Greenland Glaciers Retreating…

Greenland Glaciers Retreating… June 21, 2012

Faster in the 30s.

This reminds me of the time I was on a boat up near the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska a few years ago. Somebody was pointing out how far the glacier had receded. (It was easy to see because the rock was worn smooth where the glacier had been.) Much clucking about climate change, etc.

Finally somebody asked *when* the glacier had begun to retreat. “In the 18th century” we were told.

So I made bold to remark that this means Anthropogenic Global Warming had begun to melt the glacier before us anthropoids had begun to have anything like a serious industrial revolution to jack up the CO2 emissions.

A serious, thrawn, and intense woman shot back at me, “Well, the Chinese were burning a *lot* of bamboo, you know.”


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  • john

    Obviously Mother Earth in her wisdom and awesomeness could see what was comming so was recoiling in fear of our human ignorance and awefulness. It is like she knew what was going to happen and was trying to warn us of the folly of our ways. If only we had been evelved enough back then to be open to hear and understand what she was trying to tell us.

  • Carbon Monoxide

    You should have pushed them overboard to reduce the carbon footprint of the boat.

  • James H, London

    “The Chinese were burning bamboo”

    The Chinese? Were Burning? BAMBOO??


    Has anyone ever burned bamboo? In a word: DON’T! It’s like pre-gunpowder firecrackers.

    • Ted Seeber

      If you need to clear the land under a bamboo forest, the resulting explosions seem to me to be a positive, not a negative.

  • Noah D

    Mark, how dare you question The Revealed Wisdom of Science!

    Pardon me a moment, I’m going to rant.

    Last week, I was at an otherwise excellent museum in Pittsburgh (Carnegie Museum of Natural History, go see it if you’re ever nearby, and bring the kids. Also, the connected art museum is fantastic as well), in the ‘Why Did The Dinosaurs Die Off?’ section, and they had a short film on loop. Things I learned…

    Late in the Age of Dinosaurs, here used to be lots of warm, shallow seas, which regulate global temperatures. Global climate was described as ‘tropical’.

    (Unmentioned was that there was little to no glaciation at all at that time (in general), and that if/when this current ice age ends, those temperature regulating warm shallow seas will probably be back. And ‘global climate was tropical’ is somehow different from ‘OMG ICE MELTS SEAS RISE WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!1!’)

    The Chixulub Impact had devastating global climate effects, and contributed to one of the most successful groups of animals (dinosaurs) going extinct.

    (Except that the current bellwether animal group, the amphibians, somehow survived.)

    This was also in a period of extreme vulcanism, which dumped lots and lots of awful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, specifically CO2.

    (Unmentioned is the fact that vulcanism also puts out staggering amounts of ash, which has a significant cooling effect – Year Without A Summer, anyone? No, that was because of a drop in solar activity, not just Mt. Tambora…oh, wait. Also unmentioned is the sheer amount of chemicals released by vulcanism in relation to human effects.)

    The gyrations necessary to keep up with the Official Narrative are impressive.

  • “Well, the Chinese were burning a *lot* of bamboo, you know.”

    Man..she schooled you Mark. I’m surprised you even recovered from that retort. 😉

    • Ted Seeber

      I’m surprised she didn’t bring up the Deforestation of England (when the English burnt all their wood for fuel, and started coal mining, because imported wood was too expensive to burn). Anthropogenic carbon has a very long history indeed.

      • Don’t forget Haiti. Now they get mudslides, etc. in heavy rains and storms.

        • But no climate change as a result though….

          This is such a BS thing. Ever since God created the earth there’s been climate change, affected by many different factors. There will be climate change after man’s existence is ended…we just won’t be around to wring our hands about it..

  • Will

    Ignore the warnings at your own risk.

    • ivan_the_mad


  • Charlie

    Well, I’m convinced. I’ll just run outside and put out my bamboo bonfire right now. BRB.

  • Ted Seeber

    What gets me is this whole bit about *anthropogenic*. Sure, mankind’s pollution has to have *some* effect on the environment. But in the summer of 2009, the melting tundra released enough methane to utterly dwarf all of mankind’s pollution for the past 20 years combined- and it was not the disaster it seemed. If anything, we’re seeing more chaotic weather, not steady warming; the Bering Sea saw ice further south than it has been in 50 years this winter.

    The problem is not the climate or the weather, but economics. Everything is so interconnected now days that an extreme weather event on the other side of the planet can and does affect YOUR pocketbook. Likewise certain primitive tribes who are living in unstable climates to begin with are greatly affected- Greater tides means nothing to somebody living at an elevation above 200 feet, but means quite a lot to somebody whose home is within 3 feet of sea level.

  • Eric

    The nice thing about being a climatologist on the internet as opposed to, you know, an actual climatologist, is that you can use whatever evidence suits your fancy to support your opinion rather than, you know, science.

    • ivan_the_mad

      The sword cuts both ways. Because, you know, it’s totally not the case “actual climatologists [and other scientists]… can use whatever evidence suits [their] fancy to support [their] opinion rather than, you know, science.”

