Study: climate of Los Angeles has been stable for 50,000 years

From the AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY and the “no ice ages here” department.

Fossil beetles suggest that LA climate has been relatively stable for 50,000 years
New radiocarbon dating of La Brea Tar Pits beetles indicates that Southern California’s Paleoclimate was very similar to today

Research based on more than 180 fossil insects preserved in the La Brea Tar Pits of Los Angeles indicate that the climate in what is now southern California has been relatively stable over the past 50,000 years.

The La Brea Tar Pits, which form one of the world’s richest Ice Age fossil sites, is famous for specimens of saber-toothed cats, mammoths, and giant sloths, but their insect collection is even larger and offers a relatively untapped treasure trove of information. The new study, published today in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, is based on an analysis of seven species of beetles and offers the most robust environmental analysis for southern California to date.

“Despite La Brea’s significance as one of North America’s premier Late Pleistocene fossil localities, there remain large gaps in our understanding of its ecological history,” said lead author Anna Holden, a graduate student at the American Museum of Natural History’s Richard Gilder Graduate School and a research associate at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum. “Recent advances are now allowing us to reconstruct the region’s paleoenvironment by analyzing a vast and previously under-studied collection from the tar pits: insects.”

The new study focuses on ground beetles and darkling beetles, which are still present in and around the Los Angeles Basin today. Insects adapt to highly specific environmental conditions, with most capable of migrating when they or their habitats get too hot, too cold, too wet, or too dry. This is especially true for ground and darkling beetles, which are restricted to well-known habitats and climate ranges.

The researchers used radiocarbon dating to estimate the ages of the beetle fossils and discovered they could be grouped into three semi-continuous ranges: 28,000-50,000 years old, 7,500-16,000 years old, and 4,000 years old. Because the beetles stayed put for such a sustained period of time, evidently content with their environmental conditions, the study suggests that pre-historic Los Angeles was warmer and drier than previously inferred–very similar to today’s climate. In addition, insects that thrive in cooler environments, such as forested and canopied habitats, and are just as likely as the beetles to be preserved in the tar pits, have not been discovered at La Brea.

“With the exception of the peak of the last glaciers during the late Ice Age about 24,000 years ago, our data show that these highly responsive and mobile beetles were staples in Los Angeles for at least the last 50,000 years, suggesting that the climate in the area has been surprisingly similar.” Holden said. “We hope that insects will be used as climate proxies for future studies, in combination with other methods, to give us a complete picture of the paleoenvironment of Earth.”

###

Other authors on this study include John Southon, University of California-Irvine; Kipling Will, University of California-Berkeley; Matthew Kirby, California State University; Rolf Aalbu, California Academy of Sciences; and Molly Markey, AIR Worldwide.

Quaternary Science Reviews paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379117301671

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146 thoughts on “Study: climate of Los Angeles has been stable for 50,000 years

  1. I wonder what the climate was like of the American West during the last ice age, rather cool and lush I would think, unlike the desert it is now. ?

    • Cooler maybe, but lush, I don’t think so. It would still be in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevadas.

      • It’s easy to forget that there was a network of extremely large lakes throughout the Great Basin of what is now the American southwest, during the last ice age. The great salt flats in places like Bonneville are all that’s left of them, and they extended into Southern California. Their presence would have had a remarkably humidifying impact on the region, much as the Great Lakes affect the areas surrounding them today.

        The Palms found by early anglo explorers at places like Palm Springs and 29 Palms are the last remnants of the large bands of tropical palms that used to surround the rims of these lakes.

    • Coastal. Relatively far south. Big mountain range shielding them from inland climate changes.

      Sigh. I need to learn to write grants; great money for proving the obvious.

      • “Writing Observer” – it is most certainly not obvious. This study shows so neatly that it is only in the high latitudes we get the really big, global temperature differences – and the really big sudden changes (the reason for “tipping points” we simply do not know). I think it is very valuable research.

      • The Tar Pits are not far from the Pacific Ocean and just under the Santa Monica Mountains, an east-west range of low elevation in line with prevailing winds off the sea. The Sierras are 350 miles to the northeast. So the beetles has a climate moderated by the sea, not the mountains. Small climate changes would not be seen, only large ones. Many days the coast to several miles inland is shrouded in fog in the morning, including this site.

      • Notice that research says that there was climatic change between 16k and 28k years ago. So the area was immune to what was occurring elsewhere until it became very cold. Sort of consistent with the glacial periods starting with ocean currents slowing down their transport of heat to polar regions in winter and the subtropics/temperate regions not getting affected until the albedo increases significantly. Not exactly consistent with global temps being a simple calculation of forcings.

    • I live in Mesa AZ, in the last ice age the area was covered ponderosa pine. Rather different than now, the pines need much more water that falls now, add in the saguaro cactus did not exist at that time. Also to think temperature would change much in LA is a fool’s errand after all LA is next to the greatest heat sink in the world call the Pacific ocean. Climate scientist can’t be that stupid, OH my bad, yes they can be! One other thing the place where I grew up, northern Minnesota was covered with a mile of ice, the environment I knew was less that twenty thousand years old and yet so called “climate scientist” are worried because they perceive a temperature change upward. Should they really be worried if said temperature change was going down?

