‘Broken world’ blamed on Carbon

From the University of Leeds , 250 million year old certainty where there was none before, now megasized.

Tropical collapse caused by lethal heat

Extreme temperatures blamed for ‘Dead Zone’

Scientists have discovered why the ‘broken world’ following the worst extinction of all time lasted so long – it was simply too hot to survive.

The end-Permian mass extinction, which occurred around 250 million years ago in the pre-dinosaur era, wiped out nearly all the world’s species. Typically, a mass extinction is followed by a ‘dead zone’ during which new species are not seen for tens of thousands of years. In this case, the dead zone, during the Early Triassic period which followed, lasted for a perplexingly long period: five million years.

A study jointly led by the University of Leeds and China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), in collaboration with the University of Erlangen-Nurnburg (Germany), shows the cause of this lengthy devastation was a temperature rise to lethal levels in the tropics: around 50-60°C on land, and 40°C at the sea-surface.

Lead author Yadong Sun, who is based in Leeds while completing a joint PhD in geology, says: “Global warming has long been linked to the end-Permian mass extinction, but this study is the first to show extreme temperatures kept life from re-starting in Equatorial latitudes for millions of years.”

It is also the first study to show water temperatures close to the ocean’s surface can reach 40°C – a near-lethal value at which marine life dies and photosynthesis stops. Until now, climate modellers have assumed sea-surface temperatures cannot surpass 30°C. The findings may help us understand future climate change patterns.

The dead zone would have been a strange world – very wet in the tropics but with almost nothing growing. No forests grew, only shrubs and ferns. No fish or marine reptiles were to be found in the tropics, only shellfish, and virtually no land animals existed because their high metabolic rate made it impossible to deal with the extreme temperatures. Only the polar regions provided a refuge from the baking heat.

Before the end-Permian mass extinction the Earth had teemed with plants and animals including primitive reptiles and amphibians, and a wide variety of sea creatures including coral and sea lillies.

This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.

The study, published today [19 October 2012] in the journal Science, is the most detailed temperature record of this study period (252-247 million years ago) to date.

Sun and his colleagues collected data from 15,000 ancient conodonts (tiny teeth of extinct eel-like fishes) extracted from two tonnes of rocks from South China. Conodonts form a skeleton using oxygen. The isotopes of oxygen in skeletons are temperature controlled, so by studying the ratio of oxygen isotopes in the conodonts he was able to detect temperature levels hundreds of millions of years ago.

Professor Paul Wignall from the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, one of the study’s co-authors, said: “Nobody has ever dared say that past climates attained these levels of heat. Hopefully future global warming won’t get anywhere near temperatures of 250 million years ago, but if it does we have shown that it may take millions of years to recover.”

The study is the latest collaboration in a 20-year research partnership between the University of Leeds and China University of Geosciences in Wuhan. It was funded by the Chinese Science Foundation.

###

For more information:

‘Lethally hot temperatures during the early Triassic greenhouse’ by Yadong Sun (University of Leeds and China University of Geosciences), Michael Joachimski (University Erlangen-Nurnberg, Germany), Paul B. Wignall (University of Leeds), Chunbo Yan (China University of Geosciences), Yanlong Chen (University of Graz, Austria), Haishui Jiang (China University of Geosciences, Lina Wang (China University of Geosciences) and Xulong Lai (China University of Geosciences) is published in Science on 19 October 2012. For a copy please view the web page http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/sci/ or contact the Science press team, phone +1 202-326-6440 or email scipak@aaas.org

For interviews please contact Esther Harward, University of Leeds press office, phone +44 113 343 4196 or email e.harward@leeds.ac.uk

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162 thoughts on “‘Broken world’ blamed on Carbon

  1. “This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.”

    Seems like a rather bizarre claim! Do they have proof, or is this just wishful thinking?

  2. It is also the first study to show water temperatures close to the ocean’s surface can reach 40°C –
    ———–
    Looks like you’re right guys. The science is not settled.

  3. This is ridiculous.

    That 50 to 60 degrees might be uninhabitable for most mamals, doesn’t mean we should be afraid of the sunrise, which can cause temperature increases of 30 degrees, nor the moderate rises in temperature that occurred from 1980 to the mid 90’s.

    The whole thing is one big non sequitur.

  4. So, are they saying that the broken CO2 cycle caused the extinction, or that it caused the 5 million year gap in tropical life? Seems to me that any discussion about this extinction event and subsequent re-start has to include a mention of the Siberian Traps.

  5. “Nobody has ever dared say that past climates attained these levels of heat. Hopefully future global warming won’t get anywhere near temperatures of 250 million years ago, but if it does we have shown that it may take millions of years to recover.”

    Is this Professor Wignall’s way of saying it’s worse than we thought?

  6. Shame the seas were only a few inches deep back then, else the cooler water below would have been a refuge too.

  7. At that time atmospheric CO2 levels were falling from the 8000ppmv of the Ordovician, with its prolonged ice age, so if temperatures were rising then CO2 may not be the culprit. As for hot sea water, I have seen fish swim in the very shallow waters round Bahrein with temperatures really too hot for me to swim though they were small fish and quite lethargic due to low O2 levels. There would certainly be a species quiet period after a mass extinction as the survivors sorted out a new food chain and sourced feeding areas but any mass extinction would not happen over night but over a period of perhaps thousands of years but certainly hundreds.

  8. How good is the temperature versus oxygen isotope correlation?
    (I should know after following this site for so many moons.)

  9. Nothing but ferns and shrubs on land? How did they survive? And why didn’t they proliferate and “take over”?
    I suspect logic leaps and lapses.

  10. “Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.”

    Beyond about 540ppm CO2 levels would make no difference, plus one would have to assume relative humidity in that era was > 10% which would mask any CO2 effect anyway.

    Whatever caused this temperature rise, it could not have been CO2.

  11. “levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase”
    —————————————————————
    And pain causes tumors, so we can treat cancer with aspirin. We can only pray that the curative magic of aspirin has no plateau at a relatively low level.

  12. I’ve probably misunderstood this, but they seem to be saying that rising CO2 levels caused the temperature rise, but that the rise in temperature caused the plants and animals to die so that the CO2 was not sequestered …?

  13. I’d love to see the paper. My first instinct is to think its ridiculous to believe they can use oxygen isotopes to determine climate when the world was so different. Who knows what the weather patterns and ocean currents that existed at the time were doing? Also what other factors were involved in the O2 isotope redistributions at the time of the mass extinction? And how did this effect their determination of temperature vs isotope ratio?

    And the one bugbear that always annoys me is that they always paint the “it was the warming (by CO2) what did it” but never go on to suggest the mechanism for coming back from that situation.

    And of course did they really paint that global doom picture from a single proxy, in a single region? Ouch.

  14. New science PhD degrees have apparently joined their colleagues over in Sociology as being nothing more than a bad joke at public expense. Redefining “dumb” (PhDs from the 80s through 2000s) and “dumber” (graduate students of those foementioned PhDs). A complete collapse of western rational education.

  15. So on the one hand you have “extreme” temperatures and no fish alive in the tropics and then on the other they are sampling teeth from these same non-existent fish…..

    …or is this just another unprecedented extreme extrapolation from a non-proven hypothesis?

  16. I hate to say this, but if the data are from two tons of rock from just one place, isn’t this a bit like taking rings from just one tree?

  17. “The dead zone would have been a strange world – very wet in the tropics but with almost nothing growing. No forests grew, only shrubs and ferns. No fish or marine reptiles were to be found in the tropics, only shellfish, and virtually no land animals existed because their high metabolic rate made it impossible to deal with the extreme temperatures”

    So the zone wasn’t dead then. It was like the Sahel, more or less.

  18. ‘This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.’

    In other words, NOT likely to happen again.
    Not that they will bother to mention that part.

  19. So we had fish and conodont animals in the dead zone, according to that map. I will wait to read the paper, but colour me skeptical.

    John Gorter

  20. Looks like that world would have no global ocean circulation, no way to dump heat at the poles as is the current set up. Not the same world….

  21. Confirmation bias at its worst. The *only* thing that can be said is that the proxy indicated higher temperatures – the rest is conjecture.

  22. lol
    Of course, you could also claim that when the world is warmer there are more species to go extinct due to other causes. The last time I checked, there have been precisely zero recorded mass-extinctions on cold planets like Jupiter…..

  23. So, are they saying that the Sun went through a very active millions of years?

    Geocarb IV, I believe, has the planet topping out at 22 deg C, typical of a warm body operating by thermodynamic principles in response to a heat source, the Sun. How does their physics handle a much hotter body obeying the Stefan-Boltzmann law? Something is wrong or missing here, but CO2, or any gas, can back radiate this kind of power. The upper troposphere would have to be at 1000s of deg C to even have the energy supply to heat the surface to this temperature, let alone the time. Days were shorter then, too.

    As CO2 cannot do what they say (remembering that Venus is so hot, not because of 95% CO2, but due to 90 atmospheres of gravitational work being done on the atmosphere) and these reported temperatures go against thermodynamics, methinks they need to go back and start over.

    As calcium carbonate is less soluble in warm water than cold, there would have been rampant deposition going on as calcium leached to the waters and the seas and concretions would result. CO2 would probably not have been all that high, indicated in other works as rising from a very low state, which probably correlated with the actual extinction, at about 2000 ppm and then decreasing to about 1200 ppm CO2.

    They pay no attention to the very unusual 30 million years of cold and CO2 at a dangerously low 250 ppm, starting 20 million years BEFORE the cold spell and persisting throughout the cold spell, that preceded this ramping up of temperature and CO2. It’s pretty clear that we have little idea of what was happening in this period.

    Nope, it had to be CO2 and not 30 million years of record LOW temperatures. “Please, sir, can we have more funding?”

  24. So they ignore all the places where its very hot and there is life such as near hydrothermal vents and Death Valley and where does this massive CO2 get produced from very little few animals.

