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Ancient natural global warming ( Studies from the Artic )
Watts Up With That? ^ | February 27, 2011 | Anthony Watts

Posted on 02/27/2011 1:27:52 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Arctic environment during an ancient bout of natural global warming

Scientists are unravelling the environmental changes that took place around the Arctic during an exceptional episode of ancient global warming. Newly published results from a high-resolution study of sediments collected on Spitsbergen represent a significant contribution to this endeavour. The study was led by Dr Ian Harding and Prof John Marshall of the University of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES), based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Around 56 million years ago there was a period of global warming called the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), during which global sea surface temperatures increased by approximately 5°C.

The warming of the oceans led to profound ecological changes, including the widespread extinction of many types of foraminifera, tiny single-celled organisms with distinctive shells. Plankton that had previously only prospered in tropical and subtropical waters migrated to higher latitudes. Similar changes occurred on the land, with many animals and plants extending their distributions towards the poles.

“Although environmental changes associated with the PETM at low- to mid-latitude settings and high southern latitudes are well documented, we know less about these changes at high northern latitudes,” explained Dr Harding.

Information about the Arctic environment during the PETM has come predominantly from sediment cores drilled from under the pack ice on the Lomonosov Ridge (~ 88°N) by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP Site 302-4A). However, these cores do not span the entire PETM and therefore do not provide a complete picture.

“Information from other Arctic sites is needed for a better understanding of PETM environmental conditions, such data can then in turn be used in computer models which will improve our understanding not only of past climatic conditions but also enhance our ability to predict future perturbations,” said Dr Harding.

To help fill this knowledge gap, Dr Harding’s team turned to a site (~78 °N) on Spitsbergen in the high Arctic. Here, 2.5-kilometre-thick sediments span the critical period. During the PETM, the site would have been at around 75 °N, the difference in position being due to the slow movement of tectonic plates over millions of years.

Through analyses of plankton and the chemical and magnetic characteristics of the sediments, they were unambiguously able to identify a 15-metre succession of exposed sediment representing the approximately 170 thousand year PETM event.

At the base of the segment they found the preserved remains of the cyst-forming dinoflagellate Apectodinium augustum, a planktonic species diagnostic of the PETM across the globe. In fact, the species was already present in Spitsbergen before the shift in carbon isotope composition formally marking the onset of the PETM, suggesting that environment change was by then already well underway.

Fieldwork in Spitsbergen

Along with data from other sites, their Arctic evidence suggests not only that sea level began to rise well before the formal onset of the PETM, but also that it peaked about 13,000 years into the period.  At the same time, increased surface-water run-off from the land dampened water-column mixing and led to stratification, with an upper freshened layer that overlay denser, more saline seawater beneath.

By carefully comparing their results with those from IODP Site 302-4A to the north, they found evidence for regional differences in the environmental manifestations of the PETM in high northern latitudes. For example, the evidence from the IODP site suggests that the sunlit surface layer of the ocean was often depleted of oxygen, the results from Spitsbergen suggest that oxygen depletion was largely restricted to the bottom waters and sediments.  In addition, they found that pollen from flowering plants was scarce, unlike at the IODP site, suggesting that conditions around the Spitsbergen Central Basin may not have been conducive to the growth of flowering plants during the PETM.

“Because this geologically short-lived event is represented by such an expanded section at Spitsbergen by comparison to other deep water sites, this locality has provided us with opportunities for further high-resolution studies of the PETM, which we are currently preparing for publication,” concluded Dr Harding.

The researchers are Ian Harding, Adam Charles , John Marshall, Heiko Pälike, Paul Wilson,  Edward Jarvis, Robert Thorne, Emily Morris, Rebecca Moremon, Richard Pearce and Shir Akbari  of SOES, and Andrew Roberts of the Australian National University, Canberra.

Preliminary field work was funded by The Millennium Atlas Company Limited, and a second expedition with other members of the palaeo-Arctic Climates and Environments (pACE) group was funded by the Worldwide Universities Network.


Harding, I. C., Charles, A. J., Marshall, J. E. A., Pälike, H., Roberts, A. P., Wilson, P. A.,  Jarvis, E., Thorne, T., Morris, E., Moremon, R., Pearce, R. B. & Akbari, S. Sea-level and salinity fluctuations during the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum in Arctic Spitsbergen. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. (2011).doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.12.043

TOPICS: Canada; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: arctic; artic; catastrophism; climatechange; globalwarming; globalwarminghoax; godsgravesglyphs; norway; spitsbergen; spitzbergen

1 posted on 02/27/2011 1:28:01 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: NormsRevenge; steelyourfaith; Grampa Dave; SierraWasp; tubebender; Carry_Okie; Brad's Gramma; ...

