Toba Superuption: Perfect Analogy to the “Climate Crisis”

Guest “never mind” by David Middleton

From Real Clear Science…

How Did Humans Survive Our Near Extinction?
By Ross Pomeroy – RCP Staff

Roughly 75,000 years ago, Indonesia exploded. A great supervolcano in Sumatra erupted, spewing an estimated 2,800 cubic kilometers of magma and rock into the air. Ash may have been deposited as far as the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, and even Lake Malawi in Africa, perhaps farther. Gases ejected into the atmosphere may have caused global temperatures to drop by as much as 18 degrees for several years after the eruption, with a smaller degree of cooling continuing for a thousand years after.

In his recently released book, End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World, science journalist Bryan Walsh summarized a 2009 research paper on Toba’s potential climate effects.

“Precipitation would have fallen by 45 percent, and vegetation cover would have shrunk dramatically, with broadleaf evergreen trees and tropical deciduous trees dying out. Imagine a winter that lasted for years, like something out of Game of Thrones, shriveling life on land.”

For our Homo sapien ancestors, concentrated almost entirely in Africa and southern Asia, life could have become very challenging indeed. In fact, genetic evidence suggests that between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, our species experienced an extreme population bottleneck, plummeting to as few as 2,000 to 10,000 individuals from a population that once numbered in the many tens of thousands. After existing for perhaps 200,000 years on Earth, humans almost went extinct, and Toba may have been to blame.

How did our forebears survive? Stanley Ambrose, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois and one of the chief architects of the Toba catastrophe theory, hypothesizes that cooperation may have been the difference between life and death.


Real Clear Science

Ross Pomeroy does go on to note that “the Toba catastrophe theory is controversial, and there are very legitimate scientific critiques”… But we all had to collectively pull together in a sort of Paleolithic Green New Deal in order to survive the Tarantian climate crisis…

“You and I and everyone we know – everyone who came before us and everyone who might come after us – are here because the human beings who lived through Toba found a way to survive the eruption and its long, cold aftermath. Without their resourcefulness, the human story could have ended in its earliest chapters. Extinction was a possibility.”

Stanley Ambrose

And just like the modern “climate crisis,” the Tarantian climate crisis was also a fake crisis.

The temporal proximity of the ~74 ka Toba supereruption to a putative 100–50 ka human population bottleneck is the basis for the volcanic winter/weak Garden of Eden hypothesis, which states that the eruption caused a 6-year-long global volcanic winter and reduced the effective population of anatomically modern humans (AMH) to fewer than 10,000 individuals. To test this hypothesis, we sampled two cores collected from Lake Malawi with cryptotephra previously fingerprinted to the Toba supereruption. Phytolith and charcoal samples were continuously collected at ~3–4 mm (~8–9 yr) intervals above and below the Toba cryptotephra position, with no stratigraphic breaks. For samples synchronous or proximal to the Toba interval, we found no change in low elevation tree cover, or in cool climate C3 and warm season C4 xerophytic and mesophytic grass abundance that is outside of normal variability. A spike in locally derived charcoal and xerophytic C4 grasses immediately after the Toba eruption indicates reduced precipitation and die-off of at least some afromontane vegetation, but does not signal volcanic winter conditions. A review of Toba tuff petrological and melt inclusion studies suggest a Tambora-like 50 to 100 Mt SO2 atmospheric injection. However, most Toba climate models use SO2 values that are one to two orders of magnitude higher, thereby significantly overestimating the amount of cooling. A review of recent genetic studies finds no support for a genetic bottleneck at or near ~74 ka. Based on these previous studies and our new paleoenvironmental data, we find no support for the Toba catastrophe hypothesis and conclude that the Toba supereruption did not 1) produce a 6-year-long volcanic winter in eastern Africa, 2) cause a genetic bottleneck among African AMH populations, or 3) bring humanity to the brink of extinction.

Yost et al., 2018

The Tarantian Climate Crisis

Figure 1. Pleistocene stragigraphic nomenclature, SQS.

The Toba super eruption occurred near the middle of the Late Pleistocene Tarantian Age. The Tarantian Age roughly coincides with the final glacial stage of the Pleistocene Epoch. If Toba caused a Tarantian climate crisis, it would have left a clear mark in the ice core record.

The youngest Toba eruption is the largest known volcanic eruption of at least the last 2 Ma. There are two competing 40Ar/39Ar age estimates for the eruption, 75±0.9 ka from Mark et al. (2014) and 73.88± 0.32 ka from Storey et al. (2012).

Yost et al., 2018

The Toba supereruption sort of coincides with Glacial Stadial 21…

Figure 2. North Greenland Ice Core Project members. 2004.

Zooming in on GS21, we can see that most of the dating range for Toba falls within the stadial…

Figure 3. North Greenland Ice Core Project members. 2004.

