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Thread: Extreme climate change - how much and how fast

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    Exclamation Extreme climate change - how much and how fast

    The Atlantic has an excellent and fact-heavy article on past extreme climates, and how changes in CO2 brought them about.

    The Planet Could Have Catastrophic Surprises in Store. The geologic record carries a terrifying warning.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...istory/617793/
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    Excellent summary article. One factoid not covered was the human population pinch points in the last, say, 20,000 years, covering the deep ice age to now. If you include the impacts and volcanoes, there have been periods that seem hard to survive and certainly reduced the population while forcing migrations. It is thought pestilence and famine easily out pace conflicts in reducing populations and destroying civilisations. Maybe those also outpace sea level rise although that seems drastic to us now when we can view the many underwater cities of the past. How vulnerable is the population to current warming?

    How vulnerable civilisations that support those populations? Right now we are reminded how our international world has allowed a new disease to give pause.

    We are so bad at factoring in unusual but catastrophic possibilities. So good at solving last year’s problems! But I guess we will lumber on until we get a real kick in the pants, we should start building pyramids that might survive us!
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Of more immediate interest today, a variation in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere of as little as 0.1 percent has meant the difference between sweltering Arctic rainforests and a half mile of ice atop Boston.
    That is not settled science, not even close. The last million years of ice ages does not support that conclusion, nor do the dramatic changes that have happened since the end of the last glacier building phase of our current ice age.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nota View Post
    That cold blob might be the butterly flap that that changes the world. But, no panic, it should correct itself in a thousand years.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Thanks for sharing this excellent article from The Atlantic.

    It has two points that deserve clarification.

    1. The article compares the current CO2 level of 410ppm (actually now close to 417ppm) to past periods, asking about likely equivalence. However, it does not mention the current warming role of other greenhouse gases such as methane which mean that compared to the Holocene 280ppm the current radiative forcing is equivalent to a CO2 level of over 500 ppm, according to data cited at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiat...#Recent_trends .

    2. The article makes the statement "The good news is the inertia of the Earth’s climate system is such that we still have time to rapidly reverse course, heading off an encore of this world, or that of the Miocene, or even the Pliocene, in the coming decades. All it will require is instantaneously halting the super-eruption of CO2 disgorged into the atmosphere that began with the Industrial Revolution." While true that we have time to rapidly reverse course, "halting the super-eruption of CO2" is not enough to do it. The warming problem is mainly due to past emissions, which cause about forty times as much radiative forcing as annual emissions according to https://www.globalwarmingindex.org/ . Therefore totally halting emissions, which means ending all burning, would only address 2% of the problem. The other 98% requires physical removal of the excess greenhouse gases from the air, ideally by converting them into valuable carbon products. And since that is such a big job, stopping dangerous warming also means that brightening the planet would be needed to limit overshoots while we bring GHGs back to a stable level. "Net zero emissions" may have to mainly be delivered by carbon dioxide conversion, not by decarbonisation of the world economy as implied in the article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    Thanks for sharing this excellent article from The Atlantic.

    It has two points that deserve clarification.

    1. The article compares the current CO2 level of 410ppm (actually now close to 417ppm) to past periods, asking about likely equivalence. However, it does not mention the current warming role of other greenhouse gases such as methane which mean that compared to the Holocene 280ppm the current radiative forcing is equivalent to a CO2 level of over 500 ppm, according to data cited at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiat...#Recent_trends .

