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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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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