And this is from the UK.... University of Southampton.

2 posted on 02/27/2011 1:30:13 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Caused by Sarah Palin's Harsh Rhetoric.

Thoughts for the day
  • Republicans win in 2012. They are going to try very hard to force an insider candidate like Gingrich or Romney on us.
  • Conservatives are kept too busy. Downsize some, and give a day a week to joining/starting Tea Party action groups if you really want things to change.
  • Get rid of the TV. Even the most aware people are swallowing subtle propaganda through the TV.
  • Muslim atrocities in the USA are sure to punctuate the next few years. When they occur, try to open the public debate about muslim immigration. With each new muslim atrocity, the level of public discussion about the issue deserves to increase.

3 posted on 02/27/2011 1:30:46 PM PST by Christian Engineer Mass (25ish Cambridge MA grad student. Many younger conservative Christians out there? __ Click my name)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

“this is from the UK.... University of Southampton”

I’ve noticed that the people in the UK aren’t engaged in such a polar battle between liberals and conservatives as the US - basically because the left has already won there.

As a result, there is often more honesty in these cases, because they don’t fight everything like a war.

It’s like you can find on British university sites the admission that the whole “polar shifts” idea is purely based on a wobbly statistical analysis, and you CANNOT observe some clear evidence on the bottom of the ocean, as you would think from the white line/black line images that you see on Wikipedia.

It is important to know whether the poles “swap”, as we know that the magnetic field has been reducing a LOT, and without the idea of “swaps”, it would greatly bolster the young Earth argument.

Most brits lost their religion long ago, so they don’t seem to realize the liberals are fighting a war with Christians on this issue, so you get more honesty from their academia a lot of the time.

4 posted on 02/27/2011 1:37:41 PM PST by Christian Engineer Mass (25ish Cambridge MA grad student. Many younger conservative Christians out there? __ Click my name)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Save the Foraminifera!!

Tax us Trillions and we'll feel much better knowing that no Foraminifera were harmed.

5 posted on 02/27/2011 1:42:39 PM PST by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

” In addition, they found that pollen from flowering plants was scarce, unlike at the IODP site, suggesting that conditions around the Spitsbergen Central Basin may not have been conducive to the growth of flowering plants during the PETM.”


6 posted on 02/27/2011 1:53:04 PM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; tubebender; mmanager; Fiddlstix; Fractal Trader; FrPR; enough_idiocy; meyer; ..
Thanx Ernest_at_the_Beach !


Beam me to Planet Gore !

7 posted on 02/27/2011 1:54:37 PM PST by steelyourfaith ("Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Wendell Phillips)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
Which was further North....

More Hmmmm.....

8 posted on 02/27/2011 1:58:09 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra; steelyourfaith; Christian Engineer Mass; ProtectOurFreedom
From the comments:


tty says:

February 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm

For once the original paper is easily available:

Well worth reading.

9 posted on 02/27/2011 2:02:06 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: ProtectOurFreedom
"we'll feel much better knowing that no Foraminifera were harmed."

I DON'T FEEL BAD ABOUDIT.... You ever eat one rolled in cracker meal and fried in peanut oil?

They're Gastronomical....!
10 posted on 02/27/2011 2:12:03 PM PST by flat
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To: All
In the comments someone mentioned

Fossil Forests of Axel Heiberg Island in the High Canadian Artic

11 posted on 02/27/2011 2:43:27 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Thanks E..

12 posted on 02/27/2011 3:02:02 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned....Duncan Hunter Sr. for POTUS.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Is this how the last significant technological civilization killed itself? /s

13 posted on 02/27/2011 3:07:52 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine (/s, in case you need to ask)
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To: All
Wiki Entry:

Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum


Climate change during the last 65 million years as expressed by the oxygen isotope composition of benthic foraminifera. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) is characterized by a brief but prominent negative excursion, attributed to rapid warming. Note that the excursion is understated in this graph due to the smoothing of data.


