Stupendous Speed of Climate Change

via Stanford University news, opening paras of article you can read in full here:

Climate change on pace to occur 10 times faster than any change recorded in past 65 million years, Stanford scientists say

Not only is the planet undergoing one of the largest climate changes in the past 65 million years, Stanford climate scientists Noah Diffenbaugh and Chris Field report that it’s on pace to occur at a rate 10 times faster than any change in that period. Without intervention, this extreme pace could lead to a 5-6 degree Celsius spike in annual temperatures by the end of the century.


Courtesy of Stanford UniversityTwo 'heat maps' depicting aspects of climate change The top map shows global temperatures in the late 21st century, based on current warming trends. The bottom map illustrates the velocity of climate change, or how far species in any given area will need to migrate by the end of the 21st century to experience climate similar to present. (Click image to enlarge)

The planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.

If the trend continues at its current rapid pace, it will place significant stress on terrestrial ecosystems around the world, and many species will need to make behavioral, evolutionary or geographic adaptations to survive.

ct. here.

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Pierre Joris

Pierre Joris is a poet, translator, essayist & anthologist who has published more than 50 books, most recently, Meditations on the Stations of Mansur al-Hallaj (poems) from Chax Press and The University of California Book of North African Literature (volume 4 in the Poems for the Millennium series), coedited with Habib Tengour. Exile is My Trade: A Habib Tengour Reader edited & translated by Joris, and Pierre Joris: Cartographies of the In-between, essays on Joris’ work edited by Peter Cockelbergh, came out in 2012. Forthcoming are Barzakh — Poems 2000-2012 (Black Widow Press) & Breathturn Into Timestead:The Collected Later Poems of Paul Celan (FSG).

Comment on “Stupendous Speed of Climate Change”

  1. Oh joy, another computer model! Kind of reminds me of two major research projects recently published in England on the evolutionary origins of human monogamy. Everyone knows how deeply I feel about monogamy. Interestingly, much like the climate alarmists and their models, both of these studies used the same data. The studies came to wildly contradictory conclusions, however. One identified murderous males as the main cause of monogamy, while the other found it was intolerant females. I have my own opinion but will say nothing. But does the manipulation of data and statistics in order to influence the outcome remind anyone of anything? For the uninitiated, think Climate Change.

    Some climatologists maintain that we are still in the Quaternary period of glaciation. This fits nicely with the commonly held definition of an ice age as “any period of time during which permanent ice sheets can be found on Earth.” As we all know, or should know, there have been many periods of time on Earth during which all ice melted at the North and South Poles during local summer in those regions.

    In the midst of an interglacial period such as this, (a period within an ice age) the glaciers retreat towards the Arctic and Antarctic regions. When the ice advances, this is called a glacial period. There have been about 80 individual glacial periods during the Quaternary glaciation, which almost exactly coincides with the presence of homonids (our ancestors, for about 2.5 million years.) Modern humans just like us have been around for only the last 200,000 years. So we have contributed to Global Warming and Cooling during this time but what about before? Was it the homonids and their descendants? What about the time before them? There is over 60, 000,000 years with no one to blame. Where’s the computer model for that?

    Glacial periods have occurred on a 100,000-year cycle during the more recent part of this ice age. The last glacial period ended about 10,000 years ago, so there have been about two glaciations during the existence of modern humans.

    As defined in Webster’s World Encyclopedia – 1997, an Ice Age is: “A period of time in the Earth’s history when ice sheets and glaciers advanced from Polar Regions to cover areas previously of temperate climate. Several ice ages are evident in the geological record, the most recent (‘The Ice Age’) being from about 1 million years ago and lasting until about 10, 000 years ago, when the ice retreated to its present polar extent.” There is a myth that ice ages covered the whole earth in ice. In fact, they may only have covered about 30%.

    Of course most climate models give little credence to the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) which lasted from about AD 950 to 1250 and the cooler period I often reference, the Little Ice Age (LIA) from about AD 1350 to 1850, which lasted some 200 years longer. Mind you, these are but finger snaps in time, two of many such finger snaps. Of course, measurements and records have not been highly accurate either until the modern era, say the last 2 centuries.

    The Medieval Warm Period occurred during a time which had higher than average solar radiation and less volcanic activity both of which resulted in a general warming. There is also a body of evidence suggesting that changes in ocean circulation patterns played a very important role in bringing warmer seawater into the North Atlantic. This explains much, but not all, of the extraordinary warmth in that region. Clearly, it wasn’t man made.

    Temperatures during the LIA were cool enough for significant glacier advances. There are many who believe that lower solar activity or a range of other astronomical effects including slight changes in the earth’s orbit, wobbles and precessions in the earth’s spin and maybe even the earth passing through clouds of stellar dust were responsible. Computer models will regurgitate almost any explanation. Clearly again, it wasn’t man made.

    Temperatures in some regions during the MWP appear to have matched or exceeded recent temperatures in these regions, while in others the MWP was cooler than recent temperatures. Climate and weather is like that; it varies.

    Geologists claim that there have been 5 major ice ages and it got pretty warm in between them or they wouldn’t have melted now would they? Is this what the Stanford Two are really so alarmed about? Newton’s laws of motion: “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.” In other words after the heat, here comes the cold.

    Ice ages are said to have occurred every 150 million years, and last for at least 1 million years. The accuracy of these numbers has been challenged but, for sake of argument, I’ll cite them anyway. According to the ice age theory, our current warm period will end with the beginning of another cold phase in 23,000 years time. I guess I’ll miss that although there are some predicting another Little Ice Age much sooner. We still have plenty of Arctic and Antarctic ice to melt until then too. Guess I’ll miss it as well.

