Climate Craziness of the Week: Impact of Spanish missionaries triggered the ‘Little Ice Age’

From the department of “correlation is not causation” department comes this weapons-grade-stupid study. Next they’ll be telling us the Catholic church started the Medieval Warm Period with the crusades. Get a load of this statement:

The indirect effects of this demographic impact rippled through the surrounding forests and, perhaps, into our atmosphere.

“One argument suggests that indigenous population collapse in the Americas resulted in a reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of forest regrowth in the early colonial period. Until now the evidence has been fairly ambiguous. Our results indicate that high-resolution chronologies of human populations, forests and fires are needed to evaluate these claims.”

All this from a few thousands of native people. OMFG. The stupid, it burns like magnesium!

Taos-spanish-mission

Spanish missions triggered Native American population collapse, indirect impact on climate

New evidence shows severe and rapid collapse of Pueblo populations occurred in the 17th century and triggered a cascade of ecological effects that ultimately had consequences for global climates

SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY

New interdisciplinary research in the Southwest United States has resolved long-standing debates on the timing and magnitude of American Indian population collapse in the region.

The severe and rapid collapse of Native American populations in what is now the modern state of New Mexico didn’t happen upon first contact with Spanish  in the 1500s, as some scholars thought. Nor was it as gradual as others had contended.

Rather than being triggered by first contact in the 1500s, rapid population loss likely began after Catholic Franciscan missions were built in the midst of native pueblos, resulting in sustained daily interaction with Europeans.

The indirect effects of this demographic impact rippled through the surrounding forests and, perhaps, into our atmosphere.

Those are the conclusions of a new study by a team of scientists looking for the first time at high resolution reconstructions of human population size, tree growth and fire history from the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico.

“Scholars increasingly recognize the magnitude of human impacts on planet Earth, some are even ready to define a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene,” said anthropologist and fire expert Christopher Roos, an associate professor at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and a co-author on the research.

“But it is an open question as to when that epoch began,” said Roos. “One argument suggests that indigenous population collapse in the Americas resulted in a reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of forest regrowth in the early colonial period. Until now the evidence has been fairly ambiguous. Our results indicate that high-resolution chronologies of human populations, forests and fires are needed to evaluate these claims.”

A contentious issue in American Indian history, scientists and historians for decades have debated how many Native Americans died and when it occurred. With awareness of global warming and interdisciplinary interest in the possible antiquity of the Anthropocene, resolution of that debate may now be relevant for contemporary human-caused environmental problems, Roos said.

Findings of the new study were published Jan. 25, 2016 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Native American Depopulation, Reforestation, and Fire Regimes in the Southwest U.S., 1492-1900 C.E.”

The researchers offer the first absolute population estimate of the archaeology of the Jemez Province — an area west Santa Fe and Los Alamos National Lab in northern New Mexico. Using airborne remote sensing LiDAR technology to establish the size and shape of rubble mounds from collapsed architecture of ancestral villages, the researchers were able to quantify population sizes in the 16th century that were independent of historical documents.

To identify the timing of of the population collapse and its impact on forest fires, the scientists also collected tree-ring data sets from locations adjacent to the Ancestral Jemez villages and throughout the forested mountain range. This sampling framework allowed them to refine the timing of depopulation and the timing of fire regime changes across the Jemez Province.

Their findings indicate that large-scale depopulation only occurred after missions were established in their midst by Franciscan priests in the 1620s. Daily sustained interaction resulted in epidemic diseases, violence and famine, the researchers said. From a population of roughly 6,500 in the 1620s fewer than 900 remained in the 1690s – a loss of more than 85 percent of the population in a few generations.

“The loss of life is staggering,” said anthropologist Matthew Liebmann, an associate professor at Harvard University and lead author on the PNAS article.

“Imagine that in a room with 10 people, only one person was left at the end of the day,” Liebmann said. “This had devastating effects on the social and economic lives of the survivors. Our research suggests that the effects were felt in the ecology of the forests too.”

Other scientists on the team include Josh Farella and Thomas Swetnam, University of Arizona; and Adam Stack and Sarah Martini, Harvard University.

The researchers studied a 100,000-acre area that includes the ancestral pueblo villages of the Jemez (HEY-mehz) people. Located in the Jemez Mountains of north central New Mexico, it’s a region in the Santa Fe National Forest of deep canyons, towering flat-topped mesas, as well as rivers, streams and creeks.

Today about 2,000 Jemez tribal members live at the Pueblo of Jemez.

The authors note in their article that, “Archaeological evidence from the Jemez Province supports the notion that the European colonization of the Americas unleashed forces that ultimately destroyed a staggering number of human lives,” however, they note, it fails to support the notion that sweeping pandemics uniformly depopulated North America.”

“To better understand the role of the indigenous population collapse on ecological and climate changes, we need this kind of high-resolution paired archaeological and paleoecological data,” said Roos. “Until then, a human-caused start to Little Ice Age cooling will remain uncertain. Our results suggest this scenario is plausible, but the nature of European and American Indian relationships, population collapse, and ecological consequences are probably much more complicated and variable than many people had previously understood them to be.”

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183 thoughts on “Climate Craziness of the Week: Impact of Spanish missionaries triggered the ‘Little Ice Age’

  1. Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t the Little Ice Age start in the 1300’s? or a bit earlier? It seems remarkable that the plagues in the New World could cause something in their past.

    • You are correct Tom. The lack of knowledge of climate history by today’s alleged scientists is astounding.

      • “lack of knowledge by today’s alleged scientists is astounding”

        No it’s not! It’s to be expected. Those that believe don’t check facts they go with the flow.

      • Lack of historical knowledge is a prerequisite of modern “climate science”.
        Bunch of buffoons.
        Am I the only one that is getting so incredibly fed up with these idjits, and their incredible unending jackassery, that it induces physical illness?

      • Yes. This is fact. It is not going faster than warp 10 and slingshotting around the sun or wormholes or anything like that. Increasing CO2 causes time travel. Now we know that increasing CO2 has caused the dust bowls and 100 degree streaks of weeks in duration in many parts of the country in the 30s and 40s no longer happened. The cooling that happened in the 1945-1975 period is gone replaced by a smooth climb. It was in our imagination that we thought it was getting colder. Thanks to the new reconstructions we can see that none of these things ever happened. It’s just a matter of time before these things are removed from the history books and the memories of the people who lived. It will be erased and replaced with climate science.

    • First off, the collapse of the Mayan civilization was pre-European. That would cover a lot of Central America.

      Next, the medieval climate opt started to go down in the late 1300’s, but by 1500 temperatures were just normal again. True “ice age” was more like 1600 to 1750. I think the true test is in a CO2 signature, which may not have the precision necessary.

      I have always wondered if the ice age was just a coincident with native american population crunch or if the regrowth of central america had something to do with it. It’s sort of an interesting hypothesis.

      My two cents.

      • trafamadore January 26, 2016 at 2:37 pm

        re- read , they are talking about N.M. Look at a map!
        michael

      • dbstealey January 26, 2016 at 4:05 pm
        You believe every talking point, no matter how preposterous??

        IF YOU DON’T KNOW, look up sun set crater Flagstaff AZ for the time period.
        Volcano go boom
        I think you will swear a blue streak.
        mike

      • Mayans were a long way away from New Mexico.

        While the Mayans lost their civilization, there are not records for mass loss of life, other than the ruling society. Mayans apparently walked away from their cities.

