the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Update on Winds paper

Posted by Jeff Id on March 13, 2011

Copied from comments on the other thread

Anastassia Makarieva

Some of the readers may still be interested the fate of our draft paper “Where do winds come from?” and our condensation theory as originally highlighted on The Air Vent here. A second referee was appointed –- many thanks to all of those that helped with that. Now we wait for their judgements. In the meantime, several substantive comments and replies have been posted. We believe that responding to these comments has clarified our presentation and helped identify and address some misunderstandings. Again we are grateful to all those who have contributed. The open discussion was extended until at least April 7th, 2011 (from the original deadline of December 10th, 2010).

We are glad to be part of this new way of assessing and refining science and invite you to join! We welcome comments, criticisms and suggestions. How can we be more convincing? (Additional developments on this topic can also be found here.)

16 Responses to “Update on Winds paper”

  1. Brian H said

    Excellent stuff. I think the “Biotic Regulation” aspect is a waking giant of a topic, in particular.

    I note that you are not naming the second referee; is this by their choice, or a policy decision by the journal?

  2. ColinD said

    Biotic Regulation has been hanging around for a while. I recall some 40 years ago reading a paper that documented a sudden drop in rainfall at the interface between uncleared and cleared mulga land; I think it was in Victoria.

  3. TomRude said

    Looking forward to more news from this research.

  4. M. Simon said

    Is this the “winds execute” message? About 69 years too late.

  5. plazaeme said

    Thanks for the updates on the wind mistery. It’s quite interesting.

  6. Thanks, Jeff!

    Some media coverage of the special volume of the International Journal of Water where the recent biotic pump overview appeared: Water for an integrative climate paradigm

    @ Brian H — we do not know the name of the second referee. The routine procedure is such that the referee decides whether to disclose their name upon submission of the review. We can only know from the ms records that the referee was nominated and accepted the nomination.

  7. Derek said

    Is there a concise and preferably laymans worded / aimed summing up (and or plots / diagrams) of,

    a) the “Where winds come from” theory as proposed, and,
    b) the discussions / criticisms and strengths of the theory so far. ?

    I would be very interested.
    http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/forums/thread-1148.html

  8. BlueIce2HotSea said

    You have provided links to the biotic regulation site so although it is off topic w.r.t. your wind paper I hope my comments are acceptable.

    Empirical evidence for the biotic regulation concept is both deeply interesting and disturbing. Your basic proposition is that anthropogenic activities will make the earth uninhabitable! More specifically, human disruption to the tenuous biotic regulation of earth’s temperature will at some point cause a rapid permanent shift to a more physically natural equilibrium temperature of either -100C or +400C.

    Stability Fig.1 has the appearance of the cusp catastrophe, where the 2nd order coefficient is zero. This seems reasonable given that heat transfer equations are 4th and 1st order temp dependent and so can be recast as cusp equations. Can the plot be interpreted in this way with the well of relative biotic stability on the cusp? Sorry if I am off track. You definitely have my interest.

    Given what is at stake, Biotic Regulation for Everyone is somewhat counter-productive. IMO there is over-cultivation of the image of humanity as the efficient destroyer of all life and too meager positive focus on planetary climate hygiene. Those who would save the planet by eliminating humanity will uncritically use your work as a justification and those who would oppose the next generation of police-state mass-murderers will reject your work as a biased manifesto. Since you are funded by the Soros Foundation, with political activism the primary interest, this detracts from the perception of scientific objectivity.

    May I suggest fixing all small errors, removing anti-civilization bias and using debatable claims only when necessary?

    The conclusions are plausible, however the arguments “for Everyone” are given authoritatively without overt sense of likely objections. A couple of counter examples from many possible:

    Paleovegetation maps by John Adams – using cross-disciplinary field work – show conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum as incompatible with abundant life. Note: trees were a rarity although GCMs give a much geener picture.

    GCMs (as do you) show no escape from a “snowball earth”. However, there is paleoclimate evidence showing extensive past glaciation and even sea ice extending below the ocean floor at tropical latitudes. And it appears the earth’s temperature has reached and perhaps briefly surpassed 300K. How is it possible that the climate has recovered from these extremes?

