Run Away! The “Anthropocene” is coming!!!

Guest Post by David Middleton

I just love it when the authors of these sorts of articles start out with a series of mistakes…

The Anthropocene: Can Humans Survive A Human Age?

by Adam Frank

About 12,000 years ago (give or take a thousand) the glaciers covering much of the northern hemisphere disappeared and an ice age gripping the Earth ended. The planet became warmer, wetter and entered the geological era scientists call the Holocene. Marked by a stable climate, the Holocene has been good to humans. The entire history of our civilization (agriculture, city building, writing etc.) is bound within the Holocene and its bounty of productive land and oceans.

Now, it appears, the Holocene is over…

[…]

NPR

The author, an astrophysicist, must have never taken a course in Quaternary geology.

Mistake #1: “About 12,000 years ago (give or take a thousand) the glaciers covering much of the northern hemisphere disappeared and an ice age gripping the Earth ended.”

The glaciers retreated; but we are still very much in the grip of an ice age that began about 35 million years ago (the x-axes of first four graphs are denominated in millions of years ago (MYA) – Today is to the left)…

The boundary between the Eocene and Oligocene marks the beginning of the Cenozoic ice age. It’s the fourth major ice age of the Phanerozoic Eon…

The Holocene is an interglacial period within an ice age. The only thing that distinguishes the Holocene from previous Pleistocene interglacial episodes is the fact that modern man migrated out of Africa and hunted the megafauna of Europe and North America into extinction…

Yes… I know that there’s not much evidence that our ancestors were capable of causing so much extinction prior to the invention of capitalism – But those megafauna had coped with all of the previous glacial-interglacial cycles just fine, so long as our ancestors stayed in Africa.

At this point in time there is no reason to assume that the Holocene marked the end of the Cenozoic ice age… There’s not even any reason to think that it marked the end of very cold Quaternary Period…

Mistake #2: “Marked by a stable climate, the Holocene has been good to humans.”

The Holocene has been a heck of a lot more stable than the preceding Pleistocene glacial episode (the x-axes of next three graphs are denominated in calendar years – Today is to the right)…

But it has been far from stable…

And it hasn’t always been nice to humans…

The Holocene of the Dark Ages Cold Period and Little Ice Age were quite often very unkind to humans.

Will there one day be a clear geological distinction between the “Anthropocene” and the Holocene and the rest of the Quaternary? I seriously doubt it – But no one will know for hundreds of thousands of years.

Professor Frank started out with a paragraph-full of mistakes; which then formed the basis of his sheer speculation about the Anthropocene’s future relevance in the geologic record.

H/T to Bill Illis for much of the paleoclimate data.

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101 thoughts on “Run Away! The “Anthropocene” is coming!!!

  1. Well this is definitely the new panic meme. I first ran into the concept a couple of months ago. It occurred to me the alternative was interesting. And prayed for by the authors. In that Kevorkian is finally dead, perhaps they can do all of us the favor without assistance.

  2. Hi David,
    Being completely igneous about geology, I couldn’t resist leaving my stoopid question of the day. From another source, I’d read that the current Ice Age–punctuated with relatively brief interglacials–started around 5 million years ago. Now you’re saying 35 million. Which is it?

    Or is it both? Did the already-existing Ice Age get a lot bigger, badder, and hairier around 5 million years ago, when the two Americas linked up.

  3. There is scant evidence that modern man migrated out of Africa. The best we can say is that a number of hominid species evolved in Africa and eventually populated much of Eurasia prior to the evolution of Homo sapiens. That is it. We don’t know where or when modern man originated or from which precursor species it arose, although there are some good candidates, like “Homo erectus”

    There is just WAY too much speculation and supposition passed as fact in this field as well as in climate “science”.

  4. Thanks! But are you sure the last graph is a correct one?
    I thought that the MWP was much warmer than now.

  5. I respectfully suggest that the difference between the Anthropocene and the Holocene is that the latter is a recognisable geological period based on empirical data whereas the former is a political construct devised as a means to a political end.

    PS. Thanks for the larger print.

  6. RE: http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k247/dhm1353/Neogene-1.png

    AGW as a theory needs to explain the paradox of scale. When zoomed in to the last couple of hundred years, linear projections predict future continued warming. However, when zoomed out to millions of years, linear projections predict future continued cooling, which cooling has been happening since about 7 million years ago.

    When looking at the cooling over the past 7 million years, it appears that something happened between about 2 million and 1 million years ago, judging from the large increase of variance in temperature anomalies with respect to the variance before then. It is as if the climate of the earth had been rung like a giant bell. What happened between 1 and 2 million years ago that might be associated with this change? I would submit that the formation of the isthmus of Panama may be responsible. Before formation of the isthmus of Panama, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans were connected near the equator. After the formation of the isthmus, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans are only connected at relatively high latitudes. It follows that global ocean circulation would have changed dramatically with the formation of the isthmus of Panama and that this large change in ocean circulation may in turn have influenced global climate patterns.

  7. He talks about how the Holocene has allowed humans to thrive. Why could be not call this a human age if it was so good to us?

  8. At some point the ice will reclaim the space most of us currently inhabit – it will happen whether we like it or not. Many of us will die. That time may not be too far into the future. Until then I guess we inbetweeners might as well make the best of it and that doesn’t include being dictated to by CAGW liars… Bring on the dancing girls!

  9. Hopefully there will be an anthropocene. Otherwise the planet will soon (any millenium now) be dropping into another 100,000 year glacial period. So long as we don’t get derailed by warming hysteria, we ought to be able to geo-engineer a way to forstall this looming tragedy. Problem is, the eco-lunatics are already succeeding in collapsing our economy. Still, there is this report from 2030.

  10. David,

    I have some massive problems with the Ljungqvist paper.

    When you dig into the text you’ll see a host of caveats concering the proxies
    used to covered and reconstruct the MWP and the LIA temperatures.

    When you get to the citations roughly every third one has a “Team” member
    leasing the work, or is listed as a coauthor.

    The text indicates that the HadCRUT3 is actually part of the database that’s
    been “revised” by Phil Jones, et al., but not acknowledged as having been
    “adjusted”.

    Splicing what’s called the “modern” instrumental temperature record onto
    the reconstructed proxy temperature interpretations is a questionable
    statistical technique.

    Finally, every third citation in Ljungqvist (2010) involves a well recognized
    member of the “Team”. These citations involve unmentioned database
    issues. They are relied upon for comparisons of proxy interpretations and
    trends.

    See:

    http://agbjarn.blog.is/users/fa/agbjarn/fines/ljungqvist-temp-reconstruction-2000-years.pdf

  11. So many megafauna,so few people,so many thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of square miles to cover hunting on foot with stone age spears.. think again.

  12. “….In response, it will be through intelligence that we will engineer our way through the Anthropocene to a planet that can handle our ever-growing numbers…..”
    Population projections show a peak of about 8 – 9 billion, but only if the CAGW hysteria does not stop the natural and otherwise inevitable rapid economic development worldwide which invariably brings with it a great reduction in fertility rates.

