Sunday, June 13, 2021

Betrayers of the Truth

On May 5, 2021, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published Nicholas Wade’s article “The Origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?”  After detailing all evidence the article suggested COVID-19 was created at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Likewise the former CDC director and politicians had previously warned of the human-engineered virus. Furthermore a Chinese virologist from Wuhan, Dr. Li-Meng Yan, bravely disagreed with her government’s denial, publishing that COVID-19 was purposively engineered. Despite the “lab leak” theory’s increasing probability, it had first been quickly dismissed by virologists and the media. Why?


USHCN death valley

In 1982 Nicholas Wade had also co-authored the book Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science. Virtually everything he warned about, can be seen regards the COVID deceit. Wade is not an anti-science conspiracy theorist. Wade wrote for the preeminent scientific journals Nature and Science and was the New York Times’ editorial science writer from 1982 to 2012. Wade simply warned modern science is not free of fraud and its self-policing safeguards can be easily corrupted.


Unlike Darwin or Galileo, modern careerist scientists are pressured to produce certain results to ensure their income and status. Although many resist such pressures, history is littered with those that couldn’t. Regards COVID-19, Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, depends on government grants and donations. EcoHealth Alliance’s slogan is A World Without Pandemics. They controversially believe by making natural animal viruses more infectious to humans in the lab, science can learn how to prevent future pandemics. Thus if they dared admit their engineered virus had escaped the lab causing 3 million deaths and destroying businesses, their funding would collapse.


Similarly other virologists feared attributing the pandemic to an escaped engineered virus would also restrict their research and funding. So Daszak and others immediately labeled the “lab escape theory” a conspiracy theory. Likewise Dr Fauci, a longtime proponent of such “gain of function” research, labeled his critics “anti-science”. This same tactic is used by climate scientists to defend their funding. They label skeptics “deniers” and “peddlers of misinformation”. In contrast, they portray themselves as delivers of gospel truths. It is precisely such elitism Wade had warned about. Although elites may have gained their status for good reason, to maintain their status, they are not immune from fabricating data.


Wade documented how the uncritical acceptance of elite opinions has led to bad science.  For example the story of Hideyo Noguchi, once hailed as the greatest microbiologist since Louis Pasteur. When he died in 1928, Noguchi had published 200 papers claiming he had identified the causes of yellow fever, polio, rabies and others. Although his work proved wrong 50 years later, he had never been challenged, simply because he worked for the most prestigious research institute of his time.


In the 1970s, John Long was exalted for developing tissue cultures to study Hodgkin’s disease,  a feat no other could accomplish. Although it was later shown Long’s cultures were from Owl monkeys and not humans and his data all fabricated, his publications had sailed through peer review because he worked for the prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital. It took Long’s more honest assistants to point out falsified data. Japanese anesthesiologist Yoshitaka Fuji fabricated data in a whopping 172 peer-reviewed papers starting in 1993. In 2015, the editor of the most prestigious medical journal the Lancet, suggested Half of Science Is Wrong. Similarly, in 2015 Stanford University epidemiologist John loannidis echoed much of what Wade wrote in 1982. In the paper Reproducibility in Science: Improving the Standard for Basic and Preclinical Research the authors wrote “there is compelling evidence that the majority of these discoveries will not stand the test of time. To a large extent, this reproducibility crisis in basic and preclinical research may be as a result of failure to adhere to good scientific practice and the desperation to publish or perish.”


The take home message is all scientific claims, and all elites, must be critically questioned. Whether Daszak and Fauci, or climate scientists Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth, elite scientists are not totally trustworthy despite media narratives. Mann hired a public relations person to shape his public image. It’s the skeptics who ensure the scientific process is not short-circuited by power hungry elites who try to prevent further debate.


For example in climate science, emails exposed elites like Phil Jones, Thomas Wigley and Ben Santer who discussed how to “adjust” observed temperature trends to better support their CO2 theory. Warming in the 1930s and 40s similar to today, suggested a naturally oscillating climate. So in 2009 they wrote, “It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with why the blip". Accordingly, much temperature data has since been adjusted as exemplified in the Death Valley temperature trends from the US Historical Climate Network. They removed the observed “warm blip” (black line below) to  create a trend (red line) that better fit their theory.


