I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Climate Change and Ignorance

The Headline reads:
Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age
Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.
There are a number of problems with this article all based on ignorance. Let's start with the first paragraph: "Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966". This could actually be seen as a sign of Global Warming. When we talk about Global Warming we are not talking about the entire planet becoming tropical. Places that are really cold become less cold but they are still really cold. The result is more snow because the warmer the air the more water vapor it holds - the more water vapor the more snow.

And now for the second and third paragraphs. Global warming does not even mean it gets warmer everywhere. The machine that is the earth's climate is very complex and when the average temperature rises it can result in some areas becoming much colder. I covered this three years ago and I will repeat that post below:

Saturday, December 04, 2004
When Global Warming Makes it Cold

Researchers have found the first real evidence that eight thousand years ago the earth warmed up and much of the Northern Hemisphere got really cold really fast. The idea of rapid climate change is not new. The Department of Defense's Office of Net Assessment has issued a report on the geo-political dangers of rapid climate change and The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute has a good explanation of the mechanism responsible for Abrupt Climate Change
The equatorial sun warms the ocean surface and enhances evaporation in the tropics. This leaves the tropical ocean saltier. The Gulf Stream, a limb of the Ocean Conveyor, carries an enormous volume of heat-laden, salty water up the East Coast of the United States, and then northeast toward Europe.

This oceanic heat pump is an important mechanism for reducing equator-to-pole temperature differences. It moderates Earth's climate, particularly in the North Atlantic region. Conveyor circulation increases the northward transport of warmer waters in the Gulf Stream by about 50 percent. At colder northern latitudes, the ocean releases this heat to the atmosphere-especially in winter when the atmosphere is colder than the ocean and ocean-atmosphere temperature gradients increase. The Conveyor warms North Atlantic regions by as much as 5° Celsius and significantly tempers average winter temperatures.

But records of past climates' from a variety of sources such as deep-sea sediments and ice-sheet cores' show that the Conveyor has slowed and shut down several times in the past. This shutdown curtailed heat delivery to the North Atlantic and caused substantial cooling throughout the region.
The diminishing or shut down of this global heat pump happens rapidly and although it's effects can be seen in just a few years they can last over a century.

The DOD report paints a very nasty picture of the geo-political implications of a sudden climate change.
"Imagine eastern European countries, struggling to feed their populations with a falling supply of food, water and energy, eyeing Russia, whose population is already in decline, for access to its grains, minerals and energy supply. Or, picture Japan, suffering from flooding along its coastal cities and contamination of its fresh water supply, eyeing Russia's Sakhalin Island oil and gas reserves as an energy source. ... Envision Pakistan, India, and China - all armed with nuclear weapons -skirmishing at their borders over refugees, access to shared rivers, and arable land."

Military showdowns could be fast and furious, the report speculates: In 2015, conflict in Europe over supplies of food and water leads to strained relations. In 2022, France and Germany battle over the Rhine River's water. The U.S. Defense Department seals off America's borders to stanch floods of refugees from Mexico and the Caribbean. In 2025, as energy costs increase in nations struggling to cope with warmer and colder weather, the United States and China square off over access to Saudi Arabian oil.

America would weather the climate changes best, albeit with declining agricultural fertility, according to the report. Europe would be hit hard with food shortages and streams of people leaving. China would be hurt by colder winters and hotter summers triggering widespread famine.