Humanity has been changing the climate for 8000 years!

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Stelliform, Dec 10, 2003.

  1. Stelliform macrumors 68000

    Stelliform

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    #1
    new study suggests that humanity has been affecting the climate of earth for 8000 years. Interesting stuff!

    Link....
     
  2. Gymnut macrumors 68000

    Gymnut

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    #2
    I remember reading somewhere that cow farts have been major factor in the thinning of the ozone layer. Guess I'll stop eating foods that I know cause gas to do my part.
     
  3. Wardofsky macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Hmm, well, obviously we've been affecting the climate big time recently.
    With massive greenhouse gasses production and all.

    A human farting may not be that big against a factory farting...
     
  4. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #4
    This is very cool, actually. To be able to see the changes in methane that correspond to domestication of animals is great. :D

    But if we end up making too much of a change and melt the polar ice caps, then there won't be any ice cores to sample.

    I'm still wondering if things will flip and we'll go into another iceage....

    D
     
  5. Chappers macrumors 68020

    Chappers

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    #5
    ice age

    If there is another ice age maybe the people in the new cold areas would become refugees (or asylum seekers) and try to move to warm places. I wonder if we would be welcome?
     
  6. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #6
    there's a movie coming out next year about this...can't remember what its called, but I saw the preview in the theater recently.

    D
     
  7. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #7
    -All

    Well, let's also put this into a little perspective. Of course humans have affected the climate. Even the very first did by his mere body heat.

    But so has every other living breathing, farting, burping, dying, decomposing creature on the planet.

    Also, let's not forget that in comparison to volcanos - especially the ancient ones - all we humans are doing is farting by comparison.

    Additionally, if it weren't for phytoplankton, and CO2 and methane-loving algae changing the atmosphere 500 million years ago, neither oxygen, nor we, would be here.

    I'm not saying humans aren't having a significant impact, I'm hoping to provide perspective that perhaps this isn't so unnatural and unorthodox after all...
     
  8. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #8
    patrick-

    The article pretty clearly points to humans' habits of chopping down forests, clearing fields, etc. as the main indicator of our effect on the climate. The scientists seem to be showing that the planet had 395,000 years of stability and then 5,000 years of change due to man's influence.

    In the scope of things, that's easily categorizable as "unorthodox" or "unnatural".
     
  9. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #9
    -Rower_CPU

    Yes, I saw that in the article, but my overarching point is so esoteric that I'm having difficulty in verbalizing it. It's referring to the relationships of everything involved.

    Sure, humans have had an effect, but I don't feel we all-too-often-hard-on-ourselves human beings have the authority to judge ourselves on the very mistakes we make - only a higher authority has perspective to do that.

    My feeling on all this is we spend so much time yelling at ourselves in the mirror, perhaps our actions would have a greater effect on altering the path we've put ourselves on.

    Did that make sense?
     
  10. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #10
    Esoteric indeed. ;)

    I understand what you're saying, and I absolutely agree that this should not be a Chicken Little moment, and for us all to start screaming and running into the hills in anticipation of our eminent doom.

    But, I do feel it is an interesting look at how long our way of life has been effecting the planet, especially when, as the article point out, most people believe that it's only since the industrial revolution that man's footprint can be seen in the environment.

    And yes, some sort of action for further prevention of damage and for efforts to repair past damage are much more productive. It's just interesting, too, to step back and see the full scope of what we're dealing with now. :)
     
  11. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #11
    But Mr. Anderson, we are in an ice age...Actually, global temperature is at one of its lowest levels in all of history.

    Yay for cyanobacteria! On the other hand, their effects were seen over the course of hundreds of millions of years. Human have affected the environment over a mere ~10k years. That's nothing for the kind of dramatic change that the Earth has seen.

    ...And as far as focusing our energies on improving the mess we've gotten ourselves into...Well, I'd say that the first step in doing that is being self-critical. If we don't totally understand where we are and how we got here, how can we expect to move to where we should be and figure out how to get there?
     
  12. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #12
    -themadchemist

    Those are the guys! Thank you for clearing that up in my webbed brain!
     
  13. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #13
    No problem! I just had a final in Genetics & Evolution today. We had to memorize major phylogenies for everything from Archaea to Animalia. So for the next day or two, I'll be able to name lots of random stuff, like placyhelminthes, those craaaazy Lochotrophozoans that have a blind gut, or Cnidarians or Ctenephores or Zygomycetes or Dinoflagellates, or everyone's favorite Ciliate, the PARAMECIUM, baby!
     
  14. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #14
    in all of the Earth's history or the human history?

    I'd like to see where you got the data on this that says its colder now than ever before.

    I found some interesting stuff

    http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap15/global_temp.html

    looks like it was even lower back in the 1800s.

    And during glaciation, it was even colder but at times the poles have melted when it was even warmer.

    Great little animation here

    http://www.scotese.com/paleocli.htm

    D
     
  15. Stelliform thread starter macrumors 68000

    Stelliform

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    Oct 21, 2002
    #15
    Yeah, did you guys read the recent report about why the stratavarious (sp?) violins sound so good? Because the trees that they were made from grew during a mini-iceage.

    The wood density was much higher than average wood.

    They said that the low temps lasted 70yrs.

    I found this quote interesting...

    So we warded off an ice-age maybe...
     
  16. macMaestro macrumors regular

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    Sep 14, 2003
    #16
    I think you're refering to 'The Day After'.

    It's directed by the guy who did Independence Day.
     
  17. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #17
    Those were very interesting links...Their time scales, however, weren't as large as the one that I'm thinking about. My Evolution textbook has a graph charting out approximate temperatures over Earth's history, and while we are not in the coldest time, the current temperature ranks among the colder that Earth has experienced. I wish I had brought the book home from school so I could scan the picture in, but I left back in my dorm room.

    I don't disagree at all that over the short term (last few hundred years) the Earth's temperature has increased at an alarming rate. However, I was just pointing out that the Earth is, relatively speaking, still pretty cool. Perhaps the Earth is still pretty close to the ice caps melting anyway, I'm just not sure.

    Whatever it is, I don't doubt that the human race has been quite ecologically damaging. That's what they said about the cyanobacteria, too, but somehow I doubt that our actions are really comparable.
     

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