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Resisting Global Warming Panic
American Thinker ^ | January 31, 2007 | J.R. Dunn

Posted on 01/30/2007 11:45:37 PM PST by neverdem

It may well turn out that George W. Bush's greatest service to the country won't involve terrorism or Iraq at all, but his steadfast refusal to be buffaloed into joining the panicky consensus on global warming.
Rumor had it that Bush intended to embrace the warming thesis at last in his State of the  Union address. Instead Greens nationwide went into depressed tailspins as he called for an attack on the problem by means of technical advances, a curve ball very much in the old Bush mode, of a type that we've seen too little of recently. Bush is acting in defiance of much of the civilized world, led by a former vice-president and including the media, the entertainment community, the Democrats, most of the policy elite, that peculiar and never-before-encountered group known as "mainstream scientists", and now even corporations, eager to clamber aboard the Kyoto wagon while there's still room.
As James Lewis recently put it on these pages, global warming is most likely a crock. Some of us are old enough to  remember similar hysterics over air pollution, overpopulation, and universal famine, none of which ever came to pass. The science behind warming is so full of lacunae, speculation, and outright fraud (e.g., the famed "hockey stick chart" purporting to show temperature levels over the past millennium while conveniently dropping both the medieval warm period and the Little Ice Age) to be in any way convincing.
One curious element involves certain facts that, on first consideration, would appear to be crucial but never seem to come up in debate. I have spent several years trying to track down the actual values of two numbers - the annual amount of  carbon dioxide emitted by all human activities, and the amount of carbon dioxide already present in the atmosphere. There are as many answers as there are sources, the first ranging from 3 billion to 28 billion tons, the second from 750 billion tons to 2.97 x 1012 tons, a number so large that there's no common English word for it. Variations of this size - up to three orders of magnitude - suggest a serious lack of basic knowledge. The fact that it never comes up suggests that scientists   are well aware of this. (It's doubtful we'll see the question addressed in this week's IPCC report either.)   

So it's something of a relief to turn to history. Despite the insistence of Al Gore and  friends, this is far from the first time the Earth has ever passed through a climatic warming period.  In fact, one occurred relatively recently, the medieval warm period, more commonly known as the Little Climatic Optimum (LCO), a period stretching roughly from the 10th to the 13th centuries, in which the average temperature was anything from 1 to 3 degrees centigrade higher than it is today. Several years ago, I covered the LCO in an article detailing the climatic history of the last millennium. But it's worthwhile to cover the highlights once more, to help put the contemporary panic into perspective.
* How warm was it during the LCO? Areas in the Midlands and Scotland that cannot grow crops  today were regularly farmed. England was known for its wine exports.    

* The average height of Britons around A.D. 1000 was close to six feet, thanks to good nutrition.  The small stature of the British lower classes (and the Irish) later in the millennium is an artifact of lower temperatures. People of the 20th century were the first Europeans in centuries to grow to  their "true" stature - and most had to grow up in the USA to do it.

* In fact, famine - and its partner, plague -- appears to have taken a hike for several centuries. We   have records of only a handful of famines during the LCO, and few mass outbreaks of disease. The bubonic plague itself appears to have retreated to its heartland of Central Asia.   

* The LCO was the first age of transatlantic exploration. When not slaughtering their neighbors,  the Vikings were charting new lands across the North Atlantic, one of the stormiest seas on earth  (only the Southern Ocean - the Roaring 40s - is worse). If you tried the same thing today, traveling their routes in open boats of the size they used, you would drown. They discovered  Iceland, and Greenland, and a new world even beyond, where they found grape vines, the same as   in England.    

* The Agricultural Revolution is not widely known except among historians. Mild temperatures eased land clearing and lengthened growing seasons. More certain harvests encouraged experimentation among farmers involving field rotation, novel implements, and new crops such as legumes. While the thought of peas and beans may not thrill the foodies among us, they expanded  an almost unbelievably bland ancient diet as well as providing new sources of nutrition. The result was a near-tripling of European population from 27 million at the end of the 7th century to 70  million in 1300.

