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Earth Science

Climate Change Could Wipe Out a Third of Parasite Species, Study Finds (nytimes.com) 240

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled, alternative source): Recently, scientists carried out the first large-scale study of what climate change may do to the world's much-loathed parasites. The team came to a startling conclusion: as many as one in three parasite species may face extinction in the next century. As global warming raises the planet's temperature, the researchers found, many species will lose territory in which to survive. Some of their hosts will be lost, too. Researchers have begun carefully studying the roles that parasites play. They make up the majority of the biomass in some ecosystems, outweighing predators sharing their environments by a factor of 20 to 1. For decades, scientists who studied food webs drew lines between species -- between wildebeest and the grass they grazed on, for example, and between the wildebeest and the lions that ate them. In a major oversight, they didn't factor in the extent to which parasites feed on hosts. As it turns out, as much as 80 percent of the lines in a given food web are links to parasites. They are big players in the food supply.

Some researchers had already investigated the fate of a few parasite species, but Colin J. Carlson, lead author of the study and a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues wanted to get a global view of the impact of climate change. Some kinds won't lose much in a warming world, the study found. For instance, thorny-headed worms are likely to be protected because their hosts, fish and birds, are common and widespread. But other types, such as fleas and tapeworms, may not be able to tolerate much change in temperature; many others infect only hosts that are facing extinction, as well. In all, roughly 30 percent of parasitic species could disappear, Mr. Carlson concluded. The impact of climate change will be as great or greater for these species as for any others studied so far.
The study has been published in Science Advances.

Climate Change Could Wipe Out a Third of Parasite Species, Study Finds

Comments Filter:
  • so... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @11:36PM (#55193047)

    study of what climate change may do to the world's much-loathed parasites. The team came to a startling conclusion: as many as one in three parasite species may face extinction in the next century

    So, once chance in three we get rid of the lawyers?

    Could be worth it then.

    • Re:so... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @03:15AM (#55193535) Homepage Journal

      Messing with ecosystems can have unexpected consequences. You might get a threefold increase of politicians or an epidemic of myxomatosis resistant middle managers.

      Better the devil you know.

    • I was going to say lobbyists. But that's good too.

  • While we're on the topic, a new study just came outhttp://dailycaller.com/2017/06... [slashdot.org]">fully admitting the models are wrong. They've over-predicted the amount of warming we've seen, compared to reality. Here's a link to the paper [readcube.com].

    So it's reasonable to assume that the worst predictions from AGW are not going to happen.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, 2017 @12:16AM (#55193183)

      "Fully admitting the models are wrong" is curious - no, make that furious - way to spin that study.

      Models are made, data is gathered and compared with the model, models get refined. Welcome to science. That doesn't "admit the models are wrong", merely that there are variables - many of them, in this case - that we don't know with accuracy.

      This particular paper suggests - rather tentatively - that "model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations." That may or may not be correct, but it suggests one way in which the models could be refined.

      This is one of the basic tactics of disinformation: misrepresent a legitimate study, secure in the knowledge that everyone who agrees with your point of view will just believe you and not even click on your links (the first of which directs straight back to this page, by the way).

      "It's reasonable to assume that the worst predictions from AGW are not going to happen" - now, that is indeed arguable, because "the worst predictions" are made by, frankly, lunatics. Remember "The Day After Tomorrow"? Movie published by Fox (yes, that Fox)? That's not going to happen. There you go, you're vindicated. But still spreading disinformation.

      • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @12:29AM (#55193217) Journal

        "Fully admitting the models are wrong" is curious - no, make that furious - way to spin that study.

        Well, we can actually put a number on it, and in fact the paper does (if you'd actually read it, which you didn't), here is a quote from the paper:

        "The probability that multi-decadal internal variability fully explains the asymmetry between the late twentieth and early twenty- first century results is low (between zero and about 9%)."

        So there it is. Fully quantified at 9% for your enjoyment.

        • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @02:20AM (#55193397)

          So there it is. Fully quantified at 9% for your enjoyment.

          And ribbed for her pleasure?

          Sorry, couldn't resist such a wide-open straight-line. :D

          I've been saying the models have been unable to even relatively accurately recreate *past* climate changes with all the data available. What the hell makes anyone think using those models' predictions on future climate as the basis for making massive changes to society that *will* cost many, many lives is even sane, never mind being a 'good idea'?

