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Ah, the first day of Spring!
March 21, 2014 - Michael Palmer
This morning, the first day of Spring, it snowed, big flakes of the white stuff covered the ground, my car and the road.
I recall it was 1974, Time magazine proclaimed we were heading for a new Ice Age? In 1977 and 1978 I was convinced they were right. It was cold. This winter has me thinking that theory may be the correct one!
Very few in our area, which is recovering from another record-breaking winter, will support any theories of Global Warming. My problem with the current warnings of climate change is that we are arbitrarily establishing the temperatures and weather conditions over the last 100 or so years as “normal.”
The Earth has been colder, much colder, and this happened before any industrial revolution could factor mankind into the equation as a primary cause. What if that is normal?
I recall the first time I saw a Dutch Masters painting of people skating on the canals during the Little Ice Age. It is generally agreed through research that for the Northern hemisphere and in continental Europe, the Little Ice Age had its beginning in the 13th century.
Prior to this, historical records show that the Vikings had settled and farmed in the south eastern parts of Greenland. Greenland was literally 'green' in the era prior to 1250 AD. Then it became cold, farming communities collapsed and the settlers either withdrew or perished in famines leaving the country to the Inuit and Eskimos who had long since adapted to the harsher.
In North America, American Indians formed leagues in response to food shortages. One researcher noted that, in many years, "snowfall was much heavier than recorded before or since, and the snow lay on the ground for many months longer than it does today.
The weather patterns also shifted in Europe, bringing a lot of rain and this general pattern continued until the 19th century. There period between 1600 and 1850 was the most stable. From 1250 through to 1600, there were brief warm spells, but these were not the normal trend of deep long cold winters and brief hot summers.
It was December 1776, Gen. George Washington was crossing the Delaware River. “Once they made it to the Jersey shore, some boats were left by the chunks of ice and the men had to walk about 150 yards on ice to get to land.”
Anyone who has been to D.C. in December can tell you that is a rare occurrence.
There are several ideas as to what may have triggered this. First among these as that seen in the context of larger 100,000 year cycles, the Earth should be heading into a prolonged ice age as indicated by patterns found in ice cores extending back 800,000 years covering an eight full cycles of roughly 100,000 years each. The last warming meltdown occurred some 12,600 years ago and by now we should be in a cooling trend covering 90,000 years.
However, scientists now speculate that carbon dioxide from modern industrial processes have stopped and/or reversed the trend. That process has been given the name 'global warming' and is said to be changing the climate in a negative fashion.
Since I live in Ohio, I guess I do not find that climate change which is blocking the onset of another ice age is a bad thing. If you live in Florida you have the right to disagree.
Perhaps I will go home and start a fire in my fire place and then empty an aerosol can into the air off my front porch. Don't cast your self righteous stare of protector of the planet on me. After all, we have made many other changes to the environment to make our lives more comfortable. For example: We build dikes, levees and dams to keep natural flooding from destroying our homes. Flooding is perfectly natural - and preventing it might be causing negative changes to the planet.
One of the highlights of this winter for me was, while huddled in my house trying to keep both myself and my pipes from freezing, the news reported that global warming scientists were stranded on ships and had to be rescued out of arctic ice flows while they were on a mission to study the rapidly melting polar ice caps.
Which to me indicates it is fair to say that when it comes to climate change, we clearly don’t have enough information to call the matter settled. There are still too many questions?
What is normal? What ended the last Ice Age? What natural climatic process made Greenland green and habitable? Has there ever been a hole in the Ozone layer before? Will we all end up like George Hamilton - with an absolutely stunning man tan?
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