Posts Tagged ‘ice age’

3rd great “mass extinction” was due to an ice age and not to global warming

March 8, 2017

A new paper addresses the drivers behind the 3rd great “mass extinction” around 250 million years ago. It finds that it was due to an ice age and not due to global warming as many have speculated.

Björn Baresel, Hugo Bucher, Borhan Bagherpour, Morgane Brosse, Kuang Guodun, Urs Schaltegger. Timing of global regression and microbial bloom linked with the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction: implications for driving mechanisms. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7: 43630 DOI: 10.1038/srep43630

Universite de Geneve Press Release:

The Earth has known several mass extinctions over the course of its history. One of the most important happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago. Over 95% of marine species disappeared and, up until now, scientists have linked this extinction to a significant rise in Earth temperatures. But researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, working alongside the University of Zurich, discovered that this extinction took place during a short ice age which preceded the global climate warming. It’s the first time that the various stages of a mass extinction have been accurately understood and that scientists have been able to assess the major role played by volcanic explosions in these climate processes. This research, which can be read in Scientific Reports, completely calls into question the scientific theories regarding these phenomena, founded on the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, and paves the way for a new vision of the Earth’s climate history. 

Teams of researchers led by Professor Urs Schaltegger from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the Faculty of Science of the UNIGE and by Hugo Bucher, from the University of Zürich, have been working on absolute dating for many years. They work on determining the age of minerals in volcanic ash, which establishes a precise and detailed chronology of the earth’s climate evolution. They became interested in the Permian-Triassic boundary, 250 million years ago, during which one of the greatest mass extinctions ever took place, responsible for the loss of 95% of marine species. How did this happen? for how long marine biodiversity stayed at very low levels? 

Researchers worked on sediment layers in the Nanpanjiang basin in southern China. They have the particularity of being extremely well preserved, which allowed for an accurate study of the biodiversity and the climate history of the Permian and the Triassic. “We made several cross-sections of hundreds of metres of basin sediments and we determined the exact positions of ash beds contained in these marine sediments,” explained Björn Baresel, first author of the study. They then applied a precise dating technique based on natural radioactive decay of uranium, as Urs Schaltegger added: “In the sedimentary cross-sections, we found layers of volcanic ash containing the mineral zircon which incorporates uranium. It has the specificity of decaying into lead over time at a well-known speed. This is why, by measuring the concentrations of uranium and lead, it was possible for us to date a sediment layer to an accuracy of 35,000 years, which is already fairly precise for periods over 250 million years.”
Ice is responsible for mass extinction

By dating the various sediment layers, researchers realised that the mass extinction of the Permian-Triassic boundary is represented by a gap in sedimentation, which corresponds to a period when the sea-water level decreased. The only explanation to this phenomenon is that there was ice, which stored water, and that this ice age which lasted 80,000 years was sufficient to eliminate much of marine life. Scientists from the UNIGE explain the global temperature drop by a stratospheric injection of large amounts of sulphur dioxide reducing the intensity of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth. “We therefore have proof that the species disappeared during an ice age caused by the activity of the first volcanism in the Siberian Traps,” added Urs Schaltegger. This ice age was followed by the formation of limestone deposits through bacteria, marking the return of life on Earth at more moderate temperatures. The period of intense climate warming, related to the emplacement of large amounts of basalt of the Siberian Traps and which we previously thought was responsible for the extinction of marine species, in fact happened 500,000 years after the Permian-Triassic boundary.

This study therefore shows that climate warming is not the only explanation of global ecological disasters in the past on Earth: it is important to continue analysing ancient marine sediments to gain a deeper understanding of the earth’s climate system.

We now have more living species than ever before. The number of “garbage” species is very high and a new “mass extinction” (the sixth) is needed to clear out the rubbish. A Herculean task and hopefully humans will not be one of the “garbage” species. When it comes it is more likely to be due to a global cooling than a global warming.

There are thought to have been 5 great “mass extinctions” in the past. A “mass extinction” removes around 30 – 50% of extent species and can be seen as a self-correcting method for getting rid of the detritus remaining from failed evolution.