    2. The article makes the statement "The good news is the inertia of the Earth’s climate system is such that we still have time to rapidly reverse course, heading off an encore of this world, or that of the Miocene, or even the Pliocene, in the coming decades. All it will require is instantaneously halting the super-eruption of CO2 disgorged into the atmosphere that began with the Industrial Revolution." While true that we have time to rapidly reverse course, "halting the super-eruption of CO2" is not enough to do it. The warming problem is mainly due to past emissions, which cause about forty times as much radiative forcing as annual emissions according to https://www.globalwarmingindex.org/ . Therefore totally halting emissions, which means ending all burning, would only address 2% of the problem. The other 98% requires physical removal of the excess greenhouse gases from the air, ideally by converting them into valuable carbon products. And since that is such a big job, stopping dangerous warming also means that brightening the planet would be needed to limit overshoots while we bring GHGs back to a stable level. "Net zero emissions" may have to mainly be delivered by carbon dioxide conversion, not by decarbonisation of the world economy as implied in the article.
    Good point about brightening, recent modeling suggests bad news about clouds. Earlier it was unknown whether the increased water vapour would change cloud cover, and further unclear whether that would be positive or negative feedback to warming. Now , although “it’s only a model” and clouds are very complex, the models are pessimistic. Refective cloud cover may diminish, leading to even worse climate predictions than before. Progress on sequestering CO2 seems way too slow.
    https://e360.yale.edu/features/why-c...ons-on-warming
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    I'll admit I only skimmed the article, but I love this quote
    When hucksters tell you that the climate is always changing, they’re right, but that’s not the good news they think it is. “The climate system is an angry beast,” the late Columbia climate scientist Wally Broecker was fond of saying, “and we are poking it with sticks.”
    .

    Good points, Robert Tulip, and I'll add another thought. The thing that troubles me the most is not any specific concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, but the rate at which we are changing it (and other greenhouse gases), which does not allow ecosystems to stabilize and species to adopt. Other than sudden, dramatic events (like the Chicxulub impactor 66 million years ago), I suspect this is the fastest that the Earth's climate has changed this much.
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    Number of insect species has already declined by a third.
    Birds and amphibians face similar challenges. Bugs have lived through a lot of extinction events, but apparently not this one. From the ice numbers I've heard for Antarctica and Greenlland, it looks like we may face an Atlantic sea level rise of 6" a year by 2040. What I find scariest are the methane seeps and blowouts in Siberia. Methane eats oxygen as it burns, and our supply of that is limited by plant biomass. Methane release is not an easily reversible problem. It's more of a positive feedback loop, waiting to be triggered.

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    I mentionedthe Netflix documentary Seaspiracy in another thread. The state of life in our oceans is dire and there is an important link to climate change. The oceans are the biggest, by far, sink of carbon and that’s due to life, both tiny and huge. I see no human chance to end that until it becomes uneconomical to fish with thousands of large fishing boats. That is coming soon, tens of years perhaps. We humans have really gone and done it this time. Like addicts of other sorts, we must go through the bottom part of the cycle, the upheavals, the deaths, and hopefully survive wiser and determined to do better.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigabyte View Post
    That is not settled science, not even close. The last million years of ice ages does not support that conclusion, nor do the dramatic changes that have happened since the end of the last glacier building phase of our current ice age.
    The claim that "variation in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere of as little as 0.1 percent has meant the difference between sweltering Arctic rainforests and a half mile of ice atop Boston" refers to the cyclic variation between glacial maxima and interglacials, with the CO2 level regularly swinging between about 180 and 280 ppm over the hundred thousand year sawtooth pattern seen in ice core data, a variation of 100 ppm.

    100 ppm = 0.01% of the atmosphere. The 0.1% figure in the article overstates the cyclic variation of CO2 by ten times, an easy mistake. Also, I suspect the ice thickness at Boston twenty thousand years ago was more than half a mile, since the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet was up to two miles high. Otherwise, the claim is settled science.

    Correction: The 0.1% figure seems to refer to the difference between the Ice Age CO2 level of ~200 parts per million and the Eocene level, fifty million years ago, which is when there were rainforests in the Arctic. But the article explains that estimates of the Eocene CO2 level vary from 600 to 1000 ppm, ie a change between 0.04% and 0.08% of the atmosphere.
    Last edited by Robert Tulip; 2021-Apr-05 at 10:35 AM.

