It is indisputable that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution, but...

...nothing in evolution makes sense except in the light of Plate Tectonics.

28 September, 2009

...and butterflies cause hurricanes...

So here's the latest off the press in the climate change arena.
A hypothetically warmer atmosphere will set off cataclysmic failures of THE LITHOSPHERE.

Yes! That's right. A globally averaged temperature increase of a couple degrees will cause earthquakes and volcanoes, land slides, tsunamis, debris flows, increased erosion, gravity slumps.

Am I serious? Just check this out:

I hardly know where to begin with this one, except perhaps to say that I am saddened that there are Earth scientists in the world who either have such severe tunnel vision that they can adhere to such tripe, or are SOOOO dishonest that they are willing to prostitute themselves to get a little additional research funding.

So what is wrong with this idea, anyway? It seems to make sense. Removal of thick masses of ice will release a load from the Earth's crust, which will rebound isostatically, the shifts causing Earthquakes and land slides, etc. and, if above a magma chamber, a volcano.

What is wrong with it is that it is charlatanism, pure and simple. That the Earth's crust will rebound isostatically when a BIG load is removed is beyond question. Scandinavia, parts of Great Britain, Canada, are all currently rebounding as a result of glacial unloading following the termination of the last glacial maximum 14,000 yr b.p. That's 14 thousand years ago - long time (not geologically) and things are still SLOOOOOOOWLY readjusting. Not many earthquakes in Scandinvaia, or Great Britain (that are noticeable - I'll return to this so just tuck it away). No volcanoes that I am aware of threatening all and sundry. Landslides? You're at greater risk of landslides if you live next to the now-culturally preserved coal mine slag heaps in Wales than having an isostatically-induced, tectonic readjustment landslide engulf your little blot of landscape.

Anyway, apart from simple, every-day, hum-drum isostatic rebound, nothing in today's world is comparable to what occurred at the so-called end of the epoch known as the Pleistocene- in fact, we are arguably not out of the Pleistocene and what little melting has been observed; 1) is less than has been observed in the past; and 2) is still an equilibration of the great meltdown following the most recent glacial maximum (see my thread on the Holocene, below).

The authors of this latest study (? that's generous) provide as support for their hyperbolic hypothesis that there was an increase in volcanic activity following the last glacial maximum, 14,000 years ago, so, ipso facto, there will be volcanos and earthquakes as the current spate of non-existent searing heat denudes the ice caps.

Well, the point is that this is the act of a mountebank of rare perception. It is the safest bet in the world to predict earthquakes and volcanoes and landslides because .... There are currently active volcanoes below both the arctic sea ice as well as below the antarctic ice sheet and Greenland sits very close to one of the more active volcanoes on Earth - the numerous vents and fumaroles, craters, cracks, active dikes, magma chambers... in Iceland. Volcanoes are accompanied, preceded and post-dated by numerous earthquakes, which, apart from other things generate landslides. Small magnitude earthquakes occur daily by the thousands, including many below the areas of current continental glaciers and sea ice - some of them are tectonic, some are the result of isostatic adjustment. Most of them go unnoticed and unreported to the world at large.

So all of these things are ongoing currently. Predicting them is like predicting sunrise at about 9 O'Clock in the morning. All this cretin has to do is go on line (USGS website will do nicely) and begin counting earthquakes and the REPORTING them in support of his quackery. Because most people have no clue about how many earthquakes there are on average (thousands per day), to suddenly begin broadcasting that there are hundred and hundreds in the areas he predicted they would be would certainly look like an increase and support of his prognostication.

And so it goes, on and on. This is the kind of hucksterism which is going to discredit the scientific community at large, once that damned overdue kid stands up and shouts "But he hasn't got any clothes on!"
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