Most of us think in terms of gradual linear change, but Earth's systems are complex. Complex adaptive systems demonstrate sudden change, often to a different stable state, when tipping points are breached.

Predicting our future over the coming decades and centuries means learning about and dealing with the dynamics of complex systems.

One example is a new model of the way warming oceans will change oxygen production. Mathematical Modelling of Plankton–Oxygen Dynamics Under the Climat...

I didn't pay $40 to read the article, just the free abstract. Ocean phytoplankton produce 70% of our oxygen. But their oxygen production varies with temperature. The authors used ...

... a model of a coupled plankton–oxygen dynamics where the rate of oxygen production slowly changes with time to account for the ocean warming. We show that a sustainable oxygen production is only possible in an intermediate range of the production rate. If, in the course of time, the oxygen production rate becomes too low or too high, the system’s dynamics changes abruptly, resulting in the oxygen depletion and plankton extinction. Our results indicate that the depletion of atmospheric oxygen on global scale (which, if happens, obviously can kill most of life on Earth) is another possible catastrophic consequence of the global warming, a global ecological disaster that has been overlooked. [emphasis mine]

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Is it just me, or have paywalls been getting more frequent in the last decade?

Maybe it's time for a new model of how scientific journals can sustain themselves, while allowing knowledgeable ordinary citizens, who aren't necessarily university students or faculty members, to read and evaluate full papers themselves -- not depending on science journalists' interpretations as the only information beyond the abstracts.

Ruth, there’s evidence for a catastrophist past; a catastrophist future will leave evidence.

Yeah, but we won't likely be around to examine it. Roaches maybe.

If I’m NOT somewhere watching what people are doing, I’m in Hell.

Aye! There is the rub, there probably will be no sentient creature to notice the evidence. 

My geologic training stated that changes in the Earth's geology included catastrophic changes that occurred over a very short period of time, and others were slow processes. 

With the weight of the icecaps rapidly changing, geologists expect plate tectonics will move very rapidly with an increase in volcanism. If this is true, more gases will be vented into the atmosphere. Climate changes, geologic changes, oceans warming and currents changing, there simply exist too many variables to be able to predict anything. 

Therefore, do as much as possible to slow climate change and stop the Newport Silicon Smelter, be as happy as possible, for as long as possible, with as many people as possible, hope for the best while preparing for the worst. 

And! give the rascals hell by sharing the science of climate change, ocean warming, mass extinctions,  every opportunity I can find. 

I practiced medicine for 36 years (as a Physician Assistant) seeing 86,000 patients, practices in five countries, eight states. We recycled everywhere we lived, including Egypt. We never littered, cared for many, and all for what?

So the greedy short-sighted could help us rush forward toward the tipping point of global warming and our demise. The 250 or so babies I delivered and their children must deal with this dying planet. A hurricane, almost Cat 5 hits Florida, fires rage in California and droughts are killing crops.

But I will live to see us land on Mars and maybe move there, the human virus moves on. And I am an optimist! Nothing really gets me down. Really.

...hope for the best while preparing for the worst, and to help me remain sane in an insane world I will from time to time read one of Satan’s letters in Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth.

More news on the Anthropocene. "The Earth’s new trajectory as it spins into the future has led scientists to tell us we have entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. We have crossed a threshold and the geological clock cannot be turned back. The disruption we have caused is increasingly unpredictable and uncontrollable, and it has no endpoint."

467 ways to die on a warming globe

(emphasis mine)

I learned that two things bring on depression, unpredictability and uncontrollability. If that is the case, we should all be depressed.

The work fighting the intrusion of the silicon smelter will go into high gear this winter. 

At this moment in time, I am not feeling depressed. Today I saw to it that my great-grandchildren have a soccer goal and we already have a soccer field on the property. We plan to start our seeds for next season as soon as our seed choices come in, and we will be spreading a well-composted pile of manure into the greenhouse and vegetable beds this spring. Our forest will be thinned in the spring and I intend to plant fruit trees outside my bedroom window with the meadow planted into perennial wildflowers. I don't have time to be depressed. 

Happily, Joan, there are alternatives to depression.

IMNVHO (...not very humble....), the best alternative is atheism. It acknowledges unpredictability but, unlike religion, it does not teach uncontrollability.

Besides that, in greenhouses depression does not thrive.




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