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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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  • Round 783 (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:31AM (#41095219)

    Let the Global Warming flame-wars begin!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you can think of a better way to heat up the climate I'd like to hear it.

      • Have the elected officials in Washington D.C. give more speeches. They emit enough hot air to melt the Antarctic.

  • If we stick our collective heads in the sand for long enough...

    they will burn off.

  • Mod story down (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:39AM (#41095349)

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

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

      by medv4380 (1604309) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:50AM (#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.
      • by NatasRevol (731260) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:04AM (#41095787) Journal

        Shut up, you stupid, justified shill of a troll.

      • Re:Mod story down (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:05AM (#41095815) Homepage Journal

        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.

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

          by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:05AM (#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.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          I can't really say I see your point. If these changes are of a magnitude and rapidness found in natural variation then that makes it possible and the frequency with which it has historically happened would indicate whether it's probable or not. On the other hand, if the changes occurred with unprecedented magnitude or rapidness then that would be evidence to suggest it's not natural causes. Either way I'd say you know more with this research than you did without it.

          • by Raenex (947668)

            Either way I'd say you know more with this research than you did without it.

            I agree with all of your points. I think his mindset was clearly displayed with the statement, "it is particularly only useful to the deniers, so expect to see a lot of that". In his mind the science is settled for human-caused global warming, and any skepticism is to be met with a "denier" label.

      • by wbr1 (2538558)

        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.

        So, you are saying its like american society and government? Did'nt know /. was such a good mirror.

        • by medv4380 (1604309)
          Kinda, I'm more saying that the GroupThink on /. on this issue isn't nearly as clear cut as the different sides think it is. The GroupThink is there but it's just not a single /. group.
    • Re:Mod story down (Score:5, Interesting)

      by zmooc (33175) <zmooc&zmooc,net> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:14AM (#41095965) Homepage

      Climate deniers? This has nothing to do with them. No unusual warming is predicted for Antarctica for now. Global warming is expected to make the ocean currents that surround Antarctica stronger, thereby isolating it from warming factors and preventing it from heating up significantly for some time to come. It's a pity Al Gore's Unconvenient Truth has incorrectly linked the breaking up of the Ross ice shelf to global warming, leading many to believe something unusual is going on on Antarctica while it is not. Yet.

  • Extinctions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:39AM (#41095359)

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

    • by Petron (1771156)

      Dinosaurs killed my ancestors you insensitive clod!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pubwvj (1045960)

      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.

      • Re:Extinctions (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tbannist (230135) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:43AM (#41097463)

        There's only 5 mass extinctions in the geological record and at least one may have been caused by an episode of global warming [economist.com]:

        The strong inference from all this is that the late-Triassic mass-extinction was, indeed, caused by CO2-induced global warming. Things simply got too hot for most plants to photosynthesise.

        • Oh my god! They killed Kentrosaurus!
        • by pubwvj (1045960)

          Yes. Rather my point. People simply don't like change. Change happens. Life adapts. global cooling has tended (80%) to be far worse than global warming (20%). Thank you for making my point.

      • by riverat1 (1048260)

        Mass extinctions are associated with drastic change whatever the direction it goes. For instance the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum [wikipedia.org] was a time of mass extinction.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Avoid causing them, or avoid them outright? Because those are two drastically different things.

      The first assumes the following:
      * we are not only capable but responsible for climatic changes, despite the energy requirement calculations required for such volumetric changes not even being remotely possible using existing technology
      * the claims and panic about CFCs before they were banned was not only justified, but technically correct (both of which have been repeatedly shown to be false)

      Avoiding climatic warm

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      We should avoid causing anything fast It's ok if a pink flamingo will gradually become extinct, or the planet gradually will become warmer.

      It's not ok if sparrows in China suddenly become extinct, or Atlantic Ocean freezes overnight between Staten Island and Manhattan.

  • Since this is the sole and most serious problem associated with global warming, let's continue to release lots and lots of greenhouse gases.

    • Since this is the sole and most serious problem associated with global warming, let's continue to release lots and lots of greenhouse gases.

      Hear, hear! If we release more greenhouse gasses at a faster rate, we'll be able to show those damn non-believers that it DOES have an effect. Well, hopefully. Most likely.

