Climate change before our current CO2 worries wrecked Indian mega-cities

From the University of Cambridge, it makes you wonder how climate could just go and change abruptly on its own back then, with CO2 levels being in the “safe zone” and all that:

megacities_wrecked_Co2

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Decline of Bronze Age ‘megacities’ linked to climate change

Climate change may have contributed to the decline of a city-dwelling civilization in Pakistan and India 4,100 years ago, according to new research

Scientists from the University of Cambridge have demonstrated that an abrupt weakening of the summer monsoon affected northwest India 4,100 years ago. The resulting drought coincided with the beginning of the decline of the metropolis-building Indus Civilisation, which spanned present-day Pakistan and India, suggesting that climate change could be why many of the major cities of the civilisation were abandoned.

The research, reported online on 25 February, 2014, in the journal Geology, involved the collection of snail shells preserved in the sediments of an ancient lake bed. By analysing the oxygen isotopes in the shells, the scientists were able to tell how much rain fell in the lake where the snails lived thousands of years ago.

The results shed light on a mystery surrounding why the major cities of the Indus Civilisation (also known as the Harappan Civilisation, after Harappa, one of the five cities) were abandoned. Climate change had been suggested as a possible reason for this transformation before but, until now, there has been no direct evidence for climate change in the region where Indus settlements were located.

Moreover, the finding now links the decline of the Indus cities to a documented global scale climate event and its impact on the Old Kingdom in Egypt, the Early Bronze Age civilisations of Greece and Crete, and the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia, whose decline has previously been linked to abrupt climate change.

“We think that we now have a really strong indication that a major climate event occurred in the area where a large number of Indus settlements were situated,” said Professor David Hodell, from Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences. “Taken together with other evidence from Meghalaya in northeast India, Oman and the Arabian Sea, our results provide strong evidence for a widespread weakening of the Indian summer monsoon across large parts of India 4,100 years ago.”

Hodell together with University of Cambridge archaeologist Dr Cameron Petrie and Gates scholar Dr Yama Dixit collected Melanoides tuberculata snail shells from the sediments of the ancient lake Kotla Dahar in Haryana, India. “As today, the major source of water into the lake throughout the Holocene is likely to have been the summer monsoon,” said Dixit. “But we have observed that there was an abrupt change, when the amount of evaporation from the lake exceeded the rainfall – indicative of a drought.”

At this time large parts of modern Pakistan and much of western India was home to South Asia’s great Bronze Age urban society. As Petrie explained: “The major cities of the Indus civilisation flourished in the mid-late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC. Large proportions of the population lived in villages, but many people also lived in ‘megacities’ that were 80 hectares or more in size – roughly the size of 100 football pitches. They engaged in elaborate crafts, extensive local trade and long-ranging trade with regions as far away as the modern-day Middle East. But, by the mid 2nd millennium BC, all of the great urban centres had dramatically reduced in size or been abandoned.”

Many possible causes have been suggested, including the claim that major glacier-fed rivers changed their course, dramatically affecting the water supply and the reliant agriculture. It has also been suggested that an increasing population level caused problems, there was invasion and conflict, or that climate change caused a drought that large cities could not withstand long-term.

“We know that there was a clear shift away from large populations living in megacities,” said Petrie. “But precisely what happened to the Indus Civilisation has remained a mystery. It is unlikely that there was a single cause, but a climate change event would have induced a whole host of knock-on effects.

“We have lacked well-dated local climate data, as well as dates for when perennial water flowed and stopped in a number of now abandoned river channels, and an understanding of the spatial and temporal relationships between settlements and their environmental contexts. A lot of the archaeological debate has really been well-argued speculation.”

The new data, collected with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council, show a decreased summer monsoon rainfall at the same time that archaeological records and radiocarbon dates suggest the beginning of the Indus de-urbanisation. From 6,500 to 5,800 years ago, a deep fresh-water lake existed at Kotla Dahar. The deep lake transformed to a shallow lake after 5,800 years ago, indicating a weakening of the Indian summer monsoon. But an abrupt monsoon weakening occurred 4,100 years ago for 200 years and the lake became ephemeral after this time.

Until now, the suggestion that climate change might have had an impact on the Indus Civilisation was based on data showing a lessening of the monsoon in Oman and the Arabian Sea, which are both located at a considerable distance from Indus Civilisation settlements and at least partly affected by different weather systems.

Hodell and Dixit used isotope geochemical analysis of shells as a proxy for tracing the climate history of the region. Oxygen exists in two forms – the lighter 16O and a heavier 18O variant. When water evaporates from a closed lake (one that is fed by rainfall and rivers but has no outflow), molecules containing the lighter isotope evaporate at a faster rate than those containing the heavier isotopes; at times of drought, when the evaporation exceeds rainfall, there is a net increase in the ratio of 18O to 16O of the water. Organisms living in the lake record this ratio when they incorporate oxygen into the calcium carbonate (CaCO3) of their shells, and can therefore be used, in conjunction with radiocarbon dating, to reconstruct the climate of the region thousands of years ago.

Speculating on the effect lessening rainfall would have had on the Indus Civilisation, Petrie said: “Archaeological records suggest they were masters of many trades. They used elaborate techniques to produce a range of extremely impressive craft products using materials like steatite, carnelian and gold, and this material was widely distributed within South Asia, but also internationally. Each city had substantial fortification walls, civic amenities, craft workshops and possibly also palaces. Houses were arranged on wide main streets and narrow alleyways, and many had their own wells and drainage systems. Water was clearly an integral part of urban planning, and was also essential for supporting the agricultural base.

At around the time we see the evidence for climatic change, archaeologists have found evidence of previously maintained streets start to fill with rubbish, over time there is a reduced sophistication in the crafts they used, the script that had been used for several centuries disappears and there were changes in the location of settlements, suggesting some degree of demographic shift.”

“We estimate that the climate event lasted about 200 years before recovering to the previous conditions, which we still see today, and we believe that the civilisation somehow had to cope with this prolonged period of drought,” said Hodell.

The new research is part of a wider joint project led by the University of Cambridge and Banaras Hindu University in India, which has been funded by the British Council UK-India Education and Research Initiative to investigate the archaeology, river systems and climate of north-west India using a combination of archaeology and geoscience. The multidisciplinary project hopes to provide new understanding of the relationships between humans and their environment, and also involves researchers at Imperial College London, the University of Oxford, the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and the Uttar Pradesh State Archaeology Department.

“It is essential to understand the link between human settlement, water resources and landscape in antiquity, and this research is an important step in that direction,” explained Petrie. “We hope that this will hold lessons for us as we seek to find means of dealing with climate change in our own and future generations.”

 

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72 thoughts on “Climate change before our current CO2 worries wrecked Indian mega-cities

  1. I see that in the last sentence they talk of “dealing” with climate change rather than “controlling” it.
    Is it wishful thinking or are we beginning to see a change of attitude?

  2. This I can say as a fact, Dr. Michael Harner determined that the Aztec civilization in the new world failed because they exceeded the ‘carrying capacity’ of the environment there. Too many people and not enough protein because everything was hunted. That is why human flesh was used as a substitute in their diet. The tribe disbanded and one of the migrants was adopted by the today Crow.

  3. I already learned of this hypothesis when writing The Book of Lilith (some of which takes place in Mohenjo-Daro during the Indus Valley civilization). It’s interesting that there isn’t so much as a blip on the CO_2 radar. It is also interesting to note the substantial discrepancy between the two ice-pack based “measurements” of CO_2 at different locations during their period of overlap. Finally, it is very interesting to try to find any sort of associated blip in any of the proxy-based temperature reconstructions or the mean reconstruction represented here:

    There is nothing interesting happening near 4000 BP, and only one of the various proxies (sedimentation that is a proxy for sea surface temperatures) shows a significant warming and COOLING during the immediately preceding century or two, culminating in a return to boring just around the right time frame. Given the resolution of the data, perhaps this was precipitated by a major cooling of SSTs, as the heating/cooling of the Indian Ocean is a major factor in the monsoon. That, in turn, might have been coupled to what?

