The Thermometer and the Warmest Decade on Record

The earth passed the the warmest decade on record.  Judah Cohen writing in the NYT on Dec. 26th quoted the World Meteorological Organization.  Apparently it was nip and tuck.  Other decades in the twentieth century were close. 

Most of the world wide records quoted are post 1880.  The global records tabulated are those garnered world wide since the last decades of the nineteenth century when there was an international agreement to measure and report.  Prior to that time, thermometers were not widely available.  But we have extensive historical records of the last 1300 years.  The funny thing is that those records were famously reported in books that made the New York Times Best Seller’s list in the last decade – the “warmest one”.

Brian Fagan wrote the “The Little Ice Age” in 2000.  He gave the dates as 1300 AD to 1850 AD.  He followed with “The Great Warming” in 2009.  His dates overlapped a bit – 800 to 1350.  In the first book, he described the poignant events and mortality rates in Europe as the growing seasons shortened.  Europeans struggled to develop new crops.  Some resorted to emigration to the New World.  “The Warming Period” was a happier time.  Populations expanded and subsistence agriculture was more secure.  In “The Little Ice Age”, Fagan warned of the possible onset of another such horrific period.  Nine years later, in the latter book, he remained au courant and expressed a fear of the on coming global warming.  The warmest decade of the past 1300 years was somewhere between 800 and 1430 AD.  We don’t know which one, but undoubtedly there were scores that were warmer than the most recent.

In 2003, “1421” by Gavin Menzies was a major NYT Best Seller.  It was the story of the world wide two year exploration by a Chinese fleet bent on developing new trading partners.  Menzies described events on Greenland in 1421.  ( Fagan dated the Viking settlements from before 1000 A.D. )  As the Warming Period wond down, there were some years of respite.  Menzies wrote, “the summers of 1422 to 1428 were exceptionally warm”.  From church records, he described the wedding of the widow Sigrid Bjornsdottir in 1408.  Ms. Bjornsdottir had inherited “substantial flocks of sheep and cattle that fed on lush Greenland pastures, a scene quite unrecognizable from today’s barren ice-bond land.”

                                                     Back to the Present

Veerabhadran Ramanathan and David G. Victor wrote in the NYT  “Fight Climate Change, Clean the Air”.  Ramanathan is a professor of astrophysics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography – not the usual bag of hot air.  The authors insist on positing the onset of Global Warming.  Nevertheless, they admit the tiny effect of carbon dioxide.  ( For several years, the United Nations has essentially admitted that carbon dioxide is not a significant theoretical factor.)  There is no way to know if any particle is a real cause in the real world.  The iatrogenic global warming crowd simply assign values to various substances in a computer model and crank out a projected outcome.

                                                              Other Bad Stuff

It is known that a number of particles do cause damage to human lungs.  Soot very likely causes some degree of warming as well, but the warming may be localized.  Methane from farts of herbivorous animals, rotting rice, leaks from gas lines, and landfills is thought by serious scientists to be about 25 times more powerful as carbon dioxide in causing warming.  Again, the carbon dioxide effect is logrithmic – it levels off as the concentration increases – so methane may be 25 times a very small number.

The authors suggest addressing several pollutants which they regard as much more potent warming agents than carbon dioxide.

The take home message is than as a warming agent, carbon dioxide is likely not a factor.  ( Acid rain is a serious matter.)

The authors urge that we concentrate on ozone and soot.  They seek “measurable effects” in countering global warming.  It should be obvious to any student of history, that should even severe changes in climate occur, we will not be able to assign a cause with any degree of certainty.  So far there is no market for the land of the former Western or Eastern Settlement in Greenland – at least not as a cattle ranch.

                                                         George Will

George Will appraised the absurdity of America’s war on coal.  Cowlitz County in Washington recently approved the building of a coal exporting terminal from which millions of tons of American coal can be shipped to Asia annually.  Six billion tons of coal are burned annually – half by the Chinese.  To put it bluntly, the Chinese do not regard carbon dioxide as a warming agent.  Hopefully, they will work diligently to correct the awful levels of soot and other pollutants that foul their air and drift to Southeast Asia.


All this talk of carbon foot print as a cause of climate change is embarrassing.  About a decade ago, I first heard of “global warming”.  There was a headline in an foreign English language paper.  Some Hollywood producer was forming a non – profit organization to fight it.  This brought to mind one of my grade school heroes, Eirik the Red.  Vikings arrived in Newfoundland before 1000 AD.  The natives were not friendly but Greenland was an easier target.  The Inuit people were few.  In grade school we learned that the period was much warmer than the present.  Eirik the Red gave the land the name “Greenland”.  He decided it was an appealing name which would encourage settlers.  Greenland was settled as an agricultural community for over four hundred years – almost half a millennium. As Seinfeld used to say, “Where do they find these people?”

                                                                A Plan for Political Action

Whenever, persons advocating Cap and Trade or an EPA non – legislative approach to “global warming”  make a pitch, Republicans or anyone with their head screwed on straight should shout

                                          Bjornsdottir   Bjornsdottir   Bjornsdottir

On the Anniversary of her Wedding, the Lamb and Beef Lobbies who are attacked because of their animals’ farts could have a party and serve unhealthy quantities of those meats.