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Abrupt Climate Change

Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 16:55:29

onlooker wrote:Wrong again Kaiser. We were in a relatively stable climatic period until the Industrial revolution and the spewing of so much CO2. So yes the history of Earth has been punctuated by abrupt climate changes but usually they have had some underlying reason. In this case the underlying reason is US. And no the Sun is not particularly potent in fact it is according to some scientists currently in a less luminescent period.



We were in a very abnormal climate period before the kick off of the industrial revolution with slowly cooling long term with short cycle fluctuations like the middle warm period followed by the little ice age. You shouldn't just gloss over all of history prior to 1750 as if things were static, they were far from static. When the first settlers arrived on the island of Iceland there were trees enough for them to build homes and boats and such, then the Norse invaded and took over a couple centuries later and there were few trees left. By the time the Norse explored Greenland there were no trees left in Iceland and there was economic incentive to move where the trees still grew, which was Greenland. When the Little Ice Age swept into Greenland in the late 1300's the last of the trees died out and the very few you find there today were brought in by humans in the last century. We know from climate studies that Greenland has gone through at least two warm periods before the current one, from about 800 BC to about 200 AD it was warm, then it was cold for about from about 200 to about 800 AD, then from 800 to 1350 it was quite warm and pleasant, then from 1350-1850 it was bitterly cold. It is a serious mistake to lump all that cycling around the long term mean as 'stable' when it was far from it. Heck the last cold snap was so bitter sea levels actually fell from 1350-1850 as mountain glaciers inland expanded.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby onlooker » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 17:37:10

Yes, Tanada, but these were mostly regional changes. The fact is that our ability to do Agriculture consistently for the last 10000 years in many areas,attests to the RELATIVELY stable climate we have enjoyed since
"Since then, the world’s climate has remained remarkably stable – boring, even. The relatively static shorelines have made farming, fishing, towns and cities possible. " Referring to the beginning of the Holocene about 11,700 years ago.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 18:06:43

We don't know with any degree of certainty whether this present interglacial is abnormal or not. The ice has been in full retreat for 10,000 years or so, and the length of time above the average global temperature is already greater than the last three interglacials. However, the 4th most recent interglacial appears from the fossil records to have an even longer warming period than the present one, at least 28,000 years. Data for the 250+ glacial cycles before then is very sparse.

One thing is certain: the Interglacials all involve an absolute explosion of life, which in turn seems to induce a cooling period, followed by another glacial age. All quite normal, without the perturbations to climate that may or may not be caused by burning fossil fuels, and which may or may not be significantly different from prior interglacials.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 18:21:13

onlooker wrote:Yes, Tanada, but these were mostly regional changes. The fact is that our ability to do Agriculture consistently for the last 10000 years in many areas,attests to the RELATIVELY stable climate we have enjoyed since
"Since then, the world’s climate has remained remarkably stable – boring, even. The relatively static shorelines have made farming, fishing, towns and cities possible. " Referring to the beginning of the Holocene about 11,700 years ago.


Our current agricultural methods and processes developed during the very short period of stability. Those methods and process' pretty much rely upon a stable climate. So if we use this short term period of stability where our cultures developed as "short term" (say 250 years) then let's define abrupt as some fraction of "short term". Since I'm being arbitrary (open to refinement) let's call abrupt as less than half or roughly 100 years.

If that makes any sense, and it strikes me we need to define what the terms mean if we are to have a meaningful discussion, then we have a basis for comparison.

So, will we have significant climate change in 100 years? For ease let's start that at 2000. Will we have significant climate change by 2100? Will we have trouble feeding our 8 or 9 billion in 2100?

I'll put money on "yes."
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby kiwichick » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 18:49:23

@ newfie.......happy to join you on that bet .....are $kiwi ok with you ....not sure what the exchange rate to $us is currently.....
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 18:51:33

Works for me. Exchange rate won't matter much by then anyway.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 19:04:38

100 years from now. A bet? I'll take it and will promptly put up one million space bucks in a secret account, open, available and earmarked for this wager.

