SEARCH BLOG: GLOBAL WARMING
Occasionally, I have some offline exchanges between bloggers who publish materials that proclaim the next great disaster about to befall us because of anthropogenic increases in CO2... that's CO2 increases caused by human activity. Here is a slightly edited (for brevity) example:
I read your article http://news.mongabay.com/2007His response:
I was curious about the reliability of projections regarding problems to marine life given the longer geological history of CO2 with much higher concentrations (image presented by Dr. Tim Patterson, Professor of Geology and Director, Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center, Carleton University).
It would seem that given the history of CO2 concentration changes over millions (not thousands) of years, the oceans should have suffered significant damage from CO2 concentrations that were much higher than today's. Perhaps there is something different about CO2 and today's oceans? I expect that Dr. Patterson would have written something about that phenomenon if it had occurred and done the damage projected in your article.
Thanks for your note. The oceans have been more acidic in the past due to higher levels of atmospheric CO2. In fact the worst mass extinction in history may have occurred under such a scenario:Further, the PETM also resulted in a mass extinction event:I'm not fully confident in the projections made in the new paper -- I was just just reporting their results and the potential implications of their model. I would be quite surprised in CO2 levels reached 1000 ppm by 2100. I personally think that there may be some natural mechanism that will help moderate the rise ( i.e. more plankton, higher rates of weathering, etc) even if humans don't take steps to reduce emissions. Don't get me wrong, the oceans will likely be more acidic but I think less so than this model projects.
I understand the connection that is trying to be made between CO2 and possible ocean problems. However, if you look at the CO2 record presented by Dr. Patterson, you will see that extremely high concentrations of CO2 were present for hundreds of millions of years prior and subsequent to this Permian extinction, which would lead one to ask why the event approximately 300 million years ago could be connected to CO2 concentrations...and why not before then... and then how life in the oceans recovered while those concentrations remained many times higher than they are today?
It is more likely that the mass extinction of 300 million years ago was caused by events of the magnitude that occurred 65 million years ago... and we're still not getting "consensus" on that one.
It is worthwhile to look at the world to try to understand the impact of human activity. But there seems to be a general hysteria about CO2 and an effort to link its presence to every real or imagined past, present, and future problem.
I want to be totally fair to the author of the website referenced above. He just contacted me offline with his comment:
I'm not writing an opinion piece here -- I'm just reporting the potential implications if their model holds. When Dr. Patterson publishes his work, I may well cover it -- I'm not trying to promote some CO2 hysteria agenda.
One must ask if this kind of study (not the website where it was referenced) about CO2 is related to true intellectual investigation or the government funding trough for CO2 alarmist-researchers. After all, this study proposes that over the span of less than a century, mankind is turning the oceans acidic and there is danger of a mass extinction... when somehow marine life survived hundreds of millions of years during times when CO2 levels were much higher.
How about hydrogen sulfide?
Or maybe an asteroid?
Or maybe we don't know?
No, it has to be CO2....
I think we might need a new litmus test.