Re: [asa] Subglacial Water System Moving Faster Than Previously Thought

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Fri Feb 16 2007 - 23:56:13 EST

On 2/16/07, Dave Wallace <> wrote:
> Any positive feedback mechanism can produce rapidly changing effects in
> an unbelievably short time, expecially one where the degree of feedback
> increases. An decrease in snow cover reduces reflectivity thus causing
> warming which in turn causes faster melting and so on. Thus both the
> Greenland/Artic and Antarctic situations should be getting considerable
> attention and close monitoring. While I know little about climate
> systems as someone trained in Electrical Engineering I had both course
> and practical work experience with feedback in control systems.
> Rich
> In one of this series of notes you mention frustration at people playing
> amateur climatologist. I don't want to get into a discussion as to
> whether that is good or bad, it simply is a fact of life. A book
> similar to the first half of Kenneth Miller's Finding Darwin's God but
> on Climate change would be really helpful. Discussion of everything
> from the physics to the models and data should be included. Even a
> special edition of Scientific Americian devoted to this topic would be
> good, maybe I have missed it but I have not seen such.
> Dave W (not O or S)

There is a book that has just been published that not only does an
excellent job of explaining the concepts of climate change it also
shows the posibility of abrupt change as the result of the positive
feedbacks. An interesting thesis of this book is that abrupt climate
change is the norm rather than the stable one that we have been
experiencing. I recommend the following:

With Speed and Violence:
Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change

Here's the Booklist review:

Pearce, author of When the River Runs Dry (2006), prides himself on
being a skeptical environmental journalist, and now, after covering
climate change for 18 years, he has no doubt that we are "interfering
with the fundamental processes that make Earth habitable." Believing
that everyone needs to understand exactly what is happening on the
planet, Pearce consults with experts on ocean currents, polar ice, the
carbon cycle, methane, and soot; reports on the rapid melting of polar
ice and the Siberian permafrost, the "brown haze" of Asia, and
record-breaking heat waves, droughts, and wildfires; and explains that
because the earth's systems are intricately interconnected and finely
calibrated, small alterations can have abrupt and enormous
consequences. Pearce presents a cogent rundown of the findings that
establish greenhouse gases as a global warming catalyst and, most
disturbingly, provides careful analysis of evidence indicating that
climatic change has never been gradual.

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Received on Fri Feb 16 23:56:30 2007

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