Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Medea Hypothesis the dark side of the Gaia Equation

The utter vulgarity of the herd of men comes out of their preference for the sort of life a cow leads.


In an interesting article doing the rounds we see another perspective of the nice homogenous world told to us of the distant pre anthropic past..Where climate was stable and an a multitude of fauna and megafauna inhabited the earth in some peaceful coexistence.

A nice story but far from the reality of the hard and fast facts of evolutiom

WHEN WE LOOK at nature, it has become commonplace to see a fastidiously self-regulating system at work: wildebeest trim the savannah grasses, lions cull the wildebeest herds, and vultures clean the bones of both. Forests take in the carbon dioxide we exhale, use it to grow, and replace it with oxygen. The planet even has a thermostat, the carbon cycle, which relies on the interplay of volcanoes, rain, sunlight, plants, and plankton to keep the earth's temperature in a range congenial to life.

This idea of nature's harmonious balance has become not just the bedrock of environmental thought, but a driving force in policy and culture….

…According to the paleontologist Peter Ward, however, nothing could be further from the truth. In his view, the earth's history makes clear that, left to run its course, life isn't naturally nourishing - it's poisonous. Rather than a supple system of checks and balances, he argues, the natural world is a doomsday device careening from one cataclysm to another. Long before humans came onto the scene, primitive life forms were busily trashing the planet, and on multiple occasions, Ward argues, they came close to rendering it lifeless. Around 3.7 billion years ago, they created a planet-girdling methane smog that threatened to extinguish every living thing; a little over a billion years later they pumped the atmosphere full of poison gas. (That gas, ironically, was oxygen, which later life forms adapted to use as fuel.)

An indeed it is this well understood.and is also an evolutionary catalyst.. The living world is nowadays subdivided into three ”domains” or main organismal groups, i.e. Archaea, Bacteria (eubacteria, or just bacteria), and Eukarya (eukaryotes, which comprise all organisms known 200 years ago, and many others, plants, fungi, animals, and people). Photosynthesis has arisen only in the domain Bacteria. That plants, too, can carry out photosynthesis is because the precursors of plant cells have combined with bacteria

The Evolution of Photosynthesis and its Environmental Impact(extract Bjorn and Govindjee)chapter12

When we think about how photosynthesis has affected our environment, we may first
remember that it has produced the oxygen we breathe, and (directly or indirectly) the
food we eat. But the impact of photosynthesis is much wider. The oxygen produced
by photosynthesis has also given rise to the ozone layer, which protects the biosphere from the ultraviolet-B radiation from the sun The fossil fuel,has been produced by photosynthesis in times past. The sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere has given us a human-friendly climate,.We must not fall into the trap of believing that photosynthesis has always resulted in a good environment for the inhabitants of our planet. The free oxygen is still a hazard for our own cells, and even for the chloroplasts producing oxygen. Photosynthesis has not always had a friendly, Gaia-like influence on inhabitants of the Earth. When oxygen first started to accumulate, it almost certainly killed off a large part of the terrestrial population by direct poisoning. It was even a hurdle to the producers themselves. Many of the cyanobacteria (as many other bacteria as well as archaea) carry out nitrogen fixation by means of nitrogenase. Nitrogenase is extremely sensitive to oxygen and easily inhibited by it, and organisms had to invent various methods for protecting the nitrogen fixing enzyme from oxygen. Some of the filamentous forms developed special cells (heterocysts) for a special kind of photosynthesis, which fixes nitrogen using PSI only, and does not fix carbon dioxide or evolve oxygen. From morphological fossils it has been deduced that this arrangement is 1.5 Ga old. In modern cyanobacteria there is a strict correlation between occurence of heterocysts and of akinetes.Before cyanobacteria evolved, the oxygen content of the atmosphere was below 10-5 of the present. The initial effects of photosynthetic oxygen production on climate were disastrous. Before the oxygenation of the atmosphere the earth was kept comfortably warm (too warm for the human taste) by not only a high atmospheric content of carbon dioxide, but also by another greenhouse gas, methane. When oxygen arrived, methane was first oxidized to carbon dioxide by an emerging new group of microorganisms. Then also the concentration of carbon dioxide was drastically lowered by cyanobacterial assimilation. This led to a sharp temperature decrease and a glaciation which lasted for about 70 million years, between 2.32 and 2.22 Ga ago. Since traces from this time of glaciation (the Makganyene glaciation) are found near the ancient equator, some scientists believe that the whole globe became covered with ice and snow during at least part of this time. There was what has been called a ”snowball earth” The ice cover prevented silicate weathering, a process that consumes carbon dioxide, and continuing volcanism increased the carbon dioxide content again and eventually put an end to the long ice age. In the meantime the hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the sea had spewed out nutrients at a rate which could not under the icy conditions be matched by consumption. Therefore, many cyanobacterial nutrients were abundant at the end of the glaciation, but probably not all.

