CCNet 118/2000 - 15 November 2000

The doomsayers
Seers, prophets, scientists and fortune-tellers
give us a frisson with their prophecies of doom.
They meet a human need, perhaps to learn the worst
yet know that we survive despite the odds.
Can we ignore the huge extinctions of the past?
Of course we can! The logic's simple - our parents,
grandparents, great-grandparents, all survived,
and therefore we are not in danger. The few
who have an inkling of time's extent,
find human history hard enough to grasp.
What of geological and astronomical time?
Does an ant's nest fear the nearing bushfire front?
Can a city's people apprehend a danger
that they've never seen or heard of?
We build on flood-plains, volcano slopes, and faults;
and these are real enough for most of us,
but danger cloaked in esoteric numbers leaves us numb.
What can we do? Publish the numbers, tell
the influential few who need to know,
keep speculation to ourselves, when every word
is trawled by journalists looking for sensation? No!
What we must explain is our uncertainty and doubt,
not what we think we know, but what we don't.

Malcolm Miller
15 November 2000

    Ron Baalke <>


    Jacqueline Mitton <>

    Dave Tholen <>

    Andy Smith <>


From Ron Baalke <>

November 14, 2000

Showing you don't need lasers and light sabers to make a great space flick,
the NEAR mission team has released the first movie from NEAR Shoemaker's
low-altitude buzz over Eros:

Shot in the early hours of Oct. 26, 2000, the film covers segments of a
55-minute span in which NEAR Shoemaker closes from 8 to 5 miles (13 to 8
kilometers) over the asteroid's rocky surface. Without giving away too much
of the plot, the 90-second movie includes unprecedented and detailed views
of dust-filled craters, jagged boulders and rugged terrain that have
intrigued NEAR scientists.

"The resolution in these images is about three times better than any we've
seen of Eros, and they've given us a lot to talk about," says NEAR Project
Scientist Andrew Cheng. "There is an amazing number and variety of boulders,
some of which seem to have a layered structure. We also see the same global
fabric of ridges and grooves that we saw from higher altitudes, and from
this altitude we can discern finer details."

The NEAR Web site offers several movies of Eros, some going back to the
weeks before NEAR Shoemaker's historic Valentine's Day rendezvous with the
asteroid. Mark Robinson, a NEAR science team member from Northwestern
University who produces the movies from images snapped by NEAR Shoemaker's
digital camera, says the short films are as scientifically valuable as they
are cool to watch.

"Setting the images in motion reveals a lot about the asteroid itself,"
Robinson says. "The movies give us a dynamic look at changes in the
shadowing and shading of surface features. By examining features with
different illumination, geologists get a better look into the history of the

The low flyover on Oct. 25-26 sent NEAR Shoemaker about 3 miles (5.3
kilometers) from Eros' surface, the closest any spacecraft has ever come to
a planetary body without landing on it. The car-sized satellite has since
moved into a higher orbit, gathering global images of Eros from about 124
miles (200 kilometers) away. After starting a 22-mile (35-kilometer) orbit
on Dec. 13, NEAR Shoemaker will operate at that distance or lower until the
mission ends in February 2001.

Check out the entire gallery of NEAR movies and pictures:
From, 14 November 2000

By Mark Wheeler

The Leonid meteor shower peaks this weekend. Should you be afraid?

The great meteor storm of 1833 is said to have kick-started the modern study
of meteors - and scared the bejesus out of the uninformed. Small wonder: at
the storm's peak, between 2 a.m. and dawn on November 12 and 13, roughly
100,000 meteors per hour scorched the night sky.

"Imagine a constant succession of fireballs, resembling rockets, radiating
in all directions from a point in the heavens," wrote Denison Olmsted, of
Yale College. The display goaded scientists into researching past storms and
hypothesizing on future ones. (It may also have been responsible for a wave
of religious revivals, fomented by viewers convinced they had experienced
the precursor to Armageddon.)



From Jacqueline Mitton <>


Jacqueline Mitton , Royal Astronomical Society Press Officer

Note: contact information is at the end of this release.

14 November 2000.


Meteors from the constellation of Leo will light up the sky on the nights of
17 & 18 November when astronomers all over the world will be watching the
annual Leonid meteor shower.

