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Global Warming Explained
Climate forecasts
What is wrong with the forecasts
The solar constant
The Little Ice Age
Is the Earth warming up or not?
Tree rings
Droughts, sand dunes, and wells that dry up
Greenhouse gases
Glaciers, polar ice and rising oceans
If only we had a bit of global warming

Global Warming Explained

Tree rings

A continuous record has been established by examining, for example, tree rings (those rings in wood that reflect the changing seasons of cold and drought, warmth and precipitation during the life of a tree).   By examining wood from trees of different ages and from different time periods, a continuous record of climate changes can be established that goes back a few thousand years. 

ltbrprecip.gif (43298 bytes)
D. J. Sauchyn, p. 16 8

Tree rings by themselves do not provide accurate information on the temperatures under which they grew.  The thickness of tree rings depends on a combination of temperature and precipitation.  Tree rings don't grow during winter.  However, a carbon-14 analysis of carbon samples taken from tree rings that are representative over time does give a fairly good representation of levels of solar radiation received.  Carbon-14 is an isotope of carbon that is created by cosmic radiation in increased quantities from nitrogen contained in the atmosphere during intervals of low solar activity.  High solar activity influences the geo-magnetic field so that cosmic radiation is reduced.  Those changing intensities reflecting the activity of the sun over time are detectable in the carbon-14 content of tree rings.

eddy_strip.gif (99597 bytes)

Above: Inferred variations in solar intensity (red and green lines) over the last 900 years appear to be related to the severity of winters in London and Paris. The red line is deduced from the abundance of a heavy form of carbon (carbon-14) in tree rings. This "isotope" of carbon is formed in the upper atmosphere when incoming cosmic rays smash into carbon dioxide molecules. When the Sun's activity is low, its weakened magnetic field lets more cosmic rays into the solar system, so carbon-14 abundances go up. (Notice on the graph that the scale for carbon-14 is upside down.) This image by scientist John Eddy is based on an earlier one that appeared in Science, 192, 1189 (1976).[1]

See also:

Five Hundred Years of Drought and Wetness in the United States
Fye, F.K., Stahle, D.W. and Cook, E.R.  2003.  Paleoclimatic analogs to twentieth-century moisture regimes across the United States.  Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 84: 901-909.

Summary by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (2003 10 01 )

What do they tell us about the highly-advertised claims of the world's climate alarmists relative to warming-induced droughts and floods?....
   Climate alarmists claim that global warming will bring extremes of both floods and droughts to the world, and that the earth is now warmer than it has been in the entire past millennium.  If these two claims were correct, we should clearly be seeing wet and dry periods that exceed the worst of the past half-millennium or more.  In this extensive and well-calibrated record from the United States, however, we don't.  Ergo, something is rotten in more than Denmark.
Full Story

There is additional evidence, such as the results of examining sedimentary records in lake beds.  Those layers of sedimentation permit to identify the seasonal fluctuations in the run-off as well as the total amount of run-off and the historical water levels in our lakes.6  
   Similarly, sedimentation records obtained by examining core samples taken from the sea beds of various oceans permit to establish quite accurately what life existed at the ocean surface and how well it did over the centuries and millennia.  Thereby a continuous and accurate record of historical surface sea-temperatures can be determined. 
   Curiously, and the Kyoto-hype advocates must surely be interested in that (or are they?), the record for the Sargasso Sea shows that the current sea-surface temperature is about half a degree Celsius below the average for the last 3000 years.  Moreover, although the sea-surface temperature has recently increased somewhat but not quite reached the 3000-year average, it is rising in perfect synchronicity with the record of solar activity.  It has done so before and will do so again. 
   Just as there were times in the past where it was much colder than it is now, so there were times when our globe was much warmer.  The last period of a considerably warmer climate was during the Medieval Optimum, just before the Little Ice Age set in out of which we are climbing just now.
   Superstitions, in spite of many voices of reason, brought about the witch hunts as the climate turned colder during the Little Ice Age. (See the paper by historian Wolfgang Behringer: Climatic Change and Witch-Hunting: The Impact of the Little Ice Age on Mentalities
   Superstitions, in spite of many voices of reason, bring us now the witch hunts promoted by the proponents of the Kyoto accord.  Such is the power of propaganda.

The calculations done by General Circulation Models (GCMs) are the main source of the information that fuels the global warming hysteria.  Nevertheless, not one of them comes acceptably close to accurately calculating what the climate presently is at any location, let alone of the whole Earth.  Not only that, but all of the GCMs differ widely from one another as to what the climate was in the past, and as to what it is supposed to be in the future.

Therein lies the problem.  No one in his right mind will base any decisions about the future on tools that cannot determine with acceptable accuracy what the present is and the past was.


See also:

Medieval Warm Period (Solar Influence) – Summary, by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (2003 01 29)

Medieval Warm Period Project, a comprehensive collection of references to studies of proxy climate records throughout the world, by CO2 Science (formerly the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change)

Next Page: Droughts, sand dunes, and wells that dry up

Back to Global Warming Index Page

Posted 2002 09 26 (page broken up into several pages)
2003 01 19 (added information to show the relationship between high solar activity and carbon-14 content of tree rings)
2003 01 29 (added reference to summary of sudies showing correlation between Medieval Warm Period and Solar Influence)
2003 10 01 (added reference to Five Hundred Years of Drought and Wetness in the United States)