Global Warming Prelude To New Ice Age?
“The trouble with most folks ain’t so much their ignorance, as knowing so much that ain’t so.”
Philosopher Henry Wheeler Shaw – a.k.a. Josh Billings – in 1880 seems to have anticipated Al Gore, former vice-president and presidential candidate.
Gore has refurbished his climate spook show for another stab at the brass ring. Friendly media say he wows Hollywood and tree huggers. Maybe, but respected scientists replace politics with facts.
Robert Essenhigh, professor of Energy Conservation at Ohio State University says, “Global warming is a natural geological process that could begin to reverse itself within 10 to 20 years.”
He expands his premise in the current issue of “Chemical Innovation” published by the American Chemical Society: “Many blame global warming on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels in automobiles and power plants.
“People fail to account for the much greater amount of carbon dioxide that enters and leaves the atmosphere in the natural cycle of water exchange from – and back into – the sea and vegetation.”
“Many scientists have vastly underestimated the significance of water in the atmosphere as a radiation-absorbing gas,” states Essenhigh.
Essenhigh blames a 1977 report on carbon dioxide levels by the National Academy of Sciences that identified water as a “vapor” of too little concentration to affect global warming.
For his hypothesis, Essenhigh examined measurements of ocean evaporation, man-made sources of carbon dioxide and global temperature data for the last million years.
He cites a 1995 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by the United Nations Environment Program to assess human-induced climate change. It found that 90 billion tons of carbon – as carbon dioxide – annually circulate between the earth’s oceans and the atmosphere. Another 60-billion tons exchange between vegetation and the atmosphere.
Conclusion: “Compared to man-made emissions of 5 to 6 billion tons per year, natural sources account for more than 95 percent of all atmospheric carbon dioxide.”
Thus, atmospheric carbon dioxide is an “indicator” or rising temperatures – not the “cause.” Eissenhigh attributes the reported rise in temperatures to a natural cycle of warming and cooling.
He examined data that Cambridge University biologists Shackleton and Opdyke reported in 1973. They found global temperatures have oscillated – with an average less than one degree rising gradually over the last million years. The 100-year oscillations varied 5 to 10 degrees,
Concludes Essenhigh: “Today, we are simply near a peak in the current cycle that started about 25,000 years ago with retreat of the last ice age.” He says the Arctic Ocean acts as a giant temperature regulator.
“When the Arctic Ocean is frozen over, as it is today, it prevents evaporation of water that would otherwise escape to the atmosphere and then return as snow. When there is less snow, the cap may start to shrink – as it is doing today.
“Once enough water is available by evaporation from the ocean, snows begin to replenish the ice cap. As Arctic ice expands, global temperature starts to reverse, and the earth can start re-entry to a new ice age. Essenhigh estimates Earth may reach a peak in the current temperature profile within the next 10 to 20 years.
Human history supports the fluctuating cold and warm periods between tropical and ice-age periods. The Medieval Warm Period 1000 to 1200 – when Vikings farmed Iceland and Greenland – was followed by the Little Ice Age. During that time, farming and herding on Iceland nearly ceased for lack of vegetation. Relief ships could not penetrate the frozen sea there and most inhabitants starved to death.
Scientists acknowledge that many factors contribute to earth warming and cooling. Chief among them are fluctuating heat output by the Sun, changing continental positions and small changes in Earth’s orbit.
The Max Planck Institute reported in the January issue of “Nature” that trees and other plants emit 10 to 30 percent of global methane into the atmosphere.
Until we better understand these phenomena, we don’t need Chicken Little Gore running around screaming the sky is falling.
Josh Billings reminds us; “As scarce as truth is, the supply always seems to be in excess of demand.”
May 28, 2006
Lindsey Williams is a Sun columnist who can be contacted at:
Website: http://www.lindseywilliams.org with several hundred of Lin’s Editorial & At Large articles written over 40 years.
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