Be Glad of Global Warming

Over the past year or so I’ve been taking a deep interest in ice ages. After all, it’s only been about 12,000 years since the last one ended, and the warm interglacial periods in between ice ages only seem to last about 12,000 years. So the historical record suggests we’re overdue for the return of snow and ice.

But it seems that the current view in the climate science community is that recent anthropogenic global warming has effectively forestalled any renewed glaciation. I’ve read suggestions that we may well have another 30,000 years of interglacial warmth ahead of us.

But as far as I can see, this optimism rests upon the belief in the climate science community that the last ice age ended as a result of an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For many climate scientists seem to see carbon dioxide as the principal regulator of planetary climate. Too little of it, and you get ice ages. Too much of it, and the ice all melts.

The fixation with carbon dioxide seems to date from the 1960s, and the work of Carl Sagan in showing that the high temperature of the planet Venus is the result of its atmosphere consisting nearly entirely of carbon dioxide. It’s also the case that the atmosphere of Mars is nearly all carbon dioxide as well, although somehow or other it doesn’t have the same sort of high temperature as Venus. Scientists have been wondering why the Earth hasn’t succumbed to the same fate as Venus and Mars. Hence the worry about rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere, and Carl Sagan himself was instrumental in the rise of global warming alarmism in the 1970s and 1980s, and full-blown global warming hysteria in the 21st century.

I’ve been thinking recently that our current global warming hysteria is probably far more benign than any global cooling hysteria is likely to be. After all, the worst predictions about global warming are of a gradual warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the next century or so by a few degrees. It’s really nothing to worry about. And so most people don’t.

But global cooling alarmism may be quite different. For the fear will likely be that a new ice age might begin very suddenly, and not gradually like global warming. Instead of slowly getting cooler, the Earth may flip from a warm state to a cold state over a period of only a decade or two. Canada, Scandinavia, and Siberia would become buried in snow that never melts. There’d be an exodus of peoples from these countries. The USA wouldn’t have a problem with its southern border, but with its northern one. Instead of refugees and migrants coming from the south, there’d be refugees and migrants from the north. Fear of anthropogenic global warming would be replaced by fear of  snow and ice that was extending further and further south into the US northern states, Britain, France, Germany and Russia. There’d be a global state of emergency. The most pressing question would be: how might the advance of the snow and ice be first stopped, and then reversed? Everyone would be talking about it.

It would be a time in which government policy (and private morality) would be turned upside down. Instead of Emmanuel Macron trying to reduce France’s carbon dioxide emissions to zero, he’d be calling for them to be vastly increased. People would be encouraged to burn as much coal and wood and oil as they possibly could. Our current “smoke-free” world would suddenly become very smoky again, in the hope that as much soot and dust as possible could be deposited on the expanding ice sheets to reduce their albedo and melt them.

I’m hoping that the climate scientists are right, and that the next ice age has indeed been deferred for a few thousand more years, because by then we may be already busy “terra-forming” both Mars and Venus into benign Earth-like colonies. I’m hoping so because our current mild global warming hysteria is far preferable to the sheer terror that will accompany the start of a new ice age. For in that time, it will seem to have been almost a luxury to have been worried about trivia like carbon dioxide and tobacco smoke.

And I’m hoping that at least some of the vast amounts of money that are currently being spent studying and fighting AGW are going into research into ice ages, and that we won’t be completely taken by surprise if a new ice age starts.

For now, be glad of global warming. For the alternative is likely to be much, much worse.

About Frank Davis

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12 Responses to Be Glad of Global Warming

  1. garyk30 says:

    Good points

  2. Dr Evil says:

    Surely the last ice age isn’t over until both poles are ice free?

  3. Frank Davis says:

    According to Raymond Pierrehumbert on p 53 of Principles of Planetary Climate:

    “Individual episodes of large ice volume within an icehouse climate are referred to as ice ages, with the warmer periods in between referred to as interglacials, though the ice doesn’t come close to disappearing completely.”

    I take that as meaning that it’s quite proper to refer to the last ice age as having ended 12,000 years ago.

  4. Rose says:

    “The Little Ice Age is a period between about 1300 and 1870 during which Europe and North America were subjected to much colder winters than during the 20th century.”

    Climate change: World heading for warmest decade, says Met Office
    6 February 2019

    “The world is in the middle of what is likely to be the warmest 10 years since records began in 1850, say scientists.”

    So records began in 1850 during the Little Ice Age and it’s likely to be the warmest 10 years since then?

    Somehow, I remain unmoved.

  5. Tony Halford says:

    The difference between Venus and Mars is simply size and the attendant extra gravity. Mars has too little mass to hold the atmosphere to the planet and therefore it just oozes away into space. Venus being roughly the size of the Earth holds its atmosphere just like here.

    • petesquiz says:

      The difference between Venus and Mars is more than just their relative sizes, another key point is their relative proximity to the sun.
      But there is one thing that puzzles me about Venus, that none of the scientists seem to flag up. The atmosphere of Venus is up to NINETY times more dense than on Earth, but there seems to be no explanation as to how (or why) a planet roughly the same size at the Earth developed such a dense atmosphere.
      However, there are some scientists looking at atmospheric pressure as being the main cause of higher than expected planetary surface temperatures. They looked at Earth, Mars, Venus and our Moon as well as Triton and Titan.
      Here’s the link –

      • Frank Davis says:

        Very interesting.

        Nikolov and Zeller seem to be controversial figures. Anthony Watts recently wrote:

        “I normally don’t publish anything related to the ideas of Nikolov and Zeller, for three reasons: 1) It’s just wrong, 2) It invariably descends into a shouting match. 3) These two guys published a paper under fake names to fool the peer-review process, which is a professional no-no.”

        But Anthony Watts is a virulent antismoker. And in my book that’s the ultimate no-no.

        Dr Roy Spencer is also a critic of N&Z.

        But Roger Tallbloke is not.

        • petesquiz says:

          Well, a new discovery (as they call it) will always take some time to be accepted, especially as it comes from left-field as far as climate science goes. I like it because it is based on observed data and is quite simple to understand (once you can get past all the equations!)

          Thanks for pointing me towards Dr Roy Spencer, by and large he seems to talk a lot of sense. One thing I did find on his site is the transcript of a lecture given by Michael Crichton in 2003 – I don’t know if you’ve seen it before, but it nails how science has become corrupted (and before I read it I’d thought that Carl Sagan was a great scientist).

          A title typical of a novelist, but well worth the read.

  6. waltc says:

    Meanwhile back on planet Washington, the Democrat contestant for president are jumping on the tax-and-ban $40 trillion Green New Deal which includes eliminating cows, cars, and planes while retrofitting every extant building in America. (Actually, the cars will all be electric with the electricity presumably supplied by rubbing keys together during thunderstorms, and cows will all be provided with fart-diapers)

  7. Lepercolonist says:

    The glaciers in my area of the Lake Erie basin were one mile{1.6KM} thick. That is nearly impossible to imagine but scientifically correct. Now that would be seriously scary.

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