New study – declining temperature and increasing sea ice, combined with lack of adaptation, caused Viking demise in Greenland

We’ve always suspected this for some time, as the MWP ended, they became isolated by the change in weather patterns as the climate turned colder. Nice to see it in a peer reviewed publication finally.

From Wiley-Blackwell

Did climate change cause Greenland’s ancient Viking community to collapse?

Our changing climate usually appears to be a very modern problem, yet new research from Greenland published in Boreas, suggests that the AD 1350 collapse of a centuries old colony established by Viking settlers may have been caused by declining temperatures and a rise in sea-ice. The authors suggest the collapse of the Greenland Norse presents a historical example of a society which failed to adapt to climate change.

The research, led by Dr Sofia Ribeiro from the University of Copenhagen, currently at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, focused on Disko Bay in Western Greenland and used a marine sediment record to reconstruct climate change over the last 1500 years.

Events which occurred during this time frame included the arrival of Norse settlers, led by Eric the Red in AD 985. After establishing a colony known as the Western Settlement the Norse traveled north to Disko Bay, a prime hunting ground for walruses and seals.

“Our study indicates that at the time the Norse arrived in West Greenland, climate conditions were relatively mild and were favorable to the settlers” said Ribeiro. “However, in AD 1350 the settlement collapsed, the cause of which has long been debated.”

The marine perspective of the research is especially relevant as the Norse inhabited inner fjord areas. The team’s research compared robust air temperature reconstructions based on ice-core data with their own marine record. The results underline the regional complexity of climate patterns in the study area, which may vary from ice core reconstructions, and are strongly controlled by the fluctuating influence of “warm” Atlantic waters entrained by the West Greenland Current.

“Our study shows a major shift towards cooler conditions and extensive sea-ice which coincides with the estimated time for the collapse of the Western Settlement in AD 1350,” said Dr Ribeiro. “The Norse were proud of being Europeans, farmers and Christians, and never adopted the hunting and survival techniques of the Inuit, so these temperature shifts would have caused significant problems for the colonists and their livestock.”

Agricultural difficulties are believed to have forced the Norse to rely on marine resources, yet the increase in sea-ice, the team suggests, would have had a major impact on species such as migratory seals, while blocking trade routes.

“We cannot attribute the end of the Norse civilisation to a single factor, but there is enough evidence to suggest that climate change played a major role in determining its collapse,” concluded Ribeiro. “Harsh climate conditions made farming and cattle production increasingly difficult and the extensive sea-ice prevented navigation and trading with Europe.”

“There is perhaps an important lesson to learn from the Norse collapse and that is a lesson of adaptation, of being able to adjust our values and life-style when times change. That is an important challenge we face today as a society.”

###

Climate variability in West Greenland during the past 1500 years: evidence from a high-resolution marine palynological record from Disko Bay

Ribeiro, S., Moros, M., Ellegaard, M. & Kuijpers, A. 2011: Climate variability in West Greenland during the past 1500 years: evidence from a high-resolution marine palynological record from Disko Bay. Boreas, 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2011.00216.x. ISSN 0300-9483.

Here we document late-Holocene climate variability in West Greenland as inferred from a marine sediment record from the outer Disko Bay. Organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts and other palynomorphs were used to reconstruct environmental changes in the area through the last c. 1500 years at 30–40 years resolution. Sea ice cover and primary productivity were identified as the two main factors driving dinoflagellate cyst community changes through time. Our data provide evidence for an opposite climate trend in West Greenland relative to the NE Atlantic region from c. AD 500 to 1050. For the same period, sea-surface temperatures in Disko Bay are out-of-phase with Greenland ice-core reconstructed temperatures and marine proxy data from South and East Greenland. This is probably governed by an NAO-type pattern, which results in warmer sea-surface conditions with less extensive sea ice in the area for the later part of the Dark Ages cold period (c. AD 500 to 750) and cooler conditions with extensive sea ice inferred for the first part of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) (c. AD 750 to 1050). After c. AD 1050, the marine climate in Disko Bay becomes in-phase with trends described for the NE Atlantic, reflected in the warmer interval for the remainder of the MCA (c. AD 1050–1250), followed by cooling towards the onset of the Little Ice Age at c. AD 1400. The inferred scenario of climate deterioration and extensive sea ice is concomitant with the collapse of the Norse Western Settlement in Greenland at c. AD 1350.

===============================================================

Supporting info:

Table S1: Raw counts of charcoal, foraminiferal linings, dinoflagellate cyst taxa, and other palynomorphs from the Disco Bay sediment core.

Please note: Wiley-Blackwell is not responsible for the content or functionality of any supporting materials supplied by the authors. Any queries (other than missing material) should be directed to the corresponding author for the article.

Filename Format Size Description
BOR_216_sm_supplinfo-s1.pdf
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101 Responses to New study – declining temperature and increasing sea ice, combined with lack of adaptation, caused Viking demise in Greenland

  1. SteveSadlov says:

    It does not fit the meme of “MWP only in Europe” therefore it must be silenced / sarc

  2. lack of adptation?

    REPLY: Fixed, thanks, -A

  3. Moderate Republican says:

    OK…and what exactly? It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate any of the science that shows that excessive CO2 from our activities is cause changes in the earth atmosphere?

  4. John in NZ says:

    “The Norse were proud of being Europeans, farmers and Christians, and never adopted the hunting and survival techniques of the Inuit, so these temperature shifts would have caused significant problems for the colonists and their livestock.”

    I heard this many years ago on a TV documentary. I found it interesting that the Christian Norse would not have adopted the Inuit techniques as the Inuit techniques were bound up with their religion.For example, in order to learn how to hunt, seal the Norse may have been told they needed to say prayers to the appropriate Inuit Gods.

    Adaption is difficult if it contradicts religion.

  5. Jimbo says:

    All I can say is that we have a planetary emergency. Buy your Al Gore style beachfront property now. It’s an emergency afterall! ;O)

    Greenland is now warm enough for increased vegatable farming.

    *Rate of sea level rise has flattened after the hottest decade on the record.

  6. John Mason says:

    Interesting how a peer reviewed paper like this is spun on the theme that we should learn to adapt to climate change in our current era. They are ignoring that their study is now making the hockey stick graph more than a bit silly.

    Of course, it is imperative that society prepare to adapt to climate change. After all, without some pre-planning where will we put all the Canadians as we expand out onto our continental shelves.

    Oh, and moderate republican – time for you to study some paleo-climate. We’ve been on an up down roller coaster in temps since the end of the last ice age but the overall trend is down I’m afraid. I wish the models were correct with their water vapor feed backs, but since they have been tracking wrong for a decade now it looks like there is nothing we can do to prevent the ultimate end of this inter-glacial.

  7. Jimbo says:

    vegatable = vegetable
    ;>)

  8. nevket240 says:

    ((Moderate Republican says:
    June 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    OK…and what exactly? It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate any of the science that shows that excessive CO2 from our activities is cause changes in the earth atmosphere? ))

    And what science would that be MR??
    It can’t be this so it must be that.
    New Age religious beliefs maybe??
    Government power and taxation??
    NGO backdoor influence??

    Sorry if I have missed some of your science. Maybe you could go through some of it for us.
    regards

  9. Mark Bowlin says:

    The Norse colonies in Greenland survived for 365 years, which compares in duration to the Anglo-Saxon (and everything else) presence in North America — the first (surviving) English settlement in North America was founded at Jamestown 404 years ago.

  10. Jimbo says:

    Here is evidence of the Medieval Warm Period around the world in peer reviewed scientific papers.

