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Thursday, October 15, 2015

They just don't get it at WUWT. It's the pace of change that's the problem.

Sou | 9:21 PM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment
Deniers like to claim they aren't stupid and they aren't ignorant. I can't say what happens in the rest of their lives, but those who deny climate science, when it comes to climate science, are either stupid, or ignorant or knowingly telling lies. There is no middle ground.

There's an example again today at WUWT (archived here). Again it's from Eric Worrall. He wonders why, if global warming is threatening the food chain, it didn't threaten it during the Cretaceous period. You don't believe that anyone could be so foolish? It's true. Eric wrote:
The obvious question – why didn’t this hypothesised collapse occur during previous epochs with high CO2 levels, such as the Cretaceous Age? According to Wikipedia, the Cretaceous age enjoyed CO2 levels of around 1700ppm. Yet the Cretaceous was also the age of the Dinosaurs – the period was characterised by large tropical jungles, shallow warm seas, and a vast abundance of life, both marine and terrestrial. I suggest it takes a pretty robust food chain to support a predator like the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

It's as if he's never heard of any of the great extinction events, like the massive Permian Triassic events, which in part were the result of rapid greenhouse warming.


It's not just the change, it's the pace of change that's the killer


What Eric's failing to recognise is that it's not the global warmth that is the problem as such. Once the earth has stabilised over a few million years, life will most probably start to flourish again. The problem is the rate of change. We are currently on track for warming that is ten times faster than any in at least 65 million years.

Species don't have time to adapt. Slow change (on geological time scales) is fine. It's the fast change that kills off species. And there's a domino effect. If one species is particularly susceptible then everything that depends on that species is susceptible, and everything that depends on those susceptible species is susceptible, and so on.

Some species are more adaptable than others. We humans, for example, can survive in a wide range of environments, even very harsh ones, by constructing shelters and shaping our surroundings. We don't depend on any single species, nor on only a few species. We can eat insects for protein if fish and mammals run out. Or birds, if there are enough of them around. And plants. And we can harvest seed and grow plants. They might not always thrive out in the open, but we can build glass houses and bring in all the nutrients the plants need (provided we have access to the nutrients and water).

So of all species, humans and some others, like cockroaches, will probably be able to muddle through changes that will decimate many less adaptable life forms.


I find it very perplexing that this point isn't immediately obvious to science deniers. Why can't they recognise that very rapid change can make life very difficult. Particularly when so many of them are scared shitless of change in their own lives. That's one of the main motivations for science denial. People afraid of a world that uses clean energy. People afraid of policies and programs designed to improve our lot. (Think of all the protests from deniers about environmental regulations. You'd think that the EPA and its equivalent around the world was insisting that coal fired power plants emit gigatonnes of mercury, instead of insisting they emit as little as possible.)


It gets hot in sunny Queensland


It gets worse (as if you couldn't guess). Eric thinks that:
As for the direct effect of warming – even if warming occurs, the net result in most cases would surely be a slight shift in geographic habitat. For example, the range of temperatures on offer as you travel along say the Australian East Coast far exceeds temperature changes most alarmists predict will occur in the next century, due to global warming.

Seriously? The equivalent of "it gets hot in Queensland"? (Well, it's not as hot in the tropics as it is further south - or not usually.) Clearly Eric has never tilled the soil, or grown a tree, or hunted animals, or fished the oceans. Not only does he have no understanding of the interdependence of species, but he thinks that if everyone in Hobart was as warm as people in Queensland, it won't make any difference to life on the planet.

He doesn't even mention changing weather patterns or drought or floods or rising seas - probably thinks that ice doesn't melt when it warms. It does. The latest news is that we could be heading for a lot worse than previously thought from the melting of Antarctica.


Fisheries and ocean systems at grave risk


Anyway. That's about all I can say on the matter. Except for a link to a press release about the paper that prompted Eric's silly outburst. The authors, Professors Ivan Nagelkerken and Sean D. Connell, are research scientists from one of my alma maters, The University of Adelaide. (There's a podcast of Ivan talking about his general research, if you are interested.) The summary isn't hopeful, and reads:
A world-first global analysis of marine responses to climbing human carbon dioxide emissions has painted a grim picture of future fisheries and ocean ecosystems.

