Today there's another article at WUWT (archived here), claiming we'll be fine if the temperature rises by umpteen degrees in a matter of decades, because .... dinosaurs. While I agree that the plebs at WUWT are dinosaurs, I don't agree that humans would easily adapt to a shift to a Cretaceous world in less than a blink or a wink in geological time.
I wrote about this some time ago, when Anthony Watts wrote a similar article. (No need to repeat what I wrote back then.) Today it's the turn of Eric "eugenics" Worrall. He really is a dinosaur, isn't he.
Eric's disputing the likelihood that an economic collapse will prevent the world from reaching six degrees or more. He was writing about a piece by Till Bruckner in Huffington Post exploring the implications described in a World Bank book on climate.
Economic collapse will slow global warming
Eric quoted from the article, which included the following quotes from Christopher Reyer from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He was asked how much hotter it could be by 2100:
"I guess it should be between three and four degrees hotter. We used to think that we were headed for +8°C, but that will never happen. We are not even on track for +6°C because economies will be collapsing long before we get there. We know that after +2°C, dangerous things start happening, and we start passing crucial tipping points, like the West Antarctica ice sheet collapse, which has reportedly already begun."
What will a two degrees warmer world, which we seem likely to inhabit by 2050, look like?
"Two degrees is not a picnic either. Imagine events like the 2003 European heat wave, the 2010 Russian heat wave which had repercussions on the global wheat market, and Hurricane Katrina, all of them happening simultaneously everywhere in the world."
I've long thought that economies would collapse if we don't curb CO2, limiting further rises in greenhouse gases. (That's not counting the natural sources that will be released in a hotter world.) At some point, if we don't limit CO2 enough then the cost of climate disasters will become so great that it will prevent further economic growth. It will lead to at best economic stagnation but more likely collapse. This is if we don't manage to cut CO2 emissions quickly enough. It may well happen in some countries anyway. Various organisations have identified the countries most vulnerable to climate change - mostly on the basis of their inability to afford to recover from climate disasters or adapt.
A climate for reptiles and insects
Eric wrote that because the Cretaceous lasted so long (around 79,000,000 years), it means it was stable, which it was to a great extent. (Over 79,000,000 years though, there were some changes.) On land, it suited reptiles and insects:
On land, mammals were a small and still relatively minor component of the fauna. Early marsupial mammals evolved in the Early Cretaceous, with true placentals emerging in the Late Cretaceous period. The fauna was dominated by archosaurian reptiles, especially dinosaurs, which were at their most diverse stage.
Adapting to life under 150 metres of hot seawater
The seas were hot and high during the Cretaceous. Litter et al (2011) suggests that in the early Cretaceous, seas were much warmer than today - up to 10°C hotter at the equator - and much, much more at higher latitudes. Imagine how that would affect modern marine life.
The blue curve at the bottom indicates modern temperatures at each latitude. Click to enlarge:
Here's a chart from Miller et al (2005), showing seas were about 150 m higher in the late Cretaceous than they are today:
|Fig. 3. Global sea level (light blue) for the interval 7 to 100 Ma derived by backstripping data (21). Global sea level (purple) for the interval 0 to 7 Ma derived from δ18O, shown in detail on Fig. 4. Shown for comparison is a benthic foraminiferal δ18O synthesis from 0 to 100 Ma (red), with the scale on the bottom axis in ‰ [reported toCibicidoides values (0.64‰ lower than equilibrium)]. The portion of the δ18O curve from 0 to 65 Ma is derived using data from Miller (44) and fig. S1 recalibrated to the time scale of (71). The δ18O curve from 65 to 100 Ma is based on the data compiled by Miller (36) calibrated to the time scale of (72). Data from 7 to 100 Ma were interpolated to a constant 0.1-My interval and smoothed with a 21-point Gaussian convolution filter using Igor Pro. Pink box at ∼11 Ma is sea-level estimate derived from the Marion Plateau (51). Heavy black line is the long-term fit to our backstripped curve (23). Light green boxes indicate times of spreading rate increases on various ocean ridges (57). Dark green box indicates the opening of the Norwegian-Greenland Sea and concomitant extrusion of the Brito-Arctic basalts. Source: Miller2005|
We're worried about a sea level rise of a metre or two this century. Even if spread over millennia, societies would find it very challenging to adapt to a 150 metre rise.
Rapid change causes ecosystem collapse
Remember too, that the ecosystem pretty well collapsed at the end of the Cretaceous. It couldn't cope with the (probable) meteor strike. There was a massive extinction when conditions changed.
Similarly, when the relatively stable conditions we've enjoyed for the past 10,000 years or so are given a big shove, like we're doing - then many species won't be able to adapt in time and will become extinct.
