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Old 09-21-2017, 03:43 PM
race_to_the_bottom race_to_the_bottom is offline
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Human extinction by 2026?

There is a school which argues that the climate situation in the Arctic is now completely out of control due to various positive feedbacks involving albedo, methane, fires, soot, fires and maybe others. It posits that consequently we face a 10C increase in global temperatures over pre-industrial levels within 10 years.. Central to this argument is that most climate models don't consider some of these feedback loops and that the IPCC's assessment of the situation is too conservative. A sudden release of 50 gigatons of methane from clathrates and permafrost would put us over the top.

This article has been central to this view.

This is a question which requires input by those literate on the subject.
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:46 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Which question requires input by those literate on the subject? Is it "Will humans be extinct by 2026 due to climate change?" If so, I really, really doubt it, although I'm all but illiterate on the subject.

There are over seven billion of us and it's going to take quite a lot to kill all.
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:56 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Well, I am not particularly literate on the subject, but I still need to see the evidence that it's going to happen, and what, if anything, can be done.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 09-21-2017, 04:03 PM
TimeWinder TimeWinder is offline
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This is the old "methane hydrates" thing, yes? My understanding is that they're there (undersea methane deposits currently frozen), warming faster than expected, and that survival would be rough if they all vaporized at once (basically causing a runaway greenhouse effect).

What's less understood is what's actually happening and what the effects would be. Exterminating humans by 2026? Not a chance; that's less than a decade from now. But apparently this is a serious-but-less-than-extinction level threat, and like many other climate change issues not getting looked at with the attention it deserves because apparently "science" is now a liberal conspiracy or something.
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Old 09-21-2017, 04:07 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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If the (average) temperature did increase by 10C then for example, what happens to cloud cover and the resulting loss of solar heating? How much would that balance out - and what about the effect on rainfall? Climate is far more complex than most computer models can account for. However, if New York gets the climate of New Delhi and crops have to be planted in the fall and harvested in the spring, some people will still be alive - the world will just look very very different.

You think Europe or California has an illegal migrant problem now... wait until wholesale crop failures and flooding are the order of the day in Africa and anywhere north of Brazil. I'm thinking Canada better plan to beef up its border security to keep those pesky Yankees away.

But full on extinction? I doubt it.

(What's the mechanism for removing methane from the atmosphere - I assume with a much higher concentration that would kick in. )

Last edited by md2000; 09-21-2017 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:09 PM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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There are a very large number of people, they are very creative, and the world is a big place. The possibility that climate change can wipe out everyone on the planet within 9 years is so far from plausible that plausible can't be seen from here with the Hubble Space Telescope. We didn't conquer a planet by accident.
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:20 PM
naita naita is offline
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
(What's the mechanism for removing methane from the atmosphere - I assume with a much higher concentration that would kick in. )
Methane has a lifetime in the atmosphere of a mere 12 years according to multiple sources. I doubt we could do much to speed up that.
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:20 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is online now
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A really, really bad farming crisis -- large-scale crop-failure -- could kill hundreds of millions, but would even that croak a billion of us? Let alone 7 billion?
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:53 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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There are a very large number of people, they are very creative, and the world is a big place. The possibility that climate change can wipe out everyone on the planet within 9 years is so far from plausible that plausible can't be seen from here with the Hubble Space Telescope. We didn't conquer a planet by accident.
Pretty much. Even if climate change wipes out 99% of the human race, that still leaves 70 million people. That is the population around 2000BC.

Also keeping humans alive isn't hard. Water, food, protection from microbes, protection from temperature extremes, protection from violence and physical trauma are about all it takes to push life expectancy up to ~75.

Even if climate change causes lots of agricultural land to fail, other lands will be opened up. Plus you have hydroponic farming and other technologies.
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:34 PM
Kedikat Kedikat is offline
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There are combinations of worst case scenarios that would greatly accelerate warming. But it is not clear at what rate and temperature these events would occur.

I personally suspect that warming will happen considerably faster than the generally touted time frame. But 2026? That is a bit too soon for even my pessimistic guess.

My reason for thinking it will be sooner than later, is the methane release. There are many places with huge amounts of stored methane. Some can be released in almost an instant. The large deposits underwater for instance. Slower, but still frighteningly fast is the arctic areas with methane trapped in currently thawing areas.

