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View Diary: Climate Change will alter the soil that feeds us (31 comments)

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  •  Time scale matters ... a lot (12+ / 0-)

    If the transition to higher temperatures was taking thousands to tens of thousands of years, as in most cases in the distant past, you would largely be correct.  The changes are in fact taking only tens of years.  That doesn't give evolution and adaptive migration enough time to prevent serious destruction of ecosystems, and in many such cases what comes next will not be so lush.

    The natural atmospheric carbon spike of about 55 million years ago provides an example from the oceans.  Carbon dioxide absorbed in the oceans decreased ocean pH to the point that much of the basis of the ocean food chain collapsed.  This was a geologically short event, but it still acted ten to a hundred times slower than what we've been forcing now.  It took the oceans about 200,000 years to fully recover.

    Nature doesn't have a general rapid response system to abrupt change.

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:36:48 AM PDT

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    •  nature will respond . . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sunspots, northstarbarn

      quickly or slowly, as it sees fit.  To be sure humans have initiated a rapid and significant shift in planetary ecology . . . but it is hard to argue that it is/was not conscious and deliberate.  We had the technology to not burn coal or oil decades ago . . . and rejected its implementation.  So the planet responds . . . and not in ways that are perhaps as benign as we might have hoped.  It took an asteroid to "do in" the dinosaurs . . . we did it to ourselves, eyes wide open.

      Some humans will adapt, and perhaps survive, just as the birds survived the dinosaur extinction, made it through the transition, and found a happy niche in the "new world order".  And the cyanobacteria will do fine regardless . . . they've managed to survive several billions of years of "change" (and untold "ecological catastrophes").

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:07:51 AM PDT

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