Greenland and AGW

The last written records of the Norse Greenlan...

The last written records of the Norse Greenlanders are from a 1408 marriage in the church of Hvalsey...Image via Wikipedia

Guest post by S Jay Porter

In 891 AD. Eric The Red set off from Iceland with a few followers to explore a land to the west which they had probably spotted some time before while sailing out in their longboats, and then returned three years later with about 500 fellow Vikings. At first they settled on the south-east coast, close to the tip of this new land and then, as the population grew, created a further settlement to the south-west. They called their new home ‘Greenland’.

It has been said that this name was a ‘spin’, a publicity stunt to entice more Vikings to come to join the new settlers, but this would have been pointless if it had been impossible for them to survive. They must at least have been able to create their own dwellings, build their own fires, make their own clothes and above all, grow their own food. The settlers might have been able to trade such things as polar bear-skins and fox furs for iron and other necessities on occasional trips to Europe, but their compatriots in Denmark and Iceland would have been neither able nor willing to row their longboats out each month with groceries.

At present, the temperatures in Greenland range from a maximum of 7C in July to -9C in January. This is too cold for grain such as wheat and even rye to grow and ripen in the short summer of such northern latitudes. Nor are sheep and cattle happy at those temperatures. Hill sheep might be able to nibble away at moss and short grass, but cattle need lush meadows and hay to fatten and live through a winter. Solid wood is needed for building, boat building and warmth, but only bushes and such weak trees as birch now grow in Greenland.

In 1991, two caribou hunters stumbled over a log on a snowy Greenland riverbank, an unusual event because Greenland is now above the treeline. (1) Over the past century, further archaeological investigations found frozen sheep droppings, a cow barn, bones from pigs, sheep and goats and remains of rye, barley and wheat all of which indicate that the Vikings had large farmsteads with ample pastures. The Greenlanders obviously prospered, because from the number of farms in both settlements, whose 400 or so stone ruins still dot the landscape, archaeologists guess that the population may have risen to a peak of about five thousand. They also built a cathedral and churches with graves which means that the soil must have been soft enough to dig, but these graves are now well below the permafrost (2).

There is also a story in ‘Landnamabok, the Icelandic Book of Settlement, which tells of a man who swam across his local fjord to fetch a sheep for a feast in honour of his cousin, the founder of Greenland, Erick the Red. Studies of Channel swimmers show that 10C would be the lowest temperature that a man would be able to endure for such a swim, but the average August temperature of water in the fjords along the southern Greenland coast now rarely exceeds 6C. The water at that time must therefore have been at least 4C warmer and probably more than that which means that the summer temperatures (for the air) in the fjords in southern Greenland would then have been 13C-14C, (3) as compared with the present temperatures mentioned above.

It follows that temperatures must have been higher than those of today’s during that first settlement of Greenland which lasted from approximately 900 until the mid-1400s AD, when these settlements died out. There is no written explanation for this sudden demise but climate scientists have discovered that Iceland, like the rest of Europe, was gripped by a rapid and centuries-long drop in temperature, known as the Little Ice Age. And in a recent study, William D’Andrea and Yongsong Huang of Brown University, Providence RI (4) have traced the variability of the Greenland climate over a period of 5,600 years when previous inhabitants were also subjected to rapid warm and cold swings in temperatures

Yet the whole reason for the existence of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) is to thrust upon the world’s population the idea that industrialisation in the West over the last 100 years and our profligate use of fossil fuels is producing a run-away heating of the planet through the emission of greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, which unless checked will lead to its — and humanity’s — death. The western governments are happily looking forward to a vast increase in taxes to pay for measures to reduce ’carbon emissions’ and even the possibility of a Global Government to control everything has been mentioned (5).

So the possibility that temperatures were higher in the past in any part of the world was a thorn in the sides of those Climatologists who are wedded to the whole idea of Anthopogenic Global Warming (AGW), also known as Climate Change.

Unfortunately for them, an English Climatologist, Hubert H Lamb, first formulated the idea of a Medieval Warming Period (MWP) in 1965 and other surveys have found that this warming did not just occur in the northwestern hemisphere but was global (6). Lamb founded the UK Climate Research Unit (CRU) in 1971 and until the mid 1990s the MWP was undisputed fact and was shown even in the IPPC progress report of 1990. But Dr David Darning (University of Oklahoma College of Earth and Energy) in his recent testimony to Congress (7) said ‘…I received an astonishing email from a major researcher in the area of climate change. It said “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period”’ And this the ‘warmist’ Climatologists certainly tried to do.

In 1998 a graph was produced by geophysicist Michael Mann, known as the Hockey Stick Graph’, which managed to almost air-brush out of existence the Medieval Warming Period . This was published in the eminent scientific magazine Nature and also in several places in the IPPC Report of 2001 and created a world-wide sensation. Here was proof positive the world was overheating and it was All Our Fault.

However, investigation of the graph by historians and climatologists who doubted the existence of global warming, brought criticism centred around the statistical method used and the associated computer programme. It was eventually called the most discredited study in the history of science and quietly dropped by the IPPC from the latest 2007 IPPC report for policy makers.

The Hockey Stick graph had also attempted to remove the Little Ice Age which was another world-wide event, lasting from roughly the early 14th century to the mid-19th century with short interspersed warm periods. It is well-known from written reports that temperatures must at times have been considerably lower than in the Medieval Warming Period since Frost Fairs were often held on the frozen Thames until 1814 and in 1658, during the coldest period of the Little Ice Age, King Karl X Gustav of Sweden led an army across the frozen Danish waters to lay siege to Copenhagen.

It was also at this time that the Viking settlements in Greenland gradually died out. The Medieval Warming Period is usually agreed to have lasted from approximately 900 to approximately 1300 AD and from then onwards the climate cooled again. Glaciers grew, sea ice advanced and marine life migrated southwards as it did so, leaving the Greenlanders with a smaller and more difficult catch. The summers became shorter and progressively cooler, limiting the time cattle could be kept outdoors and increasing the need for winter fodder which became less available. Trade between Greenland, Iceland and Europe became more difficult and finally ceased. (3) It can only be hoped that a few Greenlanders escaped to re-settled somewhere less cold before starvation overcame them all.

But since temperatures during the Medieval Warming Period were higher in Greenland than they are even today, and since this was followed by a Cooling Period, and since this has happened many times before (which have not been considered here), the fact that the earth may have warmed somewhat since the mid 1850s is not unusual. Nor will it be unusual if the temperatures now start to drop.

Above all, since man was not industrialised before the mid-1850s and so was not emitting any huge amounts of CO2, any warming which has occurred over the past 150 years (for which we should be grateful) is obviously a natural event and –

– NOT ALL OUR FAULT!
——————————————————————————————————————————–
Word Count: 1,418
Sonya Porter

Source Material:

(1) http://watsupwiththat.com (The Viking farm under the sand in Greenland by Terese Brasen)
(2) http://www.archaeology.org
(3) ‘Heaven and Earth’ by Prof. Ian Plimer

(4) http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/31/temperature-reconstruction-of-greenland-shows-ups-and-downs-in-climate-happened-over-5600-years/

(5) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lsltxgrr_o
(6) http://www.science-skeptical.de/blog
(7) http://epw.senate.gov/hearing_statements.cfm?id=266543

169 thoughts on “Greenland and AGW

  1. Thanks for the post, it was very good.

    A question for you however; does the peer reviewed journals of today admit that there was a “little ice age” or do they call it a “local event”?

  2. The Warmistas are jealous, and want to cause even more mortality than the Black Death and LIA.

  3. If the globe has been warming since the Little Ice Age, what mechanism do you favour? Where is the “warmth” being stored? It is logical to postulate that the ocean mass is warming, but do we have evidence for this? It would also be logical that more heat from the sun was now reaching the Earth than in the LIA. Do you agree?

  4. Excellent summary and explanation of why Michael Mann, his Hockey Stick and the Hockey Team require the same treatment that they dealt to the Medieval Warm Period

  5. Over 200 papers mention the MWP and they are summarised in ‘Climate Change Reconsidered’ by the Non-intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). The analysis therein shows the geographical spread of the studies, the frequency distribution of the estimates of peak temperature, and demonstrates that the vast majority of studies revealed temperatures at least as warm as the present. And yet, the IPCC and their AGW believers have done their best to ignore this. The IPCC’s discussion of the MWP was, at best perfunctory and certainly inaccurate not to say misleading.

  6. “But Dr David Darning (University of Oklahoma College of Earth and Energy) in his recent testimony to Congress…”

    The professor’s name is Deming, not Darning.

    Doug

  7. Remember the fabled North-West passage? There also was a mythical North-East passage which was of great interest to the Dutch East India (VOC) company in the late 16-th century. Not only would a route to the Far East be shorter than around the Cape, but also it would keep the VOC ships safe from the Portuguese and Spanish navies.

    So, they organised an expedition to find that NEP and two ships (“Houtman” and “de Keyzer”) under command of a guy named Willem Barentsz (yes, that sea is named after him). In fact there were two expeditions and the second one (in 1596) went disasterous: the ships got stuck in the ice and the crews had to survive two harsh winters on the shores of Nova Zemlya; they succeeded to return after two years in the wilderness and with great losses. Result of the exploits: there is no NEP. In 1600 it
    was completely frozen over.

    But why did they think there was this NEP in the first place? Well there were stories from the Nordic countries of people sailing North of Russia all the way to the East. Those stories were at least several hundred years old in 1600. Hence, in the MWP the NE passage was passable, then with the climate cooling it became inpassable again. Now it is passable again. In fact the first ship using it in modern times was in about 1935 and that ship did it without help of an icebreaker.

    Knowing this story, as every Dutch schoolboy from the 1960-ies did, I knew the moment I saw the “hockey stick”, that it was a fraud.

  8. In elementary school I was taught that the Vikings intentionally misnamed Greenland and Iceland (Greenland was in fact an “ice land” while Iceland was actually green) to confound enemies seeking to raid their colony. I have no idea who made this up.

  9. I’ve been wondering. The super nova that caused the Crab Nebula was spotted by the Chinese in 1054, it was bright enough to be seen during the day for a short time. The Crab Nebula is 6500 light years away. Gamma rays traveling at 99% of the speed of light would have arrived 65 years later. Those traveling at 90% of the speed of light would have arrived 650 years later. So gamma rays from this nearby super nova would have been arriving during the period of the little ice age. Coincidence?

  10. I’ve had “discussions” with Warmistas who still claim that the Hockey Stick has been proven and that it is the definitive scientific statement.

  11. An excellent , well written piece.
    A few of the refs need checking though.

    ref 1 to this site has a typo and does not point to anything relevant that is a source for what is written.
    I don’t see anything on ref 2 about Greenland churches etc. ; same prob as above.
    youtube has pulled the vid in ref 6
    ref 7 gets me a 404.

    I initially though “wow, a good list of references too”, until I tried them :(

    Easily fixed I would have thought. Otherwise a landmark in quality here at WUWT, raising the bar for others to follow.

    Many thanks.

  12. Ed Zuiderwijk

    The determination with which the British and others sought the North West Passage has always led me to believe that they knew it was there, a bit like Columbus “discovering” america, he had a map.

