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CLIMATE: South Sound was warmer 5,000 years ago

Letter by Ken A. Schlichte, Tumwater on Nov. 22, 2010 at 11:57 am with 57 Comments »
November 22, 2010 1:14 pm

Re: “As world warms, delegates again try talking” (TNT, 11-21).

The last time the world warmed was 120,000 years ago and that warming was 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the article about the United Nations climate conference in Cancun. The author has apparently not read about the Holocene Maximum, the global climatic period from about 10,000 to 5,000 years ago that was 2 degrees Fahrenheit or more warmer than present-day temperatures.

The warmer temperatures of the Holocene Maximum were responsible for replacing forests with prairies on many gravelly and droughty glacial outwash deposits in the South Sound Region. These prairies, including the large prairies on and around Joint Base Lewis-McChord, were then maintained against naturally advancing forests through the thousands of years of cooler temperatures that followed the Holocene Maximum by the Native American prairie- burning activities that ended late in the 1800s.

Prairie vegetation is now gradually being replaced by naturally advancing forest vegetation throughout the South Sound region because of the cooler temperatures since the Holocene Maximum and the lack of Native American prairie-burning activities.

Leave a comment Comments → 57
  1. JungleBoy says:

    I think it’s a little humorous that they chose to meet in Mexico, rather than a more “northern” country. After all, there isn’t a single country (apart from Brazil) in the southern hemisphere that contributes any significant amounts of CO2 to global warming (assuming that’s the true cause of the warming). Maybe the organizers of the event were more than a little worried about the possibility of a snow storm shutting down the conference, and so they thought that Mexico was a safe bet.

  2. BlaineCGarver says:

    The Gubment and the Greeners will bankrupt the country and ruin people financially trying to change a Mother Nature that will not be impressed by our puny efforts, and will do as she pleases no matter how many green cars we drive.

  3. JudasEscargot says:

    Ken – try reading up on the Dust Bowl Era and you’ll learn tons about man/climate made issues.

    It’s amazing that Americans have already experienced a catastrophe that was part manmade and continues to deny the possibilities.

  4. nwcolorist says:

    I see that the Left’s enviromental propaganda machine is up and running again. They are relentless. Pretty soon they will be going out in pairs, knocking on our doors on Saturdays mornings.

  5. JudasEscargot says:

    nwcolorist – are you not educated about the manmade implications of the Dust Bowl?

  6. JudasEscargot says:

    Oh…sorry. I forgot. The earth is only 6,000 years old and was made by a great fairy in the sky.

  7. JB – since the southern hemisphere is moving into summer now there wouldn’t be too much chance of snow.

  8. and rests on the back of a ginormous turtle swimming in a endless ocean-sea and the sky is supported by a very large male.

  9. JungleBoy says:

    Judas- try reading the book, “The Worst Hard Times” by Timothy Egan. The dust bowl was not caused by global warming or CO2; it was a result of poor soil management and a coinciding change in the direction of high altitude winds that come up from the Gulf of Mexico. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

    By the way, please explain how mankind contributed to the formation of the Sahara desert. I think you’ll find that there are many forces at work in global and regional climate change.

    Nice one about the “6000 years and the great fairy in the sky.” I hate to burst your bubble, but your belief in manmade global warming is also a religion that requires faith.

  10. JungleBoy says:

    BB – you’re precisely right. Since the whole global warming debate is also a battle of public opinion, there’s little chance that the delegates to the conference would chance meeting in a location where there might possibly be some snow.

  11. aislander says:

    Prof. Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer, IPCC co-chair, recently admitted that the climate-change initiative is NOT about the environment, but rather global governance and the redistribution of wealth…

  12. Holy smoke, the weather people know what the weather was 120,000 years ago. Maybe they can tell me whether I should wear a parka or a Hawaiian shirt on thursday.

    The Brights know the earth isn’t 5,000 years old. They also know there are a gazillion universes out there and ours just happens to be one of them. How do they know? Because a universe like ours that appears to be exceedingly fine tuned for life can’t be. That would mean there is a fine tuner, a (gulp) designer. Since science doesn’t allow a designer, our universe must be just one of billions and billions that come and go like soap bubbles. It’s a matter of faith. See how that works?

  13. North Africa used to be covered with forests and grass lands. Humans cut the forest and over grazed the grass lands with goats and sheep. The result of these two actions is now known as the Sahara Desert.

  14. JungleBoy says:

    xring – wrong. The area which is now the Sahara desert used to be covered by a gigantic sea. Plate tectonics was the culprit. Whale bones have been found in the desert …unless the bones happen to belong to some humongous goats and sheep.

  15. JudasEscargot says:

    “JungleBoy says:
    November 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm
    Judas- try reading the book, “The Worst Hard Times” by Timothy Egan. The dust bowl was not caused by global warming or CO2; it was a result of poor soil management and a coinciding change in the direction of high altitude winds that come up from the Gulf of Mexico. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

    Let’s see…..poor soil management = man made
    ……coinciding change in high altitude winds = nature

    JudasEscargot says:
    November 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm
    Ken – try reading up on the Dust Bowl Era and you’ll learn tons about man/climate made issues.