  25. Given the position of the land masses as shown it looks like the hot water just swirled around in the big bathtub-like area in the middle and the heated water couldn’t flow up to the poles. In our current configuration, the ‘bathtub’ of the Carribean is open at the top and bottom instead of closed in like the basin seen in the illustration.

    What broke the heat wave; a crack in the wall of the landmass? That’s my guess.

  26. So they’re trying to blame the temperature on the CO2? What if the continental configuration of the Pangaea continent was responsible for the temperatures – and the CO2 would be a consequence, not a cause?

  27. According to the wikipedia, CO2 levels were not extraodinarily high.

    “Sun and his colleagues collected data from 15,000 ancient conodonts (tiny teeth of extinct eel-like fishes) extracted from two tonnes of rocks from South China. Conodonts form a skeleton using oxygen. The isotopes of oxygen in skeletons are temperature controlled, so by studying the ratio of oxygen isotopes in the conodonts he was able to detect temperature levels hundreds of millions of years ago.”

    First they say everything died but they had no problems finding conodonts? How did the fish survive to form teeth to record the temperature when everything died?

  28. I’ve commented on this before. During the hottest periods of Pangea (265 Mya, not 251 Mya during the Permian extinction), temperatures rose to +10.0C and it probably got too hot for complex life in the Paleo-Thethys sea on the eastern side of Pangea.

    Now part of this is because it was a relatively shallow, enclosed sea on the western side of the then very large Pacific at the time. The trade winds would have blown the warm equatorial waters across the Pacific into the Paleo-Thethys and just like the ENSO operates today, there would have been periodic ENSO-like spikes in the ocean there (something like the Pacific Warm Pool is today).

    So, shallow, enclosed sea, western-side of the Pacific – temperatures would have sometimes got to +14.0C compared to today’s maximums in this area of 32.0C. ie, Very hot ocean. There is evidence of large sea life die-offs during this time but it is as much related to geography as it is to anything else.

    The Permian Extinction, happened later when temperatures fell by up to 8.0C and it was caused by the Siberian Traps volcanoes. A new study published recently shows this point.

    http://phys.org/news/2012-10-geochemical-analysis-chinese-permian-triassic-mass.html

    http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/40/11/963.abstract

  29. Hate to have to point out the bleeding obvious, but there aren’t a lot of species living in Death Valley either!

  30. Oxygen isotope ratio’s relation to water temperature is presumably being extrapolated here since we don’t have anywhere on Earth to collect the calibration data for 50 -60 C sea water.

    Also authors don’t seem to know a shark when they see one to judge from that labels under the icons in the figure.

    “This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. ”

    Oh, so they have solved one of the most persistent problems Earth’s history, what caused the mass extinctions. CARBON. We should have guessed really.

    Still, scary stuff, uh?

  31. The essence of skepticism is to not be too ready to believe a claim, while not being so intellectually dishonest as to deny evidence.
    In order for me to find this plausible, they would need to answer many questions.
    We are assured that levels of CO2 and heat much lower than that reported will prevent the formation of shellfish shells and corals. If the reported shellfish did have shells, is there an explanation for this apparent contradiction?
    Does geochemical evidence confirm that there are not other causes of the isotope readings they report? Was there a ‘nearby’ supernova, and if so would that explain their results? Were their samples taken from a region with high natural radioactivity, and might that influence their results? Does other geochemical evidence support the ‘ultra-high CO2′ theory?
    Do plant fossils from outside the ‘dead zone’ exhibit adaptation to high CO2?
    I’d like to see replication of their results using other instruments.
    They are not questions that impact on their measurements, but I’d be interested to know their judgment on the following issues: What do they consider to be the ‘tipping point’ for this temperature flip? How quickly do they think the temperature changed? Why do they think natural selection did not cope with the change? What were the arrangements of the continents and Ocean currents 250 million years ago? What was the physical basis of the earlier assumption that ‘sea-surface temperatures cannot surpass 30°C’ that they report, and why do they believe that did not apply?

  32. “but this study is the first to show extreme temperatures kept life from re-starting in Equatorial latitudes for millions of years.”
    and
    “Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase”

    and then:

    “No forests grew, only shrubs and ferns. No fish or marine reptiles were to be found in the tropics, only shellfish”

    Don’t shrubs and ferns absorb CO2? Don’t shellfish count as life?

  33. Then again, they could be wrong, with bold statements about carbon dioxide causing global warming! So, in fact, no real improvement of casues & attribution as far as I can see! Ho hum. Do I detect a puter model somehwee buried in the debris???

  34. Hmmm:

    Sun and his colleagues collected data from 15,000 ancient conodonts (tiny teeth of extinct eel-like fishes) extracted from two tonnes of rocks from South China. Conodonts form a skeleton using oxygen.

    Fishes?
    Then how could they grow to leave their teethe when in the same breath:

    It is also the first study to show water temperatures close to the ocean’s surface can reach 40°C – a near-lethal value at which marine life dies and photosynthesis stops.

    Some sort of oxymoron, but as I have no access to the paper I will wait for those who have.

  35. Strange thing is, historical records of CO2 concentrations which show a sharp increase 250 millions years ago do not suggest any sharp decrease 5 millions years later. Apparently Earth somehow managed to recover without CO2 concentrations reduced.

    Or perhaps there were more factors involved than CO2….?

  36. So is this paywalled? Without reading the paper, is this a Mannian trick? Find a proxi that seems to say hot but only use the teeth from a certain region and a certain animal and then only the ones that come with a hockey schtick? We can’t know unless the paper is available for public review. Was it paid for by us? Or was it privately funded with private cash from private citizens? Loved the plug for interviews at the end of the press release.

    It concerns me that Ph.D.’s were awarded. How many rode into the Ivory Tower on this paper?

  37. There are places in the Atacama desert today that doesn’t even have bacteria.
    How does this zone differs from the desert zone of today, Sahara, Arabian Desert and so on?

  38. The findings of this publication are very interesting, however we should be more concerned now about how treat the whole issue of Climate change. in some of the African countries critical temperatures have been, Chad recording a maximum of 47.6 °C in 2010, Algeria recording the highest temperature ever recorded since 1931 in Africa with 51.0 °C in 2011. We are not very far from reaching lethal temperature, the question is how long until we cross that line. I really think that this is a great work of Science and it can go a long way in helping us understand Climate change and take appropriate actions to minimize the impact.

  39. Anyone who is in the know on this issue accepts that it was aliens – just watch the movie “Battle: Los Angeles” to see how thorough they can be regarding destruction of the environment /sarc

    “Nobody has ever dared say that past climates attained these levels of heat.”

    I attribute that absence to there being no empirical evidence to support the “dare,” but seemingly, any “climate scientist” can create a computer simulation today and assert “x” as being real with impunity. But if it’s dares that make “science” today, then I’m asserting it was aliens that influenced the heat – humanity or its progenitors were not around to add the anthropogenic signal; therefore, it must have been a xenopogenic influence. I have no empirical evidence to support the assertion, but nobody has ever dared say that past climates attained these levels of heat due to alien influence.

  40. Btw. in the Persian Gulf sea surface temperatures of up to 36 degrees have been measured, and land temperatures in the area have exceeded 50 degrees, so it’s not all that different.

  41. . . . Conodonts form a skeleton using oxygen. The isotopes of oxygen in skeletons are temperature controlled, so by studying the ratio of oxygen isotopes in the conodonts he was able to detect temperature levels hundreds of millions of years ago.

    How are the isotopes of oxygen in skeletons “temperature controlled”? Not doubting; just asking.

    /Mr Lynn

  42. If great parts of Pangaea were without major vegetation after the preceding catastrophic events the heat over the continent could have risen substantially. It could also have led to diminshed cloud formation and conseqently to increased short-wave sun-radiation warming the oceans. CO2 causes infrared radiation, which can penetrate the ocean-surfaces only a few millimeters. It may have been hot at those times, but it ist not explained why CO2 should be the major culprit.

  43. Anthony,
    Is the following attribution actually stated in the paper?
    “This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.”

  44. Professor Paul Wignall from the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, one of the study’s co-authors, said: “Nobody has ever dared say that past climates attained these levels of heat. Hopefully future global warming won’t get anywhere near temperatures of 250 million years ago, but if it does we have shown that it may take millions of years to recover.”

    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    What an odd thing to say.

  45. What was the temperature on the second Monday of Permian October 248M? If they cannot compute that then it is finally clear to me why they cannot get the forecast right for next Monday.

  46. It is interesting to see how they blame the extinction on “Global Warming” and not on one or more major impactors such as the 10 kilometer diameter asteroid that created the 125 mile wide Bedout Crater off the coast of Australia. Does anything smell half baked in this paper?

  47. The reason why modelers assume an upper limit of 30-32 degree C is evaporation, which increases almost exponentially with temperature and carries away the heat thus cooling the water. The assumption is that the incoming heat cannot keep up with the evaporation. There is only one condition in which this mechanism does not work: when the whole planet is blocked off by clouds which trap the heat and thus do raise the temperature of both atmosphere and the oceans. A cloud cover that thick would cause the surface to be seriously dark at sealevel, possibly making photosynthesis impossible.

  48. The map seems to contradict what we currently understand about northern hemisphere heating. Ie The dead zone narrows over land when we expect it to widen. WUWT?

  49. Pedants corner: that would be the Univ. of Erlangen-Nürnberg (or -Nuremberg in the anglicised version), not Nurnburg,
    There’s no doubt that there was a mass extinction around the end of the Permian. The Paleozoic coral groups died out, their niche later being later filled by other coral groups, only distantly related. However many groups survived, such as tree ferns, and ‘sea lilies’ (sedentary marine animals, also known as crinoids). Both groups still ‘teem’ today, in suitable environments. The conodont animals (which I gather were something like modern lampreys) seem to have survived the late-Permian extinction, but later succumbed as they are no longer around today.
    It looks like an interesting study, but I’d be cautious about drawing bold conclusions regarding global climate from a study of a single group of localities. As conodonts have no close modern relatives, and it seems we don’t know much about their mode of life, I’d also like to see some O2 isotope values from other co-existing organisms at the Chinese sites. However I’m not a fossil expert and I’m sure others can throw more light on this. Willis E may have something to say about prolonged ocean surface T approaching 40C.

