How did people have access to ice in warm areas before the industrial revolution?

How did people have access to ice in warm areas before the industrial revolution?


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In some cases, before the industrial revolution, nobles and other elites had access to ice in regions where it wasn't naturally available.

How could they get it?

Was it simply transported in big blocks from glaciers to towns and kept (possibly underground) and used quickly? Or were they actually capable of producing ice through some process?

I'm interested in any time before the industrial revolution, and particularly interested in Antiquity or the early Middle Ages.


Wikipedia has a video which shows pretty much every aspect.
Firstly the ice was cut from mountains or frozen lakes.

Then it was transported to its destination. Obviously there is a risk of melting during transportation. So there was some sort of insulation like straw or the ice was kept cool by putting snow on it.

At the destination there was a "Ice House" or a "Ice cellar".

Ice cellars worked like this:

So a underground storage. (The German Wikipedia is quite extensive on the technical stuff if you care about that)

There are reports of Ice Houses existing in Mesopotamia in 1780BC! Those were houses with thick walls to block heat. (Again German Wikipedia has quite some detail on the technical stuff)

To prevent the thermal heat from melting the ice the floor wasn't on the ground but in the air. The space between was covered with insulating material (Straw, Torf, sawdust… )

Both types of storage had somethings in common for example:

  • There were trees with large or many leafs to provide shadowy cover for the normally sun-covered south-side.
  • The entrance was on the north-side.
  • Sometimes there even was a air-gap (Two doors and the second one was only opened when the first one was already closed) to prevent hot air from flowing inwards when taking ice (or putting it in).

Never mind pre-Industrial Revolution. As late as 1910 and 1920 the most efficient way for most people in Toronto and Hamilton to get ice in the summer was for it to be harvested off of Hamilton Harbour (aka Burlington Bay) in the winter and stored in Niagara Escarpmnt cliffs.

Canada in the early 20th century may not have been an industrial powerhouse compared to its southern neighbour, but neither was it a backwater.

This worked pretty much as illustrated in the early scenes of the movie Frozen, it's fairy-tale setting not withstanding.

Also check out the history of ice cream, which long pre-dates the invention of electric freezers:

In the Persian Empire, people would pour grape-juice concentrate over snow, in a bowl, and eat this as a treat. This was done primarily when the weather was hot, using snow saved in the cool-keeping underground chambers known as "yakhchal", or taken from snowfall that remained at the top of mountains by the summer capital Ecbatana. In 400 BC, the Persians went further and invented a special chilled food, made of rose water and vermicelli, which was served to royalty during summers.5 The ice was mixed with saffron, fruits, and various other flavours.

Ice cream became popular and inexpensive in England in the mid-nineteenth century, due to the efforts of a Swiss emigre Carlo Gatti. He set up the first stall outside Charing Cross station in 1851, selling scoops of ice cream in shells for one penny to the public; previously, ice cream was an expensive treat confined to rich people with access to an ice house.


The Warming Effects of the Industrial Revolution

Until recently, humans did not significantly affect the much larger forces of climate and atmosphere. Many scientists believe, however, that with the dawn of the industrial age&mdashand the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil&mdashhumans began to significantly add to the amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, enhancing the planet's natural greenhouse effect and causing higher temperatures.


How did people have access to ice in warm areas before the industrial revolution? - History

G lobal warming started long before the "Industrial Revolution" and the invention of the internal combustion engine. Global warming began 18,000 years ago as the earth started warming its way out of the Pleistocene Ice Age -- a time when much of North America, Europe, and Asia lay buried beneath great sheets of glacial ice.

Earth's climate and the biosphere have been in constant flux, dominated by ice ages and glaciers for the past several million years. We are currently enjoying a temporary reprieve from the deep freeze.

Approximately every 100,000 years Earth's climate warms up temporarily. These warm periods, called interglacial periods , appear to last approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years before regressing back to a cold ice age climate. At year 18,000 and counting our current interglacial vacation from the Ice Age is much nearer its end than its beginning.

Global warming during Earth's current interglacial warm period has greatly altered our environment and the distribution and diversity of all life. For example:

Approximately 15,000 years ago the earth had warmed sufficiently to halt the advance of glaciers, and sea levels worldwide began to rise.

By 8,000 years ago the land bridge across the Bering Strait was drowned, cutting off the migration of men and animals to North America from Asia.

Since the end of the Ice Age, Earth's temperature has risen approximately 16 degrees F and sea levels have risen a total of 300 feet! Forests have returned where once there was only ice.

Over the past 750,000 years of Earth's history, Ice Ages have occurred at regular intervals, of approximately 100,000 years each.
Courtesy of Illinois State Museum

D uring ice ages our planet is cold, dry, and inhospitable -- supporting few forests but plenty of glaciers and deserts . Like a spread of collosal bulldozers, glaciers have scraped and pulverized vast stretches of Earth's surface and completely destroyed entire regional ecosystems not once, but several times. During Ice Ages winters were longer and more severe and ice sheets grew to tremendous size, accumulating to thicknesses of up to 8,000 feet!. They moved slowly from higher elevations to lower-- driven by gravity and their tremendous weight. They left in their wake altered river courses, flattened landscapes, and along the margins of their farthest advance, great piles of glacial debris.

During the last 3 million years glaciers have at one time or another covered about 29% of Earth's land surface or about 17.14 million square miles (44.38 million sq. km.) . What did not lay beneath ice was a largely cold and desolate desert landscape, due in large part to the colder, less-humid atmospheric conditions that prevailed.

During the Ice Age summers were short and winters were brutal. Animal life and especially plant life had a very tough time of it. Thanks to global warming, that has all now changed, at least temporarily.

