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Mark Farmer

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@TeeWee: If you want to spend 19 minutes watching a balanced video on this subject I recommend this one:

And a Merry Christmas to you as well.

posted @ Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - 12:28

[quote][b]TeeWee[/b] - @Mark Farmer:
There was such a land mass shift following the earthquakes in Japan and Indonesia that the Earth's axis shifted (I believe 4 degrees) as a result. .

I believe you may be confusing a shift of 4 inches with a shift of 4 degrees.
Quite a significant difference.

posted @ Tuesday, December 23, 2014 - 16:01

@TeeWee: "The very ststement that there is a consensus in science is foolish. I believe Dr. Farmer will agree with me. "

I agree that science is not settled by consensus, but rather by data and facts.
However I also agree that every climate scientist I have ever spoken with is convinced by the data that human activity has had at least some effect on our current global climate change.
97% may be an estimate, but I would say that one could substitute the words "the overwhelming majority" of climate scientists and still be on solid ground.

That is of course, until that solid ground is underwater:

posted @ Tuesday, December 23, 2014 - 15:30

@TeeWee: Long term changes in global climate can be affected by things such as the Milankovitch Cycles
Their effect on the periodic heating and cooling is well understood.

When one compares historical data with what would be expected under the current cycle we see a departure from the "normal" periodicity.

There is no evidence to suggest that the Earth's axis has changed at all in recent times, and in fact you can go out and measure this yourself. A four degree shift would be HUGE and it would be easily detected. This is an internet urban legend.

The single variable that has changed most significantly during this period (early 1800's to today) is the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere which has gone from about 280 ppm to nearly 400 ppm. In terms of rate of change this is a very steep increase and not at all what was happening before the industrialized period. Also, while you refer to it as "a slight increase in the trace element CO2" it is actually a 45% increase, huge by geologic standards. Not only that but the portion of the infrared radiation that is most influenced by carbon dioxide has also been increasing.

Thus the modest changes in solar activity and normal periodicities produced by Earth's tilt and position relative to the Sun can not account for today's rise in temperatures.
The rapidly increasing CO2 levels (even though a lot of it is being absorbed by the oceans where it is changing the pH of the ocean) is the only thing that has changed enough in the time frame we are talking about (1850 to present) to account for the warming.
And it also accounts for the nearly 40% change we have seen in acid levels in the oceans.

posted @ Tuesday, December 23, 2014 - 15:22

[quote][b]scarborj[/b] - @Mark Farmer: Mr. Farmer still neglects to say how much, if any, extreme government regulations and fines will help this situation at this point. Nada! These actions will only keep our economy at a slow crawl, if not at a standstill, while the earth continues to remain the same.

Mr. Farmer does not say this because Mr. Farmer does not know the answer. Mr. Farmer is a scientist who focusses on what the scientific data tell us about climate change and how it will likely affect life on Earth. He is not an economist and he does not pretend to be an expert in this area (as opposed to retired economists who pretend to be expert scientists).

What Mr. Farmer HAS read is that if all government subsidies are eliminated (for both industries) then solar is approaching cost parity with coal.

Mr. Farmer has also read how Georgia Power is using its political connections to protect its monopoly status and limit distributed solar power generation, something that is opposed by both environmentalists and the Georgia Tea Party.

My trusted colleagues who DO understand these things inform me that updating to things such as smart-grid technology will not only produce huge efficiencies but it would also increase the reliability of our national power network. And it would allow for more distributed power generation (again, all things that are opposed by many electric monopolies). My feeling is that these scholars of economics and energy are correct in their assessments, but you are right, I myself do not delve into this area of research, so I have to trust those that do.

posted @ Tuesday, December 23, 2014 - 13:49

[quote][b]AbidingDude[/b] - With all the talk about climate change, I have never heard of something that can possibly be done to change it. ...

Eventually we will need to migrate to a carbon-free energy economy. This may include nuclear energy (either fission or fusion) but cyou299 is correct, right now we are simply raiding the bank of locked up ancient sunshine and when it is gone it is gone.

For the immediate future we should focus on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. There is still a lot of debate of where the actual tipping point is, but if we assume that it will be reached at 500 ppm we have approximately 50 years before we hit that point.

