Science update

Read this. New study on the effect of the paleocene/eocene thermal maximum on ocean currents. (About 55M years ago, a 7-degree rise in temperatures basically caused the entire world’s climate to flip) If you haven’t been following this story carefully, you should — people are finally starting to discuss in public the big secret of climate change, which is that it’s a great deal more serious than anyone’s wanted to talk about in public.

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Published in: on January 5, 2006 at 10:44  Comments (10)  
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10 Comments

  1. Well, it’s not that people don’t want to talk about it. It’s difficult to have a debate about something that’s rather speculative especially when the experts themselves don’t agree.
    Part of the problem is that Earth’s history works against many of the global warming doomsday theories. The Mesozoic Era lasted for 180M years. In the first 80M years of the period the Earth’s temperature was 10C° higher than our’s today, and the temperature profile was flat. Even the extreme temperature variations of the Triassic failed to produce polar caps.
    Which leads me to be that the rapid cooling of the Earth and the ice ages were merely the system’s attempt to regain stability after some global catastrophic event. This means that if the Earth hasn’t already reached equilibrium (which I don’t think it has quite yet) then the next ice age is inevitable. Fortunately, data seems to indicate that the ice ages are getting milder and shorter. We are well under way to natural global warming and equilibrium.

  2. Well, it’s not that people don’t want to talk about it. It’s difficult to have a debate about something that’s rather speculative especially when the experts themselves don’t agree.
    Part of the problem is that Earth’s history works against many of the global warming doomsday theories. The Mesozoic Era lasted for 180M years. In the first 80M years of the period the Earth’s temperature was 10C° higher than our’s today, and the temperature profile was flat. Even the extreme temperature variations of the Triassic failed to produce polar caps.
    Which leads me to be that the rapid cooling of the Earth and the ice ages were merely the system’s attempt to regain stability after some global catastrophic event. This means that if the Earth hasn’t already reached equilibrium (which I don’t think it has quite yet) then the next ice age is inevitable. Fortunately, data seems to indicate that the ice ages are getting milder and shorter. We are well under way to natural global warming and equilibrium.

  3. Quite possible; although I suspect that the convergence to equilibrium is going to be very, very slow, and I’m not sure where the equilibrium point is. (e.g., there are the “snowball Earth” models that suggest that there are points on the natural oscillation cycle that are very cold as well) But my concern in this case isn’t whether it’s man-made or natural, but the simple fact that it’s happening. A collapse of the Gulf Stream could cause some serious disasters for humans no matter what triggered it.

  4. Quite possible; although I suspect that the convergence to equilibrium is going to be very, very slow, and I’m not sure where the equilibrium point is. (e.g., there are the “snowball Earth” models that suggest that there are points on the natural oscillation cycle that are very cold as well) But my concern in this case isn’t whether it’s man-made or natural, but the simple fact that it’s happening. A collapse of the Gulf Stream could cause some serious disasters for humans no matter what triggered it.

  5. True, but that’s my point. Though there are “snowball Earth” models, hundreds of millions of years of Earth history seems to indicate Earth equilibrium to the contrary.
    At this point, there is alot of conjecture on both sides of the debate. Without something conclusive, it’s difficult to gain public notice and support for action one way or the other.

  6. True, but that’s my point. Though there are “snowball Earth” models, hundreds of millions of years of Earth history seems to indicate Earth equilibrium to the contrary.
    At this point, there is alot of conjecture on both sides of the debate. Without something conclusive, it’s difficult to gain public notice and support for action one way or the other.

  7. At this point, I’m not even thinking about action to control global warming. I’m thinking more about action to deal with what’s about to happen — because if there is an ocean current inversion in the next ten or twenty years, it’s going to be a major international emergency. Not to mention that if we have a navigable North Polar Sea, that’s going to make a lot of new shipping routes and oil exploration points… as well as possibly making a lot of coastal real estate elsewhere in the world look a lot less promising.

  8. At this point, I’m not even thinking about action to control global warming. I’m thinking more about action to deal with what’s about to happen — because if there is an ocean current inversion in the next ten or twenty years, it’s going to be a major international emergency. Not to mention that if we have a navigable North Polar Sea, that’s going to make a lot of new shipping routes and oil exploration points… as well as possibly making a lot of coastal real estate elsewhere in the world look a lot less promising.

  9. Agree.
    Whatever the long-term models, I do agree things are likely to go bad at some point in the future.
    We should definitely be preparing now for those events.

  10. Agree.
    Whatever the long-term models, I do agree things are likely to go bad at some point in the future.
    We should definitely be preparing now for those events.


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