2013 was a “good” year for the cryosphere – but could it be the beginning of the end of this interglacial?

According to the NSIDC – which is an important part of orthodox officialdom – 2013 was a better year for the cryosphere since:

“This summer, Arctic sea ice loss was held in check by relatively cool and stormy conditions. As a result, 2013 saw substantially more ice at summer’s end, compared to last year’s record low extent. The Greenland Ice Sheet also showed less extensive surface melt than in 2012. Meanwhile, in the Antarctic, sea ice reached the highest extent recorded in the satellite record”.

What makes for “good” or “bad” depends upon what the fears are. If global warming is the fear then – as the NSIDC states – it was a good year. But if a cooling cycle or even a coming ice age is the fear then the increasing ice extent, the short summer, the extended winter last year and the increased snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere are all just early warning signs of what is to come.

We don’t know if we are in:

  1. a run-away global warming period (as the global warming orthodoxy will have us believe), or
  2. a series of global warming and cooling cycles, each about 20 – 30 years long and responding to the decadal ocean cycles, or
  3. the beginning of the end of this interglacial (which is overdue).

The global warming pause of the last 17 – 18 years suggests that “run-away” global warming is unlikely. The slight decrease in global temperatures over the last 7 – 8 years is not conclusive but is also evidence that the effect of increasing carbon dioxide on global temperature is far from certain. Even if it exists it is very small  and is clearly not yet properly understood. Catastrophe scenarios may attract funding but reduce the credibility of the doom-sayers.

If we are just in a regular cooling cycle then the increasing ice level is nothing to be afraid of. Even if 2 or 3 decades of cooling give us another Little Ice Age, it will be followed by a warming cycle. It will not necessarily mean the start of the end of the current interglacial. But it will mean 20 – 30 years of cooling and the increased use of fossil fuels will be required. Fracking and methane hydrate recovery from the deep sea will be needed along with the continued – and increased – mining of coal. Wind and solar energy can play their little part in the niches that they are suitable for. Nuclear energy will have to make a come-back.

But if the Earth is now responding – by mechanisms unknown – to the Milankovitch cycles – and has started its many thousands year journey into glacial conditions, then we would be well served by developing the strategies and technologies for prospering in such times. We will gradually lose habitat in the North to growing ice sheets but we will gain new habitat as the sea level sinks. But these changes will take place over many generations (50 – 100) and we will have time to adapt. One lost generation – as the last 20 years of global warming hysteria will be – will be of little consequence. Humans have lived and prospered through glacial conditions before and will again. One big difference will be the availability of affordable and abundant energy which gives us the ability – not to stop the advance of the ice sheets – but to be able to continue to access resources and minerals under the ice sheets. We may even have colonies living on top of the shallower ice sheets. But there will also be new opportunities. The increase of habitat as the sea levels drop (by upto 150m) will be in exceptionally fertile areas for food production. Mineral and energy resources currently under the sea will become even more accessible. As with the last glacial period it will probably be a period in which human ingenuity is challenged and innovation will flourish.

The coming of a new glacial period will be no catastrophic change. We will have plenty of time to adapt. And in the 1,000 or 2,000 years it will take to establish glacial conditions, humans will probably have found new frontiers and established new colonies in space. And in 50 or 100 generation humans will continue to evolve. The humans coming out of the next glacial will not be quite like us.

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One Response to “2013 was a “good” year for the cryosphere – but could it be the beginning of the end of this interglacial?”

  1. edmh Says:

    This analysis is correct. The greens are looking the wrong way as ever.

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