* The First Industrial Revolution is not widely known even among historians. Opening the  northern German plains allowed access to easily mined iron deposits in the Ruhr and the Saarland.   As a result smithies and mills became common sights throughout Europe. Then came the basic inventions without which nothing more complex can be made - the compound crank, the connecting rod, the flywheel, followed by the turbine, the compass, the mechanical clock, and eyeglasses. Our entire technical civilization, all the way down to Al Gore's hydrogenmobile, has its roots in the LCO.
But in the late 13th century, it all came to an end.

The climate closed down. Rains ruined crops and washed away entire seacoast towns. Far to the north, the great colonies of Iceland and Greenland faltered and began to fade away. Famine returned to Europe, and with it the plague, in one of the greatest mass deaths ever witnessed by humanity. The bright centuries were replaced by the dance of death and a dank and morbid religiosity. The focus of culture shifted to the warm Mediterranean. It remained cold, within certain broad limits, for six hundred years. The chill only lifted in the 1850s, when our current warming actually began.

We look back to a world that was a far more pleasant place at the turn of the last   millennium, with a milder climate, plentiful food, a healthy populace. A picture, needless to say, at some variance with the Greens' prediction of coming universal disaster. It also undermines one of one of the basic environmentalist tenets - that nature is in delicate balance that can destroyed by a hard look from any given capitalist, and that any such change leads inevitably to catastrophe.   

The LCO suggests that a warmer world may well be more desirable than the one we have now. To go a step further, my research implied that the planet is in fact meant to be somewhat warmer than it is today, that the life-forms we see around us are in fact adapted to a warmer climate. The earth is, after all, stuck within a three-million-year glacial epoch whose origin and cause remain a mystery. (We're now in a brief "interglacial" - a warming period! - that began only 12,000 years ago and could end tomorrow.)   

I brought this up with a friend, a noted NASA scientist -- who, due to the tenor of the times, shall remain nameless - and he responded, ‘Of course - there's more life at the equator than at the poles." (This, by the way, is a perfect example of how a capable scientific mind operates, an immediate, undistracted focusing on the most critical elements. It doesn't seem to work that way with the Greens' "mainstream scientists".)

If warming were currently the case, we'd more than likely be seeing an LCO situation   unfolding - meliorating weather, fewer storms, and moderating temperatures. But instead we're enduring massive blizzards across the Midwest, single-degree temperatures in Central Park, cold currents embracing Australia (bringing with them a plague of great white sharks), and killer storms across Europe. Not at all what we'd expect from either the medieval or the environmental scenario. Whatever is happening to the climate, it appears that the scientists, mainstream and otherwise, have not yet put their finger on it.    

Which is why we need to keep our options open, harboring our resources rather than   blowing them on some wild-eyed Gore plan that may end up doing the exact opposite of what is required. And why GWB deserves a lot more credit than he's ever likely to get. 

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: climate; climatechange; convenientfiction; g79; globalwarming; science
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Greenhouse Gas Properties

Methane (CH4) is a principal component of natural gas. It is also formed and released to the atmosphere by biological processes occurring in anaerobic environments. Once in the atmosphere, methane absorbs terrestrial infrared radiation that would otherwise escape to space. This property can contribute to the warming of the atmosphere, which is why methane is a greenhouse gas.

Methane is about 21 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) by weight (see box below). Methane's chemical lifetime in the atmosphere is approximately 12 years. Methane’s relatively short atmospheric lifetime, coupled with its potency as a greenhouse gas, makes it a candidate for mitigating global warming over the near-term (i.e., next 25 years or so).

Atmospheric Concentrations of Greenhouse Gases in Geological Time and in Recent Years

It has an oversize graphic. Please use the link for the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.

1 posted on 01/30/2007 11:45:37 PM PST by neverdem
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Once the killing starts, there's no stopping it (euthanasia)

A shining city for life sciences (Lawrence H. Summers believes in liberal orthodoxy on some issues.)

Can Humanity Survive? Want to Bet on It?