    South America, southern Africa, Australia, Antarctica, New Zealand, Asia and the oceans. Note: The MWP was a very localized event in the Northern Hemisphere. ;O)

    http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

  11. James Sexton says:

    Moderate Republican says:
    June 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    OK…and what exactly? It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate any of the science that shows that excessive CO2 from our activities is cause changes in the earth atmosphere?
    =============================================================

    MR. does anyone posit that more CO2 doesn’t cause a change in the earth’s atmosphere? The very definition of “increased atmospheric CO2″ means there are changes in earth’s atmosphere. But that really had absolutely nothing to do with the article, now does it? Thanks for the fail at the strawman.

    Here’s what I take from this…..It turns out, once again, there is more evidence that there was a LIA, and a MWP. We know the MWP was warmer than it was today because of the agriculture and shipping that had gone one in places where it is impossible today. (Consider the water craft of the time.) We also see evidence of human culture thriving in a warmer climate and dying to the point of extinction in a colder one. (And people wonder why skeptics draw parallels of alarmists to Malthusians.)

    It is simply more evidence, that even if the improbable is occurring, (that we’re significantly changing earth’s climate by our GHG emissions) the occurrence would have a positive impact on humanity.

    Is there really anymore that needs discussed when regarding climate change? No wonder the loons refuse to give up their hockey stick in spite of what reality says.

    This little bit of seemingly insignificant piece of human history entirely destroys the posit of global warming alarmism.

  12. Jimbo says:

    Moderate Republican says:
    June 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm
    OK…and what exactly? It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate any of the science that shows that excessive CO2 from our activities is cause changes in the earth atmosphere?

    You should have said:

    OK…and what exactly? It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate any of the science that shows that excessive CO2 from our activities is making the world warmer?

    You nearly got away with that. ;O)
    The atmosphere is changing, but I don’t give a crap. Show me the science that shows that the world is warming due to man-made greenhouse gases? [warming trend has stalled for over a decade]

  13. Wil says:

    Moderate Republican
    You do realize approximately 96% of all CO2 is natural in origin. In other words NOT man made what so ever. Now, keeping in mind both China and India (both the largest CO2 culprits on the planet) have no intention of curtailing CO2 – perhaps you have a plan to force India and China to act responsible as is the western world. Barring that short of war India and China are not about to dismantle their entire economy just to please hysterical Global Warming advocates who are delusional at best and outright liars at worse.

  14. An example of failed adaptation is the extinction of Norse settlements in Greenland around A.D. 1500. If McGovern’s (1981) suggestions are correct, then his account of the demise of these settlements serves as a powerful parable on the folly of inflexible social institutions, the importance of trade in supporting a marginal social and economic order, and the consequences of not being open to technological change.” (Emphasis added. From Goklany, p. 429, “Strategies to Enhance Adaptability: Technological Change, Economic Growth and Free Trade.” Climatic Change 30 (1995): 427-449, available at http://goklany.org/library/Goklany%201995%20Climatic%20Change.pdf.

  15. Elmer says:

    Then they traveled to Kensington Minnesota in 1362.

  16. Gary Hladik says:

    Anything new here? I thought it was already well established that the Greenland settlements failed because of a cooling climate and inability or unwillingness to adapt.

  17. “I found it interesting that the Christian Norse would not have adopted the Inuit techniques as the Inuit techniques were bound up with their religion.For example, in order to learn how to hunt, seal the Norse may have been told they needed to say prayers to the appropriate Inuit Gods….Adaption is difficult if it contradicts religion.” (John in NZ)

    I would modify the last sentence to “adaption is difficult if it contradicts culture.” Religion alone, being largely a cognitive and behavioural thing of ours, is surprisingly flexible and amenable to tolerance and change when under physical pressure. Established customs, traditions, hierarchies, kinship structures, diets, technologies and habits, on the other hand, are very resilient. On the basis of comparative examples, such as those of Europeans adopting trchnologies and methods of native peoples when cut off from assistance, my guess is that the Norse too would have eventually adapted….except that they seem to have run out of time.

  18. John Day says:

    @Moderate Republican
    > OK…and what exactly? It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate any of the science
    > that shows that excessive CO2 from our activities is cause changes in the earth atmosphere?

    Very simple. The CAGW religion is based on these two tenets:
    1. The current warm climate is unprecedented.
    2. CO2 must be causing this warm climate exactly because the warmth is unprecedented (i.e. “what else could it be?).

    The mere existence of the MWP falsifies both of these premises. I.e. the current warming really isn’t unprecedented. It seems to occur cyclically in nature. Hence no man-made CO2 nonsense is needed to explain it.

    This negates the claims that only man-made CO2 could possibly account for the current warm climate, precisely because there was never any convincing proof for man-made warming, other than “what else could it be”?

    Now there’s an “else”.

    :-|

  19. Jimbo says:

    Moderate Republican says:
    June 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm
    OK…and what exactly? It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate any of the science that shows that excessive CO2 from our activities is cause changes in the earth atmosphere?

    Whatever happened to global warming? Mod Republican, we are not idiots. Try another blog.

  20. Roger Knights says:

    Moderate Republican says:
    June 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    OK…and what exactly? It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate any of the science that shows that excessive CO2 from our activities is cause changes in the earth atmosphere?

    Some warmists have pooh-poohed the evidence of the viking settlements in Greenland as being “anecdotal” and hence unscientific (non sequitur) and hence dismissible. This evidence provides scientific data to back up their accounts.

    To some extent, this evidence strengthens the case for the MWP & the LIA, which weakens the case for the hockey stick, which both weakens the credibility of warmism (which endorsed it) and the warmists’ message that today’s warmth is unprecedented (and hence dangerous and likely due to CO2).

  21. Jeff Mitchell says:

    I strongly suspect moderate republican is neither moderate or republican, and, based on his comments, is but one of the many species of internet trolls. He doesn’t seem very smart. Alas, my witty comebacks have all been taken already. Sniff. Sniff.

  22. Eric Anderson says:

    Nice to see the MWP acknowlegement. However, I’m still skeptical of the whole idea that climate change is or has been significant enough to knock off whole civilizations, even relatively small ones. There are plenty of groups who have come and gone, and climate change is certainly not a unique culprit for declining civilizations. In the present case, are we to understand that these folks chose to die rather than learn to hunt, or that the summer temperatures were so cold as to prevent any sea-faring travel? As with most departed civilizations, there is a natural desire to figure out the cause (and to gain recognition by doing so), but it is far from clear that we can inter that climate change was a sufficient cause, or even a significant contributing cause.

  23. rbateman says:

    There’s nothing new under the Sun… a famous quote.
    One has to wonder just how long it will be before the increasingly long and colder winters in the N. Hemisphere will lead to expansion and longevity of sea ice.

  24. “Then they traveled to Kensington Minnesota in 1362.” (Elmer, June 20, 2011 at 5:59 pm)

    Highly unlikely; actually, probability zero. The tablet with its runic inscription upon which the idea of Vikings travelling to the area of present day Kingston, Minnesota is now deemed to be a forgery, written in a rune-based code developed by a young Swede in the early 1800s, and with words and individual chracters unknown in the 14th century. Another runic inscription, very similar to the Kingston one was found recently, and two former students at the university nearby confessed to having carved it as a prank in the 80s.

  25. rbateman says:

    Indur M. Goklany says:
    June 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Nice point. Trade with the Ukraine & Turkey is what kept Europe from a famine in the early Dalton.

  26. higley7 says:

    An unwillingness to adapt? Perhaps there were not the available animal resources in their area to go Inuit as it cooled. The assumption that they might have been unwilling to adapt is mean, as perhaps they were trying but did not have the time to implement or invent the needed changes. The Inuit skills were not developed overnight. Failed colonies abound in the history of humans.

  27. All tise was very well known in 1913 when Swedish geologist and oceanographer Ptto Pttereson published his paper about the issue, a long and fascinating study of all kinds of data available then, including ancient Viking Sagas and documents, where Petterson correlates climatic changes to “solar-lunar generating forces”:

    http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/calen12/petterson_1.html

    “Climatic variations in historic and prehistoric time”.

