May 30, 2023
May 30, 2023
by Leuren Moret
Consider the earth’s history as the old measure of the English yard, the distance from the King’s nose to the tip of his out-stretched hand. One stroke of a nail file on his middle finger erases human history. - James McPhee, Basin and Range, 1981.
Two scientific disciplines have the added dimension of ‘deep time’, a concept in geology about the evolution of the physical world we live in, and a dimension in the Universe (astrophysics) that our planet came from, concerning natural cycles and large events on a time scale of thousands, millions, and billions of years. The 11th century Persian geologist and polymath (Polymath – a very learned person, an expert in many fields), Avicenna (Ibn Sina, 973-1037), and Chinese naturalist and polymath She Kuo (1031-1095) were the first to recognize ‘deep time’ as a concept of geologic time. It wasn’t until Scottish geologist James Hutton developed the concept in the 1700’s that Western science became aware of this added dimension in the physical sciences.
The earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and the Universe about 14 billion years old. A lot has happened, in a very long time period that is inconceivable to most modern thinking. Lack of understanding about deep time, compartmentalized thinking, ignorance, and mis-perceptions about global climate change contribute to frequently confused concepts and mis-understanding of what it means. Western science is very young, and has been easily manipulated too often – for example ‘climate change’ – because of ignorance of scientific principles and the constraints that define what is even scientifically possible, in order to serve the ruling elite and money-masters. How did this happen?
Nullius in Verba
On the Words of No One
Founded in 1660, the Royal Society is the independent scientific academy of the UK, dedicated to promoting excellence in science.
Registered Charity No. 207043
In fact, Western science has evolved from, and has spread around the world through, the Royal Society, secretly started by 12 Freemasons at Oxford in 1660. The Freemasons, created by the City of London financiers, have served as a powerful network of secret control. It remained a secret society until the Industrial Revolution, when financiers and industrialists realized they needed new technologies developed by scientists to increase profits and concentrate wealth upwards. Western science through the Royal Society always had a hidden agenda - to serve the financiers and business interests by developing new technologies … and ever more horrific weapons, and more recently Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). It is no different today.
Long-Term Global Climate Change – Ice Ages
Planet earth is unique in our solar system, because it is the only planet exactly the right distance from the sun, to allow both liquid and solid states of water, an essential molecule of life. The geologic record provides evidence of long-term global climate change, a long sequence of Ice Ages with shorter glacial and interglacial periods within each Ice Age, cycles within cycles due to astronomical changes of the earth that influence incoming solar energy.
Ice Age cycles are based on changes in earth related astronomical factors such as a 23,000-year cycle due to the “elliptic” or orbit of the earth around the sun, a 26,000-year cycle due to “precession” or axial rotation, a 41,000-year cycle due to “obliquity” or axial tilt, and 100,000 and 400,000-year cycles due to multiple factors. These are known as the Milankovitch cycles. Because they are superimposed on each other, multiple Ice Ages and glacial/interglacial periods occur within a 100,000-year period. The last Ice Age started about 110,000 years ago and has not ended, but the last glacial period ended about 12,000 years ago. The earth is still in an Ice Age in terms of the Milankovich cycles. A slight change of only 5° C in the overall heat budget of the earth drives our planet in and out of Ice Ages. These are long-term cyclic climatic changes allowing a predictable global climatic state of slow evolution.
Three factors dominate the balance [of climate]: the energy of the Sun, the surface character of terrestrial regions (water, ice, vegetation, desert, etc.), and the transparency of the Earth’s atmosphere to different forms of radiation energy. - Gordon J.F. MacDonald, Jason Scientist, 1968. 2
The sediment record in the Arctic from deep-sea cores, indicates that when ice sheets covered North America and Eurasia during glacial periods, the Arctic Ocean was not frozen into a solid piece of thicker ice throughout. 3 In fact it was similar to today – covered with thin ice, with seasonal changes depending on similar variables. Freshwater icebergs calving from the surrounding continental ice sheets provided sea ice then, just as natural Arctic cycles do today.