There is also another process based on the dictum of you cant beat theem join them assimilation as we discussed here.

“Let us imagine a palm tree, growing peacefully near a spring, and a lion hiding in the bush nearby, all of its muscles taut, with blood thirsty eyes, prepared to jump upon an antelope and to strangle it. The symbiotic theory, and it alone, lays bare the deepest mysteries of this scene, unravels and illuminates the fundamental principle that could bring forth two such utterly different entities as a palm tree and a lion. The palm behaves so peacefully, so passively, because it is a symbiosis, because it contains a plethora of little workers, green slaves(chromatophores) that work for it and nourish it. The lion must nourish itself. Let us imagine each cell of the lion filled with chromatophores, and I have no doubt that it would immediately lie down peacefully next to the palm, feeling full, or needing at most some water with mineral salts.”

(Konstantin Sergeevich Mereschkowsky (1905)

We see this within all humans now with our mitochodria developed form other phenotypes.Indeed around 50% of yours and my drymatter by weight is mitochodria,and we may even have some martian mitochondria in us having arrived on a meteor as we discussed earlier but that is another story.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Nasa confuses reality with rhectoric

As we see here with the previous post Nasa is not always the best place to find impartial scientific facts.

Thomas Gold cited the behavior of the Nasa consensus of ‘in-house peer review”as the closed herd (neutron star rotation).

Another area where it is particularly bad is in the planetary sciences where NASA made great mistakes in the way in which they set up the situation. NASA made the grave mistake not only of working with a peer review system, but one where some of the peers (in fact very influential ones) were the in-house people doing the same line of work. This established a community of planetary scientists now which was completely selected by the leading members of the herd, which was very firmly controlled, and after quite a short time, the slightest departure from the herd was absolutely cut down. Money was not there for anybody who had a slightly diverging viewpoint. The conferences ignored him, and so on. It became completely impossible to do any independent work. For all the money that has been spent, the planetary program will one day be seen to have been extraordinarily poor. The pictures are fine and some of the facts that have been obtained from the planetary exploration with spacecraft - those will stand but not much else.

Here they not only get the the science completely wrong,but make the most absrd statement that is recently been disproved as we observe.

Continued operation of the oceanic conveyor belt is important to northern Europe's moderate climate because of northward transport of heat in the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Current. The system can weaken or shut down entirely if the North Atlantic surface-water salinity somehow drops too low to allow the formation of deep-ocean water masses. This apparently happened during the Little Ice Age (about 1400 to 1850 AD). The conveyer system shut down and northern Europe's climate became markedly colder. Old paintings from this era show Dutch skaters on frozen canals-something that would not occur during today's climatic regime. Cores extracted from deep-sea sediment deposits contain evidence of earlier cold periods.

Todays climate regime has the dutch out skating in their millions and the global conveyor firing on all cylinders.

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Dutch strapped on skates and flocked to icy canals this weekend as freezing temperatures afforded an increasingly rare chance to skate across their flat country.