    By Otto PETTERSON

    Published in 1913 in UR Svenska Hydrografisk-Biologiska Kommisionens Skrifter

    In the last centuries of the Middle Ages a series of political and economic catastrophes occurred all over the then-known world.

    Read it because it is well worth it.

  28. John in NZ says:

    @ Peter Kovachev says:
    June 20, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    “I would modify the last sentence to “adaption is difficult if it contradicts culture.”

    Perhaps you are right, but religion plays a very big part. And religion is also a big part of the environmental movement.

  29. Douglas Dc says:

    Peter Kovachev-
    Thanks the religion of the Norse wasn’t the problem there were may settlers learned the way of the
    natives, look at Plymouth colony, for example-Johnstown too. There were many Highland Scots moutain
    men in the American west who found friends and wives among the Local Native American tribes,and found the
    lifestyle not too different. ..
    I agree- time was not on their side…

  30. don penman says:

    One thing that is not considered is is the social stability ,land was not just to grow food it defined the social order.I remember at school being taught about the settlement of England by the angles and the jutes who invaded England and this gives me an insight into what might have happened in Greenland.Many of the imperial measurements were devised at this time the foot ,yard and the furlong they measured the strips of land farmed by individual farmers.

  31. The exact time of the collapse is not known, but it’s certainly later than 1350. The latest written record relating to the settlements is of a wedding which took place in 1408, and it’s generally agreed that the collapse was some time during the 15th century, i.e. at least 58 years after 1350.

  32. Michael says:

    Almost everyone agreed solar activity had little to do with climate change, until it did.

    I like to think the creators of the universe answered my prayers for an extended solar minimum, so we could teach the sheeple of the world a lesson they would never forget.
    Thanks for answering my prayers fellas.

  33. dp says:

    History repeats itself – this very scenario is playing out as we speak, and the climate experts at the UEA are looking the other way. Will they believe the world is safe from incineration when they can walk their poodles across the Thames?

    Perhaps a Josh cartoon of Phil Jones and Jim Hansen standing in the middle of a frozen Thames crying on one another’s shoulder paints a better picture. Maybe Hansen can be towing a toy death train. Hansen should never be cartooned without a toy death train.

  34. coldlynx says:

    What else happend around 1350?
    Black death spread in europe.
    “The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% – 60% of Europe’s population”

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

    That may also affect the settlement either direct or indirect with no homeland base left for supply.

  35. pat says:

    Fastest Sea-Level Rise in 2,000 Years Linked to Increasing Global Temperatures

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110620183242.htm

    “The rate of sea level rise along the U.S. Atlantic coast is greater now than at any time in the past 2,000 years — and has shown a consistent link between changes in global mean surface temperature and sea level.”
    Panic in the city. .3mm???? Hmmm. Sound familiar? Sure it does. That is what the U. of Co. determined was the rate of continental rise. Hey! Were even gang!
    Yawn.

  36. TFN JOHNSON says:

    Jared Diamond wrote an interesting book (‘Collapse’) about marginal societies a few years ago. He wailed on about not adapting to climate change etc, but basically he just demonstrated that marginal societies are, well, marginal.
    The Norse sensibly adapted by moving back to Europe, where their descendents played their part in the Age of Enligtenment and the Indusrial Revolution. The Eskimo (oh, sorry, Inuit) remained, where their descendents sell crap to cruise ships in tourist traps. Yet Diamned praised the latter, drided the former.

  37. Ray B says:

    When did the Medieval Climate Optimum or Medieval Warming Period become the Medieval Climate Anomaly? Maybe I am reading something into it that shouldn’t be there, but it sounds like an attempt to marginalize the MWP as anomalous since they have to acknowledge it now.

  38. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Why Vikings would go to the colder and more inhospitable climate?
    Negative NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) makes Scandinavian winters dry and very cold , while the west Greenland in contrast turns wet and milder.
    These conditions are currently setting in, the trend may last at least through forthcoming decade and possibly longer.
    The negative NAO, and why may be a prolonged one :

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NAO-.htm

  39. Ryan says:

    You have to laugh at the way they jump through hoops to avoid taking a shot at Team AGW in order to get this published. Notice that no mention is made of the end of the MWP – the problem with Greenland settlements was specific to the peculiarities of the ocean currents around Greenland, and the fact that it was much warmer than it is today is just a “Greenland” thing – nothing for us skeptics to get excited about. Ocean currents changed the climate in Greenland by 10degrees, but only in Greenland and nowhere else.

    So the rest of us must continue to be very afraid of AGW. Personally I’d be more afraid of these capricious ocean currents which, it seems, can end human civilization on a whim. They must be stopped…..

  40. TheSkyIsFalling says:

    I agree with Ray B. We should resist the attempt to rename the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ as the ‘Medieval Climate Anomaly’ until it has been demonstrated that there was anything anomalous about it. Isn’t it a blatent attempt to support the ‘warm is unusual’ theme without requiring evidence?

  41. Ray B says:
    June 21, 2011 at 1:15 am

    When did the Medieval Climate Optimum or Medieval Warming Period become the Medieval Climate Anomaly? Maybe I am reading something into it that shouldn’t be there, but it sounds like an attempt to marginalize the MWP as anomalous since they have to acknowledge it now.

    I thought exactly the same thing. Digging around on Google (listing results in date order) the oldest reference I can find is a reference to this paper:

    Trouet, V., Esper, J., Graham, N.E., Baker, A., Scourse, J.D. and Frank, D.C., 2009. Persistent positive North Atlantic Oscillation mode dominated the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Science, 324, 78-80

    In this article: http://www.connectedwaters.unsw.edu.au/resources/articles/stalagmitesarchives.html

    So at least 2009, although my bet is probably quite a bit earlier, given the comment on the Wikipedia entry for the MWP, vis:

    “Some refer to the event as the Medieval Climatic Anomaly as this term emphasizes that effects other than temperature were important.”

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

    Although Dellingpole notes a thwarted attempt to rename the Wiki entry to the new name by William Connelly in an article ostensibly about Hal Lewis’ resignation from the APS:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100059077/professor-hal-lewis-is-not-an-irrelevant-senile-old-fool/

    Hmm, probably too many links. Hey ho.

  42. An older reference to the MCA, this from 2001, I doubt I’ll find any which are very much older:

    http://atlas-conferences.com/c/a/h/i/82.htm

    Where Keith Briffa mentions it in an abstract to a 2001 conference.

  43. ob says:

    The important thing about the study might be, that it to some extent differs from the ice-cores (compare ljungqvists paper from 2009): here: cooler c. AD 750 and 1050, warmer from c. AD 1050 to 1400/1500 (cooling trend since 1250) and cool afterwards. However it nicely fits with lambs very early assessment of lia and mwp/mca (and this paper could even be interpreted to fit the models, oops).

  44. Graeme says:

    I find that so hard to believe. As we all know, Michael Mann has demonstrated that there was a stable temperature across the whole world for the thousand years preceding the industrial revolution via his justly famous and IPCC endorsed hockey stick.

    It is much more likely, indeed highly probable that the vikings abandoned greenland due to one of the following reasons.

    [1] Homesickness for the fjords of denmark, and finland.

    [2] The old lady who knew the recipe for Mead passed away and they all embarked for the homelands for a decent drink.

    [3] The were repeatedly attacked by Fenrir the wolf.

    [4] The world circling serpent Jorgunmundir attacked the settlements much like godzilla has done in Japan.

    [5] The depredations of frost giants were just too much trouble.

    As you can see from the above demonstrated proofs – a fantasy such as the Medieval Warming Period just doesn’t stand up.

  45. I distrust all research that is based on the assumption that people are too stupid and just do nothing as they start to die away.

  46. Perry says:

    Authors’ spiel.

    “The authors suggest the collapse of the Greenland Norse presents a historical example of a society which failed to adapt to climate change.”