But if we can reduce CO2 increases to 1.5 ppm per year, we buy ourselves an additional 17 years. If we can reduce it to 1.0 ppm per year we will have a century to make the transition.

But if we put off the hard decisions, and refuse to start moving in the right direction we are dooming our children, grandchildren and future generations to degraded world.

A scenario we have the ability, and the power, to avoid.

posted @ Tuesday, December 23, 2014 - 11:53

I hope Mr. Timberlake reads the online comments section of the ABH (I would not know if he does as I have never seen him sign on with his real name), this way he can see my reply to today's piece. I certainly do not intend to waste the majority of the ABH reader's time (or mine) by writing an entire opinion piece on the basis of a minor arithmetic error.

As Mr. Timberlake points out, I did commit such an arithmetic error, perhaps because I typically write my opinion pieces in the early hours of the morning when I cannot sleep. But that is no excuse for my egregious sin. If Mr. Timberlake reads the comments section he would have noted that alert reader Duke Briscoe already caught and revealed my slip of the additional ".0" and I freely admit to this error (in the interest of full disclosure I also got a C+ in college calculus).

As to Mr. Timberlake's further assertions that this error was part of some grand and nefarious scheme. He writes "an example of the method that most global-warming advocates use. Never do they put the data in simple percentages; it’s always in “permillionages.” So allow me to put the numbers in something akin to what Mr. Timberlake would approve of.

In the year that I was born, 1959, mean CO2 levels were 316 ppm. In 2013 they were 396 and this year are expected to exceed 398. A 26% change in my short lifetime. To put that in perspective global avg. temp. in 1959 was 57 F. If it had increased 26% today's avg. temp would be nearly 64 F. Anyone who knows something about climate change or geologic cycles of temperatures and CO2 would know that a 26% change in just over fifty years is an extraordinarily fast rate of change.

Data here:

Furthermore, Mr. Timberlake goes on to write:
"Farmer also asserts that the one-thousandth of 1 percent increase for the past 50 years is, “a rate that is over a thousand times faster than has ever happened before.” That’s hyperbole, since such a rate of change for something so small would be completely irrelevant to anything. "

Once again Mr. Timberlake has caught me in an arithmetic error, but this time erring on the side of caution rather than hyperbole. Data from the Vostok ice core gives a fairly complete record of CO2 levels going back about 400,000 years.

From these data we see that natural fluctuations have occurred in recent geologic times, with CO2 ranging from a low of 190 ppm to a high of 280 ppm. We also note a periodicity of about 100,000 years, making the average, natural rate of change about 1 ppm per 1000 years.
A review of CO2 changes from Mauna Loa observatory show a rate of change in CO2 of 1.94 ppm increase per year since 2000. Thus the current rate of change is not 1000X the normal rate as I alluded to in my piece, it is in fact 1940X the normal rate.

Data shows that although other factors such as methane and water vapor play a big role, carbon dioxide accounts for about 50% of the radiative forcing that keeps our planet warm and habitable. Thus a big change, in what is a trace gas, has a very, very big effect.

Finally Mr. Timberlake raises the strawman that recent rises in global temperatures are the result of increased solar activity. This has been shown to be incorrect numerous times and I refer the reader to other sources to demonstrate this.

In closing, should Mr. Timberlake wish to organize a public panel discussion with myself and several of my UGA colleagues and himself (and perhaps TeeWee whoever that really is) I would be happy to find time in my schedule to attend.

-Mark Farmer

posted @ Tuesday, December 23, 2014 - 10:21

"Warming may increase, but no one can be certain of that."

This is where I most strongly disagree with Mr. Stossel in that it reveals his general lack of understanding of science. If we assume that the physical laws that govern the universe are stable and are not simply the capricious whims of the Gods, then by understanding those laws we CAN predict the future and we CAN be certain of what will happen under certain conditions.

If you tell oceanographers what the dissolved CO2 levels are going to be they CAN tell you what the pH of the oceans will be.
If you tell climatologists what the ocean surface temperatures are they CAN tell the likelihood of severe drought or severe storms.
If you tell a geologist how much ice is melting in Greenland and how quickly the oceans are warming they CAN tell you how much average sea level will rise.
If you tell a physicist what the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are they CAN tell you how much infrared energy will be reflected back to Earth before it eventually radiates back into space and how much additional heat will be retained in the air and oceans.

