Climate Change and the Biodiversity Crisis

by Dr. Craig Loehle, NCASI Naperville, IL

The climate change “biodiversity crisis” is like a whack-a-mole game (a carnival game where plastic animals pop out of holes and you try to whack them with a mallet), with an almost-daily claim popping up about this species or that at risk from climate change. Not just polar bears and coral reefs, but even avocados are going to disappear! Whacking each silly claim one by one is an impossible task, and the claims get into public consciousness whereas the refutations do not.

I like to unpack the assumptions in any study, and doing so in the case of claims made about biodiversity endangerment have led me to conclude that there are a few simple flaws common to most of these studies that entirely determine their outcomes:

1) They almost always pick the most extreme model and scenario for evaluating impacts of climate change.

2) They oversimplify the environment in their model or analysis.

3) The assumption is made that species’ environmental tolerance is equal to the place where it is currently found, and any change will be fatal.

I have documented assumption 1 (Loehle 2011). If we note that even the cooler model/scenario combinations are running hotter than the data (see many WUWT posts), it is easy to see that an extreme choice can lead to temperatures by 2100 of up to 8°C above current. Such a warm up would indeed cause problems, but is not even remotely probable.

Assumption 2 is used when a study tries to be mechanistic but models the landscape at too coarse a scale or with only a single soil type. This can lead to adverse forecasts for species whereas persistence on the landscape is likely with more refined models that incorporate spatial heterogeneity (see citations in Loehle 2011).

Assumption 3, however, is the most critical and worst assumption. An analysis begins with a map of a species’ current range. For this region, the climate is characterized and it is assumed that this climate is what limits the species. But this assumption is not true. While plants may be limited by cold at the cold end of their ranges, they are very tolerant of warmer temperatures, as I show in my new paper (Loehle 2014, http://www.ncasi.org/Downloads/Download.ashx?id=9268). As an example, Figure 1 below shows that a typical “Canadian” tree can be found growing in botanical gardens in the South. In my paper I also document that virtually every Canadian tree species can be found in botanical gardens in Australia.

Figure 1. Example range of a boreal species (Abies balsamea) compared to locations where it is found in botanical gardens. Abies in Virginia and West Virginia (small gray circles) are located at higher elevations.

image

Because plants can tolerate warmer temperatures, what limits their southern (warm) range margin? I have argued (Loehle 1998) that it is competition; more southern trees have an inherently faster growth rate but less frost tolerance. If it warms, one should expect a slow invasion process that could take hundreds or thousands of years in the case of trees (Loehle 2003; Loehle and LeBlanc 1996). In the above references I cite dozens of papers supporting this point of view, and other arguments against a coming mass extinction can be found in Botkin et al. (2007).

But how is whack-a-mole played? Not by these rules. As early as 1989, Davis (1989), among many others, posited that plants would not be able to migrate fast enough to keep up with rapid climate change. She showed a map similar to my Figure 2 here. The old range and the new range after climate change only have a small region of overlap, and invasion (red border) is assumed to be too slow to occupy all of the new range. It is implicitly assumed that the species will die out in the old zone. If the surviving zone area plus the invasion zone are small, it is assumed that the risk of extinction goes up. If the old and new ranges don’t overlap, it is assumed that extinction is certain.

Figure 2. Assumption underlying extinction risk claims is that species bioclimate zones will shift in the next few decades. In the cross-hatched zone, the species will perish. If there is no overlap, extinction will occur.

image

The problem with the hundreds (thousands?) of papers that use the static approach is that the evidence is squarely against their underlying assumptions. While many papers have documented species being found north of where they used to be found (a sign of adaptation), the extinction risk results from dieback (loss) from the species’ old range (hatched area, Fig. 2). Almost no evidence for such dieback or loss can be found. Hundreds of experiments show that rising CO2 and warmer temperatures increase plant growth (see Craig Idso’s excellent site http://www.co2science.org). Most birds and mammals in the eastern US range from Florida to the Great Lakes; i.e., they have a wide temperature tolerance.

The whole enterprise of estimating extinction risk due to climate change is underpinned by a static and fragile view of nature. The assumptions underlying these analyses can be tested (and are false), but the “extinction risk” industry has no interest in examining them. Combining the choice of high-end warming scenarios with fragile models of species responses to warming leads to alarming claims like 50% of all species are endangered by climate change. These claims have no basis in reality. Species are at far more risk from other human activities, such as subsistence hunting.

Reprints of articles available. Email me at craigloehl at aol dotcom.

Literature Cited

Botkin, D.B., H. Saxe, M.B. Araújo, R. Betts, R. Bradshaw, T. Cedhagen, P. Chesson, M.B. Davis, T. Dawson, J. Etterson, D.P. Faith, S. Ferrier, A. Guisan, A.S. Hansen, D. Hilbert, P. Kareiva, C. Loehle, C. Margules, M. New, F. Skov, M.J. Sobel, D. Stockwell, and H.-C. Svenning. 2007. Forecasting effects of global warming on biodiversity. Bioscience 57:227-236.

Davis, M.B. 1989. Lags in vegetation response to greenhouse warming. Climatic Change 15:75-82.

Loehle, C. 1998. Height growth rate tradeoffs determine northern and southern range limits for trees. Journal of Biogeography 25:735-742.

Loehle, C. 2003. Competitive Displacement of Trees in Response to Climate Change or Introduction of Exotics. Environmental Management 32:106-115.

Loehle, C. 2011. Criteria for assessing climate change impacts on ecosystems. Ecology and Evolution doi:10.1002/ece3.7.

Loehle, C. 2014. Climate change unlikely to cause a biodiversity crisis: Evidence from northern latitude tree responses to warming. Energy and Environment 25:147-153.

Loehle, C. and D.C. LeBlanc. 1996. Model-based assessments of climate change effects on forests: A critical review. Ecological Modelling 90:1-31.

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158 thoughts on “Climate Change and the Biodiversity Crisis

  1. I see this as a terribly weak area of science. It is much like the “more crime because of global warming” science. There are dozens of more important factors impacting issue X than Climate Change which is is but a very small player. If we assume all else is equal, then yes climate change may have an impact in a very long time…. we will just ignore all the other far more important factors, like say socio-economic impacts on crime rate.

  2. Biodiversity alarmists are either creationists, or indistinguishable from them. No offense intended, I am all for a freedom of religion. But don’t call it science.

  3. One extinction risk I’ve heard rumors of is the destruction of our Whooping Crane population by wind turbines.. You’d think the Audobon Society would have an interest in this.

  4. The scary part of this is the number of people who are convinced human extinction is inevitable because of climate change. That meme can best be described as psychotic paranoid delusion but it is a mainstream idea. Thanks for your efforts in exposing this mental illness.

  5. Thanks for this essay. Very good.

    Plants and animals can move quite fast and we were taught in university (way back when the earth’s crust was still warm ☺) that warmer = more diversity. Just look at the numbers of species in the tropical and temperate zones compared to the more northerly (and higher) regions.

    I live in Alberta, but been in Arizona for a few weeks. It amazes me how well-adapted species are. Gosh we have many of the bird species at home as live here (year round and in winter.) Species tolerance for a wide range of temperature is remarkable.

    Craig, you will find this amusing … or pathetically sad. Recently I had the misfortune to meet with three fanatical climate alarmist professors from the University of Lethbridge. It was a disgraceful display of ignorance and “head in the sand” … I digress. We talked about change and shifting pops, and one of the profs said with utter conviction, “Did you know there are now American robin sightings in the Arctic?” As if this was some radical deviation and caused by climate change. What an ass and disgrace to academia. (I could spit icicles!) Robins have bred above the Arctic circle for decades if not literally “forever” … since species adapted and moved north after the ice sheets receded 10K years back. I later emailed him a robin breeding-range map from my 1960s “Birds of Canada” book…..yup, well up into the “arctic” and above the circle.

    He and his gang of climate thugs don’t believe in historical facts. These incompetent university profs are a disgrace and they teach lies to students…and I get to pay their salaries through taxes. Bah. ☺

    Thanks again for your article. Good review.

    CAS

  6. Like the social sciences, biology is irreparably corrupted, more of a springboard for Malthusian ideas, especially that humans are bad and have to be “cut back”. Thank the Ehrlichs and Holdrens for this. In the social sciences, good people are responsible for those being bad, poor, ill, badly nourished and poorly educated. Those who are addicted to cocaine made “mistakes” (the old meaning where you intended something else and wound up having made a mistake or miscalculation) a word that makes what they do innocent – the good peoples’ fault. Economics still holds its own at least in so far as it has a range of schools of thought, but it has been badly abused like biology for pushing ‘sinistral’ objectives. I tell you there has to be a reckoning and overhaul to the roots from grade school to higher education and across the spectrum. Maybe the Chinese will wake us up as they rapidly take over production of real science.

  7. @arthur4563 -
    Not merely a risk – in ten years something like 120 of 220 surviving whooping cranes have been killed by wind turbines.

    Another example of how green is dirtier than fossil fuels – and of the criminal stupidity of renewable energy mandates, and of their advocates and their tools in the EPA.

  8. Harvesting limits rarely consider oscillations. They should. Trout limits are notorious for this oversight. Same for elk, mushrooms, and huckleberries. Harvest during down cycles should be attenuated. This is a much greater issue than AGW climate change related extinctions and is entirely related to normal cycles.

  9. Curious George says:

    March 16, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Biodiversity alarmists are either creationists, or indistinguishable from them. No offense intended, I am all for a freedom of religion. But don’t call it science.
    ===========

    This truly nonsensical. What is your evidence?

  10. So some think
    there is absolutely no problem with “invasive species” from tropics or arctic into mid-latitudes
    and never would anything from mid-latitudes survive in Hawaii?

    I suspect if a person smokes the right stuff and has that “new time eco-religion”
    then it all makes (non)-sense
    ……. or is in “the pursuit of money”.

  11. Farmers, gardeners, cell-biologists and highway-maintenance crews, all know that when you really, really really wish to exterminate some life-form that is interfering with your job and making life difficult, it can be hellishly difficult.

    Life in general is tenacious, and wasn’t born yesterday.

  12. According to the globe and mail, the salmon stocks this coming season are predicted to be the highest ever due to perfect Pacific Ocean conditions for the species. I don’t know how to link on this device but google it for more information. No doubt this is a result of climate change

  13. “Because plants can tolerate warmer temperatures, what limits their southern (warm) range margin? I have argued (Loehle 1998) that it is competition; more southern trees have an inherently faster growth rate but less frost tolerance. If it warms, one should expect a slow invasion process that could take hundreds or thousands of years in the case of trees (Loehle 2003; Loehle and LeBlanc 1996).”

    A good example that disproves the wrong thInking that plants must not be able to tolerate warmer temps than found in their current habitation zones is the subalpine fir (abies lasiocarpa) I have growing in my yard in northeast Washington. Consistent with its name, this tree species grows at the highest (thus coldest) altitudes of any trees in the northwest US and Canada. I transplanted my tree from 5500′ to 2000′ elevation, placing it adjacent to a southwest facing wall of my house. Since transplanting 5 years ago it has grown from 3.5′ to 7′ tall. Before transplanting, it was growing 3-4″ per year, but now grows 10-12″ per year, and no, I have not fertilized it. I imagine it benefits from the longer growing season in my yard.

    Since temps in my yard have reached 105 degrees F. multiple times, it is evident intolerance to heat is not what restricts this tree species to the high mountains. High tolerance for cold that allows it to outcompete other trees in the mountains does not mean intolerance for lowland heat.

  14. Curious George says:
    March 16, 2014 at 11:02 am
    Biodiversity alarmists are either creationists, or indistinguishable from them. No offense intended, I am all for a freedom of religion. But don’t call it science.
    _______________________________________

    Because creationists believe 1. all life was created with inherent variability and
    2. the world was created to NOT be susceptible to runaway climate feedback,
    we are generally not part of the biodiversity alarmist crowd.

    SR

  15. 4 billion a year climate budget buys a lot of noise among which is a lot of Ecopsychology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecopsychology

    . “Theodore Roszak is credited with coining the term in his 1992 book, The Voice of the Earth. He later expanded the idea in the 1995 anthology Ecopsychology with co-editors Mary Gomes and Allen Kanner…..

    …..Other names used to refer to ecopsychology include, Gaia psychology,[3] psychoecology, ecotherapy, environmental psychology, green psychology, global therapy, green therapy, Earth-centered therapy, reearthing, nature-based psychotherapy, shamanic counselling, ecosophy [4] and sylvan therapy.

    Ecopsychologists have begun detecting unspoken grief within individuals, an escalation of pain and despair, felt in response to widespread environmental destruction. ”

    in other words the munch screamers who fail darwins test of adaptability who in constant mourning are frozen in some private hell. .

  16. searching ‘ecopsychology and climate change’ comes up with some interesting papers that reveals the ‘behind the scenes’ working of the climate change propaganda machine.
    e.g

    Loss and Climate Change: The Cost of Parallel Narratives

    To cite this article:
    Rosemary Randall. Ecopsychology. September 2009, 1(3): 118-129. doi:10.1089/eco.2009.0034.

    http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/eco.2009.0034

    “The past 5 years have seen increased sophistication in the ways that climate change is presented to the public. In the United Kingdom the work of sustainability consultancy Futerra (www.futerra.co.uk) and the charity COIN (Climate Outreach Information Network http://www.coinet.org.uk) have been influential in persuading both activists and government to adopt techniques from social marketing, to examine their image and communication style and to match their message to the concerns and aspirations of their audiences. Despite this, news from the frontline suggests that many of the public nonetheless respond with indifference, apathy, or cynicism and that increased awareness of climate change does not necessarily translate into appropriate concern and action. See for example the UK government’s 2008 report “A framework for pro-environmental behaviours” (Defra, 2008) or the UK Department of Transport’s 2009 report “Exploring public attitudes to climate change and travel choices: deliberative research”

    Can a deeper psychological understanding help us in this dilemma? Renee Lertzman’s research reported in The Ecologist (Lertzman, 2008) alerts us to the role anxiety can play in an apparently apathetic response. In this article, I suggest that a more sophisticated understanding of the processes of loss and grief, based on psychotherapeutic practice, might also be useful. This suggestion comes from my work with “Carbon Conversations” (Randall, 2009 and http://www.carbonconversations.org), a model of small support groups, developed in the United Kingdom, whose goal is to achieve major, personal carbon reductions. The groups’ success stems from their emphasis on the emotional significance of making deep changes: of the pain, loss, and grief that may be involved, of threats to identity and status, and of the importance of people coming to feel ownership and find their own way to the changes that we all need to make.”

    so if something cuddly is ‘under threat’ from climate change then deniers are the ‘panda killers’ or ‘seal clubbers’ of the co2 ‘debate’?

  17. Where I live in southwestern Arizona, obviously a desert environment, there are many cases of both long and short needle pines growing in a yard next to a yard growing palm trees. Neither require fertilizer or watering to survive above a certain age. The water table is fairly high near the Colorado River and as soon as the roots reach the water its get out of the way. In fact, there are dozens of species supposedly belonging in other climate zones that do quite well here, some of them as invasive species.

  18. According to some researchers we’re already in the middle of the worst mass extinction the world has ever seen (caused by humans, of course). How bad is it? According to the Wikipedia “Holocene Extinction” article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction we could be losing as many as 140,000 species a year.

    Now with this many species going extinct you would think that someone would be able to put a name to at least a few of them. But no one can. Why not? Because these species are unknown to science. We never identified them. We don’t notice they’re going extinct because we never knew they were there to begin with.

  19. Roger Andrews: about mass extinction–hard to tell if you are being ironic, but the vast majority of the “extinctions” are hypothetical, not documented. See the Botkin et al paper I cite in my post.
    I thank several posters for pointing out how trees and other plants can grow so far out of their native range. I would add that at the U. of Washington campus in Seattle there were palm trees and subalpine fir growing next to each other on the campus (of course freed from competition).

  20. Thank you, Dr. Loehle. I’ve been working around the edges of this for years, but never had a well thought out and easy to state and demonstrate version. Nor could I provide convincing examples.

  21. Well, the latest migration of the Buckeye into Michigan didn’t turn out so well. Maybe next fall?

    But seriously, if it wasn’t so sad and if the political/policy implications weren’t so serious it would be humorous to watch the wacko’s go “environmental” over any change in any little thing to which they are accustomed.
    Are they opposed to things like antibiotics? The effective and economical disinfection of drinking water? Methods to eliminate and/or keep disease bearing animals and insects away from people?
    Sadly, in too many cases those who would say “no” read something about Man “changing” something and then vote for those who’s policies would answer “yes”.

