Welcome to the Ice Age? Global Warming vs. Global Cooling

globval warming global coolingGlobal temperature patterns and predictions about warming or cooling are experiencing a sort of schizophrenia lately, with warming enthusiasts suggesting the oceans may rise even more than IPCC predictions, and cooling enthusiasts - supported by the weather - arguing that human-caused emissions are only a small part of the equation, in which the sun's activity (or lack of it, as now) plays the major role.

In the former camp, proponents argue that the earth is indeed warming due to human activity, and cite Arctic ice melting at a record rate as proof. They are backed by scientific evidence, which shows the ice between Canada and Greenland is melting at a rate not seen since the Medieval Warm Period of 800-1200 A.D, when Norse sailors dodged ice floes to arrive in the New World. This warming also occurred during the Late Boreal Period, between 8,000 and 5,000 BP, at a time when humans weren't recording temperature but tree-ring growth was.

Researchers can't agree on how this current melting will affect sea levels worldwide, but scientists at the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University's Center for Climate Systems Research are using data from that period - collected via tree rings, carbon dating and rock formations - to estimate the damages.

Based on the melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which occurred during the Boreal, they have extrapolated that sea levels can rise very rapidly when ice sheets go south, so to speak. Their study, to be published online in Nature Geoscience, suggests that sea levels may rise as much as 8.85 feet per year.

The latter camp, which favors cooling, cites the fact that the winter of 2007-08 was the coolest on record in both the United States and elsewhere. In fact, the entire year so far has been at least one-tenth of a degree cooler than at any time since 2000, a fact which leads global cooling advocates like geophysicist Phil Chapman (an Australian astronaut with NASA) to conclude we may be facing another ice age.

Chapman is quick to note that we are in an extended solar minimum (no spots on the sun) which began in 2005 and has not yet reversed itself, with the exception of a few spots so tiny they can only be seen with a high-powered telescope. In fact, the sun has reached a milestone, namely that an entire month has passed without a visible sunspot, a situation not seen since 1910. Even more significant, the first seven months of the year recorded only three sunspots, with none in August - a decline in activity that has taken astronomers by surprise.

This lack of activity, which has only three precedents over the last 1000 years (the Dalton, Maunder, and Spörer Minimums) have all resulted in rapid cooling. The last, occurring from 1790-1830, was severe enough to earn the title, "Mini Ice Age". If another one were to occur now, with the world already in crisis, the loss of crops would ensure starvation for at least a quarter of earth's inhabitants.

Unfortunately for Chapman and his cohorts, global warming has been trumpeted as the cause du jour for so long and so loudly that the idea has found a certain resonance in the modern psyche. If one believes in anything, it is global warming. Thus, most of the world looks at Chapman and his associates as modern-day Cassandras; an analogy that doesn't quite work, since Cassandra knew her revelations would be rejected. The ice age enthusiasts are dismayed that no one sees the truth of their proclamations. We should be buying firewood, they insist. Instead, we're building dikes.

Their opponents argue that sunspots have little to do with earth's weather, which is dependent on ocean currents. Last winter's chill was, they say, the result of a La Nina in the Pacific Ocean. La Nina is an ocean current that produces unusually cold water temperatures; the temperature is transmitted to global winds that cool the planet, particularly in North America.

Although La Nina is currently inactive, and El Nino has yet to make an appearance, a cool phase in the eastern Pacific Ocean, called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, is still causing cooler temperatures from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest. Here in Minnesota, September 3 finds us wearing sweaters during a 50-degree afternoon. According to Frank Roylance, June and July in Anchorage both averaged 2.5 to 3 degrees below the long-term temperature averages. Fairbanks had a pretty normal June, but after a sizzling July 4th of 85 degrees (same as Baltimore on the same day), the temperatures fell off a cliff. July in Fairbanks averaged 60.6 degrees, almost two degrees below normal. And August is averaging 51.4 degrees, a whopping 7.7 degrees below the long-term norms.

Even so, scientists say 2008 is likely to be the 10th warmest year since 1850, and predict temperatures will go up again as soon as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation cools its heels and El Nino takes up where his sister left off. The last time the PDO shifted into a cool phase was in 1947. And it stayed there until 1976, bringing cooler, cloudier summers.

