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Earth Science

Recent Warming of Antarctica "Unusual But Not Unprecedented" 163

Posted by timothy
from the earth-ain't-static dept.
First time accepted submitter tomhath writes with a link to the abstract (full article paywalled) in Nature of an "Ice core study that concludes that climate change and associated melting of ice in Antarctica is more the norm than the exception, including rapid warming cycles as we appear to be in today. Study concludes: 'Although warming of the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula began around 600 years ago, the high rate of warming over the past century is unusual (but not unprecedented) in the context of natural climate variability over the past two millennia. The connection shown here between past temperature and ice-shelf stability suggests that warming for several centuries rendered ice shelves on the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula vulnerable to collapse.'"
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Recent Warming of Antarctica "Unusual But Not Unprecedented"

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  • Mod story down (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:39AM (#41095349)

    Story goes against slashdot groupthink. Climate deniers are stupid M$ users. Mod down!

  • Extinctions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:39AM (#41095359)

    Mass extinctions are also unusual (but not unprecedented). Doesn't mean we shouldn't try to avoid causing them!

  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:43AM (#41095405)

    Climate on a penninsula is vulnerable to changes in ocean currents. I would say nothing to see here unless global climates can be correlated with the local climate.

  • not unprecedented (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2@NOspaM.anthonymclin.com> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:45AM (#41095457) Homepage

    Anything up to and including the entire planet being a blob of molten matter would be "not unprecedented".

    Just because the world was really hot during the Jurassic does not mean that humans would enjoy living in that state again.

  • Re:Mod story down (Score:5, Insightful)

    by medv4380 (1604309) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:50AM (#41095533)
    Say what you want, but I've been having a hard time gauging Slashdot GroupThink on the subject of Climate change. It's ether:
    A) Climate Deniers are Stupid
    B) Climate Deniers are Justified
    or
    C) You're just a shill
    It really seems to come down to which group has the most Mod Points or which group has the most dedication to the thread. Each side just views the other as Trolls so it goes nowhere.
  • Mis-use of science (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:53AM (#41095589)

    A whole bunch of people do research and say the planet is getting warmer. More people back up the research and verify it. Okay, the planet is getting warmer. Here's what we think we should do to stop it from getting too warm to support most life. Yay! Problem solved -- BY SCIENCE!

    Another bunch of people don't think the solution is, um, 'cost effective', in that it would inversely affect the amount of money they might be able to make. So, they do SCIENCE and come up with research that seems to refute the impact of the first research, or trivialize it, or in some way make it seem like doing nothing would be the best option.

    Here's the problem: the first research IS STILL CORRECT. They haven't debunked the 'global warming' research so it is still the best bet for what is going on. Trying to convince the world that sitting on our collective hands will be just find will doom us all.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@@@comcast...net> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:02AM (#41095751)

    There is no such thing as normal. Normal is only a concept that we as humans have because we live such pathetically short lives. Normal simply isn't a natural concept, and we need to quit thinking of nature as being "normal" and start accepting that "change" in part of the natural cycle and learn to adapt with it.

    The climate always has gone from warmer to colder and back and forth. Mostly it has been warmer, but it has also spent a fair amount of time under ice ages as well. I live in a place where I am 2000 miles from the nearest ocean and yet can find sea shells in my back yard from time to time. Things change and we need to quit fighting change and learn to adapt to our environment as our environment changes around us.

    The continents will shift (there's a museum in Paris with an exhibit I have heard about that depicts how far the North American plate moves away from the European plate each year). Antarctica will eventually move away from the pole and simply melt. Other natural phenomenon will occur and we have to accept that we are simply one part of nature and to learn to live as part of it.

    That being said, there is no reason not be be responsible with the environment and fight pollution for the sake of fighting pollution. Living sustainably is something that we have to do as our population becomes ever larger and we need to increase efforts for green energy like nuclear, thorium, solar and geothermal power sources. I really wish people would set aside politics on this and let science do the talking.....

  • by SocietyoftheFist (316444) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:04AM (#41095779)

    The planet is going to do what it will, no matter what we think or do. We've been doing research for how long? How big is our data pool? It is hubris to think that we know the answers, especially when you consider studies like this and the evidence of Norther Europe being warmer than right now within the last 2000 years shows that we don't know jack shit. I'd like to see a climate model and simulation that starts around the time of the national weather service and correctly and accurately predicts current conditions. I'd have more faith then.

  • by scrout (814004) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:05AM (#41095823)
    The point is should we spend $4 quadrillion dollars to get the 393ppm CO2 level back to 350ppm? How is the Australia and UK carbon tax schemes affecting worldwide CO2 levels vs. their pocketbooks? I am all for science, but a lot of folks seem to want my money now.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:20AM (#41096065) Journal

    There is no such thing as normal. Normal is only a concept that we as humans have because we live such pathetically short lives. Normal simply isn't a natural concept, and we need to quit thinking of nature as being "normal" and start accepting that "change" in part of the natural cycle and learn to adapt with it.

