CCNet TERRA 14/2002 - 19 December 2002

"The strongest sign yet of a potential global climate catastrophe
has emerged just as Canada prepares to formally ratify the Kyoto
Protocol on greenhouse gases today. A just- published scientific study
reports the first hard evidence of changes in the Arctic that would
trigger a collapse in major ocean circulation patterns by the end of the
century. The collapse would throw the east coast of Canada and west coast
of Europe into a deep chill and also probably send more and fiercer
hurricanes and tropical storms north into Canada, scientists
--Peter Calamai, Toronto Star, 17 December 2002

"If anything, additional warmth may actually provide an insurance
policy against radical reorganizations of the Thermohaline Circulation, as
well as the abrupt climate changes that accompany them. Hence, this
[worry] turns out to be pretty much of a non-issue."
--Sherwood B. Idso, Keith E. Idso, CO2 Science Magazine

    Toronto Star, 17 December 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 10 July 2002

    NOAA, 17 December 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 18 December 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 18 December 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 18 December 2002

    The Christian Science Monitor, 18 December 2002

    Tech Central Station, 12 December 2002

    World Climate Report, 16 December 2002


>From Toronto Star, 17 December 2002


OTTAWA-The strongest sign yet of a potential global climate catastrophe has
emerged just as Canada prepares to formally ratify the Kyoto Protocol on
greenhouse gases today.

A just-published scientific study reports the first hard evidence of changes
in the Arctic that would trigger a collapse in major ocean circulation
patterns by the end of the century.

The collapse would throw the east coast of Canada and west coast of Europe
into a deep chill and also probably send more and fiercer hurricanes and
tropical storms north into Canada, scientists forecast.

"This study underlines why we need to take action now rather than later on
climate change," said climate expert Gordon McBean yesterday.

A key step toward action comes today when Prime Minister Jean Chrétien signs
the documents formally ratifying the 1997 Kyoto agreement. Environment
Minister David Anderson is due to hand-deliver the ratification to U.N.
headquarters in New York tomorrow.

Ratification commits Canada to reducing its projected annual emissions of
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the period from 2008 to 2012 by
roughly 20 per cent from today's levels.

McBean said even the modest Kyoto reductions amounting to 5 per cent
globally would help avert catastrophic climate changes such as the collapse
of the ocean conveyer belt.

This system of vast, slow-moving currents carries warmer water north from
the tropics with one part, the Gulf Stream, raising average temperatures by
several degrees along both coasts of the North Atlantic.

"By mid-century, the levels of carbon dioxide will have risen less than
projected because we are taking these actions now," said McBean, a former
chief of the national weather service who now heads the Canadian Foundation
for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences.

But the rise in carbon dioxide levels so far has triggered the start of a
climatic chain reaction that could slow or stop the vital ocean conveyer
belt, researchers warn in the current issue of the journal Science.

A U.S.-Russian team reports some of the world's biggest rivers are now
dumping much more water into the Arctic Ocean because of increased
precipitation linked to global warming.

Since the 1930s, flow into the Arctic from six Russian and European rivers
has jumped by 7 per cent - the same amount as six months' extra discharge
from the Mackenzie River.

By the end of the century the increased flow under the most extreme global
warming case would equal adding five more Mackenzies, said lead researcher
Bruce Peterson yesterday.

"That could produce a catastrophic collapse by pushing the ocean circulation
system to a point where it can't bounce back easily," said Peterson, an
ecosystem scientist at Marine Biological Station in Woods Hole, Ma.

Peterson emphasized that these potential impacts are still speculative
because science needs to understand a lot more about exactly how the
conveyer belt works and how water moves through the Arctic basin.

But specialists in past climate point to geological evidence that something
similar happened 11,000 years ago when an ice dam across what is now Hudson
Bay broke, sending a rush of fresh water into the Atlantic.

The ocean conveyer belt - scientifically called thermohaline circulation -
broke down then and took centuries to recover.

Climate experts have long warned that history could repeat because computer
models project global warming would lead to increased snow and rain in
northern latitudes. Increased precipitation runs into rivers and eventually
the Arctic, the ocean most affected by its surrounding land.

These Arctic waters exit into the North Atlantic and mix with the cooling,
salty currents like the Gulf Stream when they sink and head south as the
return part of the conveyer belt.

But boost the flow of Arctic fresh water and the diluted northward waters
won't be heavy enough to sink quickly enough to keep the conveyer rolling,
say scientists.

The researchers concentrated on six Eurasian Rivers with historic flow
records stretching back to 1936, providing a record long enough to spot a
gradual upward trend every decade despite annual variations

Three of the six rivers studied - the Ob, Yenisey and Lena in Siberia - are
among the world's top 10 in terms of outflow.

If the Gulf Stream and other northward warming currents broke down, the
climate impact would be severe. At present, tropical plants thrive on the
west coast of Ireland at latitudes that are north of Winnipeg.

McBean said disrupting the ocean currents could also lead to an increase in
the number and severity of tropical storms as the Earth compensates through
the atmosphere for losing the ocean route of transferring heat from the
Equator to the polar regions.

Copyright 2002. Toronto Star


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 10 July 2002

The Kyoto Protocol is based on the premise that the ongoing rise in the
air's CO2 content must be slowed as soon as possible, and ultimately stopped
altogether, in order to avoid an increase in mean global air temperature of
sufficient magnitude to inflict serious damage on the biosphere.
Consequently, those who believe in the conceptual foundation of the Protocol
- as well as some who don't (but who promote its adoption for political or
philosophical reasons) - would like to see its provisions implemented as
soon as is practicable, in order to prevent the presumed deleterious
consequences (or, alternatively, to foist their political philosophy upon
the world).

Within this context, it is important to know what the proponents of the
Protocol consider a dangerous climate impact worthy of immediate action.
Taking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as their guide, O'Neill
and Oppenheimer (2002) say it is an impact that either imposes a risk upon
unique and threatened ecosystems or engenders a risk of some large-scale
discontinuity in earth's climate system. On this basis, they claim there are
three warming-related risks that are serious enough to implement the Kyoto
Protocol with all due haste. These risks are the potentials for (1) the
infliction of extreme damage to earth's coral reefs, (2) the disintegration
of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and (3) the virtual shutdown of the marine
thermohaline circulation.