The World 18,000 Years Ago

Before "global warming" started 18,000 years ago most of the earth was a frozen and arid wasteland. Over half of earth 's surface was covered by glaciers or extreme desert . Forests were rare.

Not a very fun place to live.
(view full size map)

"Global warming" over the last 15,000 years has changed our world from an ice box to a garden . Today extreme deserts and glaciers have largely given way to grasslands, woodlands, and forests .

Wish it could last forever, but . . . .

I n the 1970s concerned environmentalists like Stephen Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado feared a return to another ice age due to manmade atmospheric pollution blocking out the sun .

Since about 1940 the global climate did in fact appear to be cooling. Then a funny thing happened-- sometime in the late 1970s temperature declines slowed to a halt and ground-based recording stations during the 1980s and 1990s began reading small but steady increases in near-surface temperatures. Fears of " global cooling " then changed suddenly to " global warming ,"-- the cited cause:

manmade atmospheric pollution causing a runaway greenhouse effect .

What does geologic history have to offer in sorting through the confusion?

"If 'ice age' is used to refer to long, generally cool, intervals during which glaciers advance and retreat, we are still in one today. Our modern climate represents a very short, warm period between glacial advances." Illinois State Museum

P eriods of Earth warming and cooling occur in cycles. This is well understood, as is the fact that small-scale cycles of about 40 years exist within larger-scale cycles of 400 years, which in turn exist inside still larger scale cycles of 20,000 years, and so on.

Example of regional variations in surface air temperature for the last 1000 years, estimated from a variety of sources, including temperature-sensitive tree growth indices and written records of various kinds, largely from western Europe and eastern North America. Shown are changes in regional temperature in ° C, from the baseline value for 1900. Compiled by R. S. Bradley and J. A. Eddy based on J. T. Houghton et al., Climate Change: The IPCC Assessment, Cambridge UniversityPress, Cambridge, 1990 and published in EarthQuest, vol 5, no 1, 1991. Courtesy of Thomas Crowley, Remembrance of Things Past: Greenhouse Lessons from the Geologic Record

Earth's climate was in a cool period from A.D. 1400 to about A.D. 1860, dubbed the " Little Ice Age ." This period was characterized by harsh winters, shorter growing seasons, and a drier climate. The decline in global temperatures was a modest 1/2° C, but the effects of this global cooling cycle were more pronounced in the higher latitudes. The Little Ice Age has been blamed for a host of human suffering including crop failures like the "Irish Potato Famine" and the demise of the medieval Viking colonies in Greenland.

Today we enjoy global temperatures which have warmed back to levels of the so called " Medieval Warm Period ," which existed from approximately A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1350.

". the Earth was evidently coming out of a relatively cold period in the 1800s so that warming in the past century may be part of this natural recovery."

Dr. John R. Christy
(leading climate and atmospheric science expert- U. of Alabama in Huntsville) (5)

G lobal warming alarmists maintain that global temperatures have increased since about A.D. 1860 to the present as the result of the so-called " Industrial Revolution ,"-- caused by releases of large amounts of greenhouse gases (principally carbon dioxide) from manmade sources into the atmosphere causing a runaway " Greenhouse Effect ."

Was man really responsible for pulling the Earth out of the Little Ice Age with his industrial pollution? If so, this may be one of the greatest unheralded achievements of the Industrial Age!

Unfortunately, we tend to overestimate our actual impact on the planet. In this case the magnitude of the gas emissions involved, even by the most aggressive estimates of atmospheric warming by greenhouse gases, is inadequate to account for the magnitude of temperature increases. So what causes the up and down cycles of global climate change?

Causes of Global Climate Change

C limate change is controlled primarily by cyclical eccentricities in Earth's rotation and orbit , as well as variations in the sun's energy output .

"Greenhouse gases" in Earth's atmosphere also influence Earth's temperature, but in a much smaller way. Human additions to total greenhouse gases play a still smaller role, contributing about 0.2% - 0.3% to Earth's greenhouse effect .

Major Causes of Global Temperature Shifts

  • 11 year and 206 year cycles: Cycles of solar variability ( sunspot activity )
  • 21,000 year cycle : Earth's combined tilt and elliptical orbit around the Sun ( precession of the equinoxes )
  • 41,000 year cycle : Cycle of the +/- 1.5° wobble in Earth's orbit ( tilt )
  • 100,000 year cycle : Variations in the shape of Earth's elliptical orbit ( cycle of eccentricity )
  • Heat retentio n: Due to atmospheric gases, mostly gaseous water vapor (not droplets), also carbon dioxide, methane, and a few other miscellaneous gases-- the "greenhouse effect"
  • Solar reflectivity : Due to white clouds, volcanic dust, polar ice caps
  • Landmass distribution : Shifting continents (continental drift) causing changes in circulatory patterns of ocean currents. It seems that whenever there is a large land mass at one of the Earth's poles, either the north pole or south pole, there are ice ages.
  • Undersea ridge activity : "Sea floor spreading" (associated with continental drift) causing variations in ocean displacement.

Playing with Numbers

G lobal climate and temperature cycles are the result of a complex interplay between a variety of causes. Because these cycles and events overlap, sometimes compounding one another, sometimes canceling one another out, it is inaccurate to imply a statistically significant trend in climate or temperature patterns from just a few years or a few decades of data.

Unfortunately, a lot of disinformation about where Earth's climate is heading is being propagated by "scientists" who use improper statistical methods, short-term temperature trends, or faulty computer models to make analytical and anecdotal projections about the significance of man-made influences to Earth's climate.

During the last 100 years there have been two general cycles of warming and cooling recorded in the U.S. We are currently in the second warming cycle. Overall, U.S. temperatures show no significant warming trend over the last 100 years (1). This has been well - established but not well - publicized.

