Friday, May 13, 2016

                                  A  FROG  OUT  OF  WATER

Climate Progress reminds us that :
"It’s as hard to kill the boiling frog metaphor as it is to kill an actual boiling frog. Even though people keep saying that the slow human response to climate change makes us “like the proverbial frog in boiling water” — or that “the Universal Windows Platform is like Facebook and a boiling frog” — the metaphor/simile is not merely a cliché. It isn’t even accurate.
Since May 13 is Frog Jumping Day — and since just two weeks ago was “Save The Frogs” Day — it seems like a good time to explain once again why this cliché should be retired. As Wikipedia puts it, 
“German physiologist Friedrich Goltz demonstrated that a frog that has had its brain removed will remain in slowly heated water, but an intact frog attempted to escape the water when it reached 25 °C.” 
Other 19th Century studies appeared to have different results, but modern experiments (!) show that frogs with brains are in fact smart enough to leap out of water as it is heated uP. 
James Fallows of The Atlantic, who holds the world’s record for boiling frog posts, still posts regular updates, like his 2015 piece, “The Boiled-Frog Watch Returns.” Fallows posts this excerpt from the 1888 publication, Studies from the Biological Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University:
Fallows argues that while the “metaphor is flat wrong,” that is just a “minor problem. The major problem is that it is such a damned cliché.” He links to this 2013 essay, “Can we please throw the boiling frog metaphor into some boiling water?”

So in homage to America's most celebrated authority on the jumping behavior of frogs, Mr. Samuel Clemens,  Joe's observations deserve at least a trifling investment in dimensional analysis.

While decerebrate frogs are an admirable experimental proxy for many DC  think-tank inhabitants, let us focus instead on frogs with brains, for as Groltz points out, the behavioral repertoire of those without them is  decidedly limited.

There exists a consensus among more than 97% of the authors of climate science publications, myself included, that Earths's average temperature is ~ 13 degrees C , some 17 degrees C lower than the consensus value Romm 2016 reports as the flight temperature of metric standard frogs placed in pots of water.

As projected IPCC rates of  21st century clobal warming range to up to 4.5 times the present value of 1 degree per 100 years, or 1.14 microdegrees C per hour, the  precautionary principle dictates that we  assume that  even future frogs in unheated pots may experience heating rates in excess of 5 microdegrees per hour, much of it anthropogenic.

As specimens of genus Rana have been observed to live for in excess of 37 years or 324,333 hours, 22nd century frogs subject to IPCC future fossil fuel consumption scenario 8.5 may accordingly experience in excess of 1.6 degrees C of ambient warming in their lifetimes, as opposed to the 17 degrees C delta T observed to precipitate the Groltz pot-jumping reflex or sous vide' frog cooking.

From this robust model analysts may conclude that since most Rana species live for far less than 37 years, it may take in excess of three million hours or 100 generations of tadpoles before the Ranopocene era of climate change induced frog jumping arrives.