Interesting take on climate history and modern impacts.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/03/extreme-climate-change-history/617793/

A long article steeped in biological and climate data regarding the geological history as we know it. It may sound alarmist, but the reality is that it puts geologic time in comparison to human time in a fascinating way. To put another way, Mothership Earth is a pretty unforgiving and hostile place for long stretches. Human development is hardly a blip in time. Climate science is not my expertise by any stretch, but the article is engrossing nonetheless.

5 thoughts on “Interesting take on climate history and modern impacts.

  1. Correlation =/= causation.

    https://cornwallalliance.org/2017/06/global-temperature-and-co2-which-drives-which/

    That does not mean that CO2 cannot raise temperatures but the effect is non-linear.

    Very cold temperatures like during ice ages lowers CO2 to levels near the limit for plant life to exist. As the orbital shifts that cause the ice ages recover, temperature rises before CO2 but later in the recovery, CO2 does help raise the temperature.

    But CO2 becomes less effective at raising temperature as concentrations increase. It is self limiting.

    As with many things, there is a bit of truth, but only within the limits of physics.

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    1. There seems to be a lot of ancillary issues with warming. Perma frost that can release huge amounts of methane when melted. Acidification of the oceans affecting food chains that in turn affects human food supplies for billions.

      What struck me was the geological history that went back 50 million years or more. Even relatively slow changes had extinction worthy results. Apparently the issue is not just the warming trends but the after effects including sea rises of Biblical proportions.

      Bill Gates message include the warnings of massive climate refugee problems from both weather pattern shifts of overly wet or dry conditions in long established living and food production areas. To an extent, we are seeing this now. Syria’s plight was either started by or exacerbated by drought. Then humans pick up the murderous slack when things turn bad. Civilization’s veneer is very thin as we recently found out this past year or so.

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      1. “a lot of ancillary issues with warming”

        Understatement, the jury is still out and may bring a verdict at a point where the “Governor” can’t grant a reprieve …..

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      2. First, Syria has had cyclical droughts as long as it has existed. That is different now is that its population density is many times greater now.

        We’ve discussed the permafrost many times. It was Al’s favorite boogey man. Remember that the Holocene optimum was far warmer than today, 4 to 6C warmer, and lasted thousands of years. If the permafrost was going to release methane, it would have done it then.

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  2. RE: “A long article steeped in biological and climate data regarding the geological history as we know it.”

    An interesting review to be sure. I found the assumption that CO2 is a main driver of climate change offputting, however. It seems to me that that hypothesis has been loosing ground as climate science has improved the last 30 years.

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