    “….Since the Anthropocene appears to mark a sixth great extinction, one has to wonder what it will take for us to make it out of own era with civilization intact….”
    Extinction rates have been greatly exaggerated: ‘a new method for calculating the extinction rates of animals produces numbers 83-165 percent lower than using the old habitat loss models” and ‘a third of all mammal species declared extinct in the past few centuries have turned up alive and well’.

    http://e360.yale.edu/digest/extinction_rates_exaggerated_according_to_controversial_new_study_/2952/

    http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/circular-reasoning-and-species-extinction

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1315964/One-extinct-animals-turn-again.html

  13. Forgive me if I’m wrong, I’m no scientist but, aiui, ….

    Man migrated out of Africa 50,000 years ago – well before the Holocene.
    Also if man devoured all the european megafauna, why didn’t he devour all the African megafauna – that would’ve involved less walking.

  14. Will there one day be a clear geological distinction between the “Anthropocene” and the Holocene and the rest of the Quaternary? I seriously doubt it – But no one will know for hundreds of thousands of years.

    Is the human race eternal? Will there be anyone around in n×10E5 years to make the distinction?

    But thanks for pointing out a myth writer.

  15. It’s fairly routine for people to refer to the recent glacial advances as ice ages. Calling someone on that is sort of nit-picky.

    There’s lots of evidence that modern humans left Africa 50-100 thousand years ago. They co-existed with Neanderthals in Europe up to the latter’s extinction ~30,000 years ago. Aboriginal Aussies were there (in Australia) perhaps as much as 60,000 yrs ago. Modern humans were settled in China 50,000 yrs ago. Humans migrated to North America across the ice bridge at what is now the Bering Straight and probably made it to Central and South America as much as 45,000 yrs ago.

  16. I’ve been introducing the Anthropocene concept for the last few years in my “Astrophysics of Planets” course. It such a deep perspective-shift…

    More like a perspective shrinkage: just self centered. Emotional virginity.

    The first point to absorb is that there are no politics in the designation. It is neither a value judgment nor a critique.

    This article continues with a series of mistakes.

    …ever-growing numbers.

    And pointless speculations.

  17. Humanity is merely a pin-prick on the surface of our planet. We are outweighed by the mass of the biosphere by many orders of magnitude and are outweighed even by the humble bacteria.

    Time the ego-nuts developed a sense of perspective about are true place in the order of things!

  18. Does this mean we have left behind the Ecocene?

    That terrible period when those rapacious, resource gobbling Plants stripped the atmosphere of an essential fuel, CO2, and with NOT A THOUGHT…… NOT A THOUGHT I tell you, for recycling, these incredibly reckless little devils simply buried it under the ground.

    Only a few PPM from starvation, they passed “Peak CO2″ ages ago.

    I bet at the banner waving, Eco protests of the plant world, they are cheering and praying for the Anthropocene.

  19. @sleepalot: LOL yes, and even now with modern rifles and vastly higher numbers man has STILL not managed to devour the African megafauna… so what on earth was wrong with these pathetic European and North American megafauna? No survival fitness? Or was the devourer not the same african man who migrated north? Strange how common sense logic gets in the way of science… (sarc or not? Who knows?)

  20. NO I strongly disagree….I know about all the stuff you have just posted. And I have NO DOUBT that “The author, an astrophysicist” knows this stuff too.

    However I also have used the same words. i.e interglacial, ice age, etc. in talks that I have given. It is a form of ‘excepted wisdom’ that the public ‘know about’ and can relate to.

    Telling them that we ‘still in an ice age’ means little to them. The Holocene ending in an Ice age (at some point) IS TRUE enough.

    I agree with Peter George ( June 25, 2011 at 1:47 am ) who says

    “It’s fairly routine for people to refer to the recent glacial advances as ice ages. Calling someone on that is sort of nit-picky”

  21. Phil says:
    June 25, 2011 at 12:10 am

    “AGW as a theory needs to explain the paradox of scale. When zoomed in to the last couple of hundred years, linear projections predict future continued warming. However, when zoomed out to millions of years, linear projections predict future continued cooling, which cooling has been happening since about 7 million years ago.”

    Mainstream science understands the “paradox” of scale perfectly well. While being aware of what happened over millions of years, we are also aware that over the scale of tens of thousands of years, the scale of human civilisation, climate has been relatively stable. We are then aware that over the scale of hundreds of years, CO2 has gone up 40%, relative to the fairly stable level of the previous few thousand years, and that temperatures have risen in line with that, accepting that there are wiggles due to other factors.

    We zoom in on thousands of years and see stability (yes, really). We then zoom in further on hundreds of years and see an uprecedented rate of change. It is the rate of change more than the absolute level which is problematic. And it is the scale of hundreds of years that matters to us, our children and our children’s children.

    No links, Google is your friend :-)

  22. An ice age is what we are in. Ice ages comprise glacials and interglacials. We are currently in an interglacial. There’s nothing nit-picky about getting your terminology correct. These terms exist for the reason of accuracy and clarity.

  23. Where is it written that the current iteration of hominids is the last? Evolution marches on, driven by many factors. The warmists seem to think that evolution stops here. Our far future progeny may very well be unrecognizable to us. So what?

  24. Possibly the origin of this new terminology “Anthropocene” comes from our chief alarmist, Professor Will Steffen, of the Australian National University (A.N.U.) in Canberra. Professor Steffen has been an author on two IPCC reports and an expert reviewer on two of these reports. He is a scientific adviser to the Australian Department of Climate Change and Environment.
    Here is a a link to one of the conferences – Stockhlm University 2007, “Surviving the Anthropocene” – there are many others listed on Google.

    http://tinyurl.com/67bwllv

    Unless your into self punishment, I would suggest that you don’t watch the 1hr 2min video

  25. Curiousgeorge says:
    June 25, 2011 at 4:29 am

    Where is it written that the current iteration of hominids is the last? Evolution marches on, driven by many factors. The warmists seem to think that evolution stops here. Our far future progeny may very well be unrecognizable to us. So what?

    I care more about my children and grandchildren than “far future progeny”. Back to that “paradox” of scale again!

  26. The Anthropocene: Can Humans Survive A Human Age?

    My guess is that, by definition, the Human Age ends when the last human dies. So the answer is … NO.

  27. the glaciers covering much of the northern hemisphere disappeared

    a) How much of the NH? In New England, Cape Cod and the nearby islands are terminal moraines that mark the southern extent of the glaciers here. That’s about latitude 40N. Oh wow – if the area of the NH is 1 (unit terran hemisphere!), then the surface area of a band from the equator to a latitude is just the sine of the latitude. I never knew that. So, if glaciers covered everything down to 40°N, then the uncovered area is sin(40) = 0.64. So glaciers only covered about a third of the NH. Perhaps that qualifies as “much,” at least if you want to be alarming so you get attention.

    b) They haven’t all disappeared!

  28. And we are finding out more and more that so called pristine paradise jungles like the Amazon are in fact…anthropogenic. They didn’t exist before man settled on the land and enriched the soil. So how do we get eggheads claiming man is destroying the Amazon???

  29. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Prof. Adam Frank and the whole gang of propagandists and proselytizers at NPR have been in the midst of a concerted campaign of missionary sales ( at the expense of science ) during the past several months. Some of us have attempted to respond with fact only to be shouted down with a barrage of insults and John Cook-Gavin-Romm Kool-Aid “science.” It’s a bit difficult to be heard and frustrating when one side controls the megaphones and the microphones.

