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Planet going back to dinosaur era


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#1    Shuriken

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:41 AM

Scientist: Planet going back to dinosaur era

NORWICH, England (Reuters) -- Global warming over the coming century could mean a return of temperatures last seen in the age of the dinosaur and lead to the extinction of up to half of all species, a scientist said on Thursday.

Not only will carbon dioxide levels be at the highest levels for 24 million years, but global average temperatures will be higher than for up to 10 million years, said Chris Thomas of the University of York.

Between 10 and 99 percent of species will be faced with atmospheric conditions that last existed before they evolved, and as a result from 10-50 percent of them could disappear.

"We may very well already be on the breaking edge of a wave of mass extinctions," Thomas told the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Scientists predict average global temperatures will rise by between two and six degrees centigrade by 2100, mainly as a result of the heat-trapping carbon dioxide being pumped into the air from burning fossil fuels for transport and power.

"If the most extreme warming predicted takes place we will be going back to global temperatures not seen since the age of the dinosaur," Thomas said.

"We are starting to put these things into a historical perspective. These are conditions not seen for millions of years, so none of the species will have been subjected to them before," he added.

Thomas said scientific observations had already found that -- as predicted by the climate models -- 80 percent of species had already begun moving their traditional territorial ranges in response to the changing climatic conditions.

"That is an amazingly high correlation. It is a clear signature of climate change," he said.

Not only had the animals, birds and insects started to react, but there was evidence vegetation was also on the move.

For example, climate-triggered fungal pathogen outbreaks had already led to the extinction of more than one percent of the planet's amphibian species, Thomas said.

Not only would some species simply find no suitable space to live anymore, but there would be confrontations with invasive species being forced to move their territory. This would produce not just wipe-outs but species' mixtures never seen before.

And the changes would all happen at a faster rate than ever before in evolution.

"In geological terms 100 years is effectively instantaneous," Thomas noted.

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#2    MadMachine

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 08:44 AM

Scary and sad. If us humans can't find a way to fix the damage we've caused, or at least stop from doing any more damage, we'd better be able to adapt. I love human beings, even the stupid ones. I'd hate to see our species just "End."

ERODE

#3    Twitch98

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 05:38 PM

By 2100 we'll all be dead so who cares?

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#4    Bella-Angelique

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 05:44 PM

Desires of nations who wish to be free of oil tyranny will make the change.

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#5    Never_Hit_Nirvana

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 06:00 PM

rolleyes.gif People are so much easier to control when they are scared out of their wits.

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#6    MadMachine

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 06:17 PM

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rolleyes.gif People are so much easier to control when they are scared out of their wits.

I guess that may be true. Many people who are scared about this aren't "out of their wits" though.

ERODE

#7    Never_Hit_Nirvana

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 06:28 PM

Quote


I guess that may be true. Many people who are scared about this aren't "out of their wits" though.

We could argue that for days.
But let me put it this way: terrorism, global warming, World War III, the Second Coming, secondhand smoke, cancer, asteroids crashing into the earth, the fifth extinction...
The beat goes on. Most of the news in sensationalized and hyped to the point where it attempts to play on the viewer's/reader's fears to boost ratings.
Sad to see scientists getting into the act just to pump their own name. rolleyes.gif
Personally, I don't let the fear in. If the earth changes we will adapt. We are the smartest creatures to ever walk on this planet. We are not giant reptiles; we can change our own fate. There is no reason to be whaling on the "Panic!!!" button.

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#8    Startraveler

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 06:44 PM

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Sad to see scientists getting into the act just to pump their own name. rolleyes.gif


That's a cynical way to view the sharing of research.



#9    Never_Hit_Nirvana

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:49 PM

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That's a cynical way to view the sharing of research.

There's sharing of research then there is trying to scare the crap out of people. Of course, the media may to be blame in this instance, but there are "scientists" out there with matching political agendas that spread junk like this just to scare others to their side.