  22. Thank you Dr. Loehle for an article that brings the “Green Brigade” into the CAGW picture too.

    Usually here –on this blog – we get preoccupied with CO2 and its evil ways of bringing about Catastrophic Global Warming (CGW) – or- on the other and opposite hand, how it, CO2, is not capable of warming anything at all.
    We, or at least I do, tend to forget the great mass of “Greenies” who delight in telling us that the hot air we are creating is killing off their pet animals and favorite ‘cut flowers’.
    They themselves, of course, have no benefits from the “Burning Of Fossil Fuels” (BOFF)-

    They walk everywhere, never have any use for a hospital or a fire station – oh and never use the internet, of course, listen to the radio, watch TV or – - – and here comes the good one: They totally lack “modern education” (This seems to me to be evident)

    And then we have Curious George who says on March 16, 2014 at 11:02 am
    “Biodiversity alarmists are either creationists, or indistinguishable from them. No offense intended, I am all for a freedom of religion. But don’t call it science.”
    = = = = = = = = = =
    Well, Curious George, I am a “creationist” as I “believe” that some/anything has got to be created before it can start to “develop”. The unfortunate thing, of course, is that we just do NOT KNOW either way – chicken, egg – egg, chicken?

  23. alarming claims like 50% of all species are endangered by….a one degree change in temperature and almost all of that at night
    You can only get the rest by cooling the past…and lying

  24. Thanks for all replies. What I meant to say is that biodiversity alarmists don’t seriously consider adaptability. As adaptability is central in Darwin’s theory, I conclude that they don’t believe in it. There are undoubtedly many creationists who believe in adaptability, and I was not referring to them. Instead of “creationists” I should have said “non-believers in evolution”. Again, no offense intended. For example, in complexity theory, anybody may or may not believe that P = NP.

  25. Curious George says:
    March 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm
    ==================================================================
    Understood.
    That’s the problem with “labels”. Sometimes they don’t stick. But your point,

    What I meant to say is that biodiversity alarmists don’t seriously consider adaptability. As adaptability is central in Darwin’s theory, I conclude that they don’t believe in it.

    ,
    is valid. The “alarmist” seem to think that Man is greater than “Mother Nature”. (No matter Who her “Dad’ was.)

  26. Loehle’s blog post, above, is interesting but not robust.

    The chief argument is that we don’t have to worry about the impact of climate change on biodiversity because actual and potential range (and, implicitly, species’ survival) is determined by only two variables: temperature and competition. Loehle addresses the issue of competition elsewhere. I agree that competition is a factor in species’ survival and extinction. I assume that Loehle includes Homo sapiens with the ‘competition’!

    In this blog post Loehle briefly examines temperature. He ignores the cascading and inter-connected impacts of climate change on the distribution of predators, pathogens, disease vectors, precipitation and hydrology. (Studies of the distribution and intensity of malarial and dengue outbreaks, for example, should provide some insights as to why temperature and competition are not the only significant factors in species’ range and hence in species’ survival or extinction.)

    Most oddly, Leohle’s blog post ignores changes to ocean chemistry altogether.

    No biologist, except perhaps for creationist biologists, disputes that all species will attempt to adapt to change. To deny this is, therefore, to erect a straw man. Two major issues determine successful adaption: sufficient time and the size of the gene pool. (Of course, there are others.) In his blog post, Loehle ignores these factors altogether. Loehle’s implicit assumption is that the current suite of species will have time to adapt and that all species will have the necessary gene pool.

    Finally, Loehle examines the issue of mass extinction as if in a vacuum. But human impacts are growing in extent and intensity. The rate of change of human impacts is also changing. Thousands of species are listed as endangered or vulnerable. Uncounted species are undergoing a process of having their existing range and existing gene pool seriously reduced now. Additionally, the increasing intensity and extent of the built environment has, and will continue to, hamper dispersion.

    It is a pity that in his apparent eagerness to slam others, Loehle has adopted precisely the techniques that he criticises them for: ignoring significant relevant issues (such as changes to ocean chemistry),using false or untested assumptions (only two factors – temperature and competition are relevant; rate of change of climate and hence of edaphic factor is irrelevant), and the use of gross over-simplification (ignoring concurrent human impacts on species’ gene pool and range).

  27. ‘ conscious1 says:
    March 16, 2014 at 11:10 am

    The scary part of this is the number of people who are convinced human extinction is inevitable because of climate change. ‘

    I don’t know of a single person who believes that. Do you have a source for this?

  28. There will be no need to adapt if we just go with a massive biomass program. Yes ethanol is only the beginning.

    There will be no forests left in the USA after Drax and other coal based friends have had their way with them. Now that should lower biodiversity. Indeed – in the IPCC reports, biodiversity takes a hit with some ‘biomass’ scenarios.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2581887/The-bonfire-insanity-Woodland-shipped-3-800-miles-burned-Drax-power-station-It-belches-CO2-coal-huge-cost-YOU-pay-cleaner-greener-Britain.html

  29. ‘Gunga Din says:
    March 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Well, the latest migration of the Buckeye into Michigan didn’t turn out so well. Maybe next fall?’

    There is a large literature on observed and predicted changes in species’ phenology, including in relation ot migration times. There are (at least) five reasonable conclusions thus far:

    (1) Significant changes to phenology* amongst thousands of species are occurring in less than a century in response to a global change of less than one degree (and other associated climated variables).

    (2) Some of these changes are beneficial in terms of the human food resource.

    (3) Some of these changes are not beneficial in terms of the increased range of human diseases.

    (4) The scale is global.

    (5) The rate of phenological change is, by geological standards, rapid.

    Naturally, ecology being a complex beast, the known unknowns and unknown unknowns predominate. In other words the human race is experimenting with a mass extinction event.

    *Most biologists would agree that behavioural changes are amongst the first and easiest adaptive changes that many species can, and do, take in response to environmental changes.

  30. Climateace: the fact that thousands of species are listed as threatened only means that we believe them to be threatened.
    I did say that species are more in danger from other human activities (last line of the post). Your citation of malaria as an example of a climate impact is “not robust” since malaria used to be widespread across Siberia, for example. It is not even a tropical disease. It was wiped out due to people getting windows in their homes and no longer having rain barrels outside their doors.
    I did not assert that “all species will have the necessary gene pool” for adaptation. I was specifically arguing that MOST species have sufficient tolerance of warming, and in particular I was using trees as my example. I am countering the talking point that 50% or 70% or whatever of species are threatened by climate change (see my paper for citations for these high figures). If the lower sensitivity and pause correctly indicate less than 2 degrees of warming by 2100, then very very few species will be threatened indeed.
    You are so ready to be appalled by anyone who says the sky is not falling that you did not read what I wrote very carefully.

  31. climateace – I assume that you are familiar with the work of Prof. Camille Parmesan. It has been analyzed in http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/06/fabricating-climate-doom-part-2-hijacking-conservation-success-in-the-uk-to-build-consensus/. Apparently it focuses narrowly on climate change and ignores everything else – indeed, that seems to be Dr. Parmesan’s stated methodology. It has been referenced more than 3500 times. Maybe you don’t consider her to be a biologist..

  32. Alice and I just returned from a Lindblad/National Geographic Antarctic “expedition” with James Balog (Chasing Ice) as a travel companion (he was also placing more glacier-observation cameras, courtesy of Lindblad). As you may imagine, it was all human-caused global warming all the time, but we got an interesting insight on animal adaptation on South Georgia Island. Reindeer introduced by Norwegian whalers over 100 years ago had just been exterminated in a program to remove all introduced species from South Georgia islands. left unsaid was the lesson of their rapid and successful adaptation. In a very brief period northern hemisphere reindeer changed their lifestyles 180 degrees to now do in the southern hemisphere six months later (or earlier) than what they had done throughout all their evolutionary development. Their cycles of calving and male reindeer antler loss, etc., had all changed and the reindeer were incredibly successful in their new environment, with the added plus that they no longer had to worry about predation by wolves and bears.

    We also learned of penguins that began nesting on mainland Argentina about 150 years ago when ranchers eliminated or vastly reduced the populations of predators such as pumas. Those penguins are no longer nesting there because ranching has been greatly reduced in the area, and predators have reestablished.

    Significant and abrupt adaptation seems to be something to be expected, not a cause for surprise. After all, natural climate change has made adaptation a way of life for successful species since life began. Life forms have evolved to fill niches, not vice versa, and as Darwin demonstrated with Galapagos finches, Nature can fluctuate rapidly. It’s adapt or perish.

  33. …The whole enterprise of estimating extinction risk due to climate change is underpinned by a static and fragile view of nature…

    ALL environmentalism is driven by a static and fragile view of nature. In practice, ALL species constantly shift boundaries and environments. Environmentalists typically pick, say, a pond – examine it – and then try to keep the entire biota in a static frozen state. If, for instance, there are less frogs one year, this is seen as a disaster, and local industry will probably be punished…

  34. climateace says:
    March 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    ‘Gunga Din says:
    March 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Well, the latest migration of the Buckeye into Michigan didn’t turn out so well. Maybe next fall?’

    ==================================================================
    Ohio State just lost to “That State Up North” in basketball. Football is in the fall. That’s all I was referring to.
    I know that the WWF says the Buckeye is being threatened by “climate change”, but it’s not being threatened by the wolverine./sarc

  35. @climateace says:

    “Two major issues determine successful adaption: sufficient time and the size of the gene pool.”

    See my post above about reindeer introduced to South Georgia Island. Apparently a shipboard passage lasting several months is enough time for reindeer to adapt to an immediate 180 degree shift in both their biological clocks and habitat. Reindeer must have an Olympic-size gene pool.

  36. I couldn’t agree more with this post. Connecting climate change with species extinction is grasping at straw to this nature lover. A species range is not set in stone. Look a the Anna’s Hummingbird. Its range was in the 1940′s and 50′s from San Diego to San Francisco now its a permanent resident from the Sanora desert to B.C. Its quite capable of living in snow country as I’ve seen them myself do it here in the Sierra foothills. I would further add the the species ranges up to and possibly over 6000 ft in altitude as well. Again we see environmentalist making too many claims about climate change that just kills their credibility

  37. found what turned out to be a much-abbreviated AP piece in a regional paper:

    15 March: NWIndianaTimes: AP: Mary Esch: Fish-eating ducks hard hit by severe winter, ice
    DELMAR, N.Y. (AP) — The Niagara River corridor from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario is renowned as a winter haven for water birds. But this year’s bitterly cold season has made it notable for something else: dead ducks.
    Biologists say carcasses began piling up by the hundreds in early January after consistently low temperatures started icing over nearly the entire Great Lakes, preventing the ducks from getting to the minnows that are their main source of food. Necropsies have confirmed the cause: starvation.
    It’s a phenomenon that has been seen elsewhere along the Great Lakes, with news reports of diving ducks and other waterfowl turning up dead by the hundreds along the southern part of Lake Michigan. They’ve also been found in Lake St. Clair between Lakes Erie and Huron

    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/national/fish-eating-ducks-hard-hit-by-severe-winter-ice/article_5f4d67be-8027-5787-a58e-7e930c12b708.html

    looked for other MSM coverage. found a little abc america regional coverage, plus Fox News, with what would appear to be the full AP article. MSM doesn’t like to report such things:

    15 March: Fox News: Fish-eating ducks hard hit by severe winter, ice
    “All have empty stomachs. They’re half the weight they should be,” said Connie Adams, a biologist in the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Buffalo office who has personally seen 950 dead birds.
    “This is unprecedented. Biologists who’ve worked here for 35 years have never seen anything like this,” she said. “We’ve seen a decline in tens of thousands in our weekly waterfowl counts.”…
    “It’s a hard winter for ducks, like everything else,” said Russ Mason, wildlife director with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
    Necropsies and toxicity analyses showed many of the Michigan ducks were subsisting on invasive zebra mussels, which caused the birds to have potentially toxic levels of selenium in their bodies, Mason said…
    Dead birds have been seen along shorelines, on docks and on the ice, their carcasses feasted upon by gulls and bald eagles.
    Two weeks ago, Adams said, there were 240,000 water birds in her area’s weekly count. Last week, there were 43,000. It’s unknown how many birds — which also included such species as scaup, canvasbacks and grebes — migrated elsewhere and how many died…

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/03/15/fish-eating-ducks-hard-hit-by-severe-winter-ice/

  38. 16 March: UK Daily Mail: The bonfire of insanity: Woodland is shipped 3,800 miles and burned in Drax power station. It belches out more CO2 than coal at a huge cost YOU pay for… and all for a cleaner, greener Britain!
    The UK is committed by law to a radical shift to renewable energy. By 2020, the proportion of Britain’s electricity generated from ‘renewable’ sources is supposed to almost triple to 30 per cent, with more than a third of that from what is called ‘biomass’.
    The only large-scale way to do this is by burning wood, man’s oldest fuel – because EU rules have determined it is ‘carbon-neutral’…
    Only a few years ago, as a coal-only plant, Drax was Europe’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, and was often targeted by green activists. Now it boasts of its ‘environmental leadership position’, saying it is the biggest renewable energy plant in the world.
    It also gets guaranteed profits from the Government’s green energy subsidies. Last year, these amounted to £62.5 million, paid by levies on consumers’ bills. This is set to triple by 2016 as Drax increases its biomass capacity…
    Meanwhile, in North Yorkshire, the sheer scale of Drax’s biomass operation is hard to take in at first sight. Wood pellets are so much less dense than coal, so Drax has had to commission the world’s biggest freight wagons to move them by rail from the docks at Hull, Immingham and Port of Tyne. Each car is more than 60ft high, and the 25-car trains are half a mile long. On arrival, the pellets are stored in three of the world’s largest domes, each 300ft high – built by lining colossal inflated polyurethane balloons with concrete. Inside one of them, not yet in use, the echo is impressive. Light filters in through slits in the roof, like a giant version of the Pantheon church in Rome…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2581887/The-bonfire-insanity-Woodland-shipped-3-800-miles-burned-Drax-power-station-It-belches-CO2-coal-huge-cost-YOU-pay-cleaner-greener-Britain.html

  39. “Whacking each silly claim one by one is an impossible task, and the claims get into public consciousness whereas the refutations do not.”

    Just so. A fundamental which is major fuel for the ‘C’ in CAGW. Narrative success outstrips verifiability.

  40. Species translocations have a chequered history. Some succeed. Others fail. What might they demonstrate about adaptation and evolution in the context of climate change?

    Some translocations are totally ‘successful’ beyond the wildest dreams of those who have deliberately introduced the species. They can turn into population explosions. In Australia these include cane toads, cats, water buffalo, goats, rabbits, foxes, donkeys, pigs, carp and horses.

    Many of these include species that include total reverses of seasonal behaviour. These include the vast majority of vertebrate feral animals currently residing in Australia, for example.

    These number in the tens of millions. OTOH numerous deliberate and accidental translocations have failed. For example dozens of attempts to establish feral budgerigah populations have failed completely. Numerous attempts to establish weed control agents have also failed.

    What, in general terms, can we learn from translocations?

    The first is that species which are capable of a wide range of behavioural adapation based on an inherent capacity to learn from experience tend to be more successful than species that have a limited range of instinctive (genetically-determined) behaviours. Foxes do well because they are smart. So do people.

    The second is that a large range of variables (not just temperature and competition) are involved in whether translocations are successful or not.

    The third point is that translocations that involve moving species into ecosystems which lack their normal suite of predators, competitors, diseases and pathogens will have a population boom, provided that other environmental variables are within their normal range of tolerances.

    The fourth point is that where translocations require genetic (as opposed to behavioural adaptation) the chances of the translocation succeeding are very much smaller.

    The ffith point is that where a translocation has generated a population boom, all sorts of native animals suffer declines or extinctions.

    The sixth point is that total time available and rates of potential and actual genetic and/or behavioural adaptation are critical to whether a range extension or a translocation succeeds or fails.

    The reality is that less than one per cent of temperature change in a century has already resulted in thousands of documented shifts to species’ range. We have little or no idea what the impacts will be on individual species until they happen. We have even less knowledge about what will happen as different species interact for the first time.

    Some people are not concerned about extinctions of individual species or of the possible flow-on impacts of human behaviours on species.

    But there is an independent test of what government and industry policy makers really believe to be the case in relation to increasing species’ range and/or translocating to new locations. Around the world, tens of billions of dollars are spent annually on biosecurity, disease pest control, prevention and/or control of introduced animals, prevention and/or control of introduced plants and phytosanitation. The aim in each case is to stop species from increasing their range, their population density, and/or from being translocated to new locations.

