Think you know something about
Think the present climate is as good as it gets?
Think the Earth is in serious danger of overheating? What's the usual
climate during the past few million years?
Why is Panama the key to improving the climate?
What's the Golden Age, the Eocene and the Eemian?
Were they better or worse than today?
Warmer or cooler and by how much?
The answers may surprise you!
Chicago in the geologically fleeting warmth of this interglacial
Same scene in the not so distant future if we do nothing. In reality
won't be standing. They will be ground to dust under the weight of a mile
New Research: Much Warmer Before
Seems like every week we see in the media that the
Earth is now warmer than it's ever been and it's all our fault. And if
it gets a few degrees warmer it will be very bad for the Earth and it
is all due to our lifestyle.
Is that true? Is it warmer now than it has ever been?
Julie wondered the same thing. She recently went to a frozen lake in the
Russian Arctic with a few dozen other scientists to find out.
What do you know? She found there are many periods when
it has been much warmer in the Arctic than it is now. Not just a few
degrees like during the last interglacial period, the Eemian. More like
14F warmer. Greenland had no ice at all and yet the Earth was just fine.
Click the picture to see the video.
What a relief!
Thanks, Julie, for taking the time and enduring the
hardships to gather real data.
CAGW Deniers are all Nuts!
...and here's one of them...
Philip K. Chapman, B.S. Physics
and Mathematics, Sydney University (1956), M.S. Aeronautics and
Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1964), Sc.D.
Instrumentation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1967), Physicist,
Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (1958-1959), Engineer,
Canadian Aviation Electronics Limited (1960-1961), British Polar Medal
(1961), Physicist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1962-1967),
Astronaut, Apollo 14 Mission Scientist, NASA (1967-1972)
Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age
cometh Phil Chapman |
April 23, 2008
THE scariest photo I have seen on the internet is
www.spaceweather.com, where you will find a real-time image of the sun
from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the
equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity.
What is scary about the picture is that there is only
one tiny sunspot.
Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global
warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly
declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the
atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global
temperature is falling precipitously.
All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the
Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for
Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of
Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it
cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in
the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the
temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global
warming is over.
There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007
was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in
centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of
Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since
James Cook discovered the place in 1770.
It is generally not possible to draw conclusions about
climatic trends from events in a single year, so I would normally dismiss
this cold snap as transient, pending what happens in the next few years.
This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows
a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent
minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to
start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers.
It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January
this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but
vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray
that there will be many more, and soon.
The reason this matters is that there is a close
correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate.
The previous time a cycle was delayed like th is was in the Dalton
Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.
Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the
rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was
at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.
That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided
with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a
causal connection but it is cause for concern.
It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at
least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving
into another little ice age, similar to the one that lasted from 1100 to
There is no doubt that the next little ice age would be
much worse than the previous one and much more harmful than anything
warming may do. There are many more people now and we have become
dependent on a few temperate agricultural area s, especially in the US
and Canada. Global warming would increase agricultural output, but global
cooling will decrease it.
Millions will starve if we do nothing to prepare for it
(such as planning changes in agriculture to compensate), and millions
more will die from cold-related diseases.
There is also another possibility, remote but much more
serious. The Greenland and Antarctic ice cores and other evidence show
that for the past several million years, severe glaciation has almost
always afflicted our planet.
The bleak truth is that, under normal conditions, most
of North America and Europe are buried under about 1.5km of ice. This
bitterly frigid climate is interrupted occasionally by brief warm
interglacials, typically lasting less than 10,000 years.
The interglacial we have enjoyed throughout recorded
human history, called the Holocene, began 11,000 y ears ago, so the ice
is overdue. We also know that glaciation can occur quickly: the required
decline in global temperature is about 12C and it can happen in 20 years.
The next descent into an ice age is inevitable but may
not happen for another 1000 years. On the other hand, it must be noted
that the cooling in 2007 was even faster than in typical glacial
transitions. If it continued for 20 years, the temperature would be 14C
cooler in 2027.
By then, most of the advanced nations would have ceased
to exist, vanishing under the ice, and the rest of the world would be
faced with a catastrophe beyond imagining.
Australia may escape total annihilation but would
surely be overrun by million s of refugees. Once the glaciation starts,
it will last 1000 centuries, an incomprehensible stretch of time.
If the ice age is coming, there is a small chance that
we could prevent or at least delay the transition, if we are prepared to
take action soon enough and on a large enough scale.
For example: We could gather all the bulldozers in the
world and use them to dirty the snow in Canada and Siberia in the hope of
reducing the reflectance so as to absorb more warmth from the sun.
We also may be able to release enormous floods of
methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from the hydrates under the Arctic
permafrost and on the continental shelves, perhaps using nuclear weapons
to destabilize the deposits.
We cannot really know, but my guess is that the odds
are at least 50-50 that we will see significant cooling rather than
warming in coming decades.
The probability that we are witnessing the onset of a
real ice age is much less, perhaps one in 500, but not totally
All those urging action to curb global warming need to
take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we
are facing global cooling instead.
It will be difficult for people to face the truth when
their reputations, careers, government grants or hopes for social change
depend on global warming, but the fate of civilization may be at stake.
In the famous words of Oliver Cromwell, "I beseech you,
in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."
Phil Chapman is a geophysicist and astronautical
engineer who lives in San Francisco. He was the first Australian to
become a NASA astronaut. Copyright 2008 News Limited. All times AEST (GMT
And Chapman is not the only NASA astronaut that's a
A quick check shows that slight global cooling has continued since 2008 when
Chapman wrote the above.
In a way we are very fortunate, blessed
even, to have been
born in one of the brief interglacial warm periods. On the other hand,
here we are in Icehouse Earth instead of Greenhouse Earth. The reality is
the Earth is in an ice age and has been for almost three million years.
Mankind has never known normal Earth climate.
We need to start thinking long term
to get a handle on the climate issue. Not ten years or fifty or a hundred
or even a thousand years. Horizons must expand to millions of years.
The recent alarm over warming
has no bearing on the issue being presented here.
An issue of utmost concern for all life on Earth.
"The Greenest Project Ever Conceived."
An unflinching look at the reality
of our situation.
An exciting, crazy idea
that no one is talking about...yet.
"All the work has
all you gotta do is read and watch."
Earth or Icehouse Earth?
Since the dawn of time for humans, we have been
blissfully unaware of our precarious situation on this planet. Until
recently we did not have the facts or the science or the history. We
assumed huge masses of ice were benign and best ignored. Out of sight;
out of mind. We thought the
current climate was optimal and it would go on forever.
Who knew? We are in an ice age with a
climate almost as cool as it has ever been, far from "earth normal" and
far from too warm! This will be a surprise to you if you get your
information about climate from the evening news.
If you live in the tropics you may be thinking:
"What ice age?" If you live further north or south of the equator you may
be thinking: "Nonsense, we have lovely springs, summers and falls." But
what about winter, cruel winter, when vegetation dies and animals suffer.
Winter is what it means to live in an ice age, in Icehouse Earth, where
humans can not survive without fire, clothing and shelter. We are not
made for it. We are made for Greenhouse Earth.
This graph shows the temperature history of the Earth. Today is on the
far right side. During the last 2 billion years the Earth's climate has
alternated between an "Icehouse", like today's world, and "Greenhouse",
like the world of the dinosaurs and the early mammals.
Even had our ancestors known the truth, they
had no means of changing the course of the ice age. There is now a
scientific consensus that mankind has recently caused the globe to warm
if only a little. If this is true, and let us hope it is, then we can
melt the ice sheets and stop this massively destructive freeze/partial
thaw cycle we find ourselves in. Unfortunately, recent revelations cast
serious doubt on AGW, Anthropogenic Global Warming.
Other mechanisms will likely need to
be employed. We've had the technology and the idea for nearly fifty
It is conceivable that mankind
may choose not to break out of the ice age at all. What then?
adapted well to the moderate natural warming since the last glacial
period. It is now ten or fifteen degrees warmer than the last glacial
maximum eighteen thousand years ago. Warming is good. If it drops ten or
fifteen degrees we will not be able to adapt well. We and the Earth can
easily handle more warming and more CO2. The atmosphere is said to have
less than 400 ppm currently. What happens if that triples?
