Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Message of Glacier Bay

ON BOARD GOLDEN PRINCESS SAILING SOUTH  OK, I spoke too soon. The nice well-spoken park ranger that gave us a commentary on Glacier Bay National Park hardly got into politics at all.

So I was able to enjoy Glacier Bay National Park without having to block my ears to avoid hearing global warming propaganda from a well-paid, well-pensioned government shill.

And Glacier Bay doesn't really help the warmist line that well.  It's a 65 mile long fjord fed by glaciers. According to the Park Service map the entire 65 mile fjord was filled with ice 250 years ago, when European navigators first saw it.  A century later in the middle of the 19th century the ice had retreated 30 miles.  Then, at the furthest retreat in 1925, the ice had retreated another 35 miles, turning the whole of Glacier Bay into a fjord.  By 1966 the ice had advanced a mile, and today's glacier termination is still advanced beyond the 1966 line.  Yay global cooling!

So the National Parks map of the Glacier Bay National Park doesn't really help the warmist line that it's the end of the world unless we act now. Because, according to the record of ice advance and retreat over the last two centuries, there really was a Little Ice Age, whatever Michael E. Mann and his Hockey Stick have to say.  When you cruise down the fjord the main thing you think about is the barrenness of the terrain up towards the northern end and what the whole thing would be like if it were filled up with ice again.  You don't think a twink about global warming; you just think about mountains of ice.

You think, in other words, about ice ages, and how the current climate of the world is ice ages followed by interglacials: 100,000 years of glaciers followed by 10,000 years of warming.

Don't forget, the current interglacial is already 12,000 years old, really long in the tooth for an interglacial.

The temptation for climate deniers like me is to hope for a little cooling, just a little to teach the liberals a lesson.  But then I think, No.  A little cooling would probably not be very good for humans, especially humans in less-developed countries.

Warm climate, the warmth of the interglacial, is what allowed the great human flourishing of the last few millennia. It's all very well to yell and scream and say that a couple degrees warming would mean the end of life as we know it.  But the truth is, we don't know. A couple of degrees would obviously change things; it would make some places wetter, some dryer.  It would make some places hotter, and make other places habitable.  But the truth is, we don't know; more research is needed, and even then we couldn't be sure.

Based on current results, here is what we know. We know that government-sponsored scientists built a bunch of computer climate models based on the notion that more CO2 equals hotter climate because CO2 is a greenhouse gas and they tuned their models to recent temperature trends.  Then they predicted future temperatures and their predictions have turned out wrong. We don't know why the predictions turned out wrong.  It could be that the modelers didn't add in the ocean temperature cycles, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecal Oscillation.  Or it could be that the modelers didn't properly model the Tropical Convergence Zone with its daily convection cycle.  Or it could be something completely different.

But it really focuses the mind to cruise down the middle of Glacier Bay, with a thousand feet of milky water beneath you and the glacier-scarred mountains on either side of you.  It makes you think that a degree or two in temperature fluctuation may not be The Big One.  It makes you think that what we should be doing is thinking about adaptation.  How would be adapt if the climate heats up suddenly?  How would be adapt if the climate cooled down suddenly?

Oh yeah. Adaptation. Survival. Natural Selection. Evolution. Darwin. Science, and all that.

Generally speaking, governments are the worst things in the world to predict the future.  The only thing that governments are good at is gathering everyone together in response to an emergency.  But then people do that instinctively because humans are social animals.

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