  2. Given that Los Angeles is right by the ocean, it isn’t surprising that the climate is stable.

    • Changes in ocean currents can make a big difference in coastal areas.
      However those kinds of changes typically take millions of years, not 50k.

      • The Humboldt current on the west coast of South America meanders randomly on different time scales, causing rapid and dramatic changes in the local weather and climate. Civilisations have come and gone on the Peruvian coast from the changes.

    • commieBob May 24, 2017 at 9:49 am
      “Given that Los Angeles is right by the ocean, it isn’t surprising that the climate is stable”

      WR: Present Los Angeles is in the zone of cold upwelling water which cools the Californian climate. During a glacial the Northern Hemisphere climate zones switch southward, inclusive winds. Upwelling, wind – dependent, switches southward. Warmer western winds and western currents can reach southern California and might compensate for the glacial cooling.

      The present situation with the California Current: “There is year-round upwelling off Southern California’s coast, but it is strongest in the summer months. Off the coast of Oregon and Washington, there is forceful downwelling in the winter months, and upwelling in the region is restricted to the months of April through September.[3]” Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Current

      Imagine a southward shift of the climate zones. The present southern California, now cooled by the cold upwelling, will be influenced by more and warmer westerlies, not inducing cold upwelling waters. Possibly compensating for the lower glacial global temperatures. A plausible scenario.

      • Southern California is backed by some quite impressive mountains — 3000-3500 meters They acquire often impressive snow caps most every winter. Is anybody aware of any evidence of permanent ice-glaciation there even at the peak of the last ice age?

      • Don K:
        There are existing glaciers in the Sierra Nevada mountains today.The Palisades Glacier still exists near Lone Pine at about 12,500 ft (3800 m).

      • The highest peak in the San Gabriel Mtns. above LA is Mt. Baldy, at just over 10,000 feet. The San Gabriels weren’t glaciated during the Wisconsin or, apparently, prior glaciations. The adjacent San Bernardino Range did however sport some small glaciers during the Wisconsin.

        At least that was the conclusion of geologists in 1959:

        http://www.ajsonline.org/content/257/2/81.abstract

      • “There are existing glaciers in the Sierra Nevada mountains today.” There are indeed although if you view them from across the Owens Valley from the bristlecone pine forest, they aren’t very impressive — more like permanent snowfields on North facing slopes. There are more impressive glaciers on Shasta and the volcanic peaks of the Cascades. I was just curious if the climate at the latitude of LA was enough colder/wetter 25000 years ago to support permanent ice.

      • As teenagers we used to ride motorcycles in the San Gabriel’s using Hwy 39 to reach Hwy 2 traversing the north slopes. In 1983 there was a snowfield on the north slope of Mt Baden-Powell that never melted. We would stop there each trip as we noticed it was melting from below and created snow caves. The snowfield had melted by the following summer.

        I always thought the area was glaciated in the past by the features in the terrain. Looking at the link Chimp provided it said the terrain features previously attributed to glaciers was restudied and concluded it was not. I guess the deep piles of sharp angular rock debris in the canyons below the peak were formed from rock falls.

      • “Is anybody aware of any evidence of permanent ice-glaciation there even at the peak of the last ice age?”

        Sierra Nevada has been quite extensively glaciated during ice ages. Ever been to Yosemite valley? That is possibly the most famous example of a glacier-formed U-shaped valley in the world.

        http://www.science.earthjay.com/instruction/HSU/2015_fall/GEOL_553/discussions/discussion_02/Gillespie_Clark_2011_Glaciations_Sierra_Nevada.pdf

        There were a few small glaciers in the San Bernardino Mountains, but probably none in the San Gabriel Mountains.

      • Watching the weather reports of unending drought followed by merciless torrential rain the last few years I would have said the climate of Southern California was about as stable as it’s movie stars.

  3. How reliable is carbon dating for organisms that have been soaking in ancient tar for thousands of years?

    • Quite good. The tar comes from the Monterey shale source rock. While it is very young geologically, it is still much older than the limit on 14C dating methods which is about 50,000 years. 14C halflife is ~5730 years. So the tar is 14Cless.

      • There have been many problems with dating the remains in the tar pits, and likely still are. You should do some research before making such claims.

      • Most bad dates seems to be related to groundwater or surface water circulation with net ionic fluxes of ions. The tar pits are crowned in water.

      • That’s the point. Since Carbon dating uses the ratio of 14C to 12C. Since the tar has no 14C left, wouldn’t soaking the sample in it, impact the ratio of the two isotopes?

  4. Stable? It looks more like three periods (one quite long, the first) that were similar to today’s climate in LA. I have seen other reports that California has a history of quite long-term droughts, which would definitely fit a definition of a different climate. It is more the case that LaLa Land has had the same climate several times.

