back to article Dinosaur flatulence may have warmed Earth

Giant herbivorous dinosaurs may have emitted sufficient methane to warm the Mesozoic  climate, according to a new paper in Current Biology. The new theory, expounded in the article Could methane produced by sauropod dinosaurs have helped drive Mesozoic climate warmth? starts by advancing a theory that very large, long-necked …

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Stop

"...likely causes of anthropogenic climate change."

Assuming, of course, such a thing actually exists.

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Re: "...likely causes of anthropogenic climate change."

"Assuming, of course, such a thing actually exists."

Luckily, due to the magic of science, you don't have to assume this - huzzah !

Of course the degree to which this will effect things will be the subject of much impassioned debate - some informed, some not, some even from people whose interests are not actually vested in financial or political gain (perish the thought).

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Re: "...likely causes of anthropogenic climate change."

"Luckily, due to the magic of some very hotly contended modelling, you don't have to assume this"

There, corrected it for you :D

Don't make the mistake of confusing science and climate modelling....one is informed guesswork, the other isn't.

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skelband

"Luckily, due to the magic of some very hotly contended modelling, you don't have to assume this"

There, corrected it for you :D"

Hardly, unless you think all the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is solely due to computer modelling.. the statement I was addressing was

"...likely causes of anthropogenic climate change."

Assuming, of course, such a thing actually exists.

i.e. the existence of it, not the modelling.

"Don't make the mistake of confusing science and climate modelling..."

I don't - one is a field, the other is a technique - one widely used in many disciplines.

".one is informed guesswork, the other isn't."

If the former is referring to climate modelling then it's not all guesswork - you either understand that or don't know much about modelling - although it does strive to be informed.

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Re: "...likely causes of anthropogenic climate change."

"hotly contended modelling"

In science, the way one "hotly contends" a prevailing model is to provide empirical evidence that the model does not predict and to present a competing model that does predict it.

So ... where is this hot contender?

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WTF?

Re: "...likely causes of anthropogenic climate change."

"In science, the way one "hotly contends" a prevailing model is to provide empirical evidence that the model does not predict and to present a competing model that does predict it."

Not quite. All you have to provide is empirical evidence that the model does not predict. You are not obliged to provide a competing model as well.

None of the existing models can predict known changes in the climate that have happened in the recent past, for which ample data already exists, so there's clearly more work to be done in refining them. It's possible that the Earth's climate is, in fact, too complex for us to be able to work out what all the variables are, in which case only basic trends over long periods of time may be predictable; detailed forecasts that tell us exactly who or what is to blame, and in which proportions, might not be possible for decades yet.

The notion that humanity has some influence on the Earth's climate is a perfectly logical assumption, but the constant alarmism and doom-mongering is not justified. There is insufficient data.

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@Sean Timarco Baggaley

"None of the existing models can predict known changes in the climate that have happened in the recent past, for which ample data already exists"

Given such ample data, I look forward to your proof that there exist no models that can predict any recent changes.

"It's possible that the Earth's climate is, in fact, too complex for us to be able to work out what all the variables are, in which case only basic trends over long periods of time may be predictable; detailed forecasts that tell us exactly who or what is to blame, and in which proportions, might not be possible for decades yet."

Knowing all the variables won't get you everything - I highly recommend reading up on physical modelling, non-linear systems, attractors and Poincaré sections in particular. Trying to predict bounds in the state map of the climate system is useful, as is the likelyhood (or not) of certain trends. Asking whether it's going to rain in June and how much of that rain is due to fossil fuel emissions in Belgium is obviously a no-go - I trust that's not the sort of "detailed forecasts that tell us exactly who or what is to blame, and in which proportions" you mention.

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Re: "...likely causes of anthropogenic climate change."

@Sean Timarco Baggaley

That's an awful lot of words to make a weak point of pedantry.

To describe the current consensus as "hotly contended" is fatuous. It is a deliberate and feeble attempt to sow doubt.

My apologies if you struggled to understand that point the way it was phrased in my original post. But feel free to answer the challenge and post some examples either of competing models or dramatic holes in the current ones.

(null points if you mumble something about poor code management at UEA)

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Re: "...likely causes of anthropogenic climate change."

"To describe the current consensus as "hotly contended" is fatuous."

I think this thread more than anything demonstrates that.

There is NO cross-the-board consensus in the scientific community that anthropogenic climate warming is a scientific fact. There is hardly a strong consensus that the climate is actually warming regardless of the cause. For much of the years of massive industrial growth, there has actually been cooling.

That the climate changes: yes, it has since the dawn of time on this planet and is always likely to.

That we have an effect on the weather: it is possible.

That we have a sustained effect on the climate globally (and in terms of an increased temperature): maybe.

And I might also suggest, is it necessarily a bad thing if it is true? Maybe, maybe not.

Also, don't confuse the very different arguments of climate change and change directed by human activity.

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Headmaster

Re: "...likely causes of anthropogenic climate change."

"That's an awful lot of words to make a weak point of pedantry."

Good science is about disproving a hypothesis. That's why scientists gibber on about "falsifiability" and the like. The more tests bounce off your hypothesis, the stronger it gets, until it eventually becomes an accepted Scientific Theory™.

Requiring that anyone who attempts to disprove a hypothesis must also provide an alternative theory is most emphatically not good science. Disproving the original hypothesis is sufficient as it still provides us with valuable new information: that the hypothesis is either completely wrong, or requires further work and refinement. This is still information worth knowing.

The disproving of a hypothesis—which is what most scientists actually do for a living—is therefore an entirely separate process from the proposal of alternative hypotheses.