And except for letting you see some of the silly thoughts that WUWT-ers have bashed onto their keyboard before they have time to process them.


From the WUWT comments


MarkW is a typical science denier, who is ruled by fear, not reason:
October 14, 2015 at 1:05 pm
More evidence that the boffins know that the global warming scam has just about run it’s course.
Now they are trying to find a new scare on which to hang their give us all your money and all your freedom train on.

Patrick could be mocking the mockable at WUWT, or he could be a real live climate conspiracy theorist, one of the mockable, himself:
October 14, 2015 at 8:11 pm
Well we know global warming is a hoax, so there is no chance of that happening. Pleases me on both counts!

I don't know what NavarreAggie saw in the search, Google is clever and feeds you based on your viewing history. All I saw was lots of links to scientific websites, intermingled with some news reports on the current widespread bleaching event:
October 14, 2015 at 11:24 am
“Claim: Global Warming will cause ocean food chains to collapse”
Of course, if you take a look at one of Jeff Masters’ recent posts, another epidemic of coral bleaching is underway and will doom us all. However, if you run a quick Google search, you will notice something very peculiar about the vast majority of domains turning up hits about coral bleaching. I got to the end of the second search page before I just closed the browser. 


References and further reading


Ivan Nagelkerken and Sean D. Connell. "Global alteration of ocean ecosystem functioning due to increasing human CO2 emissions." PNAS, October 12, 2015 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1510856112

15 comments:

wheelism said...

"More evidence that the boffins know that the global warming scam has just about run it’s course."

My favorite denier meme. We're always MERE DAYS AWAY from finding that key email or study that EXPOSES THIS SCAM and brings those rat-bastard WATERMELONS to their knees. Let's hope that the proof surfaces before the ocean ecosystem collapses.

Cugel said...

Just how many final nails can a coffin take?

wheelism said...

^ A line too good to not steal.

Survival Acres said...

"I got to the end of the second search page before I just closed the browser. "

Evidence that the idiots and morons over at WUWT refuse to believe any published evidence no matter what the source.

But it is even worse then that - they refuse to believe what they can witness with their own eyes. Signs of global warming are now worldwide, yet refusing reality is what these idiotic deniers continue to claim.

What can this mean? Connedspiracy theorists and idiots harbor in the same shrinking spot (safety in numbers) - but their boats are leaking (nature isn't cooperating with their bogus theories). So it's "stroke, stroke, stroke" faster and faster, but it's not working.

Large numbers of these wacko's have had to abandon their denial meme because reality gobsmacks these jerkbaits in the face. Their spew is disgusting.

I like comedy and clown shows as much as anyone. But the antics of the denial crowd are simply pathetic. Reality is meaningless to them. They inhabit a different world then the rest of us, filled with imagination, make-believe and invisible creatures flitting around in their heads. The world rejects their claims precisely because reality doesn't match up to their imaginations.

Psychosis exists when a denial of reality is steadfastly refused. I've no doubt a fair number of these fools are mentally unstable. I've had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with quite a few of these people over two decades. It's why I speak up against it now. It's no longer 'acceptable' to tolerate their bogus ideas and bad behavior, it's have a serious impact on everyone else.

I found it impossible to bring them down from the clouds swirling around in their heads (they refuse knowledge and facts). They lack the skills and more importantly, the necessary desire to change. This reveals stubbornness on a level beyond "stupid" imo because they can't even perceive the danger of their own position.

Dan Andrews said...

You sure Eric isn't part of some elaborate performance art?

Depending on what aspect of warming is examined, I've seen numbers of 100x to 1000x faster than in the past. Maybe those are outdated numbers now, but they were the ones I was coming across 5 years ago when someone (sincerely) asked a similar question to Eric.

Rob Painting said...

A key issue for ocean acidification is indeed the rate of change. Despite very high atmospheric CO2, the ocean of the Cretaceous Period was more conducive to shell formation (calcification) than today. pH was low but chemical weathering was able to supply dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) back to the ocean raising the abundance of carbonate ions and thus the calcium carbonate saturation state.This isn't happening today - the anthropogenic pulse of carbon is far greater than the timescale (tens of thousands of years) upon which chemical weathering operates. Because of this, pH and carbonate saturation state are both falling, i.e. the oceans are becoming corrosive. This is why we've already seen die-offs of oysters and scallops in North America when surface waters have become undersaturated with respect to carbonate (corrosive).

