Another AGW argument bites the, er, dust

posted at 12:55 pm on November 12, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Climate-change alarmists have warned for years that rising temperatures they associate with higher levels of CO2 would radically reduce the Amazonian rainforests as water got more scarce.  The argument was that the heat would reduce the rainfall, which would eventually turn the rainforests into savannahs or even dust bowls and seriously impact oxygen and climate patterns for the entire world.  Now a new study, reported by the Guardian — hardly a bastion of skepticism on AGW claims — says both predictions are entirely incorrect (via QandO):

According to a study of ancient rainforests, trees may be hardier than previously thought. Carlos Jaramillo, a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), examined pollen from ancient plants trapped in rocks in Colombia and Venezuela. “There are many climactic models today suggesting that … if the temperature increases in the tropics by a couple of degrees, most of the forest is going to be extinct,” he said. “What we found was the opposite to what we were expecting: we didn’t find any extinction event [in plants] associated with the increase in temperature, we didn’t find that the precipitation decreased.”

In a study published today in Science, Jaramillo and his team studied pollen grains and other biological indicators of plant life embedded in rocks formed around 56m years ago, during an abrupt period of warming called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. CO2 levels had doubled in 10,000 years and the world was warmer by 3C-5C for 200,000 years.

Contrary to expectations, he found that forests bloomed with diversity. New species of plants, including those from the passionflower and chocolate families, evolved quicker as others became extinct. The study also shows moisture levels did not decrease significantly during the warm period. “It was totally unexpected,” Jaramillo said of the findings.

When water became more scarce, the plants started becoming more efficient at its use.  The changes in temperature not only didn’t kill off the trees, it led to an explosion of diversity, which once again poses the question of whether anyone actually understands these systems enough to reach a conclusion on what exactly the optimal temperature is for the planet.  These findings seem to suggest that our period may be a little on the cool side for natural diversity and agricultural production.

Or, more accurately, that the AGW science is mainly conjectural in the first place.  The lack of certainty in the speculative horror stories spun by the IPCC and its already-busted myths, combined with the utter failure of AGW models to accurately predict any outcomes, should already have had most people skeptical of the entire exercise.  Now we find out that 200,000 years of climate 5C warmer than this period not only didn’t turn the Earth into a barren desert but instead led to adaptations, strength, and an explosion of diversity, setting the stage for the expansion of humans on the planet.

The study’s authors conclude that warming presents little threat to the rainforest, and instead advises activists to focus on fighting deforestation instead.  That is, at least, a legitimate threat to the existence of the rainforests, and an issue with a lot more credibility than the Chicken Little scenarios that hysterical AGW activists keep spinning.

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I reversed the quote and the comment on the last point.

oakland on November 12, 2010 at 5:50 PM

The study also shows moisture levels did not decrease significantly during the warm period. “It was totally unexpected,” Jaramillo said of the findings.

For who?
Higher temperatures mean more evaporation and more rain. This should be obvious to anyone who has studied physical geography.

Count to 10 on November 12, 2010 at 5:52 PM

AGW is certainly conjecture. It was never necessary to justify protecting the environment through scare tactics over global temperature and CO2 levels; environmental protection is a just end in and of itself. As you say, these systems are so complex that it would hubristic to assume we can determine optimal temperature levels. We can, however, minimize our impact, as complex systems present all sorts of unintended consequences when you tamper with them.

ernesto on November 12, 2010 at 1:01 PM

It is important to enforce appropriate costs on the kinds of pollution that inflict harm on others (such as particulate air pollution and the contamination of water supplies), but first you need to establish that the harm is being done. So, rules to keep bays from catching on fire are good, but rules to limit CO2 emission based on inaccurate computer models aren’t.

Count to 10 on November 12, 2010 at 5:59 PM

The enviro-progressives have also been wailing about the conversion of rain forests in Brazil and elsewhere into farmland or grazing land. They have warned us that once a rain forest is cut down it can never come back. Not true.

In cases where farmers found the cleared land too poor to farm, they abandoned the land. The rain forest returned in surprisingly few years. No comment from the wailers.

slickwillie2001 on November 12, 2010 at 6:23 PM

Ernesto a green weenie ? Really?

Gangrene of the brain brought on by some weird disease due to unhealthy behavior. I get a kick out of such nimrods that pollute their bodies with alcohol, drugs, smoke, and random bodily fluids then tell others how to live their lives while speaking of unintended consequences. Quite laughable .

CWforFreedom on November 12, 2010 at 7:35 PM

They can’t tell the weather a week in advance with any accurancy, bnt we’re supposed to trust them with a decades out or a century out guess?

