Al Gore -- lying to college graduates?

GLOBAL WARMING: Warning for the Future?

It has always been our opinion and position that nature will do what nature wants – and that man is incapable of altering the gross dynamics of solar output, the Earth’s orbit, the Earth’s rotational dynamics, plate tectonics and volcanic activity, the movement of the ocean currents and the greatest greenhouse gas of all, water vapor.

Now we find a new study that suggests that a mass extinction of marine life in the oceans during prehistoric times is a warning that the Earth will see such an extinction again because of high levels of greenhouse gases.

Unfortunately, the only gas that seems to be passed is that from scientists pursuing a public policy agenda and the continuance of  the substantial funding they have received over the past few years.

Let’s review:

One, we are speaking about a mass extinction during prehistoric times when man’s influence on the environment was minimal at best.

Two, we are speaking about a period in history where other factors, such as meteor strikes, emerging diseases and evolutionary events may have taken place without recordation. Even the palest of proxies (tree rings, ice cores, mineral deposits) does not adequately describe past events without a large probability of error and is often presented without unknown subsidiary conditions which may have influenced what is being measured.

Three, characterizing limited scientific findings as contributing to a current or future planetary emergency is false, misleading and is often done for political reasons. These findings are often based on a suggestive hypothesis which remains unconfirmed, unproven and, in many cases, unlikely in normal decadal timeframes.

And four, hypothetical events are presented with a degree of certitude in the media which leads the public to believe they are true … rather than presenting them in a more circumspect manner which suggests there might be a probability of occurance sometime in the distant future.

An example …

Newswise.com is reporting …

Greenhouse Ocean Study Offers Warning for Future”

“The mass extinction of marine life in our oceans during prehistoric times is a warning that the Earth will see such an extinction again because of high levels of greenhouse gases, according to new research by geologists.”

Notice that the conclusion is presented as fact – and the causal event is linked to a modern condition that has existed over a relatively short, geologically speaking, time span. A condition which can easily be explained by our emergence from the little ice age … as a normal function of nature with no input from man.

“Professor Martin Kennedy from the University of Adelaide (School of Earth & Environmental Sciences) and Professor Thomas Wagner from Newcastle University (Civil Engineering and Geosciences) have been studying 'greenhouse oceans' – oceans that have been depleted of oxygen and suffered from increases in carbon dioxide and temperature.”

Using core samples drilled from the ocean bed off the coast of western Africa, the researchers studied layers of sediment from the Late Cretaceous Period (85 million years ago) across a 400,000-year timespan. They found a significant amount of organic material – marine life – buried within deoxygenated layers of the sediment.”

Again, let us consider a few issues …

One, this is a very small sample from a very specific point on Earth – and one that may not be representative of the general global condition. In essence, the sample size is too small and too local to draw specific conclusions with any degree of probabilistic certitude.

Two, there could be a number of reasons for a layer of sediment to have become deoxygenated. Unfortunately, we might never know what these might have been or if those conditions might reoccur in the future. Predicting the future by looking backwards presumes that there is some steady state cyclical process … and if that is essentially true, we would be most likely heading for another ice age.

"Our research points to a mass mortality in the oceans at a time when the Earth was going through a greenhouse effect, with high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and rising temperatures, leading to a severe lack of oxygen (hypoxia) in the water that marine animals are dependent on," Professor Kennedy says.”

Research suggests that there have been times when the Earth has been hotter, colder, with more atmospheric CO2 and with less atmospheric Co2. All without the influence of man and industrialization – sort of making a mockery of anthropogenic global warming. In fact, research indicates that the rise in carbon dioxide lags the rise in temperature, thus leading to the belief it is the warming of the oceans which cause the oceans to release (outgas) carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – so carbon dioxide itself is hardly causal of the temperature phenomenon.

"What's alarming to us as scientists is that there were only very slight natural changes that resulted in the onset of hypoxia in the deep ocean. This occurred relatively rapidly – in periods of hundreds of years, or possibly even less – not gradually over longer, geological time scales, which suggests that the Earth's oceans are in a much more delicate balance during greenhouse conditions than originally thought, and may respond in a more abrupt fashion to even subtle changes in temperature and CO2 levels than previously thought."

The research is alarming only to those scientists who seem to be pursuing a public policy agenda. Of much less concern to those who would rather wait, study and re-confirm the findings before making an apocalyptic prediction. To suggest nature, with its chaotic systems and natural feedback loops, is so sensitive to atmospheric changes in CO2 is to ignore centuries of evidence. And of course, are you willing to cede any government more power, more bureaucrats, more taxes – with higher energy costs and reduced personal freedoms – based on “suggests” and “may respond” – all derived from an inadequate sample with no confirmation that the sample is even indicative of wider conditions?

