Saturday, June 30, 2012

Presenting at Sustainable Silicon Valley on water and climate change

On May 24th, I had the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Santa Clara Valley Water District at the Sustainable Silicon Valley's annual WEST:  Water, Energy, Smart Technology Summit.  More info about my panel regarding regional resilience to climate change is here, and my presentation is below:

Supposedly, we followed a variant on the Pecha Kucha, 20 slides/7minutes presentation.  Some speakers completely ignored the rules; I didn't think quite that far out of the box.

My Powerpoint had a glitch - it was advancing automatically while I was talking.  Fortunately, they removed that from the video.  Unfortunately, fixing that appears to have lost two slides in the process.  At about 5:10 I start referring to a compromise between letting the bay advance due to sea level rise and protecting critical areas at a red line, and that missing slide is here:

My thanks to Water District staff for the crucial assistance in preparing the slides.  Responsibility for any opinions I expressed rests with me.

(Reposted from my Water District blog).


Aaron said...

Just what is sustainable?

Climate scientists are trained to be “conservative”. When they publish a paper, it contains “defensible” data. The data is not “most likely, or “expected”, it is what is defensible, give the current state of knowledge, and that tends to be conservative.

Then, that data goes into models that multiply conservative data times conservative data. The models multiply values that are a trifle low together until the result has no relationship with reality. This is the core of why AGW is outpacing the climate models. By trying to produce defensible results, climate science has developed a process that completely understates AGW, and enshrines this 4nderstated rate as the conventional wisdom that everybody knows, and nobody challenges. Thus, Climate Science expresses surprise as each new climate event unfolds, because they did not expect it this soon. Climate Science believes the models.

When more realistic values for climate parameters are plugged into the climate models, the results tell us that AGW is worse than anything published and it is coming faster than any published forecast. These are not “defensible” runs, and they are rarely published. Modern climate science is composed of academics that do not have the courage to confront reality. For example, in 2007, IPCC AR4 put loss of Arctic Sea Ice in the future. Arctic Sea Ice loss was reality in 2007.

Considering all the feedbacks from loss of sea ice, if the models get sea ice wrong in the early going, then all the out years of the models are a complete waste of electrons.

Estimates of loss of sea ice in AR4 were on the close order of 7 decades, and yet as far as polar bears, walrus and seals are concerned, sea ice is going, going, gone. Thus, the climate models' time-lines are off by almost an order of magnitude in the first 7 years. Loss of sea ice will dramatically increase GIS decay. Given that ice dynamics and carbon feed backs are not in the climate models, we can expect the sea level error to increase exponentially over what is in the climate models. In this context, “sustainable” means that the technology/infrastructure will continue to function in the face of 10 meters or more meters of sea level rise by 2100. That suggests that it must function against 5 meters of sea level rise by 2056 and 2.5 meters by 2034.

I am not saying this will happen, I am saying it is a plausible planning case that needs to be considered. Any sea level rise model that does not include detailed structural strength analysis of the GIS as latent heat is transferred from the oceans to the GIS, and heat advected into the core of the GIS via moulins is not plausible. And, “plausible” is the basis of publication. Any estimate of sea level rise that does not address these factors should not have passed peer review.

When NCAR was established, Climate Scientists were made the watchmen of the world and given a fiduciary duty to warn society of approaching hazards. Our climate models hugely understate AGW. By failing to sound an appropriate alarm, Climate Science has breached it's duty. And all planning and policy based on the current generation of climate models is doomed to fail.

Your Loyal Alarmist.

Brian said...

Aaron, IPCC AR4 said "anthropogenic forcing has likely contributed to the trend in NH sea ice extent" in the immediate past and present, not just future:

Also, Hansen's predictions from models in 1981 and 1988 haven't been too far off.

I agree Arctic sea ice is worse than predicted, and that's worrying, but that doesn't mean the models are ridiculously underestimated.

As for my little Water District, we used high-end calculations for sea level rise made in 2006. Those may no longer be high-end but still give a little room for problems. Also our levees will be built with room for height increases.

Anonymous said...

Well color me stoopid, that is why they call me "Hey Stoopid".

Gravitate to that which you under estimate, as Rebecca, would say.

susan said...

It's a little hard to upgrade the estimates in the light of reality when there's a vocal industry in calling every little thing into question and flinging mud. I think the scientists do well to stick up for themselves as much as they do.

It is indeed sad that the chronic underestimates are PR reversed into supposed overestimates. Very foolish and dangerous.