    The trading ships from Europe had stopped, because the voyages had become far too dangerous. There weren’t suitable trees for the Greenlanders to build any ships so they could not leave. That’s not failure to adapt, that’s being caught out by the vagaries of the ever changing climate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenlanders#Early_Paleo-Eskimo_cultures

    Another example springs to mind. The Polynesians on Rapa Nui felled every tree for use as rollers to move the Moai, so no canoes & a grossly destabilised society. By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island’s population had dropped to 2,000–3,000 from a high of approximately 15,000 just a century earlier.
    Reference. Barbara A. West

    Socialist scientists don’t do manual work , so the meaning of the phrase, “Don’t paint yourself into a corner.” escapes them. Always leave yourself a means to escape off the island.

  47. John Day says:

    @TheSkyIsFalling
    > I agree with Ray B. We should resist the attempt to rename the
    > ‘Medieval Warm Period’ as the ‘Medieval Climate Anomaly’
    > until it has been demonstrated that there was anything
    > anomalous about it. Isn’t it a blatent attempt to support the
    > ‘warm is unusual’ theme without requiring evidence?

    I wouldn’t necessarily rule out any sinister machinations behind these name changes.

    But I would like to point out that the term “anomaly” is used somewhat differently in meteorology/climatology than it is in statistics. In statistics (and elsewhere) an “anomaly” is an unexpected deviation from the norm. Weathermen, on the other hand, tend to use “anomaly” as a synonym for “deviation”, to point out and measure any departure from a statistical mean. So, in this usage, anomalies are expected to happen and are not necessarily “unusual”.

    The justification for this usage is partly that changed values are easier and more reliably detected than absolute values. So, we can easily see the temperature changes in ice cores and other proxies, but there is considerably more uncertainty about the baseline temperature (unless other more reliable proxy values are available for calibration).

  48. SteveE says:

    Roger Knights says:
    June 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm
    “To some extent, this evidence strengthens the case for the MWP & the LIA, which weakens the case for the hockey stick, which both weakens the credibility of warmism (which endorsed it) and the warmists’ message that today’s warmth is unprecedented (and hence dangerous and likely due to CO2).”

    Strange, just looking at the IPCC hockey stick graph for 2001 and 2007 and they both show the imprint of the MWP and a LIA so I don’t know where you get the idea that this somehow “weakens the credibility” for AGW.

    The rate at which temperature has risen in resent decades is unpresidented on those graphs though, what was the rate of temperature rise for the MWP? I can’t find any evidence that suggests that it was nearly as fast as what we are observing in the last few decades…

  49. Steve Keohane says:

    Elmer says:June 20, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Then they traveled to Kensington Minnesota in 1362.

    I know, that is where they got their copper, from the natives. Your date is off by 2000 years, it was 1700 B.C., and near Toronto, Canada. See, ‘Bronze Age America’, by Barry Fell

  50. DesertYote says:

    If I had been asked 30 years ago why the Vikings Greenland colony failed, I would have answered climate change and failure to adapt. So what exactly does this new study add that previous studies didn’t cover?

  51. a reader says:

    An interesting take on the disappearance of the Norse in Greenland is presented in V. Stefansson’s book “Greenland” (1942) pp. 164-165. Describing F. Nansen’s arguments, he says:

    “During the latter part of the historical period the Church of Rome complained frequently about the apostasy of the Greenlanders. One part of this apostasy, Nansen suggests, may have been intermarriage with the heathen Eskimos. Such blending of the racial strains would promote that Eskimoization of the culture which is shown by the considerable percentage of bones of game animals in the late middens.”

    He goes on to further argue his and Nansen’s thesis with too many points to deal with here.

    If you would like to read the reports from the archives of the Vatican about pre-Columbian voyages and settlements in the new world, they are printed in National Geographic Mag. July 31,1894 pp. 197-234.

  52. Don Mattox says:

    The decline of the Vikings in Greenland was covered very well in “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.

  53. Pascvaks says:

    Sometimes Mother Nature deals you a Mount Vesuvius or a St Helens or a year without a summer, etc., and there’s just no way to change your mind. I detect a rather large wad of spit being directed at religion here; seems there’s always someone blameing some god for everything. Remember sports fans, we were kicked out of Eden because we wouldn’t play by the rules. All else is human history. (No, I’m not a bible thumper, now I’m just an ‘observer’ on this rock;-)

    PS: Ref. Greenland land/sea ice buildup, have a funny feeling that there’s a lot to this that we haven’t figured out yet. FYI see –

  54. John in NZ and Douglas dc,

    “….but religion plays a very big part. And religion is also a big part of the environmental movement.” (John in NZ, June 20, 2011 at 9:49 pm)

    True, until recently, it was nearly impossible to separate religion from culture, as every aspect of life was permeated with ritual and myth. Even now, we are beginning to see that the lines between the “secular” and the “religious” spheres is quite blurry, thanks to the fact that we have expanded our definitions beyond surface appearances, self-definitions and institutions. I note that you too, John NZ, appear to have expanded the definition with your comment on the environmental movement, if I understand it correctly.

    The “mystery” of the Scandinavian settlements captivated me back in university days, o so many, many years ago, and I spent a good amount of time reading up on it. If only my memory was better, but I’ll try. To take us back to the original issue we started off with, my point was that it would be highly unusual for the Scandinavian settlers to have rejected the viable technologies and methods used by the Dorset Inu due to what, under the circumstances, would have been shallow religious differences. Most religions are fairly flexible, allowing for quick adjustments. Even the least flexible ones find ways to accomodate differences and to rationalize and incorporate as their own vital changes when practical demands require this. This is the reason why all major religions are syncretistic, i.e., a blend between the previousor neighbouring religions and the new one.

    Cultural preferences and behaviours are another matter, as I argued above, since they involve entrenched and a much wider range of behaviours. In the case of theScandinavians, the Dorset culture Inu were also affected by the global cooling and were just trickling south along Greenland’s western coast. Their first introduction to the Europeans would have been near the second settlement, north along the coast, at the hunting grounds by Disko Bay. It is unlikely that the Europeans would have been able to establish good relations with a few small bands of Inu tentatively migrating south. The situation was hardly comparable to other European-Aboriginal contacts where a few Europeans interacted with settled, tribal cultures. I don’t think such lopsided interactions such as this one, where established European agriculturalists met a small number of band-level hunters, can be very conducive to an interchange of technologies. I don’t recall what the Greenland settlement records say on this, but I have no doubt that such contact would have involved mistrust and even violenence. Historical records and anthropological studies seem to support these assumptions.

    I strongly suspect, then, that the Viking colonies might have picked up a few crucial skills and technologies to allow them to stay longer. Abandoning their European woollen clothing for the much more efficient seal skin outfits of the Inu would have been one such advantage. In the long term, though, all that would have bought is a little extra time, and a few more lives saved, as its inconceivable that the Vikings would have been able to abandon their increasingly unsustainable farming and sheep-herding economy to embrace a pristine nomadic hunter-gatherer subsistence strategy. There are very, very few examples of such things happening anywhere in the world.

  55. Diamond didn’t cover anything “well”. He was on a quest too, and his “results” as biased as any.

    People are not dumb, idiotic or suicidal. Whatever happened to the Vikings, and at Rapa Nui, was not a matter of consumerism.

  56. Bob Ryan says:

    ‘OK…and what exactly? It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate any of the science that shows that excessive CO2 from our activities is cause changes in the earth atmosphere?’ Moderate Republican

    To be fair to MR, his or her question is almost reasonable enough and non-contentious. Significant climate changes in the past do not nor necessarily negate the AGW proposition with respect to the late 20th C warming or the recession of arctic ice. All they demonstrate is that there are natural processes which can cause climate changes of similar magnitude to that experienced in the modern era. This would suggest that the simple forcing models of climate change are incomplete but then I do not think that either side in the debate would argue about that. A better formulation of MR’s question is as follows: ‘OK…and what exactly? It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate the proposition that CO2 from our activities is causing changes in the earth atmosphere?’ That’s much better but of course the answer is simple: it doesn’t.

