In-betweeners: Enjoy the warmth while it lasts

Our “recent” (geologically speaking) temperature history:

Image by Joe D'Aleo via IntelliCast - data is oxygen isotopes - click to enlarge

By Lawrence Solomon in the Financial Post

Thank your lucky stars to be alive on Earth at this time. Our planet is usually in a deep freeze. The last million years have cycled through Ice Ages that last about 100,000 years each, with warmer slivers of about 10,000 years in between.

We are in-betweeners, and just barely — we live in (gasp!) year 10,000 or so after the end of the last ice age. But for our good fortune, we might have been born in the next Ice Age.

Our luck is even better than that. Those 10,000-year warm spells aren’t all cosy-warm. They include brutal Little Ice Ages such as the 500-year-long Little Ice Age that started about 600 years ago. Fortunately, we weren’t around during its fiercest periods when Finland lost one-third of its population, Iceland half, and most of Canada became uninhabitable — even the Inuit fled. While the cold spells within the 10,000 year warm spells aren’t as brutal as a Little Ice Age, they can nevertheless make us huddle in gloom, such as the period in history from about 400 AD to 900 AD, which we know as the Dark Ages. We’ve lucked out twice, escaping the cold spells within the warm spells, making us inbetweeners within the inbetween periods. How good is that?

We aren’t alone in having been blessed by good weather. About 2000 years ago, around the time of Caesar and Christ, temperatures were also gloriously warm, some say much warmer than those we’ve experienced in recent decades. That period — the centuries immediately before and after Caesar and Christ — are known as the Roman Warm Period, a time of wealth and accomplishment when the warmer weather filled granaries and extended grape and olive growing regions to lands that had previously been unarable.

Another period of unusual warmth came about 1000 years after the Roman Warm Period, during the centuries before and after the year 1000, in what is known as the Medieval Warm Period. In this period, again warmer than the present time, the world shucked off the insularity of the Dark Ages to allow civilization to once again blossom. England, then positively balmy, became a grape-growing region. In the North Atlantic, the Arctic sea ice released its grip over Greenland, making this vast island hospitable for Viking settlers. In the Canadian Rockies, majestic forests — trees larger than those of today — thrived before their decimation by the glaciers that came in with the Little Ice Age.

Another 1000 years and we come to our time, known to climatologists as the Modern Warm Period. What a great time of technological and cultural advancement we’ve known, one of unprecedented prosperity, human longevity, and human comfort. For a brief period in the 1970s it appeared to some scientists that the climate that had abetted our prosperity had turned — this was the fear of global cooling that then made headlines. Though many now mock those fears of climate cooling, the scientists were eminent and the science was sound — after all, given Earth’s history through the eons, and the passage of 10,000 years since the last ice age, it was hardly outlandish to believe that time of warmth was up.

It wasn’t then — the decades after the 1970s have been about as good as it gets. But it could be now. In fact, some of the same scientists who in the 1970s warned of a new cold spell still believe it could be imminent. Other eminent scientists with compelling new evidence have recently joined them in predicting the end of our Modern Warm Period. They and others note that the warming of the planet stopped 11 years ago and that the planet has begun to cool.

If a new Dark Age does come, it could be rapid, marked by plunging temperatures and extreme weather events. Such was the transition from the Roman Warm Period to the Dark Ages and from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age. To date, we have seen no plunging temperatures, no uncharacteristically extreme weather.
If we are living on borrowed time, as the history of the world would suggest, this reprieve would be but one more blessing to count. We should enjoy the warmth while we can, and hope that it persists so that the world our children and grandchildren inherit will be no less warm and welcoming.

Financial Post

LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com

Read more: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/10/30/lawrence-solomon-enjoy-the-warmth-while-it-lasts.aspx#ixzz0VcUM2rMH

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94 thoughts on “In-betweeners: Enjoy the warmth while it lasts

  1. I believe the author once called himself a “warmist” but did investigations of the “deniers” out of curiosity. He wrote a book by that name. It is a good read.

  2. The Fairbridge Curve of sea level variation (in Science 191 (4225) 353-359 1976) covers the same period and is remarkably similar. It was deduced from other sources, not oxygen isotopes. The Fairbridge sea level curve looks like a smoothed representation of the temperature in Carter’s graph. Such climate proxies based on empirical evidence are much better than computer models.

    Carter’s graph also puts a fine point on the Sunda pyroclastic event of 535AD. To read more about the social and political history of a sudden cooling period, read David Keyes’ book, Catastrophe.

  3. Awakened to a warm house and a cup of coffee.Civilization.Cap’n Tax will not like that,
    only Algore and Senator Boxer will have such luxuries.The west could be the first
    civilization to commit both Ecocide and Econocide …
    Got Coal?

  4. We may be just in the beginning of an exceptionally long interglacial, though. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:InsolationSummerSolstice65N.png – the oscillations are currently less extreme than they have been for some hundred thousand years.

    Here’s an article behind a paywall that I haven’t read, but the summary suggests that regardless of changes induced by humans, the current interglacial may last another 50000 years: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/297/5585/1287

    Still, we may of course face another “small ice age” any time now.

