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Scientists Study Permian Mass Extinction Event As Lesson For 21st Century

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the no-need-to-help-it-along dept.

Science 235

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "About 252 million years ago, cracks in the Earth's crust in Siberia caused vast amounts of lava to spill out and blanket the region with about 6,000,000 cubic kilometers of molten material—enough to cover the continental U.S. at a one mile depth. It triggered a huge change in climate, causing a mass extinction event that killed roughly 90 percent of life on earth. Now Helen Thompson writes in the Smithsonian that a team at MIT has focused its efforts on this major extinction event, which marks the end of the Permian period and the beginning of the Triassic period. Their results suggest that the die-out happened a lot faster than previously thought — perhaps over a span of only 60,000 years. The shorter time scale means that organisms would have had less time to react and adapt to changes in climate, atmospheric CO2 and ocean acidity. Without the ability to adapt, they died. Other mass extinction events have also been narrowed down to short timeframes. The asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period only took about 32,000 years. A similar study of another mass extinction triggered by volcanic eruptions at the end of the Triassic period suggests it lasted less than 5,000 years. Even though all of these extinction events were caused by different things, the ecosystem collapse happened very quickly. 'Whatever the causes of the extinctions may be, and it looks like there are very different causes for some of them, the biosphere may collapse in very similar ways once it gets beyond a tipping point,' says Doug Erwin. Some scientists see the end of the Permian as a lesson for the 21st century (PDF) and say that understanding the conditions leading up to, within, and after a mass extinction event may help us to avoid human-induced ecosystem collapses in the future. As Erwin puts it, 'you don't want to start a mass extinction, because once a mass extinction begins, the prognosis is pretty grim.'"

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Some scientists see the end Permian as a lesson (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 8 months ago | (#46289983)

Is the lesson "let 90% of all life forms die out so the re-filling of ecological niches leads to greater biodiversity, and the possible re-emergence of the dinosaurs"? Because if so, dinosaurs are indeed pretty badass.

Ain't No Party... (3, Funny)

broginator (1955750) | about 8 months ago | (#46289991)

...like a mass-extinction party cause a mass-extinction party lasts between 5,000 and 60,000 years, and is pretty grim.

3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (5, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 8 months ago | (#46289993)

1) Super Volcano

2) Asteroid

3) Intelligent life evolves.

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290159)

3) Supernova

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 8 months ago | (#46290367)

I considered it, but not all stars go supernova.

In the end, I decided that star death is not part of a 'planet's history', rather it is part of the star's history.

I also ignored Gamma Ray bursts, blackholes, etc.

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46290909)

Ar star will not go supernova. it will expand to be bigger then are orbit...and then contract. Intersting fact, the earth will still continue to orbit around the sun, it will just be a dead lifeless rock.

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (4, Insightful)

stoploss (2842505) | about 8 months ago | (#46291035)

I considered it, but not all stars go supernova.

In the end, I decided that star death is not part of a 'planet's history', rather it is part of the star's history.

I also ignored Gamma Ray bursts, blackholes, etc.

No, Sol will never supernova, but the risk being referenced is that of a Near-Earth supernova [wikipedia.org] . If a star like IK Pegasi B touched off, 150 light years away, it would have significant effects on us here.

If you want to throw out consideration of nearby supernovas as "not part of the planet's history" then I contend you need to throw out consideration of asteroid impacts as well. Both are proven significant, exogenous, cosmological influences on our planet.

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290193)

You forgot "Slashdot Beta"

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (1)

Matheus (586080) | about 8 months ago | (#46290475)

They already took away the ability to disable ads this week... We have always been at war with Beta.

Not even close (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290313)

The most destructive event was the evolution of blue-green algae, which killed off almost everything living on the planet at that time because of their poisonous waste product (oxygen).

Re:Not even close (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 8 months ago | (#46290343)

This is a good answer that I forgot. Call it #4

Re:Not even close (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 8 months ago | (#46290345)

Mod parent up. That event is called the Oxygen Catastrophe for a reason.

Re:Not even close (0)

chichilalescu (1647065) | about 8 months ago | (#46290451)

need to undo moderation

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (4, Funny)

PRMan (959735) | about 8 months ago | (#46290353)

You forgot "Global Flood".

