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Old 12-31-2016, 03:45 PM   #181
Joel N. Weber II
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
As we know all too well from looking at the terrifying flood map of the CBD.
Would building a new Charles River dam that's 10 feet taller (across the entire width the Charles would be if the harbor water level rises 10 feet above the current year's high tide) be a useful step towards preventing flooding? Would directly underneath the new North Washington St bridge be a good place for that new dam?
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:29 AM   #182
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

I'd think that the Charles River Dam and Amelia Earhart dam are "good enough" (? not in danger of being over-topped by storms that'd still flood South Boston and the outer FiDi (and perhaps subway & road tunnels?)

If we've summoned the political will to upgrade the surge barriers, it's probably going to fall at either end (upgrading the dams we have in place or something much further out). I just can't see us clawing the resolve for a new flood barrier and then building something that doesn't protect the business districts.
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Old 01-01-2017, 07:08 AM   #183
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

Re; Cambridge, see in particular pdf p. 41 of this document, published Nov 2015

https://www.cambridgema.gov/cdd/proj...1B1A06D10.ashx

Produced by five consulting firms, and assisted by an expert advisory panel comprised of six professors from MIT, Harvard, and Boston University.
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:34 AM   #184
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

Happy New Year

Thankfully in less than a month a lot of this silliness will begin to recede

At the very least there will be a whole lot less money wasted on such studies extracted from the unwilling taxpaying citizenry

If you bother to check with the Army Corps of Engineers who built the most recent dam across the Charles -- there is no danger of any "Normal storm's" surge overtopping the dam anytime in the predictable future

Now of course if the Hurricane of 1938 was to recur and if you move the center to be just out over say Orleans or Chatham instead of the center of Long Island Well then there could be a problem

by the way the 1938 Hurricane -- is still by far the most effective at creating a storm surge this far north in the Modern Era -- the flooding in Providence makes Sandy seem like a summer shower


There was a storm in 1815 which apparently was comparable in scale and damage to the 1938


and on before that a great storm in the 1700's and one in the 1600's -- in fact there is one storm of about that scale somewhere along the New England shore about 1 or 2 times a century [during Hurricane Season]. And more significantly for where we live -- at least couple of Blizzards comparable to 1978 during our Winters of Discontent.

for example the "Great White Hurricane of 1888" that dumped over 50" of snow on places not far from Metro Boston over a couple of days in March [11-13] -- which the wind blew into drifts over 50' high in some places


Nothing the see here folks this is New England -- its called WEATHER
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:17 AM   #185
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

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Happy New Year

Thankfully in less than a month a lot of this silliness will begin to recede

At the very least there will be a whole lot less money wasted on such studies extracted from the unwilling taxpaying citizenry

If you bother to check with the Army Corps of Engineers who built the most recent dam across the Charles -- there is no danger of any "Normal storm's" surge overtopping the dam anytime in the predictable future
Whigh, are you a science denier? Do you feel that all published studies are corrupt and opportunistic, and that the business world is somehow not corrupt nor opportunistic? There is a lot of corruption in science, and an awful lot of corruption in business.

So if you don't trust science, then I suggest you check with the insurance companies (private sector) and ask them whether they think there is a storm surge risk in boston.

Just do us all a favor, and check with them before you repost denialist views on this forum.
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Old 01-03-2017, 10:26 AM   #186
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

Whigh is the guy with an IQ of 93 who thinks he's getting an A.
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:14 AM   #187
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

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Whigh is the guy with an IQ of 93 who thinks he's getting an A.
He still doesn't understand wind components in a hurricane either. A hurricane that came ashore at the elbow of the Cape would generate less wind/surge in Cambridge/Boston than a hurricane whose track went up 495, or (perish the thought) a hurricane whose eye went overhead Lexington and re-energized from all the hot air present in that town.
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:32 AM   #188
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

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He still doesn't understand wind components in a hurricane either. A hurricane that came ashore at the elbow of the Cape would generate less wind/surge in Cambridge/Boston than a hurricane whose track went up 495, or (perish the thought) a hurricane whose eye went overhead Lexington and re-energized from all the hot air present in that town.
His views are all politically tainted. He ASSumes that because academics produced a report, payed for by taxpayer money, that it automatically is an erroneous fraudulent waste. If only the world were that simple. Sorry, Wigh, the world cannot be parsed like that - there is both good and tainted info produced by democrats, republicans, academics and business people alike.

