Silphium. By Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. http://www.cngcoins.com, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Guardian: Climate Change Killed off Ancient Rome’s Herbal Viagra

Essay by Eric Worrall

New Hampshire professors claim the ancient Silphium herb herb died from climate change, not because greedy Romans picked every last plant.

Caesar’s favourite herb was the Viagra of ancient Rome. Until climate change killed it off

Perfume, tonic – even love potion – silphium was prized by the ancient Romans, but in its success lay the seeds of its own downfall

James Tapper Sun 15 May 2022 19.00 AEST

Of all the mysteries of ancient Rome, silphium is among the most intriguing. Romans loved the herb as much as we love chocolate. They used silphium as perfume, as medicine, as an aphrodisiac and turned it into a condiment, called laser, that they poured on to almost every dish. It was so valuable that Julius Caesar stashed more than half a tonne in his treasury.

Yet it became extinct less than a century later, by the time of Nero, and for nearly 2,000 years people have puzzled over the cause.

Researchers now believe it was the first victim of man-made climate change – and warn that we should heed the lesson of silphium or risk losing plants that are the basis of many modern flavours.

Paul Pollaro and Paul Robertson of the University of New Hampshire say their research, published in Frontiers in Conservation Science, shows that urban growth and accompanying deforestation changed the local microclimate where silphium grew.

“You’ll often see the narrative that it [became extinct] because of a mix of over-harvesting and also over-grazing – sheep were very fond of it and it made the meat more valuable,” Pollaro said. “Our argument is that regardless of how much was harvested, if the climate was changing, silphium was going to go extinct anyway.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/15/caesars-favourite-herb-was-the-viagra-of-ancient-rome-until-climate-change-killed-it-off

The abstract of the study;

Reassessing the Role of Anthropogenic Climate Change in the Extinction of Silphium

Paul Pollaro1* and Paul Robertson2

1College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States

2College of Liberal Arts, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States

The famed ancient herb, known to the Romans as silphium (Greek silphion), is widely regarded as the first recorded instance of human-induced species extinction. Modern scholars have largely credited direct exploitation (e.g., over-harvesting; over-grazing) as the primary cause of silphium’s extinction, due to an overwhelming demand for the plant in ancient times. Recent research has revealed strict cold-stratification requirements for the germination of silphium’s closest living relatives, revealing the likelihood that silphium shared these same germination requirements. Documented environmental changes in ancient Cyrenaica (e.g., widespread deforestation; cropland expansion) likely resulted in accelerated rates of desertification throughout the region as well as the direct disturbance of silphium’s habitat, effectively eliminating the necessary conditions for silphium’s successful germination and growth within its native range. Contrary to previous conclusions, this evidence suggests that anthropogenic environmental change was instead the dominant factor in silphium’s extinction, marking silphium as the first recorded instance of human-induced climate-based extinction.

Read more: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcosc.2021.785962/full

The study dismisses the idea that non-anthropogenic factors were a concern;

… On a related note, the clear lack of evidence for non-anthropogenic ecological drivers of extinction in the ancient literary record is elevated in its significance by our knowledge of silphium’s immense value; that is to say such factors (predatory, pathogenic, or otherwise) would have been highly notable to our ancient sources and thus the absence of related evidence strongly suggests that none were of any major concern. …

Read more: Same link as above

But one thing surprisingly not delved into was the Northern African drying. There is strong evidence that Northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula experiences alternating wet and dry periods.

Green Sahara: African Humid Periods Paced by Earth’s Orbital Changes

By: Peter B. deMenocal & Jessica E. Tierney © 2012 Nature Education 

Citation: deMenocal, P. B. & Tierney, J. E. (2012) Green Sahara: African Humid Periods Paced by Earth’s Orbital Changes. Nature Education Knowledge3(10):12

Paleoclimate and archaeological evidence tells us that, 11,000-5,000 years ago, the Earth’s slow orbital ‘wobble’ transformed today’s Sahara desert to a land covered with vegetation and lakes.

Although the African paleoclimate records shown in Figures 2 and 3 document a continental-wide pervasiveness of the African Humid Period, the transitions into and out of the AHP may not have been synchronous across all of North Africa (Hoelzmann et al., 2002; Kuper and Kröpelin, 2006), nor were they likely uniformly abrupt (e.g. Figure 3d and e) everywhere. For example, a pollen record of paleovegetation change in the eastern Sahara, extracted from a sediment core from Lake Yoa in northern Chad, documents a gradual end of humid conditions between 5–3 ka BP (Kröpelin et al., 2008). Also, transects of paleohydrological and paleoecological data from the eastern Sahara indicate that the transition out of the humid period was time-transgressive, with dry conditions established earlier in the north (Egypt) and later in the south (Sudan and East Africa; Hoelzmann et al., 2002; Kuper and Kröpelin, 2006). 

Read more: https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/green-sahara-african-humid-periods-paced-by-82884405/

Libya, where the Silphium herb grew, was very much a part of the great drying.

I’m not denying that deforestation played a part, and over harvesting of this valuable herb would have played a big part in the eventual extinction – over harvesting could have masked scarcity, leading to Roman writers of the time overlooking the rapidly growing risk of extinction.

But dumping the blame on anthropogenic causes without giving significant weight to the much larger natural regional forcing, which must have brought plants which rely on damp conditions to the very brink of survival, seems to be ignoring the obvious.

Oops – Peta of Newark points out that the Romans didn’t use Silphium as “Viagra” :- The Greatest Contraceptive Was Silphium – A Plant That The Romans Ate To Extinction

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Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 10:38 pm

TILT! TILT! TILT!

How can the left hand of the Guardian be claiming that the herb silphium was “was the first victim of man-made climate change”, per quote from James Tapper in the above article, becoming extinct around the time of Roman emperor Nero (54-68 AD), while the right hand of the Guardian continues the assertion, in synch with the IPCC, that it is only mankind’s use of fossil fuels since about 1850 AD that is THE cause of climate change?

