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Global Warming 5 Million Years Ago In Antarctic Drastically Raised Sea Levels

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the how-deeps-the-water-momma? dept.

Earth 437

An anonymous reader writes "As temperatures rise, scientists continue to worry about the effects of melting Antarctic ice, which threatens to raise sea levels and swamp coastal communities. This event, though, isn't unprecedented. Researchers have uncovered evidence that reveals global warming five million years ago may have caused parts of Antarctica's ice sheets to melt, causing sea levels to rise by about 20 meters."

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437 comments

Must have been dinosaur-made global warming! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44351939)

All them pesky industries and cars! I knew Jim Henson wasn't just showing us a fictional children's tale! It was real life!

Re:Must have been dinosaur-made global warming! (3, Funny)

flyneye (84093) | about 9 months ago | (#44352745)

See what happens when dinosaurs industrialize and drive cars!

Noah (0)

agenaud (538288) | about 9 months ago | (#44351949)

Surely Allah caused a flood only 7000 years ago. It says so in Gilgamesh XI 700 BCC

Re:Noah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352349)

Hell no, its caused by all the idiot drooling scientists and politicians that try to scam us on this crap. When will we ever go back to real science?

Re:Noah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352649)

Please go back to Reddit.

More to the point... (4, Informative)

Extremus (1043274) | about 9 months ago | (#44352007)

It is well known that sea levels have been going up and down throughout the ages. The question now is whether or not we are acelerating these variations and whether life can adapt to them fast enough.

Re:More to the point... (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#44352117)

This is the point most deniers seem to miss when they bring up past periods of climate change. Scientists have never said it didn't happen in the past. What they say is the rate of change is faster than they have seen and may be faster than species can adapt and humans are most likely the cause of the current change.

Re:More to the point... (4, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#44352367)

Actually, it's not the rate of change, it's the rate of change of the rate of change that's scary.

Re:More to the point... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352685)

what a jerk

Re:More to the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352727)

Actually, it's not the rate of change, it's the rate of change of the rate of change that's scary.

You think that's scary? Pft. Compared to the rate of change of the rate of change of the rate of change, that's peanuts.

Re:More to the point... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 9 months ago | (#44352391)

That and the pollution. In the past it didn't involve creating vast amounts of particulate matter or mountains of plastic.

Re:More to the point... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352893)

Unless there are secret shipments of unique compounds we don't know about (all hail XENU!) those plastic bottles were here 5 million years ago as either oil or plant life waiting to become oil.

Man made global warming is a complete joke. First it was global ice age, then global warming, now global water level rise. Hey, idiots, its happened before. The only difference now is that you ass hat libtards are trying to make a buck and control our lives because of said quest for money.

If there really was a man made global warming crisis wouldn't the smart money be on buying cheap land in greenland???

Re:More to the point... (3, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 9 months ago | (#44352981)

Hmmm, almost every climatologist out there says AGW is real, but an AC on /. who thinks that plastic pollution is a-okay because the source material was in the ground says it's a complete joke. Further, he then makes some claim about "libtards", as if science that he doesn't like can be neatly categorized as being "leftist".

Who will I pick?

Re:More to the point... (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#44353043)

I see someone completely missed the point. First of all, what you are saying about the cause of climate change is as asinine as saying that since we have a 6000 yr old skeleton of a man that died of natural causes, no person could have murdered in the last 6000 years; all deaths are by natural causes. Second there are approximately 7 billion people on this planet. You are suggesting they all move to a tiny land mass as a solution to climate change. There is a reason why land might be cheap in Greenland; that land is unsuitable for things like farming.

Re:More to the point... (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 9 months ago | (#44352787)

Bigger better faster. Sadly the bigger better faster turned out to be alligators instead of Tyrannosaurs, so when I go to Outback Steakhouse I only get a dinky serving of gator bites instead of a whopping Tyrannosteak!
 

Re:More to the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352827)

I don't like the word "deniers." It's a label that is often used as many other labels are - dismissively. If only we can see the people behind the ideas, and stop taking words as something other than a sign of our ideas (and not things in themselves), perhaps we can make more progress. Your comment would have had more impact if you had left off the first sentence. The rest makes your point nicely.

