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Tollorin
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11 May 2013, 9:51 pm

The last time it reached such a concentration is 3 millions years ago.
http://researchmatters.noaa.gov/news/Pages/CarbonDioxideatMaunaLoareaches400ppm.aspx



eric76
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11 May 2013, 10:01 pm

There is no need to panic. 400 ppm isn't dangerous.



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11 May 2013, 10:06 pm

Although there is nothing inherently special in CO2 levels reaching a multiple of 100, the fact that it keeps rising can't be a good thing.


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eric76
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11 May 2013, 10:13 pm

If it leads to a warmer climate, it is a good thing unless it goes way, way, way up.

The disaster would be cooling, not warming.



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11 May 2013, 10:16 pm

Why would a warmer climate be a good thing?


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eric76
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11 May 2013, 10:44 pm

It is no accident that our ancestors took their first steps toward civilization during a period that was substantially warmer than today -- the Holocene Climatic Optimum.

In general, plants grow better in the warmth. It means less starvation. People have enough to eat.

In contrast, cold means poorer crops. It means starvations. People would be too busy scrambling to find enough to eat to have time for much else.

The current interglacial warm period, the Holocene, is nearly as old as the previous interglacial warm period, the Eemian, when it ended and led into a period of 100,000 years or more of massive glaciers around the world and intense cold. If the Holocene should end and we return to glaciation, you can be absolutely sure that we will encounter mass starvation in a world that would not be able to feed but a fraction of the people alive today.

Just about anything that postpones the next period of glaciation or even ends our current ice age would be a very good thing.



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11 May 2013, 10:58 pm

But the current fauna and flora is fine-tuned to live at the temperature they are right now. Global warming is having an effect already, makes species at certain places be replaced by others that couldn't be there before because it was too cold, it has caused coral bleaching in reefs which is very bad for oceanic ecosystems. Also, both climate and ecosystems can be rendered unstable with an increase of temperature, there are documented cases where the introduction or extinction of just one species in an ecosystem start a chain effect that fundamentally changes it and usually screws it up. The melting of the ice cap in the Antarctica contributes to the rising of the sea levels, the melting of any of the poles changes the sea currents, which are a big factor in climate; if they move it could make some parts of the world much hotter than they are, and others much colder than they are.
Those matters aren't just that straightforward.

Also, global warming may actually start a chain of events that ends in an ice age. Can't say it's certain, but it is definitely one posible outcome.


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eric76
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11 May 2013, 11:10 pm

Shatbat wrote:
But the current fauna and flora is fine-tuned to live at the temperature they are right now.


Not necessarily. In any event, plants evolve. At worst, plants will be able to live further toward the poles than they are now.

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Global warming is having an effect already, makes species at certain places be replaced by others that couldn't be there before because it was too cold, it has caused coral bleaching in reefs which is very bad for oceanic ecosystems.


The ocean might be a problem. Or it might not. The reality is that there is much research to be done to actually figure out what will happen.

Upsetting the status quo is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. There will be winners and there will be losers. The likelihood is overwhelming that the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks.

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Also, both climate and ecosystems can be rendered unstable with an increase of temperature, there are documented cases where the introduction or extinction of just one species in an ecosystem start a chain effect that fundamentally changes it and usually screws it up.


Cites?

In reality, nature is usually quite resilient. But there is a problem for species that are unable to evolve. There's nothing new about that.

I think that for most species, it is probably easier to evolve to fit into a warmer world than a colder world.

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The melting of the ice cap in the Antarctica contributes to the rising of the sea levels, the melting of any of the poles changes the sea currents, which are a big factor in climate; if they move it could make some parts of the world much hotter than they are, and others much colder than they are.


Cites for the melting of the ice cap in Antarctica? My understanding is that the ice cover is actually increasing, not decreasing.

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Those matters aren't just that straightforward.


Quite right. But for a great many of those in a panic about Global Warming, there is an implicit assumption that change is bad. It isn't.

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Also, global warming may actually start a chain of events that ends in an ice age. Can't say it's certain, but it is definitely one posible outcome.


Are you talking about the notion of fresh water stopping the ocean currents? That notion has been thoroughly debunked. The reality is that for that to happen, it would take at least an order of magnitude greater fresh water than even the worst projections.

There really is no reason to panic.



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11 May 2013, 11:19 pm

All I'll say right now is that upsetting the status quo will have, at best, unknown consequences, and something of such a huge scale should not be messed with. I'm sure I've read about the things I've said, but I'm awful at remembering my sources so it will take me a while to gather them.


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12 May 2013, 12:19 am

It's fine. The earth can handle massive fluctuations of all kinds of things. CO2 has been higher than that and everything worked out fine, and the earth regulates it's temperature through the oceans so that there is no runaway warming or freezing.


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12 May 2013, 12:34 am

Tollorin wrote:
The last time it reached such a concentration is 3 millions years ago.

Is this a call to action or just another "Be afraid" announcement?


If the former, then what is your plan?

If the latter, then I've heard it all before.



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12 May 2013, 4:06 am

The plan is, billions die. Nature will always find a way to check over population.