Ooops!

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 10:44 pm

use of fossil fuels since about 1850 AD”
Neither the Guardian nor the paper say anything about the use of fossil fuels. The cause is said to be deforestation following Greek and Roman colonisation of N Africa.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 15, 2022 11:06 pm

Are you saying that deforestation causes climate change? The implications of that are quite interesting as over half Europe’s forests were gone by the time of the industrial revolution fossil fuels saved the rest from being turned into charcoal and ships amongst other uses. But it didn’t stop deforestation continuing.
So do climate models include this factor? How much weight should be given to deforestation v CO2?

Bryan A
Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 16, 2022 5:27 am

Another potential, and likely better probability, is Roman Greed and hubris. If the plant was SO Valuable then the only way to control it’s value would be to control distribution. This would require controlling availability by cultivation in specified areas and elimination of availability in the wild

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 16, 2022 6:00 am

Sorry Eric,
Thank you for the answer, which I think is correct.

I was really replying to Nick Stokes, as it seems to be CO2 as far as he is concerned. I wondered if de/re Forestation plays a part in climate models other the effect on CO2.
Further down he seems to be twisting and turning trying to shake off the bandits on his tail.

In this case anthropogenic climate change can’t have been caused by increased manmade CO2 as it was stable for millennia until humans started using fossil energy.

It’s interesting that the forests now at the bottom of a few metres of peat across Scotland were in large part killed off by increased rainfall.

michael hart
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
May 16, 2022 9:19 am

Ben, it’s called the 2nd Stokes Shift.

Duane
Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 16, 2022 6:01 am

I think it is not established at all that deforestation causes a reduction in rainfall except on a temporary and minor basis. Rainfall is a function of masses of air, be they moisture-laden marine air masses, or dry continental air masses, moving in established wind patterns established by the Coriolis effect, and the tendency of high terrain to either promote rainfall on the upwind side of high terrain due to adiabatic cooling, and thus deprive areas downwind of rainfall. Or the lack of such high terrain, which then allows a more even distribution of rainfall from upwind to downwind due to the formation of thunderstorms.

A forest cannot do or affect any of the above.

A very dense forest, located on the upwind side of a moist maritime airflow, can promote more “recycled” precipitation, as in a typical rainforest … wherein the evapotranspiration cycle is supercharged by the forest cover, resulting in a “cloud forest”. But the forest cannot add moisture to the incoming air mass that flows over it. In other words, were it not for the incoming Pacific maritime moist air mass in the prevailing westerly winds in the US Pacific Northwest, there would be no rain forests. Cut down those rainforest, and the moisture is still incoming, and may temporarily reduce only the “recycle” component of the rainfall, but over time it will still be wet on the west side of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and the rain forest will eventually re-establish itself, because the wet winds and high terrain will still exist.

All “primary” rainfall comes from moist maritime air masses. Only “secondary” or recycled rainfall can come from a forest.

Last edited 1 month ago by Duane
Bryan A
Reply to  Duane
May 16, 2022 6:24 am

To see proof of deforestation induced drying look no further than the top of Kilimanjaro. The once seemingly permanently snow capped peak has had most of the cover removed from a reduction in evapotranspiration directly from deforestation

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bryan A
May 16, 2022 7:55 am

You’re asserting that forests once grew atop that once seemingly permanently snow capped peak” and it was human-caused deforestation that eliminated the trees, not the simple fact that no trees are able to survive above the snow line?

And why would humans climb up Kilimanjaro to harvest trees when, with much less effort, they could harvest trees from forests surrounding the base of that mountain?

Seriously?

Below the arctic peak of Kilimanjaro, a misty jungle covers the mountain slopes. Moss-covered trees, seas of ferns and elusive monkeys abound in one of the Seven Summits’ only rainforests.
“This is where every Kilimanjaro trek begins. Lemosho, Umbwe, Machame, Marangu, Rongai – your first step is always into a sprawling jungle filled with animals and plants found in few other places on Earth.
“Unlike many of the world’s tallest mountains, with exclusively harsh, rocky landscapes, Kilimanjaro is covered in miles of forested land. In a way, it’s the perfect start to your trek – a warmup in dense jungle trails before emerging in the wide-open plains of the heath and mooreland climate zones.”
—source: https://www.thomsontreks.com/blog/kilimanjaro-rainforest/

Bryan A
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 10:33 am

Sorry Gordon, never once did I say that the trees were on top, the Trees were on its slope and respired H2O that was then transported up-slope and deposited on the top…
Evapotranspiration at work.
Once the down-slope trees were removed the respirated H2O was unavailable to be carried up-slope

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bryan A
May 16, 2022 3:58 pm

Well, this certainly resembles that: “To see proof of deforestation induced drying look no further than the top of Kilimanjaro.”

Or maybe you want to asset that the root cause of all bare mountain tops (that is, those not covered by snow or ice) around the world is deforestation of trees lower down each mountain?

You are also faced with the simple fact that the transantarctic mountains are snow/ice capped despite the fact that there are no trees whatsoever to provide “respirated H2O” that could be “carried upslope” to be deposited at the top.

Evapotranspiration missing in action.

Bryan A
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 6:47 pm

Perhaps if you misread the statement. It doesn’t say Deforestation at the top, it says “deforestation induced drying”

Isn’t the TransAntarctic range constantly below freezing? (Bone Chilling cold rather than Mine Numbing cold) Scott Base s a balmy -7F currently. I haven’t seen any sign of trees or any plants other than a few grasses and flowering plants on Orkney island. A great place to grow rocks though. Given that the continent is considered a desert due to the overall slight amount of annual precipitation I wouldn’t expect much evapotranspiration from photosynthesis. Some moisture could be relocated from sublimation at lower latitudes and carried to higher ones or higher altitudes along the range but that is an entirely different mode

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bryan A
May 17, 2022 1:50 pm

“Perhaps if you misread the statement.”