    The scary answer is a global shift in thermohaline circulation. That’s one of several nonlinear mechanisms that we do not understand, that is known to depend on things like the slowly changing topography of the ocean floor as the continents move around, and that is probably at all times a transient quasi-stable mode in which the system is stuck out of SEVERAL OTHER modes that would be equally quasi-stable if events caused a transition.

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

    Note that off the western coast of South India is one of the places where a cold, deep current rises, warms, and joins the ENSO-linked warm surface current that eventually becomes the Gulf Stream and warms the coast of NC and eventually all of Europe. Any sort of twitch of this deepwater rise and junction point could have enormously profound consequences on global climate. Indeed, twitch the warm current just a tiny bit south so that it no longer carries warm water to the North Sea, and the entire Arctic literally goes into the deep freeze. I’m guessing that this is the “critical” event that tips the Earth over into glacial episodes — it is one that is suspected of causing the Younger Dryas shortly after the Wisconsin glacial era (almost) ended.

    Paradoxically, warming could easily trigger such a thermohaline shift. If a substantial melt of Greenland were to occur, the resulting freshwater flood would overlay the increasingly salty Gulf Stream and, since its descent into the depths off of the coast of Greenland depends on the density associated with increasing salinity, the warm water could be blocked and force the current to find a different “drain” for the high density, cooling surface waters further south. If that pattern then stabilized, the LIA would look warm within a century for most of Europe and all of the Arctic.

    It is worth remembering that the thing that keeps the Arctic “warm” isn’t local CO_2 based warming — it is heat imported from the tropics, carried there primarily by the Gulf Stream. Isolate the poles and keep that heat closer to the tropics, and the world could easily cool even as the tropics warmed.

    rgb

  4. “it makes you wonder how climate could just go and change abruptly on its own back then, with CO2 levels being in the “safe zone” and all that:” This still has me laughing, thanks.

  5. This I can say as a fact, Dr. Michael Harner determined that the Aztec civilization in the new world failed because they exceeded the ‘carrying capacity’ of the environment there.

    I think you mean the Mayans. The Aztecs were post-Mayan, and may or may not have been heavily influenced by remnants of Mayan culture. The Mayan civilization may or may not have collapsed for ecological reasons. It is one of several possible explanations (and there could be more than one explanation). There is evidence of some climate-shift or ecologically linked factors, but it is difficult to explain the completeness of the collapse without additional factors such as foreign invaders, a massive plague. Remember, the civilization was quite large — it is unlikely that the whole thing would exceed any magic number carrying capacity all at once, and after any sort of die-back one would expect such a dominant culture to re-establish itself (possibly slightly changed). The Mayans pretty much didn’t.

    rgb

  6. Surely these declines in Cities over the eons are scattered everywhere.

    In Saudi many neolithic remains of long dried out villages remain where petroglyphs show the animals of the time etc.

    The climate changes and with it the way we survive.

  7. In 2002 a 10 sq. mile city was found off the coast of west India in 120 feet of water. Climate has probably changed since when it thrived as well.

    This is still being disputed, of course. The evidence is not as clear as the article you link suggests. That’s not to say it couldn’t be true — in fact the climate HAS changed, and so has sea level, substantially over the last 10,000 years. But it isn’t clear that they’ve found a “city”, or even that the artifacts they’ve found are really artifacts (or if they are, that they aren’t carried there by currents from other locations and times).

    At some point I’d guess that somebody will do a proper excavation of at least part of the site and find some unambiguous evidence, but at the moment not even the Indian researchers who did the carbon dating are uniformly convinced that they’ve found a pre-Harappan civilization.

  8. I am undecided on climate change, and think this is a silly post
    Your logic is, drastic climate change occurs naturally, therefore *adding* manmade change is not worse ???
    it is just a basic logic fail: if the system is metastable, or variable, adding energy or heat or whatever is going to increase the variablilty, which by this very post caused really bad things to happen…not sure as skeptics that is the message you want out there, but , hey it is your blog

  9. PS
    congratulations to you for your list of pro/skeptic/anti blogs – you deserve an blog barnstar for that

  10. The early Indus city-state civilizations such as Moheno Darro may have well died due to climate change, but not global warming. The warmistas are trying to throw dust into the eyes of the incogniscentii.

    We know over the past few thousand years, sea levels have risen – don’t forget all that ice melting from the deep freeze of the ice-age.

    There was a land bridge between the following in barely pre-historic times:

    Ceylon – India
    :British Isles – France (phew that was a close one! ;-)
    Australia – rest of the world

  11. rgbatduke says:
    February 26, 2014 at 2:51 pm
    “But it isn’t clear that they’ve found a “city”, or even that the artifacts they’ve found are really artifacts”
    I agree “city “needs more explanation, but have no trouble with artifacts.
    The remnants of villages under the Black Sea flooded at the end of the last Ice Age, and the stone implements around Perth, Western Australia from a rock outcrop now more than 20 m below sea level should be well known.
    I thought many would have read “Collapse” by Jared Diamond. He documents many “societies” that collapsed from environmental reasons (many self inflicted rather than natural).

  12. It is known as the 4.2 kiloyear event:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4.2_kiloyear_event

    Greenland was warmer in this period, meaning it was a very cold period in the temperate zone, hence the widespread droughts. It was very unlike the early mature period Harappan period from 2600 BC, which was much warmer and wetter, and much closer to our present climate:

  13. Are they sure?
    Maybe it was not Climate Change what done it.
    What if it was Water Wet?.

    OK sarc off.
    Given the multitude of things that can doom a city, what evidence of weather is really offered?
    We interrogated the relics of snails.
    May be..

  14. “…project hopes to provide new understanding of the relationships between humans and their environment…”

    gobbledegook! Do we need new understanding that we need water? This is the typical verbal diarrhea one sees these days from the is science.

    David Larsen says:
    February 26, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    “This I can say as a fact, Dr. Michael Harner determined that the Aztec civilization in the new world failed because they exceeded the ‘carrying capacity’ of the environment there.”

    As soon as I see ‘carrying capacity’ I know the research has been done by one of the green ideologue people hating politico-scientists. Present day Central America has 42M people ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_America ) and this doesn’t include the southern half of Mexico so lets say today we are “carrying” 75M people in this environment. Also, note this:

    “…disease (small pox and typhus) is known to have ravaged the region; thus, the indigenous population of the Valley of Mexico is estimated to have declined by more than 80% in the course of about 60 years (after colonization by Spaniards.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec#Colonial_period_population_decline

    David, “facts” are very sacrosanct things not to be bandied about loosely.

  15. Even if the graph is “ridiculously scaled” it is pretty clear that CO2 wasn’t driving anything dramatic. However, to then claim that there couldn’t have been a big shift in climate is to ignore shifts in climate due to other causes. (for example, a change in the more distant past from a SE monsoon over N and NE Africa changing to a SW monsoon over Asia, due to the rapid flooding of the Meditteranean with rapid drying of NE Africa). To say so also hands the CO2 meme to the warmists on a platter. Not that I accept this paper. I remember reading about the Harrappa culture
    and 2 hypotheses relating to failure were 1. it was a burned brick architecture and effectively they destroyed the Indus valley forests to fire the kilns. 2. Their bronze weaponry did not change in any aspect for 1200 yrs, making them vulnerable to actively evolving attackers.

    I wouln’t call estimates of rainfall from shell analysis, direct evidence. To then extrapolate to every bronze age culture in the near and middle east is really pulling a long bow! I seem to remember papers showing that the early Cretian and Mycenaen cultures were destroyed by the Thera (?)
    eruption that gave rise to the legend of Atlantis.