        The same goes for the Anasazi who left their cliff side dwellings and apparently moved south.

      • I would like to point out that the population of the indians was 9,000 and todays population of the US is 400,000,000 and the world closer to 7,000,000,000 or 1 MILLION TIMES GREATER. If the effect of 9000 could be so great then the world would have turned to -200C or +200C by the effect of 1,000,000 times as many people. I am not sure where the mental failure here is but there is clearly a disconnect between effect and causation.

        For instance, one similar problem I’ve had is trying to explain how the pause of the last 20 years has killed climate science. It did 3 things which clearly destroyed the theory of climate science as they described it 30 years ago and describe today. That theory says that CO2 dominates natural variability because CO2 creates enough heat to override any natural ups and downs. I was told this even 5 years ago by climate modeleres who even then were still in collective denial about the pause. This existing theory of climate science consists of a bunch of postulated reactions to CO2 and ways the environment acted. These have all been proven wrong on every level. However, it is hard to explain that to scientifically illiterate liberals.

        The simplest way to show how it has failed in my opinion is the simplest mathematics. 1) Its impossible to get to 2C change by 2100. Since we’ve had 0.8C (by the adjusted super modified temperature record of GISS) since 1945 when significant CO2 was produced we need 1.2C in the next 80 years. However, that would require a massive increase in the rate of global warming and sustained for 80 years when we’ve seen evidence of 2 pauses in the past 80 years. There is NO scientific basis to believe either of these things would happen. To believe that is to believe in miracles not science.

        2) The heat from the pause went into the ocean they now claim. That was not ever part of their theory. They never had in any model in any paper or discussion ever any idea that [the heat from] 20 years of CO2 could magically disappear into the depths of the ocean 1000 ft below the surface from 1000 feet above the surface where the [heat from] CO2 is generated. They never had any idea of this and they still can’t explain how it happened, why it happened, when it will stop happening and how fast it will stop. So, by saying the heat went into the ocean they have destroyed their theory. They had to because no explanation for the pause could explain where the heat went. Now they are in a conundrum. They’ve fabricated a temperature record which shows a smooth climb and no pause by fabricating ocean data using their successful bogus homogenization adjustment algorithm extended to the ocean. Using this they’ve been able to show more heat but then they’ve already admitted the heat went into the ocean. It can’t go both places so they’ve got to back off one of the claims. In any case they have clearly gone outside the theory they postulated 30 years ago and this new theory has no legs. They have no explanation for how these things happen or what is going on. So, therefore all their models are dead. None of them predict heat going into the ocean or the rate of temperature gain we’ve had. It’s a disaster but listening to Hansen and Mann its business as usual. Give us our billions in modeling money to keep playing games with numbers and history. It’s time to stop this stupidity.

        [Population of Indians was 9,000? Altitude of CO2 heat generation = 1000 ft? Or 1000 meters? .mod]

    • My guess is that whatever we call the Little Ice Age started at different times and places, and I’m sure there were places that didn’t cool all that much if at all. I don’t think you can put one date on it, just like you can’t put one temperature to represent the entire planet.

  2. Anyone wanting a saner view of things should read “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus” by Charles C. Mann or even Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel” (written before his crap on Greenland).

    From the blurb for 1491:

    “Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.”

    Mann does suggest that the flocks of passenger pigeons that flooded the skies by the millions were probably due to the fact that the natives who had terraformed the forests weren’t around to cut down all the trees, so there may be something to the forest regrowth idea.

    But thinking that 90% of the population died out because it got colder is a stretch of Mannly proportions.

    • “1491,” Charles Mann’s book, suggests that about 90% of indigenous peoples in the Americas died out after the Spanish conquered the Aztecs and the Incas, and later after the English came to North America, taking more than a century do to so in each case.

      On the high central plateau of Mexico, where Mexico City is located now, Mann reports, based upon Spanish censuses of the time, that 97% of indigenous peoples died in the century after conquest, from 8 separate disease epidemics. The population dropped from 25.2 million to 700,000 people — see page 130 of the hardback edition.

      To the extent that indigenous populations burned down forests, it is reasonable to think that there would have been forest regrowth after population collapses.

      But CO2 levels barely fell during this period, by a maximum of 10 ppm, probably less. See:

      If you can almost immediately cause a Little Ice Age with this tiny reduction in CO2, then we should have warmed far, far more than we currently have, with CO2 having gone from 280 to 400 ppm in 200 years or so.

      So I do buy the drastic drop in population, but I don’t but the notion that it caused the Little Ice Age.

    • ……..and immaculately clean streets,
      I remember a passage in a book on the Lost Dutchman mine. A local Indian agent said his greatest challenge was trying, without success, to get the people to quit pooping in their doorways.

      • If that is the entrance the Indian Agent paid attention to, I suspect that it was a political statement.

        The passenger pigeon was a seed eater. Deforestation or reforestation would have small impact.

    • No one says ‘ 90% of the population died out BECAUSE it got colder ‘. They died out because of diseases from Europe they had no protection against. Especially in the agriculture US South these diseases travelled faster than the Spanish as these were carried by rats. And THAT might have contributed to the peak of Little Ice Age that happened in the 17th century. A similar factor is Black Death in Europe in 1300s, which menat another population drop and reforestation of some parts. Its actually an old theory, check Ruddiman.
      Its true that according to current studies CO2 levels didnt drop much actually, so I guess both these factors contributed just a bit to the drop in solar activity (Maunder minimum). But they had also animal husbandry which produces another greenhouse gas – methane.

  3. Let’s see … The Medieval warm period is generally described as being between 950 and 1250 AD, and the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1870 (the “Year Without a Summer” was 1816). So where do these geniuses place the 17th century?

    • “Year Without a Summer” was caused by 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora. It has nothing to do with Little Ice Age.

      • Good for you to reveal the cause of the “Year without a summer.” While the “Little Ice Age” may have helped the volcano tip the scales Timboro was a dramatic event.
        The strength of our contradiction to “alarmaists” is honesty. Let facts fall where the may and strenghten the scientific principle.

    • Agree with you eyesonu. The “social sciences seem to be wash with federal funding. Too bad this money couldn’t be used for real research.

  4. At first this looks kinda regional (to the extent it can be taken seriously), but my Catholic brethren were probably exhaling across the globe, spreading disease and violence and burning incense. And the geo record there indicates periods of drought, rain, snow, ice, more drought, and some fog; thus AGW confirmed!

  5. I am impressed that the natives were quite adapt in destroying the environment than the modern man.

    Apparently it took only 5,600 souls needed to cleanse the atmosphere which required a total of 7 Billion of us to screw it up again.

    There is correlation and there is extrapolation, so called climate scientists are wonderful in making both work.

  6. That ridiculous claim of controlled burns is simply silly. Its yet another crackpot theory that a little common sense debunks with ease. Native Americans would have avoided brush and grass fires at all costs, for the simple reason they could not outrun the fire. The horse did not get to the Americas until sometime after 1492, and without it they would have been completely at the mercy of a fire that was out of control. There is no way that a stone age peoples tried controlled burns with no way to outrun them when they became uncontrolled.

    • And yet we have controlled burns here in Canada without having to hop on our horses AT ALL.

      Seriously, do some research instead of relying on “common sense”…

    • I have never been able to figure out the US fascination with the ‘advanced’ culture of the Native American. Guys, it was a stone age culture with all that implies. No metal, no metal axes, no wheels, no efficient transportation, average lifespan 30 years or less, I suppose maybe 40 years where the environment was at its most favorable. Today a farmer may do a controlled burn on his land, but he does it with his pickup right next to him in case it gets out of control. They did not do any such thing when walking was the only way to get from point a to point b..