Re:More to the point... (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#44353115)

I call them deniers because despite the overwhelming scientific evidence, they still hold onto ideas based not on science. Same thing with the anti-evolutionists, birthers, and truthers. At some point you have to realize it doesn't matter what proof, what reasoned arguments you have, some people will believe what they want to believe.

Re:More to the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352993)

This is the point most deniers seem to miss

It's an easy point to miss while all you alarmists are touting The Day After Tomorrow (2004) [imdb.com] as prophecy.

You'd do well to correct the exaggeration by your brethren as it seems to do more damage than deniers can do by themselves.

Re:More to the point... (5, Interesting)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about 9 months ago | (#44353037)

A couple of important points: Firstly, 5 million years ago, there weren't 7 billion people living on Earth, people whose food supply was dependent on an agricultural system tightly adapted to today's particular climatic conditons. I will always remember a lecture given by one of my geology professors. He drew a graph on the board, initially without a scale. On the left, the graph fluctuated wildly up and down, going from extreme highs to extreme lows. Then suddenly, the graph settled down to mild up and down variations, and became basically horizontal, continuing to the right. Then he labelled the axes. The vertical axis was local temperature for an area where most humans lived. The horizontal axis was time. The time when the temperature settled down to a relatively constant pattern was about 10 000 years ago, the time when the last ice age ended. Then he asked us what other important event occurred around 8000 to 10000 years ago. Of course, the answer was the dawn of human civilization. Human civilization appeared about 8000 years ago. Civilization can only exist because of agriculture. People begin to plant crops in one area. They grow more food than they can eat, so they can have more children. Not all members of society have to spend time farming; individuals can afford to spend time doing other things like making pottery to store extra food, building better houses, or posting on Slashdot.

The problem for cities comes when the conditions that allowed successful agriculture change. Three or four years of failed crops caused by drought or heat or cold or surplus precipitation will exhaust all stored food. The residents of the cities will have to abandon their cities to begin hunting and gathering again, thus largely shattering any nascent civilization. The lesson from this is that human civilization was not simply the result of the triumph of human intelligence over nature. Civilization appeared 8000 years ago because the climate conditions favored it. During the last ice age, the conditions did not favor the development of cities. Even in areas that were not covered in ice, the climate conditions would have been highly variable thanks to the huge persistent ice sheets to the north. One day the air would come from the warm south, another day, the air would come from the cold northern ice sheets. These unstable conditions would have made sustained agriculture impossible.

My second point is that the well known fact that the climate in the past has shifted from warm to cold to warm should not be comforting to us. In fact, it should be the opposite. The fact that the Earth's climate has shifted in the past indicates that our climate is highly sensitive to relatively small forcings. Tiny changes in the Earth's orbit that cause periodically the Northern hemisphere to get more sunlight, and then tens of thousands of years later less sunlight are thought to have forced the Earth into and then out of ice ages (Milankovic Cycles). The slow collision of the Indian sub-continent with Asia, and its resulting volcanism is thought to have caused a large spike in carbon dioxide concentrations, resulting in a climate where the conditions in the north were near tropical.

The fact that the climate has shifted in the past due to relatively small changes indicates that "relatively small" changes wrought by humans, such as the removal of carbon from under the ground and the dumping of it into the atmosphere are capable of pushing our climate into a very different state, one that is likely to reduce human agricultural output by enough to make our current large scale civilization a dubious proposition.

Re:More to the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352155)

A large volcanic eruption will accelerate the variations.

Re:More to the point... (4, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | about 9 months ago | (#44352181)

More than life, civilization, most of mankind and big cities are near sea level, and at coasts. And the crops that feeds most of them are not so far. Maybe if sea rises 20 meters in a century or two we could cope with that, but if time is much shorter it will be pretty bad. Also not sure how it would impact ocean's salinity and life that much water if happens fast, but if is affected you are cutting also sea food to that people.

Please tell me FL is first in line (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352553)

I was all worried about the macabre racism and republicans (but I repeat myself) in Florida, but this is a good way to fix that!