  57. Perry says:

    Jane Smiley’s book “The Greenlanders” was published in 1988. I read it around that time and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    “Set in the fourteenth century in Europe’s most farflung outpost, a land of glittering fjords, blasting winds, sun-warmed meadows, and high, dark mountains, The Greenlanders is the story of one family–proud landowner Asgeir Gunnarsson; his daughter Margret, whose willful independence leads her into passionate adultery and exile; and his son Gunnar, whose quest for knowledge is at the compelling center of this unforgettable book. Jane Smiley takes us into this world of farmers, priests, and lawspeakers, of hunts and feasts and long-standing feuds, and by an act of literary magic, makes a remote time, place, and people not only real but dear to us.”

    It’s a far better read than Jared Diamond. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Greenlanders-Jane-Smiley/dp/044991089X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308673667&sr=1-1

  58. JohnH says:

    “There is perhaps an important lesson to learn from the Norse collapse and that is a lesson of adaptation, of being able to adjust our values and life-style when times change. That is an important challenge we face today as a society.”

    Warm is good, cold is bad is one lesson here, so why all the bad news about a warming planet.

  59. “During the latter part of the historical period the Church of Rome complained frequently about the apostasy of the Greenlanders. One part of this apostasy, Nansen suggests, may have been intermarriage with the heathen Eskimos. Such blending of the racial strains would promote that Eskimoization of the culture which is shown by the considerable percentage of bones of game animals in the late middens.” (a reader,
    June 21, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Without having read Nansen’s thesis, I’ll go out on a limb and say that apostasy is one thing, intermarriage another. Apostasy does not necessarily involve adoption of other beliefs and usually involves disagreements over theological technicalities and practical or financial issues such as tithing, property rights and other Church fees.

    Intermarriage, by itself, did not present a theological problem to the Church if the non-Christian partner converted as she (most likely a she) would have had to in order to live in one of the settlements to be at least marginally accepted. It is probable that a few intermarriages occured, most likely between lonely Viking hunters and Inu women in the hunting grounds around the Western Settlement, but again, given the small number of Inu, the infrequent contacts between them and the Vikings and lack of any evidence, an “Eskimoization of the culture” is highly unlikely. The presence of game animals in the middens is hardly evidence and doesn’t support that thesis; the Vikings hunted, like all agrarians with an opportunity to do so, and the cooling off, which undoubtedly affected the quallity and range of pasture lands for their sheep, cattle and ponies, would have encouraged an increase in hunting and fishing activities.

  60. JohnH says:

    DesertYote says:
    June 21, 2011 at 7:35 am
    If I had been asked 30 years ago why the Vikings Greenland colony failed, I would have answered climate change and failure to adapt. So what exactly does this new study add that previous studies didn’t cover?

    Well they got paid for ‘Stating the obvious’ ;)

  61. Steve Schaper says:

    As the climate grew colder, the northern (‘western’) colony became less viable, and at the same time the Black Death hit Iceland, freeing up homesteads that Greenlendings had legal inheritance claims to, so many moved back to Iceland at that time. Fishermen out of Bristol, England, when they didn’t get a good catch on the Grand Banks, would then sail to the “East” Colony to take slaves. The Greenlendings told them that the West colony reverted to paganism (there is no evidence of this) so the fishermen/slavers were sent up there, where no one lived anymore. The last Greenland Norse appear to have passed away around 1453, not that long before Columbus.

    The 1362 expedition was in response to the rumor that the West Colony had reverted to paganism, but of course they weren’t there anymore. It appears that they then sailed south into Hudson’s Bay (consider a magnetic compass and and translators with the Algonquian speaking of large bodies of water to the south and a great river) seeking a way home, avoiding the ice.

    It is curious that the Norse who converted many Dorset and intermarried with them, did not adopt any of their cultural artifacts for dealing with the ice. Norse trade goods are found in the remains of Dorest camps throughout Baffin Island and other eastern parts of northern Canada. However, the lure of better farmland in Iceland, and the blood-thirstiness of the newly arriving Inuit may have simply made returning to Iceland a much more attractive prospect. You mustn’t think of the Norse in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries as Vikings. They were very much medieval Europeans at this point in time.

    The Kensington Runestone has been shown to be written in the Bohuslansk dialect of the period, and the weathering of the inscription is not remotely consistant with a nineteenth century forgery. The forgery theory is old and has been disproven, however the idea of Europeans in America that far back is not PC.

    It -is- impossible to separate religion from culture. Privileging materialistic ontology and epistemology to those not limited by naturalism is simply the logical fallacy of special pleading.

  62. Correction: The main Inu culture interacting with the Norse would have been the Thule, rather than the Dorset. Apologies to both.

  63. jothi85 says:

    Wil says:
    June 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm
    Moderate Republican
    You do realize approximately 96% of all CO2 is natural in origin. In other words NOT man made what so ever. Now, keeping in mind both China and India (both the largest CO2 culprits on the planet)

    Wil,
    Clubbing india and China together is quite uninformed.

    China produces about 22% of worldwide CO2 emissions
    India produces about 5.25% of CO2
    US produces about 20% of CO2

    I am not sure what activity india is a culprit in

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

  64. a reader says:

    Peter Kovachev

    Nansen’s and Stefansson’s theory of “amalgamation” of the Norse is based on very old sources, for instance:

    “A direct statement that Eskimos and whites fraternized is found in Bishop Gisli Oddsson’s annals for 1342. ‘ The inhabitants of Greenland voluntarily abandoned the true faith and the Christian religion, having already abandoned all good customs and true virtues, and amalgamated themselves with the people of America.’ ”

    Nansen in his study “In Northern Mists” argues that race conciousness was not an issue to the Norse at that time and the races would have freely mixed, the Eskimo not being particularly warlike. Apparently even in later Greenland after Hans Egede, it was not unusual for white women to marry Eskimo men.

    I believe both Stefansson and Nansen’s books are on google books. Or were as I haven’t looked lately. The chapter X “The Decline and Disappearance of the Colony” , has translations of old sources and reviews of arguments popular in 1942 and before. Modern DNA tests may have eliminated the amalgamation theory; I’ve not researched that.

  65. Auto says:

    Re:
    Steve Schaper says: June 21, 2011 at 9:56 am
    Intera lia: – “It is curious that the Norse who converted many Dorset and intermarried with them, did not adopt any of their cultural artifacts for dealing with the ice.”
    One possibility, which I advance only tentatively, is that the Dorset women – who married Norse men – may simply not have known the detail of the manufacture of the cultural artifacts discussed – if their manufacture had been – culturally or religiously or practically – a purely-male occupation/exercise/task.
    A suggestion only, but not unknown in this still-complex world.

  66. Wayne Richards says:

    Re: TFN Johnson @ 12:26.

    Actually, Jared Diamond was even lousier than that. His account of Easter Island totally ignores slave traders ‘harvesting’ the Islanders decade after decade. Buffoon!

  67. Wil says:
    June 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Moderate Republican
    You do realize approximately 96% of all CO2 is natural in origin.

    With the greatest respect, surely that can’t be right.

    Looking at the graph on wikipedia’s page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth's_atmosphere the CO2 level in 1960 was approx 315ppm/v, and is currently arround 385/390 ppm. That’s an increase of around 20%, and my understanding is that much if not all of that increase is human-caused; and that’s only since 1960. Pre-industrial levels are believed to be around 280ppm/v, which puts the increase at around 35% or so.

    Not that I currently believe the hype that more CO2 is necessarily a bad thing, but let’s not misrepresent things.

  68. Moderate Republican says:

    Boy – you guys are really touchy….

    My point – which many of you repeatedly make elsewhere here is that it has been warmer and colder in the past. So unless you want to conflict your statements elsewhere here let’s just take that as a given for now.

