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New Ice Cores Expand View Of Climate History
Science Daily ^ | November 28, 2005

Posted on 11/29/2005 1:00:49 PM PST by cogitator

Two new studies of gases trapped in Antarctic ice cores have extended the record of Earth's past climate almost 50 percent further, adding another 210,000 years of definitive data about the makeup of the Earth's atmosphere and providing more evidence of current atmospheric change.

The research is being published in the journal Science by participants in the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica. It's "an amazing accomplishment we would not have thought possible" as recently as 10 years ago, said Ed Brook, a professor of geosciences at Oregon State University, who analyzed the studies in the same issue of this professional journal.

"Not long ago we thought that previous ice studies which go back about 500,000 years might be the best we could obtain," said Brook, who is also the co-chair of the International Partnerships in Ice Coring Sciences, a group that's helping to plan future ice core research efforts around the world.

"Now we have a glimpse into the past of up to 650,000 years, and we believe it may be possible to go as much as one million years or more," Brook said. "This will give us a fuller picture of Earth's past climates, the way they changed and fluctuated, and the forces that caused the changes. We'll be studying this new data for years."

As the data become more solid about the atmospheric conditions of the past, it's becoming increasingly clear that the current conditions of the past 200 years are a distinct anomaly, Brook said.

"The levels of primary greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are up dramatically since the Industrial Revolution, at a speed and magnitude that the Earth has not seen in hundreds of thousands of years," Brook said. "There is now no question this is due to human influence."

The ice cores being taken from Greenland, Antarctica and other sites provide an invaluable record of Earth's past climates, researchers say. By testing the gases and trace elements found trapped in these cores, scientists gain a better understanding of how climate and atmospheric gases interact and evolve.

"We predict, for instance, that rising levels of greenhouse gases will warm our climate," Brook said. "There's evidence that this is happening right now, and it would be interesting to find out if the same thing has happened at times in the distant past. And there are also concerns we're exploring about rapid shifts in climate."

Analysis of the older cores just removed from Antarctica, Brook said, are consistent with some of the quick changes in methane and carbon dioxide levels that are related to abrupt climate change. However, it also appears that the natural climate cycles in the distant past -- the development and retreat of Ice Ages, for instance -- were smaller in magnitude and had less fluctuation in atmospheric gases than what the Earth is now experiencing.

There are critical questions that work of this type may help answer, researchers say. One of the most obvious is the relationship between increasing levels of greenhouse gases and global warming. But there are also concerns that the Earth's climate may have changed very abruptly at times in the past, in complex interactions between the atmosphere, ocean currents and ice sheets.

Past studies of gases trapped in Greenland and Antarctic ice cores have suggested that Earth's temperature can sometimes change amazingly fast, warming as much as 15 degrees in some regions within a couple of decades. At the same time, there are concerns about the change of major ocean currents, such as those in the North Atlantic Ocean, that are responsible for the comparatively mild climate of much of Europe. If that "thermohaline circulation pattern" were to abruptly shut down, as has happened at times in the past, it could plunge much of the European continent into a climate more closely resembling that of central Canada.

According to Brook, continuing research will help to address many of these questions. The international committee he co-chairs, which involves representatives from 17 nations, is considering such work as a very deep ice coring project in Antarctica that might provide a record of atmospheric gases 1.2 million years ago, or even further back in time. Other studies are also anticipated in Greenland and the Arctic.

Some of these projects will require drilling in challenging locations on very old ice, Brook said, at considerable cost in initiatives that require international cooperation.

"Ice cores are the cornerstones of global change research," Brook said. "They have played a central role in showing how closely climate and greenhouse gas concentrations were linked in the past, and they are demonstrating also that very abrupt climate switches can occur."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antartica; brrrrr; carbondioxide; climate; climatechange; cold; coldcold; cores; crevolist; epica; gases; godsgravesglyphs; greenhouse; history; ice; methane
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1 posted on 11/29/2005 1:00:52 PM PST by cogitator
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To: cogitator

ping for later read


2 posted on 11/29/2005 1:01:54 PM PST by RadioAstronomer (Senior member of Darwin Central)
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To: cogitator

nothing is more precise in measurements right now.