    Good to hear a similar perspective about the NE Passage

  13. The important word is ‘unprecedented ‘ , that is the political need to make current climate events as dramatic as possible to the public in order to obtain political goals that otherwise the public would reject. . Its seen all the time in AGW supporters, the doom is always worse, the sea will always get higher, the earth is going to get even hotter.

    So the need for ‘unprecedented ‘ lead to the need to get rid of events that made this idea logically impossible, hence the death of MWP which the Hockey Stick was designed to bring about . It is a poor piece of research , in the normal process of science it would have been challenged and people would have lost interest. But the Hockey Stick is not just a piece of research anymore, its taken on a life of its own it has in effect become an icon of ‘faith’ From those like Mann how careers are very much tied into it , for without this what does Mann have , it’s also their seat on the eco-gravy train and the top table of ‘important’ people . So they will defend it to the death, science has nothing to do with it .

  14. @MarkW:

    Not sure where you get the .90c and .99c figures for gamma rays, but they are electromagnetic radiation, and as such travel at the speed of light the same as visible light. The gamma rays would have arrived in 1054 as well.

  15. There are traces from old Glaciers in Sth australia, I remember being taken to see them as a schoolkid, so we sure had some Ice around down here also.
    and the Murray rivers mouth was NOT always where it is now, but we have “scientists” telling us man is killing the Murray and forever changing the environment etc etc.
    hmm
    seems mother nature manages to move the furniture round rather well without our input:-)
    and thanks for the leads to look at old settlements etc.

  16. Of course it is not our fault. But you can find as much evidence as you like to disprove CAGW: no one but us skeptics howling out here in the wilderness is listening because there are too many snouts in the trough for taxpayer funded subsidies and jobs.

    Is there a newly retired economist out there looking for a hobby? Why not tot up all the CAGW funded posts and subsidies and report on the cost and size of this gravy train. I would be very interested to know. I would set about doing it myself but maths is not my strong subject, and I guess that the figures would be very large.

  17. MarkW says:
    June 1, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Um, gamma rays have to travel at the speed of light, c, given that they are a form of electromagnetic radiation, namely very high energy photons… How do you get them to travel at 0.9 or 0.99 c through space?

  18. Ref GS’s comment at 0359, whilst these are good and interesting questions, the article is proposing that the current climate variations are no different to those observed in the past.

    It is not required that people have to prove how the climate works in order to disprove the proposal that CO2 is causing the variation. If somebody is proposing that CO2 is causing the recent fluctuations, the onus is on them to demonstrate how this works, with the theory substantiated by direct observations.

  19. MarkW says:
    June 1, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Twaddle!
    Gamma rays are but very short wavelength electromagnetic radiation, so travel at exactly the same speed that light does. Astronomers find detecting Gamma rays easier than a faint light source, thus they often detect a Gamma Ray Burst, then try to image the object in the visual spectrum.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-ray_burst

  20. In general, it’s a good article but, unfortunately, there are way too many typos, factual errors, and dubious claims littered throughout the text for it to be taken seriously. For starters, it’s not called the “Medieval Warming Period” but the “Medieval Warm Period“. Next, in paragraph 11, you claim that there was an “investigation of the graph by historians and climatologists who doubted the existence of global warming“. Actually, very few skeptical scientists dispute that recent global warming has occurred. They disagree with the claim that the warming is unprecedented and/or that it was mainly caused by humans. You then go on to say about the Hockey Stick that “It was eventually called the most discredited study in the history of science“. According to whom? I mean it’s an incredible claim to make and yet there are zero citations provided. That seems unwise given Dr. Mann’s propensity to sue his detractors for libel over seemingly innocuous remarks.

  21. Anthony

    Simple facts, but brilliant. The problem is that facts don’t convince ideologues and power-hungry weirdos. Did Lysenko ever retreat in the face of facts?

    BTW, you need to get a proof-reader. Someone else has mentioned Deming/Darning. There’s also a para where you mention “Hock Stick Graph”. Just sayin’ …

  22. @MarkW

    6500 lightyears is too far away, and gamma rays travel at lightspeed (its cosmic radiation that is slower). In order to be able to do something to our atmosphere the star has to explode between a 100 to 3000 years from Earth depending on the stars mass during the core-collapse.

    Gamma rays from a supernova would induce a chemical reaction in the upper atmosphere converting molecular nitrogen into nitrogen oxides, depleting the ozone layer enough to expose the surface to harmful solar and cosmic radiation.

    A most likely candidate to blow sky high is HR 8210 at 150 light years which then explodes in a Type Ia supernova, but that could still be a few million years away and estimates say that to really do damage to the Ozone layer requires a supernova at around 25-35 lightyears away.

    For the moment being a supernova is way down on the list of things that would mean the end of us :)

  23. The gamma rays would arrive in 6500 (1054 ad) years, not 65. The actual super nova would have been in the 6th Century BC, which happens to coincide with a lot of serious progress for humans, the Biblical flood, and some massive climate changes.

    Coincidence? I THINK NOT! :)
    ———————–
    The Crab Nebula is 6500 light years away

  24. Those that postulate current CO2 causation (as opposed to historical natural drivers) fail miserably regarding the energy required to warm up Greenland. The only place that energy could have come from at that time in history would be within the confines of a weather pattern variation (think stationary pressure systems that parked themselves over Greenland, or major influx of warm ocean currents along the coastline). Weather pattern and oceanic systems have tremendous energy in them. Way more than the ever so slight rise in CO2 in terms of ppm – IE not relative to itself but relative to the total parts of the atmosphere.

  25. Sonya, thanks for posting this illuminating story.

    The great Chinese fleets, are reported to have sailed around the north coast of Greenland, c.1420.

    They then ignored most of Europe as being, presumably, too backward and with nothing to contribute to their understanding of the world they had just discovered – America and Africa.

  26. With the vested interests of Greenpeace, Fiends of the Earth and all the other “Green” organisations investing huge amounts of time and effort into impoverishing the West and destroying any sensible economic development, this sort of information will always get hidden, discredited and buried if they can.

    This is no longer a debate about science or even a scientific search for truth, this is about whose ideology ultimately succeeds – and Greenpeace et al are front organisations for Fabians and anarchists.

  27. “MarkW says:
    June 1, 2011 at 4:23 am
    I’ve been wondering. The super nova that caused the Crab Nebula was spotted by the Chinese in 1054, it was bright enough to be seen during the day for a short time. The Crab Nebula is 6500 light years away. Gamma rays traveling at 99% of the speed of light would have arrived 65 years later. Those traveling at 90% of the speed of light would have arrived 650 years later. So gamma rays from this nearby super nova would have been arriving during the period of the little ice age. Coincidence?

    Surely, you mean cosmic rays i.e. highly energetic charged particles accelerated by ultra powerful magnetic fields?

    Gamma rays, are electromagnetic and they will travel at the speed of light in the medium in question, in this case a vacuum, so that would be c, not a fraction of c. Though, a close gamma ray burst, hitting us dead on would not be good for us or the rest of the planet and large quantities of galactic cosmic rays might have an effect on cloud cover, Svensmark et al

    So, you’re not entirely wrong

  28. There is no question MWP and LIA existed, the effects of them have been taught in introductory history classes for decades. The Biblical Flood is spoke of in practically every civilizations history, one theory is a massive glacial melt flood at the end of an ice age in 9th millenium BC. We know the dark ages were cold and damp and miserable. One theory as to why such crazyness happened, especially with the witch hunts, was due to a fungus that grew on wheat during cold damp seasons which had some of the properties of a halluciagen.
    Science shows that climate changes over geologically short time periods, history is full of such stories and cultural evidence, so what does that make the Climate “Scientists”? They deny science, they deny history, so I think they are the denialists.
    If they want to live in the 14th Century they are free to try, just don’t drag me with you.

  29. Ms. Porter,

    Excellent post! There is an obvious corollary to your summary. Phase I of the supposed disastrous rise in sea levels is largely based on melting of the ice sheets on Greenland. If Greenland was significantly warmer in historical times, and sea levels did not rise noticeably then, why would they now when temperatures are still below what they were?

    Graves dug in soft soil that is now permafrost? Forests in an area that is now above the tree line? Historical evidence of cattle and sheep when modern breeds and improved shelters aren’t enough to allow significant animal husbandry? Wheat fields in Greenland?

    It’s simply mind-boggling that the storyline of coming floods still has legs given the historical evidence.

  30. Have they figured out yet how many Hummers Eric the Red owned?

    What colors were they?

  31. “Studies of Channel swimmers show that 10C would be the lowest temperature that a man would be able to endure for such a swim, but the average August temperature of water in the fjords along the southern Greenland coast now rarely exceeds 6C. The water at that time must therefore have been at least 4C warmer ”

    A bold statement … does this take into account their physiological adaptation to cold?

    http://arctic.synergiesprairies.ca/arctic/index.php/arctic/article/view/1530/1509

  32. The climate history of Greenland is interesting but it doesn’t have much relevance to the global warming we’re seeing today. No ‘skeptical’ climate scientist is going to claim to have refuted AGW just because it was equally warm or warmer at some time in the past, either regionally or globally.

  33. re; gamma rays from Crab Nebula supernova

    Cut MarkW some slack. He meant to say cosmic rays, not gamma rays. Cosmic “ray” is a misnomer as they are actually charged particles moving at a significant fraction of light speed. Cosmic rays are indeed thrown off by supernova.

    6500 light years is NOT too far away to effect our atmosphere. It was visible in the daytime sky. How many astronomical objects can be seen in the daytime sky? If it’s bright enough to be seen in the daytime sky from the ground think of how bright it must have been nearer to the top of the atmosphere.

  34. The comments about gamma rays traveling exactly at the speed of light are correct, but cosmic rays (high-speed protons, heavier atomic nuclei, etc.) generated by the supernova would travel at slower velocities. Since these particles are charged, they can be deflected by galactic magnetic fields before reaching the solar system, making it more difficult to estimate when they would get here.

  35. Dear Mr Porter:

    May I translate this post into Spanish and publish it in my blog, “El Atril del Orador”, with due credits and links, of course?

  36. Not sure where you get the .90c and .99c figures for gamma rays, but they are electromagnetic radiation, and as such travel at the speed of light the same as visible light. The gamma rays would have arrived in 1054 as well.

    I was going to say the same. Still, gamma rays aren’t the only things ejected from a supernova. It’s concievable that super-nova accellerated particles could have arrived in the time period described. Whether that would have an impact on climate is a seperate question. Certainly something to look at and see if any correlations can be drawn.

  37. Well, this is odd . . . I googled “I received an astonishing email from a major researcher in the area of climate change. It said “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period”’ And this the ‘warmist’ Climatologists certainly tried to do.”

    and it went to http://epw.senate.gov/hearing_statements.cfm?id=266543

    and that is S Jay Porter’s same link . . . U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, Hearing Statements, Date: 12/06/2006 without the _ .

    I think it always has to be stressed that . . . . many things in life are

    “obviously a natural event and –

    – NOT ALL OUR FAULT!” . . . . Kinda’ like Death??. . . .

  38. @Robert (whoever that is)

    Nobody talked about the Crab supernova “spelling an end to us”. The implication is to Svensmark’s hypothesis (which appears to have been experimentally confirmed which makes it a theory now) that waxing and waning of cosmic ray flux causes more or less formation of high altitude clouds which in turn cause more or less visible light from the sun to be reflected which in turns means more or less energy arriving at the surface to warm the ocean.