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    Can methane raise temperatures 16° C by 2026?
    https://www.facebook.com/malcolm.lig...13328748745929
    Is this completely cracked, or does it have a grain of truth?
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Can methane raise temperatures 16° C by 2026?
    https://www.facebook.com/malcolm.lig...13328748745929
    Is this completely cracked, or does it have a grain of truth?
    It has a grain of truth but as I understand it both methane and CO2 fill in gaps in the absorption spectrum of water which is by far the most important green house gas or rather vapour because everyone agrees clouds are important but less well understood. Release of those methane releasing hydrates is a positive feedback ie warming, but the effect on cloud cover, negative or positive, is a key factor. If the gulf stream slows or stops, Europe will get colder and world wide weather will change because of the transfer of heat in the oceans. The calculated global everage hides the much great changes in regions like the poles.
    Last edited by profloater; 2021-May-20 at 07:15 AM.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Can methane raise temperatures 16° C by 2026?
    https://www.facebook.com/malcolm.lig...13328748745929
    Is this completely cracked, or does it have a grain of truth?
    Anyone who posts things like this on Facebook, every post in ALL CAPS makes me highly suspicious. And the posts themselves sound like manic ranting.

    I don't have the data to support this opinion, but a 16C increase in 5 years sounds absurd. Short of something like the K-T extinction event (comet/meteor hitting the Earth), I struggle to imagine that the thermal inertia of the oceans and atmosphere would allow such a rapid change.

    I think rantings like that seriously hurt the cause of controlling climate change. The opponents of action just use such rants as evidence that climate activists are all raving lunatics.
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    Pretty much agree, Swift, but wanted to check here.
    Still even if he is an order of magnitude off methane would double global warming.
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Pretty much agree, Swift, but wanted to check here.
    Still even if he is an order of magnitude off methane would double global warming.
    Methane is a significant problem whose specific amounts and effects we're still discovering. But I don't see how this Facebook article relates to any real numbers. It seems like something pulled out of thin air, pun intended.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Pretty much agree, Swift, but wanted to check here.
    Still even if he is an order of magnitude off methane would double global warming.
    Not on most models, as explained before CO2 and CH4 fill in gaps in the water vapour absorption spectrum so they do make the greenhouse effect worse but both of them also saturate at some point so adding more makes no difference. That does not mean there is no problem, we already have too much CO2 for this stage of the Halocene period that we have enjoyed for ten thousand years. If methane or CO2 change cloud patterns, that could be bad, or good, in setting the balance of heat.

    We are watching a crucial experiment in poking the atmosphere with a stick, as quoted above, and climate change is not the only concern. The oceans are a worry too.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    . UK already undergoing disruptive climate change https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-57988023
    This new report from UK meteorological office via the BBC in this link, shows the increased rainfall and higher temperature in recent decades with new records set regularly.

    The UK is protected by the buffering effect of the sea all round but also vulnerable to the wet winds off the Atlantic. It could all reverse if the Gulf Stream slows down due to cold fresh water from ice melt.

    It is clear that reducing carbon targets are no longer enough. Many places will see more extremes, more often, with what we have now.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    . UK already undergoing disruptive climate change https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-57988023
    This new report from UK meteorological office via the BBC in this link, shows the increased rainfall and higher temperature in recent decades with new records set regularly.

    The UK is protected by the buffering effect of the sea all round but also vulnerable to the wet winds off the Atlantic. It could all reverse if the Gulf Stream slows down due to cold fresh water from ice melt.

    It is clear that reducing carbon targets are no longer enough. Many places will see more extremes, more often, with what we have now.
    Right. We need to implement carbon sequestration on a worldwide scale, using every existing method and also innovating new ones. Certain recent inventions might plausibly be scaled up to industrial sizes if we can find cheap enough applications. But we also need to stop, not slow, our current system of carbon excess. We're in the position of a patient who refuses treatment while actively rubbing filth into our wounds.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Just curious if anyone knows, when co2 is quoted as being 400 plus ppm, when is that measurement taken since co2 varies with the seasons as the earth, "breathes".