3 posted on 11/29/2005 1:03:29 PM PST by kajingawd (" happy with stone underhead, let Heaven and Earth go about their changes")
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To: DaveLoneRanger

** ping **


4 posted on 11/29/2005 1:03:54 PM PST by cogitator
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To: cogitator
"We'll be studying this new data for years."

Guaranteed a career!

5 posted on 11/29/2005 1:04:00 PM PST by azhenfud (He who always is looking up seldom finds others' lost change.)
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To: cogitator
We're all gonna die in 2745!!!! We don't have a chance. We are doomed by the new ice age!!!! Ugggg, it ain't gonna matter to me, 3 weeks after I am dust, the world could end, how would I know! Oh, right, CNN would be reporting it.
6 posted on 11/29/2005 1:04:54 PM PST by RetiredArmy (I have no faith in any politician or political party any more. They all lie for their agendas.)
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To: cogitator

Global warming? I'm for it!


7 posted on 11/29/2005 1:05:41 PM PST by null and void (Peace on Earth. Death to the Terrorists...)
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To: cogitator

I hear as soon as one core began melting, they decided global warming was at fault.


8 posted on 11/29/2005 1:05:49 PM PST by theDentist (The Dems have put all their eggs in one basket-case: Howard "Belltower" Dean.)
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To: cogitator

pflr


9 posted on 11/29/2005 1:06:35 PM PST by Abathar (Proudly catching hell for posting without reading since 2004)
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To: cogitator
Past studies of gases trapped in Greenland and Antarctic ice cores have suggested that Earth's temperature can sometimes change amazingly fast, warming as much as 15 degrees in some regions within a couple of decades.

Yet this is evidence that the imperceptible change we have seen over the past few decades is the result of human activity. How is that?

10 posted on 11/29/2005 1:06:40 PM PST by SolidSupplySide
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To: cogitator

Great news! How long will it be before we get rid of winter?


11 posted on 11/29/2005 1:07:08 PM PST by johnny7 (“You have a corpse in a car, minus a head, in the garage. Take me to it.”)
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To: cogitator

500,102;500103; 500,104; 500,105; 500,106....

Wheeww counting past 100,000 sure gets boring.

500,107; 500,107; oops 500,108


12 posted on 11/29/2005 1:07:59 PM PST by bert (K.E. ; N.P . Peta girls end up as spinsters)
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To: cogitator
"But there are also concerns that the Earth's climate may have changed very abruptly at times in the past, in complex interactions between the atmosphere, ocean currents and ice sheets."

All part of a normal cycle?

13 posted on 11/29/2005 1:08:47 PM PST by blam
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To: cogitator
As the data become more solid about the atmospheric conditions of the past, it's becoming increasingly clear that the current conditions of the past 200 years are a distinct anomaly, Brook said. "The levels of primary greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are up dramatically since the Industrial Revolution, at a speed and magnitude that the Earth has not seen in hundreds of thousands of years," Brook said. "There is now no question this is due to human influence."

Hmm, it does not make sense. 200 years ago the industry produced gases were a tiny fraction of what is today and even smaller fraction of what volcanoes spit out. Also in the past few thousands of years there were warmer periods than today.

I will worry about global warming when Greenland is a green land again.

14 posted on 11/29/2005 1:09:03 PM PST by A. Pole (Mandarin Meng-tzu: "The duty of the ruler is to ensure the prosperous livelihood of his subjects.")
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To: RetiredArmy

Now you know why the Wide Anthropic Principle is not accepted by the PC establishment. The Universe depends on your perception of it - when you're gone, I don't exist to you.


15 posted on 11/29/2005 1:10:08 PM PST by dhuffman@awod.com (The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense.)
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To: cogitator

What if they dug down, looking for ice, and hit those space airplanes from Scientology? All us Christians would be proven wrong, and we'd have to admit that Tom Cruise had it all straight (pardon the pun), after all. Shocking. (potentially)


16 posted on 11/29/2005 1:10:19 PM PST by emiller
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To: cogitator

And the tentative conclusion is -

Things change over time. More CO2, less CO2, warmer atmosphere, colder atmosphere, more snowfall, less snowfall.

Past is not necessarily prognosis. There may be a much larger cycle here, in which nobody has yet made correlations.

The effects of activities of mankind may still be extremely insignificant in relation to the other sources of climatic change.


