Global Warming is not the only issue, but it is a key one. Others include: Population control and secular humanism in an age of many searching for personal freedom to include sex ideas, abortion vs human rights, and entitlements.
Hi All, (from a Jan 19, 2008 e-mail:
This is the best total review of the history of global warming and ice ages I have ever read. It is purely scientific and concludes with a call for a focus that everyone should consider. My comments follow on why such a focus is very important.
Global Warming: A geologic cycle
Commentary by Pedro A. Gelabert
Pedro Gelabert is former Natural and Environmental Resources secretary and U.S. EPA Caribbean Office director and past Environmental Quality Board chairman.
Earlier this month The STAR published an article entitled "Study: Nature and Us Caused Dramatic Arctic Warming," based on a study in the journal of Nature and reported by the Associated Press. This study suggests there is a natural cause that accounts for much of the Arctic warming due to natural cyclical increases in the amount of atmospheric energy moving from south to north around the Arctic Circle.
Also, The STAR published another article entitled "P.R. scientist challenges 'myths' on global warming," by Jon Rust, based on a letter from Dr. Maximo Cerame Vivas to Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the International Panel on Climate Change, suggesting to consider the release of carbon dioxide by human breathing in their studies. The STAR published a third article titled "Good science: Human breathing's impact on global carbon balance minimal," by Dr. Ariel E. Lugo, director of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry. Dr. Lugo explains that carbon models addresses the carbon cycle in relation to the atmosphere, and that human breathing is less than 3 percent of the respiration of all organisms on Earth with no net carbon balance in the world. Geologists have well-known that global warming is due to both natural and anthropogenic (man-made) causes.
Core samples from boreholes drilled into polar ice have recorded the Earth's climate history by comparing the ratio of heavy and light oxygen isotopes in ice bubbles which reveals the air temperature during freezing and warming periods. Willi Dansgoard and Hans Oeschger (1984) found a 90,000-year natural cycle for the glacial and interglacial ages as recorded in ice cores, but they also found another 1,500-year natural cycle for both glacial and interglacial events.
Gerard Bond (1997 and 2001) found that the amounts of seabed sediments increased every 1,500 years (plus or minus 500 years) as the ice was carried farther out into the colder Atlantic Ocean. Bond linked these natural cycles to solar activity from findings of carbon-14 isotopes in tree rings and beryllium-10 isotopes in Greenland ice cores, which comprised 9 cold and warm cycles in the last 12,000
years. When Helger Braum computer model superimposed the sunn’s 87- year cycle and 210 –years cycles, a longer 1,470-year cycle was discovered. These findings were confirmed in 2001 by Mikkelsen and A. Kuijpers in their report "The Climate System and Climate Variations: Natural Climate Variations in a Geological Perspective," published by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.
S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery summarized all this data in their book entitled "Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years," published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. in 2007.
In the Eocene Epoch, approximately 60 million years ago, our planet Earth began taking its coastal form with the seas and continents acquiring their present outlines under greenhouse gas conditions without any ocean current circulation or polar regions. In the Pliocene Epoch, some 5 million year ago, our modern climate type began by the separa¬tion of the continents due to continental drift which produced the great oceanic temperature conveyor in the North Atlantic Ocean.
During the Pleistocene Epoch, Great Ice Ages developed between 620,000 and 10,000 years ago with alternating glacial and interglacial periods and average global tempera¬ture changes from 5 to 7 degrees Celsius and 10 to 15 degrees Celsius at the higher latitudes of the globe. About 2 million years ago, cycles in Earth's relation to the Sun produce alternating Ice Ages (90,000 to 100,000 years long) with interglacial periods (10,000 to 20,000 years long). The
Milankovich Theory explained the Ice Ages as caused by periodic changes in the Earth's orbit around the Sun. Although these glacial periods develop rather slowly, their transition to warmer periods ended abruptly. The Northern hemisphere was covered with large ice sheets, sea level was a hundred feet lower and temperatures were up to 12 degrees Celsius lower than in the interglacial events.
The First Ice Age, called the Gunz Glacial Age, covered the poles about 620,000 years ago during a freezing period of 60,000 years. This period was followed by the First Interglacial Age about 560,000 years ago which melted the ice for 100,000 years.
The Second Ice Age, or the Mindel Glacial Age, occurred ween 460,000 and 420,000 years ago with a freezing climate duration of 40,000 years. This period was followed by the Second or Great Interglacial Age between the years 420,,000 and 220,000 for a duration of 200,000 years.