Regardless, mankind will surely be gone (or living underground as CHUDS), and the planet lovely green. :)
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 20:55:43

I think a lot of our discussions here go awry because we don't pay enough attention to definitions,new don't really understand the other guys point of view. Is 100 years abrupt? I don't know, maybe, maybe not. I'm just trying to come up with something more concrete to clarify discussion. If 200 years doesn't work then fine, we can use something else.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 21:48:24

dohboi wrote:Ibon wrote: "What motivates you?"

Soooo, a moderator is encouraging posters here to leave the site? Hmmm. Interesting... :)

Really though, there are still moments of brilliance from you and others, worth watching for..


It's not to leave the site but to elevate yourself out of cycles of dialogue that go no where. I am not directing this to you alone but to ALL of us.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 22:15:09

onlooker wrote:Yes, Tanada, but these were mostly regional changes. The fact is that our ability to do Agriculture consistently for the last 10000 years in many areas,attests to the RELATIVELY stable climate we have enjoyed since
"Since then, the world’s climate has remained remarkably stable – boring, even. The relatively static shorelines have made farming, fishing, towns and cities possible. " Referring to the beginning of the Holocene about 11,700 years ago.


That also is a false statement Onlooker. Look at the climate pattern of ancient civilizations the Miceanae Greeks flourished, then disappeared when the climate changed and were succeeded by the ancient Greeks. In Egypt/Asyria/Mesopotamia civilizations rose and fell over and over as the climate pulsed warmer and friendlier then colder and drier. The same is true of the ancient Persian Empire, and different dynasties in China and India and Sumatra and Central America.

The climate has not, repeat HAS NOT been steady and solid for 11,700 years, about the longest any one period of 'stability' has been was about 900 years and several of the cycles were much shorter than that. This meme of a wonderful stable climate since the dawn of agriculture is nothing but a myth that gets repeated ad nauseum and it really kind of pisses me off. History is my thing but don't take my word for it.

Using Clapp’s historical research as a guide, Blom and his team used the space shuttle Challenger to take images that allowed them to detect ancient tracks in the desert. Some of the roads ran beneath modern sand dunes but all of them converged on a central point: in southern Oman in the Middle East. There, archaeological excavations showed that the team had indeed located a site that matched some descriptions of the legendary Ubar, which it turned out had actually been an important water source and a desert outpost where camel caravans assembled to transport frankincense.

Once surrounded by mighty towers that eventually sunk into the sand, Ubar is just one in a growing list of ancient sites that are emerging with help from satellite imagery. Also known as “remote sensing data”, images taken from high above the surface of the Earth can show subtle signs of long-lost societies that are impossible to see from the ground.

As scientists dig in to these sites, they are turning up evidence that changes in climate – both large and small – are at least partly responsible for the rise and fall of many ancient civilizations. Even though Ubar is now located in one of the driest places on Earth, the region was once much wetter and underground water sources were plentiful. Ubar disappeared when water levels dipped so low that a sinkhole formed and enveloped the outpost.

An Egyptian kingdom, likewise, collapsed during an extended drought 4,200 years ago. Droughts have also been linked to the fall of the Maya around 900 AD and the demise of the spectacular Cambodian city of Angkor in the early 1400s.

It’s not surprising that climate change has doomed so many populations, Blom says. After all, it was when weather patterns finally became predictable about 11,500 years ago that complex civilizations finally formed in the first place. A stable climate ensured that crops would grow year after year, and a reliable source of food freed people to settle down and develop culture.

Since then, many civilizations have blossomed into greatness and subsequently disappeared into rubble. As scientists try to piece together the history of where people lived a long time ago, they are increasingly turning to the most modern of technologies: spacecraft that offer an unprecedented view of Earth from above.

