Wednesday, October 19, 2005

By Fire or By Ice?

Today I had the opportunity to read The Heat Death of American Dreams. It's an interesting post and like many about global warming tries to make the case for the seriousness of what is happening. Yet amidst all the noise and thunder, the author simply fails to note that the models upon which he bases his expectations have already seriously failed. In other words, the models are highly flawed, yet he bases his sense of urgency on those very flaws.

Now I happen to agree with him that there is a hugely pressing environmental problem staring at us, but in choosing what we can or even if we can do anything about it, it's important for us to get as accurate of a picture about what is going to occur as we can. But since the models used for these predictions are heavily flawed with events occurring now that were not expected for another 90+ years, we need to look elsewhere in order to have some basis for what may occur.

Fortunately, aside from these flawed models used by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we also have the historical record to consult. And also, perhaps fortuitously for the human race, paleo-climatology has begun to actually unravel what has happened to this planet's climate in the more recent past as opposed to the remote past quoted in the article.

In the last 20 years large breakthroughs have been made in understanding The Science of Abrupt Climate Change. Articles about Rapid Climage Change at places like the American Institute of Physics, or The History of Climate Change, or The Discovery of Rapid Climate Change all contribute to the understanding of what happened in the past on this blue planet. And the geologic record is breathtaking.

What we discover as we venture down this avenue of study is that climate has changed suddenly and frequently over the last several hundred thousand years. The changes have occurred within the span of potential human lifetimes and some have been confirmed to have completed whole state changes from warm age to ice age in under 5 years time. So why is this important to us in relation to the fears of heat death on earth due to global warming? Because the evidence is steadily growing that many, if not most of the rapid transitions to ice occurred in relationship to warming events, and further, that those warming events show evidence of high amounts of greenhouse gases.

That is our real problem, based on the evidence. Not death by fire but death by ice. Death by mile thick glaciers extending as far south as Oregon and Ohio. Death by desertification of the central US as it turns to a cold, dry wasteland, destroying our arable farmlands. And what is incredible is that related events, like the weakening of the Gulf current in the Atlantic, the breakup of Antarctic ice shelves, and the melting of the northern polar cap and Greenland are happening at rates that validate the geologic record and not the UN IPCC's model.

Either result, if it occurs, would be catastrophic for mankind. But for me the evidence points to ice, not fire, and that will color my thoughts and decisions going forward into tomorrow.

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