The most extreme change in Earth surface conditions during the Cenozoic Era began at the temporal boundary between the Paleocene and Eocene epochs 55.8

million years ago. This event, the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, alternatively "Eocene thermal maximum 1" (ETM1), and formerly known as the "Initial Eocene" or "Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum",[1] (IETM/LPTM)), was associated with rapid (in geological terms) global warming, profound changes in ecosystems, and major perturbations in the carbon cycle.

Global temperatures rose by about 6°C (11°F) over a period of approximately 20,000 years. Many benthic foraminifera and terrestrial mammals went extinct, but numerous modern mammalian orders emerged. The event is linked to a prominent negative excursion in carbon stable isotope (δ13C) records from across the globe, and dissolution of carbonate deposited on all ocean basins. The latter observations strongly suggest that a massive input of 13C-depleted carbon entered the hydrosphere or atmosphere at the start of the PETM. Recently, geoscientists have begun to investigate the PETM in order to better understand the fate and transport of increasing greenhouse-gas emissions over millenial time scales.

14 posted on 02/27/2011 3:14:34 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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The configuration of oceans and continents was somewhat different during the Eocene. The Panama Isthmus did not yet connect North and South America, which allowed circulation between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Further, the Drake Passage was closed, perhaps preventing the thermal isolation of Antarctica. Although various proxies for past atmospheric CO2 levels in the Eocene do not agree in absolute terms, all suggest that levels then were much higher than at present. In any case, there were no significant ice sheets during this time.[5]

Earth surface temperatures increased by about 6°C from the late Paleocene through the early Eocene, culminating in the "Early Eocene Climatic Optimum" (EECO).[5] Superimposed on this long-term, gradual warming were at least two (and likely more) "hyperthermals". These can be defined as geologically brief (<200,000 year) events characterized by rapid global warming, major changes in the environment, and massive carbon addition. Of these, the PETM was the most extreme and perhaps the first (at least within the Cenozoic). Another hyperthermal clearly occurred at approximately 53.7 Ma, and is now called ETM-2 (also referred to as H-1, or the Elmo event). However, additional hyperthermals likely occurred at about 53.6 Ma (H-2), 53.3 (I-1), 53.2 (I-2) and 52.8 Ma (informally called K, X or ETM-3). The number, nomenclature, absolute ages, and relative global impact of the Eocene hyperthermals are the source of considerable current research. Whether they only occurred during the long-term warming, and whether they are causally related to apparently similar events in older intervals of the geological record (e.g., the Toarcian turnover of the Jurassic) are open issues.

[edit] Evidence for global warming

Average global temperatures increased by ~6°C (11°F) within about 20,000 years. This is based on several lines of evidence. There is a prominent (>1) negative excursion in the δ18O of foraminifera shells, both those made in surface and deep ocean water. Because there was a paucity of continental ice in the early Paleogene, the shift in δ18O very likely signifies a rise in ocean temperature.[6] The temperature rise is also supported by analyses of foraminifera Mg/Ca and ratios of certain organic compounds (TEX86).

Due to the positive feedback effect of melting ice reducing albedo, temperature increases would have been greatest at the poles, which reached an average annual temperature of 10 to 20 °C (50 to 68 °F);[7] the surface waters of the northernmost[8] Arctic ocean warmed, seasonally at least, enough to support tropical lifeforms[9] requiring surface temperatures of over 22°C.[10]

[edit] Evidence for carbon addition

Clear evidence for massive addition of 13C-depleted carbon at the onset of the PETM comes from two observations. First, a prominent negative excursion in the carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of carbon-bearing phases characterizes the PETM in numerous widespread locations from a range of environments. Second, carbonate dissolution marks the PETM in sections from the deep-sea.

The total mass of carbon injected to the ocean and atmosphere during the PETM remains the source of debate. In theory, it can be estimated from the magnitude of the δ13C excursion, the amount of carbonate dissolution on the seafloor, or ideally both. However, the shift in the δ13C across the PETM depends on the location and the carbon-bearing phase analyzed. In some records of bulk carbonate, it is about 2‰; in some records of terrestrial carbonate or organic matter it exceeds 6‰.[11] Carbonate dissolution also varies throughout different ocean basins. It is extreme in parts of the north and central Atlantic Ocean but far less pronounced in the Pacific Ocean. With available information, estimates of the carbon addition range from about 2500 to over 6800 gigatons [12]