  16. Which came first the climate or the change?
    I guess, when you are talking about anything that affects people it can be climatic.

    “…we see the evidence for climatic change, archaeologists have found evidence of previously maintained streets start to fill with rubbish, over time there is a reduced sophistication in the crafts they used, the script that had been used for several centuries disappears and there were changes in the location of settlements, suggesting some degree of demographic shift.”

    That’s what climate change looks like?
    Thanks for the interesting articles and comments.

  17. The largest number of settlements of the “Harappan” civilisation were located along the Saraswati river. The river slowly dried up, as is well attested in the Vedas, Upanishads, etc, and confirmed by modern geology.

    The primary culprit in the drying up of the Saraswati was geologic, however, not climactic. It lost its two main tributaries, the Yamuna and Sutlej, who’s channels shifted to the Ganges and Indus basins, respectively. This was around 1800 B.C. During this period, uplift in the Sialawik hills also cut the river off from it’s glacial source in the Himalaya. This reduced the mighty Saraswati from the greatest river of the subcontinent and center of the civilisation to a seasonal stream…the dislocation of population and impact on the civilisation must have been enormous. In the course of this period populations shifted to the Indus and Ganges basins.

    Finally, even the seasonal stream dried completely with the changes in climate. This history can be traced through the Rig Veda and later literature, and has been recently confirmed and reconstructed by recent discovery and exploration of the pertinent paleo-channels, many of which are clearly seen in satellite photos. As early as the ’38-’39 Sir Aurel Stein documented over 1000 sites along the dried up bed of the Saraswati, vastly outnumbering the sites in the Indus basin.

  18. rgbatduke says:
    “Indeed, twitch the warm current just a tiny bit south so that it no longer carries warm water to the North Sea, and the entire Arctic literally goes into the deep freeze.”

    There’s a problem with that, during colder periods when the mean position of the jet stream is further south, more warm water is transported into the Arctic. It is more likely that during extended extreme cold periods that the oceanic inflow to Arctic, and very importantly the outflow of sea ice off the east coast of Greenland is inhibited by ice shelves spreading out from the land.

  19. More accurate assessment: “Upsurge in funding for useless academics linked to ‘Climate Change’ phase included in research proposal”

  20. I remembered reading that climate change brought down the Egyptian empire of old and quickly googled it. Looks like there may be a “consensus” that climate change did them in about 4kyr ago or so (I am not an expert on this by any means). However, one link was interesting from Aug 28, 2012, which begins “The drought parching the United States is one of the worst in the nation’s history, but it hasn’t been as destructive as the drought that may have withered ancient Egypt’s Old Kingdom. Pollen and charcoal buried in the Nile Delta 4,200 years ago tell the tale of a drought of literally Biblical proportions associated with the fall of the pyramid builders.” That link is

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/egypt-withered-under-drought-and-climate-change-120828.htm

    This particular link goes on to mention other civilization-killing droughts 3,000 and 5,000 years ago and links to another discussion of Khmer and Mayans experiencing climate change : http://news.discovery.com/earth/khmer-collapsed-under-climate-pressure-120105.html

    “Climate change” certainly looks deadly. If only the Egyptians, Mayans and Khmer had been able to curtail their CO2 emissions, we might all be speaking a different language.

  21. Reply to johndo ==> There are many professionals who disagree rather sharply with Jared Diamond’s hypotheses to the point where they put some of his “findings” in parentheses.

  22. Regardless, it doesn’t take a drought of too many years duration to suppress the general well-being of a large urban population….the more recent — pre-Roman times — of Palestine are a good example, in which the population moves more-or-less enmass to areas better watered for periods of years until the drought breaks.

  23. Even if some climate change in the region is identified that correlates with the decline in the civilization, how does that rise to any level of causation? Seems to me there would have to be some other indicator to show that climate was more likely than say, attempting socialized IndusCare, or inflating their currency and going bankrupt, or slashing their defense budget and getting invaded, or over-regulating themselves, or over taxing themselves, or institutionalized corruption and cronyism, etc.

  24. The dating of the destruction or abandonment of these Indian cities coincides with the time when the Hindu calendar changed from 360 days per annum to the present 365.25 days per annum. Whatever the event was which caused this calendar change, it was a global rather than a local event as all the calendars around the world (Mayan, Chinese, Hindu, Greek, Hebrew & Egyptian) all changed from a 360 day year to 365.25.

  25. Civilizations have come and gone.

    Sometimes it was disease, sometimes it was a particularly inept ruler, sometimes it was war, sometimes it was loss of agricultural productivity (salinity build-up), sometimes it was climate change, sometimes it was a meandering river changing course, sometimes it was new technology in another region, sometimes it was new trade networks being developed bypassing them, sometimes it was a growth in another near-by region out-competing them for people, sometimes it was just bad luck.

    And, as we seen in the last two decades and in the last few days in Ukraine, sometimes the 90% of time effective in replacing a government million man march in the central square fells the central government and nothing replaced it.

  26. Hog trough research. A one-celled animal could reason that climate change would severely affect larger communities and mega cities in the past. Some things are just common sense and we don’t need to spend money researching it. So I call it like I see it. Hog trough research.

  27. ezra abrams says:
    February 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I am undecided on climate change, and think this is a silly post
    Your logic is, drastic climate change occurs naturally, therefore *adding* manmade change is not worse ???
    it is just a basic logic fail: if the system is metastable, or variable, adding energy or heat or whatever is going to increase the variablilty, which by this very post caused really bad things to happen…not sure as skeptics that is the message you want out there, but , hey it is your blog

    Has there been an observed “abrupt weakening of the summer monsoon affected northwest India”? That’s what the second paragraph says.

  28. Egypt in the 3rd millennium BC (4000-5000 years ago) also recorded a warm period, which coincides, at least as to its end, with the collapse of the Indus civiliastion.

  29. An interesting graph. Minimum of about 260 ppm at roughly 6000 to 5500 BC – about the time of the flooding of the Black Sea. Gradual growth to about 273 ppm, when the Egyptian Empire flourished. Continued growth to about 279-280 ppm at about 0 AD. These surely were “pre-industrial” times? If so, where did all the CO2 come from? Growth again to a maximum of about 285 ppm in about AD 800, then a decline to about 278 ppm in about AD 1350 – AD 1400. Where did all that CO2 go?

    Did Man really cause the growth of CO2 from 260 ppm to 285 ppm? What are the error bands on this curve – and was the sampling really done at intervals of about 110 years, as counting the changes in slope of the curve would make it appear?

    Running those beloved “climate models” back, it should be possible to, using the “known” rate of temperature increase in the last 100 years with the increase of CO2, to retrodict (opposite of predict) the temperatures in those distance periods, and compare with the temperatures as deciphered from Ice cores and other methods.

  30. We all know about Bond Events (~1500 year major shifts in climate) and Dansgaard-Oescher (sp) Events and we all know that climate change usually is one of the major elements in civilizations’ decline/destruction (this idea includes invaders, emigration, and declination due to lack of resources). The climate change usually is rapid and the causes are complex. The one word that is most common is DROUGHT. Lesser causes are earthquakes and volcanoes, or plate tectonics, impact events, or a large population of warriors bent on conquest with their superior weaponry maybe plague, but that seems to an effect rather than a cause.

    There is no reason today for drought to be the cause of any decline. Seventy percent of our world, our beloved Earth, is comprised of water on the surface. Technology has brought us relatively inexpensive ways to desalinate; we know how to build efficient pipelines; we know something about the problems of diverting water and the problems of irrigation. (Soon –maybe 300 years into the future — we might need new technology to melt advancing glaciers/ice sheets.) Given this wisdom, hard won through the ages, humans no longer must go silent and passive into that dry night. I wish all societies — the “wacky one” in California first and foremost — would end the focus on CO2 and turn to drought as a problem to be solved. No humans ever should suffer from drought again.