    If anyone cares to join the discussions:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2011/06/21/137317694/the-anthropocene-can-humans-survive-a-human-age

    http://www.npr.org/2011/06/21/137309964/climate-change-public-skeptical-scientists-sure

  30. The reference to humans hunting megafauna to extintion is not only unproven and unnecessesary, but gives sympathy to the left narrative that humans are responsible for everything. After-all, a lot of african megafauna survived, even though that’s where men originated.

  31. ******
    Phil says:
    June 25, 2011 at 12:10 am

    I would submit that the formation of the isthmus of Panama may be responsible. Before formation of the isthmus of Panama, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans were connected near the equator.
    ******

    Perhaps, but IIRC, the climate was “stable” & remained warm for about a million yrs after the isthmus closed. That’s a long time — far longer than any cycle, like ocean bottom-water flow. Also, the isthmus, even before closing, caused the water to become very shallow there & deep-water currents there were shut off for some time.

    I don’t know for sure, of course, but I apply some skepticism to the closing isthmus causing the current ice-age.

  32. Geologists in particular seem to be most skeptical of AGW and it’s hard to ignore them when they show up with 25 million years of data. Thanks “evil” David Middleton.
    I had never put it together that interglacial meant we are within a current ice age. Now it seems so obvious.

  33. Given the way climate scientists line up for public money, I dare say we’re in the anthroporcine epoch.

  34. All part of the propaganda. By giving it a name you legitimise it.

    If we are going to call it the anthropocene pehaps we should also have the mammothocene and the dinosaurocene.

  35. GabrielHBay says:
    June 25, 2011 at 2:10 am

    @sleepalot: LOL yes, and even now with modern rifles and vastly higher numbers man has STILL not managed to devour the African megafauna… so what on earth was wrong with these pathetic European and North American megafauna? No survival fitness? Or was the devourer not the same african man who migrated north? Strange how common sense logic gets in the way of science… (sarc or not? Who knows?)

    My visit to Africa gave me the answer to the question above… DISEASE kept the Europeans at bay. Good old malaria and sleeping sickness. Without it, Africa would be ploughed up and fenced like the USA west. If Africans ever get the go ahead to blast the insects with DDT, the result will be the wild grasslands to be populated and the wild herds areas will dissapear. I keep voting for the staus quo, but it will be a miracle for the wild areas to survive the population explosions of the Massai etc.

  36. Didn’t many species of large animals in North America go extinct about the time humans migrated into North America? Wasn’t that many thousands of years ago?

    Now tell me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that had nothing to do with CO2.

    How about whales, bears, wolves, eagles, etc., etc., Aren’t animal populations largely stable or increasing in areas where they are no longer being hunted? How about in cities? Aren’t animal populations also increasing in cities where they are no longer being hunted or otherwise removed?

    Isn’t human caused extinction now mostly a result of land use? Over the past 150 years human land use has gone from 4% of the surface of the earth to 40%, mostly for agriculture. Surely that is the dominant factor. As land is converted to agriculture, it is no longer available to many of the native species, leading to their extinction.

    CO2 is also increasing, leading to the mistaken conclusion that CO2 is driving extinction, when in reality it is land use.

  37. Looking at CO2 vs Temperature above, it is apparent that two major ices ages, 170 and 450 million years ago, took place during times of high CO2. The two other ice ages, took place during times of low CO2.

    This would suggest very strongly that CO2 is not a long term driver of temperature. Looking at the rest of the graph there appears to be no significant correlation between CO2 and temperature over the past 600 million years. Temperature and CO2 have gone up and down independent of each other.

    This graph would suggest that there is no long term CO2 GHG effect on earth. CO2 and Temperature may be related in the short term, but in the long term there is no correlation.

  38. I collected an Ordovician nautiloid in northern Saskatchewan- a gastropod with a long straight tapered shell with a screw-like interior chambering developed as it grew, the living portion (at the time!) occupying the last forward chamber.

    http://bing.search.sympatico.ca/?q=Ordovician%20fossils%20gastropod%20nautilus&mkt=en-ca&setLang=en-CA

    It is over one foot long, is about 440 million years old and lived in a sea covering much of the area that became North America – CO2 in the atmos was about 5000ppmv and this fed a global deposition of limestones. The seas were teeming with life (whatever the acidity level was). Sea levels were:

    “… high during the Ordovician period, ranging from 180 meters (590 feet) above modern sea level at the beginning to a peak in the late Ordovician of 220m (722ft) and then falling rapidly near the end of the period to 140m (459ft) (Huq 2008). Coincident with the drop in sea level was drop in the global mean temperature of nearly 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit).

    During the Ordovician, the southern continents were collected into a single continent called Gondwana. Gondwana started the period in equatorial latitudes and, as the period progressed, drifted toward the South Pole. As with North America and Europe, Gondwana was largely covered with shallow seas during the Ordovician. Shallow clear waters over continental shelves encouraged the growth of organisms that deposit calcium carbonates in their shells and hard parts. Panthalassic Ocean covered much of the northern hemisphere, …”

    http://bing.search.sympatico.ca/?q=ordovician%20seas%20north%20america&mkt=en-ca&setLang=en-CA

    (scroll down a short way to “Ordovician Paleogeography”)

    So much for unprecedented, settled science, robust models, and irreversible tipping points.

  39. “It’s a bit difficult to be heard and frustrating when one side controls the megaphones and the microphones”

    My 80 year old Mom was convinced that AGW was real. She saw the dead polar bears and was sold. Then she learned of the financial connections between the politicians and scientists promoting AGW and she smelled a rat.

    People don’t always understand the science – even the scientists can’t agree. What they do understand is human greed and the willingness of people to believe and say whatever is in their best interests, regardless of the facts.

    Consider the recent sea-level study. The area in question, the barrier islands have some of the most expensive properties in the country. The owners are among the richest and most influential people on the planet.

    Look at the benefits of the study. Suddenly the erosion problems on the barrier islands are not natural. They are the result of human activity. This provides ammunition to petition the government to pay the cost of erosion control.

    Instead of the very wealthy land owners paying the cost of preserving their houses built on shifting sands, the argument can be made that the taxpayer should pay the cost. After all, you can’t become wealthy paying for things out of your own pocket.

    In return it would not be unusual for these same land owners to make generous donations to the universities involved in gratitude for their fine work. The first rule of journalism. Don’t concern yourself with the facts, write what sells. The same applies for science.

    If you are going to write a scientific study it makes much more sense to write a study that serves the interests of the well connected than it is to write a study that serves the interests of the poor. It doesn’t matter if the science is right or wrong – no one can prove this – it is simply a difference of opinion between experts. What matters is who stands to gain.

  40. Sleepalot says:
    June 25, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, I’m no scientist but, aiui, ….

    Man migrated out of Africa 50,000 years ago – well before the Holocene.

    Also if man devoured all the european megafauna, why didn’t he devour all the African megafauna – that would’ve involved less walking.

    Quite right to question the orthodoxy, To blame early humans for killing off not just one species of mega fauna but dozens is far fetched to say the least. The industrial sustained slaughter of millions of animals over a period of time would have left traces that nobody has yet found, the human population levels and clan sizes needed to sustain mass killings is not supported by the archaeological evidence. Even hunter gatherers leave traces, they trod well known hunting circuits, the same patterns for tens of thousands of years leaving middens and traces of fires. There is no firm evidence of mass slaughter and butchery locations, it takes a hell of a lot of energy to bring down and dismantle one giant animal, a small tribe of hunter gatherers would be hard pressed to bring down a giant elk let alone consume the animal.

