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Old 09-17-2013, 02:54 PM   #981 (permalink)
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Thermal runaway is a term that is not applied to climate change.

The notion of "runaway greenhouse effect" is used, at times, to refer to a serious of amplifying feedback loops that keeps heating the planet till it reaches Venus-like temperatures. That is not considered to be a likely option, and could only happen if we burned ALL of the fossil fuels in existence, and possibly not even then.

Feedback loops are smaller systemic reactions, some positive, some negative. A negative global warming feedback would be the increase in icebergs due to accelerating glaciers. Icebergs provide a friendly environment for some kinds of photosynthetic plankton, and they form a series of small carbon sinks that pull CO2 out of the atmosphere and into the ocean.

Positive feedbacks include the albedo effect that I already described (which again - is a matter of simple physics, and not under any real debate), the release of methane from melting arctic permafrost, increase in water vapor due to higher evaporation, decrease in photosynthesis due to drought and high temperatures, and simultaneous decrease in photosynthesis and CO2 release due to wildfires.

All of these have been documented in the last decade.

What, exactly, do you think I'm being "terrorized" by? Observable reality?