      I resigned from a rather notable bioinformatics center for just such a reason. Science in practice is intensely political, with cut-throat competition for funding. It is not infrequently the case that rather than examine the evidence and draw out conclusions, evidence is found to support a pre-determined conclusion because that’s more … profitable.

    • Mark Shea

      Could you inform me of my opinion, since you seem to know it?

      • Eric

        You constantly blog on your site that you think the proponents of AGW are overblown. I constantly try to get you to read what the USCCB has said about the subject, and you constantly ignore me and make blog post posts like the one above. So tell me, why don’t caveat emptor these posts with relevent church teaching on morals? Your bias is consistantly evident.

        • Mark Shea

          Probably because a) I don’t have a big interest in the subject, b) I don’t dissent from the Church’s teaching on morals. I agree with “take care of the earth”, I am merely dubious about some of the factual claims made by climate change zealots and I am especially dubious about the perpetual tendency to speak of climate change in the language of religious orthodoxy, vs. heresy, rather than in the language of science. I’m not interested in what the USCCB might say about the Van Allen belts, the atomic weight of carbon or Bernoulli’s principle. Why should I look to them to tell me about climate change? Unless, of course, you are suggesting the climate change is fundamentally a theological matter and not a scientific one. I have heard that a lot.

    • Mark Shea, as you know I think you’re off the wall on this subject. But it doesn’t matter what you think, or I think, or however many times you dish out your anecdote from Alaska. Ask the people who live in the Arctic what they think. Perhaps we’ll go back over the subject after the inevitable phase transition, if we have the time and inclination.

      • Insane Sanity

        Does it matter what people in the Artic *think*? Why are they any different than Marks’s anecdote? What matters is reliable, scientific data, scientists without an agenda (hard to come by anymore), historical evaluation, and some common sense.

        We know for a fact that the earth has warmed and cooled, sometimes extremely, over its long history without the interference of humans. Why is it necessarily different today, IF it is happening at all? I’m definitely not convinced of man-made global warming. I’m sceptical that current variations in the climate is outside of any normal variance. We’ve only been collecting climate data for around 100 years (since around 1880) – which is not a statistical relevant sample for a 4 billion year old planet.

        • So you’re a climate scientist? Atmospheric physicist? Chemist? Published papers, research?

          • ivan_the_mad

            *looks around Mark’s blog* I don’t see anything on the blog that requires you to be an “expert” in order to comment on something.

            • We’re not talking about what is required to comment.

              • ivan_the_mad

                Uh huh. So you were just curious.

      • Ted Seeber

        Alaska and the arctic circle nothing- ask a ski resort owner on Mt. Hood in Oregon what he thinks. MOST of them have a pretty serious reason for believing in global chaotic climate change- related directly to their decreasing profits over the last 50 years, not to mention the three major landslides that took out vacation properties and a state highway.

        • Well, that’s okay because they have enough money now…this is just punishment for being greedy.

          • Ted Seeber

            Yeah, too bad most of the ski resort owners rely on all that nasty unskilled labor, and there’s 20% unemployment in rural Oregon to start with. So greedy they are…..that they can’t even afford to maintain national historic buildings like Timberline Lodge (which, luckily for them, isn’t on the side of the mountain sliding rapidly downhill, yet)

  • “But in the summer of 2009, the melting tundra released enough methane to utterly dwarf all of mankind’s pollution for the past 20 years combined- and it was not the disaster it seemed. If anything, we’re seeing more chaotic weather, not steady warming; the Bering Sea saw ice further south than it has been in 50 years this winter.”

    Try reading that over again.

    • Ted Seeber

      Summer of 2009 vs Winter 2012- what does that tell you?

    • Ted Seeber

      Or are you talking about the chaotic weather? It isn’t the steady warming predicted, and aside from what the crab boat captains on Deadliest Catch say, none of their boats sank under the ice.

  • @Pavel, et al.,

    Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is an unvalidated theory. It is based on computer simulations of climate. The results of such simulations depend upon the values selected by the individual researcher for a number of “tuning constants.” The particular values chosen are selected by a combination of assumptions and running the model using different assumed values until one arrives at something that looks like a “reasonable” climatological result. That validation process depends heavily upon the average of observed average values over some historical period of time. Recognize at the beginning that we only have accurate records over the whole globe for a few decades. Prior to remote satellite measurements we have records for about a century. Now factor in that the relevant geological records show extremely large variations in climate over millenia, but those tend to give qualitative, not quantitative, indications of actual temperatures.

    And, since you asked, my baccalaureate was in geology and geophysics, my masters education was primarily in oceanography and meteorology. As a part of that I also worked with computer numerical models of the ocean and atmosphere.

    Attempting to validate any particular AGW model is subject to a great deal of uncertainty, primarily because of the number of assumptions that have to be made, and getting even one of them wrong is enough to invalidate the predictive capability of the numerical model.

    Secondarily, using such an uncertain theory to drive legislation is, necessarily, a fool’s errand.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

    • This was a good comment, and I was hoping some of the advocates for MMGW would respond. Not that they are automatically wrong, or you are automatically right (no offense), I was just hoping for a response, since you seem to have much more credibility than someone like me, who can only sit back and guess who’s telling the truth.

  • Mark,

    Big time props for using the word “thrawn.”