There are a variety of ways to spot long-buried settlements in satellite images. In the search for Ubar, Blom and colleagues used computers to enhance images taken in the visible and infrared wavelengths, as well as with radar, allowing them to peer up to 15 feet beneath the surface of dry sand. As they analyzed the sizes and proportions of dust, rocks and sand grains, they could see the boundaries of ancient roads.

In modern-day Iraq and Syria, Harvard archaeologist Jason Ur and colleagues have used NASA satellite images to identify thousands of possible locations for ancient Mesopotamian cities by looking for patches of lighter, drier soil. Those spots indicate where mud brick structures may have collapsed.

Change or perish

In the case of the Maya and other lost cities in Central and South America, the jungle is quick to grow over ancient buildings and other structures, but scientists look to satellite imagery for slight differences in vegetation patterns. Where once there was development, the soil is stressed enough to support plants that are different from those growing in untouched soils. Seeing those vegetation shifts from above helps archaeologists zero in on where to dig.

“Lowland Amazonia is bigger than the continental United States,” says William Woods, a geographer and archaeologist at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. “The only way of discovering these new things is with remote sensing and on-the-ground truthing [measurement verification].”

As archaeologists continue to turn up ever more signs of collapsed civilizations, they are finding plenty of evidence that climate shifts are at least partly to blame for the decline in many cases. Those links offer the opportunity to protect the future of our own society by learning from the mistakes of our ancestors.

“When we excavate the remains of past civilizations, we very rarely find any evidence that they as a whole society made any attempts to change in the face of a drying climate, a warming atmosphere or other changes”, Ur says. “I view this inflexibility as the real reason for collapse.”

“Today we have an unbelievable ability to learn about our environment and communicate what we learn to all of society,” he adds. “We need to take better advantage of our communication technology advances in the face of a changing climate.”


In the very broadest outline you can say the climate has been 'stable' for the last 12,000 years but that is only in the very fuzzy broad sense that no major continental glaciers are covering North America, Asia and Scandinavian.

In the narrow sense of good agricultural weather the pattern has been fluctuating for the entire 12,000 years. In periods of high rainfall the civilizations have abundant food and flourish. In extended periods of low rainfall civilizations get hungry and crumble.

Oh and the dirty little secret of the whole pattern is, the slightly warmer periods have been wetter and greener while the slightly cooler periods have been drier and browner.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby jedrider » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 23:19:57

Newfie wrote:I think a lot of our discussions here go awry because we don't pay enough attention to definitions,new don't really understand the other guys point of view. Is 100 years abrupt? I don't know, maybe, maybe not. I'm just trying to come up with something more concrete to clarify discussion. If 200 years doesn't work then fine, we can use something else.


Well, we have two problems here:

1. Our civilization was built upon the RELATIVELY stable climate of the last 10,000 years or so. This is a grave problem in itself for our civilization, just as fossil fuel depletion is. So, abrupt in a century or two is still very bad, obviously. The saving grace usually is that the glacial periods quickly resume after their 12,000 year interglacial absence, although that doesn't seem like much fun having to endure cold like that. (I had to look up 120,000 year Milankovich Cycles and the difference between an interglacial period and a glacial period - wish I had taken Earth Sciences at some point, though).

2. The other ABRUPT, on the order of decades, let's say, is what most of us here (I think) fear because that will affect us in the here and now (and if not us, then our children and those we know). Supposedly, the CO2 levels give us alarm because they haven't been this high since the age of dinosaurs, I believe. I think this is the ABRUPT we are discussing, though, not to be unduely distracted. This is the die-off scenario, rather than the more gradual die-back scenario (as if there is a difference) and possibly, the extinction business as well. My supposition is that if something can happen so quickly, we are clearly NOT following the Milankovich cycles any more.

3. Looking at that chart of interglacials as if it is an oracle that can give us answers. It does appear that we are holding onto our interglacial longer than we should, which is MAYBE how true abrupt climate change can happen. Methane, perhaps.