The timing of the PETM δ13C excursion has been calculated in two complementary ways. The iconic core covering this time period is the ODP's Core 690, and the timing is based exclusively on this core's record. The original timing was calculated assuming a constant sedimentation rate.[13] This model was improved using the assumption that 3He flux is constant; this cosmogenic nuclide is produced at a (roughly) constant rate by the sun, and there is little reason to assume large fluctuations in the solar wind across this short time period.[14] Both models have their failings, but agree on a few points. Importantly, they both detect two steps in the drop of δ13C, each lasting about 1,000 years, and separated by about 20,000 years. The models diverge most in their estimate of the recovery time, which ranges from 150,000[13] to 30,000[14] years. There is other evidence to suggest that warming predated the δ13C excursion by some 3,000 years.[15]

[edit] Effects

The climate would also have become much wetter, with the increase in evaporation rates peaking in the tropics. Deuterium isotopes reveal that much more of this moisture was transported polewards than normal.[16] This would have resulted in the largely isolated Arctic ocean's taking on a more freshwater character as northern hemisphere rainfall was channelled towards it.[16]

[edit] Sea level

Despite the global lack of ice, the sea level would have risen due to thermal expansion.[10] Evidence for this can be found in the shifting palynomorph assemblages of the Arctic ocean, which reflect a relative decrease in terrestrial organic material compared to marine organic matter.[10]

[edit] Circulation

At the start of the PETM, the ocean circulation patterns changed radically in the course of under 5,000 years.[17] Global-scale current directions reversed; for example, deep water in the Atlantic flowed from north to south instead of the usual south to north.[17] This "backwards" flow persisted for 40,000 years.[17] Such a change would transport warm water to the deep oceans, enhancing further warming.[17]

[edit] Lysocline

The lysocline marks the depth at which carbonate starts to dissolve (above the lysocline, carbonate is oversaturated): today, this is at about 4 km, comparable to the median depth of the oceans. This depth depends on (among other things) temperature and the amount of CO2 dissolved in the ocean. Adding CO2 initially shallows the lysocline,[18] resulting in the dissolution of deep water carbonates. This deep-water acidification can be observed in ocean cores, which show (where bioturbation has not destroyed the signal) an abrupt change from grey carbonate ooze to red clays (followed by a gradual grading back to grey).[19] It is far more pronounced in north Atlantic cores than elsewhere, suggesting that acidification was more concentrated here, related to a greater rise in the level of the lysocline.[3] In parts of the southeast Atlantic, the lysocline rose by 2 km in just a few thousand years.[3]


15 posted on 02/27/2011 3:18:03 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Pearls Before Swine

You mean the Flintstones?....LOL!

16 posted on 02/27/2011 3:19:06 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: All
OK.....NOT SURE about Wikipedia...

Seems to me that they have decided that the warming was blamed on CO2....

17 posted on 02/27/2011 3:21:12 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

From the attic or from the Arctic?

18 posted on 02/27/2011 3:26:23 PM PST by MIchaelTArchangel (Obama makes me miss Jimmah Cahtah!)
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To: All
OK...Lets look at the Blog Website RealClimate

I believe that is a Warmists website


PETM Weirdness


Filed under: * Climate Science * Greenhouse gases * Paleoclimate * Reporting on climate — gavin @ 10 August 2009


The problems probably started with the title of the paper “Carbon dioxide forcing alone insufficient to explain Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum warming” which on it’s own might have been unproblematic. However, it was paired with a press release from Rice University that was titled “Global warming: Our best guess is likely wrong”, containing the statement from Jerry Dickens that

“There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models”.

Since the know-nothings agree one hundred per cent with these two last statements, it took no time at all for the press release to get passed along by Marc Morano, posted on Drudge, and declared the final nail in the coffin for ‘alarmist’ global warming science on WUWT (Andrew Freedman at WaPo has a good discussion of this). The fact that what was really being said was that climate sensitivity is probably larger than produced in standard climate models seemed to pass almost all of these people by (though a few of their more astute commenters did pick up on it). Regardless, the message went out that ‘climate models are wrong’ with the implicit sub-text that current global warming is nothing to worry about. Almost the exact opposite point that the authors wanted to make (another press release from U. Hawaii was much better in that respect).

What might have been done differently?