    We should not forget that we are the very start of a one-off, experiment not only with mass extinction but with the evolution of species, and the consequences, in every corner of earth.

  41. majormike1

    IMHO, the penguin story exemplies a number of points I have made above:

    (1) We cannot exclude concurrent human activity from the biodiversity impacts of climate change
    (2) The penguin population is subject to a range of population pressures beyond temperature change and competition – in this case, predation pressure.
    (3) The penguins have apparently not evolved in the genetic sense. But they are capable of adapting their behaviour to improve their competitive advantage.

    You might have an interest in the fate of the Great Auk:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Auk

    Penguin population trends for different species are changing in different ways as we tap away. Google, ‘penguin population trends’ for a wide range of studies.

  42. Larry D
    IMHO, it is extremely unlikely that there would be a linear relationship with changes in a set of climate variables, changes in ocean chemistry, and extinction rates.

  43. ‘Curious George says:
    March 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    climateace – I assume that you are familiar with the work of Prof. Camille Parmesan. It has been analyzed in http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/06/fabricating-climate-doom-part-2-hijacking-conservation-success-in-the-uk-to-build-consensus/. Apparently it focuses narrowly on climate change and ignores everything else – indeed, that seems to be Dr. Parmesan’s stated methodology. It has been referenced more than 3500 times. Maybe you don’t consider her to be a biologist..’

    I have not read the article so I don’t know what it says or whether Parmesan is a biologist. But I will restate the following:

    (1) impacts of climate variables on the biosphere need to take into account autecological and ecological variables.
    (2) they need to be understood in terms of the impacts of concurrent impact of human activities
    (3) they need to be based on a good understanding of rates of behaviour and/or genetic adaptation.
    (4) they need to indicate a time frame.

    IMHO, for most species, we have very, very little knowledge about the first three. Being humans, we often get (4) wrong by expecting stuff to happen now rather than expecting stuff to happen in a century or a millenium. Without an agreed time frame in any one discussion, most discussions about rates of genetic adaptation to climate change lack rigour.

  44. climateace says:
    March 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    ‘ conscious1 says:
    March 16, 2014 at 11:10 am

    The scary part of this is the number of people who are convinced human extinction is inevitable because of climate change. ‘

    I don’t know of a single person who believes that. Do you have a source for this?

    re- I’ve had many “discussions” with people who believe this on various comment threads. Go to the Huff Post climate thread and you will find many. It is a common belief among green zealots. When pushed with simple facts they will concede that 10-20% might survive. The Malthusian dystopia they envision is a huge disconnect from reality. Human innovation has led to more abundance of everything.

  45. pat

    Thank you for your piece on fish-eating ducks. It demonstrates several points I have been making:

    (1) The accidental translocation of zebra mussels has had a large economic and environmental cost. Ergo, it is risky extending the range of tens of thousands of species by altering climate variables.

    (2) There will probably not be a linear relationship between climate trends and biosphere responses, in particular extinction rates. I did not give the reasons. Here are some: extinctions are often about threshold events (too cold, too hot, too acid, not acid enough, too dry, too wet). Extinctions might be a delayed response to changes in patterns.

    (3) Climate (as a set of weathers over time) can be beneficial to populations. It can also decimate them. It can make them extinct.


  46. O H Dahlsveen says:
    March 16, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    The unfortunate thing, of course, is that we just do NOT KNOW either way – chicken, egg – egg, chicken?

    =======================

    What’s this “we” stuff?

    Biologists know the egg came first.

  47. “For this region, the climate is characterized and it is assumed that this climate is what limits the species. But this assumption is not true.”

    Dr. Loehle, how do you explain the distribution of Quercus rubra, Q. nigra, Q. laevis, and Q. virginiana? Comparing their distribution, it is obvious climate controls where they are.

  48. climateace says:

    We cannot exclude concurrent human activity from the biodiversity impacts of climate change

    You have it exactly backward. Clearly, you are not familiar with the Null Hypothesis, which has never been falsified.

    In effect, it states that the assumption must be made that what is being observed is natural climate variability. The onus is entirely on the alarmist crowd to show, with scientific evidence, that human activity makes a measurable difference.

    But before you start throwing around pal reviewed papers and computer models, understand that evidence means measurable raw data, and/or verifiable observations that are conclusively linked to human emissions.

    So far, no one has been able to show that X amount of CO2 emissions result in Y degrees of global warming. But who knows? You may be the first.

  49. If their assumptions about the fragility of species were true, they should be able to point to significant extinctions due to the temperature increase in the past 150 years. I don’t recall seeing any studies that actually look back over the prior temperature increase to prove their point.

  50. “Abies in Virginia and West Virginia (small gray circles) are located at higher elevations.”

    Many “northern” species of trees do quite well down the Appalachians as far south as North Carolina. That does not mean they tolerate warmer weather. Dr. Patrick McMillan at Clemson University has said that many northern species were pushed south by glaciation, and have stayed on in the southern mountains.

    3000′ in Virginia is not unlike 1700′ in New York. Small populations of Abies balsamea in Virginia are not evidence that they tolerate warmer weather.

  51. “Dodgy Geezer says:
    March 16, 2014 at 3:55 pm
    …The whole enterprise of estimating extinction risk due to climate change is underpinned by a static and fragile view of nature…

    ALL environmentalism is driven by a static and fragile view of nature.”

    That’s right, Dodgy Geezer. And that is why modern environmentalism is fundamental wrong and narcissistic. It vastly overestimates the power and impact of humanity, while vastly underestimating the power and resiliency of nature. Then it is coated with a thick layer of self-righteousness. Many environmentalists have an amazing ability to ignore all evidence contrary to their beliefs, while simultaneously claiming a scientific and moral authority. Such hubris.

    I recently watched a documentary on nuclear energy entitled ‘Pandora’s Promise’ in which several prominent environmentalists, who tirelessly helped demonize nuclear energy for decades, come out and admit that almost everything they thought was wrong. Now they say we must develop nuclear energy to stop the threat of global warming. Of course, it never occurs to them that they could be completely wrong about climate change as well. It was interesting to watch them ‘eat crow’ on nuclear energy, but they clearly did not realize that they were only dining on the appetizer.

  52. Gamecock says:
    March 16, 2014 at 7:34 pm (replying to)

    O H Dahlsveen says:
    March 16, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    The unfortunate thing, of course, is that we just do NOT KNOW either way – chicken, egg – egg, chicken?

    =======================

    What’s this “we” stuff?

    Biologists know the egg came first.

    No.

    “Everything” came first.

    Everything was created – perhaps with what is now called the “Big Bang.”

    Then “everything” evolved and changed, but the fundamental building blocks (atoms and electrons and neutrons and energy) were unchanged, except by the known processes of radioactive decay, radioactive fission, and radioactive fusion)

    Sometime later – well after everything was created – the world formed.

    Then the chicken, laid from an egg because two chickens existed already, laid an egg. But birds (chickens) existed a long time before mammals were living, but only after plants had been living.

    But the plants (first life) came from the single world sea, right?

    Is there anything in this chronology that you disagree with?

    Is there anything that contradicts what “science” now teaches in the 21st century?

  53. ‘Craig Loehle says:
    March 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Climateace: the fact that thousands of species are listed as threatened only means that we believe them to be threatened.’

    I am not sure what you mean by the word ‘believe’. If you mean that it only means that on the best available population trends and autecological inforamation, and on the basis of the best available understanding of the relevant processes they are threatened then I agree with the term ‘believe’. If you intend ‘believe’ to mean a religious experience then I disagree with you.

    ‘I did say that species are more in danger from other human activities (last line of the post).’

    I suggest that ‘more in danger’ of the two threatening processes is moot.

    I was making the general point that concurrent human activities needed to be taken into account when assessing the impacts of climate change on biodiversity.

    “Your citation of malaria as an example of a climate impact is “not robust” since malaria used to be widespread across Siberia, for example. It is not even a tropical disease. It was wiped out due to people getting windows in their homes and no longer having rain barrels outside their doors.’”

    It is good to see that you are recognising that not just temperature and competition decide range, population growth or population decline. There are clear current reltationships between the Indian Ocean Dipole and malaria admissions in east Africa.

    ‘I did not assert that “all species will have the necessary gene pool” for adaptation. I was specifically arguing that MOST species have sufficient tolerance of warming, and in particular I was using trees as my example.’

    I accept your point about ‘all species’ and I withdraw my statement that you did. My main point – that temperature is only one of the variables impacting range stands.

    ‘I am countering the talking point that 50% or 70% or whatever of species are threatened by climate change (see my paper for citations for these high figures).’

    You do so on the basis of only one climate variable and on the basis of one ecological variable. This is, IMHO, far from robust.

    ‘If the lower sensitivity and pause correctly indicate less than 2 degrees of warming by 2100, then very very few species will be threatened indeed.’

    I note that you choose the lower sensitivity range, that you continue to ignore ocean chemistry changes, that you continue to use a very short time fram (less than 90 years), and that you continue to isolate climate effects from other human effects as if the latter do not exist, and will not increase in intensity, extent and variety over the next century.

    Shifting hundreds of thousands of species around the planet is risky – to the species concerned, as well as to ourselves.

  54. climateace says:
    March 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    (4) The scale is global.

    So far, as far as temperature goes, there has not been much effect in the tropics.

  55. Here’s the Zeroth Rule of the Scientific Method:
    When you’re wearing your scientist’s hat, always tell the whole truth, warts and all.

    Prior to the Century of Junk Science (the 21st), it wasn’t necessary to state ZRSM explicitly. But now, there’s an awful lot of the 5-letter F-word going on, especially with respect to CAGW.

    In this respect, I wish that all of the other biodiversity specialists would follow your sterling example. Great article, Craig! Keep up the good work.

  56. More CO2 increases biodiversity.

    Studies: Increased CO2 Emissions are Greening the Planet
    “For the past few years, scientific studies have found links between increasing carbon emissions and increased foliage and plant growth — called the CO2 fertilization. The idea is that since plants thrive on CO2 absorbed through photosynthesis, increasing atmospheric CO2 levels will actually green the planet and expand foliage. Scientists have been hard pressed to find evidence of such a phenomenon until recently.

    “Well documented evidence shows that concurrently with the increased CO2 levels, extensive, large, and continuing increase in biomass is taking place globally — reducing deserts, turning grasslands to savannas, savannas to forests, and expanding existing forests,” according to a study by the libertarian Cato Institute from earlier this year.”

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/14/studies-increased-co2-emissions-are-greening-the-planet/

  57. ‘rogerknights says:
    March 16, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    climateace says:
    March 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    (4) The scale is global.

    So far, as far as temperature goes, there has not been much effect in the tropics.’

    True for temperatures, I believe.

    But changes to wind patterns, ocean temperatures and ocean chemistry are occurring in the tropics.

    A couple of years ago I was speaking to an old-timer from a pacific island. He happened to have an interest in pelagic seabirds and also a wide range of connections with yachties by way of his short-wave set. He was commenting on recent large falls in breeding success in the local seabird breeding colony. His view (very anecdotal) was that warmer waters were driving bait fish deeper and that their fish predators were no longer driving bait fish to within reach of aerial predators. I have no idea whether this is generally valid or reliable. But it does indicate the possible complexity of the relationships involved.

  58. conscious1 says:
    March 16, 2014 at 11:10 am
    The scary part of this is the number of people who are convinced human extinction is inevitable because of climate change. That meme can best be described as psychotic paranoid delusion but it is a mainstream idea. Thanks for your efforts in exposing this mental illness.
    ++++++++++
    I love this comment and want to add what’s ironic. The AGW meme leads directly to death in that energy prices necessarily will need to skyrocket. And because this is happening, poor people are energy deprived and what – it leads to the death of many.

  59. ‘ michaelwiseguy says:
    March 16, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    More CO2 increases biodiversity.’

    You appear to mistaking ‘biomass’ for ‘biodiversity’.

    There is good evidence, IMHO, that biomass is increasing. There is also good evidence that the wild biodiversity share of the biomass is decreasing and that human crops and farmed animals are taking an ever larger share of the planet’s biomass.

    What is happening on a huge scale is the loss of intra-specific genetic variation. Good gene pools are very handy when species need to adapt to rapid environmental change.

  60. Curious George says: What I meant to say is that biodiversity alarmists don’t seriously consider adaptability. As adaptability is central in Darwin’s theory, I conclude that they don’t believe in it….

    Perhaps you would benefit from educating yourself as to what most creationists actually believe. Adaptability is, in fact, a mainstream concept within the creationist community and it is believed that the great diversity of species we see today is the result of adaptation and diversification from a much smaller number of created “kinds”, roughly equivalent to the Family level in scientific taxonomy. This is referred to as “limited common descent”. Where creationists depart from evolutionists is that they believe there are limits to adaptation. The original “proto-cat” may have diversified into species (many of which can interbreed even today) such as lions, tigers, jaguars, and house cats but it will never become anything other than a cat-like creature. The evolutionist on the other hand takes the observed fact of adaptation and extrapolates it without limits.

    In my experience, there is a high correlation between skepticism towards evolution and skepticism towards AGW. In fact, my first exposure to AGW skepticism several years ago was on the intelligent design (not the same thing as creationism, though I won’t go into that here) blog Uncommon Descent.

  61. Sagebrush Gardiner
    I had not heard of ‘proto’ animals before. I have a question. ‘In your view, were all ‘proto species’ created at the same time?’

  62. Climateace said : (3) Some of these changes are not beneficial in terms of the increased range of human diseases [preusmably "in response to a global change of less than one degree (and other associated climated variables"]
    Human diseases spread by aerosols or direct contact are not expected to increase their range.
    In the case of vector borne diseases like malaria (spread by about 100 Anopheles mosquitoes), dengue fever (about 20 Aedes mosquitoes), chikungunya fever (Aedes aegypti & albopictus), West Nile fever (mostly Culex mosquitoes), Japanese Encephalite fever (Culex species), Yellow fever (Aedes aegypti ), O’Nyong’nyong fever (Anopheles funestus & gambiae) none are known to have expanded because of average changes in ambient temperatures. The only effect on these comes from variations in activity of vectors caused by seasonal variations in weather conditions. Malaria geographical extension has decreased about 50 % during 20th century in despite of the vector species still being very common northward until 70 degree N lat in the subarctic region. Dengue and Chicungunya have expanded there range because of rapid increase of global travel. The vector species (A. aegypti and albopictus) have been spread by transportations (cargo ships and aircrafts) in the tropics and subtropics but they have not expanded northwards beyond known natural distribution (ex. A. albopictus in China). In all other cases the combined vector species have a much larger distribution than the pathogen they are vectoring. The prevalence of all these diseases in humans are the result of human behaviour. The vectors can be considered a constant because they manipulate the pathogen to increase transmission. This is far more important than 1-2 degree C.
    Larry Huldén
    Finnish Museum of Natural History

  63. Thanks for your article. Two years ago I had an uncomfortable argument with a coworker who insisted that climate change is a major threat to the plentiful Pacific Golden Plover. She believed an expert’s assertion that rising sea levels would flood their arctic nesting areas. When I asked her, wouldn’t they just adapt to that & nest somewhere else, she couldn’t answer me, but insisted this was a threat to the species.

  64. As a poor fool who has long been fighting the tenacious meme of the “Sixth Wave of Extinctions”, I can only applaud your work. It’s gonna be a long fight, however. Like life itself, memes can be very tenacious and difficult to extirpate.

    Keep on truckin’, my thanks to all,

    w.

  65. Willis Eschenbach says: March 17, 2014 at 12:31 am
    “As a poor fool…”

    I’ve read a great deal of your writings, and whatever else you might be, you are no fool!

    “Like life itself, memes can be very tenacious and difficult to extirpate.”

    Very true. And for the same ultimate reason; they are selected on replicative success (which for memes often has little or no relationship to verifiability, i.e. factual content).

  66. There is allied information from ornamental horticulture. I’m familiar with work on the genus Camellia that is native to China, Japan & a few surrounding countries. My wife and I have (legally) collected rare species from west China and settled them in Australia for safe haven. Many colleagues world wide have done similarly and so have tested some limits of adaptability. There are quite a few gardens in the world centralising large collections of many camellia species from originally diverse climates, a noted one at Huntington Gardens at Pasadena, Los Angeles. A summary view would be that there are some climatic differences too severe to be overcome, but that these plants are able to adapt and thrive with minimal special management over very wide ranges compared with their original ranges.