    There is too much of the story missing and too much is being inferred or guessed at, the experts have only the scantiest actual firm evidence and the huge gaps are filled with extrapolation and guess work. Take numbers, the giant elk lived in huge herds and their ranges were huge, small clans of humans could follow the herds and take sick and elderly with relative ease along migration routes competing with the wolf packs. In fact the early humans would have mimicked the wolf pack behaviour but to suggest that small isolated clans of lets say 30-40 individuals of which only 10 max would be prime male fit hunters could wipe out entire herds is far fetched. There is no evidence to suggest a gathering of clans for a hunting season, no evidence of over sized clans using advanced industrial and highly advanced mass slaughter techniques until way past the end of the extinction event an into the bronze age. The number of humans needed to sustain a mass slaughter is simply not supported by the evidence.

  41. Curiousgeorge says, June 25, 2011 at 4:29 am:
    Where is it written that the current iteration of hominids is the last? Evolution marches on, driven by many factors. The warmists seem to think that evolution stops here. Our far future progeny may very well be unrecognizable to us. So what?
    (My emphasis)

    Worse – they seem to think that this, the present, is the perfect end-state of evolution, which should therefore be made to stop right now. Even the minutest perceived change is seen as detrimental.

    They look at ‘deviations’ in years, decades or even centennia – mere seconds in geological time.
    Like hypochondriacs, they stare at the slightest change and become thoroughly alarmed.
    Sadly, they don’t run to see their doctors – they have set up the IPCC instead …

  42. “Sleepalot says:
    June 25, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Isn’t it the grasses that dominate the planet?”

    Nope. Bacteria

  43. ferd berple says @ June 25, 2011 at 7:32 am ”
    Looking at CO2 vs Temperature above, it is apparent that two major ices ages, 170 and 450 million years ago, took place during times of high CO2. The two other ice ages, took place during times of low CO2.”

    Sigh, here we go again.

    Ferd – are you claiming at only CO2 regulates climate? Are all forces from 170 and 450 million years ago identical now except for CO2?

  44. Gary Pearse says @ June 25, 2011 at 7:41 am “I collected an Ordovician nautiloid in northern Saskatchewan.”

    So….you are claiming to refute all the evidence from modern climate science on the basis of one single item you collected? Or are you saying that since there was ocean life back then that nothing we do today can impact the biology of the ocean?

    Neither of those assertions hold up at even a glancing review…

  45. Middleton gets a few things wrong. One is that he uses the term Cenozoic ice age, which is nonsense, because the Cenozoic Era covers the post-asteroid period of the last 65 million years, most of which did not have ice ages. Only the latter part has ice ages interspersed with warm periods, the current warm period being the Holocene. I don’t think the article claimed that the Anthropocene marks the end of the Cenozoic Era, only the Holocene epoch and probably the Quaternary Period that is marked by the ice ages and interglacials. By its name Anthropocene is only an epoch, not even a period. If the Quaternary ends, as some believe ice ages won’t happen in a high-CO2 world, it will be the Quinary Period. Interestingly, Hansen in 1981 referred to the temperature by 2100 as Mesozoic (being the era before Cenozoic that last had elevated CO2 levels comparable with where we are going), but it may be premature to suggest the Era is ending, because that is only defined by mass extinctions. What comes after Cenozoic, anyway?

  46. John B says:
    June 25, 2011 at 3:27 am

    “We zoom in on thousands of years and see stability (yes, really). We then zoom in further on hundreds of years and see an unprecedented rate of change. It is the rate of change more than the absolute level which is problematic. And it is the scale of hundreds of years that matters to us, our children and our children’s children.”

    Saying that it is “unprecedented” does not make it scientific fact. Compare the 40 year HADCRUT3 trends from 1900 to 1940 and 1970 to 2010. The trends are almost identical yet the atmospheric CO2 concentration during the earlier interval has been deemed by warmists to produce the ideal climate. So let’s just stick to the facts and eschew the weeping, wailing and evocation of the children.

  47. Sorry Robert, I didn’t mean to weep or wail, just pointing out that it is the scale of hundreds of years that matters, not millions.

    “Unprecedented” is a scientific claim, as long as it is qualified. I take it you are referring to HADCRUT as here:

    Looks unprecedented to me! That the early part of the century is as unprecedented as the later half depends on the dates you choose and is affected by short term variation. AGW predicts that warming will continue and the trends will be the highest for thousands of years. We shall see…

  48. It’s becoming more clear as time passes, that Adam Frank is becoming increasingly seperated from reality as it stands.

    Nearly a year ago (July 12, 2010) on Frank’s well read NPR blog post, titled: “Climategate Closed: Lessons At The Edge Of Science, Politics and the Future” (http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2010/07/12/128465098/climategate-closed-lessons-at-the-edge-science-politics-and-the-future) Frank made a number of very absurd and wholly skewed comments regarding the climate science and the “ClimateGate” issue.

    When challenged by knowledgable people, Frank eventually attempted to (momentarily) retreat behind this enormously absurd and disingenuous statement: “Personally I am not wedded to climate change being true. Time will tell and I try watch and evaluate from the sidelines as best I can.” among others.

    Now, after reading this latest nonsense coming from Mr Frank, one must ask, why is this fully politicisized ~scientist~ still being allowed to feed so well at the public trough? To be allowed to teach anyone at all? And, being allowed to misrepresent facts so completely, on a publicly funded blog?

    To answer my own questions, it’s because, not despite of Mr Frank’s political interests, support, and affiliations. And I’m confident that if those things fell on the opposite side of the political fence, he would be expelled, belittled, and even have his super secret climate decoder ring taken away, to be given to another.

  49. On the use of Ljunqvist, 2010: it captures the pre-MWP better than Moberg et al., 2005 and as well as Mann, 2008 (without the 20th century distraction of Mike’s Nature Trick).

    On the notion that our ancestors hunting megafauna into extinction: My commentary is at least half tongue-in-cheek… But the major difference between the Sangamonian (Eemian) and the Holocene is modern man.

    Jim D: I did not say that the entire Cenozoic was an “ice age”… Only the most recent 35 million years fits the geological definition of “ice age.”

    The Holocene already was the Anthropocene long before the word was invented by New Age “science.”
    NSIDC’s narrative is contradicted by the NOAA data. It’s not uncommon for the data to contradict the narrative. IPSO is a clear example of this phenomenon.

  50. We’ve moved from the holocene to the politicicene to the algoricene to the charlatanocene and are now in the scientificallyobscene. Next – the dejourocene – One epoch that places a political wrapper around all contingencies where no matter what happens it will require leftist oversight.

  51. 15,000 years ago the entire world’s population was less than 5 million individuals (about half the population of New York City).

    With such a small human footprint upon an incredibly vast land mass, it is difficult for me to imagine how man was responsible for the mass extinctions as suggested. It makes better sense to me that the climate shift at the transition to the Holocene advantaged a host of species while disadvantaging others. Mass extinctions would have been a natural consequence without man’s help.

  52. David Middleton, Thanks for making that clear about the Cenozoic ice age. By your definition we are in an ice age as long as the polar ice exists, which includes today. To me, this is not a useful definition, because most people would equate ice ages to glacials, as distinct from interglacials. Also Anthropocene only becomes a useful definition if it can be distinguished from the Holocene or other interglacials in future sediment layers. I would suggest that the CO2 will do that very clearly because of what it will do to the ocean life and vegetation distribution, which should be geologically noticeable in the future, as the Anthropocene article says.