For observers in the UK and Europe, the best chance of seeing meteors will
be at 03:44 on the morning of 18 November, as the Earth passes close to a
stream of debris released by comet Temple-Tuttle 260 years ago. At this time
it may be possible to see as many as 100 meteors an hour. This is ten times
the background rate that can be seen on any other night of the year.
The Earths orbit passes close to the comet Temple Tuttles orbit each year
in November and during this time the Earth collides with particles of
cometary debris which follow the comets orbit.

Meteors can be seen on any clear night of the year and most are caused by
particles no bigger than grains of sand, which collide with the Earths
atmosphere at up to 70km per second (157,000 mph) and burn up.  Fireballs
are caused by meteors a few centimetres in diameter and can leave tails that
persist for several minutes.  

Dr Robert Massey will be taking students from the Royal Observatorys GCSE
astronomy class out to a dark site in the Kent countryside on the night of
17 November to observe the meteors and measure the level of activity. The
observers will also take the opportunity to look at the Moon, stars and
planets away from the lights of London.

To arrange interviews with Dr Robin Catchpole, Senior Astronomer, or Dr
Robert Massey, Astronomy Information Officer, please contact the Press
Office on (020) 8312 6545/6745/6790 or email An ISDN line
is available.



From Dave Tholen <>

> The threat was downgraded after the original data, previously studied,
> was reanalyzed.

If you have an address at which you can contact Steve Russell, perhaps you'd
like to point out the error in his statement. The threat was NOT downgraded
after the ORIGINAL data, previously studied, were (he should use the plural
form) reanalyzed. The threat was downgraded after NEW
observations became available, namely the Catalina Sky Survey positions from
1999 May 17.

> Do the new guidelines specifically state that the data needs to be
> double or triple checked before such an announcement?

The guidelines call for peer review. In this case, the same set of
observations was analyzed by FIVE individuals with consistent results
(quintuple checked).


From Andy Smith <>

Hi Benny and CCNet,

It looks like the mid-September Space Shield Foundation meeting was
excellent. There were more than 100 presentations (oral and poster). About a
third of the presentations reported studies related to defense or
deflection. Another third concerned early-warning (and some of these support
the clear need for orbiting and terrestrial telescopes, in an optimized
global system). The final group addressed impact effects, etc.

The topics are at

There are also recommendations and a summary memorandum, in english, at the
site. I am sure they
will give us the translations of many abstracts and papers, in the
near-future - just as they were kind enough to do, with SPE94 and SPE96.
By-the-way, there is a lot of good information , on the Web, from our
excellent Planetary Defense Workshop (held at the Lawrence Livermore
National Lab, Livermore, CA,in 1995).

Our Russian colleagues are doing an excellent job of starting to seriously
look at what we could do, if the whistle blew tomorrow. Without
preparations, it would take us about 2 years (minimum) to put-togeather and
launch a system. The trip, to interception, could take another year. We
might not have three years.

With global planning and modest funding, we might cut the time (from
alert-to-launch) by more than half and we would be more confident of our

Preparedness is a gamble, to be sure, but we can't afford not to at least
think about "What if?" and how we might use what we have, to protect
ourselves and our planet.

A third-of-a-kilometer rock, in the Atlantic, could destroy all of the
coastal cities and we certainly have a fighting chance against such a fate -
using on-the-shelf hardware.

The knowledge, of this great danger, places a tremendous burden of
responsibility on each of us. And we, for our part, will do everything we
can, to help with the efforts to prepare.


Andy Smith

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CCNet CLIMATE CHANGE - 15 November 2000

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote -
The droughte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu ungendred is the flour;
    - from The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, 1386

Our years are turned upside down;
our summers are no summers;
our harvests are no harvests!
    - John King, an Elizabethan preacher,1595

    Yahoo News, 14 November 2000

    USA Today, 14 November 2000


    CO2 Science, 15 November 2000

    CO2 Science, 15 November 2000



    The New York Times, 12 November 2000


From Yahoo News, 14 November 2000

By Matt Daily

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - A standoff between the United States and the European
Union hardened on Tuesday at the center of an international conference on
the threat of global warming, with neither side appearing ready for a

"So far, I haven't seen anyone move their position by one centimeter," said
Raul Estrada, Argentina's special representative for the environment.