  9. #7 Derek
    Thank you for your interest! I would like to respond to your request of a concise summing up the discussion. Currently I am time-pressed, but if we think up of something worthy of your attention, I’ll let a notice here. In the meantime, I consider the hurricane’s pro thread as very informative in terms of our general standings.

    #8 BlueIce2HotSea
    Thank you for your attention to the biotic regulation topic. I hope Jeff will not mind.

    As you might know, in the 90s in Russia we had quite a mess. The financial situation of state-funded workers, including scientists, was difficult to say the least. At that time the Soros Foundation was actively distributing funds in Russia (they had perhaps their reasons). Many people grasped at this opportunity to remain alive. I once received 700 dollars from Soros as a student stipend (because I had good performance in the university) and next (and last) time, in 1999 if I remember rightly, already when a researcher, I received 4,200 dollars for a research project “Information fluxes in the biosphere and civilization” (see, e.g., here). I am thankful for that support which came during difficult time and helped me buy a PC and a printer. But to claim that I am funded by the Soros Foundation does not correspond to the reality.

    Those who would save the planet by eliminating humanity will uncritically use your work as a justification and those who would oppose the next generation of police-state mass-murderers will reject your work as a biased manifesto.

    The conclusions are plausible, however the arguments “for Everyone” are given authoritatively without overt sense of likely objections.

    Any scientific finding can be used uncritically by extremists. Regarding authoritative statements, on our website we formulate our own vision of the problem based on all our research. Being clear-cut in our statements has the following advantage: it provokes the reader. It then serves as a filter: if the reader is satisfied with the first objections that come to his/her mind after reading our stuff, this is not our target reader. We do not aim to engage. We aim to present arguments to hook interest of people who value intellectual activity and scientific truth, radical as it might be, more than anything else. We expect the reader to raise and dismiss (or not) objections on his/her own.

    To wrap up the biotic pump concept for a wide readership would demand different skills and style, I agree with you. So the title of the “BR for Everyone” section is in fact a bit cheating.

    GCMs (as do you) show no escape from a “snowball earth”. However, there is paleoclimate evidence showing extensive past glaciation and even sea ice extending below the ocean floor at tropical latitudes. And it appears the earth’s temperature has reached and perhaps briefly surpassed 300K. How is it possible that the climate has recovered from these extremes?

    I do not consider such very distant climate extremes as established evidence. Even the reconstruction of much more recent climates, where there is relatively rich and independent data, is highly controversial. The more one goes back in time, the greater the degree by which speculations outnumber evidence and robust conclusions.

    Paleovegetation maps by John Adams – using cross-disciplinary field work – show conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum as incompatible with abundant life. Note: trees were a rarity although GCMs give a much greener picture.

    We should not forget about the oceanic biota which is older than the terrestrial one. Global productivity of the modern biosphere is about 100 Gt C/year, of which the ocean makes roughly 40 Gt C/year and the terrestrial biota makes about 60 Gt C/year (1 Gt = 10^9 ton). (Most biomass on land (wood) is metabolically inactive, therefore the ocean where there is seemingly “nobody” has a comparable productivity.)

    If you look at the productivity map of the oceanic biota (google, e.g., “oceanic productivity”), you will find that the warmest areas are the least productive (the so-called tropical oceanic deserts). The terrestrial biota shows an opposite trend. During the Last Glacial Maximum, global oceanic productivity might have been therefore much higher than it is now, thus enhancing (not reducing) the total global power of biotic regulation and the global abundance of life.

    For the terrestrial biota the LGM retreat of forests (which were unable to adapt to the relatively fast temperature changes, as the time scale of evolution is several million years) brought about a global-wide increase in continental aridity. This is in full agreement with the biotic pump concept.

    Let me use this opportunity to refer to an interesting archaeological study which documented deforestation-mediated demise of a once prosperous Peru civilization.

    there is over-cultivation of the image of humanity as the efficient destroyer of all life

    I would be interested in specific examples that made you perceive our stuff like that. You know, there can also be language issues. In my opinion, few reasonable people would deny that we humans destroy the biosphere on a global scale at a high rate. Our point is that by doing so we are doing harm to our own civilization and we aim to explain how and why.

    Thank you very much again for your comments.