With respect to the third of these risks - we dealt with the first and
second ones in our Editorials of 26 June 2002 and 3 July 2002 - O'Neill and
Oppenheimer (hereafter, O & O) claim there is strong evidence that the
thermohaline circulation or THC has shut down many times in the past "in
association with abrupt regional and perhaps global climate changes," citing
Broecker (1997). They also say that "most coupled atmosphere-ocean model
experiments show weakening of the THC during this century in response to
increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, with some projecting a
shutdown if the trends continue."  Hence, they conclude that "to avert
shutdown of the THC, we define a limit at 3°C warming over 100 years, based
on Stocker and Schmittner (1997)."

With respect to O & O's claim that the THC abruptly shut down several times
in the past - with which we have no argument - there is an important
auxiliary fact they fail to mention; and that is that these shutdowns
typically occurred during very cold glacial or transition periods, but
rarely, if ever, during warm interglacials. Part of their failure to report
this fact may be related to their reliance on somewhat outdated
publications, such as Broecker (1997), who referenced a minor (and readily
explained) exception to this rule that occurred approximately 8200 years
ago, and Stocker and Schmittner (1997), who have recently reported much
different modeling results than they did half a decade ago.

In the case of the dramatic regional cooling of 1.5-3°C that is known to
have occurred at marine and terrestrial sites around the northeastern North
Atlantic some 8200 years ago, Barber et al. (1999) have made a strong case
for the likelihood that it was caused by the catastrophic release of a huge
amount of freshwater into the Labrador Sea as a result of the final outburst
drainage of glacial lakes Agassiz and Ojibway, which significantly reduced
the strength of the THC and retarded the transport of heat to the northeast
North Atlantic. Consequently, this event could validly be classified as a
"holdover" phenomenon from the prior glacial-to-interglacial transition

In a model study of a more gradual increase in freshwater input through the
St. Lawrence River system "similar to that associated with freshening due to
the [predicted] warming climate of the next century," Rind et al. (2001)
found that "North Atlantic Deep Water production decreases linearly with the
volume of fresh water added through the St. Lawrence" and that it does so
"without any obvious threshold effects." Under such circumstances it would
be expected that the gradual slowing of the THC would gradually reduce the
northward transport of heat in the North Atlantic, leading to a gradual
reduction in freshwater input to the North Atlantic through the St. Lawrence
and other rivers that would ultimately lead to a gradual intensification of
the THC, and etc., thereby producing a climatic oscillation of much more
modest amplitude than the abrupt changes of which O & O are so concerned.

Similar conclusions have been reached by a number of other investigators as
well. The modeling work of Ganopolski and Rahmstorf (2001, 2002) and Alley
and Rahmstorf (2002), for example, suggests that the North Atlantic branch
of the THC possesses two potential modes of operation during glacial times,
between which it oscillates in response to weak (and probably solar-induced)
forcings that produce small cyclical variations in freshwater input to high
northern latitudes that are amplified by stochastic resonance and therefore
produce rapid warmings followed by slower coolings that are a full order of
magnitude greater than similar oscillations that occur during interglacials.
Throughout these latter much warmer periods, such as the current Holocene,
however, Ganopolski and Rahmstorf (2002) report that climate "is not
susceptible to regime switches by stochastic resonance with plausible
parameter choices and even unrealistically large noise amplitudes, and
neither is it in conceptual models."  Furthermore, they correctly report
that real-world observations reveal "there is no evidence for regime
switches during the Holocene," as previously noted by Stocker (2000) and
suggested by the modeling work of Latif et al. (2000) and Gent (2001).

Schmittner et al. (2002) come to pretty much the same conclusion, i.e., that
the stability of the THC during glacial periods is much reduced from what it
is during interglacials; and in a review of the current status of our
knowledge of abrupt climate change and its relationship to changes in the
THC, Clark et al. (2002) conclude that essentially all of the rapid warmings
and associated slower coolings of which we have record "were characteristic
of the last glaciation," as opposed to the Holocene.  They thus state that
"the palaeoclimate data and the model results also indicate that the
stability of the thermohaline circulation depends on the mean climate
state."  And in this regard, cold is incredibly robust, producing large and
rapid changes in climate, while warm is much more subdued, producing more
gentle variations of which periodic swings between Medieval Warm Period and
Little Ice Age conditions are typical.

These several observations thus suggest that, if anything, additional warmth
may actually provide an insurance policy against radical reorganizations of
the THC, as well as the abrupt climate changes that accompany them. Hence,
this last of the three most dangerous impacts of global warming identified
by O & O - like its predecessors - turns out to be pretty much of a

Sherwood B. Idso
Keith E. Idso

Alley, R.B.S. and Rahmstorf, S. 2002. Stochastic resonance in glacial
climate.  EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 83: 129, 135.

Barber, D.C., Dyke, A., Hillaire-Marcel, C., Jennings, A.E., Andrews, J.T.,
Kerwin, M.W., Bilodeau, G., McNeely, R., Southon, J., Morehead, M.D. and
Gagnon, J.-M.  1999.  Forcing of the cold event of 8,200 years ago by
catastrophic drainage of Laurentide lakes.  Nature 400: 344-348.

Broecker, W.S.  1997.  Thermohaline circulation, the Achilles heel of our
climate system: Will man-made CO2 upset the current balance?  Science 278:

Clark, P.U., Pisias, N.G., Stocker, T.F. and Weaver, A.J.  2002.  The role
of the thermohaline circulation in abrupt climate change.  Nature 415:

Ganopolski A. and Rahmstorf, S.  2001.  Rapid changes of glacial climate
simulated in a coupled climate model.  Nature 409: 153-158.

Ganopolski, A. and Rahmstorf, S.  2002.  Abrupt glacial climate changes due
to stochastic resonance.  Physical Review Letters 88: 038501.

Gent, P.R.  2001.  Will the North Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation
weaken during the 21st century?  Geophysical Research Letters 28: 1023-1026.

Latif, M., Roeckner, E., Mikolajewicz, U. and Voss, R.  2000.  Tropical
stabilization of the thermohaline circulation in a greenhouse warming
simulation.  Journal of Climate 13: 1809-1813.

O'Neill, B.C. and Oppenheimer, M.  2002.  Dangerous climate impacts and the
Kyoto Protocol.  Science 296: 1971-1972.

Rind, D., deMenocal, P., Russell, G., Sheth, S., Collins, D., Schmidt, G.
and Teller, J.  2001.  Effects of glacial meltwater in the GISS coupled
atmosphere-ocean model. I. North Atlantic Deep Water response.  Journal of
Geophysical Research 106: 27,335-27,353.

Schmittner, A., Yoshimori, M. and Weaver, A.J.  2002.  Instability of
glacial climate in a model of the ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere system.
Science 295: 1489-1493.

