Archaeologists Find Clues to Viking Mystery

For years, researchers have puzzled over why Viking descendents abandoned Greenland in the late 15th century. But archaeologists now believe that economic and identity issues, rather than starvation and disease, drove them back to their ancestral homes.

More HERE.  The authors describe life on Greenland during the LIA. It was a brutal existence for those on the island, isolated from their homeland.

Climate Change and the Light Switch – A Geologist View

Russ Steele

whole storyI just finished reading The Whole Story of Climate:  What Science Reveals about the Nature of Endless Change  by E. Kirsten Peters on my Kindle Fire.  After learning about the book on a climate change blog, I down loaded it from Amazon and started reading it immediately and just could not put it down.  The author introduces biographical portraits of lead scientist who made major climate indicator discoveries, and then examines the circumstances of their discoveries.  A  detective story or sorts.

Dr. Peters introduces the  important contributions that geologist have made to our understanding of climate change in very kitchen table conversational style. Even the scientifically challenged readers will find this an enjoyable read. What emerges is a much more complex and nuanced picture of climate change issues than are usually presented in the main stream presses thirty second sound bites.

“If we view climate changes as our enemy we will always be defeated, for climate will always change. Natural climate change is frequent, often extreme, and sometimes rapid. Industrial CO2 is a real problem just as you have heard, but it’s only a fragment of the whole story of climate. In other words, I’m not a global warming denier – I want to add to the discussion of climate change from the point of view of geology and natural change. What may matter most is not our carbon policies, but whether we invest in adaptive strategies that can serve us well when change inevitably arrives on our doorstep.”

Dr. Peters points out that geological history, including the ice cores, has shown that climate change can be surprisingly rapid, coming in five, ten, or fifteen years.  Climate change is more like flipping a light switch, going from warm to cold in a decade. Or, from cold to warm in a decade. We live in a chaotic world and the climate can shift rapidly, regardless of human actions.

” . . . natural history reveals that rapid shifts from hotter to cooler climes can occur over mere decades, and, if not for recent carbon pollution, an ice age might be just around the corner.”

Dr Peters explains her views in this short video: http://youtu.be/5lwP77LZbQA  Including some ideas on how to mitigate CO2 emission by snuffing out the coal field fires that are emitting tons of CO2 every day around the globe.

I agree with her views that we should be preparing for a climate shift, regardless of the direction. However, if we accept her light switch analogy while residing in a warm world, then we have to assume that the next flip of the switch will bring on a much colder world.  A much colder world that can emerge in a just a decade. A climate change that we could experience in a life time.  It has happened in the past and will happen again, according to Dr. Peters.  She presents some historical examples.

The Whole Story of Climate is essential reading if your want to understand one of our most important contemporary debates — global climate change.  Policy makers are spending billions to mitigate global warming, when in fact we may be on the cusp of global cooling, if not the next ice age.  It is important that more citizens understand the larger picture, and prepare accordingly.

More HERE.

Connecting the Global Cooling Dots

Alan Caruba, writing at Warning Signs wants us to connect the cooling dots.

Winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21, but winter has a mind of its own as does all of nature. While the United Nations charlatans gathered in Doha, Qatar to try to save its global warming hoax by first calling it “climate change” and then by fashioning a funding mechanism to transfer the wealth of developed countries to those who are not, winter has arrived “early” around the world.

That might just have something to do with the cooling cycle that has been active for the past sixteen years, “inconveniently” blowing a big hole in the global warming lies we’ve been hearing and reading since the late 1980s.

From IceAgeNow.info, a site by Robert W. Felix, the author of a book about ice ages (the Earth has been through quite a few in its 4.5 billion years), here are some recent news stories:

On December 1, “Heavy snowfall severs Russia” told of “Hundreds of drivers (who) were caught by surprise in a 40km traffic jam after an unexpected snowfall and heavy winds.”

On November 30, “Finland snowstorm causes blackouts” reported that “Tens of thousands of households were without electricity on Friday as the result of a storm that dumped heavy snow across southern Finland and sent winds gusting up to 27 meters per second, felling trees and downing power lines.” That same day, across the former land bridge between Russia and North America, “Fairbanks – Coldest back-to-back November on record” was a news item what reported “The mercury hit 30 below for the first time this winter at Fairbanks International Airport…”

On November 29, the news was about a “Severe snow storm hits northern Japan” during which it was “blasted by an intense snow storm causing widespread havoc to residents of Hokkaido and Northern Honshu.”