Guess again.

profitsbeard on November 12, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Someone explain to me why a couple degrees warmer is a bad thing again?

Koa on November 12, 2010 at 8:31 PM

It’s not human beings are on the outside of some life sustaining bubble and dip their toe into it every now and then. We are a part of the environment. We are just one small cog of everything else that makes up the environment.

ButterflyDragon on November 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Well put.
We also have market cornered on a unique combination of memory, reason and skill – that’s why we ended up being where we are on the food chain.

massrighty on November 12, 2010 at 8:32 PM

So, rules to keep bays from catching on fire are good, but rules to limit CO2 emission based on inaccurate computer models aren’t.

Unmistake-able warming by the first decade of the 21st century was predicted back in the late 80s. Global warming in general was predicted by scientists (to be distinct from the media hype which was promoting the idea of global cooling) back in the mid 70s.

The fact is, this decade is the warmest since records began to be kept, and there is very little doubt that human activity is responsible. Other forcing factors (such as sun activity) are very unlikely to have caused this increase.

This present year has shown itself to be the warmest year ever recorded. Skeptics had predicted a reversal of global warming late in the decade; this has not materialized.

If one doubts how climate change/disruption could play out in terms of our well-being, one should note that areas of Russia were the hottest and driest ever recorded, resulting in massive crop failures. This drought wasn’t unprecedented in world history, of course, but the fact is that this was accompanied by unprecedented hot temperatures (such as 100 degrees F in Moscow). Warmer temperatures may result in worldwide average increases in precipitation, but regional droughts (and resulting famines) could become more frequent and intense.

oakland on November 12, 2010 at 8:51 PM

As usual, every single thing that oakland says is a lie. The current decade is not the warmest since records began to be kept, there is absolutely no evidence that human activity has ever been responsible for warming (or cooling), and the present year is far from the warmest year ever recorded. She knows all this, but continues to throw out every single lie she’s been told to throw out there.

Please understand, just because she believes her lies doesn’t mean thay aren’t lies. See, she also knows how the global temperature record has been manipulated since algore decided that was the best way to enslave our country to the whims of UN bureaucrats. She knows full well that the raw data doesn’t exist, because the “scientists” at the CRU and Hadley and GISS somehow managed to “lose” it all. She knows this makes the peer review of said data, not to mention the scientific reproduction of the findings, absolutely impossible. This is in addition to the refusal of those same organizations to release the computer code they used to manipulate the raw data they refuse to acknowledge even exists now.

All this adds up to something that can not be called science in the most fevered (?) imaginations, but oakland will never admit she knows all this.

runawayyyy on November 12, 2010 at 11:48 PM

Lesson:

Always be sceptical when someone presents a theory based on minutia and conjecture: a theory which ignores huge and obvious factors.

AGW theory requires one to ignore the sun, the oceans, and the clouds…and wants you to believe that your hair spray and choice of light bulbs controls the temperature of the planet.

There is no generally-accepted basis for establishing an “ideal temperature”, even if it were possible to do so. Leftists will want a climate which does not support human life (which they consider to be evil). Everyone else will want a place where their children and grandchildren will be comfortable.

In any event, nobody has demonstrated much ability to understand climate: much less control it. And “temperature of the earth” is an ambiguous and nearly useless concept. Successful species adapt to things which they cannot control…like climate.

Until the AGW proponents can show me extensive clusters of homes in a 4-season climate which are heated only by hairspray, incandescent lighting, and cow farts….and cooled by sending money to Washington, they’ve got ZERO CREDIBILITY here!!!

landlines on November 13, 2010 at 1:59 AM

The conservative core belief on AGW seems to be:
1) AGW is the new trick for elitists to impose a Soviet style totalitarianism on American industry, and therefore 2) AGW is unfounded. Even if proposition 1) is true, it does not follow that AGW is unfounded. Scientific American has an interesting article on how proposition 1) may be partially true, how humans really do contribute to warming, and how we know so little about the components of climate that it is difficult to make sound policy suggestions.

Mark30339 on November 13, 2010 at 7:53 AM

Someone explain to me why a couple degrees warmer is a bad thing again?

Koa on November 12, 2010 at 8:31 PM

.
With slightly warmer temperatures crop yields would increase and that would be bad….. wait!!!