    Science doesn’t require faith. It requires observation.

  16. JudasEscargot says:

    “Whale bones have been found in the desert …unless the bones happen to belong to some humongous goats and sheep. ”

    Of course the whales couldn’t have been killed in the water and transported in pieces to other areas. The Alaska natives never do/did that.

    There lies the problem with lack of critical thought and observation. Knee jerk reactions against obvious similarities.

  17. JudasEscargot says:

    A true Conservative would rule out nothing in terms of possibilities of global warming. The conservative thing to do is accept all possibilities.

  18. “Science doesn’t require faith. It requires observation.”

    And brains. Get some.

    Science doesn’t require consensus, either, but the lemmings seem to think so.

  19. JudasEscargot says:

    Everyone has a brain, camas. Some prefer to keep it in neutral. Those who observe have their’s in “drive”.

  20. JudasEscargot says:


    talks about lush vegetation, thus people and animal herding….

  21. aislander says:

    JE writes: “The conservative thing to do is accept all possibilities.”

    When I was considering becoming a writer, someone who was employed as one advised me to write about what I know. You should write about what you know.

    That was a small joke. The conservative thing is to CONSIDER all possibilities, reject the ones that make no sense, and act only if acting will accomplish something. Even carbon fanatics acknowledge that shutting down the industrialized world will not mitigate climate change. I refuse to turn everything upside down for no purpose. And then there is the good Prof. Dr.’s admission…

  22. JB – whale bones in the Sahara – you skipped a few million years of geologic time and a chuck of human pre-history.

    JE – thanks for the link.

  23. I pray to allah for global warming, but look outside and see what I get.

  24. JungleBoy says:

    Judas – you seem to believe in a static earth, devoid of processes that mold and shape the surface. I know you think you’re a scientist, but you’re not (and if you are, then may the great fairy in the sky help us).

    With regard to the dust bowl: the poor soil management did not cause a shift in the warm, moisture laden air coming up from the gulf. That’s why I used the word “coincided.” The lack of rainfall or drought (there’s a word I’ve heard before) is a common occurrence throughout the world and throughout history. Just because “A” happens, and “B” happens doesn’t mean “A” caused “B.”

    With regard to the whale bones: the bones still had the shape of a skeleton – so unless the natives were experts at jig-saw puzzles, the bones were not transported from one location to another. By the way, in addition to the bones, scientists have found the fossilized remains of numerous other sea creatures in the Sahara desert.

  25. Judas, since science requires observation, not faith, would you say all speculation about other universes is unscientific?

  26. velmak – the operative word is “speculation” rather than the words “faith” or “belief”.

  27. bBoy, the operative word is “observation.” If other uinverses are unobserved, is specualtion about them scientifc or unscientifc?

  28. “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.”

    Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics

  29. “This most beautiful system [The Universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

    Isaac Newton

  30. At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his FAITH in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.

    Robert Jastrow, Founding Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Professor of Geophysics, Columbia Univeristy

  31. “There is a kind of RELIGION in science, it is the religion of a person who believes there is order and harmony in the universe, and every effect must have its cause, there is no first cause… ”

    “This RELIGIOUS FAITH of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. ”

    Robert Jastrow

  32. aislander says:

    It is obvious from the quotes you provide, roxey, that only mental defectives can have faith. That Einstein sure was “limited…”

  33. old_benjamin says:

    Now, even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other, nevertheless there exist between the two strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies. Though religion may be that which determines the goal, it has, nevertheless, learned from science, in the broadest sense, what means will contribute to the attainment of the goals it has set up. But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the FAITH in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound FAITH. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

    A. Einstein

  34. Global warming isn’t the reason for an assault on petroleum-based energy sources – it’s national/economic security. Petroleum is in finite supply. The country that develops the best solutions for sustainable energy technology will rule the next age economically.

  35. aislander says:

    So, squid; you agree with the co-chair of IPCC that it ISN’T about the environment?

  36. Global warming from greenhouse gas accumulation and the resultant climate change that will manifest itself in ways about which we can only make educated guesses is settled science.
    The other comments here denying that are nonsense based and epitomize a worldwide delusion spread by the scientifically illiterate on the scientifically underinformed.

  37. AI: what the co-chair of the IPCC says matters not to me as it is now beside the point. People can argue the climate change issue till the cows come home, and it just ends up being a philosophical issue, enviro-nazis vs. amoral capitalists. Sound and fury signifying nothing.

    Meanwhile, our national security and economic prosperity is being compromised daily by our dependence on petroleum. That is simply inarguable. Because we are already so far behind in the energy technology race, it will take a “moonshot” commitment to prevail. If China develops the environmental sustainable silver bullet, we my friends are scooged, with a capital S.

