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Apeofman

Can mankind save itself with technology.

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Oh dear! :eek:

 

According to an article in "New Scientist" 21 Jan 2006. More reactive nitrogen falls out of the air now than farmers put on their fields in the 1950's. Reactive nitrogen is generated naturally by lightening

 

The same article also claims that this is due to the addition of reactive nitrogen into the environment caused by the ways of man. Such as using fertiliser to feed our populations, the use of most fuelled land, air, and sea vehicles. It is also predicted that 70 percent of natural ecosystems to end by 2050.

 

The most worrying aspect of most forms of reactive nitrogen is their contribution to Eutrophication.

 

Eutrophication is defined (by http://toxics.usgs.gov/definitions/eutrophication.html) as a process whereby water bodies, such as lakes, estuaries, or slow-moving streams receive excess nutrients that stimulate excessive plant growth (algae, periphyton attached algae, and nuisance plants weeds). This enhanced plant growth, often called an algal bloom, reduces dissolved oxygen in the water when dead plant material decomposes and can cause other organisms to die.

 

There are other harmful effects associated with reactive nitrogen. It causes health problems, smog, and acid rain. On top of which, each molecule of nitrous oxide is 300 times worse than each of carbon dioxide in it's effect on global warming.

 

Given the current lack of human action to resolve carbon emissions (it is probably too late to stop it) the human race as a whole is unlikely to act immediately to limit the damage that is being done right now. The reasons why humans will not address the problem are the same as for global warming. The immediate self interest..jobs,food,comfort,the economy,peace etc..think about it as you drive the kids to school, or when you fly off to your hard earned holiday.

 

Mankind is very clever at devising ways to satisfy it's desire to live in comfort.

Unfortunately, Man's in built self interest is also clever at dismissing the need to address the consequences of Man's ways. All transformations have consequences.

 

Don't worry, if we don't cure the problems that we are causing to our planet's eco systems ourselves; God's angel, Nature; will resolve the planet's problems, the way it usually does when it is disturbed. Extinction!

 

Ape numbers are like yeast to wine, nearly fermented.

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This is the complete article in your link

 

Just as the world starts to take carbon emissions seriously, along creeps another environmental crisis - and the reactive nitrogen threat could be worse

 

STOP five people on the street and chances are they will be able to tell you that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming. Stop another five and ask them about nitrogen emissions, and they will probably stare at you blankly.

 

But a growing number of scientists say that nitrogen is a problem that we ignore at our peril. While we have been fretting about the consequences of a 10 per cent increase in CO2, levels of polluting nitrogen compounds in the environment have almost doubled. If we ignore them for much longer, the scientists insist, the consequences are likely to be even worse than "just" global warming. Human health, biodiversity, ozone levels and global climate are already being affected. And if we thought the carbon problem was tricky to sort out, we're in for an even nastier shock.

 

"Long term, anthropogenic nitrogen is probably a greater environmental threat than anthropogenic

 

Is it me, or do you seem to be pulling a lot of information that was never originally stated?

 

The same article also claims that this is due to the addition of reactive nitrogen into the environment caused by the ways of man. Such as using fertiliser to feed our populations, the use of most fuelled land, air, and sea vehicles. It is also predicted that 70 percent of natural ecosystems to end by 2050.

 

The article doesn't say that, it's nowhere near to being that specific.

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I liked the question, but I think you could have picked a much better "for example........."

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This is the complete article in your link

 

 

 

Is it me' date=' or do you seem to be pulling a lot of information that was never originally stated?

 

 

 

The article doesn't say that, it's nowhere near to being that specific.[/quote']

 

The link is to the NewScientist website, and was provided as a reference for those without access to a printed copy of the magazine. i have not read the complete website version, as i am not a paid up subscriber to Newscientist.

The information for my post (below) comes from the printed version of NewScientist 21 Jan 2006. Only the phrasing is different. For example, i use " caused by the ways of man" rather than "anthropogenic".

 

Originally Posted by Apeofman

The same article also claims that this is due to the addition of reactive nitrogen into the environment caused by the ways of man. Such as using fertiliser to feed our populations' date=' the use of most fuelled land, air, and sea vehicles. It is also predicted that 70 percent of natural ecosystems to end by 2050.[/quote']

 

Also the printed article is 4 pages long."70 percent of natural ecosystems to end by 2050" is in the last paragraph, on the last page.

 

From my post, commencing with, "Given the current lack of human action to resolve carbon emissions (it is probably too late to stop it) " reflects my opinion only.

 

I hope this clarifies the content of my post and it's source. This is my first posting of a new thread.