First off, headlines and titles that simply confirm someone’s prior belief (even if that belief is completely at odds with the substance of the paper) are a really bad idea. Many people do not go beyond the headline – they read it, they agree with it, they move on. Also one should avoid truisms. All ‘models’ are indeed wrong – they are models, not perfect representations of the real world. The real question is whether they are useful – what do they underestimate? overestimate? and are they sufficiently complete? Thus a much better title for the press release would have been more specific “”Global warming: Our best guess is likely too small” – and much less misinterpretable!

Secondly, a lot of the confusion is related to the use of the word ‘model’ itself. When people hear ‘climate model’, they generally think of the big ocean-atmosphere models run by GISS, NCAR or Hadley Centre etc. for the 20th Century climate and for future scenarios. The model used in Zeebe et al was not one of these, instead it was a relatively sophisticated carbon cycle model that tracks the different elements of the carbon cycle, but not the changes in climate.

19 posted on 02/27/2011 3:31:27 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Christian Engineer Mass; Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
See the updates.

It was a wierd event says Gavin...of the Climate Scientists group....Post #19.

20 posted on 02/27/2011 3:35:24 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: All
OK....I like reading thru comments...Study Finds Global Climate Models May Be Missing Something


Levi Beckerson (Blog) - July 16, 2009 7:12 AM

Data suggests that unknown processes may be missing from prediction models.

If there's a topic that nearly everyone is familiar with this year, it's global warming. Advocates for this camp and that camp have been slinging mud and "facts" at each other at an increasing rate in the last few years as global awareness of the various theories behind it has risen. Though special purpose groups, scientists and Al Gore may not agree on what should be done, there are generally accepted numbers that climate researchers use to generate pictures of what kind of temperature the Earth will endure in the next century. Only, those numbers might be wrong.

A paper recently published in Nature Geoscience, authored by Gerald Dickens of Rice University, Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii and James Zachos of the University of California - Santa Cruz has found evidence that climatologist models may in fact be wrong. Their work concentrates on a well-known thermal event in Earth's past known as the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) and the records it left behind in the form of carbon deposits. Via core samples from all around the world, the PETM is one of the best documented events of its kind.

But what Dickens's team found in those PETM cores doesn't jive with the standard global warming model in use by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC model typically uses a 100% increase in atmospheric carbon as the threshold in their models, but when compared to the deposits from the PETM, in which atmospheric carbon levels only rose by about 70%, the current model fails to explain the dramatic temperature increase during that period.

How does the Dickens/Zeebe/Zacho team explain the 7 degrees Celsius jump in just 10,000 years? They can't. But they think their data suggests that there's some unaccounted process missing from the IPCC model. If they are correct, the IPCC models could be off by as much as 100% as far temperature goes when using the PETM event as a reference.

Global warming, whether it exists or not, whether it's man-made or not, will be a hot topic in the next few years, perhaps decades. While not every study done has substantial ground to stand on, there does seem to be much that scientists do not understand about the geological or environmental processes behind it. More data is needed, and perhaps groups like Dickens's will find it.
21 posted on 02/27/2011 3:52:11 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Don't want to lose this reference....

Study Rocks Climate Debate! 'Nature not man responsible for recent global warming'

Climate Depot ^ | July 23, 2009 | Marc Morano

22 posted on 02/27/2011 3:58:43 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

“The warming of the oceans led to profound ecological changes, including the widespread extinction of many types of foraminifera, tiny single-celled organisms with distinctive shells.”

The above quote, I believe, is one of the statements in the report with a very large and a most overlooked significance, particularly in the climate of the debates over “man-made” global warming.


Understand that there IS very large “chains” of some (varying) levels of interdependency of many life forms. Then reread the quoted statement, and then make a mental note of all the other periods of “mass” extinctions that science believes it has evidence for.

Then, remind yourself: LIFE, in the holistic sense WAS NOT EXTINGUISHED, it survived.

And, remind yourself further that if any species has the capability to adapt to “ecological change” it is humanity.

The global warming alarmists are on a political crusade, not a scientific crusade.

23 posted on 02/27/2011 4:04:43 PM PST by Wuli
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12/05/2009 10:54:44 AM PST · by Winged Hussar · 15 replies · 804+ views
IsraPundit ^ | 12/04/09 | Bill Levinson


OK I quit....I didn't want to lose all of these excellent links for articles here on Free Republic.

Well at least I got the titles....not sure why the links are not there on many of them.

24 posted on 02/27/2011 4:20:09 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Wuli

Nicely said!