  50. Al right, I’ll bite. How much CO2 was there at this point in pre-history that they say coused this “super greenhouse”?

  51. But the land and sea were differently configured back then. With water surrounding our current separated land masses the likelihood of anything similar happening for more millions of years are small. Sorry, Dr. Hansen, this would have been a godsend for you!

    Anthea

  52. 40 C is 104 F. Seawater boils at a higher temperature than pure water, but this says the oceans surface was literally “boiling hot” Interesting paper. I’ll wait for another 3 or 4 that confirm it before I believe it. (Without any papers that directly contradict it).

  53. So what killed the plants that caused the CO2, if CO2 was the culprit and how did they determine that CO2 was the culprit? And why did the tropics warm and the poles maintain more stability while present day warming is supposed to be the other way? Is it all about ocean currents?

    Assuming the uncontested validity of temperature from eel’s teeth assumptions over other proxies that did not hint of this, of course. Sounds like jumping from an isoated observation into a pre-determined conclusion to me.

  54. What seems to be missing is a description of the physics involved. How any concentration of CO2 can push temperatures that high, and why there was enough O2 available for these creatures to grow/survive. After all, you need to suck O2 out of the atmosphere to combine with the C to form CO2. Then there is the question of where the large concentrations of carbonates are which is the only reasonable explanation of how the CO2 was removed.

  55. Isn’t it sad that these people have been taken in by the CO2-GW scam when from three directions you can prove it cannot occur.

    Assuming the high temperatures were correct, the most likely explanation is that at that time, the atmosphere was much thicker and the extra tropical heating was from increased lapse rate warming, currently ~24 k on average.

  56. This whole thing just gets weirder and weirder.
    Once scientists would put things forward as ideas.

    Now it seems to be all settled facts…….
    ….I guess they must be getting smarter.

  57. Okay…let’s assume for the sake of argument that measurement of one proxy in the South China Sea is sufficient to conclude that the entire tropical earth was baking at 40-50 C, a quarter of a billion years ago. Can atmospheric CO2 really be the cause of that heat?

    According to the image linked below (and other CO2 histories) the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere did increase to around 2000 ppm from 270 to 250 million years ago. This increase was a return to about half the concentration of CO2 that was present when life on Earth really started to blossom. This begs the question…if 2000 ppm creates heat so intense that most life can’t survive, how did 4000 ppm create environment so nice that life began to flourish?

    Maybe we are just to ignorant about stuff more than 250 million years ago, so lets throw that out.

    What happened after 250 million years ago? We had the ‘life explosion’ known at the Jurrasic Period. The planet was teeming with life! Oh, and look, CO2 concentrations for much of the Jurrasic were between 2200 to 2500 ppm! Again, we find a higher concentration of C02 than 250 million years ago, yet a very life-friendly Earth.

    Assuming that the alleged heat of 250 million years ago was caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 doesn’t seem to make any sense at all! What could have possibly led them to that conclusion against all the available evidence?

    Could it be…FUNDING?

    /sarc off/

  58. So, without qualifying my credentials, as I understand it, there should be no Fossil or related record in the South America zone, in the upper two thirds of that zone, for that period.
    As I also understand it, the fossil record for most of North America, in the same zone, for the same period should be entirely absent.
    Even given the bias for reporting against the actual presence of ancient fossil, as well the well known and obvious contradictions in the geophysical, paleontological and of course the much disputed cryptozoological discrepancies, why is there well documented records that predates, post-dates and extends well-into and through this period?
    One could postulate, that given the obvious evidence, that theories to the contrary, as noted above, could well be factually incorrect.
    That is, providing, they are based on well researched fact. Of course, should this not be the case, then obviously any nonsense will do?

  59. “This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.”

    This is merely the authors hypothesis, stated as fact. Very misleading.

  60. The Abstract Reads: “Global warming is widely regarded to have played a contributing role in numerous past biotic crises. Here, we show that the end-Permian mass extinction coincided with a rapid temperature rise to exceptionally high values in the Early Triassic that were inimical to life in equatorial latitudes and suppressed ecosystem recovery. This was manifested in the loss of calcareous algae, the near-absence of fish in equatorial Tethys, and the dominance of small taxa of invertebrates during the thermal maxima. High temperatures drove most Early Triassic plants and animals out of equatorial terrestrial ecosystems and probably were a major cause of the end-Smithian crisis.”

    Some data lots of assumptions and way to many gross generalizations to be call science. Could we call it scientific speculation? I am sure it is an interesting paper but probably not worth the cost of the pay wall.

  61. I posted this idea some time ago but it hasn’t appeared.

    It’s easy to prove from three directions that there can’t be any CO2-GW above ~200 ppmV concentration. So, the on;y logical explanation of the high temperatures was that the atmosphere was much denser than now so lapse rate heating, presently ~24 K, was much greater.

    No effect of CO2 change is possible other tna this.

  62. This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.

    I’m curious as to how this paper is organized. Is the above explanation an assertion made within the paper, or is it a conclusion which is directly supported by an analysis of the evidence which examines in detail the processes by which CO2 concentrations rose “unchecked”, and the processes by which those rising CO2 concentrations might have resulted in atmospheric and ocean warming?

  63. It is also the first study to show water temperatures close to the ocean’s surface can reach 40°C – a near-lethal value at which marine life dies and photosynthesis stops. Until now, climate modellers have assumed sea-surface temperatures cannot surpass 30°C.

    “First study” = contradictory to every other study, to every study made before the era of politicized “science”? The author quoted at the end does a poor job of even pretending to be unbiased, giving no reason to assume honesty is more likely than dishonesty.

    I’d have to look up the details, but I believe Dr. Lindzen once mentioned how there is evidence that equatorial ocean temperatures have never been more than a rather limited amount (like a degree or two, IIRC, although with much more temperature variation nearer the poles) higher than they are now.

    While it would be hard to place an exact limit on the temporary temperature rise which could occur from other sources which have been considered as potential causes of the end-Permian extinction like an enormous asteroid impact and/or massive volcanic eruptions, radiation emission scales up with the fourth power of temperature (in Kelvin), making it very hard to increase temperature much further in the tropics for long. CO2 with its diminishing returns is definitely not going to do it with plausible values.*

    * The atmosphere of Venus, with hundreds of thousands of times as much mass of CO2 as Earth’s atmosphere, is not an exception but rather an illustration of the limited effect of even going from 0.04% to near-100% CO2: At 1 atm, Venus temperatures are only moderately above earthlike, not much for a planet closer to the sun under double the solar irradiance, and it is only after the effect of the lapse rate going down through an ocean of atmosphere to the surface under 90 atm that far higher temperatures are reached. As http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/08/venus-envy/ notes:

    The amount of warming (or cooling) per unit distance is described as the “lapse rate.” On Earth the dry lapse rate is 9.760 K/km. On Venus, the dry lapse rate is similar at 10.468 K/km. This means that with each km of elevation you gain on either Earth or Venus, the temperature drops by about 10C.

    It is very important to note that despite radically different compositions, both atmospheres have approximately the same dry lapse rate. This tells us that the primary factor affecting the temperature is the thickness of the atmosphere, not the composition”

    “It isn’t the large amount of CO2 which makes Venus hot, rather it is the thick atmosphere being continuously heated by external sources. It isn’t the lack of CO2 on Earth which keeps Earth relatively cool, rather it is the thin atmosphere. Mars is even colder than earth despite having a 95% CO2 atmosphere, because it’s atmosphere is very thin. If greenhouse gases were responsible for the high temperatures on Venus (rather than atmospheric thickness) we would mathematically have to see a much higher lapse rate than on Earth – but we don’t.”

  64. My pet theory is that a meteor punched through the Earth’s crust, opening the SIberian Traps. I’d expect that the thermal energy from 2 million km² of exposed lava would tip the balance a bit more than an equal number of SUVs.

  65. Are they BS us? They talk about temperature but the don’t mention Siberian Traps and devastating volcanic polution? Perhaps it is hidden in plain sight.

  66. Um are they suggesting that elevated CO2 was the cause or merely an effect of that warm period 250M years ago?

    Was the devil CO2 wreaking havoc back then too?

  67. Scientists have discovered why the ‘broken world’ following the worst extinction of all time lasted so long – it was simply too hot to survive.

    No it wasn’t. Even if you buy the conclusions of this study, that is not what they say. What they say is that heat in the tropics led to reduced biodiversity in the tropics. They call this a “dead zone”, while discussing the shrubs and ferns and mollusks that lived there.

    By that very same criterion – reduced biodiversity due to temperature – our current polar regions are “dead zones”. Much deader than the tropics these guys describe – there aren’t any shrubs in Antarctica. Conversely, the polar regions were allegedly where all of the life was 250 MYA, due to the “extreme heat” that made those areas livable.

    How many millions of years is it going to take for the earth to “recover” from the current “dead zones”? Is there anything we could do to add some heat, to hasten that process? Hmmmmmm….

  68. … Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase. … (from tfa)

    If the authors want to make a statement like that, they have to put it in context. The CO2 level at the end of the Permian was about 2000 ppm. Later, during the Jurassic, it was higher. Earlier, it was much higher. During the Cambrian, life was plentiful (ie. Cambrian explosion) with CO2 at around 7000 ppm.