    • Tom,
      James,
      That was, broadly how I read the head article.
      “The researchers used radiocarbon dating to estimate the ages of the beetle fossils and discovered they could be grouped into three semi-continuous ranges: 28,000-50,000 years old, 7,500-16,000 years old, and 4,000 years old.”
      Tom –
      “It is more the case that LaLa Land has had the same climate several times.”
      Head article again: –
      “Because the beetles stayed put for such a sustained period of time, evidently content with their environmental conditions, the study suggests that pre-historic Los Angeles was warmer and drier than previously inferred–very similar to today’s climate.”
      James –
      “The climate was stable except when it was not.”
      Head article again: –
      “In addition, insects that thrive in cooler environments, such as forested and canopied habitats, and are just as likely as the beetles to be preserved in the tar pits, have not been discovered at La Brea.”
      So 28,000 to 7,000 years ago – the deepest part of the last Ice Age [and much of the recovery from it] were ‘cooler’ it seems.

      Tom, James, Many thanks for deconstructing this article.
      It probably has some science in it, but the gruesome grant-grabbing greed leading to catastrophic climate change invocation, when we already have a natural Ice Age in the period under study, strikes me as desperate, and delusional – or deluding; depending on who is (to be) fooled.

      Auto

      • Don’t you mean 28,000 to 16,000 years ago (not 28,000 to 7,000) was the deepest part of the last Ice Age? 7,500 to 16,000 was one of the given ranges for stable climate.

      • Yes, but the area around the islands extended farther west due to the 400 feet lower sea level. It must have been a wonderful world, full of tasty megafauna, easily slaughtered, not to mention mollusks, crustaceans, marine mammals, birds and fish. The first humans to arrive there were arguably the richest people who ever lived. Lots of food in a clement climate.

        The La Brea pits have also provided evidence for how close to carbon starvation were the trees in that region during the LGM.

        http://www.pnas.org/content/102/3/690.full

  5. During the last 140 years the LA climate has been getting slightly drier with no correlation to the global temperature. Spectral components distribution appears to be related to the Earth’s rate of rotation, else known as the LOD – length of day.

  6. “With the exception of the peak of the last glaciers during the late Ice Age about 24,000 years ago, …

    So, there was a period of time when the beetles weren’t present. How long was it?

  7. “With the exception of the peak of the last glaciers during the late Ice Age about 24,000 years ago, our data show that these highly responsive and mobile beetles were staples in Los Angeles for at least the last 50,000 years”

    This seems contradict their claim of no changes. It is what you would expect to find, different during the last Ice Age and much the same otherwise.

    • Insect assemblage differed not during the the last glaciation from 50 Ka to the LGM, ~26.5-19.0 Ka in the NH.

      • “the LGM, ~26.5-19.0 Ka in the NH.”

        WR: at 26.5 Ka there was a supervolcanic eruption in New Zealand, possibly changing the ‘general pattern’ of weather and climate of that time, also for California:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Taupo
        Lake Taupo is a lake in the North Island of New Zealand. It is in the caldera of the Taupo Volcano. With a surface area of 616 square kilometres (238 sq mi), it is the largest lake by surface area in New Zealand (…)

        Lake Taupo is in a caldera created by a supervolcanic eruption which occurred approximately 26,500 years ago.

        The initial event 26,500 years ago is known as the Oruanui eruption. It was the world’s largest known eruption over the past 70,000 years, ejecting 1170 cubic kilometres of material and causing several hundred square kilometres of surrounding land to collapse and form the caldera. The caldera later filled with water, eventually overflowing to cause a huge outwash flood.[3] It is possible that the Lake Taupo event contributed to starting the Last Glacial Maximum.[citation needed]

        WR: compare: Mt. St. Helens 2.79 km3 of material. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_St._Helens

    • Of the last 50,000 years, 38,000 of those years occurred during the last Ice Age. It is remarkable that the Los Angeles climate was so stable and so similar to today during most of that time. The exception occurring during peak glaciation around 24,000 years ago when the beetles found it too cool to stick around. I would have guessed that the Los Angeles climate would have cooled significantly during the entire Ice Age, not stayed similar to today.

      • What tends to happen is that, as polar zones are covered by ice, and tundra, steppe-tundra and boreal forest spread across formerly temperate zones, the temperate and tropical bands contract in extent, but don’t disappear.

      • Chimp:

        The maps You show doesn’t even refer to the last glaciation, but rather the next-to-last about 150,000 years ago. And they are way wrong in any case.

    • There were no glaciers to ever cover Los Angeles. The elevation is too low. Very few tall mountains to have snow year round. Really just Mt. Baldy.

  8. Anyone care to venture a guess as to what percentage of scientists are engaged in research that pertains to climate in some way, but are not funded by climate agenda grants? In other words, research that doesn’t have to worry about producing a certain outcome and can just report the truth.

      • But it seems that there are a lot of scientists in other fields who do research that sheds light on past climate. Their research can actually contradict the popular theory.

      • There are a lot of Geologists that are doing hard science, pun intended. But, without “Earth and Climate Scientist” tattooed on their resumes , they don’t seem to have much recognition. Pretty hard to alter a Glacial Moraine..