Another example …

Consider the millions of fish that were just washed up in Redondo Beach (California) on March 8, 2011 – apparently driven there by a toxic algae bloom and the currents. The fish rapidly depleted the oxygen in the area and died. Now people studying the remains of these fish thousands of years from now will note that our oceans were warming, there was rising CO2 in the atmosphere and there was a mass die off in this particular locality. Big effin deal with respect to the planetary dynamics which drive global weather patterns.

Redondo Beach fish die-off: Tests show oxygen levels at 'almost zero' 

Scientists are working to determine what caused oxygen levels to drop so steeply that fish estimated to be in the millions suffocated and deposited a silver sheen of carcasses, many of them sardines, among the rows of docked boats. It may be days before the precise cause is known.

Marine biologists at USC installed oxygen sensors in King Harbor after an algal bloom caused a mass fish die-off in 2005. They are now probing the harbor for clues about the cause of the latest kill, said biological sciences professor David Caron.

“What we're trying to tease apart is whether it's a consequence of algal buildup, a fish buildup or something toxic in the water,” Caron said. <Source>

“Professor Wagner says the results of their research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), have relevance for our modern world: ‘We know that 'dead zones' are rapidly growing in size and number in seas and oceans across the globe. These are areas of water that are lacking in oxygen and are suffering from increases of CO2, rising temperatures, nutrient run-off from agriculture and other factors.’"

Other factors --  like natural occurrences of algae blooms. I wonder if the good professor knows how much water is in the ocean and how much nutrient run-off from agriculture  it would take to create a significant concentration of biohazards in a wide area. The totality of effects in localized areas, like the one’s studied in this research, may never be known and may never affect anything more than a very small area.

Off to la-la land and computer projections …

“Professor Kennedy says: ‘If you consider that the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere could double over the next 50 years, this will be like hitting our ecosystem with a sledge-hammer compared to the very small changes in incoming solar energy (radiation) which was capable of triggering these events in the past. This could have a catastrophic, profound impact on the sustainability of life in our oceans, which in turn is likely to impact on the sustainability of life for many land-based species, including humankind.’"

Stepping outside of his expertise and research, the good professor is not hypothesizing but is simply speculating with very little basis in observable fact. Less than 50 years ago, some of the very same scientists (Hansen et al) who predict global warming were warning of a possible mini-ice age. All with the same carbon-related cause and with much the same public policy recommendations. And it didn’t happen.

Is the good professor suggesting that he knows that very small changes in incoming solar energy were capable of triggering these events in the past? If so, he has just obviated the man-made cause of global climate events – and, of course, he assumes facts not in evidence. This type of fear mongering, based on a small research sample, that uses language such as “could have a catastrophic, profound impact  …” has no place in the realm of science. Perhaps in science fiction or speculative hypothesis; but not presented to ordinary people in the mass media.

Nature: mankind’s hope?

“Professor Kennedy says the geological record offers a glimmer of hope thanks to a naturally occurring response to greenhouse conditions.”

"After a hypoxic phase, oxygen concentration in the ocean seems to improve, and marine life returns.

Back to flights of rhetorical fantasy …

Our results show that natural processes of carbon burial kick in. Importantly, this rescue comes from the land, with soil-formed minerals acting to collect and bury excess dissolved organic matter in seawater. Burial of that excess carbon ultimately contributes to CO2 removal from the atmosphere, cooling the planet and the ocean.

Again, in the timeframe studied, man was not a factor in global climate change.

More money please …

"This is nature's solution to the greenhouse effect and it could offer a possible solution for us. If we are able to learn more about this effect and its feedbacks, we may be able to manage it, and reduce the present rate of warming threatening our oceans."

This assumes that there is something called global warming and man has the present ability to alter the characteristic responses of nature’s control mechanisms. Which is pure bullpucky.

Bottom line …

It is all about political control and money – and very little of the science involving the subject of global warming is not tainted with non-scientific motivations. In fact, if there is something akin to global warming, perhaps we could find a measurement proxy based on the degree of political insanity and outright corruption of those involved in declaring that they know what’s best for the planet.

Rest assured, man will continue to adapt and thrive until God and nature decides differently.

-- steve


Reference Links …

Greenhouse Ocean Study Offers Warning for Future

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