    There are two things which determine the cosmic ray flux reaching the earth’s atmosphere. The first is the density of the flux reaching our solar system which varies in both predictable and unpredictable ways. A predictable way is where in the galaxy the solar system happens to be. Our solar system, over periods of many millions of years, wanders above and below the galactic plane. It also orbits the center of the galaxy at a different speed than the spiral arms so it also periodically passes through one of those arms. As stellar density increases so does the average cosmic ray flux as there are statistically more violent events that generate the rays in areas of greater stellar density. The second thing that determines cosmic ray flux reaching the earth’s atmosphere is the strength of the solar magnetic field. Sunspot number is a reasonable proxy for solar magnetic strength and people have been keeping a decent record of sunspot number for 400 years and there is a marked correlation that has been known for quite a while between sunspot count and climate.

    So there.

  39. pytlozvejk says:
    June 1, 2011 at 5:04 am
    Anthony

    Simple facts, but brilliant. The problem is that facts don’t convince ideologues and power-hungry weirdos. Did Lysenko ever retreat in the face of facts?

    BTW, you need to get a proof-reader. Someone else has mentioned Deming/Darning. There’s also a para where you mention “Hock Stick Graph”. Just sayin’ …

    Not to mention several references to the “IPPC”…otherwise an excellent summary, but proofing would have made it even more so.

  40. I have seen many blog comments in various places insisting that Greenland was not warmer in the MWP than today. Just handwaving away the evidence about trees growing then and cattle and graveyards frozen solid. Besides as a greeting, I just hate handwaving…

  41. It was the historical evidence that made me skeptical. Why I say there is a lack of proof or evidence that the current warming is caused by man is because it cannot be shown that the current warming is anything unusual as this has happened before.

  42. Excellent piece Mr. Porter. Human experience trumps statistical fantasy every time. It was warmer during the MWP than now. For those who want global references to the same, see: http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

    OldSchoolboy says: June 1, 2011 at 4:22 am

    In elementary school I was taught that the Vikings intentionally misnamed Greenland and Iceland (Greenland was in fact an “ice land” while Iceland was actually green) to confound enemies seeking to raid their colony. I have no idea who made this up.

    I was taught a different variation, probably wrong, that they confused the naming of Iceland and Greenland, the warmer place Iceland, was supposed to be called Greenland. This would have been in the late 1950s.

  43. re; cosmic ray flux

    I forget to mention the unpredictable way in which cosmic ray flux varies. Orbital mechanics of the solar system about the center of the galaxy is predictable. What isn’t predictable is relatively nearby supernovae events. More or less stellar density makes these nearby events statistically more or less likely but on an event by event basis it’s still unpredictable.

    I also didn’t mention the mechanism by which variable solar magnetic field effects cosmic ray flux. Cosmic rays are charged particles and thus can be deflected magnetically. When the solar magnetic is strong more cosmic rays are deflected away from the earth and when weaker fewer are deflected.

    Solar magnetic field strength is somewhat predictable but we don’t really have a long enough record for statistical prediction nor a good enough understanding of solar physics for theoretical prediction. The ~11 year sunspot cycle is statistically predictable but the peak strength and weakness is less so. There appear to be centuries long cycles in that. The so called “Maunder Minimum” where sunspot counts were anomalously low coincided with the “Little Ice Age”. In the past 50 years there has been a yet to be named solar maximum. I’ll be dollars against donuts that the history books in future will have a name for the present solar maximum. It’s only just now being recognized that it was a maximum mostly due to the fact that appears to have ended with the most recent sunspot cycle. We are witnessing history being made.

  44. Sonya, very nice. It was well written and concise. One friendly critique would be to strengthen the sources. While you and I may considered WUWT as authoritative, many others may not……same for other skeptical sites and youtube. I find, that most often on the skeptic sites, the posts themselves are well sourced.

    I do look forward to the obvious follow up article………. strengthening the argument that the MWP and LIA were not local events.

    Best wishes ,

    James

  45. correction on gamma ray speed

    In a somewhat surprising observation gamma rays arriving from distant sources millions of light years away trail the visible light from the source by a few minutes. So while it’s true that all photons travel very close to the speed of light they don’t all travel at exactly the same speed and vary ever so slightly by frequency.

    The startling implication in that is an intergalactic medium. It’s well known that light of different frequency has different propagation speeds through matter. That’s how prisms and rainbows work to break white light up into a beautiful spectrum of colors.
    The old hypothesis of luminiferous aether, a universal medium through which light travels which was discounted over 100 years ago, looks like it’s going to make a comeback.

  46. The chronology is very imprecise. The Black Death period (1347-50)was a cold one in Europe at least Could you please provide us with something a bit more legible (a graph perhaps)? Or a better series of dates?

  47. I have said this before. Trawling a AGW site some time ago I came across the “how tro combat” article by a fairly well known activist. He said the emphasis on Greenland that must be pointed out that yes, they may have lived comparitively well, but it was a hard life!!! Well, for his & their information, unti modern living & electricity, gas, & oil, & nuclear, life was far from a stroll in the park on a Sunday afternoon. It is only after the common usage of the aforementioned “devils inventions” that child mortality, mortality in general, sickness, disease, hunger, poverty, essentially life expectancy, has risen to the levels of health care & living standards of today. Before that, it was a “hard life”, regardless of where you lived. Even in more sub-tropical climes somebody wanted to enslave somebody else to create their wealth. Today no such slavery is required, we have fossil fuels (if oil is indeed such a beast), & nuclear power. I know it’s not perfect, nothing ever is, apart from Utopian Socialism, of course but some are more equal than others & the Blairs/Browns/Mandelsons/Clintons/Obamas/Gores of this world need that little bit extra to compensate for all the worrying they have to do on our behalf. Shame, isn’t it?

  48. ” and then returned three years later with about 500 fellow Vikings. ” I’m confused by this, they returned with a whole bunch of three year olds??

  49. “In elementary school I was taught that the Vikings intentionally misnamed Greenland and Iceland (Greenland was in fact an “ice land” while Iceland was actually green) to confound enemies seeking to raid their colony. I have no idea who made this up.”

    I remember hearing this “explanation” as well. As were you, I was too young to ask for a works-cited on the tale.

  50. Greenland was once hospitable and isn’t any longer because it’s too cold = warmist head asplode.

  51. This article was just really bad.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/medieval-warm-period-basic.htm

    A regional warming in the North Atlantic does not equate to a Global warming during the MWP. One of the signatures of greenhouse warming is that it is bipolar. There is not a single study with any credibility (sorry Dr. Loehle) that puts the MWP as greater than present temperatures globally.

    In fact if you take that Lamb paper (the one used in the 1990 IPCC) and update it to present it would even show present being much warmer.

    I don’t understand why there is a continuous barrage of half-truths in this article.

    Take for example Anderson et al (2008) pretty strongly demonstrates that the present warming is beyond what has occurred on baffin island over the last 1600 years at least. Does that mean that I equate that to global temperatures? No!

  52. Good post as a nice general introductory summary of the Viking colonization of Greenland, the MWP, and the Little Ice Age.

    One point: The climate doesn’t change from just one cause, and so just because the MWP wasn’t caused by human activity, doesn’t mean some of the late 20th Century warming wasn’t. Said another way: you can have the same effect happen from multiple causes. The existence of the MWP and numerous other warming events during the Holocene keep me skeptical about the full nature of AGW, however, I am equally skeptical about those who insist that a 40% increase in CO2 since the 1700’s has absolutely no effect on climate.

  53. I’m afraid that AGW has become such a religion that its advocates, or should that be acolytes, will not believe anything else, even if glaciers were knocking at their front doors.

  54. After the ‘Hockey Stick’ broke, a lot of alarmists now refer to the MWP as the ‘Medieval Climate Anomaly’. Somehow in their minds 400 years of temperatures above normal (whatever normal means) is an anomaly, yet they point to the last 50 years or so as “proof” of AGW.

  55. Norway should build up there a vacation resort for those who believe and run away from Global Warming, and the UN should build up there a branch office to host IPCC headquarters and a research facility for all members of the Climate-Gate emailers.

  56. I thought that it was a Dr David deming who received the email about getting rid of the MWP?

  57. There is absolutely no evidence at all that the Chinese ever sailed to America or Europe.

  58. Robert says:

    “A regional warming in the North Atlantic does not equate to a Global warming during the MWP. One of the signatures of greenhouse warming is that it is bipolar. There is not a single study with any credibility (sorry Dr. Loehle) that puts the MWP as greater than present temperatures globally.”

    That’s not correct. Here is an overlay of temperatures from both hemispheres [Vostok in Antarctica and Greenland]. The synchronous warming and cooling was bipolar.

    And there has been some discussion of the possibility that current temperatures are as high as the MWP. But based on the empirical evidence of the ice cores, that is unlikely. Furthermore, warming episodes prior to the MWP were clearly higher than current temperatures.

  59. According to my daily paper a team of British adventurers are going to row right to the North Pole in July. They are starting out from Resolution in Canada 450 miles away from the pole.

  60. Why is there still fuzz over if the MWP was global or local? If it was local to only part of the northern hemisphere and everything else stayed the same, there’d still have been global warming in the statistical department. :p

  61. R. Gates says:
    June 1, 2011 at 7:38 am
    I am equally skeptical about those who insist that a 40% increase in CO2 since the 1700′s has absolutely no effect on climate.

    40% is misguidance and you are well aware of that. In parts per million it’s nothing.

    Like going from absolute zero to liquid O². Still going to freeze your nether regions very badly. :)

  62. Robert says:

    Most intelligent people quit when they can see the rim of the hole at eye level.

  63. Everyone should read H.H. Lamb’s book on the “Climate History of the Modern Age”. If you read the book and the multifaceted evidence presented, you can have little doubt about the existence of the MWP or LIA.

    Not only does he use tree rings, he uses archeology of farming locations, crop types used, as well as a plethora of written records from around the world to establish his premise.

  64. Mike M at 7:11:
    “…they returned with a whole bunch of three year olds?”

    Well, you have to remember that, warm or cold, the winter nights in Greenland are awfully long….

  65. The Norse sagas are a mixture of fact, truth, and exaggeration. They are NOT wild stories. So while Harald Hardrada may have done more or less slaying, conquering, and traveling than the saga states, if he did it in England, the location of England is usually described reliably.

    This is understandable. A novel that located New York City — the real one, not another city of the same name — in Nebraska would have insurmountable credibility problems. Skalds don’t like wasting their credibility on things they could easily get right. If the sagas say Greenland had such-and-so a climate, they’re probably accurate.

  66. >> Robert says:
    June 1, 2011 at 7:36 am
    A regional warming in the North Atlantic does not equate to a Global warming during the MWP. <<

    So you accept without question the idea that, for 4 centuries, only the regions that had actual historical climate records experienced warming, while the rest of the world was colder in balance in places where there were no historical records to inconveniently refute that claim.

    Would you like to buy a bridge in New York city? I can get it for you at a great price!