    • Institutions like the NSIDC, British Antarctic Survey, Met Office have been involved in climate research for 6 decades, 100 years and longer, respectively.

      They were researching weather and climate decades before the first IPCC publication. They’d be researching it even without the current climate change…

      So too the DMI in Denmark and other long founded universities around the world.

      Some arctic ice specialists have been researching it for over 40 years. some polar bear conservationists have been working in the field with the same population of bears since the early 1980s.

      • Have they been right? Or merely successful at getting funding for the next years’ budget?
        So, all that only serves to make the case that these bureaucracies and labs are funded by their patrons in the government to support the government’s need for their results: CAGW = More budgets! More power! More computers and buildings and staff and travel money! More programmers! More meetings and briefings for their government patrons!

      • Your prediction that Arctic sea ice was “sure” to set a new record low in 2017 is still not looking good. Barring more cyclones in August, you’re liable, yet again, as usual, to be wrong.

        The Arctic Ocean remains colder than usual, and the melt continues more slowly than normal. Right now, sea ice extent is well above 2016, and in between 2015 and 2014. And about tied with 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2011. It could end up in the normal range, or out of it in September, but a new low record looks like the long shot so many here told you was probable.

      • HH. Lamb did his research before the late 20th century warming that took place in the 1980’s-90’s. I would not take any bets on what would be his opinion if he had been researching through that warming.

      • Late 20th century warming was no different from early 20th century, little different from late 19th century warmings, and a lot less impressive than the early 18th century warming, which followed the depths of the LIA during the Maunder Minimum.

      • Griff

        “some polar bear conservationists have been working in the field with the same population of bears since the early 1980s.”

        Correct and you had no problem slandering and defaming one of them that didn’t agree with your view, as you do with pretty much any scientist that doesn’t agree with your religion. Go find your polar bear you creep!

    • I would ask for a definition of a “climate agenda grant” first. I have never heard of one before.
      Would for example a National Science Foundation grant count? Or a EU Research funded grant count?

      • Funding that is dependent upon pushing the narrative. Doesn’t matter where it comes from.

      • Can you provide any examples? All the science funding that I know of involves writing a research proposal which is then assessed by an independent panel and ranked and only the ones with the highest scores get through. Research proposals that are obvious do not make it through the system.

      • Truly independent panels are rare. It’s just like humanities grants. It’s a coterie promoting and protecting its own.

        Government grant science isn’t science any more than pal review is peer review.

      • Chimp,
        since the end of the 2nd world war the vast majority of science has been “government grant science”. What would you call the large hadron collider, the Hubble space telescope, Mars rover etc? Not to mention the huge amount of material physics, semiconductor physics etc do in University labs around the world? There are a lot of issues with the science funding agencies but they do fund actual science.

      • Geronimo,

        To the extent that government has promoted actual scientific and technical advances, it hasn’t been because of phony baloney papers like those spewed out by CACA collaborators. It has been from defense industry and space exploration programs.

        Most grant-funded “research” is worth far less than the paper on which it is printed or electrons expended in propagating the lies.

      • Chimp,
        here is a list of recent NSF funded physics grants:
        https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/advancedSearchResult?WT.si_n=ClickedAbstractsRecentAwards&WT.si_x=1&WT.si_cs=1&WT.z_pims_id=505058&ProgEleCode=011Y,1221,1232,1233,1234,1241,1243,1244&BooleanElement=Any&BooleanRef=Any&ActiveAwards=true&#results

        If most of them are “worth far less than the paper on which it is printed or electrons expended in propagating the lies.” then you should have no problems pointing out to me which ones are false and why.

      • “Can you provide any examples?”

        I don’t play your game. Anyone with a few brain cells can see that $/£/€/[whatever] only flows to those who promote the narrative.

      • “All the science funding that I know of involves writing a research proposal which is then assessed by an independent panel and ranked and only the ones with the highest scores get through.”

        I can see that you have no practical experience of writing research proposals, and how they are processed. I could give you a few details from my own experience, but you would probably dismiss them as exaggeration or lies. Instead I’ll give you a link to rhe views of a very highly respected scientist in a field not at all connected to climate:

        http://johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/metascience/funding/exploration-necessary-perlmutter-2016.html

      • Hi TTY,
        The blog you mention refers to the well known issues with the current scheme of
        funding research. Almost off of which I would agree with and do not negate my claim
        that most grants are reviewed by an independant panel and ranked. If you know of
        any funding agencies that do not do that I would love to hear about them since it would
        make getting funding a lot easier.

  9. How can you be sure about the carbon dating when your specimen is soaked in carbohydrates from the tar?

    • See above. The tar has no detectible 14C left because it is much older than 50,000 years. 14C half life is ~5730 years. At 50000 yewrs only 0.004 is left. The Monterey shale source rock dates to ~15mya. If the tar is similar to Kern River field (also Monterey shale source rock) then it is about 4mya old.

      • CG: If you want to buy a beetle preserved in tar to play with, they go for about $15 on eBay. They’re from tar pits at McKittrick in western Kern County, CA. But the age and geology are thought to be much the same as La Brea.