He cites Army Corps of Engineers info that references a "normal" storm. Since when was this about a normal storm? I have worked with the Army Corp of Engineers and they do good work, but he's comparing pineapples with grapefruits here - cherry picking info that supports the conclusion he already decided he has.

We all may live our lifetimes without such a storm hitting, or it may hit. We don't know. But whether it actually hits or not is not a political issue. It's a science/nature issue. And as a society we should be deciding on a level of preparedness we collectively aspire to. For political reasons, Whigh has decided he aspires to a lower level of preparedness than most of the rest of us. That's fine, he can decide that - but don't imply that all work done toward preparedness is a waste.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:03 PM   #189
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

Are any public agencies actively spending money planning barriers for Boston Harbor?All I can find so far are concepts from non-profits and academia.

Public agencies still seem to be working out the impacts and estimating sea level rises and storm surges. Obviously this has to happen before a barrier is actually built so we know how high to go, but some of the conversations like whether the barrier would protect the inner or outer harbor should be held by agencies now.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:10 PM   #190
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

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Originally Posted by Scipio View Post
Are any public agencies actively spending money planning barriers for Boston Harbor?All I can find so far are concepts from non-profits and academia.

Public agencies still seem to be working out the impacts and estimating sea level rises and storm surges. Obviously this has to happen before a barrier is actually built so we know how high to go, but some of the conversations like whether the barrier would protect the inner or outer harbor should be held by agencies now.
I believe Wigh's anti-gov sentiments were set off by the City of Cambridge report Stellar posted in post #34 above. I am not aware of whether public agencies are actively spending money on barrier design.
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:02 PM   #191
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

scipio, AFAIK, no Federal funds have been appropriated / awarded in recent years for barriers to storm surge in Greater Boston.

New York City has prepared a summery of spending by Federal agencies in the aftermath of Sandy; a portion of the Sandy-related monies could be used for projects / potential projects in other states, but Massachusetts is largely excluded.

See:
http://www1.nyc.gov/sandytracker/pdf...20_7.24.14.pdf

The Department of the Interior has funded relatively small-scale Sandy related projects in MA. In particular, see the list of Geological Survey projects near the end of this pdf.
https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/fi...dy-Plan-Sm.pdf
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:23 PM   #192
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

If you've got time on your hands, you can read through the City's "Climate Ready Boston" December 2016 report, downloadable here:

https://www.boston.gov/environment-a...e-ready-boston

Fair warning: the report pdf is a giant file.

There is discussion in there about surge barriers, but all references to full-bore studies are in the future tense. I am sure if any study of significant scale was afoot, it'd have made it into this report. The report does note that a proper study of the options, if it were done at the necessary level of rigor, would in and of itself be a pretty massive and expensive undertaking. It's been a week or two since I read through this, but I do not recall seeing anything imminent looking on this funding front. Not even a suggestion that the City has a funding request in to anyone. So unless the Commonwealth is farther along that path and keeping it a secret from the preparers of this report (unlikely), I don't think there's even any solid motion towards scraping up the funding for the study. But maybe I missed something - let us know if you find something.
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:50 PM   #193
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

It turns out that just last week the Barr Foundation gave the Umass Sustainable Solutions Lab $336,000 to study and compare several harbor-wide barrier configurations:

http://northendwaterfront.com/2017/0...barrier-study/

They also funded the Climate Ready Boston plan and are putting $500,000 into follow-on work.

We have a Harbor-wide barrier thread for infrastructure talk, I'll post some new pics of barrier proposals in there when I get some time.
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Old 01-03-2017, 04:54 PM   #194
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

i've been posting on every Amos propaganda piece in da Globe with the 'the barrier is coming' rebuttal..... the barrier is coming. GE (and Whigh) will be there, raking in the $B's.
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:17 PM   #195
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Re: Proposed Boston flood barrier

Flood barrier work is finally starting to get serious this winter.