After more than a week of cold, an estimated 2.3 million skaters, out of a population of 16 million, have taken to frozen canals and lakes, according to a poll released ahead of the weekend.

That number is expected to double if Queen Beatrix decides to don her skates as well.

"The number of opportunities you have to skate in the Dutch winter is decreasing," said Jochem van de Laarschot, who usually speaks on behalf of Dutch food retailer Ahold but took a half a day off last week to skate.

Ocean Conveyor's 'Pump' Switches Back On
How will climate warming affect ocean circulation? The answer isn't so simple.

One of the “pumps” that helps drive the ocean’s global circulation suddenly switched on again last winter for the first time this decade. The finding surprised scientists who had been wondering if global warming was inhibiting the pump and did not foresee any indications that it would turn back on.

The “pump” in question is in the western North Atlantic Ocean, where pools of cold, dense water form in winter and sink beneath less-dense warmer waters. The sinking water feeds into the lower limb of a global system of currents often described as the Great Ocean Conveyor. To replace the down-flowing water, warm surface waters from the tropics are pulled northward along the Conveyor’s upper limb.

The phenomenon has far-reaching impacts on climate. It transports tropical heat to the North Atlantic region, keeping winters there much warmer than they would be otherwise. And it draws down the man-made buildup of carbon dioxide from air to surface waters and eventually into the depths, where the greenhouse gas is stored for centuries and offset global warming.

As we see from the graphic the flows are Asymmetric with flows in inverse states in each hemisphere.This is rather simplistic and the flows are also driven by wimd gyres ie the planet rotates the wind blows.This is also understood in comparative atmospheres eg Jupiter (sobolov meteorology of a rotating planet)and as seen in transport of the Giant red spots.

Makirieva et al gives some qualitative energy flows for the thermacline circulation.

Thermohaline circulation is the global overturning of the ocean, with water masses sinking in the polar regions and upwelling elsewhere at lower latitudes. Global mean temperature of the oceanic surface is 15C.Oceanic waters below 1 kmhave constant temperature of 4 C world over. In the absence of thermohaline circulation,
oceanic waters would have had uniform temperature at all depths. The reason for the constant low oceanic temperatures at depths below 1 km consists in the unique physical properties of water. Water has maximum density, i.e. it is the
heaviest, at 4 C. In the result, the cold polar waters sink to the depth of the ocean. The power of this downward flux, which occurs around the poles, is F _ 1015m3 year_1 = 3 _ 107 m3 s_1 (Stuiver and Quay, 1983). To compensate for this flux, water
masses undergo upwelling over the remaining area of the world ocean, S = 3.6 _ 10^14 m2. The water masses ascend and heat up to the surface temperature. The mean upwelling velocity is u = F/S _ 2m year_1 = 5 _ 10_8 ms_1. The waters
are warmed from 4 to 15 C, i.e. DT = 11 K, during their upwelling from depth to the surface, at the expense of solar radiation. The energy flux of this heating is rcDTu, where r = 103 kgm_3 is water density, c = 4.2 kJ (kg K)_1 is water heat
capacity. The total global power of thermohaline circulation is thus rcDTuS = rcDTF = 1.4 _ 10^15W_ l _ 10^3 TW

Peer review an incestuous relationship

Once again one of the significant problems in science has arisen.As we have discussed here.

One of the Great controversies is how the “closed shop” of scientific review for publication and funding can lead to the passage of scientific consensus into blind cul-de-sacs of scientific theory .Indeed we can cite many Nobel laureates who when questioning the ‘Paradigm” were treated with contemptuous ridicule from the “consensus club”

Thomas Gold cited the behavior of the Nasa consensus of ‘in-house peer review”as the closed herd (neutron star rotation).