  67. The History Channel shows periodically a 2 hr show on the LIA. Very informative. It starts at the Viking settlement in Greenland and goes thru the plague, root crop development, why the French Revolution, year with no summer, Napolean’s retreat from Russia, etc.

  68. Eric the Red was exiled in 982, not 897. He led the colonizing expedition in 985. The reason his recruiting was so successful was the quasi-famine in Iceland that particular year (not any land shortage). In actuality, Greenland was known from a few early furriers, but later history sought to embellish the role of the ruling chiefs and play down the actual pioneers. Thus Eric is given 100% of the credit for Greenland’s discovery, when his biggest accomplishment was to re-name the quasi-legendary Vritamann-Land. As luck would have it he arrived just as the MWP was well underway, and so had an easy time selling the move to the Icelanders.

    Let’s not forget that if Greenland then was climatically the same as Greenland today, there would definitely have been no settlement. The same may be true of Iceland as well, which nearly died out itself.

  69. Robert’s notion of “regional warming” if true still had a global effect. Though I disagree that it was limited to the North Atlantic, the sea level records point to the oceans being upwards of 1m higher than present globally during the MWP. Inupiat Oral Traditions along Alaska’s North Slope speak of a persistently ice-free Arctic many centuries ago. Some early coastal habitation sites in California have been all but washed away from sea levels higher than now during the centuries prior to the LIA. The MWP had global implications.

  70. Dave Springer says:
    June 1, 2011 at 6:09 am

    6500 light years is NOT too far away to effect our atmosphere. It was visible in the daytime sky. How many astronomical objects can be seen in the daytime sky? If it’s bright enough to be seen in the daytime sky from the ground think of how bright it must have been nearer to the top of the atmosphere.

    Obviously the Sun and Moon, but did you know that Venus can be seen in the daytime sky as well? It’s hard to find, but if you know just where to look you can see a bright white dot in the blue sky. Very neat.

  71. “At present, the temperatures in Greenland range from a maximum of 7C in July to -9C in January.”

    This statement is obviously wrong – the minimum January temperature, even in the warmest part of Greenland is obviously way lower than -9°C.

    If you meant the January maximum, please say so, otherwise you risk considerable loss of credibility .

  72. I am so old that we were taught (geology before the Mann doctrine) Greenland was greener and warmer than the present (last 1500 years or whatever). Not to be confused with those who are trying to save the trees, etc., world from humanity by promoting green everything while they purchase their recycled toilet paper through redistribution of our money such as CO2/carbon taxes.

    Anyway, nice post. I plan to share it.

    P.S. Send to IPCC and congressional leadership (oops, sorry, there is not any legitimate leadership in the “district”).

  73. The temperatures in Greenland and eliminating the Medieval Warming Period are central to the climate catastrophe scenario built on a rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet. Ignoring the Roman Warm Period buttresses this scenario. Yesterday’s article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was preceeded by research published in March 2010 on Iceland temperatures between 360 B.C. and 1660 A.D. The researchers label their charts with the Roman Warming Period, Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age. The authors note temperatures higher than the modern record in 130 B.C. and brief warm periods during the MWP creating year-round ice free sea conditions facilitating travel to Greenland and Iceland. They caution that winter temperatures were cooling off even during the MWP creating difficult living conditions in Iceland at that time.
    usehttp://www.pnas.org/content/107/12/5306.full?sid=b126e75e-7f03-4b45-b850-afe46b691492

  74. Robert.
    To your assertion that Medieval Warm Period was regional:
    South Africa

    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/Tyson.pdf

    confirmed to the exact years.
    Also confirmed in Mexico (stalagmites)
    Bolivia (glacial cores, valley erosion)
    Peru (ditto)

    The hypothesis that the MWP was regional was ancillary to the Mann-Briffa hockey stick. Proposed about the same time, and likely coordinated, there was virtually no evidence for the assertion, merely a paucity of records from the Southern Hemisphere. It had the unfortunate, to Warmists, effect of triggering a great deal of research into the issue by local universities.
    They discovered that The Warmists’ hypothesis was completely inaccurate.In fact the Southern and Northern correlation between the MWP and the LIC was absolute.

  75. Read of some very ancient maps of Greenland showing bays , valleys and rivers now covered by ice. Did a quick searce and could not find them, no time to look right now.

  76. Dave Springer says:
    June 1, 2011 at 6:21 am
    There are two things which determine the cosmic ray flux reaching the earth’s atmosphere.
    You are forgetting the third thing which is the one with the most effect, namely the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field.

    The second thing that determines cosmic ray flux reaching the earth’s atmosphere is the strength of the solar magnetic field.
    Unfortunately there is no correlation between the temperature in Greenland and the cosmic ray flux [modulated by either the Earth’s magnetic field or the Sun’s]:

  77. stephen richards says:
    June 1, 2011 at 8:37 am
    R. Gates says:
    June 1, 2011 at 7:38 am
    I am equally skeptical about those who insist that a 40% increase in CO2 since the 1700′s has absolutely no effect on climate.

    40% is misguidance and you are well aware of that. In parts per million it’s nothing.

    Like going from absolute zero to liquid O². Still going to freeze your nether regions very badly. :)
    ————-
    In the case of CO2, I disagree with you completely. A 40% increase to levels not seen in at least 800,000 years is significant and is hardly “misguidance”. In chaotic systems such as the climate, a few parts per million one way or another can make all the difference. But the larger point is that just because some climate change was caused by some forcing in the past does not mean that a similar change can’t be caused by an entirely different forcing in the future. The existence of the MWP with whatever caused it (solar, GCR’s, ocean, etc.) does not preclude future warming from being caused by entirely different factors.

  78. MarkW says:
    June 1, 2011 at 4:23 am
    “I’ve been wondering. The super nova that caused the Crab Nebula was spotted by the Chinese in 1054, it was bright enough to be seen during the day for a short time. The Crab Nebula is 6500 light years away. Gamma rays traveling at 99% of the speed of light would have arrived 65 years later. Those traveling at 90% of the speed of light would have arrived 650 years later. So gamma rays from this nearby super nova would have been arriving during the period of the little ice age. Coincidence? ”

    A tantalizing correlation! Thanks for that thought provoking inference….

  79. Leif.

    and dont forget Cosmic rays are such a tiny tiny trace element they could not possibly have any effect.

    It’s funny to take a sceptical argument like “Co2 is a trace gas” and apply it to cosmic rays.

  80. The answer to Greenland’s warming and cooling is simple to me – plate tectonics. Obviously Greenland is on its own plate that moves north and south relatively rapidly (geologically speaking), sometimes very rapidly. Greenland had moved south enough to cause the warming allowing the Viking settlements, and then moved north again causing the cooling that extinguished those settlements.

    Can I have my Nobel Prize now?

  81. steven mosher says:
    June 1, 2011 at 11:55 am
    It’s funny to take a sceptical argument like “Co2 is a trace gas” and apply it to cosmic rays.
    What is worse is to apply it when there is not even a demonstrated correlation.

  82. You are forgetting the third thing which is the one with the most effect, namely the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field.

    Everything that I have read states that the Earth’s magnetic field is too localized to deflect cosmic rays. They are coming in at 90 to 99% of the speed of light. By the time they reach a region where the earth’s magnetic field becomes measurable, they are mere microseconds from impacting the atmosphere. The earth’s field is not strong enough to completely deflect such particles in such a short time frame.

  83. Roman Warm Period, (and whatever followed, for how long?) Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age. Dates, please?

  84. Robert says:
    June 1, 2011 at 7:36 am
    “One of the signatures of greenhouse warming is that it is bipolar. ”

    Now THAT is a T-Ball set up for any number of snarky comedic responses! ROTFLMAO!!!

  85. It is important to remember that Vikings acquired art of sailing after they rowed their boats to Ireland, took sailing lessons and were taught the route to Greenland and North America by St. Brendan the Navigator.

  86. MarkW says:
    June 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm
    Everything that I have read states that the Earth’s magnetic field is too localized to deflect cosmic rays.
    Perhaps you should read something that tells you the truth instead. E.g. at low latitudes anything with energy less than ~12GeV are deflected. At mid-latitudes the limit is ~5 GeV. This is called the cut-off rigidity. Here is some info on that: http://www.adv-geosci.net/13/31/2007/adgeo-13-31-2007.pdf
    “Here we have considered an important atmospheric parameter, the cosmic ray induced ionization, in two regions in the Northern Hemisphere – the European region and the Far East region – during the last millennium. We have shown that CRII variations in these two regions are dominated by changes caused by the migration of the geomagnetic pole, which exceed those variations due to solar activity changes. We note that the migration of the magnetic pole during the last millennium, which caused significant effects in cosmic ray induced ionization variations in some regions, was not exceptional. Actually, it can be regarded as a minor excursion (about 2000 km or 18 ◦ of a great circle during the millennium). There is evidence for more dramatic excursions of the geomagnetic axis, even for historical times. For example, the magnetic pole could have migrated for more that 90◦ of a great circle during the so-called “Sterno-Etrussia” geomagnetic excursion around 700 BC (Dergachev et al., 2004). The corresponding changes in local CRII must then be dramatic and may result in strong regional effects.”
    Because CO2 is well-mixed in the atmosphere the cosmic ray intensity shown here
    http://www.leif.org/research/Greenland-Temp-DAndrea.png can be considered an average over the globe. Again: the variation of the Earth’s magnetic field is the major factor regulating the flux of galactic cosmic rays.

  87. Me, I have often wondered, where are the historians and archaeologists in the debate about the MWP and the LIA? Their voices seem totally absent. No opinion at all?

    Have they just hid under their desks, waiting for the global warming hysteria to blow away?

  88. Actually, the speed of the different frequencies of light through space do not seem completely identical. For instance, with supernova, X-rays always reach us before gamma rays if the event is sufficiently far enough way. That is, in the X-ray spectrum, we can watch the supernova unfold, and then we can watch the same event happen again in the gamma ray spectrum often weeks to months later. The same holds true for the visible spectrum, which often will reach us weeks before the X-ray bursts. This could be caused if the curving of space due to gravity over long travel times effects the different wavelength bands disproportionately, or an actual intrinsic variation in the value of c out around the 6th or 7th decimal place as you go from one end of the spectrum to the other. As it is, visible light seems to be the “fastest” type of light when watching cosmological events.

    I don’t know if this has anything to do with any supposed effects of supernovas on the planet’s climate (especially, since a supernova close enough to us to effect our climate would be too close to have variations in the travel time of light be significant). But, it is an interesting little tidbit to consider. You read this sort of info all the time if you’re interested in supernovas.

  89. http://www.greenland-guide.gl/reg-south.htm

    During the summer, South Greenland fully lives up to its Danish name, Green Land, as this is the most fertile part of the country. In fact most of the flora of Greenland grow in this particular region. The winter climate is relatively mild, and summer temperatures reaching 16-18°C are not uncommon. Because of these conditions, the economic life of this area is also very different from the rest of Greenland, with sheep farming and agriculture playing an important part. If you take a boat trip along the fjords you will see isolated sheep farms, some of which have paths and rough roads leading to them, while for others the only contact with the outside world is by boat or radio transmitter.

    The sheep are rounded up in September, and some 20,000 lambs are taken on flat-bottomed boats to the slaughterhouse in Narsaq, one of the three sizeable large towns in South Greenland.