On November 28, “Snowfall paralyzes life in China” was the headline of a report that “China has experienced the biggest snowfall in 52 years. Snow caused power outages in 57 villages, brought down thousands of trees and killed numerous domestic animals. Temperatures fell by as much as 14 degrees below zero in some areas.”

You can read the rest of Alan’s article HERE  He intros a new book by geologist E. Kristen Peters, Whole Story of Climate, The: What Science Reveals about the Nature of Endless Change  I have down loaded a Kindle version and will report.

One Upping “The World’s Scariest Divergence”

Russ Steele

ZeroHedge has some scary charts showing the demand for food is rising inexorably (as is the demand for fuel) but at the same time supply is falling rapidly as the availability of arable land per capita plunges.

The result in that food prices are rising  

If the food supply is declining for an increasing population, forcing up prices during a relatively warm period, what will happen when the next grand minimum arrives?

That will be the scariest of all divergences. Increasing demand when the climate is curtailing production.

Historically grand minimums have resulted in colder and stormy weather, reducing the length of the growing season with late spring frosts and early fall frosts. The result is a shorter growing season for some areas, in other cases the historical crops cannot be grown at all.  For example,  Canada’s grain growing areas will move south with every degree decline in the global temperature as shown in the this David Archibald graphic.

In my estimate, this is the scariest of all divergences, yet our political leaders are preparing for a warming climate and are demanding that we burn critical food sources in our vehicles.  This is unsustainable  stupidity!

Cold More Dangerous Than Warming

Russ Steele

This is a reminder from a post at PJ Media by Dr Tim Ball and Tom Harris:

Far more people die due to excessive cold than due to excessive warmth. Cold weather is obviously much harder on our bodies than is warm weather. That is why people retire to Florida or Arizona, and not Alaska.

History demonstrates that warming has been good, and cooling bad, for civilization. That is why geologists named past warm periods “optimums” and cold times “dark ages.”

It was during the warmest period since the end of the last ice age, a time called the Holocene Optimum between 9,000 and 5,000 years ago, that the first civilizations flourished in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Other warm periods, climate optimums during Minoan, Roman, and Medieval times, and of course, the modern warm period, have all resulted in increased food productivity, lower death rates, and greater all-around prosperity.

In contrast, cold periods have been very rough on societies. The Dark Ages Cold Period between about 600 and 900 AD was a time of great retreat of agriculture and depression of human activity. There were plagues and starvation in many regions and people were forced to migrate away from farms in central Europe and Scandinavia.

The Little Ice Age (LIA) from about 1350 to 1850 was even worse; there was great misery for people around the world. Alpine glaciers overran mountain villages in Europe, and cold and wet weather killed millions of farm animals and ruined crops. With famine weakening the population, more than a third of Europeans died due to bubonic plague. People resorted to making bread from tree bark, and in some parts of Europe cannibalism was common. Later in the LIA, a million people died in Ireland and a million more left the country due to the Potato Famine brought on by the cold weather. Storms ravaged coastal settlements in both Europe and across the Pacific.

The IPCC 2007 Working Group II report on “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” states: “A focus on key vulnerabilities is meant to help policy-makers and stakeholders assess the level of risk and design pertinent response strategies.”

They are right. But it is impossible to do this without understanding the benefits of warming, and even more importantly, the dangers of cooling. The experience of India, which has prospered while warming over the past 50 years, demonstrates how well humans, even those living in hot climates, can adapt to warming. But cooling is a killer, and — scientists are increasingly telling us — a more probable event as well.

It has been found that the Earth is warmer when the Sun is more active as indicated by sunspot count. Our planet is cooler when there are fewer sunspots. The current 11-year sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, is already showing less spots than predicted, and expectations are for lower numbers still in Cycle 25, expected to start in about ten years. Not surprisingly, global temperatures have leveled and show signs of declining. By the mid- to late 2020s, conditions comparable to the LIA are a distinct possibility. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period should be a priority for governments. Besides, if you plan for cooling and it warms, adaptation is much easier than if you plan for warming and it cools.

