Wednesday, February 20, 2008

what I don't get about climate change

According to,
It has long been known that the polar climate — particularly the Arctic climate — was very different from today's. Many lines of evidence indicate temperatures well above freezing, with little or no permanent land ice and infrequent or absent sea ice. Lemurs could live in Spitzbergen, and crocodiles on Hudson Bay, to name a few examples. Most evidence also points to an absence of ice in Antarctica as well. These Hothouse (or Super Greenhouse) climates have much warmer polar regions than is the case for today's climate, and winters were evidently very mild

The website also notes that "the Eocene tropical ocean may have been as warm as 35C, as compared to about 29C today".

According to Nature magazine,
The Palaeocene/Eocene thermal maximum, 55 million years ago, was a brief period of widespread, extreme climatic warming that was associated with massive atmospheric greenhouse gas input. We show that sea surface temperatures near the North Pole increased from 18°C to over 23°C during this event.

Sea surface temperatures near the North Pole were over 23 degrees? If sea temperatures at the North Pole were to rise to, I don't know, 5 degrees by the year 2100 and that would be an ecological disaster, then what to you call temperatures over 23 degrees?


Mark said...


I hope that was a rhetorical question. Otherwise, it seems completely devoid of meaning, save to sow confusion in the minds of Albertans about what comprises an ecological problem.

Brian Dell said...

Well I just find the whole debate strange because if we were discussing the climate back when it was 23 degrees at the North Pole any talk about preventing future climate change would presumably have been about how to stop the cooling. The only thing that seems to be in common is the idea that change is bad!

Mark said...

Yes, if your society's infrastructure is built to suit a particular range of climatic norms, then change is bad.

Brian Dell said...

That's a claim that needs discussion and there has been little discussion. I think humans are more flexible and adaptable than they are being given credit for.