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Anthropogenic global warming?

Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment

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Postby blcr11 » Tue May 29, 2007 8:17 pm

Most likely I should just emulate Robert Benchly who once commented on his participation in an argument at a party the night before by saying, “Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.” Or Abraham Lincoln who said, “It is far better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than it is to speak and remove all doubt.” I’m certainly no climatologist or meteorologist, so I speak with zero authority on matters climatological, but I don’t think it helps either side of an argument to simply ridicule the opponent. Flame away if you like, but it convinces me of nothing. (And I must also add that, as flaming goes, this has been relatively mild.)

I disagree, though, that Nature and Science (to name two widely read, so-called general interest journals) have been one-sided, publishing only the greenhouse gas alarmist view. I enclose a partial list of required and suggested readings for a class on earth climate given at MIT in 2006 along with the professors’ brief annotations. The point is that both sides of the argument have and are still being presented in reputable journals. Personally, I don’t think either the alarmists or the “natural process” people (sorry—can't think of a better label) have absolutely proven their point(s). But then, like I say, I’m no climatologist, either.

CO2-Climate Connection

Assigned Readings

Veizer, J., Y. Godderis, and L. M. Francois. "Evidence for Decoupling of Atmospheric CO2 and Global Climate during the Phanerozoic Eon." Nature 408 (2000): 698-701.
Questions CO2-climate link b/c Phanerozoic tropical SST record doesn't agree with simple energy balance model results driven by paleo-CO2 proxy data.

Kump, L. R. "What Drives Climate?" Nature 408 (2000): 651-652.
Skeptical of Veizer results; questions SST proxy record and paleo-CO2 proxy record.

Rothman, D. H. "Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels for the Last 500 million Years." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99, no. 7 (2002): 4167-4171.

Berner, R. A. "The Rise of Plants and their Effect on Weathering and Atmospheric CO2." Science 276 (1997): 544-547.
Suggests evolution of rooted vascular plants caused Devonian (~400 Ma) CO2 draw down by enhancing chemical weathering rates. Supports CO2-climate link through Phanerozoic. Exception is Late Ordovician glaciation, explained by "unique paleogeographic circumstances."

Royer, D. L., R. A. Bemer, and D. J. Beerling. "Phanerozoic Atmospheric CO2 Change: Evaluating Geocheimcal and Paleobiological Approaches." Earth-Science Reviews 54 (2001): 349-392.
Excellent review of paleo-CO2 proxies.

Crowley, T. J. "Carbon Dioxide and Phanerozoic Climate." In Warm Climates in Earth History. Edited by B. T. Huber, K. G. MacLeod, and S. L. Wing. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 425-444.

Recommended Readings

Retallack, G. J. "A 300-million-year Record of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Plant Cuticles." Nature 411 (2001): 287-290.
Stomatal indices on fossil leaves during last 300 Myr indicate that the only two periods of low CO2 were associated with known ice ages, in support of the CO2-climate link.

Royer, D. L., S. L. Wing, D. J. Beerling, D. W. Jolley, P. L. Koch, L. J. Hickey, and R. A. Berner. "Paleobotanical Evidence for Near Present-day Levels of Atmospheric CO2 during Part of the Tertiary." Science 292 (2001): 2310-2313.
Leaf stomatal indices through "known" warm intervals (Miocene 15-17 Ma, and Paleocene/Eocene boundary (53-59 Ma) indicate low CO2, refuting CO2-climate link.

Tarner, L. H., J. F. Hubert, B. P. Coffey, and D. P. McInerney. "Stability of Atmospheric CO2 Levels across the Triassic/Jurassic Boundary." Nature 411 (2001): 675-677.
Paleosol δ13C data across Triassic/Jurassic boundary (208 Ma) suggests only small CO2 increase associated w/ that mass extinction. Argue therefore that deposition of larger flood basalts at that time (volcanic events) did not cause high CO2 and runaway greenhouse, as previously hypothesized.

Pagani, M., M. A. Arthur, and K. H. Freeman. "Miocene Evolution of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide." Paleoceanography 14 (1999): 273-292.
Phytoplankton δ13C indicates low CO2 through Miocene warm interval (~14-18 Ma) and no sharp drop associated with the expansion of the East Antarctic Sheet, refuting strong CO2-climate link.

Berner, R. A. "Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels over Phanerozoic Time." Science 249 (1990): 1382-1386.
———. "Paleo-CO2 and Climate." Nature 358, no. 6382 (1992): 114.
Freeman, K. H., and J. M. Hayes. "Fractionation of Carbon Isotopes by Ancient Phytoplankton and Estimates of Ancient CO2 Levels." Glob Biogeochem Cycles 6, no. 2 (1992): 185-198.

Hayes, J. M., H. Strauss, and A. J. Kaufman. "The Abundance of 13C in Marine Organic Matter and Isotopic Fractionation in the Global Biogeochemical Cycle of Carbon during the Past 800 Ma." Chem Geol 161 (1999): 103-125.

Popp, B. N., R. Takigiku, J. M. Hayes, J. W. Louda, and E. W. Baker. " The Post-Paleozoic Chronology and Mechanisms of 13C Depletion in Primary Marine Organic Matter." Am J Sci 289 (1989): 436-454.

Well, it's a list of potentially interesting bedtime reading matter, if nothing else.
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Postby kotoreru » Wed May 30, 2007 8:40 pm

Well, just because we arent authorities on the matter does not mean we arent entitled to an opinion... though I understand where you are coming from.

Out of interest, blcr11, what is your view on the matter?

That's a severe list of suggested reads...I think I'll have a rifle through the ones I havent glanced at already. Many thanks :)

_at_ Robert: I suppose I should apologise lol :P
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Postby robertkernodle » Thu May 31, 2007 12:08 am

.
Apologize, kotoreru..?