Stocker, T.F.  2000.  Past and future reorganizations in the climate system.
Quaternary Science Reviews 19: 301-319.

Stocker, T.F. and Schmittner, A.  1997.  Influence of CO2 emission rates on
the stability of the thermohaline circulation.  Nature 388: 862-865.

Copyright © 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


>From NOAA, 17 December 2002

December 17, 2002 - The climate of 2002 in the United States was
characterized by warmer than normal temperatures and below average
precipitation that led to persistent or worsening drought throughout much of
the nation, according to NOAA scientists.

Working from the world's largest statistical weather database, NOAA
scientists at the National Climatic Data Center also found that 2002 is very
likely to be the second warmest year on record for the globe. The return of
El Niño affected hurricanes in the Atlantic and precipitation patterns in
some parts of the world.

U.S. Temperatures
The average temperature for the contiguous United States in 2002 is expected
to be near 53.6 degrees F (12.0 degrees C), one of the 20 warmest years
since national records began in 1895, but significantly cooler than last
year, which was the 7th warmest year. The average temperature during the
1895-present record is 52.8 degrees F, with the warmest year on record
occurring in 1998. (Click NOAA image for larger view of USA state
temperature rankings through November 2002. Click here for high resolution
image, which is a large file. Please credit "NOAA.")

The year 2002 began with another anomalously warm winter, the fourth much
warmer-than-average winter in the last five years, and the summer season was
one of the warmest since the 1930s. Temperatures in Alaska were above
average in all four seasons, and 2002 will approach or exceed the warmest
year on record for the state.

Overall the contiguous United States temperature has risen at a rate of 1.0
degree F/Century (0.6 degrees C/Century) since 1895. Much of that increase
has occurred in two periods, 1910-1940 and again from the 1970s to the
present. Temperatures in Alaska have increased at a rate near 2.8 degrees
F/Century (1.5 degrees C/Century) since the early 1900s, most rapidly in the
past 25 to 30 years.

U.S. Precipitation, Drought and Flooding
 As the year began, moderate to extreme drought covered one-third* of the
contiguous United States, including much of the eastern seaboard and
northwestern United States. The combination of generally warmer- and
drier-than-average conditions led to the total drought area growing to
slightly more than 50 percent during the summer months, largely due to a
rapid intensification of drought in the Southwest. This value fell to 36
percent by the end of November as precipitation from landfalling tropical
systems and a more active storm track helped alleviate drought in much of
the eastern part of the country. (Click NOAA image for larger view of
significant weather across the USA in 2002. Click here for high resolution
image, which is a large file. Please credit "NOAA.")

The most extensive national drought coverage during the past 100 years (the
period of instrumental record) occurred in July 1934 when 80 percent of the
contiguous United States was in moderate to extreme drought. Although the
current drought and others of the 20th century have been widespread and of
lengthy duration, tree ring records indicate that the severity of these
droughts was likely surpassed by other droughts, including that of the 1570s
and 1580s over much of the Southwest and northern Mexico.

In the western United States where precipitation for 2002 is on pace to set
record or near-record lows in many states, the lack of adequate rain and
snow and the resulting low snowpack stressed water supplies and caused
devastating impacts on agriculture. Severe drought in Montana that began in
some places more than four years ago forced farmers to abandon more than 20
percent of the winter wheat crop for the second consecutive year, the first
such occurrence since the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s. The extremely dry
conditions also contributed to an extremely active wildfire season that
included the largest wildfires of the past century for the states of
Colorado, Arizona and Oregon.

Extremely dry conditions in the Northeast improved with four consecutive
months of above-normal precipitation for the region from March through June,
and abnormally dry conditions were largely absent near the end of the year.
Above-average rainfall from September through November also brought
significant drought relief to the Southeast, where more than four years of
drought had affected much of the region from Georgia to Virginia.

In Texas, heavy rainfall alleviated drought but led to severe flooding in
southern and central parts of the state in early July. Strong thunderstorms
also brought widespread flooding to western Minnesota and North Dakota and
resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and crop losses in

*This drought statistic is based on the Palmer Drought Index, a widely used
measure of drought. The Palmer Drought Index uses numerical values derived
from weather and climate data to classify moisture conditions throughout the
contiguous United States and includes drought categories on a scale from
mild to moderate, severe and extreme.

Atlantic Hurricane Season
Of the 12 named storms that formed in the Atlantic basin during 2002, four
became hurricanes and two were classified as major hurricanes (category 3 or
higher on the Saffir Simpson hurricane scale), slightly less than the annual
average of 5-6 hurricanes and 2-3 major hurricanes. A strengthening El Niño
episode in the equatorial Pacific suppressed the number of hurricanes and
weakened the storms that did develop in 2002, according to the NOAA Climate
Prediction Center.

With the exception of 2002 and 1997, years that were both affected by El
Niño, at least three major hurricanes have developed in every season since
1995 with five or more major hurricanes occurring in three of those seasons
(1995, 1996 and 1999). However no long-term trend in hurricane strength or
frequency has been observed in the Atlantic Basin.

Global Events
 Other climate signatures typical of El Niño also emerged in countries such
as Australia, India and Indonesia as the El Niño episode evolved during the
year. Drought in Australia became more widespread and severe, and a new
record warm winter maximum temperature for Australia occurred. (Click NOAA
image for larger view of world climate events in 2002. Click here for high
resolution image, which is a large file. Please credit "NOAA.")

Other conditions common during an El Niño episode included a
drier-than-average summer monsoon season in India and drier than normal
conditions in Indonesia during May-October. The June-September monsoon
season for India as a whole was characterized by large-scale drought with
seasonal rainfall (June-September) 19 percent below normal.

In contrast, heavy rainfall in northeastern India, Nepal and Bangladesh
brought severe flooding and caused approximately one thousand deaths in
June. The most damaging typhoon to affect Korea since 1959, Typhoon Rusa,
made landfall on the Korean Peninsula at the end of August.

In parts of central Europe heavy rains fell during the first 13 days of
August, causing disastrous floods on the Elbe and Danube rivers with more
than 100 lives lost and damages estimated at $30 billion.

In Africa, severe drought continued across parts of the Greater Horn of
Africa, and widespread flooding occurred in Morocco during November and in
parts of Madagascar during January-May as four tropical cyclones impacted
the island nation.