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290461)

1) Super Volcano

I'm no geologists but as far as I understand flood basalt are much worse.

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290519)

1) Super Volcano

2) Asteroid

3) Intelligent life evolves.

I would like to make the argument that 3) Intelligent life evolves be moved to first place.

I seriously think we'll nuke each other long before we reach any global warming tipping point. It's sad.

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (0)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46290537)

OK, we've got one and two. When does number 3 happen?

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290749)

None of that matters. Extinctions are normal. If our biosphere is any example, biospheres "learn" to sacrifice. So at the end of the Cambrian Explosion, there's a tiny bit of evidence that makes it seem that our biosphere opted to sacrifice species in order to preserve phyla. This is why we have lots and lots of species in each phyla, millions and millions of species overall... but only a handful (30+) of phyla. No phyla has gone extinct since the Cambrian, so apparently the strategy works.

So who gives a shit? Supervolcano, asteroid, comet or Exxon, Earth's biosphere will toodle along just fine, even if millions of species perish.

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (3, Interesting)

deathcloset (626704) | about 8 months ago | (#46290867)

OK, very funny, though a bit tired of an observation. Humans are a disease, humans are a plague, yes yes, we've heard it before and we've seen the terrible things we have been doing, and yet I have to point something out here.

Intelligent life, while admittedly is a potential cause of, is actually the first possible defense that this planet's ecosystem has evolved against an extinction level event.

Stopping a super volcano might still be a bit of a stretch at this current time (give it time though), but the whole asteroid thing - intelligent life actually might have a chance, even right now, of stopping another big whack to the planet.

Think about how the shell evolved: might intelligent life be some kind of earth shell? some kind of life shield?

To be clear, I don't ascribe to some magical teleological aspect of the universe, nor some gaia hypotesis: I'm not saying this is WHY we are here or WHY we were made - but hey, shells evolve big and small - why couldn't we, humanity, become life and earths greatest ally?

Sure, we mightn't, but why we shouldn't nor couldn't?

Re:3 Most destructive events in a planet's history (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 8 months ago | (#46291029)

We should - it's our home, after all, and we'd be protecting ourselves.

But we seem more interested in claiming the Permian never happened, and trying to wipe out most life on the planet.

"the prognosis is pretty grim." (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46289995)

That's why it's called a "mass extinction".

Re:"the prognosis is pretty grim." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290639)

So, what taxes do they want to raise now?

Aren't we already? (4, Interesting)

Tmann72 (2473512) | about 8 months ago | (#46290001)

Aren't we already in a human caused mass extinction? How many life forms have been wiped off the planet in the last 2000 years? Faster than the natural rate I'm sure, and it's ongoing.

some still calling this 'weather' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290119)

can only guess why http://www.globalresearch.ca/weather-warfare-beware-the-us-military-s-experiments-with-climatic-warfare/7561 selective extinction phewww

Re:some still calling this 'weather' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290207)

Re:Aren't we already? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290219)

Aren't we already in a human caused mass extinction?

Environmentalists certainly want you to believe that. It's funny how a group can hate humanity as much as they do and yet not commit mass suicide.

They are the ultimate hypocrites. They want the REST OF US to starve without GMO crops and transportation of food. But they themselves are far too heroic to die, of course.

Parent is using the strawman fallacy. (1)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about 8 months ago | (#46290299)

Environmentalists certainly want you to believe that. It's funny how a group can hate humanity as much as they do and yet not commit mass suicide.

They are the ultimate hypocrites. They want the REST OF US to starve without GMO crops and transportation of food. But they themselves are far too heroic to die, of course.

Strawman

Re:Parent is using the strawman fallacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290903)

Doncha mean ad hominem [wikipedia.org] ?

"Environmentalists certainly want you to believe that."

I take this to mean the poster disagrees with the claim that humans are causing a mass extinction, and is going to explain why the claim is false. The explanation is:

"They are the ultimate hypocrites."

So we should not believe their claim because of their personal failings. This is a textbook case of Ad Hominem, not of strawman.

It would be strawman if the poster said something like "we are clearly not causing a mass extinction because we have laws that protect endangered species." While such a statement might disprove a statement like "humans make no effort to prevent mass extinction", that is not the claim being made, and hence disproving it in order to disprove the original claim would be a strawman.