Estrada chaired the U.N. meeting in Kyoto three years ago which laid out the
basis for emission cuts which are supposed to be finalized at the two-week
climate conference in the Hague.

But while scientists warn of significant climate changes in the years ahead,
with rising sea levels threatening to submerge coastlines and entire
islands, politicians bicker over who should pay to cut the gas emissions
which are believed to be the cause of global warming.

The 15-nation European Union wants wealthy states to take a lead and
implement cuts in "greenhouse gases" through tough domestic policies.

The United States, which has refused to ratify the Kyoto deal, has teamed up
with Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, arguing they should be able
to buy pollution "credits" from poorer nations which can easily meet their
targets for cutting emissions.

Failure to compromise during the Hague conference could scupper any hope of
implementing the Kyoto accord which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by
over five percent from 1990 levels by 2008-2012.

Besides the divide between the wealthy nations, the tough task of getting
180 countries to agree has prompted some strange political alliances as
talks get under way.

Broader Groups Face In-Fighting

One of the broadest coalitions is the "G77 plus China" -- a loose bargaining
group of over 150 countries including most developing states as well as some
major economies like Argentina and Brazil, and the OPEC oil producers.

The group wants tough measures to force industrialized nations to sharply
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"The G77 have tried to negotiate together because they feel they are at a
disadvantage," said Jennifer Morgan of environmental group World Wide Fund
for Nature (WWF).

But the group, which is subdivided into factions representing small islands,
Latin America and Africa, is itself riven with divisions on climate change

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, has little in common with
islands threatened by rising water levels and devastating storms, for
example. But it has a strong financial interest in teaming up with them.

Saudi Arabia wants compensation for expected losses if oil consumption is
cut -- essentially putting it in the same boat with developing countries
which need help from industrialized states to develop environmentally clean

Saudi Threat

"We would lose $25 billion a year by 2010 if the Kyoto cuts are
implemented," said Mohammed al-Sabban, head of the Saudi delegation and
senior adviser to Saudi's oil minister.

"There will be no outcome if our concerns are not adequately addressed," he

Another group seeking to increase members' bargaining weight by joining
forces is the Environmental Integrity Group, uniting non-EU Switzerland with
OECD partners Mexico and South Korea.

Scientists say greenhouse gas emissions will warm the Earth's temperature by
up to six degrees this century, raising ocean levels by 50 centimeters and
causing dramatic shifts in global weather patterns.

(Additional reporting by Robin Pomeroy)

Copyright 2000, Yahoo News


From USA Today, 14 November 2000

By Dan Vergano

Just as scientists warn of greater-than-expected global warming, a row over
how best to stop climate change has started heating up.

Much of the controversy involves what sort of greenhouse gas most urgently
needs reduction to slow atmospheric heating.

''Carbon dioxide emissions are still the 1,000-pound gorilla of climate
change,'' says Steven Smith of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's
offices in Washington, D.C.

In the current Science, Smith and colleagues release an analysis challenging
a new ''alternative scenario,'' a theory that many think threatens
environmentalist emphasis on cutting atmospheric carbon dioxide. The gas,
released by burning fossil fuels, absorbs sunlight and heats the atmosphere.

A United Nations panel last month warned that man-made global warming would
raise average temperatures worldwide by 10 degrees by 2100.

In August, a team led by James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space
Studies in New York suggested the alternative scenario of fighting global
warming that concentrates on reducing black soot, along with ozone and
methane, which also absorb sunlight and cause heating.

Hansen says his team offers a better cure than just cutting carbon dioxide.
''The alternative scenario focuses on both carbon dioxide and
non-carbon-dioxide -- that is the only way that we can reduce the climate
impact to a modest one.''

In the critique, Smith and his team argues that the Hansen scenario
underestimates likely increases in carbon dioxide emissions over the next 50
years. They say Hansen overestimates how easily exhaust systems can filter
out black soot from other types of lighter-colored pollution particles,
which reflect sunlight and actually cool the atmosphere in his scenario.

Further, they suggest that the light-colored particles that would be left
often contain acid-rain-causing sulfates, an unpalatable choice for people.

