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[non-ceph]: Global Warming Thread

tonmo

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There's enough buzz to warrant its own thread. We should discuss. Not sure who else will!
 
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well, it sure was an opportune moment for a photo (and story to go with it)! I think those bears are robust enough to make it off their precarious perches.

But mainly the shot is an attention-grabber to bring up issue of the real effects warming may have on polar bears (i.e. forced to swim farther, etc).

As someone whose entire school is populated with dolphin-huggers (nothing wrong with marine mammals.... they need a lot of help recovering and maintaining their populations with as much junk we pump into their domains), I think I keep a middle-of-the-road (i like to call it scientific) approach to climate change that some may think borders on heresy.

My point is, we need to make changes to what we pump into the seas and atmosphere.... but people probably do not need to trade in their cars for bicycles just yet. Not that it would happen anyway. Drastic change isnt going to happen unless, say, WWIII happens and we return to the stone age.

There is a lot that needs to be understood. Thats partially why i changed my major from marine biology to marine science.... because it is much more.... multi-discipline.

Ok, fact: theres more CO2 in the atmosphere than....ever? But here is another: the sun goes through discrete phases of varying activity levels. With all well-documented shifts between ice ages and normal periods, and we dont even have their exact causes pinned down reliably?

Ok! Now.... be gentle with me... no public stoning please? Besides...this is how we advance the collective knowledge of the human race... not by being told that the world is flat or round and blindly believing it... but by asking questions! Force people to find more than one way to prove their theories.

Hopefully politics aside.... These discussions are so much more interesting when we are talking just the science. but we are all nerds here, right? i know i am.

as one of those infamous professors (you know the type) delights to do..... lesse... is this the "devils advocate" smiley? :sagrin:
 

DWhatley

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Fluffysquid,

I have got to ride on your side most of the way here. The best example of what I deem a reasonable approach is what I have seen of Amanda Vincent's set up in the Phillipines with the seahorse program she instituted. It is a myth that poor native peoples understand and treat the environment any better than the industrial nations. There are just fewer people and less destructive means but humans USE the environment. Responsibly encouraging healthy populations so that we can continue using what we have is where I feel emphasis needs to be increased. Many of the public aquariums and some zoos are attempting this kind of education and I feel that aquarium keeping helps to understand the need for a healthy environment. I salute the schools that have hands-on science programs to present this exposure without the "in- your-face" attitude, often in direct conflict with parental behavior, that many schools foster through hands-off book preaching.

If being green means that people have to give up their achieved lifestyle it just won't happen. Finding ways for the companies to save/make money by being more responsible is a winner every time. I feel that science/technology are the only answers to producing less impactive human consumption. Doing without just won't happen and neither will going backwards in time (Case and point - Rober Dole's disasterous bid for the presidency in 1996 - No one wanted to go back to the 1950's even if they agreed that life had gotten too complicated).

We have validated that the earth has always been in a changing state and we have no clue where it is taking us nor will any of us be around to find out. However, the ability to observe and control the negative impact of our usage is one of the things that only human beings can do and somehow the over green and over industrial need to be removed from the decision making to allow progressive control of the envionment.

As for the bears, the documentary I just saw (put out by the BBC and Animal Planet) actually stated that the bears expend less energy and have a more comfortable life during the times the artic is NOT frozen. There is a greater abundance of food and they are designed for long stays in the water. According to the film, it is during their stay on LAND that they face increasing starvation.
 
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fluffysquid;87000 said:
Ok, fact: theres more CO2 in the atmosphere than....ever? But here is another: the sun goes through discrete phases of varying activity levels. With all well-documented shifts between ice ages and normal periods, and we dont even have their exact causes pinned down reliably?
I'm aware of the solar cycling and the uncertainty of it all, but when we happen to have reached the highest temperatures recorded on Earth for the last ___ thousands of years (can't find the lecture with that figure, its data from the ice cores) and it happens to coincide with human being's industrialization, its a little too coincidental for me.

dwhatley;87000 said:
As for the bears, the documentary I just saw (put out by the BBC and Animal Planet) actually stated that the bears expend less energy and have a more comfortable life during the times the artic is NOT frozen. There is a greater abundance of food and they are designed for long stays in the water. According to the film, it is during their stay on LAND that they face increasing starvation.

I don't think you entirely understood what the BBC one was saying. Yes, polar bears are buoyant and amazing swimmers. However, despite being classified as marine mammals, they cannot swim indefinitely. Therefore, with ice melting they are being forced onto the land more than ever, which, as you did seem to catch, results in increasing starvation. They simply aren't adapted for hunting on land

Also, there is not a greater abundance of food in the water. Polar bears eat seals. They have to. There's no real access to fresh water for the bears and they get their necessary amount by metabolizing fats (ie: seal blubber, they love the stuff). Who do you think is better adapted for a swimming existence, the bears or the seals? The bears need the ice so they can catch the seals once they've hauled out or when they come to a hole in the ice to breath, when they're vulnerable. The CBC documentaries series Planet Earth showed a polar bear so desperate for food, after swimming many kilometres back to land, that it was trying to attack a herd of walruses. Didn't go so well for the bear and it died of its injuries.


I'm not trying to attack people. I love this community and the openness it allows. I am just tired of people being "conservative" and "objective" when the world is changing. The bottom-line is, what if it is our fault? What if it is us, and we do nothing, and we ruin this planet for most forms of life? I know I don't want that to be my species legacy.

I can tell this is going to be a good thread! :wink:

Cheers!
 
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these are the two school's of thought i always see... the "we dont fully understand the processes, i dont think humans are powerful enough to have these effects,"

and then the "but what if we are?" school of thought.

as I said, i'm not quite either of these. but i'm interested to find the answer.

I'm all about protecting what we have and cutting pollution. You wont find many people madder than I was when one of my professors returned from a survey in China, without sighting a single river dolphin.... still gets my blood boiling :mad:

they cant officially declare it extint until i hasnt been seen for 50 years... but the chances of a viable population existing still are slim.
 

DHyslop

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fluffysquid;87000 said:
the sun goes through discrete phases of varying activity levels. With all well-documented shifts between ice ages and normal periods, and we dont even have their exact causes pinned down reliably?

This is more than a little misleading, IMO. Geologists (you know, those people who collected all the data to begin with) have had a very good understanding of orbital forcing and its relationship to glacial/interglacial cycles for almost a hundred years. The historical record has become much more detailed since then via the collection of stable isotope data from glacial ice, reef carbonate and foramifera. This supports the orbital forcing model in no small way.

There's no question our understanding of global climate has a ways to go, but at this point the only way to discount global warming is to shortchange the level of knowledge we do have. We know what the partial pressures of O2 and CO2 were in the ocean and in the atmosphere for the last 200 million years. We know what the temperature and sea level were for much longer. We know how the pH of the ocean has changed over time and how organisms and climate react. When the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere shifts in geologic history, generally we can even discern where it came from. There is data in the geologic record that shows orbital data (both insolation and tidal) a hundred million years ago--we're not just talking the last few ky. We understand these relationships pretty darn well. If you're not getting any of this information from your "marine sciences" major, either you're in a Shamu-feeding program or you should consider a better school! :lol:

Quite ironically we owe most of this knowledge to companies like Exxon. If they didn't sink so much money into R&D and exploration, we would have no idea what was about to hit us.

Dan
 

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