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Climate change through the years (and how we survived it)


DISCOVERED through groundbreaking research over the last 150 years, rapid climate change has been found to be so common in recent geological time (the last 2.5million years) that it has a name and a subset of geoscience of its own called ‘Abrupt Climate Change’. It attracts scientists from many different fields.

They are still working on it, unlike the promoters of catastrophic climate change who say they know it all because ‘the science is settled’. Only non-scientists or those with a non-scientific agenda could say this.

These rapid changes, through which nature has survived and thrived and humans continued to evolve, were far more difficult conditions than modern man would have to adapt to with 1.5 or 2 degrees C of warming. Well-remunerated alarmists and their exploited disciples claim, without real-world evidence, that this would be catastrophic for the human race. They are choosing to forget how adaptable we have become, as well as history.

Here are a few examples of ‘Abrupt Climate Change’. This is from the journal Nature:

‘The warming phase, that took place about 11,500 years ago, at the end of the Younger Dryas was also very abrupt and central Greenland temperatures increased by 7°C or more in a few decades. This was dramatic but entirely natural. One estimate is that this warming, as measured in Greenland, was responsible for up to half of the entire warming of the current post-glacial era (Holocene), yet it did not disrupt the world.

‘Sea Surface Temperature reconstructions from the Mediterranean Sea show temperatures in the Roman period (1st Century AD to the 5th Century AD) 2°C warmer than recent centuries with evidence of much greater variations locally and at least 2°C warmer than the Late Greek period some 300 years BC. This warming coincided with the flourishing of the greatest civilisation in the world known to that date.’ 

Going further back in time to the Last Interglacial (LIG) but well within the modern era, humans, including Homo sapiens, were flourishing in a very hot Africa. This period lasted around 15,000 years, which is similar in length to our current interglacial period, the Holocene. A recent study, also reported in Nature, stated: ‘We find that temperatures were up to 4.3°C warmer during the Last Interglacial period than in our present-day reference period 1971 to 1990.’ This fits with the evidence from tropical hippopotamus bones of the same age found in sediments under Trafalgar Square in London.

Another abrupt climate change event occurred 8,200 years ago when we saw a rapid cooling of at least 2°C in the Northern Hemisphere and a recovery, with the whole event lasting about 160 years. It is so well studied that it is simply called the 8.2 event and happened at the same time as the onset of the great Sumerian civilisation in present-day Iraq.

What is clear from these examples and copious further research is that dramatic temperature changes can vary locally to a high degree and what may cause higher temperatures in one location can cause lower temperatures elsewhere in the world. Attempting to deduce a global temperature shift over any short time period is futile.

This is a useful reminder that global climate itself remains a tenuous concept because climate effects are overwhelmingly local or regional and reflect complex interactions which are not fully understood, let alone predictable. Local and regional expressions typically overwhelm small global temperature changes.

It is indisputable that atmospheric CO2 levels fluctuate naturally between glacial and interglacial periods, increasing in the warm interglacials such as the current Holocene. But the additional CO2 and other trace gases such as methane generated from man’s use of fossil fuels has taken concentration levels much higher than have been detected in recent geological time and rightly caused concern because of the potential addition to the greenhouse effect.

What hasn’t been observed, though, is a causal link between these higher levels of greenhouse gases and higher temperatures. It may well be zero or negligible. Around 25 per cent of all the man-made emissions ever produced have been in the last 20-30 years, yet temperatures have not risen to a significant degree in that period in the US, according to the reference database of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

What isn’t known either is the differential influence of the much more powerful natural impacts which emanate from ocean current changes, volcanoes (both terrestrial and subsea), solar variation, cosmic ray interactions on the atmosphere, and tectonic shifts.

It is indisputable that the computer-generated climate models used for decades in the promotion of the theory of dangerous anthropogenic global warming have been inaccurate, almost always grossly overestimating the short-term warming.

These unscientific models have been used to force radical and unjustified policies which are slowing economic growth by wasting resources and causing immense suffering by limiting the cheap energy needed for developed and developing societies. Far more harm than good has been done, especially to the poorest people on the planet.

We can now adapt to the impacts of the natural processes because of the human flourishing generated by harnessing fossil fuels, all of which are derived from entirely natural processes. Ultimately, innovation and the resulting new technologies (not windmills) will replace our cheap and efficient fossil fuels.  

It is most unlikely that we can control the climate to any significant degree, but we can continue to master it.

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Peter Lloyd
Peter Lloyd
Peter Lloyd is a former stockbroker and financial markets research professional.

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