GS21 was quite unremarkable in Greenland…

Figure 4. NGRIP, GRIP and GISP2 ice cores, click for larger image, Rasmussen et al., 2014
Figure 5. NGRIP, GRIP and GISP2 ice cores, zoomed in on GS21, Rasmussen et al., 2014

The timing is even worse in Antarctica…

Figure 6 Dome Fuji, Antarctica, Uemura et al., 2012
Figure 7. Dome Fuji, Antarctica, zoomed in on GS21, Uemura et al., 2012

The entire age range for the Toba supereruption falls near the nadir of the Antarctic expression of GS21.


The Tarantian climate crisis is the perfect analogy for the modern climate crisis. It was a time when the entire human race set aside their differences, collectively marshaled their resources, and saved the species from certain extinction at the hands of an existentially threatening climate crisis that didn’t exist.


North Greenland Ice Core Project members. 2004. “High-resolution record of Northern Hemisphere climate extending into the last interglacial period”. Nature 431(7005):147-151.

Rasmussen, S & Bigler, Matthias & Blockley, Simon & Blunier, Thomas & Buchardt, Susanne Lilja & B. Clausen, Henrik & Cvijanovic, Ivana & Dahl-Jensen, Dorthe & J. Johnsen, Sigfus & Fischer, Hubertus & Gkinis, Vasileios & Guillevic, Myriam & Hoek, W.Z. & Lowe, John & B. Pedro, Joel & Popp, Trevor & Seierstad, Inger & Peder Steffensen, Jørgen & Svensson, Anders & Winstrup, Mai. (2014). “A stratigraphic framework for abrupt climatic changes during the Last Glacial period based on three synchronized Greenland ice-core records: Refining and extending the INTIMATE event stratigraphy”. Quaternary Science Reviews. 106. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.09.007.

Uemura, Ryu, Motoyama, Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Jean Jouzel, Kenji Kawamura, Kumiko Goto-Azuma, Shuji Fujita, Takayuki Kuramoto, Motohiro Hirabayashi, Takayuki Miyake, Hiroshi Ohno, Koji Fujita, Ayako Abe-Ouchi, Yoshinori Iizuka, Shinichiro Horikawa, Makoto Igarashi, Keisuke Suzuki, Toshitaka Suzuki, Yoshiyuki Fujii. 2018. “Asynchrony between Antarctic temperature and CO2 associated with obliquity over the past 720,000 years”. Nature Communications, 9, 961. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03328-3

Yost, Chad & Jackson, Lily & Stone, Jeffery & Cohen, Andrew. (2018). “Subdecadal phytolith and charcoal records from Lake Malawi, East Africa imply minimal effects on human evolution from the ~74 ka Toba supereruption”. Journal of Human Evolution. 116. 10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.11.005.

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Bryan A
August 27, 2019 11:05 pm

Proof positive of the current Climate Crisis.
When your faithful flock falters foster fear.
When one carry message stops working, manufacture a new scare story.

Reply to  Bryan A
August 28, 2019 5:29 am

The neat thing about volcanic eruptions is they release tremendous volumes of sulfur oxides.
This reinforces Svensmark’s GCR-Cloud-Aerosol theory. Note that some say that in major cooling spells in the past, volcanism has increased beforehand and during.
This could be a follow-on to the magnetic field effects that some relate to earthquakes and volcanoes.

Reply to  Bryan A
August 28, 2019 1:00 pm

It’s not supposed to be a scare story but a hopeful tale of “global” cooperation in the face of an existential crisis. Never mind that there’s no evidence to support it, just imagine all those prehistoric homo sapiens setting aside their territorial and tribal differences and competing interests, gathering to sing “Kum ba yah” in African harmony in a courageous, united effort to defeat Toba.

Now expand that fantasy a million times onto a fantastically diverse global population of nearly 8 billion supposedly uniting to combat the mythical monster of climate change. The imagination boggles. Or it collapses in peals of laughter at the doe-eyed rejection of reality that could produce this vacuous fantasy. Pass the weed and hug a tree, man.

Ryan P. Dyches
Reply to  stinkerp
August 28, 2019 3:49 pm


August 27, 2019 11:18 pm

Well, the Toba Superuption would do a hell of a lot more damage today than any ‘climate crisis’, cause there is no climate crisis, at least not one attributed to CO2. The proof is in the pudding as they say, and all us 7.6 billion people are living proof of the most stable climate in thousands of years along with the miracle of fossil fuels that unburdened us from previous short brutish lives. As a species, we can probably now pretty much survive anything, and we will even survive the end of fossil fuels because now we have knowledge. Another Toba would indeed be a bad year, or few, but we will now survive and thrive for a very, very long time.

Reply to  Earthling2
August 28, 2019 1:40 am

It’s an interesting question whether a modern Toba would have less effect. On the one hand, we are able to secure food from all over the world and we certainly have a lot of spare labour-force capacity that could be put to work in the fields (for a start all those in the Climate Cult).

