17 Nov 2018

At ... Why AD536 was the worst year ever. Ever and ever. A new report claims a mysterious fog blocked out the Sun and caused crop failures leading to famines - and this was absolutely the worst case of climate change in human history (or words to that effect). Mike Baillie was writing about the AD536 event in the 1990s and 2000s and mainstream didn't take much notice then and are unlikely to now - even though the magic words climate change have been attached to the event. Last year we were told that a volcano in Indonesia was to blame. Now we have somebody pushing the case for an Icelandic volcano. The Daily Mail appears to have concentrated on the obligatory reference to global warming without thinking this one through. The authors are not referring to an event in which co2 levels caused global warming but the eruption of a volcanoe, spewing out vast quantities of co2, causing global cooling - which lasted for a hundred years. Does co2 cause warming or cooling? This research is a bit of a quandary for climate buffs I would have thought as an eruption simply blocks out the light of the Sun by lifting large quantities of dust and gases into the upper atmosphere, creating an opaque sky. Where the idea of 18 months of 'solid darkness' came from is a mystery, if there is one, as contemporary commentators do not seem to say anything like that. What is solid darkness. Can you see your hand in front of your face. Is it like a heavy mist or fog. Is this hyperventillating. The researchers come from the aptly named Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine and we are told that temperatures in the summer of 536 were 1.5 to 2.5 degrees cooler - in spite of all that co2 spewed upwards. This, they say, was the coldest it has been over the last 2300 years which probably means they didn't go any further back in time. Mike Baillie of course had another cold low growth event at around 207BC - but it is unlikely it was as cold as 536.

  ... it is unclear from the press release what in fact they thought the fog was, apart from a cloud of volcanic dust. It is difficult to see how this could be described as a fog as they are usually located very low in the atmosphere (sometimes as low as the knees of a human). Mike Baillie had a different take on the fog, visualising it as toxic as it caused instant death to anyone breathing it in. He dealt with this in particular in his book, 'New Light on the Black Death'.