Is that a Sharknado on the horizon? Or could even worse monstrosities be bred from our cruel abuse of our kindly Mother Earth?
That’s the warning being sounded by a Florida scientist, who says global warming could result in true monsters — not merely the campy fictions of the SciFi Channel’s “Sharknado” film last summer.
“Tens of millions of years ago, snakes were as big as horses,” NBC News reported last week. “Horses were almost as small as snakes. And in a warmer world, it could get that way again. That’s the implication of research showing that warmer temperatures generally favor smaller mammals and larger reptiles.”
(And actor George Clooney, who has no film credits as impressive as “Sharknado” beside his name, calls global warming skeptics “ridiculous.”)
NBC is quoting paleontologist Jonathan Bloch of the Florida Museum of Natural History.
“Snakes, turtles and other reptiles tend to depend on the environment to regulate their heat — putting them in a category known as ectotherms. (‘Cold-blooded’ is a commonly used term, though it’s a bit of a misnomer.),” NBC explains. “The only way ancient ectotherms could get as big as they did would be for them to live in a hot climate, and the world was indeed much hotter during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.”
The scientists point to various times of warmer temperatures on the planet, and the size of reptiles and mammals during those periods.
“Here’s the scary part: If it’s happened before, it could happen again — and perhaps sooner than we think,” NBC warns. “Bloch noted that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are approaching what they were during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.”
Oh, where to start? Sure, Bloch is a scientist — a paleontologist. Like many, many scientists who comprise the “consensus,” he’s not a climatologist. Many other scientists — including meteorologists — remain skeptical.
In fact, those skeptics are a big concern to the consensus cops.
“Several well-known forecasters — including John Coleman in San Diego and Anthony Watts, a retired Chico, Calif., weatherman who now has a popular blog — have been vociferous in their critiques of global warming,” the New York Times reports. “The dissent has been heightened by recent challenges to climate science, including the discovery of errors in the 2007 report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the unauthorized release of e-mail messages from a British climate research center last fall that skeptics say show that climate scientists had tried to suppress data.”
Climate change purists, such as Climate Central’s Dr. Heidi Cullen, have a response: to kick skeptics out of the club. Meteorologists should be denied certification from the American Meteorology Society if they “can’t speak to the fundamental science of climate change.”
But that’s theory. What about the facts?
The facts, as Patrick J. Michaels of the Cato Institute points out, are sure to disappoint Bloch. Temperatures have not — and never have — followed the global warming models.
“The upcoming end of the world from global warming is going to be officially canceled,” he predicts.
No apocalypse, no apocalyptic snake-horses, either. Darn.