A new computer model developed by German researchers, reported in the journal Nature, suggests the cooling will counter greenhouse warming. However, temperatures will again be rising quickly by about 2020, they say. Other climate scientists have welcomed the research, saying it may help societies plan better for the future. The key to the new prediction is the natural cycle of ocean temperatures called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which is closely related to the warm currents that bring heat from the tropics to the shores of Europe. The cause of the oscillation is not well understood, but the cycle appears to come round about every 60 to 70 years.

Melting Arctic IceThe Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) is hedging its bets, but says that human activities are changing the composition of earth's atmosphere, creating a burden of gases that will persist for decades, perhaps centuries, and that these gases ‘tend' to warm the planet. To add some spice to that phlegmatic warning, on September 3rd climatologists noted that three Arctic ice shelves are currently either losing mass or adrift in the ocean. NewScientist echoes the warning, and environmental scientist James Lovelock, who created the Gaia Theory - a sort of unified field theory for earth - suggests we may have to engage in planet-wide geoengineering to reverse our mistakes and excesses because warming is proceeding even faster than anticipated. The UK Telegraph added its own sense of alarm by noting that the past decade has been the hottest in 1,300 years, at least in the Northern Hemisphere.

A lot of people are going to be caught unprepared if the next few years grow progressively colder. It may be vindication for Chapman, but for the rest of us, such unexpected cooling will lead to unaffordable heating bills in a world where energy prices are already getting out of hand.

Since we can't all move south, expect a colder world to again divide populations into have and have-nots. This time, the division will occur in developed nations, where the fortunate live south of the 35th parallel and the rest burn their furniture to keep from freezing to death.   

16 comments

If you see any unhelpful comments, please let us know immediately.

brandon (anonymous)

i globe warming lead to a new ice age agina

Written in October 2008

Jeanne Roberts (anonymous)

I don't think it's a question of global warming leading to an ice age, but a dispute whether the planet is warming or cooling. I suspect the truth is in between; overall warming with pockets of cooling as the Arctic melts.

Written in October 2008

Angelos Backus (anonymous)

GLOBAL WARMING or GLOBAL COOLING?

By: Angelos Backus

Only a moron would have an answer!

Most likely it is the same moron that will make the claim that they know which came first: the Chicken or the Egg? all without asking about the role of the rooster!

INTRODUCTION

It is embarrassing to constantly read about or hear educated politicians, news reporters, news commentators, quack scientists, and even a past Vice President of the United States making claims that the planet Earth is undergoing a period of global warming or global cooling. It is especially disturbing when these claims are made without first offering any logical scientific or mathematical evidence. Listening to some of these unsubstantiated statements, I can’t help myself from wondering what century we live in. Is it during the life of Aesop, where we were governing our thoughts by Aesop’s fable The Wind and the Sun or maybe during the eighteenth century and The Caloric Theory?

If this is indeed the twenty-first century, then we must be aware of the historic Brownian Movement and the advancement of Dalton’s molecular and atomic theory, which led to the conciliation that all matter is composed of molecules.

THE PROBLEM

There is one overriding problem now surrounding the global warming/global cooling debate. It is this problem that is arguably causing much of the overwhelming confusion among the public. Simply stated, the central problem is that both the interested and disinterested parties to the debate have no solid or tangible scientific and mathematical understanding of what temperature and heat actually are.

Obviously, most anyone can provide a definition of the words temperature and heat. A normal person would define the word heat as how hot something is or feels. That same person would likely define temperature in mostly the identical way. While those definitions sound logical and correct, they are in fact complete misrepresentations of what temperature and heat are in a scientific and mathematical sense.

Unfortunately, in our society, the social and educational systems do not work to provide their students with the correct understanding of how the living world truly operates. Our societal and educational systems would rather have students memorize a basic and uninvolved definition, and then force this definition to be regurgitated, all for the quest to earn a phony grade. Thus, students are not inspired to actually think what the meanings are behind the words like temperature and heat. Instead, because the teachers, school faculty, and politicians are more concerned with making money, they push students through school as quickly and as easily as possible.

The result stemming from having our educational and societal systems push students through school, is that students do not gain a true understanding of what the school subject matter actually is. More importantly, these corrupted systems fail to allow students to understand the true meanings and workings of the world in which they live. As already stated, the system would rather have students memorize a definition rather than allowing the students to discover and understand what the defined word actually is and what the defined word actually does. In plain terms, it is like putting the cart before the horse.