The Global Warming Two-Step

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

2 posted on 01/31/2007 12:22:21 AM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

What a GREAT article. Thanks for the post

3 posted on 01/31/2007 12:23:44 AM PST by nancyvideo (nancyvideo)
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To: neverdem

"It may well turn out that George W. Bush's greatest service to the country won't involve terrorism or Iraq at all, but his steadfast refusal to be buffaloed into joining the panicky consensus on global warming." Not likely since if his resisting the advance of radical Islamism fails we will not exist as a nation long enough to see the results of the Sun's effect on global ice age weather patterns in our 'lifetime' ... aleady harvested ice cores seem to make no impact on emotionally driven agendas. Truth or facts mean nothing to political agendas.

4 posted on 01/31/2007 12:44:43 AM PST by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support. Promote life support for others.)
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To: neverdem



5 posted on 01/31/2007 12:49:17 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard

I've been living on Okinawa, Japan for past 27 years and the weather is always consistent. Each and every year during the summer the temps are 30-32 C. Highest temps usually in Aug and early Sep @ 33-34. No higher than that. I always monitor daily temps.

6 posted on 01/31/2007 12:56:56 AM PST by ONEBYEONE
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To: neverdem
"Methane (CH4) is a principal component of natural gas."

Did you know that the "CLEAN" natural gas that has been fueling electric growth in the US since this country decided not to build Nuke plants, looses at minimum 4% of the quantity of fuel into the environment just due to leakage?

Clean, efficient natural gas!
7 posted on 01/31/2007 1:03:43 AM PST by Herakles (Diversity is code word for anti-white racism)
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To: neverdem
If the greenie wackos really wanted to reduce emissions they would push nuclear power. So what do they really want, to destroy the U.S. economy. Equal misery for all.

Is it true that more CO2 means more plants. Don't plants convert CO2 to oxygen? Isn't that good?

BTW, it's UN IPCC, as in when has the UN ever been right about anything?

8 posted on 01/31/2007 1:09:42 AM PST by Tarpon
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To: Herakles
The major natural greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 36-70% of the greenhouse effect on Earth (not including clouds); carbon dioxide, which causes 9-26%; methane, which causes 4-9%, and ozone, which causes 3-7%.
9 posted on 01/31/2007 1:14:58 AM PST by Kozak (Anti Shahada: " There is no God named Allah, and Muhammed is his False Prophet")
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To: neverdem
If we had less environmentalists, I suspect we'd have less "Global Warming". Just a thought.
10 posted on 01/31/2007 1:47:05 AM PST by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: neverdem
2.97 x 10^12 tons, a number so large that there's no common English word for it
Actually, he's got this bit wrong.

Here are some common English number words:

10^3 : thousand
10^6 : million
10^9 : billion
10^12 : trillion

So the number in question is 2.97 trillion.

11 posted on 01/31/2007 1:56:53 AM PST by samtheman
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To: neverdem
Michael Crichton Is Right!
12 posted on 01/31/2007 2:02:00 AM PST by A. Pole (Gore:We are the most powerful force of nature.We are changing the relationship between Earth and Sun)
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To: neverdem
We have records of only a handful of famines during the LCO, and few mass outbreaks of disease. The bubonic plague itself appears to have retreated to its heartland of Central Asia.
This matches other things I've read about the plague, that it actually increased during periods of global cooling, such as after the Krakatoa explosion of 535 AD. According to at least one historian, the resulting global cooling (from the shroud of volcanic dust in the upper atmosphere blocking sunlight) was actually a boon to rat populations in Africa where the plague existed and which was carried to Rome on the Ivory trade.
13 posted on 01/31/2007 2:04:28 AM PST by samtheman
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To: neverdem

Excellent article

14 posted on 01/31/2007 2:25:26 AM PST by JoeGar
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To: neverdem

Great article. The envirowhackos want us to hurry up and sign on to their global warming BS because it looks like it has already turned to cooling here in Michigan. They want to claim credit for this and can't if we don't sign Kyoto. If we sign it, they will claim the next day that it is already making a difference.

15 posted on 01/31/2007 3:20:29 AM PST by westmichman (The will of God always trumps the will of the people.)
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To: samtheman

Or tera tons.

