Anoxia

by Kiko Matsing


Giant jellyfish spotted in the Adriatic for first time since Second World War
(www.telegraph.co.uk)

“Climate change caused by human activity could damage biological and social systems,” declares a paper in PLOS Biology cited as authority in Wikipedia. Why is climate change always predicted to have dire consequences? Isn’t there one single benefit to a warmer climate? And what’s more: Isn’t there a single scientific model out there that predicts positive effects, or at least no effect? Why do they all converge to ruinous, apocalyptic ends? The first suspect in scientific crap detection is systematic bias. But in the virtually untestable world of climate modeling, bias is often not in methodology but in ideology. Note the loaded language: caused by human activity. Does this imply that climate change not caused by humans must not be damaging? This is ridiculous on it’s face. There have been several mass extinction events before humans arrived on the scene that nature managed on its own. Does this imply then that humans direct at least the contemporary global climate? Think about it: Our collective hand can dial up (or down–“mitigation” in IPCC bureaucratese) the global thermostat. That’s a tall order. I wonder if any climate change scientist will put his money on how much mitigation it will take to make it rain here in Southern California. Will forcing everyone to drive a Prius help?

Instead we get vague projections from models: “Our results suggest that the entire world’s ocean surface will be simultaneously impacted by varying intensities of ocean warming, acidification, oxygen depletion, or shortfalls in productivity.” Anoxia, or complete oxygen depletion, is one of the dire consequences of warming trends. It is announced by jellyfish invasions. It makes sense to anyone who took Chemistry 101–the solubility of gases decrease with increasing temperature. That’s why warm soda pop turns flat. But guess what, the ocean is much more complex than a soda can, and I am not an oceanographer.

Our findings demonstrate that contemporary anoxic zone of the [eastern tropical northern Pacific] is currently not larger than it has been in the past 150 years, and thus cast doubt on the view that the recent expansion of the tropical Pacific [oxygen minimum zones] is a reflection of global ocean deoxygenation driven by climate warming. This expansion coincides with a period of surface cooling and thermocline shoaling in the eastern tropical Pacific that runs counter to the prevailing climate-warming trend and partly accounts for the hiatus in global surface warming. It is therefore a likely manifestation of the ocean’s pervasive low-frequency variability, rather than a response to rising greenhouse gases.

(C. Deutsch, et al, Science 2014, 345(6197), p. 667)

What is interesting is the time horizon of the study: the Industrial Revolution, driven by burning fossil fuels, and all other “human activities” thereafter (e.g., big corporations, mass consumerism, population growth) indicted as culprits of global warming had not made a dent on the extent of oxygen-depleted zones. But for the Left, climate change has got to have a human cause, otherwise, there is no moral case. This collective guilt trip is a residue of the Marxist critique of capitalist abuses during the Industrial Revolution mixed with New England Protestant temperance. It keeps everyone in check, like white guilt for the WASP Left, and motivates climate change policy. But times have changed since coal mines and textile factories in Manchester employed child labor. The West has been enjoying the highest standard of living in history. People are living longer. It’s just too good to be true; something must be wrong, somewhere. Bam! Global warming! Jellyfish invasions! A new trendy cause for moral outrage for the couch activist.

There is at least one critter that’s ambivalent to all this anoxia brouhaha:


Vampire squid loves to eat shit.
(news.nationalgeographic.com)

The vampire squid thrives in anoxic zones where it eats “dead plankton, algae, fecal matter, goo, shells shed by tiny crustaceans, and other detritus.” Unfortunately, contrary to guilt trippers, anoxia has not been found to be tied to climate change because this could have been one of its merits.

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