absolute determination to save our world. The
injection of sulphates into the atmosphere presents itself as a possibility. Another
possibly more practical alternative might be to use unmanned solar powered vessels to spray
water into the air which will form clouds which reflect incoming sunlight back into space.
In the event that the thin arctic sea ice melted in late summer then the water will absorb
the sun's rays whilst at present the ice reflects them thus the Arctic Ocean will warm very
significantly almost immediately. This will warm the land around the ocean, in Northern
Russia, Canada and Alaska; the frozen peat bogs will then defrost releasing vast amounts of
methane and carbon dioxide thus leading to further rapid warming especially of the oceans.
Once the ice has melted this will happen very quickly within a year or two. Later the
methane hydrates at the bottom of some of the oceans will be released as a result of the
warming of the oceans which will then cause further warming. These warming events would
cause sufficient warming for the Amazonian rainforest to dry out and burn down with further
positive feedbacks. Much of this will take decades to occur but global warming is likely to
be so great in the next decade or two that humanity will be almost extinct by 2025, except
for a few isolated individuals, unless we tackle this problem immediately and effectively.
THE SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS IS THAT IF GLOBAL TEMPERATURE IS HELD BELOW 2 DEGREES CELSIUS
ABOVE THE PRE INDUSTRIAL LEVEL HUMANITY WILL ESCAPE THE WORST EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING.
HOWEVER IN FACT IF GLOBAL TEMPERATURE REACHES ONE DEGREES CELSIUS ABOVE THE PRE INDUSTRIAL
LEVELTHEN A RUNAWAY GREENHOUSE EVENT WILL BEGIN. This latter view is reinforced by the lack
of a significant temperature increase since 1997. Many natural systems stabilise
temporarily at a level of forcing just below the level of forcing which causes them to move
into a completely different state. It is also probably true that if the greenhouse gas
content of the air were to be stabilised at exactly the level of late 2007 then there might
be a less than even chance of avoiding a runaway greenhouse event.
THE MOST LIKELY SITUATION IN 2014
The main point to be borne in mind is that the world faces a high chance of very large
climate changes in a very short space of time which we know about but of which we are
nevertheless largely unaware. This is creeping up on us unawares because of the relative
climate stability of the last ten years. In 2014 global climate may well be in the early
stages of a runaway greenhouse event as it seems likely that the arctic ice will disappear
in late summer at about this time.
B PLANNING FOR A HUGE RISE IN GLOBAL TEMPERATURE
THE BERKELEY LINE
In a general sense human well being on the planet is better than ever before despite Global
Warming. Humanity has not responded to this emergency simply because the rate of change is
too slow to alarm people. Additionally there are more immediate though less serious
problems which grab our attention and push Global Warming into the category of a problem to
be dealt with when we have the time. Two of these problems are the possibility of an attack
on Iran and the consequent clash between Muslims and the West, and the problem of peak oil
which is causing high oil prices and slowing world economic growth.
THE BERKELEY LINE is my measure of the rate of change which will be obviously dangerous and
which almost everybody will recognise as dangerous and after which every government and all
people will be prepared to take emergency action to save the global climate. Unfortunately
the Arctic sea ice will probably melt in late summer before the world has warmed
sufficiently to alarm most people, hence this measure, though a useful measure of the
temperature which will cause alarm, is no longer useful as a guide to saving the global
COUNTERMEASURES TO GLOBAL WARMING
THE IDEAL SOLUTION
Ideally, there should be drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions immediately. Should
there be any way in which humanity can be persuaded to implement this policy which will
mean cutting most of humans greenhouse gas emissions at whatever the cost to ourselves then
this must be the way forward but it is difficult to envisage how humanity can be pushed
into such a programme without at the least a near ecological disaster.
A PRACTICAL SOLUTION
The most important action which must be implemented, even if nothing else is done now, is
the only action which might cause the body politic and civil society to react in the very
near future and this is publicising Dr Smith's paper and the medium term dangers facing the
planet. This might lead to further action to combat the problem.
When humanity becomes aware that it is facing an almost immediate and desperate catastrophe
there are some very nasty measures which would have to be taken to stabilise the climate.
These measures may have serious ecologically negative consequences of which we are unaware,
but humanity will have to react because failure could mean our becoming extinct.
Initially, governments should offer guaranteed prices for basic foodstuffs, in Britain the
EU and hopefully worldwide. This used to be done but globalisation has largely halted this
wise practise though it is becoming essential again as one way of mitigating the food
shortages and hunger that humanity will soon face.
These measures include seeding the oceans with iron to cause the growth of phytoplankton
which hopefully will remove carbon dioxide from the air and reduce the atmospheric content
of this gas. Urea can be added to the ocean in areas where there is a shortage of nitrogen
which will hopefully have the same effect. Another alternative is to try using artificial
trees to remove carbon dioxide and to capture and bury it. Another possibility is to build
large numbers of solar powered unmanned vessels which spray sea water into the air which
forms clouds which reflect incoming sunlight back into space, thus cooling the planet.
These possibilities should be examined by scientists now and governments should fund this
In conjunction with the technical solutions to global warming it is essential that the
whole programme is controlled by governments rather than corporations. Higher taxes on the
wealthy combined with higher taxes on emissions from fossil fuels must mean a greater
equality of sacrifice than is the case now. The poorer people in the world will not accept
greater sacrifices unless the rich share the burden of overcoming the problem of global
warming, and any attempt to make them make greater sacrifices possibly even of their lives,
is doomed to failure, and thus a policy which puts a large burden on the poor is not going
to stop Global Warming.
HOWEVER BAD THE SITUATION WITHIN THE NEXT TEN YEARS HUMANITY MIGHT WELL SAVE ITSELF BY
REACTING WITH ABSOLUTE RUTHLESSNESS AND DETERMINATION.
John B Davies
GLOBAL QUESTIONS ON TEMPERATURE UNTIL 2014 to the Minister
Dr Doug Smith of the Hadley Centre has forecast a rise in global temperature of 0.3 degrees
Celsius by 2014.
The arctic sea ice retreated from an average minimum area in the 1979 - 2000 period of 2.6
million square miles to a record low of 1.59 million square miles in 2007, and the ice
thickness in 2007 was also much less probably averaging between 5 and 6 feet thick at its
minimum in September.
It seems to me that the arctic sea ice must melt in late summer by 2015, unless a massive
volcano puts dust into the Stratosphere causing this melting to be delayed by a few years,
at the latest, and possibly as early as 2010 with a remote possibility this could be as
early as 2008. In this situation the sea water will absorb the sun's rays thus warming the
high arctic, the high arctic will become even warmer than in 2007 which is probably the
warmest arctic summer on record, the arctic peat bogs will then defrost and huge amounts of
carbon dioxide and methane will be released into the atmosphere resulting in the start of a
runaway greenhouse event. This will lead to the extinction of human life on earth, in my
view by 2025.
My question is, `How are you going to stop the arctic sea ice melting in late summer'? I
expect you to have a plan to achieve this. Though I have no idea how to achieve this it can
be started by asking your scientists how they would do this. They will probably say this is
impossible. Your reply must be that it will be done and you will ask any scientists to
devise a programme to do the necessary work.
In your situation I could achieve this desirable objective. How are you planning to proceed
to ensure our survival?
All the Best,
John B Davies
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