Well, your original statement specifically said: “To see proof of deforestation induced drying look no further than the top of Kilimanjaro.” (my underlining emphasis added)

By your subsequent “clarifications”, you are asking that I actually look further down the mountain to where where you assert there was deforestation around Mt. Kilimanjaro, that you in turn assert is the cause of reducing snow/ice mass atop the mountain. Got it.

You have left unexplained why the loss of snow/ice over the last XXX years (you fill in the X’s) is not simply due to global warming (of the atmosphere).

Bryan A
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 17, 2022 5:00 pm

“Perhaps if you misread the statement.”

Well, your original statement specifically said: “To see proof of deforestation induced drying look no further than the top of Kilimanjaro.

Deforestation induced drying
Not Deforestation

Duane
Reply to  Bryan A
May 16, 2022 8:02 am

That’s ridiculous, Mt. Kilimanjaro has never in recorded human history had trees at its top.. First of all, trees do not survive under any permanent snow/ice cap. Additionally, trees do not survive in any significant numbers above the treeline, which is a function of altitude and latitude as well as available air mass moisture. Mt. Kilmanjaro is a cone volcano that tops out at 19,341 ft above sea level, far above any known tree line on earth, no matter how moist the prevailing air mass is. For example, Mt. Mauna Kea in Hawaii is “only” 13,803 feet above sea level, is nearly 6,000 ft lower, yet it’s tree line is far below its summit. This mountain arises in the Pacific Ocean with obviously predominantly maritime air masses and loads of available moisture, far more than in East Africa.

At Mt. Kilamanjaro, no trees exist in any numbers above 9,850 ft (nearly 10 thousand feet below the summit), which is and has been the tree line at that location. Below the tree line is a substantive rain forest environment with ample rainfall due to adiabatic cooling of uplifted air masses. Below 6,000 ft the predominant savanna ecosystem that dominate the entire plain of east Africa has always had sparse tree cover.

Last edited 1 month ago by Duane
Bryan A
Reply to  Duane
May 16, 2022 10:30 am

Doofus, the Trees were on its slope and respired H2O that was then transported up-slope and deposited on the top…
Evapotranspiration at work. You used the word so you must know both what it means and how it works…or not

Duane
Reply to  Bryan A
May 16, 2022 12:46 pm

Doofus squared – there is STILL a dense tropical rain forest on the mountain below the tree line.

Evapotranspiration does not create new precipitation, at most it can only recycle existing rainfall. The entire region within which Mt. Kilimanjaro is located is a semi arid savannah, dope. The rainforest on its upper slopes are solely the result of adiabatic cooling of air that hits the mountain, is force up, and falls on the slopes … NOT due to ET.

Bryan A
Reply to  Duane
May 16, 2022 1:14 pm

Doofus Cubed…
Water vapor respired from vegetation during photosynthesis adds to the atmospheric concentrations in the localized area increasing atmospheric vapor content and thereby the total precipitation potential. Reduction in trees around the mountain in the past created less available water vapor to be carried to the top and less precipitation at the top allowing for sublimation of the glaciers at the peak.

PCman999
Reply to  Duane
May 16, 2022 8:53 am

The forest would lower the relative temperatures in the area vs it being a bare rocky atea or even a sparse grassland. Compare the Sahara and Arabian Deserts vs the Amazon and Congo rainforests – the deserts reach higher peak temperatures than the forests, even though the forests are on the Equator.

Duane
Reply to  PCman999
May 16, 2022 12:50 pm

Nope – the effect of vegetation on precipitation on this mountain is solely due to adiabatic cooling of rising air forced over the mountain. Just like all other mountains do when the approaching air masses still contain significant moisture. Kenya is a semi-arrid savanna, like much of the western US states. The biggest bulk of the moisture in the westerlies driving the Pacific maritime air mass east is dropped at the higher mountain ranges east of the Pacific coast (Olympics and Cascades, Sierras), then the prevailing westerlies contain far less moisture as the move east of those mountains. But as soon as they contact additional mountain ranges to the east (the Rockies), the deserts of the Great Basin suddenly yield a lot of precipitation, but only on the mountains themselves. To both the west and the east of the Rockies, it’s back to arrid or semi-arid climate again.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
May 15, 2022 11:29 pm

I’m not saying anything. I’m reporting what the paper said.

But I did note here that land clearing was a significant component of global CO2 rise, proportionally much greater in the times you mention. Climate models respond to CO2 from whatever source, but the scenarios take account of land clearing.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 3:06 am

Oh good, for a moment I thought you had fallen away from the One True Faith. But you recovered. Land use changes only matter because they can increase CO2 emissions—the master control knob of climate.

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 16, 2022 3:36 am

No, completely wrong. No-one said anything about CO2 either here (re Silphium). Deforestation, they say, changed the N Africa environment in a way unfavorable to Silphium. CO2 from that small area would have been globally negligible. Land use changes were significant from 1800 onward (N America, Australia etc) in displacing a carbon store, emitting to air.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 3:49 am

Oh Nick, Nick. SMH

PCman999
Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 16, 2022 8:58 am

One can only hope!

Based on the pluses and minuses, I hope CO2 emissions DO warm the climate, it would benefit mankind like nothing else.

Rah
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 5:24 am

I agree that land use can have a significant effect on local conditions. But to claim it was the sole cause when it is known there were climatic shifts on a larger scale occurring at the same time is dishonest.

It’s like the lie that the dust bowl of the 30’s was exclusively a result of land use.

The leftists views are totally biased from their humanist centered beliefs.

Duane
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 12:54 pm

Desertification that preceded deforestation is what caused both the deforestation, and likely also had an impact on the Silphium.