    Yet we noodle picking scientific nits…

  38. velmak – string theory should really be named string hypothetical for exactly the reason you have indicated – it leads to a number of corollaries such as multiple universes that are not observable, not testable by the empirical method and therefore outside the definition of scientific method.

  39. BRRRR.

  40. aislander says:

    I’m ALL for alternative energy, squid: WHEN it becomes economically viable (and I use viable in the sense of “able to live on its own”). Diverting resources to a government-led “moonshot” makes no sense, especially when the government is tapped out. When alts are competitive with petro, I’ll be all over them, but right now, my cars don’t run on pie in the sky…

  41. aislander says:

    Alts are long-term solution to the problem you correctly identify, squid, but, in the interim, we need to develop and use ALL the domestic resources we can. Extracting oil from safer and more accessible locations than deep water would be an excellent start, as would building more refineries and taking a look at separating the domestic market from the world market, if that is shown to be advantageous with respect to cost and dependability of supply…

  42. old_benjamin says:

    bBoy, the “scientfic method” is like Marxism. It sounds good but nobody goes there any more. Thomas Kuhn went so far as to say there is no such thing. Yeah, everyone give lip service to stuff like observation and repeatability, but you can’t repeat the evolution of the race or the origin of the cosmos. Surely the investigation of such phenomena are not to be labeled “unscientific.” The real argument is about whether stuff like Intelligent Design can be called scientific. Of course it can, but there’s an extreme bias against it because it smacks of “creation.”

    See below for a revealing insight.

  43. old_benjamin says:

    “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.”

    Richard Lewontin, Professor of Zoology and Professor of Biology at Harvard

  44. aislander says:

    Great quote, OB! It is not only in science that liberal minds tend toward material solutions to spiritual problems, but also in society. See welfare as an example, as well as other “social programs…”

  45. As the least taxed of the capitalist nations, we are FAR from tapped out. In 20 years, when China is calling the shots because their free market socialism invested enough to develop technological energy solutions, we’ll all wish we’d had the foresight to tax ourselves a few dimes a gallon at the filling station. For starters, retail gas should be in the $5 range, with ALL that tax going to a NASA-style effort. No corporate entity would have ever made it to the moon and none will solve this problem.

    Maximizing extraction of existing petro resources MUST be combined with serious and aggressive conservation efforts. The cheapest (oh and coincidentally cleanest, bonus) way get more petro is to aggressively find ways to cut down on use. Instead, we continue to heedlessly fritter away this finite resource while we bicker over science issues that in fact are philosophical differences of opinion.

    It all makes me think that people in the U.S. aren’t really that interested in energy solutions, they are simply interested in getting their way, unwilling to make anything resembling a real sacrifice.

    Tell you what Aislander, got a deal for you. Join me in cutting your annual driving mileage in half and I will stand on a podium with Sarah Palin and chant “Drill Baby Drill.”

  46. aislander says:

    WHY are lefties SO hostile to the private automobile?

  47. The author’s comment that the holocene maximum temperature was 2 degrees warmer than today’s is false.
    “The current temperature matches the “Holocene maximum”, a warm period about 12,000 years ago, right before the last ice age. If the temperature goes up another 1°C, it’ll be the hottest it’s been in the last 1.35 million years!”

    Source: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/temperature/
    This has been addressed time after time and keeps coming back with a life of its own from the deniers who cannot admit they are wrong and will lie forever to protect their sacred cow.

  48. You’d have to ask a lefty for her/his response to that, Islander. But, yeah, this Libertarian wishes we all drove a lot less. Wishes we would come to our senses. Not interested in mandating it though.

  49. Novelist3 says:

    I sure could go for a little bit of that Global Warming right about now…

  50. Is Intelligent design scientific? You must be kidding. It is a religious idea and nothing more.

  51. aislander says:

    Intelligent design is a conjecture based on logic, and is put forth as an answer to a question that science cannot address…

  52. a question that science cannot address…

    Which makes it philosophy, not science.

  53. aislander says:

    …which means science is not omniscient, beerBoy. If science is unable to address a basic question, does that mean the question cannot be asked? And if it IS asked, shouldn’t the best available answer be considered? Not the best answer? Do you have a better one?

  54. bBoy, if you haven’t read Thomas Kuhn, you should. If you have, read him again. This faith of yours in science, that it is a even a definable endeavor, is downright pathetic.

  55. Islander – “a question science can’t address” The scientific answer is that such questions do exist and cannot be answered with our current scientific understanding. I.E. 200 years ago no one could explain how man could fly. Some said Man Was Not Meant to Fly. Now flying is an everyday occurance.

  56. velmak – please explain what my “faith in science” is and why it is pathetic.

    I value philosophy as a system that utilizes words and logic to pursue truths. I value science as a system that utilizes the empirical method to pursue truths. But, I don’t confuse one for the other.

    The only system of absolute truth is math as it is a purely self-contained mental construct – however, once math is applied to reality (statistics, economics, science, etc.) it loses its absolute truth.

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