Why, whatever for?

For having an opinion?

Bler11 nails it, I think, in saying that NEITHER side of the debate has proven itself conclusively.

It's a very complex issue, compared to how the popular press tends to put it.

Yet, people are making up their minds based on popular-press presentations, and politicians are trying to make policies based on one-sided leaning.

As I have suggested before,... it's probably in human beings' best long-term interest to let the alarmists take the spotlight, because fear is the only thing that seems to drive us to any sort of action to improve our society.

Local land use patterns are screwing with our health. I think the earth can handle it in the long run, but the biology of human bodies cannot. Cleaner technology is healthier. Better land use patterns are healthier. If we need the proverbial hell scared out of us to improve these things, then maybe we should apply the logic of others' illogic towards the logical end.

I always find it interesting when people's (including ME) cherished opinions are challenged. First you have shock leading to name calling. Second, you have controlled disbelief, leading to questioning of data sources and demanding of impeccable numerical proof. All the while, the person demanding such high-calliber data never used such data to form his/her OWN opinion. Opinions are not always made in the face of undeniable facts, and this also is a point I am trying to make.

That's why I started questioning my own former opinion, because I realized that I had NOT used peer-reveiwed, impeccable, unbiased proof to arrive at it.

RK
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Postby kotoreru » Thu May 31, 2007 10:31 am

Actually my former teacher once (or rather, repeatedly) 'planted a seed of dissent' in our minds - is Global Warming such a bad thing?

Much of the photosynthetic biology of this planet could do with more water and more C02 - two things which are fairly certainly going to increase in availability if current trends continue.

Of course it's bad news for people (and polar bears), but it's in everything's nature to self-preserve regardless of the bigger picture...

But I like living, like the idea of my children living, and who doesnt? Why not try to keep things running well under our direction?

All the pollution is ridiculous and often vastly unneccessary (as well as heedless!), and much of the research is simply trying to work out what effects our outputs are having and whether it's worth worrying about or not.

The trouble is, of course, that the same argument for Anthropogenic Global Warming can be applied to other controversial issues - take Whaling. Why cant Japan/Norway/Inuits whale? Because there arent enough whales to sustain it. Oh really? Data?? Paper, paper, article, paper, argument, conference (argument argument argument), paper, paper, book.

Oh...my head.
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Postby MrMistery » Thu May 31, 2007 7:28 pm

plants would love more CO2? Questionable. It is no doubt true that the optimum concentration of photosynthesis is far greater than the 0.03% in the air. However, plants are currently adapted to this concentration of CO2. If you increase the quantity of CO2 for a long time in a greenhouse, the plants in there die.
More CO2 in the air would, in the short term, reduce the amount of proteins in plants, and in the long term chance the habitats of many plants, modify the numeric value of number of C3 plants/number of C4 plants, and eventually lead to a new mass extinction. Yes, it is true, plants would stabilise in a new equilibrium after that, but it is not easy to imagine how the new world would look.
So, i would advise your teacher not to make affirmations that he/she cannot back up.
"As a biologist, I firmly believe that when you're dead, you're dead. Except for what you live behind in history. That's the only afterlife" - J. Craig Venter
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Postby Locus » Thu May 31, 2007 10:28 pm

MrMistery wrote:plants would love more CO2? Questionable.

Yes. Becouse more CO2 - more "bielding material" material for plants, and photosithesis will be increased... finelly. Additionally, as more oil, natural gas, and coil, loss CO2 will be available for biosphere, so will be "carbon crisis" - loss of biomass.
Evolution will arrange everything
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Postby MrMistery » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:17 pm

did you actually read my post? Although it would seem logical that plants would love more CO2, things are not that simple and that obvious.
"As a biologist, I firmly believe that when you're dead, you're dead. Except for what you live behind in history. That's the only afterlife" - J. Craig Venter
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Postby david23 » Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:01 pm

yeah high concentration doesnt necessary mean that the CO2 will be used. I said earlier that the CO2 capture power depends on heavily on the Rubisco protein.
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Postby lantzy » Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:23 am

can anyone tell me what is nich and the three types of niche?
please..
thankx
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Postby kotoreru » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:22 pm

Um, niche - just a nicer word for 'place (meaning habitat, food etc.) that an organism occupies relative to others within an ecosystem'.

MrMistery, I imagine this particular lecturer really could backup what she was saying about such things. Though I dont doubt for a second she was over simplifying things for us mortals and also looking for a reaction.

n.b. I imagine the C02 thing was not restricted to photosynthetic uses - the increased heat etc. that results from it was probably also in there somewhere...(probably).

Weeeee.......
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Postby charles brough » Wed Sep 26, 2007 1:44 pm

robertkernodle wrote:.
I would like to see a more official report, but take a look at this:

solar system changes

RK


That seems like a really questionable link to me! What could possible cause the atmosphere to grow on other planets in our solar system in a matter of only a few decades!? What kind of a statistic can be of any use that deals with "natural disasters" in general unless one is thinking in terms of "The End Times"(!)? Do they all follow some cycle? That link could be very unreliable.

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Postby Jones » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:40 pm

Honestly, why are humans so self-involved? We always think we're the ones who did everything, we created everything, we're responsible for everything, we caused all the problems! We cannot possibly control everything! Everyone is tripping on this idea of losing our earth, and yes we will eventually, there's only so much it can take, but maybe it just needs a break, we stop entire cyclical trends for fucks sake. Okay, in my opinion we're not exactly HELPING to extend the life of the earth, but there's nothing we can do to stop it from doing what it naturally does. If their was an ice age before, with no human cause then why can't there be a warming period with no human cause? If the warming period ends and everything freezes are we going to say it was us again even though it proves that ice ages and warming periods really ARE cyclical?
We're selfish.
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