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design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at
the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps
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Breaking News: The Arctic Icebergs Are Melting - circa 1922! Kirt's Cogitations™ #289
Note: Newspaper clips on this page were obtained using my paid
subscription to Newspapers.com, which
I use often when writing articles for RF Cafe and other venues.
We have all been treated to a seemingly endless series
of headlines portending rising ocean levels and the ensuing drowning of costal cities due
to melting ice in the polar regions. This phenomenon ostensibly is brought on by the exponential
increase in carbon emissions from developing third-world countries as well as established
first-world countries in the post World War II era ... or was it post Vietnam, or maybe
post Gulf War? The reference keeps changing, but it definitely began occurring since at least
There is a problem, though. In the early and mid 1970s climate scientists began warning
us of an approaching new mini ice age. Newsweek ran a story in its April 28, 1975
edition titled, "The Cooling World." The Chicago Tribune printed "Ice age coming?
Chilling thought for humanity," on June 2, 1975. Five years earlier, on December 11, 1970,
The Washington Post News Service circulated a story titled, "Colder Weather May Last
For Centuries." It was a very-well-documented half decade where a consensus of top scientists
agreed that we all had better stock up on firewood and heavy clothing.
Sometime in the 1990s, however, that bit of settled
science got unsettled and all the research grants shifted to people with a vested interest
showing that the Earth was actually warming and not cooling. A
shaped temperature curve proved the trend, and only a hayseed nincompoop would dare challenge
its veracity (#sarcasm). Since then, many scientists and celebrities have predicted
certain catastrophes like rising ocean levels and ensuing flooding of costal cities. Some
have even been dumb enough to cite deadline dates as do end-times religious preachers - all
proven wrong with the passage of time. They no longer specify a target year and have even
changed the cause's title from global warming to climate change. Remaining fuzzy helps keep
the movement alive by removing measurable goals. Good strategy.
When searching for old news stories about melting arctic ice, I found reports going back
into the late 1800s. The early 1920s produced quite a few articles warning of rising sea levels
because of melting arctic ice. Amongst them was this December 3, 1922, The Washington
Times full-page spread titled, "Strange Things Happen in the Frozen Arctic." That was
half a century before those scientist's scholarly progeny would be declaring them wrong and
predicting Earth was on the verge of a new ice age. Then, everyone change his/her mind again
by 1990. Am I the only one who thinks I'm being scammed?
I do a fair amount of reading about anthropogenic
global warming (AGW), global climate change (GCC), and related topics. I have followed such
things from both sides of the argument since before they became a cause célèbre for money - and attention-seeking
causes and celebrities. The pro warming side's biggest distractor, IMHO, are the pompous donkeys
who insult and berate anyone who disagrees with them. The loudest are those who have no formal
scientific training in meteorology and/or earth science and are self-appointed experts - does
VP who lives in a 10,000 ft^2 house and flies around the world on
private jets come to mind?
Personally, after having considered a lot of evidence for and against it, I have concluded
that the entire concept is so tainted with personal biases that possibly nobody really knows
what the truth is. A lot of evidence has come out recently exposing
institutional fraud on the part of individuals and governments.
Dismissing out-of-hand all possibilities of any warming of the Earth is outright moronic.
The building up of cities with all their heat-absorbing asphalt for roads, parking lots, and
rooftops undeniably increases temperatures in those regions. Industrial processes, indoor
heating and cooling, all forms of transportation (yes, electric cars, too), and even the existence
of all mammals are exothermic processes that convert essentially room temperature fuel into
heat via chemical reactions. Have you ever been in a room full of people when the air conditioning
breaks? All the friction generated by manmade machinery that does not go into useful work
adds to the net heat content. Ever felt the center hub of your car wheel immediately after
coming to a quick stop from high speed? Almost nothing we do results in a lower net temperature
process). In fact, the only process that can remove accumulated heat from the planet is radiation
into the cold of space at night, and that happens pretty much at a constant rate that is governed
by the heat transfer equation ΔQ = mcΔT (it stuck with me from a thermodynamics
class). All the schemes to reduce global temperatures involve minimizing the generation of
new heat so that the net heat production is less than the net heat dissipation.
The real question is whether the Earth's natural process can compensate for mankind's addition
to net heat content. Maybe it can. Maybe a warmer Earth is better overall for the long term
existence of mankind (for the record, I hate hot weather). Who's to say that the most perfect
average global temperature was best when it was 0.2 °C cooler than now? Maybe 0.5 °C
warmer is better; Greenland was at one time green due to warming, hence its name. The fact
is nobody knows for sure. I'm a big proponent of reducing wasteful energy, but declaring anyone
who disagrees with the views of extremists (more often than not hypocrites as well) to be
criminals is beyond the pale. If recent history is any predictor, in another couple decades
the newspaper headlines will probably once again be shouting warnings of an impending mini
Leonard Nemoy "Mr. Spock" narrates about the coming ice age.
8/9/2017 Update: An RF Cafe visitor sent me this link to a September 1958 Harper's magazine story
titled, "The Coming Ice Age." Here is an interest excerpt that postulates how
melting arctic ice could cause a new ice age -
"It is this melting of Arctic ice which Ewing and Donn believe will set off another Ice
Age on earth. They predict that it will cause great snows to fall in the north — perennial
unmelting snows which the world has not seen since the last Ice Age thousands of years
ago. These snows will make the Arctic glaciers grow again, until their towering height
forces them forward. The advance south will be slow, but if it follows the route of
previous ice ages, it will encase in ice large parts of North America and Europe."