Each year Government press releases declare the previous year to be the "hottest year on record." The UN's executive summary on climate change, issued in January 2001, insists that the 20th century was the warmest in the last millennium. The news media distribute these stories and people generally believed them to be true. However, as most climatologists know, these reports generally are founded on ground-based temperature readings, which are misleading. The more meaningful and precise orbiting satellite data for the same period (which are generally not cited by the press) have year after year showed little or no warming.

Dr. Patrick Michaels has demonstrated this effect is a common problem with ground- based recording stations, many of which originally were located in predominantly rural areas, but over time have suffered background bias due to urban sprawl and the encroachment of concrete and asphalt ( the "urban heat island effect"). The result has been an upward distortion of increases in ground temperature over time(2). Satellite measurements are not limited in this way, and are accurate to within 0.1° C. They are widely recognized by scientists as the most accurate data available. Significantly, global temperature readings from orbiting satellites show no significant warming in the 18 years they have been continuously recording and returning data (1).

A Matter of Opinion

H as manmade pollution in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases caused a runaway Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming?

Before joining the mantra, consider the following:



Compiled by R.S. Bradley and J.A. Eddy based on J.T. Houghton et al., Climate Change: The IPCC Assessment, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1990 and published in EarthQuest, vo. 1, 1991. Courtesy of Thomas Crowley, Remembrance of Things Past: Greenhouse Lessons from the Geologic Record

1. The idea that man-made pollution is responsible for global warming is not supported by historical fact. The period known as the Holocene Maximum is a good example-- so-named because it was the hottest period in human history. The interesting thing is this period occurred approximately 7500 to 4000 years B.P. (before present)-- long before humans invented industrial pollution.


(view full-size image)

Figure 1

2. CO2 in our atmosphere has been increasing steadily for the last 18,000 years-- long before humans invented smokestacks ( Figure 1 ). Unless you count campfires and intestinal gas, man played no role in the pre-industrial increases.

As illustrated in this chart of Ice Core data from the Soviet Station Vostok in Antarctica, CO2 concentrations in earth's atmosphere move with temperature. Both temperatures and CO2 have been on the increase for 18,000 years. Interestingly, CO2 lags an average of about 800 years behind the temperature changes-- confirming that CO2 is not a primary driver of the temperature changes (9).

Incidentally, earth's temperature and CO2 levels today have reached levels similar to a previous interglacial cycle of 120,000 - 140,000 years ago. From beginning to end this cycle lasted about 20,000 years. This is known as the Eemian Interglacial Period and the earth returned to a full-fledged ice age immediately afterward.


view full-size image

Figure 2

3. Total human contributions to greenhouse gases account for only about 0.28% of the "greenhouse effect" ( Figure 2 ). Anthropogenic (man-made) carbon dioxide (CO2) comprises about 0.117% of this total, and man-made sources of other gases ( methane, nitrous oxide (NOX), other misc. gases) contributes another 0.163% .

Approximately 99.72% of the "greenhouse effect" is due to natural causes -- mostly water vapor and traces of other gases, which we can do nothing at all about. Eliminating human activity altogether would have little impact on climate change.

view full-size image

Figure 3

4. If global warming is caused by CO2 in the atmosphere then does CO2 also cause increased sun activity too?

This chart adapted after Nigel Calder (6) illustrates that variations in sun activity are generally proportional to both variations in atmospheric CO2 and atmospheric temperature (Figure 3) .

Put another way, rising Earth temperatures and increasing CO2 may be "effects" and our own sun the "cause".

F U N F A C T S about CARBON DIOXIDE

Of the 186 billion tons of carbon from CO2 that enter earth's atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth's oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.

At 380 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth's atmosphere-- less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, earth's current atmosphere is CO2- impoverished.

CO2 is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Plants absorb CO2 and emit oxygen as a waste product. Humans and animals breathe oxygen and emit CO2 as a waste product. Carbon dioxide is a nutrient, not a pollutant, and all life-- plants and animals alike-- benefit from more of it. All life on earth is carbon-based and CO2 is an essential ingredient. When plant-growers want to stimulate plant growth, they introduce more carbon dioxide.

CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there but is continually recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth's oceans-- the great retirement home for most terrestrial carbon dioxide.

If we are in a global warming crisis today, even the most aggressive and costly proposals for limiting industrial carbon dioxide emissions would have a negligible effect on global climate!

T he case for a "greenhouse problem" is made by environmentalists, news anchormen , and special interests who make inaccurate and misleading statements about global warming and climate change. Even though people may be skeptical of such rhetoric initially, after awhile people start believing it must be true because we hear it so often.

"We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."

Stephen Schneider (leading advocate of the global warming theory)
(in interview for Discover magazine, Oct 1989)

"In the United States. we have to first convince the American People and the Congress that the climate problem is real."

former President Bill Clinton in a 1997 address to the United Nations

Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are.

former Vice President Al Gore
(now, chairman and co-founder of Generation Investment Management --
a London-based business that sells carbon credits)
(in interview with Grist Magazine May 9, 2006, concerning his book, An Inconvenient Truth)

"In the long run, the replacement of the precise and disciplined language of science by the misleading language of litigation and advocacy may be one of the more important sources of damage to society incurred in the current debate over global warming."

Dr. Richard S. Lindzen
(leading climate and atmospheric science expert- MIT) (3)

" Researchers pound the global-warming drum because they know there is politics and, therefore, money behind it. . . I've been critical of global warming and am persona non grata. "

Dr. William Gray
(Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado and leading expert of hurricane prediction )
(in an interview for the Denver Rocky Mountain News, November 28, 1999)

"Scientists who want to attract attention to themselves, who want to attract great funding to themselves, have to (find a) way to scare the public . . . and this you can achieve only by making things bigger and more dangerous than they really are."

