I believe that your first attachment is correct, as the earth has known warmer periods than the current period. However it exceeds the period of the existence of the homo sapiens so it is not relevant. The second attachment - if it is correct - would not apply to the rest of the planet. We currently do have a warmer climate than during the last 1300 years. While past climatic changes could be attributed to volcanic or sun activity, the current increase in temperature is clearly man-made.
Becoming the Witness of a Singularity
We are currently living a very specific period of a fat tail. A rare occurence in the history of evolution, which is caracterized by
- the inbalanced growth of the population of homo sapiens
- the depletion of fossil fules and raw materials that have been accumulated over millions of years
- a rapid change of the climatic conditions
- extinction of the major part of all species within a few hundred years (and/or genetic modification)
- pollution of the planet and the sea with toxical substances
The planet has not seen this before. There have been already periods where 90% of the species have been extinct in a relatively short time, but they were rare. These were the event so far
Ordoviziem/Silurian (439 million years ago): est. extinction of 60% of marine species
Devonian (364 million years ago): est. extinction of 57% of marine species
Permian (251 million years ago): est. extinction of 95% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial species
Triassic (214 million years ago): est. extinction of 52% of marine species
Cretaceous/Tertiary (65 milllion years ago) -> est. extinction of 47% of marine species and 18% of vertebrates (including famous dinosaurs)
Extinction of 50% of Species Projected
All five periods were associated with higher temperatures. The current period is likely to produce an extinction of 50% of the current species, source. Royal Society/ University of Leeds. So it is not nothing, we are capable of hitting the planet with a plague that was last seen 65 million years ago!
So this a genuine fat tail of a complex non-linear system. From a mathematical point of view, the peak of this evolution can be estimated around 2050- There is a parallel evolution of eceonomic and environmental conditions. so we will see something like a phase transition in economy and environment around 2050. For more details on this subject also see the last chapter of the book "Why Stock Markets Crash" from the econophysicist Didier Sornette. Chapter 10 "2050: The End of the Growth Era".
The current period is an acceleration of everything, such as the peak of commodity prices before they collapse. One of those black swans that Victor Niederhoefer esteems are unpredictable, but which are more frequent than our mean deviation models suggest. Black Swans are caracterized by feedback loops, the crash is triggered because the single agents of the complex system do no more act independently and their actions can not be offset (global village). Gaussian distributions are susbtituted with Levy distributions or complex power laws.
Last edited by Fat Tails; November 28th, 2010 at 04:19 AM.
You posted this:
All five periods were associated with higher temperatures. The current period is likely to produce an extinction of 50% of the current species...
I don't know if you personally believe this or not. This seems like an extreme position. (S.S.)
We all have beliefs about many things. From money to the afterlife. If global warming is indeed
occurring I personally see it as a good thing. There are indeed good things that can be seen about it.
It would be nice to see winters here that weren't so cold.
One other thing that has some importance is what a HUGE volcanic eruption can do to global
temperatures. It's good to have an extra high global average temperature as a buffer. Seriously. (S.S.)
1883 eruption of Krakatoa
In the year following the eruption, average global temperatures fell by as much as 1.2 °C (2.2 °F). Weather patterns continued to be chaotic for years, and temperatures did not return to normal until 1888.
I have visited the palm oil plantations in Malaysia. If you visit Java, you will find no birds flying around. A friend of mine has contributed to preserving a piece of virgin forest in Central America. The main problem is population growth. The ecosystems are destroyed and no species can survive without its ecosystem. If anybody thinks that humans can travel in space for a longer period, it is just a mistake. We are part of a complex ecosystem ourselves, and no spaceship will ever transport us to another planetary system without the rest of the ecosystem.
A stupid prediction from thw NASA does not invalidate newer research.
The book looks interesting, the author seems to follow this logic: There is no final proof that climatic change and the change of the ph-Value in the ocean is harmful (correct), and he concludes that we are allowed to continue to pollute and destroy whatever we like, because its harmfulness could not be proven (strange).