16 posted on 01/31/2007 3:31:36 AM PST by DB
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To: neverdem

When Bin Laddie declared war, he didn't mention fixing globle warming so there must not be anything to it. After all wouldn't he interested in fixin-up the planet he's gonna take over? It's all B.S. ain't it? And more of these whack-jobs are rooting for Bin Laddie than for us.

17 posted on 01/31/2007 4:07:14 AM PST by Waco
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To: neverdem

When Bin Laddie declared war, he didn't mention fixing globle warming so there must not be anything to it. After all wouldn't he interested in fixin-up the planet he's gonna take over? It's all B.S. ain't it? And more of these whack-jobs are rooting for Bin Laddie than for us.

18 posted on 01/31/2007 4:11:37 AM PST by Waco
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To: Kozak
This site has different figures. 95% of any greenhouse effect is due to water vapour, 5% from CO2. Man's effect on the greenhouse effect is a tiny 0.28% - (and of course the greenhouse effect is a small peturbation anyway)
19 posted on 01/31/2007 4:46:46 AM PST by agere_contra
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To: neverdem
Richard A. Muller , Professor in the Physics Department at the University of California at Berkeley . He says about himself that he is concerned about global warming and thinks that human-created carbon dioxide may contribute. But he is a scientist first of all (!), so he presents the data and analyses it and you can make your own conclusions from the data and his analysis. Highlights below are mine. (My browser would not open figures 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 but the links worked fine (?!?))

Here is his Brief introduction to the history of climate: see all the graphs: we are just a blimp in the Earth's history - there are forces that guided changes in the climate for many millennia before human civilization.

Read also his note on the famous hockey stick problem.

Richard A. Muller:

Beginning in the early 1900s, the climate of the world began to warm. This is evident in Figure 1-1, which shows the average Earth surface temperature from 1880 through 1999. The temperature is an area-weighted average over the land and ocean compiled by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, using an averaging technique devised by Quayle et al. ; see also . In the plot, "zero" temperature is defined as the temperature in 1950. The fine line shows the monthly temperatures; the thicker line shows the 12 month yearly averages.

The figure shows that the 20th century had a temperature rise of nearly one degree Celsius. That may not sound like a lot, but its effects are quite noticeable. In Europe, the great glaciers of the Alps, such as the Mer de Glace near Chamonix, have been in retreat, and the canals of Holland almost never freeze over, as they did in an earlier era to allow Hans Brinker to silver skate into legend. The effects elsewhere on the globe are more severe, with large areas of Central Africa, once fertile, becoming arid and no longer capable of supporting a large population. Although the reason for this warming is not fully understood, many climate scientists think it is the result of the addition of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by humans.

Figure 1-1 Global warming


As we go back in time in search of earlier records, the historical record becomes less reliable. Fortunately, Nature has provided its own recording mechanism. As we will explain in Chapter 4, measurements of oxygen isotopes yield an estimate of ancient temperatures combined with total global ice volume – a combination which is just as interesting as temperature alone, if not more so. Data from a kilometer long core taken from the Greenland glacier, as part of the Greenland Ice Sheet Project "GISP2" , are shown in Figure 1-2. For comparison purposes, the zero of temperature scale for this plot was set to match that of the previous plot. For historical interest, we marked some events from European history.

Figure 1-2 Climate of the last 2400 years


The cool period preceding the 20th century warming is now seen as a dip that lasted 700 years. This period is now referred to as "the little ice age." (The coldest periods, near 1400 and 1700, are sometimes called the two little ice ages.) In her popular account of the history of the 14th century, historian Barbara W. Tuchman, argues that the low temperatures triggered social conflict and poor food production, and was thus responsible for hunger, war, and possibly even pestilence . Just a few centuries prior, at the beginning of the second millennium, Europe had experienced the "medieval warm period" . It was a time when civilization emerged from the Dark Ages, art and painting flourished, and the wealth and new productivity of Europe allowed it to build the great cathedrals. Some historians will attribute this flowering to great leaders, or to great ideas, or to great inventions, but it is foolish to ignore the changes in climate. Just prior to that, in the 900s, the Vikings were invading France, possibly driven from the more northern latitudes by the cold temperatures of that century. The height of the Roman republic and empire was reached during another time of unusual warmth – even higher than the warm period of today, if the ice-reckoned temperature scale is accurate.

