Saturday, February 17, 2007

Wind Shifts and Ocean Currents

This article on the BBC website suggests that some point in time is a status quo and that any variation from that status quo is a negative result.

First question: How do you fix the reference point?

Answer: Simple, it is likely to be the point in time when data gathering starts (or, in many global warming scenario studies where "reliable" data can be dug up from historical records). In other words, wherever the reference point is picked, it is arbitrary.

Second question: How do you interpret the variation from that status quo?

Answer: In negative language (cycnically because that will prompt further research funding).

Graveyards of dead crab shells reminds me of numerous examples in the fossil record. Such fossil records are rarely preserved well so the fact that so many do exist implies that localized mass near-extinctions are more common that we would suppose. And that is the point. These are local extinctions. This is all quite normal!

The impact of ongoing climate change is not always going to be positive (we hear enough on this!) and is not always going to be negative (we rarely hear about this!) The truth is, of course, somewhere in the middle. Nature will provide winners and losers. It really is that simple.

Once again, the unsung problem we are not facing up to is that, with climate change, we can expect mass migrations of all species from one area to another. This process is, basically, how homo sapiens came to have a global distribution, as drought in East Africa caused by the Toba Volcanic explosion created a mass migration into North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and finally the Americas.

The Toba explosion was a far more devastating phenomenon than anything the wildest imagination could dream up about man-made global warming.


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