      • CG, any detected 14C had to come from the insect not the tar. You start from the known ‘steady state’ ambient 14C atmospheric concentration (the bomb spike can be ignored here). It really isn’t steady state, but close enough. It is fairy steady because formed from constant cosmic ray bombardment. It gets incorporated into plant tissue via photosynthesis, and then animal tissue via feeding. The assumption is that tissue 14C equals atmospheric 14C at death. You measure how much 14C is left in the sample of known mass (say a piece of insect chitin) and use the half life to calculate the sample age. The measurement is by radioactive beta decay. The beta decay measurement is made by liquid scintillation of a dissolved sample as the beta decay is fairly low energy. The technique won Libby the 1960 Chemistry Nobel.
        The tar does not get involved in the calculation at all except perhaps as a residual uncleaned trace in the sample mass, increasing uncertainty a bit. Remember, La Brea fossils already have had the tar removed by organic solvents. They are cleaned specimens.

      • Rud, thanks, just nitpicking. The age is determined from the ratio of C14/C12 in the sample. Should the sample contain 1/4 of insect and 3/4 of tar, you would get an incorrect age. Chimp explains that very nicely below. The analysis is done by mass spectroscopic methods; that way you don’t have to wait for a rare C14 atom to disintegrate.

      • The tar pits degass methane to this day, causing circulating currents until they were dug out. Surface water can intermix in the tar, and recent biota can be captured in it, slowly sinking with time. To use this as a stable platform for carbon dating seems very difficult.

      • Besides weren’t the Atalantians burning fossil fuels like crazy creating the warm environment 50,000 years ago before their continent sank? Higher levels of c14 then.

        Yes that’s sarc

    • Scientists remove the tar, then date the collagen, which doesn’t absorb or react with tar.

      All animals make collagen, invented by sponges, the first metazoans, with the possible exception of the simple Placozoa (Genus Trichoplax).

      • Thanks. With this approach it does not really matter how old the tar might be. Ingenious, but laborious.

      • There have been a lot of advances in using collagen for carbon dating:

        file:///C:/Users/Administrator/Downloads/3697-4071-1-PB.pdf

        The paper is about bone collagen, but dating individual amino acids could also improve accuracy in invertebrates.

        Collagen is as distinctively a metazoan structural protein as are the cell walls of plants and of fungi, which are different and evolved separately from each other. Fungi are actually a lot more closely related to animals than to plants. The cell walls threw taxonomists off for a while.

  10. I question the validity of the carbon dating of carbonaceous (chitin) fossils preserved in a petrochemical carbon medium (tar) totally devoid of carbon-14 (because of it’s own age), which contains VOCs that could permeate the insect fossils, affecting the overall carbon-14 ratio by reducing it and thus biasing the results toward greater age.

    “With the exception of the peak of the last glaciers during the late Ice Age about 24,000 years ago, our data show that … the climate in the area has been surprisingly similar.”
    ’nuff said.

    • Given the methane degassing and slow circulation in the pools, it would be hard to assign a stratum depth being meaningful. Heavy fossils would tend to migrate down over time, and lighter ones move up. So they would be taking a batch of bug at a depth of any age, so stratum layering could not support the carbon dating. The issues would be bleaching or modification from CH4, SO2 gases and water. If there are periods of bugs at the pits then that should cause a look for any earthquake events that could have upset that record as the pits are from tar and gas coming up the Santa Monica fault.

  11. Quote: In addition, insects that thrive in cooler environments, such as forested and canopied habitats, and are just as likely as the beetles to be preserved in the tar pits, have not been discovered at La Brea.

    There seems to be a leap of logic here. Who says that insects which thrive in cooler environments today are the same as the ones missing at the La Brea site? Can insects not evolve?

    • Yes, insects evolve, but we know from dating beetles as far afield as Alaska, Asia and Europe that the same or similar species occupied habitats and temperature ranges then as now. Same with forams in the oceans and pollen in bogs. Fifty thousand years isn’t much time, geologically and biologically.

      New multicellular species can and do form in a single generation by quick and dirty evolutionary processes such as polyploidy and hybridization. But if they can move to the environment to which they’re adapted, they won’t be under selective pressure to change, and if the populations aren’t isolated, there will be little to no genetic drift.

  12. A interesting puzzle.
    How was the climate of Southern Cal able to remain so stable, but the Climate of NE America become so much colder during the last ice age.?

    l think a study that came out around 3 or 4 years ago may have the answer. When it suggested that the jet stream split over the North America area during the last ice age. Take a look at the current 250 pHa jet stream pattern over North America over on nullschool. To get a slight idea of the sort of thing that may have been happening during the last ice age.

  13. The ocean surface was lower by about 130 m. at the last glacial maximum. I suspect humans would have noticed changes had there been any in the area before the drop to that level. In fact, the exposed coastal area may have been the path taken.

    On the topic of “how do we know** the dating” is correct?
    Unless one is formally trained, or has done significant reading, we need to read with the assumption that those that have worked in this subject do know what they are doing, how it is now done, and are working to improve it.
    Unlike “climate scientists” these folks are skeptics. They have questions and seek answers. The “climate scientists” have answers and seek funding.