Petr Chylek
(Professor of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Commenting on reports by other researchers that Greenland's glaciers are melting.
( Halifax Chronicle-Herald , August 22, 2001) (8)

"Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing -- in terms of economic policy and environmental policy."

Tim Wirth , while U.S. Senator, Colorado.
After a short stint as United Nations Under-Secretary for Global Affairs (4)
he now serves as President, U.N. Foundation , created by Ted Turner and his $1 billion "gift"

"No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits. Climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world."

Christine Stewart, former Minister of the Environment of Canada
quote from the Calgary Herald, 1999

Unraveling the Earth's Temperature Record

B ecause accumulating layers of glacial ice display annual bands which can be dated, similar to annual rings of a tree, the age of ice core samples can be determined. Continuous ice cores from borings as much as two miles long have been extracted from permanent glaciers in Greenland, Antarctica, and Siberia. Bubbles of entrapped air in the ice cores can be analyzed to determine not only carbon dioxide and methane concentrations, but also atmospheric temperatures can be determined from analysis of entrapped hydrogen and oxygen.

Based on historical air temperatures inferred from ice core analyses from the Antarctic Vostok station in 1987, relative to the average global temperature in 1900 it has been determined that from 160,000 years ago until about 18,000 years ago Earth temperatures were on average about 3° C cooler than today.

Except for two relatively brief interglacial episodes, one peaking about 125,000 years ago (Eemian Interglacial), and the other beginning about 18,000 years ago (Present Interglacial), the Earth has been under siege of ice for the last 160,000 years.

Compiled by R.S. Bradley and J.A. Eddy based on J. Jouzel et al., Nature vol. 329. pp. 403-408, 1987 and published in EarthQuest, vol. 5, no. 1, 1991. Courtesy of Thomas Crowley, Remembrance of Things Past: Greenhouse Lessons from the Geologic Record

As illustrated in this final graph, over the past 800,000 years the Earth has undergone major swings in warming and cooling at approximately 100,000 year intervals, interrupted by minor warming cycles at shorter intervals. This represents periods of glacial expansion, separated by distinct but relatively short-lived periods of glacial retreat.

Temperature data inferred from measurements of the ratio of oxygen isotope ratios in fossil plankton that settled to the sea floor, and assumes that changes in global temperature approximately tracks changes in the global ice volume . Based on data from J. Imbrie, J.D. Hays, D.G. Martinson, A. McIntyre, A.C. Mix, J.J. Morley, N.G. Pisias, W.L. Prell, and N.J. Shackleton, in A. Berger, J. Imbrie, J. Hats, G. Kukla, and B. Saltzman, eds., Milankovitch and Climate, Dordrecht, Reidel, pp. 269-305, 1984.Courtesy of Thomas Crowley, Remembrance of Things Past: Greenhouse Lessons from the Geologic Record

The Polar Ice Cap Effect

A s long as the continent of Antarctica exists at the southern pole of our planet we probably will be repeatedly pulled back into glacial ice ages. This occurs because ice caps, which cannot attain great thickness over open ocean, can and do achieve great thickness over a polar continent-- like Antarctica. Antarctica used to be located near the equator, but over geologic time has moved by continental drift to its present location at the south pole. Once established, continental polar ice caps act like huge cold sinks, taking over the climate and growing bigger during periods of reduced solar output. Part of the problem with shaking off the effects of an ice age is once ice caps are established, they cause solar radiation to be reflected back into space, which acts to perpetuate global cooling. This increases the size of ice caps which results in reflection of even more radiation, resulting in more cooling, and so on.

Continental polar ice caps seem to play a particularly important role in ice ages when the arrangement of continental land masses restrict the free global circulation of equatorial ocean currents. This is the case with the continents today, as it was during the Carboniferous Ice Age when the supercontinent Pangea stretched from pole to pole 300 million years ago.

Stopping Climate Change

P utting things in perspective, geologists tell us our present warm climate is a mere blip in the history of an otherwise cold Earth. Frigid Ice Age temperatures have been the rule, not the exception, for the last couple of million years. This kind of world is not totally inhospitable, but not a very fun place to live, unless you are a polar bear.

Some say we are "nearing the end of our minor interglacial period" , and may in fact be on the brink of another Ice Age. If this is true, the last thing we should be doing is limiting carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, just in case they may have a positive effect in sustaining present temperatures. The smart money, however, is betting that there is some momentum left in our present warming cycle. Environmental advocates agree: resulting in a shift of tactics from the " global cooling" scare of the 1970s to the "global warming" threat of the 1980s and 1990s.

Now, as we begin the 21st century the terminology is morphing toward "climate change," whereby no matter the direction of temperature trends-- up or down-- the headlines can universally blame humans while avoiding the necessity of switching buzz-words with the periodicity of solar cycles. Such tactics may, however, backfire as peoples' common sensibilities are at last pushed over the brink.

Global climate cycles of warming and cooling have been a natural phenomena for hundreds of thousands of years, and it is unlikely that these cycles of dramatic climate change will stop anytime soon. We currently enjoy a warm Earth. Can we count on a warm Earth forever? The answer is most likely. no.

Since the climate has always been changing and will likely continue of its own accord to change in the future, instead of crippling the U.S. economy in order to achieve small reductions in global warming effects due to manmade additions to atmospheric carbon dioxide, our resources may be better spent making preparations to adapt to global cooling and global warming, and the inevitable consequences of fluctuating ocean levels, temperatures, and precipitation that accompany climatic change.

Supporting this view is British scientist Jane Francis, who maintains:

" What we are seeing really is just another interglacial phase within our big icehouse climate." Dismissing political calls for a global effort to reverse climate change, she said, " It's really farcical because the climate has been changing constantly. What we should do is be more aware of the fact that it is changing and that we should be ready to adapt to the change."