Another area where it is particularly bad is in the planetary sciences where NASA made great mistakes in the way in which they set up the situation. NASA made the grave mistake not only of working with a peer review system, but one where some of the peers (in fact very influential ones) were the in-house people doing the same line of work. This established a community of planetary scientists now which was completely selected by the leading members of the herd, which was very firmly controlled, and after quite a short time, the slightest departure from the herd was absolutely cut down. Money was not there for anybody who had a slightly diverging viewpoint. The conferences ignored him, and so on. It became completely impossible to do any independent work. For all the money that has been spent, the planetary program will one day be seen to have been extraordinarily poor. The pictures are fine and some of the facts that have been obtained from the planetary exploration with spacecraft - those will stand but not much else.

Now we see some french geophysicist caught reviewing their own colleagues papers.

Geophysicists accused of breach of publishing ethics

Scientists at the Institute of Geophysics in Paris (IPGP) have been accused of acting as editors for dozens of papers by IPGP colleagues published from 1992 to 2008 in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters while they were members of the editorial board. The allegations follow a joint investigation by science journalists at the French newspapers Le Monde and Libération.

Among the authors of the articles involved is Claude Allègre, a former research and education minister in the French government and former IPGP head, whom French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been rumoured to be wooing to take up a ministerial position; and Vincent Courtillot, the institute's current head and a member of the journal's editorial board from 2003 to 2005.

Courtillot has dismissed the allegations, pointing out in Le Monde that all editors of papers submitted to the journal by the IPGP were openly identified. Allègre has described the allegations as "ridiculous". But Friso Veenstra, publisher of the Elsevier journal, maintains that reviewing papers from one's own institution runs against the journal's ethics policy.

Sort of like Chinese walls in a financial institution,and we can see where they hace all ended up.

Diamonds scratch Younger Dryas from Climate catastrophe race

As we have previously shown here the cataclysmic examples of abrupt climate change used by the central committee for the reformation of science have once again been seen to be coincidences of a random nature and not a "sign" of some forthcoming event.

We mentioned this previously

The Younger Dryas occurred as an Ice Age was ending. As the climate began to warm, a huge and sudden rush of fresh meltwater broke out from the Great Lakes and swept out to sea. The water surge was monumental enough that the meltwater lowered the salinity of the ocean, shut down the Atlantic conveyor currents, which disperse the planet's heat, and threw the northern hemisphere back into another thousand years of Ice Age. It raised temperatures near Greenland by a startling 15 degrees C, even as it doubled annual rainfall.

Modern climatologists have savored the Younger Dryas event as massive evidence of what comes when we push the planet's climate too close to a "tipping point." Further human-driven warming, they say, will make such abrupt climate changes more likely, with searing droughts, torrential rainfall, and extreme heat.

The National Academy of Sciences issued a 2002 report titled Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises, which said abrupt climate changes have been especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. According to that theory, greenhouse warming today could be drastically increasing risks from climate change.

Arbitary assumptions from the “model makers” and their creationist theories of a “steady state planet”

The NSF have released an interesting article on a ‘Hammer of God” event that provides evidence that the model makers are wrong and an “extraterrestrial event” in the form of a comet was the precursor

In an article in the NYT

Now researchers are reporting that the abrupt cooling — which took place about 12,900 years ago, just as the planet was emerging from an ice age — may have been caused by one or more meteors that slammed into North America.

That could explain the extinction of mammoths, saber-tooth tigers and maybe even the first human inhabitants of the Americas, the scientists report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

The hypothesis has been regarded skeptically, but its advocates now report perhaps more convincing residue of impact: a thin layer of microscopic diamonds found in rocks across America and in Europe.

Already the disciples for the doctrine of the infallibility of the order(ipcc) are trying to muddy the waters but hte isotopes already sing the ship (and it is not rising sea levels)

A dramatic increase about 12,000 years ago in levels of atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas, was most likely caused by higher emissions from tropical wetlands or from plant production, rather than a release from seafloor methane deposits, a new study concludes.