  31. The simultaneous decline of the Han and Roman civilizations, the cyclic pump of the steppes flinging their nomads at the beaurocratic civilizations; the seeming antiphase between the Eurasian dark ages and the Mayan apogee, and Easter Island, Nazca, and Anasazi flowering.

    All very interesting, but the only definitive message is that civilizations have repeatedly foundered on climate. All civilizations have their shamans. Many humans and animals have been sacrificed to no avail. Our own shamans have accused a certain trace gas of witchcraft…

  32. I realize we are in a hellfire hurry to revise history to fit the greenhouse gas paradigm, but there still is the strong possibility that this was a period of low solar activity and increased volcanic/meteoric activity, resulting in plummeting temps, and badly interrupted trade which would cause economic devastation. One or two disrupted cities (think Solini and 6 cities of Crete, etc) which are trading hubs would reduce the demand for the wares of an accomplished civilization like the Indus Valley people. If you add to this problems with local agriculture, a prosperous period could come to an abrupt end.

    And as is usually the case, ancient cultures without any texts and with undeciphered languages are a favorite target for progressive scientists and clever comparative mythologists; pick up a shell, a shard, and prophesy the past. Just use language that sounds like Sherlock Holmes breaking a case, and confirm the new paradigm. Bada bing, bada boom.

  33. Can I ask these people what sort of Climate Record snail shells at the bottom of the Aral Sea (what’s left of it) are telling them

  34. rgbatduke says:
    February 26, 2014 at 2:35 pm
    ——————————————-
    The sst anomalies have changed considerably from last year in the waters that surround India. Many coastal cities from Abu Dhabi eastward across the Indian Ocean are below average in temps. The waters off of northwestern Africa and up into the north Atlantic have also switched from warm to -1.5C in the course of one year. I have been wondering lately if this might be indicative of an upcoming cooling of the Gulf Stream. Australia is also slowly being surrounded by cool anomalies that started moving in that direction over the last 4 months. Same thing, I wondered if that might lead to a cooling in Australia, and that appears to now be the case. The much talked about hot spot of Melbourne is showing 66F. All last week and the upcoming 5 days are also well below average. The entire northern Indian Ocean and over to southern China has switched to cold anomalies in a complete turn around from last year at this time.

  35. ezra abrams says:
    February 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm
    I am undecided on climate change, and think this is a silly post
    Your logic is, drastic climate change occurs naturally, therefore *adding* manmade change is not worse ???
    it is just a basic logic fail: if the system is metastable, or variable, adding energy or heat or whatever is going to increase the variablilty, which by this very post caused really bad things to happen…not sure as skeptics that is the message you want out there, but , hey it is your blog
    ++++++++++++++++
    Ezra:
    1) Do you have a clue as to any climate that man has changed?
    2) And whether or not change is bad or good?
    3) Is the world’s climate now “optimum” ?
    4) Is cooling going to be good or bad?
    5) What if it continues to cool…, what then?
    Apply some logic when thinking of answers to these questions.

  36. Jimbo says:
    February 26, 2014 at 5:57 pm
    Has there been an observed “abrupt weakening of the summer monsoon affected northwest India”? That’s what the second paragraph says.
    ————————————————————-
    I thought that the Indian monsoons had been out of phase over the last two years or so. I remember that last year there was concern about the timing of the monsoon.

  37. This has to be a case of connections, that is, not just one thing changed in one place but a whole lot of things had to change. These seasonal changes occur when the jet stream shifts over the Himalayan mountains – to the north thereof or to the south**. If these things changed as described, there would we changes in other places as well.
    ————–
    ** http://www.scientificbangladesh.com/en/news/jet-stream-effect-on-the-climate-of-bangladesh#.Uw7cPuNLWXs

  38. ezra abrams says: adding energy or heat or whatever is going to increase the variablilty

    This seems confused. Energy & heat with the word “adding” out front suggest an equivalence and the “whatever” is suggestive of nothing other than confusion.
    Next, the general argument is that if the atmosphere and oceans warm there will be a decrease in “variability” insofar as weather/storms result from contrasts between tropical and polar air. The latter is supposed to warm more than the former so the contrast will be less.

    Ezra and others of the “undecided” variety are advised to go to Jo Nova’s site and near the top left find a link to The Skeptic’s Handbook. This is some years old now but still is a good place to start.

  39. The reference is about Sahara turning green 12.000 years ago and dried up 3500 years agp.

    http://knowledge.allianz.com/environment/climate_change/?621/green-sahara-how-climate-change-transformed-the-desert

    “About 12,000 years ago, slight changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun brought the northern hemisphere into the limelight. Summers became warmer as more solar radiation hit the lands north of the Equator. Solar ‘insolation’ levels were up to 8 percent higher than today.
    With insolation driving monsoonal climates like a huge heat engine, rainfall increased. One climate model estimated that the 8 percent increase in radiation in North Africa resulted in a 40 percent increase in precipitation.
    Today, the West African monsoon avoids the Sahara, passing further south. But as the Earth’s orbit changed the rains intensified and shifted five degrees north. Slowly, the desert started to bloom. By 10,000 years ago, the Sahara had turned into a savanna-like ecosystem with trees and grass and grazing animals.
    It wasn’t just down to the sun. The so-called ‘African Humid Period’ was also reinforced by newly grown vegetation that absorbed the sun’s energy, which strengthened the monsoon system, rather than reflecting the sun’s energy back into space.
    Increased surface ocean temperatures of about 0.4 degrees Celsius also supported a stronger monsoon, as well as numerous permanent lakes such as the 330,000 square kilometer Lake MegaChad, four times the size of Lake Superior. Now, Lake Chad is a pitiful shadow of its former glory.”

  40. And:
    “Peter deMenocal, an expert at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, argues that it started and ended very abruptly—within a few decades to centuries—triggered largely by summer insolation crossing the threshold of 470 Watts per meter squared, 4.2 percent higher than today.

    He speculates that there could be an insolation tipping point “whereby subtropical African climate flips abruptly between humid and arid”.”

  41. goldminor says:
    February 26, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Jimbo says:
    February 26, 2014 at 5:57 pm
    Has there been an observed “abrupt weakening of the summer monsoon affected northwest India”? That’s what the second paragraph says.
    ————————————————————-
    I thought that the Indian monsoons had been out of phase over the last two years or so. I remember that last year there was concern about the timing of the monsoon.

    I also receive the monsoons in my part of the world. Being out of phase and variable once in a while is not uncommon.

    Two years is the weather and not the climate. Four years out of phase would not have been sufficient to destroy those civilizations. In fact being out of phase occasionally is ‘normal’.

    You maybe referring to Menon et. al.
    See the take on from NTZ. Take a look at my comment too.

    http://notrickszone.com/2013/06/21/menon-et-al-publish-latest-crystal-ball-forecast-for-indian-monsoons-claiming-it-is-a-robust-indicator/

  42. Not having anything better to do, I counted the number of occurrences of several phrases in the report above:
    climate change 11
    climate 8
    warm 0
    warming 0
    cool 0
    cold 0

    There’s no mention of whether the collapse was caused by warming, cooling or neither.
    A quick glance at the GRIP2 ice core record shows a sharp cooling that corresponds exactly with the date of demise. This cooling may also have caused the collapse of the Egyptian Old Kingdom. Droughts are normally associated with cooling, and not warming.

    Of course, the fact that many civilisations failed due to cooling is just too inconvenient, if you want to demonise a warmer world. History is clear: when the world gets warmer mankind prospers, as in the Roman, Medieval and modern 20th century periods. It’s when the world gets colder that people suffer and civilisations fail.

    “We hope that this will hold lessons for us as we seek to find means of dealing with climate change in our own and future generations.”