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well once were done turning earth into a hazardous pollution planet like venusthen we can go to another planet to pollute

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well once were done turning earth into a hazardous pollution planet like venusthen we can go to another planet to pollute

 

lol

 

The earth has sufffered five major mass extinctions and countless of cataclismic events, through anything, and everything, life has found a way. The outcome of such a complex system as the ecosystem is completely impossible to predict or calculate. With so many variables, descrepancies, and scientific anomalies, the predicting of the earth's position in 50 years has astronomical probabilities against a correct GUESS. It's like trying to hit a flea with a rock from 10 million miles away. What's funny is that even through everything the earth has been through, we, mankind is egocentric enough to deem itself "earth's greatest threat"

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Strange that no one has answered the question. Can mankind save itself with technology? Maybe i'v posted this thread in the wrong place. Yes i know that i didn't use a question mark.

 

lol

 

The earth has sufffered five major mass extinctions and countless of cataclismic events' date=' through anything, and everything, life has found a way. The outcome of such a complex system as the ecosystem is completely impossible to predict or calculate. With so many variables, descrepancies, and scientific anomalies, the predicting of the earth's position in 50 years has astronomical probabilities against a correct GUESS.[/quote']

 

I agree with your comments, "actual timing and precise outcome are uncertain". My quote from the New Scientist article that "70 percent of natural ecosystems to end by 2050" exactly said (at the risk of infringing copyright).

 

"By and large the nitrogen problem is very much one of technology-driven societies, and the only solution is a revolution to less consumptive lifestyles," says Brian Moss, professor of botany at the University of Liverpool, UK. "This won't happen voluntarily but it may be forced by the combined effects of climate change, the end of the oil economy, rising populations, economic and environmental refugees and the loss of goods and services from the 70 percent or so of natural ecosystems predicted to have disappeared by 2050. I'll have popped my clogs by then but if you're under 30, maybe even 40, I think you're in for a very rough ride".

 

The fact that "70 percent of natural ecosystems to end by 2050" is an informed guess. I suggest does not remove the fact that the eco-system is changing the environment, in ways that threaten the existence of human beings as well as most other types of animals.

 

lol It's like trying to hit a flea with a rock from 10 million miles away. What's funny is that even through everything the earth has been through, we, mankind is egocentric enough to deem itself "earth's greatest threat"

 

"A butterfly flapped it's wings, and now, another day i feel the wind that blows, where my house once was.(ApeofMan)"

 

It is not Earth that is threatened by man. Nor is life itself, there are no doubt life forms that will find the new environment very comfortable indeed.

 

As you point out there have been 5 major mass extinctions. Given that it is the current ecosystem that we have fitted into so well, and it is the workings of that eco system, which are changing.

 

With so many variables, discrepancies, and scientific anomalies, the predicting of the earth's position in 50 years has astronomical probabilities against a correct GUESS. It's like trying to hit a flea with a rock from 10 million miles away.

 

I tend to agree about timing and final outcome. However, i suggest that the "probabilities" of mankind fitting into the environment to come, is also in the order of "trying to hit a flea with a rock from 10 million miles away".

 

The "outcomes" may be very different from those expected. Given that the temperature in Antarctica has risen unexpectedly by 5 degrees Celsius, one might expect sea levels to rise faster than predicted previously by doom sayers. That is a lot of mass being repositioned on the cracked egg surface of Earth. Antarctica will tend to rise, and the sea bed to sink by a seemingly small amount.

 

"A butterfly flapped it's wings; and now, another day, i feel the wind that blows, where the trees that shielded my crops, once stood.(ApeofMan)"

 

It does not seem unreasonable to expect the rising sea level to trigger seismic events. There are a few we know about that are over due. Yellow Stone Park U.S.A. for one. If one of them is large enough perhaps it will cause a nuclear style winter. That may cool things down a bit, but it won't clean up the ecosystem. I'd like an expert to comment on that possibility.

 

Mankind is very clever at devising ways to satisfy it's desire to live in comfort.

 

Unfortunately' date=' Man's in built self interest is also clever at dismissing the need to address the consequences of Man's ways. All transformations have consequences.

 

Strange that no one has answered the question. Can mankind save itself with technology?[/quote']

 

Ah well back to bed.

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Just a few notes:

 

Its a hard question to answer, and I can at best render a personal opinion. I'd say "yes" because the question starts with "can" instead of "will" and therefore only needs the possibility to be valid. I don't think anyone can crunch the numbers on our survivability regarding the potental threats that are yet unknown, or the ones you mentioned.

 

Also, its been mentioned before that the "butterfly effect" isn't very valid. Its poetic, but not very well founded on any working theory. A hermit crab fart isn't any more likely to cause a tsunami than a butterfly's wings are to cause a hurricane.

