The Electric Commentary

Thursday, May 27, 2004

IT IS WORTH NOTING...

We have actually lived our lives in a prolonged "cooler than average" period, so some warming is natural. There are many factors besides man that contribute to global climate change. One of these appears to be sunspot activity. A survey was recently conducted of a patch of glacial ice from the northern arctic. The scientists in question drilled a deep sample of glacial ice, the deepest portions of which are believed to be several thousand years old. Because the temperature of the world produces different chemical mixtures in the atmosphere, the content of ice from different time periods reveals a lot about the climate of that period. One of the more important discoveries is that the sun experienced increased sun spot activity about 800 to 600 years ago. During that period, the earth was unusually warm, and Greenland became farmable. Because of this, Scandinavian explorers were able to make the first trans-Atlantic voyage several hundred years before Columbus.

What followed this period was a period of colder than average weather. This has been cause for some confusion, but the most prominent theory is that a slight increase in temperature leads to increased snowfall at the poles. This accumulated snowfall covers more area than normal. Because snow is white, it reflects light (and heat) back into space, causing global cooling. This is unproven, but plausible.

None of these temperature changes was any more or less catastrophic than "normal" weather. The Earth regulates itself very well. Just remember this next time you hear news of impending environmental disaster.

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