You’re confusing cause with effect. Desertification of the Sahara began at least three thousand years ago – a full millennium before the once common Silphium disappeared, between Julius Caesar in the first century BC and Nero’s time in the first century AD.

lee
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 7:58 pm

And yet Australia is still a carbon sink.

Richard Page
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 17, 2022 9:48 am

Nick – for heaven’s sake, stop it! You’re twisting about face so fast you’ll screw yourself into the ground at this rate!

Lrp
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 1:00 pm

Climate models respond only to CO2, right?

jeffery p
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
May 16, 2022 1:45 pm

Yea, land-use changes such as deforestation and urbanization can and do cause local climate change.

IMO, most of the observed warming is directly attributable to the urban heat island effect. Modelers claim to take it into account, but they greatly (deliberately?) underestimate it. The preference for “dirty” surface stations over satellite data supports this argument.

Again, IMO

Editor
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 15, 2022 11:19 pm

The Guardian says lots about fossil fuels. eg.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/jan/18/obama-climate-change
“a global greenhouse catastrophe that is spiralling out of control because of soaring carbon dioxide emissions from industry and transport”

There’s lots more where that came from, and it seems rather unlikely that “industry and transport” refers to anything before 1850.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
May 15, 2022 11:47 pm

The Guardian article cited here, writing about silphium, says nothing about fossil fuels.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 3:18 am

Of course not. It is an attempt to fool the ignorant credulous masses for whom the very term “climate change” has been inculcated as “manmade climate devastation caused by CO2”. It’s a twofer for your church, Nick. Exhort the faithful to greater piety but be able to say we never said that.

It’s telling a lie with the truth. “Did you know that she matriculates with thespians?”

Rich Davis
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 3:01 am

Just out of curiosity, Nick, in your faith community (Climastrology), do you still deny the Roman Warm Period? Does your natural climate change denial still compel you to feats of pretzel logic explaining away all inconvenient evidence with specious claims that any change was regional and caused by human activity?

Duane
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 5:47 am

Deforestation was primarily caused by desertification of the Sahara more than a thousand years before Julius Caesar, and helped along by cutting down the already much diminished forests in the northern mountains of Cyrinaica.

The same thing happened to the Ancient Puebloans in the Four Corners area of the American Southwest. The climate got much dryer in the 13th century. Trees no longer grew as thick or as fast in a relatively wetter climate. The gradual reduction of the forests by the Ancient Puebloans was clearly a combination of reduced production and continued harvest at the same rate until most of the local ponderosa pines that the Ancient Puebloans used as ceiling beams in their rock structures for hundreds of years before ran out.

Last edited 1 month ago by Duane
Duane
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 5:51 am

Warmunists tried several decades ago to blame the demise of the Rapa Nui culture on “Easter Island” on man-made climate change, including deforestation of the island. I remember it well – it was established warmunist theology.

But the archaeologists eventually proved that theory to be utter bullshit – it was internecine warfare that much reduced the Rapa Nui culture, and they have the archaeological evidence to prove it.

Yet another in a tiresomely long record of committing the age old error:

“To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Duane
Lrp
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 12:50 pm

You get the idea.

Dean
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 16, 2022 11:32 pm

Possibly the best strawman ever.

You are totally correct that article does not mention the use of fossil fuels in the ancient extinction, and neither did Gordon.

Only you link the article with fossil fuels.

Alexander Vissers
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 15, 2022 11:46 pm

The Guardian simply reports what a study has found. They do not confirm it is true.

lee
Reply to  Alexander Vissers
May 16, 2022 12:22 am

You mean like the “97% Consensus”?

fretslider
Reply to  Alexander Vissers
May 16, 2022 2:52 am

The Guardian publishes an alarming headline – they don’t care if it’s true or not; they never, ever publish corrections.

The Guardian simply asks: Does it fit the narrative?

first recorded instance of human-induced climate-based extinction.”

Oh yes.

Rah
Reply to  Alexander Vissers
May 16, 2022 5:29 am

They censor those commenting that challenge the views of what they publish. Nuff said.

But thanks for confirming they are not doing any journalism but are just unquestioning scribes of the party line.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rah
Bryan A
Reply to  Alexander Vissers
May 16, 2022 5:36 am

Wait, wait, wait, are you indicating that the Grauniad doesn’t Vet it’s articles for truthfulness?
I must not tell lies
I must not tell lies
I must not tell lies

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Alexander Vissers
May 16, 2022 8:19 am

Alexander,

So you acknowledge the Guardian doesn’t care whether they are reporting truth or falsehoods. Thus, one wonders why they have any readership at all.

I haven’t seen your level of “apologism” in a long, long time.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
griff
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 1:43 am

No climate scientist claims fossil fuel is the only cause of climate change.

The climate has always changed.

what is clear that the new and additional climate driver, human CO2, is currently the dominant effect on climate in addition to currently operating natural processes

Bryan A
Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 16, 2022 5:39 am

For a moment there I thought Griff had started to see the light

griff
Reply to
Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 1:43 am
No climate scientist claims fossil fuel is the only cause of climate change.

The climate has always changed

But then he quoted from the holy scriptures once again

Robert B
Reply to  Bryan A
May 16, 2022 2:28 pm

He can’t seem to progress from science is not what you know but how you know.

How you know it’s not true might be a step too far.

whiten
Reply to  griff
May 16, 2022 7:58 am

Yes griff, very correct… according to climatology plus IPCC science, and the Lukewarm support of that particular part of climatology, you are precise with your statement.

Oh, well, apart from this nonsensical garbage:

“The climate has always changed.” /sarc

🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by whiten
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  griff
May 16, 2022 8:12 am

griff, you posted: “what is clear that the new and additional climate driver, human CO2, is currently the dominant effect on climate . . .”

It’s time to, as the saying goes, put up or shut up.