          Humans do not yet have even a significant fraction of the computing power required to model the Earth's climate. It's a massively-chaotic system with more significant variables than we even know about to attempt to measure and include in said models. It would be a much simpler problem to predict the future individual movements of every single fish in the Great Lakes over the next century.

          This is all about ideologies, politics, agendas, money, and power. Science takes a distant back seat.

          Strat

        • Which is why the paper goes on to conclude that it wasn't just "internal variability" but also external forcings that contributed to the discrepancy.

          So in addition to the ENSO cycle going through an extended period of transferring heat into the oceans, the paper highlights cooling from a number of volcanic eruptions, AND a long & anomalously low period of solar activity, AND higher than expected human sulphate emissions - which all combined to temporarily slow warming beyond the models' most-likely pred

          • You didn't even read the paper. It's not random forcings, the model takes into account volcanos. No one would write a paper saying, "Models are wrong because we had more volcanos than expected." This paper doesn't say that either, it says the problems are due to "systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations."

            Next time you should actually read the paper before replying.
      • "Fully admitting the models are wrong" is curious - no, make that furious - way to spin that study.

        Models are made, data is gathered and compared with the model, models get refined. Welcome to science. That doesn't "admit the models are wrong", merely that there are variables - many of them, in this case - that we don't know with accuracy.

        Reading the way you phrased this slapped my brain kind of funny. It's almost as some people treat science like another religion instead of science being just science? When it comes to religion, If you point out something contradictory/wrong in a religious text, that's blasphemy and creates a visceral reaction. The religion's truth is at stake. It creates a shouting match and people hate each other, use it to discredit one another, because the whole thing is at risk of toppling. Science on the other han

    • by Xyrus ( 755017 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:20AM (#55193301) Journal

      You linked to the daily caller. You may as well just called up Scott Pruitt.

      Since you clearly don't understand how models work (any model), let me clue you in: They are all wrong. Every single one of them. There is no such thing as a perfect model. Never has been, never will be. It doesn't matter if you're talking about a model for a bridge or a model for the climate. Every single model has error bars, caveats, assumptions, etc., which is why models are used for GUIDANCE and not PREDICTION. The predictions are made from models, additional data, additional analysis, etc. from EXPERTS IN THE FIELD. Models are TOOLS, not the end all be all of scientific analysis.

      Now that we got that out of the way, the paper does not say anything about the models being completely wrong. The paper is examining several different aspects of potential sources that lead to temperatures increasing at a slightly slower rate than the models predicted over the past decade or so. The issues range from potential systemic biases in the data sets to various different aspects of internal variability that the models don't currently capture.

      At no point do they claim that the models "are completely wrong". Nor are any current results invalidated. This is a paper discussing possible improvements to the models and/or data analysis to improve overall predictions.

      You either didn't read the paper, or you need to really work on your reading comprehension.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Physicist here. Models are not wrong, but rather incomplete. A good physical model when simulating an experiment will account for >80% of a measurement's real value. That means when done right, errors come from 3rd and 4th order effects that are either not readily simulated or are seemingly random effects. If the climate models are this wrong, then they are incomplete and further study is warranted to increase accuracy of the monte carlo calculations, distributions feeding models, or partial differen

      • You linked to the daily caller.,

        I linked to the actual paper. Learn To Read. The models are wrong: many papers have shown over the past few years. You don't realize it because you attack strawmen instead of reading the actual paper I linked to.

    • by KGIII ( 973947 ) <uninvolved@outlook.com> on Thursday September 14, 2017 @03:06AM (#55193511) Journal

      Yes and no. First, modeling a chaotic system is damned hard and is never going to give 100% accurate results. Second, if I am understanding properly, it may mean that it is going to be worse. Probably not, but maybe. Rember the first point, it's damned hard.

      I think it reasonable to assume they are good for broad predictions of trends and any very specific estimations are stupid. Yeah, climate is changing. No, we're probably not going to die as a direct result. We can crawl faster than the oceans will rise. We will adapt. It's what we do.

      • We can crawl faster than the oceans will rise.

        Where are we going to crawl to?

        • Try crawling onto my hill and enjoy a shell to the head.

          I decided to accept AGW and build my home on a hilltop. Anyone deciding to reject is and build at the shore has made his bed. Now lie in it.

        • And what's going to crawl with you?