Global Temperatures
Data collected from weather and climate stations, satellites, ships, buoys
and floats indicate that the 2002 average global temperature will very
likely be the second-warmest on record, slightly cooler than the record warm
year of 1998. The ten warmest years have all occurred since 1987, with nine
of them since 1990.

During the past century, global surface temperatures have increased at a
rate near 1.0 degree F/Century (0.6 degrees C/Century), but the trend has
been three times larger since 1976, with some of the largest temperature
increases occurring in the high latitudes. In 2002, warmer temperatures and
shifts in atmospheric circulation patterns contributed to the greatest
surface melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet in the 24-year satellite record.
There was also a record low level of Arctic sea ice extent in September, the
lowest since satellite monitoring began in 1978, according to the National
Snow and Ice Data Center.

Data collected by NOAA polar orbiting satellites and analyzed for NOAA by
the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Remote Sensing Systems in Santa
Rosa, Calif., indicate that temperatures centered in the middle troposphere
at altitudes from 2 to 6 miles are also on pace to make 2002 the
second-warmest year for the globe. The average lower troposphere temperature
(surface to about 5 miles) for 2002 will also very likely be the second
warmest on record.

Analysis of the satellite record that began in 1979 shows that the global
average temperature in the middle troposphere has increased, but the
differing analysis techniques of the two teams result in different trends.
The UAH team found an increase of 0.06 degrees F/decade (0.035 degrees
C/decade) while a trend of 0.21° F/decade (0.115° C/decade) was found by the
RSS team. This compares to surface temperature increases approaching 0.3
degrees F/decade during the same period.

The NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service
(NOAA Satellites and Information) is the nation's primary source of
space-based and surface-based meteorological and climate data. NOAA
Satellites and Information operates the nation's environmental satellites,
which are used for weather forecasting, climate monitoring and other
environmental applications such as fire detection, ozone monitoring and sea
surface temperature measurements.

NOAA Satellites and Information also operates three data centers, which
house global data bases in climatology, oceanography, solid earth
geophysics, marine geology and geophysics, solar-terrestrial physics, and


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 18 December 2002

How much of an influence the sun has exerted on earth's climate during the
20th Century is a topic of heated discussion in the area of global climate
change. The primary reason for differing opinions on the subject derives
from the fact that although numerous studies have demonstrated significant
correlations between certain measures of solar activity and various climatic
phenomena (Reid, 1991, 1997, 1999, 2000), the magnitude of the variable
solar radiative forcing reported in these studies is generally so small it
is difficult to see how it could possibly produce climatic effects of the
magnitude observed (Broecker, 1999). Supporters of solar effects theories
counter by contending that various positive feedback mechanisms may amplify
the initial solar perturbation to the extent that significant changes in
climate do indeed result.  In this summary, we highlight some of the recent
scientific literature that demonstrates the viability of such solar linkages
and the emerging belief that small changes in the sun's energy output
produced the coldest period of the past millennium, i.e., the Little Ice

Many solar-climate studies utilize tree-ring records of 14C as a measure of
solar activity, because solar activity (including variations in the number
of sunspots and the brightness of the sun) influences the production of
atmospheric 14C, such that periods of higher solar activity yield a lower
production and atmospheric burden of 14C (Perry and Hsu, 2000). This being
the case, it can be appreciated that as trees remove carbon from the air and
sequester it in their tissues, they are recording a history of solar
activity that could be influencing earth's atmosphere-ocean system. Thus,
the history of 14C contained in tree rings has been examined by a number of
authors as a proxy indicator of solar activity and compared with various
indices of climate.

A good example of this type of work is the study of Hong et al. (2000), who
developed a high-resolution ð18O record from plant cellulose deposited in a
peat bog in the Jilin Province of China (42° 20' N, 126° 22' E), from which
they inferred that the most dramatic cold events of the Little Ice Age were
centered at about AD 1550, 1650 and 1750. In comparing their ð18O
temperature record with changes in atmospheric 14C derived from tree rings,
the authors report a "remarkable, nearly one to one, correspondence," which
led them to conclude that the temperature history of this region was "forced
mainly by solar variability."

Verschuren et al. (2000) also utilized a 14C record as a proxy for solar
activity, comparing it with a decadal-scale history of precipitation in
equatorial east Africa over the past 1000 years.  The results of their
analysis revealed that this region experienced relatively wet conditions
during the Little Ice Age from AD 1270 to 1850.  However, this latter period
was interrupted by three periods of prolonged dryness: 1390-1420, 1560-1625
and 1760-1840.  These "episodes of persistent aridity," in the words of the
authors, were "more severe than any recorded drought of the twentieth
century."  In addition, they discovered that "all three severe drought
events of the past 700 years were broadly coeval with phases of high solar
radiation, and the intervening periods of increased moisture were coeval
with phases of low solar radiation."  Dean and Schwalb (2000) report similar
solar-related drought conditions with periodicities of 200 and 400 years for
the Great Plains during the main cold phase of the Little Ice Age, as do
Haug et al. (2001) for tropical Venezuela.

Other authors have also made the case for a solar-forced Little Ice Age.
Vaganov et al. (2000) found a significant correlation between solar activity
and temperature during the Little Ice Age in the Asian subarctic.  Nearby in
Europe, a review of the relationship of extreme weather events to climate
during the Holocene implicates solar forcing as the factor responsible for
above-average rainfall during the Little Ice Age. According to Starkel
(2002), continuous rains and high-intensity downpours coincided with periods
of reduced solar activity and were major problems that often led to severe
flooding there.

In North America, an analysis of more than 700 pollen diagrams by Viau et
al. (2002) indicates a vegetation transition that "culminat[ed] in the
Little Ice Age, with maximum cooling 300 years ago."  In contemplating the
reason for the transition the authors state that "although several
mechanisms for such natural forcing have been advanced, recent evidence
points to a potential solar forcing (Bond et al., 2001) associated with
ocean-atmosphere feedbacks acting as global teleconnections agents."

Bond et al. (2001) examined deep-sea sediment cores in the North Atlantic
and cosmogenic nuclides sequestered in the Greenland ice cap (10Be) and
Northern Hemispheric tree rings (14C) and concluded "it seems almost certain
that the well-documented connection between the Maunder solar minimum and
the coldest decades of the LIA could not have been a coincidence" and that
the Little Ice Age "may have been partly or entirely linked to changes in
solar irradiance."