    Many sheep farmers have built cabins near their farms, in which guests can stay for a day or two before they continue on foot to the next farm.

    The abundant fertility of this region was also the reason why Eric the Red chose to live in South Greenland in around 985 AD, after he was outlawed from Iceland.

    ================
    Your first encounter with large animals in Greenland usually takes place very soon after arrival. More than 3,000 musk oxen live in the area around Kangerlussuaq Airport and some of them can be seen in the immediate surroundings. A one-hour guided tour of the area will most likely include an encounter with these large, sedate animals.

    Reindeer live all over the ice-free parts of Greenland, and you may be lucky to see a herd. Reindeer hide is very insulating, and if you decide to go on a dog-sledge tour you will have the chance to dress in clothes made from reindeer hide.

  90. Lets practice some skepticism.

    “There is also a story in ‘Landnamabok, the Icelandic Book of Settlement, which tells of a man who swam across his local fjord to fetch a sheep for a feast in honour of his cousin, the founder of Greenland, Erick the Red. Studies of Channel swimmers show that 10C would be the lowest temperature that a man would be able to endure for such a swim, but the average August temperature of water in the fjords along the southern Greenland coast now rarely exceeds 6C. The water at that time must therefore have been at least 4C warmer and probably more than that which means that the summer temperatures (for the air) in the fjords in southern Greenland would then have been 13C-14C, (3) as compared with the present temperatures mentioned above”

    Practice the same level of scepticsm about this paragraph that you do about AGW.

  91. Ged says:
    June 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm
    Actually, the speed of the different frequencies of light through space do not seem completely identical.
    No, not ‘actually’. There are no such observations as you refer to.

  92. Bebben says:
    June 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm
    Me, I have often wondered, where are the historians and archaeologists in the debate about the MWP and the LIA? Their voices seem totally absent. No opinion at all?

    See the article on Norse settlement ecology above for a survey of research from the last 90 years. Also read Brian Fagan’s The Little Ice Age, The Long Summer, and The Great Warming. Brian Fagan is an anthropolgist who did his fieldwork in Africa, has written extensively on archaeology, and professes to be a warmist, The extensive evidence presented in the three books above can support both sides of the argument.

    Keith

  93. @Mac the Knife

    ROTFLMAO????
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ROFLMAO – Cached – Similar

    For people like me who “have no clue”

  94. Leif,

    “Ged says:
    June 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm
    Actually, the speed of the different frequencies of light through space do not seem completely identical.
    No, not ‘actually’. There are no such observations as you refer to.”

    I believe there is an experiment designed to detect if such a difference occurs due to quantum effects. The sort of ‘differences’ they (sorry, forgot the name of the project) were talking about were of the order of microseconds over a journey of several billion light years. Certainly not the weeks that Jed was talking about.

  95. Vince Causey says:
    June 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm
    I believe there is an experiment designed to detect if such a difference occurs due to quantum effects.
    Physicists are constantly trying to verify their fundamental assumptions by experiment. To my knowledge nobody has yet found any flaws with [General and Special] Relativity. Lots of claims, but none that hold up.

  96. MarkW says:

    The super nova that caused the Crab Nebula was spotted by the Chinese in 1054, it was bright enough to be seen during the day for a short time. The Crab Nebula is 6500 light years away. Gamma rays traveling at 99% of the speed of light would have arrived 65 years later. Those traveling at 90% of the speed of light would have arrived 650 years later.

    Gamma rays are composed of photons. They travel at exactly the same speed as other photons, including those which comprise visible light. Are you confusing them with COSMIC rays which, being mostly protons, must travel more slowly than “light”?

  97. Leif,

    Here is another funny thing to note.

    Another argument I here around here

    1. average global temperature as no meaning. yet, it was colder in the LIA and warmer
    in the MWP. That’s funny.

    2. 7000 thermometers is not enough to tell the average temperature we need stations
    every 50 miles. But, greenland is teleconnected to the entire globe, if it was warm there is was warm everywhere.

    3. Thermometers are not precise enough, and we wanna see the data, but tall tales about guys swimming across Fjords can be trusted. especially if a wedding sheep is involved.

    what’s the speed of dark?

  98. Many years ago my sister who was living in Canada at the time gave me a book by Farley Mowat called West Viking the ancient Norse in Greenland and north America. In it he gave a history of the Vikings trade and journeys of discovery to both Greenland and the coast of America.

    James Bull

  99. R. Gates says:
    June 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

    But the larger point is that just because some climate change was caused by some forcing in the past does not mean that a similar change can’t be caused by an entirely different forcing in the future. The existence of the MWP with whatever caused it (solar, GCR’s, ocean, etc.) does not preclude future warming from being caused by entirely different factors.

    And by exactly the same reasoning, there is absolutely no reason to equate the current warming period with CO2. Warming such as this has happened before without the similar increases in CO2. Therefore to demonstrate that CO2 is causing the current warming period needs a lot of evidence.

    There is none.

  100. MarkW says:
    June 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm
    You are mighty quick to declare your personal beliefs to be truth.
    This is not my ‘personal belief’. This is the way it is. The vast majority of cosmic rays do not get anywhere near the Earth’s atmosphere. The rare and most energetic do, of course, but their flux is very small.

    On slide 12 of http://www.leif.org/EOS/Beer-GCRs.pdf you can see the effect of changing the Earth’s magnetic field [that keeps the cosmic rays at bay]. Decrease the screening effect of the magnetic field [rigidity cutoff] dramatically increases the 10Be production due to the changing flux at low altitudes.

    steven mosher says:
    June 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm
    what’s the speed of dark?
    The intellectual darkness that many people live in seems to be speedy enough to overwhelm any attempt to lift it.

  101. The article states:

    “At present, the temperatures in Greenland range from a maximum of 7C in July to -9C in January.”

    Last year in the Greenland capital Nuuk it reached a balmy 23C in September! The average temps for Nuuk in July 2010 was 12C.

    Farming is actually booming in Greenland today.

    http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/ecology/greenland-is-green-again/392

    “51 farms (all of them sheep farms except for one with 22 cows)

    [snip]

    A local supermarket in Greenland is stocking fresh locally grown cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage for the first time.”

    And another interesting article on farming in Greenland…

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,434356,00.html

    Global Warming a Boon for Greenland’s Farmers

    “Known for its massive ice sheets, Greenland is feeling the effects of global warming as rising temperatures have expanded the island’s growing season and crops are flourishing. For the first time in hundreds of years, it has become possible to raise cattle and start dairy farms.”

    Agriculture in Greenland

  102. Kelvin Vaughan says:
    June 1, 2011 at 8:33 am

    According to my daily paper a team of British adventurers are going to row right to the North Pole in July. They are starting out from Resolution (actually, it’s Resolute Bay) in Canada 450 miles away from the pole.

    ROFL – That really takes me back. Once upon a time I worked for the government of Canada and spent a fair amount of time camped out on the arctic sea ice. Every year there would be at least one ‘adventurer’ trying to do something heroic. We knew what we were doing and we were comfortable and reasonably safe. The ‘adventurers’, on the other hand, mostly didn’t know what they were doing and almost always had to be rescued. My favorite was the guy who wanted to motorcycle to the pole. His emergency food supply was chocolate bars stuffed into his tires.

    I googled the article and found that the rower is going to the north magnetic pole. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-11426210 There’s a big difference, although not as much as there was thirty years ago. The north magnetic pole has moved out of the Canadian arctic archipelago into water that (as far as I can tell) was solid ice even in 2007. I’m willing to bet a coffee and a donut that our rower won’t make it to the north magnetic pole.

  103. Laurie Bowen says:
    June 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm
    “@Mac the Knife
    ROTFLMAO????
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ROFLMAO – Cached – Similar
    For people like me who “have no clue” ”

    Mia Culpa, Laurie!
    It’s hard to ‘type straight’ when I’m laughing hard! I’ll try not offend your sensibilities with my occasional ham handed typos – forgive me?!
    …And I’ll tear the heart out of anyone that says you “have no clue”, sweet Lady!

  104. Last year in the Greenland capital Nuuk it reached a balmy 23C in September! The average temps for Nuuk in July 2010 was 12C.

    “51 farms (all of them sheep farms except for one with 22 cows)
    ——————–

    The only vegetables they can grow is potatoes. Most (ie. nearly all) of their food is imported. I live in Canada and I say 12C is too damn cold. Without technology, Greenland would be deserted today. Can’t grow food. And the trees have to be personally attended by people on site.

    Sorry, but that’s not global warming. Whatever warmer weather they’re getting is the warm current in northern Atlantic these past several years.

  105. ““At present, the temperatures in Greenland range from a maximum of 7C in July to -9C in January.”

    This statement is obviously wrong – the minimum January temperature, even in the warmest part of Greenland is obviously way lower than -9°C.”

    It’s not wrong, but it could be clearer, worded thus:

    “At present, the temperatures in Greenland range from a maximum of 7C in July to a maximum of -9C in January”

    The whole point of the statement is to illustrate what the warmest temps are now for Greenland, as opposed to what they were when the Vikings lived there.

  106. There’s a fair amount of history recorded during the MWP and LIA for countries in the northern latitudes. What about further south? What were the climate changes that inundated all the Saharan roads and river basins with sand dunes? Are there any extant ancient histories about what happened there?

  107. Question for the astronomers commenting above à propos of the apparent disparity of arrival times for specific segments of the Electromagnetic Spectrum …

    Isn’t there a large assumption being made that the origination times from the Supernova are identical? Seems to me that there is no reason to think that the ‘visible light’ and gamma rays and X-rays (and etc) had to have been released at the exact same time, and perhaps logically they should originate at different intervals.

    To use a racing analogy, when noticing different arrival times at our ‘finish line’ here on Earth, to be able to accurately determine who won the race, and how fast they traveled, wouldn’t we also have to be sure no-one had a head start?

  108. mkelly [June 1, 2011 at 8:59 am] says:

    “The History Channel shows periodically a 2 hr show on the LIA. Very informative. It starts at the Viking settlement in Greenland and goes thru the plague, root crop development, why the French Revolution, year with no summer, Napolean’s retreat from Russia, etc.”

    Yes! I fully agree. That show was very very good.

    I would say that 95% of it was excellent. What happened is that for the last segment they apparently (pardon the pun) spliced commentary from a bunch of AGW nitwits onto the end in attempt at political correct balance. You can’t miss it because it is disjointed and completely out of place. Unfortunately for them, the show was so strong that it didn’t tarnish it much at all. Just watch the whole thing and skip the last segment.

  109. Martin [June 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm] says:

    “And another interesting article on farming in Greenland…

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,434356,00.html

    Global Warming a Boon for Greenland’s Farmers

    “Known for its massive ice sheets, Greenland is feeling the effects of global warming as rising temperatures have expanded the island’s growing season and crops are flourishing. For the first time in hundreds of years, it has become possible to raise cattle and start dairy farms.””

    Well since Martin is a global warmie I just gotta ask: how did that quote (you provided) taste to you? ;-) Confused? Okay let’s highlight then …

    “Known for its massive ice sheets, Greenland is feeling the effects of global warming as rising temperatures have expanded the island’s growing season and crops are flourishing. For the first time in hundreds of years, it has become possible to raise cattle and start dairy farms.”

