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(Daily Mail)   Changes in Earth's orbit 55 million years ago triggered severe global warming. The Sun was there   (dailymail.co.uk) divider line 68
    More: Interesting, orbits, carbon dioxide, global warming, Last ice age, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Rob DeConto, positive feedback, Southern Ocean  
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3049 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Apr 2012 at 2:20 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-06 12:29:23 AM  
I look forward to seeing this as part of the Republican platform, this Fall.
 
2012-04-06 12:34:41 AM  
DeConto's team used a new, high-precision geologic record from rocks in central Italy to show that the PETM occurred during periods when Earth's orbit around the sun was both highly eccentric - non-circular - and oblique, or tilted.

What might cause that?
 
2012-04-06 12:39:13 AM  
I guess this is proof we should continue burning finite resources and polluting the atmosphere then.
 
2012-04-06 02:27:50 AM  

phlegmmo: DeConto's team used a new, high-precision geologic record from rocks in central Italy to show that the PETM occurred during periods when Earth's orbit around the sun was both highly eccentric - non-circular - and oblique, or tilted.

What might cause that?


Climate change.
 
2012-04-06 02:38:26 AM  
Those must have been big SUV's that shifted the Earth's orbit.
 
2012-04-06 02:38:37 AM  

thenateman: phlegmmo: DeConto's team used a new, high-precision geologic record from rocks in central Italy to show that the PETM occurred during periods when Earth's orbit around the sun was both highly eccentric - non-circular - and oblique, or tilted.

What might cause that?

Climate change on Uranus.

 
2012-04-06 02:40:09 AM  

Lando Lincoln: I guess this is proof we should continue burning finite resources and polluting the atmosphere then.


You sound 20.
 
2012-04-06 02:41:14 AM  
Keep burning as much as we can as fast as we can!

Your great-grandchildren will be living in The Road Warrior's world. :-)
 
2012-04-06 02:57:50 AM  
The sun and the earth (rest of planets) move together around the galactic core. Like a sort of sine wave if it were drawn out; switching places or apparent sides along the route.

Has there ever been a projection forward and back (assuming it is even possible with KNOWN past behaviors of bodies in this solar system) showing any eccentricities in the orbit or position of Earth relative to the Sun?
 
2012-04-06 03:12:03 AM  

phlegmmo: DeConto's team used a new, high-precision geologic record from rocks in central Italy to show that the PETM occurred during periods when Earth's orbit around the sun was both highly eccentric - non-circular - and oblique, or tilted.

What might cause that?


Orbital eccentricity is mainly affected by the cumulative gravitational effects of the other planets in the solar system and is presently near the low end of its range (a more circular orbit).

The planets' influence on axial tilt is generally outweighed by the moon, which usually provides a stabilizing effect. However, the moon's orbit is gradually expanding due to tidal effects, and a resonance effect between the moon and other planets at specific orbital distances could greatly increase the range of tilt (and thus the intensity of the seasons).
 
2012-04-06 03:12:26 AM  
Heliocentric orbit? Sounds like a hoax.
 
2012-04-06 03:19:35 AM  

Artemus_Hackwell: The sun and the earth (rest of planets) move together around the galactic core. Like a sort of sine wave if it were drawn out; switching places or apparent sides along the route.

Has there ever been a projection forward and back (assuming it is even possible with KNOWN past behaviors of bodies in this solar system) showing any eccentricities in the orbit or position of Earth relative to the Sun?


The gravitational interactions among the different objects in the solar system are too complex to accurately model (the n-body problem), and precise orbital projections are impossible over time spans greater than a few million years. The evidence for orbital changes cited in TFA is indirect, based on seasonal changes observed in the geologic record.
 
2012-04-06 03:29:34 AM  
In related news: Milankovitch forcing (new window)

/DNRTFA
 
2012-04-06 03:32:30 AM  
The article couldn't avoid mentioning that a warming planet caused more carbon dioxide. Then, the flood of weasel words:

can be explained
was likely much greater than today
Many scientists have long suspected
has worked out what happened
He believes
The warming of the Southern Ocean may have shifted
That, in turn, would have amplified

In other words, increasing temperatures released carbon dioxide, as we have seen in the ice cores, and he's coming up with hypotheses. Good for him. The only phrase missing from this article is "the models predict."
 