25 posted on 02/27/2011 4:22:27 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Wuli
"And, remind yourself further that if any species has the capability to adapt to “ecological change” it is humanity."

And indeed, it already has. The thermal range of human habitation varies from the hottest jungles and deserts to and past the Arctic circle, far greater than any possible proposed thermal change model. And that range was established in far prehistory, without all the technological tools and knowledge we currently have available.

26 posted on 02/27/2011 4:46:57 PM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: All
In the comments at WUWT for the article someone mentioned the

Azolla event

So looked for that and found an entry at Wikipedia....

Azolla event


The Azolla event occurred in the middle Eocene period,[1] around 49

million years ago, when blooms of the freshwater fern Azolla are thought to have happened in the Arctic Ocean. As they sank to the stagnant sea floor, they were incorporated into the sediment; the resulting draw down of carbon dioxide has been speculated to have helped transform the planet from a "greenhouse Earth" state, hot enough for turtles and palm trees to prosper at the poles, to the icehouse Earth it has been since.




Geological evidence of the event

In sedimentary layers throughout the Arctic basin, a unit reaching at least 8 m in thickness[2] is discernible. This unit consists of alternating layers; siliceous clastic layers representing the background sedimentation of planktonic organisms, usual to marine sediments, switch with millimetre-thick laminations comprising fossilised Azolla matter.[3] This organic matter can also be detected in the form of a gamma radiation spike, that has been noted throughout the Arctic basin, making the event a useful aid in lining up cores drilled at different locations. Palynological controls and calibration with the high-resolution geomagnetic reversal record allows the duration of the event to be estimated at 800,000 years.[1] The event coincides precisely with a catastrophic decline in carbon dioxide levels, which fell from 3500 ppm in the early Eocene to 650 ppm during this event.[4]


Azolla has been deemed a "super-plant" as it can draw down as much as a tonne of nitrogen per acre per year[5] (0.25 kg/m²/yr); this is matched by 6 tonnes per acre of carbon drawdown (1.5 kg/m²/yr). Its ability to use atmospheric nitrogen for growth means that the main limit to its growth is usually the availability of phosphorus: carbon, nitrogen and sulphur being three of the key elements of proteins, and phosphorus being required for DNA, RNA and in energy metabolism. The plant can grow at great speed in favourable conditions – modest warmth and 20 hours of sunlight, both of which were in evidence at the poles during the early Eocene – and can double its biomass over two to three days in such a climate.[1]

[edit] Conditions encouraging the event

The continental configuration during the Early Eocene resulted in an isolated Arctic basin.

During the early Eocene, the continental configuration was such that the Arctic sea was almost entirely cut off from the wider oceans. This meant that mixing — provided today by deep water currents such as the Gulf Stream — did not occur, leading to a stratified water column resembling today's Black Sea.[6] High temperatures and winds led to high evaporation, increasing the density of the ocean, and — through an increase in rainfall — high discharge from rivers which fed the basin. This low-density freshwater formed a nepheloid layer, floating on the surface of the dense sea.[7] Even a few centimetres of fresh water would be enough to allow the colonization of Azolla; further, this river water would be rich in minerals such as phosphorus, which it would accumulate from mud and rocks it interacted with as it crossed the continents. To further aid the growth of the plant, concentrations of carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide) and accessible nitrogen in the atmosphere are known to have been high at this time.[4]

Blooms alone are not enough to have any geological impact; to permanently draw down CO2 and cause climate change, the carbon must be sequestered, by the plants being buried and eventually fossilised. The anoxic bottom of the Arctic basin, a result of the stratified water column, permitted just this: the anoxic environment inhibits the activity of decomposing organisms and allows the plants to sit unrotted until they are buried by sediment and incorporated into the fossil record.

[edit] Global effects

With 800,000 years of Azolla bloom episodes and a 4,000,000 km² basin to cover, even by very conservative estimates more than enough carbon could be sequestered by plant burial to account for the observed 80% drop in CO2 by this one phenomenon alone.[8] This drop initiated a global temperature decline which continued for millions of years[citation needed]; the Arctic cooled from an average sea-surface temperature of 13 °C to today's −9 °C,[1] and the rest of the globe underwent a similar change. For perhaps the first time in its history,[9] the planet had ice caps at both of its poles. A geologically rapid decrease in temperature between 49 and 47

million years ago, around the Azolla event, is evident: dropstones — which are taken as evidence for the presence of glaciers — are common in Arctic sediments thereafter. This is set against a backdrop of gradual, long-term cooling: It is not until 15
million years ago
that evidence for widespread polar freezing is common.[10]