    [** For the past 8 years, about 4 times a year, I see someone question how CO2 can be measured on a volcano at the Mauna Loa Observatory. The answer is here: Link
    I’m sure there are explanations of dating techniques, but the garden needs attention too.]

  14. If only the insects in Holyrood had such a good recall of history. (No spelling mistake)

  15. According to Wiki, ‘darkling beetle’ is from family of Tenebrionidae estimated at more than 20,000 species, which can live in various environments including ‘intensely dry deserts such as the Namib’ to a forested ground.
    Unless they can show that the 180 samples used are of the exactly same species, that they hibernate in the winter (life span is ranging from approximately six months to two years) and that they can’t adapt to the slowly changing environment across one thousand or more generations, in human terms the last 1000 generation goes back to the time of the Neanderthals) this study means very little as far as the climate change evaluation is concerned.

  16. I think that most of the tropics must have had more or less the same climate. Certainly most of the coastlines 120 m lower than today must have had the same atmospheric pressure or even a bit higher.

    • “I think that most of the tropics must have had more or less the same climate [as today] ”

      I think that’s a fair assumption. The poleward edges of the tropics were probably somewhat closer to the equator. But there are quite distinct tropical flora an faunal assembleges in the Americas, Africa, South Asia, and the islands East of the Flores Strait. It seems quite impossible for those groupings to be only 25000 years old. There’s probably fossil evidence that provides a LOT more detail about where the edges of the tropics were during the last glaciation. But I’m not familiar with it.

  17. OT. It is estimated that currently India and not China is the most populous nation with 1.32bn people ( link)

    • It remains a question of when, not if. China’s draconian ‘one child rule’ (which actually applied to ~1/3 of the population) lowered population growth by ~400 million according to China itself. India’s fertility rate and improving health care make it the inevitable ‘winner’– but with enormous social and poverty consequences.

  18. Look at the critter bones stuck in the tar at the [Bob] LaBrea pits. Huge and common and no way they could be peak predator or prey under current conditions that marginalized anything bigger than a bobcat or brown bear.

  19. The authors of the study apparently don’t know what alluvial fans are or how they got there.

  20. There are 15,000 individual different sub-species of the darkling beetle.

    This is their range today. Seems like +/-15C works fine for these guys.

    https://www.zoo.org/view.image?Id=2075

    There are 40,000 individual different sub-species of the ground beetle.

    And given that number, they are everywhere on the planet so any temperature works.

    So, one needs some DNA tests on these Tar pit beetles and then another set covering 55,000 different beetles and then matching up the DNA to their current range .

    I’m guessing LA was about 2.0C cooler at the height of the last ice age. You know, pick an area in California which is 2.0C colder than LA today an it is probably just 100 miles away.

    • Bill,

      I haven’t read the paper, so dunno if they took species and subspecies into account. But yes, then and now, SoCal harbored lots of microclimates.

      Being farther from the sea alone could have had an effect, let alone different ocean circulation and rainfall patterns.

      • 95 out of 100 climate science studies are like this.

        They only care about the spin that can be put on it to support the narrative so that funding continues on and they get invited to all the great global warming parties.

        The abstract specifically uses the generic name for the species taxonomy which has the different number of actual species I quoted above.

        You see this pattern every time you dig into the base data in any climate science study. There are two types. 95 times out of 100, they only care about the spin/news release they can put out. But 5 times out 100, the scientists are trying hard to get their base data out there (lots of money was spent in gathering it) but they don’t want the climate science illuminati to come after them so there is the spin again to go along with the base data collected.

        I’ve been in this game for a long time now and I really dig deep into these studies and go through the data and try to piece together what is really being shown. Beetles lived in LA for the past 50,000 years is the take away here. I’m pretty sure that has been the case for about 5 million years, noting the LA basin was formed as the Pacific plate slide past the North American plate not that long ago, within the last 5 million years.

      • WR: Bill Illis, my compliments for the quality of your information. Every time when I spot your name I read carefully what you have written.

        It is good that on a site like this we can find a ‘second type of peer review’. By people like you.

        (in reaction to:
        Bill Illis May 24, 2017 at 7:59 pm

        “The abstract specifically uses the generic name for the species taxonomy which has the different number of actual species I quoted above.

        You see this pattern every time you dig into the base data in any climate science study. There are two types. 95 times out of 100, they only care about the spin/news release they can put out. But 5 times out 100, the scientists are trying hard to get their base data out there (lots of money was spent in gathering it) but they don’t want the climate science illuminati to come after them so there is the spin again to go along with the base data collected.

        I’ve been in this game for a long time now and I really dig deep into these studies and go through the data and try to piece together what is really being shown.”)

    • Not sub-species. Species.. What you are doing is equal to using a map of the combined range of all Ursidae to argue that Polar Bears are native to India and Florida.