In addition, they argue that such particles don't linger in the atmosphere
for centuries, as carbon dioxide does, so they simply forestall warming.
''We just don't think it's a coherent alternative scenario,'' Smith says.

Because the alternative scenario begins with lower predictions of global
warming than U.N. scientists' ''business-as-usual'' projections, some
industrialists greeted it warmly, perhaps too warmly for environmentalists'

Response to the proposal grew so heated that Hansen posted an open letter on
the Web (natural .html) to defend his work.
Copyright 2000, USA Today
See: Steven J. Smith, Tom M. L. Wigley, and Jae Edmonds: A New Route Toward
Limiting Climate Change? Science, Nov 10 2000: 1109-1110.


From, 8 November 2000


Dowdeswell, J.A., Hagen, J.O., Bjornsson, H., Glazovsky, A.F., Harrison,
W.D., Holmlund, P. Jania, J., Koerner, R.M., Lefauconnier, B., Ommanney,
C.S.L. and Thomas, R.H.  1997.  The mass balance of circum-Arctic glaciers
and recent climate change.  Quaternary Research 48: 1-14.

What was done
The authors analyzed the mass balance histories of the 18 Arctic glaciers
that have the longest observational records.

What was learned
Just over 80% of the 18 glaciers studied displayed negative mean net mass
balances over their periods of record. However, the authors note that
"ice-core records from the Canadian High Arctic islands indicate that the
generally negative glacier mass balances observed over the past 50 years
have probably been typical of Arctic glaciers since the end of the Little
Ice Age," and that "Arctic glaciers may have responded to a step-like
warming in the early twentieth century associated with the end of the Little
Ice Age."

What it means
These observations are clearly in harmony with our contention that There Has
Been No Global Warming for the Past 70 Years (see also our Editorials of 15
June, 15 July and 2 August 2000).  In addition, these observations also
suggest that Arctic glaciers are not succumbing to an anthropogenically
induced warming of the globe.  In fact, in the words of the authors, "there
is no compelling indication of increasingly negative balance conditions
which might, a priori, be expected from anthropogenically induced global
warming."  Quite to the contrary, they report that "almost 80% of the mass
balance time series also have a positive trend, toward a less negative mass
balance."  Hence, although most Arctic glaciers continue to lose mass, as
they have probably done since the end of the Little Ice Age, they are losing
smaller amounts each year, in the mean, which is hardly what one would
expect in the face of what climate alarmists call (falsely) the
"unprecedented warming" of the latter part of the twentieth century.
Copyright 2000, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 


From CO2 Science, 15 November 2000


Changnon, S.A. 1999. A rare long record of deep soil temperatures defines
temporal temperature changes and an urban heat island. Climatic Change 42:

The putative warming of non-urbanized areas of the planet over the past
century is believed to be less than 1C. Urban-induced heating in large
cities, on the other hand, may be as great as 10C. Hence, since nearly all
long-term temperature records have been obtained from sensors located in
towns and cities that have experienced significant growth over this time
period, it is extremely important that urbanization-induced warming - which
can be a full order of magnitude greater than the background trend being
sought - be removed from the original temperature records when attempting to
accurately assess the true warming (or cooling!) of the natural non-urban

What was done
The author used a series of measurements of soil temperatures obtained in a
totally rural setting in central Illinois between 1889 and 1952 and a
contemporary series of air temperature measurements made in an adjacent
growing community, as well as similar data obtained from other nearby small
towns, to evaluate the magnitude of unsuspected heat island effects that may
be present in small towns and cities that are typically assumed by the IPCC
to be free of urban-induced warming.

What was learned
The soil temperatures obtained in the totally rural setting revealed the
existence of a temperature increase from the decade of 1901-1910 to that of
1941-1950 that amounted to 0.4C.  This warming is 0.2C less than the 0.6C
warming determined for the same time period from data of the U.S. Historical
Climate Network, which is supposedly corrected for urban heating effects.
It is also 0.2C less than the 0.6C warming determined for this time period
by eleven benchmark stations in Illinois with the highest quality long-term
temperature data, all of which are located in communities with populations
of less than 6,000 people as of 1990.  And it is 0.17C less than the 0.57C
warming derived from data obtained from the three benchmark stations closest
to the site of the soil temperature measurements and with populations of
less than 2,000 people.