That's all my brain can hold at this moment and I have no training in earth sciences, so it's possible I'm completely wrong about something.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby kiwichick » Sun 08 Jan 2017, 00:29:44

@ t ......fair enough......but we are now in the process of leaving a "relatively" stable climate, albeit with many significant fluctuations, for a totally different state
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 08 Jan 2017, 03:16:57

kiwichick wrote:@ t ......fair enough......but we are now in the process of leaving a "relatively" stable climate, albeit with many significant fluctuations, for a totally different state


Maybe so, that is what I have feared and why I worked to get Nuclear Power adopted as the greenest option for decades. Alas combustion seems to be the preferred method for humans so we just keep on burning chemical flames of fossil fuels. I sometimes wonder if the Nuclear industry had adopted the imagery of 'atomic fire to power your homes' if the mental image created would have actually attracted more of us hairless apes. People don't understand electricity anyhow, let them believe Uranium is just another kind of fire instead of some 'magical' power source and I believe more people would willingly accept it.
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 08 Jan 2017, 03:36:39

Newfie wrote:I think a lot of our discussions here go awry because we don't pay enough attention to definitions,new don't really understand the other guys point of view. Is 100 years abrupt? I don't know, maybe, maybe not. I'm just trying to come up with something more concrete to clarify discussion. If 200 years doesn't work then fine, we can use something else.


The concern about "abrupt" climate change started with the high resolution ice cores ---- these cores have annual resolution. You can literally count back year by year. When the younger dryas Cold event was studied they found it took about 7-10 years to go from warm to cold full-glacial conditions. When the YD ended it took about 10-20 years to zoom back from Cold to interglacial conditions.

That is the kind of abrupt climate change the planet is capable of. The concern is that AGW may trigger some kind of huge abrupt global climate shift like that in the near future.

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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby kiwichick » Sun 08 Jan 2017, 05:24:36

@ plant......what like the Arctic Ocean losing all its ice cover in summer

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files ... gure6b.png
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 08 Jan 2017, 07:31:08

Sure......that might do it. Or ocean current shutdown. Or big jumps in Methane/CO2 might do it. Right now no one knows what triggered the natural episodes of abrupt climate change in the past----just that earths climate is metastable and can abruptly flip to a very different climate over the space of ca 10 years

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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 08 Jan 2017, 08:13:47

So Plant how would you define abrupt? Under 20 years? Or is 100 good enough?
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby dohboi » Sun 08 Jan 2017, 08:57:22

T: 'climate stability' is a relative term.

You always have to say, 'compared to what.'

The holocene climate was 'unstable' compared to a fictitious ideal of an absolutely unchanging climate.

Holocene climate was very stable compared to periods of shifts from glacials to interglacials (and back), and compared to most other interglacials--and especially compared to what we are heading into now.

Those, to me and I think to most, are the more relevant comparisons to make, wouldn't you say.

But yeah, the only place where climate is completely stable is basically someplace like the moon which is very consistent in not having a climate (in most senses) at all! :-D
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 08 Jan 2017, 09:06:16

Thank you D for attempting to clarify this fine distinction. Certainly, in terms of radical changes we have been spared these for the most part in the last ten thousand years or so. By the way here is the link to the article I was referencing. http://theconversation.com/the-pre-holo ... -fun-27742
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Re: Abrupt Climate Change

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 08 Jan 2017, 09:11:10

I am really trying to understand the motive behind this discussion especially for those who have studied in detail climate change and its origin, human overshoot and the intractable nature of any meaningful mitigation. What brings you here everyday to further dissect this issue which is not solvable?

Drought and overshoot collapsed the Mayans and Anasazi. That was abrupt climate change that collapsed civilization in Mesoamerica in a few short decades and caused the abandonment of a culture in the southwest canyonlands.

This is going to happen again this century. I am cool with that. I don't need to discuss it anymore or dedicate any more time to sharing this with like minded souls or try to convince those that don't want to see.

Time has become far too precious to repeat and recycle the same topics 6000 times.
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