Two additional papers, both model-based studies, also point to a significant
role for the sun in producing earth's Little Ice Age climate.  Using a
version of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies GCM, Shindell et al.
(2001) estimated climatic differences between the period of the Maunder
Minimum in solar irradiance (mid-1600s to early 1700s) and a century later,
when solar output was relatively high for several decades. The results of
their analysis led them to conclude that "colder winter temperatures over
the Northern Hemispheric continents during portions of the 15th through the
17th centuries (sometimes called the Little Ice Age) ... may have been
influenced by long-term solar variations."  The second of these studies, by
Perry and Hsu (2000), developed a simple solar-luminosity model and used it
to estimate total solar-output variations in the Holocene.  The model output
was well correlated with the amount of carbon 14 in well-dated tree rings
throughout the Little Ice Age and prior to it, which finding, in the words
of the authors, "supports the hypothesis that the sun is varying its energy
production in a manner that is consistent with the superposition of harmonic
cycles of solar activity."

So what changes in solar activity are responsible for producing earth's
Little Ice Age climate?  Several authors have targeted the approximate
11-year sunspot cycle as a primary suspect, but recent work by Rozelot
(2001), who noted that "warm periods on Earth correlate well with smaller
apparent diameter of the Sun and colder ones with a bigger Sun," has added
variations in the sun's radius to the mix.

With respect to the 11-year sunspot cycle, Dean et al. (2002) examined a
1500-year varve thickness time series taken from a lake sediment core in
Minnesota, USA, and report the signal from this oscillation to be strongest
between the 14th and 19th centuries, during the Little Ice Age.
Additionally, Parker (1999), Solanki et al. (2000) and Rigozo et al. (2001)
all report relative minima in the mean number of annual sunspots during the
Little Ice Age.  Relative to the present, sunspot numbers during the Little
Ice Age were more than 40 times fewer (Rigozo et al., 2001).  Similarly,
analyses of other solar parameters by Rigozo et al. indicate that the
strengths of the solar radio flux, the solar wind velocity and the southward
component of the interplanetary magnetic field were 1.97, 1.11 and 2.67
times weaker during the Little Ice Age than they are presently.

How do these small changes in solar activity bring about significant and
pervasive shifts in earth's global climate, such as the Little Ice Age?  In
answer to this question, which has long plagued proponents of a
solar-climate link, Bond et al. (2001) describe a scenario whereby
solar-induced changes high in the stratosphere are propagated downward
through the atmosphere to the earth's surface, where they likely provoke
changes in North Atlantic Deep Water formation that alter the global
Thermohaline Circulation.  In light of the plausibility of this scenario,
they suggest that "the solar signals thus may have been transmitted through
the deep ocean as well as through the atmosphere, further contributing to
their amplification and global imprint."

Concluding their landmark paper, Bond et al. say the results of their study
"demonstrate that the earth's climate system is highly sensitive to
extremely weak perturbations in the sun's energy output," noting that their
work "supports the presumption that solar variability will continue to
influence climate in the future."

Clearly, there is ample ammunition for defending the premise that the global
warming of the past century or so may well have been nothing more than the
solar-mediated recovery of the earth from the chilly conditions of the
Little Ice Age, and that any further warming of the planet that might occur
would likely be nothing more than a continuation of the same solar-mediated

Bond, G., Kromer, B., Beer, J., Muscheler, R., Evans, M.N., Showers, W.,
Hoffmann, S., Lotti-Bond, R., Hajdas, I. and Bonani, G.  2001.  Persistent
solar influence on North Atlantic climate during the Holocene.  Science 294:

Broecker, W.  1999.  Climate change prediction.  Science 283: 179.

Dean, W.E. and Schwalb, A.  2000.  Holocene environmental and climatic
change in the Northern Great Plains as recorded in the geochemistry of
sediments in Pickerel Lake, South Dakota.  Quaternary International 67:

Dean, W., Anderson, R., Bradbury, J.P. and Anderson, D.  2002.  A 1500-year
record of climatic and environmental change in Elk Lake, Minnesota I: Varve
thickness and gray-scale density.  Journal of Paleolimnology 27: 287-299.

Haug, G.H., Hughen, K.A., Sigman, D.M., Peterson, L.C. and Rohl, U.  2001.
Southward migration of the intertropical convergence zone through the
Holocene.  Science 293: 1304-1308.

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 delta18O time-series of Chinese peat cellulose.  The
Holocene 10: 1-7.

Parker, E.N.  1999.  Sunny side of global warming.  Nature 399: 416-417.

Perry, C.A. and Hsu, K.J.  2000.  Geophysical, archaeological, and
historical evidence support a solar-output model for climate change.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 97: 12433-12438.

Reid, G.C.  1991.  Solar total irradiance variations and the global sea
surface temperature record.  Journal of Geophysical Research 96: 2835-2844.

Reid, G.C.  1997.  Solar forcing of global climate change since the 17th
century.  Climatic Change 37: 391-405.

Reid, G.C.  1999.  Solar variability and its implications for the human
environment.  Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 61(1-2):

Reid, G.C.  2000.  Solar variability and the Earth's climate: introduction
and overview.  Space Science Reviews 94(1-2): 1-11.

Rigozo, N.R., Echer, E., Vieira, L.E.A. and Nordemann, D.J.R.  2001.
Reconstruction of Wolf sunspot numbers on the basis of spectral
characteristics and estimates of associated radio flux and solar wind
parameters for the last millennium.  Solar Physics 203: 179-191.

Rozelot, J.P.  2001.  Possible links between the solar radius variations and
the Earth's climate evolution over the past four centuries.  Journal of
Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 63: 375-386.

Shindell, D.T., Schmidt, G.A., Mann, M.E., Rind, D. and Waple, A.  2001.
Solar forcing of regional climate change during the Maunder Minimum.
Science 294: 2149-2152.

Solanki, S.K., Schussler, M. and Fligge, M.  2000.  Evolution of the sun's
large-scale magnetic field since the Maunder minimum.  Nature 408: 445-447.

Starkel, L.  2002.  Change in the frequency of extreme events as the
indicator of climatic change in the Holocene (in fluvial systems).
Quaternary International 91: 25-32.

Vaganov, E.A., Briffa, K.R., Naurzbaev, M.M., Schweingruber, F.H., Shiyatov,
S.G. and Shishov, V.V.  2000.  Long-term climatic changes in the arctic
region of the Northern Hemisphere.  Doklady Earth Sciences 375: 1314-1317.

Viau, A.E., Gajewski, K., Fines, P., Atkinson, D.E. and Sawada, M.C.  2002.
Widespread evidence of 1500 yr climate variability in North America during
the past 14,000 yr.  Geology 30: 455-458.