    On the face of it, the paper is risible.

    early climate
    timeline of life

  69. “Global warming has long been linked to the end-Permian mass extinction, but this study is the first to show extreme temperatures kept life from re-starting in Equatorial latitudes for millions of years.” Something is wrong with this statement. This study appears to link “global warming” to the unusually long recovery period, but not the mass extinction itself. Now, I’ll buy the theory that extreme temperatures kept life from re-starting. But what caused the extreme temperatures? What killed the plants? If the researchers are attributing all this to “carbon”, where did it come from? And what was the “carbon” level? My BS antenna are up.

  70. Did CO2 case warming, or did warming cause CO2? The author’s says that CO2 caused the warming, but doesn’t provide any evidence beyond correlation to support their conclusion. This is faulty logic, because it is well established that correlation does not show causation.

    As such, the conclusions are un-scientific. The paper assumes CO2 us the cause; it does not show CO2 is the cause. We already know from ice cores 10+ years ago that higher temps increase CO2, as it out-gasses out of solution in the oceans. The problem is that most climate scientists do not take this out-gassing into account in their work, because the ice core findings only came out after they put their textbooks down and started writing papers.

  71. Pray tell why did the carbon cycle suddenly break down? No mention of the underlying cause, did the plants go on strike?

  72. I’m trying to square this circle.
    They point to higher temperatures as killing off plants and thus allowing CO2 to build up.
    But at the same time they are pointing to higher levels of CO2 as causing the heat build up.

    How can higher levels of CO2 be both the cause and the effect of the heat build up?

    PS: Plants outside the “dead zone” didn’t die, and would have flourished in a warmer world with more CO2 in the atmosphere. Even if all the plants in the “dead zone” had died (and according to the authors, they didn’t), then the plants living in the rest of the world would have been ready, willing, and able to absorb the extra CO2. All other things being equal.

  73. In a few hours, readers here have literally eviscerated this paper! How does this stuff get published?

    Ironically, the idea that turns this paper into complete garbage is likely the very same idea that guaranteed it would be funded and published:

    “This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling.”

    It appears that climate science is now completely run by the Joseph Goebbels Foundation.

  74. 50c plus would certainly be damned hot but let’s take a look at a warm period in the past and hot a tropical region of the Earth reacted.

    Effects of rapid global warming at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary on neotropical vegetation.
    Abstract

    Temperatures in tropical regions are estimated to have increased by 3° to 5°C, compared with Late Paleocene values, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, 56.3 million years ago) event. We investigated the tropical forest response to this rapid warming by evaluating the palynological record of three stratigraphic sections in eastern Colombia and western Venezuela. We observed a rapid and distinct increase in plant diversity and origination rates, with a set of new taxa, mostly angiosperms, added to the existing stock of low-diversity Paleocene flora. There is no evidence for enhanced aridity in the northern Neotropics. The tropical rainforest was able to persist under elevated temperatures and high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in contrast to speculations that tropical ecosystems were severely compromised by heat stress.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21071667

    Apparently the debate is now over.

    “Rapid eruption of Siberian flood-volcanic rocks and evidence for coincidence with the Permian–Triassic boundary and mass extinction at 251 Ma”

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X03003479

    Impact Event at the Permian-Triassic Boundary: Evidence from Extraterrestrial Noble Gases in Fullerenes

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/291/5508/1530.short

    “Deev Jahi Model of the Permian–Triassic boundary massextinction: a case for gas hydrates as the main cause of biological crisis on Earth”

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0037073803002860

    “Palaeoenvironmental interpretation of a Triassic-Jurassic boundary section from Western Austria based on palaeoecological and geochemical data”

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018297000746

    “Massive release of hydrogen sulfide to the surface ocean and atmosphere during intervals of oceanic anoxia”

    http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/33/5/397.full.pdf

  75. collected data from 15,000 ancient conodonts (tiny teeth of extinct eel-like fishes) extracted from two tonnes of rocks from South China.

    Why am I reminded of one tree at Yamal?

    I’ll take this study as ONE data point. At this point, at this time, it was unusually hot. But we are a long way from cause and effect at world-wide scales.

    No doubt that the Carboniferous to Permian to early Triassic is a time of intense climate change.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Climate_Change.png Something had to happen to create the world largest mass extinction event (which is why we have a Permo-Triassic division). We went from huge coal accumulations to glaciation to a hot spike (?in the middle? of the Permian) to extensive desertification (from tectonic configurations?) to a recovery of animal life in the Triassic. Behind all this is the question, what was sea-level atmospheric pressure back then?

    But as Anthony pointed out, there is a lot of uncertainty about. The paleogeography of the NeoTethys is pretty sketchy. Did these two tons of rocks come from a restricted sea? Remember, the Gulf of Mexico in Jurassic time was a place where huge amounts of Louann Salt accumulated from evaporating sea water.

    Just to be clear on a point… Oxygen isotope ratios are linked to the temperature of the animal in which the bone is growing, or more precisely the temperature of the water the animal uses to grow, and assumes that fossilization has not changed Oxygen ratios via replacement at depth. These are not a proxy for world-wide temperature, not in the same way that atmospheric levels of Carbon-14 can point to cosmic-ray intensity.

  76. “No fish or marine reptiles were to be found in the tropics,…….”
    I remain sceptical of this claim. Deeper in the ocean should have been cooler? No?

  77. Total nonsense.
    The great killing at the end of the Permian eliminated near 70% of all land vertebrates, but most notably over 90% of all marine species. Sediment studies from the late Permian through early Triassic show the oceans became acidic and anoxic resulting in the extinction of all the trilobites, fusulinids, blastoids, rugose and tabulate corals, and over 90% of the crinoids, ammonoids, and anthozoans.
    Calcium sulfate gypsum beds of the late Permian are the best example of an acidic ocean, not to mention the anoxic cherts and carbonaceous claystones. And we’re to believe this all occurred in hot water.

  78. According to the map the samples were taken from the “ancient conodonts (tiny teeth of extinct eel-like fishes)” which lived in the “dead zone”. They also say:

    The dead zone would have been a strange world – very wet in the tropics but with almost nothing growing. No forests grew, only shrubs and ferns. No fish or marine reptiles were to be found in the tropics,…..

    My sincere apologies if I missed something.

  79. Just an engineer says:
    Hate to have to point out the bleeding obvious, but there aren’t a lot of species living in Death Valley either!
    **************************
    I hate to point out the obvious to you, but there are lots of species living in Death Valley–probably lower populations–but many lifeforms none the less:

    Death Valley is home to more than 1000 species of plants

    http://www.nps.gov/deva/naturescience/animals.htm

    Wildlife and other animals in Death Valley National Park. … mammals, 36 reptiles , 5 amphibians, 6 fish, and nearly 400 bird species

    http://digital-desert.com/death-valley/wildlife/

    Some Pupfish species in the Death Valley area actually live in hot springs. The Pupfish of Salt Creek are so adapted to warm water

    http://www.desertusa.com/mag98/june/stories/dvheat.html

    Other wild animals in Death Valley include deer, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote …

    http://www.ohranger.com/death-valley/flora-fauna

    *******************************
    Leo Morgan says:
    The essence of skepticism is to not be too ready to believe a claim, while not being so intellectually dishonest as to deny evidence.
    ************************************
    Leo, I like your questions–makes me think, thanks

    Also thanks to JJ–that was funny about the dead zones and “recovery.”

  80. This paper stinks. It’s tantamount to putting ONE thermometer in south China and then using it to tell us what the global mean temperature is. And from fish that aren’t really there.

  81. A massive release of methane due to the elevated temps has also been blamed for the Permian extinction. Link follows:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/08/030828071722.htm

    VolcanoCafe had a discussion of the Icelandic hot spot and linked it to the one that caused the Siberian Traps. They go farther and suggest that it is putting out about the same volume per year as the Siberian Traps. Reason is that there are indications that the Siberian Traps took much longer to erupt than first thought. Link follows:

    http://volcanocafe.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/the-icelandic-hotspot-hypervolcano-why-old-traps-wont-erupt-again/

    Final thought: If the equatorial regions were much hotter, would that not also increase evaporation, cloud formation, and cloud coverage in the tropics and temperate regions? Cheers -

  82. This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.

    There is no “global carbon cycling” – it has been dropping like a stone for the last 600 million years. We are now dangerously close (in geological terms) to the end of all life as we know it. CO2 (water and energy from the Sun) being the current base of the food chain.

  83. So will the ‘Gravy Train’ now be heading for the Tropics to study ‘Tropical Collapse’?, nicer there than the Arctic.

  84. Espen says:
    October 19, 2012 at 6:11 am

    Btw. in the Persian Gulf sea surface temperatures of up to 36 degrees have been measured, and land temperatures in the area have exceeded 50 degrees, so it’s not all that different.

    Is it just possible that the studies sample came from China’s very own “Persian Gulf” of its day?

  85. I guess they couldn’t think of any way for water in a shallow equatorial sea to be any more enriched in 018 than the open ocean.

  86. Bill says:
    October 19, 2012 at 7:12 am
    40 C is 104 F. Seawater boils at a higher temperature than pure water, but this says the oceans surface was literally “boiling hot” Interesting paper. I’ll wait for another 3 or 4 that confirm it before I believe it. (Without any papers that directly contradict it).

    Mmmmmm, Bill? Pssst, pure water boils at 212F. Pass it on. ;-)

  87. Not long ago, historically speaking, philosophers and ritualists performed the task of developing and maintaining mythologies about the world and its past. Now, the science movement has fully taken over this job of myth-creation. With no inspiration. We are reduced to insipid little sci-myths about how the gods of Gloval Varming once stalked the earh. And…shudder, they may return! O the fear!

  88. hoppy says:
    October 19, 2012 at 4:56 am

    So on the one hand you have “extreme” temperatures and no fish alive in the tropics and then on the other they are sampling teeth from these same non-existent fish…..
    ======

    Strictly speaking, they are looking at conodont “teeth” (not “skeletons”), not fish teeth. Conodonts were rather obscure creatures that apparently died out at the end of the Triassic. The seem to have some external similarities to fish, but so do the also ancient Chaetognath worms — which really are not remotely fish.