This lack of actual knowledge is a perpetuating problem and one that has contributed immensely to the many prevalent misconceptions surrounding the global warming/global cooling debate. Most of the scientists, politicians, professors, and reporters discussing this environmental debate are victims of our societal shortcomings. These experts are causing undue panic and confusion all over the world and are doing so in a reckless manner. These parties need to seek clarification on the subjects they are speaking of because MOST OF THEM HAVE NO TRUE UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT!

WHAT HEAT AND TEMPERATURE REALLY MEAN

Temperature is the word that describes the method by which we can measure the height of a form of energy, but not the amount of that energy. The interesting fact about heat is that it is never fixed in any one particular form. Additionally, heat is always in a constant state of motion as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere from the Sun, as it leaves the Earth on its way to outer space, and as it changes the state of existing matter on Earth. Heat also is constantly moving when it is being converted to another form of energy, such as water vapor or plant and animal cell material.

Heat in transit is known as sensible heat and is heat that can be detected by the temperature method of thermometer measurement. However, because the Earth is round and rotates on its axis at an incredible speed, there is a constant potential difference of temperature level at all times. Therefore, heat is directed in every possible direction in an attempt for it to reach one constant level. This characteristic of heat is what contributes to the formation of rain, snow, or hail (sublimation) due to the voids of equal heat levels existing throughout the atmosphere. Like the changing levels of ocean tides and waves, the heat levels are constantly changing.

In addition, how in the name of science can anyone make a determination whether the Earth is gaining heat or losing heat by the use of a thermometer (temperature scale) reading? How is it possible to obtain the Earth’s heat content by measuring the height of sensible (unused) heat, where the Earth’s heat content is converted into latent heat and cannot be read by a temperature (thermometer) scale!

The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 136 degrees Fahrenheit in Al Aziziyah, Libya on September 13, 1922. The second-highest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, California in 1913. Does that mean that the Moon is hotter than the Earth? Certainly not, for the Moon ranges from daytime highs of about 265 degrees Fahrenheit to nighttime lows of about -170 degrees Fahrenheit.

UNPROVEN THEORIES

Many unproven theories surround this debate. One such unproven theory involves the existence of man-made gases in the Earth’s atmosphere (vapor state). It is forgotten that gases are unstable vapors and the slightest change of the latent heat will cause a change in state. In turn, this change will cause the gases to return to liquid form. Moreover, our modern society is causing heat transmission from the Sun to be slowed down or reflected back to space. The overall result stemming from the potential difference of heat between the Sun and the Earth is that engineered gases will slow down the movement of heat in our atmosphere. Therefore, with the movement of heat being restricted, the existence of a long-term global cooling theory can be supported as existing in our atmosphere.

This theory of global cooling becomes clearly probable when analyzing the physical actions using a simple visual demonstration. Imagine a bucket that is placed under a flow of running water. Now imagine that a water-deflector is placed in between the water source and the bucket. Do we know what the ratio of gains and losses will be as a result of potential difference of intensity between Object One and Object Two (i.e., Sun to Earth)?

And as in another example, the Ocean’s level in relation to the polar ice caps. If we use a glass pitcher with water and on the outside of the pitcher mark the water level with a marker, then place an uncracked raw egg in that water. We will quickly see that the water level has risen! The egg will be 90% immersed in the water, only about 10% of the egg will be above the water level, similar to that if a piece of ice was put in water. After the water level in the pitcher with the egg has equalized, we will now put a mark at that level. If we break the egg and drop the total substance of the egg in the pitcher, what will the water level be now?

CONCLUSION

To those who advocate the theories of either global warming or global cooling, on what did they base their conclusions and viewpoints? What evidence have they found after thoroughly investigating the critical subjects and concepts I have outlined below?

It must be understood that no substantive conclusions surrounding this debate can be reached without first determining the answers to the following questions:

What exactly is matter?

What is energy?

What is the basic energy on Earth?

What is the name of the Earth’s basic energy?

What are the sources of basic energy?

Why are all other forms of energy derived from the basic energy?

What effect does basic energy have on matter?

What is sensible heat?

What is latent heat?

What is specific heat?

What is super heat?

What is subcooling?

What is saturation?

What is the first conservation law of thermodynamics?

What is the second conservation law of thermodynamics?

What are the effects of potential difference?

What are the three methods of heat movement?

What are the three states of matter?

What influences the three states of matter?

What is Absolute Zero?

What effect does the level Absolute Zero have on matter?