  67. Well the ultimate “whack-a-mole” game is the Lawrence Livermore Nova laser; doesn’t “nova” mean “doesn’t run” or words to that affect in colloquial Spanish ? eg as in Chevy Nova flop.

    They claim, so I’ve heard, that they have finally got more energy out than they put in. Well of course they are lying, even if just in the first law of thermodynamics sense.

    So they figure they can get all our energy from the top 1/16th inch of SF bay ! Well maybe so, it’s pretty much good hydrocarbon fuels anyway.

    Well they mean the top of the water, from which they can extract deuterium, to squish in their whack-a-mole machine. So the laser whacks the deuterium, and squishes it into Helium.

    I wonder if they cheated and used DT instead of DD, which is much harder to squish.

    Now the problem is this; after they fired their whack-a-mole, and a little puff of energy, they discovered that their fuel pellet was blown to smithereens. So now they have to go back to the factory and manufacture a new fuel pellet; beautifully shiny and perfectly spherical, like no ball bearing, ever dreamed of being. The DD or the DT isn’t really the “fuel”, it’s those nice spherical fuel pellets that are the fuel, and very hard to find in nature.

    So I’ll bet they didn’t get out more energy than they put in; and I’m almost willing to bet my entire life savings, that they didn’t get enough output energy, to go and build another one of those fuel pellets that they just smashed.

    Controlled thermonuclear fusion, is inherently impossible for humans to do.

    Well in four words; excuse me that’s five words, including the conjunction.

    Gravity sucks, and Earnshaw’s theorem.

    Gravity is by far the weakest force and one of only two long range forces; but it sucks; and anything with mass, gets sucked in towards the center of mass, thereby increasing the gravity. Eventually it is automatically squished under its own weight, and goes nuclear. Can’t help but do so, given a big enough mass. Well old Sol, is typically how big you need, and how far from humans is it safe..

    Now electro-magnetism is the only other long range force, and it doesn’t suck, like gravity; it pushes.

    Well if you push on something, it pushes back, so you need something else to push against, to hold you in place. Well it can’t be physical material, because what you are pushing, has to be multi millions of kelvins, like the center of planet earth, so it melts, and flows away, if you push on it.

    Earnshaw’s theorem says there is no stable arrangement of electric charges, and/or magnetic poles.

    Ergo, you can’t hold the fuel squished together by electro-magnetic pushing against itself, for long enough and dense enough to “nucliate”.

    So Nova is just another gravy train for unemployable physicists.

    Over here at CERN, they now have another NovA. So you found the Higgs molasses particle. So what do you do with it. Who are you going to sell them to.

    Well I guess they are going to build a bigger machine. Think of all the grant money that will bring, to the habitually unemployable.

  68. Climateace seems to have missed the information from Dr. Richard B. Alley that abrupt climate change is the norm – “including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age.” Dr. Alley et al even determined that the warming from the Wisconsin Glaciation to the Holocene interglacial happened “over a period of only three years.

    Get a clue Ace, nature is a lot more powerful than puny mankind and being female she will change in the blink of an eye! (Talk about a bad case of hot flashes!….)

    This is not new information either. It has been know for a couple decades. “In his book, The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future Richard Alley, one of the world’s leading climate researchers, tells the fascinating history of global climate changes as revealed by reading the annual rings of ice from cores drilled in Greenland. In the 1990s he and his colleagues made headlines with the discovery that the last ice age came to an abrupt end over a period of only three years”….

    Richard B. Alley(U.Penn.) was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, chaired the National Research Council on Abrupt Climate Change. for well over a decade and in 1999 was invited to testify about climate change by VP Al Gore. In 2002, the NAS published a book “Abrupt Climate Change – Inevitable Surprises”, Committee on Abrupt Climate Change, National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, 2002, ISBN: 0-309-51284-0, 244 pages, Richard B. Alley, chair
    . From the opening paragraph in the executive summary:

    … Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age….

    Please note that as William McClenney keeps saying a thermal pulse, like the current modern warm period does not mean a slide into glaciation is not around the corner because local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into… the last ice age. The Eemain had two final warm pulses and the Holocene seems to be at the tail end of the second warm pulse.

    Ice-core evidence of abrupt climate changes
    Richard B. Alley

    ….Ice-core records show that climate changes in the past have been large, rapid, and synchronous over broad areas extending into low latitudes, with less variability over historical times. These ice-core records come from high mountain glaciers and the polar regions, including small ice caps and the large ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. As the world slid into and out of the last ice age, the general cooling and warming trends were punctuated by abrupt changes. Climate shifts up to half as large as the entire difference between ice age and modern conditions occurred over hemispheric or broader regions in mere years to decades. Such abrupt changes have been absent during the few key millennia when agriculture and industry have arisen. The speed, size, and extent of these abrupt changes required a reappraisal of climate stability. Records of these changes are especially clear in high resolution ice cores. Ice cores can preserve histories of local climate (snowfall, temperature), regional (wind-blown dust, sea salt, etc.), and broader (trace gases in the air) conditions, on a common time scale, demonstrating synchrony of climate changes over broad regions. Ice-Core Interpretation Dating and Accumulation. On some glaciers and ice sheets, sufficient snow falls each year to form recognizable annual layers, marked by seasonal variations in physical, chemical, electrical, and isotopic properties. These can be counted to determine ages (e.g., refs. 1 and 2). Accuracy can be assessed by comparison to the chemically identified fallout of historically dated volcanoes and in other ways (3); errors can be less than 1% of estimated ages…..

  69. For years they told me that plants were moving uphill and to higher latitudes so they can’t now tell me they can’t. Same with fauna. It’s just a pack of garbage. Vegetation tolerates massive swings in temperatures every year in the mid US of A.

    Is there a list showing the thousands of species that have gone extinct over the last decade? I have seen a few short lists and even some can be challenged because some ‘extinct’
    life is sometimes just hiding. ;-)

    Willis Eschenbach has tried several times to deal with the extinction issue. Here are some of his essays on WUWT.
    Where Are The Corpses?

    Always Trust Your Gut Extinct

    Alexander the Great Explains The Drop In Extinctions
    “….The claimed “Sixth Wave of Extinctions” is a total fabrication……”

  70. One of the most surprising species translocations must be the Parakeets often seen in Southern England. In the last ten years or so small flocks of a dozen or more of these birds have been a not uncommon sight where I live (Slough in the Thames Valley west of London). They have presumably originated from a small number of escaped pets and have not just survived but bred successfully. It might be argued (I’m sure it has been) that this is evidence of ‘climate change’, and I had thought that the recent series of hard winters we have had here would see them off since they originate from Australia, but I have seen them again recently. It seems like it takes more than snow and sub-zero temperatures to kill off sub-tropical birds, though what they feed on over the winter is a mystery to me.

  71. Some previously ‘extinct’ species are not extinct! I think they call it Lazarus taxon (plural taxa).
    Reappearing IUCN red list species

    It has been estimated that “90 to 99 percent of species ever existing on the planet have already become extinct.” Some say 99.9%! It seems that over the very long run extinction is the rule and not the exception.

  72. Further to my last comment here it is in the peer review.

    Abstract
    Biological extinction in earth history
    Virtually all plant and animal species that have ever lived on the earth are extinct. For this reason alone, extinction must play an important role in the evolution of life. The five largest mass extinctions of the past 600 million years are of greatest interest, but there is also a spectrum of smaller events, many of which indicate biological systems in profound stress. Extinction may be episodic at all scales, with relatively long periods of stability alternating with short-lived extinction events. Most extinction episodes are biologically selective, and further analysis of the victims and survivors offers the greatest chance of deducing the proximal causes of extinction. A drop in sea level and climatic change are most frequently invoked to explain mass extinctions, but new theories of collisions with extraterrestrial bodies are gaining favor. Extinction may be constructive in a Darwinian sense or it may only perturb the system by eliminating those organisms that happen to be susceptible to geologically rare stresses.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/231/4745/1528.short

    Here is an Essay in Nature

    Concept Extinction: past and present
    The fossil record, together with modern data, can provide a deeper understanding of biological extinction and its consequences.

    Extinction is a fundamental part of nature — more than 99% of all species that ever lived are now extinct. Whereas the loss of ‘redundant’ species may be barely perceptible, more extensive losses of whole populations, groups of related species (clades) or those that share particular morphologies (for example, large body sizes) or functional attributes such as feeding mechanisms, can have profound effects, leading to the collapse of entire ecosystems and the extermination of great evolutionary dynasties.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v427/n6975/full/427589a.html

    Over geologic time extinction appears to be the rule and not the exception.

  73. Gardens are like zoos.

    You can keep almost anything alive anywhere provided you are prepared to manage actively micro climate variables, pathogens, competitors and predators.

    Since this intensity of management is not possible on an ecosystem scale or a global scale there is little to be learned about potential extinction rates from gardens or zoos.

  74. Jim Turner

    I assume you are talking about the Rose-ringed Parakeet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose-ringed_Parakeet

    It has shown a remarkable ability to expand its range. I have recorded feral populations in Holland and France and the Philippines. It does seem that it is somewhat pre-adapted to cold climates because its natural home range includes theHimalayan Foothills.

  75. Jimbo
    If a 99.9% extinction rate is the general rule then there are a couple of million current species that are due for the high jump some time in the future.

  76. Since my above comment seems lost I will recap.
    Richard B. Alley of the U.Penn. chaired the National Research Council on Abrupt Climate Change. They did a lot of work with ice cores and found:

    1. Scientific evidence showing that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed, as in within a decade. “Climate shifts up to half as large as the entire difference between ice age and modern conditions occurred over hemispheric or broader regions in mere years to decades…”

    2. Local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Note Warming (thermal pulses) occurs during the slide into glaciation.

    3. In the 1990s he and his colleagues discovered that the last ice age came to an abrupt end over a period of only three years

    4. “Such abrupt changes have been absent during the few key millennia when agriculture and industry have arisen.

    In other words since the ‘Anthropocene’ the climate has been stable and benign.

    The early Anthropocene hypothesis is from William Ruddiman

    Lesson from the past: present insolation minimum holds potential for glacial inception (2007)

    …Because the intensities of the 397 ka BP and present insolation minima are very similar, we conclude that under natural boundary conditions the present insolation minimum holds the potential to terminate the Holocene interglacial. Our findings support the Ruddiman hypothesis [Ruddiman, W., 2003. The Anthropogenic Greenhouse Era began thousands of years ago. Climate Change 61, 261–293], which proposes that early anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission prevented the inception of a glacial that would otherwise already have started….
    (wwwDOT)sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379107002715

    And the F00l$ in DC want to strip this benign and useful plant food that may be keeping the earth’s temperature stable from the atmosphere???? A gas that may be all that is standing between us and glaciation?

  77. I note that Willis has used the term ‘meme’ to characterise one side of the discussion of biodiversity responses to climate change. This is a pity because most of the upstring discussion has been along strictly scientific lines.

    For those of you who don’t know what is going on, Willis is deliberately insulting all scientists who hold a contrary view to his own by using the term ‘meme’ to apply to the sixth wave of extinction.

    In fact, he avoids the science altogether by transferring the argument to a domain where he ‘wins’ the argument by the simple name-calling: a ‘meme’ is about cultural transmission, not science.

    From Wiki:

    ‘A meme (/ˈmiːm/; meem)[1] is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”[2] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme.’

  78. Every year, dozens of new species are discovered but there has been no recent extinction. Therefore, bio diversity is increasing, not decreasing.

    Google “new species” for details.

  79. Climateace ignores attribution, the trunked and tailed beastie in the living room, and sadly also rate of change.

    Were ecological niches static, we’d still be crawling out of the sea.
    =============

  80. RACookPE1978 says:
    March 16, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Then the chicken, laid from an egg because two chickens existed already, laid an egg. But birds (chickens) existed a long time before mammals were living, but only after plants had been living.

    Is there anything in this chronology that you disagree with?

    ========================================

    Yes. All chickens come from eggs. Not all eggs come from chickens. Two chickens did not need to exist already.

    The great mystery of which came first, the chicken or the egg, is no mystery at all.

  81. “In my paper I also document that virtually every Canadian tree species can be found in botanical gardens in Australia.”

    Not proof that trees can survive warmer temperatures outside their normal range.

    If these are first generation trees, it means nothing. It takes multiple generations to show that the species can survive.

    “In botanical gardens” means the heavy hand of Man is present. Plant the trees in the wild, and check back in 50 years, then you might have something.

    There is a honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos, in my neighborhood. It doesn’t belong here. It is 175 miles east of its normal range. Every year, it produces many seed pods. But there are no baby honey locusts running around. I don’t know why. But until there are, I don’t believe the species can survive in this area. The individual, yes. The species, no.

  82. Double-Dealing in Darwin
    Are intellectuals allowing dogma in science but not in religion?

    Today, likewise, we see that evolutionism has its priests and devotees. Entomologist and sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University tells us that the “evolutionary epic is mythology,” depending on laws that are “believed but can never be definitively proved,” taking us “backward through time to the beginning of the universe.” Wilson knows that any good religion must have its moral dimension, and so he urges us to promote biodiversity, to amend our original sin of despoiling the earth. There is an apocalyptic ring to Wilson’s writings, and in true dispensationalist style, he warns that there is but a short time before all collapses into an ecological Armageddon. Repent! The time is near!

    http://www.beliefnet.com/News/Science-Religion/2000/01/Double-Dealing-In-Darwin.aspx?p=1

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/02/15/week-in-review-13/#comment-456530

    Lock up your brains and keep the children out of reach of any radio: Here comes David Suzuki with another tax-supported CBC propaganda series in which we learn for the umpteenth time that the world would be a better place if there were no ugly human beings around.
    “If all humanity disappeared … the rest of life would benefit enormously,” says one of Suzuki’s expert guests on From Naked Ape to Superspecies, an eight-part radio series that begins this coming Sunday on CBC Radio One.

    The expert is American sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, a man who has spent his life studying ants and who has come to believe that a world without humans would be a blessing compared with a world deprived of his laboratory specimens.

    “If the ants were all to disappear, the results would be close to catastrophic,” says Wilson, whereas if humans disappeared “the forests would grow back, the whole Earth would green up, the ocean would teem, and so on.”

    That humans are a curse on earth is a theme Suzuki has been articulating for more than two decades as the Canadian Broadcasting Corp’s resident scientist and ecological gloomster. A little later in the first part of Superspecies, another expert arrives to declare that “earthworms are king. This is where the action is.”
    Earthworms. Ants. Trees. Elephants. In the Suzuki world view, any species is better than the human species, and any talking head who will confirm that world view is guaranteed five minutes of air time in the great, rambling, irrational narratives that make up a typical Suzukian documentary.

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/10/16/evidence-for-the-prosecution-of-david-suzuki-part-four-suzukis-world-mankind-as-a-malignant-growth/

    I once asked the great ecologist E.O. Wilson how many people the planet could sustain indefinitely. He responded, “If you want to live like North Americans, 200 million.” North Americans, Europeans, Japanese, and Australians, who make up 20 per cent of the world’s population, are consuming more than 80 per cent of the world’s resources. We are the major predators and despoilers of the planet, and so we blame the problem on overpopulation. Keep in mind, though, that most environmental devastation is not directly caused by individuals or households, but by corporations driven more by profits than human needs.

    http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2011/11/is-seven-billion-people-too-many/

  83. climateace says:

    March 17, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Jimbo
    If a 99.9% extinction rate is the general rule then there are a couple of million current species that are due for the high jump some time in the future.

    Perhaps.

    Should we humans intentionally intervene simply because we sometimes unintentionally have intervened?

  84. Doesn’t migration really occur and all the directions. It’s just that some of it doesn’t survive, which generates a negative vector of negative migration.

  85. Gamecock says: March 16, 2014 at 7:44 pm
    “For this region, the climate is characterized and it is assumed that this climate is what limits the species. But this assumption is not true.”
    Dr. Loehle, how do you explain the distribution of Quercus rubra, Q. nigra, Q. laevis, and Q. virginiana? Comparing their distribution, it is obvious climate controls where they are.
    Ans: climate controls where they are based on a long process of competition, not immediate mortality. That is, they can grow well outside the area where they are found, almost always, but not as well as some competing species. But the competition process takes a long time. Please read my cited papers for the details.
    Gamecock says: Not proof that trees can survive warmer temperatures outside their normal range. If these are first generation trees, it means nothing. It takes multiple generations to show that the species can survive.
    Ans: What it does prove is that existing trees will not be killed by warming. Facts often imply one thing in particular, not everything. Many other trees planted outside their native range DO produce seedlings.