    #1 Brian H
    I’d like to add to my response — we do not know officially who the reviewer is. But we may of course have our guesses.

  10. BlueIce2HotSea said

    #9 Anastassia

    In your 2000 and 2001 papers on Earth’s temperature stability, I had noticed acknowledgements for support from the Soros Foundation. Of course, overt thankfulness is to be desired. And even if your results end up being beneficial to Soros’ business and political interests, that is of low interest to me compared to seeing the topic get as unpoliticized an evaluation as is possible.

    To gain maximum acceptance “from Everyone”, my emphasis would be to promote positive ideas such as optimal planetary climate hygiene. In contrast, consider the following statement from Homo sapiens — the rightless animal? (on humanitarian disaster of a global scale):

    “Massive killing of conspecifics is absent in any other species except Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens is an unbeaten and unrivaled champion of atrocities in the animal world. Terrorism, extremism all drink from this source.”

    The reason I label such statements as anti-civilization is because it is emotional rhetoric that will energize a subset of your audience: those who share a love of nature and a hatred of humanity. My issue is not whether the message stripped of sentimentality might be basically true, it is that the approach is unnecessarily counter-productive and dangerous. It is more pragmatic to search for compatibility between love of nature AND continuous advancement of civilization (with increasing population size).

    “The natural territory that is prescribed by the human design is of the order of 4 square kilometers” That means 1/4 of the world’s population (1.7B) are excessive and infinging on the natural territorial rights of 5.1B people. When calling for a massive reduction in the number of humans, please do so carefully!

    The greatest diversity and abundance of terrestrial life is at low latitudes where more energy correlates with more life. Yes, warmer oceans can a problem for macro-marine life because the increasing levels of phytoplankton result in increasing depletion of oxygen levels when after dying, they are decomposed by bacteria. But, after then end of ice-ages, rainforests replace terrestrial deserts, an process that counters the expansion of ocean deserts.

    Lastly, I take issue with your statement: “few reasonable people would deny that we humans destroy the biosphere on a global scale at a high rate“. I find myself to be quite reasonable :) yet I insist that you substitute the word “alter” for “destroy”. Consider the following idea:

    Trees destroy the biosphere on a global scale at a high rate. After the end of the last ice age, desert, tundra and grass biomes were quickly destroyed by invasive and opportunistic tree growth which mnoved outside of its naturally isolated and sparse concentrations. (Perhaps it is time to fight back!)

    Do you not find the inflammatory style disagreeable? ALL organisms alter the environment and populations grow to completely fill the available niches. At some times mass extinction events have occurred when environmental alteration became excessive. There. That last style is boring and more safe.

    Thank you for engaging.

  11. Geoff Sherrington said

    For comparison. back in 1995 I wrote a manuscript about travels in West China, mainly Yunnan Province, area 394,000 sq km, 85% mountainous with little habitation because of a lack of electricity to pump useful amounts of water. So the (then) population of 38 million, by division, are each allocated a plot 40m x 40m, mathematically. That’s 580 people per sq km, compared with Australia’s 2.2 people per sq km at the time. These contrasting figures enter the philosophy of mankind’s effect on earth.

  12. [...] Lo explican muy gráficamente, y le llaman, con toda propiedad, sistema abierto de revisión. Podría suponer un gran cambio en la forma de publicar la ciencia, y en su credibilidad y control de calidad. Pero yo le adjudicaría el invento a Makarieva [-->]. [...]

  13. Anastassia Makarieva said

    #7 Derek

    We have just posted our reply to the second referee. Keeping your request in mind, we tried to both overview the preceding discussion and highlight the main findings. Please, see here. If you have any additional questions, please, feel free to contact me (my email is in the paper as that of the corresponding author).

  14. Derek said

    *13 Anastassia Makarieva

    THANK YOU, I have posted it, and will try to read it through thoroughly asap.
    http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/forums/thread-1148-post-8261.html#pid8261

    I am a bit tied up with this at present..
    http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/forums/thread-1186.html

  15. Reply 2 to “Review” by Dr. Isaac Held: On publication criteria in science
    1. High bar for unconventional findings
    2. Low bar for “conventional” findings?
    3. Science: One bar for all

  16. [...] Update on Winds paper [...]

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