However, if there were a global downturn in food production, food is not something that just grows on trees – so to speak. OK, I’m joking obviously it does grow on trees, but farmers already use fields at near maximum utility, and food is not something we can manufacture without solar energy and if that diminishes there’s no alternative and we’re stuck.

And because we can’t do without food, any imbalance where supply is less than (required) demand will cause food prices to absolutely skyrocket. Very quickly large numbers of people globally would be starving to death, that in turn would quickly lead to political instability and (if fossil fuel is much cheaper than food & people with money are starving) very quickly we’d see extremely large numbers of people moving around the globe, some of them armed to the teeth.

And that is what I find so bizarre about the “climate emergency” as there’s not the slightest hint of a problem and no chance of significant temperature rise sufficient to cause a problem … but if we experienced cooling – all hell would break loose – but no one speaks about the issues of cooling from an event like Toba.

a happy little debunker
Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
August 28, 2019 2:25 am

Always remember, if push comes to shove – Soylent Green & Long Pork is people!

Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
August 28, 2019 7:08 am

The number of acres being cultivated has dropped in recent decades. These acres wouldn’t take a lot of work to bring them back into production.
Beyond that, we can stop paying farmers not to farm and stop turning much of our corn crop into fuel.
Millions of people could also plant vegetable gardens. Yes, these gardens can’t feed the family all by themselves, but any additional production helps.

D. Anderson
Reply to  MarkW
August 28, 2019 10:01 am

Could currently urbanized areas be returned to agriculture? Keep watching Detroit.

Reply to  D. Anderson
August 28, 2019 3:57 pm

Probably a good idea to create a national food stockpile. At least enough canned and dry food to feed every American for, say, 3 years.

Reply to  D. Anderson
August 28, 2019 5:46 pm

That will last about as long as the Social Security trust fund did.

Reply to  Earthling2
August 28, 2019 5:32 am

Note also that Svensmark (and others) hypothesized that travels thru (dust, GCR, super nova bursts) can largely explain “Climate Change” in paleo-history.

Reply to  Enginer01
August 28, 2019 7:00 am

Not to mention the estimated six billion tons of sulphur dioxide that Toba released which would have reduced temps perhaps 3-5 degree C for 7-10 years. And a potential major cooling trend for many more years, although the planet was re-entering the glacial phase and was getting colder already. If Toba happened today, the Soylent Greens would probably have their population reduction quota by a wide margin, but humanity would survive albeit probably with great angst. Toba was a VEI 8 which was 100 times more powerful than Tambora in 1815 which created the year without a summer. It certainly would be catastrophic to agriculture, at least for a few years which is all it takes to cause widespread famine for 7.6 billion people.,Earth's%20largest%20known%20eruptions.

Reply to  Earthling2
August 28, 2019 7:10 am

As David pointed out, the evidence for this drop in temperature just does not exist.

Reply to  MarkW
August 28, 2019 8:42 am

Then the question should be is did Toba even happen at that scale of a VEI 8? If it didn’t, then how to explain the 6″ of volcanic ash spread out over much of South Asia dating to 75,000 BC? It has been the site of one of the most intensely studied ancient superuption volcano of recent geological history at VEI 8 with dense-rock equivalent (DRE) estimate of 2800 km3 being erupted into the atmosphere including a lot of sulphur dioxide. Mount Pinatubo was a VEI 6, the 2nd largest eruption of the 20th century with 10 km3 of DRE, a few orders of magnitude smaller than Toba and we know it lowered the Earth’s temperature by about 1 degree C for over a year. How did Toba, if it really was a VEI 8, not leave any evidence of a decrease in temps? Is it because the Earth was already cooling rapidly into the Glacial Stadial?

Reply to  MarkW
August 28, 2019 5:48 pm

E2, that Toba occurred is not proof that it must have created a big drop in temperature.
The ability of volcanoes to drop temperatures is often speculated, however little actual data can be found to support the theory.

Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
August 28, 2019 12:04 am

I believe it was the Liquid Hot Magma Tax that saved us back then, IIRC.

Mark Broderick
August 28, 2019 12:52 am

Typical lefties, making up “shite” for the last 100,000 years ! lol

Reply to  Mark Broderick
August 28, 2019 10:27 am


For fun and publication-look-busy profit and promotion

August 28, 2019 12:56 am

As figure 1 shows, the Holocene is proposed to be beyond and not part of the Pleistocene. Is there a real geological reason for that?

John Tillman
Reply to  AndyHce
August 28, 2019 8:47 am

No. It’s just another, garden-variety interglacial. The previous one, the Eemian, was hotter and lasted millennia longer than has the Holocene so far.

Reply to  John Tillman
August 28, 2019 2:06 pm

Thanks. I know those facts but not the reason for the discontinuity in classification.
Is there any reason except political pressure from climate activists?
Did it become official?
If not, David, why was that graphic chosen for this post?