The next plot (Figure 1-3) shows the data from the Greenland ice core back to 10,000 BC. Near the right hand side of this plot, the little dip of the little ice age is clear. Some scientists argue that global warming is not human caused, but is simply a natural return to the normal temperature of the previous 8,000 years. In fact, no one knows for sure if this is right or not. But the foundation for thinking that human effects will cause warming is substantial. Even if the recent rise in temperature is natural, human caused effects have a high probability of dominating in the near future, and within our lifetimes the temperature of the Earth could go higher than has ever seen previously by Homo sapiens.

Figure 1-3 Climate of the last 12,000 years


The dip near 6000 BC is not understood. It actually appears to be coincident with a short term increase in temperature that took place in Antarctica! So we can't easily interpret everything in these plots, at least not without studying other records. Fluctuations are evident all over the plot, and crying to be understood.

Agriculture began about 7,000 BCE, as marked on the plot. All of civilization was based on this invention. Agriculture allows large groups of people to live in the same location. It allows a small number of people to feed others, so that the others can become craftsmen, artists, historians, inventors, and scientists.

The sudden rise at the left side of the plot, at about 9,000 BCE (i.e. 11,000 years ago), was the end of the last ice age. The abruptness of the termination is startling. Agriculture, and all of our civilization, developed since this termination. The enormous glacier, several kilometers thick, covering much of North America and Eurasia, rapidly melted. Only small parts of this glacier survived, in Greenland and Antarctica, where they exist to this day. The melting caused a series of worldwide floods unlike anything previously experienced by Homo sapiens. (There had been a previous flood at about 120 kyr, but that was before Homo sapiens had moved to Europe or North America.) The flood dumped enough water into the oceans to cause the average sea level to rise 110 meters, enough to inundate the coastal areas, and to cover the Bering Isthmus, and turn it into the Bering Strait. The water from melting ice probably flooded down over land in pulses, as ice-dammed lakes formed and then catastrophically released their water. These floods left many records, including remnant puddles now known as the Great Lakes, and possibly gave rise to legends that persisted for many years. As the glacier retreated, it left a piles of debris at its extremum. One such pile is now known as New York's Long Island.

In the next plot, Figure 1-4, we show the Greenland ice data for the last 100,000 years. The very unusual nature of the last 11,000 years stands out in striking contrast to the 90,000 years of cold that preceded it. We now refer to such an unusual warm period as an interglacial. The long preceding period of ice is a glacial. During the last glacial, humans developed elaborate tools, and Homo sapiens migrated from Africa to Europe. But they did not develop civilization until the ice age ended.

During the glacial, not only was the temperature lower by 8 Celsius (and some estimates put it at more than 12 Celsius – the record is a superposition of ice volume and temperature), but the climate was extremely irregular. The irregularities in temperature during the glacials, the wild bumps and wiggles that cover much of Figure 1-4, are real, not an artifact of poor measurement. The same bumps and wiggles are seen in two separate cores in Greenland, and in data taken from sea floor records found off the California coast. The ability to adapt quickly during this wild climate ride may have given a substantial advantage to adaptable animals, such as humans, and made it difficult for other large fauna to survive. Maybe it was these rapid changes, and not the rapaciousness of humans, that drove the mammoths, camels, giant ground sloths and giant beavers (the size of bears) of North America extinct. Recent global warming appears negligible on this plot. However, if predictions of climate modelers are correct, global warming temperature changes will be comparable those during the ice age.


Figure 1-4 Climate of the last 100,000 years



The reliable data from Greenland go back only as far as shown in Figure 1-4. We can continue the climate plot further back by using the records from Vostok, the Russian base in Antarctica, where another ice core was drilled. The last 420 thousand years of a deuterium measurement at Vostok is shown in Figure 1-5, with the most recent 100 kyr appended from the Greenland record (which is more detailed). The temperature scale was adjusted to agree with the scale on the Greenland record.

