High Arctic warming surpasses Viking era, study shows

OSLO Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:04pm EDT

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OSLO (Reuters) - Temperatures high in the Norwegian Arctic are above those in a natural warm period in Viking times, underscoring a thaw opening the region to everything from oil exploration to shipping, scientists said on Thursday.

Last week, sea ice on the Arctic Ocean set a record low since satellite observations began in the 1970s. In recent years, mussels have been found off the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard for the first time since the Viking era 1,000 years ago.

The study showed that summertime temperatures on Svalbard were higher now than at any time in the past 1,800 years, including in the Medieval Warm Period from 950 to 1200, scientists wrote in the journal Geology.

Summer temperatures were 2 to 2.5 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 4.5 F) higher since 1987 than during the Medieval Warm Period, lead author William D'Andrea, a climate scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told Reuters.

People sceptical that mankind is the main cause of global warming sometimes point to the Medieval spike in temperatures as evidence that natural variations can bring large climate swings, Columbia wrote in a statement.

"The warming of the past 25 years or so is more than in this record for the Medieval period," D'Andrea said. The Medieval warming has been linked to shifts in solar output and volcanic eruptions.

"It has been pretty well established...that the modern warming is largely due to human contributions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere," D'Andrea added.

The data also indicated that the Medieval warming was not uniform across the northern Hemisphere. Studies in Greenland and parts of North America show temperatures were warmer from 950 to 1250 than today.

In Svalbard, the scientists studied sediments of algae buried in Kongressvatnet Lake that left indications of temperatures in the types of fats they laid down.

The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the globe due to emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, according to a U.N. panel of scientists.

When white ice and snow retreat, they uncover water or ground that are darker and so soak up more heat. The melt is threatening the hunting lifestyles of indigenous peoples and creatures such as polar bears, the Arctic Council says.

It is also making the region more accessible to oil exploration by companies such as Shell or Statoil and opening up areas for mining and for shipping across the Arctic Ocean.

(Reporting By Alister Doyle; Editing by Jason Webb)

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Comments (3)
IntoTheTardis wrote:
I can’t wait to try that new Cabernet coming out of Norway. I hear its to die for.

Sep 29, 2012 9:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Gordon2352 wrote:
When are “environmentalists” going to understand that long term climate change is mostly driven by continental drift — the same force that builds mountain ranges, including the Himalayas and the Pacific Ocean “Ring of Fire” that is responsible for much of the current volcanic activity today.

The “inconvenient truth” is that the earth is presently far below its normal average temperature range and there is precious little man, in spite of his arrogance, can do to stop the apparent warming up of the earth after one of its rare ice ages.

I like the “scenery” too, but the two polar ice caps and mountain glaciers are ABNORMAL — as well as the creatures who have exploited this temporary niche, such as the Polar Bear and Penguins.

The truth is that continental drift is responsible for ALL the long-term weather anomalies we see today. The short-term changes are driven mainly by sunspot activity, of which there is ample evidence in the weather records of the past.

If you correlate the changes in location of the continents from their original location AT THE SOUTH POLE when Pangaea — see “http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Pangaea_continents.svg&page=1 for a graphic of Pangaea before it began to rift apart 200 million years ago — you will quickly see the whole long term weather of the earth has been affected by continental drift to their present positions today.

This is mainly been by forcing significant changes in ocean currents that allowed an even distribution of temperatures before the present configuration of continents caused the current ice age.

The “average” temperature of the earth would be more comfortable for dinosaurs, for example, which is one reason they flourished for millions of years.

It is especially instructive to look at this graphic — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Climate_Change.png — which shows 500 million years of earth’s climate change, especially in relation to where we are now temperature-wise.

Keeping that graphic in mind, the recent polar ice caps were caused by the breakup of Pangaea over the past 200 million years, an thumbnail of that even is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pangaea#Rifting_and_break-up.

The major climate changes in terms of human interest occurred near the beginning of the present period, when the continents moved into their present position to isolate the Arctic Ocean and allow it to freeze over.

