the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Thank god for climate science

Posted by Jeff Id on July 29, 2010

Oh, jeez.  Now the phytoplankton are dying off unprecedented…ly…. And it’s your damned SUV that did it again.  The scientists are claiming that we don’t really know what is going on, but maybe it’s global warming.  Never mind that our instruments can barely detect the temperature change, maybe the global warming killed 40 percent of the phytoplankton.

Since they use satellites now to measure bacteria blooms from orbit, I wonder what the quality of the phytoplankton measurements was over 50 years ago.  And just how did they take a few point measurements from pre-1950 and turn it into a global trend?  Do you think there is any opportunity for a mismatch in trend there?

Can you say, “full of crap”..

I’m not even going to bother with it, but can you imagine the tiny little minds who believe this crap.  It ticks me off that people would write this, then ‘science editors’ would then sell it to the people as though the section on global warming was actually SCEINCE!! To even allow people to make the connection in a peer reviewed paper shows just how far the wrongthink has gone.

It’s nothing but propaganda to sell you a political system.  And the editors at least, are doing it with intent.

In an alternate world where the global CO2 plant food shortage was recognized instead of lauded, this might be used to explain why CO2 levels were finally rising.  After all a 40 percent reduction in phytoplankton should allow CO2 to build up – at least on  a short term timeframe.

Gee, it makes sense then that IF a half degree of warming killed 40% of the phytoplankton, that the soft little phytos must fail to thrive at the equator because of the much higher water temps.  Here’s a phytoplankton video to check if that theory is correct. Note how the happy thriving phytoplankton-s go into undetectable stealth mode while thriving in the ice cold polar water each winter.   Apparently, it’s a survival trick they use to protect themselves from being eaten while they bloom in massive-yet-invisible numbers in the ice cold polar water they prefer.

Perhaps we should fund greenpeace to take shiploads of phytoplankton plant seed and re-seed the  hot spots in the ocean with temperature resistant fightoplanktons.  I bet we could get the public to fund that.  Maybe we should tow some icebergs to the equator to help out the  sweating and stressed out tropical phyto’s.

It’s an obvious conclusion though, because everyone already knows from global warming science that plants hate warm weather.

Thank god for modern science or is that post-modern?

29 Responses to “Thank god for climate science”

  1. ecoeng said

    Much of the global ‘standing crop’ of cyanobacteria are to be found around the continental shelves where the supplies of critical nutrients such as nitrogen, iron and silica are to be found in greatest abundance. The waters off Eastern Patagonia are a well known textbook example of this – where airborne dust from the Andean volcanos and glacial moraine runoff combines to increase the rate of nutrient export into that coastal shelf area. This study does not appear to have considered the very important coastal shelf regions at all. Ironically those are the very regions where the oceans have received, in recent centuries, the greatest input (and an increasing one) of such nutrients due to the expansion of the human race, much of which is concentrated around the continental margins and in great archipelagos such as Japan, Indonesia, the Philipines etc.

    It is well known from numerous sea-based microcosm experiments that cyanobacterial primary productivity rises with increasing partial pressure of CO2 (just as it does with increasing levels of key nutrients). It is highly likely that this effect far outweighs any temperature-based effect. It can be shown that the Northern Hemisphere oceans contain two great consortia of cyanobacteria which bloom in two different temperature bands of the annual cycle whereas the Southern Hemisphere ocean has only one such consortium. Despite this, it is also possible to show that the degree to which the surface partial pressure of CO2 lags behind the global mean partial pressure over the Great Southern Ocean (SO) below 40 S has actually been actually slowly increasing since ~1980, not decreasing. This can only mean that the cyanobacterial primary productivity of the SO is increasing with increasing global partial pressure of CO2.

    It is only in the last few decades that we have even approached a mature understanding of the major speciation of cyanobacterial species in the ocean and hence their often differing consortial/ecological relationships to ‘traditional’ gross parameters such as transparency and chlorophyll-a. Just a few decades ago, if one was to assert that seawater typically contained 100,000 cells/mL of the (tiny) picocyanobacterium Prochlorococcus and 10,000 cells/mL of the ‘normal’ cyanobacterium Synecchococcus one would have been laughed at quite simply because few were aware the major species Prochlorococcus was even present!

    This is paper just another one of those earnestly propagandist Nature AGW papers, readily revealing its origin in the fashionably domineering, socio-political movement of our times.

    I just published My Rebuttal above. It was fully grounded in factual knowledge/mainstream literature. You just read it.

    Beyond this, there is no such thing as ‘absolutely transparent peer review and editorial’ as Nature is not (yet) a fully transparent, free, online journal where all can read, and comment on, the ‘peer reviews’ and the editors’ decisions.

    There can never really be such a viable thing as a partial, relative, conditional, managed, semi-secret, science. We all must still wait for the realization of the Internet’s potential to achieve true science.