President Barack Obama said in his victory speech last Wednesday: “We want our children to live in an America … that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

In the real world, we must forget about vainly trying to control global climate and instead get ready for the destructive power of a cooling planet.

A Mayan Tale of Climate Cycles

Russ Steele

National Geographic News has an interesting discussion of how climate change resulted in the Mayan decline and inland demise.

The latest Maya climate-change study, published Friday in the journal Science, analyzes a Belizean cavern’s stalagmites—those lumpy, rocky spires on cave floors—to link climate swings to both the rise and fall of the empire.

Formed by water and minerals dripping from above, stalagmites grow quicker in rainier years, giving scientists a reliable record of historical precipitation trends. One sample used in the new study, for example, documents fluctuations as far back as 2,000 years ago.

Among the trends revealed by the Belizean stalagmites: “The early Classic Maya period was unusually wet, wetter than the previous thousand years,” according to study leader Douglas Kennett, an environmental anthropologist at Pennsylvania State University. “During this time, the population proliferated,” aided by a surge in agriculture.

During the wettest decades, from 440 to 660, cities sprouted. All the hallmarks of Maya civilization— sophisticated political systems, monumental architecture, complex religion—came into full flower during this era.

(Read about the rise and fall of the Maya in National Geographic magazine.)

Climate Shift Sparks Conflict

But the 200-year-long wet spell turned out to be an anomaly. When the climate pendulum swung back, hard times followed.

“Mayan systems were founded on those [high] rainfall patterns,” Kennett said. “They could not support themselves when patterns changed.”

The following centuries, from about 660 to 1000, were characterized by repeated and, at times extreme, drought. Agriculture declined and—not coincidentally—social conflict rose, Kennet says.

The Maya religious and political system was based on the belief that rulers were in direct communication with the gods. When these divine connections failed to produce rainfall and good harvests, tensions likely developed.

Within the scant 25 years between 750 and 775, for example, 39 embattled rulers commissioned the same number of stone monuments—evidence of “rivalry, war, and strategic alliances,” according to Kennett’s study.

But times would get even harder.

The stalagmite record suggests that between 1020 and 1100 the region suffered its longest dry spell of the last 2,000 years. With it, the study suggests, came Maya crop failure, famine, mass migration, and death.

By the time Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century, inland Maya populations had decreased by 90 percent, and urban centers had been largely abandoned. Farms had become overgrown and cities reclaimed by forest.

You can read the rest of the article HERE.

This is more evidence that climate change is cyclical, with warm and cold periods, wet and dry periods. The Sierra has experienced long periods of drought lasting 200 to 2000 years long. We are currently living in a moderate period much like the Maya from 440 to 660.  The notion that humans can control the climate is just pain foolish, a political wet dream that can be used to scare us in to paying carbon taxes.

Did exploding stars help life on Earth to thrive?

Russ Steele

Today the Royal Astronomical Society in London publishes Henrik Svensmark’s latest paper entitled “Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth”. After years of effort Svensmark shows how the variable frequency of stellar explosions not far from our planet has ruled over the changing fortunes of living things throughout the past half billion years.

Below is Royal Astronomical Society Press Release

Research by a Danish physicist suggests that the explosion of massive stars – supernovae – near the Solar System has strongly influenced the development of life. Prof. Henrik Svensmark of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) sets out his novel work in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

When the most massive stars exhaust their available fuel and reach the end of their lives, they explode as supernovae, tremendously powerful explosions that are briefly brighter than an entire galaxy of normal stars. The remnants of these dramatic events also release vast numbers of high-energy charged particles known as galactic cosmic rays (GCR). If a supernova is close enough to the Solar System, the enhanced GCR levels can have a direct impact on the atmosphere of the Earth.

Continue reading

Robust Agriculture Sector Will Be Key to Survival During Next Grand Minimum

Russ Steele

As a conservative I have taken a very negative view of subsides for green energy, renewable energy, especially ethanol which consumes food for fuel.  I recently participated in a discussion of agriculture subsides and came to the realization that some agricultural subsides may have future survival benefits and may even have an impact on our national security.

As many readers of  this blog know, I have been examining the possibility of another Grand Minimum for some time, presenting studies and scientific evidence to support my position and for reader evaluation and comment.  There is growing evidence that a Grand Minimum similar to the Maunder is in our future, see references herehere, here, here and here.