Accordingly the motto of the oldest scientific institution is Nullius En Verba: Take no one’s word! 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Fact Checking the Wildfire-Climate Link


Critical Prescribed Burn

According to the C2ES website, the transformed successor of the PEW foundation’s Center on Global Climate Change, “Climate change has been a key factor in increasing the risk and extent of wildfires in the Western United States.” “Climate change enhances the drying of organic matter in forests and has doubled the number of large fires between 1984 and 2015 in the western United States.” NASA’s Global Climate Change webpage agrees stating, “hot and dry conditions in the atmosphere determine the likelihood of a fire starting, its intensity and the speed at which it spreads.


Thus every politician trying to excuse bad landscape policies, every environmental group and every scientist seeking funding, and every journalist promoting a crisis to attract readers repeatedly tells some version of the headline The Devastation of Human Life is in View: what a burning world tells is about climate change.  The good news is scientific facts totally refute such fearful narratives.


A Candle Can Light Your Way


The average temperature of a candle’s flame is a whopping ~1800°F (~1000°C) and readily demonstrates how heat is transferred. Hold your hand to the side of the flame. Despite the flame’s high temperature, you can bring your hand very close to the candle because the wick’s small mass produces relatively small amounts of radiation. The closer you bring your hand to the flame, the more heat you can feel. That heat reaches your hand via heat wave radiation. Just inches away however you can’t sense much heat at all because radiation spreads out as the distance from the heat source increases, making the heat that reaches your hand increasingly less dense, and thus less intense. Although a bon fire may only reach temperatures of ~1110°F (~600°C), its larger mass produces more energy forcing you to stay much further away where the heat intensity becomes adequately reduced.


Now place your hand over the top of the candle . There you can’t hold your hand as close to the flame because in addition to radiation, the candle heats the air and that hot air rises carrying heat upwards via convection. Convection is why a ground fire will burn overstory branches and perhaps evolve into a crown fire. When fire fighters estimate how fast a fire will spread, they must consider convection and  the slope of the terrain. Fires can spread more rapidly when convection carries more heat upslope.


The Wisdom of Firebreaks


Building firebreaks are fire fighters’ primary tactic.  Just as you can create enough space between you and a bon fire, a firebreak creates a safe distance between the searing heat of an approaching fire and potential fuels. Rivers and streams act as natural firebreaks. Fearless fire fighters armed with pulaskis and other hand tools, tirelessly clear swaths of land down to bare soil creating fire stopping intervening spaces. A small fire with limited fuels can be halted with a small fire break. Larger fires often require bulldozers to plow wider firebreaks, while the most intense fires also require airdrops of water and fire retardants.


Before our era of fire suppression, frequent wildfires naturally generated networks of firebreaks. After America’s era of fire suppression began in the early 1900s, not only did the supply of forest floor fuels accumulate, enabling bigger fires, but fewer natural firebreaks were created, enabling greater wildfire spread. To defend homes and towns, people must now maintain adequate “defensible spaces” by creating their own firebreaks.


Winds and Spot fires


Despite cooling down from peak summer temperatures, downed power lines and high winds ignited northern California’s Tubbs Fire in early October 2017. Called Diablo winds, these high winds arise every autumn as cooling inland deserts develop high pressure systems that drive dry winds across California towards lower pressure regions on a warmer Pacific Ocean. Large fires in southern California are driven similarly by the Santa Anna winds that peak during the inland’s coldest winter temperatures. These strong winds are not the result of global warming. In truth, climate models predict global warming should reduce these winds by warming inland deserts.


As the Diablo winds scattered burning embers, spot fires jumped firebreaks, and raining devastation on the town of Santa Rosa. Embers got trapped under eaves, entered attics through outside vents and ignited rooftops. As one house burnt, it generated enough radiant heat to ignite a neighboring home. Without burning a single neighborhood tree, house after house was reduced to ash. Such residential neighborhoods cannot create defensible spaces between established houses, so residents must install screens that prevent embers from igniting their homes and construct fire-proof roofing.


Tubbs Fire destruction of Santa Rosa Neighborhood


The 2018 Carr Fire was California’s 8th largest fire and started when a towed trailer blew a tire causing its wheel rim to scrape the asphalt. Resulting sparks ignited roadside grasses. Because sparks from power line failures or scraping wheel rims are carried by molten particles, extensive scientific studies have examined what size and temperature of these molten particles can ignite fires. When a molten particle lands on potential fuel, it transfers its heat via conduction. For fuels with 6% moisture content to reach ignition temperature, a small 6-millimeter (mm) particle must be over 1700°F (~950°C). Fuels with higher moisture content require more energy to first evaporate the water before combustion can begin. Thus fuel with 25% moisture content requires the same sized particle to have a temperature over 1800°F (~1000°C) to ignite the fuel. Because a larger particle (14 mm) can carry and transfer more energy, a lesser temperature of about 1300°F (~700°C) is needed to ignite fuel with a 25% moisture content.