    • CaligulaJones, just how many “Controlled Burns” have you participated in? In every controlled burns I’ve been involved with the local fire department was on site to keep said burn under control. I assume Canadians would take the same precautions to prevent loss of life and property.

    • Ah, Cmon….the native population was at least as smart as modern politicians……they knew which way the wind was blowing !

    • no way to outrun them
      ================
      nope. if you are at the ignition point of the fire there is nothing to outrun. The fire travels downwind away from you. You simply walk behind in the burned out region, collecting your cooked diner along the way.

      Any people that had the skill to domesticate fire certainly learned how to keep out of the way. The domestication of fire was the huge leap forward in human development, that continues to this day. Huge tracts of land are still burned worldwide every year prior to planting crops.

    • @ Andrew – So you think the “Native Americans” didn’t have common sense enough to stay on the right side of the wind when starting forest fires? Also, controlled burns in eastern forests, which are way greener than those out west, would have been at a much slower pace, even in the Fall, and would tend not to turn into the infernos of the West. Missing is the highly flammable resins and gases that built up in pine trees during drought periods.

      I would suppose there were some who earned Darwin awards for standing in the wrong place, however.

    • Well next to BLM land it had better be a VERY controlled burn or lack of oversight will get you a minimum of 5 years for a terrorist act.

    • Andrew,
      You’re entirely wrong. A controlled burn is a fairly simple process to get right. Australian Aborigines did this and continue to do it. Heck, I do it on my property.

    • There is quite a well argued case that the Australian Aborigines did just this for many thousands of years. The key author to read os Bill Gammage.

    • People who live in the woods are very observant and they hand down information from year to year. You do not do controlled burns on days which are extremely hot. You do them when the brush will burn but not spread to the tops of trees. It’s not hard to figure this out.

      Controlled burning by Indians was why the forests of the southeast US was once mostly “Longleaf Pine”; it’s amazingly resistant to burning due to thick bark and long needles. They were excellent wood for a lot of purposes and they were logged off ending around the 1920s. Since then new forests have grown up but because the land is not so regularly burned (the Indians did it about once every 3 years), the longleaf pine is now fairly rare. Here’s a reference: https://www.firescience.gov/projects/briefs/01B-3-1-01_FSBrief30.pdf

      If you take a silviculture class at your local university you’ll learn that other parts of the US are the same. They were once dominated by trees that were resistant to the regular brush burning by the Indians. You can use google to find out more.

    • Actually, no. Regular, controlled burns reduce the likelihood of wildfires because they keep the “trash” on the ground down, fertilize the land by recycling minerals, and thin things out for easier growth. The Australian Aborigines did the same thing, for the same reasons. In fact, the Australian government just discovered that regular, controlled burns were essential.

    • Just to join the chorus: ‘slash and burn’ agriculture is common among many tribal peoples in the world, on all continents, including the Americas. /Mr Lynn

    • Debunked? Something you do from your couch? And you consider that ‘common sense’? Heh!

      Horses can run fast, for short periods of time. Native Americans could run quite fast, and run for hours.

      The stone age people you are referring to developed a number of sophisticated technology and biological advances.
      Next time you eat a tomato, or a potato; consider that both are products of the nightshade family. Where Europeans only considered nightshade poisonous or a drug for expanded pupils in the eyes (belladonna); Native Americans used the plant as a source for nutritious food.

      Where Europeans suffered from scurvy and rickets (vitamin C & D deficiency) virtually every winter, Native Americans rarely suffered from either. Native Americans dried fruits and berries, preserving their vitamins, for use during the winter; plus they didn’t boil all of their food to perdition thus destroying most perishable vitamins.
      Native Americans went about is some state of undress, all year. Ask your Doctor! For a normal person, all they require is ten to twenty minutes exposure to the sun, per week.

      Native Americans grew significant crops without massive overturning of the soil. No plow, nor did they need one. Instead they were masters of planting crops that were symbiotic beneficial.

      e.g. corn was frequently planted with beans and squash:
      Corn is a heavy feeder, but grows tall.
      Bean is a nitrogen fixer, placing nutrients for the corn, and climbing the corn stalk.
      Squash grow large leaves letting both the corn and beans to have cooler roots which they benefit from.

      Native Americans created and maintained meadows in the forest, moved or planted berry patches, planted fruiting trees and herbs that benefited from the meadow.
      The plains dwellers recognized the land changes lightening strikes caused and took advantage of fire to further adjust the plains to their benefit.
      All of the Native Americans transplanted fish and animals to new territories and took advantage of anadromous fish runs.

      Controlled burns are easy. Stupid burns are easier.

      The Natives used the annual burns to harvest food for the winter. Equine critters brought back to the Americas enabled Natives to harvest buffalo, easily.

      Before the horse, it would be quite stupid to sneak into a buffalo herd and stuff a sharp thing into a buffalo. Ask any number of visitors to Yellowstone each year how ‘tame’ buffalo are. Make it a herd of a few thousand does not make it easier.

      Plus the Natives had developed a laminated recurve bow that modern fiberglass and graphite bows copy.

      The Native populations extant to when Europeans arrived are not the paleo natives. When you refer to living 30 years, you are referring to paleo Indians not pre Columbian.

      A farmer who parks his pickup anywhere near a burn is a farmer about to lose his vehicle. Burning brush, grass burns very hot quite fast. Once burned, the resulting blackened ash quickly snuffs out.

      Burning mesquite, sagebrush and junipers are extremely hot fires that quickly travel upwind and uphill. A burning mesquite or juniper burns for quite some time and can have coals last even longer. Sagebrush and creosote burn like the chemical ends of matches and ignite all kinds of things nearby.

      Riding a train to DC one day, I noticed a guy walking along the tracks with what looked like a very long spout oil can, only the tip of the spout was burning.
      As he walked along the tracks, this guy squirted burning fluid on grass and brush growing near the tracks.

      Over the next week could observe the man’s progress along the entire length of train tracks in Virginia. All of the days he burned cover were mild to almost windless days. Every section of track he burned, he burned from the upwind side, different directions in the morning and afternoon.

      I asked the conductor and he said the rail company did a burn every ten years or so to keep the train corridor clear.

      No truck or car parked nearby. The guy walked seventy miles of track that week, covering both sides, and left nothing burning after he passed.

      Controlled burns are easy. Stupid burns are just easier.

    • There are many instances of “controlled burns” getting out of control. Imagine what 25-30 mile winds can do. Southern California as well as Montana have had major forest fires that resulted from controlled burns getting out of hand.

      But, the societies in New Mexico in the 16th Century were in all likelihood unaware of the concept.

  7. This tosh has “LPU” in size 144 characters across the top of the front page. “Least Publishable Unit” – the smallest quantum of intellectual output worth publication in even the most obscure journal Its main value lies in its role as a booster for the attendant press release. For the author(s) it is just CV padding like tissues stuffed into a bra or down the front of ones pants.

  8. From the study: “Our results suggest this scenario is plausible, …”.

    Nope, it is not plausible at all, but thanks for the humour … this paper was some sort of attempt at comedy, was it not? The peers who did the peer review must have been circus clowns, surely.