The Third Ice Age, or the Riss Glacial Age, occurred beween 220,000 and 180,00 years ago for a freezing duration of about 40,000 years. It was followed by the Third interglacial Age between 180,000 and 80,000 years ago for a warming duration of 100,000 years. Within this interglacial period, the Eemian Interglacial Warm was recorded between 130,000 and 110,000 years ago, but shifted suddenly to much colder climate than our present glacial conditions. Northern forests retreated south, and ice sheets covered much of the Northern Hemisphere. Trees gave way to grass, and later to deserts, as water was frozen as ice instead of falling as rain.
The Fourth Ice Age, or the Warm Glacial Age, occurred between 89,000 and 8,000 years ago for a freezing event of 8,000 years. This cold period was followed by the Fourth Interglacial Age between 60,000 and 55,000 years ago with partial melting of the existing glaciers.
The Fifth or Last Great Ice Age occurred about 30,000 years ago, and its coldest period was between 21,000 and 17,000 ITS ago. The Earth became suddenly warmer approximately 14,000 years ago with higher temperature than our present levels, ice sheets retreated, sea level rose, and forests spread.
After 1,500 years of warm weather, the Younger Dryas occurred about 12,500 years ago and the Earth turned into a short ice age in less than a 100 years. The warming melted the mile-thick ice sheets that covered most of North America and Northern Europe. Massive amounts of fresh water overwhelmed the Great Atlantic conveyor's saltwater convection currents, and the currents stopped bringing warmth from the south. The ice cores indicate that in less than 50 years, the atmosphere in North America cooled by 5 or 6 degrees Celsius during 1,300 years. However, the Holocene Interglacial Age occurred about 11,500 years ago changing climate into our present world temperatures in less than 100 years. Half of this warming took effect in 15 years as ice sheets melted, sea levels rose, forests expanded and grasses replaced some deserts.
During the Holocene Epoch, between 9,000 and 5,000 years ago, the "Holocene Climate Optimum" event occurred with a warmer and 'wetter climate for a duration of 4,000 years as the warmest interglacial period. Greenland ice cores indicate temperatures 2.5 degree Celsius warmer than the present for 3.000 years. The Sahara and Arabian dry sites were wetter, supporting hunting, hurding and agriculture, but there was a cold dry phase about 8,200 years ago with Africa becoming drier than before. About 2,600 years ago, there was another cooling event with wet climate conditions.
The Egyptian civilization experienced a cold climate event of 550 years between 750 B.C. and 200 B.C. with floods declining from the Nile River and Lake Victoria in Central Africa, freezing of the Tiber River, and sea level dropped due to a drier and cooler climate. The Romans wrote of a warmer climate from 200 B.C. to A.D. 600, known as the Roman Warming Event, with little snow and abundance of grapes and olives growing farther north in Italy.
A major cold climate occurred in the Dark Ages between the years 600 and 900 according to tree ring studies, with trees stop growing by the year 540. The Earth's climate turned cold and unstable with major droughts in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Snow fell in summer on southern Europe and China, and storms swept the world.
A very favorable climate developed from 900 to 1300, known as the Medieval Warming or the Little Climate Optimum, when the tree lines, farming limits and villages moved up-slope on the hills of Central Europe, raising farmlands 100 or 200 meters to higher elevations. Inhabitants, who clustered in the low valleys during the Dark Ages, moved higher up-slopes in the Medieval Wrming event. During this warm period, Norse families colonized Greenland when the temperture was 2 to 4 degrees Celsius higher than today.
The Little Ace Ice occurred in two stages, from 1,300 to 1,550 and 1,550 to 1,850, for a total of 550 years. It was characterized by cooler, occasionally stormy and mostly unpredictable climate with short cultivation seasons. A 3-mile wide ice belt formed across the saltwater coast area of the English Channel in 1684. In June 1816, Connecticut had the coldest June ever recorded with an average 2.5 degrees Celsius lower than the long term mean from 1780 to 1968. Pollen in Ontario, Canada showed that the warm beech trees of the Medieval Warming gave way to cold tolerant oaks of the Little Ice Age.
Several recent alternating periods of cold and warm climates have been recorded by scientists. There was a 90-year warming period in the years from 1850 to 1940, especially from 1920 to 1940. Also, there was a 35-year cooling event from 1940 to 1975. A sudden 2-year warming event occurred from 1976 to 1978 and a strong 28-year warming period from 1979 to the present day.
The ice periods are the result of the Earth's eccentric orbit around the sun. When the shape of the orbit becomes more or less elliptic, a cycle develops about every 100,000 years, and the energy received by the Earth can vary from 20 to 30 percent. The Earth also has a 23-degree axial tilt from the North Pole which varies with latitude, season and degree of lift on a cycle of about 41,000 years. There is also a wobble as the Earth spins on its axis on a cycle of 23,000 years, and causes periodic advances and retreats of glaciers. There is sufficient scientific evidence to conclude that during the 100,000-year climate cycles of the great ice ages, the Earth's climate was subdivided by smaller, natural, irregular and less intense 1,500-year sub-cycles.