Re:Aren't we already? (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 8 months ago | (#46290611)

Another ignorant fuck who has never heard of the Anthropocene [wikipedia.org] and denies the sixth great extinction [wikipedia.org] . As an environmentalists I do not object to GMO crops or food trucks, nor do I want people to starve, but I would like to see people like you lost in a desert for a few days, not long enough to kill you, just long enough to remind you where your food and water comes from.

Re:Aren't we already? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46290969)

Anthropocene isn't a formal epoch.
So you might want to wait until that happens for calling everyone ignorant and talking like it's an accepted epoch.
There have been less then 1000 extinctions in the last 100 years. Of course some people will go on about undocumented extinctions being 100,000 per year. Naturally they show no statistical proof of there claim.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46291013)

When it comes down to it all the environmentalists arguments are about preserving the current crop of ecosystems. If things warm up a bit it's actually better for farming. All that lovely land in northern canada and russia will open up for farming. We could maybe feed another five billion people comfortably. But oh the horror it might damage some ecosystems. Well. Who gives a fuck? What's so special about the current crop of ecosystems. And don't give me the shit about "ecosystem services blah blah" what a bunch of total shit.

Re:Aren't we already? (0)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about 8 months ago | (#46290671)

Ooh... Aren't you the clever one.

Re:Aren't we already? (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46290731)

It's funny how you can spend all your time worried about environmentalists, when it's the scientists you ought to be paying attention to. But I guess it's easier just to create strawmen and red herrings.

Re:Aren't we already? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46291027)

"it's easier just to create strawmen and red herrings."
Only if you use science!

Re:Aren't we already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290245)

Good quesiton.

Quick, somebody check what the natural extinction rate was in the millenia preceding year 0.

Has anyone noticed... (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 8 months ago | (#46290007)

These extinctions always seem to take place at the transition from one period to another.

So I'd recommend being extra double careful round those times.

Re:Has anyone noticed... (2, Funny)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 8 months ago | (#46290093)

These extinctions always seem to take place at the transition from one period to another.

So I'd recommend being extra double careful round those times.

So you are saying slashdot beta could cause a mass extinction event?

Re:Has anyone noticed... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290115)

...but if a period happens every month, shouldn't we always be hyper-aware? Doesn't seem like much room for down time if you ask me...

Re:Has anyone noticed... (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 8 months ago | (#46291069)

Hint: If you ever left your basement and went out to find real women - those are the ones with boobies you look at on the PC but they won't look like supermodels, you'd find that this is already extremely common knowledge.

Here's a Good Summary (4, Informative)

TeachingMachines (519187) | about 8 months ago | (#46290025)

If you aren't concerned about this subject, you should be. It is possible that a 4C increase would lead to a 10C increase, wiping out nearly everyone and everything. A good BBC summary of the Permian mass extinction can be found here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

For a really unsettling update:
http://guymcpherson.com/2013/0... [guymcpherson.com]

Re:Here's a Good Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290117)

tl;dr. I'll be dead before it really gets bad anyway. No biggie.

I should be? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290169)

If you aren't concerned about this subject, you should be. It is possible that a 4C increase would lead to a 10C increase, wiping out nearly everyone and everything.

Dude. I have no idea what you just said there and I'm not about to sit through a 49 minute video to hear you out.

Catch my attention, man. What are you trying to say and THEN post the video as your evidence.

Really. I'm the type of guy who'll check cites and read what I can to prove you wrong. - because I have a pathetic little ego - long story.

Yeah, prove you wrong. And IF in my quest I find that you are right, I WILL change my views. The leftists did it. I used to be a Libertarian with a capital 'L' and now, well, ....

State your case. Make me WANT to watch a 49 minute BBC video.

Re:I should be? (3, Informative)

TeachingMachines (519187) | about 8 months ago | (#46290233)

I'll bite. The video describes the problem of a 4C increase in temperature that then causes methane trapped as ice in the permafrost and oceans to melt and go into the atmosphere. It's a positive feedback loop that results in at least a 10C increase (methane being a much more efficient greenhouse gas than CO2). The first step is warming by CO2, which then results in warming by methane. Several scientists are predicting a 20C increase by 2050 if the methane is allowed to escape into the atmosphere, which is essentially a planetary extinction event. The only thing that seems likely to prevent this scenario is total economic collapse, immediately. More details available in the second link. Hope that helps.