  2. Jeff Id said

    #1, if one was to assert that seawater typically contained 100,000 cells/mL of the (tiny) picocyanobacterium Prochlorococcus and 10,000 cells/mL of the ‘normal’ cyanobacterium Synecchococcus one would have been laughed at quite simply because few were aware the major species Prochlorococcus was even present!

    That’s incredible. I had no idea we were unaware of a THE major species in the ocean.

    Since you likely have good familiarity with the datasets, can you say anything more about the measurement methods pre-1950?

  3. ecoeng said

    “Since you likely have good familiarity with the datasets, can you say anything more about the measurement methods pre-1950?”

    Approximate. Big error bars.

  4. Ken said

    More nonsense from Malaysia:

    KUALA LUMPUR: Some 90% of Malaysia’s corals are dead due to global warming, and the reefs may never recover unless the people switch to a greener lifestyle

  5. Lady in Red said

    I just looked at, NOAA’s new global warming site. It’s quite “pretty.” At the same time, all the content screams of cover your ears, close your eyes and scream lalalala over and over. There is no attempt to do/explain science, engage critics. All mainstream “climate scientists” tell me: I don’t read those blog things….. I *know.*

    Right-o. has pretty charts, too, of rising sea levels, temperatures, etc. etc. but who knows? Does someone sketch them in the night?

    Reading the blogs of the silliness that passes for science — McIntyre’s latest on Tamino — it is something of an embarrassment that these folk might be considered educated, worthy of teaching, studying anything. Apparently, this is what passes for erudition these days and yelling lalalala with their eyes closed might make them feel better about themselves, but there is an elephant in the room they have missed and all the bluster and pomposity in the world won’t make it disappear. …Lady in Red

  6. steveta_uk said

    I see a comment from “Jeff ID” on the Indy has been snipped.

    If it was you, Jeff, what did you say?

  7. Lady in Red said

    I just posted a thoughtful comment to RealClimate about Tamino’s piece.

    Silly me: I crafted it! Straight to the trash bin, not so much as “your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    I mean, how many times can you read non-stop attacks on Judith Curry and re-read “Good job, Tamino!” over and over before one suspects “Methinks thou dost compliment too much.” Self-serving, but not useful to science.
    ….Lady in Red

  8. Jeff Id said

    #6 It was a self snip.

  9. Sam said

    Do they expect us to believe that they actually know how many phytoplankton are in the entire world? Or even more unbelievable, that they knew this a century ago? From the article:

    They found that phytoplankton had declined significantly in all but two [out of 10] of the ocean regions at an average global rate of about 1 per cent per year, most of which since the mid 20th Century. They found that this decline correlated with a corresponding rise in sea-surface temperatures – although they cannot prove that warmer oceans caused the decline.

    Two out of ten showed no significant decline? If they only chose 10 sites, and a full fifth of those showed no decline, how can we be reasonably sure that the 2 sites aren’t more representative than the other 8? If temperatures increased globally, and that has harmed the phytoplankton, then what mechanism saved the critters in those 2 sites?

    This whole thing smells fishy.

  10. steveta_uk said

    Jeff Id said
    July 29, 2010 at 10:02 am

    #6 It was a self snip.


  11. stan said

    I think the only people who do science anymore are engineers.

  12. Gary said

    #2 – Jeff
    Measurements of phytoplankton (not all of which are “cyanobacteria” but you don’t want to descend into taxonomic arguments here) in the pre-satellite era were by water samplers and net-tows. Both have collection problems: in the first the volume of water sampled is just a few liters and in the second the mesh size of the net is larger than some species. So in both cases uncertainty on estimations can be large and there may be a systematic under-count from the method. Patchiness of distributions horizontally and vertically is also a consideration. The situation is somewhat like the difference between buckets and ship intakes as sources of SST data.

    Satellites – when they became capable of sensing chlorophyll – are good at integrating the data over wide areas. Shipboard phytoplankton sampling was widely scattered in space and time. I would be highly suspicious of data prior to 1975 on a world-wide basis. Something might be learned from comparing highly sampled areas to satellite measurements of the same areas, though; IOW, a time series for specific location.

    Other things to consider: What has over-fishing done to change the preditor-prey dynamics? What about ocean basin oscillations that could be more influential than net temperature rise over a century? Ecological systems are tricky to figure out.

  13. Charlie A said

    #11 stan said
    “I think the only people who do science anymore are engineers.”

    Engineers are expected to make things that work.

    I do note that hydrologists are climate scientists that tend to do real science.
    Probably because they are making designs and forecasts upon which large sums of money are spent, and whose designs and forecasts will be put to the test of real life over a period of a couple of decades.

    Climate scientists could learn much about statistics from hydrologists such as Demetris Koutsoyiannis.
    I highly recommend his website for information on Hurst or Hurst-Kolmogorov phenomena and other info on the properties of climate and hydrological time series.