Prof. Tom V. Segalstad—head of the Geological Museum, University of Oslo—says “most leading geologists” know the U.N.’s views “of Earth processes are implausible.” 4
Much like today, Antarctica was covered with a massive ice sheet during the last glacial period. Unlike the Arctic which is an open ocean, the Antarctic is a continent or solid land mass. It was covered completely with the ice sheet during the last glacial, that extended into the ocean and onto the middle and outer continental shelf. Despite the glacial period, modeling indicates that ice over central East Antarctica was thinner than during the interglacial we are in today. 5
Extended periods of volcanic eruptions occur during orogenies, the creation of orogenic belts, spanning millions of years where tectonic plates collide. Orogenic events can cause dramatic changes in global climate due to release of large amounts of volcanic ash, water vapor, and gases into the atmosphere, obscuring incoming solar radiation. Mass extinctions at different periods throughout geologic history, like the dinosaur extinction 65 million years ago, in some cases are thought to be related to orogenies that caused climatic change affecting food availability.
More Rapid Fluctuations of Climate Change
– Warming and Cooling Periods
In the geologic, archaeological, and historic record there is evidence of smaller and more rapid fluctuations or warming (climatic optimum) and cooling periods (climatic minimum) - due to changes in incoming solar radiation (light) and loss of outgoing long-wave radiation (heat). These can be on a scale of thousands of years. Some examples are warming periods for example around 6000-500 BC when peat deposits accumulated in northern Europe, or cooling periods when mountain glaciers in tropical regions accumulated such as on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya, the Qualccaya Ice Cap (10,000 year annual climatic record) on top of the Andes north of Lake Titicaca in Peru, Papua New Guinea, Borneo, and Hawaii.
Changes in ocean currents and sea temperatures can also cause climate change, resulting in migrations - ancient people of the southwestern United States, the Maya in Yucatan, and the ancient indigenous population around Lake Titicaca. Changes in settlement patterns, population numbers, agricultural crops and practices, and changes in climate are preserved in lake sediments near settlement areas, and provide good information from the pollen record, paleobotany, and other factors preserved in the sediment record.
Short Term Fluctuations of Climate Change - Sunspots
Short-term climate fluctuations may be experienced during a lifetime or longer, caused by solar flares or sunspots - one of the major causes of short-term climate change.
Col. Joseph O. Fletcher, a retired Air Force polar specialist now with the Rand Corporation in California, has cited the presence or absence of pack ice around Iceland as an index of such trends (i.e. sunspot activity trends). From the 9th century to the 13th century almost no ice was reported there. This was the period of Norse colonization of Iceland and Greenland.
- New York Times, February 20, 1969
The “Little Ice Age” in Europe included low temperature minimums in 1650, 1770, and 1850
with warming episodes in between. In a solar flare for example, 1010 megatons of energy could
be stored in distorted magnetic fields of the earth. 6
Dr. Sami Solanki - director and scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, who argues that changes in the Sun’s state, not human activity, may be the principal cause of global warming: "The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures."7
Climate change is a vast complexity of variables: deep time cycles within cycles within cycles due to astronomical factors, changing the amount of solar light or incoming energy reaching the Earth, more rapid fluctuations within those cycles due to changes in ocean currents, volcanism, and solar flares. And then there is climate as an instant in time - the mercurial nature of the weather - that at any moment can change.
Modeling so many variables in natural systems is impossible, so one must keep in mind that modeling is just a ‘guestimate’, and does not represent the complexity of what is really happening, or going to happen, in the natural or real world. An example of the limitations and bias that can be introduced into the modeling of a natural system, is the emission of the gross effects of water vapor in highly touted mainstream ‘climate change’ models. It is a major dynamic factor in the overall scheme of things, and yet it is not even acknowledged in most ‘climate change’ models.
Weather - Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Ice-Snow-Rain-Dust Storms
Weather is a short-term local or regional system, the state of the atmosphere at a given time and place, with variables such as temperature, wind velocity, moisture and barometric pressure.