What it means
In the words of the author, his findings suggest that "both sets of surface
air temperature data for Illinois believed to have the best data quality
with little or no urban effects may contain urban influences causing
increases of 0.2C from 1901 to 1950."  He further notes - in a grand
understatement - that "this could be significant because the IPCC (1995)
indicated that the global mean temperature increased 0.3C from 1890 to

Clearly, the meticulous efforts of this world-renowned climate specialist -
Stanley A. Changnon - call all surface-based global air temperature records
into question. Therefore, until the challenge of very-small-town urban heat
island effects is resolved, the climate alarmists' "unprecedented" global
warming of the past century cannot be accepted at face value.  In all
likelihood, it is artificially inflated, perhaps severely so.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  1995.  Climate Change 1995, The
Science of Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. 

Copyright 2000.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


From CO2 Science, 15 November 2000

Filippi, M.L., Lambert, P., Hunziker, J., Kubler, B. and Bernasconi, S.
1999. Climatic and anthropogenic influence on the stable isotope record from
bulk carbonates and ostracodes in Lake Neuchatel, Switzerland, during the
last two millennia.  Journal of Paleolimnology 21: 19-34.

What was done
The authors obtained stable isotope data (delta 18O and delta 13C) from bulk
carbonate and ostracode calcite in a radiocarbon-dated sediment core removed
from Lake Neuchatel in the western Swiss Lowlands at the foot of the Jura
Mountains, which they used to reconstruct the climatic history of the region
over the past 1500 years.

What was learned
According to the authors, the data suggest that mean annual air temperature
dropped by about 1.5C during the transition from the Medieval Warm Period
(MWP) to the Little Ice Age (LIA). They further state that "the warming
during the 20th century does not seem to have fully compensated the cooling
at the MWP-LIA transition" and that during the Medieval Warm Period, mean
annual air temperatures were "on average higher than at present."

What it means
For some time now the climate alarmists have been claiming that temperatures
during the latter part of the 20th century were the warmest of the past
thousand years. According to the authors of this paper, however, that claim
is false. Not only do their data indicate that this is so, but those of
others do as well. Citing Keigwin (1996), for example, they note that "sea
surface temperature (SST) reconstructions show that SST was ca. 1C cooler
than today about 400 years ago and ca. 1C warmer than today during the
MWP." And citing Bond et al. (1997), they note that the MWP and LIA are just
the most recent manifestations of "a pervasive millennial-scale coupled
atmosphere-ocean climate oscillation" that has absolutely nothing to do with
variations in the air's CO2 content.

Bond, G., Showers, W., Cheseby, M., Lotti, R., Almasi, P. deMenocal, P.,
Priori, P., Cullen, H., Hajdes, I. and Bonani, G. 1997. A pervasive
millennial-scale climate cycle in the North Atlantic: The Holocene and late
glacial record. Science 278: 1257-1266.
Keigwin, L.D.  1996. The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the
Sargasso Sea.  Science 174: 1504-1508.

Copyright 2000. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 


From, 8 November 2000

The Medieval Warm Period was a period of time during the 9th through 14th
centuries A.D. when global temperatures reached levels that were from 0.5 to
1.0C warmer than they are presently.  The degree of warming varied from
region to region; and, hence, its consequences were manifested in a number
of different ways.  In Europe, for example, temperatures reached some of the
warmest levels of the last 4,000 years, allowing enough grapes to be
successfully grown in England to sustain an indigenous wine industry (Le Roy
Ladurie, 1971).  Contemporaneously, horticulturists in China extended their
cultivation of citrus trees and perennial herbs further and further
northward, resulting in an expansion of their ranges that reached its
maximum extent in the 13th century (De'er, 1994).  Considering the climatic
conditions required to successfully grow these species, it has been
estimated that annual mean temperatures in the region must have been about
1.0 C higher than at present (Hong et al., 2000), with extreme January
minimum temperatures fully 3.5 C warmer than they are today (De'er, 1994).