    My point is that it is misleading to present this study as evidence of anything that life was hard for the Vikings?

  69. Moderate Republican says:

    Oh – and if you now insist on scientific notations on everything – which I personally think would be great – you should really step up and walk the walk…..

    Railing on me for not providing valid science citations and then refusing to provide scientific of your own assertions kinda looks bad. Almost like the science doesn’t support your positions, but we can dig into that going forward….

  70. Smokey says:

    Moderate Republican says:

    “Boy – you guys are really touchy….”

    No, just setting you straight for the umpteenth time. Try to let this sink in, if you can: many Viking graves and settlements are still under permafrost. They are being routinely discovered as the permafrost line recedes. Simple logic tells us that the Vikings farmed during warmer times than present, then the LIA froze them out. Now with the natural, cyclical emergence from the LIA, the permafrost is receding and their remains are being found again.

    Run along to Skeptical Pseudo-Science now, maybe you can get some more easy to debunk talking points, like the nonsense claim that the LIA and MWP only happened in Greenland. Or that the Vikings buried their dead and farmed in permafrost.

    I miss the pre-lunatic WUWT discussions, where science was discussed reasonably without the intrusion of true believers from the Cult of CAGW. Since they opened the asylums I guess those rational days are in the past.

  71. Moderate Republican says:

    Like I said – you guys sure get worked up easily.

    Smokey says @ June 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm natural, cyclical emergence from the LIA’ and “where science was discussed reasonably”

    As said above the rate of change seems different now. Maybe, given James Sexton and other’s request for citations, you can provide the citation that proves your assertion that what we’re seeing is a “natural, cyclical emergence from the LIA’?

    That would be a case “where science was discussed reasonably” no? Seems more reasonable that saying things like “lunatic” and “cult” and “asylums” eh?

  72. Smokey says:

    MR,

    Even arch-alarmist Phil Jones admitted that the same trend has happened repeatedly: click

    All this has been discussed in detail here over the past few years. It’s tedious educating a noob. Please start reading the WUWT archives, so we don’t have to constantly bring you up to speed on the facts of the matter. A keyword is all you need.

  73. Moderate Republican says:

    Smokey says @ June 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm “All this has been discussed in detail here over the past few years. It’s tedious educating a noob. ”

    So sorry that providing scientific citations in a conversation about science is “tedious”. That chart clearly shows the current warming at a starting point, higher different peak and duration – so that your assertion that it is “cyclical” is not supported by your citation.

  74. Latitude says:

    Moderate Republican says:
    June 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm
    As said above the rate of change seems different now
    ==================================================
    That’s because it’s slowed down……
    Temps jumped .6 degrees from 1700-1800
    Temps fell .6 degrees in only 1/2 century from 1400-1450
    Temps jumped .5 degree in 50 years from 1200-1250
    etc etc
    What we are seeing is a slow down……..
    ….and no temp rise for over a decade

    There is no “rate of change” to be different, sometimes it’s fast, sometimes slow…..

    It we could start these graphs and measurements a thousand years ago, instead of conveniently right after the LIA…..we would not even be having this conversation
    These bozos act like life was just wonderful when CO2 was 280………..

  75. Smokey says:

    Yo, noob, you’re moving the goal posts again. I said the trend is the same. Try to stay on point. And the slowly rising temperatures from the LIA are not evidence of CO2 emissions. Unless you have, like, evidence that CO2 is the cause. As if.

  76. Latitude says:

    Does anyone else find it odd…that on a thread talking about the demise of an entire society…because of their failure to adapt to climate change….

    Someone is arguing that life would just be perfect if CO2 levels were exactly like they were then………..

  77. Moderate Republican says:

    Smokey says @ June 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm “I said the trend is the same.”

    OK – so all you are claiming then is that you have a chart where the hand-added line trend line also points up, albeit from a much higher starting point and to a much higher temperature. That is the extent of your claim? That doesn’t seem like much evidence of anything other than change – certainly not enough to prove or refute anything.

    It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate any of the science that shows that excessive CO2 from our activities is cause changes in the earth atmosphere?

  78. Moderate Republican says:

    Latitude says @ June 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm “Does anyone else find it odd…that on a thread talking about the demise of an entire society…because of their failure to adapt to climate change….”

    No, but I am sure some people here find it deeply ironic that you are suggesting climate change can have that big of an impact while many here argue the warming we are seeing is of no concern….

  79. Smokey says:

    MR,

    You are still floundering around trying to prove somehow that CO2 causes rising temperatures. But you have zero empirical, testable, measurable evidence to support that claim. You only reject Phil Jones’ chart because it disconfirms your belief system.

    Unless you can provide observed, measurable, testable evidence, per the scientific method, to support your belief in the magical juju of a tiny trace gas, you belong on the RealClimatePropagandaCensoring blog, not here at the internet’s Best Science site – where we demand verifiable facts and evidence, not true belief. So far, you have provided no such evidence. But don’t feel bad, no one else has, either.

  80. Moderate Republican says:

    Smokey says @ June 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm ” You only reject Phil Jones’ chart because it disconfirms your belief system. ”

    I’m not “disconfirming” the chart – just the assertion you are making from it.

    Smokey says @ June 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm ” You are still floundering around trying to prove somehow that CO2 causes rising temperatures. But you have zero empirical, testable, measurable evidence to support that claim. ”

    Back to arguing with physics eh? Are you quite sure you want to state for the record that CO2 cannot cause warming?

  81. Smokey says:

    MR says:

    “Are you quite sure you want to state for the record that CO2 cannot cause warming?”

    Absolutely. CO2 only acts like a blanket; it delays loss of energy to space. It does not cause warming, as MR mistakenly believes. ModRep really needs to get up to speed on this topic.

    If CO2 caused warming, a flask of CO2 would be a wonderful hot water bottle that would cause endless heat to be emitted – like a fantastic perpetual motion machine.

  82. Philip Bradley says:

    Moderate Republican says:
    June 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm
    OK…and what exactly? It’s been warmer. It’s been cooler. How does that negate any of the science that shows that excessive CO2 from our activities is cause changes in the earth atmosphere?

    The problem is that the only real evidence for CO2 induced warming of the magnitude generally claimed is from interpreting the historical temperature record and attributing changes to natural and human factors.

    Other evidence is weak to non-existent.

    Crucially, direct measurement of outgoing longwave radiation does not show significant decrease in the CO2 absorption bands. The only decreases are seen in the methane and ozone absorption bands.

    The increase in ozone OLR absorption is rather ironic, because billions have been spent trying to increase ozone levels.

    Even more ironic is that Montreal protocol touted as a great success and a model for international cooperation in managing atmospheric ozone levels, looks to be a bigger contributor to global warming than all human CO2 emissions.

    Finally, whether or not increasing CO2 affects the climate is a strawman argument. There will be some effect, the question is how large.

  83. Alexander K says:

    MR. your use of non-standard English is disconcerting and also obscures any point you are attempting to make. Many posters here on WUWT have English as a second or third language and they make their points clearly and without ambiguity.
    Please try again.

  84. SteveE says:

    Here you go Smokey:

    Laboratory tests show carbon dioxide absorbs longwave radiation. Satellite measurements confirm less longwave radiation is escaping to space at carbon dioxide absorptive wavelengths. Surface measurements find more longwave radiation returning back to Earth at these same wavelengths. The result of this energy imbalance is the accumulation of heat over the last 40 years.

  85. Smokey says:

    Here you go SteveE:

    click1
    click2
    click3

    The effect of CO2 is so insignificant that it is overwhelmed by other factors. I would be surprised if the sensitivity to 2xCO2 is even 0.5°C. Despite all the arm-waving, the effect of CO2 is so minuscule that it just doesn’t matter in the big picture. It is a non-problem.