I think we will be in real trouble. Possibly end of us trouble by 2050 temperature wise. As well as food wise because of temperature, water and our other causes.
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:36 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Yeah but methane in the atmosphere only lasts about 7-10 years, when I believe it is converted to CO2 which has a far lower greenhouse effect.

What would be the CO2 level in PPM after all the methane has been released and converted into CO2?
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:41 PM
Weisshund Weisshund is offline
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Pretty much. Even if climate change wipes out 99% of the human race, that still leaves 70 million people. That is the population around 2000BC.

Also keeping humans alive isn't hard. Water, food, protection from microbes, protection from temperature extremes, protection from violence and physical trauma are about all it takes to push life expectancy up to ~75.

Even if climate change causes lots of agricultural land to fail, other lands will be opened up. Plus you have hydroponic farming and other technologies.
Mother nature already did a human wipe, twice i believe?
She was not successful, we are too stubborn.

We can eat almost anything, our range of eatable things might be almost the widest on the planet.

Water? well if you render a planet devoid enough of water to kill all humans, it is a planet probably mostly devoid of any larger complex life.
If there is an ocean, we can get water and high tech is not needed.

Protection from microbes we come with, we may need time when encountering new ones but we spent a million years learning how to adapt to them, we will just continue adapting.

Temperature extremes man had mastered long ago, we live naturally in almost every area of the planet aside from antarctica
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:43 PM
anomalous1 anomalous1 is offline
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Warming may be an issue, but there is no way it will make humans extinct, some other creatures yes, but as screwed up as human nature can be, we are very resilient and will learn to adapt. Global warming isn't going to turn the world into a giant desert or something, like Mad Max style. At worst people will move to the areas near the poles that have potentially arable land. Nature is very good about correct her imbalances. The mere fact that (most) of us are aware that global warming is a potential issue, is enough to set us on a path to assist in correcting the imbalance. We'll be fine, life may be more difficult, but it will go on.
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:30 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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OK, see this OP? This is what global warming alarmism looks like.
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:24 PM
Asuka Asuka is offline
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I remember when 2008 - 2010 was when Peak Oil was supposed to become noticeable to us, and by 2012 society would already have fundamentally changed because of it (Predictions that gas would be $20 a gallon in America meant no more airlines except for the ultra-wealthy, no more Wal-Mart and other giant retailers since fuel costs would destroy their profit margins, no more drive-throughs since people didn't want to waste gas idling in them etc.)
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:04 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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I remember when 2008 - 2010 was when Peak Oil was supposed to become noticeable to us, and by 2012 society would already have fundamentally changed because of it (Predictions that gas would be $20 a gallon in America meant no more airlines except for the ultra-wealthy, no more Wal-Mart and other giant retailers since fuel costs would destroy their profit margins, no more drive-throughs since people didn't want to waste gas idling in them etc.)
Can you cite this at all. I never saw such silly claims anywhere. where did you did this fancy up from?
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:39 PM
rbroome rbroome is offline
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Can you cite this at all. I never saw such silly claims anywhere. where did you did this fancy up from?
probably the same place someone found a prediction that the human race would be extinct by 2026. Clickbait then and Clickbait now.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:26 PM
Asuka Asuka is offline
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Can you cite this at all. I never saw such silly claims anywhere. where did you did this fancy up from?
https://www.amazon.com/20-Gallon-Ine...dp/0446549541/

Had to read this book in college, ironically I read it in 2012 so all of the predictions were already flat out wrong by then.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:32 PM
Evan Drake Evan Drake is offline
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Yeah, I remember all those.

The Peak Oilists combated the Abiotic Oilists. To the Death.




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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Which question requires input by those literate on the subject? Is it "Will humans be extinct by 2026 due to climate change?" If so, I really, really doubt it, although I'm all but illiterate on the subject.

There are over seven billion of us and it's going to take quite a lot to kill all.


The process really speeds up once the first billion lie unburied.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:48 PM
Kedikat Kedikat is offline
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About peak oil. From one who works in the oil exploration business. Hubbert did accurately predict the peak of conventional oil production in the U.S. With the production technologies of the time and what was thought to be reasonable economics.

One needs to delve into the odd twists of economics, finance and state subsidies in their various forms to see how we have bypassed Hubberts valid conclusions.

