Friday, January 09, 2009

It's Not Just Your Imagination, It Really Is Getting Cold

From Al Fin:
Data from the NCDC shows a downward trend in North American temperatures over the past ten years. Also see here for another decadal decline in temperatures. Reasons for this apparent decline vary from sunspot cycles to ocean oscillations to volcanic eruptions and outright denial. According to a study published in the January 8 issue of Nature, part of the reason for the recent global cooling may be too small to see without a microscope.Diatoms are microscopic oceanic plankton which every year remove billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. The history of plankton is being re-written by scientists at this very moment, and it is quite likely that the repercussions of new plankton research will be quite significant.
The evolutionary history of diatoms -- abundant oceanic plankton that remove billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year -- needs to be rewritten, according to a new Cornell study. The findings suggest that after a sudden rise in species numbers, diatoms abruptly declined about 33 million years ago -- trends that coincided with severe global cooling.

..."Why diatom diversity peaked for 4 to 5 million years and then dropped is a big mystery," Rabosky said. "But it corresponds with a period when the global climate swung from hothouse to icehouse. It's tempting to speculate that these tiny plankton, by taking carbon dioxide out of the air, might have helped trigger the most severe global cooling event in the past 100 million years." _CornellChronicle
The new, re-written evolutionary history of diatoms may indeed shine an important light on our present climate. But perhaps the lesson to be taken from the study is that diatoms thrive in warmer water. As climate and the oceans grow colder, diatoms are unable to thrive as well and reproduce as quickly. Correlation does not equal causation.

Diatoms are very important in the overall carbon cycle, as are a number of other carbon-fixing oceanic species. Apocalyptic predictions of future ocean acidification fail to properly take into account the oceans' enormous capacity for removing and fixing atmospheric carbon in permanent or semi-permanent form. Such basic errors in reasoning, when combined with an irrational faith in simplistic climate models, lays the foundation for an incredibly unscientific quasi-religious faith in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming -- CAGW. The religious orthodoxy of manmade warming catastrophe is in the process of destroying the economic infrastructure of Autralia and the EU, and under the narcissist-elect Obama threatens to destroy the economic infrastructure of the US.

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