    I would also like to thank the participants for a generally civil discussion, more than most.

  86. I just read an article about a researchers claim that South American penguins are going to disappear due to global warming. They claimed that 7% of adolescent penguin deaths were a direct result of “extreme” weather which they translated to 7% due directly to global warming. They also claimed that mortality rates were increasing due to an increase in the number of predatory birds, which of course were clearly due to climate change. Because everyone knows that when an ecosystem is stressed it’s the predatory species of that community that increase in numbers *sigh.

  87. ***
    Jim Turner says:
    March 17, 2014 at 3:15 am

    One of the most surprising species translocations must be the Parakeets often seen in Southern England.
    ***

    Seen something on TV where there is also a translocated parakeet population near/around New York City — way colder than where they came from.

  88. Thanks, Dr. Loehle. A very good article.
    Time and time again the cultist nature of CAGW shows itself. This belief that the world as it exists is close to a “tipping point”, the catastrophe.
    Evolution I think ensures the opposite, a tenacious capability for opposing entropy.

  89. climateace says: @ March 17, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Jimbo
    If a 99.9% extinction rate is the general rule then there are a couple of million current species that are due for the high jump some time in the future.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Do not worry Climateace, it just got delayed a bit.

    The Little Ice Age was right on time for the plunge (glacial inception) but it got sidelined by the Modern Grand Maximum (Usoskin et al., 2003c; Solanki et al., 2004) link

    The Modern Warm Period is the second thermal pulse. The last interglacial the Eemian only had two and a fall 2012 paper says:

    …We propose that the interval between the “terminal” oscillation of the bipolar seesaw, preceding an interglacial, and its first major reactivation represents a period of minimum extension of ice sheets…. thus, the first major reactivation of the bipolar seesaw would probably constitute an indication that the transition to a glacial state had already taken place

    …the June 21 insolation minimum at 65N during MIS 11 is only 489 W/m2, much less pronounced than the present minimum of 474 W/m2. In addition, current insolation values are not predicted to return to the high values of late MIS 11 for another 65 kyr. We propose that this effectively precludes a ‘double precession-cycle’ interglacial [e.g., Raymo, 1997] in the Holocene without human influence….

    http://www.clim-past.net/8/1473/2012/cp-8-1473-2012.pdf

    Just in case you were wondering the bipolar seesaw is loss of ice in the Arctic while the Antarctic is gaining ice, sound familiar?

    So I am sure you will be seeing that mass extinction fairly soon now.

  90. Gamecock says: @ March 17, 2014 at 5:13 am
    …There is a honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos, in my neighborhood. It doesn’t belong here. It is 175 miles east of its normal range. Every year, it produces many seed pods. But there are no baby honey locusts running around.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You have a female tree.

    ….All the females of the species produce fruit in the form of long pods of seeds, with the pods being 10 to 15 inches long depending on the species. These pods happen to be good as cattle fodder, but in the home landscape they only make a mess….

    If you wish, you can get a thornless Honeylocust that does have seedpods, we include both kinds in the list below.

    http://gardening.yardener.com/Honey-Locust

  91. I find your web site disturbing. What good are you producing by laying a fog over the fact that we humans are making an immense negative impact on the health of our planet? At the present time our species is using one and a half planets worth of material resources, and with growing population figures for the next 70 years (projected to reach 10 billion for a generation then decline, towards the end of this century), and increasing consumption patterns as individuals, businesses and nations the future for our grandchildren is looking bleak. Now we make war over fossil fuel products, the next battles will be over fresh water and food if we do not begin working together as a whole society establishing communities, business practices, consumption patterns, farming practices and transportation options which are sustainable and actually improve the health and possibilities for our current populations of sentient life and the biosphere we live in and count on to provide for All of us. I believe we must begin looking forward 100, 200 years what kind of society and planet are we leaving to our descendants, will it be thriving with an abundance of Life and Possibility or will it be a place of death, struggle and darkness? We are creating our common societal future every day with the words we speak, the actions we take and our thoughts and focus. I believe it is my moral responsibility to contribute to a positive future outcome to the best of my ability. It is going to take Most of us humans to make changes in our personal behavior to change the direction of this trajectory we are currently on which is not looking too good at the moment.

    I appreciate the time and energy and thought you put into this page but am not sure that the impact you are attempting to make is good for our society as a whole or our common future. I am open to further communication on this comment, I realize it will be unpopular with your regular followers….. May joy and blessings come your way.

    • “Opinions are not science. Clear, falsifiable conclusions based on real evidence are.” This is a quote I borrowed from another commenter. Sister Michelle, you are articulating a belief system with strong quasi-religious aspects. It is not a matter of it being unpopular with regular followers of this blog, it is a matter of your comment being devoid of science facts. Bringing up facts that do not agree with your beliefs is not “laying a fog” over any facts; it is a pursuit of science, which at its essence is disputation and investigation, not proselytization. You should try to fight facts with facts, not try to dismiss them because they disagree with your beliefs. Kumbaya.

      • majormike1:
        “Opinions are not science. Clear, falsifiable conclusions based on real evidence are.” This is a quote I borrowed from another commenter. Sister Michelle, you are articulating a belief system with strong quasi-religious aspects. It is not a matter of it being unpopular with regular followers of this blog, it is a matter of your comment being devoid of science facts. Bringing up facts that do not agree with your beliefs is not “laying a fog” over any facts; it is a pursuit of science, which at its essence is disputation and investigation, not proselytization. You should try to fight facts with facts, not try to dismiss them because they disagree with your beliefs. Kumbaya.

        True, opinions are not science, and unfortunately science is not putting forth a coherent conclusion with the mountains of scientific data that exists. Thus, we have a societal quagmire on this subject. As a layperson, not a scientist, my actions are informed by what I see as my moral duties and responsibilities. As it is our duty to care for our families, property, and community for me that includes our natural environment which provides for all our primary needs. This ‘dirt ball’, is our common home to care for. That is not ‘quasi-religious’, it is a responsibility we all share as tenants in common. Facts, we live here on this planet, our species is negatively effecting the quality of our atmosphere, water, forests, species diversity, top soil, fisheries, etc. As those responsible for the damage, is it not our duty to mitigate and remedy the situation? This is not a religious conversation. You might want to read the paper I posted a link to on todays comments, An Ontology of Climate Change by Sean Esbjorn-Hargens. This is not a black and white issue, grey abounds. Kumbaya.

        may joy and blessings come your way…..

  92. climateace: “The reality is that less than one per cent of temperature change in a century has already resulted in thousands of documented shifts to species’ range.”

    First, correlation does not equal causation.

    Second, how fast were species’ ranges changing one hundred years ago? Current shifts may simply be a continuation of an older trend.

  93. I have an avocado ranch. It is true that our production will decrease this year; because they are a biannual crop! Last year was the best we ever had. Worldwide production per planted acre has been trending upward for years, with a slight dip from 08 through 10. That was because demand fell during the great recession. It is now at record levels, not only because more trees are coming online but because yield per acre is rising. Sorry for the lack of citations, my Internet connection here in central America is slow. Research is difficult.

  94. Oh, and as I promised to report upon arrival, the climate changed significantly between LAX and Managua, but no more than it has for the 13 years I have spent travelling between the two cities.

  95. @majormiker

    About avocados? They are delicious, but I do not view them from the context of “a belief system with strong quasi-religious aspects.” I just look at the production reports.

  96. Sorry major, I misread your comment. Come to think about it, I have a sister who with strange beliefs about avocados. She refuses to accept that the crop is biannual because she “doesn’t feel like it should be”. Every other year she accuses me of stealing 90% of the crop. When I offer to show her years of Calavo proction reports, she refuses to look at them because I have “manipulated” them. When I tell her to call Calavo herself, she says “I will”, but never does. Interestingly, she is also a fanatic warmest.

  97. climateace says:
    March 17, 2014 at 3:59 am

    I note that Willis has used the term ‘meme’ to characterise one side of the discussion of biodiversity responses to climate change. This is a pity because most of the upstring discussion has been along strictly scientific lines.

    For those of you who don’t know what is going on, Willis is deliberately insulting all scientists who hold a contrary view to his own by using the term ‘meme’ to apply to the sixth wave of extinction.

    In fact, he avoids the science altogether by transferring the argument to a domain where he ‘wins’ the argument by the simple name-calling: a ‘meme’ is about cultural transmission, not science.

    At this point there are fewer and fewer scientists who still believe in the fabled “Sixth Wave of Extinctions”. You see, ace, the problem is that there isn’t any actual evidence to support it. See e.g. my blog post “Where Are The Corpses“, or the scientific study by Dr. Loehle and myself published in Diversity and Distributions.

    Now, I clearly distinguish between the scientific study of extinctions, wherein I am a participant, and the meme of the “Sixth Wave”. It’s a meme because there’s not a scrap of evidence to support it. Yes, there are scientists who believe it … but that doesn’t magically make evidence appear.

    Since you think it’s not a meme, ace … where are the corpses? Where is the evidence that such a mythical chimeric creature as the fabled and long-sought “Sixth Wave Of Extinctions” actually exists?

    w.

    PS—I find your tone offensive, insulting, and unpleasant, particularly given my scientific work in the field and the fact that you’re some random anonymous internet popup who is not even willing to sign his own name to his opinions.

    I did not “deliberately insult” anyone. I simply told the truth. There’s not a scrap of evidence supporting the “Sixth Wave Of Extinction”, and despite that, it’s believed around the world, including (as you point out) by some shrinking number of scientists. If that’s not the very definition of a meme then I don’t know what is.

    And your claim that I “avoid the science altogether”? That’s total hogwash. I’m a published author in the field, plus I’ve written extensively about the science of extinctions here on WUWT. I have focused on the science, not avoided it.

    It’s because I know the scientific facts inside and out that I can call the “Sixth Wave” a meme. Your nasty accusation that I’m “avoiding the science” is nothing but a transparent attempt to discredit my scientific views through character assassination … nice try.

  98. A meme is a shortcut way to avoid quantification. One can say “sea level rise” or “ocean chemistry change” without specifying how much and yet still expect to be taken seriously. By sea level rise, does one mean 1mm/yr (so what) or 20m by 2100 (ala Al Gore)? By “ocean chemistry change” do you mean a 0.1 pH unit change in 100 yrs? As Ben Pile says, it is a sentence without an object. “Climate change” is not a what but a “how much”.

  99. Sister Michelle says:
    March 17, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I find your web site disturbing.

    Sister, welcome to WUWT, where what we do is science. As many institutions and individuals have shown throughout history, science is often disturbing to the accepted norms and paradigm. So I’ll take your comment as a compliment.

    What good are you producing by laying a fog over the fact that we humans are making an immense negative impact on the health of our planet?

    I, along with most folks here, am more than aware that humans are responsible for lots of damage to the environment of different kinds.

    Science is the process whereby we can determine which kinds of damage we are or are not responsible for. Finding that we are not responsible for some particular damage is not “fog”, nor does it absolve us of the things for which we are responsible. In fact, it clarifies things.

    At the present time our species is using one and a half planets worth of material resources, …

    I fear this makes absolutely no sense. Are you claiming that we are mining Venus or the asteroids for our material resources? Because other than that, it’s physically impossible to use more than one planet’s resources, and we are certainly nowhere near using even that one.

    … and with growing population figures for the next 70 years (projected to reach 10 billion for a generation then decline, towards the end of this century), and increasing consumption patterns as individuals, businesses and nations the future for our grandchildren is looking bleak.

    Actually, at this point in time, humans are better fed, better clothed, better educated, and better sheltered from the weather than at any point in the last few millennia. As a result, I fail to understand the reason for your gloomy prognosis.

    Now we make war over fossil fuel products, the next battles will be over fresh water and food if we do not begin working together as a whole society establishing communities, business practices, consumption patterns, farming practices and transportation options which are sustainable and actually improve the health and possibilities for our current populations of sentient life and the biosphere we live in and count on to provide for All of us.

    My goodness, Sister, where is your sense of history? Humans have been going to war over water and food and energy for as long as there have been humans. I fail to see that this is a novel situation or an urgent crisis. Instead, it’s just more of the same stuff we’ve somehow been muddling through since forever—people covet other people’s stuff (land, water, resources, food, energy) and will sometimes kill to get it, either individually or in groups. This is news?

    So no, I don’t think that we have to establish new “communities, business practices, consumption patterns, farming practices and transportation options”, or at least not in the top-down, we-know-what’s-good-for-you way you are proposing. Those things are all currently evolving, never as fast as we’d like them to be sure, but we’re getting there.

    I believe we must begin looking forward 100, 200 years what kind of society and planet are we leaving to our descendants, will it be thriving with an abundance of Life and Possibility or will it be a place of death, struggle and darkness?

    And me, I believe that people who think that they can predict what kind of society and planet we’ll have in 200 years are seriously fooling themselves.

    We are creating our common societal future every day with the words we speak, the actions we take and our thoughts and focus. I believe it is my moral responsibility to contribute to a positive future outcome to the best of my ability. It is going to take Most of us humans to make changes in our personal behavior to change the direction of this trajectory we are currently on which is not looking too good at the moment.

    Sister, I implore you to look at the actual data. Despite all of the old challenges and lots of new ones, we’re taking care of the poor better than we ever have. Yes, much work remains to be done, mountains of it. But if you want to “contribute to a positive future outcome” you should start by noticing the trajectory is upwards almost everywhere.

    I appreciate the time and energy and thought you put into this page but am not sure that the impact you are attempting to make is good for our society as a whole or our common future. I am open to further communication on this comment, I realize it will be unpopular with your regular followers…..

    I rather suspect that one belief shared by the “regular followers”, whoever that might be, is the idea that testable scientific truth is virtually always of benefit to everyone. In almost all cases, we’re all better off knowing the facts.

    Among other things, science such as this post helps us avoid blind alleys. If we know that relatively small and slow changes in temperature (a degree or two per century) do not have a negative impact on biodiversity, that’s valuable information. It lets us focus our time and money on things that DO have a negative impact on biodiversity, and as you point out there are plenty of those.

    There is an assumption you are making, which is that folks ’round here don’t care about the environment. I assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. See my post on the subject here.

    The problem is that bad science, often execrable science, is routinely swallowed and subsequently propagated by the environmental groups. That’s the real “fog” that’s being spread, to use your terms. See my post on “How Environmentalists Are Destroying The Environment” for a discussion of some of these issues.

    To me, the tragedy of our times is that the environmental organizations bought into the anti-energy, anti-development fight against the imaginary enemy of CO2.

    May joy and blessings come your way.

    And yours as well, Sister … and yours as well.

    w.

  100. Indicators of a planet teeming with life and bio diversity:
    An increasing carbon cycle and higher levels of atmospheric CO2.

    Just count your blessings and stop with your efforts to reduce the gas of life.
    It only makes you look stupid.

  101. Willis Eschenbach says:
    March 17, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    …There is an assumption you are making, which is that folks ’round here don’t care about the environment….

    ==================================================================
    If I may add, there was a time when there was no such thing as “pollution”. It was just called “dumping stuff in the creek”. The result was a mess. It was people such as many of the “regulars” who post and comment here, that would fit under the label “conservationist”, that became concerned and explored and applied sound, practical science based solutions. Enter the “environmentalist” that seem to view a tree as more important than the the house that can be built from that tree. (And to often the family that will live in that house.) Also enter those who would manipulate the good intentions of both for their own profit. (“Profit” meaning money and/or power and authority over others) That’s what’s going now with the CAGW “meme”.

  102. climateace says: March 17, 2014 at 3:59 am

    A meme is indeed about cultural transmission, and there are many cases where an emotive cultural concept outstrips and overwhelms the more reasoned trigger that spawned it, whether that trigger be from politics, philosophy or science itself. As Willis points out in his response, this speaks nothing to whatever *genuine* science may be happening within the topic domain, which if it is indeed genuine will be evidence-based and not presume beforehand a ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ stance. Yet once a meme achieves sufficient cultural inertia (typically in alliance, mass extinctions are part of a current cross-coalition with CAGW), there will generally be effects such as confirmation bias and noble cause corruption. At which point evidence can be trampled and lost underfoot, and this acts as positive feedback for erroneous (and typically alarmist) notions to become entrenched in the public mind, plus often in policy-making too. It takes a clear head and great bravery to stand against the crowd in such circumstances and call for a return to the evidence *alone*, and a setting aside of infectious cultural anxieties; the kind of bravery Willis seems never to have been short of. I’m no expert on the extinction debate, but I can spot memetic content pushing emotive hot-buttons and that immediately rings alarm bells. Your characterisation of what Willis is doing based on his use of the term ‘meme’ is wholly wrong. I think it would be hard for you to disagree that there is a great deal of exaggeration and speculation out there on the topic that you would maybe not sign-up to yourself, hence indeed the meme is bigger than the science. For instance the short timescales and links to temperature you mention *are* becoming part of the public perception, hence drowning a more balanced case. But at any rate, if you think the science supports the whole sixth extinction hypothesis, then I suggest it would be more productive to challenge Willis on the ground he’s marked out at the provided links.