Anyone who believes otherwise is not a proper scientist and their opinions may therefore be safely ignored.

If correcting your wildly inaccurate assertion is "weak pedantry", you really haven't met many pedants.

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Re: "...likely causes of anthropogenic climate change."

@Sean Timarco Baggaley

Yet more words defending the pedantry and some bonus ad hominem but still no words answering the actual question.

Do you want a third attempt or shall I just assume that you have no answer?

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Re: "...likely causes of anthropogenic climate change."

I think this thread more than anything demonstrates that.

Argument on an internet messageboard does not constitute scientific controversy.

There is NO cross-the-board consensus in the scientific community that anthropogenic climate warming is a scientific fact.

Just plain wrong.

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.abstract

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/06/scientists-convinced-of-climate.html

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Happy

Beans

I'm trying this on a local scale. A diet of beans for a few weeks in an enclosed room to see if I can raise the temperature of the room or even house.

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Stop

I have it on good authority that it may have actually been prehistoric pixies with giant space-blankets.

honest.. I have got graphs and everything.

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Raz
Pint

@ Derk Monday 7th May 2012 20:43 GMT

You are doing it wrong :)

Forget the house, you need something like a small hothouse. The methane supposedly traps the sun's heat. Then you need a small pond - water has to come from somewhere, and you may fell the need of bathing from time to time.

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Boffin

So in the Mesozoic CO2's off the hook eh?

As breeding's before farting, reckon now's time to stop the former!

Incidentally, throughout most of the Cretaceous and across the boundary (65 Ma) a little into the Paleocene, temperatures were essentially steady (~25C) but CO2 levels actually dropped from about 2200 to 300 ppm (today-ish levels). Presumably the logic goes that it had to be CH4 which kept temperatures evenly high. Seems logical enough.

Ahhh, but hell the climate debate's getting increasingly boring. Wake me up when it's over.

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Joke

Wrong! Re: So in the Mesozoic CO2's off the hook eh?

So it seems that Gary Larsen was right.

(The Far Side ) (Google it.)

It was smoking that killed off the dinosaurs...

Think about it... Smoking near large volumes of methane...

Oh never mind...

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Re: Wrong! So in the Mesozoic CO2's off the hook eh?

My thought trail exactly....

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Coat

Phew!

You had me worried for a moment there, but fortunately since I put down that special double sided tape, my home has been entirely free of sauropods.

Now I just have to stop the velociraptors tearing up the bin bags.

It's got the very large mousetrap in a pocket.

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Interestingly...

People forget oxygen never existed in the atmosphere until plants had photosynthesised enough CO2. Oxygen is so reactive it naturally forms rust and co2 where ever it's found.

It's not a long shot to say other animals changed the atmosphere too. Say oxygen breathing creatures and herbivorous. Then the next step is how much of a change in the atmosphere it is, and how much of a change this causes in temperature etc.

I have no idea if the change is tiny or massive or in between. But it's interesting to know it all does have an effect. :)

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Oh....

So suddenly CO2 isn't the cause of "global warming", its methane? These climate "scientists" need to make up their minds on the best way to scare money out of gullible people.

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Coat

Re: Oh....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane

There is carbon in methane. Methane is in the atmosphere in lower quantities. It is argues that it could have higher effects though. I think agriculture is a high producer to it. But at a quick guess methane breaks down quicker, so is easier to remover and less of a long term problem. It is a concern, but I can't think why it's less concentrated on in discussions off the top of my head. :P

Wiki shows we are doing better with out methane production currently. Perhaps everyone is holding it in?

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Re: Oh....

PS, please ignore my English grammar failures there. That's what I get for forgetting to proof read my post. :(

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Anonymous Coward

a fart by any other name ..

Everyone else is having a field day with headlines about dinosaur farts but el reg ? No, they have to link it to that riverdance dude ..

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: a fart by any other name ..

Just this once I tried to be classy.

I shan't make that mistake again ;-)

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Childcatcher

Re: a fart by any other name ..

"You can put lipstick on a fart but it's still a fart."

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Re: a fart by any other name ..

You could so easily have gone with:

"Fart Your Way to a BBQ Summer !"

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Joke

<Sauropod>

Sorry lads, I just dropped a right planet-warmer there.

</Sauropod>

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Facepalm

Bollocks

In my humble opinion this "research" is yet more bollocks of the kind which seems to be accumulating rapidly as more research funding becomes available, due to the irrational scare that is AGW. I'm actually quite shocked that the researchers here chose to soil the underpants of their reputations with such idiotic speculations.

But such is science in this day and age. Nobody has any shame any more.

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Alien

Re: Bollocks

It was fun while it lasted, but all good things, as in TV series, do get silly before they expire. I am waiting for Richard Black or Al Gore to be abducted by aliens.

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FAIL

Thank God uni fees went up

Otherwise we'd never have been able to afford this vital research.

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Anne Elk (Mrs.) has this theory

(eeeEEEchm)

that Brontosaures are thin at one end, much much thicker in the middle, and thin again at the other end.

Not a peep though about whether they run on methane.

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Arrogance & Methane & CO2

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/megaphone_32.png

brings us to The Chart which nicely shows past equal to the present but does not not show human arrogance. Should the earth's ionosphere and atmosphere be changed by a 150 year history of warming our tents with oil based products!

What in nature have white men killed for the last 150 year using vast amounts of Arrogance & Methane & CO2?

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I was quietly amused

until I got to the "Oh yeah there were gas leaks all over the place too" bit.

So Sauropods' arse-exhalations were responsible for the increase in methane - except for where it was leaking out of the earth.

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CO squared?

Is CO squared a new mathechemical?

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