Discovery of the Ice Age
The existence of the ice age is now common
knowledge in the science community. It was generally unknown prior to
October 7, 1840 when it hit the papers in Scotland. It was not accepted
by the scientific community for many decades. Prior to that it was
commonly thought that the earth had been gradually cooling from it's
molten state long ago.
"At the beginning of 1837 Schimper coined the term ice age
In July 1837 Agassiz presented their synthesis before the annual meeting
of the Schweizerische Naturforschende Gesellschaft at Neuchâtel. The
audience was very critical or even opposed the new theory because it
contradicted the established opinions on climatic history. Most
contemporary scientists thought that the earth had been gradually cooling
down since its birth as a molten globe."
Even today it is not common knowledge
amongst the public that the earth is at this very moment in an ice age.
Everyone is aware of an ice age many thousands of years ago. It is a rare
person who knows that was just the latest in a long series of glacial
periods of the current ice age that goes back millions of years! The ice
age did not end ten or twelve thousand years ago. The ice age is in full
force and effect. It is the elephant in the room that everyone ignores
Watch this informative BBC special, Men of
Rock: The Big Freeze.
Is CO2 a pollutant and a 'bad' gas?
Previous interglacials were actually warmer
than now. If we do nothing, sooner or later, the warmth will go. The ice
will come again. That process may even now have started. How does one
adapt to a mile of ice overhead? Expect a mass extinction event.
Civilization as we know it will be in danger of disappearing for at least
100,000 years. Science and technology will be very difficult to maintain.
Homo Sapiens will be in extreme survival mode.
QUIZ: Is it Greenhouse
Earth or Icehouse Earth conditions now?
Did you guess Greenhouse
Earth? Please make another choice. We are in an Icehouse situation, an
ice age, quite far from a Greenhouse Earth period.
If your only climate information comes from the mass media you are
getting an extremely limited, incomplete and misleading view. Are you
interested in pulling back the curtain of mis-information? You can
educate yourself about the climate history of the Earth. I hope you find
this a convenient and helpful start. Here are some questions that you
might want to explore...
What was the climate in the past?
Is it currently the hottest it's ever been?
Is the current climate the norm?
Is the current climate optimal?
When and what was the Golden Age?
Is warming bad?
Is cooling good?
What do the Russians say?
What about the sun?
Why is Panama the key?
Can anything be done?
Is geoengineering now underway?
When is the time for action?
What if we can't stop the ice age?
The Ice Ages
"The Earth has experienced at least five major ice ages.
Outside these ages the Earth has been ice-free even
in high latitudes."...meaning the poles.
earliest well established ice age is called the Huronian. From 2.4 to 2.1
billion years ago.
2. The next was from 850 to 630 million years ago and is
called the Cryogenian period. Also known as Snowball Earth, glaciers may
have extended to the equator.
Andean-Saharan was a minor ice age from 460 to 420 million years ago.
4. The Karoo Ice Age spanned 360 million to 260 million
5. The current
ice age began about 2.58 million year ago
when continental drift caused Central America to form
and cut off circulation between the oceans. Called the Pleistocene, it is
defined as having ended about 10,000 years ago. Don't confuse this with
the end of the ice age itself. The ice age continues in full force as you
QUIZ: When did modern man
live in other than an ice age?
Trick question. The answer is never
because modern man, Homo Sapiens, has only been around a couple hundred
thousand years while this current ice age is nearly three million years
old and counting.
A graph of the Ice Ages 2.4 Billion Year Timeline. Ice free conditions prevailed more than 72%
of the time!
Million Years Ago
"From about 200 million years ago to
149 million years ago was the golden age for dinosaurs, The Jurassic."
"A more ideal atmosphere for a green planet
(4 or 5 times the current CO2) is what we had
when the dinosaurs roamed a planet
that was nearly all green, pole to pole."
No polar ice caps were around and sea
levels are estimated to have been 300 feet or more higher than today. The
planet's temperature was also much more uniform, with only 25 °C (45 °F)
separating average polar temperatures from those at the equator. On
average, atmospheric temperatures were also much higher; the poles, for
example, were 50 °C (90 °F) warmer than today. The annual average
temperature in the Antarctic today is
-50°C (-58°F). Back then at the poles the average was 32 °F and
77 °F at the equator, about like Key West, Florida, today.
A very good time for life on Earth.
80 Million Years Ago
"During the Campanian stage of the
Late Cretaceous (80 Ma), evidence suggests mean annual temperatures were
7-14 K warmer than today. There is no evidence of significant ice at high
latitudes... Late Cretaceous atmospheric CO2 was much higher than today,
with levels estimated from 2 to 9 times present day. In addition to the
warmer surface climate, oxygen isotope estimates from deep sea sediment
cores suggest that the deep ocean was as much as 15 K warmer during the
Cretaceous. This was a period of great success for dinosaurs, with many
new types appearing and diversifying. Birds became increasingly common
and diverse, replacing the pterosaurs which retreated to increasingly
specialized ecological niches. Didelphid marsupials and primitive
placental mammals also became common. Still, mammals remained small. In
Cretaceous temperate regions, familiar plants like magnolias, sassafras,
roses, redwoods, and willows could be found in abundance."
Looking back 65 million years the
climate has never
been so cold as now. It was warmer,
as much as 12 ºC warmer during
the Eocene Thermal Maximum.
The Eocene, 56 to 34 million years ago, was warmer,
yet the temperature gradient from equator to pole
was only half that of today. The polar regions were
much warmer than today, perhaps similar to the present
Pacific Northwest. Temperate forests extended clear
to the poles. Rainy tropical climates extended as
far north as Eugene, Oregon and Bangor, Maine.
The tropics might have been much like today
or somewhat warmer.
The start of the Eocene saw the emergence
of the first
modern mammals. In fact, the name comes
from the Greek and refers to the "dawn"
of new fauna. These included an early species of whale
and a relative of elephants. The oceans where warm
and teeming with fish and other sea life.
Needless to say the Earth had no ice sheets.
Another very good time for life on Earth.
Adapis parisiensis...future monkey
More Eocene fauna
QUIZ: During Greenhouse
Earth periods the entire Earth heats up about the same amount, true or
The poles heat up much more and the
temperature gradient between the equator and the poles is half what it is
today. This one is false.
Trouble from the Sea?
"The Eocene greenhouse event
fascinates scientists not just because of its effects, which also saw a
major mass-extinction in the seas, but also because of its likely cause:
methane hydrates. This unlikely substance, a sort of ice-like combination
of methane and water that is only stable at low temperatures and high
pressure, may have burst into the atmosphere from the seabed in an
immense “ocean burp”, sparking a surge in global temperatures (methane is
even more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide). Today vast
amounts of these same methane hydrates still sit on sub-sea continental
shelves. As the oceans warm, they could be released once more in a
terrifying echo of that methane belch of 55 million years ago."
From that peak roughly 55 million
years ago we
see a gradual cooling trend which eventually led to
the unfortunate rapid glaciations of our present era.
An increase of 6 ºC
should be enough to melt the ice sheets. The present climate is clearly
not the warmest ever. Temperatures have been decreasing for 55 million
years. Are we headed for another Snowball Earth? Hope not.
Note: Pal = Paleocene; Eo = Eocene; Ol = Oligocene; Mio = Miocene;
Pil = Pilocene; Plt = Pleistocene.
"The leaping capabilities make
Teilhardina most likely a tree-dweller too, says Rose, which is an
incredibly different habitat than the badlands of Wyoming today, which
are dry and rocky with little vegetation. These creatures lived during a
period of global warming, when subtropical climates and vegetation
stretched all the way to the Arctic Circle, explains Rose."
The mouse lemur is alive and well in
About the size of a large mouse they eat insects, nectar
flowers and ftuit.
Ice Age Climate
Each glacial advance means continental
approximately 5,000 to 10,000 feet thick. Sea levels drop
300 feet or more over the entire earth. In some places the ice
reaches the latitude of Columbus, Ohio and beyond.
During more recent glaciations at the maximum it is estimated 30% of the
Earth's surface was covered in ice. Permafrost extended southward from
the glaciers hundreds of miles.
At the edge of the ice the mean annual temperature
was 21 ºF, and was 32 ºF
at the edge of the permafrost.