Furthermore, continental configuration and orography play a part in the climate system too. The Amazon rainforest got going about 55 million years ago once the Atlantic Ocean was wide enough for the current thermohaline circulation to get going. The uplift of the Andes, and the closing of the seaway between North and South America, helped to turn the former desert into the rainforest we see today. No doubt there were are factors at work too.

Millicent said...

I'm just grateful they accept the universe is more than 6,000 years old.

jrkrideau said...

If Eric seems a bit lost this is wild

Anna Keppa
Another obvious question: why didn’t ocean food chains collapse during the Medieval Warming period and its predecessors?

Still the term "Medieval Warming period" does include the term "Warming". Good enough I guess.

metzomagic said...

Well, Millicent, some of 'em do and some of 'em don't. Are you feeling lucky today?

What's really worrying is the attitude of my colleagues when I touch upon the delicate subject of AGW, Yeah they play it lip service, but I get the deer in the headlamps look more often than not.

George Montgomery said...

"the range of temperatures on offer as you travel along say the Australian East Coast far exceeds temperature changes most alarmists predict will occur in the next century, due to global warming."
Eric doesn't understand the concept of 'average'. Ditto for those clueless individuals who aren't scared of a rise of 2+ deg C in average global temperatures because, every day they experience bigger temperature rises i.e. max - min.
Ask the people of Perth, Western Australia which day, Saturday 17 Oct or Sunday 18 Oct, they expect to be less pleasant, temperature-wise, for them given the respective BOM forecasts of 10 to 30 deg C and 13 to 24 deg C. Any Perth resident who answers Saturday is an Eric-defined "alarmist" as the difference between the average temperatures for those two days (20 deg C and 18.5 deg C) is only 1.5 deg C. Which is much less than the ranges of temperatures for both days (20 deg C and 11 deg C). Sure, it's a simple, superficial example that is temporally and spatially irrelevant to "global warming" but then so is Eric's quoted sentence and, he started it.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Sou writes: "I don't know what NavarreAggie saw in the search, Google is clever and feeds you based on your viewing history. "

LOL. I can imagine - no, I *don't* want to imagine :)

GoogleSearchBot: Hmm, rarely does NavarreAggie search for 'coral' .... that might be a typo .... what else might go with 'bleaching'? Anything likely? Oh, yep ... that must be it. Queue up the results for ......

:)

Harry Twinotter said...

Oh boy, it is a classic "straw man" argument by making a false comparison between what could happen in 100 years to what happened over millions of years.

For all Eric Worrall knows, there could have been multiple collapses of the ecosphere over that time span as the world adapted to the CO2 increase. Adaption means the survivors survived, everything else just dies.

The other fact that is ignored is a rise in the average means a large rise in the extremes - humans can probably handling the occasional extreme heatwave because of our use of shelter, but that doesn't mean the livestock, fishes and crops will be so lucky.

John Russell said...

Over and above the issue of the rate of change, those who use the argument of how prolific life was when CO2 levels were through the roof in the hothouse age of dinosaurs, completely miss the point that at that time, mammals—including our ancestors—were predominantly small burrowing animals the size of today's rodents.

In other words, the world we're bringing about through pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, is not one that's optimum for life as we know it today. Which is another way of saying that our actions are leading to an extinction catastrophe.

Bernard J. said...

"But it is even worse then that - they refuse to believe what they can witness with their own eyes. Signs of global warming are now worldwide, yet refusing reality is what these idiotic deniers continue to claim.

What can this mean? Connedspiracy theorists and idiots harbor in the same shrinking spot (safety in numbers) - but their boats are leaking (nature isn't cooperating with their bogus theories). So it's "stroke, stroke, stroke" faster and faster, but it's not working.
"

Ah, it's that time again, where I punctuate a comment with the insight from that famous social commentary Erik the Viking...

Millicent said...

Only your colleagues? For me its everyone in sight. Apparently, there are invisible yet powerful malevolent forces that compel them all to live a high carbon slob lifestyle.