  9. “The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.”
    — Friedrich Nietzsche

  10. You tell me there’s an angel in your tree
    Did he say he’d come to call on me
    For things are getting desperate in our home
    Living in the parish of the restless folks I know
    Everybody now bring your family down to the riverside
    Look to the east to see where the fat stock hide
    Behind four walls of stone the rich man sleeps
    It’s time we put the flame torch to their keep

    chorus:
    Burn down the mission
    If we’re gonna stay alive
    Watch the black smoke fly to heaven
    See the red flame light the sky
    Burn down the mission
    Burn it down to stay alive
    It’s our only chance of living
    Take all you need to live inside

    Deep in the woods the squirrels are out today
    My wife cried when they came to take me away
    But what more could I do just to keep her warm
    Than burn, burn, burn, burn down the mission walls
    Now everybody now bring your family down to the riverside
    Look to the east to see where the fat stock hide
    Behind four walls of stone the rich man sleeps
    It’s time we put the flame torch to their keep

    -Bernie Taupin, 1970

    • Gary, that made me think of Donald Trump’s unofficial campaign tune:

      I turn on the tube and what do I see
      A whole lotta people cryin’ “Don’t blame me”
      They point their crooked little fingers ar everybody else
      Spend all their time feelin’ sorry for themselves
      Victim of this, victim of that
      Your momma’s too thin; your daddy’s too fat

      Get over it
      Get over it…

  11. But for 100,000 years prior to 1870 CO2 never varied from 280 PPMV. The Ice Cores prove it (never mind nothing else supports it). So, no change in CO2, no MWP, no LIA.

  12. Everyone is welcome under the climate change craziness big top. Once the way is clear for volume-based bad science for pub mill rewards, there is not limitation to the onlookers. So bring on the history majors, geographers, and sociologists. Don’t forget the others.

  13. So the US alone has an area of about 2.4 billion acres. It’s amazing that the Pueblos were able to strip enough of that bare to cause the little ice age. Next comes how white people’s Crusades caused the MWP.

  14. It is true that the Spanish missionaries didn’t do any favors for the Native American Indians.

    But the climate connection is absolute nonsense.

  15. dbakerber January 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm, do some readin’, your assumin’ is making an ass of you:

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsbdev3_000385.pdf

    “One of the first things the English discovered about American Indians in Virginia was that they burned their wildlands.”

    http://www2.nau.edu/~alcoze/for398/class/pristinemyth.html

    “By 1492 Indian activity throughout the Americas had modified forest extent and composition, created and expanded grasslands, and rearranged microrelief via countless artificial earthworks. Agricultural fields were common, as were houses and towns and roads and trails. All of these had local impacts on soil, microclimate, hydrology, and wildlife. This is a large topic, for which this essay offers but an introduction to the issues, misconceptions, and residual problems. The evidence, pieced together from vague ethnohistorical accounts, field surveys, and archaeology, supports the hypothesis that the Indian landscape of 1492 had largely vanished by the mid-eighteenth century, not through a European superimposition, but because of the demise of the native population. The landscape of 1750 was more “pristine” (less humanized) than that of 1492.”

    Like I said, read the book. If you disagree, show me where you pick up this “common sense”. I think its past the “best before” date.

    • Its a crackpot theory, and only comes from one nut case archeologist. The basic demographics and geography make the theory of controlled burning as a forest management method complete impossible for a people without rapid transportation. There were regular fires. Every spring summer and fall, from lightning and other accidents. Not from people.

      The population numbers in that reference are ridiculous. This was a stone age culture, that lacked even metal plows. They could not cut down trees to clear the land, and did not need to as the population was insufficient to require it.

      • Certain cultures did use slash-and-burn agriculture but that was mainly in the Eastern Woodlands. Their agriculture wasn’t anywhere as land-intensive as the European methods, though.

        Most natives were timber-using cultures. You can easily cut down trees with applied fire and flint axes.

      • Um, no. Controlled burning was practiced by many hunter/gatherer people’s, including the Australian Aborigines.

      • “Most natives were timber-using cultures. You can easily cut down trees with applied fire and flint axes.”

        Uh, no!

        The native Americans did use fire, (mostly), and stone axes to bring down large trees for making dugouts, that was basically it. And that effort was a clan effort. Large tree removal would also serve several purposes; close to water, meadow enlargement, crop area, living area.

        A tree is chosen, the tree is fully girdled (ring barked); a fire is built around the tree to the girdled area and kept going. Natives would circle the tree while using long branches with water holding (furs) items on the end, they would continually snuff and damp out any fire above the girdled bark.

        All of their other wood needs, poles, bows, arrows, pipes, were supplied from relatively small trees and branches.

        e.g. Osage Orange was (still is) a preferred wood for making bows in the Midwest plains. A Native American would scrape off the sap wood carefully following the wood growth rings until they had a functional bow of mostly heartwood. Cutting, with fire and a flint axe, a full size osage orange tree is a mighty endeavor and one would leave one with a heavy large quite hard wood tree that is slow to burn and slow to rot.

    • One wonders how Indians cut down even one mature tree without anything bigger than a stone hatchet or for that matter why would they want to? No agriculture was practiced to any great extent. Eastern US hardwood forests are largely fire proof. All historical records indicate that the Eastern US was an uninterrupted expanse of forest. It’s been said that a squirrel could run from branch to branch on just Chestnut trees all the way from New England to Florida and not have to touch the ground. btw there is only one living American Chestnut tree now living (in an isolated part of WI due to a disease imported by the NY botanical gardens.

  16. The butterfly effect chained to the climate change bus means that if a human lifts a finger thousands may die and ice sheets will shudder.

  17. I was just in this sports bar watching LFC and I was talking to this guy and I make the mistake of asking ” what do you do ?”
    “I am environmental expert for companies”
    ” Oh so what you advise on environmental risks and that ? ”
    ” Do you know that the satellite data shows no warming for almost 19 years ”
    ?
    ” which satellites ? there are loads of satellites ?”

  18. turn a sociologist loose on cultures without a written history and by golly you’ll get a “plausible explanation”. Whether it has any correspondence with reality is another issue.

  19. Did the collapse of indian populations cause the Little Ice Age, or did the Little Ice Age cause the collapse of the indian populations?

    • If I remember correctly, didn’t North American Bison number some 50 million individuals around 1880? And after the slaughter, around 2,000 head remained. Other than a collapse in the availability of Indian food (meat), does anyone know what other collapse occurred as a result of this slaughter?

      Is this what ended the mini ice age? What other climactic cataclism did this bring on or not bring on? Or did something else collapse and or maybe even caused the beginning of something that as yet we are not aware of?

      Just wondering. Maybe a certified “Climate Scientist” could get a grant to study this and come up with a new and improved reason of why AGW global warming is a fact based on the slaughter of Bison.

      • But wouldn’t removing 50 million bison cool the planet? The militant vegans are all telling us that cow farts are contributing to global warming.

        Glad the bison are coming back though. Bison makes great burgers.

    • None of the above.

      The collapse of the Indian Population happened as result of the diseases brought by Europeans when widespread travel became common. There were also plagues in Europe at the same period as diseases against which Europeans hand no resistance were devastating. There were major outbreaks in the 16th and 17th century some of which we still don’t understand like the Sweating Sickness which devastated the aristocracy of England including the heir apparent of Henry VII

      The little Ice Age coincided with the Maunder Minimum and some major volcanic activity. A temporary reduction in forest fires would hardly do the job. especially as land clearance and burning of wood to feed the newly invented blast furnaces in Europe was accelerating at the same time In the 17th century these depredations were so severe that the English Government had to take control of the New Forest to guarantee a source of timber for the ships of the Royal Navy. Note further that by the 1640’s the coal mining industry in England was well established with over 400 colliers carrying coal from Newcastle to ports all around the North Sea, such was the demand for an alternative to wood for fuel.