The quantities of energy involved in weather systems exceed by a substantial
margin the quantity of energy under man’s direct control. 8
The atmosphere is an envelope of air that rotates with the earth, with variations in local energy
budgets that cause changes in weather. For instance, circulation between the equator and the
poles is driven by the temperature differences between them, causing mixing of the air that is
more violent in colder periods and calmer in warm periods. Vortexes such as hurricanes,
cyclones, and storms are also due to hot and cold air mixing. Atlantic hurricanes begin in the
Sahara Desert, where extremes of temperature cause rapid mixing of hot and cold air, creating a
hurricane vortex that travels across the Atlantic and may end up in the Caribbean, then travels up
the east coast of North America dissipating its energy along its path. As warming has occurred
during the last 200 years, the frequency and intensity of hurricanes has decreased along the
Atlantic coast of North America.
Tremendous amounts of energy are involved in these natural processes. The military has
expended large amounts of money and effort since before the Vietnam war, to weaponize or
manipulate weather systems, in order to use them to military advantage. 9 An instrument of HAARP has been designed for weather modification, and there is plenty of evidence to indicate
that the technology is already very advanced.
… the typical amount of energy expended in a single tornado funnel is equivalent
to about fifty kilotons of explosives; a single thunderstorm tower exchanges about
ten times this much energy during its lifetime; an Atlantic hurricane of moderate
size may draw from the sea more than 1000 megatons of energy. [Weather
modification] results could be achieved, however, by working on the
instabilities in the atmosphere.10
The USS SKATE 1958-59 – No Ice At the North Pole
In 1817, the President of the Royal Society in Britain addressed the Admiralty:
It will without doubt have come to your Lordship's knowledge that a considerable
change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the
Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past
enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice
has been during the last two years, greatly abated.
[This] affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and
give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than
they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them
not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future
intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.
President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, November 20,1817. 11
USS Skate (SSN-578), Nuclear Sub, the first to surface at the North Pole,
March 17, 1959 (left), and at the pole in 1962 (right)
Source: NAVSOURCE 1958 Newsreel. 12
James Hester, a crew member aboard the USS Skate, which surfaced at the North Pole in 1959
and numerous other locations during Arctic cruises in 1958 and 1959, said:
…the Skate found open water both in the summer and following winter. We surfaced near the North Pole in the winter through thin ice less than 2 feet thick. The ice moves from Alaska to Iceland and the wind and tides causes open water as the ice breaks up. The Ice at the polar ice cap is an average of 6-8 feet thick, but with the wind and tides the ice will crack and open into large polynyas (areas of open water), these areas will refreeze over with thin ice. We had sonar equipment that would find these open or thin areas to come up through, thus limiting any damage to the submarine. The ice would also close in and cover these areas crushing together making large ice ridges both above and below the water. We came up through a very large opening in 1958 that was 1/2 mile long and 200 yards wide. The wind came up and closed the opening within 2 hours. On both trips we were able to find open water. We were not able to surface through ice thicker than 3 feet.”
- Hester, James E., Personal email communication, December 2000 13
A scientific study 14 reported in Nature confirms Hester’s observations, and verifies variability in sea ice thickness over the North Pole from 1977 to 1990. The study reported:
The fractional coverage of multi-year ice also varies strongly on an inter-annual basis, for example from 27.1% in 1986 to 73.8% in 1987. These inter annual variations are sufficient to preclude definitive conclusions about recent changes in the Arctic maritime environment.
Brief retreats and thinning cycles in the extent and thickness of Arctic ice have been reported since at least 1817 (President of the Royal Society), and from more recent history. As reported in the New York Times on December 5, 1932, 15 the Arctic was apparently warmer during the 1930’s than it was during the 1990’s:
Unfortunately US data on ice extent and thickness only dates back to the 1950’s (though the Russians have a longer record), at a time when the Arctic was entering a very cold spell that prevented warm water entering from the North Atlantic Ocean. A warming period when that ended would be expected, with inflow of North Atlantic Ocean warm water, causing ice melt in the 1990’s. In the freezing Arctic winter of 2000, once again cold Arctic air moved into North America and Russia causing frigid temperatures, and also caused renewal of sea ice. This is not manmade ‘global warming’ but natural cycles.
