Sane People in Some of the Strangest Places

Following is the post I wrote this morning before I read Meneltarma and his much more robust post Sanity at Western? which includes a link to this NY Times piece.

A very sane comment yesterday, from a seemingly sane person said that if we look hard enough we can find sane people in some of the strangest places. In this case the sane person is Professor Don Easterbrook and the strangest place is our own WWU. He presented a paper refuting the role that CO2 plays as a major contributor to the Gore model of human induced global warming. I don’t know if it is published yet, but he says it is coming soon as a pdf for download. Should be an interesting read. Thanks to the vastness of cyberspace and someone named Val, I did find an abstract from Professor Easterbrooks presentation complete with Val’s interpretive comments in caps.

Alright boys, a few weeks ago I went to the Geological Society of America’s anual meeting. At the meeting one of the world’s leading experts on global warming (Don Easterbrook — go on, you know you want to google him) gave a talk on some of his new findings. Below you will find his abstract and in caps will be my clarifications for those of you who have no idea what the hell Younger Dryas means.

THE CAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING AND PREDICTIONS FOR THE COMING CENTURY
EASTERBROOK, Don J., Dept. of Geology, Western Washington Univ, Bellingham, WA

At least five abrupt, global climate changes of 4-15° C in the past 16,000 years have implications for understanding present–day global warming:

(1) the end of the last glacial maximum (~16,000 yrs. ago),

(2) the onset of the Younger Dryas (A COLD EPISODE THAT IS THOUGHT TO HAVE OCCURRED AS THE RESULT OF MELTING OF A LARGE ICE SHEET THAT COVERED THE NORTHEASTERN US AND PARTS OF CANADA — KNOWN AS THE LAURENTIDE ICE SHEET — AND RATHER THAN DRAINING DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER, IT WENT TO THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER WHICH FLOODED THE NORTH ATLANTIC CAUSING SALINITY TO GO DOWN THUS CAUSING NORTH ATLANTIC DEEP WATER PRODUCTION TO SHUT DOWN) (~12,700 yrs. ago),

(3) the end of the Younger Dryas (~11,500 yrs. ago),

(4) in the early Holocene (~8,200 yrs. ago), and

(5) during the Little Ice Age (A MINOR WORLD WIDE COLD PERIOD BUT NOT A FULL ON ICE AGE — HENCE THE NAME) (~1600–1850 AD).

Climatic models that predict soaring of global temperatures in the coming century as a result of increased atmospheric CO2, do not incorporate such geologic data. GISP2 (GREENLAND ICE SHEET PROJECT #2)ice cores show that late Pleistocene, abrupt, temperature fluctuations of 8–12° C occurred in only 20–100 years. The GISP2 ice core suggests warming of ~7° C in about a decade at the end of the Younger Dryas. These changes, 10 orders of magnitude greater than the 0.8° C global temperate of the past century, were clearly not caused by changes in atmospheric CO2 (READ THAT LAST PART AGAIN). During these climatic changes, 10Be and 14C production rates varied, suggesting a connection between global climate changes and solar variation. Global warming over the past century has not been constant–glaciers in the Cascade Range show distinct oscillations having a period of ~30 years, dating back to about 1790 AD. Glaciers advanced from about 1890–1920, retreated rapidly from ~1925 to ~1945, readvanced from ~1945 to ~1977, and have been retreating since the present warm cycle began in 1977. Comparable, cyclical, climatic fluctuations occurred in the North Pacific (PDO), the North Atlantic (NAO), Europe, and Greenland.

Because the warming periods in these oscillations occurred well before atmospheric CO2 began to rise rapidly in the 1940s, they could not have been caused by increased atmospheric CO2, and global warming since 1900 could well have happened without any effect of CO2 (READ THAT PART AGAIN TOO). If the cycles continue as in the past, the current warm cycle should end soon and global temperatures should cool slightly until about 2035, then warm about 0.5° C from ~2035 to ~2065, and cool slightly until 2100. The total increase in global warming for the century should be ~0.3 ° C, rather than the catastrophic warming of 3-6° C (4-11° F) predicted by the IPCC.

So, basically he is saying that increasing levels of CO2 are not the cause of global warming, but rather solar variations in the production of 10Be and 14C. Also, he showed some very interesting graphs to support this, but since the work isn’t published yet, I don’t have those to show you.

Also, Kevin said that global warming trends may be due to geological or astronomical cycles. It’s called Milankovich Theory, which is a way to try and explain why the Earth goes in and out of glacial periods based on the Earth’s orbital parameters. Just to be complete the Earth’s orbital parameters are eccentricity which are variations in the shape of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, the tilt of the Earth’s axis and variations in the Earth’s procession (how it rotates about its axis). All of these parameters are theorized (with some damn good evidence) to vary at regular intervals, but of course they don’t vary at the same interval which makes things a lot harder.

I hope this gives you all something to think about. And if you want more, I’m sure I can dig up more.

-Val

I do look forward to the actual paper. This is all so right on with what you get from reading real science books rather than Former Vice President Gore’s new political science.