17 posted on 11/29/2005 1:12:04 PM PST by alloysteel
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To: alloysteel

The average American is obese- and thusly, emits various and sundry "gases." I think someday, the world will be shocked to find that we were the cause of global warming/cooling/lukewarming after all. I will be proven right, and will get the respect I deserve/crave.
I am not a lunatic.


18 posted on 11/29/2005 1:16:29 PM PST by emiller
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To: cogitator

Impossible! The world is only 6000 years old!


19 posted on 11/29/2005 1:16:34 PM PST by glorgau
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To: cogitator

The article states:
"Not long ago we thought that previous ice studies which go back about 500,000 years might be the best we could obtain," said Brook, who is also the co-chair of the International Partnerships in Ice Coring Sciences, a group that's helping to plan future ice core research efforts around the world.

"Now we have a glimpse into the past of up to 650,000 years, and we believe it may be possible to go as much as one million years or more," Brook said. "This will give us a fuller picture of Earth's past climates, the way they changed and fluctuated, and the forces that caused the changes. We'll be studying this new data for years."

As the data become more solid about the atmospheric conditions of the past, it's becoming increasingly clear that the current conditions of the past 200 years are a distinct anomaly, Brook said.

"The levels of primary greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are up dramatically since the Industrial Revolution, at a speed and magnitude that the Earth has not seen in hundreds of thousands of years," Brook said. "There is now no question this is due to human influence."


Now let me get this straight. Because they have found an ice core from 500,000 years ago to 650,000 years ago, there is "no question" that current global warming is due to human activity. How can this sample tell us that?


20 posted on 11/29/2005 1:17:04 PM PST by NeilGus
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To: A. Pole

" . . . it does not make sense. 200 years ago the industry produced gases were a tiny fraction of what is today . . "

You are almost certainly correct, but I wouldn't be surprised if the terribly inefficient wood/coal/peat burning back then produced similarly amounts of greenhouse gas for comparably little usable energy.

Lots of studies show both Europe and North America actually have MORE trees and forests now than existed when Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

And all the descriptions of old London were basically of a soot-filled nightmare.

That said, I would think you are correct. But I am not sure.


21 posted on 11/29/2005 1:18:46 PM PST by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: emiller

They were recycled into DC-9's.

Hence, the striking resemblance.


22 posted on 11/29/2005 1:19:20 PM PST by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: cogitator
in complex interactions between the atmosphere, ocean currents

Let me know when they find evidence of massive 1000 mile diameter hurricanes pulling down tropospheric air to the surface capable of freezing helocopters and buildings. I'll then know its time to scream, run-around like nutz, and generally panic.

23 posted on 11/29/2005 1:20:54 PM PST by C210N (While DOGS Have MASTERS, CATS Have STAFF!)
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To: cogitator

I'd like to know what assumptions and methodologies are behind the interpretation of the evidence and whether they have been challenged. Meanwhile, it looks like there's good money to be had in digging holes and crying "wolf."


24 posted on 11/29/2005 1:22:20 PM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: NeilGus
Now let me get this straight. Because they have found an ice core from 500,000 years ago to 650,000 years ago, there is "no question" that current global warming is due to human activity. How can this sample tell us that?

You're right, it can't. But that is not what this is all about. From the article:

According to Brook, continuing research will help to address many of these questions.

This translates as: "Give me more money!"

That's the real point. The crises change from year to year, but the solution is always the same.

25 posted on 11/29/2005 1:23:42 PM PST by thulldud (The Democratic military vote is the REAL "Army of One".)
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To: emiller
The average American is obese- and thusly, emits various and sundry "gases." I think someday, the world will be shocked to find that we were the cause of global warming/cooling/lukewarming after all. I will be proven right, and will get the respect I deserve/crave. I am not a lunatic.

Compared to a cow...you are insignificant!

26 posted on 11/29/2005 1:25:46 PM PST by CROSSHIGHWAYMAN (m)
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To: cogitator
I once knew a guy who wanted to drill in Antarc 2000-yrs deep to gather ice to sell to churches for "Holy Water from the Time of Christ"--

He was serious, too, until he went on his next freakish pseudo-science-entrepeneur binge. I don't think he had any offers from Rome, and I don't think he'd have been allowed to "harvest" any ice, anyway.

27 posted on 11/29/2005 1:32:55 PM PST by Mamzelle (evosnide#1--"You need to get back to biology class")
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To: Mamzelle

Technically, all the water around or in you dates from the time of Christ -- and even earlier. After all, it's all just recycled dinosaur pee.