      </snark>

  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:43AM (#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.

    • by tbannist (230135) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:13AM (#41095951)

      Quite true, although there are some other interesting bits in the summary:

      Continued warming to temperatures that now exceed the stable conditions of most of the Holocene epoch is likely to cause ice-shelf instability to encroach farther southward along the Antarctic Peninsula.

      Another interesting tidbit:

      the Antarctic Peninsula did not experience a widespread Medieval Warm Period/Little Ice Age sequence comparable to Northern Hemisphere climate at that time.

      So it appears the peninsula did not experience the Medieval Warm Period and it's now about the maximum temperature it's been at since the last ice age (and still warming). Additionally, if there was a global MWP, then the peninsula may be so disconnected from global temperature trends that looking at it is next to useless, although the lack of a MWP/LI sequence is also evidence that the MWP/LI sequence either wasn't global or wasn't strong enough to affect the peninsula.

      • by C0R1D4N (970153)
        Antarctica is isolated weather wise due to the Antarctic Current [wikipedia.org].

        If Antarctica was connected physically to south America or Australia (or both) it could possibly be ice free and get a jetstream like effect from the south pacific.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Old Ones shall rise and embrace the earth in their dark and horrible glory.

    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

  • not unprecedented (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2.anthonymclin@com> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:45AM (#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.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      High amounts of oxygen, giant bugs, velociraptors .. what's not to like?

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by FhnuZoag (875558)

      Yeah.

      1. This is a single study, of a single location.
      2. The study *did* find that the temperature rise is in the upper 0.3% of the time period investigated.
      3. There's significant error bars on the temperatures reconstructed, so I think the authors are overegging their data a little to claim that it's definitely not unprecedented.

      The story summary claiming that current warming is more the norm than the except is plainly inaccurate.

      • Also, I think reasonable explanations exist for the periods of fast warming they found in ~200 AD, and 1600AD - looking at the chart, they were generally preceeded by large downward spikes, and represented the temperature restoring to its previous level. My speculation is that these events correspond to the gigantic volcanic eruptions in Taupo at around 200AD, and maybe Huaynaputina at 1600AD. Large eruptions project large amounts of sulphates into the atmosphere, which has a strong, but temporary cooling e

  • As long as they keep out of the mountains, the people there should be fine.

    Tekeli-li !

  • Mis-use of science (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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 imp

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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 curre

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SlippyToad (240532)

        The planet is going to do what it will, no matter what we think or do

        Bullshit. We have the power to re-shape our world. That has been demonstrated. That our environment is ALSO capricious is not an excuse for shitting in our own water, eating our own seed corn, and befouling our own air.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        This, again?
        Do you even read anything on this topic? You're post, and many like it have been shot to hell over and over again.
        Why do you keep posting this crap they doesn't nothing more then let everyone know who you are wallowing in ignorance.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby AT comcast DOT net> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:02AM (#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 eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:20AM (#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?

      • 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?

        Not sure if you read the summary, but it mentions the rate of change is not unprecedented.

        Tell me, what sort of first hand results have you collected and examined that I obviously do not have access to?

        The summary, apparently!

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:26AM (#41096179)

      Ok, look. Climate change happens naturally, no one is disputing that. The thing is, this particular climate change has a real possibility of being much more sudden than those natural variations. It takes thousands of years for the climate to change a few degrees C naturally, the rates we are seeing will have those changes in less than 100. Over 1000s of years, plants and animals can migrate, change behaviors, and even evolve, rapid change will make that much more difficult or impossible. Not to mention, this climate change is going to be laid over top of the natural changes, if the natural cycle goes up and down 4C, and we lay our 3 degree addition over top of it, all the sudden you've got a global climate that hasn't been seen since dinosaurs were the dominant life form.

      But hey, lets just keep ignoring it. After all, I survived getting hit by several dodge balls as a kid, I'm sure I can take a hit from this wrecking ball too, it's essentially the same thing after all.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:31AM (#41096275) Homepage

      Here's the problem. You're likely correct - at least to some point. However, if you are at all interested in the 'fate of mankind' i.e., everybody else, then you notice that humans a perched on a fairly narrow ledge in terms of the survivability of large swatches of population. If you preturb the climate, especially if the changes are relatively rapid, a lot of people are going to a) starve b) displaced c) not be particularly happy about a and b and try to get a resources of those who aren't so drastically affected.