    And I think they are (or think they are) looking at fossils from the cooler mid and high latitudes. (except that their conodonts are from South China which their map seems to put squarely in their “dead zone”).

    There are BTW, modern fish that can handle up to 45C. Desert pupfish for one

    Question: isn’t there some practical limit to the amount of warming that greenhousing can create? There is, after all, only so much infrared radiation from the Earth to intercept. Is that limit really high enough to allow land 50-60C temps?

    Observation: Aliens with some fragmentary data on the modern Earth and with better climate modeling than ours might well identify us as having two mid-latitude “dead zones” with low rainfall, and brutally high Summer temperatures. Not that accurate a picture of our world I think.

    I wouldn’t take this paper all that seriously.

  89. First, they say all the plants died and there was nothing left to sequester the CO2, then they say it must have been a strange world with no animals and only–wait for it–plants. ;>

  90. Looks to me like Yadong desperately needs more IPCC related grant funds. The troops have got to be paid if you want to save the planet from CO2. Sadly for Yadong, his fishing trip is likely to end with an empty stringer. Too bad he didn’t download the infamous Anthony Watt’s free World Climate Widget. Then Yadong might have seen the current reality storm coming.

    I see two obvious flaws in Yadong’s study. First the ‘Great Dying” that happened 250 million years ago coincides with the breakup of super-continent Pangaea, which is said to have released huge quantities of methane and nitrous oxide as well as some CO2. As GHG’s, methane and nitrous oxide are many times more powerful as GHGs than CO2 — 25X and 298X respectively. Maybe Yadong considered this? I don’t know. The AAAS paywall hides the answer, from me anyway.

    Second, I don’t think Yadong ever visited Texas in August. He’s talking about 120 degrees F. The Great Dying didn’t kill everything. Thirty percent of land creatures survived, and Great Dying’s survivors evolved into land vertebrates that eventually became human beings. So what’s his complaint?

    .

  91. I am unconvinced, firstly by the limited data source, and secondly by the assumptions regarding isotop/temp correlation. Add in the biological and physiological differences of animals back then (the conodonts) – which we know NOTHING about – I don’t suppose much soft tissue survived the fossilisation process (/sarc) so we don’t even know how they made their teeth!
    comparing any modern processes/animals, etc with fossils is a very ‘guessing’ game, which likely gets more and more erroneous the further back in time we go. just sayin….

  92. Plakat1 says
    Second, I don’t think Yadong ever visited Texas in August. He’s talking about 120 degrees F. The Great Dying didn’t kill everything. Thirty percent of land creatures survived, and Great Dying’s survivors evolved into land vertebrates that eventually became human beings. So what’s his complaint?

    Assuming he’s a watermelon, that is precisely his complaint.

    .

  93. “Jim Clarke says:
    October 19, 2012 at 8:50 am (Edit)
    In a few hours, readers here have literally eviscerated this paper! How does this stuff get published?”

    yes and most did that without even reading it. Kinda like people who said Mann’s book was great without reading it.

    Here is a clue. You can post anything with the word carbon on WUWT and people will scream no. without reading. without thinking. without being skeptical about their own skepticism.
    Most funny are the people who dont understand the word “Zone’

  94. Steven Mosher says:
    October 19, 2012 at 11:24 am
    “Jim Clarke says:
    October 19, 2012 at 8:50 am (Edit)
    In a few hours, readers here have literally eviscerated this paper! How does this stuff get published?”

    yes and most did that without even reading it. Kinda like people who said Mann’s book was great without reading it.

    Here is a clue. You can post anything with the word carbon on WUWT and people will scream no. without reading. without thinking. without being skeptical about their own skepticism.
    Most funny are the people who dont understand the word “Zone’

    Science, LiveScience, The Huffington Post, and assorted other publications forming the political publishing wing of a political movement are busily propagating this so-calledd study and trumpeting it as further proof of the Global Warming, AGW, and Climate Change mantra. They promote this study while not giving readers the easy access requiredd to read the study. You are in effect arguing that the proponents of the study must have every opportunity to promote public acceptance of the conclusions of this study while denying the opportunity to criticize and oppose support for the study’s conclusions so long as the study’s authors deny free access to reading the study. What you are suggesting is comparable to a referee at a boxing match demonstrating on one boxer all of the dirty tricks which the boxers must not use in the boxing match, leaving the abused boxer hanging on the ropes before the first bell is struck to begin the boxing match. No thanks. What little has been released by the authors to promote their study is enough to find critical failures before reading the full paper. Censorship of the critcism is inappropriate and not acceptable.

  95. Thanks, Mr. Paterson. Excellent point! (October 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm) I would only add that if the abstract and press release totally miss-characterize the actual paper, then our collective criticisms would be due for a revision. Otherwise, the criticisms are generally logical and rational given what the authors and their representatives have put out to the public.

    “You can post anything with the word carbon on WUWT and people will scream no. without reading. without thinking. without being skeptical about their own skepticism.”

    O the contrary, Steve! Most of the criticisms are very thoughtful and many quote the article itself, which is a difficult thing to do if one does not read it. There are some who have misunderstood something in the article. Those are generally corrected by their fellow skeptics. The criticisms are generally science based. Now compare that to the criticism NPR received for allowing Mr. Watts to appear on one of their shows. I think your description above is much more appropriate for those folks and not at all appropriate for the vast majority of WUWT responders.

  96. D. Patterson says:
    October 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm
    Science, LiveScience, The Huffington Post, and assorted other publications forming the political publishing wing of a political movement are busily propagating this so-calledd study and trumpeting it as further proof of the Global Warming, AGW, and Climate Change mantra. They promote this study while not giving readers the easy access requiredd to read the study.

    Thank you, this needed be said. We are being bombarded with such studies where hypothesis are being trumpeted as the one and only truth, like they found the holy grail.
    I wonder where from do they know that the 2 tons of rock do not come from one hot caldera?
    As the CO2 concentration during the Jurassic was higher the conclusions of the study are shown to be wrong.

    Steven Mosher says:
    October 19, 2012 at 11:24 am
    Here is a clue. You can post anything with the word carbon on WUWT and people will scream no. without reading. without thinking. without being skeptical about their own skepticism.
    Most funny are the people who dont understand the word “Zone’

    Here is a clue Steven: you can publish anything mentioning “global warming” and it will be accepted and trumpeted without any skeptical thinking. Most funny from people who should use skeptical thinking in their profession. This is why such studies deserve extra skeptical receptions.
    If you add to this what we have learned from climategate the level of skepticism with which such studies are received is even not enough.

  97. Steven Mosher says:
    October 19, 2012 at 11:24 am

    come on Steve, the subject matter of this paper has been twisted and stretched to breaking point, and presumably just create some link to CO2(?) for publishing weight!.
    FFS, palaeoclimate guys argue about ice core measurements and other ‘recent’ isotope proxy temperature derivations – how the flip can anyone stretch that out more than 250 times that? and come up with some actual numbers? from fossils?
    You may not be geologically savvy, but many of us are – and this is just too much of a leap. I’m not doubting temps may well have been hot, and perhaps over a decent sized tropical zone – but suggesting anything more than that is just fanciful IMHO (as a geologist).

  98. Steven Mosher says:
    October 19, 2012 at 11:24 am
    …………..
    yes and most did that without even reading it. Kinda like people who said Mann’s book was great without reading it.

    Please provide us with a copy. I’ll be darned if I’m going to put 1 cent into the pocket of an alarmist. By the way have you read the paper and if yes can you do a post here about it? Thanks in advance.

  99. Let us suppose that temperatures were 20 degrees or more warmer than today 250 million years ago. Let us also suppose that this rise of 20 degrees has apocalyptic effects. Let us also suppose that the climate models are correct, and that greenhouse gases unchecked will lead to temperature rises of 3 to 10 degrees. Does this mean that the catastrophic warming that science predicts will be catastrophically (but not apocalyptically) harmful for all living creatures?
    Maybe not. Let me introduce you to tintanoboa. Living 60 million years ago, at 48 feet (14.5m) long and weighing over a ton, it was by far the biggest ever snake. It could swallow a large crocodile, or a small cow. According to scientists, it could only survive due to much higher temperatures than today.

    Cold-blooded animals are likely to benefit from warmer temperatures.

  100. “This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.”

    So where do they actually prove this statement? Did they study how CO2 breakdown [b]caused[/b] the supposedly extreme temperatures?

    During that later Jurassic era CO2 was much higher in excess of 2000 ppmv. Why did not the world say broken? How is it that with all that life is full boom and lush vegetation, CO2 had not dropped to a “safe” level?

    But as long as you can get “broken world” , “Lethally hot” and ” greenhouse” in there, you can be sure that the “highly respected” Science Ragazine will publish it.

  101. “Steven Mosher says:
    October 19, 2012 at 11:24 am
    …………..
    Most funny are the people who dont understand the word “Zone’”

    Oh, Master Mosher, what is “Zone”?