  5. Certainly a different viewpoint from AGW. I worry more about the cooling viewpoint than the warming viewpoint. I worry more about government being in charge and doing exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. An energy policy based on providing energy to citizens would be worthwhile. No nuclear , no drilling and the idea to skyrocket the price of coal based electricity is bad policy no matter what the time.

  6. An excellent article, would it be possible for the axes of the graph to be labelled and their magnitudes made easier to read or at least the ranges spelled out?

  7. We should enjoy the warmth while we can, and hope that it persists so that the world our children and grandchildren inherit will be no less warm and welcoming.

    And while also taking precautions that we not create a true man-made disaster by applying an alleged AGW “cure” worse than the alleged “disease”.

  8. Many people who have made careful studies of climate and its impact on civilization (Lamb being but one) have noted how the human race suffers during cold periods, and prospers during the warm ones. Take a careful look at the history of Scotland, for example. Even now, our major risks come from weather (or perhaps from climate excursion) that is too cold.

  9. Solomon has been one of the few journalists to present another view on the science and politics of climate change. I love the paleo stuff, mainly because it flies in the face of everything promoters of CAGW claim. We can not let them rewrite history.

  10. Great article and the chart should result in blood pressure changes in the pro-AGW set.

    Look at the DMI Polar Temperature chart on the right side-bar.

    The blue line is the ice age tipping point line and we are not far from it.

  11. M White (08:27:37) :

    It’s not all bad. The industrial revolution began during the LIA.

    Suggesting cause and effect? On that hypothesis the Inuit ought to be the most industrially advanced people on Earth.

  12. I suggest we take advantage of the lull before the next Fimbulwinter descends on us, to industrialise rapidly and colonise the solar system, thus taking at least some of our eggs out of the one basket.

  13. “Climate economist says he was ‘gagged’

    A SENIOR CSIRO environmental economist has gone public to accuse the science body of trying to gag his report attacking the Federal Government’s climate change policies.

    The paper, by Clive Spash, criticises the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and argues that direct legislation or a tax on carbon is needed…

    Dr. Spash also wrote that the economic theory underpinning emissions trading schemes was far removed from the reality …

    He said trading schemes were ineffective …

    He claims the CSIRO had tried to block the publication of the report, despite it being internationally peer reviewed and accepted by the journal New Political Economy.

    (Excerpt) Read more at theaustralian.news.com.au”

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2375890/posts

  14. If I were a meteorologist tasked with giving a weather forecast for the next million years here in the UK the summary would be cold, with occasional warm spells.

    For a bit more detail I would add that the M1 and M5 roads to the north would be icy for long periods. Indeed the ice would be many tens of feet thick.

    This forecast would be given on the time honoured basis of most weather foecasts – looking at the patterns of the past and projecting them into the future. Despite all the Petaflops available to todays meteorologists, this is probably still the most accurate way of forecasting.

  15. Kevin Kilty (08:52:40) :

    M White (08:27:37) :

    It’s not all bad. The industrial revolution began during the LIA.

    Suggesting cause and effect? On that hypothesis the Inuit ought to be the most industrially advanced people on Earth.

    The point being life goes on. The humane race(homo sapiens) left Africa and colonised and adapted to most of the world during the last glacial period not after it.

  16. Thank you wuwt. You bring sanity to a knee-jerk, ‘We are God’s of Weather’ society we reside in.

    I worked at the South Pole in the weather department for an Austral Summer and continue to get weekly weather updates. Here’s the latest:

    Weekly Climate Summary for 24 October 2009 through 30 October 2009 UTC
    South Pole Station, Antarctica

    Temperature:
    Average temp… -44.5°C / -48.1°F
    Maximum temp… -38.2°C / -36.8°F on day 26
    Minimum temp… -51.2°C / -60.2°F on day 25

    Wind:
    Average wind speed………. 14.4 mph or 12.5 knots
    Prevailing wind direction… Grid Northeast
    Maximum wind speed………. 29 mph or 25 knots on day 26
    Maximum wind direction…… Grid Northeast
    Average vectored wind……. 050 degrees at 11.8 knots

    Station Pressure:
    Average pressure… 674.8 mb
    Highest pressure… 681.8 mb on day 25
    Lowest pressure…. 665.8 mb on day 27

    Physio-altitude:
    Average physio-alt = 10825 ft/ 3299 m
    Highest physio-alt = 11168 ft/ 3404 m on day 27
    Lowest physio-alt = 10560 ft/ 3219 m on day 25

    Sky Cover:
    Average cloud cover (8ths)… 5
    Days clear………………. 0
    Days partly cloudy……….. 6
    Days cloudy……………… 1

    Sunshine:
    Sunset on 22 March 2010
    Average hours per day… 23.0
    Percent of possible….. 96

    Visibility:
    0 days with visibility of 1/4 mile or less.

    Balloon flight data:
    Number of soundings for the week….. 14
    Average height of soundings………. 39.3 mb, or 25019 meters
    Highest sounding………………… 4.0 mb, or 36682 meters
    on day 26/12Z flight

    0 soundings were missed.

    **RECORDS**
    No records were tied or broken this week.

    -If interested in receiving the data, email contact at the South Pole: Met@usap.gov

    ~Cheers

  17. Compelling. I still don’t know what will happen with the future climate, but I’m still pretty sure human emissions don’t have much to do with it. I wonder if technology makes us better prepared to deal with sudden cooling than with sudden warming. Will we be piping “greenhouse emissions” into real greenhouses in the near future?