Verschuren, D., Laird, K.R. and Cumming, B.F.  2000.  Rainfall and drought
in equatorial east Africa during the past 1,100 years.  Nature 403: 410-414.
Copyright © 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 18 December 2002

Mauquoy, D., van Geel, B., Blaauw, M. and van der Plicht, J. 2002. Evidence
from northwest European bogs shows 'Little Ice Age' climatic changes driven
by variations in solar activity.  The Holocene 12: 1-6.

Rainfed peat bogs or ombrotrophic mires are closely coupled to atmospheric
conditions, receiving all their water via precipitation. As a result, the
plants they support are highly sensitive to changes in the difference
between precipitation and evapotranspiration. This effective precipitation
parameter rises with both increases in precipitation and decreases in
temperature, the latter of which act to reduce evapotranspiration, thereby
producing wet-shifts that lead to cool, moist conditions conducive to
increased representation of Sphagnum tenellum and Sphagnum cuspidatum in the
ecosystem, the subfossil leaves of which plants thus become proxies for
those climatic conditions. The authors also note that these biological
materials have high accumulation rates and are exceptionally well preserved,
which allows high-resolution reconstructions of Holocene palaeoenvironments
to be made and compared with the Holocene history of atmospheric 14C (an
excellent proxy for solar activity) contained in tree-ring records.

What was done
The authors extracted peat monoliths of 1-m depth from ombrotrophic mires at
Lille Vildmose (LVM), Denmark (56°50'N, 10°15'E) and Walton Moss (WLM), UK
(54°59'N, 02°46'W), which sites, being separated by about 800 km, as the
authors note, "offer the possibility of detecting supraregional changes in
climate." From these monoliths, vegetative macrofossils were extracted at
contiguous 1-cm intervals and examined using light microscopy. Where
increases in the abundances of S. tenellum and S. cuspidatum were found, a
closely spaced series of 14C AMS-dated samples immediately preceding and
following each of the wet-shifts was used to "wiggle-match" date them (van
Geel and Mook, 1989), thereby enabling comparison of the wet-shifts with the
history of 14C production during the Holocene.

What was learned
The VLM and WLM data reveal the existence of wet-shift climatic
deteriorations that began in the mid-1400s and early 1600s, while the WLM
data additionally reveal a wet-shift that started about 1215. These three
climatic deteriorations mark the beginnings of periods of inferred cool, wet
conditions that correspond fairly closely in time with the Wolf, Sporer and
Maunder Minima of solar activity, as manifest in contemporary delta14C data.
The authors further report that "these time intervals correspond to periods
of peak cooling in 1000-year Northern Hemisphere climate records."

What it means
The authors conclude that their work adds to the "increasing body of
evidence" that "variations in solar activity may well have been an important
factor driving Holocene climate change," to which we add that this
hypothesis is beginning to look more and more convincing with each passing
day [see Little Ice Age (Solar Influence) in our Subject Index].

Van Geel, B. and Mook, W.G. 1989. High resolution 14C dating of organic
deposits using natural atmospheric 14C variations. Radiocarbon 31: 151-155.
Copyright © 2002. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 18 December 2002

Moy, C.M., Seltzer, G.O., Rodbell, D.T. and Anderson D.M. 2002. Variability
of El Niño/Southern Oscillation activity at millennial timescales during the
Holocene epoch. Nature 420: 162-165.

What was done
The authors retrieved two 8-m cores and two 0.5-m cores from the center of
lake Laguna Pallcacocha in the southern Ecuadorian Andes; and from careful
analyses of the cores' sediments, they derived a continuous history of El
Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events over the past 12,000 years.

What was learned
The authors report that for the moderate and strong ENSO events detected by
their analytical techniques (weaker events are not registered), "the overall
trend exhibited in the Pallcacocha record includes a low concentration of
events in the early Holocene, followed by increasing occurrence after 7,000
cal. yr BP, with peak event frequency occurring at ~1,200 cal. yr BP," after
which the frequency of events declines dramatically to the present.
Superimposed upon this long-term trend, in their words, "is a
millennial-scale oscillation that is coherent throughout the Holocene, but
displays less significant variance in the early Holocene."

With respect to the last 1,200 years of the record, the decline in the
frequency of ENSO events is anything but smooth. In coming out of the Dark
Ages Cold Period, which was one of the coldest intervals of the Holocene
(McDermott et al., 2001), the number of ENSO events experienced by the earth
drops by an order of magnitude, from a high of approximately 33 events per
100 yr to a low of about 3 events per 100 yr, centered approximately on the
year AD 1000, which is right in the middle of the Medieval Warm Period, as
delineated by the work of Esper et al. (2002). Then, at approximately AD
1250, the frequency of ENSO events exhibits a new peak of approximately 27
events per 100 yr in the midst of the longest sustained cold period of the
Little Ice Age, again as delineated by the work of Esper et al. Finally,
ENSO event frequency declines in zigzag fashion to a low on the order of 4
to 5 events per 100 yr at the start of the Modern Warm Period, which
according to the temperature history of Esper et al. begins at about 1940.

Going back in time from 1,200 years ago, the declining long-term trend in
ENSO event frequency reduces the frequency differences that exist between
millennial-scale warm and cold periods.  Nevertheless, at 2000 cal. yr BP,
the Roman Warm Period, as delineated by McDermott et al., is near its peak
warmth and ENSO event frequency is again at a very low level. By 3000 cal.
yr BP, however, ENSO event frequency is yet again significantly elevated in
response to another millennial-scale cold period that appears in the
climatic reconstruction of McDermott et al.

What it means
The authors say "the Laguna Pallcacocha record provides evidence for
millennial-scale oscillation of ENSO activity during the late Holocene" and
that "two processes known to operate at this timescale are the deposition of
ice-rafted detritus in the North Atlantic (Bond events)" and "changes in the
carbon cycle represented by the residual 14C record." They also note that
the modeling study of Clement et al. (2000) "produced results consistent
with observations from the Laguna Pallcacocha record ... forced with
orbitally induced changes in insolation," in that it produced "reduced ENSO
amplitude and frequency during the early Holocene, with a gradual increase
in both parameters towards the late Holocene." In addition, they note that
this model (Clement and Cane, 1999) "has demonstrated that ENSO can display
millennial, as well as modern-day, variability." Hence, they conclude that
"although the links with solar and North Atlantic climate warrant further
study, internal ENSO dynamics operating independently are a sufficient
explanation for the millennial variability that we observe."