Re:Here's a Good Summary (3, Insightful)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 8 months ago | (#46290381)

How do you come to the conclusion that a 4-10C rise will wipe out nearly everyone and everything?

I just never understood this mentality that rising temperatures will have an existential threat to humanity.

I'm not down playing it by any stretch. I'm sure mass areas will need to be evacuated. Farmland will be lost. Extreme weather will become more common. Flooding will take over entire cities. Some areas will become totally uninhabitable...

But I just don't see that being an existential threat to humanity. We're not blindly ruled by nature. We have irrigation systems. We can build better shelters. We can relocate to cooler parts of the planet that would become more habitable. We can control the climate we live in via AC and heating...

It will simply take a lot to truly wipe us out... and I'm just not convinced a 4-10C will be death of humanity.

Re:Here's a Good Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290623)

Well, it really depends how much the temperature rises in your particular area. When they talk about temperature rises they purport to be talking about average temperatures, but when you look at the data, it appears they are talking about northern hemisphere land surface temperatures.

That being said, if the temperature rise was uniform 10C then where I live (Northland, NZ, southern hemisphere) grass would stop growing for 3-4 months of the year, the precipitation would be greatly reduced, the dairy and sheep agribusiness would completely fail, which along with renewable forestry is about the only industry in Northland. Our major staple crop is corn, which would also likely fail due to the high temperature or lack of rainfall. I don't know much about tropical crops, but it's not at all clear that a replacement staple crop could be developed.

Re:Here's a Good Summary (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46290651)

Here is the issue: At present, with only mild resource constraints on the major economies, those political entities are within a couple of hair's breadths away from going after each others throats. Fast forward to a time when climate changes disrupt most of those economies. Arable lands may change (not necessarily increase or decrease). If that happens, the losing country may get mighty upset. Fisheries may change provoking resource pressures on countries. Millions of people will be under pressure to leave areas that are negatively effected. Millions of other people just might not welcome those refuges with open arms and open wallets.

Couple with the fact that the human population is scheduled to double in the next generation or two and you have the perfect storm for some serious resource competition.

All wars are resource wars.

Re:Here's a Good Summary (2)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 8 months ago | (#46290719)

I'm too am not convinced a 4-10C will be death of humanity.
However, losing 90% of the species means we lose a huge part of the ecosystem, and we depend on that ecosystem for far more than most folks understand.
Part two is that the world is already full of people. If anyone wants to migrate, they'll have to fight for it--which is not unknown to happen.
imo, most all the huge wars in the past have happened because of too many people and too few resources. Look forward to more as resources die off.

Re:Here's a Good Summary (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 8 months ago | (#46290965)

Yeop, I agree.

But the problems will also be highly local. By that I mean some areas will be relatively okay. Others will be devastated. But most of us seem to cope and have coped just fine when devastating things happen in another part of the world.

Genocides happen, millions die... those of us not in the area seem to get by.
Wars and civil strife happen in Syria, the middle east, Africa... most of us not in the area get by okay.
Africa as a whole is already a crap hole... and most of us go through our days okay.
World wars happened... millions died. Communism happened... millions died... We got on okay.

I hope this doesn't come off as cold. Although it probably will. It's not that I'm saying it is okay that these things happen. It's not.

All I'm saying, is people who are able to not be associated with the problem seem to move on with life eventually even through the struggle.

We've dealt with such huge problems before and we have continued.

If you're in Syria right now, is your worry climate change or the civil war blowing up your family?

Like I said. I'm not down playing the impact.
I'm not saying huge issues won't arrive.

I'm simply saying we have had and continue to have really big disasters in humanity. Climate change is just one of them... and the human race can handle a lot more.

Re:Here's a Good Summary (0)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#46291153)

most all the huge wars in the past have happened because of too many people and too few resources. Look forward to more as resources die off

Including nuclear war. Nuclear winter is the cure for global warming. Ergo we have a negative feedback loop - one which the people focused on methane failed to take into account.