In North America, tree-ring chronologies from the southern Canadian Rockies
have provided evidence for higher treelines and wider ring-widths between
950 and 1100 A.D., suggesting warmer temperatures and more favorable growing
conditions (Luckman, 1994). Similar results have been derived from tree-ring
analyses of bristlecone pines in the White Mountains of California, where
much greater growth was recorded in the 11th and 12th centuries than both
before and afterwards (Leavitt, 1994).

Tree-ring records from Siberia also reveal warming during the 9th through
12th centuries A.D. that was "longer in time and similar in amplitude" to
that experienced there in the 20th century (Naurzbaev and Vaganov, 2000).
Additional data, derived from borehole measurements in Greenland, indicate
that temperatures over the ice cap were as much as 1C warmer than at
present around this time (Dahl-Jensen et al., 1998).

The Medieval Warm Period was a hot time in portions of the Southern
Hemisphere as well. Tyson et al. (2000) analyzed oxygen and carbon-stable
isotope data from a well-dated stalagmite located in a cave in South Africa
and found that temperatures there were as much as 3-4C warmer than they are
now during this significant climatic epoch. Cioccale (1999), in a review of
climatic conditions in Argentina, also noted that warmer temperatures
prevailed in that country from the latter part of the first millennium until
about 1320 A.D. This benign climate was further characterized by "an episode
of major climatic stability, with very scarce extraordinary floods and few

Other data document vast glacial retreats during the Medieval Warm Period in
parts of South America, Scandinavia, New Zealand and Alaska (Grove and
Switsur, 1994; Villalba, 1994); and ocean-bed cores suggest Atlantic sea
surface temperatures were warmer then as well (Keigwin, 1996a, 1996b).

Perhaps the best evidence to date that the Medieval Warm Period was indeed a
global phenomenon comes from the study of Huang and Pollack (1997).  Using
6,144 sets of heat flow measurements from every continent of the globe,
these authors produced a global reconstruction of ground surface
temperatures over the past 20,000 years.  Describing their dataset as
"independent of other proxy interpretations [and] of any preconceptions or
biases as to the nature of the actual climate history," they found strong
evidence that the Medieval Warm Period indeed existed, was global in extent,
and was perhaps as much as 0.5C warmer than it was at the time of their

Interestingly, the warmer conditions associated with the Medieval Warm
Period are known to have had a largely beneficial impact on earth's plant
and animal life.  In fact, the environmental conditions of this time period
have been determined to have been so favorable that it is often referred to
as the Little Climatic Optimum.

In the area of human enterprise, the climatic conditions of the Medieval
Warm Period proved providential. The Arctic ice pack retreated
substantially, allowing the settlement of both Iceland and Greenland; while
alpine passes normally blocked with snow and ice became traversable, opening
trade routes between Italy and Germany (Crowley and North, 1991).
Contemporaneously, on the northern Colorado Plateau in America, the Anasazi
Indian civilization reached its climax, as warmer temperatures and better
soil moisture conditions allowed them to farm a region twice as large as is
presently possible (MacCracken et al., 1990).

So what was the cause of this globally-warmed period? It certainly wasn't
CO2, for atmospheric CO2 concentrations varied but little ( 10 ppm) from
their global average of about 280 ppm.  One possibility has to do with
changes in the global thermohaline circulation (Broecker et al., 1999).
Another possibility relates to changes in the energy output of the sun.
Tyson et al. (2000), for example, note that the warm temperatures observed
in South Africa during the Medieval Warm Period correspond well with the
Medieval Maximum in solar sunspot activity.  Similarly, Hong et al. (2000)
note that "there is a remarkable, nearly one to one," correspondence between
solar variability and climate observed in China during this time.

In light of the above evidence, the Medieval Warm Period does indeed appear
to have been a time in which near-surface air and water temperatures were
warmer than they are presently; and there would seem to be sufficient
evidence to also conclude that this benign climatic epoch was global in