Depending on moisture content, most fuels must reach ignition temperatures between 644°F (340°C) and 795°F (440°C) to start a fire. Stronger winds are more dangerous in part, because they transport larger embers. Small embers lack adequate energy to raise fuels from ambient temperatures of 70°F or 90°F to an ignition temperature of 644°F and higher. More so, the 2°F  increase in global air temperatures since the Little Ice Age, increases the fuel’s temperature insignificantly and thus highly unlikely to increase “the likelihood of a fire starting, or increasing the speed at which it spreads” as NASA claimed.



Seek and You Shall Find


Many of today’s climate scientists are eagerly funded to seek out any problems that climate change might rain down on society. However those seeking dire consequences of global warming, are blinded to the significance of critical dynamics like fire suppression, natural fire breaks, and the increase in human ignitions during colder months and so fail to account for their effects. Thus they obscure or misdiagnose the appropriate remedies. Instead, they insist that a 2°F increase in global temperature increases atmospheric aridity or increases water vapor pressure deficits, and dangerously dry out the accumulating fire fuels. They make their claims, not based on wildfire physics, but via simple short term statistical correlations between increasing drying trends and increasing burnt areas. They typically commit 2 scientific sins. First, they fail to control for how much other critical dynamics increased burnt areas. Second, they cherry picked 1970s or 1980s starting dates for their trends, dates which mark the reduction of  fire suppression policies that now allowed fires to burn for greater periods of time.


Human ignitions have lengthened fire season from Balch 2017

In contrast, carpenters and woodworkers long ago sought to determine how changing temperatures and relative humidity affect wood moisture because it affects the quality of their work. The average moisture content of newly logged “green” Douglas fir is 43%, the green heartwood of eastern white pine averages 50% and green heartwood of ponderosa pine averages 40%. The interior dryness of most homes dries the wood which finally equilibrates at roughly 8% moisture content. If high moisture green wood is installed, that wood shrinks and warps as it equilibrates with the interior dryness and undermines the integrity of their carpentry. So lumber yards dry green wood to the ~8% moisture content that carpenters demand. Because air drying may take 2 to 5 years to reach that moisture content, lumber yards speed up the drying process via kilns and other mechanisms. Furthermore, because changes in moisture content is an ongoing dynamic process, to minimize seasonal moisture fluctuations, homes are constructed with moisture barriers.


Because the precise moisture content of wood is economically important, tried and true estimates of wood moisture content have been developed. Calculations are driven mostly by changes in relative humidity. In the naturally hot dry Mediterranean climate of California, 3- to 8-inch diameter pieces of wood will absorb moisture during the rainy winter season, reaching ~30% moisture content by March. Moisture content then falls to between 10% and 5% in July and remains low through September until the rains return. From a global warming perspective, if relative humidity is kept constant during California’s rainless summers, for every 2 °F increase in temperature anomalies, calculations estimate that moisture content will only decreases by a rather insignificant 0.056% .


Rising CO2 Concentrations Don’t Correlate with Historical Wildfires


Historically bigger wildfires are indeed associated with drier years. In California, natural ocean oscillations cause decades long cycles of droughts followed by rainy periods. California is driest during La Nina events and La Nina events are more common during the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Because an El Nino event shifts the location of greatest rainfall westward, every 3 to 7 years El Ninos produce wetter seasons for California, but simultaneously cause droughts in southeastern Asia. This dynamic was dramatically illustrated by the 1997-1998 El Nino that soaked California but concurrently caused severe drought and extensive wildfires throughout Indonesia.


Thus, some climate scientists have determined changes in precipitation and “century-long warming around the northeast Pacific margins, …can be primarily attributed to changes in atmospheric circulation” caused by the PDO. After 1999, the Pacific Ocean switched to a negative PDO phase, predicting the emergence stronger California droughts and wildfires for the coming decades. Similarly, in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park between 1700 and 1975 AD,  70% of large fires burned during dry conditions created by La Nina events that coincided with a negative PDO, even though those phases co-occurred only 29% of the time. Scientific studies showing more western USA droughts and fires since 1970, have typically failed to account for the effects of La Nina and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation that naturally drive western USA’s current dryness.  