One of the agricultural impacts of a Maunder scale minimum is long term drought. See my post on the Maunder Minimum and Fall of Ming Dynasty . Anther impact is shortening the length of the growing season, shifting regions of production farther south.

In 1980 Newman (see references) published a paper showing that the Corn Belt shifted 144 km per 1.0°C change in temperature. If the temperature were to all fall 5.2°C, the Corn Belt would shift 750 km south to the Sun Belt, as shown following graphic provided by David Archibald:

The outlook for Canadian agriculture is somewhat more dire, as wheat growing regions shift south into the the United States. (David Archibald)

Continue reading

Ap Index, Neutrons and Climate | Watts Up With That?

Russ Steele

David Archibald had a guest post at Watts Up With That this morning that is of interest to those concerned with the Next Grand Minimum. He makes the case that Solar Cycle 24 will be longer than unusual and result in a decline in growing season in the gain belt.  Less grain will have an economic impact on this nation and those dependent on Norther Hemisphere grain for subsistence .

Please read the full post HERE, but there are the major point relevant to this post.

If Solar Cycle 24 is progressing at 60% of the rate of the previous two cycles, which averaged ten years long, then it is likely to be 16.6 years long. Using that figure of 16.6 years would make Solar Cycle 24 seven years longer than Solar Cycle 22. Using a solar cycle length – temperature relationship for the US – Canadian border of 0.7°C per year of solar cycle length, a total temperature decline of 4.9°C is predicted over a period of about twenty years.

Has a fall of that magnitude happened in that time frame happened in the past? A good place to look is the Dye 3 temperature record from the Greenland Plateau, available here: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/gisp/dye3/dye3-1yr.txt

Figure 4: Dye 3 Temperature Record from Oxygen Isotope Ratios

There is plenty of noise in this record and rapid swings in temperature, for example the 5.2°C fall from 526 to 531 at the beginning of the Dark Ages. [ Note there was major volcano eruptions during this period between 536 to 531, not mentioned in the text.]

Figure 5: Dye 3 Temperature Record 22 Year Smoothed

Averaging the Dye 3 temperature record using the 22 year length of the Hale Cycle produces a lot of detail. What is evident is that there has been a very disciplined temperature decline over the last four thousand years. The whole temperature record is bounded by two parallel lines with a downslope of 0.3°C per thousand years. The fact that no cooling event took the Dye 3 temperature below the lower bounding green line over nearly four thousand years is quite remarkable. It implies that solar events do not exceed a particular combination of frequency and amplitude. From that it can be derived that this particular combination of frequency and amplitude with be ongoing – that is that cooling events will happen just as frequently as they did during the Dye 3 record.

Figure 6: North – South Transect through the Grain Belt

The relationship between temperature and growing conditions at about the latitude of the US – Canadian border is that one degree C will shift growing conditions by about 140 km. With a total 4.9°C temperature decline in train, that means a shift of about 700 km. Figure 6 shows the result of that temperature decline. Witchita will end up with the climate of Sioux Falls, which in turn will be like Saskatoon now. The growing season loses a month at each end.

via Ap Index, Neutrons and Climate | Watts Up With That?.

I am tracking the changes in the length of the growing season in the grain belt on this blog. Stay tuned!

Life with out energy is short and brutal

Russ Steele

I have been reading Brian Fagan’s Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History. My first post is HERE.

Paul Homewood has also been reading Fagan’s book and has drafted series of essays on his blog “Not a lot of people know that” about how difficult life was during the Little Ice Age.

I encourage readers to review these essays. Life was brutal and short during the Little Ice Age. While we have many modern devices to help us cope with the kind of climate that was present on earth during the Little Ice Age, we may soon discover that they do not work as well we planned and will have to struggle to survive.

Part I of Paul Homewood’s essay starts with a review of  Brian Fagan’s book “The Little Ice Age.”  You can read Part I here.

It is widely accepted that the planet has warmed up by a degree or so since the end of the Little Ice Age about 150 years ago. We are regularly told that this increase in temperature has already  caused  widespread damage to the global environment, from dead polar bears and rising sea levels to extreme weather and famine. The implication is clear – the world was a much better place 200 years ago. But what was it like back then? Were conditions then really better than now?

You can read Part II  HERE.

Continue reading