Climate change is an ongoing part of the evolution of Earth
In the two previous parts of this investigation the basic differences between those who support the man-made global warming theory and those who don’t has been highlighted. It’s time now to look at the past history of periods of world-wide climate change.
The scientific community agree that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old and during that time, it’s undergone at least 12, and possibly 14 major periods of climate change. In addition to this there have been numerous minor changes to the earth’s climate.
The information about pre-man climate changes has come from studying ice cores and from sophisticated scientific investigation involving many branches of science. However some of these minor changes have occurred within the life-time of man and have been recorded over time.
The existence of these major and minor periods of climate change is not in doubt; what is open to speculation and controversy are the causes.
On this, the Scaremongers remain totally silent: they are emphatic that mans’ industrial activity and the burning of fossil fuels is the cause of any climate change taking place at the moment, but would have to agree that industrial activity could not have caused the start of a period of climate change 5,000 years ago.
In 1991 the body of a man was found in the European Alps in the border regions of Austria and Italy. He was said to have died about 5,000 years ago whilst crossing the Alps. From this two facts can be determined: man at that time knew he could cross the Alps; secondly this feat was possible because of the absence of snow and ice at lower altitudes.
2800 years later occurred the first recorded historical event involving man crossing the Alps. That was Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps with an army, including elephants, to wage war on the Roman Empire. This event was clearly documented at the time and is today accepted as a historical fact.
When this event was taking place, the snowline of the Alps was estimated to be in the region of 1,800 to 2,000 meters above sea level. Until recently the Alpine snowline was approximately 1,500 meters above sea level. What this means is that in modern times the level above sea at which snow falls and lies on the ground is about 300 to 500 meters lower than when Hannibal achieved his feat. So during the past 2200 years the earth’s temperature has fallen to enable snow and ice to settle at these lower altitudes. However in Hannibal’s time and the centuries earlier going back to 3,000 BCE the air temperature was considerably warmer that it is today.
From this scientists know that the world’s climate has changed over the past 5,000 years. So what’s caused this change?
The activities of Man? Unlikely.
The work of Nature or the Almighty? Probably.
Is there a definite answer? No.
Lets now look at more recent times and consider the recorded history of events that took place in London.
Between 1660 and 1820 is was quite a common occurrence for the river Thames to freeze over; not every year, but certainly enough for people at that time to make comments. Since the mid 19th century the Thames has rarely been frozen, certainly never in recent memory. So the question needs to be answered: what caused the warming of the air from 1820 onwards?
At the same period of time from 1660, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia was subject to stress caused by an event that lasted 20 years. Coral has characteristics not unlike that of trees. Rings in a piece of sliced coral tell the story of climatic events long ago. A piece of coral collected off the coast of northern Australia has recently been examined and it shows the effects of drought in the region. Lack of fresh water, and therefore the absences of nutrients, coming from the nearby rivers would affect the growth of the coral and would be noticed in examining the rings. The coral showed a period of about 20 years of severe drought in this region.
In the years since then the reef has made a full recovery, although it may be suffering now.
The ‘Yes’ case points to the decline in coral reefs as an example of global warming, but ignore the fact that Nature has the remarkable capacity to rejuvenate stressed coral.
The known history of the world has numerous events that took place long ago that couldn’t happen now:
1) The indigenous people of Australia came from SE Asia via a continuous land mass leading from the Malay peninsula, through Indonesia, New Guinea, and into northern Australia.
2) The native Indians of north America are thought to have entered the continent about 10,000 years ago via the land mass across the Bering Straits. That feat couldn’t be achieved today.
3) Likewise the original inhabitants of the UK are thought to have come from Europe via the land mass that connected mainland Europe to Britain. This is now covered by the English Channel.
From these events of long ago, its plain to see that sea levels rose covering once-accessible traffic routes.
And the most likely causes of the rise in sea levels – global warming causing polar ice-caps to melt. But what could have caused this? Well definitely not man’s industrial activity. So it must have been the action of Nature, or the Almighty.
That being the case, isn’t it more likely that if global warming is taking place today, it’s being caused by the same influence that caused the previous periods of climate change?
This is the third part of a look at the international controversy concerning the cause of climate change, and an attempt to put some balance into the argument.
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* Climate Change is a real and serious issue. In this video Bill Nye, the Science Guy, explains what causes climate change, how it affects our planet, why we need to act promptly to mitigate its effects, and how each of us can contribute to a solution.
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