In light of the fact that our review of the data indicates moderate and
strong ENSO events to have been much more prevalent in the colder portions
of the late Holocene than they were in its warmer portions, we tend to lean
toward the solar-induced millennial-scale climate oscillation linkage. Also,
our observations strongly suggest that any future warming of the globe
should lead to a decline in the frequency of moderate to strong ENSO events,
which should allay irrational fears created by climate alarmists intent on
scaring the nations of the world into believing that more frequent
super-ENSO events will accompany a warming of the globe.

Clement, A.C. and Cane, M.A.  1999.  Mechanisms of global climate change at
millennial time scales.  Geophysical Monograph Series 112 (Clark, P.U.,
Webb, R.S. and Keigwin, L.D., Eds.) American Geophysical Union, Washington,
DC, pp. 363-371.

Clement, A.C., Seager, R. and Cane, M.A.  2000.  Suppression of El Niño
during the mid-Holocene by changes in the Earth's orbit.  Paleoceanography
15: 731-737.

Esper, J., Cook, E.R. and Schweingruber, F.H.  2002.  Low-frequency signals
in long tree-ring chronologies for reconstructing past temperature
variability.  Science 295: 2250-2253.

McDermott, F., Mattey, D.P. and Hawkesworth, C.  2001.  Centennial-scale
Holocene climate variability revealed by a high-resolution speleothem
delta18O record from SW Ireland.  Science 294: 1328-1331.
Copyright © 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


>From The Christian Science Monitor, 18 December 2002

Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change this week, an act of
bold intention that will allow the United States to witness close up the
real sacrifices that average North Americans would face in reducing the use
of fossil fuels, and thus greenhouse-gas emissions.  
Canada is the second-worst polluter per capita after the US. Under the
treaty, its 30 million people must reduce carbon emissions by almost a third
within a decade, more than required of either Europe or Japan.

Parliament's approval split along party lines. Opponents demanded to see a
full implementation program, but never received one.

At first, Canadians were widely supportive when government details about the
treaty's implementation were still sketchy and after President Bush decided
to ignore Kyoto, proposing instead a voluntary scheme for the US. (A certain
sense of moral superiority over the US drives many of Canada's international
policies, such as its support for Kyoto.)

But public support has eroded as the government revealed a few - just a few
- of the expected tax burdens, job losses, and everyday inconveniences that
go with Kyoto compliance. Estimates vary widely on the likely burdens. To
help Canadians make this leap of faith into Kyoto's difficult demands, the
federal government suggested at the last minute that it would help
industries in lowering their pollution. It offered to cap the cost of
reducing carbon output to $15 per ton. Canadian taxpayers would need to pay
billions to cover the rest of the costs in reducing emissions.

Canada also faces the possibility of lost investment from foreign car
companies unwilling to tool up for the more efficient vehicles that
Canadians will need. Also hurt may be the oil-rich western provinces, which
fear that investors won't want to pay for the required clean-up
technologies. Canada's political divide between east and west could become

Such concerns have pushed hopes that a new prime minister in 2004, who will
replace the pro-environment Jean Chrétien, will go easy on meeting Kyoto's

Still, Canada could discover that cleaner energy technologies and "smart
growth" policies may lessen the burden while also adding to the economy.
Some planners want more people to live in urban high-rises to reduce energy
use. The government hopes to build more public transit and reduce car use.

Russia still needs to approve the treaty for it to take effect. But Canada's
already serving as a model for the US in what to do, and not do.

Copyright 2002, The Christian Science Monitor


>From Tech Central Station, 12 December 2002

By Sallie Baliunas, Tim Patterson, Allan MacRae 12/12/2002 

The Bush Administration last week finished a three-day conference on the
science and potential risks posed by climate change. The Administration's
critics wasted no time. They pounced Monday and called for the U.S. to push
ahead with the Kyoto Protocol and condemned the White House for being "in
denial on warming" (Boston Globe, 12/9/02), for trying to "stall any
meaningful action" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/9/02) and saying that
the U.S. must stop being "unilateralist" and "must listen to others" (Los
Angeles Times, 12/9/02).

What the debate over climate change needs today are fewer uninformed
assertions and accusations in major newspapers, and a more sober assessment
of the science. Here are just of few of the most relevant facts often
ignored by Kyoto's proponents.

The Kyoto Protocol assumes human activities - such as burning fossil fuels
to power automobiles or electricity generators - cause global warming. Here
are the facts.

Greenhouse gases, clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere trap some of the
solar radiation reflected from the Earth's surface. This causes a natural
"greenhouse effect" that warms the earth and makes it habitable. Those gases
include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and water
vapor (H2O). Water vapor provides most of the greenhouse effect.

During the last 300 years, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have risen from
275 parts per million (ppmv) to around 360 ppmv, a 30% increase. Most of the
increase has been recent, caused by fossil fuel burning and deforestation.

Those who fear human-induced global warming believe that unless we curb CO2
emissions, the greenhouse effect will intensify and warm the planet with
disastrous consequences.

Contrary to Kyoto rhetoric, the increase in atmospheric CO2 content - while
clearly linked to post-WWII industrialization - is not a significant driver
of global warming. Here's why.

Over the last 150,000 years, CO2 levels have closely paralleled
temperatures. However, detailed analysis indicates that CO2 levels often
rose and peaked several hundred years after temperature did. That means
climate change drives major changes in CO2, not the reverse.

Climate has been both warmer and colder in the past, before significant
fossil fuel use. From about 900 to 1300 AD, for example, the climate was
warmer than it is today. A 500-year cooling followed, then a warming trend
since the mid-1800's.

The 20th century surface temperature record shows three trends: First, a
warming trend of about 0.5 C, peaking around 1940. Next, a cooling trend
occurred from 1940 until the late 1970's, followed by the recent warming
trend. But 80% of the CO2 from human activities was added to the air after
1940. That means the early 20th Century warming and the mid-century cooling
trends were largely natural, not CO2-driven.

Computer simulations of human-made global warming predict significant
temperature warming not only near the Earth's surface but also from one to
five miles altitude, in a layer called the lower troposphere. But NASA and
NOAA records show that the temperature of the lower troposphere varies as a
result of natural factors. No meaningful human-caused warming trend - as
forecast by the computer simulations - can be found.

Computer simulations all have forecast warming trends much steeper over the
last several decades than what was actually seen. The forecasts exaggerate
somewhat the warming at the surface, and profoundly in the lower
troposphere. Further, computer models that Kyoto's proponents point to
predicting catastrophic human-induced global warming have consistently
failed to reproduce accurately past and present climate changes. So
the100-year forecasts predicting catastrophe are suspect.