Re:Please tell me FL is first in line (-1, Flamebait)

Atrox Canis (1266568) | about 9 months ago | (#44352809)

Thankfully, the coastal cities like LA, NY, SD, Seattle and Houston (mecca's for modern abusers of indentured servitude and welfare slaves) will be affected first and all of us land locked idiots will be happy to sell land to all the coastal racists. Welcome to your new paradise! A place where almost everyone works which makes sharing the load a heck of a lot easier.

Re:More to the point... (2)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 9 months ago | (#44352761)

More than life, civilization, most of mankind and big cities are near sea level, and at coasts. And the crops that feeds most of them are not so far.

How wrong can you be grasshopper. Crops are grown along rivers, generally in flood plains. Now the rivers may rise, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for farmers.

Re:More to the point... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 9 months ago | (#44352955)

You are right, is not common to see crops in ocean's coasts, close to coastal cities or not. The main vulnerability for crops, being "long term" investments, is extreme weather, like floods, hailstorms, ground frost or similar events, that could be more common or more unpredictable if the weather changes enough to rise 20 meters the sea level.

Re:More to the point... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352437)

It is well known that sea levels have been going up and down throughout the ages.

Is it really "well known" that climate changes "throughout the ages?" Is that fact well known to the adolescents that get exposed to Al Gore and his agenda multiple times every year in publicly funded schools? Is that fact well known to the statists you cheer on as they impoverish people?

My sense is that no such thing is "well known." The reality is people believe they are suppose to "stop" "climate change" because that's what has been pounded into their heads by you.

A few stories ago we indulged our contempt for "autism panic" and sneered at the fools who were duped into thinking vaccines were wrecking kids. People believe what they're told; they don't investigate or consider the long view. When Al Gore tells them the planet is going to Venus itself because they don't live barefoot in a yurt they believe it.

Re:More to the point... (-1, Flamebait)

liamevo (1358257) | about 9 months ago | (#44352983)

1) You write as if Al Gore is the authority in climate change.
2) You want to be taken seriously.

You may pick one.

Jesus. Get a grip. (5, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#44352523)

According to IPCC's WORST-CASE estimates (from which they have recently backed off), sea levels were not projected to rise by more than about a meter over the next 100 years.

I daresay we can adapt fast enough to that.

Re:Jesus. Get a grip. (1, Funny)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 9 months ago | (#44352579)

Exactly right. My plan to adapt to the changes during the next 100 years is to be dead for at least 50 of them.

Re:Jesus. Get a grip. (1)

bonehead (6382) | about 9 months ago | (#44352991)

Exactly right. My plan to adapt to the changes during the next 100 years is to be dead for at least 50 of them.

That's a big part of my plan, also. In addition, I'll simply continue living where I always have, over 1,000 miles in any direction from needing to worry about what the sea level is. (With the added benefit of being far, far away from any large metropolitan cesspools. e.g. NYC, LA....)

Re:Jesus. Get a grip. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44353077)

Yeah, 1 meter is nothing. Right? Unless, of course, you live in areas that will be impacted (not just those that will inundated outright) by such a change. Jeezuz, are you really that fucking dull that you don't consider such a change, happening on a global scale, will not be accompanied by far more than just a new high-water mark at the coast?

Re:More to the point... (3, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 9 months ago | (#44352549)

whether life can adapt to them fast enough.

Depends on the life which is trying to adapt. Sealife, in the instance of rising sea levels, probably has a better chance at adapting than air sucking land dwellers.

Re:More to the point... (1, Insightful)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 9 months ago | (#44352627)

Would like to see the math here.

I do know that when ice melts, it takes up less volume than liquid water. I also understand that Antarctica is large, but the oceans around the world are pretty big, too. You're trying to scare me into believing that a couple portions of Antarctica can produce enough water to raise the oceans around the world by 60 feet. Someone please tell me how much ice would have to be melted in order to do that and if Antarctica (even if completely melted) could do that. Seems a little out of proportion just looking at a map.

Re:More to the point... (4, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#44352823)

Let's see....

According to Google, Antarctica is ~14 million square km, and has an average of about 1.6 km of ice on top of it.

So, call it 22.4 million cubic km of ice. With a density of about 0.92 g/cm^3. So ~20.6 million cubic km of water tied up in that ice sheet.

Surface area of the planet is ~510 milllion square km.