Arctic ice thickness is limited by how low air temperature can get, and how warm and fast-moving subsurface water is. Arctic air temperatures did not rise in the 1990’s, so thinning of ice during that period could not be caused by higher air temperatures. Therefore ice thinning in the 1990’s must have been caused by warming of the sub-surface ocean and an increase in the flow of North Atlantic Ocean water into the Arctic. Existing data indicates that natural cycles are at work.
The media, driven by Al Gore and his manmade ‘Global Warming’ propaganda film, An Inconvenient Truth, has hyped the global population into hysterics over threats of sea levels
rising and drowning coastlines around the world, and that the ‘polar bears are dying’… despite
the fact that they have survived at least ten glacial periods every 100,000 years. Despite the dire
predictions, we have a good chance of surviving the media hype, because real science does not
support the hysteria. Even this New York Times story was retracted:
The last time scientists can be certain the pole was awash in water was more than
50 million years ago.
`The North Pole is melting', New York Times, August 19, 2000.
Nor are sea levels affected by variability in sea ice thickness. Sea ice (formed by calving from fresh water glaciers) displaces its own weight in the saline ocean, so thickening and thinning of sea ice has no effect on sea level.
AL GORE: A 21st Century Robber Baron
On February 27, 2007, Gore’s hometown ABC TV News in Nashville reported: 16
Public records reveal Gore’s environmental hypocrisy, as he lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. Gore is not willing to make personal sacrifices himself to save the environment, he just expects it of everyone else.
Al Gore's ‘Inconvenient Truth’ is an annual $30,000 Utility Bill "... the gas and electric bills for the former vice president's 20-room home and pool house devoured ... more than 20 times the national average."
In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize 17 with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a part of the United Nations Environment Program. Most of the 2500 IPCC members are bureaucrats not scientists. Without questioning the science presented in the IPCC official Science Report, 1900 members blindly accept that global warming is real and due to human activity, and focus on speculation about the unsubstantiated impacts of global warming. Of all people involved in the ‘Global Warming’ controversy, Al Gore has been one of the most active, with an area of the Arctic referred to as the ‘Gore Box’18 named for him and declassified by the US Navy in 1998. Arctic research carried
out by the US Navy, had remained classified since 1950 when the US established a military presence and drift stations there. After he became Vice President in 1993, Gore traveled under the Arctic ice cap in the nuclear sub USS Pargo. By having some of the Arctic research data declassified, Gore has been able to use it to promote his ‘Global Warming’ agenda… now commonly referred to as the “GW Hoax”. Over the past ten years, since Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” won an Academy Award, many scientists have discredited Gore’s claim that global warming is manmade - unless you count Gore’s own ‘carbon footprint’:
Dr. Edward Wegman—former chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics of the National Academy of Sciences— demolishes the famous “hockey stick” graph that launched the global warming panic.
Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski—world-renowned expert on the ancient ice cores used in climate research—says the U.N. “based its global-warming hypothesis on arbitrary assumptions and these assumptions, it is now clear, are false.”
Dr. Richard Lindzen - Professor of Meteorology at M.I.T., member, the National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, says global warming alarmists “are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right.”
Prof. Freeman Dyson—one of the world’s most eminent physicists and a member of the elite group of scientists known as the Jasons, says the models used to justify global warming alarmism are “full of fudge factors” and “do not begin to describe the real world.”
Dr. Eigils Friis-Christensen - director of the Danish National Space Centre, vice president of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, who argues that changes in the Sun’s behavior could account for most of the warming attributed by the UN to man-made CO2. 19
A packet with Gore’s film and two short films on climate change and the carbon cycle was sent to all secondary schools in Britain in 2007, by Education Secretary Alan Johnson.