Provide “clear” proof, or specific reference to such, that “human CO2 is currently the dominant effect on climate”. And I am going to hold you the strongest interpretation of the word proof.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Meab
Reply to  griff
May 16, 2022 8:25 am

CO2 is obviously not the dominant driver as proven by the recent pause in warming. To get a pause, natural factors MUST combine to completely oppose the effect of CO2. This is happening at the current level of CO2, the highest ever measured. When the natural factors (PDO, AMDO, el Nino, etc.) move in the other direction, adding to the small effect of CO2, warming proceeds faster.

Ignoring natural warming misled the climate alarmists into believing that CO2 is more powerful than it is. That’s why almost all climate models seriously overpredicted warming.

There is no climate crisis, griffter, no increase in floods, drought, tornados, or hurricanes. Food production is at the all-time high. You can move on to something that’s actually important.

Slowroll
Reply to  griff
May 16, 2022 9:01 am

The magic molecule causes all problems on Earth, according to the dogma of the First Church of the Boiling Globe.

PCman999
Reply to  griff
May 16, 2022 9:15 am

If it were clear that human CO2 emissions had the magic ability to dominate all other CO2 emissions and all other climate drivers, then there wouldn’t be anything to dispute.

In fact it is very clear that human CO2 emissions have very limited affect on climate, especially when one looks back at the paleo record, but also at the recent past 2 decades, when human CO2 emissions have dramatically increased, as the world is lifting itself out of poverty, and yet temperatures have been relatively flat.

More likely that any 20th century warming was due to the natural progression out of the Little Ice Age, urban heat island effect, and even the clearing of the air of soot and sulphates when pollution controls came into effect in the ’70s.

That last factor explains why temperatures were dropping in the 1940-80s in spite of CO2 emissions increases.

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  griff
May 16, 2022 9:39 am

These arguments go beyond basic ecological principles of simply putting new human predation, or the herbivore equivalent in the equation. This ratio of sorts always has changed naturally as one of the important evolutionary processes along with competition, for example. Seems to me that this is one of the failures of the “anthropomorphic” approach that immediately seeks blame, a value judgement not in the scientific method. That is counter-productive.

Lrp
Reply to  griff
May 16, 2022 1:10 pm

Care to prove that?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  griff
May 17, 2022 5:13 am

“what is clear that the new and additional climate driver, human CO2, is currently the dominant effect on climate”

An unsubstantiated assertion.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
May 17, 2022 9:54 am

Haha. How does the planet know the difference between a load of ‘human CO2’ and a load of natural CO2? Excess CO2 has never, apparently, been a problem because it’s ‘natural’ but human CO2 is evil! You’re an idiot Griffy – but occasionally humerous in your complete and utter ignorance.

whiten
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 7:38 am

Holocene did not start yesterday or a day before Caesar was born.
Hello,.. Holocene… anybody!

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  whiten
May 16, 2022 10:59 am

Per IPCC mandate, ~100,000 year long glacial-interglacial periods are not to be mentioned when discussing the subject of climate change™. 😉

whiten
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 12:47 pm

Gordon.

If I recall correctly.
the IPCC AR5, contemplates and claims that even LIA happens to be a
man made (effected) climatic event… at the end of the day,

cheers

Last edited 1 month ago by whiten
TonyG
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 9:18 am

Haven’t you heard that CO2 is capable of time travel, Gordon?

Dean
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 11:29 pm

I thought that when seeing the headline on the Guardian website but they weasel out of it by claiming its a “micro-climate”.

Chris Hanley
May 15, 2022 10:40 pm

The famed ancient herb, known to the Romans as silphium (Greek silphion), is widely regarded as the first recorded instance of human-induced species extinction …

That can’t be correct, the mass extinctions of megafauna on most continents coincided with the arrival of humans, not to say there is necessarily only one cause for an outcome.
Referring to Wiki, which is usually not bad for this sort thing, the plant may not be extinct just ‘mis-categorized’ as uniquely different from similar species currently found around the Mediterranean.
In any case it shows little climate change lessons can be found in practically every academic field these days.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 16, 2022 7:24 am

I looked at that, and found this most interesting:
” Theophrastus wrote in Enquiry into Plants that the type of Ferula specifically referred to as “silphium” was odd in that it could not be cultivated.[13] He reports inconsistencies in the information he received about this, however.[14] This could suggest the plant is similarly sensitive to soil chemistry as huckleberries are, which when grown from seed are devoid of fruit.[2]”

That and the very restricted area where it grew. Interesting stuff.

H.R.
Reply to  John Hultquist
May 16, 2022 11:59 am

hmmm… I recall mom (a sharecropper’s daughter and plant lover in general) mentioning a few plants that were nigh on impossible to cultivate.

Two I recall now are wild dogwood trees and pawpaw trees. There are ways to get those growing for yourself, but it is difficult and hit or miss. Oh, here’s another; morel mushrooms. Not impossible but they can be devilishly difficult to get started on your own property if they are not already there.

PCman999
Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 16, 2022 8:40 am

It says “first recorded instance” – meaning its the earliest RECORD of something going extinct – not the first thing to go extinct in general – because of human activity.

None of the megafauna/flora that went extinct in prehistoric times qualify because their extinctions were pre history – no one wrote down anything about the passing of those animals and plants, until their existence was discovered by archaeologists in recent times.

H.R.
May 15, 2022 10:49 pm

I am trying to think of some other plane… any other plant that has gone well and truly extinct due to people-pickers picking the last bit.

I’m drawing a blank.

We have the passenger pigeon and the ivory-billed woodpecker as analogies to this permanently plucked plant, but I can’t think of another plant that has been plucked to extinction.

If you ever want more of something, animal or vegetable, just make it commercially valuable and someone will ranch it or raise it.

I’ll bow out now so the botanists here can provide lots of examples of plants the have been plucked to extinction. But nothing comes to my mind right off.