Compare this with the average annual temperatures today in
Fairbanks, Alaska..... 26.9 ºF
Anchorage, Alaska..... 35.9 ºF
Minneapolis, Minnesota..... 44.9 ºF
Key West, Florida..... 77.8 ºF
The habitable zone was greatly
reduced. Arable land was greatly decreased. North America was
experiencing Arctic or tundra climate for the most part..
Where ever you live the weather then was
temperature-wise. But that was not all.
Large lakes formed south of the ice sheets; hundreds
in the American west, for example. Rivers had
greater flow. At the same time deserts were generally drier
and more extensive. Rainfall was lower.
The Past 5 Million Years
From sediment cores we can trace
temperatures over millions of years. This chart shows changes as it may
have been at Vostok, Antarctica. The overall trend has been downward. The
Mammoth lived during most of this periord, from around 4.8 million years
ago to about 4,500 years ago.
The period from 5.3 to 2.8 million years
ago is known as the Pliocene epoch. Many think the earth is now headed
for a similar climate, warm and humid, by 2300. After
continual cooling for 50 milion years, the earth entered the
current ice age about the middle of the above chart.
Mammoths, ruddy ducks, glyptodont,
gopher tortoise and bison of the
North American Pleistocene.
The Past 2.8 Million Years
Known as the Quaternary glaciation,
Pleistocene glaciation or the current ice age, it began about 2.8 million
years ago and continues until today. It is distinguished by the presence
of at least one permanent ice sheet in Antarctica and possibly Greenland
with others coming and going.
What caused the earth to sink into the
current ice age? No final theory is widely accepted. It may be related to
Milankovitch cycles and orbital forcing, atmospheric composition, plate
tectonics, ocean currents, ocean volcanism, solar output or magnetic
reversals...or some combination of these factors. "Some researchers, such
as James Lovelock (1995) and Lynn Margulis (1992), suggest that biologic
organisms have played an integral role in stabilizing and regulating the
Earth's climate system. Their Gaia hypothesis suggests that biologic
processes serve as a climatic thermostat, preventing Earth from freezing
or a runaway greenhouse effect."
The Great Global Warming Blunder:
How Mother Nature Fooled the World's Top Climate Scientists
By Roy W. Spencer, 2010
"The Great Global Warming Blunder
unveils new evidence from major scientific findings that explode the
conventional wisdom on climate change and reshape the global warming
debate as we know it. Roy W. Spencer, a former senior NASA climatologist,
reveals how climate researchers have mistaken cause and effect when
analyzing cloud behavior and have been duped by Mother Nature into
believing the Earth’s climate system is far more sensitive to human
activities and carbon dioxide than it really is.
In fact, Spencer presents astonishing new evidence that recent warming is
not the fault of humans, but the result of chaotic, internal natural
cycles that have been causing periods of warming and cooling for
millennia. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not necessarily to be
feared; The Great Global Warming Blunder explains that burning of fossil
fuels may actually be beneficial for life on Earth."
"Roy W. Spencer is a Principal
Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He was
formerly a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA. He is
co-developer of the original satellite method for precise monitoring of
global temperatures from Earth-orbiting satellites. He has provided
congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming
and authored the 2008 New York Times bestseller, Climate Confusion."
During the past 700,000 years there have
been at least seven major episodes in which glaciers have covered large
portions of the planet. Temperatures have been at the present beneficial
level only about 5% of the time during this period. We are in an ice age
and very lucky to be living in one of the rare warm periods. Our problem
is how to break out of this ice age and avoid the coming of it's next
Venus of Berekhat Ram, 230,000 - 700,000 BCE.
The Past 450,000 Years
Antarctic ice core temperature records
go back 450,000 years.
Note that present temperatures on the far right are not the warmest
ever despite what is seen in the media. The Eocene is off this chart
at 12 ºC. You can also see we are overdue
for the next glaciation.
During that time there were four
interglacials that were from 2.5 ºC
to almost 4 ºC warmer than present, 6
ºC on other graphs. Over and over the earth
tries to right itself only to fall back into another icehouse period. All
of human written history has occurred during the current brief period of
warmth. All of mankind's technology, beyond fire and stone tools, has
been developed in the Holocene. I suspect we will need every bit of it
The Past 120,000 Years
A visualization of the last ice age
using a global ice sheet model with pro-glacial lakes included.
18,000 Years Ago
This was the time of maximum ice
extent during the last period of glaciation. A total of about 80,000,000
Map above showing the recent glacial
maximum. Compare with the map below of snow cover from last winter.
Below is "Ice Age Columbus" video from
Discovery Channel, the first of nine parts.. Very interesting. Gives us
some idea what a glacial period is like.
The Past 15,000 Years
Cuffy and Clow, 1977, Greenland ice core records.
For the past 10,000 years it has been
almost always warmer than now. 12,000 years ago the globe relapsed into a
glacial period, the Younger Dryas, after a very brief warming.
From Chauvet Cave about 15,000 years ago.
"Natural global warming much more
intense than modern warming has occurred many times in the geologic
past...", says Dr. Don Easterbrook, WWU. "Fifteen
thousand years ago, temperatures rose 10 to 20 degrees in just one
century," he said.
7,000 to 6,100 Years Ago
The Older Peron was a period of lovely
warm climate during the current warm period, the Holocene Epoch. It began about 7000 years ago,
and lasted to about 6100. The Older Peron was a period of
generally clement and balmy weather conditions that favored plant growth.
Warm temperatures forced a retreat in the glaciers and ice sheets of the
global cryosphere; throughout the period, global sea levels were 2.5 to 4
meters (8 to 13 feet) higher than the twentieth-century average. At least
a few commentators — anthropologists, folklorists, and others — have
linked the era of the Older Peron transgression and the Neolithic Subpluvial with tales of a "time of plenty", the Golden Age
or Garden of Eden, that occur in the legendary backgrounds of many
cultures. It is interesting to note that this Golden Age sounds very much
like conditions many climate scientists now predict with inappropriate
alarm. It would be a great improvement over present conditions.
"If you think I am being
too harsh on Dr Hansen, ask him why he does not use the Holocene Thermal
Optimum as his reference period.
The Holocene Climate
Optimum was a period of rapid warming that occurred during the early
Holocene (8000 to 4000 years ago) when temperatures rose to between 1.5
to 3 degrees Celsius (3 to 6 degrees F) higher than in 1960. In the
tropics this period was marked by higher rainfall, accounting for human
occupation of the Sahara Desert. That warm period was probably the
climatic basis for the legendary Garden of Eden.
A study of the rise and
fall of civilizations shows that the most hazardous times for humans is
during cold periods not warm periods. But of course, Henny Penny would
not have attracted much attention running about telling everybody that
the sky was where it ought to be and thus not a serious cause for
concern." Comment on a recent scienceblog.com post.
6,000 Years Ago
The Sahara Desert was not
always a desert. During cooler periods as we now have, the Sahara is
usually very dry. When the temperature of the mid-latitudes rises 2 or 3
C the Sahara experiences a wet period with increased monsoonal
precipitation and becomes a savanna grassland. The last time this
happened was in the current interglacial period. It began to phase in
about 14,500 years ago and was over about 5,000 years ago. The peak was
about 6 or 7,000 years ago. During much of the last glacial maximum the
Sahara was more extensive than now. Tropical forests were greatly
reduced. But, the Abbassia Pluvial, or wet period, occurred from about
133,000 to 122,000 years ago. The Mousterian Pluvial occurred from around
50,000 years ago to around 30,000 years ago.
Old river beds visible
under the sand.
The Past 4,500 Years
Click to enlarge the chart below compiled
Climatologist Cliff Harris and Meteorologist Randy Mann.
They have related historical events to temperature variations
over the past 4,500 years.
Are we headed for at least another 'Little Ice Age'.
The Medieval Warm Period:
"During the Medieval Warm
Period (800 to 1200 A.D.), the Vikings colonized Greenland. In his
Perspective, Broecker discusses whether this warm period was global or
regional in extent. He argues that it is the last in a long series of
climate fluctuations in the North Atlantic, that it was likely global,
and that the present warming should be attributed in part to such an
oscillation, upon which the warming due to greenhouse gases is
of the climate at high northern latitudes has documented the ongoing
warming of the last few decades. Climate modeling has also demonstrated
that the global warming signal will be amplified in the polar region.
