The News Just Gets Harder to Bear

Sat, 2007-09-08 08:16Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

The News Just Gets Harder to Bear

Two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be killed off by 2050 — and the entire population gone from Alaska — because of thinning sea ice from global warming in the Arctic, government scientists forecast Friday. Polar bears have walked the planet for at least 40,000 years.

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Actually the story, like all forecasts of future warmist disasters churned out by climate modellers or those who regard their prognostications as real data, uses the word “could”, not “will”. There has to be some wiggle room.

Not long ago Al Gore and the G-W alarmist crowd were telling us the polar bears are dying. Then along came people with actual polar bear counts to show the current population is the highest in the last 50 years.

So now the alarmists are playing it safe. Their prediction of calamity is for a period just over the horizon. That avoids any immediate unpleasantness such as hard evidence that shows the scaremongering is groundless.

Of course, 2050 will eventually arrive and people alive then will look back on these forecasts with the same amusement we regard the dire predictions of disaster for our time that came from the likes of Paul Ehrlich and the Club of Rome in the 1970s.

As an side, I wonder how the polar bears survived the Medieval Warm Period? And since they have walked the planet for at least 40,000 years, they obviously endured a very dramatic climate upheaval when the glaciers that covered the top half of North Aemrica began to melt about 15,000 years ago. Wonder how they survived that?

All your rambling aside, the loss of sea ice has always been the concern for polar bears. I don’t recall any scientists ever saying that wasn’t the issue as hunting seals requires the bears to be on the ice, and without ice there is no hunting seals for the bears.

Anyway to answer your question, the answer is quite simple.

The medieval warm period, judging by the various reconstructions, is about the same temp as 1920-1930 temps or so, quite a bit less than today’s temperatures. Plus I don’t think you can say dramatic upheaval, the nice slowly rolling lines would imply a relatively slow change in climate over time. Course they survived because 1) climate changed slowly and 2) the medieval warm period wasn’t all that warm compared to today. Science, such easy answers to be had.

The medieval warm period was not as warm as today? What are you smoking, Carl? It was warmer then than now. Those Greenland farms established by sea-faring Norsemen? Ever hear of them? How much farming goes on today on Greenland?

As for Arctic temps, the record from 1880 to the present, summarized, shows:
They rose for 60 years, to 1940.
They fell for 25 years, to 1965.
They rose for 40 years, to the present.
They were higher in the 30’s and 40’s than they are today.

Have a look at the photos on this archaeological website about the Norse settlement excavation site in southwest Greenland – grass, flowers, etc. There are a lot of assumptions made about what Greenland was like then. Well here’s what parts of it are like NOW.

I am looking at the northern climate reconstruction for the past 2000 years….none of the various reconstructions show any periods warmer than today. In addition, temp records for the northern hemisphere do not show what you are claiming. (Northern hemisphere and Northern latitudes pasted below)

Though I would love to see 1) the temp reconstruction that shows the medieval warm period warmer than today (which is likely some sort of unpublished, made up with numbers added in or guess work denier scribble) 2) An artic temperature record that shows the 1940s warmer than today.

Secondly what exactly were they so called farming, going to and say they’re farming grapes again….(rolls eyes) you need quality soil for farming, which Greenland really lacks and has never had. CIA fact book lists Greenland agriculture as, forage crops, garden and greenhouse vegetables; sheep, reindeer; fish. Which isn’t shocking, they don’t have much high quality prairie soil to grow corn, and canola in. Plus if you think about it people have always been living in Greenland doing such things even during the “little iceage”… going go on again this time about how they were growing grapes in newfoundland to?

Historians believe that at their height, 4000 Norse people were living in three farming settlements strung along the sheltered south-west coast of Greenland. In nearby Iceland, the climate was mild enough even to grow a little grain, and the population swelled to 60,000.

As for the Medieval Warm Period, Sallie Baliunas & Willie Soon reported on research they carried out in 2001. Here are excerpts from their report:

“According to the reconstructed records, people in many parts of the world experienced a relative warmth early in the millennium, called the Little Optimum (LO), and a cool period a few centuries later, labeled the Little Ice Age (LIA).

Examples are geographically widespread and numerous. In central Argentina during the LO, glaciers retreated and the plains regions turned warm and humid. During the LIA, glaciers advanced and the plains became cooler and semi-arid.

Study of the cultivation of subtropical citrus trees and herbs shows Northeast China had a temperature about 1C higher than today between 1100 and 1200 A.D. That same region felt the chill of the LIA between 1550 and 1750 A.D., and that period was the coldest of the last 2000 years, according to oxygen isotope measurements in peat cellulose.

The temperature in the interior of South Africa was higher by 3C during the LO and lower by 1C during the LIA compared with today, based on measurements of carbon and oxygen isotopes in stalagmites.

The surface temperature of the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic exhibited a 1C rise 1,000 years ago and 1C decrease about 400 years ago, as shown by the level of the oxygen isotope in seafloor sediments.