PCman999
Reply to  H.R.
May 16, 2022 9:19 am

Look at the comment above,

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/05/15/guardian-climate-change-killed-off-roman-herbal-viagra/#comment-3517547

Apparently the plant was difficult to cultivate.

H.R.
Reply to  PCman999
May 16, 2022 11:53 am

Thanks, PCman. John posted on the 16th. I asked my question on the 15th, so I might have missed that comment if you hadn’t pointed it out.

Richard Page
Reply to  H.R.
May 17, 2022 10:00 am

Bakersfield saltbush and leather root may be 2 examples but there are several that have gone extinct in the wild and only survive today because humans have cultivated them.

kybill
May 15, 2022 10:56 pm

Society has been blitzed with the term “climate change” which I believe the general public has come to accept as “human induced climate change”. Makes arguing the subject tough.

jeffery p
Reply to  kybill
May 16, 2022 1:32 pm

The media and environ-mental-ists picked the term climate change to be the new boogeyman term for a reason. They deliberately choose not to include either man-made or anthropogenic to describe climate change. The subliminal message is all climate change is man-made.

Don’t believe me? Why all the hysteria when we state the indisputable fact the climate is always changing?

DaveR
May 15, 2022 11:09 pm

More likely natural climate change, especially the Roman Warm period, rather than any anthropogenic cause is the likely culprit of the disappearance of Silphium around this time. And I think the lush vegetation of the (now) Sahara was long gone by this time – also natural climate change.

lee
May 15, 2022 11:17 pm

When all you have is a hammer…

PCman999
Reply to  lee
May 16, 2022 9:22 am

When all you have to SELL is a hammer, every problem gets a magic hammer ad blitz.

Alexander Vissers
May 15, 2022 11:43 pm

For centuries we relied on the Bilbe as a source of knowledge, then we discovered something called the scientific method and man set foot on the moon. Then a whole library of so called scientific magazines emerged and people started building models as an alternative for knowledge and making up unverifyable claims and theories to fill these magazines. By the way, any chance of recreating the species, any DNA available?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 16, 2022 10:47 am

Interesting speculation . . . I might add hope that there are as-yet-undiscovered Roman shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea that may have sealed urns/amphorae containing at least dried cuttings, if not seeds, of historic Sylphium, from which DNA could be extracted for subsequent cloning of these believed-to-be-currently-extinct plants.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
H. D. Hoese
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 16, 2022 12:51 pm

Decades ago I once had lunch with George Bass, the Texas A & M Nautical Institute founder archaeologist who did a lot of marvelous work there. He gave a student credit for first realizing the importance of the seeds they found. You can do a lot in this world, especially if you don’t mind who gets the credit. Both he and probably the student are real scholars!

fretslider
May 16, 2022 1:36 am

They say the Guardian’s newsroom has rubber wallpaper

Claiming man-made climate change in the Roman era….

Utterly delusional

griff
May 16, 2022 1:41 am

since ‘the climate is always changing’ according to Watts, why can’t it also have changed in roman times?

lee
Reply to  griff
May 16, 2022 2:15 am

Cognitive impairment? “Researchers now believe it was the first victim of man-made climate change”

Last edited 1 month ago by lee
Rich Davis
Reply to  lee
May 16, 2022 3:37 am

Lying and spewing absurd propaganda may look like cognitive impairment, lee, but it’s just griff doing the job he’s paid to do.

another ian
Reply to  griff
May 16, 2022 2:21 am

Well the Roman Warm disappeared IIRC

Rich Davis
Reply to  another ian
May 16, 2022 3:44 am

Climate Change ™
The future is certain. Only the past is unpredictable.

fretslider
Reply to  griff
May 16, 2022 2:28 am

As you say, griff, the climate is always changing. 

In the Roman period they were at the mercy of the elements – and the occasional earthquake/volcanic eruption. They had a lot of gods and deities for all things and nothing to do with global climate whatsoever. 

It’s pretty well documented running from ~250BC to ~450AD

first recorded instance of human-induced climate-based extinction.”

Latest load of nonsense in the Guardian.

Dennis
Reply to  fretslider
May 16, 2022 3:45 am

Climate is always changing.

Naturally.

jeffery p
Reply to  fretslider
May 16, 2022 1:35 pm

They needed better models.

jeffery p
Reply to  griff
May 16, 2022 1:35 pm

Of course the climate changed. Do we have the same climate now as in Roman times?

griff, your attempts to be clever are nearly always embarrassing flops.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
May 17, 2022 10:07 am

Oh Griffy, of course the weather patterns changed in Roman times, why the hell do you think we refer to the ‘Roman warm period’ – as to whether that was enough to change the overall global climate for a long period of time, well you’ll have to make your own mind up on that one. You really pride yourself on a complete lack of knowledge and comprehension, don’t you? You poor bear of little brain.

fretslider
May 16, 2022 4:11 am

Do Not Attempt To Have Fun This Summer

“‘Fun in the sun’ photos are a dangerous distraction from the reality of climate breakdown

Our new research, led by the University of Exeter, highlights a distinct problem with how the European media visually represents news of extreme heat.”

We found two distinct themes in visual coverage. The first used images of “fun in the sun” that depicted heatwaves as something enjoyable.  The second theme we found was “the idea of heat”, depicted through red and orange colours.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/14/sun-photos-climate-breakdown

Wow. Bonkers beyond belief.

Last edited 1 month ago by fretslider
Scissor
Reply to  fretslider
May 16, 2022 4:33 am

Someone pays for climate porn?

fretslider
Reply to  Scissor
May 16, 2022 5:08 am

Me and thee.

PCman999
Reply to  fretslider
May 16, 2022 9:28 am

It is really like a cult, isn’t it? One isn’t allowed to look forward to the nicer weather of the summer, for fear of contradicting the all mighty climate doom narrative.
Everyone has to stay on-message or else it spoils the con job.