John Tillman
Reply to  AndyHce
August 28, 2019 6:06 pm

The name “Holocene” was proposed in 1850 by French palaeontologist and entomologist Paul Gervais (1816–1879), in his “Sur la répartition des mammifères fossiles entre les différents étages tertiaires qui concourent à former le sol de la France”. It was basically the same as Charles Lyell’s “Recent”, a separate geologic interval for human history. Thus the Holocene is the so-called “Anthropocene”, just beginning around 11,400 years ago rather than in AD 1945.

Reply to  John Tillman
August 29, 2019 1:16 pm

Hotter yes, longer no. The Eemian proper, MIS 5e, lasted about 10,000 years, compared to 11,600 years for the Holocene. It was followed by two relatively short stadials MIS 5d and 5b and two also relatively short interstadials MIS 5c and 5a.
However there was already major glaciation in Siberia and Scandinavia during MIS 5d, so the interglacial proper is comprised of MIS 5e solely.

August 28, 2019 1:21 am

It was a time when the entire human race set aside their differences, collectively marshaled their resources, and saved the species from certain extinction at the hands of an existentially threatening climate crisis that didn’t exist.

And that, my dear children, is why humans are the only life left on the planet.

Rich Davis
Reply to  commieBob
August 28, 2019 3:07 am

In your vicious sarcasm cb, you have forgotten about the fact that the Green Tarantian Deal included free food and shelter for all species unable or unwilling to work. The precedent should give us confidence that the Green New Deal will be a complete success.

Reply to  Rich Davis
August 28, 2019 5:42 am

Sadly, we will never know just who was the Neanderthal Greta…

John Tillman
Reply to  Gary
August 28, 2019 9:29 am

She’s about to land in NYC. Malizia is stopped, apparently awaiting a tug.

John Tillman
Reply to  Gary
August 28, 2019 9:34 am

Let the media fawning frenzy begin!

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
August 28, 2019 1:37 am

This may be a duplicate as my previous posting seemed to get eaten by my iPad, so please delete if a second copy Mods thanks.

While the study makes a good case for the worldwide impact of Toba being exaggerated, though probably not good for life leaving in proximity to the volcano, it is a long stretch to claim that suddenly humans started collaborating in a sort of Neolithic United Nations to avoid extinction. For all we can ever know the survivors might just as likely have started raiding their neighbours and eating their food. Maybe they started listening to their 16 year old woke children and rafting across the Indian Ocean for climate conferences. Maybe…

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
August 28, 2019 10:04 am

How do superstitious tribes that speak different languages, and have VERY slow communication options, poor geographic knowledge, and attribute their misfortunes to the actions of different gods, collaborate on a plan to save humanity? There were no means to enforce adherence to any agreements, should they have been created. The usual practice was to raid other tribes or encroach on hunting lands (agriculture did not yet exist!) of other tribes if it became difficult to find adequate supplies of food.

Contrary to the fantasies of Stanley Ambrose, I don’t think that the eruption was responsible for inventing the lyrics to “Kum ba ya.” He appears to be projecting the views of modern societies to explain a climate event the probably didn’t even happen.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
August 28, 2019 1:13 pm

Yes, Moderate. I marvel at this:
we all had to collectively pull together in a sort of Paleolithic Green New Deal in order to survive

Sounds like projecting “modern” communal eco-lunacy onto people that wouldn’t hesitate to make war against competing tribes. They survived by their innate toughness.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
August 28, 2019 6:44 pm

And then burped and apologized by saying, “Good riddance!”

Reply to  David Middleton
August 29, 2019 1:38 pm

Indeed, cannibalism seems to have been rather common among Homo neandethalensis, which as far as we know was the only human species in western Eurasia at the time.

Not too surprising really, the neanderthals seems to have functioned more or less as other mammalian top predators, which are almost always cannibalistic to some extent (think Polar Bears).

The species most affected by Toba would probably have been the denisovans, but we know very little about them, and even less about Homo floresiensis and Homo luzonensis which also lived relatively near Toba, while early Homo sapiens were probably all still far away in Africa.

August 28, 2019 2:08 am

Odd that geologists underestimate the power and intent of people to decimate population. Just one look at the GND on steroids proposed by Bank of England Governor Carney makes Toba look like a joke.
To replace the Dollar, the British Banker proposes, with a synthetic hegemonic digital currency (forget Zuck’s bucks, the Libra) with direct exclusive green liquidity, of course completely out of the hands of any elected government. They talk above of megatons SO2, what about trillions of such a world curency flooding any attempt to develope a productive physical economy?
So there is indeed a major crisis, so stop staring at Toba.
So there is a BOTTLENECK indeed and its called empire. Which is why if there were sudden population crises in the last 50,000 years, look at people being the cause.
One telling facet is the use of sea-navigation, forget walking, that’s for Oxford profs. Navigation requires some skill, especially astronomical. To this day, just to mention the Clovis fight, it is denied ancients had that skill, Greta on the way to the UN by yacht does not have it and her discontinued schooling does not teach it today. It should be clear there is a BOTTLENECK planned on a massive scale.

