Saturday, June 28, 2008

Climate Change is Not a Recent Phenomenon

Many people spinning the media and politics today are denying any man made affect on “Global Warming” and easily shrug off our earths current gyrations as “common cyclical behavior of earth” over millenniums of time.

I try to read and look at things from all perspectives and points of view while obviously having to take my own experience and observations into consideration. I saw a piece today on Fox news related to the North Pole being without ice by September which is being widely reported on many fronts this week as an alarming phenomenon. In researching that, I found this article from “American Chronicle” which on first glance and reading looks like a supportive scientific viewpoint from a geologist that climate change is no big deal and should be expected. After all, the 4700 MILLION years of earth history these guys study has shown some extreme climatic gyrations. Yet, when you get to his summary of the current “Holocene” age we are living in…it forces my wondering mind back to the realities of our human affect on this current phenomenon…and with it the challenge that if we could in such a short time affect so much change to the negative on the eco-system, why can’t we also start reversing this process in a scientific and unified way? The main reasons are obviously lack of political or global will…and unwillingness to sacrifice financially or lifestyle wise to correct the damages we have done.

Summary from the article…(bold italics are my additions for emphasis)

To observe a Holocene environment, simply look around you. The Holocene is the name given to the last 10,000 years of the Earth´s history- the time since the end of the major glacial epoch, or "ice age". Since then, there have been small-scale climate shifts- notably the "Little Ice Age" between about 1200 and 1700 A.D.- but in general, the Holocene has been a relatively warm period in between ice ages.

Humanity has greatly influenced the Holocene environment. The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity is responsible for "Global Warming", an observed increase in mean global temperatures that is still is going on. Habitat destruction, pollution and other factors are causing an ongoing mass extinction of plant and animal species. According to some projections, 20% of all plant and animal species on Earth will be extinct within the next 25 years.

The inhabitants of Mumbai or Riyadh might dispute on the fact that the earth is currently in the grip of a glacial episode. True, the present is an interval of relative warmth, an interglacial period, but for the past several million years the planet has been colder, on average, than it has over much of its history.

The examples of changes of global environment and the associated mass extinctions in the geological past clearly indicate that ecosystem is quite sensitive to environment changes and also has a capacity to regrow. Environmental factors, whether natural or man made, become ecologically disruptive when they cross threshold limits. Ecological viability, on the other hand, allows evolution to resume when extreme destructive natural factors relent during times of normalcy.

What ever may be the truth but it is true that the climate of the earth is changing from the time of its birth from hot to cold and cold to hot. Earlier too the earth has passed through global warming due to natural causes but this time we the humans are culprits for the changes. When man-made factors are added to the natural ones, the ecosystem may be damaged beyond repair.


Bibiana said...

Gracias Ed, pues no conocia muchos de estos factores, que ocasionaron, hace tanto tiempo, cambios climaticos en la tierra.

Es triste saber que estos danos actuales son ocasionados por la indiferencia humana, que todavia exista gente tan ignorante, pensando que el "calentamiento global" no es cierto. Y que es solo tema de algunos politicos.

Ojala, esta falta de nieve el proximo septiembre en el Polo Norte, alerte aun mas sobre lo que se viene, mas destruccion del planeta. Por lo menos algunos lideres si estan preocupados, aparentemente, Al Gore, Tonny Blair y otros.

Hacer entender y por lo menos empezar, aunque sea tarde, un cambio de energia fosil a otros sistemas mas limpios y seguros, como solar, holistica, nuclear, etc.

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