  18. Although I’m not a big fan of proxies, at least this agrees with historical accounts. And if one were to engage in a no-no called extrapolation …. brrrrrrr.

  19. It makes sense, when we don’t have to struggle against the cold we are more productive. It’s also why older people like warmer climates.

    It would be interesting to see what effect colder temps would have on the great plains of the U.S. I remember reading that prairie grass grew to such a height that you could lose sight of the rest of you wagon train if you weren’t careful. That was 100 years ago, possibly more moisture back then.

  20. At the risk of repetition, we do not fully know or understand the trigger(s) which set off glaciation periods, they are rapid and should be studied more rigorously, we need to know (could we do anything about it? – probably NOT).
    People may regard me as eccentric but I think that refreezing is a real threat, let us hope not in my lifetime but soon ( in geological time terms) it will happen – as the article says………….. we are due.
    It can make you very philosophical about the hype over Political AGW and of ghosts and glaciation:
    Hamlet:
    “And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    The immortal bard.

  21. Bill Illis (08:50:59) :

    Yes, the thin Blue DMI Line.
    We came perilously close to dipping under it this year.
    All it takes, really, is for the diurnal to shrink.
    You could even have the Winter Anomaly rise and the Summer Anomaly drop faster.
    In the land of 50 below for 6 months, a 10 degree warmer winter anomaly is meaningless. In terms of civilization, it’s badly misplaced warming. It occurs in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  22. The article is very timely because I’ve been wondering about this a lot.

    So what are the conditions that will end this interglacial? I can see the reasoning that this is more like the 400 kyear interglacial but every time I look at the graphs of procession, obliquity, insolation, etc I get the idea that the 400 kyear interglacial started sooner in the cycle than this one and the 800 kyear interglacial wasn’t that long. I’m sure that this impression is because I’m looking at crude representations but I can’t find a good discussion on the subject.

    I also conclude that this interglacial is already 15000 years old because of the return to the freezer during the Younger Dryas.

    Most articles I’ve read from official sources sort of dismiss the issue by stating that even if they’re wrong about cycle length, increased CO2 would overide a return to glaciation. Since they’re already whining that natural temperature drivers are hiding the CO2 induced warming, it seems highly unlikely that CO2 could stop and ice age.

    Can anyone point me to a good source of theories on interglacial end?

  23. Both Mr Solomon and the IPCC have got hold of the wrong end of the stick about the Little Ice age. There is no evidence whatsoever to indicate it was a 500 year period of unremitting cold. The official view and my ‘conclusions are detailed under.

    1) The UK Met office-a prime contributor through the Hadley centre to the IPCC assessments, assert:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/policymakers/policy/slowdown.html

    Extract “Before the twentieth century, when man-made greenhouse gas emissions really took off, there was an underlying stability to global climate. The temperature varied from year to year, or decade to decade, but stayed within a certain range and averaged out to an approximately steady level.”

    My Conclusion: This is clearly incorrect as there is proof of considerable cyclical variability throughout history, and we can readily trace those over the last 500 years.

    2 IPCC FAQ 6.2 Page114 of TAR4.
    ‘All published reconstructions find that temperatures were warm during medieval times, cooled to low values in the 16th 17th 18th 19th centuries, then warmed rapidly after that.’

    Conclusion. This assertion can not possibly be supported-there were periods nearly as warm as today as well as very cold periods. Current warming is slow and consistent with previous periods in the observed climatic cycles.

    This excellent graph below about the LIA warm periods really sums it up.
    http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~dbunny/research/global/glacialfluc.pdf

    I do agree about the proof of warmer periods than today though, but think Joe’s graph (which surely is identical to Bob Carters) underplays the MWP somewhat.

    So sorry, but history tells us that there are huge cyclical variations in our climate, and whilst the LIA undoubtedly had long brutal periods of cold there were many warm periods as well.

    I blame Charles Dickens. The Anglo Saxon world has been brought up on the snowy scenes of ‘A Christmas Carol’. He actually wrote this in a summer heatwave, published it during one of the Uk’s warmest ever Decembers and lived through what remains to this day two of our warmerst winters. Not bad going for an unremittingly cold LIA :)

    To paraphrase the good Dr Mann-The Lia is an outdated concept.

    Tonyb

  24. Kevin Kilty (08:52:40) :

    ‘It’s not all bad. The industrial revolution began during the LIA’

    “Suggesting cause and effect? On that hypothesis the Inuit ought to be the most industrially advanced people on Earth.”

    That is a Luddite statement. The Innuit fled the cold down to the cold level they could put up with and returned to the far north when it warmed. Besides they believe themselves the most advanced. In their language “Inuit” means, essentially, “human” as distinct from other creatures who walk on hind legs.

  25. There’s no reason to panic about freezing either. Warming is generally an easier engineering task than cooling things – particularly if you aren’t forbidding coal.

  26. Kevin B (09:13:49) :
    “…This forecast would be given on the time honoured basis of most weather forecasts – looking at the patterns of the past and projecting them into the future. Despite all the Petaflops available to todays meteorologists, this is probably still the most accurate way of forecasting.”