The reasoning is a bit cheap, a moratorium would be more appropriate, until we know what the real effects of climatic change, pollution, extinction of species and genetic experiments are. It is the mere speed of change that will lead to collapse. This nothing else than an evolutionary bubble, very similar to financial markets, and driven by the same arrogance and hybris. Just replace the market with nature. Both are non-linear dynamic systems that are controlled in a similar way by feedback loops, and both have an inherent instability that leads to exuberance and the following collapse. You can create your own nonlinear system with sugarscape and look how it evolves by setting various parameters:
The first sentence, that it is good to have an extra high average temperature, is childish and does not help to advance the subject. This attitude allows us to destroy our heritage and to trade it for short term goals. Not helpful at all.
Recommended read: The book of Simon Winchester on the eruption of the Krakatoa.
By the way, enjoy this discussion, otherwise I would not respond.
Last edited by Fat Tails; November 27th, 2010 at 01:06 PM.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution article is from 2003 and
is not related to the NASA.
The book is not really about climate change, although it is covered to
some extent in the book by Ridley. One thing he talks about (he is not
the first to notice this) is that in times past just one individual would make
a spear point. The knowledge of how to do this could exist within a
single person. Then he showed (on TV, probably C-SPAN) a wireless
mouse. He said that the knowledge to create this device does NOT
exist with any single individual on earth. That is from the drilling for the
oil to make the plastic, and on and on. This is observation is not new,
but it was new to me. Anyway Ridley has a positive outlook on the future.
One of the things he said on C-SPAN was a great quote, that I can't
remember. Basically he quoted someone that said many years ago, that
if you say the future will be bad everyone pays attention and you are
regarded as a great thinker. If you say that everything will be OK, then
everyone regards you as an imbecile.
"The first sentence, that it is good to have an extra high average temperature, is childish and does not help to advance the subject."
It certainly is not politically correct to want global warming. It doesn't matter that there are
advantages to it.
Anyway let's look at what global cooling has done.
Even though The Year Without a Summer, that is 1816, might have a number of causes,
I personally point to the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora.
There were other eruptions prior to this one which certainly didn't help matters.
They are listed below, taken from wikipedia.
Other large volcanic eruptions (with VEI at least 4) during the same time frame are:
1812, La Soufrière on Saint Vincent in the Caribbean
1812, Awu on Sangihe Islands, Indonesia
1813, Suwanosejima on Ryukyu Islands, Japan
1814, Mayon in the Philippines
The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora was classified as a VEI-7 event, one of the most powerful in recorded history.
The eruption column lowered global temperatures, and some experts believe this led to global cooling and worldwide harvest failures...
As a result of the series of volcanic eruptions, crops in the above cited areas had been poor for several years; the final blow came in 1815 with the eruption of Tambora...
Cool temperatures and heavy rains resulted in failed harvests in the British Isles as well. Families in Wales traveled long distances as refugees, begging for food. Famine was prevalent in north and southwest Ireland, following the failure of wheat, oat and potato harvests.
The crisis was severe in Germany, where food prices rose sharply. Due to the unknown cause of the problems, demonstrations in front of grain markets and bakeries, followed by riots, arson and looting, took place in many European cities. It was the worst famine of the 19th century,
In China, the cold weather killed trees, rice crops and even water buffalo, especially in northern China. Floods destroyed many remaining crops. Mount Tambora’s eruption disrupted China’s monsoon season, resulting in overwhelming floods in the Yangtze Valley in 1816. In India the delayed summer monsoon caused late torrential rains that aggravated the spread of cholera from a region near the River Ganges in Bengal to as far as Moscow.
The eruption had a Volcanic Explosivity Index ranking of 7, a super-colossal event that ejected immense amounts of volcanic dust into the upper atmosphere.
To me the U.S. has serious problems that need to be taken care of. Even assuming global warming
exists, I don't consider it a problem. We have over 9% unemployment. A crazy Iran that wants nuclear
bombs. The U.S. national debt. The growing power of the police state called China. The North Korean's want
The following user says Thank You to stephenszpak for this post:
Just solving short term problems - even if there are serious - should not lead to ignore the longer term. This is usually what politicians do, because they want to be reelected, and what bad managers do, because they have to produce quarterly reports.
Volcanic eruptions can, and have lowered the earth's temperature.
There is no way to predict an eruption like Mount Tambora (in 1815) years in advance
so that mankind can make every effort to raise global temperatures before hand.
