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Old 06-04-2016, 12:17 AM   #21
Tallor
 
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
This, all by itself, would likely be enough. Create a fungal blight that affects grasses, that thrives in an environment with elevated levels of CO2, and watch civilization die.

This was the scenario at the beginning of Interstellar.
Shroom-1, the fungus planet. I can see it now.

On a more serious note, funguses actually breathe in oxygen, it's just that they can survive without it if they're capable of anaerobic respiration.

That's all I know, though.
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Old 06-04-2016, 01:03 AM   #22
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

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Originally Posted by Tallor View Post
Shroom-1, the fungus planet. I can see it now.

On a more serious note, funguses actually breathe in oxygen, it's just that they can survive without it if they're capable of anaerobic respiration.

That's all I know, though.
Bah. You can wipe out all land life and you'll still have an oxygen atmosphere courtesy of the oceans.
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Old 06-04-2016, 01:26 AM   #23
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

About Yellowstone, if it happen right now it wouldn't be quite so bad, worldwide stocks if grain are at an all time high. The primarily agrarian US states are ruined in the very short term, but the industrialized one might come out intact, distance from Yellowstone causing variation.

Southern Africa (A drought means the entire area is short of grain) and anywhere without a good distribution network (3rd and 2nd world) are probably looking starvation, food riots and political instability.

Some other points of note:
  1. No flight for at least a year, probably two in the US
  2. Energy, solar and biofuels are looking at a big problem
  3. So is oil, many of the big producers are looking at political instability

And there would be political changes due to all the refugees and the partial collapse of the free market in supply of food
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Old 06-04-2016, 02:29 AM   #24
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

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Some other points of note:
  1. No flight for at least a year, probably two in the US
Piston engine prop aircraft are probably still usable. Change air filters often. So urgent flights could still happen. Turbines might still be usable if they stayed low enough to have had the dust cleared by rain.
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:51 AM   #25
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

You could also borrow the premise of Neal Stephenson's Seveneves, where the disintegration of the Moon causes an extinction event.
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:56 AM   #26
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

The most plausible natural events thus far are the Yellowstone super volcano and the grain blight. Unless you consider meteor strike "natural" as well, but I think that's sort of a different genre, as are pandemics.

We've been running the Red Queen's Race ever since the Green Revolution, so if you mess with global cereal stocks the results would be horrific. To the extent that I think it may have been a terrible mistake in the first place, actually. But the alternative was letting the third world starve...

Another would be a generalized ecological "tipping point" catastrophe, a la some of the models for global warming where eventually you start a vicious feedback cycle until things stabilize in a really bad state.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:49 AM   #27
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

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Another would be a generalized ecological "tipping point" catastrophe, a la some of the models for global warming where eventually you start a vicious feedback cycle until things stabilize in a really bad state.
This was actually the sort of thing I was hoping for more info on when I wrote the OP. What sorts of things could tip it off, and how such a catastrophe would, for instance, kill of the north american wheat fields.
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Old 06-04-2016, 03:04 PM   #28
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

Global warming could take a massive sudden upswing if hypothetical large methane containing clathrate deposits in the ocean melted.

Modern rapid eco-destruction could mangle the Global Ocean Conveyor Belt. That would radically alter climate for many regions.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:31 PM   #29
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

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Global warming could take a massive sudden upswing if hypothetical large methane containing clathrate deposits in the ocean melted.
They aren't really hypothetical. Well, in the sense that there is definitely a lot of methane locked up like that, but you could be referring to individual, large deposits, as opposed to the widely scattered small ones.

The "laziest" way to get this condition is just warming the oceans enough, but for that to happen in the time period asked for by the OP would mean some really NOT lazy thing already happened.

But here's a nice cold-war idea: methane clathrate is lighter than water (much like normal water ice) - it's only at the bottom of the ocean because it's trapped under sediments. Posit a series of sub-oceanic nuclear tests that blasts the sedimentary layers off of a giant deposit. Clathrate floats up to the warmer layers at the surface and melts. It might take a decade before people really understood the gravity of the situation, after all they thought the Doorway To Hell was going to be a short methane burn off :)
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:28 PM   #30
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

I meant hypothetical in global amount, susceptibility to releasing all at once, and exactly how great of an effect such a disaster would have.
But with so many disagreeing with the most fundamental of scientific facts, I can see why someone could read my vague writing that way.
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