    So that it’s clear enough for even the stubbornest AGW cult membership, Martin supplied us with the following quote from this SPIEGEL Magazine Climate Change article …

    ” … for the FIRST TIME IN HUNDREDS OF YEARS, it has become possible to raise cattle and start dairy farms.”

    The only question that remains for me, is whether even this simple observation will penetrate their AGW soaked brains and allow them to connect the dots and realize something interesting about those hundreds of years ago, the intervening years, and today.

    P.S. Thank you for the quote Martin. ;-)

  110. MrX says:
    June 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    “The only vegetables they can grow is potatoes. Most (ie. nearly all) of their food is imported. I live in Canada and I say 12C is too damn cold. Without technology, Greenland would be deserted today. Can’t grow food. And the trees have to be personally attended by people on site.”

    The Greenland farms are growing cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage as well.

    The average temps in summer is 12C. Many days are at or above 16C in summer. Plenty warm enough for agriculture, as is evident in the youtube video above.

  111. Blade says:
    June 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm
    Isn’t there a large assumption being made that the origination times from the Supernova are identical? Seems to me that there is no reason to think that the ‘visible light’ and gamma rays and X-rays (and etc) had to have been released at the exact same time, and perhaps logically they should originate at different intervals.
    The collapse of a supernova happens in seconds…
    But more importantly, there are no observations of different arrival times on time scales of weeks.

  112. Robert said: “One of the signatures of greenhouse warming is that it is bipolar.”

    Oh noes! Think of the poor endangered bipolar bears!

    Forget about CO2 – they just need lithium!

  113. Ferdinand Egede would be a perfectly normal farmer if it weren’t for that loud cracking noise. Wearing a plaid lumberjack shirt and overalls, he hurries through the precise rows of his potato field, beads of sweat running down his forehead.

    Egede, 49, occasionally picks up a handful of earth and rubs it between his solid fingers, but he isn’t at all satisfied with the results. “It’s much too dry,” he says. “If I don’t get the irrigation going, I’ll lose my harvest.”

    The cracking noise has turned into a roar. What’s happening in the sea below Egede’s fields doesn’t square well with what one would normally associate with rural life. The sound is that of an iceberg breaking apart, with pieces of it tumbling into the foaming sea.

    Egede, a Greenland potato farmer, has little time to admire the view. He spends most of his days working in the fields and looking at the dramatically steep table mountains at the end of the fjord and the blue and white icebergs in the bay. But today he’s more concerned about a broken water pipe. “The plants need a lot of water,” he says, explaining that the soil here is very sandy, a result of glacier activity.

    But he could still have a decent harvest. He pulled 20 tons of potatoes from the earth last summer, and his harvests have been growing larger each year. “It’s already staying warm until November now,” says Egede. And if this is what faraway scientists call the greenhouse effect, it’s certainly a welcome phenomenon, as far as Egede as concerned.

    Egede is a pioneer and exactly the kind of man Greenland’s government, which has launched an ambitious program to develop agriculture on the island, likes to see working the land. Sheep and reindeer farmers have already been grazing their herds in southern Greenland for many years. As part of the new program, cattle will be added to the mix on the island’s rocky meadows, part of a new dairy industry officials envision for Greenland. One day in the near future, the island’s farmers could even be growing broccoli and Chinese cabbage.

    There are many reasons for this agricultural boom, the most important being a rise in temperature. For most people on earth, global warming still consists of little more than computer models and a number that seems neither concrete nor threatening: an increase of about 4.5°C (8.1°F) in the average temperature worldwide by the year 2100. But what this will mean for Greenland is already becoming apparent today. In Qaqortoq, for example, the average temperature increased from 0.63°C to 1.93°C in the last 30 years. This, in turn, has added two weeks to the growing season, which now amounts to 120 days. With up to 20 hours of daylight in the summer, those two weeks make a huge difference.

    A fast-melting ice cap

    If what scientists are predicting is true, Greenland will become a central setting for climate change. Temperatures on the island are expected to rise almost twice as much as in Europe — to farmer Egede’s delight but to the consternation of many millions of people. That’s because the Greenland ice cap, which rises behind the chain of hills where his farm is located, is shrinking.

    Greenland’s interior is made up of 2.5 million cubic kilometers of ice that is also up to 3,400 meters thick in places. If this huge mass of ice melts, sea levels will rise by almost seven meters (about 23 feet). Although this horrifying scenario isn’t likely to happen quickly, new studies published last month suggest that the shrinking of Greenland’s ice sheet is speeding up.

    In an article published in the journal Science, US researchers write that 224 cubic kilometers of ice disappeared in 2005, almost three times the annual average between 1997 and 2003.

    For Greenland’s fortunate new farmers, this means that they’ll be able to repeat an important part of human history within a much shorter period of time. Their grandfathers were nomadic hunters in what was then a desolate, ice-covered wasteland, their fathers raised livestock and the current generation is plowing the fields. For farmer Egede, the only evidence of a bygone way of life can be found in the crocheted hunting scenes hanging on the wall next to a giant flat-screen TV in his living room. “Hunting is getting more and more difficult,” he says. “The fjord hardly ever freezes over in the winter anymore; nowadays, snowmobiles would sink.”

    Høegh points proudly at the wealth of flowers in his garden. “This is a special variety from Nepal,” the agronomist says, pointing to his potatoes. He says that if he forgets to harvest a few potatoes, he’ll find them there, undamaged, in the next year. “The ground doesn’t freeze as deeply as it used to,” says Høegh.

    But he’s especially fond of his trees, which comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with southern Greenland’s barren landscape. He planted the first of them a few years ago, just after his house was built. They’re already taller than he is, or about the maximum height of the few stunted little trees that dot the Greenland countryside.

    “But the look of our city will have changed completely within a few years,” says Høegh, gazing at brightly colored wooden houses hugging the bare, rocky ground. He imagines the spaces between the houses filling in with birch, ash and poplar trees in the future. The wind has already carried seed from Canada, northern Europe and Iceland to Greenland. “The trees will soon be as tall as the houses.”

    In an agricultural research facility on the other side of the fjord, scientists study the behavior of useful plants when they are exposed to conditions approaching their biological limits. Greenland’s first broccoli thrives there, albeit under white plastic tarps. It has to be protected against freezing nighttime temperatures, which can extend into June in the region.

    “The growth period is already as long as it is in the Alps, at an altitude of 1,500 meters (4,921 feet),” Høegh says. It currently starts in early May, but if it began two weeks earlier, farmers could even grow apples and strawberries.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,434356-2,00.html

  114. Over 200 papers mention the MWP and they are summarised in ‘Climate Change Reconsidered’ by the Non-intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). The analysis therein shows the geographical spread of the studies, the frequency distribution of the estimates of peak temperature, and demonstrates that the vast majority of studies revealed temperatures at least as warm as the present.

    What’s missing from this recipe is temporality. The MWP happened at different times in different parts of the world. Consider the easy-to-use graph in the top post (reference 6). There are three graphs for Greenland, and the peak of the MWP for each is ~900 AD, 1050, and 1150.

    But the peaks aren’t that far apart. How about the rest of the world?

    Studies of locations near or in Antarctica show MWP peaks at 780 AD (Bransfield Basin) and 850 (Sombre Lake). New Zealand MWP peaks at 1350 AD. In the Baltic region, Lake Teletskoye peak MWP was around 1400 AD, while Lake Qinghai in China peaks at 700 AD. In many instances, the temperatures are cool for one place when they’re hot at another.

    This suggests that the MWP may not have been a global phenomenon. The studies on that page are a fraction of the 200 collected by NICCP. To build a case from these sources requires accounting for these spatio-temporal anomalies during the MWP. The ensemble mean of 200 locations would give a clearer picture of the global MWP, and a firmer platform from which to make statements about the periodicity and temperatures for a global MWP.

    I think combining would show a definite warm period a millenia or so ago, but it would be difficult to speculate about the amplitude of global temps back then as compared to now.

  115. Hello Warmists,
    Greenland is cooler today than during the MWP. Why the alarm today over Greenland?

    “IF………….blah, blah, blah……………” ;>)

  116. Kelvin Vaughan says:
    June 1, 2011 at 8:33 am

    According to my daily paper a team of British adventurers are going to row right to the North Pole in July. They are starting out from Resolution (actually, it’s Resolute Bay) in Canada 450 miles away from the pole

    Still can’t beat Jeremy Clarkson and James May driving to the North Magnetic pole. Must be hard to drive there if all the ice has melted, or if it is ‘rotten’. Truly a stick poked in the eye of alarmism.

    As for the alarmists – the whole Greenland history is one of the largest problems in the entire edifice. For one – it shows that temps go up and down without human influence. For two – it shows that a warming world is better than a cold one, and for three – it shows that a partially melted Greenland ice cap doesn’t equal 6 or 9m higher seas. Some might say – there are 55 farms in Greenland now – others might say – tell us when you get to a couple of hundred like there used to be.

  117. Oh, and I wanted to say. Perhaps the reason Greenland wasn’t called ‘iceland’ was the name was already taken?

    Maybe ‘green’ had some other connotation – we use ‘green’ as a substitute for envy, for example. Do we really understand Norse culture that well to know? It might have literally meant grassy, or it could have meant something else. We have a ‘Gold Coast’ that has no gold. We have Smokey Mountains with no smoke. Perhaps Eric the Red was the first real estate spruiker. Perhaps he was color blind. It doesn’t matter- the fact is they setup and farmed the place, and then got driven back by the cold. Climate changes of it’s own accord and we really don’t understand why, much less have the ability to predict, and much less the ability to control via taxation.

  118. >>steven mosher says:
    June 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm <<

    1. You're conflating two different arguments. That the average global temperature might have been higher in the MWP doesn't imply that it's a good proxy to the Earth's energy balance.

    2. First, the MWP lasted 4 times longer than the current 1 degree C warming. Secondly, the warmists basically just make up data before 1979 for the 2/3 of the planet covered in ocean; to my recall no skeptic here ever claimed to have temperature data over the oceans in 1100 AD.

    3. I think the overall historical and archeological record of Greenland makes the case; the fjord swim was just one data point among many.

    The records require 12th century Greenland to have been much warmer than 20th century Greenland, while the claimed AGW warming is within the instrument error. The agriculture in 12th century Greenland is impossible even with the current warmer temperatures. Do you have a example of a place where agriculture changed that significantly since 1900 because of warming? I know that here in Florida orange trees no longer grow as far north they did in the early 1900s, but that's an example of cooling.

  119. It’s only the extremists in either camp who claim that it’s “all our fault”.

    The truth of the matter is that the earth naturally goes through rapid changes in temperature and climate and the concern is that our modern influence will cause those swings to be more drastic, more rapid, and will push them toward the warmer end of the spectrum. That’s what the concern about industrialization and global warming is about. No respectable scientist attempts to deny past changes, their concerns are based on past changes.

    This is a good article, but misses the point.

  120. “This is a good article, but misses the point.”

    That’s what I thought as well. I have never heard any scientist dismiss that the earth regularly experiences climate fluctuations, (with the exception of the two mentioned in the article, one named, one un-named out of thousands). Only that this current fluctuation is far more rapid.