This research, to be published Friday in the journal Science, contradicts some suggestions that the sudden release of massive amounts of methane frozen in seafloor deposits may have been responsible – or at least added to - some past periods of rapid global warming, including one at the end of the last ice age.

The findings were made with analysis of carbon isotopes from methane frozen in Greenland ice core samples, by researchers from Oregon State University, the University of Victoria, University of Colorado, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego.

For climate researchers, an understanding of methane behavior is of some significance because it is the second most important "greenhouse gas" after carbon dioxide. Its atmospheric concentration has increased about 250 percent in the last 250 years, and it continues to rise about 1 percent a year.

"Methane is a gas that makes a significant contribution to global warming but has gone largely unnoticed by the public and some policy makers," said Hinrich Schaefer, a postdoctoral research associate in the OSU Department of Geosciences. "Its concentration has more than doubled since the Industrial Revolution, from things like natural gas exploration, landfills, and agriculture. We need to know whether rapid increases of methane in the past have triggered global warming or just been a reaction to it."

To better answer this question, researchers studied two stable isotopes of carbon found in methane, that can provide a better idea of where the methane came from during a period thousands of years ago when Earth was emerging from its most recent ice age, and entering the interglacial period that it is still in. At that time, methane concentration went up 50 percent in less than 200 years.

Several things naturally produce methane, including biomass burning, geologic sources, wetlands, animals, and aerobic production by plants, a mechanism that was unknown until just recently. And huge amounts of methane – with more carbon stored in them than all the known oil and gas fields on Earth – are found in methane hydrates on the seafloor. In this setting, the cold temperatures and pressure keep the methane stable and prevent it from entering the atmosphere.

But some researchers have theorized that something might release the trapped seafloor methane – submarine landslides, a drop in pressure caused by dropping sea levels, or warming of ocean waters.

As we also no changes in isotopic levels in the biosphere are also present after an extraterrestrial event such as Tunguska are also seen.

The Tunguska catastrophe in 1908 evidently led to high levels of acid rain. This is the conclusion reached by Russian, Italian and German researchers based on the results of analyses of peat profiles taken from the disaster region. In peat samples corresponded to 1908 permafrost boundary they found significantly higher levels of the heavy nitrogen and carbon isotopes 15N and 13C.

The highest accumulation levels were measured in the areas at the epicentre of the explosion and along the trajectory of the cosmic body. Increased concentrations of iridium and nitrogen in the relevant peat layers support the theory that the isotope effects discovered are a consequence of the Tunguska catastrophe and are partly of cosmic origin. It is estimated that around 200,000 tons of nitrogen rained down on the Tunguska region in Siberia at that time.

"Extremely high temperatures occurred as the meteorite entered the atmosphere, during which the oxygen in the atmosphere reacted with nitrogen causing a build up of nitrogen oxides," Natalia Kolesnikova told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti on last Monday. Mrs. Kolesnolova is one of the authors of a study by Lomonosov Moscow State University, the University of Bologna and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), which was published in the journal Icarus in 2003.

The same is also seen in the younger dryas with elevated levels in the biosphere.

Pleistocene faunal δ15N variations are thought to reflect changes in climatic and environmental conditions. Researchers are still unclear, however, which climatic/environmental parameter is the primary control on Pleistocene faunal δ15N values. Through extensive nitrogen isotope analysis of Late Pleistocene reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) collagen we investigated whether permafrost development during the Late Pleistocene coincided with changes in δ15N values. After 45 ka BP reindeer δ15N declined, with lowest δ15N values observed after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), between 15 and 11 ka BP. The decline in δ15N appears to be of a greater magnitude in more northern regions than in the South of France, a pattern similar to that previously observed for horse. On a global scale, ecosystem δ15N is controlled by the relative openness of the nitrogen cycle, which in turn is controlled by climate. Low soil and plant δ15N are observed in cold and/or wet regions and high δ15N are seen in hot and/or arid areas. The regional pattern in reindeer δ15N decline mimics the pattern of climatic deterioration in Europe culminating at the LGM, with climate cooling being more intense in northern Europe than in southern Europe. However, the lowest reindeer δ15N values are observed after temperatures started to rise. This may have been due to a lag in the response of the nitrogen cycle to increasing temperatures. Alternatively it may have been linked to the influence of permafrost degradation on soil and plant δ15N and thus faunal δ15N. The renewed climatic cooling during the Younger Dryas did not see a fall in reindeer δ15N. Limited data does, however, suggest a post Younger Dryas depletion in reindeer δ15N values.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