    Definition of ZONE
    1
    a : any of five great divisions of the earth’s surface with respect to latitude and temperature — compare frigid zone, temperate zone, torrid zone
    b : a portion of the surface of a sphere included between two parallel planes
    2
    archaic : girdle, belt
    3
    a : an encircling anatomical structure
    b (1) : a subdivision of a biogeographic region that supports a similar fauna and flora throughout its extent (2) : such a zone dominated by a particular life form
    c : a distinctive belt, layer, or series of layers of earth materials (as rock)
    4
    : a region or area set off as distinct from surrounding or adjoining parts
    5
    : one of the sections of an area or territory created for a particular purpose: as
    a : a zoned section of a city
    b (1) : any of the eight concentric bands of territory centered on a given postal shipment point designated as a distance bracket for United States parcel post to which mail is charged at a single rate (2) : a distance within which the same fare is charged by a common carrier
    c : an area on a field of play
    d : a stretch of roadway or a space in which certain traffic regulations are in force
    6
    : zone defense
    7
    : a temporary state of heightened concentration experienced by a performing athlete that enables peak performance
    See zone defined for English-language learners »
    See zone defined for kids »
    Examples of ZONE

    Origin of ZONE
    Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin zona belt, zone, from Greek zōnē; akin to Lithuanian juosti to gird
    First Known Use: 15th century
    Related to ZONE
    Synonyms: belt, corridor, land, neck, part(s), tract, region
    [+]more
    Rhymes with ZONE
    blown, bone, clone, cone, crone, drone, flown, groan, grown, hone, known, loan, lone, moan, Mon, none, own, phone, pone, prone, Rhône, roan, Saône, scone, sone, stone, throne, tone
    2zone
    verb
    zonedzon·ing
    Definition of ZONE
    transitive verb
    1
    : to surround with a zone : encircle
    2
    : to arrange in or mark off into zones; specifically : to partition (a city, borough, or township) by ordinance into sections reserved for different purposes (as residence or business)
    — zon·er noun
    See zone defined for English-language learners »
    Examples of ZONE

    The town council voted to zone the area for industrial use.

    First Known Use of ZONE
    1782
    3zone
    adjective
    Definition of ZONE
    1
    : zonal 1
    2
    : of, relating to, or occurring in a zone defense
    First Known Use of ZONE
    1795
    zone
    noun \ˈzōn\ (Medical Dictionary)
    Medical Definition of ZONE
    1
    : an encircling anatomical structure
    2
    : a region or area set off as distinct

  102. ” “Global warming has long been linked to the end-Permian mass extinction …”

    No it hasn’t. Siberian Traps volcanism is a more usual suspect.

  103. I really hope that the lack of logic and poor scientific analysis in the press release is because it was written by an English major hired on by the university press office. I expect to be sorely disappointed when the paper becomes available.

  104. The Permian Extinction, happened later when temperatures fell by up to 8.0C and it was caused by the Siberian Traps volcanoes. A new study published recently shows this point.

    http://phys.org/news/2012-10-geochemical-analysis-chinese-permian-triassic-mass.html

    I favour a similar theory, which better explains the collapse of CO2 recycling.

    The Tethys Sea would have been a big swamp, similar to the Okavango today, although much larger. Tectonic changes results in draining of large parts of the swamp. Leaving behind dried out vegetation, perhaps hundreds of meters thick. We know what happens to these dried out swamps, from what happened in SE Asia in the late 1990s, they catch fire from lightning strikes. Producing dense palls of smoke covering large areas. These fires burn for decades , if not centuries, making it so dark that plants can not grow. CO2 levels rise to many times their previous level from both the fires and the lack of photosynthesis.

    The fires alone would raise temperatures substantially, although with a large albedo cooling from the smoke nearer to the equator and less toward the poles. So both much warmer and cooler, depending on proximity to the fires. But the extinction occurs because the smoke stops plants photosynthesizing.

  105. This press release was deliberately written to cause the casual reader to conclude that the “dead zone” refers to the equatorial regions of the earth that were just to darn hot for life. The main carrier of this misleading imagery is the graphic. The text of the release uses the term correctly, but within a narrative that is designed to cause readers to conflate the meaning to support the agenda. That’s how sophisticated propaganda works. The words say one thing, but the imagery that the words create is something all together different. BTW, PuffHo was leading with a story on this Press Release.

  106. Mmm gotta wonder about the carbon thing. After all the Carboniferous preceded the Permian and an awful lot of coal measures were laid down, sequestering a lot of carbon. Perhaps it would be prudent to consider how such a continental configuration might affect geostrophic currents. Also how much land was in the equatorial region and how much was in the north/south desert belts.

  107. Yes, it is interesting that in NSW, coals at the end of the Permian cease for about 5-10 million years after the Permian-Triassic extinction. There are lots of coal measures in the Permian, then a coal gap, and the coals that appear after the gap about 10 million years later appear to be from different organisms, and are not the same quality. The organisms that produced the Permian coals had presumably died out.

    There is a lot of work done on these coals, as there is a lot mining and production of these coals, and it supports the above view. Also, right after the P-T boundary, one often sees redbeds, indicative of hothouse conditions.

  108. BTW, for those who are not up on there paleogeography, during the end permian, south china was over a quarter of the way around the world, at the opposite side of the tethys, from pangea. Also most of the earths land mass was in the two belts that are always mostly desert. One probable explanation for the expansion of these deserts was global cooling.

  109. thingadonta says:
    October 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    The evidence seems to indicate the forests of Australia were devastated in an instant by the impact of at least one asteroid about 10 kilometers in size. Scientists examining oil exploration drilling cores from years earlier discovered evidence of the breccia, shocked quartz, and other indicators associated with asteroid impacts. A 125 mile wide crater was identified at the submarine drilling site. Other investigators also identified another impact site in Australia where an asteroid estimated to have been 5 kilometers in size made its impact. Other investigators identified Buckyballs and other markers in the Permian-Triassic extinction layers. These and other papers narrowed the time of the impact/s or extinction to about a 100,000 year time period. The gap in the coal bed in Australia is likely attributable to these major asteroid impact events.

    The totality of the permian-Triassic extinction event is likely to have been a combination of effects including, major asteroid impact events, orbital mechanics, formation of the supercontinent, the late Carboniferous ice age and glaciations, low sea level stands due to glaciations, the Siberian Traps vulcanism, acid rain and snow, hydrogen suphides, anoxic seawaters, and more. The siberian Traps vulcanism amy be linked to the asteroid impact/s and their effects upon the Earth’s mantle.

  110. As a geologist, I would say that this study – indeed the Permian extinction and the lead up and post-event play out – should be fertile ground for dozens or hundreds of Masters and Ph.D theses. Go for it, kiddies!

  111. DesertYote says:
    October 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm
    BTW, for those who are not up on there paleogeography, during the end permian, south china was over a quarter of the way around the world, at the opposite side of the tethys, from pangea. Also most of the earths land mass was in the two belts that are always mostly desert. One probable explanation for the expansion of these deserts was global cooling.

    During the Carboniferous the CO2 levels plummeted from thousands of ppm to the few hundred ppm seen during the present ice ag in which we live today. The continents were in the process of forming a new supercontinent of Pangea. Gondwana had moved astride the Antarctic circle and formed a gigantic ice cap much larger than we see today. This ammmmoth ice cap lowered the worlds sea levels, The lowered sea levels exposed vast extents of the continental shelves formerly harboring rich marine life communities in shallow waters. Their loss of habitat severely reduced their populations and biodiversity.

    Off the western shores of Laurentia there was an archipelago of mountainous islands which intercepted the moisture in the winds. The dried out air masses which proceeded eastward into laurentia promoted the development of vast deserts which waxed and waned in size through the permian and into the Triassic. These vast stretches of continental deserts contrasted with the lush coal-forming vegetation on the eastern shores of Laurentia aand the Paleo-Tethys Sea.

    It was during this Late Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic period that the low sea levels and formation of the Pangea supercontinent created the rare instance of the terrestrial land area approaching the same area of the Earth’s surface as the oceans. It also marked the time when the Pangea supercontinent extended all the way from the antarctic Circle to the Arctic Circle, restricting the circulation of oceanic currents.

  112. Yeah, right! I have Views on oxygen isotopes in fossil material as old as this.
    Any such work must first demonstrate that ALL the sampled beasties have remained closed systems every since they died.
    A New Zealand researcher made a simialr study made of Cretaceous belemnites a few moons back. Their tests had long recrystallised. What the researcher was seeing – but never realized at the time – was not the temperature of the original living environments but a mixed signature obtained from the rocks the fossils had been contained in throughout geologic time.
    There is a famous sequence of Permian evaporates in Germany that have a simailr issue: The Zechstein formation. Their present salt assemblages can only be produced from very high water temperatures. But what we are seeing are not the original precipitation assemblages but those of a post-deposition reconstitution at elevated temps.

  113. D. Patterson
    October 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Off the western shores of Laurentia there was an archipelago of mountainous islands which intercepted the moisture in the winds. The dried out air masses which proceeded eastward into laurentia promoted the development of vast deserts which waxed and waned in size through the permian and into the Triassic. These vast stretches of continental deserts contrasted with the lush coal-forming vegetation on the eastern shores of Laurentia aand the Paleo-Tethys Sea.

    ###

    Thanks for this information. I am familiar with the western Laurentian archipelago (I live in the western us) but had not thought to much on its affect on rain, nor have I read any papers talking about this (though its been about 15 years since I last did a serious review). It should have been obvious to me. The last theorizing I had read talked about the deserts expansion do to cooling cause by the Siberian Traps volcanism in addition to the unique geography of the permian.

    I found it interesting that the press release talked about the equatorial zone being hot and wet but too hot for life.

    I just noticed something, the dipnoid order Lepidosireniformes seems to have survived the extinction event living precisely in the region the graphic calls the “Dead Zone”.

  114. Here is a Zoom-in of the highest resolution Temperature and CO2 estimates covering the Permian Extinction event (for those interested in the actual data).

    What is not recognized is that the proxy evidence for Temperatures is that they fell considerably right at the event (251.4 Mya). It was hot before and after the Permian Extinction but not right at the event timeline. What is, however, right at the event, is the Siberian Traps basaltic flood event volcanoes (the largest volcanoes known about – large enough to cover the entire US in 1 km of magma).

  115. Just an engineer says:
    October 19, 2012 at 5:33 am
    Hate to have to point out the bleeding obvious, but there aren’t a lot of species living in Death Valley either!

    There are quite a few higher level animals including a snake- mostly limited by the lack of water. This study says no lack of water so what’s the problem.

  116. I was just thinking about what I said earlier about the survival of Lepidosireniformes. One factor could have been that this order evolved to deal with anoxic conditions.

  117. Dang, I forgot to mention that Lepidosireniformes are an order of lungfish. They originated in the early devonian and are still with us today.