    Reply: I quite agree – pointless looking for detailed info and trends in our non-linear climate system. Without a doubt, broad brush expectations based on history is the way to go when trying to predict the future for our quasi-cyclical chaotic dynamic climate system.

    17th century -cooling – Maunder minimum
    18th century – warming
    19th century – cooling – Dalton minimum
    20th century – warming
    21st century – cooling – ?

  27. “They and others note that the warming of the planet stopped 11 years ago and that the planet has begun to cool.”

    If they and others say that, then they and others are fools. There is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim.

  28. Just food for thought.

    Can you imagine if in 20 years from now we are in the grip of a little ice-age. What would people and historians be writing about our fear of a warming planet? Especially if we had already sacrificed our standard of living in order to reduce C02 output which failed dismally.

  29. Cycles within cycles within cycles. Whether economic cycles or weather cycles, these self-regulating cycles happen; sometimes they bear good news, sometimes not so good news. The real trouble happens when some men imagine they can control self-regulating cycles.

  30. I have been saying the same thing based on my own analysis for years, it is nice to see if validated by an independent source. Since the Roman Warm Period we have been in a significant general cooling trend with each cold period colder than the one before and each warm period not quite as warm as the one before.

    It took many parts of Europe until the 20th century to recover their populations that they had in the 12th century. People simply have no clue as to the scale of potential famine we face.

  31. “There is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim.”

    This is false.

    Any statement along the lines:

    “There is insufficient evidence to prove…” would probably be true. But “No evidence whatsoever” is false.

  32. RW (10:45:09) :
    [“They and others note that the warming of the planet stopped 11 years ago and that the planet has begun to cool.”]

    “If they and others say that, then they and others are fools. There is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim.”

    Using the most accurate measure of average global temperature from the UAH satellite data, I think you’ll find no upward trend for the last 11 or so years – in fact you could argue a slight decline, although this is probably within the error bars for the data.

    Plot of 1998 to 2009 temperature and trend here:-

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1998/to:2009/plot/uah/from:1998/to:2009/trend

  33. RW (10:45:09) :

    There is no evidence. I agree.
    There has never been, nor will there ever be, evidence of anything.
    Nothing to claim, nothing to predict, nothing to prepare for.
    Evidently, there is no evidence…. of evidence.
    What we need is a confession from the dead.
    Oh, that’s right. They wrote to us. But they are long gone.
    Whom do you trust?
    The living, who seek to profit off your demise, or those whose demise precludes them from profiting off you?

  34. “until the 20th century to recover their populations that they had in the 12th century.”

    Meant 13th century (and very early 14th).

  35. Tenuc (11:12:13) :

    Using the most accurate measure of average global temperature from the UAH satellite data, I think you’ll find no upward trend for the last 11 or so years – in fact you could argue a slight decline, although this is probably within the error bars for the data.

    Measuring temperature directly is so yesterday. The most modern methods are strip bark, varves and womens underwear.

  36. Tenuc:

    North American data from NCDC shows a significant decline of North American temperatures at a rate of 0.7 degrees per decade over the past 10 years. That is significant because North America produces most of the world’s food so “global” temperatures notwithstanding, what happens in North American impacts global food supplies. 0.7 degrees/decade is a very fast rate of decline. Continued for another decade, we would see serious impact in reduction of growing seasons and frost kills in the Northern Plains and Canada.

  37. RW said

    “If they and others say that, then they and others are fools. There is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim.”

    Vicky Pope Head of the Met office admitted to this drop in temperatures . You can hear her say it for yourself. I have her email address if you want to call her a fool but try to be pleasant about it :)

    Here is the reference.

    BBC radio 4 at 12 Septermber 2009, Vicky Pope of the Met office reluctantly admits the climate has been cooling against their expectations and models
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/more_or_less/8248922.stm#email

    This is the BBC’s Tim Harford item (the link is found at the bottom of the box to the right of the item “Blowing cold, then hot”).

    transcript
    “Tim: If the cooling that the Leibniz Institute predicts actually takes place, are you worried that ’s going to take the wind out of some of the sails of scientists who are warning about the threat of global warming?

    Vicky: It’s very important to realise that there will be ten-year periods where the temperatures don’t increase or they even decrease as the Leibniz study is suggesting –

    Tim: We’ve just had one.

    Vicky: Yes, in fact we have, but that doesn’t mean that global warming has stopped, it’s simply a question of natural variability, giving a temporary decrease in temperature overlaid on top of a long-term warming trend, and in fact I believe that’s what the results of that study suggest –

    Tim: Sorry to interrupt but you say that were going to have ten-year periods of cooling. How can we be sure that the rapid warming we saw in the 1980s and 1990s wasn’t the exceptional period?

    Vicky: This is the point really, is that 1998 was exceptionally warm because there was an El Nino, because there was a natural variation overlaid on top of climate change. So what you can see very clearly is a long-term trend and then these periods of rapid warming and less rapid warming or even cooling overlaid on top of that because of natural variations.”

    This should also be seen in the context of the New Scientist interview. All I am saying is that the models did not predict the (officially) admitted cooling and they are having to take ‘natural variability’ into greater account. I make no predictions as to whether this is the start of a longer cooling trend.