But I would argue instead that mass extinctions are necessary and unavoidable. They are necessitated by the ineffectiveness of the process of evolution itself. They provide the self-correction necessary to cope with the mass of “rubbish” species created by the hit-and-miss process of evolution. The external shock is only incidental and acts as the trigger for the extinction of the highly-stressed “rubbish” species. None of the historical mass extinctions ever posed any threat to the continuation of life. Instead they have served to muck out the dung from the evolutionary stables.

The fossil record shows that biodiversity in the world has been increasing dramatically for 200 million years and is likely to continue. The two mass extinctions in that period (at 201 million and 66 million years ago) slowed the trend only temporarily. Genera are the next taxonomic level up from species and are easier to detect in fossils. The Phanerozoic is the 540-million-year period in which animal life has proliferated. Chart created by and courtesy of University of Chicago paleontologists J. John Sepkoski, Jr. and David M. Raup.

The fossil record shows that biodiversity in the world has been increasing dramatically for 200 million years and is likely to continue. The two mass extinctions in that period (at 201 million and 66 million years ago) slowed the trend only temporarily. Genera are the next taxonomic level up from species and are easier to detect in fossils. The Phanerozoic is the 540-million-year period in which animal life has proliferated. Chart created by and courtesy of University of Chicago paleontologists J. John Sepkoski, Jr. and David M. Raup.

The clue lies here:

Wikipedia: Although there are 10–14 million species of life currently on the Earth, more than 99 percent of all species that ever lived on the planet are estimated to be extinct.

Evolution fails in over 99% of its attempts to create species that can survive. The 1%  of species that do and have survived may seem to be perfectly tailored for the prevailing conditions but that is putting the cart before the horse. Evolution has no direction and does not seek excellence. It only throws up a plethora of species where just 1% of those species happen to suit the prevailing conditions. One round peg out of a 100 different shapes may happen to fit a round hole but the round peg itself was not designed to fit – it happened to be the only one of many which did. For every species which is just good enough to survive, evolution gives another 99 which are not. As a process it is a remarkably ineffective one. Humans are not the result of “intelligent design”. They are just the 1% of all the species created by evolution which happened to fit the round hole of the prevailing environment.


Risk of rapid North Atlantic cooling in 21st century greater than previously estimated

February 25, 2017

This paper in Nature would not have have had any chance of being published a few years ago. But times are changing.

CNRS: “The possibility of major climate change in the Atlantic region has long been recognized and has even been the subject of a Hollywood movie: The Day After Tomorrow. To evaluate the risk of such climate change, researchers from the Environnements et Paléoenvironnements Océaniques et Continentaux laboratory (CNRS/University of Bordeaux) and the University of Southampton developed a new algorithm to analyze the 40 climate models considered by the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Their findings raise the probability of rapid North Atlantic cooling during this century to nearly 50%. Nature Communications publishes their work on February 15, 2017”.

My own view is that man-made global warming is insignificant and virtually impossible to measure. The apparent climate turbulence we may currently be experiencing is probably the exhibition of instabilities as climate shifts from an interglacial paradigm to the, more normal, glacial conditions. The transition will probably be “rapid” in geologic terms which probably means a thousand years or so. Major volcanic eruptions (VEI>6) are overdue. This interglacial has lasted some 13,000 years and is also, relatively, long. I think it feasible that 2 or 3 major volcanic eruptions in relatively quick succession could provide the conditions to trigger a full transition. Once glacial conditions are established they will last for about 100,000 years. And we will then be very thankful for all the fossil or nuclear energy we can have available to us.

Giovanni Sgubin, Didier Swingedouw, Sybren Drijfhout, Yannick Mary, Amine Bennabi. Abrupt cooling over the North Atlantic in modern climate models. Nature Communications, 2017; 8 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14375

Abstract: Observations over the 20th century evidence no long-term warming in the subpolar North Atlantic (SPG). This region even experienced a rapid cooling around 1970, raising a debate over its potential reoccurrence. Here we assess the risk of future abrupt SPG cooling in 40 climate models from the fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Contrary to the long-term SPG warming trend evidenced by most of the models, 17.5% of the models (7/40) project a rapid SPG cooling, consistent with a collapse of the local deep-ocean convection. Uncertainty in projections is associated with the models’ varying capability in simulating the present-day SPG stratification, whose realistic reproduction appears a necessary condition for the onset of a convection collapse. This event occurs in 45.5% of the 11 models best able to simulate the observed SPG stratification. Thus, due to systematic model biases, the CMIP5 ensemble as a whole underestimates the chance of future abrupt SPG cooling, entailing crucial implications for observation and adaptation policy.