The oceans did not die three million years ago, or eleven million when the CO2 was even higher,

What did happen, during our recent history, just before the last wave of ice, was it was much warmer, with less CO2, and sea level was seven meters higher. London was tropical, hippos and all, Scandinavian girls wore hardly anything.

Artic wastelands, Canada, Siberia, are very suitable for mass grain production, if the world was a few degrees warmer.

The records do show change, in the north, but the Tropics do not change during ice ages or warm periods.

Nothing works out to be perfect. Warmer, more water vapor in the air, stronger storms, greater rain and snow falls, floods, bugs like it.

The last warm period ended when so much snow fell one winter, it did not melt, the climate shifted to winter, and it snowed for a thousand years.

CO2 was lower than any time in the last few million years, climate went first five degrees hotter, then five degrees colder, and the swings lasted thousands of years.

The oddest period in climate history is the last 500 years. It has been a stable period with regular rainfall, constant crops, and the human population went from under half a billion, to sixteen bagillion.

The period is unknown in the ever changing record, some Groundhog Day of climate. It will not last, and the choices are, a return to the Little Ice Age, with Ergot growing on the grain, and the Black Death, or warmer, with a nude beach happening in Norway and Alaska.

Eight thousand years ago the Sahara was grassland with a cattle culture, Syria and Iraq rich and fertile with ample rainfall, then all that stopped, and it all became desert, where only river irrigated survived.

It was sudden change, and it lasted. We are still waiting for the drought to end.

Dropping CO2 levels let the air cool, it then could hold less water vapor, the rains failed, it was a mess.

In 800 the Mayan and Anasazi got the droughts, low CO2 being to blame, and that drought lasted till 1500.

The Colonial Period started then, and Colonials never saw a tree they did not want to cut down and burn. Smoke filled the air, and it rained.

The Spanish conquest of Mexico just happened to end a 700 year drought. It also killed 90% of the people.

Jingis Khan killed 40 million, burned the earth, which seems to have ended the Little Ice Age. Rainfall returned to the steppes, it was a local good thing.

CO2, Smoke, Mass Murder, seem to improve the climate. WWI and WWII produced excessive periods of rain.

It is hard to say just what drives the climate. It changed when we were a minor species, cat food, and it changed when we practiced mass slaughter and burned the earth.

Between WWI and WWII, the 30s saw drought caused famine kill millions in Russia, China, and the Dust Bowl in America. WWII ended that, brought rain.

Cause and Effect, one of those things that seem to make sense, but are hard to pin down.



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12 May 2013, 4:18 am

I have turned away from all the warming talk due to the fact neither side will talk about solar cycles. they last 11-12 years and we just came out of the hottest cycle known, and the hottest cycle is always followed by the coldest, or weakest. not to say were heading for an ice age, it doesn't work that way. :roll:


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12 May 2013, 10:57 am

Right. We shall turn into Venus the year after next. Right.

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13 May 2013, 11:46 am

the problem is not so much that life on earth won't adjust, as that our civilization, its agriculture, & its permanent habitations are all based on a climate that is already becoming a thing of the past.

we haven't given a thought to what we could do with our highly concentrated coastal populations that will become environmental refugees, or the substitution of heat- & drought-resistant crops for the ones that will be subject to failure in a different regime.

i'm not even going to bring up the worst possibilities such as buried clathrates or a runaway greenhouse effect: the fact is, our 25 years of inaction have already condemned our descendants to some harsh forced choices when we could have made some smart, gentle ones--but that's politics.

it's a wonderful luxury to be able to ignore what is happening. doubtless, those to come will be too busy scrambling to stay alive, to ever give a thought to our infinite, stupid selfishness. even the image of apocalypse itself is only another tiny glowing screen to rivet our eyes.

lucky us.


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eric76
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13 May 2013, 12:28 pm

graywyvern wrote:
the problem is not so much that life on earth won't adjust, as that our civilization, its agriculture, & its permanent habitations are all based on a climate that is already becoming a thing of the past.


Huh? The climate today hardly looks any different from fifty years ago.

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we haven't given a thought to what we could do with our highly concentrated coastal populations that will become environmental refugees, or the substitution of heat- & drought-resistant crops for the ones that will be subject to failure in a different regime.


The reality is that most crops do quite well in warmer weather. We will likely find our food production to be far greater.

For example, if we end up with a climate more like central Mexico, we will likely be able to grow two wheat crops a year instead of just one as they do in parts of Mexico. (Being able to grow two wheat crops a year instead of just one was a major reason for Norman Borlaug to conduct his research in Mexico.)

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i'm not even going to bring up the worst possibilities such as buried clathrates or a runaway greenhouse effect: the fact is, our 25 years of inaction have already condemned our descendants to some harsh forced choices when we could have made some smart, gentle ones--but that's politics.


A runaway greenhouse effect is sheer imagination. There is no reason to think that it is at all possible.

What "harsh forced changes" have our "25 years of inaction" forced on our descendants?

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it's a wonderful luxury to be able to ignore what is happening. doubtless, those to come will be too busy scrambling to stay alive, to ever give a thought to our infinite, stupid selfishness. even the image of apocalypse itself is only another tiny glowing screen to rivet our eyes.


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