    But there is such a thing as rate of change, right? And we can measure how long it took to get from temperature A to temperature B historically and we can then look at our own time period and compare how quickly or slowly the temperature is changing, right? The funny thing about life on Earth is that it's probably always going to be here in some form or fashion but it's those unicellular organisms that need lengths of time to adjust to extreme weather.

    The climate always has gone from warmer to colder and back and forth. Mostly it has been warmer, but it has also spent a fair amount of time under ice ages as well. I live in a place where I am 2000 miles from the nearest ocean and yet can find sea shells in my back yard from time to time. Things change and we need to quit fighting change and learn to adapt to our environment as our environment changes around us.

    Or perhaps we can adjust our actions to limit the amount of change? Why do you use a waste disposal system in your house? Why not just throw garbage and urine and feces where ever you want inside your house? You can always learn to adapt to your environment, right? You'll get used to the smell, you'll learn to make friends with the raccoons and cockroaches living in the debris -- possibly even feed off them. So why do you take these basic precautions to keep your home clean? Is your planning not comparable to policies that aim to keep the Earth clean?

    The continents will shift (there's a museum in Paris with an exhibit I have heard about that depicts how far the North American plate moves away from the European plate each year). Antarctica will eventually move away from the pole and simply melt. Other natural phenomenon will occur and we have to accept that we are simply one part of nature and to learn to live as part of it.

    Again we're talking about a process that takes tens of thousands of years versus what we've done in the past hundred years. The rate at which we are influencing our environment is increasing as our population increases. The Earth's plates are not speeding up. I don't understand your analogy nor do I see how it makes our problem seem unimportant -- plate movements have been known to be catastrophic for humans.

    That being said, there is no reason not be be responsible with the environment and fight pollution for the sake of fighting pollution. Living sustainably is something that we have to do as our population becomes ever larger and we need to increase efforts for green energy like nuclear, thorium, solar and geothermal power sources.

    So I guess we can agree on that. Our record so far on sustainability hasn't been reflected too well in the ocean. And burning fossil fuels is directly influencing it [reuters.com] in addition to just plain overfishing. So is it still taboo to start to talk about curbing that stuff?

    I really wish people would set aside politics on this and let science do the talking.....

    Funny, your post about "times change deal with it" really seems to undermine nearly all the published peer review research on the topic. Your post is a shining example to me of how someone can interject their own politics and policies into a scientific endeavor and masquerade as being the voice of reason and science themselves. Tell me, what sort of first hand results have you collected and examined that I obviously do not have access to?

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:31AM (#41096281) Homepage

    That being said, there is no reason not be be responsible with the environment and fight pollution for the sake of fighting pollution.

    Sure there is: If I'm owning a corporation doing the polluting, I stand to make a very large sum of money by ignoring the problem. Of course, everybody else might be a bit upset about this, but I can use some of that cash to buy off politicians to ensure that those annoyed masses don't actually have the power to stop me, and some more of the cash to fund "Institutes" and "think tanks" and media organizations to legitimately convince people that that what I'm doing isn't a problem.

    Purely hypothetical, of course.

  • by kenorland (2691677) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:55AM (#41096701)

    There's quite a bit more known. Since about 7 million years ago, we have been in a continuous ice age, with rapid cycling between warmer and colder periods. We're currently towards the end of a warm period, which started about 20000 years ago.

    Unless man-made global warming is strong enough, within somewhere between a few hundred and a few thousand years, temperatures are going to start dropping rapidly, and within another few thousand years, large parts of Europe and North America will be covered by ice sheets again.

  • Re:Mod story down (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @12:05PM (#41096845)

    Say what you want, but I've been having a hard time gauging Slashdot GroupThink on the subject of Climate change. It's ether:

    A) Climate Deniers are Stupid

    B) Climate Deniers are Justified

    or

    C) You're just a shill

    It really seems to come down to which group has the most Mod Points or which group has the most dedication to the thread. Each side just views the other as Trolls so it goes nowhere.

    Agreed, on top of the fact that expending energy on this particular study is wasteful. The story might as well be "water wet, sky blue", basically it's just more evidence that was already had, that temperature variations in the past have happened naturally (read: change MIGHT be non-anthropogenic.) Given that it's not proof or even indicative of anything happening in the present (since there was not a change taking place until after the point where anthropogenic affects came into being) it is particularly only useful to the deniers, so expect to see a lot of that.

    That's the difference between Science and cherry-picking facts to justify one's position. The normal pattern of fluctuation confirms nothing but that the normal pattern IS fluctuation. Climate Change doesn't happen in isolation or for only a single reason. It's part of a large and untidy cloud of general statistics of which this is just one.

  • Re:Extinctions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pubwvj (1045960) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @12:17PM (#41097031)

    Mass extinctions are predominantly associated with global cooling and isolated extra-terrestial visitors, e.g., impacts. Global warming is associated with greater species diversity and expansion of life on Earth. Prepare for the dawning of a new age of bio-diversity. People just don't like it because it is change.

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