Re:Here's a Good Summary (3, Informative)

stjobe (78285) | about 8 months ago | (#46290761)

At the end of the Permian era, 250m years ago, the global temperature rose by six degrees. That wiped out 95% of all life on earth.

That's why people come to that conclusion; it has happened before.

That, and the fact that just a few degrees may well kill off just about all marine life, raise sea levels, create deserts where there's currently farmland, melt the permafrost (releasing massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere, further accelerating global warming), melt the polar ice caps and the glaciers, deforest the rain forests, and basically make the world a hell-hole.

Sure, humanity could possibly survive; but at what cost and what kind of life would it be? We can't build AC and heating for the whole ecosystem...

Here's an interesting doomsday summary, degree by degree, from one to six degrees: http://globalwarming.berrens.nl/globalwarming.htm [berrens.nl]

Re:Here's a Good Summary (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46291109)

Why do you think it will stop at 10c? That's the feed back loop.
However, lets look at 10c, shall we?

Farmland dries up, wind has more energy. more dustbowls, almost no farmland. Increased rain washing away soil, and increase acidity and algae die offs mean are main O2 generator is dying rapidly.

Are glacier heat sinks will be gone, and there will be nothing to cool the ocean. The sea level rises, removing a lot of livable area.
Live stock will be severely crippled.
Without a freezing winter, diseases and insets will spread much more rapidly. Another hit to the food supply.

The longer we ait to deal with t, the more expensive it will be. But pundits and shills without any actual evidence, and never discussing the science but always nit picking the predictions, keep going o as if there is a controversy. So getting things done is hard and take too long.

This has been known fro sure since 1990. If people went with the science, we could have been progressing toward a fix slowly surely, with cost cheaper and spread out over time. The longer we wait, the more costs will be.

It is fixable, but we need to start fixing it and trying things instead of cowering under out sheet every time someone mentions money.

Re:Here's a Good Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46291119)

I just never understood this mentality that rising temperatures will have an existential threat to humanity.

And the "Global warming is not a threat because humans will survive" is equally insane. Sadly, all I have to do is turn on talk radio to hear that. I don't hear many people (anyone actually) saying climate change will kill all humans.

Re:Here's a Good Summary (1)

sideslash (1865434) | about 8 months ago | (#46290547)

So the Guy McPherson article you link to says that in 40 years, humans will probably be extinct.

Sorry, but that is absolutely idiotic. This is not scientific certainty, this is speculative alarmism, at its worst.

Re:Here's a Good Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290781)

so 1 c increase leads to 4c increase which leads to 8c increase until the planet explodes in a hot magma ball. According to this, our planet is unstable. How can you believe this I do not know - I can't

my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46291025)

People in Saudi aren't wiped out right now. The land in Russia and Northern Canada would become productive for farming. So basically get lost.

Comparable? (1)

Zorpheus (857617) | about 8 months ago | (#46290055)

With such a massive volcanic eruption, doesn't mass extinction result mainly from dust in the atmosphere, which is blocking sunlight and stopping photosynthesis? And they still find something that can be compared to 21st century?

Re:Comparable? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 8 months ago | (#46290081)

In the 21st century the dust comes from the nuclear war that's triggered by loss or resources.

Re:Comparable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290225)

In the 21st century the dust comes from the nuclear war that's triggered by loss or resources.

We don't know who struck first, us or them. But we do know it was us that scorched the sky. At the time, they were dependent on solar power.

Re:Comparable? (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46290167)

I'm reasonably sure that increased dust levels would likely subside within a few years, maybe a few decades. Radical increases in CO2 and the ensuing acidification in the oceans would take considerably longer to return to something approaching normal levels. That's rather the point. There are multiple ways that CO2 can be barfed into the atmosphere in vast quantities in a relatively short period of time, but getting rid of that CO2 may take a lot longer, and the effects of that rise in the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface might take centuries or millennia.

Why is it so very hard for people to accept that increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, whatever their source, is not a good thing for a lot of species?

Re:Comparable? (3, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46290301)

Why is it so very hard for people to accept that increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, whatever their source, is not a good thing for a lot of species?

Higher CO2 concentrations and higher temperatures were the staple of the greatest periods of growth in biomass and biodiversity our planet has ever seen. I'm actively working to pump more CO2 into the atmosphere to accelerate this process. Existing species are boring. Lets get some new ones. Don't you liberals like evolution? Why would you actively work against it?