Such temperature increases would have important implications on the
ecosystem and biota of the Barents Sea. This study therefore aims to
reconstruct the climatic changes of the Barents Sea based on benthic
foraminifera over approximately the last 1400 years at the decadal to
sub-decadal scale. Oxygen and carbon isotope analysis and benthic
foraminiferal species counts indicate an overall warming trend of
approximately 2.6°C through the 1400-year record. In addition, the
well-documented cooling period equating to the ‘Little Ice Age’ is
evident between c. 1650 and 1850. Most notably, a series of highly
fluctuating temperatures are observed over the last century. An increase
of 1.5°C is shown across this period. Thus for the first time we are able
to demonstrate that the recent Arctic warming is also reflected in the
The Medieval Warming Period was
beneficial as is the current warming. But, neither gives more than a hint
of what Earth could be like with the grip of the ice age broken.
The Little Ice Age: 1550-1850
"NASA defines the term as a cold
period between 1550 AD and 1850 AD and notes three particularly cold
intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in
1850, each separated by intervals of slight warming...The prevailing
scientific view is that the Little Ice Age ended in the latter half of
the 19th century or early in the 20th century. Timothy Ball and Syun-Ichi
Akasofu, founder of the International Arctic Research Center at the
University of Alaska, believe that Earth's climate is still recovering
from the Little Ice Age.
Burroughs analyzes the depiction of
winter in paintings, as does Hans Neuberger. Burroughs asserts that this
occurred almost entirely from 1565 to 1665 and was associated with the
climatic decline from 1550 onwards. Before this, there were almost no
depictions of winter in art, and he hypothesizes that the unusually harsh
winter of 1565 inspired great artists to depict highly original images
and that the decline in such paintings was a combination of the "theme"
having been fully explored and mild winters interrupting the flow of
Neuberger analyzed 12,000 paintings,
held in American and European museums and dated between 1400 and 1967,
for cloudiness and darkness. His 1970 publication shows an increase
in such depictions that corresponds to the LIA, peaking between 1600 and
In North America, the early European
settlers reported exceptionally severe winters. For example, in
1607-1608, ice persisted on Lake Superior until June. The journal of
Pierre de Troyes, Chevalier de Troyes, who led an expedition to James Bay
in 1686, recorded that James Bay was still littered with so much floating
ice that he could hide behind it in his canoe on July 1."
Washington crossing the
Delaware, Dec. 25, 1776.
Frozen Thames, 1677.
Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap, 1565.
This drop in temperature happened not all
that long ago. It was the cause of a lot of starvation and misery. Snow
lasted months longer. Glaciers advanced destroying fields and villages.
Viking colonies on Greenland and Newfoundland died out. If this were to
happen today, either from natural causes or unexpected consequences of
attempts to cool the earth, the results will be catastrophic.
The Past 23 Years
What can we tell from temperature record
over a short period of time like this? Doesn't appear to be going up much
if at all. What does it say about the last 100 years? Nothing. The last
1,000 years or million years? What does it say about the future? To get
any idea at all of trends we need a larger view as those presented above.
The Past 13 Years
Update: July 12, 2014...still no warming!
Compare the above two graphs with that
for carbon dioxide below. CO2 is going up, up, up. Is the temperature
going up, up, up? Not really. It appears that either CO2 is not the
main mechanism driving climate or there are other mechanisms which easily
over power any effect of CO2. This is why we need a lot more CO2 or a
backup plan for boosting temperature.
Can we count on CO2 alone to raise the
The Present Ice Age
We are presently in an ice age that began
at the start of the Pleistocene Epoch.
How do we know we are still in an ice age?
Because the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets still exist.
If you have doubts you can visit the ice age
by traveling to either sheet.
Total world ice is about 29,960,000 km3. Of that 29,340,000 km3
is on land, while 620,000 km3 is sea ice. In addition, it
snows every winter.
It's all mankind has known, but it's not normal or desirable.
Existed about 3 million years ago.
"Significant growth of ice
sheets did not begin in Greenland and North America until approximately 3
million years ago, following the formation of the Isthmus of Panama by
continental drift. This ushered in the era of rapidly cycling glacials
The Previous Warm Period
The Eemian is the interglacial period
that began about
130,000 years ago ending about 114,000 years ago.
At the warmest, about 125,000 years ago, forests grew well
above the Artic Circle at a latitude of 71º.
Winters in the Northern Hemisphere were
generally warmer and wetter than now.
The Rhine and the Thames were home to
Cromagnon Man as he might have
During this period modern humans migrated
from Africa spreading over the ice-free world. The Eemian was about 4 - 6
ºC warmer than the temperature today.
Ice sheets and Arctic sea ice coverage were much smaller than at present.
Much better than now, but still in the ice age.
"The last time the Arctic was
uncontestably free of summertime ice was 125,000 years ago, at the height
of the last major interglacial period, known as the Eemian."
The Present Warm Period
The Present Interglacial interval is called Holocene.
The Holocene began about 10,000 years ago and
continues to the present. The Pleistocene is said to have
ended 10,000 years ago, but the ice age goes on.
The Holocene has been relatively cool compared to previous
interglacials and continues to become even cooler.
Mankind has progress from hunter/gatherer to
specializer/trader which has brought prosperity
and technological advancement.
Punkrock Man, female, full
regalia, late Holocene.
The Coming Ice Sheets
It is coming, but when? "It is known
that not all interglacial periods are of the same length and that solar
heating varies in a non-linear fashion forced by the Milankovitch orbital
cycles. At the same time, it is also known that greenhouse gases are
increasing in concentration with each passing year. Based on the
variations in solar heating and on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere,
some calculations of future temperatures have been made. According to
these estimates, the interglacial period the earth is in now may persist
for another 50,000 years if CO2 levels increase to 750 parts per million.
The present atmospheric concentration of CO2 is about 385 ppm by volume,
but is rising rapidly as humans continue to burn fossil fuels. If CO2
drops instead to 210 ppm, then the next glacial period may only be 15,000
But this theory may not be right. In a
study of cyclic behavior of the Sun, Russian scientists now predict 100
years of cooling. Astrophysicist Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the
Russian segment of the International Space Station, and head of Space
Research of the Sun Sector at the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian
Academy of Sciences tells us that the sun dictates the climate of the
Earth. Russia’s Eugene Borisenkov** discovered a quasi 200- year cycle of
global cooling during the past 7,500 years that correlates to times of
sunspot minima similar to the Maunder minimum.
This graph shows the 11 year sun spot cycle and the 200 year solar
activity, the dark line. The Russian's prediction from 2009 to 2042 is
the dashed line.
Our planet warms and cools in predictable
200-year cycles corresponding to 200-year variations in the size and
luminosity of the Sun, the scientists found. Previous global warmings –
of which there have been many – have always been followed by deep
cooling. The 200-year variations in sunspot activity and total solar
irradiance (TSI) are the dominating reason for climate change, says
Abdussamatov. “In whole, the solar cycles are a key to our understanding
of different cyclic variations in the nature and society.”
The Russian forecast of solar activity to
2100, as low as the Maunder Minimum which is not good.
Abdussamatov argues that total sun irradiance, or TSI, is the primary
factor responsible for causing climate variations on Earth, not carbon
dioxide. Carbon dioxide is "not guilty," says Abdussamatov. "As for
what lies ahead in the coming decades, it is not catastrophic warming,
but a global, and very prolonged temperature drop. There is now an
unavoidable advance toward a global decrease, a deep temperature drop
comparable to the Maunder minimum," he wrote. "Already there are signs of
the future deep temperature drop. The observed global warming of the
climate of the Earth is not caused by the anthropogenic emissions of
greenhouse gasses, but by extraordinarily high solar intensity that
extended over virtually the entire past century." "Future decrease in
global temperature will occur even if anthropogenic ejection of carbon
dioxide into the atmosphere rises to record levels."
It is possible the glaciers could start
quickly. "Studies of isotopic composition of the ice cores indicate
the change from warm to frigid temperatures can occur in a decade or
two... If the previous period was more typical than the present one, the
period of stable climate in which humans flourished—inventing agriculture
and thus civilization—may have been possible only because of a highly
unusual period of stable temperature."