  53. John B says:
    June 25, 2011 at 11:32 am

    “Unprecedented” is a scientific claim, as long as it is qualified. I take it you are referring to HADCRUT as here:

    Looks unprecedented to me! That the early part of the century is as unprecedented as the later half depends on the dates you choose and is affected by short term variation.
    ————–

    I think you need to look up what “unprecedented” means. If it’s happened before and humans weren’t responsible, then you have a problem in claiming that something that’s happened before without human influence is unprecedented. OHHHHH, I get it. You’re saying that today’s warming is unprecedented because it’s human induced. Yeah… your circular logic isn’t impressive.

  54. The reason the megafauna survived in Africa wasthat they had lived alongside the Human Race since it first appeared and had learned to coexist. In other continents it was different. When humans appeared the megafaunas vanished.

  55. @MrX

    We were talking about “rate of change”. Mainstream science indicates that the rate of change of temperature since the industrial revolution and particularly in the late 20th century is unprecedented for at least the last 2000 years and probably much longer. No circular reasoning.

  56. John B says:

    “… the rate of change of temperature since the industrial revolution and particularly in the late 20th century is unprecedented for at least the last 2000 years and probably much longer. ”

    That is flat wrong.

  57. @Jim B,

    The geological definition of “ice age” is a period of year-round ice in at least one polar region and evidence of cyclic glaciation in lower latitudes.

    Those conditions have been in place the Oligocene; and aren’t likely to change until Antarctica drifts north of the Antarctic Circle.

  58. John B

    Mainstream science indicates that the rate of change of temperature since the industrial revolution and particularly in the late 20th century is unprecedented for at least the last 2000 years and probably much longer.

    Are you sure you didn’t mean Mannstream Science?

  59. John Middleton, I am not sure if you are a geologist, but if you are, is it your opinion that what we are doing here (e.g. ocean acidification, glacial melting, global vegetation changes) will leave a geological mark? This is the acid test for a new geological age.

  60. As a missive from the sceptical side, this post is entirely self-defeating.

    In the first place, it is indeed nitpicking (as Peter George says) to make a fuss about the use of the terminology of the last ‘ice age’ in a popular presentation when refering to the time before the Holocene interglacial . So what? It doesn’t seem to distort the debate to talk about the last period between the last two interglacials as the last Ice Age…in fact, this simple and commonly used terminology makes it easier for us to talk about expectation of the end of the current interglacial as the next period of glacial advance.

    And generally, the entire quoted paragraph contains nothing particularly missleading, especially not on the scale of the misleading ‘science communication’ to which we have become accustomed in this AGW controversy. Yet there are some really problems with Middleton’s case against it. Most alarming is the way he presents the the claim that the migration of humans out of Africa during the Holocene (and not before) caused the extinction of the megafauna. Is the science behind this claim so well established that it does not require so much as a sceptical qualification or a reference? Wow.

    There is more nitpicking over Adam Frank saying that a stable climate during the Holocene “has been good to humans.” I see no big issue here — although he might better have said ‘a warmer and relatively stable climate…’. There is no doubt that Civilisation began, and thrived, through the Holocene. In fact, the correspondence of civilisation with a warmer stable climate is almost by definition this epoch.

    But this is hardly to say that the Human species, and its Civilisation, have never suffered catastrophic climate change during this time. Middleton’s example of the Little Ice Age impact on European civilisation is dewarfed by the drying up of the Sahara and areas of the middle east and central Asia earlier in the epoch. Northern European civilisation survived the Little Ice Age and thrived, just as previously humanity survived earlier North African and Central Asian desiccation, and soon began to thrive further north — where we cropped on land that was, before the Holocene, covered by a solid layer of ice.

  61. @ David Middleton: This is a really good presentation of the data that causes us geologists to laugh at the arrogance and stupidity of folks like Mann (and several chronic posters here). There is far more to the climate of the earth than a few ppm of CO2, unless there are just too few ppm of that beneficial gas, which is sort of where we uncomfortably find ourselves today.

    As to “unprecedented” from one of the trolls – it seems we can just make up meanings for words today. Now that the key thermometers recording this “unprecedented” rise in temperature all reside on airport tarmac, there isn’t going to be much if any further rise.

  62. Moderate Republican:

    At June 25, 2011 at 9:04 am you ask Gary Pearse:

    “So….you are claiming to refute all the evidence from modern climate science on the basis of one single item you collected?”

    What “evidence from modern climate science” supporting the existence of AGW? There is no such evidence; n.b. zilch, none, not any.

    Unless and until some such evidence exists then your question cannot be answered for the same reason that it is not possible to answer the question;
    ‘What is the name of the Pope’s wife?’

    Richard

  63. OK, I understand the premise and conclusion that the paper promoting Anthropocene is fraught with many errors and misunderstandings of the context of ice ages and glacial and interglacial periods. I agree, but let’s not further muddy the waters with poor guesses, stated as fact, that humans killed off the megafuana of the day.

    This statement from the post: “The only thing that distinguishes the Holocene from previous Pleistocene interglacial episodes is the fact that modern man migrated out of Africa and hunted the megafauna of Europe and North America into extinction.” is baseless, if not incomprehensible.

    The 12,000 yr. date of the end of the (continuing ice age period of glaciation) is off too. The glacial maximus was far older than than 12 K yrs. ago. By 12K yrs. ago there had already been considerable melting of the glaciers. But an event occurred at that time that thrust us back into a period of glaciation and curiously enough, the timing of that event coincides with the extinction of northern hemisphere megafauna and the extinction of the Clovas indian culture in the US (for several hundred years).

    As other commenters on this string have pointed out, the thought that humans caused the extinction of northern hemisphere megafauna, at that time, is ridiculous. There are other theories about these extinctions that the author might want to investigate.

    Otherwise, a good post.

  64. One big impact and all of the above bets go out the window and on time scales of millions of years it is inevitable.

  65. Please indulge a follow-up comment about humans causing the demise of the megafauna of 12K yrs. ago.

    I believe the the author of this post might benefit by visiting the La Brea Tar Pits Museum in Los Angeles (located on La Brea Avenue, of course, in the middle of LA). This museum displays the skeletal remains of these animals, collected from years of excavating bones from the tar pits on the property of the museum in Los Angeles. This megafauna is huge. One might think that a Mastadon might be too dumb and slow to counter an attack of lots of humans equipped with hand spears with stone points, kind of like a cornered elephant, but what about the Saber Tooth Tiger? What about the massive Tree Sloth? Is it credible to believe that these huge creatures were decimated to extinction by man? All at the same time? What about the Camels and Horses of the time? They too were huge and numerous. How voracious do you believe our ancestors were?

    Check it out. It may open your eyes and mind. Everything on display there is extinct, and they all disappeared at the same time.

  66. beng says:
    June 25, 2011 at 5:38 am

    ******
    Phil says:
    June 25, 2011 at 12:10 am

    I would submit that the formation of the isthmus of Panama may be responsible. Before formation of the isthmus of Panama, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans were connected near the equator.
    ******

    Perhaps, but IIRC, the climate was “stable” & remained warm for about a million yrs after the isthmus closed. That’s a long time — far longer than any cycle, like ocean bottom-water flow. Also, the isthmus, even before closing, caused the water to become very shallow there & deep-water currents there were shut off for some time.