In general, oil should be more expensive. The Saudis turned up the flow of their much cheaper crude to counter expensive U.S. shale products and oil sands and such, which are artificially cheap due to zero interest rate regime. And other competitors. Plus some political reasons. U.S. shale producers are in deep debt. Extracting expensive, selling cheap to keep paying their loans. The debtors are stringing it along to not go bust.

Oil is more expensive than it seems. The costs are being put off. As are so many of our expenses. They will come due at much more cost.

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  #21  
Old 09-21-2017, 10:48 PM
sbunny8 sbunny8 is offline
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A really, really bad farming crisis -- large-scale crop-failure -- could kill hundreds of millions, but would even that croak a billion of us? Let alone 7 billion?
<nitpick>It's closer to 8 billion than 7.</nitpick>
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:00 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Methane has a lifetime in the atmosphere of a mere 12 years according to multiple sources. I doubt we could do much to speed up that.
But what is the mechanism? Is the half-life even less at much higher concentrations? I.e. is it breakdown in the upper atmosphere from solar energy, is it random oxidation in the entire atmosphere? The first is obviously scales linearly, the latter, faster. Would the resulting increase in CO2 cause a burst of plant growth or plankton growth? Etc.

My argument is that the subtle and third-order effects may be more significant than any computer model predicts. The obvious point is, though, that there's only one way to find out and the best option is to avoid finding out if we possibly can...

* * *
Peak oil was based on the existing known oil reserves and rate of consumption. We'd have to find a new Saudi Arabia every 20(?) years or less to keep up with accelerating demand; there just aren't too many places left to be found like Saudi Arabia, or North Sea, or Gulf of Mexico. But wait - there is one - the giant shale oils of central North America. For decades, the cost and complexity of recovering that oil was simply too much.

But in 2007, if anyone remembers, gas was pushing $5 and sometimes $6 in the Land of The Free. ($1.50C a litre here in Canada). Entrepreneurs meanwhile figured out how to frack the oil out of the shale of the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, etc. So first the world economy collapsed and the demand pressure on oil dropped dramatically. Then frack oil flooded the market. The USA became the largest oil producer in the world again. Gas dropped from $5 a gallon to $2, oil from $100-plus a barrel to $40 and under. So essentially, we did find a new source of oil to put off the supply crunch ("Peak Oil") for another decade or three...or more.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:08 PM
sbunny8 sbunny8 is offline
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Killing more than 90% of all humans would take something much much worse than global warming. Something like... a supernova that releases enough cosmic rays to sterilize most of the planet. Or a collision with an asteroid ten times bigger and/or faster than the one which triggered the K/T extinction event. Or maybe a deadly virus (with no cure) which doesn't show any symptoms until about a month after you've already infected everybody around you.

Now, if you combined several small disasters simultaneously, that might do it. For example, 10C increase in global temperature in just one year AND an outbreak of drug-resistant smallpox AND a sudden drop in our oil supply AND a huge scarcity in the ingredients we use in making artificial fertilizer AND a series of sunspots that overload every electrical wire and basically fry all our electronics... put all those things together simultaneously and you could kill maybe 95% of humans. Heck, throw in a nuclear war for good measure and you could get to 99% but that still doesn't get you to 100% extinction.

I can imagine a scenario where sudden global warming sets in motion a series of disasters, like dominoes. But that assumes that the dominoes are already there, just waiting to be tipped over, and nobody stops the chain reaction. There's simply no way that any plausible arrangement of those dominoes would get you past 99% killed.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:37 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Killing more than 90% of all humans would take something much much worse than global warming. Something like... a
...

Now, if you combined several small disasters simultaneously, that might do it.
...
I can imagine a scenario where sudden global warming sets in motion a series of disasters, like dominoes. But that assumes that the dominoes are already there, just waiting to be tipped over, and nobody stops the chain reaction. There's simply no way that any plausible arrangement of those dominoes would get you past 99% killed.
Yes, my though. a 10C rise would mean utter disaster. Whole swaths of the equatorial regions would become uninhabitable. Places in India, Arabia and Africa already hit the 40C and occasionally 50C range. Even those with ocean-moderated climates like Indonesia, they get monsoons. Climate data for Hong Kong, for example, already lists a rainfall in the peak month(s) of over 400 inches. Harvey was a disaster for Houston with over 40 inches in 3 or 4 days. Imagine getting twice that every day for a month... Who knows what 10C would do to the rainfall patterns. (You do realize 10C is 18F? That's a HUGE increase...)

