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Who might be pressing the SIS button – comets and catastrophe

6 November 2011

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401101527.htm … 13,000 years ago Earth may have been struck by multiple Tunguska sized cometary fragments over the course of about an hour, according to astronomer Bill Napier of the Cardiff University Astrobiology Centre. It led to the dramatic cooling of the Younger Dryas event. His paper, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, has been out for over a year – but some people are just picking up on it. For example, EM Smith at http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/lunar-resonance-and-taurid-storms/ in a post on November 3rd with the title, 'Lunar Resonance and Taurid Storms' that was prompted by an article on lunar resonance and how it might have affected climate in the past. The Firestone et al cometary impact theory for the Younger Dryas has taken quite a bit of flak recently which seems to be why EM Smith has turned instead to Bill Napier. I don't know that but the point is the Clube and Napier hypothesis is all about cycles – cycles of dust in the upper atmosphere that may just coincide with cooling episodes – but what has that got to do with lunar resonance?

Napier says, in a nutshell, that a comet entered the inner solar system around 30,000 years ago, date not explicit, and it has been in the process of fragmenting since then giving rise to a number of closely related meteor streams and co-moving asteroids known as the Taurid Complex.

EM Smith first considers an article at www.pnas.org/content/97/8/3914.full that claims there is an 1800 year oceanic tidal cycle – a possible cause of rapid climate change, by Keeling and Whorf. Basically, they are looking at episodes of irradiance at shorter time intervals than the Milankovitch theory could trigger. A well defined, they say, 1800 year tidal cycle is, they think, caused by gradually shifting lunar declination. An amplitude modulation of this cycle occurs at around 5000 year intervals – when the effects are more pronounced. Hence, they suggest strong tidal forcing causes cooling at the sea surface by increasing vertical mixing in the oceans.

Bond Events occur at around 1500 year intervals, it has been acknowledged for some years, and yet many coolings remain outside this cycle – possibly they are coeval with roughly 2000 year intervals. Keeling and Whorf recognise this too and they are saying look at the sequence of cooling events at 2000 and 1000 year intervals as well as at 1500 year intervals (+/- 500 years) – or even 3000 year intervals. However, these cycles, according to the authors, suggest changing tides caused change to the ocean conveyor belt system by circulating cool water around the globe and affecting world climate (see also Singer and Avery and their anti-global warming book, 'Unstoppable Global Warming' revolving around the 1500 year Bond cycle).

What EM Smith contrives is the location of the Fall of the Akkadian Empire on top of one of the peak tide events along with a contemporary dust layer from lake sediments in North America. The dust in the atmosphere is a global phenomenon at this time. He then says, by charting the tidal cycle against known cooling events, such as the Younger Dryas event, there is a striking correlation in signficant swings in climate and this may impact on how much cold water is diverted up the west coast of South America or how fast the water of the circumpolar current flows around Antartica. The important thing, by whatever mechanism, is that cold water is diverted from its normal flow by high tides – piling up against Drakes Passage. Does this also correlate with temporary rises in sea level? It may well explain the wave theory of sea level rise and decline as described by Steve Mitchell in SIS circles and publications.

The paper in PNAS also draws a link between 180 year lunar tidal cycles which are one tenth of the 1800 year cycles and the period of the Sun's rotation about the centre of mass of the solar system. This is a matter of planetary resonance. In the past, resonance has been dismissed as it is a minor influence and can't possibly affect the climate. Apparently it does and several scientists are now researching orbital mechanics and resonance in the solar system. Exciting times.

Now, the idea of resonance not only affects planets but there is resonance with Near Earth Objects such as asteroids – and other bits and pieces as in the Taurid Complex. This is where EM Smith's speculation gets very interesting from a catastrophist angle.

He asks how can tides be the cause of impact events? Why do such rock falls fall so neatly on top of the tidal cycles? He then suggests the Taurids are in resonant orbit with all the other stuff nearby – they are in sync with the tides. Indeed, the tides and rock falls must occur together, he concludes. However, some of the Taurid stream has been so widely dispersed in near space this may not be strictly true. Basically, he is referring to the narrow and dense core consisting of particles concentrated near the orbit of the stream's parent object – which is usually thought to be Comet Encke. As the orbits of the material constituting this narrow dense core have been subject to perturbations over thousands of years it may be inferred that intense bombardment episodes have resulted at epochs when the material reaches earth's intersection (Napier). Dynamical calculations show that as the Taurid orbit precesses the northern daytime intersection occurs a few centuries before the southern nighttime one, and the southern daytime one just before the northern nighttime one. That is, four intersections occur in two pieces, and the influx of material is enhanced during periods lasting a few centuries and spaced out be a few millennia (Napier again).

Tides are driven by solar system bodies. These move in resonance. Comets are solar system bodies and Encke is settled into a stable resonant orbit along with its trails of debris. This is why Encke has remained where it is for 30,000 years.

EM Smith goes on to explore a variety of internet links to various people and posts available online and they include those at www.sis-group.org.uk/cambproc.htm which is a series of abstracts from the SIS Cambridge Conference of 1996/7 – and even Velikovsky is mentioned. EM Smith says that if Velikovsky had said comets instead of Venus he may have been taken seriously by scientists – but is catastrophism ever taken seriously? He then mentions an SIS speaker meeting in 1982 (so he must have been pressing the button on our web site) in which Victor Clube put forward his ideas – and says he later developed these at Nottingham the following year. David Pankenier, at the SIS conference, suggested legends and rituals from the Bronze Age in China reflected real events – in particular around the transition from the Xia to the Shang dynasties and at the close of Shang etc. Further, the paper by Duncan Steel at the conference is also quoted – EM Smith is especially fond of anything to do with Stonehenge. 

EM Smith is also interested in where we are now in the cycle of fate – the Taurid Complex. He looks at the Akkadian Empire, the demise of the Hittites, and notes from somewhere, not cited, that it has been suggested a religiously proscribed ban against the raising and consumption of pigs is associated with the events at the end of the Akkadian Empire. Not sure about that, but he goes on to quote a paper by Harvey Weiss and mentions Marie Agnes Courty and her views on the end of the Akkadians (at the same conference) and papers she has written since then. 

He is interested in the link between the Taurid Complex and Bond events and places an emphasis on the fact that there were two events – one at the end of the Sumerian Dynastic period (which saw the migration of Akkadians into the region) and the other at the end of the Akkadian empire (after a couple of centuries. This, he feels, is justification of the above resonant orbit. 

Other topics passed over is the demise of the Indus Civilisation – or the destruction of some of its cities, and the fact the level of the Dead Sea fell by 100m around 2200BC, Lake Turcana, the SIS conference of 1994, Finland, the Oera Linda book, Plato, Gilgamesh … and former SIS member and his web site, Timo Niroma of Helsinki. Then he browses through Ted Bryant's tsunami record for the east coast of Australia, the Tollmans catastrophes, and so on. It looks like EM Smith is catching up fast on what catastrophists have been writing about for a couple of decades.

In the following post, on Lake Chad, he correlates Bond events to Heinrich events of the Ice Age, and looks at reasons why the Sahara was green and fertile and is now a desert etc.

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