Even The Guardian (a high priest of the man-made global warming religious fantasy) is compelled to report!!


CNRS Press Release:

Current climate models all foresee a slowing of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC)2—the phenomenon behind the familiar Gulf Stream, which carries warmth from Florida to European shores—that could lead to a dramatic, unprecedented disruption of the climate system. In 2013, drawing on 40 climate change projections, the IPCC judged that this slowdown would occur gradually over a long period of time. The panel’s findings suggested that fast cooling of the North Atlantic during this century was unlikely.

Oceanographers from the EU EMBRACE project team reexamined the 40 projections by focusing on a critical spot in the northwest North Atlantic: the Labrador Sea. The Labrador Sea is host to a convection system ultimately feeding into the ocean-wide MOC. The temperatures of its surface waters plummet in the winter, increasing their density and causing them to sink. This displaces deep waters, which bring their heat with them as they rise to the surface, preventing the formation of ice caps. To investigate this phenomenon in greater detail, the researchers developed an algorithm able to detect quick sea surface temperature variations. Their number crunching revealed that 7 of the 40 climate models they were studying predicted total shutdown of convection, leading to abrupt cooling of the Labrador Sea: by 2–3 °C over less than 10 years. This in turn would drastically lower North Atlantic coastal temperatures.

But is such rapid cooling a real possibility? (After all, only a handful of the models supported this projection.) To answer this question, the researchers honed in on the critical parameter triggering winter convection: ocean stratification. Indeed, 11 of the 40 models incorporated vertical variation in the density of oceanic water masses. And of these 11 models, which we may furthermore consider to be the most reliable, 5 (i.e., 45% of the models) predicted a rapid drop in North Atlantic temperatures.  


Southern Hemisphere sea ice growth together with Milankovitch cycles may be the trigger for an ice age

January 27, 2017

The three Milankovitch orbital cycles, due to eccentricity (100,000 years), axial tilt (41,000 years), and precession (23,000 years) have long been thought to be connected to the onsets of glacial or interglacial conditions. New research now suggests that growth of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere at particular times of the Milankovitch cycles could be the trigger for a new glacial age. The work suggests that different orbital cycles have been predominant at different times.

“For the past million years or so, the 100,000-year glacial cycle has been the most prominent. But before a million years ago, paleoclimate data suggest that pace of the glacial cycle was closer to about 40,000 years. That suggests that the third Milankovitch Cycle, which repeats every 41,000 years, was dominant then.”

Jung-Eun Lee, Aaron Shen, Baylor Fox-Kemper, Yi Ming. Hemispheric sea ice distribution sets the glacial tempo. Geophysical Research Letters, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/2016GL071307


The proxy record of global temperature shows that the dominant periodicity of the glacial cycle shifts from 40-kyr (obliquity) to 100-kyr (eccentricity), about a million years ago. Using climate model simulations, here we show that the pace of the glacial cycle depends on the pattern of hemispheric sea ice growth. In a cold climate the sea ice grows asymmetrically between two hemispheres under changes to Earth’s orbital precession, because sea ice growth potential outside of the Arctic Circle is limited. This difference in hemispheric sea ice growth leads to an asymmetry in absorbed solar energy for the two hemispheres, particularly when eccentricity is high, even if the annual average insolation is similar. In a warmer climate, the hemispheric asymmetry of the sea ice decreases as mean Arctic and Antarctic sea ice decreases, diminishing the precession and eccentricity signals and explaining the dominant obliquity signal (40-kyr) before the mid-Pleistocene transition.

The Brown University press release:

Climate simulations show how changes in Earth’s orbit alter the distribution of sea ice on the planet, helping to set the pace for the glacial cycle.

