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Earth Science

Global Warming 5 Million Years Ago In Antarctic Drastically Raised Sea Levels 437

An anonymous reader writes "As temperatures rise, scientists continue to worry about the effects of melting Antarctic ice, which threatens to raise sea levels and swamp coastal communities. This event, though, isn't unprecedented. Researchers have uncovered evidence that reveals global warming five million years ago may have caused parts of Antarctica's ice sheets to melt, causing sea levels to rise by about 20 meters."
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Global Warming 5 Million Years Ago In Antarctic Drastically Raised Sea Levels

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  • How many thousands of years did it take for that warming... the equivalent of *one* century? But no, zillions of barrels of oil and coal, burned, can't *possibly* affect the whole world's climate, no, no....


  • Re:FUD title (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @01:00PM (#44352301)

    It's almost like this shit is cyclic.

    That's right, it's just like a Ferris wheel.

    So let's say you want to jump off the ride when you're near the top. Go ahead, no problem! After all, the next cycle would bring you back down to the ground anyway. It's all the same.

  • by Robear ( 68955 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @01:01PM (#44352325)

    Because there can't be both natural and man-made causes for warming and cooling? Really? That seems arbitrary, especially if it's just the argument from disbelief.

    We've got very good evidence that there are climate cycles, and very good evidence that we should be cooling right now, but we're not. We have very good evidence that we're warming specifically because of our own actions, and that's overwhelming the natural cycles, both in speed of change and intensity.

    If you are comfortable with natural cycles, then the physics of artificial change should not faze you, because the physics behind them is the same. If something can be changed by natural forces, then it can be affected by artificial ones of sufficient scale and intensity. Excluding the latter is simply ignoring evidence.

  • by matfud ( 464184 ) <matfud@yahoo.com> on Monday July 22, 2013 @01:12PM (#44352435) Homepage

    The interglacial periods coincide with variations in the earths orbit.
    eccentricity, tilt and precession all interacting. So yes it is pretty well understood why glaciation occurs. Yes it has been taken into account. No it does no account for the current changes being seen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 22, 2013 @01:13PM (#44352437)

    It is well known that sea levels have been going up and down throughout the ages.

    Is it really "well known" that climate changes "throughout the ages?" Is that fact well known to the adolescents that get exposed to Al Gore and his agenda multiple times every year in publicly funded schools? Is that fact well known to the statists you cheer on as they impoverish people?

    My sense is that no such thing is "well known." The reality is people believe they are suppose to "stop" "climate change" because that's what has been pounded into their heads by you.

    A few stories ago we indulged our contempt for "autism panic" and sneered at the fools who were duped into thinking vaccines were wrecking kids. People believe what they're told; they don't investigate or consider the long view. When Al Gore tells them the planet is going to Venus itself because they don't live barefoot in a yurt they believe it.

  • by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @01:14PM (#44352459) Journal

    Before anyone smugly proclaims that this proves humans aren't responsible for climate change, remember that it's possible for some phenomenon to have multiple causes. It's entirely possible for there to be both natural and man-made causes for variations in climate. Giving examples of natural causes doesn't do anything to weaken the argument against anthropogenic climate change in this epoch.

    If climate change is currently man-made, or partially man-made, or being made worse by human activity, then it's still worth bending every effort to slow or reverse it.

  • Re:Right, so... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Art Challenor ( 2621733 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @01:15PM (#44352479)
    It's idiocy like this that causes software to suck so badly. Faced with a bug report that has the same symptoms as a previous solved bug, the issue is marked as "resolved".

    It is possible to have events with broadly the same symptoms that actually have different underlying causes. (Although as others point out the timescale of the symptoms is massively different).
  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @01:22PM (#44352549)

    whether life can adapt to them fast enough.

    Depends on the life which is trying to adapt. Sealife, in the instance of rising sea levels, probably has a better chance at adapting than air sucking land dwellers.

  • by gsgriffin ( 1195771 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @01:27PM (#44352627)
    Would like to see the math here.

    I do know that when ice melts, it takes up less volume than liquid water. I also understand that Antarctica is large, but the oceans around the world are pretty big, too. You're trying to scare me into believing that a couple portions of Antarctica can produce enough water to raise the oceans around the world by 60 feet. Someone please tell me how much ice would have to be melted in order to do that and if Antarctica (even if completely melted) could do that. Seems a little out of proportion just looking at a map.
  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @01:49PM (#44352895)
    Well climate deniers often rely on faulty reasoning behind their arguments. (1) If climate change happened in the past, there is no way humans could have caused this one. (2) Since climate change happened in the past, there is no need to be concerned with this one. As you pointed out, the existence of climate change is not solely dependent on one cause. As for the second issue, mass extinctions that could be triggered by this climate change are a cause for concern unless humans plan on moving to another planet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 22, 2013 @01:51PM (#44352915)

    "If climate change is currently man-made, or partially man-made, or being made worse by human activity, then it's still worth bending every effort to slow or reverse it."

    No, it isnt.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @02:19PM (#44353271) Journal

    Except, essentially, is what you're saying is that
    a) cyclic thing happened many times before, yet
    b) THIS time it's "our" fault.

    Until you provide substantial proof that THIS cycle is substantially different than all the others, I refuse to panic.

  • by Time_Ngler ( 564671 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @03:34PM (#44354067)

    "Heaven forfend" (forfend? wtf?) we stop using tricks and misleading data to try and justify our stance: http://www.skepticalscience.com/cherrypicking-deny-continued-ocean-global-warming.html [skepticalscience.com]

  • by P-niiice ( 1703362 ) on Monday July 22, 2013 @04:15PM (#44354517)
    Funny that I knew that the most simplistic, mindless interpretation of the info in this article would be put forth by deniers. But it moves into the realm of sadness that it would be comment 1 & 2.
  • by cusco ( 717999 ) <brian.bixby@nOSPAM.gmail.com> on Monday July 22, 2013 @04:50PM (#44354877)
    The problem is that "facts" and "science" generally support the liberal and progressive points of view. Pollution was a liberal hippy issue, until the Cuyahoga River caught fire. The link between smoking and cancer was just a liberal conspiracy to bankrupt tobacco companies. Overuse of antibiotics was a liberal attack on upstanding pharmaceutical companies, until MRSA appeared. And of course conservatives said that all of our financial woes in the 1980s could be solved by simply deregulating everything, while liberals pointed at every single prior case of financial deregulation leading to chaos in a desperate attempt to prevent today's economy.