Charlie Adamson
Reply to  bonbon
August 28, 2019 9:31 am

Ah yes bonbon, you wrote above,..” the GND on steroids proposed by Bank of England Governor Carney makes Toba look like a joke.” People are beginning to wake up to what the central banks have been doing for centuries. It has been reported that the Rothschilds’ mother and the wife of Amschel, Gutle Schnapper said: “If my sons did not want war, then there would be none.”

It has also been reported: Amschel Mayer Rothschild said: “Let me issue and control a nation’s money, and I care not who writes the laws!”

For all the political talk about people enslaving other people and arguing over who is really responsible, no one seems to see those who hide behind the curtain. Trump is the “Todo” that boldly and apologetically pulls back the curtain of corruption on these central bank figures. In fact he has done so, so effectively that they have been forced to reveal themselves as Carney has.

Heads up and be ever watchful. Things are about to get super crazy as these rats become exposed.

Reply to  Charlie Adamson
August 28, 2019 10:39 am

Something must be done about the Jackson Hole meeting. If the system crashes in the middle of an election I hope President Trump will act on his Glass-Steagall promise. It is critical to get China, Russia, India on board to take this assault on. Which is why destabilization is on overdrive right now.
The G7 should be the G4 from now on.

August 28, 2019 2:33 am

As cooling would b e the number one problem, apart from most of middle of Africa where conditions would be least affected, the cold would be mostly felt in areas North of Indonesia. i.e. Europe and Russia.

This would be the time of the Neolithic people, who had learned to survive in
cooler weather, so maybe they would have moved South for a while. Spain,
Italy and Greece etc.

No way would they have co- operated, kill or be killed would be the way. Just as today it would have been tribes against each other.


Reply to  David Middleton
August 28, 2019 3:19 am

See the Chauvet paleolithic petroglyphs from 33,000BP south of France
The animal portraits are uncannily alive. Hunter-gatherers did cooperate, and painted better than today. And they liked the -50 deg Centigrade. That website has examples from Siberia, to the Kimberlies in Austraila – boats from 25,000BP. Modular hunting Spears from the Okhotsk show a modern approach, 25,000BP. In other words just like us.

Reply to  bonbon
August 28, 2019 7:12 am

Did you mean +50°F, bonbon?

Reply to  Dave Burton
August 28, 2019 10:58 am

The temp where those Siberian spears were found hit -50 Cent. France was tundra, no forests at all. Of course caves would have been relatively warmer. The Siberians used tents. Fire being critical.

Reply to  Dave Burton
August 28, 2019 6:26 pm

I’ll bet they were in those caves because they liked +50°F better. 🙂

Reply to  Dave Burton
August 30, 2019 3:23 am

There were forests along the mediterranean coast of France even at glacial maximum. Check the LGM forest fauna in e. g. Arene Candide cave.

And during most of the glaciation there were at least local forest areas en central France as well.

John Tillman
Reply to  Michael
August 28, 2019 8:50 am

Toba was during Paleolithic times, not Neolithic.

Eric Stevens
August 28, 2019 3:33 am

If Toba left its mark, then so too should Oruanui which occurred about 25,000 years ago although it was only half the size of Toba. .

Reply to  Eric Stevens
August 29, 2019 7:56 am

There’s also Italy’s Campi Flegrei that last erupted 40,000 yrs ago & up to 500 cubic kilometers (120 cubic miles) of debris generated. IIRC there was evidence of at least dust/SO2 from that eruption in the Greenland ice cores.

Reply to  beng135
August 29, 2019 12:25 pm

The Campo Flegrei eruption may possibly have had an effect on the extinction of the neanderthals, since the ash is sandwiched between the youngest Middle Paleolithic and the oldest Late Paleolithic layers at several sites, though at that time the neanderthals were already gone from most of their former range.

Wim Röst
August 28, 2019 3:45 am

Great post: back to the facts.

August 28, 2019 4:05 am

A much better analogy is the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. Especially if civilisation collapses and 450 nuclear power stations are abandoned. Nothing to see, move along.

Reply to  Loydo
August 28, 2019 7:14 am

In what passes for your mind, if 450 nuclear power stations are abandoned, they won’t be properly shut down first?

Reply to  MarkW
August 28, 2019 10:31 pm

Nuclear power stations take decades to decomission. Civilisations collapse in weeks or at best months. Ours wouldn’t survive a 1 month blackout; no food, no water, no toilet paper, no help and no news…

But somehow diligent plant workers are going to soldier on? Oof.