In addition to PDO and La Nina effects, dryness in the American southwest is modulated by the North American monsoon season. While California’s driest period occurs during July and August, Arizona and New Mexico’s dry season ends when the summer monsoons in July and August bring abundant moisture. Despite centuries of cooler Little Ice Age temperatures, wildfires were more frequent and burned more extensive areas then, than during the warmer 20th and 21st centuries. Before the era of fire suppression began in the early 1900s, Southwest lightning fires ignited in April could burn for months. Suddenly, with the advent of 20th century fire suppression policies, “very few or no fire scars were recorded on any of the trees represented after 1900”. When let-it-burn policies were re-instituted during  the 1970-1979 decade, the burnt area in several southwest forests increased by 40% compared to the previous decade.


Finally, based on changes in the amount of unique organic substances emitted from wildfires and transported to Greenland, ice cores have revealed maximum fire activity in boreal forests also occurred during the Little Ice Age between 1500–1700 AD. That higher fire frequency was attributed to multi-annual droughts caused by failed Asian monsoons. Colder temperatures had caused extensive droughts by pushing the Intertropical Convergence Zone’s rain belt southward, reducing Asian monsoon rains.


A Lit Household Match Can’t Ignite a Log


Still, natural droughts cannot fully explain many wildfire dynamics. A lit match can’t ignite a log, no matter how dry it is. Despite reaching temperatures of ~1100°F (~600°C), total combustion of the match’s small mass can’t provide enough energy to sufficiently raise the log’s temperature to the ignition point. Although lightning raises air temperatures to an astonishing 50,000°F, less than 4% of all lightning strikes start fires. Lightning’s extreme heat will boil the tree’s internal water, often causing the struck tree to explode. But lightning’s fleeting nature usually doesn’t sustain enough energy transfer to ignite the tree. More often, due to a much smaller combustible mass,` the duff and fine fuels at the base of the tree are more easily heated to ignition temperatures as lightning rapidly passes to the ground.


A lit match, small molten particles or lightning can easily ignite fine fuels, because their small mass only requires relatively small amounts of energy to reach ignition temperatures. Fine fuels are grasses and small diameter twigs with large surface-area to volume ratios that makes dead fine fuels very sensitive to changing humidity. Thus fire fighters also characterize fine fuels as 1-hour lag fuels, meaning on any typical dry summer day, dead grasses and small twigs lose 60% of their moisture in just one hour. Thus fine fuel flammability is a function of fire weather, regardless of how our climate has changed. However if fine fuels are sparse, then like a lit match, they burn out before providing enough heat required to ignite larger pieces of wood. Dense patches of burning fine fuels are needed to provide enough energy to ignite larger fires.


Abundant fine fuels act as small kindling, much like the crumpled newspaper we use to ignite larger kindling in our fireplaces. Fine fuels also act like fuses that rapidly carry a fire into more dense shrublands with larger twigs that, when ignited, can provide enough energy to burn tree branches. One theory attributes the lack of USA wildfires in the early 1900s, in part, to the beginning of overgrazing that removed much of the natural fine fuels. Now, as feedlots fattened cattle more efficiently, marginal pastures have been abandoned and have become overgrown, thickening with fire enabling fine fuels. Grazing also introduced Eurasian grasses that have further increased fine fuel densities, and now provide more kindling to start bigger fires.

Fine fuels spread fire in Sonoma Co without burning trees


Because the complete combustion of grass or paper happens so rapidly, fast moving fine-fuel-fires have a very limited time frame during which they can ignite larger kindling, and not nearly enough time to ignite living trees. And this dynamic is greatly affected by the moisture content of larger kindling. If the moisture content of larger kindling is too high, longer periods of sustained heating are required to both evaporate the added internal water and then raise temperatures to the point of ignition. Thus during wet years, fine fuels are less capable of igniting larger fires. Conversely, dry years reduce the time needed to reach ignition temperatures, allowing fine fuels to more easily spread fire.


