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  1. #1
    Rubber Nipple Salesperson ladypinkington's Avatar
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    Default Has anyone heard of Global Dimming and if so what are your thoughts on it??

    Here is a link that talks about what I am talking about for anyone who has never heard of it.


    NOVA | Dimming the Sun | PBS

    If anyone has heard of it, what are your thoughts on it and- have you done any research on it and if so what have you learned?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Very interesting. So that explains how scientists weren't crazy when they previously feared global cooling.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dark Razor's Avatar
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    Basically what it will do is dramatically accelerate global warming once the pollution clears up.

    Though there is also increasing particle polution from burning coal, particularly in China, however the effect does not only seem to be global but also local, meaning that the temperature in Europe for example may rise as local pollution there is increasingly clearing up and more sunlight reaches the surface.

    It's also not just a matter of warming or cooling, as the particle emissions also alter cloud formation and rainfall patterns, so any change in particle emissions has an effect on agriculture, floods, droughts etc. in certain areas.

    The decrease in sunlight that reaches the surface also effects plant growth quite significantly, which in combination with altered rainfal patterns can quite dramatically impact agriculture in some areas, for example in Africa, though I dont exactly remember in which part of it.

    I am mostly basing this on the BBC Horizon feature about global dimming and some reading on random sites and Wikipedia.

    Here's the transcript of the BBC episode:
    BBC - Science & Nature - Horizon

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    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    That BBC program certainly paints a pretty bad picture, especially when they start talking about the release of methane hydrate. Is that really a possibility?

    A few days ago, I remember looking outside and I was just amazed at how the sky looked so deep blue. Usually, the color isn't as deep as it was that day. I wonder if that just weather patterns pushing pollution away for a day.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    I'm going to take exception to something the BBC article said. It claimed we could reach a "point of no return", which is what would lead to the release of methane hydrates. At least that's how I interpreted the transcript. After reading up a bit on methane hydrates, it appears there have been massive releases in the past. They're linked to previous mass extinctions.

    Maybe this is what they mean by "point of no return", that we're definitely heading to a mass extinction. In my mind, a point of no return would lead to permanent extinction of all life, something akin to Earth's climate becoming more like Venus'. A mass extinction is certainly not desirable, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a point of no return.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dark Razor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I'm going to take exception to something the BBC article said. It claimed we could reach a "point of no return", which is what would lead to the release of methane hydrates. At least that's how I interpreted the transcript. After reading up a bit on methane hydrates, it appears there have been massive releases in the past. They're linked to previous mass extinctions.

    Maybe this is what they mean by "point of no return", that we're definitely heading to a mass extinction. In my mind, a point of no return would lead to permanent extinction of all life, something akin to Earth's climate becoming more like Venus'. A mass extinction is certainly not desirable, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a point of no return.
    Maybe they should have called it a "tipping point" that'd probably be a more accurate description. From what I know the hydrates on the sea floor will be fairly stable for the time being, as the ocean takes quite some time to heat up, the more immediate danger seems to be thawing permafrost and methan deposits on the arctic shore, like explained in this article:
    Methane in the Arctic and its Role in Global Climate Change

    The potential consequenses seem to be quite severe, there is also the phenomenon that was talked about in "Inconvennient Truth" (independend of what you think of the movie), where large bodies of ice can completely disintegrate if just their surface starts melting, because the water, which is heavier than ice, sinks through the ice all the way down to the bedrock, forming canals through the ice block and raising it from the rock, which may cause large icemasses, like the Greenland Ice Sheet to suddenly slide into the sea all at once at some point instead of gradually melting. Which means that it is by no means certain that sea level rise will be a slow and gradual process, if a certain amount of thawing happens in Greenland and West Antarctica then a rise of several feet could happen within a very short time actually.