Figure 1-5 Climate for the last 420 kyr, from Vostok ice


From this plot, it is clear that most of the last 420 thousand years (420 kyr) was spent in ice age. The brief periods when the record peaks above the zero line, the interglacials, typically lasted from a few thousand to perhaps twenty thousand years.

These data should frighten you. All of civilization developed during the last interglacial, and the data show that such interglacials are very brief. Our time looks about up. Data such as these are what led us to state, in the Preface, that the next ice age is about to hit us, any millennium now. It does not take a detailed theory to make this prediction. We don't necessarily know why the next ice age is imminent (at least on a geological time scale), but the pattern is unmistakable.

The real reason to be frightened is that we really don't understand what causes the pattern. We don't know why the ice ages are broken by the short interglacials. We do know something – that the driving force is astronomical. We'll describe how we know that in Chapter 2. We have models that relate the astronomical mechanisms to changes in climate, but we don't know which of our models are right, or if any of them are. We will discuss these models in some detail in this book. Much of the work of understanding lies in the future. It is a great field for a young student to enter.

The ice records take us back only to 420,000 years in the past. However, oxygen isotope records in sea floor cores allow us to go further. One of the best sets of data comes from a location in the northern Atlantic Ocean known as the Ocean Drilling Project Site 607 . This site has climate data going back three million years, and is shown in Figure 1-6. But before you look at the figure, let us warn you. In the paleoclimate community, there is a convention that time is shown backwards. That is, the present is plotted on the left-hand edge, and the past is towards the right. We are going to use this opportunity to change our convention, for the remainder of the book, so that you will have less trouble reading the literature. (The literature of "global warming" scientists, in contrast, follows the other convention, which we have used up until now.) We apologize for this change in convention, but we do not take blame for it.

In Figure 1-6, the 10 kyr years of agriculture and civilization appear as a sudden rise in temperature barely visible squeezed against the left hand axis of the plot. The temperature of 1950 is indicated by the horizontal line. As is evident from the data, civilization was created in an unusual time.

There are several important features to notice in these data, all of which will be discussed further in the remainder of the book. For the last million years or so (the left most third of the plot) the oscillations have had a cycle of about 100 kyr (thousand years). That is, the enduring period of ice is broken, roughly every 100 kyr, by a brief interglacial. During this time, the terminations of the ice ages appear to be particularly abrupt, as you can see from the sudden jumps that took place near 0, 120, 320, 450, and 650 thousand years ago. This has led scientists to characterize the data as shaped like a "sawtooth," although the pattern is not perfectly regular.

Figure 1-6 Climate of the last 3 million years

But as we look back beyond a 1000 kyr (1 million years), the character changes completely. The cycle is much shorter (it averages 41 kyr), the amplitude is reduced, the average value is higher (indicating that the ice ages were not as intense) and there is no evidence for the sawtooth shape. These are the features that ice age theories endeavor to explain. Why did the transition take place? What are the meanings of the frequencies? (We will show that they are well-known astronomical frequencies.) In the period immediately preceding the data shown here, older than 3 million years, the temperature didn't drop below the 1950 value, and we believe that large glaciers didn't form – perhaps only small ones, such as we have today in Greenland and Antarctica.

As we end this brief introduction to the history of the ice ages, let's again look to the future. As soon as the cycle of the ice ages was known, scientists realized that the ice age would eventually return. Some of them enjoyed scaring the public about the impending catastrophe. In Figure 1-7 we show the cover from a magazine of the 1940s showing the consequences of the return of the ice age to New York City. (One of the authors of the present book, RAM, saw this image as a child, and it made a lasting impression.) Unfortunately, the art genre of returning ice has been superseded, in the public forum, by paintings of asteroids about to hit the Earth, usually with a curious dinosaur momentarily distracted by the unusual scene. But, as we mentioned earlier, the more likely scenario for the early 21 st century, is the continued gradual growth of global warming.

Figure 1 -7 The Ice Age returns to New York City

You may continue in Chapter 1 to read A Brief Introduction to Ice Age Theories, or A Brief Introduction to Spectra.

20 posted on 01/31/2007 6:44:46 AM PST by Tolik
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