    Yes, the lesson is very clear. Warm is good. Cold is bad.
    The other lesson is that it’s not just climate scientists who suffer from an integrity deficit.

    Chris

  43. Chris Wright 6:12 a.m. – “Yes, the lesson is very clear. Warm is good. Cold is bad”

    Yes, but at the same time, we humans today can adapt to almost anything if we put our minds and resources to the task. That means taking away from the declension-elites — who want to end current civilization’s marvelous successes — all that they greedily desire for only themselves — solar and wind power, indeed. Boondoggles, and many more. Their mantra is “equality” for all, but they mean poverty and death for most.

    We need to learn from the “regular” demise of civilizations (city states, major societies) over at least the Holocene.

  44. Do not forget water aka RAIN eould cause civilizations to collapse:

    Shifts in Monsoons is documented:
    The Holocene Asian Monsoon: Links to Solar Changes and North Atlantic Climate (Links to more articles)

    A 5-year-resolution absolute-dated oxygen isotope record from Dongge Cave, southern China, provides a continuous history of the Asian monsoon over the past 9000 years. Although the record broadly follows summer insolation, it is punctuated by eight weak monsoon events lasting ∼1 to 5 centuries. One correlates with the “8200-year” event, another with the collapse of the Chinese Neolithic culture, and most with North Atlantic ice-rafting events. Cross-correlation of the decadal- to centennial-scale monsoon record with the atmospheric carbon-14 record shows that some, but not all, of the monsoon variability at these frequencies results from changes in solar output.

    Paleotemperature variability in central China during the last 13 ka recorded by a novel microbial lipid proxy in the Dajiuhu peat deposit
    hol(DOT)sagepub.com/content/23/8/1123.abstract

    The Asian summer monsoon is a very important climatic component affecting the land ecosystem on the eastern Asian continent…. Fluctuations in the continuous 13 ka BNA15-derived record of relative temperature change from the Dajiuhu peat core imply that solar activity is the dominant cause for most cold events at multicentennial to submillennial timescales.

    Atlantic Forcing of Persistent Drought in West Africa
    (wwwDOT)sciencemag.org/content/324/5925/377.abstract

    ….We combined geomorphic, isotopic, and geochemical evidence from the sediments of Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana, to reconstruct natural variability in the African monsoon over the past three millennia. We find that intervals of severe drought lasting for periods ranging from decades to centuries are characteristic of the monsoon and are linked to natural variations in Atlantic temperatures…..

    Multidecadal to multicentury scale collapses of Northern Hemisphere monsoons over the past millennium
    (wwwDOT)pnas.org/content/110/24/9651.abstract

    …Late Holocene climate in western North America was punctuated by periods of extended aridity called megadroughts. These droughts have been linked to cool eastern tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs)…Several megadroughts are evident, including a multicentury one, AD 1350–1650, herein referred to as Super Drought, which corresponds to the coldest period of the Little Ice Age. Synchronicity between southwestern North American, Chinese, and West African monsoon precipitation suggests the megadroughts were hemispheric in scale. Northern Hemisphere monsoon strength over the last millennium is positively correlated with Northern Hemisphere temperature and North Atlantic SST. The megadroughts are associated with cooler than average SST and Northern Hemisphere temperatures. Furthermore, the megadroughts, including the Super Drought, coincide with solar insolation minima, suggesting that solar forcing of sea surface and atmospheric temperatures may generate variations in the strength of Northern Hemisphere monsoons. Our findings seem to suggest stronger (wetter) Northern Hemisphere monsoons with increased warming.

    A 2,300-year-long annually resolved record of the South American summer monsoon from the Peruvian Andes
    (wwwDOT)pnas.org/content/108/21/8583.abstract

    Decadal and centennial mean state changes in South American summer monsoon (SASM) precipitation during the last 2,300 years are detailed using an annually resolved authigenic calcite record of precipitation δ18O from a varved lake in the Central Peruvian Andes. ….shows that δ18O peaked during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) from A.D. 900 to 1100, providing evidence that the SASM weakened considerably during this period. Minimum δ18O values occurred during the Little Ice Age (LIA) between A.D. 1400 and 1820, reflecting a prolonged intensification of the SASM that was regionally synchronous. After the LIA, δ18O increased rapidly, particularly during the current warm period (CWP; A.D. 1900 to present), indicating a return to reduced SASM precipitation that was more abrupt and sustained than the onset of the MCA. Diminished SASM precipitation during the MCA and CWP tracks reconstructed Northern Hemisphere and North Atlantic warming and a northward displacement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) over the Atlantic, and likely the Pacific. Intensified SASM precipitation during the LIA follows reconstructed Northern Hemisphere and North Atlantic cooling, El Niño-like warming in the Pacific, and a southward displacement of the ITCZ over both oceans. These results suggest that SASM mean state changes are sensitive to ITCZ variability as mediated by Western Hemisphere tropical sea surface temperatures, particularly in the Atlantic.

  45. ezra abrams says: @ February 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I am undecided on climate change, and think this is a silly post
    Your logic is, drastic climate change occurs naturally, therefore *adding* manmade change is not worse ???
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I suggest you stick around and read. Many many different scientific papers are read and discussed here.

    Pay close attention to when Dr Brown of Duke Univ (rgbatduke) is kind enough to drop by and comment.

  46. Why is it that there is more certainty of climate change from 4,000 years ago due to the analysis of isotope changes in snails versus the actual documented climate change from written records of contemporary historians reported during the Midieval Warm Period? I love how we’d rather put stock in a couple of fossils rather than historical records that had no bias for or against regarding climate change.

  47. Wonder what kind of climate change it is. Acoording to IPCC language climate change means anthrogenic changes, so to be explicit with their language they should have mentioned that it was a kind of natural or nonanthropogenic change. Just so that nobody gets confused and ask how they managed to burn all that fuel.

  48. rgbatduke says:February 26, 2014 at 2:51 pm
    I read about that city when it was discovered, I assume in Archeology Magazine but can find nothing in their archives. There are claims they saw geometric shapes in sonar and found human remains. From digs I’ve read about, sea level is down a couple of meters in the last 4-6K years, the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico was some 50 miles inland then.

  49. I don’t know why the Egyptian, Greek, and Cretan disruptions were brought into the discussion, since there’s a bit of evidence that the eruption of Thera/Santorini was responsible. There’s even a hint that the Exodus occurred during the eruption, based only on the Bible mentioning a “pillar of cloud by day, and pillar of fire by night.” It might be far fetched to include that event with the Harappan decline at the same time, unless the eruption was truly gigantic or had special properties, like large quantities of copper in the ejecta causing crop failure.

  50. I believe this likely was Anthropogenic. Agriculture began 13KYA near the Turkish town of E-din. The irrigation methods, deforestation and other practices cause hydrological changes such as those described. It took a while for agriculture to spread and for this civilization to fall.

    Our own civilization is threatened by the same thing–droughts caused by monocropping, deforestation, wasteful irrigation and other practices. It is called Desertification.

    It can be reversed. Google “Permaculture” and go to http://www.originalsonicbloom.com for the agricultural breakthroughs that will restore abundance to this world.

    More CO2 from burning fossil fuels will also promote abundance.

  51. The following snippets of the comments above are significant and show a red line, which is explained below. Also notice that the timings/dating of all these similar events are not equivocal, but differ wildly. There is no “consensus.”
    The SNAIL Research however concluded: “But an abrupt monsoon weakening occurred 4,100 years ago for 200 years and the lake became ephemeral after this time.” Read the comments carefully.

    “Not only there, “The Akkadian empire flourished for about 100 years until, at 4170 +/- 150 years BP, it suddenly collapsed”

    “There is nothing interesting happening near 4000 BP” [??]

    “Even if the graph is “ridiculously scaled” it is pretty clear that CO2 wasn’t driving anything dramatic. However, to then claim that there couldn’t have been a big shift in climate is to ignore shifts in climate due to other causes.”