I would not foresee human extinction, but I see a huge flood of invaders that would make last year's Syrian refugee invasion in Europe look puny. The west could easily absorb a million or two of new migrants - but not a billion Africans and another billion or two from the India subcontinent, while also dealing with crop failures or major flooding. North America might be luckier - we could conceivably handle the whole population of central America and Mexico, but not if people start coming across the ocean by the containership load. I suspect vicious war would be the next outcome. And where would China or South America go? I don't think Siberia or the pampas could suddenly be turned into amber fields of grain and fruited plains overnight, even if the climate turned out to be incredibly cooperative. Even North America could lose half its agricultural area...

I see refugee ships being sunk at sea, troops at the borders machine-gunning anyone who approaches, and other tactics that we nowadays could not imagine condoning. then there's the disruption to supplies. It takes a functioning economy to produce machine gun bullets. Harvey, for example, seems to have shut down half the refining capacity of North America for a week. We would need mines, factories, refineries, and roads that are not washed out to continue running society. I could see many areas of the USA and Canada being written off - too difficult to support the people there. But I still expect several million people in the temperate to arctic zones to survive, albeit at a severely declined level of civilization.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:48 PM
Kedikat Kedikat is offline
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I find it interesting how optimistic so many folks are about warming. Most seem to think we will survive. Even with a large increase in temperature. It is in the future. So the future will solve it or suffer it. Like our massive financial debts. Old infrastructure. The problems of the future, not ours.

I am 60. So not my problems either. But I do come face to face and suffer ignorant folks everyday in all sorts of things. Occasionally I engage with them to ask why they just did what they did. So often their immediate self evident ignorance, is not their problem. Not their concern. Often not even in their awareness. Just everyone elses problem. And too often my problem.

Things go extinct all the time. From less than large changes. So will we. But it will be suicide. As we will likely be at least dimly aware.
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:08 AM
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Species go extinct with regularity. Humans (or our ancestors) have faced near-extinction bottlenecks in the past, but that doesn't mean we are destined to survive all catastrophes.

What makes us, perhaps, unique is our ability to anticipate and respond to catastrophic change. Most of the world is now trying to do so. Even the US has made major strides in the last decade. Will this continue? That's an IMHO/Great Debates thread, feel free to go there (I'm sure several exist).

I also don't think anyone is sure exactly how climate change, perhaps including the release of methane hydrates, is going to affect the planet. What if (ignoring the rest of the world) the result is megahurricanes devastating the US east coast, megadrought killing the west, megatornadoes ripping through the plains? Maybe United Statesians will be running for the comparative climate calm of Mexico and Canada.
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:21 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Species go extinct with regularity. Humans (or our ancestors) have faced near-extinction bottlenecks in the past, but that doesn't mean we are destined to survive all catastrophes.

What makes us, perhaps, unique is our ability to anticipate and respond to catastrophic change. Most of the world is now trying to do so. Even the US has made major strides in the last decade. Will this continue? That's an IMHO/Great Debates thread, feel free to go there (I'm sure several exist).

I also don't think anyone is sure exactly how climate change, perhaps including the release of methane hydrates, is going to affect the planet. What if (ignoring the rest of the world) the result is megahurricanes devastating the US east coast, megadrought killing the west, megatornadoes ripping through the plains? Maybe United Statesians will be running for the comparative climate calm of Mexico and Canada.
Exactly. I've lived once upon a time where the temperature in northern Canada hit -40 during a cold spell and stayed there for weeks. (Go ahead, figure out if that's Celsius or Fahrenheit). Given a temperate climate - a longer growing season - a place like that could probably support its modest population. A sudden huge increase in temperature and massive nutrients flowing into the ocean would probably result in a surge of fish population, meaning the inhabitants of the Northwest territories, Nunavut, Alaska and Greenland would be able to survive much like traditional days, by fishing - but for most of the year, not just the summer. Farmers in Tibet or Mongolia might enjoy the new climate too, even if the other side of the Himalayas was getting several times the current rainfall.