Perhaps climate forecasters must consider with more accuracy the magnitude of the natural sources (Sun spots radiation, the globe's orbit and tilt, Earth's albelo or reflec¬tivity, changes in ocean currents, volcanic emissions, water vapor fluctuations, human and animal gases, etc.) in their climate models. The models must include the 100,000-year elliptical cycle of the Earth, the 41,000-year Earth axial tilt cycle, the 23,000-year wobble cycle, and the 1,500-year solar-driven cycle in order to-compare the magnitude of the natural versus man-made sources of global warming.
The Earth is warming beyond any doubt, since the world mean temperature has slowly warmed about 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1850. The question is not whether the Earth is warming, because we are in an interglacial period. The principal problem is if the magnitude of the anthropogenic (man-made) warming is worsening or accelerating the natural effects caused by a historical geologic cycle. If this is the case, world-wide realistic measures should be taken by all countries. If the warming is mainly natural and unstoppable, Fred Singer and Dennis Avery believe that public policy must focus instead on our adaptation to this global change.
Pedro Gelabert is former Natural and Environmental Resources secretary and U.S. EPA Caribbean Office director and past Environmental Quality Board chairman.
Comment by Richard R. Tryon of Jan 19, 2008
Finding the writing of Pedro Gelabert has given me and I hope many others a chance to see the big picture behind the emotional and politically controversial concerns about global warming. I want to think we can focus on some apparent lessons and ask some relevant questions.
First the apparent lesson:
In a worst case scenario, we may ultimately learn that global warming, even if man’s contributions to it could be totally eliminated, would still follow on as has happened in the history of this planet. It just may be that the atmospheric and global conditions involving all water, land and air considerations will one day resemble what scientists show existed in past ice and warm ages. It may lead to a prediction that the warming age will end at some predictable point, when the Earth will change its orbital path to one that heads back to the apogee of the next ice age and overcome man’s current control of the weather.
What if we discover that soon six billion people and 2-3 times as many cars and trucks will still be accelerating global warming to some extent that might otherwise be avoided? For example, if nature will cause Holland to have to build its seawalls and dikes N feet higher by say 2050, just based on what nature is doing and that with man’s accelerated contributions, they will need to be twenty feet higher? Will that be a minor problem? Or will other more relevant conditions destroy our lives and ability to reproduce and double the six billion population as fast as some might like?
Or will we be surprised to discover that oil by 2020 is no longer a primary source for our energy needs, having been replaced by hydrogen and nuclear reactors throughout China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Europe and Asia. Perhaps everywhere except the U.S., which may refuse to risk another Three Mile Island accident? Or will the French invent a way to avoid nuclear waste needing a safe burial?
Or will science and political pressure invent a way to change the orbit of the Earth to move it further from the sun when the sun is getting hotter and closer to it when it cools? If so, who will decide when such changes are to be made to benefit folks in what regions?
In a Godless world, where the rule of law is driven by secular humanism, will folks in Norway’s northern reaches be helped or hurt by actions aimed at controlling nature elsewhere? Or will God still have a human voice and vote that matters? Or will Al Gore win another Nobel prize by inventing the best solution to the problem he never really understood?
I certainly favor my vertical farm as a solution to the need to grow food in less space, with less need for water and power, using wind, sun and hydrogen fuel cell technology and control of potable and waste water at the individual home level so as to eliminate the need for government to tax and spend to supply us; or for the need to buy coal, oil, or gas except to make or recycle plastic if farmers can’t grow enough wood. But, I doubt that my little bit will overshadow or even by noticed by any who consider what God had in mind when he pondered why and when to trigger the Big Bang!
What other prospect makes sense to you?
2-22-12 Update by RRT
The reader should recognize that an engineer named Jac Adams from Dubuque, Iowa informed me prior to Oct. 1996 that global warming would cause our farm in PR to lose a lot of land to the predicted increase of the ocean by 15 inches in 10-15 years. It hasn’t even started. Yes, the climate of the world is not constant and never has been. There is no time that we can point to and proclaim that the world was at that moment in its proper equilibrium and either God or Evolution should have left it to stop changing!
