date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 11:31:19 -0700
from: "Gary D. Sharp"
subject: Re: Hockey Sticks again
to: Mike MacCracken
To the 'joy' of folks who just don't understand one another's perspectives, I
would suggest that you reread both Doug and Onar's posts, with an added
dimmension to your thinking. What is obvious to those of us who have taken the
time to develope broader historical perspectives, from whatever vantage points,
is the Fact that the recent ten century's records don't hold any major warming
trends until the recent 150-180 years, depending, of course, upon where you
The general idea we historically savvy folk hold is that the recent Warming
trend is ongoing is "Good News". Warm has always been better than Cold for
humanity. Think about it.
The recent millenium held devastaing periods, following the growth supported by
the 5000-3000BC Thermal Max warming period, that led to civilization as we
define it, with agricultural production capable of exceeding subsistence levels.
At the end of that period the entire human population numbered about 100 Million.
The next two millennia were a hodge-podege of Cooling-Warming oscillations,
(glaciers grew and shrank, on a very regular basis) with direct if more often
than not opposite influences on smaller regions, and the societies that they
supported... or not. Note how 'plagues' punctuated each Cooling era, helping to
suppress human expansion...
You can work your way through the next few millennia from that page, and see
what a few Cooling Events bring. It ain't pretty.
The 'outbreak' of European and other civilizations during the Post Medieval Warm
period was not necessarily the best thing thatever happened, for the already
extant cultures, or our support ecosystems. However, it was the result of
declining self-sufficiencies in local food and fish production. The Feudal
System depends upon self-sufficiency, and serfs, both of which became limiting
factors, due to the erratic, but general; cooling/drying trend that began in the
late 12th Century CE, in Europe, but appears to have been in full swing in both
China and the SW NorthAmerican deserts. The longest wet period in Chinese
records ran from 811-1050, follwed by the longest recorded dry spell that lasted
from 1051-1270. Guess who had the plague first, and 'shipped' it west to Europe,
where it leveled the field, starting with those living in closest quarters, port
cities, and country folk. This 'population control' scenario is pretty bleak,
but is more frightening by a long stretch than a few more storms, floods, etc.
About 7 BC, there were only about 250 Million people; in 1700 about 600 million;
and by 1800 only 900 million. Then along comes the slow reversal of a long-term
bad climate trend, and second half of the 19th Century was a classic warming
scenarion - by 1900 we were 1.6 billion.
Only 100 years later we're at 6 Billion. We are soon to have to 'think' for as
many as 10 Billion people.
And you and a few others think sequestering CO2. etc., is a useful focus?
What is wrong with that picture? Somehow, I don't really think that controlling
Greenhouse (bad analogy) Gas emmissions is appropriate focus of modern science
I do think that learning to cope is going to be more difficult, unless someone
can figure out how to 'fuel' the next technological revolution.
That will certainly not come from another GCM effort.
The historically documented alternatives to the somewhat fanciful IPCC Global
Warming scenarios are much worse than increased atmospheric moisture,
intensified increased CO2 for support of plant metabolism, stronger hydrologic
cycles, and El Niño frequency enhancements.
(Remember, what Bill Gray taught us... Those devastating Atlantic and Gulf
hurricanes actually are fewer during ENSO Warm Events.)
Yeah, I know, more energy, more storms, and so on... Right, but no one can
really forecast weather, much less climate, at this point.
The pretense is also misleading the public - taking their attention away from
the real issues. PEOPLE biomass control, and water resource management.
Lets get our minds off the wrong end of the 'Stick' and focus on the puck, and
the real scoreboard!
Gary D. Sharp
Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study
PO Box 2223, Monterey, CA 93940
"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses
to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism
is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin."
Thomas H. Huxley