Earth is currently in what climatologists call an interglacial period, a warm pulse between long, cold ice ages when glaciers dominate our planet’s higher latitudes. For the past million years, these glacial-interglacial cycles have repeated roughly on a 100,000-year cycle. Now a team of Brown University researchers has a new explanation for that timing and why the cycle was different before a million years ago.

Using a set of computer simulations, the researchers show that two periodic variations in Earth’s orbit combine on a 100,000-year cycle to cause an expansion of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere. Compared to open ocean waters, that ice reflects more of the sun’s rays back into space, substantially reducing the amount of solar energy the planet absorbs. As a result, global temperature cools.

“The 100,000-year pace of glacial-interglacial periods has been difficult to explain,” said Jung-Eun Lee, an assistant professor in Brown’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Studies and the study’s lead author. “What we were able to show is the importance of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere along with orbital forcings in setting the pace for the glacial-interglacial cycle.”

In the 1930s, Serbian scientist Milutin Milankovitch identified three different recurring changes in Earth’s orbital pattern. Each of these Milankovitch Cycles can influence the amount of sunlight the planet receives, which in turn can influence climate. The changes cycle through every 100,000, 41,000 and 21,000 years.

The problem is that the 100,000-year cycle alone is the weakest of the three in the degree to which it affects solar radiation. So why that cycle would be the one that sets the pace of glacial cycle is a mystery. But this new study shows the mechanism through which the 100,000-year cycle and the 21,000-year cycle work together to drive Earth’s glacial cycle.

The 21,000-year cycle deals with precession — the change in orientation of Earth’s tilted rotational axis, which creates Earth’s changing seasons. When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun, it gets more sunlight and experiences summer. At the same time, the Southern Hemisphere is tilted away, so it gets less sunlight and experiences winter. But the direction that the axis points slowly changes — or precesses — with respect to Earth’s orbit. As a result, the position in the orbit where the seasons change migrates slightly from year to year. Earth’s orbit is elliptical, which means the distance between the planet and the sun changes depending on where we are in the orbital ellipse. So precession basically means that the seasons can occur when the planet is closest or farthest from the sun, or somewhere in between, which alters the seasons’ intensity.

In other words, precession causes a period during the 21,000-year cycle when Northern Hemisphere summer happens around the time when the Earth is closest to the sun, which would make those summers slightly warmer. Six months later, when the Southern Hemisphere has its summer, the Earth would be at its furthest point from the sun, making the Southern Hemisphere summers a little cooler. Every 10,500 years, the scenario is the opposite.

In terms of average global temperature, one might not expect precession to matter much. Whichever hemisphere is closer to the sun in its summer, the other hemisphere will be farther away during its summer, so the effects would just wash themselves out. However, this study shows that there can indeed be an effect on global temperature if there’s a difference in the way the two hemispheres absorb solar energy — which there is.

That difference has to do with each hemisphere’s capacity to grow sea ice. Because of the arrangement of the continents, there’s much more room for sea ice to grow in the Southern Hemisphere. The oceans of the Northern Hemisphere are interrupted by continents, which limits the extent to which ice can grow. So when the precessional cycle causes a series of cooler summers in the Southern Hemisphere, sea ice can expand dramatically because there’s less summer melting.

The precession cycle can influence global climate because the Southern Hemisphere has a higher capacity of sea ice growth. The image depicts current variation in sea ice extent in each hemisphere.

Lee’s climate models rely on the simple idea that sea ice reflects a significant amount of solar radiation back into space that would normally be absorbed into the ocean. That reflection of radiation can lower global temperature.

“What we show is that even if the total incoming energy is the same throughout the whole precession cycle, the amount of energy the Earth actually absorbs does change with precession,” Lee said. “The large Southern Hemispheric sea ice that forms when summers are cooler reduces the energy absorbed.”

But that leaves the question of why the precession cycle, which repeats every 21,000 years, would cause a 100,000-year glacial cycle. The answer is that the 100,000-year orbital cycle modulates the effects of the precession cycle.