    And increased CO2 is not only completely harmless, it is a net benefit to the biosphere. Charts on request.☺

  86. Reader,

    From what I recall, the historians’ consensus …o, how that word has been irredeemably ruined… was that the Scandinavians and the Inu rarely had contact with one another and most likely fought sporadically. I do recall a DNA study of the Greenlanders, but it was about how the Vikings’ DNA showed Celtic input, probably from their earlier contacts with people in the northern British isles.

    As for Nansen’s “race consciousness was not an issue,” I have trouble believing that, along with similar Noble Savage bubemeise. Humans are naturally naughty as well as delightful, on the rare occasion, and this “racial awareness” thing is an omnipresent universal stain and as natural as our other little foibles such as an appetite for astounding cruelty and wanton destruction. Our seemingly hard-wired preference for people who look, speak, live, think and behave like us is what is “normal”; it is our better qualities, such as tolerance and genuine acceptance of differences which have to be developed and nurtured. Furthermore, it is only modern Western society that has made genuine, deep, structural and systematic attempts to resist our deeply entrenched and natural chauvinism, and while there are still serious problems, we have come further than any civilization in history. In this and in other cases, we may take justified pride in resisting “Mother Nature.”

    The research on the story of the Greenlanders is still ongoing, but I’ll wager that little or no evidence of Inu genes will appear in Scandinavian remains buried at the settlement cemeteries. Among both the descendants of the Vikings and the Inu “racial consciousness,” as this late 19th century term is to be understood (i.e., limited to superficial physiological differences) , may have played a minor role, but language and cultural differences undoubtedly presented an unfathomable gulf.

    But all this stuff aside, the idea that apart from a few individuals, the Greenlander communities could have survived intact by learning from the Arctic peoples, even if they could cross the cultural divide is sheer fantasy; the Inu technology and methods were geared for a nomadic, hunter-gatherer existence, something the community of settled agrarian Scandinavians would not have been able to adapt to in time, even if so inclined.

  87. “Many posters here on WUWT have English as a second or third language and they make their points clearly and without ambiguity.” (Alexander K to Moderate Republican)

    Me, I strained my brain, such as it is, through three other languages, but I speak English the bestest.

  88. SteveE says:

    Smokey, Those graphs show nothing to back up your claim that CO2 doesn’t cause global warming, the second one in particular shows nothing at all other than cherry picking from ~1998 to 2011 shows a negative gradient for some place on this planet…

    You’re really going to have to try harder than that to refute the satellite measurements that show infrared spectra over the past 40 years observe less energy escaping to space at the wavelengths associated with CO2 and surface measurements find more downward infrared radiation warming the planet’s surface. This provides a direct, empirical causal link between CO2 and global warming.

  89. Smokey says:

    SteveE,

    There is nothing incorrect about my statement above: “The effect of CO2 is so insignificant that it is overwhelmed by other factors.” Empirical observations bear this out. As CO2 steadily increases, global temperatures are flat to declining, and the steric sea level rise due to thermal expansion is falling rapidly.

    You’re going to really have to try harder to provide empirical, testable measurements showing that CO2 causes global harm. So far, there is no such evidence. There are only models and conjecture, which planet earth is falsifying.

    Any effect from anthropogenic CO2 is down in the noise, and is too small to be measured. That is why there is this endless argument. Because if the effect from CO2 was large enough to measure, the argument would be settled.

  90. John Day says:

    @Smokey
    > Absolutely. CO2 only acts like a blanket; it delays loss of energy to space.
    > It does not cause warming, …

    Not quite right my friend. Since it does act like a blanket, it can cause warming by slowing down the escape of heat into space from surface objects re-radiating absorbed solar radiation and such. Just like the insulation on your house keeps it warmer inside by slowing down the escape of heat through the walls. The insulation in your house does not generate heat, but the higher “R-factor” causes your house to be warmer than it would be without the insulation.

    But having said that, I happen to believe, like you, that the case for CO2 warming has been greatly overstated.

    There are holes in the longwave spectrum that let heat escape freely. And even at wavelengths with high CO2 absorption, the heating effect is countermanded by the rising of heated gases through convection, which cools things back down a bit. Also, CO2 is present only in trace amounts, so the total heat capacity is low and easily saturated (within the few hundred feet above the surface).

    So, we do have some so-called “green-house” heating effects on one side, and various cooling effects on the other. What’s the bottom line? Who wins this heating vs. cooling tug of war?

    The answer lies up on Mars.
    [broken_record]
    Mars is a perfect laboratory to test the so-called “CO2 warming” hypothesis (because there is no pesky nitrogen, oxygen or water vapor to complicate the issue). Mars’ atmosphere is 95% CO2. Though much thinner, it contains almost 30 times as much CO2 per surface area unit, than Earth. Yet, it has virtually no greenhouse warming effect: the mean surface temperature is very close to the theoretical black body temperature of 210 Kelvins.

    Mars Facts http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/marsfact.html
    Visual geometric albedo 0.170 (Earth 0.367)
    Solar irradiance (W/m2) 589.2 (Earth 1367.6)
    Black-body temperature 210.1 K (Earth 254.3 K)
    Average temperature: ~210 K (Earth 287 K)

    The warmists always say that all we need is a “trace” of CO2 to create catastrophic warming. So, why doesn’t 950,000 ppm on Mars have any significant warming effect on that planet?
    [/broken_record]

  91. “Any effect from anthropogenic CO2 is down in the noise, and is too small to be measured. That is why there is this endless argument. Because if the effect from CO2 was large enough to measure, the argument would be settled.” (Smokey)

    Ah, dear sir, but you’re ignoring the powerful juju effects of sudden and devastating tipping points, foolproof computer models understood only by anointed scientists, the sublime theology of forcings, the looming spectre of runaway greenhouse effects, the mysterious codes and truths emanating from the upside-down graphs, the powerful medicine of hidden declines, magical hockey sticks and such. This over-rated, restrictive and dull, dull, dull “measuring” thingamajing you harp about is so yesterday in this free range, post-normal science universe of ours. Namaste!

  92. TonyG says:

    Ray B says:
    When did the Medieval Climate Optimum or Medieval Warming Period become the Medieval Climate Anomaly? Maybe I am reading something into it that shouldn’t be there, but it sounds like an attempt to marginalize the MWP as anomalous since they have to acknowledge it now.

    What amazes me about the rejection of history from the warmist camp is the shortsightedness of that position. They must really, deeply believe their projections (and their own infallibility).

  93. Latitude says:

    Moderate Republican says:
    June 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm
    No, but I am sure some people here find it deeply ironic that you are suggesting climate change can have that big of an impact while many here argue the warming we are seeing is of no concern….
    ===================================================================================
    “Someone is arguing that life would just be perfect if CO2 levels were exactly like they were then………..”

    Yeah boy, if we could just get CO2 levels back to where they were in the Medieval Climate Anomaly, LIttle Ice Age, Dust Bowl, the Great Chinese Famine, the Russian Famine………………..
    How about we go way back to the Devonian extinction when CO2 levels fell?

    …everything would be perfect LOL

    Who in this world was stupid enough to draw that “0” line at the very top of this chart?

  94. Moderate Republican says:

    Smokey says @ June 22, 2011 at 6:53 am “And increased CO2 is not only completely harmless, it is a net benefit to the biosphere. Charts on request.☺”

    So you have charts that prove that ,more CO2 is of net benefit to the earth’s entire ecosystem based on a definitive and quantitative review of the impact on each and every living thing and natural system? That much be one heck of a chart….

    Odd as it may be, there appears to be some science that suggests that your blanket statement above is, um, wrong.

    CO2 and Wheat: How We Get Less Protein, More Sugar

    Without question, wheat is a staple crop. With the help of corn and rice, wheat provides about 60 percent of the world’s food. Therefore, how wheat responds to enhanced CO2 is a big deal, and FACE study results (for example here and here) are not encouraging: while wheat yields increase, its protein content drops.