David Miliband, who was Environment-Secretary when the school packs were announced, said at the time: 'The debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over.'20
An angry parent, who is a truck driver in Britain, challenged the accuracy of Gore’s film in court:
Al Gore's film “An Inconvenient Truth” has been called unfit for schools because it is politically biased and contains serious scientific inaccuracies and 'sentimental mush'.21
The news article, “Schools must warn of Gore climate film bias”, reported that the British Judge agreed that Gore’s film promotes ‘partisan political views’. He ordered that teachers must warn pupils about scientific inaccuracies and that there are other opinions about the film before showing it, and that students should not necessarily accept the viewpoints in the film.
The problem with politicized ‘Climate Change’ science is… where is the science? The debate is dominated by politicians, environmentalists, scientists with political agendas, environmental hypocrisy, greed - and too much media hype.
As a whistleblower at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons lab, and a former Environmental
Commissioner in the City of Berkeley, I am very familiar with Climate Change “science” or lack
of, such as:
Gore’s transformation to ‘Carbon Baron’ is even more troubling, especially the deep vested interests backing him, and his ties to City of London and Wall Street banking interests. Following the G8 meeting in October 2006, Miliband the UK Environment Secretary hyped the ‘Carbon Scare’, continuing the pressure exerted ‘to play ball’ by the UK-US-led climate change mafia, on the heads of state of India and China:
The UK Environment Secretary David Miliband said there had been real and practical progress but warned that the pace of action had to be much faster or CO2 emissions by 2050 would be 137% higher than in 2003. "Business as usual", he said, was not an option.26
What Miliband means is that “Business as usual” is not an option for Third world countries. But like “Carbon Baron” Gore’s personal energy consumption, in practice it IS “Business as usual” for the “Climate Change” mafia, who want to wrap themselves around Third World countries like a python, and squeeze them to death:
I am trying to relate to the connection between India's growth & climate change. We in the West are trying to stop India from using her own natural resources in whatever way they wish, to kick-start their economy. We push them against a wall telling them they have to comply with carbon reduction but such places as the US do not. Are we afraid that India could challenge our own forced market?
On the issue of drought I think this is a natural cycle. However I have seen vast expanses of dry paddy fields and yet seen running water passing those fields on its way to the river. I have seen a swollen river alongside dry arid fields. Why? Because the Indian farmers could not afford the diesel to run the water pumps. We force up the price of oil to our own advantage!
Each century in America has had its own history of Robber Barons, who created vast family fortunes from the economic and technological advances of ‘modernization’, along with their usual snake oil salesmen, con games, and blatant scams. Environmental writer Lawrence Solomon asked a very interesting and relevant question when he referred to ‘Carbon Baron Gore’ in his article, “Who will be the Robber Barons of the 21st century? Al Gore is poised to become the first “climate billionaire”.27 And he is well on his way… with a lot of help from some very powerful hidden players.
When Al Gore made his Presidential bid in 2000, he was worth less than $2 million. Known for his lack of financial sophistication in investment circles, he never made much more than his salary of $175,000 as Vice President and made no investments in stocks. Despite unique opportunities that his many claims of being a technology leader and ‘Father of the Internet’ as well as promoter of Silicon Valley technologies brought, he never even invested in the booming “dot.com” bubble of the 1990’s. In fact a 1998 Fortune magazine article headline crudely stated “The Vice President’s Financial Acumen ‘Ain’t Worth a Bucket of Warm Spit’”. Lawrence Solomon modestly describes how quickly Gore has turned it all around:
Nobody doubts Gore’s financial acumen now. Within eight years of leaving politics, Gore had reportedly become worth well in excess of US$100-million. Many expect him to become a billionaire through his stakes in a global warming hedge fund, a carbon-offset business, a renewable energy investment business and other global warming related ventures. He is now money manager to institutional investors and the super rich through Generation Investment Management, a firm that he co-founded in 2004. 28
With brothers and cousins in the financial investment world, I know you don’t get money like that just because you work hard and think you deserve it. Someone wants you to have it. Solomon went on to say:
The Fortune interview explained his firm’s intention to help orchestrate “a makeover of the US$6-trillion global energy business,” from coal plants and the internal-combustion engine to petrochemicals and even bottled water. “What we are going to have to put in place is a combination of the Manhattan Project, the Apollo project and the Marshall Plan, and scale it globally,” Gore continued. “It’d be promising too much to say we can do it on our own, but we intend to do our part.”