There is strong evidence, moreover, that variation in the Sun's energy
output is a much more significant driver of surface temperature than
human-made greenhouse gases. Temperatures over the past 250 years show a
strong correlation to the energy output of the sun (see chart below). The
sun's shorter magnetic cycles are more intense, suggesting periods of a
brighter sun, then a fainter sun during longer cycles.

Changes in the Sun's magnetism (as evidenced by the changing length of the
22-year, or Hale Polarity Cycle, dotted line) and changes in smoothed
Northern Hemisphere land temperature through 1986 (solid line) are closely
correlated. The record of reconstructed Northern Hemisphere land temperature
substitutes for global temperature, which is unavailable back to 1700 (S.
Baliunas and W. Soon, 1995, Astrophysical Journal, 450, 896).

Science and new technology have always provided solutions to problems that
mankind has faced. The matter of climate and energy supply will be no

For example, a new program - the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) -
was recently launched at Stanford University, with the support of several
visionary companies. The program seeks to raise efficiency - a laudable goal
on its own merits. As energy technologies advance, carbon dioxide emissions
per unit of economic output will continue to decline, as history shows it
does when technology and economic growth work to advance energy supplies.
Powered by the private sector and unfettered by flawed Kyoto-type
governmental mandates, the approach is pro-science, pro-technology,
pro-environment and pro-people.

Western governments and businesses should continue their leadership
positions in studying climate science still further to obtain a better
understanding before risking the detrimental economic consequences of a
Kyoto Protocol based on incomplete and dubious science. When it to comes to
climate change, humans haven't been the culprits. But by using science and
technology, humans will develop the ways to best adapt to the world's
ever-changing climate.

Dr. Sallie Baliunas is Enviro-Sci host of TCS. Dr. Tim Patterson is a
professor of geology (paleoclimatology) in the Department of Earth Sciences
at Carleton University in Ottawa. Allan M. R. MacRae is a professional
engineer, investment banker and environmentalist. Views expressed are not
necessarily those of any institution with which the authors are affiliated.

Copyright 2002, Tech Central Station


>From World Climate Report, 16 December 2002

Sometimes the practice of Science (with a capital S, the discipline) bears a
striking resemblance to those National Geographic specials of the animal
kingdom. You know, the ones where the 300-pound alpha male gorilla marks his
territory, then goes bonkers when another alpha male dares to invade his

That reminds us of the latest issue of Nature (with a capital N, the
magazine). A few months ago (Vol. 7, No. 13, 3/11/02), we reported on the
research of Simon Hay (University of Oxford) and his colleagues related to
malaria occurrence in the highlands of East Africa. Basically, they
demonstrated that malaria incidences were increasing there but not as a
result of climate change. Using weather data to prove it, they showed no
correlation between malaria changes and trends (or more accurately, the lack
thereof) in temperature or precipitation in those regions.

Now it's important to realize that many millions of international research
dollars are dedicated to the proposition that malaria and other diseases
tied to insect "vectors" will spread because of global warming. Entire
research labs are dependent upon global warming money to fund their disease
research infrastructure. So Hay's report did not exactly set the global
warming/malaria crowd into a dancing frenzy. A more considered response was
necessary to counter this new gorilla.

The reply appeared in the December 12 issue of Nature, written by Jonathan
Patz, Mike Hulme, Cynthia Rosenzweig, and several other major players who
stand the most to lose by the proliferation of Hays' radical ideas. Here's a
summary of their rebuttal:

The Hay weather data were interpolated over mountainous terrain.

Because of mosquitoes' response to climate thresholds, you don't need a
significant trend in climate-climate variability is important, too;

Nevertheless, based on a different analysis, regional warming trends do
exist that match the increase in malaria.

Those results were covered by the press. For example, Reuters reporter
Patricia Reaney wrote that "Climate change could be causing more than higher
temperatures-it may also be helping to fuel a rise in Malaria in East
Africa...Earlier research had suggested the upsurge was due to drug
resistance and population growth, and not global warming. But scientists in
the United States and Britain say it may not be just a coincidence that the
rise in malaria parallels East African warming trends."

Well, if only Reaney had looked at the rest of the page in her copy of
Nature, the same page where Patz and colleagues' comment ended, she would
have seen the rebuttal by Hay and his colleagues. (We suspect it's entirely
possible that she missed it-we must give her the benefit of the doubt,
because otherwise it would be a flagrant case of reporter bias, and we know
that all reporters are duty-bound to present both sides of a story,
particularly when the counterargument is literally staring them in the

Here's a summary of Simon Hay's (and his coauthors') reply:

On interpolation: "We know of no evidence that climate surfaces interpolated
from meteorological stations consistently fail to reveal trends in climate
experienced at those locations. Crucially, further work has confirmed a very
high degree of correspondence between the climate surfaces and
meteorological-station data from Kericho [one of the original stations
-Eds.] Moreover, these station data show no significant trend in temperature
or rainfall during the 1966-95 period." Here, to support their argument, the
cite several papers by Mike Hulme, whom you'll note was second author of the
original comment!

On sparse station coverage: "The sparse coverage of meteorological stations
in the data set before 1910 in the east African region is problematic, and
these data were excluded from our analyses. The full 1901-95 data set was
used by one of the correspondents [Hulme again! -Eds.], however, in their
trend analyses of African climate." [Oops! -Eds.]

On thresholds: "The more subtle impacts of non-significant long-term changes
in climate on malaria incidence deserve to be investigated, but have not
been demonstrated, so we cannot attribute significant increases in malaria
incidence to non-significant changes in climate."

And they conclude with "Evidence against the epidemiological significance of
climate change in the recent malaria resurgences in Africa is mounting and
remains unmatched by any contrary evidence."

Yep, that Reuters reporter must have simply forgotten to tell that part of
the story.

So there you have it. Much of the vector-borne disease climate hysteria is
based upon models that imply certain responses to a projected climate
change. Reality shows significant malaria change and no significant climate
change. We decide. At any rate, it looks like a big new
400-pound gorilla has moved into this festering corner of the global warming
impacts debate.


Hay, S.I., et al., 2002. Climate change and the resurgence of malaria in the
East African highlands, Nature, 415, 905-909.

Hay, S.I., et al., 2002. Hay et al. reply, Nature, 420, 628.

Patz, J.S., et al., 2002. Regional warming and malaria resurgence, Nature,
420, 627-628.

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