Reply to  David Middleton
August 29, 2019 2:47 am

That may or may not be true. Either way, it irrelevant to the point I am making.

Reply to  David Middleton
August 30, 2019 7:44 am

Loydo, nobody can figure out what your point is, other than just kindergarten-level scaremongering.

Reply to  David Middleton
August 28, 2019 10:43 pm

You’re hung up on this “won’t even leave a mark in the stratigraphic record” aren’t you?

You’re grossly incorrect. Evidence of human activity will be preserved for billions of years in some places. Cyanobacteria from 3.5 billion year ago left a mark, I think there is a good chance we might too. Let alone another mass extinction event or a leap in sediment rates.

Reply to  David Middleton
August 29, 2019 2:46 am

Geez David, do I need to explain to you what a stromalolite is? If they can “leave a mark” then I reckon structures like airports and dams will too.

Reply to  David Middleton
August 29, 2019 12:21 pm

“do I need to explain to you what a stromalolite is?”

Yes, I have never seen that term before, stromatolites on the other hand….

John Tillman
Reply to  Loydo
August 28, 2019 8:57 am

You seriously imagine a hypothetical rise in temperature of one to three degrees C over 150 years to be comparable to the end Cretaceous mass extinction event? Really?

The Eemian was hotter than that for 16,000 years. The Holocene Optimum at least that warm for three or four millennia.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
August 28, 2019 9:15 am

Should read 250 years, ie AD 1850 to 2100.

John Tillman
Reply to  Loydo
August 28, 2019 9:03 am

Life flourished during the PETM, when temperature abruptly rose 5 to 8°C from a baseline already much higher than today’s, and still did so later in the Eocene, when Earth again enjoyed an even balmier climate for longer.

Reply to  John Tillman
August 28, 2019 5:52 pm

Computer models have decreed that several million species have already died.
The need to actually document these deaths is a waste of money since as every internet troll knows, computer models are never wrong.

Reply to  John Tillman
August 28, 2019 10:21 pm

Apples and oranges John. The PETM CO2 increase took 20,000 years to raise the temps 5-8C. Life flourished yes, even trees can disperse ahead of that rate of climate change. Today’s CO2 increase is two orders of magnitude faster. The civilisations of the past were complex, fragile, prone to overshoot and easily disrupted. 21st century complexity and overshoot is next level and there is no way its going to withstand a PETM on steroids.

Reply to  David Middleton
August 29, 2019 2:52 am

Um, no we haven’t. 21st century man would be lucky to survive a garden variety PETM let alone one compressed into a few centuries.

You don’t have the slightest clue about population biology or ecology.

Reply to  Loydo
August 29, 2019 12:47 pm

Loydo, we don’t know how long the PETM temperature increase took. It was geologically instantaneous, not measurable. The figures you read is simply a measure of the dating uncertainty.

The only study claiming to directly measure the time it took (by a rhythmite) got a result of about 10 years:

That may be doubtful, but the fact that forminifera from the critical period always have either low or high d13C values but never intermediate does suggest that it was extremely fast:

And as always, the temperatures lead the carbon cycle changes…..

August 28, 2019 4:16 am

I do hope that some day, someone like Monckton of Brenchley or David Middleton (or even a Hobbit or two) will explain to me why it’s necessary to have a crisis at all.

The people who babble about “climate this” and “crisis that” should be careful what they wish for. It might happen and they won’t be ready for it. And it won’t be warm, either. The louder they shout and jump up & down about it, the more people will ignore them. I think most of us are informed enough to be able to think for ourselves, which scares them.

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  David Middleton
August 28, 2019 10:15 am

Yes indeed, wonderful book, dismissed by Albert “BA Government” Gore as mere fiction. Then too you can find multiple people trying to debunk the reams and reams of stats in the bibliography. I always say, you can judge the impact of a book by the way its critics react to it. For me, one of the great eye-openers of my entire life. It’s got everything: environmental NGOs accusing legitimate scientists of being on the payroll of big oil; narcissistic drunken celebrities patronizing Third Worlders; detailed explanations of how and why the mass media addict their audience to negativity. An absolute must–read.

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  David Middleton
August 28, 2019 12:21 pm

Very sorry to hear that, David. Sad statement indeed of the asininity of our times. I think it’s worth noting that while Mr. Gore was getting stoned, playing pool, and earning lousy grades at Harvard and Vanderbilt, Dr. Crichton was graduating with honors from Harvard medical school. I don’t know if Dr. Crichton received a penny from the fossil fuel industry – he certainly didn’t need it but by all means let me know – but I know for a fact that Mr. Gore and his family received a lot from the tobacco lobby.

Funny, isn’t it? – the insane lengths people will go to to rehabilitate their image and secure their place as one of our Rightful Rulers?

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
August 28, 2019 6:53 pm

Gore and his dad got most of their money not only from Big Oil, but from Commie Big Oil, ie Armand Hammer’s Occidental Petroleum, a Soviet front. Which went on to plunder Ecuador, further enriching Fat Prince Albert.