Re:Comparable? (3, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46290677)

Don't you liberals like evolution? Why would you actively work against it?

Depends on whether or not you're one of the survivors. Hard to know which side of the fence you will fall on when the shit hits the fan. Evolution changes the biosphere, evolution doesn't care whether your DNA and the rest of your corporal assets happen to get passed along.

There are lots of losers in evolution. You just might be one of them.

Re:Comparable? (2)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 8 months ago | (#46290861)

When the earth gets too hot, the extreme plant growth leads to the rise of giant animals like dinosaurs. We don't want to be eaten by dinosaurs.

Re:Comparable? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46291095)

Don't go getting Randall all worked up again.

Re:Comparable? (0, Troll)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46290407)

"Why is it so very hard for people to accept that increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, whatever their source, is not a good thing for a lot of species?"

Because the evidence says otherwise. When CO2 levels were somewhat higher (and there WERE times when it was), life was diverse and thriving. There were dragonflies with 20-inch wingspans.

Why is it so very hard for people to accept the actual examples from history?

Re:Comparable? (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46290763)

So you reject out of hand the Permian report, you know, an actual geological example, because of some vague notion that higher-than-now CO2 was great for dragonflies?

blithely ignoring the other part (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46291045)

A huge co2 pulse by fucking giant volcanoes accompanied by massive ejections of magma and dust into the atmosphere is materially fucking different than a leaching of co2 into the air by billions of gasoline engines fuckwad.

Re:Comparable? (2)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 8 months ago | (#46290733)

Why is it so very hard for people to accept that increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, whatever their source, is not a good thing for a lot of species?

oft times it is because they believe their livelihood depends on their not understanding.

Volcanoes emit CO2 (1)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about 8 months ago | (#46290395)

Volcanoes emit CO2, though currently not at a rate even close to what we are emitting. However, with a long trend rising intensity of volcanic eruption, volcanoes can emit enough CO2 to substantially warm the planet.

corepirate nazi fearmongering (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290065)

dark matters a lot to some clones http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=fearmongering+media&sm=3

Natural outcome (2, Insightful)

jovius (974690) | about 8 months ago | (#46290103)

Self-inflicted extinction event from anthropogenic activities could be seen as natural negative feedback mechanism. The equilibrium is restored.

I understand the future for the humanity and multitude of ecosystems may be grim but the nature will thrive nevertheless.

There are certain boundaries and one is that there's only one Earth. We can affect our future, and it's impossible to escape the consequences.

Re:Natural outcome (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 8 months ago | (#46290539)

Your point is what, we deserve it? I'd argue that it IS quite possible to escape the consequences: the individuals who did the most to push us to climate change will be dead before the really bad effects happen, or are at least rich enough to make the consequences minor.

If you're talking about on a species level, well, maybe, but I see little point in such a perspective.

Re:Natural outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290803)

that perspective has as much point as the belief that you can artificially limit human activities related to this subject without causing the economic collapse that will fix it.

ethical dilemma analogy
Option1: outlaw hunting and farming and let most people starve to death
Option2: leave it alone and let people starve themselves to death

which is more ethical? i think option2.

Re:Natural outcome (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46291147)

Just becasue you don't seem to get it, we Only the most outrages hubris assume are talking about the human species. That new equilibrium doesn't have to be one that's survivable by humans..or any species. Venus has an equilibrium.

Only the most outrages hubris would assume equilibrium = survivable by humans.

Darn... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#46290125)

Crump, Michigan misses out again.

Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (0, Flamebait)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 8 months ago | (#46290149)

When I first heard about Global Warming back in the 90's, it was "The earth's temperature is rising slowly. We need to take steps to stop pumping so much CO2 into the atmosphere." Okay, reasonable enough.

Today, it's gone to "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!! IF WE DON'T STOP BURNING FOSSIL FUELS ALL OF HUMANITY IS DOOMED!!!! DOOMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Funny how fast science can turn into outright doomsday panic when grant money is involved.

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46290215)

I don't think a lot of scientists say the end of the world is nigh. You seem to be confusing scientists with activists. I ignore the latter, but pay a great deal of attention to the former.