    Tonyb

  38. In light of the ..7 degrees/decade N. American temperature decline, the declaration by Chu (Ah-Choo) that California Agriculture is useless takes on new meaning.

  39. http://www.agriculture.com/ag/category.jhtml?categoryid=/templatedata/ag/category/data/agnewscategory-crops.xml

    Articles:
    •Testing has revealed dangerous levels of mycotoxins on corn in the western and central Corn Belt.
    •Corn molds and diseases.
    •Soybean diseases have exploded.

    Corn, soybean harvest slowest in 30 years
    http://www.agriculture.com/ag/story.jhtml;jsessionid=REXVVEM1MLNUWCQCEAQB42Q?storyid=/templatedata/ag/story/data/1256590252339.xml#continue

    Four to six times normal rainfall swamps crops
    http://www.marketskeptics.com/2009/10/rains-swamp-crops-and-wash-away-any.html

    Plant rusts such as Ug99, which has the designation of TTKS, is a race of black stem rust (Puccinia graminis tritici) wheat rust badly affecting Africa and Asia is spreading fast… Late blight, in cultivated potatoes and tomatoes is still a big problem though some success has been made at developing a disease resistant potato utilizing wild varieties. There are various articles on these to be found with a google search.
    http://www.google.com/m/search?ct=fsh&q=UG99+TTKS

  40. And the net 5000 year trend is about zero.

    No CO2 involved, just natural variations.

    BTW: November here looks like it could be a sizable change from last month, on the warm side, many areas in our state has already had their first freeze while we’re still waiting for it, in fact looking at the forecast looks like the fall color will stay and not go brown and the grass and ground cover will keep growing.

  41. Tenuc (11:12:13) :
    Using the most accurate measure of average global temperature from the UAH satellite data, I think you’ll find no upward trend for the last 11 or so years – in fact you could argue a slight decline, although this is probably within the error bars for the data.

    Plot of 1998 to 2009 temperature and trend here:-

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1998/to:2009/plot/uah/from:1998/to:2009/trend

    – that’s very ‘cherry picky’!
    – if you move the start date by +/- a year or two, it’s difficult to see a cooling
    – I think the best that can be said is that there has been a ‘pause’…

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:2000/to:2009/plot/uah/from:2000/to:2009/trend

  42. red432 (09:31:23) :

    Compelling. I still don’t know what will happen with the future climate, but I’m still pretty sure human emissions don’t have much to do with it. I wonder if technology makes us better prepared to deal with sudden cooling than with sudden warming. Will we be piping “greenhouse emissions” into real greenhouses in the near future?

    In some respects our technology is the weak point in our infrastructure. Our entire municipal water system is designed around prevailing freeze levels in the winter. If the frost line extends much deeper than normal you have problems with freezing of both municipal and residential water systems but also sewage systems.

    You also have other important infrastructure that begins to have problems at cold temps. I remember when I worked for Emergency Management here in Colorado in the late 1970’s through the 1980’s that we had some interesting issues that came out of extended ice storms and prolonged cold snaps. Ice storms as everyone knows can shut down entire power grids for days to weeks as ice laden power lines are pulled down by the score. Severe cold also causes fire fighting challenges, as water for fire suppression freezes and the fire ground becomes so slick that fire fighters cannot move around efficiently. Many fires are triggered by ice loaded power lines as well.

    There were situations where natural gas pipe lines were at risk of shutting down due to ice build up freezing out inside the pipe line as condensation built up and froze out in cold segments. Since large areas of the country is highly dependent on natural gas for heat, this can be a region wide problem.

    Also construction grinds to a halt as digging in frozen ground tears up construction equipment at an alarming rate, and less well known the difficulties in properly compacting frozen fill from excavations leads to major problems when it finally warms up. Here in Colorado there were a rash of natural gas explosions in new homes that was traced to frozen back fill placed in trenches for natural gas lines to the homes settling in the spring when it thawed and it pulled the pipes apart at weak points creating cracks. The natural gas from those leaks migrated through the poorly compacted soils into the homes and ignited on pilot lights blowing the homes off their foundations.

    Industries that now use steel for construction would likely move to aluminum for some applications as steels become brittle at temperatures near -30 deg F . Rail roads need to be careful when humping cars, as the assemble freight trains, in these temperatures as the cold soaked couplers can shatter as the cars crash together as the train is assembled. At cold temps Aluminum becomes stronger and tougher than common steels.

    There would be a considerable period when major infrastructure like bridges, water supplies, electrical distribution and roads would suffer very high failure rates due to prolonged operation in severe cold.

    Once you add in the problems with shorter growing seasons and higher costs to transport food, our modern on demand food supply system would have to fall back to the sort of warehouse storage used decades ago where a city could survive on its own food stocks for weeks if need be rather than depending on almost daily deliveries just to meet minimum demand.