  103. climateace says: March 17, 2014 at 3:51 am
    “Jimbo
    If a 99.9% extinction rate is the general rule then there are a couple of million current species that are due for the high jump some time in the future.”

    I don’t know what the rate is, but long before the Sun goes seriously wobbly then likely all current high level species will be extinct, possibly most lower ones too, and without invoking a big asteroid strike either (though on that timescale such is likely). No species is an end-point. And each species forms part of the environment for other species, in a widening tree, so that the whole system is dynamically interactive. It also has a ratchet that is compelled to go forward; each species alters the environment in fundamental ways that provide new opportunties and close off old ones. Elephants alter the landscape, birds leave mountains of guano that insects can use, sea creatures have left so much shell debris behind that whole landscapes are now shaped by it. None of this is stable, only our fleeting lives make it seem so, and all of it is compelled to go forward forward forward. Even if climate variability was magically eliminated, the bio-system would still be compelled to go forward, acumulating more and more consequences of past species that unfolded the opportunities for new ones. There is no ‘purpose’ to this, it just is, and certainly no species, including us, can be regarded as a permanent feature. If one wants a single theme to hang one’s hat upon, then one can note that what is really evolving overall, is evolvability.

    None of this speaks to the size or scope of man’s impact, but since this part of the conversation was about the big picture, then indeed pretty much everything will go. On this scale it’s not a ‘high-jump’, it’s normal.

  104. andywest2012

    I am OK to go with the use of ‘AGW Memers’ and ‘Sceptic Memers’ to describe adherants to unscientific approaches to to either anthropogenic climate change or non-anthropogenic climate changers respectively. As you would be aware, both exist. They vie for what is essentially political power but, in terms of their contribution of either to the science, both AGW Memers and Skeptic Memers are totally irrelevant because they operate in a separate cognitive domain.

    Now; back to the science?

    Here are the scientific issues I raised in response to Loehle’s blog post that Loehle and Willis ignored completely.

    ‘In this blog post Loehle briefly examines temperature. He ignores the cascading and inter-connected impacts of climate change on the distribution of predators, pathogens, disease vectors, precipitation and hydrology. (Studies of the distribution and intensity of malarial and dengue outbreaks, for example, should provide some insights as to why temperature and competition are not the only significant factors in species’ range and hence in species’ survival or extinction.)

    Most oddly, Leohle’s blog post ignores changes to ocean chemistry altogether.

    No biologist, except perhaps for creationist biologists, disputes that all species will attempt to adapt to change. To deny this is, therefore, to erect a straw man. Two major issues determine successful adaption: sufficient time and the size of the gene pool. (Of course, there are others.) In his blog post, Loehle ignores these factors altogether. Loehle’s implicit assumption is that the current suite of species will have time to adapt and that all species will have the necessary gene pool.

    Finally, Loehle examines the issue of mass extinction as if in a vacuum. But human impacts are growing in extent and intensity. The rate of change of human impacts is also changing. Thousands of species are listed as endangered or vulnerable. Uncounted species are undergoing a process of having their existing range and existing gene pool seriously reduced now. Additionally, the increasing intensity and extent of the built environment has, and will continue to, hamper dispersion.’

    I followed this up with some points about time frames and rates of change.

    This was ignored by Loehle and Willis.

    I followed this post up with a rough guide to what might be learned from translocation, including range alterations, and extinction. I noted, in passing, the risks inherent in experimenting with range increases and translocations of hundreds of thousands of species.

    This too was ignored by Loehle and Willis.

    In broad terms, my analysis of Loehle’s blog post as ‘not robust’ stands.

    Willis also spent some time attacking me in a nasty personal manner. Inter alia he criticised me for not naming myself. He wanted to know why. The nanosecond I saw the image of man in a mob swinging a noose intended for climate scientists I thought to myself, ‘Not me, thank you very much.’ Thus my posts will have to be judged on their merits and not on the pseudo-authority of who or what I am, what my publication history is, or the alphabet soup I am entitled to add to my name.

    So, Loehle and Willis – to the science?

    As a footnote I note that Australia’s rather unfortunate contribution to humanity’s global experiment with extinction rates continues apace. In the past two decades or so we have, either deliberately or inadvertantly, translocated fire ants, Calerpa, northern Pacific seastars, crazy ants, and mission grass into Australia. Our latest translocation has everyone sort of crossing their fingers because there is nothing at all we can do about it: Myrtle Rust.

  105. Climateace: you perhaps misunderstand the etiquette of blogs. The poster is not required to answer in detail ever comment. You would have done better to read some of my papers before attacking me, but I will try to answer some of them.
    Ocean chemistry: I am a forester, and I know trees. I don’t know ocean chemistry. I do know that forecasts of changes in pH are rather speculative and the historical pH data is simply not there to detect any change.
    “cascading changes”: easy to say, hard to evaluate. It is also a meme, if I might, to say that changes will cascade, like dominoes falling, because then even if the primary change looks mild we can claim that cascades will occur. There have certainly been cascades as a result of human activity (burning or not burning the prairies or forests, for example). No one can claim to know what will happen there.
    I was not looking at it in a vacumn but as one factor among many. Read my papers. In the developing world, many wildlife species have recovered and we now have more forest in the US than 70 yrs ago (official US Forest Service data) due to cessation of farming on marginal land. The best thing we could do for biodiversity would be to help the 3rd world develop. Did you know that in North Africa they catch millions of songbirds in nets as they migrate to Europe? to eat. Anyone doing well financially would not bother. Likewise with eating chimps or gorillas or cutting firewood to cook with–proper development would lead to those things ceasing. And yet the cry of “sustainable development” means that the US development agency and World Bank will no longer loan money for power plants. Outrageous.

  106. ‘Craig Loehle says:
    March 17, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Climateace: you perhaps misunderstand the etiquette of blogs. The poster is not required to answer in detail ever comment. You would have done better to read some of my papers before attacking me, but I will try to answer some of them.’

    Craig

    I don’t particularly mind if you don’t want to respond. Scientists are very busy doing science, as it is. So I thank you for your polite response and the effort you have put into it.

    ‘Ocean chemistry: I am a forester, and I know trees. I don’t know ocean chemistry. I do know that forecasts of changes in pH are rather speculative and the historical pH data is simply not there to detect any change.’

    The difficulty I have with this statement is that you appear nevertheless to be confident that scientists who do know something about oceanography and who do discuss the potential contribution of marine extinctoins are simply excluded from your consideration altogether.

    In terms of trees, my general view is that we will not have a clear actual idea of the potential impact of climate change on tree species in situ in real forests (as opposed to botanic gardens) for, let us say, ten generations. For some species of trees this would be, say 5,000 years out. For a very few, very long lived species, say, 50-100,000 years out. But for fast maturing softwoods you might be looking at, say, 2-300 years out. It may well be that trees/forests are, in any case, poor canaries. They have a great capacity to exist as relicts long after the environments which engendered them have moved on. There are eucalypts, for example, in central australia that germinated in some one-off stochastic flood event a couple of centuries ago. I am sure you would be aware of many more examples.

    ‘“cascading changes”: easy to say, hard to evaluate.’

    I could not agree more. Yet you argue confidently in the blog post that your views on just two variables – temperature and competititon, are enough to demonstrate that predictions of a large extinction event are largely baseless.

    ‘ It is also a meme, if I might, to say that changes will cascade, like dominoes falling, because then even if the primary change looks mild we can claim that cascades will occur. There have certainly been cascades as a result of human activity (burning or not burning the prairies or forests, for example). No one can claim to know what will happen there.’

    I appreciate the ‘meme’ sally. Some effects will ‘cascade’. Others will not. It appears to becoming clear in Australia that small temperature increases on top of normal droughts (in terms of precipitation) creates a cascading effect. The reason is that the small additonal temperature is enough to prevent runoff of any rain that does fall and increases significantly the evapotranspiration rates of the rain that does fall. The cascading phenomenum exists. I acknowledge that other effects will not cascade and will be contained. For example we have at least one functionally-extinct bird species (no surviving individuals are breeding) in Australia which, when the last individual dies, will have little or no further impact on biodiversity. It will be a non-cascading extinction of a single species. OTOH, there are clear early signs that some high-biomass/small individual ocean calcifiers are running into problems calcifying. The cascading effect of removing them from the foodchain would cascade and would be significant.

    ‘I was not looking at it in a vacumn but as one factor among many. Read my papers.’

    Your blog mentions just the two factors. I addressed the blog, not your literature. I accept that your papers would address a wider range of factors. The particular concern I had with your blog statements was that there was an apparent lack of awareness of the synergies between existing and increasing extinction anthropogenic stressors on a huge range of species and the additional stress arising from climate change and changes to ocean chemistry. An individual extinction usually takes a long time and it usually takes a suite of drivers.

    ‘ In the developing world, many wildlife species have recovered and we now have more forest in the US than 70 yrs ago (official US Forest Service data) due to cessation of farming on marginal land.’

    It is pleasing that adding resources to biodiversity management, protected areas and species recovery plans has resulted in the improved conservation status of many species. Unfortunately, on a global basis, the ratio of those with an improvement to those which are going backwards is not too good.

    I note your comments on species recovery and forest expansion in the US as well as your comments on biodiversity management, or lack thereof, in the third world, but might just leave them aside since the focus of the discussion is the relationship between climate change and biodiversity.

    I note that you continue to avoid discussion of the known potential impacts of range extensions and translocations.

    So, back to your post. Does it do enough to demonstrate that your position is right and that you have whacked the mole makers?

    IMHO, not, because:

    (1) It uses far too small a time frame for a reasonable discussion about the relationship between extinctions and AGW changes.
    (2) It avoids discussion of biodiversity in the oceans, thus leaving vast amounts of biodiversity out of the discussion altogether.
    (3) It argues on the basis of a very limited range of variables, noting that you have addressed these elsewhere.
    (4) It does not address the cascading ‘meme’ or the consequences of the possible elimination, or significant reduction, or significant elements of lower trophic levels in ecosystems.
    (5) It does not address the known risks and consequences inherent in range extensions and translocations of hundreds of thousands of species.
    (6) While acknowledging that there are other and significant anthropogenic extinction stressors, it does not capture, in any significant quantitative sense, the contribution in the discussion about AGW and extinctions.

    For what it is worth, I have had quite a few conversations with practising ‘biodiversity’ scientists. (Statistically, this does not represent a ‘consensus’.) All of them were expecting an increase in extinction rates. But not of them was willing to nominate an exact percentage of the coming extinction event. The few who were willing to put up a figure gave huge percentage range bands and low confidence in their estimates.

    BTW, there is, IMHO, probably a ‘memish’ North/South cultural factor underlying the scientific discussion of extinctions. Australia has suffered a major national vertebrate extinction event in the geological nanosecond since european settlement. (The lists are available elsewhere). While excellent work is being done on the recovery of some vulnerable, threatened and endangered species, these are in the minority. More and more are added to the lists every year, while the management resources to address the issues are declining. Signficantly, the intra-specific gene pools are also in significant decline for many species.

    Therefore, the lived experience, over a longish lifetime, of competent Australian observers is a pattern of general* range reductions and many population decreases combined with general increases in the extent and intensity of threatening processes. Just one statistic will give you an idea of what this means in practice. Even though it is under some threat from translocated species, the US fish fauna biomass is still largely composed of native species. In the Murray Darling Basin, which contains Australia’s largest catchment and our biggest rivers, well over 90% of the fish biomass consists of a single translocated species.

    *(Noting that some species, such as grassland species, are spreading in range and increasing in population as a result of forest clearing and many farming practices).

  107. climateace: if it takes a thousand years for the effects of climate change to be visible in a forest, then I would submit that it is not an urgent priority.
    The idea of cascades is an invocation of the precautionary principle, that because cascades might happen that we should take immediate action. No one lives their life like that. It might rain so never go on vacation. You might die so don’t save for retirement (or you might live to 100 so never spend a penny). A few years ago, the forecast of the models was certain so action was urgent, but now action is urgent because of the uncertainty? Please.
    The experience of Australia is not representative of anything. It is an island that was isolated for millions of years except for a very few modern bird, bats, and mammals that made it across the ocean. Islands are uniquely susceptible to human disturbance (see my paper with Eschenbach). It is also NOT an example of climate change impacts.
    As to my completeness, birds and mammals are highly mobile, as are fish (esp in ocean). Even reptiles can and do move long distances (birds and reptiles made it out to the Galapagos). Many other plants besides trees are very long lived (desert shrubs, bunch grasses, clonal herbs, even soil fungi).
    My assessment of the risk of ocean acidification is based on my reading, but is not definitive–give me an example of an alarmist who is anything but 100% certain about everything even when it is way outside their expertise (like James Hansen making pronouncements about nuclear power or species extinctions).
    Your post is it’s own essay and you manage to misconstrue my main points by making them extreme. It is only a couple of pages, shorter than your complaints. Sorry, but I’m done responding.

  108. Sister Michelle says:
    March 17, 2014 at 10:21 am

    “the fact that we humans are making an immense negative impact on the health of our planet?”

    I am disturbed that you attribute characteristics of life – “health” – to a big dirt ball.

  109. Craig Loehle says:
    March 17, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Ans: climate controls where they are based on a long process of competition, not immediate mortality. That is, they can grow well outside the area where they are found, almost always, but not as well as some competing species. But the competition process takes a long time.

    ===============================

    I must disagree. Competition amongst oaks is non-existent. Species intermingle ubiquitously, even to the point of hybridization. Competition is not limiting their distribution. Perhaps other species, but not oaks.

  110. climateace says: March 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Within the wider climate change arena there is indeed memetic content in some sceptic responses; “it’s all a liberal conspiracy” would be an example. But memetic content doesn’t always launch into an emotively driven and overwhelming social runaway, which has happened only on the pro-CAGW side, resulting in the usual characteristics when this happens such as noble cause corruption, confirmation bias, orthodoxy policing, reward/punishment schemas, etc. But indeed those strong enough to stick with true science *whatever* direction its outcome may end up supporting, would remain in a different domain as you put it.

    Regarding your view of Willis, you wrongly accused him of ‘deliberate’ misdirection and insulting all scientists with a view different to his own. Why would you expect anything other than the kind of robust response you got? And robust is the term, not nasty. As to identification, I for one respect that some folks need to remain anonymous, but with that privelidge comes responsibility. It is much harder to defend oneself when the folks making serious accusations can pop up anonymously and dissapear again just the same. Therefore to make such accusations is essentially an abuse of the privelidge. This can admittedly be grey territory sometimes, yet as Craig suggested a quick look at work and record beforehand would tell you that your already cavalier (at best) assumption could not be true.

    I know a little about evolutionary mechanisms and also about memes, climate science I leave to others. But as a layman just reading stuff, a few things puzzle me regarding purported climate-linked extinctions, and your exchanges with Craig do not make these things clearer. Given the global surface temperature has not actually gone up for about 17 years, then even extending back for say 30 or 40 years into the past, even into the last plateau/decline, means a very small temperature rise then to now. Not only is that rise completely within recent precedents globally in terms of size and slope, compared to much larger long-scale regional changes from natural variability, which one presumes is the significant operative (among other non-temperature ones) on a species, it is surely dwarfed. And from an attribution PoV that’s assuming all the rise is anthropogenic too, which even the IPCC is now distancing from. While continued rise might form a threat at some point, that point must be far distant and yet there are claims of urgency from studies covering all or portions of this time-period. Using ‘projected rises’ instead of real rises has not helped in some cases. Likewise global PH changes seem utterly trivial compared to seasonal (and sometimes even daily) changes, unless they do indeed get much worse over a very long time. Yet once again there are claims of urgency. And sea creatures in water exposed to ridiculous amounts of CO2 have displayed a range of responses from detrimental to nothing to beneficial, but either fringe would be barely noticable in any real-world scenario. Plus some at least of the ‘cascade’ worry seems to be based on secondary climate phenenoma from rising temperature, such as precitpation patterns, hurricanes, etc. Yet the IPCC seems not to have identified attribution for these secondary phenomena anyhow, and confidence in doing so seems low.