    “I remembered reading that climate change brought down the Egyptian empire of old and quickly googled it. Looks like there may be a “consensus” that climate change did them in about 4kyr ago or so”

    “Are they sure? Maybe it was not Climate Change what done it.
    What if it was Water Wet?”

    “This particular link goes on to mention other civilization-killing droughts 3,000 and 5,000 years ago and links to another discussion of Khmer and Mayans experiencing climate change”

    “The dating of the destruction or abandonment of these Indian cities coincides with the time when the Hindu calendar changed from 360 days per annum to the present 365.25 days per annum. Whatever the event was which caused this calendar change, it was a global rather than a local event as all the calendars around the world (Mayan, Chinese, Hindu, Greek, Hebrew & Egyptian) all changed from a 360 day year to 365.25.”

    “The early Indus city-state civilizations such as Moheno Darro may have well died due to climate change, but not global warming. The warmistas are trying to throw dust into the eyes of the incogniscentii.

    We know over the past few thousand years, sea levels have risen – don’t forget all that ice melting from the deep freeze of the ice-age.

    There was a land bridge between the following in barely pre-historic times: Ceylon – India :British Isles – France (phew that was a close one! ;-) Australia – rest of the world”

    “In Saudi many neolithic remains of long dried out villages remain where petroglyphs show the animals of the time etc.”

    “Egypt in the 3rd millennium BC (4000-5000 years ago) also recorded a warm period, which coincides, at least as to its end, with the collapse of the Indus civilisation.”

    “The change lingered for 200 years!”

    “Minimum of about 260 ppm at roughly 6000 to 5500 BC – about the time of the flooding of the Black Sea.”

    “I wish all societies – the “wacky one” in California first and foremost – would end the focus on CO2 and turn to drought as a problem to be solved. No humans ever should suffer from drought again.”

    “The reference is about Sahara turning green 12.000 years ago and dried up 3500 years agp.”

    “Sahara had turned into a savanna-like ecosystem with trees and grass and grazing animals.”

    “He speculates that there could be an insolation tipping point “whereby subtropical African climate flips abruptly between humid and arid””

    “Not sure if anyone has mentioned it, but Indians were Australia’s first boat people.”

    “Two years is the weather and not the climate. Four years out of phase would not have been sufficient to destroy those civilizations. ”

    “I counted the number of occurrences of several phrases in the report above:
    climate change 11 – climate 8 warm 0 warming 0 cool 0 cold 0″

    “By 1300 Mesa Verde was deserted. Here is another mystery. We know that the last quarter of the century was a time of drought and crop failures.”

    ” Gail Combs says: ‘Do not forget water aka RAIN could cause civilizations to collapse:’”

    “Why is it that there is more certainty of climate change from 4,000 years ago due to the analysis of isotope changes in snails”

    “I don’t know why the Egyptian, Greek, and Cretan disruptions were brought into the discussion, since there’s a bit of evidence that the eruption of Thera/Santorini was responsible. There’s even a hint that the Exodus occurred during the eruption,”

    “In 2002 a 10 sq. mile city was found off the coast of west India in 120 feet of water. Climate has probably changed since when it thrived as well.”

    The Red Line in the comments goes like this:

    Some big change happened 4000 BP, that was not CO2 driven, yet dried out most ancient civilisations, a change that was most likley a “Climate Change”, yet not caused by Solar activitynor Global Warming. Then some propose that perhaps the change had to do with wetness, monsoons, water, rainfall, or rather the LACK of it, yet this great change (which lasted about 200 years) resulted in a rise of sea levels inundating cities in around “120 ft. of water!”

    Here the scientific empirical instinct of the commenters, which instinct lies behind the success and reason WATTSUP became the best skeptical scientific blog I know of. But yet all these sharp minds seem to be unable to come to the ONLY conclusion and rainy reason for the wet season!

    Could it be all have been caused by a lack of RAINFALL, perhaps? I will show you that this reason is under-supported by politically correct Wikipedia & mainstream historians who danced around the obvious for over a century, but first allow me to point out the also under-reported tremendous research of Australia’s government astronomer George Dodwell who proved that indeed around 2345 BC an enormous event must have taken place which caused the axis to tilt first to 26.5 degrees which since then wobbled back to 23.5 degrees and stabilised in 1880 AD. He figured something big must have set that change off.

    Now 101 climatology: When the earth warms by conventional solar means, the resulting evaporation turning into more clouds and rain would cool the Earth back down, keeping it in blessed equilibrium, the reason why we have survived this long.

    Thus the only possible mechanism that could lead to more rainfall, as witnessed by the erosion of the Sphynx and her quarry which lay in utter dryness buried in sand for the last 2,500 thousands years, was, according to historian Robert Shoch, caused by excessive rainfall, witnessed also by the research of ….. , proving that the Sahara or Sahel 5000 BP, used to have an inland lake and cattle grazing. http://www.nature.com/news/pottery-shards-put-a-date-on-africa-s-dairying-1.10863 [Now this original Sapienza University research has been re-dated to 7.000-10.000 BP]

    Now what could cause heavy rainfall from heavier cloud-cover, if NOT by global warming? It could only have been by a unique mechanism, sofar unmentioned, to wit: oceanic warming! If the oceans had warmed say by ten degrees Celsius, it would lead to higher evaporation & more cloud cover and thus more rain, yet the Earth would not get significantly warmer.

    Perhaps there was at that time greater volcanic activity under the ocean, which led to more rainfall for a long time, but then the oceans cooled down enough to stop the heavy rain which caused draught in the areas mentioned in the comments, Egypt, Sahara, Meso America, Northern Australia, Harrapan Indus valley, Egypt, And mesopotamia.

    There is something else that heavier rainfall and cloudcover would cause, more snowfall on the greater landmass in the North, without a chanche to melt in the warmer water, like in the South!
    ANd that would lead to a thickening of the snow, layer by layer, which would turn into an extended icecap of several KM thickness, depressing the Northern continents leading to more tectonic activity! That, empirical scientists, came to call the Ice Age, which led to a decrease of the ocean levels of 130 M. or 300 Ft. but it ended as recent as the Snail research indicated, at least 4000 years ago, and NOT 10-12.000 years ago!

    Actually when we look more closely under the oceans, we will find many submerged cities fords, ceremonial platforms, walls, houses, roads, like for example of the coasts of Spain, Palestine, Greece, here in Taiwan (Yonaguni) and Japan, Near Dwarka, and under the Black Sea. The Hindu religion tells us that there was a landbridge between Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and India and there was a city of Krishna that perished in a very short time by sinking beneath the waves. Are we to suppose that Krishna was a hunter gatherer or caveman of 12.000 years BP? Of course not!

    The ruins under the black sea date from the same time as when the Dardanelles were formed by a Tsunami breakthrough when also the floods of Ogygys and Deucalion took place at the time of King Dardanus just before the founding of Troy. That was the Bronze Age and not 12000 years BP!

    The problem in all these things is the dating. The dating is to say it sweetly, very arbitrary and highly fluctuating. But the ruins under the Black Sea near Sochi are of the same kind as the megalithic walls in Peru for example. King Dardanus’ Life and the overflowing of the Black Sea took place around 1500 BC. (Coins with his image still exist) The ruins under water of the coast of Spain, Bimini, Alexandria, Lebanon date from the same time.

    And of course according to Plato (although he mis-dated it also), the cause of the sinking of the Atlantic oceanic empire Atlantis, between the Atlas mountains and the Antilles, Atlan, and the Doggersbank or -land which is now the North Sea! Before that time Bordeaux was linked with a geographically united Ireland-England! These global inundations were caused by the at least 200 year lasting melting of the Northern Icecaps! Around 1500 BC, the time of the Exodus, and the drying out of the formerly rain-blessed civilisations. The readjusting of the Earth’s crust led eventually to the explosion of Santorini around that same time!

