Plankton and Climate

14 Aug 2019

At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2019/07/ancient-plankton-hel... ... it seems that co2 levels of 400 parts per million are not unprecedented as the same thing occurred during the Pliocene (without the benefit of coal fired power stations or fossil fuel transport). The Pliocene is dated between 2 and 5 million years ago but that was not always the case. When Agassiz came up with the theory of glacial advance an accommodation for the subsequent Ice Ages was required. The geological age of the Pleistocene came into being. Presumably the age of the Pliocene was moved back. However, there are maverick geologists that claim the Pliocene and the Pleistocene overlap - but they are in a minority (even a minority of a minority). Whatever, a study in Geophysical Research Letters (Aug 2019) has sought to use the Pliocene (and its co2 levels) as an example of what might happen if co2 levels in the modern world continue to rise or remain at the current position for a lengthy period of time. They have to get around one problem first. If there was 400ppm co2 in the Pliocene why aren't we seeing the problems right now - if there really are any problems. They do this dextrously.

We are told co2 levels prior to the industrial revolution (in the Victorian period), confined to a small corner of the world we may note, were just 280ppm. It has taken 150+ years to get to 400ppm - which is projected as something awful. We are then informed that it took 2 million years for co2 levels to decline (from 400ppm to 280ppm) which is a bit of rubbish thinking as they do not provide any ppm readings for the period between the end of the Pliocene and the Victorian era. What were co2 levels in the Roman Warm Period for example, or the Medieval Warm Period, yet alone even warmer periods in early to mid-Holocene. The point is that 150 years ago the world had just about climbed out of the Little Ice Age (when global temperatures had plunged and glaciers had advanced). The period around 1850 marks a temporary blip in temperature - which had been climbing for a 100 years previously. In fact there is an unexplained series of cold blips in the 1640s, 1740s and 1840s that have never been properly explained - and are used by global warmists as a start point in order to create obfuscation on the temperature gradient. The 20th century, by and large, was a warm period with an active Sun. It may be that co2 levels have a connection with temperature - and rise accordingly (although an input of human made co2 is of course a fact of life as well). Is it a disaster though. The Pliocene was teeming with life and that seems to indicate that high co2 levels are not a catastrophe - but an invented catastrophe. The study ignores all that kind of stuff as it wants to reach a particular conclusion - put the frighteners on the kiddies. In spite of this they do provide some interesting information. For example, there is a discrepancy between fossil data and climate model simulations. Proxy measurements of Pliocene sea surface temperatures led scientists to jump to the conclusion that a warmer Earth caused the tropical Pacific ocean to be stuck in a permanent El Nino weather system. The problem was that climate models of the Pliocene which have an attendant 400ppm co2 level (another assumption that it was a generality of the Pliocene as a whole) did not simulate (on their computers) a permanent El Nino situation (which may involve some muddled thinking on the nature and cause of El Ninos). About 20 years ago scientists claimed to be able to define temperature based on chemical analysis of the shells of foraminifera plankton (which sink to the sea bottom) - and woe betide anyone that had the temerity to dispute this. Well, it has now been shown that temperatures based on foraminifera measurements are actually skewed by ocean chemistry. This is somewhat remarkable as foraminifera analysis lies at the heart of Ice Age chronology - but that is another story. The study authors decided on a different kind of proxy - different to the earlier studies that claimed a permanent El Nino system. They used fat produced by another plankton, the coccolithopores. These small shells make up chalk geology - and have a propensity to form blooms in the ocean that can be seen from the International Space Station. When the environment is warm, we are told, they produce a slightly different fat than when it is cold. Paleoclimatologists have latched on to this in much the same fashion as they eagerly adopted oxygen isoptope data from foraminifera. One may wonder if the fat changes are also due to an unknown as yet process - such as plankton blooms. Whatever, according to the study team they now have reliable data from around the world and it contradicts the idea of a permanent El Nino (which is really no surprise). They now refer to this as 'extreme' interpretation of the data - which is quite amusing. They also found the trade winds must have changed (they say they were subdued which avoids the connection between wind and rotation) ans subsequently, dry regions such as Arizona, became wetter. Hence, the authors claim to have found an agrrement with modern climate models (climate change as a result of rising co2 levels). This is somewhat twisting the facts as we have been berated that deserts will expand and we are all going to die - yet herds of wild animals roamed the earth back in the Pliocene (and their fossil remains are common). Also, sea levels are thought to have been higher in the Pliocene and it is geological thinking this is caused by melting glaciers, hence this is blamed on the co2 levels (at 400ppm).

In a catastrophist world one might suppose the axis of rotation differed between the Pliocene and the Holocene, which accounts for the sea level divergences and a repositioning of the trade winds. The Pliocene climate appears to have been agreeable and therefore a 400ppm is not unreasonable. The climate alarmists have to suppose the ice sheets are going to take some time to melt if the 400ppm  figure is really deadly.