How do we measure the quantity of heat energy?

How do we measure the level (intensity) of heat?

Which form of energy do we use as a standard to measure the specific heat of all forms of energy?

What is Temperature, and what does it represent?

What are the differences between the concepts of heat and temperature?

What is diffusion?

What percentage of the Earth’s waters make up the polar ice caps?

What effect does the weight of the polar ice caps have on the level of the Earth’s oceans?

What percentage of the polar ice caps is part of the ocean levels?

What happens to the ocean levels when the polar ice caps melt, and their weight decreases?

What percentage of land erosion is deposited in the oceans daily?

What effect does the daily land erosion of the Earth have on the oceans’ level?

What percentage of the total Earth contents as in solid, liquid, and vapor states 50 years ago?

What changes have occurred in the Earth’s states 50 years later?

What was the Earth’s vapor state diameter 50 years ago? What is it 50 years later?

What was the atmospheric pressure at ground level 50 years ago? What is it 50 years later?

How many total units of heat energy are required to be converted into latent heat from the creation of one cubic foot of rain, and how many for the creation of a cubic foot of snow?

How many tons of latent heat did the planet Earth contain 50 years ago? How many 50 years later?

How much of the Earth’s totals latent heat was distributed among the solid, liquid, and vapor states of the Earth 50 years ago? How does this vary 50 years later?

These are only a few of the subjects and concepts that need to be thoroughly investigated. These alone cannot determine the loss or gain of heat content on Earth. Many other questions also need to be investigated before a conclusion can be drawn. That is the reason to keep politics and ignorance out of the debate, so the scientific body can do its work without any undue pressure.


Written in December 2009

Stephanie (anonymous)

Thank you for some sanity and balance. It seems to me that this 'Global Warming' hysteria is driven by egos, the making fortunes and gathering of taxes and is accepted by the massess via some sort of primitive induced 'chicken little' panic. Sure we must respect and look after this wonderful planet we depend on for life but to believe that we can control fluctuations in temperature that have been occurring for millions of years is arrogant in the extreme.

Written in January 2010

Jeanne Roberts (anonymous)

Thank you, Stephanie, for your insightful comment. Yes, believing we can alter the climate's temperature may be arrogant, but I'm suspending judgment until all the evidence is in.

Written in January 2010

Paisley (anonymous)

Well i think this whole global warming or global cooling is a hoax because first of all the government is going to need some way to pay these dumb scientists to think of another reason to get money so i think its rediculous stop stealing our money because somebody cant give us the reasons why we are going through "global warming"

Written in January 2010

Jeanne Roberts (anonymous)

Your sentiments are shared by a number of people, who think global warming is a scam to tax the middle class yet again. A scam would in fact be the best possible scenario. Real warming will limit our ability to grow food, as a species, and cause the deaths of millions, if not from starvation then from drought, flood and other climate disasters. You, and other deniers, will be victims just as surely as the believers.

Written in February 2010

Paisley (anonymous)

thank you do you have an answer for me on this one what are three effects it has on man

Written in February 2010

Jeanne Roberts (anonymous)

Yes. Climate changes causes drought. Less food, and less potable water (that's two). Drought also causes fire, which kills people and leaves others homeless. That's just drought, mind you: we haven't even got into flooding, rising oceans, ocean acidification, acid rain, extreme weather, and unpredictable growing seasons.

Written in February 2010

gurses (anonymous)

question is not the warming or cooling itself. question is marketing sector. the sector markets goods and services using an unethical methods: threaten, panic, alarm...

Written in April 2010

Garrett (anonymous)

the facts may be completely wrong but it is true that we need to clean up a little bit. I dont buy global warming or cooling but it is true that we arent treating this planet as we should be. Am i right or just stupid?

Written in April 2010

Jeanne Roberts (anonymous)

You are right, Garrett. Warming or cooling, the earth is certainly more polluted than it has ever been, thanks to our activities.

Written in April 2010

Vijay Markandewar (anonymous)

Accelerated progress for no actual need of it,is navigating the planet on titanic track.we are slating bleak future by our selfish activities.

Written in December 2010

I couldn't agree more, Vijay. As my father used to say, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it."

Written in December 2010

Marcus (anonymous)

I'm working on a project for school on global warming/ cooling. This was very helpful!
Thanks!

Written in March 2011

Jeanne Roberts (anonymous)

You are welcome, Marcus.

Written in March 2011

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