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Mon, 16 Dec 2019
The World for People who Think

Extreme Temperatures

Igloo

'90% of the last million years, the normal state of the Earth's climate has been an ice age'

Last Ice Age
© unknown

Those who ignore the geologic perspective do so at great risk. In fall of 1985, geologists warned that a Columbian volcano, Nevado del Ruiz, was getting ready to erupt. But the volcano had been dormant for 150 years. So government officials and inhabitants of nearby towns did not take the warnings seriously. On the evening of November 13, Nevado del Ruiz erupted, triggering catastrophic mudslides. In the town of Armero, 23,000 people were buried alive in a matter of seconds.

For ninety percent of the last million years, the normal state of the Earth's climate has been an ice age. Ice ages last about 100,000 years, and are punctuated by short periods of warm climate, or interglacials. The last ice age started about 114,000 years ago. It began instantaneously. For a hundred-thousand years, temperatures fell and sheets of ice a mile thick grew to envelop much of North America, Europe and Asia. The ice age ended nearly as abruptly as it began. Between about 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, the temperature in Greenland rose more than 50 °F.

We don't know what causes ice ages to begin or end. In 1875, a janitor turned geologist, James Croll, proposed that small variations in Earth's orbit around the Sun were responsible for climate change. This idea enjoyed its greatest heyday during the 1970s, when ocean sediment cores appeared to confirm the theory. But in 1992, Ike Winograd and his colleagues at the US Geological Survey falsified the theory by demonstrating that its predictions were inconsistent with new, high-quality data.

Igloo

The rise of oxygen caused Earth's earliest ice age

oxygen cycle
© unknown


The evolution of organic photosynthesis ca.2.5 billion years ago would have had a profound effect on Earth's surface environments, and potentially on aerobic respiration by eukaryotes.
Geologists may have uncovered the answer to an age-old question - an ice-age-old question, that is. It appears that Earth's earliest ice ages may have been due to the rise of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere, which consumed atmospheric greenhouse gases and chilled the earth.

Alan J. Kaufman, professor of geology at the University of Maryland, Maryland geology colleague James Farquhar, and a team of scientists from Germany, South Africa, Canada, and the U.S.A., uncovered evidence that the oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere - generally known as the Great Oxygenation Event - coincided with the first widespread ice age on the planet.

"We can now put our hands on the rock library that preserves evidence of irreversible atmospheric change," said Kaufman. "This singular event had a profound effect on the climate, and also on life."

Using sulfur isotopes to determine the oxygen content of ~2.3 billion year-old rocks in the Transvaal Supergroup in South Africa, they found evidence of a sudden increase in atmospheric oxygen that broadly coincided with physical evidence of glacial debris, and geochemical evidence of a new world-order for the carbon cycle.

Document

Danger: Ice Age Ahead

"We're well on our way into the next ice age," says this video from the National Geographic. "One of our major challenges will be how to keep us from killing each other." (I agree.)

"We are hardwired at a genetic level to seek survival at almost any cost," says Dr. Irwin Redlener of Columbia University. Our base survival instincts will kick in as the food chain collapses, says Redlener, an expert at the National Cdnter for Disaster Preparedness. Civilization as we know it will change forever. We could see deadly competition for food, for water, and for power, as civilization collapses. (I agree.)

Magic Hat

Sun Oddly Quiet - Hints at Next "Little Ice Age"?

Spotless sun May 5, 2009
© GONG

A prolonged lull in solar activity has astrophysicists glued to their telescopes waiting to see what the sun will do next - and how Earth's climate might respond.

The sun is the least active it's been in decades and the dimmest in a hundred years. The lull is causing some scientists to recall the Little Ice Age, an unusual cold spell in Europe and North America, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850.

The coldest period of the Little Ice Age, between 1645 and 1715, has been linked to a deep dip in solar storms known as the Maunder Minimum.

During that time, access to Greenland was largely cut off by ice, and canals in Holland routinely froze solid. Glaciers in the Alps engulfed whole villages, and sea ice increased so much that no open water flowed around Iceland in the year 1695.

But researchers are on guard against their concerns about a new cold snap being misinterpreted.

"[Global warming] skeptics tend to leap forward," said Mike Lockwood, a solar terrestrial physicist at the University of Southampton in the U.K. (Get the facts about global warming.) He and other researchers are therefore engaged in what they call "preemptive denial" of a solar minimum leading to global cooling.