  20. So, let me get this straight – tree rings, forest fires and drought correlate with local human populations in the area of Jemez Mountains. I don’t think we need an outside variable (Franciscans) to draw some conclusions. about what ties these together.

    • Imagine a room with 10 climate scientists and only one is left at the end of the day.
      Well we can hope can’t we?

    • Bernie January 26, 2016 at 2:10 pm
      Imagine that in a room with 10 people, only one person was left at the end of seventy years.

      Oh Goodie ,,,, A… ghost story. Like Dudley town Connecticut .

      michael

  21. Yes and you too can get your degree at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box and make a fortune peddling stupid ideas for grant money. They say corporate or oil money is poisoning but care nothing for the stupidity inducing effects of government grant money.

  22. You really have to wonder if the more ridiculous claims aren’t intentionally made to discredit climate “science”. But then again, if there’s a $10K grant available for including the magic words…

  23. Please don’t inform these bozos who did the study about the impact of the Black Death. European population was wiped out by half from 1347 to 1350 from the Plague. That would mean that CO2 release from wood burning would have been reduced in half, not to mention the timing to coincide precisely when the LIA started. This scenario was proposed to me as the reason for the LIA a few years ago by a climate alarmist. Needless to say, I rarely argue with idiots, so I left it alone to save my breath.

  24. This is a typical example of the mechanism by which the CAGW movement grew from a few fringe crackpots to the “consensus” of stupidity it is today.

    1. Suggest there is “evidence” for a far fetched, but alarming theory.
    2. Imply more funding/further study is needed to be certain.
    3. Write more papers, adding to the illusion of a “consensus”.

    Lather. Rinse. Repeat…..

    As long as our governments continues spending tax dollars on this drivel, the insanity will continue to grow.

  25. The Little Ice Age was merely a minimum in a natural climate cycle of about 1,000 years, that same cycle due to reach a maximum this century. Superimposed is a natural 60 year cycle and it has been on the decline since about 1998-2000 whilst the 1,000 year cycle is still rising. There will indeed be long-term cooling of about 2 degrees spread over about 500 years, probably starting after the next 30 years of warming from about 2030 to 2060.

    Carbon dioxide has no warming effect what-so-ever, and we now know this from valid physics ….

    The Stefan-Boltzmann law tells us that, for a perfect blackbody which has been receiving a steady uniform flux of radiation for a very long time the temperature achieved by that flux is proportional to the fourth root of the flux. But if the flux is variable (as with night and day for planets like Earth and Venus) we can show mathematically that the mean temperature achieved is always less than the temperature that would have been achieved by a steady flux having the same mean value as the variable flux. Hence the mean temperature of the whole Earth-plus-atmosphere system is not 255K but a lower temperature perhaps more like 240K. Likewise, even if there were a mean flux of 390W/m^2 reaching Earth’s surface, because it is variable, it would not achieve a mean temperature of 288K (15°C) but rather a mean temperature close to freezing point. However, even the net 390W/m^2 shown in those energy budget diagrams is not what can be used in Stefan-Boltzmann calculations: the solar radiation is only 168W/m^2 for which the blackbody temperature is 233K (-40°C) and we cannot combine that with back radiation (as they do in the energy diagrams) to “explain” a higher temperature close to freezing point. So it’s all wrong, and we need to go back to Square One.

    To understand what really happens, we need to realize that a brilliant 19th century physicist was in fact right when he postulated that force fields acting on molecules in flight between collisions creates a temperature gradient. This century the existence of that temperature gradient has been demonstrated in hundreds of experiments with sealed cylinders, as well as in experiments with centrifugal force. In fact, it is a direct corollary of the Second Law of Thermodynamics which tells us that natural (isolated) systems will always move towards the state of maximum entropy within the constraints of the system. It can be shown in just two lines of computation, that the temperature gradient in the absence of any IR-active (greenhouse) gases would be the so-called “dry adiabatic lapse rate” which is the negative quotient of g and the weighted mean specific heat of the matter involved, be it solid, liquid or gas. All attempts to refute this with thought experiments are mistaken because they do not consider the effect of changes in molecular potential energy which result in entropy changes.

    Once you understand that the temperature gradient is the state of maximum entropy (which in physics is called “thermodynamic equilibrium”) then it follows that new thermal energy absorbed in the atmosphere each morning will spread out in all directions, just like new rain water falling only in the middle of a lake. Some of this new thermal energy actually moves up the temperature plot, meaning downwards towards the surface or core of a planet. The process involved is called natural (not forced) convective heat transfer and, in physics, this includes thermal diffusion. In solid regions it is called conduction and, in all cases, it involves the transfer of kinetic energy between molecules as they collide. The process continues even in the crust, mantle and core, and all temperatures above and below any solid surface in a planet are anchored by radiating layers in the stratosphere and upper troposphere where radiative balance is maintained with the insolation.

    And that is how and why a planet’s surface is hotter than the radiating temperature of the planet, and the necessary heat transfers are not by back radiation at all, but by this process that is entirely non-radiative.

  26. The Little Ice Age was merely a minimum in a natural climate cycle of about 1,000 years, that same cycle due to reach a maximum this century. Superimposed is a natural 60 year cycle and it has been on the decline since about 1998-2000 whilst the 1,000 year cycle is still rising. There will indeed be long-term cooling of about 2 degrees spread over about 500 years, probably starting after the next 30 years of warming from about 2030 to 2060. Carbon dioxide has no warming effect what-so-ever, and we now know this from valid physics.

    The Stefan-Boltzmann law tells us that, for a perfect blackbody which has been receiving a steady uniform flux of radiation for a very long time the temperature achieved by that flux is proportional to the fourth root of the flux. But if the flux is variable (as with night and day for planets like Earth and Venus) we can show mathematically that the mean temperature achieved is always less than the temperature that would have been achieved by a steady flux having the same mean value as the variable flux. Hence the mean temperature of the whole Earth-plus-atmosphere system is not 255K but a lower temperature perhaps more like 240K. Likewise, even if there were a mean flux of 390W/m^2 reaching Earth’s surface, because it is variable, it would not achieve a mean temperature of 288K (15°C) but rather a mean temperature close to freezing point. However, even the net 390W/m^2 shown in those energy budget diagrams is not what can be used in Stefan-Boltzmann calculations: the solar radiation is only 168W/m^2 for which the blackbody temperature is 233K (-40°C) and we cannot combine that with back radiation (as they do in the energy diagrams) to “explain” a higher temperature close to freezing point. So it’s all wrong, and we need to go back to Square One.

  27. …“One argument suggests that indigenous population collapse in the Americas resulted in a reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of forest regrowth in the early colonial period…

    That’s nothing! Another argument suggests that the indigenous population had invented a wonderful climate controlling machine powered by grants to the climate priests, but the nasty white missionaries killed all the priests and ever since then we’ve been having weird weather….

    When you don’t have to provide any evidence beyond correlation, the world is your oyster…

  28. Oh, my gosh! I was having a pretty difficult day and decided to pop in and check out the recent craziness in Climate. WOW! Life is good, Thank-you… uncontrolled laughter every time I try to think about those Franciscans.