 

Its like saying its true a worm can crush a village, but only if that worm is wiggling under a boulder that happens to be very unstable on a mountain that happens to be prone to avalanches and just about ready to go that happens to be right above a village. You need a very exacting setup for it to happen, and such an unstable one its actually as likely to happen by any other number of causes (breeze, falling leaf, tempurature contraction/expansion had the worm not been there) as it is by the noted source cause.

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Its a hard question to answer, and I can at best render a personal opinion. I'd say "yes" because the question starts with "can" instead of "will" and therefore only needs the possibility to be valid. I don't think anyone can crunch the numbers on our survivability regarding the potential threats that are yet unknown, or the ones you mentioned.

 

I agree entirely.

 

...the "butterfly effect" isn't very valid. Its poetic, but not very well founded on any working theory.

 

You noticed my attempt at poetry :o). I did not use the exact phraseology of Lorenz, because i was making a general statement that small changes can have large consequences. It seemed a more appropriate metaphor than say, "the straw that broke the donkeys back". Sometimes a simple poetic line can save a lot of words. Sorry it didn't work for you. Currently i have not formed an opinion about the validity of the "butterfly effect" specifically. Common day experience provides enough examples of small changes having large expected and unexpected consequences, to convince me that small changes can lead to large changes, unexpected or not. This happens whether they fit into some known equation or not.

 

Whatever opinion i or others have on the matter, does not alter the fact that small changes, such as the increased level of aerosols in the atmosphere can cause large changes in the ecosystem:eek: .

 

Human-produced Aerosols in Many Arctic Clouds Contribute to Climate Warming

 

... A hermit crab fart isn't any more likely to cause a tsunami than a butterfly's wings are to cause a hurricane.

 

I agree entirely with the point you are making, although i don't know anything about your poetic "hermit crab fart".

:)

 

Its like saying its true a worm can crush a village, but only if that worm is wiggling under a boulder that happens to be very unstable on a mountain that happens to be prone to avalanches and just about ready to go that happens to be right above a village. You need a very exacting setup for it to happen, and such an unstable one its actually as likely to happen by any other number of causes (breeze, falling leaf, temperature contraction/expansion had the worm not been there) as it is by the noted source cause.

 

Currently i have not formed an opinion about the validity of the "butterfly effect" specifically.

:-(

 

You need a very exacting setup for it to happen, and such an unstable one its actually as likely to happen by any other number of causes (breeze, falling leaf, temperature contraction/expansion had the worm not been there) as it is by the noted source cause.

 

Are you implying that Nature does not setup such situations?

:confused:

 

... What's funny is that even through everything the earth has been through' date=' we, mankind is egocentric enough to deem itself "earth's greatest threat"[/quote']

 

Do you really believe that is mankind's "egocentric" viewpoint. In my limited experience; the random selection of humans which have grunted an opinion about global warming to me. Has given me the impression that the prevailing "egocentric" viewpoint, is that predictions of doom never materialise.

 

I see this is a normal and reasonable subconscious defensive response. It helps to suppress the need to concern themselves, of the possibility that this time the predictions might be right. Let alone do anything about it. This avoids lowering comfort levels and expectations which are factors very important to people, and is why..

 

...the question starts with "can" instead of "will"

 

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You noticed my attempt at poetry :o). I did not use the exact phraseology of Lorenz' date=' because i was making a general statement that small changes can have large consequences. It seemed a more appropriate metaphor than say, "the straw that broke the donkeys back". Sometimes a simple poetic line can save a lot of words. Sorry it didn't work for you. Currently i have not formed an opinion about the validity of the "butterfly effect" specifically. Common day experience provides enough examples of small changes having large expected and unexpected consequences, to convince me that small changes can lead to large changes, unexpected or not. This happens whether they fit into some known equation or not.

[/quote']

 

Thats fair, and I do understand what you are saying. I also agree that small factors can influence the triggering of large results. The melting of fresh ice water into the north atlantic and its impact on the convection currents (popularized and somewhat abused in the movie "day after tomorrow") is a good example.

 

Its not unlike the straw that broke the donkey's back because it is an example in which straw is continually added to an inevitable conclusion.

 

Earthquakes are probably a good example of the straw scenario, though the triggers are natural and likely not man-made.

 

The way I think of the butterfly effect, is that while in nature such situations can be "setup" (ie, volitile thresholds) that there is a relationship between the impact multiplier vs. the likelihood of the setup, which equals the volitility of the system.

 

So, if you could have butterflies causing tornados, and we observe there are far far far more butterflies than there are tornados, and even more "equal or greater" influences similar to butterflies (wasps, birds, etc) within the system, we can deduce we have a fairly non-volatile air system, or at least that it would have to be far far more volatile before we could observe such effects, and if such effects could be observed due to the volatility, then we would likely see half our earth's atmosphere shrug off into space whenever a volcano erupts.