[And]… to help drive a societal transformation that will be “bigger than the Industrial Revolution and significantly faster.”
This sounds like a globally engineered revolution coming straight out of the City of London financiers and snake oil salesmen. Or as the Indian Minister of State for the Environment Jairam Ramesh stated to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the ‘climate change’ mafia, “There is simply no case for the pressure” that the US is exerting. Considering that India produces among the lowest per-capita emissions in the world there must be a hidden agenda. The climate change mafia is insisting that emissions must be cut 80%, but like ‘Carbon Baron’ Gore, they are not willing to do it themselves, they want third world countries to cut theirs as they are struggling to expand and develop their own economies. It is a good way for the climate change mafia to eliminate the threat of future competition from their greatest fear – the Tiger economies of Asia – by capping their economic development and trading future growth for more poverty… the hidden agenda behind “cap and trade”.
There is already a huge supply of dollars sitting in banks around the world as reserve and oil currencies. The US is too big to fail. They can’t sell them since there is no one to buy them. If they force it, then all of that value has to be written off their books. They will just continue to hold it, China too, since that is the smartest banking thing to do and let it deteriorate over the next century, like the banks in Japan did. There was no hyperinflation there when their real estate market evaporated.
The inflation that cannot be avoided is due to the increase in wealth in the third world. Billions more customers want the same products we do. That will drive prices up and create greater scarcities and shift the balance of power to them.
That is why our masters are getting ready to kill so many people in Asia, world wide.
- Jimmy Walter, September 6, 2009
As a career lobbyist and long serving pro-environment and climate change politician, Gore has a vast network of contacts in government, corporations, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, wealthy men’s clubs, pension funds, charities, and others he can approach to invest in the company he co-founded - Generation Investment Management.
But - like the “Iron Triangle” of shared interests between military officials, former politicians, and corporations – that is dependent on a permanent war economy now bankrupting the United States, without government support through legislation and funding, Gore’s enterprise cannot grow.
In 1997 Gore’s eldest daughter married Dr. Andrew Newman Schiff, great great grandson of the late Jacob H. Schiff, CEO of Kuhn, Loeb and Co. Not only were Schiff, Kuhn, and Loeb notorious Robber Barons of Wall Street, but Schiff funded the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, a Rothschild “City of London” international financiers enterprise. “The Rothschild-Schiff-Warburg crime families, bound by marriage”, 29 have now formally added ‘Carbon Baron’ Gore to their enterprise… through marriage. 30
Congressman Louis T. McFadden who, for more than ten years, served as chairman of the Banking and Currency Committee, stated that the international bankers are a "dark crew of financial pirates who would cut a man's throat to get a dollar out of his pocket... They prey upon the people of these United States."
Congressman McFadden, remarks to Congress on the Federal Reserve, 1934.
‘Climate Change’ is a City of London financiers and Wall Street bankers scam, and Gore is their global shoe salesman. To them, ‘Climate change’ is just another industry… like making shoes.
And Now Back to the Science:
Balmy Polar Regions in the Eocene
A walk back in Arctic time to the early Eocene period fifty million years ago, solidly exposes the present ‘Climate Change’ debate as short on science and long on “politicized science”. In Donald Prothero’s recent book After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals, he describes balmy subtropical polar regions in the Eocene, despite six months of darkness a year, due to Greenhouse gas conditions.
Ellesmere Island, at 78° north latitude today, was at nearly the same latitude in the Eocene, and very high above the Arctic Circle which lies at 66° north latitude. The fossil flora and fauna of the polar regions in the early Eocene were unlike the Arctic tundra and Antarctic ice caps of today. In the Arctic Eocene above 61° north latitude and found in subtropical climates today, broad leaved evergreens, palm trees, and cycads provided a lush Arctic forest cover, where alligators, pond turtles, land tortoises, Monitor lizards, primitive primates, garfish and bowfin fish dominated the fauna. Despite six months of darkness a year, the average annual temperature was 65 F (18° C), and with the presence of alligators that are limited by an average coldest month mean temperature of 50 F (10° C), it must have been warm because we know they cannot tolerate freezing for long.
