the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Yet another study I don’t believe without even reading it.

Posted by Jeff Id on October 7, 2010

Click the link at your own risk.

A little climate change goes a long way in the tropics

In hot places, even minor warming could rev up metabolism in animals that don’t generate their own heat

“It’s taken a while for people to start applying the thinking of climate change to the tropics,” says tropical ecologist Catherine Cardelús. At first biologists tended to dismiss tropical organisms as already highly adapted to heat, says Cardelús, of Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. But a growing number of studies are showing that ecology is far from that simple.

Dillon speculates that sped-up ectotherms in the tropics might become more vulnerable to starvation if resources can’t keep pace, he speculates. “If you’re burning more energy, you need more energy,” Dillon says. Food webs may shift. Soil respiration may increase. Mosquitoes may breed faster.


To see what those shifts do to metabolism, the researchers tweaked a basic physiological equation to create four versions, one each to represent a generalized single-celled organism, an invertebrate, an amphibian or a reptile. For each of the millions of temperature records, researchers calculated metabolic rates for each of the four groups.

Based on these calculations, warming could hit low-latitude ectotherms harder than high-latitude ones. Arctic temperature increases could double those in the tropics, and metabolic changes in each region’s ectotherms would still be about equivalent.

16 Responses to “Yet another study I don’t believe without even reading it.”

  1. Yes, Jeff, the abuse of science is like a highly contagious virus moving through the scientific community.

    Leaders of the scientific community had no idea what havoc they would create when they started limiting science to consensus opinions for use as a tool of propaganda.

    Bright young students see the problem and are moving away from science in droves.

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Sir Walter Scott

    Oliver K. Manuel

  2. David S said

    If Universe A is the real universe and Universe B is the one where image and impressions are all that matter (like that planet in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe) and Universe C (Climate ScienceTM) is the one where models of Universe A are constructed to have the maximum impact in Universe B, then this must be about Universe F. Models of models of models….

  3. George Tobin said

    I thought the theory was that warming would drive the tropical ecosystem north to Massachusetts and Sweden, with some invasive species transported on the backs of the newly enlarged flying insects hunting human children on their way north.

    That all these tropical critters would instead simply stay in the jungle, overheat and die on account of more nighttime winter warming in Siberia is implausible, boring and makes for really lame climate porn. I like my catastrophic scenarios to have more punch and more imaginative zip.

  4. BillyBob said

    As I’ve said before …

    I live in a coastal climate on the west coast of BC.

    In the last two years temperatures have ranged from -19C to 35C. Thats a range of 54C. We adapt. Animals and birds and insects adapt.

    Why a .6C change is going to cause mass death or something or other is insane.

  5. Don Keiller said

    Ah it’s a model.

    A basic rule of thumb is that a 10C rise in temperature over the physiological range (approx 5C to 40C) doubles the metabolic rate.

    Back of the envelope calculation(0.6/10) x 2 = 0.12 (12%) increase (and I suspect that it is less than 0.6C increasr in the tropics.

    Of course this nonsense assumes that “cold-blooded” animal (ectotherms is a better way of describing them) are totally at the mercy of external temperature fluctuations. They are not and use a wide range of behaviours to maintain their body temperures at optimum when they are active.

  6. Mark F said

    BillyBob – and we’re gonna have a bitch of a winter, with LaNina plus PDO
    coincident this year. But few on SSI, here, would accept “natural” causes…

  7. Doug Proctor said

    BillyBob said: ”

    The small global increase is purported to come at the same time as large, local increases, especially in the Arctic. But simple math says that positive-small (av) = positive-big + negative-big/total positive and negative. So the Arctic boils and somewhere else freezes. Doesn’t sound like a planet in equilibrium.

    Like you, I think that positive-small average means that, in a dynamic equilibrium state (as the world is) that most places will have a small positive increase, rather than a positive-big & negative-big balance. But, to paraphrase a comment, “Paradox is the essence of being human. To know one thing and yet believe another.”

  8. Brian H said

    I guess tropic zoologists must have had a hankering for some nice hot AGW gravy.

  9. kim said

    It’s all just a giant warp in the field of belief. Keep your seat belts fastened, things will be back to normal, soon. Hey, Two, what’s with the altimeter?

  10. GregO said


    “nice hot AGW gravy.” And while we’re cooking some CAGW fabulations let’s lard it up with “could”; “might”; “maybe”; “researchers tweeked”; et al. Wow. Does anybody take this stuff seriously?

  11. Matt Y. said

    Food webs may shift. Soil respiration may increase. Mosquitoes may breed faster.

    All of those statements are undeniably 100% true… because of the magic word “may”. It’s also true that I “may” strike oil in my backyard tomorrow and move the family to Beverly Hills. Only in climate science is rampant speculation considered a study.

  12. Doug Proctor said

    Matt Y. said: Only in climate science is rampant speculation considered a study.

    You forget economics. Economics is supposed to be a mathematical science, yet the behaviour of an Enron individually or that of the global market cannot be predicted.

    The economists don’t just speculate, by the way. They put it into force and then the world finds out it was all speculation. So far climate science is just speculating. Let’s hope it doesn’t go as far as economics.

  13. G. Ford said

    “Mark F said
    October 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm
    BillyBob – and we’re gonna have a bitch of a winter, with LaNina plus PDO
    coincident this year. But few on SSI, here, would accept “natural” causes…”

    My wood shed is full! Based on the Old Indian’s forecast I will need it all! Also the freezer here at our home on SSI is full of beef and other antisocial foods.

  14. David S said

    When the UK government has a budget of £150 million of taxpayers’ money for the Carbon Trust, and emissions reductions targets enshrined in law, I would say that climate “science” has gone beyond speculation.

  15. Brian H said

    Yes, it’s charged straight on into misappropriation and corruption.

  16. M. Simon said

    I look forward to “the monkey’s tails will catch fire” report. The graphics should be awesome.

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