Which gives us ~40 meters of sea level rise as a MINIMUM if the entire ice sheet melts.

Of course, it's not all expected to melt, but hey....

Re:More to the point... (4, Interesting)

danbob999 (2490674) | about 9 months ago | (#44352867)

It is well known that sea levels have been going up and down throughout the ages. The question now is whether or not we are acelerating these variations and whether life can adapt to them fast enough.

Life isn't threatened by anthropogenic global warming. Even the human specie, as a whole, isn't threatened. There is also a scientific consensus on the fact that global warming is happening and that we are responsible for it.

The real question is whether the costs of reducing greenhouse gases emissions outweigh the costs of global warming. The answer is that it's globally cheaper to reduce greenhouse gases, however every single country or individual, by being selfish, has interest to let the others pay the bill.

Re:More to the point... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 9 months ago | (#44352941)

Of course life can adapt. Even humans can adapt. The question is how much will it cost to adapt, and how many will die who cannot.

OMG!!! We're all gonna DIE!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352019)

Aaaaarrghhh!! I'm SCARED!!!!

FUD title (4, Informative)

argStyopa (232550) | about 9 months ago | (#44352039)

Or, we COULD say "Middle Miocene ice age 15 million years ago drastically lowered temperatures, lowered sea level 20m" as well, couldn't we?

Then it warmed, and melted, and sea levels rose. (The subject of the OP.)

Then it froze again, and sea levels dropped, since the last ice age ended only about 11,000 yrs ago.

It's almost like this shit is cyclic.

Re:FUD title (3, Funny)

Antipater (2053064) | about 9 months ago | (#44352115)

It's almost like this shit is cyclic.

Fortunately, this time we've invented magazines and toilet paper to cope with the problem.

Re:FUD title (1, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 9 months ago | (#44352301)

It's almost like this shit is cyclic.

That's right, it's just like a Ferris wheel.

So let's say you want to jump off the ride when you're near the top. Go ahead, no problem! After all, the next cycle would bring you back down to the ground anyway. It's all the same.

Re:FUD title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352371)

Or, we COULD say "Middle Miocene ice age 15 million years ago drastically lowered temperatures, lowered sea level 20m" as well, couldn't we?

Yeah, you COULD spin it any way you want. But that's not going to make it any cheaper to move our cities to higher ground.

Re:FUD title (2)

bonehead (6382) | about 9 months ago | (#44353039)

If it's the economics you're worried about, relocating people inland will still likely be far less costly than the radical lifestyle/infrastructure changes the tree huggers are advocating.

Re:FUD title (2)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 9 months ago | (#44352663)

Oh it most certainly is cyclic. The question is whether what we're seeing right now is part of that cycle or not. Many think that it's too fast to be part of it, or at the very least that it's a combination of a cycle and something else (ie. humans).

Plus, regardless of the cause, if things do indeed heat up so much so that water levels raise dramatically, we're in deep shit. Just look at how much of the population of the world lives on a coast.

Re:FUD title (2)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 9 months ago | (#44352725)

There is great evidence that shows shifts in the centuries, too. I like to challenge people to go to California and look at a cross-section of a redwood or sequoia tree. Most of the state and national parks have a huge section (8-10' diameter) of an old tree. In some cases, it shows almost 2,000 of rings. If you ponder and consider what the ring sizes mean, you will see a hundred years (or so) of thick rings meaning good growth, certain climate, plenty of rain, etc... Then you will see a section of another hundred years of small, tight rings...meaning less rain, climate not as good for growing (colder/hotter or whatever). Tell me, if the world doesn't go through this and then adjust, why is this happening.

Perhaps the biologists can help me understand one thing. What do plant 'inhale'? I was taught that it was CO2 and they 'exhale' O2. If this is true, with an increase in CO2, shouldn't nature naturally begin to grow more abundantly and plants produce more O2, or is there something missing? I keep seeing in nature that when something goes out-of-balance, there is a natural response to bring it back? Seems to me that plants have gone through something like this before and will be able to adapt....as we and oth3er animals can, too.

Who was burning fossil fuels then? (3, Informative)

bobbied (2522392) | about 9 months ago | (#44352041)

That was a long time before the bronze age.. Nobody was burning fossil fuels and dumping CO2 into the air. SO.... How does something like this happen? Can you believe there is some kind of natural process that we don't yet understand going on?