[edit] Alternative explanations

While a verdant Arctic Ocean is a viable working model, sceptical scientists point out that it would be possible for Azolla colonies in deltas or freshwater lagoons to be swept into the Arctic Ocean by strong currents, removing the necessity for a freshwater layer.[10]

[edit] Economic considerations

Much of the current interest in oil exploration in the Arctic regions, made possible by global warming, is directed towards the Azolla deposits. The burial of large amounts of organic material provides the source rock for oil, so given the right thermal history, the preserved Azolla blooms might have been converted to oil or gas.[11] This means that much money is available for the study of this event[citation needed] — a centre has been set up in the Netherlands devoted to Azolla.[12]

27 posted on 02/27/2011 5:12:07 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Wonder Warthog

“The thermal range of human habitation”

It is more than simply the thermal range.

Humans have both “caused” and adapted to changes in the loss and the predominance of various flora and fauna - throughout human history, and still LIFE rit large and humanity and a “habitable” planet have all survived.

Can it be any less now when our technological abilities are so much greater? No, it can’t.

28 posted on 02/27/2011 5:19:00 PM PST by Wuli
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(Earth in Upheaval by Immanuel Velikovsky, pp 41-42)

Corals of the Polar Regions

Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean is as far north from Oslo in Norway as Oslo is from Naples. Heer identified 136 species of fossil plants from Spitsbergen (78 56’ north latitude), which he ascribed to the Tertiary Age. Among the plants were pines, firs, spruces, and cypresses, also elms, hazels, and water lilies.

At the northernmost tip of Spitsbergen Archipelago, a bed of black and lustrous coal twenty-five to thirty feet thick was found; it is covered with black shale and sandstone incrusted with fossilized land plants. “When we remember that this vegetation grew luxuriantly within 8 15’ of the North Pole, in a region which is hi darkness for half of the year and is now almost continuously buried under snow and ice, we can realize the difficulty of the problem hi the distribution of climate which these facts present to the geologist.”

There must have been great forests on Spitsbergen to produce a bed of coal thirty feet thick. And even if Spitsbergen, almost one thousand miles inside the Arctic Circle, for some unknown reason had the warm climate of the French Riviera on the Mediterranean, still these thick forests could not have grown there, because the place is six months in continuous night. The rest of the year the sun stands low over the horizon.

Not only fossil trees and coal but corals, too, were found there. Corals grow only in tropical water. In the Mediterranean, in the climate of Egypt or Morocco, it is too cold for them. But they grew in Spitsbergen. Today large formations of coral covered with snow can be seen. It does not solve the problem of their deposition, if they were formed in an older geological epoch.

At some time in the remote past corals grew and are still found on the entire fringe of polar North America in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. In later times (Tertiary) fig palms bloomed within the Arctic Circle; forests of Sequoia gigantea, the giant tree of California, grew from Bering Strait to north of Labrador. “It is difficult to imagine any possible conditions of climate in which these plants could grow so near the pole, deprived of sunlight for many months of the year.”

It is usually said that in ages past the climate all over the world was the same, or that a characteristic of the “warm periods which have formed the major part of geological time was the small temperature difference between equatorial and polar regions.” To this C. E. P. Brooks, in his book, Climate through the Ages, says: “So long as the axis of rotation remains in nearly its present position relative to the plane of the earth’s orbit around the sun, the outer limit of the atmosphere in tropical regions must receive more of the sun’s heat than [in] the middle latitudes, and [in] the middle latitudes more than [in] the polar regions; this is an invariable law. ... It is much more difficult to think of a cause which will raise the temperature of polar regions by some 30F. or more, while leaving that of equatorial regions almost unchanged.”

The continent of Antarctica is larger than Europe, European Russia included. It has not a single tree, not a single bush, not a single blade of grass. Very few fungi have been found. Reports of polar explorers indicate that no land animals larger than insects have been seen, and these insects are exceedingly few and degenerate. Penguins and sea gulls come from the sea. Storms of great velocity circle the Antarctic most of the year. The greatest part of the continent is covered with ice that in some places descends into the ocean.