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    With "billions" (unsubstantiated as of posting)of gallons of water pumped from subsurface aquifers to the surface, doesn't that increase atmospheric precipitation?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ely View Post
    Just curious if anyone knows, when co2 is quoted as being 400 plus ppm, when is that measurement taken since co2 varies with the seasons as the earth, "breathes".
    This website has a lot of data and graphs of CO2 levels. NOAA runs a tracking station on Mauna Loa in Hawaii that is one of the most widely reported sites.

    If you look at the Mauna Loa data, you see the day-to-day variations are around 1 or 2 ppm. From the yearly low to the yearly high, the change is about 8 ppm. As of yesterday, we were at 414 ppm.

    One of the things I found most interesting, was the change in rates of change (acceleration), by decade:
    Decade _________Atmospheric CO2 Growth Rate
    2010 - 2019 _________2.40 ppm per year
    2000 - 2009 _________1.97 ppm per year
    1990 - 1999 _________1.50 ppm per year
    1980 - 1989 _________1.61 ppm per year
    1970 - 1979 _________1.28 ppm per year
    1960 - 1969 _________0.85 ppm per year
    NOAA also has a website with a lot of good graphs. On the one below, you can see the seasonal variation in red, compared to the year-to-year rise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ely View Post
    With "billions" (unsubstantiated as of posting)of gallons of water pumped from subsurface aquifers to the surface, doesn't that increase atmospheric precipitation?
    I don’t think so. The main driver of atmospheric water is evaporation, assisted by winds, from oceans. Near the surface that can saturate the air i,e. 100 % relative humidity RH. That low level air is also heated by land and sea, on average. So it rises, as it rises it cools fairly linearly till the tropopause. As it cools the air can hold less water vapour so it becomes satured or super saturated. The water vapour becomes clouds of water droplets. This releases latent heat to maintain temperature locally. When enough water accumulates it rains out, precipitation. The clouds drift over land, tending to lift them to lower temperature, so it rains on the land. Water from aquafers is a very small part of that big picture. Pumping from aquafers reduces the water table, a different issue.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Swif, as much as I appreciate the annual graph and decadal chart, I am more interested in seasonal variations. Since co2 peaks in May. When you quote (ex) "417ppm", how do you know what season that measurement was attained in. Plus, when it is compared to ice cores, is it a consistent seasonal comparison?

    Profloater a large percentile of aquifer use is agriculture. Due to fungal growth, fields are watered during daylight hours and evaporation does occur. California alone pumps over 17 Billion gallons from their aquifers daily. Not mention, man made impoundments, canals etc. evaporation can easily be over an inch per day. My man made lake, in the northern U.S. has almost an inch per day evaporation rate in summer. Undoubtedly, billions of gallons of water, only recently in human history became available to evaporation, thus precipitation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    This website has a lot of data and graphs of CO2 levels. NOAA runs a tracking station on Mauna Loa in Hawaii that is one of the most widely reported sites.

    If you look at the Mauna Loa data, you see the day-to-day variations are around 1 or 2 ppm. From the yearly low to the yearly high, the change is about 8 ppm. As of yesterday, we were at 414 ppm.

    One of the things I found most interesting, was the change in rates of change (acceleration), by decade:


    NOAA also has a website with a lot of good graphs. On the one below, you can see the seasonal variation in red, compared to the year-to-year rise.

    Do you really think it is good science to measure co2 levels next door to an active volcano then compare it to an Antarctic ice core?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ely View Post
    Swif, as much as I appreciate the annual graph and decadal chart, I am more interested in seasonal variations. Since co2 peaks in May. When you quote (ex) "417ppm", how do you know what season that measurement was attained in. Plus, when it is compared to ice cores, is it a consistent seasonal comparison?
    I didn't say 417 ppm anywhere in my post; I said 414 ppm, and that was yesterday's measurement. Last I checked, the season was summer in the northern hemisphere. I suspect the annual numbers are the averages of the measurements throughout the year, but I don't know for sure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ely View Post
    Do you really think it is good science to measure co2 levels next door to an active volcano then compare it to an Antarctic ice core?
    A detailed explanation
    How do scientists know that Mauna Loa’s volcanic emissions don’t affect the carbon dioxide data collected there?

