Hot, Flat and Crowded

Chs 7 & 8
Dr. Ron Lembke
5:Global Weirding
 In the US, it’s a political issue, so there must be two
 CO2
 280 ppm for human history
 Last 250 years up to 384 ppm – where we are now
 Milankovich Cycles (pp 117-8):
 Earth’s orbit not circular, 100,000 year cycle
 Tilted axis shifts: 40,000 year cycle
 Plane of orbit relative to sun: 21,000 year cycle
 I don’t think so
5: Climate Models
 5 year old data – China high gear
 IPCC Summary for Policymakers
 Political document
 7”-23” ocean rise
 We’re at 384 ppm
 450 ppm would be 2°C increase
 550 ppm would lead to 3° C increase
 Used to be target
 Pests not killed by freezes
 Ice sheets melting faster than predicted
 Oceans more acidic than thought
 350? Really hard
Methane frozen in Tundra
 Arctic, Western Siberia, Alaska
 500 billion tons – converted to methane
 Methane 21 times the impact of CO2.
 Equivalent to 10 trillion tons of CO2
 730 trillion tons of CO2 currently?
 3,000 trillion tons of CO2 currently?
Global Weirding
 Atlanta
 Water shortage? Why more than used to?
 Montana:
 Elk season had to be moved
 No trout in the streams
 Snowcaps in August gone
 Higher temperatures increase evaporation
 Soils drying out
 More water in the atmosphere, has to come down
 Means when it rains, it pours, more huge downpours
 Changing wind patterns
 Search “cities hardest hit by climate change evaporation” Nevada
came up first:
Cedar River broke record by 6 feet
6: Who cares about biodiversity?
 ecosystem services
 fresh water, filter pollutants,
 breeding grounds for fisheries,
 buffer from tropical storms,
 insects that pollinate our crops,
 take CO2 out of the atmosphere
Burning Down the House
 “uniquely valuable library we have been burning
down -- one wing at a time -- before we have even
cataloged all the books, let alone read them all”
 1,000 times the background rate
 Localized as humans moved around:
 Bering Strait 12,000 yrs ago
 Sabre Tooth Tigers
 Wooly Mammoths
Woolly Mammoths
Roughly elephant-sized:
 14 ft high, 6-9 TONS
Smilodon populator
(Sabertooth Tigers)
 51” high at the shoulder
 Weighed up to 800 lbs
 Extinct 10,000 yrs ago
What we can Find
 Voracious caterpillars of American moth
 saved Australia's pastureland from an overgrowth of
 Madagascar - rosy periwinkle alkaloids
 cure most cases of Hodgkin's lymphoma and acute
childhood leukemia
 obscure Norwegian fungus
 made possible the organ transplant industry
 saliva of leeches
 solvent that prevents blood clots during/after surgery
 Every 20 minutes,
 One species goes extinct
 1,200 acres of forest burned, cleared for development
 CO2 from deforestation
 Greater than all transportation emissions
 Europe: Biofuels not from nature reserves, tropical
forests, grasslands with high biodiversity
 More CO2 released than saved
 “black carbon” – ash shorter lived in atmosphere
 Extinct 400 years. 2,200 lbs, 6.5 ft at shoulder
 “genetic expertise and selective breeding”
 Auroch DNA from preserved bone material
 Not exactly the same, genetically, look the same
Web of Life
 Yellowstone Aspen trees
 Elk were eating
 Reintroducing wolves saved the trees:
 Wolves ate the elk (one elk per wolf, in winter), fewer
elk, so fewer trees eaten
 Elk wouldn’t go to blind areas to eat
 “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it
hitched to everything else in the universe.”
 John Muir
Code Green
 Generation of Clean Energy
 Mitigate climate change and its impacts
 Strategy for preserving biodiversity
 Biodiversity loss could destabilize the carrying capacity
of the planet, as much as climate change
 Climate Change is real
 Warmer temperatures bring weirdness, not just heat
 Save the bugs and the fungi, not just the polar bears

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