Reply to  Sara
August 28, 2019 7:38 am

Be scared of the GND, ignore the fake CO2 scare. Man-made disasters are catastrophic, foreseable, and avoidable. We stand right now right before a financial fire set by central bank arsonists. 2008 will look like a tea-party.

Rod Evans
August 28, 2019 4:31 am

Well…Toba or not Toba, that is the question?
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous Greens,
Or to take arms against that sea of GND
And by opposing end them……
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
The moral of the poem is, never fardel with a bare bodkin 🙂
Pass me a cigar.
Apologies to Will S

Alan D. McIntire
August 28, 2019 4:37 am

If the Toba eruption HAD devastated the human population, I’d think OTHER species would ALSO have been devastated. There would have to have been indications of MANY species suffering population bottlenecks, and also a higher extinction rate 75,000 years ago. A hypothesis explaining only a drastic drop in the human population and not showing a drastic drop in ALL life is species chauvinistic.

Tom Abbott
August 28, 2019 6:25 am

“Conclusion: The Tarantian climate crisis is the perfect analogy for the modern climate crisis. It was a time when the entire human race set aside their differences, collectively marshaled their resources, and saved the species from certain extinction at the hands of an existentially threatening climate crisis that didn’t exist”

I’m wondering how they know the human race set aside their differences, marshalled their resources, and saved the species by doing so. I think they are just making this up in their heads.

Humans no doubt cooperated with each other as that is the way families and villages survive. But I have a hard time believing that one village of one culture actively sought out another village from another culture in order to foster cooperation and survival. I wouldn’t rule it out, but to state this is what happened cannot be verified like the authors imply.

It’s climate change propaganda: “See folks, our ancient ancestors cooperated to save the species back then, and we should do the same today to save the species from the dangers of CO2!”

Wishful thinking masquerading as science.

John Tillman
Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 28, 2019 8:52 am

More likely that the tribe with more young men ate the weaker tribe’s males and enslaved its girls and women.

Kevin kilty
August 28, 2019 6:57 am

My wife subscribes to Elle. Why? I have no idea. But, in the past two issues she has read actual testimony from someone who watched a glacier “dissolve before her eyes”; and has examined new fashions designed to “protect one from the ravages of climate change”. David, you are looking for a climate crisis in the wrong places. It is actually occurring on runways the fashion world over!

August 28, 2019 7:51 am

Even if the catastrophe happened, the assertions about what humans did to survive is pure speculation. And even if people did “cooperate” who is against cooperation? Cooperation is the fundamental basis of free markets. It is totalitarianism that is not cooperative.

Michael H Anderson
August 28, 2019 9:08 am

These toads need something to write about, or they’d be on the dole. Problem inherent in too many people graduating with useless degrees combined with an “information economy” with plenty of room at the bottom for drudges willing to spew out useless crap by the ton for the masses of deathly bored non-participants. Countless millions of people addicted to doom prophecy and negativity, literally inviting depression and impotent rage into their living rooms every single day. What a crap way to live, what a sad pathetic waste.

John Tillman
August 28, 2019 9:14 am

Maybe off topic, but yesterday Arctic sea ice actually gained, from 4.656 million sq km on Aug 26 to 4.667 M on Aug 27, according to the NSIDC. It had been 4.670 M on the 25th.

I don’t know if such an early ice build be “unprecedented” or not.

August 28, 2019 10:53 am

What causes the sudden eruption ?, a sudden water intrusion or just gas overpressure ?

Reply to  u.k.(us)
August 30, 2019 3:19 am

The eruption was a classic case of caldera collapse. This can be both explosive and relatively slow and undramatic. Lake Toba was obviously of the explosive variety. Calderas are often called craters, but are really volcanic sinkholes where a volcano has collapsed into an emptied magma chamber.

We only have detailed data for a few caldera collapses. There have been two explosive ones since 1900: Katmai (1902) and Pinatubo (1991), and five non-explosive ones: Fernandina (1968), Tolbachik (1975-76), Miyakejima (2000), Piton de la Fournaise (2007) and Bardharbunga (2014-15).

The mechanisms of caldera collapses are “not well understood” as scientists are wont to say instead of “I haven’t a clue”. It isn’t even certain whether the collapse causes the eruption, or the eruption causes the collapse. The Bardharbunga collapse which was the first that was carefully monitored seismically however strongly suggests the later.

At least the latest three Yellowstone eruptions were large explosive caldera collapses. However the Long Valley caldera in California is a great deal more scary than Yellowstone.

August 28, 2019 11:53 am

“How did our forebears survive? Stanley Ambrose, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois and one of the chief architects of the Toba catastrophe theory, hypothesizes that cooperation may have been the difference between life and death.”