Problem with all of this is that if the process cycles are in the millions of years, it's going to be impossible to really know if your models are accurate because you only have a few thousand years of recorded history to validate your models with. Plus, you don't know if the system has been disturbed by some outside forces, say a meteor strike (think meteor crater) or volcanic eruption.

Interesting evidence guys, please keep looking into this..

Re:Who was burning fossil fuels then? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352125)

Ah, you want over a million year old data on atmospheric gases?

http://www.pages-igbp.org/ipics/data/ipics_oldaa.pdf

Done and done.

Re:Who was burning fossil fuels then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352175)

Ra, Isis, Anubis, Osiris, and all the other Gu'Auld from the Stargate universe

Re:Who was burning fossil fuels then? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352199)

You are the first person I have ever heard implying that man is THE ONLY possible cause for a gloval warming.
No scientist defends a position like that.
However, we now have overwhelming evidence to support that the PRESENT period of global warming is man-made, which makes it very different from earlier ones.
You didn't know that, did you ?

Ignorance is bliss (-1, Flamebait)

arcite (661011) | about 9 months ago | (#44352293)

98% of scientists, governments, and corporations acknowledge the reality of man made climate change (particularly insurance corporations!). However, it is the peculiar breed of denier such as yourself; the flippant, dismissive attitude, that gives all our great democracies a bad name. Well, we do still have freedom of speech, so all the power to ya I suppose.

Re:Ignorance is bliss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352539)

corporations

Whoa! We're going to cite corporations now to make our arguments? On slashdot?

Climate politics are amazing.

Re:Ignorance is bliss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352799)

Look up the facts behind your "98%". That is actually only 75 out of over 10000 people in a survey. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/18/about-that-overwhelming-98-number-of-scientists-consensus/

Re:Who was burning fossil fuels then? (4, Insightful)

Robear (68955) | about 9 months ago | (#44352325)

Because there can't be both natural and man-made causes for warming and cooling? Really? That seems arbitrary, especially if it's just the argument from disbelief.

We've got very good evidence that there are climate cycles, and very good evidence that we should be cooling right now, but we're not. We have very good evidence that we're warming specifically because of our own actions, and that's overwhelming the natural cycles, both in speed of change and intensity.

If you are comfortable with natural cycles, then the physics of artificial change should not faze you, because the physics behind them is the same. If something can be changed by natural forces, then it can be affected by artificial ones of sufficient scale and intensity. Excluding the latter is simply ignoring evidence.

Re:Who was burning fossil fuels then? (3)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 9 months ago | (#44352815)

There are no 'artificial' causes of anything. We are all just as natural as any other life form.

Re:Who was burning fossil fuels then? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 9 months ago | (#44352331)

There weren't humans 5m years ago, but around then emerged the very first hominids, in fact we could be here because that warming or what caused it, if it did the selective pressure that caused the most adapted to the new environment to survive.

There are a lot of possible natural causes for global warmings and freezings, the actual problem is more centered on the speed of it, and if we are the cause this time. And maybe we won't be the best adapted for the new environment that we are creating.

Re:Who was burning fossil fuels then? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352445)

It's still surprising to me that no one has ever heard of Milankovitch cycles [wikipedia.org]. There are three cycles that all work to change the overall climate. There are meters of ice in various spots around the world, and they all have layers of trapped gas bubbles that are used as indicators for what the atmosphere must have been like during that time period. The problem is that as things get older, the ice is thinner and thinner, so the further back you look the less certainty you have. Overall though, it's still pretty good, and certainly not impossible.

  • Axial Precession - ~26k years. The earth is like a top spinning about it's axis, and this is the tilt of that north pole toward/away from the sun as it spins.
  • Axial Tilt - ~40k years. This is the no-kidding tilt of the axis.
  • Orbital shape - ~100k years. This is the eccentricity of the earths orbit.

With all these things there are changes in CO2 levels in the geologic record (i.e. layers of ice in greenland) that serve as indicators to overall global temperature. Looking back, we can see that the world got much warmer, waters much higher, greenhouse gasses much higher. Then the earth was not able to support the high temperature, more gasses got trapped in the ocean, then froze, and we went into another ice age.