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#10    frogfish

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 10:29 PM

I think this is a little overexaggurated....100 years? No way.

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#11    Startraveler

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 11:13 PM

The problem is that things can change in a very nonlinear way; a litte push this way and something else pops up to push even faster.

Nature:

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Melting lakes in Siberia emit greenhouse gas
Methane from thawing permafrost could increase global warming.

Lakes in the permafrost zone of northern Siberia are belching out much more of the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere than previously thought. In coming decades this could become a more significant factor in global climate change.

The Siberian lakes, which are formed in melting permafrost as temperatures rise, have long been known to emit methane a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. But it has been hard to quantify just how much methane was being released. Rather than being emitted in a constant stream, 95% of the methane comes from random bubbling in disperse locations.

To get around this problem, an international group of researchers, led by Katey Walter of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, pinpointed methane bubble zones by walking over two frozen lakes near the Northeast Science Station in Cherskii, finding spots where gas could be seen trapped in pockets under the ice. In some spots the bubbling was so fierce that the warm gas melted the frozen surface.

The team then returned in spring and set up 1-metre-wide, umbrella-shaped traps to capture and measure the gas: 25 traps were placed in random locations, with 16 more over point sources identified in the winter. The team also made ground surveys of 35 other lakes, and took aerial photographs of some 60 lakes in northern Siberia, to ensure that the two studied in depth weren't unusual.

Their results, when extrapolated, show that northern Siberia currently emits 3.8 million tonnes of methane this way each year up to five times higher than previous estimates. The results, reported in Nature1, suggest that the total release of methane from wetlands in the Northern Hemisphere may be between 10% and 63% higher than previously thought.

Thaw point

This is just a small portion of the total amount of methane released to the atmosphere: some 410 million to 660 million tonnes are thought to be pumped out by industry and natural sources each year. But the contribution from thawing lakes could increase.

Rising temperatures have increased the area of thawing lake in northern Siberia by 14.7% from 1974 to 2000. Walter's team estimates this would have bumped up methane release by 58%.

The Siberian permafrost region has the potential to release billions of tonnes of methane, says Walter. "It is a ticking time bomb," she says.

Walter notes that the Siberian permafrost region is probably a far more potent source of methane than the permafrost zones of North America and Western Europe. Before the previous ice age, northern Siberia was a verdant grassland with abundant wildlife, which was frozen into a huge reservoir of carbon during the Pleistocene, some 40,000 years ago. When this ancient organic matter thaws, it is attacked by methane-producing bacteria.

But a warming world does not necessarily mean more methane from these lakes, notes Gerhard Krinner, a climatologist at the CNRS Laboratory of Glaciology and Geophysics of the Environment near Grenoble, France. Previous work has suggested that rising temperatures will eventually decrease the lake area in permafrost regions, as the ground beneath pools of water thaws completely and allows the water to drain away.

But it will be a long time, says Walter, before areas with continuous permafrost thaw enough to allow that to happen; in the meantime, she cautions, we're in for a large increase in greenhouse gas.



#12    Roj47

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 09:18 AM

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By 2100 we'll all be dead so who cares?



Quote


I think this is a little overexaggurated....100 years? No way.


I think Twitch98 means that the readers of this topic will not be around in 100 years...

I suppose I would be pushing it at 131 original.gif

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#13    Uversa

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 10:26 AM

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By 2100 we'll all be dead so who cares?



Unfortunately your sad and moronic view is shared by most of humanity, and that is why we have hurt this earth so drastically without much care.


#14    robbieb

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 12:43 PM

ths problem with that is the fact that in the dino era oxygen levels were like twice what they are today too. part of the reason we couldnt live then and they couldnt live now so earth isnt going back to the dino era unless oxygen increases too and that wont happen until plants and algaes and the like increase greatly too. (btw algae gives us more oxyge n then plants do the vast majority of oxygen on earth is produced by algae)





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