    But climate change is only one indicator that we simply cannot continue to use our resources the way we have been. I would fully support moving away from fossils fuels as quickly as possible even if it was proved that the science of climate change were as credible as alchemy. Fossil fuels are dirty, toxic, expensive and destructive. Not to mention that we are fast running out of them and are now searching for even more toxic forms of them. I could probably deal with having to grow mangoes in the Yukon, but not with having to fill in the tar sands in Alberta.

  121. N_Leonard said:
    June 2, 2011 at 9:24 am

    “It’s only the extremists in either camp who claim that it’s ‘all our fault’.”

    No, it’s the extremists in big-warming who claim that it’s “all our fault”.

    “The truth of the matter is that the earth naturally goes through rapid changes in temperature and climate and the concern is that our modern influence will cause those swings to be more drastic, more rapid, and will push them toward the warmer end of the spectrum.”

    Concern does not equal science. Concern does not make reality conform to the presupposition that “our modern influence will cause those swings to be more drastic…”, etc.

    Besides, such concern is not what drives big-warming; that would be a luddite effort to return us to a pre-industrial lifestyle, and a crypto-commie effort to re-order the world economy.

    “That’s what the concern about industrialization and global warming is about. No respectable scientist attempts to deny past changes, their concerns are based on past changes.”

    The big-warming “scientist” attempts to deny past changes by hiding MWP, etc. Their efforts are based on “cooking the books”.

    “This is a good article, but misses the point.”

    Disagree with your implied definition of “the point”!

  122. Cuprik: Wrong on all counts. Fossil fuels are not dirty, toxic, expensive or destructive, nor are we going to run out of them anytime in next few centuries.

  123. Keith says:
    June 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Well, I was sort of referring to their apparent absence from the general climate debate about the MWP in general.
    But thanks for the references.

  124. MarkW says:
    June 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm
    “Cuprik: Wrong on all counts. Fossil fuels are not dirty, toxic, expensive or destructive, nor are we going to run out of them anytime in next few centuries.”

    The good folks of the Gulf of Mexico wouldn’t agree that Fossil fuels are not dirty, toxic, expensive or destructive.

    Poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are making people sick. PAHs contain compounds that have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic.

    http://www.medindia.net/news/Toxicity-from-Fossil-Fuels-Greatly-Impacts-Fish-and-Human-Lives-33142-1.htm

  125. steven mosher says:
    June 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    RE: “Practice the same level of scepticsm about this paragraph that you do about AGW.”

    Can’t be done, old friend. Why?

    Without Sagas, we have very little to go on.

    For example, take the subject of Viking boats. In actual fact we only have a few from graves. If you check out the ship modeler’s site at

    http://www.jans-sajt.se/contents/Navigation/Modelling/Patterns_Rigg_Viking.htm

    You are confronted by the truth, “Well, in fact we know almost NOTHING about the Vikings and their ships really. ”

    However, if you check out this site:

    http://home.online.no/~joeolavl/viking/vikingshipclasses.htm

    You learn a lot more. Obviously the information came from old writings, because no ships survive. As true Skeptics, we cannot be sure the information is true unless we dig up some thousand-year-old ship. However the information about the Viking cargo ships, (called “knarr,”) is very important if you thirst to know more about Greenland.

    Therefore you are tantalized by these two sentences, “One special kind of the knarr was called “Grønlandsknarr” (Greenland) and “Vinlandsknarr” (New Foundland). They were large ships with as much as 35 rooms.” (Before you get too excited, a “room” was more or less a rowing bench the sailors slept on.)

    The fact there were two types, one for Greenland and one for BEYOND Greenland, gets any lore-lover’s heart quickening, but, of course, a true Skeptic won’t go there.

    Forgive me, but there are time true Skeptics are real party-poops. They have no imagination, and refuse to see what is suggested by the few slim bits of evidence we do have.

    Just for another example, suppose only half the population of Greenland were farmers. Suppose the other half was swashbuckling seafaring traders, mostly male, coming and going between Iceland and Vineland, and only stopping in to do what sailors do, when at port. What evidence would you expect to find of this, in Greenland?

    Odd thing about the graveyards in Greenland: There are something like two men for each woman. Also there is more “treasure” in the woman’s graves than the men’s.

    Does this suggest anything to you?

    There is no mention of what I am suggesting in any Saga that I know of. However such things can be suggested, if you put your grim Skepticism aside, (or at least into a state of abeyance,) for just long enough to consider possibilities, using a healthy imagination.

    Personally I hold the view the Greenland Vikings were not only tough farmers, but great traders. It explains things such as the Viking penny found in a heap of clam shells in Maine, and the chain mail found up on Ellesmere Island.

    http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic33-3-454.pdf

    (….Among other things….)

    I think a true Skeptic looks for disproof. It is different, when you demand proof.

    As a teenager I went on some remarkable adventures. They shaped the rest of my life. Can I prove, to a Skeptic like you, that the adventures really happened?

    I do have the yellowing pages of a diary from the 1960’s. Not the most scientific of proofs, I’ll admit, but darn good reading all the same.

  126. I very much enjoy the information about the farmers who dare to farm Greenland. It takes real guts to farm in the north. However they’ve a way to go to match the Vikings, who had thousands of cows and over 100,000 sheep and goats, and no way to get hay from outside, to help them through the long winters.

    For a peek at the Geenland Viking Farmer’s life, check out this link:

    http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk2/ftp04/mq22551.pdf

  127. The big-warming “scientist” attempts to deny past changes by hiding MWP

    How is it hidden when it is discussed in paleoclimate reconstructions from Mann 98/99 onwards and is discussed in the IPCC reports?

    The talking point is scientists ‘hiding the MWP’, but that’s just a straw man. There are healthy questions on its spatio-temporal persistence, duration and magnitude. For the purposes of skeptics, all that matters is whether global temps were warmer back then than now*. Anyone who says anything categorically on this, on either side of the debate, is selling something.

    * Setting aside the conspiracy theories.

  128. I didn’t read all the above comments, but has anyone considered the possible consequences of a greener Greenland in the past? If the ice sheet can melt significantly with natural fluctuations, that could be troublesome the next time a natural warm spell is augmented by CO2 warming. More room for farming, sure, but also enhanced sea level rise.

  129. I think that we could have had more then one cause for the little ice age.The present negative Arctic Oscillations are believed at least by some to be caused by the low solar minimum and we see both low solar activity and severe winters in the little ice age just as today.The little ice age was also a period when we had major volcanic activity which produced years without a summer and we have not seen that yet today but if we do the effects of both working together would create a cooling trend,the severe winters would produce more snow but the cool summers would not cause melting so that the greater ice albedo would add to the effect of volcanic activity making it even cooler.

  130. Readers may be interested in A Viking Voyage by W. Hodding Carter, who devoted 3 years of his life to work on first building, and then sailing a replica of a Viking ship from Greenland across the open sea to Baffin Island and then down the coast to Newfoundland. Very interesting read.

  131. Barry said:

    [me]: The big-warming “scientist” attempts to deny past changes by hiding MWP

    > How is it hidden when it is discussed in paleoclimate reconstructions from
    > Mann 98/99 onwards and is discussed in the IPCC reports?

    Yeah the IPCC/big-warming has just been totally up-front about MWP, huh? They only tried to iron it flat with statistical trickery.

    And discussed? Discounted/dismissed maybe, but big-warming doesn’t go in for discussions:. the science is settled, doncha know…

    > The talking point is scientists ‘hiding the MWP’, but that’s just a straw man.

    Shedding the light of day on the perfidy of big-warming is hardly a straw man.

    > Anyone who says anything categorically on this, on either side of the debate,
    > is selling something.

    Debate? Science is not a debate. And the selling job is coming from CAGW snake-oil peddlers.

    I ain’t buying.

  132. Yeah the IPCC/big-warming has just been totally up-front about MWP, huh? They only tried to iron it flat with statistical trickery.,

    IPCC 1990 – brief mention: …”MWP around 1000 AD (which may not have been global).”

    (There was hardly any millennial data at all in 1990, and the mention comports with the little that was known.)

    IPCC 1995 – “Recent studies have re-evaluated the interval commonly known as the MWP… the available evidence is limited (geographically) and is equivocal.”

    (IPCC still doesn’t think there is enough data to say much about the period)

    IPCC 2001 – “New analyses of proxy data for the Northern Hemisphere indicate that the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years. It is also likely that, in the Northern Hemisphere, the 1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year (Figure 1b). Because less data are available, less is known about annual averages prior to 1,000 years before present and for conditions prevailing in most of the Southern Hemisphere prior to 1861.”

    (Note the qualified language, and that the information is restricted to NH millennial temps)

    IPCC 2007 – “…the warmest period prior to the 20th century very likely occurred between 950 and 1100…The evidence currently available indicates that NH mean temperatures during medieval times (950–1100) were indeed warm in a 2-kyr context and even warmer in relation to the less sparse but still limited evidence of widespread average cool conditions in the 17th century (Osborn and Briffa, 2006). However, the evidence is not sufficient to support a conclusion that hemispheric mean temperatures were as warm, or the extent of warm regions as expansive, as those in the 20th century as a whole, during any period in medieval times (Jones et al., 2001; Bradley et al., 2003a,b; Osborn and Briffa, 2006).”

    Shorter IPCC on MWP – there was medieval warm period in the Northern Hemisphere and possibly globally about a thousand years ago. The warming doesn’t appear to have been geographically or temporally uniform, and the best estimate is that late 20th century decadal global temps were likely warmer and more spatially coherent than similar periods during the MWP.

    I always find it odd when skeptics say that IPCC, Mann or whoever are trying to hide the medieval warm period. It’s not hidden, it’s an active area of research, and you can find out about its existence in the IPCC. Most millennial paleoclimate studies that I’ve read refer to it one way or another

    The scientific points of contention on the MWP are subtler than this strawman posit. Mark, I think your politics (rhetoric) interferes with a more objective take on the matter. But maybe for you it’s all about the Mann 99 graph? Later reconstructions, including by Mann, show a definite warm hump a thousand years or so ago.

  133. Barry,

    Michael Mann tried to erase the MWP, despite reams of evidence that it existed on a global scale. This has been rehashed here so often that anyone still flogging that dead horse is just being an enabler for a known scientific charlatan.

    You’re not fooling anyone, and you just look desperate. People here know about Mann. Run along and peddle your nonsense on realclimate, they’ll give it a better reception. WUWT [and CA] readers know that MBH98 through Mann ’08 have been totally debunked as the work of a self-serving propagandist. Mann has no more credibility now than Harold Camping.

  134. Caleb, viking ships DO exist. Visit the museum in Oslo, or the one in Roskilde, Denmark. They may have been excavated from real or watery graves, but they are very real ships indeed.

  135. Caleb, on fully reading your comment, you both say that a few viking ships exist from graves and that “no ships survive”. We have the ships from Roskilde Fjord because they were deliberately sunk to block enemy ships, and they were not carefully built royal ships. Thanks for all the links, and the stalwart defense of the Greenland Norse farmers, who, as you point out, had far more extensive farms than those of the present, without the luxury of importing animal feed. I would also mention without modern cold-adapted varieties of plants, plastic for greenhouse use and insulated buildings for the animals.

