One of the most prescient indicators clearly shows it, namely the Danish Meteorological Institute’s daily mean temperatures for the Arctic area north of the 80th northern parallel. They have been measured for over 50 years which shows a long-term average of 90 days with the air temperature above freezing.
The Year 2013
The year 2013 has seen a dramatic departure from that routine. In 2013, the summer (above freezing temperatures) lasted for only 45 days, one half of the average number of days. Not only did the frost-free days start much later than on average this year, they also ended much earlier, see the figure below. In fact, the frost-free period seen this year was significantly shorter than in other year since 1958, when the recordings began.
The new data corroborate other findings of no global warming for the last 18 years. In fact, not a single of the 20-plus climate prediction models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) even shows the recent temperature developments as within their model uncertainties. It begs the question: Is another ice age imminent?
Climate at the Poles
The climate at the earth’s poles is quite different from that at mid-latitudes or near the equator. To begin with, at the poles, the lengths of day and night vary with the seasons. At the earth’s equator, day and night periods are ALWAYS equal, 12 hours exactly. In contrast, near the poles, day and night periods vary from 24-hour sunshine in summer to 24-hour darkness in the depth of winter.
The Arctic winter temperatures average around MINUS 30 °C (MINUS 35 °F) but it can get much colder than that. If nature so wants it, that kind of cold weather can slide down to cover half of the North American continent; even in Minnesota, winter temperatures can reach MINUS 60 °F!
The Arctic summer period extends from mid-June to mid-September. Above the Arctic Circle (latitude 66° N) summer days are longer than the nights and vice versa in winter. At even higher latitude, above 80° N, there is 24-hour sunshine for a few weeks around summer and total darkness at winter solstice. Needless to say, any visitors to such areas prefer to come in mid-summer.
Old Man Frost
Old Man Frost also known as “Father Frost” is a fictional character in Russian folklore, reminiscent of Santa Claus. Though fictional, the character provides the quintessential basis for understanding the country’s psyche: Much of the landscape is frozen for a long time each year. The brief summer periods do not change that fact and various armies’ intent on conquering the land have learned such with great pain and defeat.
Permafrost (defined as soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years) covers much of Russia’s tundra and taiga regions, just like on this continent. Even today, well preserved woolly mammoth bodies are found in Siberia from time to time—thanks to permafrost. These relatives of modern day elephants died out approximately 4,500 years ago. You may think of the area as a giant freezer—entirely natural.
The world has experienced a number of “ice ages.” Those were times when large parts of the North American and Eurasian continents were covered by a thick layer of ice, mostly one to two miles high. All that ice melted and began to disappear 20,000 years ago. By about 5,000 years ago, the ice was mostly gone and, since then, we are enjoying an “interglacial period.” Such interglacial periods of “global warming” (also known as “climate change”) had nothing to do with changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. If there is any credible correlation at all, it shows the rise of CO2 levels lagging the rise in temperatures by 1,000 years or so.
All indications are that in the past such interglacial periods have ended quite suddenly; on a geological time scale “overnight.” As Robert W. Felix describes eloquently in his book Not by Fire but by Ice, massive snowfalls entrapped and killed the mammoths and everything else around them. There was no route of escape.
The question now is solely “when, not if” the current interglacial period will come to a sudden end. Nature had an earlier attempt at it when, in the mid-1600’s, the world experienced a cold spell lasting some 60 years which is now commonly known as the medieval “Little Ice Age.” That period coincided with the “Maunder Minimum,” an unusual low number of sunspots through several sunspot cycles. Guess what? Current predictions are once again for several decades of low counts of sunspots.
Though the sunspots are affecting the radiation received from the sun, they are not the only thing affecting our climate. Much closer to home, there are thousands of volcanos and volcanic vents spewing volcanic ash and gases into the atmosphere.
Volcanic Ash & Gas
Massive volcanic eruptions on earth have had severe consequences in the earth’s past, none good. Apart from the areas in the immediate vicinity which were incinerated and buried by lava flows, forceful eruptions can blast large amounts of ash high up into the atmosphere. It can stay aloft for many months and reduces the amount of sunshine received at the surface. Such events happened repeatedly in recorded history and are also known from geological records. Ian Plimer, in his book Heaven and Earth describes it well in the chapter One volcano can ruin your day.
While massive eruptions are rare, there are active volcanoes and thousands of vents all along the earth’s 40,000+ miles of tectonic rifts. Nearly all volcanoes are constantly emitting gas with carbon dioxide making up the bulk of it, but it is not the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which determines the climate. If carbon dioxide has any effect on the climate at all, it provides a moderating and cooling effect, not a warm blanket effect. The widely claimed “greenhouse gas” theory is bunk.
End of the Interglacial?
The question as to the end of the current interglacial period has been asked repeatedly. The short answer is: Nobody knows when it will come about. It could happen tomorrow, or a thousand or more years from now.
Given the time horizons of the earth’s age (currently estimated at 4,500,000,000 years) and geological time frames in general, a period of 1,000 years does not even count as a “rounding error.”
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, many politicians still ride the “global warming” bandwagon. Presidents, prime ministers, chancellors and other world leaders still claim that the earth is in a run-away warming phase and push their anti-carbon dioxide alternative energy schemes. In reality though, the earth’s climate is largely controlled by solar radiation, volcanism on earth, and the hydrological cycling of water between solid, liquid and vapor states.
From the actual temperature observations to the ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic and to the sunspot cycles, they all point into the opposite direction. How long will it take for the politicians and bureaucrats to wake up?
You may not have time to wait for that. Better get your woollies now.
Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser has authored nearly 200 publications in scientific journals, government and national and international agency reports, books, trade magazines, and newspapers. He has been president of the Intl. Association for Great Lakes Research, and is a recipient of the Intl. QSAR Award. He is currently Director of Research of TerraBase Inc., and is a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada.
Dr. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts, and is widely recognized for his expertise in environmental chemistry and his “no-nonsense” approach to issues.