    It seems to me that you have a good point regarding translocation and direct impacts (e.g. habitat splitting, agriculture), but if most of the time and the money and the effort and public attention is being captured by the meme into a focus onto some ephemeral and very long-term effects, the much more immediate problems will never be mitigated or even addressed. Science should help derive the appropriate priority, but you seem to drift always into conflating the speculative ‘climate-change related’ problems, with the ‘direct’ actually visible problems, as indeed the ‘sixth wave’ narrative also seems to do. To this laymen, that seems very unhelpful. (I haven’t saved links to the stuff read – the social side is my main interest).

  111. Sister Michelle says:
    March 18, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Thank you for commenting.

    Please look at both sides of the balance sheet, the lengths of time involved, and the probabilities.

    Please think of the millions in abject poverty now who will die too soon and live in misery until they do with no hope of anything better in this world. Please think of those “green energy” is holding, forcing into, and will force into fuel and AC poverty increasing deaths and misery. Please look up fuel poverty deaths in the UK. Historically the only way out is through economic growth and that means cheap energy. Without huge subsidies, and the ignoring of ecological damage “green energy”, through wind turbines and photovoltaics, is extremely expensive and ecologically damaging. Someone has to pay those subsidies either through higher bills, higher taxes, or inflation; all of which harm the poor more than the rich.

    I am of the opinion, and have been since the coming catastrophe switched from “ice age” to overheating, that attempts to prevent the unproven anthropogenic climate change are far more disruptive, dangerous, and murderous than simply adapting to any that occur over the centuries they almost certainly take to happen, if they happen at all.

    As to plants and animals. I am not willing to kill millions of people and force other millions into abject poverty attempting to engineer a stasis in plant and animal ranges and genetic diversity. Nor am I willing to take the risk of doing so given the lengths of time and probabilities involved.

    As an aside, your, “may joy and blessings come your way…..” right back at ya. And, isn’t it a shame how often fun or happiness is mistaken for joy.

  112. climateace, as you say “Now; back to the science?” Is it possible for global warming to increase biodiversity?

    Abstract
    Carlos Jaramillo et. al – Science – 12 November 2010
    Effects of Rapid Global Warming at the Paleocene-Eocene Boundary on Neotropical Vegetation
    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.
    doi: 10.1126/science.1193833

    —————-

    Abstract
    Carlos Jaramillo & Andrés Cárdenas – Annual Reviews – May 2013
    Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
    Global Warming and Neotropical Rainforests: A Historical Perspective

    There is concern over the future of the tropical rainforest (TRF) in the face of global warming. Will TRFs collapse? The fossil record can inform us about that. Our compilation of 5,998 empirical estimates of temperature over the past 120 Ma indicates that tropics have warmed as much as 7°C during both the mid-Cretaceous and the Paleogene. We analyzed the paleobotanical record of South America during the Paleogene and found that the TRF did not expand toward temperate latitudes during global warm events, even though temperatures were appropriate for doing so, suggesting that solar insolation can be a constraint on the distribution of the tropical biome. Rather, a novel biome, adapted to temperate latitudes with warm winters, developed south of the tropical zone. The TRF did not collapse during past warmings; on the contrary, its diversity increased. The increase in temperature seems to be a major driver in promoting diversity.
    doi: 10.1146/annurev-earth-042711-105403

  113. climateace, as you say “Now; back to the science?”

    Letter To Nature
    Stephanie Pau et. al. – Nature Climate Change – 23 May 2013
    Clouds and temperature drive dynamic changes in tropical flower production
    …..Here we quantify cloudiness over the past several decades to investigate how clouds, together with temperature and precipitation, affect flower production in two contrasting tropical forests. Our results show that temperature, rather than clouds, is critically important to tropical forest flower production. Warmer temperatures increased flower production over seasonal, interannual and longer timescales, contrary to recent evidence that some tropical forests are already near their temperature threshold4, 5. Clouds were primarily important seasonally, and limited production in a seasonally dry forest but enhanced production in an ever-wet forest. A long-term increase in flower production at the seasonally dry forest is not driven by clouds and instead may be tied to increasing temperatures. These relationships show that tropical forest productivity, which is not widely thought to be controlled by temperature, is indeed sensitive to small temperature changes (1–4°C) across multiple timescales.
    doi:10.1038/nclimate1934
    ———–
    Abstract
    Alexander W. Cheesman & Klaus Winter – Journal of Experimental Botany – July 19, 2013
    Growth response and acclimation of CO2 exchange characteristics to elevated temperatures in tropical tree seedlings
    ….. Seedlings of 10 neo-tropical tree species from different functional groups were cultivated in controlled-environment chambers under four day/night temperature regimes between 30/22 °C and 39/31 °C. Under well-watered conditions, all species showed optimal growth at temperatures above those currently found in their native range. While non-pioneer species experienced catastrophic failure or a substantially reduced growth rate under the highest temperature regime employed (i.e. daily average of 35 °C), growth in three lowland pioneers showed only a marginal reduction….
    doi: 10.1093/jxb/ert211

  114. climateace, as you say “Now; back to the science?” It can’t be as bad as you make out, surely!

    Abstract – 31 May, 2013
    CO2 fertilisation has increased maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments

    [1] Satellite observations reveal a greening of the globe over recent decades. …….Using gas exchange theory, we predict that the 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 (1982–2010) led to a 5 to 10% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments. Satellite observations, analysed to remove the effect of variations in rainfall, show that cover across these environments has increased by 11%.…..

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/abstract

    _____________________________

    Abstract – May 2013
    A Global Assessment of Long-Term Greening and Browning Trends in Pasture Lands Using the GIMMS LAI3g Dataset

    Our results suggest that degradation of pasture lands is not a globally widespread phenomenon and, consistent with much of the terrestrial biosphere, there have been widespread increases in pasture productivity over the last 30 years.

    http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/5/5/2492

    _____________________________

    Abstract – 10 April 2013
    Analysis of trends in fused AVHRR and MODIS NDVI data for 1982–2006: Indication for a CO2 fertilization effect in global vegetation

    …..The effect of climate variations and CO2 fertilization on the land CO2 sink, as manifested in the RVI, is explored with the Carnegie Ames Stanford Assimilation (CASA) model. Climate (temperature and precipitation) and CO2 fertilization each explain approximately 40% of the observed global trend in NDVI for 1982–2006……

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gbc.20027/abstract

    _____________________________

    Abstract – May 2013
    The causes, effects and challenges of Sahelian droughts: a critical review
    …….However, this study hypothesizes that the increase in CO2 might be responsible for the increase in greening and rainfall observed. This can be explained by an increased aerial fertilization effect of CO2 that triggers plant productivity and water management efficiency through reduced transpiration. Also, the increase greening can be attributed to rural–urban migration which reduces the pressure of the population on the land…….
    doi: 10.1007/s10113-013-0473-z
    _____________________________

    Abstract – 2013
    P. B. Holden et. al.
    A model-based constraint on CO2 fertilisation
    Using output from a 671-member ensemble of transient GENIE simulations, we build an emulator of the change in atmospheric CO2 concentration change since the preindustrial period. We use this emulator to sample the 28-dimensional input parameter space. A Bayesian calibration of the emulator output suggests that the increase in gross primary productivity (GPP) in response to a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial values is very likely (90% confidence) to exceed 20%, with a most likely value of 40–60%. It is important to note that we do not represent all of the possible contributing mechanisms to the terrestrial sink. The missing processes are subsumed into our calibration of CO2 fertilisation, which therefore represents the combined effect of CO2 fertilisation and additional missing processes.
    doi:10.5194/bg-10-339-2013

  115. climateace, as you say “Now; back to the science?”

    Abstract
    Heat-shock tolerance and inbreeding in Drosophila buzzatii
    …..All flies were conditioned at 36.5°C for 75 min prior to exposure to stress, to activate the synthesis of heat-shock proteins. These proteins are known to protect cells against stress damage. The younger group of flies were exposed to a thermal stress of 40.7°C for 88 min, 103 min, or 118 min and the older flies to the same temperature only for 88 min or 103 min, as the survival of older flies after heat stress was much lower than that of the younger flies…….

    http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v74/n2/abs/hdy199523a.html

    ——————-
    Abstract
    Effects of inbreeding in three life stages of Drosophila buzzatii after embryos were exposed to a high temperature stress.
    …The interaction between inbreeding and high-temperature stress was examined in the cactophilic fruit fly, Drosophila buzzatii. Embryos of four inbreeding levels (F = 0, F = 0.25, F = 0.375, F = 0.5) were either maintained at 25°C throughout egg-to-adult development or were exposed to 41.5°C for 110 min at an age of 20 h. Hatching, larva-to-pupa survival, pupato-adult survival, and egg-to-adult survival were estimated. Heat shock reduced hatching rates, but survival to adulthood for individuals that hatched was unaffected by the heat shock……

    http://tinyurl.com/ka3roh7

    ——————–
    Abstract
    Effects of extreme temperatures on phenotypic variation and developmental stability in Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila buzzatii
    …….Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila buzzatii. In both species, a general trend for increasing of phenotypic variation and fluctuating asymmetry at stress temperatures was observed; in fluctuating asymmetry, this effect was more pronounced……

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1095-8312.1997.tb01780.x/abstract

  116. climateace, let’s look at a really hot time on Earth. One that is unprecedented!!!
    “Now; back to the science?” The past tells a different story to yourself. Whatever the interactions and dynamics it settles down to INCREASED BIODIVERSITY. There is a reason for the greening pattern on our wonderful planet.

    Patterns in Palaeontology: The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum

    Fossil leaves from Wyoming show that both the overall amount and the number of types of damage increased during the PETM. This is consistent with higher carbon dioxide concentrations reducing the nutritional quality of the plant material and stimulating increased feeding. Higher temperatures might also have increased insect population sizes…….

    …….The equatorial forests, therefore, not only survived the PETM warmth, but seem to have flourished in it, with enhanced speciation and limited extinction increasing the number of plant species present.

    http://www.palaeontologyonline.com/articles/2011/the-paleocene-eocene-thermal-maximum/

    ———————
    Abstract
    Biogeographic and evolutionary implications of a diverse paleobiota in amber from the early Eocene of India
    …. The amber is very partially polymerized and readily dissolves in organic solvents, thus allowing extraction of whole insects whose cuticle retains microscopic fidelity. Fourteen orders and more than 55 families and 100 species of arthropod inclusions have been discovered thus far, which have affinities to taxa from the Eocene of northern Europe, to the Recent of Australasia, and the Miocene to Recent of tropical America. Thus, India just prior to or immediately following contact shows little biological insularity. A significant diversity of eusocial insects are fossilized, including corbiculate bees, rhinotermitid termites, and modern subfamilies of ants (Formicidae), groups that apparently radiated during the contemporaneous Early Eocene Climatic Optimum or just prior to it during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum……

    http://www.pnas.org/content/107/43/18360.short

  117. climateace you must look at the paleo and what it tells us. It’s observations V speculation as far as I can see.

    PS Please can you list for me all the species that have gone extinct in the last 2 years? Thanks.

  118. climateace says:
    March 17, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Jimbo
    If a 99.9% extinction rate is the general rule then there are a couple of million current species that are due for the high jump some time in the future.

    My point is don’t be alarmed. We had nothing to do with 99% of extinctions. And when we did how much was caused by man’s greenhouse gases. That is you challenge for tonight.

  119. climateace says:
    March 17, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Jimbo
    If a 99.9% extinction rate is the general rule then there are a couple of million current species that are due for the high jump some time in the future.

    Your geological sense of timing needs re-tuning. WE maybe gone this millennium. See declining fertility rates around the world. The UN says global population should stabilize around the end of this century. Others hotly disagree and say the middle of this century. If those that disagree are right then our panic is over, even you must agree with that.

    YaleGlobal, 26 October 2011
    Global Population of 10 Billion by 2100? – Not So Fast
    With urbanization and education, global fertility rates could dip below replacement level by 2100
    ………………….
    The demographic patterns observed throughout Europe, East Asia and numerous other places during the past half century as well as the continuing decline in birth rates in other nations strongly points to one conclusion: The downward global trend in fertility may likely converge to below-replacement levels during this century. The implications of such a change in the assumptions regarding future fertility, affecting as it will consumption of food and energy, would be far reaching for climate change, biodiversity, the environment, water supplies and international migration. Most notably, the world population could peak sooner and begin declining well below the 10 billion currently projected for the close of the 21st century.

    Joseph Chamie, former director of the United Nations Population Division,
    is research director at the Center for Migration Studies.

    http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/global-population-10-billion-not-so-fast

    The Breakthrough Institute – May 8, 2013 – Martin Lewis
    “In a recent exercise, most of my students believed that India’s total fertility rate (TFR) was twice that of the United States. Many of my colleagues believed the same. In actuality, it is only 2.5, barely above the estimated U.S. rate of 2.1 in 2011, and essentially the replacement level. (A more recent study now pegs U.S. fertility at 1.93.)…..

    …In today’s world, high fertility rates are increasingly confined to tropical Africa…..

    …fertility rates are persistently declining in almost every country in Africa, albeit slowly. Many African states, moreover, are still sparsely settled and can accommodate significantly larger populations. The Central African Republic, for example, has a population of less than 4.5 million in an area almost the size of France……

    …As it turns out, the map of female literacy in India does exhibit striking similarities with the map of fertility. States with educated women, such as Kerala and Goa, have smaller families than those with widespread female illiteracy,…..

    …Thus while the education of women is no doubt significant in reducing fertility levels, it is not the only factor at play……

    That television viewing would help generate demographic stabilization would have come as a shock to those who warned of the ticking global population bomb in the 1960s…..

    To return to our first map, fertility rates remain stubbornly high across tropical Africa. The analysis presented here would suggest that the best way to bring them down would be a three-pronged effort: female education, broad-based economic and social development, and mass electrification followed by the dissemination of soap-opera-heavy television……”

    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/conservation-and-development/population-bomb-so-wrong/

    http://geocurrents.info/population-geography/indias-plummeting-birthrate-a-television-induced-transformation

    http://geocurrents.info/cultural-geography/television-and-fertility-in-india-response-to-critics

    climateace, please take it easy. I know that WUWT is not the easiest place to sell you story and I admire your efforts but there is just so much more that disagrees with you.

  120. climateace says:
    March 16, 2014 at 2:58 pm
    …………….

    In this blog post Loehle briefly examines temperature. He ignores the cascading and inter-connected impacts of climate change on the distribution of predators, pathogens, disease vectors, precipitation and hydrology. (Studies of the distribution and intensity of malarial and dengue outbreaks, for example, should provide some insights as to why temperature and competition are not the only significant factors in species’ range and hence in species’ survival or extinction.)

    Malaria is a funny old bird. As you point out “temperature and competition are not the only significant factors in species’ range….”