    I don’t know for sure, of course, but I apply some skepticism to the closing isthmus causing the current ice-age. (emphasis added)

    I apologize if my wording wasn’t as clear as it should be. I am not claiming that the closing isthmus caused the current ice-age nor does my perhaps less than clear wording make that claim. I am claiming that the closing isthmus looks like it may have caused an increase in the variance or, in other words, an increase in the amplitude of the oscillations about the mean or about the trend. I did not mean to imply that the closing isthmus affected or changed the mean or trend. There isn’t enough data to be able to tell in the linked graph (which is simply the one in the post above “Mistake #2..” and titled “Neogene CO2 vs Temperature.”

  67. Smokey said: “That is flat wrong.”

    On your chart, 1860-1880 is too short a period and the line you have drawn for 1910-1940 looks too steep to me. Where did you get the graph and particularly the trends attributed to Phil Jones?

    I just pulled up this chart, where the recent trend definitely looks steeper than anything before it. In your opinion, why does it look so different to yours?

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/recenttc_triad.html

  68. Check it out. It may open your eyes and mind. Everything on display there is extinct, and they all disappeared at the same time.

    Baby megafauna are not very big, smart, or fast. It is also safer to hunt them with pointy sticks then full-grown megafauna. They may have been primitive, but early settlers were smarter than the problem.

  69. John B says:
    June 25, 2011 at 3:27 am
    No links, Google is your friend :-)

    Nope, I don’t think so. Google has search alGOREithms that they fully admit to designing to give a particular sequence preference they have chosen – think China. Google is no longer on my search screen, Bing, Yahoo, Dogpile, Kosmix come before Google now.

  70. John B,

    The graph I posted came from Phil Jones’ data. You can argue with him about it. Here’s another graph that shows repeating trends: click. So your statement that “the rate of change of temperature since the industrial revolution and particularly in the late 20th century is unprecedented for at least the last 2000 years and probably much longer” is debunked like most of your other assertions.

    But I’m glad you posted that link showing deceptive graphs like this. As we can see from the first link above, the planet has been in a gradual warming trend since the LIA [beginning a couple of hundred years before CO2 began to rise]. Now, notice the zero line in the graph above. It deliberately ignores the natural warming trend since the LIA, and thus fools the brain into falsely assuming that there is a hockey stick of accelerated warming, when there isn’t. It’s a visual trick: click.

    When the temperature is correctly plotted on the rising trend line instead of a zero line, you can see that nothing unusual is occurring; temperatures are normal and natural. This is a deceptive graphing trick that is used constantly by the alarmist crowd, similar to showing a scary MLO chart instead of an honest chart with a 0 – 100% y-axis. They know what they’re doing, and it is deliberately deceptive.

  71. As far as the mega fauna are concerned. Modern humans (Homo sapien sapien) did come from Africa and competed with the Neandertals but to what extent we do not know. Some believe the Neandertal gene pool drifted North as they had a diet of mainly protein like the Inuits and adapted to colder climates. Certainly North America was joined to Siberia during the last ice age and there is evidence that large Bison existed after modern humans from Asia (Native Americans) came there around 10,000 years ago give or take a thousand years or so. There is slight evidence that the large Bison were in one instance driven over a cliff for later slaughtering and they evolved into the smaller version of today. There were many variables involved in their extinction, and we can’t say that human hunting might not have also been involved. We have adapted well, but another mini ice age or glacial will put stress on our ability to grow food or maintain animal husbandry to the extent this could cause famines in some regions. I believe that we are heading back to another cold period, that is beyond our control.

    The political interference re AGW myth is worrying. And so is the fact that governments must know this cooling period is with us now, especially those countries who are buying up land and water resources in Australia. The Southern hemisphere will not be as badly effected as the Northern hemisphere. The cliche here is ‘Humans propose – Nature deposes’. Maybe we should start worshiping the sun again, as this dictates by orbit and solar activity whether we get cold or not. LOL

  72. @Cassie King says:
    June 25, 2011 at 8:24 am

    @Policyguy says:
    June 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Good posts. Are you folks archaeologists or vertebrate paleontologists? In defense of D. Middleton, I think he was being sarcastic about megafaunal extinctions. We know humans did the dodos, moas, passenger pigeons and (nearly) the bison. There may be some others to mention that escape my remembrance now.

    Maybe, we got the giant ground sloth – big, perhaps slow, non-herd animal. But to have wiped out the wooly mammoth, wooly rhinoceros, saiga antelope, giant elk and certain daunting carnivores – some thousands of years ago – is preposterous. The known victims were either spatially restricted (moas, dodos), completely defenseless (dodos, which apparently had no mammalian predators); or else wiped out with a concerted effort using weapons far more effective than rocks, clubs, spears and maybe, arrows.

    My educated guess – speaking as a geologist and not as a biologist or other scientist – is that these were quite climate-specialized animals, and their climate left them when the glaciers receded and conditions changed (the wooly ones, for sure, habituated extremely cold, snow-covered grassy savannas, where their horns, antlers or tusks could uncover forage in the winter). In addition, as the glaciers retreated, temperatures warmed, and grasses proliferated northward, the probability of grass fires in all seasons increased. This wreaks havoc on herd animals.

    Finally, the caribou exist in substantial numbers. They are much more inviting targets than a mammoth. They are hunted (or used) today by numerous aboriginal hunters, but persist in large numbers.

  73. Mammoths were adapted to a cold climate like the woolly rino and their cousins were living like they are in Africa at the same time. By the way Jim F I have a degree major in Archaeology & Palaeoanthropology from UNE, Armidale (2004). But I have been very interested in prehistory from my year dot. One of my lecturers (a favorite by the way) was Prof Mike Morwood who with Prof Peter Brown described the Hobbit (Homo floresiensis) although the Homo label is still a contested genus. I would agree climate change had more to do with the European and American mega fauna demise or certainly contributed to it. In Australia it was the browsers that died off more than the grazers. And the dingo on the mainland only, did some damage too. When you think about it large animals like the modern elephant have long gestational periods – five years I believe. If the animals were under any environmental threat, like a drought or humans were sharing their water sources, it would NOT take long for them to die off. If you refer to Lascaux art, mega fauna were still around 32,000 years ago. During the last ice
    age. I have difficulty in understanding, with the stone technology they had available, how a
    group of either Neandertals or modern humans could take on a large mammoth, unless they
    entrapped a young one. There is evidence of an ambush in America but overall not much evidence accompanied by tools to suggest humans killed them off. Or bush or grass fires helped to separate them as a herd. One of my lecturers suggested that there were several variables involved in their demise, not just humans. And like the dinosaurs the carnivores
    died off too. Or got smaller.

  74. Smokey, I will attempt to address your main points:

    Smokey says:
    June 25, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    John B,

    Here’s another graph that shows repeating trends: click.

    We already discussed that chart. It is a cherry pick of 7 cities and Central England. Let’s stick to global, or at least hemispheric.

    But I’m glad you posted that link showing graphs like this. As we can see from the first link, the planet has been in a gradual warming trend since the LIA [beginning a couple of hundred years before CO2 began to rise]. Now, notice the zero line in the graph above. It deliberately ignores the natural warming trend since the LIA, and thus fools the brain into falsely assuming that there is a hockey stick of accelerated warming, when there isn’t. It’s a visual trick: click.