      That leads to conflict, upheaval, war and pestilence - fairly typical (but generally frowned upon) human behaviors.

      Note that climate pressures on human settlements are often the driver for abandonment / downfalls of civilizations (the Diamond and Tainter arguments) - it's just with 7 billion (or whatever) of us on the planet we're capable of making some really big messes at present.

      Then there are the persons of the tree hugging persuasion who feel that it's morally indefensible to take the entire planet down so we can have iPods and Big Macs. Your personal moral codes may vary.

      • Either Slashdot gets an edit function (come on, it can't be that hard) or I quit posting until my blood caffeine levels are up in the therapeutic range. grrr.

      • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby AT comcast DOT net> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @12:25PM (#41097999)

        Simply put what has been happening isn't cause for alarm, were simply not in a state of crisis that we've been led to believe. There was another study that came out a while ago showing that temperatures were even warmer in the Roman era.

        Before you get off thinking I'm some kind of Koch brothers shill you should know that I've been doing things like driving small cars with very good gas mileage for years before it was politically correct, have actually worked for a recycling company, drive a very low emission small vehicle now, compost, grow my own organic garden, take mass transit, use energy efficient appliances, have taught many people the finer arts of environmentalism and have been doing these kinds of things for the last few decades.

        If the alarmist behavior doesn't stop the whole environmentalist movement is going to be discredited (it's already happening with the youngest generation - their environmental uptake is markedly lower than people just a few years older than them). The environmental movement needs to get grounded back in reality and lay off the panic button when the case simply isn't there. Focus on what is there like shutting down dirty coal power plants and things that actually do matter.

        • If the alarmist behavior doesn't stop the whole environmentalist movement is going to be discredited (it's already happening with the youngest generation - their environmental uptake is markedly lower than people just a few years older than them). The environmental movement needs to get grounded back in reality and lay off the panic button when the case simply isn't there.

          Regardless of alarmists, one can hardly go wrong curbing our impact on the environment. In fact, one can hardly argue that latter is a better time than sooner in this regard. Furthermore, in case you haven't noticed: Mildly troubling issues don't get addressed in government, it's those issues of a pressing and alarmingly urgent matter that become addressed, like "piracy", child porn, and gay marriage. If you ask me, the fact that the security of our planet's future so frequently takes a back seat to suc

          • by Raenex (947668)

            Regardless of alarmists, one can hardly go wrong curbing our impact on the environment.

            You can if you assess the risks wrongly. Imagine poisoning the environment in some other fashion over an unjustified fear of carbon dioxide. The truth is pretty much anything we do has some impact on the environment.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          If the alarmist behavior doesn't stop the whole environmentalist movement is going to be discredited (it's already happening with the youngest generation - their environmental uptake is markedly lower than people just a few years older than them). The environmental movement needs to get grounded back in reality and lay off the panic button when the case simply isn't there. Focus on what is there like shutting down dirty coal power plants and things that actually do matter.

          Well, the biggest reason to worry isn't what you see around you, it's that there's a few billion people in India, China and a few other places that'd also like a western standard of living (not necessarily western way of living) and people are getting a bit fed up in that even though some of them are cutting down overall the world is gearing up anyway. Environmentalism is something that thrives when either a) the economy thrives and people have a surplus to act unselfishly and socially responsible or b) bei

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      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 cou

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by na1led (1030470)
      You're forgetting the fact that this planet never had a species like Humans for Millions of Years. We have done more damage to this planet in the last few hundred years, than nature could do in thousands of years. We already cut down 1/3 of the trees, and look how much live stock we have, just because we like the taste of meat. This planet has been at peace for a long time, until we infected it.
      • by ScentCone (795499)

        This planet has been at peace for a long time, until we infected it.

        I'm curious which scripting language and platform you used to post this after you killed yourself in the interests of the planet.

        this planet never had a species like Humans

        The planet has had all sorts of very destructive, greenhouse-gas-emitting species. Including gigantic herds of mult-ton herbivores capable of srtipping the vegitation from an entire valley in a week before moving on. Wildly more species are extinct than exist, and this was true long before we came along.