2012-04-06 03:43:05 AM  

WxGuy1: In related news: Milankovitch forcing (new window)

/DNRTFA


Yes and no. The resonances that develop between one planet's orbit and another's are on a much longer time scale than the Milankovitch cycles (tens of millions of years versus tens to hundreds of thousands), and the cycles themselves may change as the orbital relationships with the other planets change.
 
2012-04-06 04:16:09 AM  

GeneralJim: The article couldn't avoid mentioning that a warming planet caused more carbon dioxide. Then, the flood of weasel words:

can be explained
was likely much greater than today
Many scientists have long suspected
has worked out what happened
He believes
The warming of the Southern Ocean may have shifted
That, in turn, would have amplified

In other words, increasing temperatures released carbon dioxide, as we have seen in the ice cores, and he's coming up with hypotheses. Good for him. The only phrase missing from this article is "the models predict."


But the question at hand is, what triggered the initial increase in temperatures in permafrost zones, thus releasing the CO2? The answer given by TFA is that orbital and axial changes led to more intense summer heating at high latitudes, melting the permafrost and releasing the CO2. Orbital and axial changes in and of themselves can affect temperature (see: Milankovitch cycles), but only within certain limits. They may be able to force a borderline climate into and out of ice ages over tens to hundreds of thousands of years, but this is still just fluctuation about a long-term mean. The Milankovitch cycles can't ignite an abrupt and sustained warming trend directly. However, the abrupt release of CO2 as a result of increased seasonal melting of permafrost (due to Milankovitch forcing enhanced by orbital resonance) can.

BTW, a recent study published in Nature (link unauthorized; authorized link available here [new window]), based on data from 80 proxy records using multiple techniques (including more than just one ice core site) and summarized in a sidebar to TFA, shows that temperature increases did in fact follow CO2 increases at the end of the last ice age.

So, yes, increasing temperatures through mechanism A (orbital/axial forcing) can release CO2. This does not preclude the possibility that the resulting CO2 release is itself a mechanism B for increasing temperatures (and releasing more CO2), nor does it disprove the theory that increasing CO2 does increase temperatures.
 
2012-04-06 06:36:32 AM  
Remember, green-text posting attention whores frequently are so insane they really (for real) believe in the Urantia book. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it's one of those time-savers God has blessed us with: if you see someone with it, you KNOW they're insane. Diagnostic, as it were.
 
2012-04-06 06:56:29 AM  
The unlikely tag, significantly amplified by permafrost thawing would have been a better choice.
 
db2
2012-04-06 07:22:46 AM  
But I heard the dinosaurs were just driving too many gas-guzzlers.
 
2012-04-06 07:26:38 AM  
I call bullshiat. W. Bush wasn't even alive 55 million years ago.
 
2012-04-06 08:04:17 AM  
This article reeks of desperation.
 
2012-04-06 08:15:21 AM  

GeneralJim: the flood of weasel words:


Science doesn't prove certainties, only high probabilities. These "weasel words" are used because nothing is definitely true and there's always a probability that an assertion can be made false either today or at some point in the future with newly discovered evidence. There's never going to be a scientific study where these words are not used.

If you knew anything about science you would understand this.
 
2012-04-06 08:33:49 AM  
common sense is an oxymoron:
So, yes, increasing temperatures through mechanism A (orbital/axial forcing) can release CO2. This does not preclude the possibility that the resulting CO2 release is itself a mechanism B for increasing temperatures (and releasing more CO2), nor does it disprove the theory that increasing CO2 does increase temperatures

So, WTF is it with you warmers? I don't think you've missed an opportunity to misinterpret this once. NO, goddammit, the fact that something ELSE warmed the planet first doesn't mean that carbon dioxide can't, and as far as I know, nobody ever HAS said that it can't. Where do you get this crap? Do people accuse you of thinking that ONLY carbon dioxide can warm the planet when you claim that it can? If so, I haven't seen it.