    In severe blizzards most local food suppliers are wiped out of key food stocks like milk, bread, etc. in a matter of hours. During the blizzard of 1982 here in Denver, a local convenience stores had bare shelves in a 12-18 hours after the storm set in, as folks were walking to the nearest local outlet, since they could not get their cars out of their driveways.

    http://www.thorntonweather.com/blog/colorado-weather/christmas-eve-blizzard-1982-the-best-of-denver-storms/

    http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/remote/graphics/profiler_images/102497/DP_1024_main_story.html

    I was pushing through snow 4 ft deep to help get some nurses home from the hospital the morning after the snow hit. I also made a bread run for the local convenience store on day 2 after the blizzard hit. The bakery was back in operation but its delivery trucks could not make any deliveries as most roads were still impassable without a 4×4 vehicle or snow mobiles.

    The northern half of the country would at least have some capacity to deal with these issues, but areas of the south that seldom see severe freezing temps would be crippled and the residents would pay a terrible price in cold injury and property loss due to freezing. Spring thaws in ice choked drainages also pose flooding problems that are enormous as ice dams cause flooding in areas that normally outside the flood plane of temperate floods.

    More importantly unlike rising sea levels this is a sudden onset issue, as a cold outbreak can come with little warning and effect 100,000’s of square miles of land area in a matter of hours.

    Larry

  43. Eddie Murphy (11:52:34) :
    “http://www.agriculture.com/ag/category.jhtml?categoryid=/templatedata/ag/category/data/agnewscategory-crops.xml

    Articles:
    •Testing has revealed dangerous levels of mycotoxins on corn in the western and central Corn Belt.
    •Corn molds and diseases.
    •Soybean diseases have exploded.

    Corn, soybean harvest slowest in 30 years
    http://www.agriculture.com/ag/story.jhtml;jsessionid=REXVVEM1MLNUWCQCEAQB42Q?storyid=/templatedata/ag/story/data/1256590252339.xml#continue

    Four to six times normal rainfall swamps crops
    http://www.marketskeptics.com/2009/10/rains-swamp-crops-and-wash-away-any.html

    Plant rusts such as Ug99, which has the designation of TTKS, is a race of black stem rust (Puccinia graminis tritici) wheat rust badly affecting Africa and Asia is spreading fast… Late blight, in cultivated potatoes and tomatoes is still a big problem though some success has been made at developing a disease resistant potato utilizing wild varieties. There are various articles on these to be found with a google search.
    http://www.google.com/m/search?ct=fsh&q=UG99+TTKS

    OMG it’s already starting!!! I thought we’d have a few more years for the farmers to change their crops for ones which are more ‘cold hardy’.

    Time to stock up on non-perishable foods I think.

  44. RW,
    “If they and others say that, then they and others are fools. There is no evidence whatsoever to support this [no warming in 11 years] claim.”

    Ok, I know this has been done to death, but what the heck. I offer a sample of no warming since 2003.

    http://climatesci.org/2009/05/18/comments-on-a-new-paper-global-ocean-heat-content-1955%e2%80%932008-in-light-of-recently-revealed-instrumentation-problems-by-levitus-et-al-2009/

    The link is to Roger Pielke’s site where he shows there has been no increase in OHC as measured by Argo since 2003. He show’s that where Hansen predicted 6.9 * 10^22 joules of increased OHC to 2009, there has in fact been none.

    Kinda makes you think, rw, don’t it?

  45. So, if we’re entering a cold period and scientists know it’s likely to happen but don’t want to admit it, they’ll go ahead with all their expensive schemes and taxes, and will then be able to “prove” it’s all gone according to plan and they’ve staved off a disastrous “warming”.

    Or am I being too cynical?

  46. M White (08:27:37) :
    “It’s not all bad. The industrial revolution began during the LIA.”

    Out of pure necessity. Under dire circumstances humans are more inventive.

  47. Hotrod, that would be a very important article for WUWT. Something like
    ‘What Cold can do to Infrastructure’.
    ??

  48. No-Name (12:30:41) :

    Not cynical, you are being too optimistic. Cooling eats up agricultural production like a bug in a silo, out of all proportion.

  49. “Enjoy the warmth while it lasts”. Some are still saying that there is an El Nino this year, see SOI, draw terribly red charts, etc. …but they have forgotten that for US the inventors and parents of that El Nino, named after the El Nino Christ child, the birth of Christ in december, means the El Nino warm current going southward along the coasts of south america, which is actually NOT happening now, so there is no el Nino at all, what is indeed really happening is the contrary: The emergence of the cold humboldt´s current, running northwards along the west coast of SA.
    See the anomalies:
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html
    You see those few positive anomalies but now above, or north, of the equator line, and cold waters both sides of the South Pacific seas (usually associated with warm weather). Our “fridge” radiator is cold.

  50. Fascinating. I was wondering just exactly how oxygen isotopes are used as a temperature diagnostic, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. It gives what appears to be a fairly good primer on the subject.

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

    Of course Anthony has covered many studies that use both hydrogen and oxygen isotopes as diagnostics for historical temperature but this is the first time I ever bothered to look up the science behind such measurements.

    Is the Wikipedia entry accurate? Anyone have any more info?

  51. The trend in temperatures since 1998 is statistically identical to the trend since 1978. When one is foolish enough to look only at the noise, one can convince oneself of anything. This “11 years of global cooling” is the warmest 11 years in the instrumental record. You may well be desperate (for whatever reason) for global warming not to be happening, but the facts don’t bend to your will.

  52. X% CO2=Y degrees temperature (raised to the power of finagle)

    The above equation concisely states the “first principles” AGW argument.