  29. re: eyesonu. January 26, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Yes, whenever this kind of crap comes out the first thing one should do is look for the appeal for more funding. And there it is: “Until now the evidence has been fairly ambiguous. Our results indicate that high-resolution chronologies of human populations, forests and fires are needed to evaluate these claims.”

  30. Are you sure this wasn’t printed in the Onion?
    Lol. I need to start studying climate. Daddy needs some grant money. Un-freaking -believable.

  31. Have they checked all the Steve Reeves sword-and-sandal movies and the Douglas Fairbanks swashbucklers for final verification of their historical data?

  32. If you look closely, the scenario is not too far fetched. If you consider all of the Native Americans that died as a result of European colonization (not just those in New Mexico) the number is closer to 50 million. The regrowth of trees in areas that had been used for farming across that entire region (as populations crashed, forests regrew) sucked enough carbon dioxide out of the sky to cause a drop of at least seven parts per million. That could have tipped the earth into the Little Ice Age which according to many sources likely started around 1650.

      • “1491,” Charles Mann’s book, suggests that about 90% of indigenous peoples in the Americas died out after the Spanish conquered the Aztecs and the Incas, and later after the English came to North America, taking more than a century do to so in each case.

        On the high central plateau of Mexico, where Mexico City is located now, Mann reports, based upon Spanish censuses of the time, that 97% of indigenous peoples died in the century after conquest, from 8 separate disease epidemics. The population dropped from 25.2 million to 700,000 people — see page 130 of the hardback edition.

        To the extent that indigenous populations burned down forests, it is reasonable to think that there would have been forest regrowth after population collapses.

        But CO2 levels barely fell during this period, by a maximum of 10 ppm, probably less. See:

        If you can almost immediately cause a Little Ice Age with this tiny reduction in CO2, then we should have warmed far, far more than we currently have, with CO2 having gone from 280 to 400 ppm in 200 years or so.

        So I do buy the drastic drop in population, but I don’t but the notion that it caused the Little Ice Age.

        (This is a copy and paste from far above.)

      • Luke January 26, 2016 at 3:46 pm
        There is pretty solid evidence for the decimation of native populations following European contact and the forest regrowth over large areas of the neotropics which could have reduced CO2 levels

        No. their is not. Morbidity and mortality is based on conjecture extrapolated from survival rates of post Colombian populations.
        New England is full of Small Pox cemeteries. Death rate best guess is 10% for Europeans.
        Look at today’s rate for ethnic M&M . It will vary on level of treatment and care.

        The Pilgrims suffered 50% loss rate in their FIRST YEAR. Life was not easy.

        Also 50 million seems to high. Not with the current food supplies and farming.
        Collars where choke type and no stirrup or horses.
        michael

    • “The regrowth of trees in areas that had been used for farming across that entire region (as populations crashed, forests regrew) sucked enough carbon dioxide out of the sky to cause a drop of at least seven parts per million. ”

      This statement is so emblematic of the anthropocentric thinking that dominates climate related foolishness. Before the forests grew back, the grasses the natives preferred, sucked CO2 out of the air as well. Giga tonnes of it! In fact, grasses can sequester just as much CO2 as mid latitude forest as experiments have shown.

      Luke’s answer shows this inability to view nature as a dynamic process. He imagines a static situation that changes after the forest regrows. It never occurs to him that given the same soil, and latitude, that nature uses every resource available including CO2.

      For his supposition to be true, somehow the land would have to be inert and unable to produce plants that would maximize the available nutrients, then suddenly become productive producing forest to then nourish themselves with CO2. As this is not the case, the theory is foolish. These people need to spend more time outside seeing how nature actually works.

      • Uh, you forgot that trees sequester carbon in their woody tissue, grasses do not. Show me the research that demonstrates that grasses can sequesterling as much carbon as a regenerating forest in the tropics (where soils are thin and nutrient poor).

      • For Luke below suggesting “I forgot” that trees sequester carbon in their woody tissue, a short biology lesson. 60% of carbon sequestration occurs in the soils- the tissue itself accounts for less than 30%!! Worse, when the tree dies, 50% of the carbon in its woody tissue is lost within 3 years. A Mediterranean ecosystem dominated by trees will sequester ~180 +/-30 tonnes of C per Hectare while the same ecosystem dominated by scrubs and grass is 105 +/- 30 tonnes of C per Hectare (source: Estimates of preanthropogenic carbon storage in global ecosystem types. GIYF)

        As I said the literature and research shows little difference between plant types for the same ecosystem but anyone who’s spent some time in the natural world understands this intuitively. Nature is always maxing out the available resources and CO2 is one of the most precious. Alarmists all need to spend more time outside to get a better understanding of the natural world.

      • Dave, I do grow a garden every year and I also know that annual plants do not sequester carbon to any significant degree. Also, soils are extremely thin in tropical regions so no sequestration there either. Youidea isn’t even supported by the data you provided. Sorry but you idea does not make sense and it is contradicted by the data.

      • Dave, here is the conclusion of a study comparing C sequestration in tropical systems.
        The findings of these five years of research (2002–07) on target tropical ecosystems suggest, first, that in terms of C accumulated in the total system (soil + plant biomass), the native forest presents the highest levels of all land uses in all ecosystems, followed by improved pasture, a silvopastoral system, natural regeneration of degraded pastures and, finally, degraded pasture or degraded soils.

    • But the atmosphere is highly insenstive to CO2 fluctuations.

      It may have something to do with that gigantic nuclear fireball out there that we all spin around.

    • Luke says:

      If you consider all of the Native Americans that died as a result of European colonization (not just those in New Mexico) the number is closer to 50 million.

      On the other hand, you hate all those little brown and black people who subsist on less than $2 a day. If harmless CO2 was reduced below 350 ppm, their food costs would shoot through the roof. Malnutrition and starvation would be widespread. There isn’t any doubt about that, and the arguments that CO2 must be reduced are made either by science illiterates, or by people who hate those folks across the ocean.

      Which are you, Luke? That’s a serious question. You’re either a hater, or you can’t understand the basic fact that CO2 is both harmless, and very beneficial to the biosphere. More CO2 means lower food costs, it’s that simple.

      So enough with your fake pontificating over Native Americans killed by colonization. Those were different times and differnt attitudes. We know better now. And a lot of us can see that your hypocrisy is intended to cover up the fact that you want people ‘culled’. Crimes against humanity is the operative phrase. That’s what you advocate.

      • I am neither a hater nor clueless. Where did you come up with the crazy idea that food costs would “shoot through the roof” if CO2 fell below 350ppm? CO2 was below 350 ppm for all of human history until the mid 1990s. Food costs have not plummeted since CO2 crossed that threshold.

      • Luke January 26, 2016 at 7:04 pm
        It sounds like you are projecting again.

        Unfortunately for many of us you are correct,, projecting over our belts. For the first time in history the issue is not having enough food to feed everyone, but getting it to them.
        Yes costs have not dropped. Farmers are after all subsidized. I have no problem with this. Farmers feed the Planet.
        A question, do you garden? Grow some of your own food? I do.
        I like to keep a old grill in the garden A little wood a little charcoal, My plants like it.
        michael

      • Luke,

        The cost of living index has risen inexorably, but food costs have been held down due to the rise in harmless, beneficial CO2. Since you don’t seem to understand how it works, here is some free education:

        When you put a seed in a pot of soil and it sprouts and grows, the plant growth doesn’t come from the dirt. If it did, the dirt would be depleted.