Broecker, W.S., Sutherland, S. and Peng, T.-H.  1999.  A possible
20th-century slowdown of Southern Ocean deep water formation.
Science 286: 1132-1135.
Cioccale, M.A.  1999.  Climatic fluctuations in the Central Region of
Argentina in the last 1000 years.  Quaternary International 62: 35-47.
Dahl-Jensen, D., Mosegaard, K., Gundestrup, N., Clow, G.D., Johnsen, S.J.,
Hansen, A.W. and Balling, N.  1998.  Past temperatures directly from
the Greenland Ice Sheet.  Science 282: 268-271.
De'er, Z.  1994.  Evidence for the existence of the medieval warm period in
China.  Climatic Change 26: 289-297.
Grove, J.M. and Switsur, R.  1994.  Glacial geological evidence for the
medieval warm period.  Climatic Change 26: 143-169.
Hong, Y.T., Jiang, H.B., Liu, T.S., Zhou, L.P., Beer, J., Li, H.D., Leng,
X.T., Hong, B. and Qin, X.G.  2000.  Response of climate to solar
forcing recorded in a 6000-year delta18 time- series of Chinese peat
cellulose.  The Holocene 10: 1-7.
Huang, S. and Pollack, H.N.  1997.  Late Quaternary temperature changes seen
in world-wide continental heat flow measurements.  Geophysical Research
Letters 24: 1947-1950.
Keigwin, L.D.  1996a.  Sedimentary record yields several centuries of data.
Oceanus 39 (2): 16 - 18.
Keigwin, L.D.  1996b.  The little ice age and the medieval warm period in
the Sargasso Sea.  Science 274: 1504-1508.
Le Roy Ladurie, E.  1971.  Times of Feast, Times of Famine: A History of
Climate Since the Year 1000.  Doubleday, New York, NY.
Leavitt, S.W.  1994.  Major wet interval in White Mountains medieval warm
period evidenced in delta13 of bristlecone pine tree rings.  Climatic
Change 26: 299-307.
Luckman, B.H.  1994.  Evidence for climatic conditions between ca. 900-1300
A.D. in the southern Canadian Rockies.  Climatic Change 26: 171-182.
MacCracken, M.C., Budyko, M.I., Hecht, A.D. and Izrael, Y.A. (Eds.).  1990.
Prospects for Future Climate: A Special US/USSR Report on Climate and
Climate Change.  Lewis Publishers, Chelsea, MI.
Naurzbaev, M.M. and Vaganov, E.A.  2000.  Variation of early summer and
annual temperature in east Taymir and Putoran (Siberia) over the last two
millennia inferred from tree rings.  Journal of Geophysical Research 105:
Tyson, P.D., Karlen, W., Holmgren, K. and Heiss, G.A.  2000.  The Little Ice
Age and medieval warming in South Africa.  South African Journal of
Science 96: 121-126.
Villalba, R.  1994.  Tree-ring and glacial evidence for the medieval warm
epoch and the little ice age in southern South America.  Climatic Change
26: 183-197.
Copyright 2000.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


The new dogma by both the IPCC and US National Assessment is that the
Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age during the last millennium never
happened. Their claim is both false and politically inspired......


From The New York Times, 12 November 2000

The Proof Is in the Disproof

To Karl Popper, falsifiability, not verifiability, is the essence of


In 1945 an unknown Austrian emigre working in New Zealand published 'The
Open Society and Its Enemies.' It was the perfect rallying cry for the
incipient cold war. The book compared democracies founded on rational debate
with authoritarian governments. Nazism was bad, and Communism no better,
because they both suppressed the freedom that made open societies worth
living in.

'The Open Society' quickly transformed its author, Karl Popper, from an
obscure academic into a public figure. As it turned out, his political
theories were something of a sideline, an outgrowth of his primary interest
in the philosophy of science. He had already published 'Logik der Forschung'
('The Logic of Scientific Discovery') in Austria in 1935. This inverted the
traditional idea that science proceeds cautiously from facts to theories.
Instead, science starts with bold speculation but is always ready to abandon
any views that are falsified by experiment. The community of science was
thus the epitome of the open society, recognizing no authority but logic and
experimental falsification.

In the postwar years each twist and turn of Popper's thinking was dissected
by his many followers. By contrast, comparatively little has been known of
his life before 1945. But now one can consult Malachi Haim Hacohen's 'Karl
Popper -- The Formative Years, 1902-1945.' Hacohen has labored long and hard
in the archives, and the result is a magnificent work of scholarship.