E.H. Shackleton, during his expedition to Antarctica in 1907-9, found fossil wood in the sandstone of a moraine at latitude 85 5’. He also found erratic boulders of granite on the slopes of Mount Erebus, a volcano. Then he discovered seven seams of coal, also at about latitude 85. The seams are each between three and seven feet thick. Associated with the coal is sandstone containing coniferous wood. 6

Antarctica, too, must have had great forests in the past.

It often appears that the historian of climate has chosen a field as hard to master as it is to square the circle. It seems sometimes that the history of climate is a collection of unsolved, even unsolvable, questions. Without drastic changes in the position of the terrestrial axis or in the form of the orbit or both, conditions could not have existed in which tropical plants flourished in polar regions. If anyone is not convinced of this, he should try to cultivate coral at the North Pole.

[thanks again Fred Nerks! There were some typos I fixed in this scan, there may be more, I wasn’t all that careful]

29 posted on 02/27/2011 5:36:01 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: 75thOVI; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BBell; ...

Thanks Ernest_at_the_Beach.
Around 56 million years ago there was a period of global warming called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), during which global sea surface temperatures increased by approximately 5°C.
Fossil coral reefs in Spitzbergen were identified a long while ago, and can't be attributed to continental drift under any existing scenario.
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30 posted on 02/27/2011 5:36:13 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: SunkenCiv
See #27 and the Azolla Event...

A damn fern pushed us into our current semi ice age....we need more CO in the atmosphere so we can get back to normal...

Why do we need ice at the poles?

31 posted on 02/27/2011 5:48:02 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Christian Engineer Mass
Caves reveal clues to UK weather
by Tom Heap
Saturday, December 2, 2000
At Pooles Cavern in Derbyshire, it was discovered that the stalagmites grow faster in the winter months when it rains more. Alan Walker, who guides visitors through the caves, says the changes in rainfall are recorded in the stalactites and stalagmites like the growth rings in trees. Stalagmites from a number of caves have now been analysed by Dr Andy Baker at Newcastle University. After splitting and polishing the rock, he can measure its growth precisely and has built up a precipitation history going back thousands of years. His study suggests this autumn's rainfall is not at all unusual when looked at over such a timescale but is well within historic variations. He believes politicians find it expedient to blame a man-made change in our weather rather than addressing the complex scientific picture.
I like that closing sentence -- "future decision-making could be made based on scientific data and not on political expediency". I wouldn't count on it, but that would be great.
32 posted on 02/27/2011 6:04:24 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Yeah, well, that’s a nice story. And my proposed lettuce farm is going to cause a pole shift. :’)

33 posted on 02/27/2011 6:10:45 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; SunkenCiv; All

“this geologically short lived event” [the 170,000 years of the PETM). And here we are engaged in violent even murderous arguments about whether we have global warming, global cooling, or climate change, based on a few hundred years of kept records. Oh, what a vain creature is man to think any of us have THE answer based on this.

Thanks for your detailed comments and links. :-)

34 posted on 02/28/2011 11:22:22 AM PST by gleeaikin
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Why do we need ice at the poles?

helps to camouflage the polar bears. Seriously though, there is no reason to have ice at the poles, but Antarctica won't melt even in the ridiculous climate models that melt Greenland. So we are talking about 25 or 30 feet sea level rise, in several centuries if you believe ridiculous models, or in many thousands of years if you believe basic thermodynamics (based on the amount of heat required to melt the ice with about 2 degrees of long term warming).

The issue, as with all global warming issues, is not the desirability of some climate or other, but political power and government control.

35 posted on 02/28/2011 12:26:30 PM PST by palmer (Cooperating with Obama = helping him extend the depression and implement socialism.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; StayAt HomeMother; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...
Note: this topic is from 2/27/2011. Thanks Ernest.

36 posted on 03/16/2015 7:24:40 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (What do we want? REGIME CHANGE! When do we want it? NOW!)
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To: SunkenCiv

Nearer to our time: There was a show on one of the History channels the other day about the Medieval Warming period in which Europe flourished because of better agricultural conditions.

I think it was followed by the Little Ice Age.

37 posted on 03/16/2015 6:56:30 PM PDT by wildbill (If you check behind the shower curtain for a murderer, and find one... what's your plan?)
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To: wildbill
Quite so.

The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850
The Little Ice Age:
How Climate
Made History

by Brian Fagan

Kindle Edition

38 posted on 03/17/2015 5:01:26 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (What do we want? REGIME CHANGE! When do we want it? NOW!)
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