Boston released the Climate Ready Boston plan last month which proposes a wide variety of response, preparedness, and protective measures. It includes discussions of district-wide measures to protect vulnerable coastal neighborhoods, which is key since that’s where the city plans to put 4/5 of Imagine Boston’s growth areas.

Most relevant to the thread is the section on a harbor-wide barrier. Here’s the city’s nice map:



The map shows three barrier configurations:

* An Inner Harbor Barrier that protects downtown and the Charles and Mystic watersheds.
* A Habor Island Barrier that protects extends protection down to the entire City of Boston
* An Outer Harbor Barrier just a little farther out that also includes Quincy, Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham.

Unlike previous harbor barriers this isn't just spilled ink. Climate Ready Boston called for planning to start within the next two years, and just last week the Barr Foundation gave the Umass Sustainable Solutions Lab $336,000 to study and compare these three harbor-wide barrier configurations. Hopefully we see more on this in the near future.
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:36 PM   #196
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

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Originally Posted by bigpicture7 View Post
Whigh, are you a science denier? Do you feel that all published studies are corrupt and opportunistic, and that the business world is somehow not corrupt nor opportunistic? There is a lot of corruption in science, and an awful lot of corruption in business.

So if you don't trust science, then I suggest you check with the insurance companies (private sector) and ask them whether they think there is a storm surge risk in boston.

Just do us all a favor, and check with them before you repost denialist views on this forum.
BigPicture – I was going to respond in a flippant way to your ignorant ad hominem attack. However, I thought about it abit more and decided that this needs a careful response as the amount of misinformation about the study of the climate and predictions is getting out of hand.

So let me begin by providing a bit of my background. As opposed to most people posting on this and many other fora -- I actually have done and occasionally still do science. My core expertise is experimental physics -- but I have investigated in many fields including some related to meteorological observation. In point of fact some decades ago when issues involving the climate where buried in obscurity I did do some work with the National Climatological Database and investigated sources of error in the marine buoy temperature data sets. That investigation actually was the trigger to my interest in climate issues and in particular the dynamics of the climate.

The basic problem with your comment is that you make the common misconception that all science is the same kind of science. There is a significant difference between true experimental science, and science where you cannot control the experimental conditions.
In the former – you begin with a hypothesis as to what might happen. Perhaps the hypothesis is based on the application of a well-known theoretical concept – perhaps its just a guess on your part. Then you carefully design the experiment to test the hypothesis. if the experiment seems to produce anomalous results -- you repeat it – perhaps by improving the experimental apparatus or the procedure. In the latter case – you sit back and collect your data and just hope that nature throws you a similar set of conditions a second time.

However, even with really carefully designed lab experiments we sometimes get strange results that persist for a while -- e.g' "Neutrinos moving supra-light" -- I actually called this one when I mentioned that it was probably a bad cable. In all cases, if we are really doing science, we publish our experimental information and challenge someone else to invalidate or improve on it.

That's why experimental science often involves revisiting an old experiment with newer experimental tools. This approach was part of my dissertation, as I was able to use computer data acquisition to redo in days what a Russian Physicist using 35 mm cameras and traditional oscilloscopes took years to achieve. He had to develop the film and then find out that he’s missed some important aspect. I just had to twiddle something and fire the experiment again and then I could process the data in near real-time.

Improving instrumentation, or data acquisition procedure, is an insurmountable obstacle for one-time observational science. Note that this applies to infrequently recurring observational science as well. So for example someone trying to observe Halley's Comet has to wait 75 years to try again -- but at least it will be back. The Blizzard of 1978 -- is one and done -- there might be other blizzards in February, but other things will not be the same.

In terms of assessing the climate, we might want that the very limited sites collecting temperature data in the early 1800's were being precise and accurate [there is a serious distinction between these two] -- but it just wasn't that way. Similarly we might wish that there were any significant sources of temperature data in the Southern Hemisphere before the mid 20th Century -- but there weren't. We might wish that the stations collecting local climate data for farmers were located and maintained so that the data could be used 100 years later to try to understand global phenomena – but they weren’t. We only have a few years of good Satellite data before the big el Nino of 1998. Our regular observational CO2 data started with the IGY in the mid 1950's. None of these can be remedied by anything which we do today or forward.