This site last updated October 5, 2007

Previous Table of Contents

. EMAIL COMMENTS TO: [email protected]

(1) A scientific Discussion of Climate Change, Sallie Baliunas, Ph.D., Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Willie Soon, Ph.D., Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

(2) The Effects of Proposals for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Testimony of Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the Committee on Science, United States House of Representatives

(3) Statement Concerning Global Warming-- Presented to the Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works, June 10, 1997, by Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

(4) Excerpts from,"Our Global Future: Climate Change", Remarks by Under Secretary for Global affairs, T. Wirth, 15 September 1997. Site maintained by The Globe - Climate Change Campaign

(5) Testimony of John R. Christy to the Committee on Environmental and Public Works, Department of Atmospheric Science and Earth System Science Laboratory, University of Alabama in Huntsville, July 10, 1997.

(6) The Carbon Dioxide Thermometer and the Cause of Global Warming Nigel Calder,-- Presented at a seminar SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex, Brighton, England, October 6, 1998.

(7) Variation in cosmic ray flux and global cloud coverage: a missing link in solar-climate relationships H. Svensmark and E. Friis-Christiansen, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar- Terrestrial Physics, vol. 59, pp. 1225 - 1232 (1997).

(8) First International Conference on Global Warming and the Next Ice Age Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, sponsored by the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society and the American Meteorological Society, August 21-24, 2001.

(9) Ice Core Studies Prove CO2 Is Not the Powerful Climate Driver Climate Alarmists Make It Out to Be CO2 Science
Volume 6, Number 26: 25 June 2003 http://www.co2science.org/articles/V6/N26/EDIT.php

Understanding Common Climate Claims: Dr. Richard S. Lindzen Draft paper to appear in the Proceedings of the 2005 Erice Meeting of the World Federation of Scientists on Global Emergencies.

Geological Constraints on Global Climate Variability: Dr. Lee C. Gerhard-- A variety of natural climate drivers constantly change our climate. A slide format presentation. 8.5 MB.

Thoughts of Global Warming: "The bottom line is that climatic change is a given. It is inescapable, it happens. There is no reason to be very concerned about it or spend bazillions of dollars to try and even things out.

NOAA Paleoclimatology: An educational trip through earths distant and recent past. Also contains useful information and illustrations relating to the causes of climate change.

Cracking the Ice Age: From the PBS website-- NOVA online presents a brief tour of the causes of global warming.

Earth's Fidgeting Climate: NASA Science News "It may surprise many people that science cannot deliver an unqualified, unanimous answer about something as important as climate change"


3. Current Increase in Earth&aposs Temperature

In 1967 a Russian scientist named Mikhail Budyko made a prediction: increasing man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would overcome any cooling effects in the near future and cause Earth&aposs temperature to increase.

By coincidence, that same year a young Iowan named James Hansen joined NASA&aposs Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City as a research associate. He had just completed his doctoral thesis on the atmosphere of the planet Venus where carbon dioxide was dense and the surface temperature was a scorching 460ଌ (860ଏ), Now he was assigned to the question raised by Budyko -- could climate forcings (as they&aposre called) from human causes cancel out natural forcings of cooler temperatures and cause global warming in the near future?

Hansen and his colleagues built a simple climate model reflecting various assumptions of human activity. What they found was, in Hansen&aposs words, "that human-produced greenhouse gases should become a dominant forcing and even exceed other climate forcings, such as volcanoes or the Sun, at some point in the future." When? They didn&apost know.

They started collecting temperature data from weather stations around the world. Finally, in 1981, in an analysis published in Science and referenced in a front page article in the New York Times, they confirmed Budyko&aposs prediction, showing that temperatures had started rising a decade before.

In 1988, on a record-breaking hot summer day in Washington, D.C., having "weighed the costs of being wrong versus the costs of not talking," Hansen testified before Congress that he was 99% confident we were in a long-term warming trend and that he suspected greenhouse gases were causing it. His testimony and statements to reporters afterward were widely reported in the media. Global warming had gone public.

In the two decades since Hansen&aposs testimony, the increases in both greenhouses gases and temperature have accelerated. The chart below from a recent NASA report compares the situation today to 1880, a century or so after the (human-made) Industrial Revolution got underway. Atmospheric carbine dioxide, the major culprit among greenhouse gases, reached 384 ppmv (parts per million by volume) in 2007 compared to 290 in 1880, about 280 before the Industrial Revolution began, and never more than 300 during the 420,000 years before the Industrial Revolution.


Pirate's Cove

Could this be something? It’s always been assumed that the Modern Warm Period around the 1850’s, which allows Warmists to claim that the Industrial Revolution caused the current warm period

Climate change: global warming may have started before industrial revolution, Chinese study says

Studies of coral reefs in the Paracel Islands suggest that the South China Sea started warming up in 1825, at the start of the industrial revolution, according to a study by Chinese scientists.

That was the year the world’s first railway began operating in England and most ocean-going ships still used wind power.

Man-made carbon dioxide emissions could not fully explain such an early rise in the warming trend, they said in a peer-reviewed paper published in Quaternary Sciences on Friday.

The Paracel coral record “will fill in some important gaps in global high resolution marine environment records and help us better understand the history of environmental change in tropical waters”, said the researchers, led by Tao Shichen from the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology.

Coral reefs provide useful climate records because the higher the temperature the faster they grow. The Paracels have one of the largest living reefs in the Asia-Pacific region, but in recent decades the archipelago has become the focal point of territorial disputes between China and Vietnam, and the construction of infrastructure has threatened the natural environment. (snip)

With the help of uranium dating technology, the researchers found the samples contained a continuous climate record going back to 1520. To ensure the accuracy of the results, parts of the samples were also sent to a laboratory in Queensland, Australia for independent analysis.