        The plant’s growth comes from water and CO2. All of the starches, sugars, and cellulose that build the plant come from that tiny trace gas in the air, which has risen from about 3 parts in 10,000, to 4 parts in 10,000.

        That’s why the planet is currently GREENING. The rise in harmless, beneficial CO2 is causing rising agricultural productivity. That, in turn, holds down the cost of food.

        For the one-third of humanity that subsists on less than $2 a day, that means the difference between malnutrition and starvation, and survival.

        Now that you’ve been taught you have no excuse for not understanding how crucial the rise in harmless, beneficial CO2 has been for the world’s poorest. More CO2 is literally making a life or death difference to a large part of the world’s population.

        Reducing CO2 to below 350 ppm, as some misguided and deranged haters propose, would kill off millions in a very gruesome way. You don’t want to be one of those despicable haters, do you, Luke? They are either misguided, or they hate humanity and want it “culled”. Some of them have stated that publicly.

        It’s really that simple, Luke. Maybe you were clueless before, but now there’s no excuse because now you know the facts. CO2 is completely harmless (no global harm has ever been found due to the rise in CO2). And as we see, more CO2 is tremendously beneficial to the biosphere. More is better, at both current and projected concentrations.

        By reading this award-winning science site, many readers have had the scales fall from their eyes. It is my sincere hope that you, too, will see the light. You have been lied to and used. Smart folks change direction when that’s pointed out to them.

      • bd,
        You are overstating the CO2 fertilizer effect. CO2 is only one of many essential nutrients that a plant needs to grow. Limitation of water and other nutrients often prevent plants from increasing their growth in response to increased CO2. Climate change will lead to more droughts in arid areas where you find the greatest food scarcity. So by ignoring the multifaceted effects of climate change and encouraging increased CO2, you, not I, are condemning those who are already struggling to even greater hardships.

      • Chris

        CO2 is only one of many essential nutrients that a plant needs to grow. Limitation of water and other nutrients often prevent plants from increasing their growth in response to increased CO2. Climate change will lead to more droughts in arid areas where you find the greatest food scarcity. So by ignoring the multifaceted effects of climate change and encouraging increased CO2, you, not I, are condemning those who are already struggling to even greater hardships.

        ALL plant growth is increasing (has already increased!) by values between 12% and 27% – WITH increased drought resistance, increase yield, increased mass and increased growth area (due to the 1/2 degree increase in global average temperature since the lows in 1970’s.) There are now, there will be NO problems caused by ANY increase in global average CO2 by another 300 ppm. Which, if it occurs at all, will take another 100 some-odd years of increased prosperity.

        or we could try to lower CO2 back to 300 ppm. And kill some 2-3 billion innocents.

    • But just as pre-Columbian forests might have been growing back as the Indians died off, aggressive colonists from Europe were busy cutting them down to grow crops. Only now are they growing back again. Indeed, it is said that there are more forests in New England than there have been since the 18th century.

      Not that any of this has any verifiable connection with ‘global’ temperature.

      /Mr Lynn

    • If a drop of 7 ppm would be enough to cause the little ice age, than the modern rise of over 120 ppm should have warmed the planet by 20 to 30 degrees by now.

      Your willingness to praise nonsense is legendary.

  33. With awareness of global warming and interdisciplinary interest in the possible antiquity of the Anthropocene, resolution of that debate may now be relevant for contemporary human-caused environmental problems, Roos said.

    “The Cause” looking for effects.

  34. So now we really ‘know’ the cause of this:

    The Thames Frost Fairs 1600 to 1814
    During the Great Winter of 1683 / 84, where even the seas of southern Britain were frozen solid for up to two miles from shore, the most famous frost fair was held: The Blanket Fair. The famous diariest John Evelyn described it in extensive detail, writing:

    ‘Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, and from several other staires to and fro, as in the streetes, sliding with skeetes, a bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cookes, tipling and other lewd places, so that it seemed a bacchanalian triumph or carnival on the water, whilst it was a severe judgement on the land, the trees not onely splitting as if lightning-struck, but men and cattle perishing in divers[e] places, and the very seas so lock’d up with ice, that no vessels could stir out or come in.’

  35. Wait, aren’t these researchers, who are discussed in the WUWT lead post, going in the face of the clique of Climategate scientists who needed to and did get rid of the MWP and LIA in the Paleo-temperature records in order to sell CAGW?

    The lead post discussed researchers are supporting the selling of man-made impact on the middle of LIA due to European influence on Native Americans in the middle of the LIA, thus the researchers are confirming the existence of the LIA explicitly. With their hypothesis proposed being so incredibly implausible while admitting the LIA existed then that is a significant setback to the advocates trying to sell CAGW by claiming the LIA never existed.

    Next we will may see research on the Caucasian frontiersmen and settlers of the North American plains who slaughtered immense herds of buffalo in the 18th century and how they caused the end of the LIA because of it. Shall we start a betting pool that will be funded this year by the US gov’t as a topic of study? A study if done would be explicit admission of a LIA.

    John

      • john on January 26, 2016 at 5:39 pm

        – – – – – – –

        john,

        Yeah, and one can expand that. I think pre-science faith maintains that during the last ~10,000 year part of man’s presence on Earth, what dominates EAS**/climate must be significantly caused by CO2 from mankind burning stuff.

        It is a necessary premise of proponents of the Anthropocene.

        ** EAS – Earth Atmosphere System

        John

  36. Were it not for regular burns from any cause we’d be talking about prairie forests. If you’re a tree hugger you might like to end prairie fires. If you’re infatuated with seeing the Rockies from eastern Nebraska you might not be a tree hugger. Every acre of prairie requires wildfire to remain a prairie.

    • That’s why the Yosemite Valley floor is turning into a forest. Indians regularly burnt it; they needed meadows to keep a good deer population.

  37. Next we will may see research on the Caucasian frontiersmen and settlers of the North American plains who slaughtered immense herds of buffalo in the 18th century and how they caused the end of the LIA because of it.

    But think of the methane reduction!
    Certainly the reduction in that greenhouse gas is what ended the LIA.
    (Oh. Wait a minute….)

  38. Interesting that they didn’t pick a spot further back… like trying to figure out the Ancient Ones proto-Puebloan periods from ~7000bc on up to Puebloan periods… lotsa things happened in those eras, and it seems there were a number of increases and then collapses of population… huh, sometimes related to droughts. Like “The Great Drought” of the 1100’s to 1300’s?

    It is interesting to me that one would look at civilizations only in terms of when the europeans showed up, to decide what was the worst thing to happen to them… instead of looking at the long civilization to see how it responded to various climate changes in the region it was in, and see how those things my be relevant to overall climate. But then narrative, tut-tut… can’t get away from that.
    IMHO, only.

    • Actually, there is a fairly well known article from 2003 which postulates that increased CO2 from human clearing of forests in Eurasia from about 8,000 years ago, and then increased methane emissions from rice paddies starting about 5,000 years ago, warmed the earth enough to forestall slipping into the next ice age. See:

      http://courses.washington.edu/holocene/Ruddiman-Holocene_Carbon_Cycle_Anthropocene-ClimChange03.pdf

      Here is part of the abstract:

      “…A wide array of archeological, cultural, historical and geologic evidence points to viable explanations tied to anthropogenic changes resulting from early agriculture in Eurasia, including the start of forest clearance by 8000 years ago and of rice irrigation by 5000 years ago. In recent millennia, the estimated warming caused by these early gas emissions reached a global-mean value of ∼0.8◦C and roughly 2◦C at high latitudes, large enough to have stopped a glaciation of northeastern Canada predicted by two kinds of climatic models….”