The 100,000-year cycle deals with the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit — meaning the extent to which it deviates from a circle. Over a period of 100,000 years, the orbital shape goes from almost circular to more elongated and back again. It’s only when eccentricity is high — meaning the orbit is more elliptical — that there’s a significant difference between the Earth’s furthest point from the sun and its closest. As a result, there’s only a large difference in the intensity of seasons due to precession when eccentricity is large.

“When eccentricity is small, precession doesn’t matter,” Lee said. “Precession only matters when eccentricity is large. That’s why we see a stronger 100,000-year pace than a 21,000-year pace.”

Lee’s models show that, aided by high eccentricity, cool Southern Hemisphere summers can decrease by as much as 17 percent the amount of summer solar radiation absorbed by the planet over the latitude where the difference in sea ice distribution is largest — enough to cause significant global cooling and potentially creating the right conditions for an ice age.

Aside from radiation reflection, there may be additional cooling feedbacks started by an increase in southern sea ice, Lee and her colleagues say. Much of the carbon dioxide — a key greenhouse gas — exhaled into the atmosphere from the oceans comes from the southern polar region. If that region is largely covered in ice, it may hold that carbon dioxide in like a cap on a soda bottle. In addition, energy normally flows from the ocean to warm the atmosphere in winter as well, but sea ice insulates and reduces this exchange. So having less carbon and less energy transferred between the atmosphere and the ocean add to the cooling effect.

The findings may also help explain a puzzling shift in the Earth’s glacial cycle. For the past million years or so, the 100,000-year glacial cycle has been the most prominent. But before a million years ago, paleoclimate data suggest that pace of the glacial cycle was closer to about 40,000 years. That suggests that the third Milankovitch Cycle, which repeats every 41,000 years, was dominant then.

While the precession cycle deals with which direction the Earth’s axis is pointing, the 41,000-year cycle deals with how much the axis is tilted. The tilt — or obliquity — changes from a minimum of about 22 degrees to a maximum of around 25 degrees. (It’s at 23 degrees at the moment.) When obliquity is higher, each of the poles gets more sunlight, which tends to warm the planet.

So why would the obliquity cycle be the most important one before a million years ago, but become less important more recently?

According to Lee’s models, it has to do with the fact that the planet has been generally cooler over the past million years than it was prior to that. The models show that, when the Earth was generally warmer than today, precession-related sea ice expansion in the Southern Hemisphere is less likely to occur. That allows the obliquity cycle to dominate the global temperature signature. After a million years ago, when Earth became a bit cooler on average, the obliquity signal starts to take a back seat to the precession/eccentricity signal.

Lee and her colleagues believe their models present a strong new explanation for the history of Earth’s glacial cycle — explaining both the more recent pace and the puzzling transition a million years ago.


Climate science (global warming) has lost the plot

August 3, 2015

When (not if) the next little ice age or even the end of this interglacial begins, we will first observe it by cooler summers – not initially by colder winters. While the “climate scientists” are chasing non-existent links between man-made carbon dioxide emissions and “global temperature”, they are reduced to data tampering and cooling the past. There is not a shred of evidence but only much conjecture that man-made emissions are of any significance.

They cannot predict the future so they are rewriting history. Every year the temperatures of the past are adjusted downwards. No model forecast of global temperature has come anywhere near predicting actual development. When the models don’t fit, it is time to dump the models. “Climate science” is now two decades out of date. Today Obama will announce another round of restrictions on the climate bogey-man – anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions – even though his plans will have no impact on climate and will only make life more expensive.

The primary “forcing” or feed-back loop which will set off the little ice age or glacial conditions will be a reduction of ice melt over a few summers and followed by an increase of ice accumulation, which in turn will increase the solar energy reflected directly back into space. That will further reduce the ice melt in subsequent years. Cold winters and an increase of rate of ice growth is not required to set this off. Current, “normal” rates of ice growth in the winter are quite sufficient to reproduce the little ice age or even the return to glacial conditions provided that the summer melt is reduced and reducing. A large volcanic eruption with much dust ejected could well be the key factor to enhance the “forcing”. A year or two or three without summers in the higher latitudes could well be the key. It is probably of more significance in the northern hemisphere with its larger land mass which would support the direct growth of surface ice. In the southern hemisphere there is no reason that Australia could not also be covered with glacial ice sheets but more sea-ice would have to be created first. That would require much colder winters and not just cooler summers to trigger the change. It is not the climate near the equator or the tropics which controls. It is the regions above 50N and below 50S where we will first see the indications. It is the combination of reduced ice-melt followed by increased ice accumulation which will be critical.