Peta of Newark
May 16, 2022 4:32 am

34 comments and no-one has bothered to check what the Romans. and others used the plant for – while letting the Guardian get away with blatant self-pleasurement and sexual tittivation

Of course the Romans changed the climate, they did it the same way that Phoenecians did to Syria/Lebanon, the same way the Minoans did to the Fertile Crescent/Garden of Eden, the Aborigine did to all of Australia, that the Anasazi did to Colorado/New Mexico/Arizona.

The Warm periods were not the genesis of those tribes, they were the dying, in every sense, Dying Embers. They cut the trees and overgrazed/over-ploughed/over-fertilised the resultant grasslands.
Even before they flooded many places with ‘irrigation’ and poisoned the place(s) with salt. That alone tells you the mechanism = they dessicated their land. Every last one of them.

A contemporary parallel with Ancient Rome is just sooooo beautiful..
I’m sure we all know about the “3 ship loads of wheat” that were imported daily into Roman ports so as to feed the city. (In a time of strife?)
Did anyone notice that India, based upon computer predictions of Bumper Yields, did offer to sell some wheat to The West – seeing as The West (NATO) had cut off its own nose by picking a fight with Mr Putin and thus stopping Ukrainian exports.

BBC Headline:”Ukraine war: Can India feed the world?
Dated April 19th

Well: Shag me senseless with a six foot shagging stick, it would appear that The Climate (of all sorts) in India has changed. It’ll be that Mankovitch what did it, what is he like?

BBC Headline:Ukraine war: Global wheat prices jump after India export ban
Dated today of 6hrs ago

The Climate did a complete about turn in less that 4 weeks.
If that doesn’t tell you that Climate Change is the perfectly imagined workings of dysfunctional minds and a complete crock of scientific junk, wtf does?
You know exactly what will tell you – an empty stomach will tell you
What a shame, see me shedding tears. I have No Sympathy for that degree of stupidity, mendacity, greed and denial:
When you’re dying of thirst, it’s a bit late to be digging a well

Is that what happened to Rome- the little ships loaded with sugar stopped arriving?

PS Silphium, and YMMV and certainly will on this, Silphium’s main purpose was as a contraceptive. If you consider that = Aphrodisiac, so be it.

Silphium aborted existing pregnancies and prevented new ones even when consumed in very modest doses.
Ugly messy stuff.
(Where does that leave the Guardian and their imaginings – The Very Last Thing Silphium was was = Viagra – only the girls were required to take it)

Last edited 1 month ago by Peta of Newark
PCman999
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 16, 2022 9:34 am

Well that explains why the Guardian is so disappointed with its extinction. An abortion causing plant would be considered a sacramental for the climate cult.

Meab
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 16, 2022 1:15 pm

Wrong, AGAIN, Peta. Silphium was reported to have both aphrodisiac effects on males and contraceptive effects on females. Both men and women were known to eat it.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.auajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1097/JU.0000000000001992.17&ved=2ahUKEwji1pCF6OT3AhVtHjQIHercArMQFnoECHEQAQ&usg=AOvVaw20ZzDNH2fZAxzsCDzTRF7J

Why do you make stuff up all the time?

Duane
May 16, 2022 5:41 am

It is pretty obvious that the desertification of the Sahara, bordered by ancient Cyrinaica in the northeast corner of what is now Libya, was accomplished long before the time of Julius Caesar in the first century BC. So blaming desertification on deforestation is blaming the cause on the effect. There had been extensive trade between Rome and the northern African coastal areas since the founding of Rome, with the latter becoming Roman provinces after the sacking of Carthage and the Ptolomaic kings seeking Roman protection, and further settlement of north Africa by Greeks.

To blame the disappearance of a valued plant on deforestation which supposedly caused the already changed climate, what, change some more?… is a non-sequitur.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Duane
May 16, 2022 2:52 pm

North Africa, now Libia Tunesia Algeria, was the grainbelt of the Roman empire. The cargoships supplied the Europeans with an endless stream of produce via the harbour of Rome, Ostia. Then the temperature went down and one fateful day those ships did not come anymore. We know what happened next.

Editor
May 16, 2022 5:47 am

https://www.kew.org/read-and-watch/silphium-mystery
“Silphium appears to have been a victim of both its own success and rarity.

It only grew in a narrow strip of land along the coast of North Africa and farmers were unable to cultivate it.

Due to the overwhelming demand for silphium, its numbers rapidly dwindled, and by the 2nd century BC, the plant was considered extinct.

While we don’t know exactly why silphium disappeared, there are several theories.

Some evidence suggests that the plant was gathered too extensively by the Romans. The Greek government had strict rules on the amount of silphium that could be harvested, but it seems the Romans paid little attention to that.

It’s also thought that the desertification of the area might have contributed to the plant’s disappearance — the north coast of Africa has been getting drier over the past thousand years, which could have led to silphium’s demise.”

NB. Not a jot of man-made climate change anywhere. I suspect that the Kew analysis is way better than the Guardian’s scaremongering version.

[The reference to “the past thousand years” is curious. Does Kew mean the thousand years before today, or the thousand years before the 2nd century BC? According to https://www.livescience.com/4180-sahara-desert-lush-populated.html re-desertification had already been in place for thousands of years.]

fretslider
Reply to  Mike Jonas
May 16, 2022 6:03 am

Not a jot of man-made climate change anywhere.”

Then or now.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  fretslider
May 16, 2022 2:53 pm

Then and now.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
May 16, 2022 1:33 pm

” I suspect that the Kew analysis is way better than the Guardian’s scaremongering version.”

Wearily, it is not the Guardian’s version. They are reporting on a research paper. It’s true that the paper seems to be written in a flaky journal by persons of no great scientific eminence. But they seem to have studied the matter carefully, and they say

“Modern scholars [eg Kew] have largely credited direct exploitation (e.g., over-harvesting; over-grazing) as the primary cause of silphium’s extinction…”

“Contrary to previous conclusions, this evidence suggests that anthropogenic environmental change was instead the dominant factor in silphium’s extinction…”

IOW, they are saying they have something new, as a research paper should. If you want to discuss it, you should see what their evidence is.

