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A cooling lump of water

25 January 2012
Climate change

SIS member William Thompson suggested I look at this story – a huge pool of Arctic fresh water could cool Europe (see also www.physorg.com/print246526036.html). The ocean circulation system brings warm water from the tropics into the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, as we have seen in the last few years. Warm ocean currents with an origin in the El Nino system have been on the ascendancy in the last few decades but the system seems to have switched into a situation whereby cooling La Nina events are more common. Some climate models reflect this and others simply extrapolate the warming to carry on increasing indefinitely – simply because that was the direction of the warming trend in recent years. Global warming is a hypothesis that is mainly computer orientated, the product of geeks that are infatuated with their machines and just like playing around with keys – much better than going outside and looking at what the weather is really doing. These are the same kind of people you see fiddling with their mobile phones and gadgets – and walking into lamp posts. Have climate scientists walked into a lamp post?

It seems that things might be about to change – in the frozen north. Scientists have discovered an enormous dome of 'fresh' water in the western Arctic Ocean – occurring in conjunction with some of the coldest weather in Alaska for many a year. The dome of water appears to have originated as a result of winds causing the sea surface to bulge upwards – this is the Arctic after all, and it's open to the sky and beyond, space. Whereas the story illustrates what little is really known about the global climate as we can be sure this kind of thing has happened on countless occasions in the past – beyond the cold noses of your average scientist, there is also an interesting caveat. The key is in the word 'fresh' as that implies non-salty water. Salt water sinks but fresh water tends to remain nearer the surface – and cool fresh water has historical parallels (it is thought). The doomsaying inherent in the story revolves around fresh water that is cool – if not downright cold. It is a consensus view that the melting ice sheets 13,000 years ago, had coalesced into a huge lake or lakes, in the region of the Great Lakes that still exist but conjectured to once have been even bigger and more scary and you know, all that kind of stuff. This huge body of water in NE America suddenly emptied out of its basin and flowed into the Atlantic – sweeping we might imagine down what is now the valley of the St Lawrence waterway. There is no reason why the lake did not empty, and this is not a denial of what might have happened, but it is the implications of what happened as a result of the release of all that lovely cool fresh water – it set in motion the Younger Dryas global cooling event – as quick as a flash or a flood of the wet stuff. The two things may have coincided – on the other hand, they may not. Funny how uniformitarianism embraces a flood when it suits their purpose but pooh poohs any human memory of such an event – then, or later. However, the consensus theory goes further. Another flood of cool fresh water is supposed to have caused a global cooling event at 6200-6000BC, a more strained idea as it happened 10,000 years after the end of the Ice Age (so would a lot of fresh water have been bottled up all that time?)  Hence, the doomsaying is quite likely to be a figment of the imagination and one suspects something more sinister, or even laughable, is at the root of this tale. Are climate scientists secretly expecting global temperatures to fall in the next few years as foreseen by several prominent sceptics? After all, we know from the Climategate 2 email release that what climate scientists say in private is quite different to what they say in public. 

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