Humans are an opportunistic adaptable predator. We can eat a wide variety of wildlife, if motivated. As the ecology adapted to the new normal, humans would move in again with the smarts to pick off the tastiest bits.
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Old 09-22-2017, 05:24 AM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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I find it interesting how optimistic so many folks are about warming. Most seem to think we will survive.
Not optimistic. Just realistic. The idea that a little bit of temperature change will be enough to kill off every single human being across every area of Earth while they are putting in their best effort to survive is--frankly--deeply stupid.

As mentioned before, killing off 99 percent of humans would leave behind 70 million (actually 75 million.) Killing off 99.999 percent would leave behind 75,000, which is small, but still 5 or 10 times the human population during a bottleneck around 70,000 years ago.

A cosmopolitan weed species is very hard to wipe out.

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Old 09-22-2017, 05:40 AM
Kimera757 Kimera757 is offline
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I find it interesting how optimistic so many folks are about warming. Most seem to think we will survive.
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Okay, the most important truth in risk communication is the exceedingly low correlation between whether a risk is dangerous, and whether it’s upsetting.
From Peter Sandman, risk communication consultant.

Perceived risk = hazard + outrage. The hazard is high, but the outrage is low. Practically nothing can make people afraid of temperature increases, especially something small like 2 degrees Celsius. The risk is simply not upsetting except to experts who have a clear idea of what could happen.

Last edited by Kimera757; 09-22-2017 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 09-22-2017, 06:30 AM
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What happened when the clathrates and permafrost melted in previous interglacials?
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  #31  
Old 09-22-2017, 08:39 AM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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https://www.amazon.com/20-Gallon-Ine...dp/0446549541/

Had to read this book in college, ironically I read it in 2012 so all of the predictions were already flat out wrong by then.
Glad this wasn't widely reported like the "on-coming ice-age crap" in the 70s that got a over-reported and mis-reported and gets brought up today all the time.
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:12 AM
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What happened when the clathrates and permafrost melted in previous interglacials?
From the link here - https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicato...eenhouse-gases
it appears that the increase in tempertaures released methane at a rate where the reaction of methane with atmospheric hydroxyl keep concentrations from spiking.

The question is, what happens if heating spikes sufficiently fast to drive huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere? We're reaching new highs in temperature, new lows in ocean acidity and we're gleefully stomping forward into uncharted methane peaks.
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:50 AM
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Hold up - that link is CO2.

Here's the methane one : https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicato...eenhouse-gases

ETA : Can't make the link go to the proper chart. If you look at the bottom of the page you'll see several different view. Methane is down there as figure 2
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  #34  
Old 09-22-2017, 09:56 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
Not optimistic. Just realistic. The idea that a little bit of temperature change will be enough to kill off every single human being across every area of Earth while they are putting in their best effort to survive is--frankly--deeply stupid.

As mentioned before, killing off 99 percent of humans would leave behind 70 million (actually 75 million.) Killing off 99.999 percent would leave behind 75,000, which is small, but still 5 or 10 times the human population during a bottleneck around 70,000 years ago.

A cosmopolitan weed species is very hard to wipe out.
Agree completely. But ...

Our nearly 8 billion people are dependent on our advanced technological economy. If we changed nothing about the planet at all, but merely waved a magic wand tomorrow and 30% of the populace instantly & uniformly vanished without a trace, the resulting shock to the economic system would be profound. Perhaps enough to start a chain reaction collapse back to the 1800s or earlier.

That is, back to a time when the carrying capacity of Earth was larger than today, but the carrying capacity of the human economy was far less.

If we do, for whatever reason, quickly (on a human societal timescale) find ourselves with a population bigger than our economy can support, that will begin a self-reinforcing contraction. Accompanied by mass migrations and mass violence. An overshoot to the downside is all but guaranteed.


Would that make humans extinct? Not even close.

Could large-scale disruptions to the technological economy set off a rapid self-reinforcing downward spiral of human disaster? IMO it has a pretty high likelihood of happening someday for some reason unless we start designing and paying for a lot more resilience in our systems.

Will 10C of global warming by 2026 be that reason? No way.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 09-22-2017 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:56 AM
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Hold up - that link is CO2.