    There is a mass extinction already underway, actually, which is mostly caused by habitat destruction and pollution because of human activity, though global warming is also playing a role. From what I gather it is estimated that between one fourth and half of all species will likely become extinct durting the next 100 years, which means that this is probably the fastest extinction that has ever taken place on earth, which may cause the collapse of complete eco-systems and therefor also limit the ability of humans to grow food. The Amazon rainforest for example will likely be completely gone by 2100 or even earlier, which will completely alter global weather patterns. Here is some information about the extinction:
    Mass Extinction Underway | Biodiversity Crisis | Global Species Loss

    Edit: I think they DID talk about the earth heating up like Venus in the documentary, but from what I know it is controversial among scientists if that is even theoretically possible, I have seen it argued that the atmosphere would likely stabilize at 10C warmer than now, which would kill most life though.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Razor View Post
    Edit: I think they DID talk about the earth heating up like Venus in the documentary, but from what I know it is controversial among scientists if that is even theoretically possible, I have seen it argued that the atmosphere would likely stabilize at 10C warmer than now, which would kill most life though.
    Thanks for the links. I'm going to read those articles when I have a chance.

    I don't think it's theoretically possible for the Earth to become like Venus. About a year ago, I was reading up on terraforming and there was talk about how it's impossible to turn Venus into an Earth-like planet. It had to do with the lack of water because Venus' escape velocity is just below the threshold needed to retain it's hydrogen. Earth's escape velocity is just above that threshold. In order to terraform Venus, the article said we'd need to crash some bodies (likely asteroids), preferrably with large amounts of hydrogen, into Venus. It seemed like a logical argument to me.

    Anyway, from everything I've read, I agree that the Earth would likely stabilize at a higher temperature. It would still be disasterous, obviously. But there have been many disasters in the past. Life would recover (probably without us).
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  8. #8
    Rubber Nipple Salesperson ladypinkington's Avatar
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    I just love Earth Sciences, even though studying it can be kind of angering and depressing sometimes! Thanks to you both for your input.

    I learned not too long that the humidity in the rain forest is actually made by the trees exhaling moisture to the sky from what they absorb from their roots and that in fact is why it is so rainy and humid. The Rain Forest is the Earth's lungs. Deforestation is a major concern because the more the rainforest is cut down- the less moisture it is able to exhale to the atmosphere= the less rain that will fall down to South America as I understand it. And at a certain point it will not have enough moisture to keep the cycle going needed to maintain its needs. Not to mention disrupting the wildlife relationship to the rainforest and its interdependent life cycle. I just think how that process works is fascinating.

    I hope I have explained that somewhat well- I am not very good at explaining myself in good technical ways.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Dark Razor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post

    I don't think it's theoretically possible for the Earth to become like Venus. About a year ago, I was reading up on terraforming and there was talk about how it's impossible to turn Venus into an Earth-like planet. It had to do with the lack of water because Venus' escape velocity is just below the threshold needed to retain it's hydrogen. Earth's escape velocity is just above that threshold. In order to terraform Venus, the article said we'd need to crash some bodies (likely asteroids), preferrably with large amounts of hydrogen, into Venus. It seemed like a logical argument to me.
    We already had that discussion on INTPc, remember?


    Quote Originally Posted by ladypinkington View Post
    I just love Earth Sciences, even though studying it can be kind of angering and depressing sometimes! Thanks to you both for your input.

    I learned not too long that the humidity in the rain forest is actually made by the trees exhaling moisture to the sky from what they absorb from their roots and that in fact is why it is so rainy and humid. The Rain Forest is the Earth's lungs. Deforestation is a major concern because the more the rainforest is cut down- the less moisture it is able to exhale to the atmosphere= the less rain that will fall down to South America as I understand it. And at a certain point it will not have enough moisture to keep the cycle going needed to maintain its needs. Not to mention disrupting the wildlife relationship to the rainforest and its interdependent life cycle. I just think how that process works is fascinating.

    I hope I have explained that somewhat well- I am not very good at explaining myself in good technical ways.
    Yes, you explained that correctly , cloud formation over the rainforest depends on the water that evaporates from the foilage, so if the forest is thined to much the weather will change to be dryer and the forest will become more prone to burning and and might eventually change into some type of savanna.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Razor View Post
    We already had that discussion on INTPc, remember?
    Ahh, you're right. We did!
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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