Even if there was a way to predict, it is not politically possible to raise earth's global
temperature intentionally . It's too late. Opinions have been formed. In other words "Global warming
is bad." If mankind ever contributes to global warming intentionally, that is also bad.
Maybe it's just me, but it seems in the U.S. now, the media speaks of 'climate change' and
not 'global warming' any more. Hey if it's hotter, that's climate change. Colder, climate change. Wetter
or dryer etc. etc. etc And guess what, all climate change is a bad thing. At least this is the way
it seems. (Maybe FOX is the exception, I don't really know. They seem to have a different take on
the news. They are hated, I know that.)
I have made some effort the past couple days to get valid graphs of global temperatures.
I haven't been able to solidify what I'm seeing. Even if there is a graph of global temperatures
increasing over X years, it does NOT necessarily mean that U.S. (lower 48 states) temperatures
have also risen by the same amount. Since I'm an American citizen I'm responsible for America.
Also, even if I see a graph of an increase in U.S. temperatures ( as I did an hour ago ) I can't
understand how much of an increase is important. I can tell you anecdotally that the winters
here aren't vastly better (ie. warmer) than they were when I was younger. We had some
snow flurries yesterday (typical late November weather). The lakes will be frozen over in a few weeks.
Finally, we'll have to agree to disagree that global warming ( assuming, it exists ) is a problem.
(Let alone what percentage of the cause, caused by mankind. Let alone how much this
would cost to fix in dollars, especially with certain emerging economies unwilling to make any efforts.)
That old sorcerer has vanished
And for once has gone away!
Spirits called by him, now banished,
My commands shall soon obey.
Every step and saying
That he used, I know,
And with sprites obeying
My arts I will show.
Flow, flow onward
Spare not any
Ever streaming fully downward
Toward the pool in current gushing.
Come, old broomstick, you are needed,
Take these rags and wrap them round you!
Long my orders you have heeded,
By my wishes now I've bound you.
Have two legs and stand,
And a head for you.
Run, and in your hand
Hold a bucket too.
Flow, flow onward
Spare not any
Ever streaming fully downward
Toward the pool in current gushing.
See him, toward the shore he's racing
There, he's at the stream already,
Back like lightning he is chasing,
Pouring water fast and steady.
Once again he hastens!
How the water spills,
How the water basins
Brimming full he fills!
Stop now, hear me!
Of your treasure
We have gotten!
Ah, I see it, dear me, dear me.
Master's word I have forgotten!
Ah, the word with which the master
Makes the broom a broom once more!
Ah, he runs and fetches faster!
Be a broomstick as before!
Ever new the torrents
That by him are fed,
Ah, a hundred currents
Pour upon my head!
No, no longer
Can I please him,
I will seize him!
That is spiteful!
My misgivings grow the stronger.
What a mien, his eyes how frightful!
Brood of hell, you're not a mortal!
Shall the entire house go under?
Over threshold over portal
Streams of water rush and thunder.
Broom accurst and mean,
Who will have his will,
Stick that you have been,
Once again stand still!
Can I never, Broom, appease you?
I will seize you,
Hold and whack you,
And your ancient wood
With a whetted axe I'll crack you.
He returns, more water dragging!
Now I'll throw myself upon you!
Soon, 0 goblin, you'll be sagging.
Crash! The sharp axe has undone you.
What a good blow, truly!
There, he's split, I see.
Hope now rises newly,
And my breathing's free.
Woe betide me!
Both halves scurry
In a hurry,
Rise like towers
There beside me.
Help me, help, eternal powers!
Off they run, till wet and wetter
Hall and steps immersed are lying.
What a flood that naught can fetter!
Lord and master, hear me crying! -
Ah, he comes excited.
Sir, my need is sore.
Spirits that I've cited
My commands ignore.
"To the lonely
Hear your doom.
As a spirit
When he wills, your master only
Calls you, then 'tis time to hear it."
The film Fantasia shows Mickey Mouse as the apprentice. You may well apply the poem to understand the problem of nuclear weapons, climatic change and the extinction of species.
Forecasters have said Britain is experiencing some of the most severe winter weather in a century, with continued freezing temperatures and snowfall accumulations expected Monday afternoon and evening. Experts said the extreme winter weather may be related to climate change due to global warming. With a warmer climate, there's more moisture in the air, which makes storms including blizzards more intense.