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Published: Sunday 01 September, 2013

michael kors crossbody bags michael kors crossbody bags A warming period millions of years ago offers possible clues to our future

Photo: Every Thursday, MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner joins The Daily Circuit to talk about the latest research on our changing climate and the consequences we seeing here in Minnesota and worldwide.

Photo: Healthy corn grows under the sun at Zabel Seed in Plainview Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. Farmer Michael Zabel says he been lucky to have healthy corn this year considering other farmers are dealing with drought conditions a few miles south of him. Zabel believes he have a very good yield this year.

Every Thursday, MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner joins The Daily Circuit to talk about the latest research on our changing climate and the consequences were seeing here in Minnesota and worldwide. MPR Illustration

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Paul Huttner: We study history to learn about the future. Climate change really is no different. This happened 55 million years ago. Its called the PETM PaleoceneEocene Thermal Maximum. It lasted 20,000 years. During that time, temperatures rose 714 degrees Fahrenheit on the earth. Global carbon dioxide increased massively, sea levels rose up to 65 feet. The cause is still a little uncertain. We dont know exactly what caused it. It couldve been volcanoes, peat fires, releases of other greenhouse gases like methane all possibilities. The change took thousands of years to happen and carbon emissions are rising 10 times faster than they did during that period. Were doing to our atmosphere now in 100 years what took us thousands of years to do in the past.

Huttner: Exactly. What happens is the oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Theyre doing that now, theyve always done it. As you increase atmospheric carbon dioxide, you absorb that into the oceans. That acidifies the oceans, turns it into carbonic acid think soda pop. Of course life has a tough time living in an acidic environment like that. The other thing they studied and saw is that native plants died off and tended to migrate northward. Southern species moved north things like bean trees, mesquite trees from the Sonora desert moved to places like Wyoming. Plants returned with the onset of a cooler climate, which is interesting, and also tells us that perhaps slowing down climate change could help mitigate some of these effects. Theres a gentleman named Scott Wing who works with the Natural History Museum, hes a paleobiologist, and he studied this PETM for the last 20 years or so. He has some interesting insight on how changes in the past might affect whats happening today in our atmosphere.

Scott Wing on tape: I can see these events that have already happened michael kors crossbody bags and you can come to the realization that the ti michael kors crossbody bags ming of the earth processes that control climate and the carbon cycle are very slow and they dont reverse themselves. Were not only making very rapid changes but were making permanent changes or what will seem for all intents and purposes like permanent changes. If you tell people that wherever we are in 2100 or 2200 is going to be the new normal for the next 100,000 years, I think they would probably be shocked to hear that.

Huttner: This was an interesting piece in Bloomberg this week. Investors are basically betting that climate change is inevitable Wall Street firms investing in businesses that will profit from a hotter planet. That seems cynical, but its really increasingly logical if you look at whats happening with governments, with where we are. Theres already a certain amount of climate change loaded into the atmosphere with the gases that are up there, and if you look at what governments are doing, the logical conclusion is that a certain amount of warming will occur. Businesses are looking at that and theyre saying theres profit to be made here as the planet warms up. Which business sectors are going to be the most profitable?

Huttner: Theres one of these hedge funds called Water Asset Management LLC. What theyre doing is buying water rights and interests in these water treatment companies around the world. We know that more evaporation means drought, and prolonged drought, in parts of the world, and that of course puts stress on water supplies. These companies that can go in and maximize what water is there are doing very, very well. Thats one of the investment opportunities. Another interesting one I found was the companies that are working to mitigate coastal flooding. These big engineering firms. As sea level rises and we get more superstorm Sandys, those companies are getting a lot of business.

Huttner: The UN has estimated that well be spending $130 billion a year to adapt with new infrastructure to climate change by 2030. There is a lot of gloom and doom out there. There are going to be some very detrimental changes as the planet warms, but there are also opportunities, and of course investors look for opportunities thats no different. It has always been that way and I suspect it michael kors crossbody bags always will be. Folks who still maybe dont believe climate change is real follow the money because its going into areas that are trying to profit from a warmer planet. michael kors crossbody bags