Karl Popper was born in Vienna. His father, an assimilated Jew, was one of
the most prosperous lawyers in the city, and Popper grew up in an apartment
of 20 rooms, with a library of 14,000 books. But this life did not survive
World War I. His father's fortunes waned, and Popper's education was
disrupted. By the end of the war he was flirting with Communism and living
in a radical commune. He remained on the Socialist left through his 20's,
occupying himself with social work and educational reform. He attended
university in fits and starts, developing many interests, especially in
mathematics and science. The question of scientific innovation began to
engage his attention, and he worried about its relation to the essentially
conservative view of the human mind taught by his Kantian professors.

The young Popper was something of an intellectual loner, restless, arrogant
and apt to take offense. There was little to suggest his future eminence
until he came within the ambit of the Vienna Circle, the renowned group of
philosopher-scientists whose mission was to replace traditional metaphysics
with the clean worldview of modern science. 'Verification' was the motto:
anything that cannot be verified by scientific methods is nonsense. But the
motto threatened to undermine science itself. Since scientific theories
always extrapolate beyond the data, can they themselves be verified?

Popper saw his chance. His earlier theorizing had focused his attention on
scientific change, and this suggested a better way of distinguishing science
from metaphysics. The essential feature of science was not its
verifiability, but its falsifiability. Maybe science can't be proved. But
what makes it different from other modes of thought is its openness to
experimental disproof. It was an intriguing twist; Popper's seniors in the
Vienna Circle took notice, and in due course 'Logik der Forschung' appeared
in a series of Circle publications.

Soon there was an added urgency to the fight for academic recognition. The
political situation was worsening, and the future looked bleak for a leftist
thinker with a Jewish background. Along with many others, Popper looked for
jobs abroad. He visited England and made important contacts, but it was a
desperate scrabble, and in the end he and his wife were happy to find a
junior post in New Zealand. He did not see his mother again, and 16 of his
uncles, aunts and cousins died at the Nazis' hands.

Hacohen, who teaches history at Duke University, takes Popper's significance
for granted as perhaps the greatest philosopher of the 20th century. But
this judgment is highly doubtful. As Hacohen recognizes, Popper's standing
must rest on his philosophy of science, not on the relatively derivative
political writings, and his account of science is fundamentally flawed. It
can seem plausible to view science as a succession of brave conjectures and
honest refutations. But few philosophers today think that this explains the
worth of science [aha, I understand: the majority is right and Popper's
theory must consequently be flawed - what a  convincing method of
falsification; BJP]. The whole point of science is to provide a trustworthy
guide to the future (sic), not a series of hopeful guesses. Hacohen
recommends Popper's critical rationalism over the poststructuralist
relativism that dominates so much of the modern academy. But, behind the
stylistic differences, there is little to choose between the two
philosophies, for both deny that it is possible to identify the truth.

Attitudes toward Popper's standing are likely to influence responses to this
biography. Hacohen's achievement is not in question. This splendid work
would be worth reading for the background alone. The depiction of interwar
Vienna makes our contemporary intellectual life seem thin by comparison. But
when it comes to Popper's personality, opinions are likely to divide. By
Hacohen's own account, Popper was a monster, a moral prig. He continually
accused others of plagiarism, but rarely acknowledged his own intellectual
debts. He expected others to make every sacrifice for him, but did little in
return. In Hacohen's words, 'He remained to the end a spoiled child who
threw temper tantrums when he did not get his way.' Hacohen is ready to
excuse all this as the prerogative of genius. Those who think Popper a
relatively minor figure are likely to take a different view.

When Popper wrote 'Logik der Forschung,' he was barely 30. Despite its
flawed center, it was full of good ideas, from perhaps the most brilliant of
the bright young philosophers associated with the Vienna Circle. But where
the others continued to learn, develop and in time exert a lasting influence
on the philosophical tradition, Popper knew better. He refused to revise his
falsificationism, and so condemned himself to a lifetime in the service of a
bad idea.

David Papineau is professor of the philosophy of science at King's College,
London. His most recent book is 'Introducing Consciousness.'

Copyright 2000, The New York Times

[Sorry Professor Papineau, but I feel you missed the point: to Karl Popper,
falsifiability was not "the essence of science," as you claim - but the
essence of the scientific method. I am not aware of any other method used by
the scientific community, BJP].

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