Not so long ago it was imperative that we
cut CO2 emissions, not to stop global warming, but to stop the next ice
age. Also necessary was re-mineralizing the soil with gravel crushed to a
fine powder. These people seem very sincere and committed just like the
alarmist of today. A video from 1988 and worth watching for historical
Today you can see and hear everywhere in
the media proponents of the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory. It is
presented as factual certainty. Are we being spoon fed, propagandized?
There is another side you may want to be aware of, part 1 of 7...
When everyone else is buying, it's time to sell.
Not by Fire but by Ice
Robert Felix, author and researcher, in a
five part interview on Red Ice Radio, February, 2011, sound only. Humans
have nothing to do with the climate he says in this straight talk about
natural cycles, underwater volcanoes and magnetic reversals. You might
want to skip ahead to 1:30 and avoid the annoying intro.
"Nine stories of snow a day killed the
dinosaurs, nine stories of snow a day killed the mammoths, and nine
stories of snow a day will soon kill most of us." Robert Felix
maintains that the oceans are heating up because of volcanism under the
surface. As a result water vapor is added to the atmosphere which in turn
causes increased precipitation.
Don Easterbrook on The Looming Threat of
Global Cooling - Geological Evidence for Prolonged Cooling Ahead and its
Impacts, part 1 of 2. He discusses the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or
PDO, and predicts we are stuck in global cooling for the next 30 years.
In a speech at a MIT-forum on ‘clean
energy policy and climate change’ on April 13, Obama advisor on science
and technology issues John Holdren, repeated his call for large-scale
geo-engineering projects to combat ‘climate change’. Holdren explained
that large-scale geo-engineering projects designed to cool the earth
could ‘conceivably’ be done. But Holdren noted
that shooting particles into the air—making an artificial volcano as one
Nobel laureate has suggested—could have grave side effects and would not
completely solve all the problems from soaring greenhouse gas emissions.
So how do you learn more about the real
world effects of geoengineering? You conduct tests and gather data.
From The Observer, Jul 9,
January 2009 "Take action: A rogue
science ship is poised to carry out risky experimental fertilization of
the Southern Ocean. This is likely [to be] the first of many coming
attempts to begin geo-engineering the biosphere as a solution to climate
change. The chemical cargo is likely to provoke a massive algal bloom big
enough to be seen from outer space..."
Geo-engineering – artificial efforts
to mitigate global warming by manipulating weather patterns, oceans,
currents, soils and atmosphere to reduce the amount of greenhouses gases
– evokes ideological, political and financial passions. For those who
have more or less given up on UN climate talks, it is, along with nuclear
power, the only practical planetary way to avoid catastrophic climate
change; for others, it is an irresponsible move into the unknown by the
rich world that will inevitably have unintended consequences, most
probably for the poorest.
From just a few individuals working in
the field 20 years ago, today there are hundreds of groups and
institutions proposing experiments. They fall broadly into two camps: one
aims to remove greenhouse gases from the air and store them underground;
the other, more controversially, tries to cool the Earth down by
reflecting sunlight from the atmosphere or space in a process known as
solar radiation management.
The range of techno-fix ideas is
growing by the month. They include absorbing plankton, growing artificial
trees, firing silver iodide into clouds to produce rain, genetically
engineering crops to be paler in colour to reflect sunlight back to
space, fertilising the ocean with iron nanoparticles to increase
phytoplankton, blasting sulphate-based aerosols into the stratosphere to
deflect sunlight, covering the desert with white plastic to reflect
sunlight and painting cities and roads white.
There are serious proposals to launch
a fleet of unmanned ships to spray seawater into the atmosphere to
thicken clouds and thus reflect more radiation from Earth. Most
controversial of all is an idea to fire trillions of tiny mirrors into
space to form a 100,000-mile "sunshade" for Earth.
Most are unlikely to be seriously
considered but some are being pushed hard by entrepreneurs and
businessmen attracted by the potential to make billions of dollars in an
emerging system of UN global carbon credits. Research by ETC, the
Canadian-based watchdog, shows at least 27 patents have been granted to
inventors and assignees including Bill Gates, Dupont, the US government
and various corporations. Chemical engineer Michael Markels has four
patents, Professor Steven Salter of Edinburgh University and climate
change scientist David Keith have two.
"If geo-engineering techniques move
towards actual deployment, the existence of patents could mean that
decisions over the climate will be effectively handed over to the private
sector," says Diana Bronson of ETC.
In what is shaping up to become a
deep, ideological division along the lines of pro- and anti-nuclear or GM
crops, the scientists, corporates and entrepreneurs are being broadly
opposed by environment groups and developing countries, but backed
increasingly by the UK and US governments, as well as businessmen such as
Richard Branson. And in a strange new grouping, free market
environmentalists such as Mark Lynas in Britain, Stewart Brand in the US
and Bjorn Lomborg in Denmark have joined high-profile US conservative
politicians and thinktanks to say geo-engineering is a step forward.
"Geo-engineering holds forth the
promise of addressing global warming concerns for just a few billion
dollars a year," said Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the US House of
Representatives, in 2008. "We would have an option to address global
warming by rewarding scientific innovation. Bring on American ingenuity.
Stop the green pig."
The Law of Unintended
In the social sciences,
unintended consequences (sometimes unanticipated consequences or
unforeseen consequences) are outcomes that are not the outcomes intended
by a purposeful action. The concept has long existed but was named and
popularized in the 20th century by American sociologist Robert K. Merton.
Unintended consequences can be roughly grouped into three types:
A positive, unexpected
benefit (usually referred to as serendipity or a windfall).
A negative, unexpected
detriment occurring in addition to the desired effect of the policy
(e.g., while irrigation schemes provide people with water for
agriculture, they can increase waterborne diseases that have
devastating health effects, such as schistosomiasis).
A perverse effect
contrary to what was originally intended (when an intended solution
makes a problem worse), such as when a policy has a perverse incentive
that causes actions opposite to what was intended.
More recently, the law of
unintended consequences has comes to be used as an adage or idiomatic
warning that an intervention in a complex system tends to create
unanticipated and often undesirable outcomes. Akin to Murphy's law, it is
commonly used as a wry or humorous warning against the hubristic belief
that humans can fully control the world around them.
The unintended consequence of cooling the
planet by geoengineering is triggering the onset of the next glacial
period. The death toll will be in the billions. Doubly ironic since
warming will be mostly beneficial for the Earth.
QUIZ: The recent leveling
of global temperature is, no doubt, part of a natural cycle, true or
Hard to say for certain. If as is
suspected government officials and scientist are testing geoengineering
techniques to determine the best way to counter global warming, then it
may well be anthropogenic.
The Problem with Ice
Ice in not desirable.
Ice is not beneficial.
Ice is cold.
Ice is not 'green'.
Ice does not promote life.
Ice is a hazard to navigation.
Nothing grows on ice.
We and the environment are
better off without ice.
We have way too much of it.
Do we really want to leave an
ice age for future generations?
The Best Climate for Man?
What sort of climate was the Wooly
Mammoth best suited for? Huge, heavy and hairy...it would need lots of
vegetation and cooler weather, right? “The woolly mammoth represents
the end point in a series of adaptations to the Ice Age habitat,” write
Adrian Lister and Paul Bahn in Mammoths. Extremely specialized to survive
in the frigid Arctic, the woolly mammoth probably arose in Siberia but
eventually inhabited a vast northern range extending from Ireland to the
eastern North America. “Living south of the ice sheets, it inhabited a
landscape of rich, grassy vegetation largely devoid of trees,” write
Lister and Bahn.
For a contemporary comparison
consider the wild horse. It is well suited to very cold temperatures.
"The human body is build to dissipate heat, while the horse's body is
constructed to produce and maintain heat," says Tracie Lynn Thompson in
her online article. "All warm-blooded creatures can tolerate a broad
range of temperatures but each species has a natural 'comfort zone' that
reflects the climate in which it evolved." The horses' cold
adaptations include a massive digestive tract, legs with little muscle, a
frost-bite resistant hoof, nasal structure, winter coat and seasonal fat
layer. "The acclimatized horse is so ideally suited to the frozen
tundra that - given adequate supplies of food and unfrozen water - he can
survive and even thrive in temperatures as low as minus 40O
F...Equus caballus is an evolutionary cold-weather marvel whose abilities
for staying cozy in breath-stopping temperatures far outweigh your own."
and Eve, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526.
The climate in the Garden of Eden was such that they
were comfortable without clothing or shelter.