    Mainstream sience certainly does not ignore natural warming trends, see my final point. And the zero line doesn’t trick me, it’s just a zero line, which is what an anomaly is defined against. However, your linear trend really is a visual trick, because the trend over that period is not linear. See how bad a fit is at both ends.

    This is a deceptive graphing trick that is used constantly by the alarmist crowd, similar to showing a scary MLO chart instead of an honest chart with a 0 – 100% y-axis. They know what they’re doing, and it is deliberately deceptive.

    Your y-axis here is not 0-100%, it is 0-1000 ppm, quite arbitrary. Use 0-500 ppm and the data still all fits, but looks “scarier”. Use 0-10000 ppm, it looks “less scary”. So what? Whether a 40% increase in CO2 is significant is a question of physics that has nothing to do with graphs like this, scary or otherwise.

    But that is all just details. The real question was whether late 20th century trends are unprecedented. So, here is my final point:

    You have to look at the big picture. There will always be short-term noise, there will always be other factors to take into account. Mainstream science has gone to great lengths to filter out the noise and take into account the other factors, though I note that your argument is that they have not done so adequately. I looked into what the mainstream has to say on these trends (I don’t just make this stuff up myself, you know) and here it is: The period you highlight in the 19th C is just noise. It’s only 20 years, the 19th C as a whole is pretty flat. The period 1910-1940 is longer and steeper, so needs to be explained. Here is the explanation: firstly note that you have to pick the endpoints very precisely to get a 30-year trend that high. Pick any other 30-year period around there and the trend goes down. Secondly, the warming in that period is attributed to increasing solar forcing and relative lack of volcanic activity (see, we don’t ignore natural factors). On the other hand, the 30-year trend from 1970 onwards is not so sensitive to endpoints, but more importantly that trend is in a period when the net effect of other factors is slightly negative (solar output has been flat and there has been more volcanic activity). In other words, the fastest (admitted only just) rate of warming occurred when natural factors alone would have caused cooling. That is why late 20th Century warming is said to be “unprecedented”. And the science also says warming will continue. We’ll see!

    I am sure you will not agree. Shall we leave it at that, for now?

  75. I would have thought that the sarcasm in my extinction comment was obvious.
    I’ll rephrase it…

    The only thing that distinguishes the Holocene from previous Pleistocene interglacial episodes is the fact that modern man had migrated out of Africa and the extinction of the megafauna of Europe, North America, South America and much of Asia occurred.


    Yes… I know that there’s not much evidence that our ancestors were capable of causing so much extinction prior to the invention of capitalism – But those megafauna had coped with all of the previous glacial-interglacial cycles just fine, so long as our ancestors stayed in Africa, where they had peacefully coexisted for thousands of years.

    @John B,

    What Smokey said and…

    If we take the HadCRUT3 series and compare the the period from 1912-1945 to the period from 1975-2009, we find that they are statistically indistinguishable…

    20th Century

    If we cherry-pick a supposedly “carbonated cherry” out of HadCRUT3 (1976-2010 AD) and compare it to a non-carbonated cherry out of Moberg’s Medieval Warm Period reconstruction (863-897 AD), we find that they are statistically indistinguishable (a fact Keith Briffa warned the Hockey Team about in the Climategate emails)…

    HadCRUT v MWP

  76. @David,

    Moberg is indeed a cherry. Most of the many other proxy studies do not show the MWP to be as strong.

    Re. 1912-1945, we are confident that was due to solar forcing, and we are equally confident that 1970 onwards was not. Warming at that rate despite natural forcings is what is claimed to be unprecendented.

    The next few years will prove one side wrong.

  77. John B says:

    “… the zero line doesn’t trick me, it’s just a zero line, which is what an anomaly is defined against.”

    Wrong, but that’s no surprise. An anomaly is simply a deviation from the trend line. Apparently John B wants to be tricked. He cannot admit that the deliberately deceptive manipulation of those noaa graphs is being done to promote the alarmist agenda. The agencies that misrepresent reality with their devious charts are doing it to protect their job security and to garner more public funding. Is there any doubt?

    If John B admitted what is obvious to everyone else, he would be taking the first step on the road to redemption. But so much of his self worth is invested in the CAGW fraud that he can not admit that it is about money, political power and status, and he cannot admit that there is no evidence – none – supporting his mistaken belief in catastrophic AGW.

    The entire runaway global warming scam is based on always-inaccurate computer models, not on empirical evidence – which is completely non-existent. The whole thing is a massive head fake, and the true believers are acting increasingly deluded when confronted by facts that debunk their belief system. With zero evidence of global harm from CO2, their belief in CAGW is based on religious faith, not on scientific facts. Thus, John B rejects all contrary evidence in order to maintain his faith in catastrophic AGW, which the planet itself is falsifying. So, who should we believe – John B? Or Planet Earth?

  78. maybe this might be of help. This is just a lead though to other U tube recordings.

    Prof. Dr Vincent Courtillot Prasentation. (There is a .. over the a) (31 mins)

    or Prof Bob Carter ‘Is CO2 The Cause? 1 of 4 (10 mins) but more from Bob on the U Tube
    http:www.youtube/watch?v=FOLkze-9GeI

    There are lots available

    I’m off to bed, just spent hours compiling an essay to my local rep who is a member of the
    Multi party climate change commission. I don’t think he knows a cloud from a cow pat? LOL.

  79. Moderate Republican re: my collection of a large nautiloid from the Ordovician of N Saskatchewan a period when seas were up to 220 meters higher than today, temps were 10C warmer and CO2 was 5000 ppmv following which we slipped into an ice age. My obvious point is that what alarmists call unprecedeted, robust science, scary tipping points (eg. Ocean acidification at 390ppmv CO2) is the musings of politicized astronomers and physicists. These folkes have had an education since real geologists have belatedly entered the discussion. But do they accept the ed? No they concentrate on trying to deflate the past, inflate the present, change global warming to a term that coverrs both warming and cooling, shift the goal posts, cherry pick, block publication of alternative scientific papers (even so far as to blackball journals,have editors who publish non cagw stuff canned…). I can tell you also that I collected one nautiloid but the formation was crammed with millions of fossils, and they also occur in limestones and shales all over the globe. Anyway your one of these “my mind is made up” types no matter what is brought before you, which is a figurative form of fossiization.

  80. John B

    Re. 1912-1945, we are confident that was due to solar forcing, and we are equally confident that 1970 onwards was not. Warming at that rate despite natural forcings is what is claimed to be unprecendented.

    If this claim is based on the following figure, I’m afraid it’s not a very impressive argument.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-9-5.html

    The IPCC was unable to fully account for the temperature increase in the early 20th century, so they put whatever they could think of into the models to come up with a big fat red line that splits the difference between the temperature minimum in ~1910 and the temperature maximum at ~1945. As we saw in the e-mails, visual presentation is a primary goal of some climate scientists.

    Such are the data that lead some to conclude “we can’t account for it any other way, so it must be CO2.

  81. Smokey said: “So, who should we believe – John B? Or Planet Earth?”

    Planet Earth, definitely. But you have to know how to listen, and that is what science is for. Can we all agree on that?