In the southern hemisphere, conditions were similar. Australia and New Zealand had forests dominated by Araucaria pines and podocarps, and in wet regions Nypa palms were abundant.
Even Antarctica itself was ice-free, and vegetated at this time. The continent was cloaked in cool-temperature forests composed mostly of southern beech (Nothofagus), podocarps, Araucaria pines, and abundant ferns.
Average annual temperatures despite six months of darkness in this region were in the 50-59 F (10-15° C) range and slightly cooler than the Arctic. Annual precipitation was between 79-158 inches (2-400 cm) indicating warm and wet conditions.
From paleomagnetic evidence in Eocene rocks from Ellesmere Island and other parts of the high Arctic, the evidence suggests that the paleomagnetic pole positions have not drifted more to the north since the Eocene. Ellesmere Island has moved very little in the last 50 million years, from 75° north latitude in the Eocene to 78° north latitude today. From this evidence geophysicists determined that the earth’s spin axis and tilt had not changed since then either. These are important factors because they relate to the Milankovitch cycles that play a major role in climate change, especially over such a long time period of 50 million years.
Botanical evidence indicates that in the polar regions, temperature limits the type of vegetation, and not the length of sunlight. The Arctic tundra is indicative of cold dry conditions, so it is not surprising to find it in the Arctic today since it is a cold desert with less than 2 inches of precipitation a year within the Arctic circle. Fossil wood from Spitsbergen, Greenland, and Ellesmere Island in the Eocene had pronounced annual growth rings that indicate a strongly seasonal climate. During the growing season when light was abundant, the plants and trees made up for the 6 month dormant period during the long polar winters. It is the same today, and the reason that many birds migrate to the Arctic regions for breeding, since the vegetation produced in the short Arctic summers is extremely nutritious for young birds.
Eocene atmospheric CO2 levels were at similar but slightly higher levels than today. This was determined from botanical evidence by comparing the number of stomata, the pores used for gas exchange on the underside of the leaves, of fossil and modern Metasequoia (deciduous redwood) and Ginko trees. Since the number of stomata have not changed since the Eocene in Metasequoia and Ginko trees, CO2 levels must be similar. Higher CO2 levels in the Eocene would have reduced the number of stomata compared to today, and lower CO2 levels would have caused an increase in stomata numbers. Examination of the more sensitive plant cuticles, in the fossil leaves from Ellesmere Island, indicate that CO2 levels were slightly higher than today. The pH profile and CO2 balance of Eocene oceans are also consistent with modern atmospheric CO2 levels but were slightly higher, so changes in the oceans would not explain the polar warming period in the Eocene.
Greenhouse conditions in the early Eocene in the polar regions cannot be explained by the paleobotanical and geochemical evidence either, that is consistent with CO2 levels today, but slightly elevated. Computer modeling of ocean currents indicate that about the same amount of heat transport occurred in the Eocene compared to today, so ocean currents could not be the cause of Eocene polar warming.
However, a very large global “methane burp” occurred prior to the Eocene, and that could explain the Greenhouse gas conditions indicated in the polar regions at that time. Changes in atmospheric methane provide a good explanation of how the polar regions were warmed without heating up the tropics. Optically thick polar stratospheric ice clouds can form from atmospheric methane, and like a blanket trap heat in the polar atmospheric regions, preventing the severe winter cooling of the modern polar regions that occurs as a result of clear skies over the poles.
Planet earth is a very dynamic and complex system of cycles within cycles, feedback loops, and subsets of systems within larger systems. Basically and in very simple terms, the earth is a big trash masher and recycler. Understanding the history of climate change in such a dynamic environment, without a complete record makes it even more difficult. Deep time is a walk on the wild side, but it adds a dimension of adventure that few scientists get to experience.
Who could ever have imagined that a giant methane burp would bring alligators to the Arctic?
More by : Leuren Moret