What about humans? What climate are
we suited for? Certainly not the same as the Mammoth or the horse. But
like the Mammoth and the horse the answer is obvious and plainly
expressed in your very own body.
If you needed to spend a year or so
outside without clothing what sort of conditions would you be hoping for?
Frost bite, frost nip, chilblains, trench foot, UV exposure, hyperthermia
and hypothermia must be considered. My guess is 80 to 90 degrees would be
comfortable and conducive to wellbeing, plus not too wet and some trees
for shade. Certainly no snow or ice. That is the climate we are naturally
"Primitive man, without knowledge
of the use of fire, insulative clothing or housing, had to live in
areas with a constant environmental temperature close to his
thermoneutral point. This point is approximately 27-28OC
(80 - 82OF)
in naked modern man at rest (Erikson et al., 1956) and this was
evidently true of primitive man as well. There are areas close to the
equator in which the mean annual temperature varies between 25OC
and the difference between the warmest and coldest month is as low as 1OC.
This suggests that the birthplace of primitive humans was most probably
near the equator. The mean temperature of the coldest month in polar
areas exceeds -2OOC
and is intolerable to unclothed man. Hence the humans who settled in
cold weather regions had to develop clothing and housing. There is also
scientific evidence that humans have adapted physiologically to cold.
"In the 1950s and '60s, there
was a great deal of interest in the thermoregulation of several
original populations around the world and a reproducible field method
was developed in which body temperatures, metabolic rate and other
parameters could be followed during sleep (Scholander et al., 1958a).
The subjects of these studies slept lightly clad overnight in a bag
with their heads in boxes, which enabled collecting the expiratory
respiratory gases. The ambient temperature varied between 0-6OC and
the insulation of the bag was approximately 2 clo (clothing unit; 1
clo keeps a resting man comfortable at room temperature), ensuring a
moderately intensive cold exposure....On the other hand, Australian
aborigines from the central parts of the continent, who during that
time lived almost unclothed outdoors, slept well and had a clearly
lower metabolic rate and foot temperature during the all-night cold
test than the white controls (Scholander et al., 1958b:Fig.
7)....Metabolic rate and rectal temperature of Alacaluf Indians from
Tierra del Fuego did not change during the all-night cold test
(Hammel et al., 1960)."
"High resistance to cold by the natives of
Tierra del Fuego was observed by Charles Darwin. He was surprised that
completely naked women and children paid no attention to the heavily
falling snow, which melted on their bodies. In 1958-1959. Scientists
studied the resistance to cold of Aboriginals in central Australia.
They quietly slept at temperature of 5-10 C on the bare ground between
the fires without the slightest tremor. The body temperature of
Australians remained normal, but skin temperature dropped in the trunk
up to 15 C, and the limbs - up to 10 C. With such a marked reduction in
skin temperature ordinary people feel almost unbearable pain, but the
Australians are sleeping peacefully and feel no pain, no cold. With
self-hypnosis, some people can raise their energy exchange in the cold
by 33-50%. This ability will save them from hypothermia and frostbite.
In 1963 a 35 year old mountaineer named May Bahadur, spent four days in
high mountain glaciers (5-5.3 thousand meters) at an air temperature
of -13 to -15 C, without food, outdoors, barefoot, in bad clothes."
(Edited for readability.)
"Hot-Wet. The hot-wet or hot-humid
climates are typical of the tropical rain forests usually located
within the latitudes of 10O
above or below the equator. Hot-humid
climates have the following characteristics: (1) the air temperature
does not exceed 35O
F), usually ranging between 26.7O
(2) the average relative humidity exceeds 50%, usually reaching as
high as 95%; and (3) there is marked seasonal precipitation. As a
result of the high precipitation and hot climate, vegetation is quite
abundant and provides ample shade...There is little day-night or
seasonal variation in temperature and dew point."
This is a good description of climate up to 45O
latitudeat times of Greenhouse Earth.
The thermoneutral temperature for common
laboratory animals has been determined: Mouse, hamster, rat, guinea
pig, rabbit, cat, non-human primate, dog. All of these have a
thermoneutral range from 22O
C to 32O
C. Non-human primates' range was 25O
C. Very similar to hairless humans. The common element is that all
these mammalian species can trace their origin back to Garden of Eden
chimpanzee is the most genetically similar to humans of all species.
They live typically in lowland habitats close to the equator with an
annual rainfall of at least sixty inches and a dry season of no more
than four months. Besides lowland they can be found in deep forest,
mixed forest-savanna and higher altitudes. The Association of Zoos
and Aquariums recommends a min of 60O
F and a max of 85O
F with adequate air movement. In The Chimpanzes of Bossou and Nimba
we learn that the range of thermoneutral ambient temperature for
primates is about 5O
C. For humans the range is 25 to 28O
C. Also, the average daily maximum temperature inside the Gban
primary forest is 25O
C in the wet season and 30O
C in the dry season.
Earth in the near future with no ice...
...and Antarctica, currents flowing freely.
This image of the South Pole is very exciting. I was concerned that
Antarctica would continue to block ocean currents from the equator and
defeat our efforts to bring warmth to that area. With much of it
submerged water will flow through pretty well. The North Pole has no
land, just ocean.
Surviving Rapid Climate Change
You often hear that the current rapid
warming is a serious threat to the world's flora and fauna. Assuming
global warming is actually happening for the moment, is this a valid
biological researchers address this important question in stages. First,
they present evidence demonstrating that "recent geophysical studies
challenge the view that the speed of current and projected climate change
is unprecedented." In one such study, for example, they report that
Steffensen et al. (2008) showed that temperatures in Greenland warmed by
up to 4°C/year near the end of the last glacial period. And they state
that this change and other rapid climate changes during the Quaternary
(the last 2.5 million years) did not cause a noticeable level of
broad-scale, continent-wide extinctions of species. Instead, they state
that these rapid changes appeared to "primarily affect a few specific
groups, mainly large mammals (Koch and Barnosky, 2006) and European trees
(Svenning, 2003)," with the result that "few taxa became extinct during
the Quaternary (Botkin et al., 2007)." So how were the bulk of earth's
species able to survive what many today believe to be unsurvivable?"
A species well equipped to survive changing climate as proved in
actual field trials.
"The bear family, Ursidae, is believed to have split off from other
carnivorans about 38 million years ago. The Ursinae subfamily originated
approximately 4.2 million years ago. According to both fossil and DNA
evidence, the polar bear diverged from the brown bear, Ursus arctos,
roughly 150,000 years ago. The oldest known polar bear fossil is a
130,000 to 110,000-year-old jaw bone, found on Prince Charles Foreland in
2004. Fossils show that between ten to twenty thousand years ago, the
polar bear's molar teeth changed significantly from those of the brown
bear. Polar bears are thought to have diverged from a population of brown
bears that became isolated during a period of glaciation in the
More recent genetic
studies have shown that some clades of brown bear are more closely
related to polar bears than to other brown bears, meaning that the
polar bear is not a true species according to some species concepts.
Irish brown bears are particularly close to polar bears. In addition,
polar bears can breed with brown bears to produce fertile grizzly–polar
bear hybrids, indicating that they have only recently diverged
and are genetically similar."
Other sources say the Polar
bear appeared about 200,000 year ago. Either way they were here for the
last interglacial period, the Eemian, which was warmer than the one we
are in. As explained above it has been much warmer in this interglacial.
The bears are not as delicate as some imagine. They manage just fine.
Let's take this off the list of things to worry about! If it is truly in
danger it has nothing to do with temperature. A side note: it's not
irrational to feel ambivalent about a wild animal that thinks of you as
Ice Free - Can it be done?
"Most climate change predictions have
only examined the next hundred years. But now a new, even more long-term
model suggests that temperatures could rise as much as ten degrees
Celsius by 2300 — creating conditions not seen for 34 million years.
"This is one of four scenarios
predicted by an international team of climate scientists, who have
modeled the next 300 years of climate change based on various possible
courses of action.
"A general increase of ten degrees is
dramatic enough, but the effects wouldn't be the same everywhere, with
the polar regions seeing far greater increases than the tropics. In this
scenario, Arctic ice would melt completely, and the far northern reaches
of Canada, Russia, and Greenland could be covered in plants that are now
only found in tropical or southern temperate regions, becoming lush
forests like they were back in the Eocene."