On top of these kinds of issues with looking at the temperature record – at least it is there for all to see and deal with as they wish. On the other hand -- "predictive climate science" is based purely on comparing computer models to other computer models. Similarly to the comparison with experimental science [coupled with an underlying theoretical basis] and purely observational science, there is nothing which can be characterized as a true computer model experiments.

In a computer model you must include all of the science in your [atomic view] which in a typical Climate Model might be several hundred cubic kilometers. Once you understand what is happening in the minimum volume and minimum time step – it can be iterated to your heart’s desire. However, if you omit or get something wrong in that micro view -- running more cycles, or creating finer grids of points will not improve your outcome.
So the people doing the models admit that they don’t know what the critical parameters involved are and how they might be changing. Their response is to try to estimate the “sensitivity” of the output to some parameter. These sensitivity estimates have had their own dynamic over the history of the IPCC reports. One would hope that over time the “error bars” would decrease, and some have, but not all. The net result is that If you believe in “science” -- then you cannot say that the “Science is settled.”

There are challenges out there for the modelers to run their best models using old data to see if they can recreate recent observations -- there are no takers.

Now to be flippant a bit – The above is why people say things like "it’s not Rocket Science" or "it’s not Nuclear Physics" -- I've never heard someone using the put-down "It’s not Climate Science."
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:55 PM   #197
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

Got it. So we are assessing risk under conditions of considerable uncertainty.

A lot of well informed people think the risk is meaningful within several decades, and the range of probable outcomes skews towards the 'even worse' end of the scale.

Do you also see the risk this way? Do you even acknowledge the existence of a significant risk?
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:56 PM   #198
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

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BigPicture – I was going to respond in a flippant way to your ignorant ad hominem attack. However, I thought about it abit more and decided that this needs a careful response as the amount of misinformation about the study of the climate and predictions is getting out of hand.

So let me begin by providing a bit of my background. As opposed to most people posting on this and many other fora -- I actually have done and occasionally still do science. My core expertise is experimental physics -- but I have investigated in many fields including some related to meteorological observation. In point of fact some decades ago when issues involving the climate were buried in obscurity I did do some work with the National Climatological Database and investigated sources of error in the marine buoy temperature data sets. That investigation actually was the trigger to my interest in climate issues and in particular the dynamics of the climate.

The basic problem with your comment is that you make the common misconception that all science is the same kind of science. There is a significant difference between true experimental science, and science where you cannot control the experimental conditions.

In the former – you begin with a hypothesis as to what might happen. Perhaps the hypothesis is based on the application of a well-known theoretical concept – perhaps its just a guess on your part. Then you carefully design the experiment to test the hypothesis. if the experiment seems to produce anomalous results -- you repeat it – perhaps by improving the experimental apparatus or the procedure. In the latter case – you sit back and collect your data and just hope that nature throws you a similar set of conditions a second time.

However, even with really carefully designed lab experiments we sometimes get strange results that persist for a while -- e.g' "Neutrinos moving supra-light" -- I actually called this one when I mentioned that it was probably a bad cable. In all cases, if we are really doing science, we publish our experimental information and challenge someone else to invalidate or improve on it.

That's why experimental science often involves revisiting an old experiment with newer experimental tools. This approach was part of my dissertation, as I was able to use computer data acquisition to redo in days what a Russian Physicist using 35 mm cameras and traditional oscilloscopes took years to achieve. He had to develop the film and then find out that he’s missed some important aspect. I just had to twiddle something and fire the experiment again and then I could process the data in near real-time.

Improving instrumentation, or data acquisition procedure, is an insurmountable obstacle for one-time observational science. Note that this applies to infrequently recurring observational science as well. So for example someone trying to observe Halley's Comet has to wait 75 years to try again -- but at least it will be back. The Blizzard of 1978 -- is one and done -- there might be other blizzards in February, but other things will not be the same.

