Thursday, July 17, 2008

Climate-related decrease in the snappability of snapping turtles in the United States

By Tom H. Brikowski and Alfred Gore

Author Affiliations:

Geosciences Department, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX 75080-3021; and

Department of Erectile Dysfunction, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX 75390


An unanticipated result of global warming is the likely decrease of snappability in snapping turtles in a northward expansion of the present-day southeastern U.S. snapping turtle "belt." The fraction of the U.S. population of snapping turtles living in high-risk zones for snapper losses will grow from 40% in 2000 to 56% by 2050, and to 70% by 2095. Predictions based on a climate model of intermediate severity warming (SRESa1b) indicate a climate-related increase of 1.6-2.2 million lifetime cases of snapper defect by 2050, representing up to a 30% increase in some climate divisions. Nationwide, the cost increase associated with this rise in desnappability would be $0.9-1.3 billion annually (year-2000 dollars), representing a 25% increase over current expenditures. The impact of these changes will be geographically concentrated, depending on the precise relationship between temperature and snapping risk. Snapping-loss risk may abruptly increase at a threshold temperature (nonlinear model) or increase steadily with temperature change (linear model) or some combination thereof. The linear model predicts increases by 2050 that are concentrated in California, Texas, Florida, and the Eastern Seaboard; the nonlinear model predicts concentration in a geographic band stretching from Kansas to Kentucky and Bangladesh, immediately south of the threshold isotherm.

Jim Peden borrowed the model of the kidney-stone man to produce the skit above. He comments:

It seems Brikowski down in Texas has a "model" into which he can plug just about anything and get yet another hysterical global warming prediction. I'm now trying to predict what his next "scientific paper" will cover - the above was the result of borrowing his model and simply changing the inputs. It's his model, so I have to give him the credit, of course. I assume Al Gore was a co-researcher. I find his recent papers to be consistent with the previously discussed relationship between lower I.Q.s in the southern states as compared to northern states. You might like to try your hand with a variety of subjects, such as tooth decay in Alligators or toe fungus in Water Moccasins. This is a clear solution to the "publish or perish" challenge... with a model like this, you can complete a half dozen research projects before lunch every day.

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