Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Another of the obscure and fascinating books that I wrote years ago dealt with global climate change. Specifically I posited a mechanism to explain the onset and duration of the Ice Age. It is an elegant and robust theory, if I do say so myself. I'm quite brilliant. Without going into detail, it supposes a rise in ocean temperatures, which increased evaporation and thus precipitation. The same presumed catastrophe that raised ocean temperatures altered the albedo and heat-retaining qualities of the continents, which preserved precipitated water as snowcover. When the oceans cooled, precipitation declined and the ice shields receded. There's more to it, but that's enough. My point is that oceans control the weather.

The NCDC reports that the average US temperature for January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 average." In the first half of February, Toronto enjoyed 70 cm of snowfall, shattering the previous 66.6 record of 58 years ago. China had its coldest winter in a hundred years; in the sultry south, powerlines iced over, broke and could not be repaired.

Last year we were informed that Arctic Sea ice was at its "lowest levels on record." Records have been kept since the distant year of 1972. This year the ice in many places has thickened by 10 to 20 cm over last year's measurements.

Computer modeling that has the oceans cooled by melted icecaps, which then halts the great heat-sharing currents out of the equatorial regions, which then brings in another Ice Age -- such models have just been shown to be wrong by Robert Toggweiler (of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University) and Joellen Russell (assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics, University of Arizona). The importance of northward wind had been missed -- its effect on ocean currents is far larger than that of ice melt in heating the Arctic.

In January, Oleg Sorokhtin, of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, dismissed the idea of anthropogenic climate change as an insignificant factor, siting the far more salient fact that solar activity has entered "an inactive phase." This is corroborated by the National Research Council's Kenneth Tapping, who supervises a massive radio telescope aim on the sun. He maintains that a sustained period of severely cold weather is due, if sunspot activity remains sluggish. Who woulda thunk it -- the sun affects the weather.

Reduced solar activity is the putative cause of the Little Ice Age, from the mid-14th to -19th centuries. It's what killed off the Greenland vikings. It's why there are no more vineyards in England. Based on the clear, irrefutable pattern of the many days and weeks of this current winter, we're in for such an ice age again.

What, I'm overextending the evidence? No I'm not. You are.


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