PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet TERRA 16/2003 - 7 April 2003
----------------------------------

"Claims that man-made pollution is causing "unprecedented" global warming have been
  seriously undermined by new research which shows that the Earth was warmer during the
  Middle Ages. From the outset of the global warming debate in the late 1980s,
  environmentalists have said that temperatures are rising higher and faster than ever
  before, leading some scientists to conclude that greenhouse gases from cars and power
  stations are causing these "record-breaking" global temperatures. Such claims have now
been sharply contradicted by the most comprehensive study yet of global temperature
over the past 1,000 years. A review of more than 240 scientific studies has shown
that today's temperatures are neither the warmest over the past millennium, nor are
they producing the most extreme weather - in stark contrast to the claims of the
  environmentalists."
--Robert Matthews, The Sunday Telegraph, 6 April 2003



(1) MIDDLE AGES WERE WARMER THAN TODAY, SAY SCIENTISTS
    The Sunday Telegraph, 6 April 2003

(2) DRILLING TO CAST LIGHT ON CLIMATE CHANGE
    Nature, 4 April 2003

(3) A SPRING STORM BRINGS BACK WINTER
    Associated Press, 5 April 2003

(4) WINTER STORMS ICE MIDWEST, NORTHEAST
    Disaster News, 5 April 2003

(5) EUROPEAN PESSIMISM, FREE ENTERPRISE AND CREATIVE OPTIMISM
    Michael Martin-Smith <lagrangia@lagrangia.karoo.co.uk>

(6) RESTORATION OF MESOPOTAMIAN MARSHLANDS, CAN-DO NOW?
    Hermann Burchard <burchar@math.okstate.edu>

(7) AND FINALLY: ROLE REVERSAL: PROFESSORS PROTEST AS STUDENTS DEBATE
    The New York Times, 4 April 2003

========
(1) MIDDLE AGES WERE WARMER THAN TODAY, SAY SCIENTISTS

>From The Sunday Telegraph, 6 April 2003
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2003%2F04%2F06%2Fnclim06.xml

By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent

Claims that man-made pollution is causing "unprecedented" global warming have been seriously undermined by new research which shows that the Earth was warmer during the Middle Ages.

>From the outset of the global warming debate in the late 1980s, environmentalists have said that temperatures are rising higher and faster than ever before, leading some scientists to conclude that greenhouse gases from cars and power stations are causing these "record-breaking" global temperatures.

Last year, scientists working for the UK Climate Impacts Programme said that global temperatures were "the hottest since records began" and added: "We are pretty sure that climate change due to human activity is here and it's accelerating."

This announcement followed research published in 1998, when scientists at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia declared that the 1990s had been hotter than any other period for 1,000 years.

Such claims have now been sharply contradicted by the most comprehensive study yet of global temperature over the past 1,000 years. A review of more than 240 scientific studies has shown that today's temperatures are neither the warmest over the past millennium, nor are they producing the most extreme weather - in stark contrast to the claims of the environmentalists.

The review, carried out by a team from Harvard University, examined the findings of studies of so-called "temperature proxies" such as tree rings, ice cores and historical accounts which allow scientists to estimate temperatures prevailing at sites around the world.

The findings prove that the world experienced a Medieval Warm Period between the ninth and 14th centuries with global temperatures significantly higher even than today.

They also confirm claims that a Little Ice Age set in around 1300, during which the world cooled dramatically. Since 1900, the world has begun to warm up again - but has still to reach the balmy temperatures of the Middle Ages.

The timing of the end of the Little Ice Age is especially significant, as it implies that the records used by climate scientists date from a time when the Earth was relatively cold, thereby exaggerating the significance of today's temperature rise.

According to the researchers, the evidence confirms suspicions that today's "unprecedented" temperatures are simply the result of examining temperature change over too short a period of time.

The study, about to be published in the journal Energy and Environment, has been welcomed by sceptics of global warming, who say it puts the claims of environmentalists in proper context. Until now, suggestions that the Middle Ages were as warm as the 21st century had been largely anecdotal and were often challenged by believers in man-made global warming.

