Ocean Deoxygenation as an Indicator of Abrupt Climate Change

The true Renaissance person is endowed with panoramic attention …. The habit of noticing the ensemble of everything and its constituent parts is a matter of will, not of innate aptitude. It involves the conscious noticing of things and the gaps that separate and connect them.

~ Christy Wampole

I’ve responded to Max Li’s inane email messages. Doing so did not make him go away. One of the adverse consequences of making myself available to the public is frequent exposure to a public characterized by people long on unsupported opinions and short on intelligence. My prior responses to Mr. Li’s correspondence did not clear up his obvious insanity. As a result, my future responses to him will appear in this space. As a result, I expect to hear from him less often, and I also expect others to benefit from Li’s ongoing errors.

Saw this on a foreign website. You are so far out in your human extinction calculation you look like a bloody fool.

Scientists know what killed most life on Earth 250m years ago and say we’re on the same path. http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/109167147/humans-blazing-similar-path-to-cause-of-ancient-mass-extinction

Mr. Li’s link references a review paper in Science, a premiere refereed journal. The journal article was widely reported by the corporate press (for example, the New York Times), probably because it adheres to the 2100 meme. It’s the standard, halfway-there approach. Color me shocked.

I turn, as usual, to evidence beyond the headlines. I know few people are impressed with this unusual approach. Indeed, I suspect few people even understand the idea. This is why I write primarily for myself: Writing forces clear articulation of the writer’s thoughts, as I explained to resistant college students for more than two decades.

Shifting the baseline is a common trick used by governments, media, and paid climate scientists, as I have explained repeatedly. We were on the brink in 1965, we had 10 years in 1989, and now we have until 2030. Shifting the baseline continues, even in the journal literature, which claims we are striving to achieve a target we passed long ago: 1.5 C above the pre-industrial baseline.

In the current case, shifting the baseline is hardly the only problem with the journal article. Indeed, the article refers to ocean deoxygenation (also known as hypoxia) as if this phenomenon could never occur in the near future, much less today. The study adds to information published in a March 2017 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences pointing to deoxygenation of the oceans. Neither study draws attention to earlier research indicating deoxygenation could become a major issue by 2030. Nor do they point out obvious, ongoing harbingers. They similarly downplay the rapidity with which deoxygenation can occur, as reported in the August 2017 issue of Science Advances. The latter paper mentions, quite importantly, that dead zones in today’s oceans bear remarkable resemblance to those during the Cretaceous. As pointed out in an article in the 19 December 2018 issue of Science Advances, “ocean oxygen loss may, thus, elicit major changes to midwater ecosystem structure and function.” As expected, plankton productivity is plunging as the base of the marine food web is destroyed by rapid changes in the world’s oceans.

Even U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is willing to describe ocean deoxygenation as a contemporary issue, as illustrated in the short video embedded below.

The oceans are running out of oxygen, and climate change is fueling the decline. via The Years Project

Posted by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, December 12, 2018


The 10 December 2018 online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences includes a paper titled, “Pliocene and Eocene provide best analogs for near-future climates.” When does the paper propose such a profoundly rapid rise in global-average temperature? As early as 2030, from this most conservative of sources. Following up on 10 January 2019, a paper in Science points to ocean temperatures increasing much faster than expected, thereby ensuring 2018 as the year with the warmest oceans ever recorded on Earth.

It’s not only the world’s oceans currently impacted by hypoxia. Dead zones have already spread to freshwater lakes and streams.

Lacking habitat, humans will not survive Earth with a Pliocene-style climate. The same holds for Earth with an Eocene-style climate. Sadly, hothouse Earth is simply not suitable for us. We are vertebrates. We are mammals. Neither vertebrates nor mammals can “keep up” with projected gradual changes. To believe we can adapt to or mitigate for the abrupt climate currently under way is absurdly human.

Precisely zero humans will witness 2100. Indeed, there will be nary a human more than seven decades before the calendar reads 2100. As a result, no calendars will be turned to 2100. Rather, our species has a scant few years left on Earth.

Our extinction is imminent. As usual, I encourage readers to live accordingly.