    Mauna Loa is indeed an active volcano; it last erupted in 1950, 1975, and 1984. Between eruptions, it emits variable amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from fissures at the summit. The observatory is located on the northern slope of the mountain, 4 miles away from and 2,600 feet lower than the summit, which is 13,675 feet above sea level.

    Most of the time, the observatory experiences “baseline” conditions and measures clean air which has been over the Pacific Ocean for days or weeks. We know this because the CO2 analyzer usually gives a very steady reading which varies by less than 3/10 of a part per million (ppm) from hour to hour. These are the conditions we use to calculate the monthly averages that go into the famous 50-year graph of atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    We only detect volcanic CO2 from the Mauna Loa summit late at night at times when the regional winds are light and southerly. Under these conditions, a temperature inversion forms above the ground, and the volcanic emissions are trapped near the surface and travel down our side of the mountain slope. When the volcanic emissions arrive at the observatory, the CO2 analyzer readings increase by several parts per million, and the measured amounts become highly variable for periods of several minutes to a few hours. In the last decade, this has occurred on about 15% of nights between midnight and 6 a.m.
    Further explanations here. They include a graph which also shows measurements from Barrow, Alaska, Samoa, and the South Pole, which show the exact same trends.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ely View Post
    Swif, as much as I appreciate the annual graph and decadal chart, I am more interested in seasonal variations. Since co2 peaks in May. When you quote (ex) "417ppm", how do you know what season that measurement was attained in. Plus, when it is compared to ice cores, is it a consistent seasonal comparison?

    Profloater a large percentile of aquifer use is agriculture. Due to fungal growth, fields are watered during daylight hours and evaporation does occur. California alone pumps over 17 Billion gallons from their aquifers daily. Not mention, man made impoundments, canals etc. evaporation can easily be over an inch per day. My man made lake, in the northern U.S. has almost an inch per day evaporation rate in summer. Undoubtedly, billions of gallons of water, only recently in human history became available to evaporation, thus precipitation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ely View Post
    Do you really think it is good science to measure co2 levels next door to an active volcano then compare it to an Antarctic ice core?
    Ely

    Now I'm putting on my moderator hat.

    I hope I am mistaken, but it sounds like you are spreading doubt about the science of climate change. If you are just asking questions, so as to learn more about the science, that's great. If you trying to advocate a non-mainstream opinion denying climate change, you may only do so in our Against The Mainstream (ATM) sub-forum.

    If you are not familiar with our rules, I suggest you take a look at them; there is a link in my signature.
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    If queries are doubt, then perhaps, unwittingly, I am? A basic tenant of science, is to question. If you are opposed to inquiries, I will no longer ask questions on this thread.

    I apologize for my curiosity, I will try to temper it on this website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ely View Post
    [B]Swif[/B

    Profloater a large percentile of aquifer use is agriculture. Due to fungal growth, fields are watered during daylight hours and evaporation does occur. California alone pumps over 17 Billion gallons from their aquifers daily. Not mention, man made impoundments, canals etc. evaporation can easily be over an inch per day. My man made lake, in the northern U.S. has almost an inch per day evaporation rate in summer. Undoubtedly, billions of gallons of water, only recently in human history became available to evaporation, thus precipitation.
    I note Swifts comments.
    Even California pales compared to the oceans of the world for evaporation. It is the warmer air that causes increased rainfall and floods, not Californian water, but there is a completely separate issue with Almond trees. Have no doubt, the warmer average temperatures also have much warmer local temperatures and more extreme weather is happening right now. This is mainstream, manmade global warming is a real , global thing, Californian water use is a local thing. IMO.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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