Any paleoclimatologists out there can feel free to correct/add, I'm just going from memory of a couple classes I had as an undergrad...

Re:Who was burning fossil fuels then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352473)

Ah, yes - grasp that straw! Maybe it's just coincidence that global temperature is rising at an unprecedented rate while we dump metric sh*tloads of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

Because, you know, if it's a natural process, we can just keep up business-as-usual and it won't cause us any problems.

Re:Who was burning fossil fuels then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352835)

if the process cycles are in the millions of years, it's going to be impossible to really know if your models are accurate because you only have a few thousand years of recorded history to validate your models with.

Ehm, no. "Recorded history" isn't the only source of information you can draw on.

Re:Who was burning fossil fuels then? (2)

agenaud (538288) | about 9 months ago | (#44353033)

You read one article from your armchair and think, "hey good going, look into this"? There's been active research in climate cycles and mass extinction events since the 1800's.

Some causes are the precession, solar output, and meteors as you mention. CO2 and temperature are co-dependent feedback variables. Raise CO2, temperature rises. Raise temperature, CO2 rises. (same in reverse and hense we see a very cyclical 100 000 year pattern). It doesn't matter what triggers it. By all evidence we are on the up slope of the 100 000 year cycle, with or without human interference. But humans are certainly exacerbating the warming through burning.

The article says that when the oceans were 20 meters higher five million years ago the CO2 levels were similar, but in fact CO2 levels were less than the 400 ppm we have today, and levels are sky rocketing (in geologic and human time).

CO2 levels were over 400 ppm 15 million years ago at a time when no humans were alive nor could have survived. Temperatures were 5 C warmer and oceans were 40 meters higher than today. That's the course we are headed toward.

High water mark? (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 9 months ago | (#44352063)

Has anyone identified the high water mark? Apparently the continental shelf indicates the low mark - with all that extra land mass. This whole thing is cyclic, and we should not be surprised that it was a bad idea to build huge cities along the coastline of today. OK maybe surprised, but lets not pretend we can stop it.

Whew (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352083)

Good thing our warming stopped.

Re:Whew (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352205)

People were environmentally conscious then, not like todays consumer-droids with their corporate masters. That's why they stopped their carbon output and saved the world.

11,000 Year Ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352111)

Only 11,000 years ago or so sea levels rose by more than 100 meters worldwide, you don't have to go back millions. Our ancestors were alive and well around the world and saw it happen.

I often thinks of neolithic climatologists sitting around saying that they've learned that due to global warming the seas will rise by 100 meters, wiping out 100,000,000 square kilometers of prime land around the seacoasts, many large animals such as mammoths will be completely wiped out, surely the end of the world is coming and the human race will be wiped out... Makes our current concerns about a degree or two here or there look pretty wimpy, doesn't it?

Re:11,000 Year Ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352153)

Yes, and we are due for a reversal of what happened back then:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interglacial

The lack of public discussion about this is creepy.

Re:11,000 Year Ago (1)

shokk (187512) | about 9 months ago | (#44352661)

That would be too obvious. Last sentence below seems to have some importance:

“The interglacials and glacials coincide with cyclic changes in the Earth's orbit. Three orbital variations contribute to interglacials. The first is a change in the Earth's orbit around the sun, or eccentricity. The second is a shift in the tilt of the Earth's axis, the obliquity. The third is precession, or wobbling motion of Earth's axis.[1] Warm summers in the northern hemisphere occur when that hemisphere is tilted toward the sun and the Earth is nearest the sun in its elliptical orbit. Cool summers occur when the Earth is farthest from the sun during that season. These effects are more pronounced when the eccentricity of the orbit is large. When the obliquity is large, seasonal changes are more extreme."

And what most folks are missing... (3, Insightful)

whitroth (9367) | about 9 months ago | (#44352157)

How many thousands of years did it take for that warming... the equivalent of *one* century? But no, zillions of barrels of oil and coal, burned, can't *possibly* affect the whole world's climate, no, no....

              mark

Re:And what most folks are missing... (1, Redundant)

bobbied (2522392) | about 9 months ago | (#44352243)

Well.. An observed 20M rise in sea level back then certainly was NOT because fossil fuels got burned. Which leads to the question, What DID cause it? Which leads us to the question, so how do we know what's happening now? Theories abound, but there is little proof of much of what gets asserted as true in the press. Just tells us we need to keep looking at the issue because we apparently don't fully understand it yet.