Dr Philip Stott, the professor emeritus of bio-geography at the University of London, told The Telegraph: "What has been forgotten in all the discussion about global warming is a proper sense of history."

According to Prof Stott, the evidence also undermines doom-laden predictions about the effect of higher global temperatures. "During the Medieval Warm Period, the world was warmer even than today, and history shows that it was a wonderful period of plenty for everyone."

In contrast, said Prof Stott, severe famines and economic collapse followed the onset of the Little Ice Age around 1300. He said: "When the temperature started to drop, harvests failed and England's vine industry died. It makes one wonder why there is so much fear of warmth."

The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the official voice of global warming research, has conceded the possibility that today's "record-breaking" temperatures may be at least partly caused by the Earth recovering from a relatively cold period in recent history. While the evidence for entirely natural changes in the Earth's temperature continues to grow, its causes still remain mysterious.

Dr Simon Brown, the climate extremes research manager at the Meteorological Office at Bracknell, said that the present consensus among scientists on the IPCC was that the Medieval Warm Period could not be used to judge the significance of existing warming.

Dr Brown said: "The conclusion that 20th century warming is not unusual relies on the assertion that the Medieval Warm Period was a global phenomenon. This is not the conclusion of IPCC."

He added that there were also doubts about the reliability of temperature proxies such as tree rings: "They are not able to capture the recent warming of the last 50 years," he said.

Copyright 2003, The Sunday Telegraph

===========
(2) DRILLING TO CAST LIGHT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

>From Nature, 4 April 2003
http://www.nature.com/nsu/030331/030331-10.html

REX DALTON

Some 30 scientists from a dozen nations are preparing to bore two holes, each a kilometre deep and 6 centimetres wide, in the bed of West Africa's Lake Bosumtwi. Late next year, they hope to pull up sediments that bear witness to the region's alternating rainy and dry seasons over the past 1 million years.

The nearly $2-millon project should harvest a pristine record of the period when humans evolved in Africa, and increase our understanding of how tropical areas act as the heat pump for the world's climate system.

"Very, very few identified crater lakes have such deposits," says team leader Christian Koeberl of the University of Vienna in Austria.

Lake Bosumtwi formed when an asteroid up to 2 kilometres across struck what is now Ghana. It is filled by rainfall from the Atlantic monsoon and dried by winds from the Sahara Desert and the Sahel to the north. Its layers of sediments, holding minerals and tiny fossils that record this cycle, have lain undisturbed, as no rivers run into the lake, and there are no rifts beneath.

"Because Bosumtwi is relatively small, it acts like a precise palaeo-rain gauge of the West African monsoon, and also recovers signals of tropical sea surface temperature and dust," explains another team member, Christopher Scholz from Syracuse University in New York.

Analysis of the impact point will hopefully allow researchers to determine the chemical composition of the asteroid that created the basin and compare it with objects now being studied in space.

The placement of the core holes is crucial. During seismic examinations of the lake floor over the past five years, geophysicists have identified the uplifted portion in the middle of the basin that formed after the collision and measured the surrounding impact rings.

One drill hole will be at the edge of the central plateau; the other will be about half way to the edge of the outer ring. The first will provide samples relevant to the asteroid, and the second will capture climate data. "We are very, very confident" about the bore locations, Koeberl told a conference on Biological Processes Associated with Impact Events in Cambridge, UK, this week.

>From a rig mounted on a barge, the team will drill into the lake floor, taking samples every 3 metres. These will be stored for years of study - different scientists probe different time periods.

Also next year, another team plans to drill deeply at Lake Malawi in East Africa. This basin is fed by rivers and underpinned by the East African Rift Valley, which will make analysing its sediments more complex.

Comparing both core sets should deepen our understanding of the interplay of climate conditions at similar times on opposite sides of Africa. "There is a growing interest in the climate records of such tropical areas," says lake geologist Steven Colman of the U.S. Geological Survey in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Rex Dalton is the West Coast Correspondent of the journal Nature
 
References
Dean, W. et al. Progress in Global Lake Drilling Holds Potential for Global Change Research. Eos, 83, 90 - 91, (2003).