In terms of assessing the climate, we might want that the very limited sites collecting temperature data in the early 1800's were being precise and accurate [there is a serious distinction between these two] -- but it just wasn't that way. Similarly we might wish that there were any significant sources of temperature data in the Southern Hemisphere before the mid 20th Century -- but there weren't. We might wish that the stations collecting local climate data for farmers were located and maintained so that the data could be used 100 years later to try to understand global phenomena – but they weren’t. We only have a few years of good Satellite data before the big el Nino of 1998. Our regular observational CO2 data started with the IGY in the mid 1950's. None of these can be remedied by anything which we do today or forward.

On top of these kinds of issues with looking at the temperature record – at least it is there for all to see and deal with as they wish. On the other hand -- "predictive climate science" is based purely on comparing computer models to other computer models. Similarly to the comparison with experimental science [coupled with an underlying theoretical basis] and purely observational science, there is nothing which can be characterized as a true computer model experiments.

In a computer model you must include all of the science in your [atomic view] which in a typical Climate Model might be several hundred cubic kilometers. Once you understand what is happening in the minimum volume and minimum time step – it can be iterated to your heart’s desire. However, if you omit or get something wrong in that micro view -- running more cycles, or creating finer grids of points will not improve your outcome.

So the people doing the models admit that they don’t know what the critical parameters involved are and how they might be changing. Their response is to try to estimate the “sensitivity” of the output to some parameter. These sensitivity estimates have had their own dynamic over the history of the IPCC reports. One would hope that over time the “error bars” would decrease, and some have, but not all.

In particular -- One really big uncertainty involves Clouds -- no one really understands clouds -- how they form and how they change and what they do to the radiational and convective thermal flows. The net result is that if you believe in “science” -- then you cannot say that the “Science is settled.”

There are challenges out there for the modelers to run their best models using old data to see if they can recreate recent observations -- there are no takers.

Now to be flippant a bit – The above is why people say things like "it’s not Rocket Science" or "it’s not Nuclear Physics" -- I've never heard someone using the put-down "It’s not Climate Science."
PS: -- you can do your own test of weather / climate models [the equations are the same] -- all you need is a camera or a smart phone and a TV set.

Today at 11 PM when the TV weather person puts up one of the "Futurecast" images for say tomorrow at 5PM -- take a picture of it -- its the "best guess" @ what the "simulated radar" will look like then as made by the software using the current data. Now at the appropriate time take a picture of the "real radar" data -- most times there is not too much that overlaps. Honest and competent TV weather people will usually say something like" Futurecast" is showing too much rain / snow or its much less likely to cover the coast as the "Futurecast" doesn't deal well with the marine layer .. etc.
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:24 PM   #199
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

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Originally Posted by CSTH View Post
Got it. So we are assessing risk under conditions of considerable uncertainty.

A lot of well informed people think the risk is meaningful within several decades, and the range of probable outcomes skews towards the 'even worse' end of the scale.

Do you also see the risk this way? Do you even acknowledge the existence of a significant risk?
CSTH -- There are five questions we need to ask in the absence of political posturing and bellicose vituperations:
  1. What is the dynamics of the climate over the recent past
  2. Are there things happening now which are outside of the normal variability
  3. Do humans have anything to do with these anomalies
  4. Are the anomalies such that we should be concerned
  5. Can we do anything to alter the system's behavior, or should we adapt

Only after we have done our best to answer those questions above should we start the process or planning for something which may or may not ever happen and which could have a substantial real cost to achieve it.

Unfortunately, we really don't even know #1 let alone any of the others


PS: I don't know of any credible "experts"*1 who believe that the risk, or the parameters involved are tilting toward the upper extrema of the range -- on the contrary the current IPCC report has tended to lower the estimates compared to previous versions and at the same time has admitted that the uncertainties in some of their assumptions were a significantly bit larger than previous estimates.

The word most important these days is CLOUDS*2 -- we know far less about cloud formation, evolution and overall behavior than we used to think that we did -- but that in itself is progress in admitting to un-knowledge.