Once larger branches and pieces of wood ignite, combustion produces sustained temperatures  of 1110°F (~600°C) and higher. That combustion now provides enough heat to dry out and ignite any vegetation intercepting the approaching fire. And again, fire suppression dangerously allows the buildup of both fine fuels and larger kindling that then allows fires to reach sustaining ignition temperatures. Clearly the wisest fire policy requires better  management of the landscape’s fuels. From a climate change perspective,  at ~1110°F a fire emits dense radiant heat energy at the rate of ~31,700 watts of energy per square meter. (W/m2). In contrast, the amount of energy added to a wildfire by a doubling of CO2 is a mere 3.5 W/m2, which is a totally insignificant factor in the speed of wildfire spread.


Pants on Fire



Fact checking the science of wildfires, NASA’s narrative that rising CO2 concentrations are increasing the “likelihood of a fire starting”, increasing “its intensity” and increasing “the speed at which it spreads” must get a rating of Pants on Fire.  Likewise claims that “climate change has doubled the number of large fires” gets a rating of Pants on Fire.  Wildfire physics simply does not support any such fear mongering narratives. Every politician, every environmental group and every scientist trying to scare up more funding by uncritically blaming wildfires on CO2 induced climate change are not only ignoring good published science, but they’re also pushing wrong remedies and downplaying the correct remedies needed to benefit society and our environment. Better managed landscapes that control fuel supplies, and the re-introduction of fires via prescribed burns, will create more effective firebreaks and more healthy open habitat that coincidentally also increases wildlife diversity. Those are treatments we all should support.


May 24, 2021

Jim Steele is Director emeritus of San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus, authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism, and proud member of the CO2 Coalition


Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Cooling Side of Greenhouse Gases

Most people are unaware that the greenhouse gases CO2 and H2O, both warm & cool our planet. When I mention that CO2 has a cooling effect, I’m amazed by the hateful tirades from paranoid people who dismiss scientific truth as “dangerous misinformation”.


However, discussions about temperature inversions have occasionally induced more respectful debate with critical thinkers. Most people have observed “frost fans” erected in orchards and vineyards, so are interested in why they work. Frost fans disrupt freezing layers of surface air that can develop at night during the spring, damaging flowers and fruits. Frost fans simply pull warmer layers of air from above down to the surface raising minimum temperatures. But why does that warmer layer of air exist?


During the day, earth’s surface absorbs both solar radiation and the downward infrared heat emitted from greenhouse gases. Absorbing that energy faster than it can emit infrared back towards space, the surface warms. However sunlight doesn’t heat the lower atmosphere (aka troposphere) directly. Nitrogen, oxygen and argon comprise ~ 99% percent of our atmosphere and is transparent to incoming solar energy. Furthermore, unlike greenhouse gases, those gases neither absorb nor emit infrared energy. The troposphere warms primarily by gaining energy via collisions with a heated earth surface. During the day, the warmest air layer lies closest to the heated surface. Rising warm air causes turbulent mixing and collisions with cooler air above that raises air temperatures there. However because air cools as it rises due to decreasing air pressure, warming is limited.


Without solar heating, earth’s surface cools by emitting more infrared heat than it absorbs from recycled heat emitted by greenhouse gases because greenhouse gases don’t intercept all emitted heat. “Atmospheric windows” allow about 23% of the surface heat to escape directly to space without being recycled. The air layer closest to the surface then cools by transferring heat to the colder surface. However, higher air layers can’t sink and collide with the surface again unless they lose their heat. But nitrogen, oxygen and argon can only shed that energy by colliding with cooler greenhouse gases which will absorb their energy and emit half back toward space.


Because the bulk of our atmosphere only cools by transferring heat to greenhouse gases, a small percentage of greenhouse gasses creates a “cooling chokepoint”. Consequently, the atmosphere sheds energy more slowly than the solid earth that more quickly loses energy via atmospheric windows. This difference in cooling rates  creates a warmer layer of air above the cooler surface air and is called a temperature inversion. Now imagine a world without greenhouse gases. Without greenhouse gases nitrogen, oxygen and argon can’t lose enough heat back to space and the atmosphere would keep warming.


Outside the tropics, inversion layers more readily form in winter and spring. The earth’s surface holds less heat during winter’s reduced solar heating. Where people use fireplaces to stay warm, inversions layer are revealed by rising smoke that suddenly flattens when it encounters the warmer air above. Frost fans work by drawing down warmer air layers to mix with cooler surface layers, and thus protect crops from freezing. Similarly, months of “polar nighttime” cools Antarctica’s interior surfaces to as low as −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F), creating a continent?wide inversion layer. When above average surface temperatures are periodically reported, it’s often the result of high winds that, like a frost fan, disrupted Antarctica’s inversion layer.