  136. I have wondered for a long time why the Vikings experienced rapid expansion and conquest when they did. It seems that the conquering empires started in the latitudes of Egypt, then Persia and Greece and Rome, then a period of Viking expansion followed by the growth of the Spanish and British Empires. Maybe my history is not precise, but my question is this: Did global climate changes cause the populations of those various empires to grow and expand when they did? Has optimum climate for human development moved in parallel with empire growth and decline? Did the need for more space and resources drive the urge to conquer?

    I have read about the development of Viking ships that permitted more seagoing expansion. But that does not explain the motivation of the Vikings to build the ships and undertake conquest. I wonder if there were demographic and economic factors, possibly related to climate and agriculture.

    I would appreciate any suggestion about reference material on this.

  137. Martin says:
    June 2, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Was this the same “oil” slick that was hundreds of times smaller than we were told it was going to be?

  138. barry says:
    June 2, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    The problem is that the melting ice sheet is being used as proof that CO2 causes significant warming.
    If it is proven that the ice sheets can and do melt absent CO2 warming, then much of the proof that CO2 has much if any influence on climate disappears as well.

  139. barry says:

    [snippage of IPCC strawman BS]

    Barry, I think your agenda is interfering with an honest take on the matter.

    ;)

  140. Michael Mann tried to erase the MWP, despite reams of evidence that it existed on a global scale

    Hi Smokey.

    In 1999, there was very little data for the Southern Hemisphere, not ‘reams’ – nobody was doing global reconstructions then because it wasn’t possible.

    For someone trying to ‘erase’ the MWP, Mann seems oddly keen to discuss how warm it may have been.

    It has been speculated that temperatures were warmer even further back, 1000 years ago{a period described by Lamb [1965] as the Medieval Warm Epoch (though Lamb, examining evidence mostly from western Europe, never suggested this was a global phenomenon). We here apply the methodology detailed by
    MBH98 to the sparser proxy data network available prior to AD 1400, to critically revisit this issue, extending NH reconstructions as far back as is currently feasible. We also reevaluate earlier estimates of uncertainties in the NH series….

    The late 11th, late 12th, and late 14th centuries rival mean 20th century temperature levels (see Figure 3a). Our reconstruction thus supports the notion of relatively warm hemispheric conditions earlier in the millennium, while cooling following the 14th century could be viewed as the initial onset of the Little Ice Age….

    Although NH reconstructions prior to about AD 1400 exhibit expanded uncertainties, several important conclusions are possible, notwithstanding certain caveats. While warmth early in the millennium approaches mean 20th century levels, the late 20th century still appears anomalous: the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium. More widespread
    high-resolution data which can resolve millennial-scale variability are needed before more con dent conclusions can be reached with regard to the spatial and temporal details of climate change in the past millennium and beyond

    That’s from Mann et al (1999): Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations

    You can say that these conclusions are overconfident, that the methodology was flawed, or that you believe temps were warmer a thousand years ago. But no one with a sober perspective can honestly claim Mann tried to ‘erase’ the MWP. And it appears in other reconstructions with varying magnitudes, including in later Mann studies. It ‘exists’.

    But IMO this argument really boils down to the shape of a 12 year-old graph that appeared in the IPCC 2001. It’s not scientific rigour that drives skeptical anathema to Mann’s work, it’s about a graphic ‘icon’ and it’s supposed impact on policy makers and the public. It is, at base, a political argument. It will be good when all the outrage fades and we can take a dispassionate look at the (scientific) issue, instead of flogging dead horses.

  141. Hi Mark W,

    The problem is that the melting ice sheet is being used as proof that CO2 causes significant warming.

    I think other evidence is leaned on for the significance of CO2. The melting ice sheet is evidence that the world is warming.

    If it is proven that the ice sheets can and do melt absent CO2 warming, then much of the proof that CO2 has much if any influence on climate disappears as well.

    Well, you’ll never have anything ‘proved’ in science. There’s still much we don’t know about gravity, for example, yet we can land people on the moon. If it turns out that Greenland (or the world) was warmer 1000 years ago, that doesn’t change much else. CO2 will still be a greenhouse gas, its radiative properties will be the same, and climate sensitivity will still be assessed on a range of metrics. Some people argue that if the world was warmer 1000 years ago, then the climate system is more sensitive to perturbations, and climate sensitivity estimates could be too low.

    The argument that, if it’s been warmer before the industrial revolution, before CO2 levels rose, then CO2 doesn’t cause warming, is completely illogical. Like saying there were forest fires before humans came along, therefore humans can’t cause forest fires to break out.

    The idea that AGW evaporates if the globe was half a degree warmer 1000 years ago is a very unscientific conclusion, and yet many skeptics seem to believe that Mann et al is some kind of foundation stone that, because it is , flawed, brings the whole house down. It’s a simple, but absolutely specious narrative. Mann et al relates to the temperatures of the last 1000+ years, not ice-sheet sensitivity, or radiative dynamics. The interest in bashing it 12 years on is political in nature, which can easily be seen by the language in replies to me here – I mean, just read back and count the rhetorical phrases all lined up.

    I should like to see one skeptic give;

    1) the time period for the MWP

    2) when exactly it was warmer globally than the last couple of decades

    3) reasonable evidence to back this up, taking into account the full range of papers discussing global temps in the last millennium or so.

    (Mann 1999, of course, was not a global reconstruction)

  142. My understanding was that there were only three or four Viking ships that survived, mostly warships from graves, and that there were no examples of the trading knarr that sailed to Greenland. However I was interested when I read about the “ships from Roskilde Fjord.” Hopefully I’m not too old to learn, especially about Vikings, because they’ve always fascinated me.

  143. There is no evidence for forests in Greenland at the time of the Norse colonization. At most there were small stands of spindly birch, alder and/or willows in sheltered locations at the base of long fjords in SW Greenland. Meadows, wild flowers, sure. Not forests, unless you go back a very long time on Disko Island.

    The southernmost tip of Greenland had abnormal temperatures two winters ago allowing some tufts of grass to winter over. Greenland “farming” is very modest, people using plastic tarps over vegetable gardens. Recently a Scandinavian berry-growing project decided to become more active in Greenland, according to knr.gl

    The rising temperature at sea level is probably down to a change in the cold Arctic current that circulates along the coasts.

    The popular story that Erik the Red called it Greenland to attract settlers goes back to one of the versions of the origin of the name contained in the Icelandic sagas. It makes a good story, anyway. Probably the name was originally Grundt-land, meaning more or less “gravel land.” Erik wasn’t the discover, an earlier Icelander was blown off course and brought back a report, maybe even landed there, I don’t recall now.

    The Viking farmers (and most Vikings were farmers throughout all the Viking domains) needed lumber so much they had to import it from Scandinavia until Leif Erikson brought back tales of wood to the west, whereupon an expedition was launched to bring some of this precious commodity back from what is now maritime Canada. Greenland doesn’t have any native wood, unless you get lucky and strike a vein of petrified forest somewhere, but then you’re still dealing with masonry that won’t float on water. The only wood is what washes up on shore, some of it larger logs from somewhere in Siberia (explain that one), laryx spp I think mainly. Drift logs would have been an important commodity in the Norse settlements.

    There has been a project for some years now to adapt cold-hardy trees to Greenland and there is even a small “forest,” even featured in the Greenland Airlines on-flight freebie magazine, called the Greenland Arboretum:

    http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Faciliteter/GroenlandsArboretet.aspx?forside=false&expath=&type=

    It makes me think how arrogant we are sometimes in talking glibly of terraforming Mars, while we cannot even do afforestation on anything more than a hobby basis in the colder climes of our own planet.

  144. Caleb

    You missed the obvious point. In a story about a man who swims across a Fjord to fetch a sheep for a wedding, does that strike you as evidence you would accept if say
    mann offerred it up?

    I think not.

  145. Those that postulate current CO2 causation (as opposed to historical natural drivers) fail miserably regarding the energy required to warm up Greenland. The only place that energy could have come from at that time in history would be within the confines of a weather pattern variation (think stationary pressure systems that parked themselves over Greenland, or major influx of warm ocean currents along the coastline).

    Pamela,

    The most northerly viking settlements were on the west coast and surprisingly far north. They were all located on the east/northeast sides of fairly high mountains. This would have been because Foehn winds in the lee of these mountains made these locations warmer.

    This precludes stationary high pressure as a cause of warming and indicates the opposite, stronger westerly/southwesterly winds (than present times), may well have been a partial cause of these locations being warm enough for farming during the MWP.

    Although only a partial cause as the overall climate must have been substantially warmer than at present to grow the crops we know they grew there.

  146. “Iceland” is no more than the familiar root word “island”, which is pronounced with a soft “s” in Old Norse, rather than being entirely left out as it is in English.

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%C3%8Dsland

    Nothing at all to do with ice or climate.

    “Greenland was also called Gruntland (‘Ground-land’) and Engronelant (or Engroneland) on early maps. Whether green is an erroneous transcription of grunt (‘ground’), which refers to shallow bays, or vice versa, is not known.”

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Greenland

  147. Not about climate, but history: Eirik Raude (Erik the Red) was – as the majority of people in Iceland and Greenland those days – a norwegian (Norse). According to the Sagas, he was born and grew up near Sola at Jaeren in south-western Norway.
    After beeing involved in murder with his father, he fled to Iceland, which was inhabited by people who a few generations earlier started coming from all over western Norway (many local chieftans departed to avoid subjection to king Harald Finehair) and from the norwegian colonies on the islands around Scotland – most probably including keltic slaves. (Irish monks had been there before of course, but to make a population grow, you either need women or steady new visitors..)
    After a short stop in Iceland (some sources say 2 years) , Eirik was once again involved in murder, and had to flee. The Landnámábok says he set off with 25 ships to Greenland, only 14 arrived, and he was the first to establish a colony there – around 985. According to the Saga, he named it Greenland to inspire people to go there. And if so, the name means “green”, as in Gore..
    Gunnbjörn was said to be the first to discover the island. Eirik’s son Leif Eiriksson may have been born during Eirik’s short, murderous, stay in Iceland, though he is allways referred to as a “Greenlander”.
    To survive and grow, the colony in Greenland was obviously dependent on a steady contact with their relatives back home in Norway and Iceland. As Iceland was primarily oriented towards Norway and the norwegian “keltic” colonies, so was Greenland. The greenlanders imported iron, timber, grain and luxury goods, which was paid for by pelts of polar bears and foxes, hunting falcons, walrus tusks, narwhale tusks, whalebone, rope from whalrus hide, baleen from whales, and live polar bears (!) (ref. danish historian Else Roesdahl).
    The shipping between Greenland and Norway was the greenlanders’ life-line, and that life-line broke in the fist part of The Little Ice Age. The traditional sailing route between Greenland and Norway along 65N was given up in 1342 (Humlum). Sailing 64N continued to some degree, but in 1369, after a trade ship from Greenland went down by the norwegian coast, the contact was broken (Humlum).

  148. Vinland, Markland , Greenland map

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinland_map

    The Vinland Map first came to light in 1957 (three years before the discovery of the Norse site at L’Anse aux Meadows in 1960), on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland
    One of the reasons its said to be a fake is it accurately shows Greenland as an Island,
    During the Medieval warm period would it have been possible for the Vikings to have identified Greenland as an Island?

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