First, claim a catastrophe.
Without proof? Yell louder

Still without proof?
“Stanley Ambrose, … one of the chief architects of the Toba catastrophe theory, hypothesizes that cooperation”
Construct and use an unprovable hypothesis in support.

Especially, a hypothesis that resonates with quotations out of religious texts e.g. Tanakh, Bible.

” Isaiah – Chapter 11:6 & 7
6. And a wolf shall live with a lamb, and a leopard shall lie with a kid; and a calf and a lion cub and a fatling [shall lie] together, and a small child shall lead them.
7. And a cow and a bear shall graze together, their children shall lie; and a lion, like cattle, shall eat straw. ”

” Isaiah – Chapter 65:25
25. A wolf and a lamb shall graze together, and a lion, like cattle, shall eat straw, and a serpent-dust shall be his food; they shall neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mount,” says the Lord.”

Predicted harmony as described above and elsewhere in the good book. A harmony that strengthens Ambrose’s hypothesized harmony during ages past.

August 28, 2019 3:01 pm

Good article David.

People love catastrophic theories and it is surprising to me that some scientists pay so much attention to them when there is no evidence that a global catastrophe actually took place. Humans (Homo) were very resourceful animals 70 Ka living in three continents and there is no evidence for other animal extinctions even regionally at the time of the eruption. What would make near-global humans so sensitive to the eruption while not affecting animals living only in the region where the eruption took place?

There are some really stupid scientists.

Reply to  Javier
August 28, 2019 3:54 pm

If Toba erupted with the same force it did 75,000 Ka in present day 2019, and it really hit the cereal crops growing in the mid latitudes with impossible killler frosts in both hemispheres for a few seasons so as there was severely limited harvests except for the lower latitudes, would this not constitute a global catastrophe, at least to the people who wind up going without food for a year or two? Wouldn’t that create terrible geopolitical stress as our civilization tried to cope as things went to hell in a hand basket just for a few years while 7.6 billion tried to find enough to eat? This was at least 100 times bigger than Tambora, the last really big volcano that we endured in 1815/16 which also had a year without a summer the following year.

It probably wouldn’t affect the world for a very long time, but the first few years would be horrific and our present day civilization is so dependant on everything working like clockwork with very little big scale disruption that I can’t see how there wouldn’t be a massive negative effect. Stone age man didn’t even have to worry about the collapse of agriculture, let alone a complete civilization that now can’t miss a beat. We have a power outage for 1/2 a day and lose the internet, and things are off the rails. Try that with nothing to eat for half the planet in cities for months on end.

Perhaps further cooling isn’t that prevalent from such a volcanic cooling shock while the Earth is was getting deep into a full blown glacial stadial 75,000 Ka and doesn’t have as much heat to lose as during our present day interglacial when any cooling would be much more pronounced since we have so much precious heat to lose, especially in the mid to northern latitudes. I remain very unconvinced that this wouldn’t be a real full blown crisis such as modern civilization hasn’t seen in recent times. Sure we would survive as a species, but there would be a whole lot of total disruption going on.

tsk tsk
August 28, 2019 5:30 pm

So why didn’t we just keep all those solar panels and wind turbines from 75kya? Such a lost opportunity…

Jeff Alberts
August 28, 2019 5:51 pm

I don’t think volcanoes have as much effect on global climate as everyone thinks or expects.

August 28, 2019 5:56 pm

Are these the same guys who predicted massive global cooling from the Sadam Hussein oil wells fire smoke?

Phil Salmon
August 29, 2019 11:23 am

The effect of volcanoes on climate is consistently over-estimated. Volcanoes are the “control knob on the control knob”. The CO2 control knob takes the credit for warming. But when warming happens with CO2 still rising, this is conveniently explained by volcanoes.

But the effect of volcanoes is very transient. Only flood basalt volcanism (a whole igneous province) can start to affect weather / climate. For more than a month or so.

Reply to  David Middleton
August 29, 2019 1:25 pm

It’s odd that three LIP:s (Siberia, CAMP, Deccan) coincide with major extinctions while many others as large (Parana-Etendeka, Karooo, Ethiopia-Yemen, Ontong Java, North Atlantic-Iceland) are completely unnoticeable in the fossil record.

However we know that one of those three coincided with a large asteroid impact (Chicxulub), which was the major killing agent, and the other two quite possibly did too.

August 29, 2019 12:42 pm

The post-Toba 2,000 to 10,000 human bottleneck theory was disproven pretty definitively a few years ago. You should do better research before publishing and propagating outdated theories.

Reply to  D.Lauer
August 29, 2019 12:51 pm

Nevermind. I guess I should have read the article all the way through!

August 29, 2019 12:54 pm

Incidentally there is good evidence that the Lake Toba eruption didn’t even break cultural continuity in relatively nearby India:

Reply to  tty
August 29, 2019 7:10 pm

Good info, thanks!

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