*1 -- Note there are no politicians or "Politically-yoked scientists" who should be considered in the above assessment

*2 recently there has been an experiment at CERN with the acronym of CLOUD [Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets] which kind of vindicates Ronald Reagan's remark about trees causing natural smog [ref the Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge]
Quote:
Interactions NewsWire #11-16:
25 May 2016 http://www.interactions.org
*******************************************
Source: CERN
Content: Press Release
Date Issued: 25 May 2016
CERN experiment points to a cloudier pre-industrial climate

Geneva, 26 May 2016. In two papers published today in the journal Nature, new results from the CLOUD experiment at CERN imply the baseline pristine pre-industrial climate may have been cloudier than presently thought. CLOUD shows that organic vapours emitted by trees produce abundant aerosol particles in the atmosphere in the absence of sulphuric acid. Previously it was thought that sulphuric acid – which largely arises from fossil fuels – was essential to initiate aerosol particle formation. CLOUD finds that these so-called biogenic vapours are also key to the growth of the newly-formed particles up to sizes where they can seed clouds.

“These results are the most important so far by the CLOUD experiment at CERN,” said CLOUD spokesperson, Jasper Kirkby. “When the nucleation and growth of pure biogenic aerosol particles is included in climate models, it should sharpen our understanding of the impact of human activities on clouds and climate.”
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:31 PM   #200
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Re: Storm surge in Boston

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CSTH -- There are five questions we need to ask ....
I have two questions, as follows:

Quote:
Do you also see the risk this way? Do you even acknowledge the existence of a significant risk?
Your five questions, btw, are garbage. Precisely understanding the dynamics of the climate in the recent past is a non-essential distraction.

Because precisely understanding the dynamics of the climate in the future is also a non-essential distraction. The case for action can be made in terms of volatility and resilience alone - i.e. all we need to know is that the planetary systems on which we depend will be forced chaotically way beyond the ranges within which civilization can be expected to demonstrate resilience.

Here's another way of looking at the situation:

- We're talking about a set of complex, closely coupled systems: the oceans, the atmosphere, the biosphere, and human civilization (the technosphere, maybe)

- Each of these systems demonstrates chaotic behavior, with relatively stable ranges over the period of centuries, but which demonstrate multiple diverse equilibria over a period of millenia

- Rapidly redistributing carbon from the earth to the atmosphere changes the heat retention of the atmosphere, with disruptive effects on each of these systems: the oceans , the biosphere, and civilization, as well as on the atmosphere itself

- There are a lot of feedback loops that derive from changes in the carbon/ heat budget, and it is highly unlikely that that they will collectively tend towards a stable equilbrium that resembles the conditions of the last ~2500 years. (We know this because it is a characteristic of all complex systems in general, and also because we can credibly describe, model, observe and predict the behavior of many of these feedback loops in the real world)

- Century-scale changes in the atmosphere, biosphere and oceans will likely create very high costs for global civilization; millenium-scale changes (especially if they happen at an accelerated pace, within 50-200 years) have the potential to destroy much of the accumulated investment in vital systems that sustain civilization.

Its a story of volatility and resilience in complex systems, whigh. We're dealing with multiple variables that interact in complex systems, and if that makes the experimental physicist in you uncomfortable, maybe you can ask some of your engineer colleagues to hold your hand and talk you through it (and get the guys at Sloan to introduce you to decision making under conditions of uncertainty, while you're at it).

An example for comparison: if you pour jet fuel into the fuel tank of my volvo, it doesn't matter whether I can predict with precision what part of the engine will fail first and at what thresholds of temperature and pressure that failure will occur (though that may get you a gold star and some extra-credit on the midterm) - I can still say with confidence that I'm not going to make it to the grocery store, just by thinking a bit about the performance thresholds of specific components (even at an order-of-magnitude level in some cases) and about the capacity of the engine system as a whole to accommodate a sharp discontinuity in a critical input factor.

So let me ask you again:

Quote:
Do you also see the risk this way? Do you even acknowledge the existence of a significant risk?

Last edited by CSTH; 01-03-2017 at 10:02 PM.
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