The results showed that the temperature 500 years ago was lower than it is today. The cooling trend lasted until 1825. From that date to the present, there was “a general trend of rapid increase” with the biggest spike reaching 2.3 degrees Celsius, Tao said.

This isn’t the first study to show that the MWP started decades earlier that originally thought, and, yes, this would certainly mean that the cause was mostly natural, because the increase in CO2 from anthropogenic activities would have been negligible. There were no fossil fueled vehicles, coal trains were slowly being used, same with ships, but, there weren’t a lot of them. There weren’t a lot of heavy manufacturing plants at the time. So, what would cause the warming?

Of course, none of this will matter to climate cultists, because they don’t actually care about science, they’ve been indoctrinated into a Belief. They’ll find a way to spin it to their benefit, poo poo the study, etc, all the things they do.


RELATED ARTICLES

Examining this core again, the researchers were able to create a timeline from 1499 to 1992 that shows how new ice formed in layers.

Their goal was to see whether human activity had affected the ice in any way, and, if so, when the effects had begun.

In the part of the core likely to be from the 1780s - the time the industrial revolution began in England - there was evidence of a number of toxic metals that were by-products of industrial activities and coal power generation.

The researchers found that those metals were likely transported by winter winds, which travel around the globe from west to east.

While the industrial revolution is the most likely cause of the metals being present in the ice cores from that time, there are other explanations.

They also believe it is possible that some of the metals, most notably zinc, came from large-scale forest fires, including those used in the 1800s and 1900s to clear trees to make way for farms.

'What happens is at that time, in addition to the Industrial Revolution, the human population exploded and expanded', said Dr Gabrielli.

'And so there was a greater need for agricultural fields -- and, typically, the way they got new fields was to burn forests.'

Early industrial revolution machinery was powered by coal and metals produced from burning coal has been found in ice cores taken from the Himalayan mountains (stock image)

The researcher said as burning trees adds metals, primarily zinc, to the atmosphere, it is difficult to tell whether the glacial contamination came from man-made or natural forest fires.

The contamination in the ice core records was most intense from about 1810 to 1880, the scientists' analysis found.

Dr Gabrielli said that is likely because winters were wetter than normal in Dasuopu during that time period, meaning more ice and snow formed.

That ice and snow, he said, would have been contaminated by fly ash from the burning of coal or trees that made its way into the westerly wind.

He said greater quantities of contaminated ice and snow means more contamination on the glacier.

The first mountain climbers reached the summit of Mount Everest, at 29,029 feet the world's highest peak above sea level, in 1953.

Shishapangma, at 26,335 feet the 14th-highest peak in the world, was first climbed in 1964. The Dasuopo glacier drilling site is about 2,700 feet below the summit.

Dr Gabrielli said it is also important to note the difference between 'contamination' and 'pollution'.

'The levels of metals we found were higher than what would exist naturally, but were not high enough to be acutely toxic or poisonous', he said.

'However, in the future, bioaccumulation may concentrate metals from meltwater at dangerous toxic levels in the tissues of organisms that live in ecosystems below the glacier.'

This isn't the first time a researchers have found evidence of human pollution in ice cores taken from a glacier.

A previous study by the Byrd Polar Center from 2015 found that human silver mining from Peru contaminated the air in South America as much as 240 years before the industrial revolution.

'What is emerging from our studies, both in Peru and in the Himalayas, is that the impact of humans started at different times in different parts of the planet,' Gabrielli said.

The research has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Pirate's Cove

Could this be something? It’s always been assumed that the Modern Warm Period around the 1850’s, which allows Warmists to claim that the Industrial Revolution caused the current warm period

Climate change: global warming may have started before industrial revolution, Chinese study says

Studies of coral reefs in the Paracel Islands suggest that the South China Sea started warming up in 1825, at the start of the industrial revolution, according to a study by Chinese scientists.

That was the year the world’s first railway began operating in England and most ocean-going ships still used wind power.

Man-made carbon dioxide emissions could not fully explain such an early rise in the warming trend, they said in a peer-reviewed paper published in Quaternary Sciences on Friday.

The Paracel coral record “will fill in some important gaps in global high resolution marine environment records and help us better understand the history of environmental change in tropical waters”, said the researchers, led by Tao Shichen from the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology.

Coral reefs provide useful climate records because the higher the temperature the faster they grow. The Paracels have one of the largest living reefs in the Asia-Pacific region, but in recent decades the archipelago has become the focal point of territorial disputes between China and Vietnam, and the construction of infrastructure has threatened the natural environment. (snip)

With the help of uranium dating technology, the researchers found the samples contained a continuous climate record going back to 1520. To ensure the accuracy of the results, parts of the samples were also sent to a laboratory in Queensland, Australia for independent analysis.

The results showed that the temperature 500 years ago was lower than it is today. The cooling trend lasted until 1825. From that date to the present, there was “a general trend of rapid increase” with the biggest spike reaching 2.3 degrees Celsius, Tao said.

This isn’t the first study to show that the MWP started decades earlier that originally thought, and, yes, this would certainly mean that the cause was mostly natural, because the increase in CO2 from anthropogenic activities would have been negligible. There were no fossil fueled vehicles, coal trains were slowly being used, same with ships, but, there weren’t a lot of them. There weren’t a lot of heavy manufacturing plants at the time. So, what would cause the warming?

Of course, none of this will matter to climate cultists, because they don’t actually care about science, they’ve been indoctrinated into a Belief. They’ll find a way to spin it to their benefit, poo poo the study, etc, all the things they do.