It seems to me that you would be a lot more honest, and a lot less dickish, if you would let others make the arguments they wish to make, instead of assuming what you think they must be thinking. The temptation is strong to attempt to instruct you in this by doing the same to you, i.e., taking what you say off in some direction you did not intend to take it, so that you can see what it is like when others do that to you. I don't for two reasons: First, I don't have the energy to be that dickish just to help you out; second, I've done it with people for whom I do care enough, and it never works. Apparently, the same blindness that makes those with your condition believe they know what others are thinking, when they clearly don't, also makes them blind to seeing the process when it is incoming rather than outgoing.

Recent studies are showing, from measurements rather than speculation, that the climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide is a great deal less than originally postulated. TFA is a speculation piece, about how things MIGHT have happened. Scientifically, it is useful only as a starting point to develop an original hypothesis, with the assumption that it will have to be discarded when falsified. The only useful information in the study is the original bit about some astronomical event starting a warming. For carbon dioxide to have warmed the planet up even 4 K would take increasing carbon dioxide by a factor of sixteen -- and I seriously doubt that happened from arctic marsh farts.
 
2012-04-06 08:37:27 AM  

Ishkur: GeneralJim: the flood of weasel words:

Science doesn't prove certainties, only high probabilities. These "weasel words" are used because nothing is definitely true and there's always a probability that an assertion can be made false either today or at some point in the future with newly discovered evidence. There's never going to be a scientific study where these words are not used.

If you knew anything about science you would understand this.


Way to miss the point. It isn't about coloring the sentences with "maybes", it's about how you can identify hockey teamers through language. Did you really not notice the last part of his post where he says "models say"? He didn't say "models may say".

It's the same idea as when an article includes the sentence "how many will die if sea levels rise a billionty feet?"

If you knew anything about anything, you would understand this.
 
2012-04-06 08:40:33 AM  

Lando Lincoln: I guess this is proof we should continue burning finite resources and polluting the atmosphere then.


I'm glad you agree citizen.
 
2012-04-06 09:01:40 AM  

SevenizGud: Way to miss the point. It isn't about coloring the sentences with "maybes", it's about how you can identify hockey teamers through language. Did you really not notice the last part of his post where he says "models say"? He didn't say "models may say".


I'm not talking about the study (which I think is bullshiat and based on highly speculative and unsubstantiated premises), I'm talking about our greentext friend's accusation of "weasel words" in scientific literature.
 
2012-04-06 09:35:38 AM  
Seriously, we're looking at a Daily Fail article on science. I'm shocked that they didn't go all out Velikovsky for the whole Worlds in Collision OMG! headline.
 
2012-04-06 10:04:42 AM  
Re: PETM temperature changes.

Trying to model the causes for the initial rise in temperature and the rapid fluctuations of the temperature and the chemistry of the oceans 55 million years ago is difficult. I know enough to be amused at the arm waving going on.

Trying to tack on any comparison to the supposed events that occurred before and during the PETM and today is a big ole' FAIL in my book.

My reasons are simple. Not only do you have to show what caused it, but what ended it, and why it didn't cycle. (Happen again) Massive changes in environment during that time are apparent in many many rock records.

Fun Fact: Oil generated from rocks laid down during the PETM is partially responsible for the gasoline in many US cars. Sadly, not as large of a percentage today as there was during the 60s and 70s, however.
 
2012-04-06 10:13:18 AM  

phlegmmo: DeConto's team used a new, high-precision geologic record from rocks in central Italy to show that the PETM occurred during periods when Earth's orbit around the sun was both highly eccentric - non-circular - and oblique, or tilted.

What might cause that?


Well, speaking as a certified scientographer...

s3.amazonaws.com
 
2012-04-06 10:14:44 AM  

Ishkur: I'm not talking about the study (which I think is bullshiat and based on highly speculative and unsubstantiated premises), I'm talking about our greentext friend's accusation of "weasel words" in scientific literature.


So am I.
 
2012-04-06 10:49:55 AM  

SVenus:
Fun Fact: Oil generated from rocks laid down during the PETM is partially responsible for the gasoline in many US cars.


Are you referring to the Douglas Creek Arch / Green River stuff? I know very little about it... am just curious.
 
2012-04-06 11:21:37 AM  

SVenus: Fun Fact: Oil generated from rocks laid down during the PETM is partially responsible for the gasoline in many US cars. Sadly, not as large of a percentage today as there was during the 60s and 70s, however.