    BTW, The AMS defines “climate anomaly—The difference between the average climate over a period of several decades or more, and the climate during a particular month or season.” i.e. against a zero line. Not against a linear trend. The whole point of an anomaly is to show deviations from the average for the period.

    http://amsglossary.allenpress.com/glossary/browse?s=c&p=39

  82. An exceptional work on the demise of the various fauna, including the Clovis people is available:

    http://cometstorm.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/a-different-kind-of-climate-catastrophe-2/

    Read the whole paper.

    As for those who claim stone age hunters killed off all those large and, one suspects, very dangerous critters has never been around even smaller ones, such as enraged modern day bulls, weighing in around 2,500 pounds, or a cow defending her young. Hunters trying to kill a mammoth calf, defended by a very large enraged female with a flint tipped throwing spear, certainly would have their hands full. And kill all of them in a rather short period of time? No way.

    An alternative has been put forth by the author above, which makes sense. It also explains the cause of some very interesting geologic scars on the North American surface.

  83. With the single exception of Mr. Frank using the term ice-age, rather than glacial period, his article raises some interesting questions, and while you aptly set the record straight on the difference between the two, that does not in and of itself invalidate the issues he raised.

  84. John B,

    The temperature trend line from the LIA is intact, and it shows tthat CO2 has had no measurable effect. The deceptive zero line is used to alarm the public. When the proper trend line is used, it is clear that the planet has been warming naturally since the LIA.

    And of course you’re up to your usual tricks changing the word “anomaly” to “climate anomaly”. From my handy desktop dictionary:

    anomaly n. 1 something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected

    The rising temperature trend from the LIA has fluctuations [anomalies] above and below the trend line. But the temperature always reverts to the trend. There is no hockey stick; that is a lie promoted by the alarmist cult based on a few anomalous warm decades. The temperature will revert to the trend line – unless our luck has run out and it keeps getting colder.

  85. Smokey, you disappoint me. We both know words can have more than one meaning, but if we are talking about anomalies in the context of climate, which do you think is the most appropriate: the AMS definition of climate anomaly or your desktop dictionary?

    And you say “The temperature will revert to the trend line”. And you know this how?

    I’ll let you have the last word and see you on another thread…

  86. @ R. Gates,

    “With the single exception of Mr. Frank using the term ice-age, rather than glacial period,” his anthropomorphic mis-characterization of the Holocene as a unique period of climatic stability and his quasi-religious belief that an “Anthrpocene” can be geologically distinguished from the Holocene, the good professor didn’t do much of anything apart from demonstrate an ignorance of geology.

  87. Jim D says:
    June 25, 2011 at 2:28 pm
    John Middleton, I am not sure if you are a geologist, but if you are, is it your opinion that what we are doing here (e.g. ocean acidification, glacial melting, global vegetation changes) will leave a geological mark? This is the acid test for a new geological age.

    I don’t know if John Middleton is a geologist or not.

    David Middleton was an Exploration Geophysicist in the evil oil & gas industry from 1981-2006. In 2007, he got kicked upstairs into management and learned how to use Excel and PowerPoint to mskr cool looking graphs. </sarcasm>

    To answer you question… For a future geological analysis to distinguish an Anthropocene from the Holocene, we will have to have left a clear signature in the geologic record. Our instrumental data will not be a part of that record… And, thus far, we have had very little impact of the sort of proxy data that will be part of that record.

    The multi-proxy climate reconstructions not done by the Hockey Team and stomata-derived CO2 reconstructions don’t yet demonstrate a distinct human signature…

    Kouwenberg, Lungqvist & Moberg

    Boron isotope reconstructions of seawater pH don’t yet demonstrate a distinct human signature…

    Pelejero

    As far as marine hypoxia goes… The “dead zone” happens every spring; when increased water flow in the Mississippi River delivers a large load on nitrogen-rich nutrients. This causes an algal bloom. The algae die. Bacteria eat the algae, consuming oxygen in the process. This causes the dead zone.

    Human activities account for, at most, 30% of the nitrogen…Natural sources account for at least 70%.

    Agricultural fertilizers might make the dead zone a bit bigger than it would be from just natural organic nutrients…But…Like the ozone hole and climate change, mankind is not causing the dead zone. We could stop eating tomorrow and the dead zone would not go away. For that matter, if it wasn’t for some really big natural dead zones back in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, we’d have very little oil.

    The dead zone itself will occur every spring so long as the Mississippi River flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

    The fishing industry has lived with the dead zone for as long as there has been a fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico. The size of dead zone has only been measured for a bit over 20 years. And it’s been fairly stable in size since 1993 - Ranging from 17,000 to 21,000 square kilometers in most years.

    Since 1986, it has covered between 10,000 and 20,000 square kilometers…The Gulf of Mexico covers 1.5 million square kilometers. So the dead zone covers from 0.7% to 1.4% – IOW 98.6% to 99.3% of the Gulf is unaffected by the dead zone. A future sediment coring expedition would be unlikely to distinguish the areal extent of the Anthropocene dead zone from the Holocene dead zone.

    The notion that human activities will leave a mark on the geologic record is sheer speculation. Our “mark” would have to be big enough to be resolved through the mother-of-all low-pass filters: The Earth. Geoscientists in the oil industry are very mindful of Nyquist… New Age Science seems to think there’s a green exception to Nyquist.

  88. “In 2007, he got kicked upstairs into management and learned how to use Excel and PowerPoint to mskr cool looking graphs”… “mskr” should be “make”… While learning Excel & PowerPoint, I forgot how to type…

  89. Berniel: ‘Yet there are some really problems with Middleton’s case against it. Most alarming is the way he presents the the claim that the migration of humans out of Africa during the Holocene (and not before) caused the extinction of the megafauna. Is the science behind this claim so well established that it does not require so much as a sceptical qualification or a reference? Wow.’

    I wondered about this too. It’s not my area but the only reference I could find is Jared Diamond’s ‘The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee’. It was a holiday read but as I remember the claim was that from DNA marking we can trace Homo Sap to the East African coast and that as we migrated out we ate what didn’t run away – explaining, I seem to remember, why most animals that currently exist run away from humans. There may be some real science behind it but I wasn’t particularly impressed by the supporting references.

  90. Larry Fields says:
    June 24, 2011 at 11:25 pm
    Hi David,
    Being completely igneous about geology, I couldn’t resist leaving my stoopid question of the day. From another source, I’d read that the current Ice Age–punctuated with relatively brief interglacials–started around 5 million years ago. Now you’re saying 35 million. Which is it?

    Or is it both? Did the already-existing Ice Age get a lot bigger, badder, and hairier around 5 million years ago, when the two Americas linked up.

    The current ice age got a lot colder and the frequency of the glacial-interglacial cycle increased about 2.6 million years ago. This much colder period is known as the Quaternary System. The Holocene is an unremarkable interglacial episode within the Quaternary. Apart from the rapid migration of modern man out of Africa and the demise of the non-African megafauna, the Holocene is not significantly different than the dozens of previous Quaternary interglacial stages.

    The Cenozoic ice age began when Antarctica’s year-round ice cap began to form. This probably occurred at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. It was most likely the result of the Antarctic continent migrating into its current polar position and the formation of the circumpolar current.. The glacial cycles of the Oligocene through the Pliocene were relatively mild. The formation of the Isthmus of Panama and rapid growth of the Himalayas are thought to have been the primary cause of the rapid cooling after the Pliocene. The Quaternary (Pleistocene & Holocene) has been the coldest part of the Cenozoic ice age.

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