Here in Sweden it has been a miserable July. The Finnish summer has been the coldest on record – so far. It has been the coldest July in most of Australia in twenty years. Iceland has seen snow in summer which is not that common. Scotland is said to have seen its worst summer in 40 years. Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have seen anomalous summer snow. The Greenland ice melt started very late and seems to already have come to an end. “Freak” snow storms have come to the Rockies in July. Over 40 people and 250,000 alpacas died in Peru in a cold wave and Chile declared cold emergencies..

“Global temperature” is not a real thing. It is an artefact, a number calculated by massaging and adjusting real data. No matter what the self-styled “climate scientists” believe and worship, “climate change” which is not manifested as changes to local weather and which can actually be experienced probably does not exit. We are now in for 2 – 3 decades of cooling which will include a little ice age. But over the next 1,000 years we will also be back into glacial conditions.

Right now, I experience more indicators of cooling than of any warming.

And when the cooling does start – as it will – we shall be very thankful for the more than 1,000 years of fossil fuel reserves we have.

Obsessive fixation on global warming leads to unpreparedness for an ice age

September 14, 2014

This is a postscript to my previous post about the inevitability of this interglacial giving way to glacial conditions, Here Professor Bob Carter addresses how the obsessive fixation with “gentle” global warming leads to an unpreparedness for global cooling in a letter to The Australian:

Heading for ice age

GRAHAM Lloyd has reported on the Bureau of Meteorology’s capitulation to scientific criticism that it should publish an accounting of the corrections it makes to temperature records (“Bureau warms to transparency over adjusted records”, 12/9). Corrections which, furthermore, act to reinforce the bureau’s dedication to a prognosis of future dangerous global warming, by turning cooling temperature trends into warming ones — a practice also known to occur in the US, Britain and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, we have a report by Sue Neales that the size of our grain harvest remains in doubt following severe frosts in southern NSW killing large areas of early wheat crops and also damaging wheat and canola crops in South Australia and Victoria (“Trifecta of calamities to deplete. crop harvest”, 12/9)

Is it unreasonable to be surprised that none of your writers, much less the government, has noticed that leading solar astrophysicists, such as Habibullo Abdussamatov from Pulkovo Observatory in St Petersburg, have for years been commenting on the declining activity of the sun?

These scientists are projecting a significant cooling over the next three decades, and perhaps even the occurrence of another little ice age.

Obsessed as they are with a gentle global warming trend that stopped late last century, should the expected solar cooling eventuate, policy makers will rue the day they failed to heed the advice of independent scientists on climate change issues.

Bob Carter, Townsville, Qld


Adapting to climate change requires the further development and use of fossil fuels

July 31, 2014

The single thing that differentiates the human species from every other known species on earth has been the control and use of fire.The step change then from primitive to modern humans has been due not least to the control and development of the combustion process and the utilisation of fossil fuels. This in turn has multiplied many times the intensity of energy available to be harnessed by man. I would suggest that the human capability of handling change is largely a function of the power intensity available.

power intensity

power intensity

Fossil fuels have been demonised (by association with carbon dioxide emissions) for the last 30 years. In spite of that most  of the growth in the developing world has been – and continues to be – powered by fossil fuels. Fortunately the lack of evidence of any significant linkage between man-made carbon dioxide and global warming  (which is still the politically correct ideology) is beginning to be realised. The unnecessary, misplaced and ineffective increase of electricity prices in countries which have curtailed their use of fossil fuels has prolonged the recession and has cost many millions of jobs.

We have now had almost 20 years with the highest level ever of fossil fuel utilisation but “global temperature” has remained stubbornly static. In the last decade global temperatures have declined slightly. The hypothesised link between man-made carbon dioxide (which constitutes only about 3% of carbon dioxide emissions) and global temperature is well and truly broken. All the various climate computer models – which build on this link being amplified – have failed miserably.

