I hate to post so soon after joining, but this seems like the place to ask the question I've had for several years now. I used to follow John's postings on Usenet back before there was a WWW, and the sort of "physicist's reasoning" is what I'm looking for here.
Does anyone have (or know of) a back-of-the-envelope, semi-quantitative, calculation of the expected sizes of the major climate feedback loops? At the very least, one ought to be able to put together a physics colloquium style one hour presentation that "does the math" on climate change. There are so many screechy voices (on both sides) that it sure would be nice to have a ready, coherent argument that captures the physics and sets a scale to the effects.
I know that there are many detailed analyses, and no back-of-the-envelope is going to capture everything in a full-up computer model. But I'm a physicist and not a climatologist. It just seems that we ought to be able to capture the major features in a bit of math and physics reasoning. I'm mindful of Feynman's admonition that "we don't understand anything until we can explain it to a barmaid." How would Feynman's chapter on climate change have looked?