What Mr. Stossel and others are saying is meant to cast doubt on the ability of scientists to predict the future, when in fact it is only through our understanding of science and nature that we have any real hope to glean what lays in store for us.
The question is not whether or not "one can be certain" of what will happen. We can be.
The question is what, if anything, we should do about it.

posted @ Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 17:49

"A scientific document on this issue, the “Petition Project,” circulated about 10 years ago. It provided a summary of long-time global temperature variations. It was published in the Wall Street Journal, and was endorsed by more than 31,000 bona fide scientists. The study concluded that CO2 is a benign and useful gas, that the major determinant of global warming is the sun, and that anthropogenic global warming is trivial."

First of all the OISM Petition Project is NOT a scientific document. It is, by its own definition, a petition. It is an opinion piece that espouses an opinion on a scientific issue but that itself contains not a shred of scientific information.

Second, what exactly does it mean to be one of the "31,000 bona fide scientists"? Again according to the OISM these are people " with a BSc or higher qualification" but it does not restrict the discipline or area of study. Alert readers of the ABH will note that by virtue of his BSc in Chemistry from UGA, Rep. Paul Broun would qualify as a "bona fide scientist."

Third, if this number of 31,000 "scientists" is compared with the number of such individuals in the U.S. (I believe that only Americans were asked to sign) then it represents only 0.3% of U.S. scientists (Please note how disparaging Mr. Timberlake is about the impact of such a tiny, tiny percentage, 0.4% being the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere).

Anyone interested in learning more about this so-called example of scientific doubt of climate change can read details here:

And yes, I am working on a thoughtful rebuttal piece. So much for enjoying a glorious Saturday afternoon!

posted @ Saturday, November 1, 2014 - 13:00

Oh Martha, Martha,

A brief look at John Coleman's biography reveals that he is a former TV broadcaster with a degree in journalism and no formal training in either meteorology or climate science. He has no professional credentials. It is like relying on former porn star Jenny McCarthy for pediatric health advice.

I too saw the interview on FOX and I asked a Ph.D. climate scientist friend about it. He confirmed that no one at the Weather Channel pays any attention to Mr. Coleman's views on the subject as they are driven purely by ideology and not by facts or data.

As for the arctic ice being in the "normal range" have a 30 second look at this video which documents sea ice volume since we began accurately measuring it in 1979. You will see that in 35 years we have lost over 65% of the ice.

The facts are real. The causes are known. Human caused climate change is a reality.

You are being misled, but it is not Al Gore nor the climate scientists who are misleading you.

posted @ Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 08:41

“It’s a disappointment to me. I’m p----d off and embarrassed and completely weirded out that a journalism institution that should be seeking out facts and details is basically pandering to hysteria,”

I echo those sentiments with regards to UGA's Grady College. Is this how we define "journalistic courage"?
By uninviting Ms. Williams UGA caved into the irrational pressure that folks like Paul Broun and David Purdue are spreading. Fear spreads a lot faster than ebola and politicians know it.
By pandering to this hysteria UGA is condoning, and fostering it. Exactly the opposite of what a school of journalism should be doing.

Ms. Williams is not sick with ebola. And even if she were, what are the chances that a UGA student or employee would come in contact with her saliva, blood, vomit or feces?

posted @ Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 09:07

"Frankel and three other writers are also scheduled to speak about what journalistic courage means during a symposium at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication."

Such as the journalistic courage it would take to NOT feed the hysteria over a disease in which one has to come in physical contact with the body fluids of an actively sick individual in order to spread the disease?

Ms. Williams does not have ebola., And if she were to feel unwell I am certain that given what she has seen and experienced in west Africa she would not knowingly put others in jeopardy But for UGA to uninvite Ms. Williams from delivering this prestigious lecture shows how even a college that is supposedly dedicated to reporting the truth can succumb to the pressure of fear.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2014 - 08:41

I wish Mr. Ambrose had attended tonight's lecture in the UGA Chapel by Professor Shepherd.
If he had he would have learned that the "no warming since 1998" is a twisting and cherry picking of the data. The warming of the worlds' oceans (70% of Earth) has continued unabated.
He would have learned of the multiple ways in which humanity has, and continues to, alter the climate both local and globally.
He would have that the "Let's not do anything right now, there is too much uncertainty" response is misguided and dangerous for our grandchildren's futures.