  118. Bill Illis says:
    October 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm
    Here is a Zoom-in of the highest resolution Temperature and CO2 estimates covering the Permian Extinction event (for those interested in the actual data).

    What is not recognized is that the proxy evidence for Temperatures is that they fell considerably right at the event (251.4 Mya). It was hot before and after the Permian Extinction but not right at the event timeline. What is, however, right at the event, is the Siberian Traps basaltic flood event volcanoes (the largest volcanoes known about – large enough to cover the entire US in 1 km of magma).

    http://s17.postimage.org/5zpwzyvcv/Permian_Extinction.png

    The Siberian Traps vulcanism is suspected to be the consequence of one or more asteroid impacts.It is conjectured that the impact or impacts transmitted their force through the Earth’s interior and the forces were reflected and concentrated at points where the concussive waves crossed. The siberian Traps is suspected of being one of those points where the reflected concussions ruptured the continental plate on the other side of the Earth from where the impact took place.

    Like a horse race, there is a keen competition underway to identify the impact or impacts responsible for the ELE (Extinction Level Event/s). There are a number of contenders.

    One contender is an impactor that was 4.8 kilometers or 3 miles wide which produced a crater 75 miles or 120.7 kilometers in diameter underneath Australia.

    Another contender is the Bedout Crater 150 miles wide produced by a 9-10 kilometer sized asteroid impacting off the coast of Australia. Large enough to fit from the surface of the Earth to well above the Earth’s troposphere, it hadd the force sufficient to destroy most life on the Earth.

    Then you have the contender claiming to be the world’s largest asteroid impact. NASA researchers describe this monster as an Earth shattering asteroid 50 kilometers in size impacting Antarctica in the time of the Permian-Triassic extinction. They suggest the impact fractured the continental plates and the MASCON (mass concentration) caused the continent of Antarctica to rift away from Pangea and Gondwana.

    As if the Antarctic impactor wasn’t sufficiently large sizeed enough, other researchers identified an impact site stretching from a point off the western coast of Cameroon in West Africa, along a circular arc around North Africa, and down Eastern Africa and through the Rift Valley. They conjecturre this impact was large enough and powerful enough to causee the breakup of Pangea supercontinent. The MASCON (Mass Concentration) is described as causing the continental plates to slide away from the mass of the intruding asteroid in the Earth’s mantle.

    Complicating the search for the true culprit of the mass extinction/s is the possibility there were multiple impacts causing multiple subsidiary extinction events. It is not uncommon for asteroids and comeets to produce multiple impactors upon their approach to the Earth’s and Moon’s gravitational fields. Multiple impactors could have struck the Earth on the same day. Multiple impactors traveling along the same Solar orbital path could have struck the Earth at different times ranging from days to centuries apart.

    One thing is certain, however. Such impacts result in planetary wide destruction of most species of life on the Earth. The number of such events in the past 550 million years are limited. The geology further limits the dates these impact craters could have been formed. At the rate things are going now, we are beginning to see more impacts and impactors than we have mass extinction events to math up with them. This situation does not even account for the possibility of eveen more impact craters which still remain undiscovered from the Permian-Triassic extinction period.It may not be too early to conjecture whether or not there could have been multiple impacts responsible for the Permian-Triassic mass extinction event.

    In the face of so much evidence of impact craters at the time of the mass extinction, why would any credible scientist ignore their certain effects to pursue CO2 and Global Warming without an ELE impact event to explain it?

  119. It is largely meaningless to try to comment on this junk press release. To take just one sentence from it:

    “Sun and his colleagues collected data from 15,000 ancient conodonts (tiny teeth of extinct eel-like fishes) extracted from two tonnes of rocks from South China. Conodonts form a skeleton using oxygen.”

    1. Conodonts aren’t fish, they aren’t even vertebrates.
    2. Conodonts don’t have skeletons
    3. Conodonts don’t have teeth.

    Conodonts are a completely extinct group of animals, probably chordates, which did indeed superficially look something like eels. They didn’t have teeth, but they had “elements” that look somewhat tooth-like and probably had a similar function. Incidentally these almost certainly aren’t homologous to vertebrate teeth.
    And, yes, in principle oxygen isotopes from conodont elements can be used to determine the temperatures of the waters where they lived. But:
    – the elements must not have been diagenetically altered
    – the salinity of the water must be similar to modern conditions (or separately determined)
    – the oxygen isotope composition of the seawater must be similar to modern conditions (or separately determined)
    – there are unexplained inter- and intra-species differences in the composition of conodont elements from the same site.
    – there are differences within a single conodont element probably due to physiological factors
    – laboratory protocol is very important to get consistent results
    – since conodonts are extinct there is no way we can directly verify results

  120. Just an engineer says:
    October 19, 2012 at 5:33 am
    Hate to have to point out the bleeding obvious, but there aren’t a lot of species living in Death Valley either!

    “Death Valley’s great range of elevations and habitats support a variety of wildlife species, including 51 species of native mammals, 307 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, three species of amphibians, and five species and one subspecies of native fishes.”
    (http://www.nps.gov/deva/naturescience/animals.htm)

    That is a lot more species than in any boreal forest for example. The density of most species is low due to the scarcity of water, but the general rule that hot areas have more species than cold areas holds even in Death Valley.

  121. This paper made me think about what a marvelously ‘buffered state” the world is usually in.

    Should it get warmer right now the ‘habitable zone’ move northwards as the frozen ‘dead zones’ towards the poles warm up.

    But we are perhaps less buffered in the other direction: With the tropics being entirely habitable right now, any cooling will only reduce our ‘habitable zone’.

  122. D.Paterson,
    well whatever caused the conditions, it must have been a nasty place. If there we no plants to form coals, then there were no animals and insects feeding on those plants, and so on.

  123. “This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.”

    That is an odd claim since the Earth today is proof it wasn’t unchecked. Do they also have a theory for what stopped it? It seems to me that the really problem assuming they’re correct, is deforestation.

  124. Quite simply if carbon (CO2) was so powerful back then on global temperatures we would have seen it already over recent decades. The position of the continents and very warm circulation of ocean water around them was responsible for the general much higher temperatures back then. There were no land masses around the poles so no accumulation of ice could occur for long periods. Global albedo levels were much lower than today, mainly down to this different positioning of the continents. This type of warming could never happen today until land masses move from the poles. Hence, this would take many millions of years in future just for the continents to become favorable again.

  125. Matt G says:
    October 20, 2012 at 4:59 am
    Quite simply if carbon (CO2) was so powerful back then on global temperatures we would have seen it already over recent decades. The position of the continents and very warm circulation of ocean water around them was responsible for the general much higher temperatures back then. There were no land masses around the poles so no accumulation of ice could occur for long periods. Global albedo levels were much lower than today, mainly down to this different positioning of the continents. This type of warming could never happen today until land masses move from the poles. Hence, this would take many millions of years in future just for the continents to become favorable again.

    You didn’t state which time period you are commenting about other than to imply the Permian-Triassic extinction. In any event, you are mistaken. There was a mammoth ice cap and cold temperatures during the Late Carboniferous. Gondwana was very much astride the Sotuh Pole and Antarctic Circle, and it was very heavily glaciated.

    The Permian saw the The Siberian plate was approaching the North Pole and was entering the Arctic Circle at its northern extent. No Arctic ice cap had yet formed. During the Permian the Siberian continental plate moved closer to the North Pole and was somewhat intruding further into the Arctic Circle. Gondwana was still in the Antarctic Circle and moving northwards. The Antarctic icecap on Gondwana expanded far beyond the Antarctic Circle towards the southern tropics. Much of the Southern hemisphere was heavily glaciated.

    By the time of the Late Permian and the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, the Earth had warmed enough to lose the Antarctice ice cap, but Gondwana’s huge continental land mass was still astride the Antarctic Circle and the Sotuh Pole. At the same time the super continent stretched all the way from the South Pole and well into the Northern Hemisphere. The Siberian continental plate reqached further into the Arctic Circle with its northern most tip very close to the North Pole. A small ice cap formed on the northern end of the Siberian continental plate, even though the glaciation and ice cap on Gondwana had disappeared.

    The Triassic warming brought warm temperate climates to the Antarctic and Arctic Circles. The ice caps became a distant memory.Gondwana was still astride the Antarctic Circle. The continental landmasses stretched from the South Pole to the Arctic Circle and nearby the North Pole.

  126. jmotivator says:

    October 20, 2012 at 3:20 am
    “This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.”

    That is an odd claim since the Earth today is proof it wasn’t unchecked. Do they also have a theory for what stopped it? It seems to me that the really problem assuming they’re correct, is deforestation.

    Indeed. In South Africa there are extensive fossil beds wherein the fungi went rampant. It appears the forests were felled in a continental sizeed catastrophe, and the fungi spores feasted on the unprecedented banquet of rotting trees.

  127. Professor Lynn Rothschild discusses what extremophiles are, why they are important, and how they are applicable to the evolution of life, what else might be out there, and the future of life.

  128. “The Permian Extinction, happened later when temperatures fell by up to 8.0C and it was caused by the Siberian Traps volcanoes. A new study published recently shows this point.”

    …and the lack of sunlight caused vegetation to collapse, and the warm seas had boiled off gases such as CO2, O2, CH4, and so forth. The result being large gaps in the food chain and extinctions.

  129. tty
    October 20, 2012 at 12:42 am

    It is largely meaningless to try to comment on this junk press release. To take just one sentence from it:

    “Sun and his colleagues collected data from 15,000 ancient conodonts (tiny teeth of extinct eel-like fishes) extracted from two tonnes of rocks from South China. Conodonts form a skeleton using oxygen.”