Dasher on November 13, 2010 at 9:35 AM

The conservative core belief on AGW seems to be:
1) AGW is the new trick for elitists to impose a Soviet style totalitarianism on American industry, and therefore 2) AGW is unfounded. Even if proposition 1) is true, it does not follow that AGW is unfounded. Scientific American has an interesting article on how proposition 1) may be partially true, how humans really do contribute to warming, and how we know so little about the components of climate that it is difficult to make sound policy suggestions.

Mark30339 on November 13, 2010 at 7:53 AM

Whenever the answer is lower standards of life, a crippled economy, astronomical energy prices, higher taxes, less individual liberty, and leftists comprise the base of the movement…it is safe to dismiss that movement as a fraud.

Inanemergencydial on November 13, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Now if there was only actual global warming all this would mean something. As it is, it is nonsense piled upon nonsense.

Viator on November 13, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Mark30339 on November 13, 2010 at 7:53 AM

So now the new meme is “sure, we’re lying to try to destroy your life, but seriously, it’s partly true”?

Sorry, gonna have to do better than that.

Merovign on November 13, 2010 at 1:38 PM

With slightly warmer temperatures crop yields would increase and that would be bad….. wait!!!

According to scientists, average soil moisture is expected to decrease in many regions of the planet, even though average global rainfall will increase (due to increased evaporation rates). If rain falls less often, but in greater quantities, there is less moisture soaking into the soil, and more runoff. This results in lower crop yields, not greater.

Of course, deeper droughts (as is happening where I live), result in poorer agricultural yields, and widespread damage to trees and other vegetation.

Of course these things only matter to those who enjoy their trees and enjoy a reliable food source. As I have gotten in the habit of regular food consumption, the trends accompanying AGW are quite disturbing to me, and to many others as well, including a very large majority of scientists.

oakland on November 13, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Whenever the answer is lower standards of life, a crippled economy, astronomical energy prices, higher taxes, less individual liberty, and leftists comprise the base of the movement…it is safe to dismiss that movement as a fraud.

Why are these the “answer”, and what does all this have to do with AGW?

oakland on November 13, 2010 at 3:19 PM

These global ( whatever the suffix due to the latest contradiction to their infallible logic) jerks use a storm or temp change like the mythical explorer who uses an eclipse to gain power over the savages

of course the bright side is that the savages eventually tire of the ruse and kill the explorer

let’s get tired

Sonosam on November 13, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Why are these the “answer”, and what does all this have to do with AGW?

oakland on November 13, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Don’t be obtuse eco-nazi.

Inanemergencydial on November 13, 2010 at 5:11 PM

I sincerely hope the environmental movement, of which I consider myself a part, begins to see that brash conclusions on our side are just as detrimental as the brash conclusions coming from certain conservative groups and energy companies.

ernesto on November 12, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Conclusions? Who needs conclusions! You just make videos in which child deniers are blown to gory smithereens for refusing to comply with the warmists!

That’s your “movement”, ernesto. You did yourselves in for a few decades at least because you made climate science a religion.

Hyberbole and chest-heaving fearmongering rarely work. Even WHEN the “science is settled”–nevermind when it’s not even close.

Grace_is_sufficient on November 13, 2010 at 7:08 PM

These AGW brains have all gone through the wash rinse repeat cycles of the universities where propaganda is taught as fact. This lad is now trying to ratify his beliefs and had discovered another “unexpected” fact. Too bad his world is being mugged by reality.

JAW on November 14, 2010 at 3:22 AM

Ancient Insects and bugs were so large because the earth was ALLOT warmer millions of years ago which created a much denser atmosphere of oxygen ratios than we live in today. As the earth cooled the Oxygen levels decreased and end up in the ice caps. Ocean levels also decreased. With decreased oxygen ratios the insects became smaller or the large ones just did off. Humans were not involved in this process.

Egfrow on November 14, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Of course these things only matter to those who enjoy their trees and enjoy a reliable food source.

oakland on November 13, 2010 at 3:17 PM

I call BS! If you really cared about reliable food sources, you would call for the de-funding of the EPA (who has proposed oppressive dust regulations on farming), imprison those who shut off water to farmers in California to save a non-edible fish, remove legislation that requires we burn a portion of our food as fuel (ethanol) and stop promoting AGW since you are trying to starve food crops of their necessary carbon dioxide!

dominigan on November 15, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Why are these the “answer”, and what does all this have to do with AGW?

oakland on November 13, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Because progressives are using AGW false science, and the fools who fall for it, as tools to bring about their control of our society.

dominigan on November 15, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Because progressives are using AGW false science

Then, perhaps you can show me where the “real” science is.

BTW, not a “progressive” by any stretch.

oakland on November 15, 2010 at 5:42 PM

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