    Since X occurred, and Y did not, why not hold the AGW crowd’s feet to that fire?

    Nail the finagle factor to the floor and make them explain why their equation has failed!

  53. Yup. Warmer is Better. Glad to see Larry Solomon finally picked up on that. Most of the Human Race already got the memo, though — that’s why most of us live where it’s warm.

  54. Sandy (13:00:40) :

    Hotrod, that would be a very important article for WUWT. Something like ‘What Cold can do to Infrastructure’.

    I agree.

  55. Ron de Haan (14:23:58) :

    The snow that the Chinese have displaced is like the irritantion of a virus to Climate. It will keep after it until it suceeds in collapsing that void, with force. It would be far better to move the Capital than move the snow.

  56. I second (third) the request for an article as to what cold can do to infrastructure, Hotrod.

    Also, this quote of yours below is SUCH an important point.

    The term “flash freeze” comes to mind.

    “More importantly unlike rising sea levels this is a sudden onset issue, as a cold outbreak can come with little warning and effect 100,000’s of square miles of land area in a matter of hours.”
    Larry

    Yes.

    Fear the cold, not the warm.

    Our world “leaders”, soon to convene in Copenhagen…are not only barking up the wrong f****** tree, they are completely LOST in another part of the forest altogether.

    Heh heh…..forgot that funny part about Al Gore getting lost in the forest one time. Remember that?

    Its a very telling trait about this entirely dumb ram and the sheeple that follow him.

    Truly the blind leading the blind.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  57. Dave Dodd – what an awesome straw man! Never seen one quite so outrageous as that. You completely misunderstand and vastly oversimplify the situation, and thus – obviously – come to a wildly erroneous conclusion. Sadly, your approach is endemic here.

    Does it really need saying again that no-one, anywhere, ever expected temperatures to rise monotonically year after year?

  58. Monica Crowley on McLaughlin has predicted Cap & Trade to be officially dead. I hope she is right. The economy this weekend is as nervous as a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The climate looks cold, as if to match the mood. Monckton’s warning still rings clear in my ears. They will try to sell an end run into a World Government repackaged as a World Economic Agreement.
    Enjoy your last days of Global Warmth. Tell your grandchildren how good things once were when the Earth was warm, as our ancestors have told us.

  59. RW (13:59:25) :

    The trend in temperatures since 1998 is statistically identical to the trend since 1978. When one is foolish enough to look only at the noise, one can convince oneself of anything. This “11 years of global cooling” is the warmest 11 years in the instrumental record. You may well be desperate (for whatever reason) for global warming not to be happening, but the facts don’t bend to your will.
    ___________________________________
    1998, 1978, it is all just noise. The ice-core record shows temperature has been more-or-less stable for 11,000 years, with lots of spikes representing many decades much warmer than the last one.

    Global warming has certainly been happening since 1978, at the rate of 0.13 C per decade according to the satellite record. (The NOAA surface record suggests a slightly higher rate, but it should be ignored as it is still authored by a “scientist” who says those who contradict him “should be tried for high crimes against humanity.” Is it true that a climate scientist is someone who can do arithmetic, but lacks the objectivity to be an environmental activist?)

    You assert that the rate of warming since 1998 is the same as since 1978. If so, big deal, just noise. Even if it weren’t, the 30-year 0.39 C increase is a fraction of the warming predicted by theoretical CO2 forcing.

    Speaking of desperate, how do you explain the lag of CO2 behind temperature in the ice-core record? And try to be quantitative.

  60. Warmite eats wombat and small dead animals; one claw at a time; burrows for more.
    …-

    “Australians care less about climate change

    A new international survey has found Australians no longer care about climate change as much as they do about domestic issues and the financial crisis.

    The survey looks at attitudes towards climate change in 12 different countries and found concern in Australia dropped in the past year by 14 per cent, the largest drop among the developed nations surveyed.

    The Climate Group, which advises governments and businesses on low-carbon policies, was one of the groups that commissioned the survey.

    The group’s CEO, Steve Howard, says Australians do still care about climate change.

    “Around the world, 4 out of 5 people want to see a good global deal in Copenhagen,” he said.

    “Are people a little bit less concerned than this than 12 months ago or 2 years ago? Yes they are, but we’ve just had a global financial crisis and I think we’ve seen a reordering of people’s priorities.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/02/2730362.htm?section=justin

  61. RW (13:59:25) :
    This “11 years of global cooling” is the warmest 11 years in the instrumental record. You may well be desperate (for whatever reason) for global warming not to be happening, but the facts don’t bend to your will.

    Perhaps “warmest” in the instrumental record, but not the historical record.

    And warm by how many tenths of a degree?

    The UAH temperature anomaly rose from 0.007C in August to 0.161C in September.

    This is not ‘warm’ it is most likely noise or unaccounted for UHI.

  62. To get ready for the next ice age, we would need big nuclear reactors underground, and plan to live in tunnels. And we could have a name, to distinguish ourselves from the people that remain on the surface. We could call ourselves Morlocks. And the people on the surface could be Elois.

  63. RW (10:45:09) :

    Trolls can’t read the evidence–no sun light under the bridge. Maybe trolls can’t even read—that must be it.

