WS>>Middle Ages were warmer than today, say scientists

carl william spitzer iv cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Tue May 27 14:54:47 MDT 2003


          Global warming? Maybe most envoronmentalism is primari-
          ly subversive marxist propaganda.


          By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent

          telegraph.co.uk

          Claims that man-made pollution is causing "unprecedent-
     ed"  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  Im-
     pacts  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  Uni-
     versity  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 Univers-
     ity, examined the findings of studies of so-called "tempera-
     ture  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  Me-
     dieval 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  espe-
     cially  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-geogra-
     phy  at the University of London, told The Telegraph:  "What
     has been forgotten in all the discussion about global  warm-
     ing 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  eco-
     nomic  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  re-
     search,  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 signifi-
     cance of existing warming.

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

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




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