The Big Meltdown

While browsing the daily posts on The Motley Fool, I had this tossed at me:

And you thought Day After Tomorrow was BS

Mother Earth is not happy, see

“Just a decade ago we glaciologists were talking about gradual changes in glaciers taking place over centuries. Now we’re seeing things that we didn’t think glaciers could do in terms of their speed of response.”

They were citing this article:

The Big Meltdown
Something’s Happening at both Poles

by Colin Woodard

When Antarctica’s Larsen-B ice shelf—a 10,000-year-old, 650-foot thick expanse of floating ice the size of Rhode Island—collapsed three years ago, Pedro Skvarca had a front-row seat. With the Antarctic Peninsula being swept by an unprecedented summer heat wave in February 2002, Skvarca, a glaciologist with the Argentine Antarctic Institute, jumped in a rugged twin-engine turboprop and flew off from his Antarctic research station to inspect the cliff-like seaward edge of the remote ice shelf.

This is the usual tripe that gets tossed at anyone that questions man’s contributions to Earth’s changing environment.  Now, the question I had ( which hasn’t been, and most likely won’t be answered ), is, where was the Larsen-B ice shelf 10,001 years ago?  Was Earth totally uninhabtiable before then?  Let’s do a little look-see to find out what scientists think was happening 10,001 years ago.  Shall we?

As far as man is concerned, in the “modern” sense, this is what he was doing durign that period:

From 30 000 years ago up until this present day, our own species has exhibited the most advantageous characteristics to adapt and manipulate our environment. The skills accumulated over many generations of our species and continued favouring of advantageous characteristics via natural selection inevitably meant that our species would evolve beyond all recognition in comparison to the other species of the planet.

From this point, the species and its component skills managed to colonise all the main continents of today’s world, bar Antarctica, which still presented conditions unbearable to the species and the technology of the time.

However, more complex tools were being developed, and that has continued over the period of time where we have successfully monitored historical events in our human race.

At this point, human history in the abstract manner truly begins.

Man didn’t die out, nor did any of his predecessors during that period.

The last decade has also seen an intensified focus on the processes by which variable tectonic activity may have influenced climate of the last several million years. Building on earlier work Hahn and Manabe,1975, recent climate model experiments have illustrated how the development of expansive mountain belts and high plateaus can impact climate both regionally and globally; Ruddiman and Kutzbach, 1989; Broccoli and Manabe, 1992]. Prell and Kutzbach [1992] used a series of model experiments, along with paleoclimatic observations, to suggest that the development of the Tibetan Plateau was the prime factor behind the development of a strong Asian monsoon system. More controversially, several workers have gone further to refine how variations in tectonic activity could influence the carbon dioxide content of the earth, and hence the long-term radiative affects of this trace-gas species on the Earth’s climate [ Molnar and England, 1990; Rea et al., 1990; Raymo and Ruddiman, 1992; Kerrick and Caldeira, 1994].

Tectonically-driven changes in climate are not likely in the next few centuries, but the past influences of orography, atmospheric greenhouse gases, paleogeography, and ocean-circulation changes must still be unraveled before the record of pre-Quaternary “extreme” climate states can be used to its fullest extent for testing the sensitivity of predictive climate models. Paleoclimatic model validation will be discussed below. A key point for this section, however, is that the details of climatic forcing and boundary condition configuration get progressively more uncertain with increasing geologic age [ Crowley and North, 1991; Rind, 1992; Crowley, 1993].

In other words, the Earth is ever-changing and ever-evolving.  This has been the crux of my belief the entire time.  A change in the Earth’s climate is rarely the effect of Man.  Major changes in the Earth’s climate have been documented throughout the history of man, and history that predates Man.  That’s why citing ecological events such as the Larsen-B meltdown is meaningless to me in the debate over global warming.  In the nearly one hundred million years of Earth’s “known” existence, something 10,000 years old is a just blip on the history scale.  As dramatic as the Larsen-B meltdown is, it’s a natural event with more evidence supporting it being a natural event than a man-made event.

The desperate attempts of politically motivated global warmists just annoys me.  Man is contributing to problems with the Earth’s ecology.  No one denies that.  What annoys people like me is people taking every single incident and saying it’s man’s fault and could have been prevented.  We are not gods.  The Earth is going to do what the Earth is going to do.  What we have to do is understand how Man needs to adjust when the Earth does what it will do.  Rather than wasting all our time arguing over whether or not a huge glacier melting is the fault of man, spend that time and resources exploring how that event will realistically affect Man and what we need to do to adjust.  We are burning cleaner fuels.  We are exploring even cleaner energy sources.  That is realistically all we can do.

And yeah, I thought The Day After Tomorrow was BS.

  • I posted that over 12 years ago. In the last day or two the headlines have been about an ice shelf the size of Delaware breaking off. Odd thing is, the caps are still there. How can that be if state sized chunks keep breaking off? According to the Day After Tomorrow aka An Inconvenient Truth, they should be completely gone by now anyway, and the polar bears completely extinct. Neither has happened. What could have possibly gone wrong?