Cohen, A. et al. The International Decade of East African Lakes (IDEAL) Drilling Initiative for the African Great Lakes. Journal of Paleolimnology, 24, 231 - 235, (2000).
 
Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2003
 
==========
(3) A SPRING STORM BRINGS BACK WINTER

>From the Associated Press, 5 April 2003
http://www.weather.com/newscenter/topstories/030404northeastwinter.html
 
ALBANY, N.Y. and CONCORD, N.H. (AP) Two weeks into spring, a wintry mix closed schools from Niagara Falls to Albany Friday, with freezing rain causing power outages along Lake Ontario while parts of the Adirondacks received nearly a foot of snow. Winter also returned to New Hampshire on Friday, closing schools, fouling the morning commute and postponing any plans to get a head start on weekend gardening....

Conditions were expected to get worse later Friday, with the National Weather Service predicting sleet mixing with as much as 16 inches of snow by Saturday morning for parts of northeastern New York.

===========
(4) WINTER STORMS ICE MIDWEST, NORTHEAST

>From Disaster News, 5 April 2003
http://www.disasternews.net/news/news.php?articleid=1803

MT. MORRIS, Mich. (April 5, 2003) -
Hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan and New York were without electricity Friday after freezing rains downed power lines and trees, snarled traffic and forced businesses and schools to close.

The storm - coming in the second week of spring - was still being felt this weekend in several areas with freezing rain and snow expected to continue Saturday in some regions.

Forecasters said northeastern New York could get up to 16 inches of snow.

In Michigan, the American Red Cross opened several shelters for people who were affected by the power outages. In some areas, power was not expected to be restored until Monday.

Genesee and Saginaw counties were among the hardest hit areas in Michigan, according to a spokesman for Consumers Energy Co.

"This is perhaps the most devastating ice accumulation we've had in Genesee County in many years," he said.

============================
* LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR *
============================

(5) EUROPEAN PESSIMISM, FREE ENTERPRISE AND CREATIVE OPTIMISM

>From Michael Martin-Smith <lagrangia@lagrangia.karoo.co.uk>

Matt Ridley (CCNet, 4 April 2003) points to a general European pessimism about genetic technology and nanotechnology in contrast with the American perspective. We hear a great deal about the evils of genetically modified crops but next to nothing of the creative potential of genetic engineering.

It was not always thus. Olaf Stapledon's "First and Last Men" considered the plastic and mutable nature of Humanity over the longest term as a joyously creative symphony to be appreciated dispassionately - even aesthetically - rather than to be feared. Its austere preoccupation with the broadest and largest vistas of Space and Time has a nobility which our ephemeral and timorous soundbite culture has lost - probably to its detriment.

Attempts to improve our environment - or provide positive alternatives - are deemed almost a priori to be impossible. Indeed, the failure of the Biosphere 2 project to  reproduce, in a few months, the 4 billion years' diversity of an Earth environment at the first attempt was taken by many to show that the idea of building new self sustainable off planet ecosystems had now been "forever" discredited.

Current work at the Space Studies Institute, Princeton, New Jersey, (www.ssi.org) is looking, as a privately funded venture, at longterm sustainable closed loop ecosystems from quite another angle; rather than asking, as did the Biospherians,"How do we replicate the diversity of
Mother Earth?" SSI is asking instead "How could  we support a human culture in a sustainable closed loop ecosystem using solar energy and "vitamin" raw materials supplied from extraterrestrial locations?"

Note the emphasis on Human culture - this does not require corals, jungles or pampas, although all these and more may well come in later generations!

These are two very different questions. Work already in progress suggests that the latter is by no means an impossible task, and that the use of microbiology with or without various genetic manipulations and various forms of nanotechnology can be creatively combined to enable feasible ET derived space settlements within a couple of generations.