What these researchers are trying to say is that there are consequences to large amounts of CO2 entering the atmosphere. Now I can't say that human activity will produce as radical an increase as massive volcanism on the scale described in this article, but still, it ought to make you pause to think that maybe, just maybe, puling out millions of years of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere in the space of three centuries is probably not a great idea, and while the consequences likely won't be that 90% of life dies out, it will have some serious consequences for us and many of those critters we happen to inhabit this planet with.

But hey, I guess it's probably more comforting to make nasty accusations against scientists. That way, you don't have to do a thing and you can feel all clever and righteous. Those stupid scientists, how dare they remind us that we don't live in a vacuum. They must be crooked grant seekers.

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 8 months ago | (#46290267)

Nope, I've just becoming more and more suspicious that Global Warming isn't science at all. It looks more to me these days like religion. It's got its apocalypse, its satans, its prophets and saviors. And it seems to be based on an unfalsifiable hypothesis, which I'm pretty sure isn't a part of any empirical "science" that I've ever been taught.

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46290307)

Perhaps that's because you don't have the faintest idea what the scientists are talking about. Have you even read the IPCC reports or any of the primary literature?

How are you any different than a Creationist at this point? Simply declaring "Those scientists are just spouting a religion" any different than what the kooks at Answers in Genesis say about biology?

Grow the fuck up. The universe doesn't give one single fuck about your ideology or pseudo-skepticism. Be a fucking adult and accept the reality that barfing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere is not some neutral practice.

Fucking hell, people like you piss me off. So fucking lazy that you just latch on to the kooky green activists and make believe in your pathetic fact free minds that Al Gore somehow represents the climatology community.

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290423)

And, also like a religion, global warming also has its fanatics--who label any non-believer an infidel and attack him with incredible personal vitriol.

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (2)

sideslash (1865434) | about 8 months ago | (#46290433)

Have you even read the IPCC reports

Are you talking about the detailed IPCC reports, or the IPCC summaries written by non-scientist politicians that skip over the uncertainties and trumpet disaster as if it were a certain thing?

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (0)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about 8 months ago | (#46290765)

Dude. If you are being paid to post this sort of rubbish please contact me. I want in.

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46291155)

The IPCC report from 2001 was 100% wrong, completely and fully wrong in every possible way.
The IPCC report from 2004 was 100% wrong, completely and fully wrong in every possible way.
This last years IPCC report, now you tell me that is 100% accurate?

Call me when they get a SINGLE claim correct, just a single one would be a huge improvement in their accuracy. When a scientist is 100% wrong 100% of the time and you are quoting them as experts, that is religion not science.

Grow up.

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 8 months ago | (#46290621)

Nope, I've just becoming more and more suspicious that Global Warming isn't science at all. It looks more to me these days like religion. It's got its apocalypse, its satans, its prophets and saviors.

Please realize that "global warming" is not a single entity. There are many climate scientists. Some are given to hysterics, others are very conservative in their estimates. They don't speak with a single voice any more than (some group of people you like) are all idiots because (an idiot in that group) is an idiot and says (idiotic thing they say).

And it seems to be based on an unfalsifiable hypothesis, which I'm pretty sure isn't a part of any empirical "science" that I've ever been taught.

It is falsifiable. We're doing the experiment now. It's dumb to be DOING the experiment when we only have one climate is the point. There are many sub-hypotheses that are validated as well. CO2 absorbs heat, coal plants and cars put out a lot of CO2, the amount of CO2 has increased and is continuing to increase, and changes to the system have negative consequences in the short term for anything dependent on them, like people. These are all falsifiable hypotheses that have been extensively tested.

The situation is a bit like evolution. The theists who oppose the large theory ignore the tested hypotheses or at best come up with hand waving to explain them away. Then they say there's no evidence for the grand theory, and declare it to be religion, not science, because it doesn't work exactly like textbook scientific theory as it is explained in grade school. They resort to ad-homenim attacks on the scientists. They focus most of their efforts on going around the science though, which is telling.

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290591)

"we don't live in a vacuum"

Of course there's air in space, that's why there's an air-in-space museum!

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (1)

chipschap (1444407) | about 8 months ago | (#46290251)

Funny how fast science can turn into outright doomsday panic when grant money is involved.