    1. Conodonts aren’t fish, they aren’t even vertebrates.
    2. Conodonts don’t have skeletons
    3. Conodonts don’t have teeth.
    ###

    While I agree with the thrust of your comment, I would like to point out that condonta is generally place within vertebrata today, re: Janvier, P (1995) Conodonts Join the Club. Nature. Whether one calls them a fish is a matter of definition. Are hagfish fish? How about cephelachordata?

    Popular literature calling conodont oral elements “teeth” doesn’t bother me too much as its common enough, but it does indicate that the authors are ignorant or consider their audience to stupid to handle the distinction.

    I did find that line about skeletons using oxygen completely bizarre.

  130. D. Patterson says:
    October 20, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Sorry I did mean the entire period from the Permian right up to the Cretaceous. With regards to long periods of ice this represents durations more than 10 million years with likely not a single thaw at any time. (I should had stated this) Antarctica only skirted the South pole during this period with around 270 degrees away from the pole still ocean. Therefore in this situation it was still prone to thaws at times. Unlike today when a large land mass is centered over the pole like Antarctica and in this position I don’t ever see a thaw until the land mass moves away. Greenland today not far from the North pole is cut off from warm ocean currents, unlike large land masses most of the time during the Permian up to Cretaceous period. Therefore this was not referring to no ice caps and no cold temperatures for shorter durations.

  131. Conodonts are very important because they are one of very few creatures that were seemingly oblivious to the extinction devastating everything else. It has been suggested that their resilience resulted from their lack of calcerous parts. They survived the extreme seesaw of 13C excursions (which likely are far more diagnostic of the lack of recovery than temperature) in the early Triassic as well, but died out mysteriously (and unfortunately) during relatively tame times in the Late Triassic.

  132. John Silver says:
    October 19, 2012 at 6:03 am

    There are places in the Atacama desert today that doesn’t even have bacteria.
    How does this zone differs from the desert zone of today, Sahara, Arabian Desert and so on?

    I seem to recall that the Atacam desert is very, very dry. I suggest that it is the lack of moisture rather than the heat which results in extremely low levels of biodiversity in the Atacama desert. If it is dryness, then the Atacama would be a poor anology to the situation being described in the paper.

  133. There are many useful posts in this string that raise thoughtful issues about the paper.
    My preliminary view is that the authors are addressing an important issue but that they may well have over-generalised from a very limited sample and that further work needs to be done.

    None of the posters appear to have actually read the paper, which means that there is necessarily a bit of guesswork involved. Nevertheless, the guesswork is often well-informed.

    OTOH, analysis demonstrates that the following posts do not add lustre to the string:

    omnologos says: October 19, 2012 at 4:12 am
    ‘Does anybody remember when Asteroids where the culprits du-jour and the Permian extinction plus lack of new species blamed on them?’
    Comment: The issues raised in the paper are not a memory test. But try looking downstring: asteroids are alive and kicking as explanations.

    jgmccabe says: October 19, 2012 at 4:16 am
    ‘Seems like a rather bizarre claim! Do they have proof, or is this just wishful thinking?’
    Comment: ‘Seems like…’has no definitive scientific meaning. There is no evidence for the charge of ‘wishful thinking’, whatever that means, scientifically.
    Scuzza Man (@ScuzzaMan) says:
    October 19, 2012 at 4:17 am
    This is ridiculous. That 50 to 60 degrees might be uninhabitable for most mamals, doesn’t mean we should be afraid of the sunrise…
    Comment: ‘Ridiculous’ has no scientific meaning. It does have emotional content but this is a scientific blog. Being, ‘afraid of the sunrise…’ has no scientific meaning. OTOH, Freudians could probably make a meal out of it.

    Brian H says:
    October 19, 2012 at 4:31 am
    Nothing but ferns and shrubs on land? How did they survive? And why didn’t they proliferate and “take over”? I suspect logic leaps and lapses.

    Comment: ‘Suspicion’ is used in the context of paranoia. Perhaps you mean ‘sceptical’?

    R Taylor says: October 19, 2012 at 4:45 am
    “levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase”
    —————————————————————
    And pain causes tumors, so we can treat cancer with aspirin. We can only pray that the curative magic of aspirin has no plateau at a relatively low level.

    Comment: Analogy is a weak form of logic, particularly in scientific discussion. A false analogy, such as this, merely misleads.

    TimTheToolMan says: October 19, 2012 at 4:53 am
    I’d love to see the paper. My first instinct is to think…
    Comment: Suggest you check the scientific definition of instinctive behaviour. You probably mean my first learned behaviour is to think…

    Paul Coppin says: October 19, 2012 at 4:56 am
    New science PhD degrees have apparently joined their colleagues over in Sociology as being nothing more than a bad joke at public expense. Redefining “dumb” (PhDs from the 80s through 2000s) and “dumber” (graduate students of those foementioned PhDs). A complete collapse of western rational education.

    Comments: You have not read the PhD dissertations. On the basis of this comprehensive ignorance you call the degrees a ‘bad joke’ and declare that there is, ‘A complete collapse in western rational education.’ Your post does go some way to demonstrating that western rational education is imerfect.

    higley7 says: October 19, 2012 at 5:26 am
    “Please, sir, can we have more funding?”
    Comment: This is not a scientific comment. It is personal attack.

    Pamela Gray says: October 19, 2012 at 5:57 am
    It concerns me that Ph.D.’s were awarded.
    Comment: Absence of information is not a sound basis for concern about specific issues. It is a basis for concern about the absence of information.

    Just an engineer says: October 19, 2012 at 5:33 am
    Hate to have to point out the bleeding obvious, but there aren’t a lot of species living in Death Valley either!
    Comments: What has ‘hate’ got to do scientific comment? What does ‘bleedin’ mean in scientific terms? Putting aside the unscientific language, the claim is incorrect.

    Tom Murphy says: October 19, 2012 at 6:08 am
    Anyone who is in the know on this issue accepts that it was aliens …sarc
    Comment: Sarcasm may be drama but it is not science.

    cui bono says: October 19, 2012 at 6:45 am
    Well done Anthony. The script for Al Gore’s next science fiction movie is already written.
    Comment: Sarcasm may be drama but it is not scientific.

    D. Patterson says: October 19, 2012 at 6:51 am
    It is interesting to see how they blame the extinction on “Global Warming” and not on one or more major impactors such as the 10 kilometer diameter asteroid that created the 125 mile wide Bedout Crater off the coast of Australia. Does anything smell half baked in this paper?
    Comments: Suggest you discuss the asteroids theory with the person who raised it, upstring. ‘…smell half baked’ is not a scientific term.

    Jim Clarke says: October 19, 2012 at 7:26 am
    Assuming that the alleged heat of 250 million years ago was caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 doesn’t seem to make any sense at all! What could have possibly led them to that conclusion against all the available evidence? Could it be…FUNDING? /sarc off/
    Comment: Sarcasm and an ad hominem attack are not scientific.

    Tim Walker says: October 19, 2012 at 7:28 am
    Good job gentlemen and how many million do you say you need for a follow up study?
    Comment: Sarcasm and an ad hominem attack are not scientific.

    Henry Clark says: October 19, 2012 at 7:40 am
    …“First study” = contradictory to every other study, to every study made before the era of politicized “science”? The author quoted at the end does a poor job of even pretending to be unbiased, giving no reason to assume honesty is more likely than dishonesty….
    Comment: Ad hominem attacks abound here – unscientific.

    Jim Clarke says: October 19, 2012 at 8:50 am
    It appears that climate science is now completely run by the Joseph Goebbels Foundation.
    Comments: Reductio ad Goebbels is not scientific. It is a vicious ad hominem attack of the worst sort. It defiles the memory of the Holocaust.

  134. Conodonts are very important because they are one of very few creatures that were seemingly oblivious to the extinction that devastated everything else. It has been suggested that their resilience resulted from their lack of calcerous parts. They survived the extreme seesaw of 13C excursions in the early Triassic which likely are far more diagnostic of the lack of recovery than temperature. I believe these swings represent biological demand for 12C which underwent a crecendo of fluctuations indicating recovery and subsequent extinction in the early Triassic before settling down. Conodonts died out mysteriously (and unfortunately) during relatively tame times in the Late Triassic.

    http://wp.me/p1uHC3-5c

  135. 18O incorporation is indeed temperature dependent and is the best proxy for temperature we have. However, it is also selected against in biological processes for the same reason that the heavy isotope 13C is. During extreme extinction events it is likely that the lighter isotopes were far more abundant and that biological selection would weigh against the temperature signal.

  136. I should have said weigh ON the temperature signal. High temperatures=low 18O incorporation. Abundant 16O preferentially incorporated would skew the temperature signal to appear hotter than it really was.

  137. An interesting piece of experimental research, with useful new proxy data from fish teeth. However it has been shamelessly hi-jacked for AGW alarmism.

    This broken world scenario was caused by a breakdown in global carbon cycling. In normal circumstances, plants help regulate temperature by absorbing Co2 and burying it as dead plant matter. Without plants, levels of Co2 can rise unchecked, which causes temperatures to increase.

    No. Plants help regulate temperature by sustaining the hydrological cycle over land and thus maintaining water vapour and clouds over land. This is the way that tree evolution during the Silurian and Carboniferous brought down global temperatures ( Beerling and Berner 2005 ). The evolution and growth in size of trees, increased plant biomass and the transpiration stream, causing wetter and cooler weather over land. CO2, as always, is a responsive and following indicator, not a driver.

  138. At the start the Earth was a paradise then the co2 levels rose and it all went wrong because of this which is typical thinking from British geologists who make no secret of their politics on the present AGW scare even in this paper.We don’t see the large temperature sensitivity to co2 , they use to generate huge temperature rises in past extinctions, in Earths climate today.I don’t think anyone knows what caused the permian mass extinction apart from todays co2/climate change advocates , they just know that co2 causes a large rise in global temperature without proof, and this enables these people to say that the global temperature today could never fall but only rise because of increases in co2.How long would world temperatures have to not follow the catastrophic rises they predict before they admit that they are wrong.

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