  21. “With the exception of the peak of the last glaciers during the late Ice Age about 24,000 years ago, our data show that these highly responsive and mobile beetles were staples in Los Angeles for at least the last 50,000 years, suggesting that the climate in the area has been surprisingly similar.”
    ____________________

    one for IPCC: business as usual.

  22. How did LA climate stay stable during the events that led to the Missoula Floods?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missoula_Floods

    Another question would be where did the heat come from to melt the Laurentide Ice Sheet?

    rc.carleton.edu/vignettes/collection/58451.html

    Is there anything wrong with these conclusion by Cynthia Cudaback? She believes that melting Antarctica ‘s ice would raise ocean levels by 80 metres. http://cynthiacudaback.org/

    Energy Calculations Involving Very Large Numbers

    Useful Facts

    • One m3 of ice weighs 1000,000 g; one km3 of ice weighs 1015 g.
    • 1015 = 1 followed by 15 zeros = 1,000,000,000,000,000 = 1 quadrillion
    • When you’re multiplying large numbers together in scientific notation, you just add up the exponents.
    • Latent heat of melting ice = 80 cal/g, heat capacity of water = 1 cal/g/degree.
    • The United States uses about 100 Quadrillion BTU’s of energy each year, and one BTU = 252 calories.

    Questions:
    1. What is the mass of the Arctic ice cap in grams?
    2. What is the mass of the Antarctic ice cap in grams?
    3. Multiply the area of the global ocean by 0.001 km to calculate the volume of the top layer of the ocean.
    4. What is the mass of the top layer of the ocean in grams?
    5. How much energy will it take to melt the Arctic ice cap?
    6. How much energy will it take to melt the Antarctic ice cap?
    7. How much energy will it take to raise the temperature of the ocean by 1 degree?
    8. In what order will these changes occur?
    9. How much energy does the US use in 100 years?
    10. Is that greater or less than the amount of energy you calculated above?
    1) Mass of Arctic Ice, in grams = 20,000 km3 x 1015 g / km3 = 20 x 1018 g
    2) Mass of Antarctic Ice, in grams = 30,000,000 km3 x 1015 g / km3 = 30 x 1021 g
    3) Volume of Ocean Surface Layer = 360,000,000 km2 x 0.001 km = 360,000 km3
    4) Mass of Ocean Surface Layer, in grams = 360,000 km3 x 1015 g / km3 = 360 x 1018 g
    5) Energy to melt Arctic Ice = 20 x 1018 g x 80 cal/g = 1600 x 1018 cal = 1.6 x 1021 cal
    6) Energy to melt Antarctic ice = 30 x 1021 g x 80 cal/g = 2400 x 1021 cal = 2.4 x 1024 cal
    7) Energy to warm the surface ocean = 360 x 1018 g x 1 cal/g/oC x 1 oC = 360 x 1018 cal
    8) Order of events: Ocean warming, then Arctic melting, then Antarctic melting
    9) US energy use = 100 year x 100 x 1015 BTU/year x 252 cal/BTU = 2.5 x 1021 cal
    10) US energy use is similar to energy needed to melt the Arctic ice sheet

    http://cynthiacudaback.org/

    [??? .mod]

    • 80 meters is too high, its more like 60 meters. There are some errors here. The density of glacier ice is only about 0.91 and a lot of the water is needed to “fill out the hole” where the melted ice was, if the ground under the glacier was below sea level.

      Also how much energy is needed to melt the ice is inconsequential. It’s rather how much energy is needed to change the climate to a point where the Antarctic Ice Sheet melts. And whether this is even theoretically possible with the continents in their curren position.

    • I tracked down the darkling beetle – Coleoptera: Carabidae, Tenebrionidae – that was the basis of these claims in the paper.

      The first google search link I opened said it was discussing the mid-Columbian basin. I thought I knew where that was – up in British Columbia. BRITISH COLUMBIA!!???

      The range of these beetles includes the mid-Columbian basin?

      You tell me – how the HELL does the mid-Columbian basin BY ANY STRETCH have a similar climate to Los Angeles?

      The second source I turned up was talking about them in KASHMIR – IN THE BLOODY HIMALAYAS at 3400 meters above sea level.

      Again – what climate commonalities are there between LA and Kashmir?

      Not much rainfall – but Kashmir gets a lot of snow melt.

      So, basically the claim that the climate hasn’t changed is built on NOTHING. In fact, it is more likely that LA’s climate was COOLER, not “warmer”.

      I give this paper an F- based on not researching where ELSE the beetle lives NOW.

      • Steve,

        The study area was the Los Angeles Basin. For the cold interval, the beetle assemblage resembled that of the Columbia Basin.

        Again, the beetles belong to an enormously speciose family, but only 182 of its species, out of 20,000, were found in the study.