28 posted on 11/29/2005 1:34:34 PM PST by Junior (From now on, I'll stick to science, and leave the hunting alien mutants to the experts!)
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To: cogitator
The ice cores being taken from Greenland, Antarctica and other sites provide an invaluable record of Earth's past climates, researchers say. By testing the gases and trace elements found trapped in these cores, scientists gain a better understanding of how climate and atmospheric gases interact and evolve.

Unfortunately, ice cores taken longer than about 10 years ago are useless for use as science. The cores were not taken with gas sampling in mind and could have been contaminated is so many ways as to make any argument silly.

I do know that this article fails to address this aspect of controversial conclusions drawn from "uncontrolled" ice cores aimed at analyzing simply water, particulate matter and possible vetetable traces... Not gases.

29 posted on 11/29/2005 1:42:31 PM PST by Publius6961 (The IQ of California voters is about 420........... .............cumulatively)
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To: Junior
Oh, this guy is a PhD pencilneck "skeptic" with a hilariously inflated sense of his own intellect--and thought Rome was a fool ripe for the picking. The Jesuit consiglieri must have just hooted at his preening, if they listened to him at all--and he lost some money before he remembered that Antarctica has its own interesting rules about exploitation.

But, he was amusing in his enthusiasm, for the brief time it lasted. Then he was off to lose another fortune and waste more of everyone's time.

30 posted on 11/29/2005 1:43:38 PM PST by Mamzelle (evosnide#1--"You need to get back to biology class")
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To: cogitator
"The levels of primary greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are up dramatically since the Industrial Revolution, at a speed and magnitude that the Earth has not seen in hundreds of thousands of years," Brook said. "There is now no question this is due to human influence."

INVALID CONCLUSION

what a maroon

31 posted on 11/29/2005 1:46:32 PM PST by hang 'em (Is devil worship "one of the world's great religions"?)
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To: SolidSupplySide
Yet this is evidence that the imperceptible change we have seen over the past few decades is the result of human activity. How is that?

Climate scientists are still working on more accurately characterizing how atmospheric composition changes affect global temperature during a warm interglacial period (i.e., now). Abrupt changes such the 15 degree change cited weren't caused solely by changes in atmospheric trace gases (but might be related to slower changes pushing the climate to a so-called "tipping point" where an abrupt change happens).

32 posted on 11/29/2005 1:55:11 PM PST by cogitator
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To: cogitator

The deeper we go, the more we blow. What would we do without experts?


33 posted on 11/29/2005 1:55:34 PM PST by hgro (A)
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To: blam
All part of a normal cycle?

Abrupt changes might signal the end of the normal cycle and a transition to a new cyclic timing. Reading various sources indicates that there was a transition between a dominate 41,000 year cycle and a dominant 100,000 year cycle. The cause(s) of the 100,000 year cycle are harder to figure out.

34 posted on 11/29/2005 1:58:04 PM PST by cogitator
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To: PatrickHenry
"Now we have a glimpse into the past of up to 650,000 years, and we believe it may be possible to go as much as one million years or more," Brook said. "This will give us a fuller picture of Earth's past climates, the way they changed and fluctuated, and the forces that caused the changes. We'll be studying this new data for years."

"But were you there?" Bump.

35 posted on 11/29/2005 1:58:21 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: cogitator

Bush's Fault...What was the topic? /sarc


36 posted on 11/29/2005 1:59:13 PM PST by add925 (The Left = Xenophobes in Denial)
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To: A. Pole
Hmm, it does not make sense. 200 years ago the industry produced gases were a tiny fraction of what is today and even smaller fraction of what volcanoes spit out.

Volcanoes produce (on average) about 150 times less CO2 than human industrial (energy-related) processes. They produce a lot more S02, but due to its short lifetime in the atmosphere, cooling effects from volcanic S02 only last a few years after major eruptions.

37 posted on 11/29/2005 2:00:10 PM PST by cogitator
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To: NeilGus
Now let me get this straight. Because they have found an ice core from 500,000 years ago to 650,000 years ago, there is "no question" that current global warming is due to human activity. How can this sample tell us that?

The comment was about changes in atmospheric gases (CO2 and methane), not global temperature.