      Not saying Ruddiman is correct, that needs confirmation.

    • Leo,

      I have often wondered the same thing. Seriously. In reality I find it difficult to believe there can be so much stupidity in academia. But then it’s there for all to see and read.

  39. This study ignores the millennium of history that preceded the Spanish invasion, which involved numerous changes in environment and population.

    The mystery of what happened to the Anasazi cultures occurred around the year 1300, which was also the downfall of the great Mississippi cultures. The best guess is that a time of gentle summer rains gave way to a 300 year drought, when the summer rains, when they happened at all, became rare gully-washer thunderstorms that ruined the irrigation systems.

    It is great fun to study all the various theories, as well as the legends of the Pueblo peoples (and the various invaders, who largely came from California.) The ancient Anasazi culture was definitely a culture that went through a great boom, and then a great bust, but the details are largely lost in the mists of time. CO2 had little to do with any of it.

  40. If they think such small events as Spanish missionaries spreading disease, etc., altered the climate, then it is clear that the climate has ceased to respond, as our current activities should be producing a astronomically bigger climate change. It makes no sense.

    A similar claim has resided in Wikipedia for a number of hears regarding the Little Ice Age. William Connolly used to sit like a troll on the page and prevent even minor, reasonable improvements, nudging it toward reality. I had a few exchanges with him and he threatened to ban me.

  41. Off topic and sad, but definitely tragicomical: The Weather Company President of Product and Technology Cameron Clayton wrote in an email to employees that Wiltgen was a senior digital meteorologist who had been with the company for over 15 years.

  42. There’s a lot of discussion upthread with regards to primitive tribes deliberately using controlled burns for various reasons. Was this knowledge taught in their primitive schools?

    I could see a controlled burn being used as a weapon to attack a rival tribe. Maybe even drive game to a killing zone. But now in modern times academics have written/rewritten history to suite their particular narrative. I have yet to read that there was a very likely chance that the “controlled burns” would could likely have been started from open pit fires used for cooking and warmth that got away when the wind picked up. It happens quite often in current times even with “Smokey the Bear” education, fire rings, designated camping areas, fire control equipment, banned open air burning laws during dry seasons, etc.

    The obvious just doesn’t seem obvious enough.

  43. In Re the Drax power plant in the U.K.:
    Wasn’t the switch to burning wood pellets made from trees in the U.S., instead of coal, based upon the rationale that burning trees does not effect atmospheric CO2 level?

    SR

  44. ““To better understand the role of the indigenous population collapse on ecological and climate changes, we need this kind of high-resolution paired archaeological and paleoecological data,” said Roos. “Until then, a human-caused start to Little Ice Age cooling will remain uncertain. Our results suggest this scenario is plausible, but the nature of European and American Indian relationships, population collapse, and ecological consequences are probably much more complicated and variable than many people had previously understood them to be.”

    Please Sir, we’d like some more [research grants].

  45. When I was 19 I flew from Adelaide, South Australia, to Oodnadatta, Alice Springs, Tennant Ck and Katherine to Darwin. About the same distance as Mexico to Canada I guess.
    In the slow DC3 Dakota, at lower than 10,000 feet in summer, it was bumpy, uncomfortable and took a couple of days. There was ample time to pick out the occasional cattle station building and of course that main road we followed, but there was little sign of habitation. There were patterns showing past burns, some still visible 30 years later. Most probably from lightning.
    If you are from an area with dense population, you might have narrow view about the impact of man on the countryside.
    If you have done the journey I mention, you will realise that there are vast land areas where mankind has had negligible influence.
    If you are proposing global climate change caused by groups like the Anasazi – yes, I have been there – you will realise that any change that man caused there has to be strong enough to make up for the rest of the globe with its oceans and largely unsettled areas elsewhere.
    Then, you might have enough intelligence to realise that the publication in question here has zero probability of belief. Memories of bad, ridicule jokes like images of mosquitos raping elephants – that sort of forgettable, cheap laugh category among know-all pre-pubescents.
    What a pile of trash prostituting the fine traditions of proper science.
    When will we see the brakes applied to the smart ass morons who dispense funding for stuff like this? While elsewhere, people starve and need medicines?
    Enough.

  46. The authors of this “study” seem blissfully unaware that the Little Ice Age began circa 1315 and not the 17th Century. And if they are interested in depopulation as a trigger for Climate Change, I suggest they study the life and times of Timur aka Tamerlane. During his lifetime he was responsible for the deaths of 80,000 in Dehli, as well as leaving a body count in the hundreds of thousands as he conquered Persia and East Asia.

    • Ah, but you’ve fallen for the warmunist “the LIA began at different times all over the world, so not only does it not exist, but if it did, it can’t be considered “global” gambit that seems to contradict the fact that they want us to believe that global climate change is real, even if the climate isn’t changing at the same time.

      Or something, I lost my Irrational Whining Posing as Science decoder ring.

  47. This article obviously doesn’t give us the full report but the extracts suggest a little confusion among the authors.
    On the one hand they write:

    Their findings indicate that large-scale depopulation only occurred after missions were established in their midst by Franciscan priests in the 1620s. Daily sustained interaction resulted in epidemic diseases, violence and famine, the researchers said. From a population of roughly 6,500 in the 1620s fewer than 900 remained in the 1690s – a loss of more than 85 percent of the population in a few generations.

    On the other they write:

    The authors note in their article that, “Archaeological evidence from the Jemez Province supports the notion that the European colonization of the Americas unleashed forces that ultimately destroyed a staggering number of human lives,” however, they note, it fails to support the notion that sweeping pandemics uniformly depopulated North America.”

    They seem a little confused between missionary activity and colonisation. Do they not understand the difference between colonisation and missionary activity or do they think they are one and the same thing?

  48. Many of the Europeans came here from environments where raw sewage ran in the streets. They had developed immunities and carried enough diseases with them that merely breathing upon the then native peoples was deadly. Of course, they did not know this as microbiology was unknown at that time. Nothing to do with climate, religion or killing buffalo. Communism intentionally killed an order of magnituded more with guns and forced starvation in China and the Ukraine in more recent times. The socialist concept’s implementation of policies reducing cheap availability of energy continues this in the poorer countries of the world. All in the name of saving the planet, while control is the real goal of their policies.

  49. I’m a little confused and perhaps someone someone who understands “climate science” can help me out.This study suggests that the LIA was man made. But didn’t “climate science”, through the genius of Dr Mann prove a long time ago that the LIA and the MWP never existed in the first place?

  50. Something that might be worth further investigation: the enhanced cooling and CO2 reduction at high altitude during the LIA, which would have increased stress on the mountain/plateau populations.

  51. Just to note: The Charles Mann and Jared Diamond books are both very interesting reading, but should be taken as speculative musings loosely based on history.

    Pretty much how this paper should be viewed. Almost all speculation. The climate impact is 100% speculation and the population decline timelines are significantly speculation based.

    I also love the references to “horrendous” and “staggering” lost of life. Maybe to the particular tribes, but from a historical scale, a few thousand is peanuts. Anyone want to take a crack at the average number of Europeans who died in any single year during the 17th century? Has to be in the tens of thousands, if not hundreds, every year.

  52. It’s always interesting to see history revised to align with current beliefs…then, of course, history validates current beliefs…

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