 

Ecosystems are far more volatile. Introducing a few critters of a new species into an ecosystem can wreck largescale havoc.

 

Whatever opinion i or others have on the matter' date=' does not alter the fact that small changes, such as the increased level of aerosols in the atmosphere can cause large changes in the ecosystem:eek: .

 

Human-produced Aerosols in Many Arctic Clouds Contribute to Climate Warming

 

The link didn't work for me, but the real question is causation vs correlation. We have found polution from China over Utah, for instance, but that doesn't mean chinese polution is likely to increase the chances of people adopting mormonism.

 

I am not saying its a pure coincidence, just that it is not known. Last I heard the concern about aerosols was they damage ozone, not cause clouds.

 

I agree entirely with the point you are making' date=' although i don't know anything about your poetic "hermit crab fart".

:) [/center']

 

My point was less poetic, just that a single bubble would not cause a tsunami because we understand the fluid dynamics of water so well...ie, its a very non-volatile system. We can easily predict the maximal impact a bubble is likely to have.

Granted...its possible that an air bubble could float up into a cave system, cause the water level in an airpocket to drop a little...just enough that some shift in the cave causes a collapse, causing a sympathetic frequency that upsets a fault line...etc.

 

Its just an issue that due to low volatility you need extremely unlikely conditions to create such effects, and as such you may as well ignore anything that small when you want to examine large effects that do occur in nature.

 

Are you implying that Nature does not setup such situations?:confused:

 

Just that such situations are unlikely, and when they do occur, they become near-inevitable, because any number of equal or greater triggers are likely to set off the volatile condition.

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Just had op so will keep it short:-) Mostly i agree with you.

 

The link didn't work for me' date=' but the real question is causation vs correlation. We have found polution from China over Utah, for instance, but that doesn't mean chinese polution is likely to increase the chances of people adopting mormonism.

 

I am not saying its a pure coincidence, just that it is not known. Last I heard the concern about aerosols was they damage ozone, not cause clouds.

[/quote']

 

Sorry about link the site seems to be unavailable for some reason.

Same subject from BBC.:eek:

 

The aerosols, made up of industrial pollutants from Europe and Asia, cause the clouds over the Arctic to make smaller droplets, this increases their surface area to weight ratio, making them better as passing the heat from the clouds to the ground.

 

BBC Link about Aerosols and Arctic warming.

 

According to the article the problem is not related to the creation of more clouds.:eek:

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Rush Limbaugh states in his book "See, I Told You So,"

 

"-Despite the hysterics of a few pseudo-scientists, there is no reason to believe in global warming.

 

-Mankind is not responsible for depleting the ozone layer.

 

-The earth's ecosystem is not fragile, and humans are not capable of destroying it."

 

Ok, this guy just cracks me up.

 

But back to the question of whether we can save ourselves or not. As to the whole ozone problem, popular science did an article several months ago presenting several possible solutions to getting rid of the carbon dioxide. Several of them seemed like they would work well, but were very expensive. One of the most interesting (to me at least) ideas involved dumping tons of powdered iron into the anemic waters near antartica. The iron would spawn huge colonies of creatures (I'm not sure whether it was plankton, or krill, or what) that would "eat" tons and tons of carbon dioxide. The reason that this alternative is not being pursued is nobody knows what kinds of environmental ramifications such a strategy would create.

 

So, yes, we are definitely capable of saving the earth, the dilemma is whether we will ever take the initiative. And people like Limbaugh will continue to live in their pleasantly utopian imaginary universes.

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The problem I always have about such studies is that it is hard to separate the science from the political agenda. Those who would like to save the planet and those who want to use everything up today, both go into the arena of public debate with a one-sided negotiation stance. Both appear to exaggerate their claims with the goal of settling in the middle. In the mean time, both positions go way overboard and have been known to stretch the truth.

 

Putting aside the fantasy and speculation, the earth goes through cycles. That is fact. The earth cools and warms back up. That is fact. Reactive nitrogen is a natural component of fertilizer for plants. Beans, I believe, take nitrogen gas out of the air and make nitrates for the soil. That is good.

 

We do not know for certain what the ozone layer has done over the past. At least we do not enough to know if the present is a normal part of a cycle or not. One California wildfire puts a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere. Big volcanoes have been known to cause global cooling (the summer that wasn't in the 1850's?) The oceans are slightly alkaline (pH >7.) This makes the oceans a natural absorber of acid gases like COx, NOx, etc..

 

During the settling of America huge forests were destroyed. Before that, the Europeans deforested most of Europe. This did not change the oxygen levels of the earth. Overgrazing is thought by some to have caused the Saharah Desert. The earth is still here.

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