Re:And what most folks are missing... (5, Insightful)

matfud (464184) | about 9 months ago | (#44352435)

The interglacial periods coincide with variations in the earths orbit.
eccentricity, tilt and precession all interacting. So yes it is pretty well understood why glaciation occurs. Yes it has been taken into account. No it does no account for the current changes being seen.

Re:And what most folks are missing... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 9 months ago | (#44352713)

We "fully understand" very little. This hasn't stopped us using our partial understanding to do something. If we had to wait to fully understand something before doing anything about it, we'd still be living in caves.

Re:And what most folks are missing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44353057)

Of course, there was a period in history before all those barrels of oil were put in the ground and all that carbon was free-floating in the environment...

Right, so... (0)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 9 months ago | (#44352227)

Can we finally admit that, yes, global warming is happening and, no, humans are not likely the cause?

Eh, who am I kidding, there are book deals to be made, movie franchises to be had and sanctimonious egos to be pumped!

Re:Right, so... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352305)

Can we finally admit that, yes, global warming is happening and, no, humans are not likely the cause?

Not unless you want to delude yourself.

Re:Right, so... (4, Insightful)

Art Challenor (2621733) | about 9 months ago | (#44352479)

It's idiocy like this that causes software to suck so badly. Faced with a bug report that has the same symptoms as a previous solved bug, the issue is marked as "resolved".

It is possible to have events with broadly the same symptoms that actually have different underlying causes. (Although as others point out the timescale of the symptoms is massively different).

wildfires are natural too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352607)

therefore humans are not likely the cause?
So next time, just chuck that cigarette butt out the window in the Colorado desert.

Re:Right, so... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 9 months ago | (#44352697)

Of course humans are the cause of global warming: Any idiot can see that average global temperature is inversely correlated with the number of pirates [venganza.org]. There's good news though: libertarian Somalia has taken the lead on increasing piracy in the world, thus proving that rational self-interest will always solve environmental problems.

Re:Right, so... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 9 months ago | (#44352739)

I'm sure that scientists get money from movies and books about global warming. Totally. Sure.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if anyone's getting money from climate change research, it's oil company-funded research denying that anything's happening.

Blame Humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352239)

Obviously this was our fault, and we just didn't learn our lesson the first time.

See, humans discovered fire about 5MYA, and used it extensively. The resulting, unexpected shock to the ecosystem threw Al Gore's predecessors for a loop and they could not react in time with a comprehensive set of punitive and financially devastating policies that of course affected everyone but themselves.

Life will adapt (0)

arcite (661011) | about 9 months ago | (#44352247)

Those in Rich countries will be fine. Coastal cities will move inland to higher ground. The 80% of humanity that currently live in coastal regions around the world stand to lose the most, as most will not be insured when disasters strike (increasingly severe weather events). The problems of man-made climate change can be solved and mitigated by our governments, but we the people need to empower them to think long term. We need mega projects, Geo-engineering, adopt fuel efficient buildings and vehicles.

Not so sure (3, Interesting)

stabiesoft (733417) | about 9 months ago | (#44352577)

A quick review of cities in the US at or around sea level where 20M rise would be a disaster include...
LA, SF, SD, SJ, Portland, Seattle, Honolulu, Houston, Miami, Jacksonville, DC, Baltimore, Phili, Newark, Boston. That is probably about 1/2 the US population. Insurance even if you have it will not be useful, the companies will default. Insurance is for sharing risk. If 50% of your policy owners experience disaster, the company will not have the resources to pay it out. Life will certainly adapt, but probably in a Mad Max kind of way. Although I am not sure I buy the 20M number by 2100. That implies close to 6in/year and we are running closer to 1in/year. Obviously the faster the rise the more difficult to adapt. Although faster might cause us to abandon places like New Orleans instead of moating it like the netherlands does.

Re:Not so sure (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 9 months ago | (#44352813)

Although faster might cause us to abandon places like New Orleans instead of moating it like the netherlands does.