Bizarro Earth

Canada: Manitoba's ice age

Ice jams wreaked havoc on riverside communities north of Selkirk early yesterday, destroying homes and forcing evacuations.

Rapidly rising flood waters along the Red River forced several residents and emergency responders onto the tops of homes and vehicles to await rescue in Breezy Point and the Rural Municipality of St. Clements.

Butterfly

UK Butterfly Numbers Plunge To New Low

Image
© Jim Asher
Orange Tip Butterfly
Butterfly numbers have fallen to a new low, according to data from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.

British butterflies have been declining steadily for years. The new statistics show that recent wet summers have accelerated these declines. Heavy rain makes it hard for butterflies to survive - they can't fly in the rain and that means they can't reach the nectar they feed on. Rain also reduces breeding success.

The relative absence of breeding during the dire summer of 2007, the wettest on record, impacted seriously on butterfly numbers last year.

The statistics confirm conservationists' fears that 2008 was the poorest summer for butterfly numbers for more than 25 years.

For 12 species 2008 was their worst year since records began in the mid 1970s.

Black Cat

'Super sized lions' roamed UK in ice age

'Super-sized lions' roamed the British Isles as recently as 13,000 years ago, according to an Oxford University study looking at the fossilised remains of the giant creatures.
big cats
© Oxford University
Huge lions once roamed Britain alongside tigers and jaguars. By comparing their skulls, scientists revealed that British lions would have weighed up to 50 stone (317kg) ? the equivalent of a small car ? compared to African lions which weigh up to 39 stone

Previously, scientists had thought prehistoric big cats were more like jaguars or tigers.

However comparisons between the skulls of modern big cats and the fossilised remains of their ancestors revealed the animals found in the British Isles, Europe and North America as recently as 13,000 years ago were more like lions.

Einstein

The New Global Ice Age

Abstract: Pub ID: UNE2069052
At first glance, a research piece predicting significantly colder weather seems rather bold. In reality, we're very confident about this report. That's because we are not so much predicting colder weather, but are instead observing it. More important, we're attempting to coax our readers to view recent weather data and trends with a neutral perspective - unbiased by the constant barrage of misinformation about global warming. We assure you, based on the accuracy of climatologists' long-term (and short-term!) forecasts, you would not even hire them!

For example, in 1923 a Chicago Tribune headline proclaimed: "Scientist says arctic ice will wipe out Canada." By 1952, the New York Times declared "Melting glaciers are the trump card of global warming." In 1974, Time Magazine ran a feature article predicting "Another Ice Age," echoed in a Newsweek article the following year. Clearly, the recent history of climate prediction inspires little confidence - despite its shrillness. Why, then, accept the global warming thesis at face value? Merely because it is so pervasive?

Comment: What is interesting about this report is that it comes from big business. If you want to pay $1295.00 you can download a copy and read it. I guess big business is telling James Hansen and the rest of the Gore-Landers that they are a bunch of liars. Rather than jumping on the Global Warming is going to get us gravy train, these guys are going directly against that money making scheme.

Here is what the source company says about itself:
Unit Economics, LLC

Unit Economics is a Boston-based independent research firm providing large corporations and institutional investors with insightful research on macro themes. Our focus is on themes that are expected to significantly impact our clients' revenues, cost structures, customers and daily business operations. Recent examples include grain markets, natural gas and global cooling trends. We believe that producing cutting-edge research is no accident - it comes only with experience, a commitment to excellence and hard work.



Frog

Irish Frogs Survived Ice Age

Ireland is not known for its wildlife, as much of it was wiped out in the Ice Age. But the single species of frog that lives on the Emerald Isle apparently toughed it out during that extreme climate event while the same type of frog back on the British mainland retreated.

Research by scientists at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Queen Mary, University of London, suggests that so-called common frogs (Rana temporaria) on Ireland survived by hanging out in a small ice-free refuge there, while those in Britain hit the high road.

Red Flag

Global warming may cause ice age: UN scientist blames humans

Last week, the heaviest snowfall since the '90s blanketed the U.K., disrupting bus, rail and air transportation and costing areas like London a cool billion in lost revenue.

Meanwhile, in Australia, a punishing, record drought was worsened by the nation's worst heat wave and worst wildfires, wherein over 400 conflagrations killed over 200 people (and counting), torched a thousand homes and renewed calls for a country with its environmental head up its ass to finally launch its still-hibernating national warning system.

Those who would argue that these are isolated events do so at their own peril. The more time passes, the more both examples of extreme weather resemble two sides of the same fearsome coin known as catastrophic climate change.