Uhh, no. Most petroleum source rocks are Mesozoic in age, and the rest is mostly Paleozoic. There are very few places where Eocene-age rocks have been buried deep enough to be in the oil window. Plus, the PETM itself lasted 200,000 years at most, not nearly enough time to bury a worthwhile amount of hydrocarbons.

/geologist
/actually studies the PETM
//not getting a kick out of the idiots in this thread.
 
2012-04-06 11:31:04 AM  
SVenus:

Ah, if it isn't another "I know better than the scientists" post by SVenus.

Trying to tack on any comparison to the supposed events that occurred before and during the PETM and today is a big ole' FAIL in my book.

My reasons are simple. Not only do you have to show what caused it, but what ended it,


No, you don't. Not if you simply want to argue whether something like it is going to happen again. Then you just need to compare causes.

Besides which, what ended it is obvious: some big carbon reservoir was exhausted and on a 100 ky timescale, the geologic carbon cycle removed the CO2 from the atmosphere.

In any case, the important lessons of hyperthermal events are what the impacts of a large carbon pulse are, regardless of causes. Modern anthropogenic fossil fuel emissions and paleo hyperthermals obviously don't have the same causes, but what they share in common is large amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

and why it didn't cycle. (Happen again)

It did happen again, for millions of years. That's the point of the paper, which compares the PETM to later Eocene hyperthermal events (ETMs), and links all of them to orbital cycles. They weren't all identical to each other, but there's no reason to expect them to be.
 
2012-04-06 11:32:10 AM  

Wolf_Blitzer:

/geologist
/actually studies the PETM
//not getting a kick out of the idiots in this thread.


What aspect of the PETM? I'm an EECO guy, myself.
 
2012-04-06 11:33:59 AM  

The Shoveller: SVenus:
Fun Fact: Oil generated from rocks laid down during the PETM is partially responsible for the gasoline in many US cars.

Are you referring to the Douglas Creek Arch / Green River stuff? I know very little about it... am just curious.


I don't work with the Green River shale, which is reportedly Eocene in age. I work with the Wilcox, formation, which along the Gulf Coast here in America, straddles the PETM boundary. The actual PETM boundary is fairly sharp in some European basins, but in the Gulf of Mexico basin, the boundary is slurred. The actual boundary for the PETM in the Gulf of Mexico is considered the lower portion of the Upper Wilcox. I deal with an unconformity (a change in the deposition pattern) at the base of the Upper Wilcox in some of the oil fields I work with, but it's a minor unconformity. I assume that's the official PETM break in my area.

The really wicked stuff happens all before that, though. If you Google "Grand Canyon of Texas" you'll come up with the Palo Duro Canyon, but if you Google "Grand Canyon of the Eocene" you'll find out about the Yoakum Channel. 65 miles long, 12 miles wide, 3/4 mile deep. It was eroded away from flat land, and then just as fast filled back in again. All that happened during the Lower and Middle Wilcox. There are no modern analogs for whatever caused it.

But the WTFery doesn't stop with an odd canyon being put at the normally inactive Gulf of Mexico coastline. It's during this same time sands that weren't supposed to be more than 25 miles from the local delta systems got transported 250 miles away to the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Alaminos Canyon Block 557 found oil and gas, but it took some convincing that the zone was Eocene age. Additional drilling has confirmed the age of the rocks found, and that result turned a whole bunch of geological models on their heads. (Depositional models, not climate models)

TL;DR The Eocene was wicked weird.
 
2012-04-06 11:38:09 AM  

SevenizGud: So am I.


No you're not.
 
2012-04-06 11:38:35 AM  

Artemus_Hackwell: Has there ever been a projection forward and back (assuming it is even possible with KNOWN past behaviors of bodies in this solar system) showing any eccentricities in the orbit or position of Earth relative to the Sun?


Orbital cycles can be projected backwards, but due to chaos in solar system dynamics, you can't project them back more than about 60 million years (here). In practice, you can't project them back to the hyperthermal events being discussed here, so geologists rely on finding the signatures of orbital cycles in proxy data such as elemental abundances (called cyclostratigraphy).
 
2012-04-06 11:38:41 AM  

The Shoveller: Wolf_Blitzer:

/geologist
/actually studies the PETM
//not getting a kick out of the idiots in this thread.

What aspect of the PETM? I'm an EECO guy, myself.


We have a section that straddles the P/E boundary in central Utah. Paleosols and marginal lacustrine sediments mostly.
 
2012-04-06 11:38:41 AM  
Orbital changes are a known cause of climate change, but the scale is hundreds of thousands or millions of years. The "recent" cycle of ice ages and interglacials, for example, are the result of cycles in the Earth's orbit. Actually, the initial push, so to speak, is from orbital changes which cause a release of CO2 from the oceans and the CO2 magnifies the warming. The changes in orbit aren't sufficient in of themselves. It's a kick start.

Current climate change is happening on too short of a time scale to be the result of our orbit. Anthropogenic emissions are the primary driver of current climate change. The existence of natural drivers doesn't preclude the existence of human drivers.
 
2012-04-06 11:48:57 AM  

Wolf_Blitzer: The Shoveller: Wolf_Blitzer:

/geologist
/actually studies the PETM
//not getting a kick out of the idiots in this thread.

What aspect of the PETM? I'm an EECO guy, myself.

We have a section that straddles the P/E boundary in central Utah. Paleosols and marginal lacustrine sediments mostly.


Working out temperature and precipitation regimes? Do you have an idea how well it compares to the Bighorn Basin or Piceance Creek basin sites? Do you see any significant changes in the microfossils or pollen across the boundary?

I worked on some Colorado/Utah sites of Wasatchian/Bridgerian age. Marginal lacustrian stuff on the edge of the Uinta Basin. We're continuing with that stuff, but are also taking a look at the Eocene/Oligocene transition elsewhere on the continent.
 
2012-04-06 11:53:21 AM  

SVenus:

TL;DR The Eocene was wicked weird.


I assume all your ages are coming from biostrat? I realize the actual age of the strata isn't really as important as its economic potential, but do you have an idea how much time you're missing at the unconformity, or the changes in depositional rates associated with your canyon cut/fill events?
 
2012-04-06 11:56:14 AM  

Wolf_Blitzer: Uhh, no. Most petroleum source rocks are Mesozoic in age, and the rest is mostly Paleozoic. There are very few places where Eocene-age rocks have been buried deep enough to be in the oil window. Plus, the PETM itself lasted 200,000 years at most, not nearly enough time to bury a worthwhile amount of hydrocarbons.

/geologist
/actually studies the PETM
//not getting a kick out of the idiots in this thread.


Seeing as how I pay for these pixels with the money that's generated from the Eocene oil and gas I've found, I'm impressed with your hubris. Most oil companies that's made a living out of oil and gas along the Gulf Coast from Oligocene, and Miocene formations would tend to disagree with the statement "There are very few places where Eocene-age rocks have been buried deep enough to be in the oil window" as those formations have been deposited SINCE the Eocene, and their source rocks are most certainly are younger than Mesozoic. How are those rocks buried deep enough if the rocks below it aren't buried deep enough? You're proposing Mesozoic source for the entire offshore of the Gulf of Mexico and most of coastal Texas, Louisiana and Florida? Really?
 
2012-04-06 12:09:10 PM  
Huh, I'd always been taught that the source rocks in the gulf were Jurassic. Mea culpa.
 
2012-04-06 12:17:24 PM  

The Shoveller: SVenus:

TL;DR The Eocene was wicked weird.

I assume all your ages are coming from biostrat? I realize the actual age of the strata isn't really as important as its economic potential, but do you have an idea how much time you're missing at the unconformity, or the changes in depositional rates associated with your canyon cut/fill events?


Oh, there are more unconformities that I deal with than you can shake a stick at. Most of them are local, many are hard to prove NOT to be local. In the case of the Yoakum Channel, there are known Wilcox sands and shales (mudstones) cut by the channel. The channel is mostly filled with Wilcox age mudstone. The sands that were cut by the channel are sealed with the mudstone in the channel, and often now are filled with oil and gas. The Yoakum Channel was discovered in the early 1960s, and the timing of the cut and fill has been debated ever since. I'm not an expert in the channel formation as much as I am acutely aware of the hydrocarbons trapped on the edges of the Channel itself. The 3D seismic shoots of the Yoakum look very cool. I've modeled a portion of it in 3D.

A lot of the biostrat for the Wilcox in the last 50 years has been done in the last five. The reason is the discovery of the Wilcox sands offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. When there's a lot of money on the line, the paleo gets put back on the front burner...
 
2012-04-06 12:20:56 PM  

Wolf_Blitzer: Huh, I'd always been taught that the source rocks in the gulf were Jurassic. Mea culpa.


No prob. It's what I do for a living. I'm trying to sell a large Eagle Ford play (which is Mesozoic) and source rocks are front and center of my life at the moment. Have a beer on me.
 
2012-04-06 01:04:13 PM  

limboslam: Lando Lincoln: I guess this is proof we should continue burning finite resources and polluting the atmosphere then.

You sound 20.


Don't I wish.
 
2012-04-06 01:08:00 PM  
So your saying Al Gore's mass is changing the earth's orbit and that's what causing global warming?
 
2012-04-06 03:32:17 PM  
Ishkur:
I'm not talking about the study (which I think is bullshiat and based on highly speculative and unsubstantiated premises), I'm talking about our greentext friend's accusation of "weasel words" in scientific literature.

First, you DID miss the point. Second, "weasel words" here is NOT science, it is simple speculation, which is only science if it is followed up by TESTING those speculations.

And, may I take you comments to imply that you think the idea of "The science is settled" to be profoundly unscientific?
 
2012-04-06 04:17:20 PM  

GeneralJim: Second, "weasel words" here is NOT science, it is simple speculation,


That's all science is. Speculation based on available evidence. There's no way to actually "know" anything completely.

GeneralJim: And, may I take you comments to imply that you think the idea of "The science is settled" to be profoundly unscientific?


Science is never settled. It's not dogma, it is a process. The only certainties it makes about life, the universe and reality is that it is there for us to discover.
 
2012-04-06 04:18:31 PM  

GeneralJim: So, WTF is it with you warmers? I don't think you've missed an opportunity to misinterpret this once. NO, goddammit, the fact that something ELSE warmed the planet first doesn't mean that carbon dioxide can't, and as far as I know, nobody ever HAS said that it can't. Where do you get this crap? Do people accuse you of thinking that ONLY carbon dioxide can warm the planet when you claim that it can? If so, I haven't seen it.


How finely do you want to split that hair? Your entire spiel of "CO2's contribution is insignificant" is far closer to saying "CO2 has no effect on temperature" than it is to "CO2 is the primary driver of AGW." When you constantly dismiss CO2 as an AGW contributor in favor of just about any other cause from any junk research you happen to come across, don't biatch about being seen as denying CO2's contribution altogether.

It seems to me that you would be a lot more honest, and a lot less dickish, if you would let others make the arguments they wish to make, instead of assuming what you think they must be thinking. The temptation is strong to attempt to instruct you in this by doing the same to you, i.e., taking what you say off in some direction you did not intend to take it, so that you can see what it is like when others do that to you. I don't for two reasons: First, I don't have the energy to be that dickish just to help you out; second, I've done it with people for whom I do care enough, and it never works. Apparently, the same blindness that makes those with your condition believe they know what others are thinking, when they clearly don't, also makes them blind to seeing the process when it is incoming rather than outgoing.

You seem to have no problem making the arguments you wish to make, and I'm not stopping you from making them. I'm just pointing out that (IMHO) you're wrong. Your problem is that you take any criticism of your argument as a personal attack, then resort to insults.

If I'm wrong, show me where I'm wrong. Use citations, since I'm not going to blindly believe someone I'm arguing against on scientific grounds.

Recent studies are showing, from measurements rather than speculation, that the climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide is a great deal less than originally postulated. TFA is a speculation piece, about how things MIGHT have happened. Scientifically, it is useful only as a starting point to develop an original hypothesis, with the assumption that it will have to be discarded when fals ...

This is an example of why you need citations. You keep repeating the insensitivity-to-CO2 argument as gospel (once again, minimizing CO2's contribution as much as possible), and then either throw a fit when someone posts evidence to the contrary or ignore said evidence completely.

Speaking of which, are you going to re-post your favorite ice-core data, showing that CO2 follows temperature, in light of the Nature article which I linked to and which demonstrates the exact opposite?
 
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