          Plants, if one notices, are not very good at crawling, especially if the soil nutrients, temperatures, pH, nitrogen contents are not conducive to sprouting seedlings.

          Animals can go pretty much where they please.

          Will breakfast be there, as well?

      • Ah, yet another buffoon who thinks humans are the only thing that matters.
        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          No, I think that it's largely irrelevant. We're not going to stop it. You might just as well adjust your expectations to suit, unless you can somehow control the world. If you can, then I'd suggest you do something to stop it.

      • Second, if I am understanding properly, it may mean that it is going to be worse.

        Not likely. Every model vastly overpredicted the amount of warming.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          Ah! Heh... No. ;-) Every model that you've probably *seen* has predicted more warming than has taken place.

          I've downloaded and run a few of the models and made an almost-academic study of it. I was actually just curious, as I'm very familiar with modeling chaotic systems - namely traffic. And, depending on the settings, you'll get different results. The _media_ only publishes certain findings and papers only highlight certain findings.

          Sorry, I may have been a bit confused. Yes, it's not likely, but not real

    • So it's reasonable to assume that the worst predictions from AGW are not going to happen.

      That's because they're worst predictions. You do a worst case, a best case and another one - middle or likely case - that lies somewhere between.

      • Good point. The most likely case at this point seems to be "not much to worry about."
        The reasonable course of action would be to continue improving our technology, like electric cars (which are coming along quite nicely), and stop with the propaganda that global warming is going to kill us. Because it's not.
    • Why marked troll? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Roodvlees ( 2742853 )
      Are climate alarmists so afraid to have an actual discussion that they must denounce anyone who disagrees as a troll?
      • by dave420 ( 699308 )

        If the people willing to discuss science with scientists actually used the scientific method, you'd have a point. As it is, someone vomiting unfounded assertions does not scientific discourse make.

        • The GP linked to an actual scientific paper, written by scientists. You are the one here vomiting unfounded assertions. Would you care to join the scientists and admit that the models are wrong?
      • Where are the disagreements that involve actual peer reviewed science?
    • maybe you should read this "A new paper finds common errors among the 3% of climate papers that reject the global warming consensus"...
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/aug/25/heres-what-happens-when-you-try-to-replicate-climate-contrarian-papers
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @11:47PM (#55193081)

    So this is why liberals are always against climate change. A third of them could die from it!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeh because it not like the red states are parasites of the blue states, oh wait, they are.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Fuck you blue states and your federal government, we red states don't need it. Well, we want it now, what with the hurricane, and maybe border wall money too - funny how it wasn't worth spending state money on, but fuck you to Sodom once the hurricane season is over, you hypocritical leeches!

        • Cool your fucking jets.

          We've decided that we do need a wall between Texas and Mexico, but the Texas part is the coast line and the Mexico part is the goddam Gulf.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by hyades1 ( 1149581 )

      The facts say otherwise:

      http://www.politicususa.com/2015/03/26/report-proves-stupid-red-states-parasites.html

      Conservative = Parasite

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @11:55PM (#55193109) Journal

    One of the parasites has already disappeared:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/0... [nytimes.com]

  • by xfizik ( 3491039 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @12:03AM (#55193129)
    Does this include banksters, politicians and patent trolls?
  • Will rentiers be among them?

  • Fleas? I don't think so.

    Maybe specific fleas finely tuned to a particular animal.

    But fleas in general?

    My experience with climate change over the last 30 years is more bugs, more parasites, more diseases reaching in to my area from down south than used to.

  • " report from The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled,"

    Just clear your cookies and there's no paywall.

  • Oh no! Whatever will we do without fleas riding pets into our homes and forcing us to fumigate? Hartz could go out of business!
  • Please, Tell me more about the extinction of fleas. I want to know if there are any downsides to this. Can we mitigate those?
    Can we get Ticks on the list too?

  • What usually happens when one species is diminished is that another species takes its place.
    So, we may not get fewer parasites, only fewer species of parasites.

    Overall, when the Earth gets warmer, species from places that were warmer are likely to become more common in places that used to be colder, but now are not. That's not just parasites, but all types of insects, plants, animals and diseases.

  • Who wold have thought, then when the dodo died out, its parasites died out too.

  • So either I change my ways and save the mosquitos and evil spouses or a big chunk of the world dies, coastlands reduce, and we all have to disgusting lab grown algae.... how long do I have to think about it?
  • Now I itch all over . . .

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