  23. There does not appear to be any doubt that the average temperature of any large body of water is influenced by the elevation (above sea level) of that body of water. By way of example: The dead sea (Latitude 31N & elevation -400m below sea level ) is on average a great deal hotter than Lake Victoria (Latitude 1S & elevation + 1135m above sea level). Google Wikipedia for information re annual temperature averages. Elevation & not latitude appears to be the major influencing factor. Likewise the maximum temperature (+/- 32C) of the oceans at the equator would be influenced by the elevation (read air pressure) at sea level at the time of the glacial maximum when the MSL is reported to have been at least 400ft lower than at present . This raised air pressure at sea level would be conducive to higher maximum sea water temperatures than those recorded at the equator at present and this rise in SW temperature may have contributed to the “darkling beetle” friendly climate in sub-tropical and equatorial regions.
    It is appreciated that the absolute rise in air pressure at sea level would be negatively offset by the fact that the total volume of air in the atmosphere would be more or less a constant. It is possible that these postulated elevated sea water temperatures may constitute a minor factor in initiating the global recovery from glacial to interglacial conditions.

  24. As it turns out from peer reviewed research, climate is the only stable thing in LA. Memo to LAT.

    Also the first documented murder in LA was the female body found in the tar pits from native Americans.

  25. The question is, how stable is stable; this article does not say. A sustained range of +/- 4 deg C might be fine for the beetles; I don’t know and I cannot find a link to the original paper. Does anyone have a link?

    • I found the Abstract here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379117301671

      If you want to pay $36, buy the whole article. But read my comment just below first.

      These beetles the abstract refers to – Coleoptera: Carabidae, Tenebrionidae – live in a VERY wide range of climates. The statements by the researchers are pretty much misleading.

      These same beetles are found in Kashmir and in British Columbia – among a LOT of other places. Their presence doesn’t say ANYTHING about LA’s climate being the same as now. BC and Kashmir certainly are NOT like LA.

      • Steve,

        As below, you need to appreciate that the 182 species in the study, out of 20,000 in the widely distributed Family Tenebrionidae, are indeed indicators of environmental conditions in LA County not Kashmir, which has other species.

  26. Coming into this a bit tardy, but what the hell…

    The beetles in that study are COLEOPTERA: CARABIDAE, TENEBRIONIDAE. It does not take long to google it out that these beetles live in a wide variety of climates, including the climate of British Columbia and high elevations in Kashmir, in the Himalayas between the mountain K2 and Srinagar. And don’t think ONLY in those climates.

    “The term “darkling beetle” describes the thousands of different insect species that belong to the genus Eleodes. Members of this insect group are found in different habitats all around the world.

    “…darkling beetles by name, but there’s a good chance you’ve encountered these insects before. Their larvae are called mealworms and are often used as bait by fishermen. These beetles are common throughout North America and fill several roles in ecosystems across the continent.” – – – http://animals.mom.me/darkling-beetles-6318.html FACTS ON DARKLING BEETLES

    The assertion that the climate was like NOW around LA is a false assertion. It might have been and might not have been. Most likely it was considerably COOLER. The darkling beetles under study had a WIDE range, so pinning it down to the following claim is bullshit:

    …the study suggests that pre-historic Los Angeles was warmer and drier than previously inferred–very similar to today’s climate. In addition, insects that thrive in cooler environments, such as forested and canopied habitats, and are just as likely as the beetles to be preserved in the tar pits, have not been discovered at La Brea.

    NOT warmer and dryer. More likely cooler, if not wetter. That last sentence is total CRAP. The darkling beetles THEMSELVES are quite COMMONLY in cooler environments.

    (Interestingly, the latitude in an Indian study of these beetles is essentially exactly as LA’s latitude (34°20′), even though the altitude is 3400 masl.)

    That study of these very same beetles states, “The study area experienced both arctic and desert climate and commonly known as “Cold Desert” of the country.”

    See https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235335076_GROUND_AND_DARKLING_BEETLES_COLEOPTERA_CARABIDAETENEBRIONIDAE_FROM_KARGIL_J_AND_K

    HARDLY THE SAME CLIMATE AS LOS ANGELES.

    Someone is misleading people her, folks. How many different ways can easily found sources tell us that darkling beetles are NOT confined to an climate area like LA?

    The presence of those particular beetles, IOW, means NOTHING.

    • Steve,

      The study involved 182 species in the Family Tenebrionidae, which contains around 20,000 species. The mix of species from the tar pits shows statistically significant similarity with those present today, except during the Last Glacial Maximum, the coldest interval of the Wisconsin glaciation.

      • In addition, tell me what the significance is that the EXCEPTION during the LGM was and why it is a tenable explanation for why something changed at the LGM. All of a sudden those beetles weren’t there anymore? Or they adapted for a few thousand years and now can’t anymore? Why the exception? Why do they not come out with what that exception is? I am limited to the Abstract, and am not in ANY way going to spend $36 on every one of the 100 papers I try to read every year.

      • Steve,

        The 182 species were present during both the interval before the LGM and after it.

        Beetles move. When it got too chilly for them in the LA Basin during the LGM, they moved to warmer climes. When it warmed up again leading into the Holocene, they came back.

        Such movements have been observed in sediments and strata around the world. There are so many beetle species so adapted to particular environments that they are excellent climatic indicators. It’s a standard paleoclimatological procedure and has been for a long time.

      • As Haldane famously answered, when asked what his study of biology had taught him about the Creator, “That He is inordinately fond of beetles”.

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