QUIZ: Prior to the
appearance of the Isthmus of Panama 3 million years ago the climate was
much the same as today. True or false?
For millions of years prior
to the appearance of the Isthmus, the Earth's climate was temperate,
mild, steady-state with no dramatic differences between the seasons in
contrast to today. This
Isthmus of Panama
The article above shows that Ice Free Earth
is considered a possibility, at least in theory. It remains to be seen if
Man has any effect on climate at all, let alone enough to cause the
return of the Eocene. Breaking out of the ice age may not be so easy as
that. Not with the Isthmus of Panama blocking normal ocean currents.
Does a sea-level canal across the Isthmus of
Panama sound crazy? Not really, it has long been discussed.
"The earliest mention of a canal across the
Isthmus of Panama dates to 1534, when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and
King of Spain ordered a survey for a route through Panama that would ease
the voyage for ships traveling to and from Spain and Peru, as well as
give the Spanish a tactical military edge over the Portuguese. During his
expedition of 1788–1793, Alessandro Malaspina demonstrated the
feasibility of a canal and outlined plans for its construction.
The ill-fated Darien scheme was an
attempt launched by the Kingdom of Scotland in 1698 to set up an overland
trade route, but was defeated by the generally inhospitable conditions,
and abandoned in July of 1699. Finally, the Panama Railway was built
across the isthmus, opening in 1855. This overland link became a vital
piece of infrastructure, greatly facilitating trade and largely
determining the later canal route.
An all-water route between the oceans was
still seen as the ideal solution, and the idea of a canal was enhanced by
the French success of the Suez Canal (which took 10 years to build the
102 mile canal, more than twice the size of the Panama Canal). The
French, under Ferdinand de Lesseps, began construction on a sea-level
canal (i.e., without locks) through what was then Colombia's province of
Panama, on January 1, 1880. The French began work in a rush, with
insufficient prior study of the geology and hydrology of the region.
Excavation was conducted at such a steep angle that, in some years,
rain-induced landslides poured nearly as much material into the canal as
had been removed...In 1893, after a great deal of work, the French scheme
was abandoned due to disease and the sheer difficulty of building a
sea-level canal, as well as lack of French field experience, such as with
downpours that caused steel equipment to rust."
From another website:
"Scientists studying the feasibility of a
sea-level canal (not a mile deep, but deep enough) have found that the
Pacific at Panama is about eight inches higher than the Atlantic on
average due to currents and such. In addition, tidal variation on the
Pacific side of Panama is much greater than on the Atlantic side--20 feet
vs. 1 foot. That means the Pacific would flow into the Atlantic through
the sea-level canal, producing currents that could reach nearly 6 MPH."
From an essay published by the CFR in
President's expressed interest in sea-level canal routes in Colombia and
in Costa Rica-Nicaragua, as well as in two possible routes in Panama,
conveys the impression that they are fully competitive. Actually, Panama
enjoys a double advantage in the fact that the two best routes are both
within her borders. Preliminary studies have favored a sea-level canal
excavated by the use of nuclear explosives in eastern Panama close to the
Colombian border. If nuclear explosives cannot be used in the
construction, then the conversion of the existing lock canal to sea level
is for many reasons the best solution. Indeed, it is preferable in any
More recently, the
Department of Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering, University of
Illinois published a paper titled, "Restoring the Global Equatorial Ocean
Current Using Nuclear Excavation", by Maagdi Ragheb, August-October,
2009, in i-manager's Journal on Future Engineering & Technology, Vol. 5,
"Before the last three
million years, the Earth's climate enjoyed a steady state mild temperate
climatic condition situation with he ocean currents rotating around the
globe and evenly distributing the absorbed solar radiation from the water
to the land masses...However, tectonic Earth movements caused the Central
American Land Bridge to develop, blocking the flow of ocean currents from
the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean that had stabilized the Earth's
climate for millions of years. This land bridge forced the ocean currents
into a north-south flow...The diverted oceans currents lead to a more
variable climate, with dramatic differences between the seasons. The
temperate forests reaching into the Arctic were replaced by a taiga or
sub arctic forests characterized by pine trees. Winters became longer and
the north and south ice caps formed. The recurrent periods of glaciation
and thawing in the last three million years, and the rising of the rising
of the Central American Land Bridge may have forced the Earth's climate
into a long cycle involving long ice ages followed by short warm periods.
Every glaciation period has been accompanied with large species
sea level canal through Panama or northern Columbia, restoring the old
ocean currents intercepted by Central American Land Bridge, may become an
international global geoengineering project. Five different
Trans-isthmian routes (Figure 2) and the relative costs for conventional
and nuclear excavation for a sea level canal are possible as shown in
Table 2...Some previous studies considered canals that were 600 feet wide
and 60 feet deep, and canals which were 1,000 feet wide and 280 feet
deep. A sea level canal construction would require the use of massive
amounts of energy carving hills and mountain ranges. Peaceful clean
thermonuclear cratering devices releasing megatons equivalent of TNT may
be an economical means of achieving such an ambitious project...In all
cases important environmental considerations will have to be addressed.
Economical benefits must be allocated by the international community to
the populations that would accept the undertaking of such projects in
More study is needed. Will the size of canal
so far contemplated be adequate to fully restore the current? If sea
levels were to rise 300 feet the entire Panama Canal would be 215' below
water, or more, fully restoring the equatorial current.
The Circumpolar Current
1. The earth is now in an ice age
and has been for almost 3 million years.
2. The earth is now between glacial
periods, a brief interglacial.
3. Recent interglacials have been warmer than this.
4. During the past 700,000 years it
has been much colder 95% of the time.
5. During the past 2.4 billion years
the earth has been ice free 72% of the time.
6. Global cooling is far worse than
7. The last Golden Age ended about 6100 years ago.
8. The key to improving global
climate is a sea level canal in Panama.
9. CO2 alone may well not get us out
of the ice age. We may not be able to alter climate at all with gases.
10. We need a better understanding
of the mechanisms of climate.
I hope now you begin to see
our true situation with respect to life,
the Earth and it's climate history.
Do your own research.
See if what I'm saying is true.
Make up your own mind.
climate has gone from a worldwide Eden, almost, to a much degraded
condition. We have made the best of it, even here in the northern
latitudes. We hunker down and get through the winters. How glad we are to
see Spring and Summer return! If the status quo continues the big ice
sheets will return and blot out the seasons as we know them. If we can
raise the average annual temperature safely, we should do so. The risk
lies in doing nothing. I suggest a rise of 6 ºC
would be ideal. Gradually, over a period of hundreds of years, the
temperature and the sea level will rise allowing ample time to make
"Ice in your drink is good;
ice on your continent is bad."
Florida and More
Typical of low lying land that will
disappear under the waves when we return the Earth to Greenhouse
conditions, Florida, sadly must be abandoned. Had early settlers
understood they might have avoided Florida for higher ground. This is not
something we undertake lightly. The dislocation and disruption of lives
is beyond calculation, but only a small fraction of what will happen with
the return of ice sheets. Wipe from the map all of Canada, Alaska and the
northern tier of states, covered by ice. Much of the rest of the US will
be permafrost and tundra. That's just the start. There will be no safe
haven for Earth's billions.
Florida's shoreline past, present and future?
The 'Ice Age shoreline' was about 20,000 years ago.
People were living there at least 13,000 years ago. With the advent of
the present warm interglacial period the ice began to melt. Melting
ice was very good for plants and animals. But the melting paused a few
thousand years ago. What is next? Will the melting resume or will the
ice begin to advance again? Florida used to be twice as big as it is now.
It may get even smaller. Is that a catastrophe? If it is, it is
completely natural and predictable. 6 meters is about 20 feet. And
remember sea level was that high about 5500 years ago, so it is
much of the geological history of the US, Florida was under water. During
this time, the shells of countless millions of sea animals decayed to
form the thick layers of limestone that now blanket the state. The
peninsula rose above sea level perhaps 20 million years ago. Even then,
the southern portion remained largely submerged, until the buildup of
coral and sand around its rim blocked out the sea, leaving dense marine
vegetation to decay and form the peaty soil of the present-day
indicates a trend toward global warming. If the world's temperature
warms, this may mean that the sea level will rise along most of the
world's coastlines. Florida has an extended coastline and many major
cities are near the coast. Any rise in sea level poses a threat."