No, that's exactly what we will do. Expect a gazillion dollars thrown into concrete barriers to "save the cities." And their factories, and cars, and power plants...

Re:Not so sure (1)

fritsd (924429) | about 9 months ago | (#44352843)

Life will certainly adapt, but probably in a Mad Max kind of way.

The worry of the Koch brothers et al., and many of today's Slashdotters, seems to be that life will adapt in a Mad Marx kind of way instead.

Re:Not so sure (1)

redneckmother (1664119) | about 9 months ago | (#44353055)

Life will certainly adapt, but probably in a Mad Max kind of way.

The worry of the Koch brothers et al., and many of today's Slashdotters, seems to be that life will adapt in a Mad Marx kind of way instead.

And the Groucho Marxists rejoice!

Thank god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352443)

causing sea levels to rise by about 20 meters.

According to Wikipedia, the elevation of my town is 329 m. Thank god, for a second I thought I had something to worry about...

Climates change, then and now (4, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about 9 months ago | (#44352459)

Before anyone smugly proclaims that this proves humans aren't responsible for climate change, remember that it's possible for some phenomenon to have multiple causes. It's entirely possible for there to be both natural and man-made causes for variations in climate. Giving examples of natural causes doesn't do anything to weaken the argument against anthropogenic climate change in this epoch.

If climate change is currently man-made, or partially man-made, or being made worse by human activity, then it's still worth bending every effort to slow or reverse it.

Re:Climates change, then and now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352701)

Thanks you for saying that.

Re:Climates change, then and now (1, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#44352895)

Well climate deniers often rely on faulty reasoning behind their arguments. (1) If climate change happened in the past, there is no way humans could have caused this one. (2) Since climate change happened in the past, there is no need to be concerned with this one. As you pointed out, the existence of climate change is not solely dependent on one cause. As for the second issue, mass extinctions that could be triggered by this climate change are a cause for concern unless humans plan on moving to another planet.

Re:Climates change, then and now (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352915)

"If climate change is currently man-made, or partially man-made, or being made worse by human activity, then it's still worth bending every effort to slow or reverse it."

No, it isnt.

As temperatures rise, scientists continue to... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352677)

As temperatures rise

Temperature isn't rising.

scientists continue to worry about the effects of melting Antarctic ice

Scientists are presently worried about the credibility of their models, because reality has failed to comply.

Life will be fine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352885)

Almost all life on earth (by biomass, or by number of individuals) is made up of single celled stuff living miles underground. It will be fine, mostly. Sure, we may lose some of the generic diversity and ecosystem complexity, but thats happened before. Life will be fine: life is very adaptive when you apply wide spread lethal selective force. The diversity will be decreased during the process, but it only takes a several million years to recover most of that.

The real question is how will the subset of life we are about do? Lots of people like to try and preserve native habitats which becomes a joke when the climate changes. The highly dependent higher order life forms and ecosystems will likely suffer the most. That includes almost everything most people think about then they consider life (people, most animals, large plants etc). We will likely continue to lose a lot of those over the next century. Because the change is so fast, the losses will greatly outpace the recovery and stabilization.

We may see wide spread invasive species, which effectively become mono-cultures and are thus vulnerable to wide spread pests and plagues. We are already seeing this, and it would happen to some extend due to our globalization even without climate change. This is bad, but there are worse threats.

What worries me is the population of humans. Since it naturally expands to the brink of what we can support, its always on the verge of collapse. If you shift the environment a bit, which places can support which amounts of people change, which means people will have to move (or die). There also tends to not be excess capacity to deal with things like plagues, heat waves, crop failures etc. if the exceed the norms. In the US every major natural disaster becomes a charity event because we don't have a system for handling them. This is the real problem, and its something that we could (but never will) fix.

So the climate has always been in flux. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44352945)

So what I'm seeing is that the climate has never been stable but in fact been in flux long before man had a measurable impact on the scene.

Seems to me then that if the choice is between global warming and global cooling, I'll take global warming. Thank you for you time.

Good (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 9 months ago | (#44353121)

There are no socioeconomic problems that can't be solved by a good 20 meter rise in the sea level.

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