More from Mike Mann: Atlantic Current and Ocean Food Chains

March 30, 2015

More from my wide ranging conversation with Mike Mann, on the recent indications of a slowdown in the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current.

Here, we discuss the very important role that the “ocean conveyor belt” provides in supplying oxygen and nutrients to deep levels of the ocean, worldwide.  A slowdown, or shutdown, in this circulation will have global impacts, potentially for millennia.


10 Responses to “More from Mike Mann: Atlantic Current and Ocean Food Chains”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    This is a bit outside Mann’s main area of expertise, so he speaks in generalities here. He is making good points though, in that fish and food chains will surely be impacted if the circulation patterns are disrupted enough.

    Eutrophication is already a big problem along our coasts, even to the point of causing persistent “dead zones” where nothing lives. A critter’s “nutrient” today is its “poison” tomorrow if there’s too much , and if the circulation stops moving nutrients around and diluting them, there will be hell to pay. Too much here, not enough there—-“suffocation” and starvation. Not good news.

    • Richard Says:

      I’d hazard to say that the only “good” news about anything relevant to human “civilisation” is that it’s not going to be around too much longer.

      The dominator culture of industrial civilisation is unsustainable and irredeemable. Its members, both rulers and ruled, will not voluntarily enact the changes needed to transform it to a culture that is rational, sustainable and natural. Therefore, it will collapse. It must be replaced with a partnership culture, which is, in actuality, the natural state of things. Interdependence is the foundation upon which Life is built.

      The longer it takes for civilisation to collapse or the longer we wait to deconstruct it voluntarily, the less viable habitat will remain, the fewer species will survive, the worse the climate disaster will be and, therefore, the harder it will be for any Life that survives through and after the fall.

      It seems to me we should have learned enough from over ten thousand years of mistakes to make the transition from a culture of artificiality, sterility and death back to one of Nature and Life.

      Just my opinion

      • Although current civilisation cannot survive as we know it, I am not so optimistic that a collapse will make people less egocentric. It has been a struggle to get this far for humanity, with now a larger portion of the population enjoying peaceful times. This peace is likely a result from our increased access to energy (unfortunately in fossil form), and any change now will likely be down the energy ladder – hence more of a struggle again. While a few of us can embrace this change and say “its good” – the majority of people will not, so chaos is more likely the result as we get far enough down this ladder.

        However, if we are able to ramp up sustainable energy sources that does not so heavily rely on fossil fuel (we are nowhere near this stage) – AND motivate people that there is simply less around for us all, that we basically need to conserve – there might be a glimmer of hope. The problem is still though that the majority of people seem to love taking sides, in behaviour, in religion, in politics, in sports, you name it – there seems to be this competitive thing around us all the time that does not motivate much to cooperation and understanding. I feel we need to get rid of this thought before we have any chance of solving this as one people.

        • Richard Says:

          I don’t think you’re taking a broad enough view. You’re not looking at the big picture.

          Industrial civilisation, if confined to a closed system [a single planet for instance] is unconditionally unsustainable and irredeemable.

          There are no “sustainable” energy sources. The delusion of techno-utopians would be funny if it wasn’t so not-funny.

          It doesn’t really matter how “green” the power source is if it requires “industry” and the use of non-renewable resources.

          Fossil fuels can’t simply be replaced with solar power or any or all of the “renewables“. At the very most it would only delay the inevitable collapse of “civilisation” by a few years and even that’s a very optimistic assumption. It’s more likely that switching to “green” energy would be seen as a plausible excuse for increasing our rate of consumption and actually hasten the crash.

          The current system is murdering the planet with the ecocidal exploitation of resources using energy generated by fossil fuels. Techno-utopians, who insist that “green” energy will save us, are merely advocating using different weapons to commit the same crime.

          Unless the human race of the future is envisioned as a species that survives by traveling through space, using up planet after planet in an orgy of intergalactic consumption, there is no rational argument for “saving” industrial civilisation. Our unnatural way of Life cannot be sustained by any finite landbase, up to and including an entire planet.

          Techno-utopians, just like most of humanity, are so acculturated and indoctrinated to the anthropocentric attitude of entitlement and the abusive nature of industrial civilisation that they cannot see it for what it is. It’s not unlike a violently abusive husband/father who keeps beating his wife and children and insisting that it’s their fault for making him do it.

          It’s really quite simple: we can have our ecocidal civilisation, with all its accoutrements, comforts and luxuries OR we can have a planet that will support large, complex Life forms, such as Homo sapiens. Those who actually “believe” we can have it both ways are simply delusional. Let them enjoy having their green industrial cake and eating it too.

          Just my opinion

          • dumboldguy Says:

            And good opinions they are, even if a tiny bit hyperbolic in spots (even though the situation does call for that).

            Thanks for the link to Rise and Fall—-good stuff—-the anthropocentrism comments are right on.

          • Richard Says:

            Don’t know how old you are but, judging by your comments, “dumb” seems just a bit “hyperbolic” to me! Would you prefer to be the kettle or the pot?

            Anthropocentrism is a real curse. A misconception that has been nurtured by the psychopaths among us for thousands of years. Probably first reared its ugly head as an aspect of religion“.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            I’m pushing 75, so I am “old”, and my wife and grown children and all the Republicans I know tell me I’m “dumb”—who am I to argue?.

            I would prefer to be neither the kettle nor the pot. I would instead like to be a bright shining light!. I see that you’ve tried that already. Is anyone listening, or is the darkness too impenetrable?

            “Anthropocentrism is a real curse. A misconception that has been nurtured by the psychopaths among us for thousands of years”, you say?

            Yep, since the dawn of “civilization” and even before, as when the 4+% that were truly evil and psychopathic became shamans and witch doctors and seized control in the smaller tribal groups by brainwashing the rest. That occurred after our immediate Cro-Mag forebears committed genocide on the Neanderthals (and even ate some of them).

            You say a-centrism PROBABLY first reared its ugly head as an aspect of “religion“?. No doubt in my mind. And as we have made so many “advances” because of our “brilliance”, it has become even easier for the evil ones to use “religion” to control. It has evolved into the religion of free markets, capitalism, and exploitation of the biosphere for “profit”, of course, but the basic convept is the same—-worship “god” and listen to his messengers.

          • Richard Says:

            Well, you do have me beat by a few years. Only 68 myself.

            Very well then. We can dispense with the old cookware proverbs but, yes, the darkness seems to be getting a bit too thick. Still, one finds it hard to break old habits.

            I have to say we’re certainly very much in accord for the most part. Maybe a few minor discrepancies but they’re too insignificant to quibble about.

            Talk about “the religion of free markets…“. I did a fairly lengthy piece about that very subject a few years back: Profit: The Mythology Of Mammonism

            When you’ve nothing pressing to attend to, you might find it of interest, or at least moderately entertaining.


  2. redskylite Says:

    Anthropogenic changes to our oceans, currents, acidity and temperatures have occurred over a short time period measured in centuries or less. As this latest study reported today from the California Academy of Sciences confirms the affects will last for millenniums :

    “The study results suggest that future periods of global climate change may result in similar ecosystem-level effects with millennial-scale recovery periods. As the planet warms, scientists expect to see much larger areas of low-oxygen “dead zones” in the world’s oceans.”

  3. redskylite Says:

    More concern about the future Ocean food chain has been raised by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in a report issued today that the higher temperatures are affecting fish development around the tropics:

    “Many people in equatorial regions such as Papua New Guinea rely of fish as their main source of protein, so these results raise concerns about future food security in these places.”

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