In the 1990s, climate scientists determined urban heat effects raised minimum temperatures several degrees but not maximum temperatures. Such areas weren’t warming but getting less cold. That suggests urbanization disrupted local inversion layers. Increasingly covering the land with heat retaining asphalt and concrete, reduces surface cooling. Removal of vegetation or wetness results in hotter surfaces that store more heat. Traffic, tall buildings or frost fans disrupt surface winds bringing warmer air to the surface. All those dynamics raise minimum temperatures, and thus average temperature. Various local disruptions of inversion layers may better explain why some US weather stations show warming trends while 36% show long term cooling.




Our atmosphere also has a global inversion layer. Above the troposphere, is the warmer stratosphere where temperatures increase with altitude due to absorbing solar UV. Because CO2  in a warmer stratosphere emits infrared faster than it absorbs it from the troposphere, more CO2  cools the stratosphere. (For similar reasons CO2  has a cooling effect in Antarctica.) Furthermore storm clouds bring the tremendous amounts of heat stored in water vapor to the stratosphere. Again we can see where the warm inversion begins as clouds stop rising and develop an anvil shape at the stratosphere. Because the stratosphere is nearly devoid of water, the wavelengths of infrared heat released as water vapor condenses to liquid and ice, mostly pass freely to outer space, without recycling it back to earth.


If these dynamics were better understood, people would more likely laugh at climate catastrophe narratives rather than succumb to paranoia.


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Earth Day Interview with Sterling Burnett


With the approaching Earth Day in mind, Heartland's Dr. Sterling Burnett interviewed me regards the good and bad science behind claims that falling numbers of butterflies, birds and coral are due to climate change.

Listen to the podcast i at

Monday, April 5, 2021

Dangerously Stupid Science: Solar Geoengineering


A new report from the National Academies of Sciences recommended the United States pursue a robust research program into solar geoengineering, to reflect sunlight and forestall some of the worst effects of global warming.  Seeking $200 million over 5 years for research from the Biden administration, those scientists push a climate crisis narrative, arguing greenhouse gas emissions are not falling quickly enough and, “Without decisive action and rapid stabilization of global temperature, risks from a changing climate will increase in the future, with potentially catastrophic consequences” This should alarm everyone. Not because a climate crisis is real, but because solar geoengineering is the height of stupidity and truly endangers humanity. Still solar blocking experiments were planned for June 2021 in Sweden. Fortunately objections from other scientists, environmentalists, and Indigenous groups just cancelled those plans … for now. 


In contrast to many failed “climate crisis” predictions, there’s an abundance of research detailing the truly detrimental effects of decreased solar heating. Human suffering during the cooler Little Ice Age (LIA), spanning 1300 to 1850 AD, has been well documented. Scientists agree LIA cooling is linked to volcanic activity and several periods of reduced solar output associated with low sunspots, such as the Maunder Minimum that lasted from 1645 to 1715 AD. Satellites have verified that less solar energy is emitted when sunspots decline. During increased volcanic activity, volcanic aerosols are spewed into the atmosphere reflecting sunlight away from the earth. Likewise climate scientists seek to inject aerosols into the atmosphere to cool the earth. It’s mind-boggling that fear?ridden scientists would want to return our climate to the cooler temperatures like Little Ice Age. So please examine what a similar LIA cooling of 1°C (1.8°F) could do.


Tropical rainfall patterns control the subsistence lifestyle of more than one billion people. Reconstructions of precipitation during the cooler 14th and 15th centuries reveal a series of monsoon mega-droughts in central India, north-central China, and southern Vietnam, each lasting several years to decades. Although the Maunder Minimum increased rainfall in Africa’s Sahel, it also resulted in a megadrought in subtropical West Africa. Could cooling the earth be construed as racist?


Tropical rainfall and the Asian and Australian monsoons are largely controlled by the region where moisture carrying trade winds from the north and south converge. The earth’s greatest rainfall happens there and is called the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). It is easily recognized in satellite images as a band of heavy clouds. 

