JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Climate helped drive Vikings from Greenland

Qassiarsuk: This is the site of the Viking settlement of 972 and unlike much of Greenland, offers relatively sheltered grazing land for sheep. Photo: John McLean. (Click to see more images of Greenland).

For the first time temperatures over the last 5,600 years have been reassembled from the inhabited area of Greenland. (Other estimates were from ice-cores that are far inland.)

William D’Andrea, the paper’s first author says: “.. we can say there is a definite cooling trend in the region right before the Norse disappear.”

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News from the Non Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

A sample of recent scientific news from NIPCC * The Glaciers of Greenland were smaller 5000 years ago; * African savanna trees thrive with increases in CO2; * It was hotter in China a thousand years ago, and by a whole degree; * Marine-life-with-shells can’t agree on their favourite CO2 level and * Temperatures make no difference to the 5000 year record of hurricanes. […]

The big picture: 65 million years of temperature swings

Greenland Interglacial Temperatures – last 10,000 years. Are we headed for an ice age? (See below for more detail.)

David Lappi is a geologist from Alaska who has sent in a set of beautiful graphs–including an especially prosaic one of the last 10,000 years in Greenland–that he put together himself (and which I’ve copied here at the top).

If you wonder where today’s temperature fits in with the grand scheme of time on Earth since the dinosaurs were wiped out, here’s the history. We start with the whole 65 million years, then zoom in, and zoom in again to the last 12,000 from both ends of the world. What’s obvious is that in terms of homo sapiens history, things are warm now (because we’re not in an ice age). But, in terms of homo sapiens civilization, things are cooler than usual, and appear to be cooling.

Then again, since T-rex & Co. vanished, it’s been one long slide down the thermometer, and our current “record heatwave” is far cooler than normal. The dinosaurs would have scoffed at us: “What? You think this is warm?”

With so much volatility in the graphs, anyone could play “pick a trend” and depending […]