He would have learned something.

Please come on Oct. 9 when Dr. Dan Everett will speak about the transition to a carbon-free energy economy.

Spoiler alert!! It is not as costly as Mr. Abrose would want you to believe.

posted @ Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 21:40

Mr. Bryce indirectly raises an important point. All the green energy production in the world will not matter if we cannot curb the growth of our demands for this energy. We need to begin reducing our total energy demands at the same time we seek alternative non-carbon based solutions.
Every 10% reduction in demand means that many fewer coal plants.
Every 10% increase in mpg means that many fewer gallons of oil.
Every 10% reduction in the global birthrate means that many fewer mouths to feed in 2025.

Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers believes that 50 years from now we will still be generating electricity in the same way we do today.
Such thinking a century ago would mean that our homes and churches today would be lit by oil lamps, fueled from the rendered blubber of slaughtered whales.

We CAN move away from fossil fuels.
For the sake of future Americans we must.

Shameless plug for the Anthropocene lecture series.

Please Come hear:
Economics of the Transition Away from Fossil Fuels
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Dr. Daniel M. Everett

posted @ Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - 08:38

Since you are interested in this topic I hope that you will attend Dr. Everett's lecture
Economics of the Transition Away from Fossil Fuels
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Daniel M. Everett
Dept. of Computer Science & Terry College of Business

posted @ Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 13:35

[quote][b]TeeWee[/b] - @mpd0.59:
Either the professors research was so sloppy that he didn't pick up on the glitch or he was satisfied to use the false data. Because of this gross error, all his findings are suspect.

Since you are obviously too busy to check the Mauna Loa data yourself I am happily providing it for you. Below are months in 2014 and the measured and averaged CO2 levels (in ppm) for that month.

March - 399.58
April - 401.29
May - 401.75
June - 401.15
July - 399.00

The three months above 400ppm were not a "blip" as you imply but rather part of the natural seasonal cycle of CO2 flux in the northern hemisphere. As photosynthetic rates ramp up with summer, CO2 levels go down. Typically September and October have the lowest annual averages, and then it begins to climb again. The average increase in CO2 for 2013 was 2.05ppm for 2012 it was 2.66

I stand behind my statements and I provide easy to verify data to back them up.

Hope to see you at the next Anthropocene lecture. They are free and open to the public.

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posted @ Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 13:23

[quote][b]TeeWee[/b] - "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."  Yogi Berra.  [/quote]

I am gathering from your comments that you were not present for my lecture on Thursday evening so let me recap for you. Yes, predictions can be difficult, especially when it comes to climate change. This is why I focused on ocean acidification as it is straightforward and easy to calculate and to predict. Basic chemistry really.

[quote]     Why  do we give any weight to these  wild eyed professors who run down the street with their  pants on fire shouting their radical  predictions?  
     This guy is employing false data.  The 400 ppm CO2 report was a brief blip 
 from one reporting station in Hawaii and researchers published a correction a short time later.  The reporter should have challenged  the Professor on this false statement alone.   If your foundation is built on false data, your entire structure will crumble.  Me thinks he has received funding from the Environmental/Industrial Complex.

I've never received a dime of funding from anyone other than the NSF for my research on protistan evolution. Happy to provide you with a copy of my CV.

Nope, not false data and not a blip. A steady increase in CO2. Check the data yourself here:
and here:
and here for Bermuda:
and here for the Canary islands:
and here for New Zealand:

 [quote]  This guy also fails to report that while some species may become extinct, other new species (plant and animal) are being discovered.  

Being discovered and being created are two very, VERY different things. Net biodiversity on Earth is in steep decline. To imply otherwise is disingenuous (i.e. a lie).

  [quote]   The release of e-mails from the CRU in East Anglia was most interesting. One of the leading researchers championing the CO2 theory could not understand why tons of carbon was being emitted into the atmosphere but global temperatures were not increasing.  The thought never occurred to him that his hypotheses was incorrect.  
More arm-chair quarterbacking. My lecture said nothing about changing temperatures. But since you were not there you would not know that, you can only throw stones from the sidelines.

[quote]     The  IPCC  about a year ago  was forced to admit they could not identify one specie which became extinct as a result of global  warming. 