We leave the question of affordable and reliable space transportation to others, in the hope that the spirit of free enterprise and creative Humanistic optimism will prevail.

Two generations ago, the advent of microbial genetics and nanotechnology would have been viewed with hope as the keys to a re modelled Cosmos- now they are viewed in fear as the harbingers of commercialised doom. Like the Roman Emperor Domitian who hid behind a curtain in fear of assassinaion only to be slain in his bath, are we to be snuffed out by a contemptuous Mother
Nature, surrounded by the unused agents of our deliverance?

Readers of CCNet will by now, for the most part, realise that if Humanity is to prevail in a capricious Universe we have little option! To those who actually do not wish "Humanity to prevail" I can only say "Against such fools even the Gods struggle in vain!" Perhaps they should join another species?

Michael Martin-Smith

==========
(6) RESTORATION OF MESOPOTAMIAN MARSHLANDS, CAN-DO NOW?

>From Hermann Burchard <burchar@math.okstate.edu>

Dear Benny,

a sense of urgency emmanated from CCNet postings Tuesday on the MESOPOTAMIAN MARSHLANDS CRISIS (The Economist, UPI Science News, Iraq Foundation, Human Rights Watch), drawing needed attention to the seriousness of the situation.

Is there any way that Coalition Engineering battalions could take immediate steps to reverse the damming projects, and start to release more water downstream? This might also help with the water shortage in Southern Iraq the urgency of which has been widely reported in the media. Today CNN has online videos showing the miserable situation with some water plants not having produced potable water for a decade or more.
  http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2003/iraq/

Regards,
  Hermann Burchard

========
(7) AND FINALLY: ROLE REVERSAL: PROFESSORS PROTEST AS STUDENTS DEBATE

>From The New York Times, 4 April 2003
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/05/international/worldspecial/05CAMP.html

By KATE ZERNIKE

AMHERST, Mass., April 4 - It is not easy being an old lefty on campus in this war. At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, awash in antiwar protests in the Vietnam era, a columnist for a student newspaper took a professor to task for canceling classes to protest the war in Iraq, saying the university should reprimand her and refund tuition for the missed periods.

Irvine Valley College in Southern California sent faculty members a memo that warned them not to discuss the war unless it was specifically related to the course material. When professors cried censorship, the administration explained that the request had come from students.

Here at Amherst College, many students were vocally annoyed this semester when 40 professors paraded into the dining hall with antiwar signs. One student confronted a protesting professor and shoved him.

Some students here accuse professors of behaving inappropriately, of not knowing their place.

"It seems the professors are more vehement than the students," Jack Morgan, a sophomore, said. "There comes a point when you wonder are you fostering a discussion or are you promoting an opinion you want students to embrace or even parrot?"

Across the country, the war is disclosing role reversals, between professors shaped by Vietnam protests and a more conservative student body traumatized by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Prowar groups have sprung up at Brandeis and Yale and on other campuses. One group at Columbia, where last week an antiwar professor rhetorically called for "a million Mogadishus," is campaigning for the return of R.O.T.C. to Morningside Heights.

Even in antiwar bastions like Cambridge, Berkeley and Madison, the protests have been more town than gown. At Berkeley, where Vietnam protesters shouted, "Shut it down!" under clouds of tear gas, Sproul Plaza these days features mostly solo operators who hand out black armbands. The shutdown was in San Francisco, and the crowd was grayer.

All this dismays many professors....

FULL ARTICLE AT http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/05/international/worldspecial/05CAMP.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------
CCNet is a scholarly electronic network. To subscribe/unsubscribe, please contact the moderator Benny J Peiser < b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk >. Information circulated on this network is for scholarly and educational use only. The attached information may not be copied or reproduced for
any other purposes without prior permission of the copyright holders. The fully indexed archive of the CCNet, from February 1997 on, can be found at http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cccmenu.html. DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in the articles and texts and in other CCNet contributions do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the moderator of this network.
--------------------------------------------------------------------



CCCMENU CCC for 2003

The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of

The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia or the University System of Georgia.