Surviving the Unprecedented Climate Change of the IPCC
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On the other hand, they indicate that some biologists and climatologists have pointed out that "many of the predicted increases in climate have happened before, in terms of both magnitude and rate of change (e.g. Royer, 2008; Zachos et al., 2008), and yet biotic communities have remained remarkably resilient (Mayle and Power, 2008) and in some cases thrived (Svenning and Condit, 2008)." But they report that those who mention these things are often "placed in the 'climate-change denier' category," although the purpose for pointing out these facts is simply to present "a sound scientific basis for understanding biotic responses to the magnitudes and rates of climate change predicted for the future through using the vast data resource that we can exploit in fossil records."
Going on to do just that, Willis et al. focus on "intervals in time in the fossil record when atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased up to 1200 ppm, temperatures in mid- to high-latitudes increased by greater than 4°C within 60 years, and sea levels rose by up to 3 m higher than present," describing studies of past biotic responses that indicate "the scale and impact of the magnitude and rate of such climate changes on biodiversity." And what emerges from those studies, as they describe it, "is evidence for rapid community turnover, migrations, development of novel ecosystems and thresholds from one stable ecosystem state to another." And, most importantly in this regard, they report "there is very little evidence for broad-scale extinctions due to a warming world."
In concluding, the Norwegian, Swedish and UK researchers say that "based on such evidence we urge some caution in assuming broad-scale extinctions of species will occur due solely to climate changes of the magnitude and rate predicted for the next century," reiterating that "the fossil record indicates remarkable biotic resilience to wide amplitude fluctuations in climate."
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