Here's the methane one : https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicato...eenhouse-gases

ETA : Can't make the link go to the proper chart. If you look at the bottom of the page you'll see several different view. Methane is down there as figure 2
The text toward the bottom suggests that water vapour is a greenhouse gas with a positive feedback loop. However, I would think that yes, while water vapour mitigates temperature swings from night to day, the high albedo of clouds will reflect sunlight and actually lower the surface temperature.
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:12 AM
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Pretty much what the IPCC says
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By reflecting solar radiation back to space (the albedo effect of clouds) and by trapping infrared radiation emitted by the surface and the lower troposphere (the greenhouse effect of clouds), clouds exert two competing effects on the Earth’s radiation budget. These two effects are usually referred to as the SW and LW components of the cloud radiative forcing (CRF). The balance between these two components depends on many factors, including macrophysical and microphysical cloud properties. In the current climate, clouds exert a cooling effect on climate (the global mean CRF is negative). In response to global warming, the cooling effect of clouds on climate might be enhanced or weakened, thereby producing a radiative feedback to climate warming (Randall et al., 2006; NRC, 2003; Zhang, 2004; Stephens, 2005; Bony et al., 2006).
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  #37  
Old 09-22-2017, 10:41 AM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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Originally Posted by Grey View Post
Hold up - that link is CO2.

Here's the methane one : https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicato...eenhouse-gases

ETA : Can't make the link go to the proper chart. If you look at the bottom of the page you'll see several different view. Methane is down there as figure 2
That appears to be a huge spike!
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  #38  
Old 09-22-2017, 10:58 AM
Lucas Jackson Lucas Jackson is offline
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Originally Posted by TSBG View Post
Species go extinct with regularity. Humans (or our ancestors) have faced near-extinction bottlenecks in the past, but that doesn't mean we are destined to survive all catastrophes.

What makes us, perhaps, unique is our ability to anticipate...
And our use of tools and control over technology.
  #39  
Old 09-22-2017, 11:09 AM
wolfpup wolfpup is online now
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Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
What happened when the clathrates and permafrost melted in previous interglacials?
The answer is given in posts #32 and #33. Again and again, when discussing anthropogenic climate change it always comes down to the question of the extraordinary rate of change -- a rate that is one to two orders of magnitude faster than the natural rate of glacial termination. Another way of looking at the same phenomenon: in no interglacial in the past million years has the CO2 level ever exceeded 300 ppm. Today it is 400 ppm and rising fast. This is a fundamentally new phenomenon in the earth's modern geological history.

So the relevant question is, not what happened to methane releases in previous interglacials, but what happened when large amounts of carbon were released into the atmosphere with the suddenness with which we're currently doing it. This happened.

That said, the speculation in the OP is a rather alarmist take on a paper that seems to be itself rather hypothetical. What is undoubtedly true is that loss of the majority of polar ice would create a whole new class of positive climate feedbacks that would result in runaway climate change; at the point, current estimates of climate sensitivity (climate response to increased CO2) would probably need to be doubled or tripled. However, we are a long, long way from that possibility. There is ample solid evidence that climate change is a very serious problem -- there's no need for alarmist sensationalism.
  #40  
Old 09-22-2017, 11:16 AM
wolfpup wolfpup is online now
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Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
That appears to be a huge spike!
You're missing the point. Look at the CO2 chart for comparison. Those huge spikes at the end are anthropogenic -- modern human-caused phenomena. The timeframe of the charts encompasses at least half a dozen interglacials. There is a huge CO2 spike and a huge CH4 spike at only one point -- today! As I just said, never in the past million years has CO2 ever exceeded 300 ppm during any interglacial, until we started burning fossil fuels.
  #41  
Old 09-22-2017, 11:29 AM
septimus septimus is online now
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Originally Posted by race_to_the_bottom View Post
There is a school which argues that the climate situation in the Arctic is now completely out of control due to various positive feedbacks involving albedo, methane, fires, soot, fires and maybe others. It posits that consequently we face a 10C increase in global temperatures over pre-industrial levels within 10 years. ...
A "school"? How do you know it's not just one blogger with time on his hands? Most of the feedbacks he mentions are, of course, already well known. AFAICT his article should just be treated as gibberish.

A sudden 8C rise in the next ten years would be hugely catastrophic, so it's good that his blog is total fantasy. I wonder what the precise consequences of such a rise would be. Not immediate extinction, I think, but things would be very bleak.