    Take a recent German study published in Plant Biology for example. Petra Hogy of the University of Hohenheim and colleagues compared wheat grown under today’s conditions (with CO2 levels at about 387 parts per million) with those projected for the year 2050, with CO2 levels around 550 ppm. Hogy’s team found about a seven percent drop in protein content, noting several other changes in nutritional value:

    * amino acid concentrations decreased, with greater reductions in non-essential rather than essential amino acids;
    * minerals such as potassium, molybdenum, and lead increased;
    * minerals such as manganese, iron, cadmium, and silicon decreased; and
    * sugars including fructose and fructan increased.

    It’s too early to tell how these changes will affect our health and whether the changing chemical properties of wheat will prompt new ways of processing it (e.g., will a changed gluten profile impact bread-making?). However, we can easily speculate that less protein and higher lead levels in wheat will require some adjustments. Perhaps people will have to consume more sugars to get the same amount of wheat protein. Alternatively, maybe new cultivars of wheat will need to be engineered that are better adapted to high CO2 concentrations.
    More CO2 Means More Toxicity in Some Plants

    A number of other (mostly chamber) studies suggest that the toxicity of some crops will increase with rising CO2 levels. Of particular concern is cyanide.

    About 60 percent of today’s crop plants are cyanogenic, meaning that when their leaves are chewed or crushed, cyanide is released as a defense mechanism. A series of papers by Roslyn Gleadow of Monash University and her colleagues find that many cyanogenic plants will have greater cyanide toxicity when CO2 concentrations are higher.
    CO2, Clover, and Cyanide

    While we humans don’t usually eat clover, foraging animals like cows and sheep do, so how clover responds to elevated CO2 is of interest.

    A recent study led by Gleadow, published in the Journal of Chemical Ecology, found that while cyanide levels in clover grown under ambient (360 ppm) and elevated (700 ppm) CO2 levels did not rise, protein content dropped some 25 percent — in other words, the cyanide-to-protein ratio increased.

    This is important because the ability of livestock to tolerate cyanogenic compounds depends on their protein intake. The more protein they take in, the more cyanide the animals can handle and vice versa. In controlled greenhouse experiments, Gleadow’s group found that the relative ratio of protein to cyanide dropped by 30 percent or more, suggesting that livestock will be exposed to greater amounts of cyanide in a CO2-enhanced world. This could also mean that livestock may need to forage more to get the same amount of protein to combat the cyanide, which could lead to other downsides like more waste and methane production.
    CO2, Cassava, and Cyanide

    Cassava, also called manioc, is a cyanogenic staple that supports hundreds of millions of people. The starchy tuber’s leaves and roots are critical to tropical populations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, despite its harmful amounts of cyanide. (We Westerners tend to eat it as tapioca.) A Gleadow study published in Plant Biology found that while growing cassava at CO2 levels of 710 ppm had no effect on the cyanide in its root, it doubled the plant’s cyanide levels in its leaves and shrank the tuber’s size.

    To remove the cyanide and make it safe for eating, cassava is generally rasped, fermented and dried, but residual amounts remain. In a typical year, for instance, flour in Mozambique markets has been found to have cyanide levels ranging from 20 to 40 ppm but in a drought year (cassava is a very drought-resistant crop), cyanide levels have been found to be as high as 100–200 ppm. The World Health Organization recommends a limit of 10 ppm cyanide in food.

    Cyanide poisoning, which can be fatal, can disrupt normal endocrine function and impair neurological function. Konzo, a form of cyanide poisoning that causes leg paralysis, already affects nine percent of Nigerians. Not a good situation, and one that could grow unless alternate cassava varieties are developed with lower concentrations of cyanogenic compounds. (And strangely at present, according to the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, ”many farmers prefer to cultivate the high-cyanide varieties for reasons that are not entirely clear.”)

    All these studies at the intersection of crop nutrition and enriched CO2 levels illustrate the complex ways that the natural system can respond to changes and perturbations which in turn can have serious ramifications for humans. It’s another geo-engineering quandary: stop CO2 increases and avoid the crop changes, or allow CO2 to increase and find a workaround like developing new cultivars that compensate for the nutritional changes.

    http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/fertilizationeffect

  95. Smokey says:

    Moderate Republican,

    A fine cut ‘n’ paste job from an alarmist blog that gives very little in the way of real world data, eg: what is the ratio of proteins to sugars? Your blog ‘authority’ doesn’t say. And the scare tactic of trying to link more CO2 with cyanide deaths is par for the alarmist course. Where are all the bodies poisoned by cyanide from rising CO2? Show us even one.

    Like most everything else you assert, your claim that wheat doesn’t respond well to higher CO2 levels is simply wrong: click

    For plenty more info on pllants benefitting from higher CO2, see here.

    There is plenty of real world evidence contradicting your nonsense:

    click1
    click2
    click3
    click4
    click5
    click6
    click7

    The findings in the last link state:

    Under treatments simulating the atmospheric conditions of 2050:

    • Soybean and corn yields were both significantly greater

    • The nutritional quality of beans and grain were maintained

    • Crop water use decreased, potentially improving drought tolerance but also reducing
    inputs for regional rainfall

    • In soybean, elevated CO2 stimulated C3 photosynthesis and respiration

    • In corn, contrary to predictions, elevated CO2 increased C4 photosynthesis

    That debunks the baseless blog alarmism that you cut ‘n’ pasted. Folks in Illinois know something about farming. You should listen to them instead of the credibility-challenged goofball you linked to.

    Like everything else you give your opinion on, this has been covered in detail in the archives. Do a keyword search and try to get up to speed.

  96. Moderate Republican says:

    Smokey says @ June 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm “where we demand verifiable facts and evidence, not true belief. ”

    So totally fair to hold you to this standard then, right? Seems fair – and there is a goofy amount of pseudoscience in your post above.

    To pick just two;

    From the one of the paper you cite ‘The notion here is that if the trees are producing more high-quality seeds at high CO2 compared to grasses and herbs, then the trees may be at an advantage,” Advantage – as in grasses and herbs not doing as well. You need to prove that is a net-benefit.

    A YouTube video of an artificial and optimized and controlled and indoor crop environment where;

    * a singe plant species
    * with no competing plants
    * in a temperature controlled for optional growth
    * in a moisture controlled for optimal growth
    * in an unlimited and optimized nutrient controlled for optimal growth
    environment

    is not evidence of anything approximating how Earth’s ecosystems behaves. Those

    You said “CO2 is not only completely harmless, it is a net benefit to the biosphere.” and “where we demand verifiable facts and evidence, not true belief. ”

    You are far, far, far away from that standard. And here is a hint – science doesn’t use words like “completely” for a reason.

  97. Jack Simmons says:
  98. DirkH says:

    Moderate Republican says:
    June 22, 2011 at 11:35 am
    “CO2 and Wheat: How We Get Less Protein, More Sugar”

    Oh come on, if that’s a problem for you you can always switch to legumes.
    “Will Elevated Carbon Dioxide Concentration Amplify the
    Benefits of Nitrogen Fixation in Legumes?”

    http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/151/3/1009.full.pdf

    Nobody said we need to plant the same amount of the same stuff each year.

  99. Nuke says:

    I notice MR did NOT claim human emissions cause warming, but instead that human emission are changing the atmosphere. Is that misdirection, or is he mistating the issue?

  100. John Day says:

    @Nuke
    > Is that misdirection, or is he mistating the issue?

    If MR is merely asserting, in effect, that ‘some kinds of human activity can be detected remotely by variety of scientific instruments’, then I would concur. No cause for alarm per se.

    But, if MR insists that we should be alarmed by these measurements, then we need to see some convincing proof to justify the concern.

    So far, there is no convincing proof that the current post ice-age warming trend (man-made or not) will lead to inevitable catastrophe.

    Unless perhaps another ice age, that would be bad. Agreed?

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