Just a quick reminder that when folks like Dennis Avery use the term
"global warming" they're generally trying to convince people not to
think about global climate change.
Planetary warming has been observed and measured. But the issue is
not as simple as Avery and others present it. It's not a matter of a
linear increase in the amount of heat captured by the CO2 in the
atmosphere and held.
We live in an ecosystem, not a log-linear world. Warming is only one
observed phenomenon. There are other observable changes in climate
patterns, including greater diversity in weather patterns in a given
season, increases in "hundred year events" (severe or extreme
weather, wind, and wave patterns), and temperature gradients in the
North Atlantic Ocean.
As for changing temperature gradients--the difference between the
deep-sea water temperature and the surface water temperature is an
engine that causes mixing of seawater, which carries nutrients (like
O2, N, S, C) between surface and deeps, feeding the ecosystems there,
which basically support life on the planet.
Does anyone need to be reminded that our planet's oxygen comes from
the work of these sea microorganisms?
NOAA oceanographers have been documenting a dramatic slowing in the
mixing/churning activity in this system.
I can post some Web resources on global climate change tomorrow or
next week, if anyone's interested (Friday afternoon link search).
Also, one more thing. About Dennis's view of 950-1300 as the Good Old
It was in the 1300s that plague outbreaks killed 1/3 of the
population of Europe--not to mention tens of millions more in China
and elsewhere. Most folks tend to think about that in a very simple
model. For example, people got the plague because rats with
plague-infected fleas arrived on ships.
Yep, that was the vector. But that doesn't explain the outbreak. Why
were so many people so susceptible? After all, 2/3 of the population
survived, and many were exposed to the /Yersinia pestis/ microbe, and
fought it off. Is that only explicable by their genetic makeup? Or
might it be that there was more to it than that--and if so, what?
But let's look at it from the microbe's perspective.
Plagues follow warming. Existing microbes live--and are
controlled--within VERY SPECIFIC temperature ranges. Many global
epidemiologists are deeply concerned that even a 1-degree rise in
mean planetary temperature could give advantage to the spread of
highly virulent forms of malaria, cholera, and even some of the
hemorrhagic viruses (like Ebola, Crimean-Congo, Marburg). Not only
that, increasing heat means increasing stress on human hosts. So the
advantage to the microbes are at least twofold--more territory for
them, and more hosts whose bodies are overwhelmed and can't fight
Microbes are everywhere--each of us carries, for example, pneumonia
viruses, herpesviruses, viruses not yet named or recognized,
viruses-in-mutation. But we've got this fabulous, anciently evolved,
cellular communications system--the immune-neurological-endocrine
system--which acts in dialogue with these other life forms. When our
INE system is functioning well--when the stress on it isn't
debilitating it as a whole or any part of it--our bodies can, by and
large, react in ways that keep it functioning; humans are
extraordinarily adaptive creatures. And part of what supports our INE
system is ecological balance. Well, duh--we're part of the ecology,
and when environmental systems are at balance, so we're likely to be.
Unfortunately, it's easier for people to think in binary terms: bad =
microbes (quick! get the Lysol!), good = no sneezing or snuffles
EVER; bad = rain, good = unending sunny days; bad = soil ("dirt"),
good = sparkling clean fabricated surfaces....
Most people I've ever met think that bad = cold, good = warm (well,
when it's COLD out, you can't pour unidentified petrochemicals over
charcoal briquets, incinerate them, and start producing polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons in which to steep your meat!). Avery sounds
like one of them--a binary thinker to the core, he assumes that
warmer is better. And look! He's got historical "proof"!
But my guess is that, if cholera, malaria, and hemorrhagic virus
outbreaks became commonplace in Swoope, Virginia....
He'd blame it on the "liberal press."
Center for Integrated Ag Systems, UW-Madison
UW voice mail: 608-262-8018
Home office: 415-504-6474 (504-MISH)
Home office fax: Same as above, phone first for enabling
The man does not know enough to keep the beans out of chili. --Molly Ivins
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with the command
"unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at: