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How long the earth would last?

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Sydax, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. khaavern Gems: 14/31
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    As luck would have it, there was an article about the effects of global warming in NYT yesterday No Escape: Thaw Gains Momentum

    Since it will disappear soon beyound the firewall, here are some paragraphs
    Now, who would be those reputable scientists you mentioned, NOG?
     
  2. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Interesting, I hadn't seen this before, but trying to state global trends from local data is absolute folly, more or less regardless of how long you have data. Even trying to predict global trends from global data over the 50-70 years we have reliable global data is absolute folly, as any geologist will tell you. There are so many factors on so many levels of complexity that affect global temperature, many of which we don't understand/can't predict, that those who claim them are working on little more than guess work.
    Allow me to elaborate:
    Everyone knows that the sun heats the earth on the day side. Many people know that the earth radiates heat on the night side, cooling it. These are the two largest forces in global temperature. Some people know that how much heat is radiated on the night side is dependant on the current global temperature. In other words, it is a stable equilibrium.
    Most people do not know how complex the equations governing this radiation of heat really are. The ground temperature, closeness of the surface to a black body, and conductivity and temperature of the air below the cloud layer are all proportional to heat loss. The cloud cover, reflectivity of clouds and the air below the cloud layer are all inversly proportional. On a completely seperate term, the temperature, conductivity, and reflectivity of the air above cloud level are considered.
    This is just how current temperature affects heat loss. On top of that, you have the heat from the sun, how much is reflected from the day side, volcanic activity, seismic activity, conduction from the core, electric activity, geo-magnetic field variations, solar flares, the reflectiveness of the moon, cosmic radiation, and about a million smaller terms we're still learning about. Many of these, especially the sun, geomagnetic variations, volcanic, and seismic influences cycle. We know of short-term (0-100 year) cycles for most of these and we suspect long term(1000-100M year) cycles for all of them. Some cycles are drastic, some are minor, many overlap each other forming an apparently chaotic sequence of variations.
     
  3. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    November 7th, today, I was outside without a jacket or sweater. Don't think global warming has anything to do with the freaky weather we are having. It is too extreme. Don't know what is causing it and don't like it. The only good thing is won't pay much for heating fuel.
     
  4. khaavern Gems: 14/31
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    My understanding is that this type of weather goes by the name of 'indian summer' in the North East. That is, a couple of weeks of warm weather in November. It's pretty nice, actually :) Maybe you people near NYCity do not get this very often, but in upstate NY, we do :)

    I don't think this has anything to do with global warming, is just the way the weather is around here. On the other hand, it ended with quite a storm yesterday (loss of power, hail in places). And I'am sure we'll have to spend plenty for heating this winter.

    NOG: nobody is saying that predicting climate is simple. However, it is not impossible. And you are right that "most people do not know [...]" -add your preffered piece of knowledge here. However, the people who 'know' the most about weather are of opinion that human-produced CO2 has a big impact on the climate.
     
  5. jaded empath Gems: 20/31
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    Um actually they do, it just takes about 100 million years to compress the organic matter into petroleum. Probably doesn't help with your problem of "there won't be any oil when I'm middle aged." ;)

    But I am somewhat heartened to think that someday, some species that's the dominant form of life on terra at that point will be putting us in their gas tanks! :lol:
     
  6. Elan Morin Tedronai Gems: 10/31
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    We're gonna die, guys. Face it and stop bitching around. ;)
     
  7. Montresor

    Montresor Mostly Harmless Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder

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    I think the Earth will last another 7 or 8 billion years, before the Sun turns into a red giant and swallows it up.

    How long the human race will be around is quite a different matter...
     
  8. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    You are right there, but one must realise when saying that that the world we know today is vastly different to the world that existed 100 million years ago when these natural fuel sources were laid. The major differnce results from the oxygen levels in our atmosphere. Back then, according to most currently held theories, we had up to 30% extra oxygen in our atmosphere. This lead to a greater varity of life - particularly in size. Ever wondered why the dianosaurse were so large? Well, plants were the same. With the greater masses of life, and also a wetter world (yes, we still are in an ice age), it was ideal for creating fossil fuels. Generalising here, but there were greater swamps, due to the smaller icecaps, and a greater quantity of life. Perfect ingrediance for petrol, gases and th elikes. We do not currently have the same conditions here. Give it 100 million years, or what ever it takes, and you will not see a great replenishment of oil.

    Another thing mentioned above that is completely correct. But another thing that is only half explained, IMO. Yes, with the earth heating up, if all the land plants die, we still will have our oceans to produce the oxygen. BUT, and this is a big but, that is assuming all other conditions remain the same. With the heating of the atmosphere we will, without a doubt, end up seeing the melting of the polar icecaps. The amount of salt and other minerals stored in there is enough to drastically alter the eco-systems present in the oceans, which for all we know may kill off the majority of the oceanic life. Although it's bound to replenish after time - the joys of evolution ;)


    I would never argue that the heating of the world is not a natural process. Infact, I would readily argue the fact that it is. What I do believe though is that humans are doing nothing at all to help slow down the progress.

    I guess in many ways earth is like a countries economy. You have your boom periods and your depressions (hot periods and cold periods). A standard government though, atleast all the ones I've ever looked much at, enforces counter-cyclical policies to try and reduce the effects of this cycle. They would be foolish to throw petrol on a booming economy, in a manner of speaking. IMO, same applies for our planet. Just because we are heating up, it doesn't give us an excuse, nor a right, to speed up this process. It's suicide - very long term suicide, but suicide none the less.


    [Edited] Another thing that I don' tthink has been pointed out yet is more... micro (at a lack for a better word) climate changes. When I say localised, I'm talking about time wise, not geography wise. Even though the earth is constantly warming up and cooling down over vast periods of time, while this cycle is occuring a smaller cycle is underway as well. The different algei levels in the Pacific Ocean, for example, has massive effects on the entire plants weather system. The past few years waether extremities could, for all I know, just be a result of an extreme case of El Nino, or something similar.
     
  9. Rastor Gems: 30/31
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    Not true. The disasters have been no worse lately than they have been at any other point in history.

    And a month ago, we had snow!
     
  10. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Montresor:
    Last I heard, the Sun will only last another 4.5 billion years before going nova. Of course, I'm no expert on the topic, so if anyone has better information, please post.

    The CO2 from petrolium may easily be replaced with CO2 from ethanol and the like, whatever effect it has. Support your local fuel cell!

    Rastor:
    It is very hard to say that disasters are better/worse than they have been in the past because:
    1.) global communications means you hear about every major disaster in the world, where as even 50 years ago, you would only hear about a fraction of them
    2.) the globe is mor populated, so disasters that kill millions today may have only killed 100 a century ago, if that's all that was there
    3.) one of the most common estimates of the damage of a storm is the cost to fix it. I'm not even going to go into all the ways that can change in just a few years.

    Here in Virginia, we're having summer weather, but last year at the same time, the cities were shutting down for snow!
     
  11. Late-Night Thinker Gems: 17/31
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    The world is going to skirt disaster recurrently during "Sweeps Week" of each year until the end of the Mayan calendar. Furthermore, it can be shown that the global temperature has increased regularly ever since Caesar created July.
     
  12. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    BUT OFCOARSE!!! The adition of a whole month would require extra heat to fall on the Earth in that time! The shift would have momentum and thus overcompensate! It's all Caesar's fault! :spin: -(I just had to use this one)
     
  13. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    To me, the issue is how much faith do we have in the human race as a whole? As was mentioned before, even if we detonated every single nuke ever created after lighting off every single deposit of fossil fuels, we still couldn't destroy the earth -- we could seriously rearrange the topography, and I'm not sure if any life would survive, but the hunk o' rock would still be here until the sun swallows it in however many billion years (after the first million, to me, it kind of becomes a moot point.)

    So, the question is are we as a race bright enough to alter our behaviour before we remove ourselves from the equation? I think we are. No one knows more than me how stunningly stupid and shortsighted people can be (for those who don't know or remember me, I teach high school ;) ) but in the end I have faith that humanity will take the appropriate steps to avoid our complete annihilation. I'll hold forth on global warming in a later post, I'm too tired now.
     
  14. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    At the height of the cold war, the Russians had enough nukes to destroy all life on earth 4.5 times. The US had enough to do it 12 times. If these were all fired from the exactly right spot, at the exactly right time, into space, it could possibly change the earth's orbital speed noticably. Whether or not it could plunge the earth into the sun, I don't really know, but I doubt it.
     
  15. Goli Ironhead Gems: 16/31
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    A question about possible alternate fuels: Coul alcohol be used?
    Just an idea that me and my friends have been wondering. :rolleyes:
     
  16. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Alcohol based fuels have been toyed around with for a while now, and there is some promise. They don't deliver as much energy per liter, so few people have jumped at the idea, but it is a serious alternative. Some deisel fuels are now cut with alcohol to reduce cost and emissions. The other problem is that alcohol fuels still produce CO2 gas, which so many people complain about. The evidence for it's destructive effects is tenative at best, but a lot of people worry about it.
     
  17. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    i think everything is building up to a super volcano similar to the one which erupted under the sea 75,000 years ago near cyprus, the earthquakes suggest abnormal plate movements and the presence of more and more tidal quakes situated in the pacific ocean suggest that is where it will be. the weather effects that we have seen are probably related to the tsunami.
     
  18. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Maybe it will be that Yellowstone Park supervolcano that Bill Bryson keeps going on about. Boom!
     
  19. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Actually, there are 3 or 4 supervolcanos around the world, including Yellowstone, that are overdue. Of course, its 1,000 or so years in 150,000 or so year cycles that is not very precise, so 'overdue' doesn't really mean much.
     
  20. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    so, what do you guys atcually think of the thought about the super volvano? do you think its a possibility? or am i way out?
     
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