Milankovitch cycles

The Earth has experienced a number of periods over the past million years in which large continental ice sheets have covered much of the northern hemisphere. These ice ages are associated with a large drop in global temperatures – 4C or more below today’s levels – with much larger changes over land and in the high latitudes.

These ice ages are punctuated by “interglacial” periods where temperatures rise to around current levels. The most recent ice age occurred between 120,000 and 11,500 years ago, while the current interglacial period – the Holocene – is expected to last for additional tens of thousands of years (and human activity may inadvertently delay the start of the next ice age even further).

Ice-age cycles are primarily driven by periodic changes in the Earth’s orbit. Three distinct orbital cycles – called Milankovitch cycles after their discoverer, Serbian scientist Dr Milutin Milankovitch – interact to change the distribution of incoming solar energy in ways that can dramatically affect the Earth’s climate.

Illustration of the three Milankovitch cycles from the COMET Program at the University Center for Atmospheric Research.

  • Precession – a 26,000-year shift in the orientation of Earth’s axis of rotation that affects how much summer sun is received at high latitudes (and shifting how much reaches the north vs south).
  • Obliquity – a 41,000-year change in the tilt of the Earth’s axis relative to the sun that changes how much sun is received during a year at the poles versus the equator.
  • Eccentricity – a 100,000-400,000 change in the shape of the Earth’s orbit around the sun that alters the length of the seasons and affects the importance of precession.

These three cycles overlap in different ways over time given their different periods, which means that ice ages do not always have the same duration. None of these cycles substantially changes the total amount of energy reaching the Earth from the sun rather, they mostly act to change the distribution of the sun’s energy across the surface of the Earth.

When these cycles cause the northern latitudes to get less sun in the summer, it allows ice sheets to begin to expand. These ice sheets in turn reflect more incoming sunlight back to space, resulting in a “positive feedback” that drives additional regional cooling.

The northern latitudes matter much more than the southern latitudes – at least over the past few million years – as it contains more land area (which can more easily become ice-covered than the oceans) and because the Antarctic has remained covered in ice.


All About Glaciers

Glacial ice can range in age from several hundred to several hundreds of thousands years, making it valuable for climate research. To see a long-term climate record, scientists can drill and extract ice cores from glaciers and ice sheets. Ice cores have been taken from around the world, including Peru, Canada, Greenland, Antarctica, Europe, and Asia. These cores are continuous records providing scientists with year-by-year information about past climate. Scientists analyze various components of cores, particularly trapped air bubbles, which reveal past atmospheric composition, temperature variations, and types of vegetation. Glaciers preserve bits of atmosphere from thousands of years ago in these tiny air bubbles, or, deeper within the core, trapped within the ice itself. This is one way scientists know that there have been several Ice Ages. Past eras can be reconstructed, showing how and why climate changed, and how it might change in the future.

This false-color satellite image shows the Gangotri Glacier, situated in the Uttarkashi District of Garhwal Himalaya. Currently 30.2 kilometers (19 miles) long and between 0.5 and 2.5 kilometers (0.31 to 1.5 miles) wide, Gangotri glacier is one of the largest in the Himalaya. Gangotri has been receding since 1780, although studies show its retreat quickened after 1971. Note that the blue contour lines drawn here to show the recession of the glacier's terminus over time are approximate. Over the last 25 years, Gangotri glacier has retreated more than 850 meters (930 yards), with a recession of 76 meters (83 yards) from 1996 to 1999 alone. —Credit: NASA, based on data provided by the ASTER Science Team. Glacier retreat boundaries courtesy the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center.

Scientists are also finding that glaciers reveal clues about global warming. How much does our atmosphere naturally warm up between Ice Ages? How does human activity affect climate? Because glaciers are so sensitive to temperature fluctuations accompanying climate change, direct glacier observation may help answer these questions. Since the early twentieth century, with few exceptions, glaciers around the world have been retreating at unprecedented rates. Some scientists attribute this massive glacial retreat to the Industrial Revolution, which began around 1760. In fact, several ice caps, glaciers and ice shelves have disappeared altogether in this century. Many more are retreating so rapidly that they may vanish within a matter of decades.

Scientists are discovering that production of electricity using coal and petroleum, and other uses of fossil fuels in transportation and industry, affects our environment in ways we did not understand before. Within the past 200 years or so, human activity has increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 40 percent, and other gases, such as methane (natural gas) by a factor of 2 to 3 or more. These gases absorb heat being radiated from the surface of the earth, and by absorbing this heat the atmosphere slowly warms up. Heat-trapping gases, sometimes called “greenhouse gases,” are the cause of most of the climate warming and glacier retreat in the past 50 years. However, related causes, such as increased dust and soot from grazing, farming, and burning of fossil fuels and forests, are also causing glacier retreat. In fact, it is likely that the earliest parts of the recent glacier retreats in Europe were caused by soot from coal burning in the late 1800s.

As dramatic as the retreat of one glacier may be, scientists learn the most about global climate by studying many glaciers. The World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) tracks changes in more than 100 alpine glaciers worldwide. Forty-two of those glaciers qualify as climate reference glaciers because their records span more than 30 years.

The WGMS reports glacier mass balance changes in millimeters of water equivalence. (There are 25.4 millimeters in an inch.) If all the lost or gained glacial ice were converted to water and spread evenly over glacier surface area, the depth of that water layer is the water equivalence. In State of the Climate in 2018, the American Meteorological Society reported that mean annual glacier mass balance was -921 millimeters for the 42 reference glaciers, and -951 millimeters for all glaciers monitored in 2017.

This graph shows mass balance of the WGMS 37 reference glaciers each year since 1968 (red bars), along with the total mass loss over time (black line).. —Credit: State of the Climate in 2018. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc

Exactly How Much Has the Earth Warmed? And Does It Matter?