ITCZ cloud cover


As the sun moves northward during the northern hemisphere’s summer, the ITCZ likewise shifts northward, and a rainy season follows. During the winter as the ITCZ shifts southward the rainy season moves southward while the more northern region then experiences a dry season. Regions south of the ITCZ experience a dry season when northern tropics experience more rain and vice versa. Scientists have shown variations in solar strength alter the ITCZ and the accompanying rainfall.  However the ITCZ does not strictly follow the sun. Its location is also affected by the temperature of the oceans and continents. During the LIA, cooler northern hemisphere temperatures pushed the average position of the ITCZ southward, resulting in the monsoonal megadroughts and famines that devastated India, and southeast Asia.


The LIA cooling of 1°C disrupted ocean and atmospheric circulation around the world, so that alternating good and bad weather whiplashed a struggling humanity. Indeed climate scientist Michel Mann wrote, “the Little Ice Age may have been more significant in terms of increased variability of the climate”. Bouts of extreme inclement weather from about 1550 to I700 AD brought famine and the age of great mortality to Europe. Ten percent of the population of northern France died in 1693-1694. In northern China, rapid cooling and increasing extreme disasters in the late 16th and 18th centuries resulted in severe social consequences characterized by more famine and popular unrest.  The year 1816 was known as the Year Without a Summer, and prompted historians to write about The Last Great Subsistence Crisis in the Western World.


In contrast, with minimal increases in land use, our so-called warming crisis paired with the industrial world’s technological innovations to steadily increase global food production and feed a burgeoning global population that had increased from 600 million in 1700 to 7.7+ billion today.


In the polar Urals where trees had previously existed further northward, the colder 15?19th century temperatures replaced forests with treeless tundra, as  new tree growth was totally inhibited. On the other hand, twentieth century warming has now allowed tree line to recover its pre-LIA habitat. Satellite data reveals a global greening and multiple global ecosystem models suggest CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of that observed greening trend.  Long appreciating such CO2 fertilization, commercial growers around the world pump an extra 1000 ppm CO2 into their greenhouses to increase plant growth.


By the 1700s a new killer began to dominate the LIA – accidental hypothermia. When indoor temperatures fall below 48°F for prolonged periods, the human body struggles to keep warm, setting off a series of reactions that causes stress and heart attacks. During the intense cold season of I739/40,  indoor temperature readings fell below the freezing point throughout Western Europe. Frozen rivers disrupted transportation, creating a shortage of coal and wood for home heating in urban locations causing numerous deaths from  accidental hypothermia. The cold and dry weather also caused shortages of grass and fodder resulting in widespread death to livestock. Though not as devastating as the LIA thanks to modern heating, Americans from the Great Plains as far south as Texas were killed by cold weather with over 100 humans dying during the February 2021 cold snap.


The weaker LIA sun also cooled the upper 600 meters of the oceans, and reduced upwelling. Based on marine sediments off Peru, oceanographers uncovered very low marine productivity during the cooler LIA. But warming that began in 1850 soon brought rapid expansion of upwelled nutrient-rich waters, resulting in the present-day higher biological productivity from plankton to pelagic fish throughout the marine food web.


Peruvian Upwelling and Marine Productivity from Chavez 2011

Its most disturbing that the varied crises predicted for a warmer 21st century were worse during the cooler LIA. For example global warming is predicted to spread tropical disease. However from 1564 to the 1730s - the coldest period of the Little Ice Age - malaria was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England. Malaria outbreaks expanded into the Arctic. Transmission began to decline only in the 19th century, when the present warming trend was well under way. Similarly the first mosquito-borne yellow fever outbreaks in the United States occurred in late 1690s. Nearly 100 years later, in the late summer of 1793, refugees from a yellow fever epidemic in the Caribbean fled to Philadelphia. By the middle of October, 100 people were dying from the virus every day. Those outbreaks encouraged the US to move its capital from Philadelphia to Washington DC.


Major media outlets frequently fearmonger headlines such as “Melting Antarctic ice will raise sea level by 2.5 meters – even if Paris climate goals are met, study finds” . But the scientific community has produced solid evidence that Antarctica’s surface temperature has been cooling for the past 2000 years. The entire period from 141–1250 AD was warmer than 1971–2000. The LIA period of 1671–1700 was warmer than Antarctica is today. Scientists report that changes in the winds and natural upwelling of warmer deep waters best explain any changes in the basal melting of Antarctica’s ocean-terminating glaciers


Major media outlets will cherry-pick speculative research to proclaim, “Climate Change Is Making Hurricanes Stronger, Researchers Find”. However the Accumulated Cyclone Energy Index suggests other factors are in play. In the Southern Hemisphere (green line), there has been no change in cyclone energy. However in the Northern Hemisphere (blue line), hurricane energy varies with El Ninos and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.