    Abstract
    From Shakespeare to Defoe: malaria in England in the Little Ice Age.
    “Until the second half of the 20th century, malaria was endemic and widespread in many temperate regions, with major epidemics as far north as the Arctic Circle. From 1564 to the 1730s the coldest period of the Little Ice Age malaria was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627969/

    Abstract
    Global warming and malaria: knowing the horse before hitching the cart
    “….from Poland to eastern Siberia, major epidemics occurred throughout the 19th century and the disease remained one of the principal public health problems for the entire first half of the 20th century…..Tens of thousands of infections, many caused by P. falciparum, occurred as far north as the Arctic seaport of Arkhangelsk (61° 30′N)….”
    doi:10.1186/1475-2875-7-S1-S3

    Abstract – [1999]
    The return of swamp fever: malaria in Canadians
    Malaria is an old Canadian disease. It was an important cause of illness and death in the past century in Upper and Lower Canada and outinto the Prairies. 1,2 During the period 1826–1832, malaria epidemics halted the construction of the Rideau Canal be-tween Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., during several consecu-tive summers, with infection rates of up to 60% and death rates of 4% among the labourers.
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1229992/

    Abstract
    Endemic malaria: an ‘indoor’ disease in northern Europe. Historical data analysed
    “A total of 1,803 persons died of malaria in the western parts of Finland and in the south-western archipelago during the years 1751–1773 [23]. Haartman [21] reports severe epidemics in the region of Turku in the years 1774–1777 and the physician F.W. Radloff mentioned that malaria was very common in the Aland Islands in 1795 [39].”
    Huldén et al – 2005 Malaria Journal

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-4-19

    Abstract
    Anopheles (Diptera: Culicidae) and malaria in northern Europe, with special reference to Sweden
    ….An. messeae was probably the principal vector during the malaria epidemics in Sweden….
    ingentaconnect.com/content/esa/jme/1986/00000023/00000001/art00009

    Abstract
    Insect Pests in northern Norway. The Mosquito Nuisance.
    …Brief reference is made to insect-borne diseases, and it is pointed out that malaria was widespread in Sweden and Finland early in the nineteenth century, and though no records have been found from Norway, species of Anopheles occur there….
    cabdirect.org/abstracts/19412900788.html

    Abstract
    Malaria in Norway–a tropical disease off the track?
    …efforts to find the reasons for the appearance and disappearance of a disease. It is well known that malaria was common on the European continent, but it is less well known that malaria also existed in Norway during the 19th century…
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7825149

    Abstract
    Malaria Around the North Sea: A Survey
    Malaria may have been introduced into the North Sea Basin in late Antiquity. It has been endemic at least since the 7th century, but its high-days were the Little Ice Age…. The rise and fall of malaria took place largely independent of long-term climatic change.
    10.1007/978-3-662-04965-5_21

    Abstract [1916]
    Malaria as a public health and economic problem in the United States
    Malaria constitutes one of the big national health problems, and because it is a common disease, it receives less consideration than many other diseases less destructive…
    doi: 10.2105/AJPH.6.12.1290

    Abstract
    Malaria in Poland
    Abstract
    Malaria epidemiological situation in Poland since nineteenth century to 1995 has been described. The changes observed during this period are enormous. Poland has been transformed from endemic country with huge epidemics into the country with sporadic imported malaria cases.
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9333849

    Abstract [1977]
    Malaria eradication in Portugal
    Research on malaria, which was endemic in several parts of Portugal at the beginning of this century, was intensified in the 1940′s and led to the development of better control methods, especially in the rice-growing areas of the country. In the 1950′s residual DDT spraying was introduced…….The country was placed in the maintenance phase of malaria eradication and the certification of malaria eradication was confirmed by the WHO in 1973.
    [Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene - Volume 71, Issue 3, 1977, Pages 232–240]
    doi: dx.doi.org/10.1016/0035-9203(77)90014-1

    ———————
    Review article
    Global Warming and Infectious Disease
    In modern times, we tend to think of malaria as a tropical disease. However, malaria has existed in many temperate areas of the world (30). Outbreaks have occurred as far north as the Arctic Circle and the disease has flourished in much of Europe and North America….. In Europe, cases of malaria persisted throughout the Little Ice Age, a period of intensely cold winters and cool summers that began in 1564…..

    Archives of Medical Research – Volume 36, Issue 6, November–December 2005, Pages 689–696
    Infectious Diseases: Revisiting Past Problems and Addressing Future Challenges

    But I don’t worry too much about Malaria now unless global warming takes it’s vicious and nasty hold.

    Abstract – 2010
    Climate change and the global malaria recession
    “…observed decreasing global trends in both its endemicity and geographic extent. Second, the proposed future effects of rising temperatures on endemicity are at least one order of magnitude smaller than changes observed since about 1900 and up to two orders of magnitude smaller than those that can be achieved by the effective scale-up of key control measures. Predictions of an intensification of malaria in a warmer world, based on extrapolated empirical relationships or biological mechanisms, must be set against a context of a century of warming that has seen marked global declines in the disease and a substantial weakening of the global correlation between malaria endemicity and climate.”

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature09098

    Abstract – 2001
    Climate change and mosquito-borne disease.
    …Elementary models suggest that higher global temperatures will enhance their transmission rates and extend their geographic ranges. However, the histories of three such diseases–malaria, yellow fever, and dengue–reveal that climate has rarely been the principal determinant of their prevalence or range; human activities and their impact on local ecology have generally been much more significant….
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240549/

  121. climateace says:
    March 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Willis also spent some time attacking me in a nasty personal manner. Inter alia he criticised me for not naming myself. He wanted to know why. The nanosecond I saw the image of man in a mob swinging a noose intended for climate scientists I thought to myself, ‘Not me, thank you very much.’ Thus my posts will have to be judged on their merits and not on the pseudo-authority of who or what I am, what my publication history is, or the alphabet soup I am entitled to add to my name.

    Please quote my words if you object to them. What I actually said was:

    PS—I find your tone offensive, insulting, and unpleasant, particularly given my scientific work in the field and the fact that you’re some random anonymous internet popup who is not even willing to sign his own name to his opinions.

    I stand by that statement 100%. It is factual. Your tone was snarky and quite offensive. My detailed comments are above.

    Also, it is a simple fact that you are not willing to sign your name. That means that you can disown your own words in an instant, and that you will never have to take responsibility for anything you say.

    And yes, ace, as much as you might dislike it, being anonymous does and always will affect your credibility and whether your tone is appropriate.

    Note that I did not say that your science was wrong because you are anonymous.

    I said your tone was inappropriate for a man who is unwilling to sign his words. I stand by that.

    So, Loehle and Willis – to the science?

    Not for me, thanks. My life’s too short, there are too many good folks, and too many interesting scientific puzzles for me to waste much time with folks like you.

    w.

  122. So many get so worked up over species that might go extinct because of human activity, yet so few appreciate all the species that we might be causing to evolve:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020151324.htm

    Consider also those new proto-species adapted to life in man-made high radiation environments or which now eat nylon while their ancestors subsisted on sugars. Not to mention antibiotic resistant pathogen strains en route to species status.

  123. Jimbo
    It is good to see that you have picked up that species range are driven by various drivers, not just temperature and competition, as per the blog post.

  124. Willis
    ‘So, Loehle and Willis – to the science?

    Not for me, thanks.’

    True.

    Craig responded to this challenge with a reasonable discussion. I believe that we have got around to agreeing to disagree on some points and agreeing on other points as reasonable people will do.

    You have responded by attacking the person, repeating the personal attacks, and more generally, by imputing memish (aka cultural transmission behaviour) on climate and biodiversity scientists who differ from your position, and by avoiding discussing the substantive issues raised in this blog altogether.

    The contrast between yourself and Loehle is stark.

  125. [ milodonharlani says:
    March 18, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    So many get so worked up over species that might go extinct because of human activity, yet so few appreciate all the species that we might be causing to evolve:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020151324.htm

    Consider also those new proto-species adapted to life in man-made high radiation environments or which now eat nylon while their ancestors subsisted on sugars. Not to mention antibiotic resistant pathogen strains en route to species status.]

    There can little doubt that humans are driving numerous processes that (a) lead to increased extinction rates and (b) lead to accelerated speciation.

    As always, the issue is one of rates and time frames.

  126. [andywest2012 says:
    March 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    climateace says: March 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm]

    Good post, IMHO. I believe we would differ on the degree and intensity of memish behaviour (I believe, for example, that I have seen the terms ‘lying’ and ‘moron’in WUWT recently. But let’s leave all that for the political socialists, psychologists and anthropologists.

    I note your comments relating to Willis.

    The things I liked about your post was that it directly takes into acount the issue of rates, with time being one of the factors in the rates.

    IMHO, there have not been a single climate-related individual extinctions in the past century. I may be wrong but, IMHO, there is little direct evidence for a species going extinct solely because of climatic factors. Climatic factors may have contributed, along with other stressors, but that is much harder to determine.

    Your general point that much of the climate variations to date are well within the variations that generated the current suite of biodiversity is, IMHO, quite correct.

    I note your point about range changes and translocations.

    We know that thousands of species are changing their range.

    We know that in most instances these species are heading north if in the northern hemisphere and south if in the southern hemisphere. There are exceptions.

    We know that the phenology of thousands of species has already responded to changes in climate variables.

    We know that changes in fire regimes consequent to changes in climate variables will impact different species differently.

    We know that range changes is bringing thousands of species into contact with other species for the first time.

    We know that ocean chemistry is changing.

    We know that there have been range alterations, phenology changes and morphological changes related to the ocean chemistry changing.

    We have some idea for some species about the probable autecological limits to survival for many vertebrates and vascular plants but a vanishingly small understanding of how invertebrates and bryophytes, for example, will respond to climate variables.

    We know that non climate-related human activities are increasing the gobal suite of vulnerable, endangered and threatened species.

    We know that the intra-specific genetic range of many species is being reduced.

    We have little ide for most ecosystems about the probable limits to the survival of ecosystems.

    As Craig said, it is all very complicated.

    The extinction issue thus gets back to this more general question:

    Are we prepared to undertake a large risky experiment with biodiversity?

  127. climateace says:
    March 19, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Willis

    ‘So, Loehle and Willis – to the science?

    Not for me, thanks.’

    True.

    Craig responded to this challenge with a reasonable discussion. I believe that we have got around to agreeing to disagree on some points and agreeing on other points as reasonable people will do.

    You have responded by attacking the person, repeating the personal attacks, and more generally, by imputing memish (aka cultural transmission behaviour) on climate and biodiversity scientists who differ from your position, and by avoiding discussing the substantive issues raised in this blog altogether.

    The contrast between yourself and Loehle is stark.

    ace, this isn’t my post, it’s Craigs. So when you attacked various aspects of the post, I figured it was up to Craig to reply, not me … which he did.

    For me, I was put off by your unwarranted attack. I hadn’t mentioned your name, and you opened the conversation up by posting this comment:

    climateace says:
    March 17, 2014 at 3:59 am

    I note that Willis has used the term ‘meme’ to characterise one side of the discussion of biodiversity responses to climate change. This is a pity because most of the upstring discussion has been along strictly scientific lines.

    For those of you who don’t know what is going on, Willis is deliberately insulting all scientists who hold a contrary view to his own by using the term ‘meme’ to apply to the sixth wave of extinction.

    In fact, he avoids the science altogether by transferring the argument to a domain where he ‘wins’ the argument by the simple name-calling: a ‘meme’ is about cultural transmission, not science.

    When you start with that kind of very personal attack, accusing me of “avoiding the science altogether” and all the rest of the malfeasance you allege in your comment, you’ve lost your moral high ground. After you opened the conversation with that kind of personal attack, your current whining and pearl-clutching about personal attacks is a sick joke.

    More to the point, you starting our conversation by attacking me in that unpleasant manner doesn’t make me want to play ball. So …

    Not for me, thanks.

    w.

  128. climateace says:
    March 19, 2014 at 12:17 am

    Jimbo
    It is good to see that you have picked up that species range are driven by various drivers, not just temperature and competition, as per the blog post.

    Really? But you say with malaria ” temperature and competition are not the only significant factors in species’ range and hence in species’ survival or extinction.” The papers I provided show that it’s insignificant. Look old boy each species is different! As I have shown Warmist projections / predictions are highly suspect when compared to observations. That is my main gripe with alarmist claims. Why species do what they do I really don’t care unless I see a Warmist making claims about temperature I take a look.

  129. Craig Loehle,

    You continue to be a keen observer. Thank you.

    NOTE: If you recall, at HI’s ICCC-7 in Chicago (May 2012), I told you that you were the best presenter there wrt a calm rational approach and even toned demeanor. ; )

    I appreciate that.

    John

  130. climateace says: March 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Well I’m way off the edge of my knowledge store and area so can comment only a little more. But I note your agreement regarding no purely climate related extinctions to date, and also that climate variations to date are well within Earth’s normal patterns (absent anthro CO2).

    IMHO you imply far too much confidence in your long list by the repeated use of the word ‘know’, while not mentioning the obvious concept of the many uncertainties related to the accumulated information, and in some cases (albeit it may simply be writing style), your ‘know’ seems also to imply over-certainty about the cause, as well as the effects we think we might be seeing. For instance species constantly adjust spread on several timescales due to internal population dynamics, disease vectors, regional climate changes (even absent any effects from man), cumulative progression of environment (few environments are truly stable and every species is part of another’s environment), competition, and no doubt much more, and they have always done so. For a system that is only ‘dynamically stable’ in a psuedo-cyclical way, great care is required to ensure we are not seeing part of ‘normal’ species fluctuations. In a discipline that seems to rely heavily on estimates and assistance from models, uncertainty will be a constant companion. And in seeking attribution, sustained effects from AGW not only have to be winnowed from all of the above, but then differentiated from the non-CO2 impacts of man as well (which are dominant effects in many caes). Likewise (because of dependency to some extent on temperature and pressure and outflows and life-systems and such),ocean chemistry is ‘regional’, where the regions move and merge on several timescales (the ocean overturnings, the decadal dominant modes of such that flip, volcanic activity, seasons, centenial length systems like the ocean conveyor), plus contains complexities (life not least!) that lead to non-linear responses. Hence the chemistry is always changing and that change must be winnowed out to see whether what residual we see matches what we think might be the effect of increased CO2 at surface. Not an exercise that is free of significant uncertainty I suspect. I may not have all this quite right, but feel you have wholly glossed over this aspect and portayed a level of certainty that doesn’t actually exist. And some studies recently (sorry I kept no links) seem trigger happy on AGW as a factor even when considering the last twenty years; this is more than a stretch when the global temperature hasn’t gone up for 17 years; what they’re seeing must be regional whatever it is. Likewise if species are fleeing for the poles on this timescale, it isn’t because of global temperature. If they were fleeing for the poles between 1975 and 1998 or thereabouts, that would seem a better alignment, but this still cannot all be pinned to AGW unless all that temperature rise can be pinned to AGW, and the rise is anyway as agreed well within historic patterns. So therefore also is the range change.

    You note the impact of non-climate related human activities. I agree. Cutting of forest and other habitat fragmentation, mono-culture crops, introduced species, accidental disease transplantation. This is the risky experiment and it started millennia ago, and is accelerating. One of thousands of examples is the denuding of North Africa and the Middle East of trees, later other Meditteranean fringes, for the classicial civilisation fleets and later those of Venice. There is high confidence about many impacts and often relatively high confidence in the mechanisms of impacts. Timescales are immediate. While doom is not at all inevitable, risks are significant. This is experiment a). There may or may not be significant impacts from experiment b), CO2, but confidence in mechanisms and impacts is low, and timescales are long to very long to gain any kind of equality of impacts with experiment a) in any case. It’s likely that even if we put all the money and effort society can make available for such things into mitigating experiment a), it would not be enough to stem an overall impact on bio-diversity. Hence any money and effort diverted to b), [apart from the gaining of more knowledge], will only make the impact on bio-diversity worse. Science must separate the priorites. Yes effects are additive but a 3rd or 4th order effect remains just that. You seem to shy away from this separation, and constantly conflate the issues in a) and b) as though their weightings / impacts / timescales were equal, as indeed the sixth extinction narratives I’ve seen appear also to do. IHMO this seems very unhelpful towards optimum mitigation.

    Well I’m sure I won’t have convinced you and I’ve more than scraped the bottom of my barrel, so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  131. Putting Humans In Their Place
    Eminent Harvard ecologist and ant expert E.O. Wilson once told me that if humans disappeared overnight, only a handful of organisms would also go extinct: creatures that live on our skin, in our armpits, and our groins and guts. The rest of nature would rebound, the planet would green up, and animals would increase in abundance. But if all the ants went extinct overnight, whole terrestrial ecosystems would collapse, and the makeup of animals and plants would change catastrophically. Kind of puts humans into perspective.

    http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2008/10/putting-humans-in-their-place/

    The ant-like world of David Suzuki

    http://minx.cc/?post=219770

    E.O Wilson Quotes
    If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.
    Science and religion are the two most powerful forces in the world. Having them at odds… is not productive.
    People need a sacred narrative. They must have a sense of larger purpose, in one form or another, however intellectualized. They will find a way to keep ancestral spirits alive
    I see no way out of the problems that organized religion and tribalism create other than humans just becoming more honest and fully aware of themselves.

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/e_o_wilson.html

  132. climateace says:
    March 19, 2014 at 12:27 am

    I haven’t seen any evidence of increased extinction rates at this moment. Humans have certainly caused or contributed to the extinction of many species in the past, but now in the 21st century I’d have to say that at best the jury is out. We are however definitely currently helping increase the numbers & extend the ranges of many species.

  133. Thanks, Jimbo, for this link in comments on a more recent post:

    Jimbo says:
    March 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm
    And in news just in the IPCC now admits doubts about its earlier statements of species extinction.

    Spiegel reports of an “acute lack of data” and that “biological findings have increased doubt over the expected species extinction“
    See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2014/03/24/spiegel-ipcc-backpedal-on-species-extinction-astonishingly-great-doubt-over-earlier-predictions-acute-lack-of-data/

Comments are closed.