The Earth is generally regarded as having warmed about about 1° C (1.8° F) since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, around 1750. In 2017, two professional papers generated much debate in both the popular press and professional literature about whether this figure is correct. Schurer, et al. argued the rise is 1.2° C (2.2° F) and Millar, et al. claimed the rise is 0.9° C (1.6° F).

One might reasonably question why a few tenths of a degree would make much difference. Those making the argument for a higher number claim it is important because it shows we are already closer to the targets of 1.5° and 2.0° above pre-industrial temperatures established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), therefore greater cuts in future carbon emissions are necessary. Those supporting the lower figure believe the 1.5° target can be met with less stringent reductions.

The debate exists in part because the UNFCCC did not define pre-industrial when setting the targets. It is further complicated because there are uncertainties in both historical and recent global temperatures. Neither claim may have much impact.

What is the pre-industrial temperature?

The latest assessment (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) refers to a baseline of 1850–1900. This is a practical choice, since it includes the period of most reliable temperature records and less than 3% of total fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions had occurred by that time.

Presumably, this is the baseline intended by UNFCCC since they describe the IPCC reports as “the most credible sources of scientific information on climate change” and 1850–1900 is also referenced in the UNFCCC’s Structured Expert Dialogue . However, other definitions of pre-industrial are used within the IPCC reports. For example, both “before 1850" and 1750 were used in the Working Group 1 report.

The primary argument of Schurer, et al. for using earlier time periods is that some human-caused warming may have taken place earlier, so pre-industrial should be defined as before 1850. Because temperature was lower for several centuries prior to 1850, their earlier baseline yields the additional two tenths of warming.

If the UNFCCC actually intended 1850–1900 as the base period, choosing an earlier interval is moving the goalposts. In addition, it raises the question of choosing the earlier period and determining the temperature of the new baseline.

The imprecision of pre-1850 temperature reconstructions

Since temperature measurements are sparse before 1850, temperature must be estimated by proxies, such as tree rings, ice cores, corals and pollens. These have known inaccuracies and do not agree. The graph below shows reconstructions from 11 different proxies. Each colored curve is a different reconstruction.

Reconciling the various proxies involves numerous assumptions, corrections, and averaging techniques. Smerdon and Pollack call it a “problem of interpreting incomplete, inaccurate, and conflicting information.”

Temperatures in the time frame of interest may also be estimated by pseudoproxy models, which combine climate models with proxy data. These also vary substantially, as illustrated in the sample of pseudoproxy models below. Schurer, et al. say “the estimation of pre-industrial temperature is far from straightforward.”

Choice of pre-industrial

Although there is considerable difference between various reconstructions, most show a pattern of slow warming into the Medieval Warm Period, cooling into the Little Ice Age, and warming since about 1650. Which of these best represents pre-industrial?

Schurer, et al. suggest 1400-1800. This seems biased to showing the maximum amount of warming, since it brackets the Little Ice Age. One might as easily argue the Medieval Warm Period could be used. A better argument would be to use 750-1850 or 0-1850. The temperature over those intervals would not be greatly different from than IPCC’s 1850-1900. Other authors have suggested different intervals.

Differences in present day temperature estimates

Although recent temperature measurements are far better defined than pre-industrial, they are not without uncertainty. Differences exist between different averaging methods and corrections, choice of land vs. land plus sea, etc. These can be on the order of a tenth of a degree .

The discussion here of ambiguities barely scratches the surface of defining the 1.5 and 2° goals. A well-written article by Rogelj, et al. discusses other questions in interpreting the intent of the UNFCCC. In a separate article , he and other authors caution against “shifting the [UNFCCC’s] goalposts.”

Limitations are not criticisms

This discussion of uncertainties is not meant as criticism of the science or the authors. It is a function of the current state of knowledge, which is well-described in mainstream peer-reviewed journals and discussed by respected climate scientists, many of whom are contributors to the IPCC reports. A recent example was correspondence in the journal Nature Climate Change between the authors of the Millar and Schurer papers, each of whom defended their conclusions.

Why an exact value doesn't matter

Although there are some out-of-the-mainstream views to the contrary, there is strong evidence the Earth has warmed about 1° C since pre-industrial times. Uncertainties in the data and lack of agreement on a reference date make it impossible to give a precise value.

If one subscribes to the belief that fossil fuels are the primary or sole cause of this warming, as do most climate scientists , it is urgent to reduce fossil fuel usage. The IPCC has been saying this since their First Assessment Report in 1990. Succeeding reports have described the situation as more urgent since inadequate progress in reducing fossil fuel emissions has been made.

It is hard to imagine that believing warming since pre-industrial is one or two tenths of a degree higher will change the urgency for fossil fuel reduction. This view has been expressed by Dana Nuccitelli, one of the most zealous emissions reductions advocates. In a Guardian article he says, "We’re at the point where we need to cut carbon pollution as quickly as feasibly possible. That’s true whether Earth has warmed 1.0 or 1.1 or 1.2°C above “pre-industrial” temperatures.”

By the same token, the 57% of Americans who do not worry much about global warming are not likely to be influenced by a conclusion that pre-industrial temperatures are two tenths of a degree cooler than earlier thought.

Earl J. Ritchie is a retired energy executive and teaches a course on the oil and gas industry at the University of Houston. He has 35 years’ experience in the industry. He started as a geophysicist with Mobil Oil and subsequently worked in a variety of management and technical positions with several independent exploration and production companies. He retired as Vice President and General Manager of the offshore division of EOG Resources in 2007. Prior to his experience in the oil industry, he served at the US Air Force Special Weapons Center, providing geologic and geophysical support to nuclear research activities. Ritchie holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology–Geophysics from the University of New Orleans and a Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering and Construction Management from the University of Houston.



Comments:

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  2. Cadhla

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