New Zealand Futures trader opens casino on Global Temperatures

In an interesting development on the Climate Prediction a registered securities trader has opened a global temperatures prediction casino.

As the two indices are posed as a binary question ie yes/ no. this is in essence a coin toss question. As we have previously discussed.

Describing the mathematical problems (some years before the celebrated Hilbert’s list) Poincare divided them into two parts: the binary problems (similar to the Fermat problem, where the answer is a choice between the two possibilities: “yes” or “no”), and the interesting problems, where the progress is continuous, studying first of all the possibility of the variations of the problem (like, say, the variation of the boundary conditions for a differential equation) and investigating then the influences of these variations on the properties of the solutions (which would be hidden, if the problem were formulated as a binary one)…an inverse temperature“state” is in essence a binary transformation or bifurcation.. The transformation as a velocity inversion has the same effect as a time inversion,(v to -v ) (t to -t)An interesting property is the probability P+=P- = 0.5

Is 2009 going to be the hottest year on record?

iPredict launches new climate change stocks

With the New Zealand summer already reaching record temperatures, online prediction market iPredict today launched new stocks asking just how hot we think 2009 will be.

For as little as $5 traders can buy and sell stocks that pay out depending on whether global temperatures in 2009 are warmer than last year, or are the hottest ever.

"Everyone has an opinion on climate change, it is the defining environmental issue for our time. Indications are 2008 was the coldest year since 2000 – is this a one-off anomaly? Could 2009 do the opposite?" says iPredict CEO Matt Burgess.

Two climate change stocks are being traded. The first stock asks whether 2009 will be warmer than 2008. A second stock asks whether 2009 will be the warmest year ever, beating the record set in 1998.
Victoria University Professor of Climate Change Martin Manning says traders will not have an easy time predicting the climate.
”While scientists are quite confident about our understanding of long term climate trends, the large amount of year to year variability in global average temperatures makes the question behind each of these stocks a challenge for anyone, including the experts,” said Professor Manning.
“This new initiative by iPredict should tell us more about how people think about climate, and I hope it can be used to improve the way we communicate what science does and does not know.”
Mr Burgess says the stocks are based on the HadCRUT3 time series from the University of East Anglia, Norwich. “This is a well-respected global temperature data series going back to 1850,” says Mr Burgess.
iPredict is authorised by the Securities Commission as a futures dealer and is owned by Victoria University and the Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation. The primary purpose of iPredict is research and education. Anybody can browse iPredict and see the predictions for free by going to www.iPredict.co.nz. Traders must be 18 years and older to set up an account. Accounts are free to set up and people can start trading with as little as $5.

As we see Victoria University Professor of Climate Change Martin Manning says traders will not have an easy time predicting the climate.in the short period of 1 year we can see they have not been better at other long scales either, with error bars exceeding the amplitude of the temporal evolution.

Whilst most scientific models have error bars within the amplitude This is definitely not the case for a typical atmospheric variable(such as temperature) where large deviations around the mean are comparable to the mean itself. More generally, this should hold true in any nonlinear dynamical system in which the evolution equations admit multiple solutions or give rise to chaotic dynamics,

The divergence in the temporal horizon suggest the predictive values are of limited qualities.ie there is a temporal boundary.on longer predictions. Here the house always wins.

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