ResourceGuy
May 16, 2022 5:48 am

Either that or housing costs are high in NH and someone has to pay.

observa
May 16, 2022 6:22 am

I want a sorry from the Italians and compo for this.

fretslider
Reply to  observa
May 16, 2022 6:36 am

Get in the queue at Camulodunum.

Yes, Colchester.

Richard Page
Reply to  fretslider
May 17, 2022 6:10 pm

Oh you mean Colonia Claudia Victricensis? I’m currently living in one of the other 1st century colonia – Colonia Domitiana Lindensium.

Terry
May 16, 2022 7:41 am

Guess the Roman Warming Period doesn’t count – cause you know it’s inconvenient and must be denied

Last edited 1 month ago by Terry
DMacKenzie
May 16, 2022 9:04 am

We really have no botanical proof silphium existed as a distinct herb, only anecdotal Roman stories posted in the Guardian and supplement store newsletters. It could well just be one of several species of fennel…. easily extirpated by sheep rather than climate change. In the post-Roman era, fennel has been transplanted from India worldwide as a result of colonization, and is considered an invasive species in some countries. Of course we can’t determine for sure….

michael hart
May 16, 2022 9:12 am

Hmmm… if it was so valuable why was it not cultivated?
A bit like, you know, food.

PCman999
Reply to  michael hart
May 16, 2022 11:33 am

They tried but failed.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  PCman999
May 16, 2022 2:54 pm

While working on it they got distracted.

May 16, 2022 9:18 am

We are now supposed to believe that the Roman Warm Period was created by man? The Romans thrived BECAUSE of the warm period! Warm came first, Romans second.

What about the following Cold Period? Then, I guess we caused the Medieval Warm Period? What about the Little Ice Age?

I guess they want to eventually claim we have been in control of the climate since before the Holocene Optimum, which they also will claim was due to man existing at all.

PCman999
Reply to  Charles Higley
May 16, 2022 11:35 am

Sorry, logic and historical facts mean nothing to climate scientists and media like the Guardian – it’s all about how one feels about it.

Excuse me, my large rabbit friend here just told me that we’re late for tea – ta ta.

Joao Martins
May 16, 2022 10:01 am

Very nice discussion about the sex of … angels? … ghosts? …

Lots of opinions about the extintion of something no one knows exactly what it was.

Seems taken from a bad digest of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” …

jeffery p
May 16, 2022 1:40 pm

I remember learning the Fertile Crescent was once just that – fertile — but over-farming and other poor agricultural practices turned it into desert.

Any truth to that? Was there a man-made environmental disaster, natural climate change, or a combination of both? Or just another silly thing we learned in school?

Ed Zuiderwijk
May 16, 2022 2:42 pm

In other words: colder weather made them go limp. What’s the news?

May 16, 2022 3:44 pm

I had not previously realised that the ancient Romans were pumping oil, flying in jets and driving around in SUVs.

eck
May 16, 2022 7:32 pm

This Schist is REALLY! getting extremely silly, nonsensical. What terrible wastes of time and money.

ATheoK
May 16, 2022 10:31 pm

Recent research has revealed strict cold-stratification requirements for the germination of silphium’s closest living relatives, revealing the likelihood that silphium shared these same germination requirements. Documented environmental changes in ancient Cyrenaica (e.g., widespread deforestation; cropland expansion) likely resulted in accelerated rates of desertification throughout the region as well as the direct disturbance of silphium’s habitat, effectively eliminating the necessary conditions for silphium’s successful germination and growth within its native range. Contrary to previous conclusions, this evidence suggests that anthropogenic environmental change was instead the dominant factor in silphium’s extinction”

Bolding and underlining are my highlighting the critical use of waffle words.

These yahoos promote ignorance into causation. After using Sliphium’s relative and presuming that Sliphium’s growth requires identical cold stratification. (hours with temperature below a specific range.)

These authors never ask themselves how Sliphium survived the far warmer early Holocene, instead they leap into blaming people for changing the local climate.

Nor do the authors consider humans harvesting every single Sliphium plant for the money they sell for.

Offhand, it appears that Sliphium suffered the same fate as passenger pigeons and the dodo. That people earned money or food and were anxious to harvest the valuable plants before their competitors.
More to the point, their own paper admits that the animals raised by humans loved to eat Sliphium.
Herds of goats especially are notorious for stripping areas of plants.
Humans and plant eating herds are identified as overharvesting Sliphium.

I doubt the UHI effect or desertification had any substantial impact to the plant. Scarcity and the drying of Sliphium’s habitat just increased greedy people’s desire to harvest every last plant.

ATheoK
Reply to  ATheoK
May 16, 2022 10:36 pm

A side note of interest. At the top of the paper they had this pre-title.

HYPOTHESIS AND THEORY article”

Their waffle words are meant to promote their half-assed attempt to claim climate change caused a plant to go extinct.

Trying to Play Nice
May 17, 2022 6:10 am

I guess my idea that the Romans understood the use of agriculture was wrong. Did agriculture come about in 1850 with all the SUVs?

Craig from Oz
May 17, 2022 7:19 pm

So… plants are made extinct due to Climate Change(tm), and not other factors like over harvesting?

This is a dangerous claim in the context of what our ‘Experts’ like to tell us. Having stated for decades that Climate Change(tm) was/is to blame, then we get into the mindset that ONLY Climate Change(tm) is to blame.

So if you cut down a forest, but in a Net Zero(tm) manner, then it is probably not actually your fault if the trees do not grow back. Cause – Climate Change(tm). The soil dried out and the saplings all died.

Sounds like a Twitter friendly excuse to me.

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