Ughh. Again with the warming? I said that species were going extinct due to hunting, habitat destruction, and introduced pests being spread around the world by humans. Would you like the reams and reams of data that supports that?

[quote]     Depending on the reporting data, there has not been any global warming for 13 to 17 years 10 months.  Let is not forget that the Sahara was once a sea, parts of Sweden was a tropical forest the Earth has been hotter and colder than now.  

Even Forbes magazine acknowledges that June 2014 was the warmest June in recorded history:

And July was the fourth hottest ever.
But I digress, it is the changing chemistry of the oceans that worries me the most. we have somewhere between 50 and 75 years before the coral reefs around the world begin to disappear for good.

posted @ Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 12:55

[quote][b]Used2baFreeCountry[/b] - This poem about a terrible incident that occurred in the south fifty years ago reminds me of the time I got lost driving a rental car late at night among high-rise urban housing projects up north.
I was terrified.

I grew up in the shadow of such northern high-rise housing projects. I never had anyone threaten me because of the color of my skin.

Thank you Jerry for keeping alive the memory of Lt. Col. Penn and for the reminder that intolerance of others is perhaps the worst of sins.
Who was it who said?
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

posted @ Saturday, July 12, 2014 - 09:24

"Today, an evolutionist would be welcomed to express his views to a chapel audience."

Indeed. Last year the Chapel served as a magnificent venue for the Origins Lecture series which dealt with everything from the origin of the universe to the origin of mankind.
This fall we hope it will prove equally wonderful for our next lecture series "Welcome to the Anthropocene" which will chronicle humanity's influences on the biology and chemistry of the planet.

posted @ Sunday, July 6, 2014 - 14:35

[quote][b]Used2baFreeCountry[/b] - Thanks goodness for Fox News!
By itself, Fox News balances out the liberal propaganda put out by the mainstream media television networks!

I think that once again you have missed the entire point of this article.

As for the author's advice? It really works. When my mother discovered the internet I started receiving all sorts of nonsense that supported her political leanings. When I started fact checking these with Snopes and then sending the links back via "Reply to All" she quickly became embarrassed at how easily she had been duped. Now she herself fact checks these propaganda pieces that are supposedly written by knowledgeable people and in most cases stops herself from propagating the nonsense.

Seriously people, it is now so easy to access solid data on a whole range of issues, PLEASE do some research before forming an opinion.

posted @ Friday, June 20, 2014 - 08:01

[quote][b]Eastville[/b] - @proftom: Carbon dioxide's not insulation .

Sorry, but yes it is. We have known how CO2 traps infrared radiation through bond bending and bond stretching for over a century. There is lots of empirical data that shows beyond any doubt that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere (the entire increase being the result of human activity) is trapping IR in precisely the radiation wavelengths absorbed by CO2. It is a cause and effect relationship, not simply a correlation.

Simply saying that CO2 is not causing global warming is pure and simple denialism.
If you are truly interested in learning about the science behind these claims take a look here:

posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 08:31


[quote][b]Used2baFreeCountry[/b] - I am so old that I remember when we had presidents who wanted America to have lower energy costs, instead of trying to get them to skyrocket. .

If you take away the government subsidies and other benefits offered to the fossil fuel industry then wind power is already lower cost energy. Do you get to dump your waste for free? The fossil fuel industry does. Try looking at the total picture.

posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 07:29

Using peak solar and wind electricity to make hydrogen is a reasonable idea. In addition to having a potential role in transportation, hydrogen can easily be converted back to electricity when needed via fuel cells. Although one loses energy with every conversion if the initial energy is carbon-free we (and future generations) will ultimately be the winners.
People like Mr. Ambrose are no better than those who yell "Fire" in a movie theater. They are risking our future for the sake of protecting the fossil fuel industry.

posted @ Monday, June 9, 2014 - 18:50

I can only assume that Jim Thompson was required by corporate headquarters to publish this worthless bit of dreck. The ABH usually has far higher standards that to print a string of unsubstantiated lies propagated solely to incite fear for political purposes.

posted @ Friday, June 6, 2014 - 19:24

I can only assume that Jim Thompson was forced by corporate headquarters to print this utterly worthless opinion piece. It is devoid of facts and full of fear mongering lies.

posted @ Friday, June 6, 2014 - 19:17

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