Monday, February 24, 2014

Ice Age Preview

Stunning Ice-Covered Great Lakes Seen from Space (Photo) | LiveScience:

The picture in the linked article gives a nice visual of  one of the reasons why ice over most of the planet is the standard earth climate (it's white), and the last 7-10K years is a somewhat unusual warm period relative to the last 500K and likely last 3.5 million years.

This link gives a bigger picture with the salient image being:

Note that in this NOAA graph:
  1. The cyclical nature of solar impact on the N hemisphere is shown. Note what is happening to it now. 
  2. The cyclical nature of one of our best proxies for global temp (antarctic ice cores) shows that about 130K years ago the globe was likely close to where we have been in the last 10K years on the warm side. With like 100K years of relatively cold between, being our "normal climate". 
  3. The chart shows that increase in CO2 in roughly 100K cycles is also normal, so we are appear to be where one would expect the next cold cycle to begin. 
I'll admit, I want to see the slip into the next ice age happen. Selfish? I suppose, but the set of people that are around for that event is very select -- you have to have your <100 year lifespan hit a 100K year target. Some may say that I should "care about all the people that will die", but my view is that there is absolutely nothing that we can do to prevent this cycle, it is as natural as birth and death themselves, so it is GOING to happen at some point. Why not in my lifetime?

Certainly my biases are affected by looking at such data in the 70's, when "90% of the scientists" thought were WERE at that point, but it wasn't nearly so politicized.

What we have seen the past couple of years COULD be a harbinger of that slip. The record late spring snow, shivering the last weekend in July with a high failing to reach 60, ice building at both poles, and now cruising toward a record number of below zero nights here in N America with massive snow cover.

The solar cycle is heading down, and it appears that every 100K years it goes especially low. The amount of white in the N hemisphere goes up (as the Great Lakes picture shows) and as that article mentions, that has wider effects -- later spring, cooler summer.

It tends to build on itself, and since our natural climate is NOT "1951-1980", but rather those squiggles you see on the chart between the yellow band anomalies, it is a fairly quick move to cold. We could well be strongly into it in the 30ish years a lucky me would have to still be around.

But I could well be wrong. That chart is just "more data". Even if my theory is correct, we could well be a few thousand years away, since even though the yellow bands are pretty regular, a lot of that ice core data only goes back 500K years, which means THAT yellow band must have been warmer and longer. Data is a cruel thing -- our human perspective and our time perspective in particular is so inappropriate to many aspects of our world, that humility is the primary element of scientific wisdom.

Perhaps "97% of scientists" need a bit of a cool down to recall that overarching fact?

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