At the South Pole, even more dramatic changes took place. For example, “Antarctica has been near or at the South Pole since the formation of Pangaea about 280 Ma. … South America began to move in a northward direction, separating it from Antarctica and allowing complete oceanic circulation around Antarctica for the first time. The latter of which caused a rapid cooling of Antarctica and allowed glaciers to form. This eventually coalesced into the kilometers thick ice sheets we see today.

(check out these articles on the “Drake Passage” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_Passage and http://news.bbc.co.u/2/hi/science/nature/4928010.stm for more information on the opening up of the passage between South America and Antarctica.

The other climate change major event is also related to the northward movement of South American, and that is when it crashed into North America, thus creating the Isthmus of Panama, it shut down a MAJOR circulation pattern that had existed for hundreds of millions of years.

For example, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isthmus_of_Panama.

“The Isthmus was formed some three million years ago during the Pliocene epoch. This major geological event separated the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and caused the creation of the Gulf Stream … Scientists believe the formation of the Isthmus of Panama is one of the most important geologic events in the last 60 million years. Even though only a small sliver of land relative to the sizes of continents, the Isthmus of Panama had an enormous impact on Earth’s climate and its environment.

By shutting down the flow of water between the two oceans, the land bridge re-routed ocean currents in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Atlantic currents were forced northward, and eventually settled into a new current pattern that we call the Gulf Stream today.

With warm Caribbean waters flowing toward the northeast Atlantic, the climate of northwestern Europe grew warmer.

(Winters there would be as much as 10 °C colder without the transport of heat from the Gulf Stream.)

The Atlantic, no longer mingling with the Pacific, grew saltier.

Each of these changes helped establish the global ocean circulation pattern in place today.

In short, the Isthmus of Panama directly and indirectly influenced ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns, which regulated patterns of rainfall, which in turn sculpted landscapes.[1]

Evidence also suggests that the creation of this land mass and the subsequent, warm wet weather over northern Europe resulted in the formation of a large Arctic ice cap and contributed to the current ice age.”

NONE of the theory of continental drift is included in the environmentalists’ climate change doctrine, which conveniently blames man solely for “global warming”, when the reality is much different.

Environmentalists have their own agenda, and global warming is a convenient scare tactic to achieve their anti-society propaganda.

The truth is MUCH different.

Finally, anyone who understands statistics knows that you CANNOT correlate a few thousand — on in some cases being reported as only decades — of man-made global warming as proof of their erroneous “science” with literally millions of years of climate change, especially when the main driver of climate change, continental drift, is totally excluded from consideration.

Why is the correlation between continental drift and climate change so critical to our understanding of “global warming”?

Because it gives us a valid “baseline” from which to measure the impact of human activity, if any, on global warming. This has NEVER been done. ONLY short range data is ever used, and with good reason. It would expose their “flat earth science” for what it really is.

Scientifically, the data gathered from present human activity has NO relevance on such a geologic timescale. In fact, there is NO guarantee that the earth will not suddenly revert back to a cold spell again without warning, as it has many times in the historical past.

What the environmentalists have been VERY successful in doing is in shutting down anyone who disagrees with their philosophy — even to the point of putting science on a “moral” basis, which is NOT real science at all. Real science is ALWAYS open to new discoveries that might shed a better light on our understanding of the natural world.

Only “non-science” declares the issue is settled and no more data is needed. That is quasi-religion, not science.

I hope the editors of Reuters understand how important this message is the human race — not because I am saying it — but because they have managed to shut down real science and we will all pay dearly for our failure to push back.

There are “real scientists” out there who know and agree with what I have outlined here, but they need encouragement to speak the truth.

Please, Reuters, give them that chance.

Sep 29, 2012 11:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
goldminor wrote:
@ Gordon2352 – After reading your comment, I had to log on to say “thanks for sharing your well written synopsis”.

Sep 30, 2012 1:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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