Grant money or Al Gore.

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46290379)

Al Gore has little or nothing to do with actual research, and if grant money is your accusation, well then pretty much all publicly-funded science can be thrown out the door; everything from archaeology to high energy physics research. Are you that determined to reject climatology that most of the science that goes on in the world is disposable?

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (3, Insightful)

L. J. Beauregard (111334) | about 8 months ago | (#46290481)

Grant money

Because the NSF has so much more money to spend than ExxonMobil.

Al Gore

DRINK!

Re:Funny how fast things have went to panic mode (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46291167)

A) One is alarmist and not scientists, pay attention to the scientists
B) It's been 25 years of mostly no series attempt to correct things. So the timeline has been getting shorter.
C) Scientists have almost always resented the most conservative numbers. This has been a mistak. Not that they should be alarmist, but they should also point out worst case.
D) If you are old enough to remember the 70's you would be aware the alarmists have been going on since then, and probalby even before

32,000 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290197)

So I'll admit my knowledge of the Cretaceous asteroid impact is the simplified version of public education combined with the History Channel. 32,000 years though? I thought it would have been a matter of decades, because the particulate matter thrown in the atmosphere reduced the incoming sunlight, which essentially reduced plant life substantially and having a cascading effect up the food chain. I would imagine that would take a couple of years to decades, but not millenia; what am I missing?

so, we may not have all that much time.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290201)

Seems like we have only about 5000 to 50000 years to work this out. Better get busy then :)

Re:so, we may not have all that much time.... (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46290331)

Seems like we have only about 5000 to 50000 years to work this out. Better get busy then :)

Just put the hose extension of a Dyson on every rooftop and wash the filter daily. Atmosphere will be dust free in a matter of years. You can power the Dysons via solar in a matter of months.

Extinctions (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#46290261)

So what was the difference between thevolcanic eruptions at the end of the Permian, and the ones at the end of the Triassic?

I just got the book The Sixth Extinction, and am starting to read it.

At those time scales, who cares? (1)

mveloso (325617) | about 8 months ago | (#46290337)

5,000 years? 32,000 years? 60,000 years?

What about next month? Next year?

In the long run, we'll all be dead. Call me when they figure out how to avoid that, and then we'll talk about thousands of years.

Re:At those time scales, who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290419)

Spoken like a true sociopath,

Re:At those time scales, who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46290517)

Well, people interested in relativistic effects care about this:

The asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period only took about 32,000 years.

This asteroid must've been relatively fast, so to speak, to take such a long time for impact alone.

And I wonder why one of the several Hugh Pickens thought that it was "only [...] about 32,000 years" ... he seems to have expected much higher speeds.

Might as well end it now. (1)

digitalPhant0m (1424687) | about 8 months ago | (#46290463)

Screw it. Might as well give up and end it all now, knowing that there may be a mass extinction sometime between 5,000 and 60,000 years from now. What's the point?

The asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs... (1)

khelms (772692) | about 8 months ago | (#46290515)

...at the end of the Cretaceous period only took about 32,000 years.

Wow, that was one slow-moving asteroid!

Re:The asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs.. (4, Funny)

ballpoint (192660) | about 8 months ago | (#46291003)

Actually, it took 32768 years. Then its short int turned negative and killed the dinosaurs.

The Permian, when time stood still (1)

GenieGenieGenie (942725) | about 8 months ago | (#46290585)

Comet impacts lasted 32,000 years and writing /. stories took 50 seconds.

Yeah, thousands of years (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#46291103)

60,000 years? 5,000 years?

In a couple of hundred we'll be dead or gods, either way directly by our own hand. I am unconcerned about sea rises over hundreds of years, much less downstream extinctions over thousands to tens of thousands of years.

And we survived ice ages over those periods of time, with far greater disruptions. Heck, just the difference in technology levels between now and a hundred fifty years ago vastly outweighs these differences, as far as quality and length of life are concerned. Extinction? We're on the brink of species resurrection right now.

I'll take whatever and whatever + 200 years of technological advancement over, say, just 100 years' (over the course of 200 growth-slowed years) worth and a dandy green planet any day. And so should you...if quality and length of life are your concern, which is the professed driver behind most people's politics.

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