  14. Laws of Nature said

    Hi there :)
    Well, I was wondering .. does plankton produce or sequester CO2?
    I saw a “piece” that seemed to indicate, that plankton would produce 27CTC CO2/year!? .. In any case, changing such a production/sequestering rate by 40% should have a much bigger effect on the CO2-level than the anthopogenic 6GTC/year..

  15. Jeff Id said

    Phytoplankton is a photosynthesis powered plant so it absorbs CO2.

  16. TGSG said

    “Phytoplankton is a photosynthesis powered plant so it absorbs CO2.”

    Stupid question,your quote above is for the living.. what about the dead?

  17. stumpy said

    People wonder why science is falling with the layman, they blame PR, “failure to engage the public”, they blame “oil funded sceptics” undermining them etc…. but one day will need to face the fact that they are constantly publishing BS papers that an everyday bloke can see is BS – they have no credibility if they keep spouting out drivel!!!

    Its as id you can publish any old drivel, so long as its to do with global warming and its bad or worse than we thought!

    Sceptical work must be to the highest standard and even then it may not get published – The work of AGW supporters though seems to be published with only a fleeting look!?!

  18. M. Simon said

    A nice bit on Secret Science:

  19. Brian H said

    There’s a ref in the PJ article to Feyman’s famous ‘Cargo Cult Science’ talk.

    Here’s a PDF I made of it:

  20. Laws of Nature said

    Hello again,

    I am still trying to get a number for the CO2 sequestered by Phytoplankton (and wonder if there is other plankton producing CO2 .. or perhaps I simply missunderstood :)).. The rate seems to depend on the partial pressure:
    “Gorshkov (1982) estimated that due to fixation of
    man-made carbon by oceanic phytoplankton the maximum atmospheric CO2 concentration could
    never exceed about 390 ppmv”

    However I also stumbled over this article, which is suggesting, that the Phytoplankton has a bad virus infection for the last couple of years:

    Hope that helps and all the best regards,

    Laws of Nature

  21. Andrew said

    Hm, the “it might be” warming meme. Well, sure, just as plausibly, it “might” be due to an enormous yet elusive whale species that hibernates for decades or centuries on end has just woken up, nobody noticed, and it has devoured a bunch of plankton and is about to go back to sleep again, waiting for the stock to recover.

    Or it could be nothing, because of inadequate measurement.

    But speculate wildly why don’t we?

  22. Mike Jowsey said

    Throughout Earth’s history, there is evidence of large carbon dioxide releases, greenhouse conditions, ocean acidification, and major changes in marine life. About 120 million years ago (mya), during the early part of the Cretaceous period, a series of massive volcanic eruptions pumped huge amounts of carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere. During the Aptian Oceanic Anoxic Event, atmospheric CO2 content rose to about twice today’s level. Eventually, the oceans absorbed much of that CO2, which significantly increased the water’s acidity. The change reduced the amount of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the water, making it difficult for creatures such as some kinds of plankton to form shells. But the plankton did not die out. In fact, the geological record indicates that ocean biota can adapt to CO2 concentrations as high as 2000 to 3000 ppm—five to eight times current levels.

  23. Brian H said

    ‘Might be’ can, and in this case does, refer to a hypothesis that has adequate, equal, or better mechanisms and data patterns suggesting it is a plausible explanation. It subverts and eliminates the fundamental “argument from ignorance” so beloved of the CAGW Cult:

    “since we can’t think of anything else that can explain (X,Y,Z) it must be GHG-caused GW — let’s fix it, fast! Send money! Give us unfettered access to global resources! Stop using energy unless we certify it’s carbon-neutral or negative! Or else!”

  24. EJ said

    You have found the missing carbons sink! Could it be anything other than the ocean?

    I always knew it was the ocean. We get all our oxygen from the oceans. The cool thing about climate science is that units don’t matter.

  25. Geoff Sherrington said

    Phytoplankton die off. Flies die off.

    In Australia, we put dead flies to good use. We doodle with them when we get tired of reading yet another implausible man-mande global warming paper.

    Remember flies pread diseases. Keep yours buttoned.

  26. Geoff Sherrington said

    Forgot that time flies, but my typing fingers do not. To above post, correct typo “pread” to “spread”. Re image, click on it in your browser or image program to enlarge. The devil is in the detail.

  27. The comments are as interesting as the article :)

  28. Brian H said

    Geoff – two frogs on neighbouring lilypads, gorging on swarms of bugs. One to the other: “Time’s sure fun when you’re having flies!” :D

  29. PhilJourdan said

    It has gotten to the point that every bit of news now I EXPECT to see a mention of AGW. Somehow, the BP Oil spill was AGW. The illegal immigrant problem is AGW (both of these are in the news related to AGW). It is ridiculous, and expected. I think AGW is going Nova soon.

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