On this date I wrote the words below in response to a WSJ story written by a fine group of scientists who bravely wrote a compendium that points out how and why Al Gore worked to win a Nobel Prize for making it possible for an advocacy group with a combination of agendas turn the world to over-reacting to the point of passing the Kyoto accords sans the terrible lack of support from the U.S.! Branded as usurpers, greedy hogs, etc., we were told that we must not let our great productivity lead us to enjoy more access to energy than any other similar sized area with the same population density. That ‘bubble’ has also been burst!
There is an unfortunate link between this confusing time to science and those in politics, which is not a science in the same sense as say physics, chemistry or biology, to the idea that man has no reason to have faith in a God of Creation when secular humanism can do the same job and free us from the apparent confusion of religion. I do agree with the fact that many, perhaps most religions, have contributed much confusion about what, if any condition can be defined, and regulated into a constant of some sort, is better. But this does not mean that I sense that Al Gore or anyone else knows enough to be so bold as to contend that correct answers can be known, and that legislative control can produce a Utopia for all of mankind.
“With appropriate apologies to those who wrote the Book of Genesis and explained creation for the few who could read, none of them aware of what the word science was not yet invented, they might have at least understood that it might have taken a Creative minded God more than six days to put the Universe in place!
When will a modern writer gain traction with the idea that God not only existed then and now, but that Creation is a system that took a bit more planning than say our project Manhattan in WWII that made the a-bomb. In fact to plan a Universe had to take not decades, but Eons of what we call time and keep in mind, once started with a Big Bang it is perpetual and couldn't be re-called.
It should be pretty clear to modern observers that no matter your preference about Creation by design or by some accidental but scientific notion of mutational evolution, it all had to start with some triggering force and it is unlikely that such a force was a mindless accident without a plan behind it.
It follows that in a Universe with so much capacity for variation, it is axiomatic that fundamental essentials needed to be self-adjusting! Even the event that destroyed the dinosaurs did not end the future of the Earth or the plan behind it.
To get all bent out of shape over incomplete and erroneous data regarding global temperature displays a willingness to jump to conclusions long before the facts of design as well as the instruments of monitoring events have been fully learned. This is not to demean those who sense a need for concern as the population of polar bears has expanded so much since 1970 but also of humans now six fold greater than when I was born.
What then is needed to provide mankind with an earthly blueprint for the future that will promote our health and survival? First, I encourage all of us who farm to not let them take away the CO2 needed to feed the people, and I encourage those who want to "save us from ourselves" to wonder if the Creative plan for our species requires us to support an endless array of laws and regulatory agencies to keep the entire world in perfect balance.
It will do well for those who have faith in an eternal God to recognize and accept that the earliest writers did not correctly understand how the Universe began or why? By the same token, it is best for people of science to also understand that while science can come to explain how a lot of things happened to change the universe and our tiny corner of it, and even some of the why mechanisms, science has no way to experiment to find out what motivated the changes to happen to fit into an eternal set of natural laws that can’t be shown to have been both an accident to have started with an explosion of matter that came from some unknown source and collapsed into itself in a way that triggered the unfolding of events that have continued for some 15 billion of our measurement of what we call time. Further, the explosion expands in an endless fashion into unoccupied space that offers no friction to slow it down and no hope of a natural force called gravity to stop and pull it all back together.
Ultimately, religion will make peace with science and admit that its faith is not shaken but reinforced by science and science will conclude that reason can explain the missing why something motivated all to happen in a manner that continues to respond to plan with evidences of some interventions that stretch science beyond its capability without destroying its essential truths about behavior of matter and energy! These key ingredients are obviously mindless by themselves, yet they do interact in often predictable ways although evidences often show apparent exceptions that may well be mostly not exceptions but examples of when we misunderstand or do not know enough to explain correctly or completely.
The good news is that it is a lot easier to survive, if we put our advantages to work to avoid calamities that are man made because God or Evolution with or without God, has given man more power than any other plant or animal to change the world in profound ways to accelerate or retard what may be called natural modifications.
In our www.gratisbooks.com writing of You Can’t Escape God, my father and I have not proven God’s existence. But I will hold to the notion that we have given religion and science room to work together to achieve cultural and living styles that can fit well with the utopian goals of some political,scientific and theological thinkers.
I submit two caveats that are clearly related to such a common cause: One, we must realize that we are at the dawn of a new age or possibly a swing back a few million years! We can discover that our ability to procreate can over crowd the globe and create problems of sufficient food, water, and good air as to cause great upheaval that can be exacerbated by ideologically driven religious or secular wars; and we also have the opportunity to release a thermonuclear war that can poison the Earth for millions of years and force a new beginning with a much smaller population to try to recover with perhaps some advantage if a way to preserve, know and understand how to utilize knowledge that does not require relearning how to make fire!
More to come later, if we are still able and present….
More to come here as well