"Florida is a huge plateau, much of it
barely above sea level. The highest point in the state is believed to be
a hilltop in the panhandle, 345 ft (105 m) above sea level, near the city
of Lakewood, in Walton County. The Mean Elevation of the state of Florida
is only 100 feet above sea level. The elevation of the Miami area never
rises above 40 ft (12 m) and averages at around 6 ft (1.8 m)
above mean sea level in most neighborhoods, especially near the coast."
If we are able to return to Old Peron
conditions much of Miami will be inundated by the rise of twelve feet in
sea level. In return we avoid an ice age and greatly improve the climate
of the Earth. Florida's salubrious subtropical climate moves far to the
north and south. If we achieve an ice free Earth sea level will rise 300 feet or
more and the poles will be habitable. About nineteen million people will,
over time, need to be relocated. About nine million housing units will
need to be replaced. There will be places for them to go, to rebuild and
Ice Free Earth Now supports
the Terraforming of the Earth to achieve normal and healthy climatic
conditions, in perhaps a hundred years, similar to those of the Old Peron
with about a twelve foot sea level rise. Eventually approaching Eocene
Do we still have time? I hope so. Some
we have already begun the slide into the next glaciation.
Others say it's not due for 3,000 years.
Some say it will take thousands of years to develop.
Others say it could be much, much quicker,
ten years perhaps, maybe only months.
Terraforming will be the most ambitious
undertaken by mankind. Not only must we help reinstate the normal climate
of the Earth, we must relocate millions and millions of coastal dwellers
and infrastructure to higher ground. Why? Because it was a mistake to
build there in the first place. An understandable and costly mistake that
can not be allowed to dictate what Earth's climate will be.
Before doing anything IFEN
would like to see our best minds undertake a study of the planet's
climate mechanisms. Only when we have a good understanding of the climate
system should action be taken.
It will be difficult, expensive
and hugely inconvenient.
Even so, far better than another
let alone another snowball Earth. I guarantee one or the other is coming
if we do nothing. Can we stop it? We must. Will there be problems? Sure.
Will some species need to adapt? Of course. We can make nearly the entire
Earth once again habitable and supportive of life.
The dinosaurs were not able to survive
the forces of nature. Nor where the Wooly Mammoth, Wooly Rhino and many
others. Our fate is yet to be determined. If the ice age returns in full
force humans will die in very large numbers. There will be no escape from
the winter without end. Before the ice forms there will be snow storm
after snow storm. By the time we realize what is happening it will be too
late. Travel will grind to a halt. Crops will not grow. Wild life will
perish. Only those near the equator will have a chance. Even there it
will be no picnic.
As a beginning the following is suggested
for consideration, more study needed in each case:
1. If climate science
consensus is right, then let's get serious about CO2. 1,000
ppm is attainable and a 6
ºC increase in temperature.
2. Reopen the connection
between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans through Central America to
reestablish ocean currents.
3. Enlarge the openings
to the Arctic ocean to augment the currents there.
4. Change the albedo of
ice sheets, caps and glaciers
to promote melting.
5. Reflectors in Earth
orbit to focus solar energy on the
night side on ice sheets, caps and glaciers to promote melting,
6. Controlled, incremental release of methane hydrates from the shallow
Arctic shelf and deep ocean deposits, possibly as an energy source.
Do we really want this for future
Each winter in northern latitudes
we are reminded that glaciers will one day inexorably advance. Glaciers
begin very simply when summer warmth is unable to melt all of winter's
snow. How delicate is the balance. It starts snowing and doesn't stop.
The snow doesn't melt; it keeps building up. By the time you realize
there's a problem, it's too late. How many can ski to Mexico?
WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?
"There is some speculation that global
warming could, via a shutdown or slowdown of the thermohaline
circulation, trigger localized cooling in the North Atlantic and lead to
cooling, or lesser warming, in that region. This would particularly
affect areas such as Ireland, Britain and Nordic countries that are
warmed by the North Atlantic drift. The chances of this occurring are
unclear; there is some evidence for the stability of the Gulf Stream but
a possible weakening of the North Atlantic drift; and there is evidence
of warming in northern Europe and nearby seas, rather than the reverse.
The future is undecided, as studies of the Florida Current suggest that
the Gulf Stream weakens with cooling and strengthens with warming, being
weakest (by ~10%) during the Little Ice Age and strongest during
1,000–1,100 years BP (Before Present), the Medieval Warm Period."
Concern has been expressed
about the stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS). Vaughan &
Spouge argued that the "WAIS most likely will not collapse in the next
few centuries." In a recent inaugural article for members of the
National Academy of Sciences elected in 2005, Timothy Lenton and others
suggest that a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet could occur
within a millennium. Specifically they state "Although the timescale is
highly uncertain, a qualitative WAIS change could occur within this
millennium, with collapse within 300 years being a worst-case scenario.
Rapid sea-level rise (>1 m per century) is more likely to come from the
WAIS than from the Greenland ice sheet."
Greenland's ice sheet
contains enough fresh water as ice to raise sea level worldwide by 7
metres (23 ft). Greenland may become warm enough by 2100 to begin an
almost complete melt over more than a 1,000 years. James E. Hansen
suggests that inadequate attention is being given to this issue,.
However, research comparing data from the Eemian period suggests that the
Greenland ice sheet will remain at least in part at 5C.
One study suggests it would
take 3,000 years to completely melt the Greenland ice sheet. This
figure was derived from the assumed levels of greenhouse gases over the
duration of the experiment.
As the Greenland ice sheet
loses mass from calving of icebergs as well as by melting of ice, any
such processes tend to accelerate the loss of the ice sheet.
One study suggests that the
amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans may decline, with adverse
consequences for ocean life. This effect was determined using a model
run of 100,000 years. The researchers predicted:
…severe, long-term ocean
oxygen depletion, as well as a great expansion of ocean oxygen-minimum
zones for scenarios with high emissions or high climate sensitivity. We
find that climate feedbacks within the Earth system amplify the strength
and duration of global warming, ocean heating and oxygen depletion.
Decreased oxygen solubility from surface-layer warming accounts for most
of the enhanced oxygen depletion in the upper 500 m of the ocean.
Possible weakening of ocean overturning and convection lead to further
oxygen depletion, also in the deep ocean.
Methane clathrate, also
called methane hydrate, is a form of water ice that contains a large
amount of methane within its crystal structure. Extremely large deposits
of methane clathrate have been found under sediments on the ocean floors
of Earth (estimated at 3000–11,000 Gton C).
MacDonald suggests clathrate
volumes are "about 11,000 Gt of carbon for ocean sediments, and about 400
Gt for sediments under permafrost regions". Buffett and Archer
predict "eventual releases of 2000–4000 Gton C in response to a ~2000
Gton C anthropogenic carbon release", for which they suggest no
"(M)ethane hydrate also
offers the potential to become a valuable source of clean energy, as
burning methane emits much less carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels."
Archer considered the
timescale and determined that "…on longer time scales of 1–10 ky, there
may be a positive feedback with ocean temperature, amplifying the
long-term climate impact of anthropogenic CO2 release."
While the warm surface
waters of the oceans have limited ability to absorb anthropogenic carbon
dioxide, the coldest surface waters near the poles (2–3% of ocean
surfaces) can transfer significant amounts of carbon dioxide to
deep-ocean reserves. Over a period of many centuries, this process and
the process of calcium carbonate absorption of carbon dioxide on land and
in the oceans will remove 60–80% of the excess carbon dioxide.
Igneous rock when exposed to
a near surface environment absorbs carbon dioxide through a very slow
weathering rate, but weathering increases in a warmer, higher rainfall
climate, speeding the process. This geological weathering will absorb the
remaining 20–40% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide over the period of tens
of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years.
A Personal Note
As an USAF pilot in 1970 I flew a C-141 to
Sondrestrom Air Base, Greenland. Landing required flying up a long fjord.
The only way out was back the way we came. In the cafeteria was available
a local delicacy...buried eggs. When ready they have turned brown inside.
I didn't try them. The government of Greenland took ownership of the base
in 1992. It was deepest winter. Cold, barren, desolate. When the current
interglacial period slides into the next glacial period, much of the
world will be like Greenland or buried deep ice under ice.
Sonderstrom AB, Greenland
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