BTW, "runaway greenhouse" seems to be a technical term applied to warmings much greater than 10C. To qualify as "runaway," temperatures must be high enough to cause the Earth's oceans to all boil away!
  #42  
Old 09-22-2017, 11:33 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Originally Posted by Weisshund View Post
We can eat almost anything, our range of eatable things might be almost the widest on the planet.
90% of what we eat is a half-dozen staple crops and livestock that have been with us since the Stone Age - and which have had genetic diversity (and hence adaptability) bred out of them.

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 09-22-2017 at 11:34 AM.
  #43  
Old 09-22-2017, 12:02 PM
Doubticus Doubticus is offline
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Global Warming is a real problem we have to deal with. But the odds of a runaway extinction event are so slim, we might as well be worried by getting hit by a mega solar flare instead.
  #44  
Old 09-22-2017, 01:54 PM
wolfpup wolfpup is online now
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
BTW, "runaway greenhouse" seems to be a technical term applied to warmings much greater than 10C. To qualify as "runaway," temperatures must be high enough to cause the Earth's oceans to all boil away!
Not really an accurate reflection of typical usage, although I do agree with the rest of your post that the OP scenario is unrealistic. "Runaway greenhouse" means just what it says -- that temperature increase is running away out of control, meaning that it has become driven by new self-sustaining feedbacks that are independent of future emissions. Technically this means that the eventual equilibrium temperature will be much higher than that predicted by present estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity based on the effects of GHGs plus the presently occurring feedbacks. The other term for a runaway greenhouse effect is a "tipping point", and the fact is that climate tipping points are real things that have been extensively observed in the paleoclimate record. It was first brought to wide scientific attention by Hans Oeschger, a pioneer in ice core research, and drove him to spend the rest of his life dedicated to the cause of climate change mitigation.
  #45  
Old 09-22-2017, 03:47 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Peak oil is absolutely inevitable, and may even have already happened. And the continual decline in oil production following peak oil is also inevitable. But what has often been overlooked is that peak oil and the subsequent decline will not inevitably be catastrophes. They could be catastrophes, but that doesn't mean that they must be.

Last edited by Chronos; 09-22-2017 at 03:47 PM.
  #46  
Old 09-22-2017, 03:59 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
90% of what we eat is a half-dozen staple crops and livestock that have been with us since the Stone Age - and which have had genetic diversity (and hence adaptability) bred out of them.
That just means that there will be less food for the next few millennia as we adapt a different pool of crops. Plus, some crops simply move north. Less food has interesting consequences - catastrophic but not extinction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grey View Post
Pretty much what the IPCC says
It suggests that the clouds currently cool but for some reason, without explaining, more cloud will have a warming effect - perhaps trapping more infrared. But, that infrared is due to heat from sunlight (that can't escape). Less direct sunlight on the ground, less heat. It seems to me that areas predominantly under cloud cover, plus rain, have a much cooler environment than those with much sunlight. If more heat means more evaporation, more cloud cover, then I suspect the actual answer is more of sunlight is reflected into space, producing a negative factor to any otherwise-caused global warming. Clouds aren't going to save us, but they will make it harder to cook us.
  #47  
Old 09-22-2017, 04:03 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Peak oil is absolutely inevitable, and may even have already happened. And the continual decline in oil production following peak oil is also inevitable. But what has often been overlooked is that peak oil and the subsequent decline will not inevitably be catastrophes. They could be catastrophes, but that doesn't mean that they must be.
Peak Oil has been delayed a decade or three by fracking technology. The massive amount of shale oil on the northern plains has made the USA the world's biggest producer of oil again.

This could give us the time to invest in Tesla cars and similar tech to avoid feeling the pinch when it does begin to become scarce. We won't "run out of oil". Simply, it will become scarcer and scarcer and so the price will go up, until only the rich can afford private vehicles that burn carbon.

Last edited by md2000; 09-22-2017 at 04:05 PM.
  #48  
Old 09-22-2017, 04:40 PM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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Peak Oil has been delayed a decade or three by fracking technology.
You don't have to get so emotional about it!
  #49  
Old 09-22-2017, 09:02 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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All of this has happened before; all of this will happen again.
  #50  
Old 09-22-2017, 09:12 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is online now
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What? There was a previous Industrial Revolution? When, pray tell.
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