Accumulated Cyclone Energy Index

Experts examining historic archives of hurricane disturbances found the frequency of intense Caribbean hurricanes increased at around 1700 AD. Despite the region’s cooler LIA ocean temperatures, sediment records from Puerto Rico to New York indicate an increase in intense hurricane landfalls since about 1700 AD. Other researchers found more than 13 category-2 or stronger hurricanes per century hit the Bahamas between 1500 to 1670 AD, compared to just 9+ per century since 1850 AD.  Thus many experts now believe that sea surface temperatures as high as we now observe are not necessary to support intervals of frequent intense hurricanes. Intervals of frequent intense hurricane strikes over the past 5000 years corresponded primarily to periods with relatively few El Nino events and the strength of West African monsoon. Thus to accurately predict changes in intense hurricane activity, it is more important to understand how El Ninos will respond to future climate change. But there is absolutely no consensus on how rising CO2 affects natural El Ninos.


Media outlets, politicians and some scientists have also profited by blaming wildfires on climate change. The Union of Concerned Scientists (as many others have) presents a misleading graph of increasing wildfires since 1985. But cherry-picking a 1985 start date is blatant dishonesty. If we extend observations back into the LIA starting in 1700, there has been a clear decline throughout the fire prone southwestern US. Similarly in Quebec, a 300-year fire history from 1688 to 1988 AD  shows wildfires decreased starting 100 years ago.

Southwest fire frequencies from Swetnam 1996


The USGS admits there is no direct relationship between climate and wildfires. However the evidence clearly shows a direct relationship with more humans causing more wildfire ignitions while additionally making landscapes more fire prone. Fires need kindling like dead grass and twigs to start, and human disturbance has increased the supply invasive grasses. Dead grasses and twigs become highly flammable within just hours of warm dry temperatures that are common every summer regardless of climate change. Large fires also need an adequate fuel supply, and decades of fire suppression and poor fuel management have created more fuels that promote bigger fires. Furthermore many of California’s largest fires in recent decades occurred when local  maximum temperatures were lower than in the 1930s.


So why are climate scientists suggesting the cooler temperatures of the LIA are the wiser ideal to pursue? It’s hard to comprehend when the science suggests otherwise. Of course every profession has its share of idiots and misguided professionals. In 1970 Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against the problems facing mankind. To ‘celebrate’ the 1970 Earth Day, Stanford’s Paul Ehrlich wrote “that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.” In 2012, the media trumpeted the prediction of Cambridge University’s world leading expert on sea ice of “the final collapse of Arctic summer sea ice within four years”. And in 2000 climate expert David Viner wrote, “Within a few years winter snowfall will become a very rare and exciting event…Children just aren’t going to know what snow is."

None of these “expert opinions” have come to past. So why do some climate scientists continue to push climate crises???

It appears many intelligent scientists proclaiming a climate crisis suffer from the Pygmalion syndrome. Pygmalion was a great sculptor from Greek mythology who thought his statue of a woman was so beautiful and realistic he fell in love with it. He no longer became interested in real women. Likewise some climate modelers having invested their life’s work in sculpting life?like climate change models, have become smitten with their model’s limited perspective and so downplay contradictory real-world observations. Some narcissistic scientists crave the attention that the media gives for predicting crises. Imitating the devious world of advertising, politicians pushing their own agenda seek out sympathetic scientists and under?informed children to give credence and sympathy to whatever they are selling. Some junior scientists are afraid to contradict a bogus consensus even when their research suggests they should, while other climate scientists like Michel Mann hire their own PR person to sway opinions to favor their research.


Modelers too often eschew the bountiful evidence of real natural climate change when it competes with their CO2-driven models. They downplay the myriad of critical factors that have caused change throughout history, to eliminate challenges to their belief only CO2 is the climate change control knob. Unprofessionally they denigrate all who dare question their model as deniers. But their deep love for their own models has become a fatal attraction. Not only do they try to suppress the very foundations of science and dismiss calls for further debate, they are advocating for  highly dangerous and wasteful actions to block the sun. As the Little Ice Age scholar Robert Bolton insightfully warned, “A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind". Far too many are possessed by their willing belief in a climate crisis.

April 5, 2021