      • by Loki_1929 (550940)

        You're forgetting the fact that this planet never had a species like Humans for Millions of Years. We have done more damage to this planet in the last few hundred years, than nature could do in thousands of years.

        That's simply absurd. Nature can toss a black hole toward Earth and do more damage to this planet in seconds than humans will ever be able to do if we exist for a hundred million years.

        Think before you type.

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @10:56AM (#41096713)

    I wasn't going to respond since I have mod points and figured I'd mod up a good response instead. Too bad it's all been cheerleading for believers and deniers. Anyhow, this result isn't evidence for or against climate change. It's another data point. The fact that people think it is evidence for one side or the other shows most people still don't understand climate change. I know statistics and thermodynamics are hard as are non-linear systems. Blah, blah, blah.

    Here's the deal. Global warming refers to *average* temperature increase. In order for the average temperature to increase we should expect a higher frequency of warmer events or events driven by increasing warmth. We're not in a pot on a stove over a fire that constantly increases in temperature (actually don't pick at that analogy too much because at a microscopic level it is somewhat similar). As global average temperature increases we should see more warm days but not necessarily the hottest days ever recorded. So, in this case, if we see more frequent unusual events like this one or not, then we might have some evidence one way or the other, but by itself it tells us nothing.

  • And Mothers against Gay Marriage, Hillbillies for (foreign religious book that starts with a K) burning and rednecks for capital punishment!
    And the Flat Earth Society!

  • Once all natural forcing is taken into account, the Earth's atmosphere is warmer than it should be, and the only explanatory cause is the release of greenhouse gases from human activity.

    Of course that means we want to study the baseline climate variability, because that is how we find ways of confirming, refuting, or improving the above stated theory. That climate varies, even more than by the amount cause by human activity, is obvious from the climate record, and in the cases of natural climate variation, we want to look for proxies as to what the natural forcing was that caused it. AGW is the delta between the climate that should be without AGW, and what is observed. The long increase in Antartic ice size should have decelerated, but not reversed into a historically abnormal warming (specifically if you pull down the supplemental data, there are four, and perhaps five similarly rapid warming events in their studied period in the geographic area that the scientists looked at).

    What irks people who study climate is that "natural variability" is the latest foxhole for "burn more carbon until catastrophic events occur in the present." The "Carbon until catastrophe" paradigm is the fall back from the denial paradigm, with the usual suspects pimping it in the usual places.

  • by Maow (620678) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @11:22AM (#41097129) Journal

    The Year without a Summer [wikipedia.org] (1816) had a global temperature drop of 0.4C to 0.7C.

    It was thought to be caused by a series of volcanic eruptions combined with an historic low in solar activity.

    The result was:

    major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere.[3][4]

    Historian John D. Post has called this "the last great subsistence crisis in the Western world".[5]

    The result was regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic,[clarification needed] and increased mortality.

    Famine was prevalent in north and southwest Ireland, following the failure of wheat, oats, and potato harvests. The crisis was severe in Germany, where food prices rose sharply. Due to the unknown cause of the problems, demonstrations in front of grain markets and bakeries, followed by riots, arson, and looting, took place in many European cities. It was the worst famine of the 19th century.[8][11]

    All that and more with a global variation of <1 degree Celsius.

    It really is in our interest to keep global temperature averages from fluctuating too far from what we're accustomed to if possible. The repercussions with such a dramatically larger population could be catastrophic.

  • We can legitimately rape our planet and... you know...the planet has a way of shutting the whole "global warming" thing down. (Too soon?)
  • Can't wait for them to drill down through the ice into that big shiny sea of mercury that proves the earth was puking up Hg 600 years ago just like coal plants do today.

    Should make thermometers cheap!
  • There are *three miles* of ice on Antarctica in some places. Meanwhile, many places on Earth are desertifying. We know that the Earth used to be hotter and wetter - I'm not sure why the doomsday people always paint a dry hot Earth future (the end of the current interglacial not withstanding).

    Coasts that were charted by humans in centuries past are now completely ice covered - so a little long-term perspective might be in order.

As in certain cults it is possible to kill a process if you know its true name. -- Ken Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie

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