38 posted on 11/29/2005 2:02:06 PM PST by cogitator
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To: VadeRetro

Obviously a hummasexshil plot.


39 posted on 11/29/2005 2:04:12 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Expect no response if you're a troll, lunatic, dotard, or incurable ignoramus.)
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To: PatrickHenry
Thunder outside just now. Think I'll shut down for a bit in awed tribute. Talk about global warming!
40 posted on 11/29/2005 2:05:55 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: Publius6961
Unfortunately, ice cores taken longer than about 10 years ago are useless for use as science. The cores were not taken with gas sampling in mind and could have been contaminated is so many ways as to make any argument silly.

I don't think that's accurate at all. One of the main reasons these guys do the coring is with the knowledge that they want to accurately measure the concentration of trace gases in the trapped bubbles. By making the statement you're making above, you're impugning the methodology of an entire community of scientists that has being doing this type of study for years. That's very bold of you. While I admire your audacity, I'd have to consider your comment as having little support until you published a critique addressing their methodology.

41 posted on 11/29/2005 2:06:12 PM PST by cogitator
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To: A. Pole
200 years ago the industry produced gases were a tiny fraction of what is today and even smaller fraction of what volcanoes spit out.

Right now, industry produces 10 times more atmosphereic Carbon Dioxide per year than volcanoes do, so pollution has been producing more CO2 than volcanoes for quite some time.

And, of course, volcanoes produce huge amounts of Sulfur Dioxide, which blocks sunlight and cools the earth, so overall volcanic eruptions tend to cool the earth.

42 posted on 11/29/2005 2:06:32 PM PST by Strategerist
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To: cogitator
Until water vapor is addressed, all "greenhouse gas" analyses are meaningless.
43 posted on 11/29/2005 2:10:55 PM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: Strategerist
Right now, industry produces 10 times more atmosphereic Carbon Dioxide per year than volcanoes do

Does it? If so, how large part of the total Earth emission of CO2 the industry makes, do you know by any chance?

44 posted on 11/29/2005 2:14:37 PM PST by A. Pole (Mandarin Meng-tzu: "The duty of the ruler is to ensure the prosperous livelihood of his subjects.")
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To: Strategerist
so overall volcanic eruptions tend to cool the earth.

But in this modern era, even a big (Pinatubo) eruption only causes a short cooling period. Now, if we could initiate a new flood basalt episode...

(There may be some drawbacks to the implementation of that idea.)

45 posted on 11/29/2005 2:15:30 PM PST by cogitator
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To: cogitator

This research must be fundamentally flawed. A good test might compare gas from old ice to gas in new ice. But they are saying that the glaciers are retreating. If the ice is retreating, there is no way to capture current ice samples to compare the history to. So they are comparing gases stored in old ice to gases sampled some other way. Sounds like bad science to me.


46 posted on 11/29/2005 2:15:36 PM PST by JTHomes
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To: facedown
Until water vapor is addressed, all "greenhouse gas" analyses are meaningless.

Water vapor is a climate feedback, not a climate forcing. As the global temperature warms, relative humidity will increase. The reason water vapor is a feedback is the high variability of water vapor concentration in the atmosphere.

47 posted on 11/29/2005 2:17:08 PM PST by cogitator
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To: cogitator
I don't think that's accurate at all. One of the main reasons these guys do the coring is with the knowledge that they want to accurately measure the concentration of trace gases in the trapped bubbles.

Well, the Russian Academy of Sciences does not agree with you and, nothing personal, but for this subject I will go with their analyses.
Granted, ice core sampling today complies with the guidelines that you suggest, but the older cores, which were never intended for that type of test were initally and erroneously used to validate the "man-is-at-fault" faith.
They set out to find proof and, lo and behold, they found it!

48 posted on 11/29/2005 2:17:33 PM PST by Publius6961 (The IQ of California voters is about 420........... .............cumulatively)
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To: A. Pole

200 years ago we had no weather data. Hell, even 50 years ago our weather data globally was suspect.


49 posted on 11/29/2005 2:17:53 PM PST by Solson (magnae clunes mihi placent, nec possum de hac re mentiri.)
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To: JTHomes
Sounds like bad science to me.

The newest core is from a site in Antarctica, and they are comparing its results to results from other sites.

50 posted on 11/29/2005 2:18:30 PM PST by cogitator
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