The indicators of a global cooling cycle having started are piling up.

  1. There is more ice in the antarctic than has ever been measured
  2. There is more ice in the arctic than about a decade ago
  3. Total ice cover is higher now than has ever been measured
  4. Ice cover on the Great Lakes reached levels not seen for over 50 years and has persisted into the spring (even summer) later than has been observed for at least 40 years.
  5. The expected super El Nino forecast for this year has been dampened by a cooling Pacific and only a mild El Nino event – if at all – is now to be expected
  6. Sea level rises are no different to the long term average for sea level recovery since the last glacial minimum and may even have slowed.
  7. The deep oceans are cooling and are no repository of “hidden heat”
  8. The net cooling effect of clouds has been underestimated in nearly all models and cloud cover over the world is increasing (slightly).
  9. Man made water vapour is of greater significance than man made carbon dioxide for climate effects. But man made water vapour is almost insignificant compared to the water vapour flux due to evaporation and respiration.
  10. Solar effects are virtually ignored by all climate models but the sun does not much care for models and is reaching a low level of activity comparable to the Dalton or Maunder Minima.

Crying wolf about global warming has been the politically correct thing to do for 3 decades. Before that it was politically correct to be alarmist about the coming ice age. No doubt all the old fears about an ice age can be dusted off and recycled.

Climate change has been the most powerful force which has shaped human evolution and expansion. Sea level changes and patterns of precipitation and desertification have driven both evolution and migrations. Sea level during an ice age is about 120 m lower than it is today. More land is exposed in equatorial and tropical regions during a glacial period while land is rendered uninhabitable by the ice sheets of the north. But even primitive humanity survived during the glacials.

It is the global cooling cycles and not global warming cycles which will place the greatest demands on farming and energy. The greatest sea level change that humanity has had to – and will have to – adapt to  is the 120 m difference between glacial and interglacial conditions. During an ice age precipitation will drop sharply and river water flows will decline. Hydro power will all but dry up. It is the inevitable coming of the next ice age that will pose the real challenge – not the 1 m sea level rise that may come with another warming cycle. And when the ice age comes again it will be fossil fuels which will keep the home fires burning. It is the further exploitation of nuclear energy and fossil fuels in all its forms – coal, oil, natural gas, shale gas, gas from methane hydrates – that will be needed. It is the availability of power at the intensities provided by nuclear power and fossil fuel combustion which is what will provide humans with the wherewithal to cope with climate change, whether warming or cooling, but especially when the next ice age begins.

Whatever the alarmists would have us do in the short term, reality will eventually bite. The use of fossil fuels will – thankfully – continue as will the exploration for new sources of gas. The next generation of nuclear power plant will be developed – even though nuclear alarmism has led to a dearth of nuclear engineers. No doubt some market niches will be filled by wind and solar power but that will not be very significant in the large picture.


No sign of global warming in Great Lakes ice cover

April 25, 2014

Great lakes (Wikipedia)

An exceptionally cold winter has seen the ice coverage over the Great Lakes being extremely high. Lake Superior has experienced the latest ever recorded start to shipping.

The total accumulated ice cover since 1980/81 and till 2013/14 shows no sign of any global warming. The season 2011/12 with its low ice cover was often “produced” as proof of global warming. By that standard of proof, 2013/14 clearly demonstrates that global cooling is upon us and a new ice age is on the way.

From Canadian Ice Service:

Historical Great Lakes Ice Cover 1980 - 2014

China to industrialise desalination of sea-ice

January 16, 2014

During an ice age as water gets trapped in expanding ice, the entire water cycle stabilises at much lower rates of flux than during an inter-glacial period. Evaporation (due to absorption of solar energy) is the primary force which drives the water cycle. During an ice age, rates of evaporation will decrease sharply, precipitation will reduce and the flow of fresh water through rivers and streams back into the seas will reduce as a consequence. Sea levels would drop by up to 150 m from current levels and while currently submerged land will be exposed, desertification of many regions will also take place.