From the WUWT comments
The conspiracy theorists come out in force at WUWT. That's the main target audience of Anthony Watts' blog these days. It's probably all he has left (or right, depending on your ideological perspective :D)
ossqss sets the ball rolling, leading the charge from the other WUWT crackpots:
April 14, 2015 at 5:21 pm
Alarmists are admitted misanthropes. This is exactly what they desire, so they write about it.
Dennis Bird said he sent an abusive email, I think to Christopher Reyer, rather than Eric Worrall.
April 14, 2015 at 5:43 pm
I have sent him a one word email – Dummkopf!
taxed "would have thought", but doesn't explain his reasoning. (Does he know how to reason?)
April 14, 2015 at 6:19 pm
l would have thought that there would be a greater risk of economic collapse if the global temperature fell by 2C. After all the White House was blaming the weaker US economy on the cold winter.
hunter - sheesh, Anthony Watts does appeal to the nutters, doesn't he:
April 14, 2015 at 6:29 pm
Christopher Reyer’s sciencey veneer is wearing off and all that is left is a misanthropic hunger for dead and suffering people.
J. Richard Wakefield uses Polyanna's arithmetic book, and reckons an ice age cometh:
April 14, 2015 at 6:44 pm
And your point is? Are you saying that not one species alive today could live with a 2C increase in the AVERAGE temp? The tropics then would be the same temp as the tropics today. The only thing that actually increases in temperature, increasing the average, is shorter milder winters.
Of course, this is completely ignoring the solar predictions of the next 20-30 years of global cooling as we move into solar cycle 25.Contrast what he wrote with this, from Christopher Reyer at Huff Post:
So, I asked, what kind of maximum summer temperatures do people in Morocco's fabled desert city of Marrakech face in a +4°C world? "That's very hard to answer," he told me, "but the distribution curve will shift towards the extreme ends." ...
...Exasperated, I dug further. What does '5-sigma' mean? "It's quite clear that temperatures will be warmer," Reyer said. By way of comparison, he explained, the 2003 heat wave in Europe [in which an estimated 70,000 people died during a 2.3°C hotter-than-usual summer], was only a 3-sigma event.
So, would it be possible to survive a 5-sigma event outdoors in Marrakech? "That depends how you define 'survive'," answered the climate wonk, adding that it would probably be survivable if you kept to the shade and didn't move. However, any kind of human activity would be impossible in that kind of temperature.
ulriclyons decides that the world getting hotter doesn't have anything to do with heat waves (see here and here - both with further references). "It's the sun" - he mutters:
April 14, 2015 at 6:38 pm
The 2003 and 2010 heatwaves have nothing to do with mean global temperature, it’s just short term solar effects during the event, like the even hotter 1540 European heatwave. I captured the intensity and timing of the 2010 European summer hot bursts in a forecast given in February. Forest fire smoke in Moscow also exacerbated near surface temperatures. (note I no longer consult for WA): [link redacted by Sou]
markl enshrines capitalism in a capital C while he ponders the consummate evil of anyone who tries to protect the world we live in:
April 14, 2015 at 7:30 pm
The UN has already stated their goal is the collapse of Capitalism. Agenda 21 spells it out. The IPCC has also stated it’s not really about temperature but instead about facilitating the take down of Capitalism by eliminating fossil fuel use. I doubt the world will allow that to occur. Forests disappearing as people burn them to create energy will be the first unintended consequence. Think Haiti. I’m probably too old to see what becomes of this well orchestrated attempt at ideology implementation but I’m confidant the people will figure it out.
joelobryan mixes a philosophical outlook with some conspiracy ideation of the nefarious kind:
April 14, 2015 at 8:25 pm
Even IF (big IF) pCO2 continued its 2 ppm/yr increase, we are 650 years away from 1700 ppm. By then (if as some posters here are correct), the sun may be in another Maunder-like minimum. We would need all the warmth we could muster to prevent 50% of the world’s population from dying off.
Of course that 5 billion human die-off is what the Agenda 21 eco-terrorists want.
References and Further Reading
- World Bank Group. 2014. Turn Down the Heat : Confronting the New Climate Normal. Washington, DC: World Bank. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/20595 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO. (free download)
Miller, Kenneth G., Michelle A. Kominz, James V. Browning, James D. Wright, Gregory S. Mountain, Miriam E. Katz, Peter J. Sugarman, Benjamin S. Cramer, Nicholas Christie-Blick, and Stephen F. Pekar. "The Phanerozoic record of global sea-level change." science 310, no. 5752 (2005): 1293-1298. DOI: 10.1126/science.1116412 (pdf here)
Littler, Kate, Stuart A. Robinson, Paul R. Bown, Alexandra J. Nederbragt, and Richard D. Pancost. "High sea-surface temperatures during the Early Cretaceous Epoch." Nature Geoscience 4, no. 3 (2011): 169-172. doi:10.1038/ngeo1081 (pdf here)