  64. Jimbo (11:04:49) :

    if we had already sacrificed our standard

    Crops, young virgins, economies—people always want to sacrifice prime things. Whats up with that?

  65. Put the data in a bingo jumbler…turn the handle…take the data out…scratch the results on the bottom side of the bridge…troll hieroglyphics showing no cooling trend since 1998.

  66. rbateman (14:39:30) :

    Ron de Haan (14:23:58) :

    “The snow that the Chinese have displaced is like the irritation of a virus to Climate. It will keep after it until it succeeds in collapsing that void, with force. It would be far better to move the Capital than move the snow”.

    You’re quite right,
    I thought the experiment was interesting since Moscow want want to use the same technology to keep snow out of the inner city.
    Engineering the local weather growing fashionable these day’s
    One advantage compared to the AGW mitigation, this time they do it to protect crops from hail, watering dry area’s or saving money on snow clearing, hence they keep an eye on the economic aspects. AGW mitigation is one big black hole and a lot of risks.

  67. @Will. Thanks for taking on RW on the issue of “instrumental record” v historical record. This is not a good venue for anyone to be talking about what is in the “instrumental” record, since the only valid survey ever done on the accuracy of the USHCN portion of that record was done here. “Instrumental record”?? Show me the carfax.

  68. It seems that Svensmark was right. It is the cosmic radiation.
    SN 185, magnitude – 8 6000 light years away ended the Roman warm period.
    SN 1006 magnitude -7.5 , 7500 light years away ended the Medieval warm period. (Southern hemisphere had the greatest influence)
    SN 1054 magnitude -6 6500 light years away (the Crab Nebula) helped too
    SN 1572 magnitude -4 8000 light years away (Tycho’s Nova) started the little ice age
    SN 1604 magnitude -3 14000 light years away (Kepler’s Star) kept the little ice age going. Now its influence is fading. And this is the warming trend we are now experiencing.
    There hasn’t been a supernova for a while, so the climate ought to be quite stable the next century. The scare mongers have gone from Global cooling (1970) to Global warming to Climare change. Maybe the best new mantra should be Climate No Change.

  69. “Purakanui (00:14:59) :

    NZ also had a cold October.”

    Now that is interesting. NH cold, SH cold…I can’t burn wood here, so many have to spend more time warming up the wife (Global cooling *does* have positive spin-offs after all).

  70. RW and others love to jump on the natural variability bandwagon when temps are not following their faith. However, they seem to forget that the IPCC stated unequivocally that the reason CO2 is deemed the cause of GW is because there are no natural forcings that could cause the warming. If they can’t cause it then they can’t overpower the signal either.

    A few, like Vicky Pope, realize this problem. RW should take the hint.

  71. Norm/Calgary (00:57:02) :

    “In fact, if you plot the world temperatures from 2000 to 2009 you will see a slight increase in temperatures.”

    And, if you do it from 2001 you get a decrease. All this means is that the time period is too small. 30 years is likely too small as well. In fact, any useful conclusions probably require 100s (if not 1000s) of years which we don’t have on a global basis.

    So many claims based on very little data.

  72. Richard M (06:09:33):

    “…the IPCC stated unequivocally that the reason CO2 is deemed the cause of GW is because there are no natural forcings that could cause the warming.”

    This is a fine example of an argumentum ad ignorantiam: the fallacy of assuming something is true simply because it hasn’t been proven false. They argue that CO2 causes global warming because nobody has demonstrated conclusively that it does not. They are trying to put scientific skeptics in the position of having to prove a negative.

    The fact that there are numerous other completely natural forcings that swamp any small effect from CO2 is not given any credence by the UN/IPCC and the rest of the alarmist crowd. They have made up their minds that CO2 is the cause of global warming; that human activity is the main cause of the rise in CO2 [false; only about 3% of CO2 is caused by human activity], and that they alone have the means to save humanity. All it will take is the transfer of $trillions from taxpayers in the U.S. and the West to grossly polluted countries like China, and to the scurrilous, truly evil reprobates in the UN.

    The fact that they are deliberately lying is finally becoming apparent to the general public. Climate alarmists lie for money and control, or because they are afflicted with cognitive dissonance. Science has nothing to do with their conniving game playing.

  73. 90% of the world’s population has built up during the past few hundred years (e.g. since the low point of the LIA). Yeah, that’s not a bubble.

  74. The nits are worrying, with no cause, IMHO, about a minor bit of warming which would be of little consequence did it happen. A good look should be taken at the year 1816, otherwise known as the “Year without a summer” or “The Poverty Year”. This disaster came upon the US, Canada and Europe in the blink of an eye. Great famine was on the land, and there were far fewer to feed and fuel then. There may be some argument as to what exactly caused it, but it did really happen, whatever the cause.

    With at least 6 times the number of people know who need to be fed and fueled, the famine of that time would be mass starvation and mass death through hypothermia the next time around. And it will happen again . . . and again . . . and again.

    Wasting our money and resources in attempting to deal with a little bit of warming, even if that would be to happen, which I very much doubt, will make quite sure that there is no money or resources to deal with very real problems when they do happen, as they surely will.

  75. Just a great article.
    This was the climate history that I was taught in college. I guess all those poli sci majors missed oceanography 101.

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