    Of course, the main problem with theories about Ice Ages is that we are unclear as to what combination of events actually causes them to begin. Not only that but we seem to have less of an idea what would cause them to finish. Is it dead organic material trapped under the ice breaking down to form methane or is it warming ocean currents melting the ice or maybe it is something completely different? I’ll take the sun and solar activity every time. There is more sun when I am hot and less when I am cold. I’m a simple guy. It’s the sun. Happily many scientists agree with me. Unfortunately, they use computer models too.

    The frustration from the alarmists is palpable. The problem is that their climate crusade is always rooted in the hatred and demonization of industrial society. Fear no longer works. Even closing every factory in America would help little. China and India open a coal fired plant a week between them. This says nothing about the activities of the 1,359,130,000 Chinese the 1,232,070,000 Indians and their assorted livestock and pets. Gee, that’s got to count for something, don’t you think?

    Global temperatures did increase for about twenty years from the late 1970s to the late 1990s. The warmest year ever recorded in the USA from 1900 until these globally incinerated times, however, was in 1934. That’s according to NASA. Five of the ten warmest years since 1900 were before 1940 and the warmest decade in the USA was the 1930s.

    The coldest occurred in the mid 1970s. This was a period when some scientists and most of the press said the earth was heading toward another Ice Age. It has been widely reported that it has either stopped warming or begun to cool in the last fifteen years.

    Hundreds of years of historical trends and observation of solar activity have predicted this subsequent cooling of global temperatures. Solar activity is in decline. Four of the five most active solar cycles since the 1600′s resulted in periods of warming. Active solar cycles historically have caused these warming temperatures but sunspots are becoming fewer and fewer (according to the S.I.D.C.).This has led to cooler temperatures in the past and will do so again.

    The trend for violent tornadoes is also in decline. U.S. landfall hurricanes are less numerous and powerful than decades ago. Global hurricane, typhoon, and cyclone activity are nearing 50 year lows according to Florida State University. Trouble is people keep building where and how they shouldn’t. Look what Sandy, a #1 Hurricane, did to Rockaway where no housing should ever be, think National Park. We build below sea level, in flood plains next to rivers and in Tornado Alley. The results can hardly be blamed on the climate. Property damage from coastal storms has increased due to over development, higher population density and falling land levels. We have also filled in swamps and narrowed rivers to create building lots. But yes, it does cost more to rebuild these areas every year but who pays for that? It’s the taxpayer, of course, no insurance company will offer a policy unless backed by government assurance.

    Global cyclone activity was at a 33 year low while Pacific storms recorded their lowest number since recording began in 1945. Fewer hurricanes reached US shores in the past three years. Global hurricane (tornado) activity in 2010 was at the lowest level in three decades even though 2010 was a warm year overall. That should have fed the hurricanes. Tornado activity in 2012 was at the lowest level ever recorded according to NOAA. Tornados in the U.S. are down from an average of 500 per year to 250. Make no mistake, they are destructive and dangerous all the same.

    Storm intensity is in decline. But, further to my sun theory, solar activity is at the lowest level in almost a century. In the past, periods with fewer sunspots and lower solar activity were ones with cooler temperatures. It is believed by some scientists (and me) that lower solar activity increases cloud formation and this has a cooling effect. This has already begun. Where is the global warming? Europe, North America and many other areas of the Earth have recently experienced a score of unusually low and bitterly cold temperatures.

    The UK Met Office in England has maintained a temperature record for over 350 years. Summer temperatures in the 20th Century were cooler than those of the 18th Century. Temperatures do vary. There were 23 periods of cooling and warming in the past 500 years with the average cycle being 27 years long. There were two cooling and warming periods in the past 100 years alone. Global temperatures today are among the coolest in the last 500 million years. Mankind has largely prospered during warming periods due to higher crop yields and open shipping lanes. By the same token, mankind has historically suffered during cooling periods, from lower crop yields, hunger and disease.

    Solar Cycle 23 which will soon be ending will be the longest solar cycle since 1796 and solar cycle 24, which is now beginning, will most likely be very weak. This is a strong indicator that the earth will be cooling and this period will last at least 30 years or more. This is based on over 250 years of observing the relationship between solar output and temperatures. I’m just saying.

    CERN has shown that solar activity is the primary driver of the global climate. Even a UN IPCC report includes statements that a solar forcing might include other things than irradiance and a solar-cloud connection might exist. NASA says even small changes in solar activity can have a significant effect on the global climate. Weaker solar cycles are expected to cause global temperatures to plummet.

    Climate change isn’t about policy as much as religion. This is illustrated by the constant use of distorted messages like the seemingly endless repetition of the phrase “climate crisis.” If not a full “crisis” then it is “extreme.” Sound familiar?All wildfires, floods, droughts, hurricanes and fluctuating sea levels are not all due to man and his industrial society.

    Adam Smith noted how political factions often recruit God to their cause. “Even to the great Judge of the universe, they impute all their own prejudices, and often view that Divine Being as animated by all their own vindictive and implacable passions.” In his desperate search for a legacy worthy of one such as Himself, President Obama has now demanded action on climate change.

    “That,” said Mr. Obama, “is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.” Ooh, he’s calling on the “God” thing. Who knew he read Adam Smith? I guess everything will be all right now.

    The following list covers the area and the year year of continental record high temperatures:

    • Europe 1881
    • Australia 1889
    • South America 1905
    • Oceana 1912
    • North America 1913
    • Africa 1922
    • Asia 1942
    • Antartica 1974

    We’ve got a long way to go before the Stanford Two can make their model work. Maybe they should try that Monogamy thing. It seems to me to be an area where much more work is needed. The Climate will look after itself. It always has.

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