One of the technologies that will be necessary at such a time will be for the extraction of fresh water from sea ice.

Bohai Bay China

Bohai Bay China

The Bohai Rim is one of the water-scarce regions in China. But every winter, more than 1 billion m3 of sea ice formed in the sea, about 40% of which distributes within 10 km offshore and is expected to be exploited and utilized as source of freshwater.

They may not be expecting a return to full glacial conditions anytime soon, but perhaps the Chinese are already preparing for another Little Ice Age and the fresh water availability reduction that will undoubtedly cause.

Xinhua reports:

China will soon begin production of large amounts of fresh water through the desalination of sea ice, according university research team and a Chinese company on Tuesday. A research team from Beijing Normal University signed a sea ice desalination technology transfer agreement with Beijing Huahaideyuan Technology Co. Ltd on Tuesday.

The company is expected to be able to produce at least 1 billion cubic meters of fresh water annually by 2023, said Yu Jian, executive president of the company. The salinity of sea ice is between 0.4 percent to 0.8 percent, much lower than that of sea water, which stands at about 2.8 percent to 3.1 percent, said Professor Gu Wei, head of the research team.

The research team has mastered the basic principles and technology of sea ice desalination and developed the equipment to be used in the process, including an ice-breaking platform and an ice-gatherer, he said. The salinity of sea ice water after desalination is 0.1 percent, which meets the national standard. The water can be used in agriculture, by industry and for drinking, he said.

The cost of desalination is expected to fall to 4 yuan per tonne, he said.

China’s sea ice desalination program started in 1996 when Shi Peijun, a professor from Beijing Normal University, realized that low saline ice could ease the water shortage around the Pan-Bohai Bay area in north China, after desalination. The program has received a total of 29.72 million yuan (4.88 million U.S. dollars) from various government departments in the past 18 years.

In winter in high-latitude oceans, there is a great amount of sea ice, which is being recognized as a new resource of fresh water by scientists.

Global warming – Comments by limerick (1)

December 20, 2013

A mediocre, plump academic named Mann,

Devised a lucrative and cunning plan;

By means of a very Nature trick,

He fabricated a hockey stick;

But global cooling made him an also-ran.

The sun came up, the sun went down,

Global warming could not be found,

Where could it be – the missing heat?

Why in the oceans  – Oh so deep,

But the travesty made Trenberth frown

Ice-ages come and ice-ages go,

And when they come the seas lie low;

“Calamity” cried Hansen in his doom-sayer guise,

“By over 20 feet the seas shall rise”,

But then came the blizzards, ice and snow.

In the hallowed temples of the IPCC,

Carboniferous fuels the devil be,

But for 17 years have temperatures stalled

While coal combustion has not paused,

And the world now sees their idiocy.

Late spring, early autumn this year?

August 26, 2013

This morning it feels like Autumn is here. Frost has not quite reached us but it is not very far away. The mist is rising thickly as the sun rises. And the deer are in the garden cleaning up all the fallen apples:

From my window 26th August 2013

From my kitchen window 26th August 2013

This year spring came about 3 weeks late.

SMHI defines spring in Sweden as the first day – after 15th February – of 7 continuous days with temperatures between 0 and 10 °C. The “normal” onset of Spring is as below:

  • Malmö: 22nd February
  • Stockholm: 16th March
  • Östersund: 11th April
  • Kiruna: 1st May

Admittedly I am at a latitude of 58.7057° N.  Spring should have come around 12th March and we are going to be around 3 weeks late (at least).

In calendar terms, spring should last from March till May  and summer from June till August. But the onset of Autumn is defined by SMHI – in meteorological terms – as the first day of the first occurrence of 5 consecutive days with an average temperature of less than 10°C.  Normally this should be around 25th September. But it looks like that it might also be around 3 weeks early.

So while it has not been a bad summer it seems summer may be about 5-6 weeks shorter than “normal” this year.

Many consecutive years of long winters and short summers will probably be the precursors of the coming of the next ice age. And these days I find it more relevant to look for signs that the next ice age (either a little ice age or even the end of the inter-glacial) is coming. It is no longer relevant or worthwhile to be looking for signs of man-made global warming!

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