Borehole measurements into the Greenland ice sheet indicate a temperature 1C higher around 1000 A.D. and 1C cooler between 1500 and 1850 A.D. Other borehole measurements made worldwide confirm a warmth during the LO as high as 0.5 C above present temperatures and as low as 0.7C below current values during the LIA.

In western Europe, documentary evidence describes the moderation of harsh winters from 900 to 1300 A.D. relative to those from 1300 to 1900. During the LO, atypical subtropical plants such as olive trees grew in the Po valley of Northern Italy, and fig trees near Cologne, Germany.

The facts are simple. The Little Optimum and Little Ice Age were real. They were also widespread over the globe. The twentieth century is not the least bit climatically unusual. So why the recent media hysteria that the twentieth century is the warmest of the last 1,000 years?”

“In 2003, Baliunas and Astrophysicist Willie Soon published a review paper on historical climatology which concluded that “the 20th century is probably not the warmest nor a uniquely extreme climatic period of the last millennium…

“Shortly thereafter, 13 of the authors of papers cited by Baliunas and Soon refuted her interpretation of their work. There were three main objections: Soon and Baliunas used data reflective of changes in moisture, rather than temperature; they failed to distinguish between regional and hemispheric temperature anomalies; and they reconstructed past temperatures from proxy evidence not capable of resolving decadal trends. More recently, Osborn and Briffa repeated the Baliunas and Soon study but restricted themselves to records that were validated as temperature proxies, and came to a different result.

“Half of the editorial board of Climate Research, the journal that published the paper, resigned in protest against what they felt was a failure of the peer review process on the part of the journal. Otto Kinne, managing director of the journal’s parent company, stated that “CR [Climate Research] should have been more careful and insisted on solid evidence and cautious formulations before publication” and that “CR should have requested appropriate revisions of the manuscript prior to publication.” (from Wikipedia)

This is from CO2 Science:

Krenke and Chernavskaya (2002) also present an impressive review of what is known about the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age throughout the world, based upon glaciological, hydrologic and written historical evidence, as well as dendrological, archaeological and palynological data, concluding that “from the 9th century to, apparently, the mid-15th century, the climatic conditions were warmer than during most of the subsequent five centuries, including the early 20th century.” In some places, in fact, they report it was even warmer during this Medieval Warm Period than it was during the latter part of the 20th century.

Huang and Pollack (1997) searched the large database of terrestrial heat flow measurements compiled by the International Heat Flow Commission of the International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior for measurements suitable for reconstructing an average ground surface temperature history of the planet over the last 20,000 years. Based on a total of 6,144 qualifying sets of heat flow measurements obtained from every continent, they produced a truly global climate reconstruction, which they describe as being “independent of other proxy interpretations [and] of any preconceptions or biases as to the nature of the actual climate history.” And what did they find? They found strong evidence that the Medieval Warm Period was indeed warmer than it is now, by perhaps as much as 0.5°C, and that the Little Ice Age was as much as 0.7°C cooler than it is currently worldwide.

And here’s Philip Stott, emeritus professor of biogeography at the University of London, commenting on the doomladen predictions about current global warming.

During the Medieval Warm Period, the world was even warmer than today and history shows that it was a wonderful period of plenty for everyone,” he told London’s Daily Telegraph. By contrast, famine, disease and economic collapse accompanied the onset of the Europe’s little Ice Age, which lasted from 1400 to 1850. The Viking settlements in Greenland died out early in this period.

What a bunch of BS. Where’s your links? where’s your evidence?
(space added to avoid sidescroll)

I’m with Carl on this – we (and the polar bears) can adapt to all kinds of things, given enough time. But things are moving at an accelerated pace that even has the scientists surprised. I read an article in this morning’s Guardian about the Greenland ice sheet, and it’s worth a look. “The [Ilulissat] glacier is now moving at 15km a year into the sea although in surges it moves even faster. [Dr Coller] measured one surge at 5km in 90 minutes - an extraordinary event.” (

Polar Bear Stew

4 pounds (1.8 kg) polar bear meat
Water to cover
3 tablespoons (45ml)salt
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) dried potato
1 cup (340 ml) celery flakes
1 tablespoon (15ml) dry union
2 cups (480 ml) dehydrated carrots
1/2 cup (120ml) melted butter
1 3/4 cups (420 ml) flour
1 teaspoon (5ml) garlic powder or garlic salt
3/4 teaspoon (3ml) pepper

Cut meat into bite-sized pieces and boil in salted water for 1 1/2 hours or more. Then add dry vegetables; mix melted butter with flour, blend in seasonings and add to meat. Cook 15 minutes longer. The stew is ready. Makes eight to ten servings


California Governor Jerry Brown used the occasion of his fourth inaugural address to propose an ambitious new clean energy target for the state: 50% renewable energy by 2030.

“We are at a crossroads,” Brown said in announcing the proposal, according to Climate Progress. “The challenge is to build for the future, not steal from it, to live within our means and to keep California ever golden and creative.”

Already the leader in installed solar...

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