    But what could have caused this significant volcanic warming of the oceans? The same event that Govt. Astronomer George Dodwell of Australia found recorded in the solar corridors of many ancient solar temples (like Karnak) which showed that the Sun had moved 3 degrees away from the initial 26.5 degrees of the Earth’s tilt in 2345 BC. Which by the way was also recorded in the dendrochronological tree-ring research by Prof (Emeritus) Mike Baillie, who arrived at the same conclusion!

    Something had caused the Earth to tilt, as Chinese mythology recorded that Nuwa (Noah) had to fix the sky because it had tilted! And that tilt was NOT caused by a small insignificant event! yet that event has been ostracised, politically incorrect-ised, and ostracised, and obfuscated, and ignored, not as and elephant in the room, but as the proverbial MAMMOTH in the historical and geological livingroom, even though attested to by its survivors in over 500 ethnic narratives and legends, of course mystified and embellished by those who obviously were not the survivors themselves but only knew it from hear-say!

    Yes, we’re talking here about a global Deluge that left its marks in 2-4 KM deep layers of mud turned to rock mixed with flora and fauna rests instantly fossilised under its pressure. If those layers came from an inch per year over many many many years, where could these trillions of cubic kilometers dirt have originated from?

    Science is not so confusing, as long as there is no political or philosophical agenda preventing mankind to see its true origins, repeated by over 500 of its small early tribes-turned-into the few high civilisations scattered in rain-blessed areas! Like the Egyptians! They were astronomical wizards that recorded the basic earth dimensions into the blueprints of the Great Pyramid, which we are still unable to copy! They were sea faring savants like Atlas who traveled the entire globe mapping it with trigonometry before Antarctica was ever frozen over! (Piri Reis map)

    So that is why the snails and civilisations changed! DROUGHT! For more information check out the Ancient History articles on our website!

    {Moderator this last paragraph you may cut off if you let it pass! :) ]
    I could go on and on, but waste my time as politically incorrect stuff will most likely not be allowed to pass the moderators. I implore you though to let it pass, even as just a fun mocking-point of the many Darwinians among your readers. It should be great fun! Why not! Aw come on! Give this one a chance to pass the grade. Pretty please? I know…the Global Warmistas might accuse you of becoming “creationists” (even though I am NOT!) and that would be bad for the cause, of course. But then again, this IS backed up by lots and lots of research!

  52. Interesting article. However, I’ve got some news for the authors. According to the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and the British government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) there was no climate change prior to the industrial revolution by definition. These official human authorities on global truth and reality have redefined “climate change” to be all man-made! The UN’s redefinition can be found on page 3 of the Glossary attached to AR4 under the entry for “climate change” here:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-annexes.pdf
    and the British government’s redefinition can be found on page 16 of the DECC Guide to Carbon Offsetting under the Glossary entry for “climate change” again here:
    ccs.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/sites/default/files/contracts/DECC%20guide%20to%20carbon%20offsetting.pdf

    Isn’t Newspeak fascinating? But in the light of the above report, doesn’t this example of it make climate change deniers of the UN and the British government? I really do wish that the Emperor would put his clothes back on.

    Perhaps the authors should now turn their attention to investigating what really brought down the Tower of Babel. Wasn’t that said to be something to do with a “confusion of tongues”? Or maybe it was about “climate change” too!

  53. There’s a problem with that, during colder periods when the mean position of the jet stream is further south, more warm water is transported into the Arctic. It is more likely that during extended extreme cold periods that the oceanic inflow to Arctic, and very importantly the outflow of sea ice off the east coast of Greenland is inhibited by ice shelves spreading out from the land.

    Note that I’m not talking about the jet stream, I’m talking about the Gulf Stream — water, not air. It isn’t clear precisely what forces might shift the Gulf Stream, but there is some evidence that it might have shifted further south and/or slowed during the LIA.

    Outside of that, outspreading of ice is certainly a plausible assertion as a feedback/amplification of some OTHER process that gets the ice started, and could easily be a factor that “switches” semi-permanently once enough ice is in place to create a new stable circulation that leaves the north cold(er).

    There is actually an interesting documentary here:

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/gulf-stream-next-ice-age/

    that asserts that global warming, by diluting the North Sea and Arctic Ocean with freshwater that dilutes the surface sea water sufficiently that it will no longer sink at the northmost extent of the circulation, could interrupt the thermohaline circulation through the critical arctic bight which would effectively cause a massive southward deflection of the turning point in the northward surface current and which might create the initial conditions that would LEAD to the freeze you suggest, making the deflection “permanent” even after the freshwater dilution terminates as the area re-freezes. As I noted, this is one of the hypotheses for the Younger Dryas — an enormous freshwater lake formed from the melting of the kilometer-thick glaciers broke through an ice berm and rapidly drained enough freshwater into the northern atlantic and arctic ocean that thermohaline circulation contributing to the early Holocene thaw was stopped dead in its tracks for almost 1000 years before conditions again overwhelmed the cooling.

    Note that I don’t assert that these things are true — it is too difficult to get conclusive evidence, and humans are natural born storytellers but even a great story can end up not being true. But they are “plausible”, and there is at least moderate evidence for them even when it is insufficient to make the stories “known fact”. It does make me keep an open mind about the vast range of responses possible to even comparatively small perturbations of a highly nonlinear system.

    rgb

  54. http://www.nature.com/news/2006/061127/full/news061127-8.html

    Yet another article (one pointing to some of the actual hard evidence) for linkage between the Gulf Stream and the LIA. East Coast drought (which reached historic proportions, BTW, in the early 1600s, wiping out colonies and native Americans alike) is itself probably linked to ENSO and the major decadal oscillations. The Younger Dryas was a period of profound drought on the North American continent — vast, decade-long dust storms are recorded in the silt layers of e.g. North Carolina streamways that correspond to that event. The article also notes the dilution hypothesis (without mentioning the YD by name).

    Willis is very fond of negative feedbacks in the climate system, and this is yet another one that may have been neglected in all of the climate models. Transient warming in the Arctic may well dynamically feed back into the speed of the Gulf Stream, so that melting land ice actively increases area cooling by slowing the delivery of warmth, with a lag of at most a few years. But the big issue is whether or not there is a “catastrophe” lurking there in the sense of “catastrophe theory”, not in the sense of “climate catastrophe” — a major switch of the global climate system from one set of attractors to another, where the new one could either accelerate warming or accelerate cooling substantially.

    rgb

  55. Jimbo says:
    February 27, 2014 at 2:35 am
    ——————————————–
    Thanks for the historical rainfall link. That is great info. I would love to see the current chart of that Epochal Pattern.

  56. “The largest number of settlements of the “Harappan” civilisation were located along the Saraswati river. The river slowly dried up, as is well attested in the Vedas, Upanishads, etc, and confirmed by modern geology.”

    Here we go, the Hinduist nationalist fruitloops arrive – who haven’t even read the Vedas and Upanishads except in bastardized 10th-hand translations, or who recite but don’t understand them as Hindu priests have been doing for millennia.

    Note: just like some nationalist Japanese, nationalist Hindu Indians are obsessed with ‘proving’ they belong to ‘the world’s most ancient culture’. As a result, recent archeology finding ‘ancient cities’ underwater etc from both places is not to be taken seriously. Even the once respected Indian archeologist BB Lal besmirched his career in his declining years with sentimental claptrap.

  57. All who are interested in this matter should consult the GISP2 graph of Holocene
    temps. Enlarge the temp swings to exactly see the rapid up and downs. Interesting
    are the top temp spikes as well as the bottom temp spikes. All megadroughts set
    in (I will write an aridification paper next year) as long as the temp drop period is on.
    In this case of the Harrapians as the Sumerians/Akkadians, the rapid temp drop
    was the result of the devastating asteroid impact of 2,193 BC, which sent global
    temps down for 300 years until 1900 BC. As soon as the bottom temp spike was reached
    in 1900 BC, the megadroughts ended abruptly and new human settlements sprang up in
    the belt from Spain to Egypt, to West Asia and Pakistan….. After all major cosmic impacts,
    of which we identified 14, temps went down in a spike, with a simultaneous aridification
    period lasting exactly to bottom of the temp drop spike and immediately turning into a good precipitation period for the following centuries of the temp rebounce period. The latest
    work of Harvey Weiss : “Seven generations since the Fall of Akkad” (2012) explains those megadrought observations with measurements conducted in West Asia. Cometary details can
    be found in our paper on climate forcing. JS

  58. I also believe that the wandering Jews came from India because they were treated as lower class. There are similiar words like Siva in both Jedish and Hindu. They left India and headed NW towards the mediteranian.

  59. rgbatduke says:
    “Note that I’m not talking about the jet stream, I’m talking about the Gulf Stream — water, not air. It isn’t clear precisely what forces might shift the Gulf Stream, but there is some evidence that it might have shifted further south and/or slowed during the LIA.”

    Reconstructions show a very warm AMO in the Spörer and Maunder minimums, and during the late 1800′s during weaker solar cycles. So despite what the Gulf stream may have been doing, poleward warm water transport tends to increase during colder periods for the mid latitudes.

  60. Here we go, the Hinduist nationalist fruitloops arrive – who haven’t even read the Vedas and Upanishads except in bastardized 10th-hand translations, or who recite but don’t understand them as Hindu priests have been doing for millennia.

    Well, yes, but even though India is my second country (I grew up there) I didn’t really want to say it. Besides, there is no need — India is the site of several the world’s oldest known urban civilizations. Whether they “beat” Mesopotamia, or Egypt, or China is hardly important. But there is little doubt that e.g. Mohenjo-Daro is quite ancient, and it is reasonably probable that there were semi-urban settlements that preceded it by a fair bit in the Holocene. India’s climate — alternating drought and monsoon flood — is such that entire civilizations could be buried deep in silt somewhere and who would know?

    Once you get on the far side of 3000 years ago, it is all pretty ancient and in some sense prehistoric.

    But to the best of my recollection, while the Upanishads are fairly definitely “recent” — circa 500 BCE, during the same religious upheaval that produced Buddhism from much the same physical part of India — the Vedas proper are an oral tradition that wasn’t even written down until the middle ages. So when one talks about sanskrit “writings” of the Vedas, one is not referring to any ancient manuscripts because there are none. They are dated back to 1500-1700 BCE, but that is pure guesswork, as are similar estimates of the books of the Old Testament. Buddhism at least has the pillars of Ashoka to date its written tradiation back to the third century BCE, although the Pali Canons are similarly an oral tradition.

    Reconstructions show a very warm AMO in the Spörer and Maunder minimums, and during the late 1800′s during weaker solar cycles. So despite what the Gulf stream may have been doing, poleward warm water transport tends to increase during colder periods for the mid latitudes.

    http://snag.gy/loCBw.jpg

    Note that the top article is on just how difficult it is to measure either SST or mid-ocean temperature reconstructions to depth now with modern instrumentation making measurements at precise locations in space and time. Difficulties I’ve pointed out include sparsity of data, spatiotemporal resolution issues, bias introduced by correlations in measurement sites, and don’t even include possible instrumental error or the kind of post-processing Fred has discussed, lopping off measurements that are “too low” but leaving ones that are “too high”.

    Forgive me if I doubt that any reconstruction of oceanic temperatures and currents 400 to 500 years ago has sufficient accuracy or spatiotemporal extent to permit any broad conclusions to be drawn with a great deal of confidence from that era. That isn’t to say that attempts to obtain a picture of what was happening are without merit, and may tell a story, it is just that it is difficult to know how much confidence to place in the story they tell.

    By the time error bars reach 1-2C, they are out there with the signal one hopes to discern. IMO it is very, very difficult to argue that our knowledge of past climate — as opposed to very much localized conditions at a very restricted number of sites where good fortune preserved a proxy that isn’t too confoundingly multivariate and that doesn’t have too many diluting Bayesian priors — is much more accurate than that at any point substantially before the thermometric record. Even when I look at, and direct people too, the various “best guess” climate reconstructions of e.g. the Holocene or the last 600 million years, I do so with a number of very large grains of salt.

    In a way, it is strangely similar to the problem with e.g. the Rig Vedas or the Pentateuch. “Tradition” holds that they have thus and such a date, but evidence usually directly contradicts the dates assigned by tradition. Tubal Cain was an artificer of iron, for example, which rather limits the time frame for Genesis to the Iron Age, thousands of years later than the supposed time of the events of Genesis. Similarly, tree rings often show a given supposed thermal history — until one looks carefully at how well they do against the actual thermal history as recorded by actual thermometers, where there are amusing exchanges in the various climategate documents IIRC between dendroclimatologists whose kids didn’t even get a good science fair climate record out of trees cut in their own back yard.

    So are the various proxies for oceanic temperature any good? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe sometimes but not other times. Maybe some places, but not other places. Maybe at low resolution, but not high resolution. And good or not, how accurate or “global” are they?

    For better or worse, IMO we have “good” surface data stretching back at most 35 years, “adequate” surface data going back maybe 60 years, adequate data on certain reasonably globally distributed locations stretching back another 50 or so years, and then we hit the 19th century and all bets are off — Anarctica, China, Siberia, Australia, Tibet, much of Africa, large chunks of North and South America all terra incognita, the oceans miserably sampled with terrible instrumentation and practice in tiny stretches near the shipping lanes. Global Temperature in the 1600s? We have at best a guess — we are pretty sure Europe was cold, and we have enough evidence that the planet itself was pretty cold then to name it the LIA with some confidence as being a Lot Colder than Today, but was it 1C colder? 2C colder? 3C colder? That’s really difficult to say. Maybe it was a time of Antarctic thaw and Arctic freeze, just as the Arctic is generally warming and Antarctica cooling at the moment. Maybe Africa was having horrendous heat waves. Maybe ENSO was stoking up half of the world’s oceans, even as major continents were cooling. The problem is that we just don’t know, and probably can’t know.

    rgb

  61. rgbatduke says: “,…”
    I agree with your comment. and many other comments i have read from you.
    My thing has been this: if some study into the past, finds that some time (approx 4000 yrs ago this study) in the past some event has occured that if it happens now that it’s somehow change. It seems to me that unprecedented climatic events have all happened before.

    Thanks to WUWT for the interesting articles and for the opportunity to add my virtual cents.
    I think my mom taught me to be polite.

  62. the belt from Spain to Egypt, to West Asia and Pakistan….. After all major cosmic impacts,
    of which we identified 14, temps went down in a spike, with a simultaneous aridification
    period lasting exactly to bottom of the temp drop spike and immediately turning into a good precipitation period for the following centuries of the temp rebounce period.

    So, was there a cosmic impact that precipitated the LIA? In the 16th century, most of the world was unknown to western civilization, and an oceanic impact or continental impact in many of the world’s continents might have gone unnoticed.

    I have read no really good explanations for the LIA, which is the coldest single stretch in the entire Holocene post YD, although there was a similar scale dip around 9000 years BP. Also, while we have some good modern-era reason to think that there are climate bobbles associated with major volcanism, e.g. Tambora or Krakatoa, we lack information on such events before the 17th century for most of the globe. Their effect seems not to be century-scale persistent, although Tambora was a significant explosion no matter how you slice it, certainly comparable to all but a truly significant asteroid strike. What explains the long lasting effects of an asteroid compared to e.g. Tambora, which pulverized something like 16 cubic miles of rock?

    rgb

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