Global Warming - When It Occurs - Can Be Productive

By: By Vance Ehmke, AGweb blog (from
By: By Vance Ehmke, AGweb blog (from

Here’s another way of looking at things: global warming is good. And if there’s any bad news at all about global warming, it’s that it might be about over. Some years ago I stumbled onto Charles Perry with the US Geological Survey in Lawrence KS when I was trying to track down some information on climate. In the scientific community, Charles has established himself as a firm believer that the harmonic cycles of solar output have huge cause-and-effect relationships with not only our short-term weather but also our long-term climate.

In brief, there’s nothing really constant about the amount of energy being emitted by the sun. It’s almost like the sun has a heartbeat - with waves of energy coming in on a roughly 11-year sunspot cycle. Those short-term cycles then make up larger and longer-term cycles. And in those cycles, which have been going on for thousands and thousands of years, Charles has documented alternating periods of warming and cooling. While global warming has gotten a lot of bad press today, Charles feels events in history show warmer climates have been accompanied by more rain, longer growing seasons, more crops and more land to settle on-times in which civilizations have prospered. Contrasting that are periods of global cooling - times in which human populations probably declined because of cold, drought and war.

As mentioned, Charles has correlated those alternating periods with events in history. For instance, there was a warming period from 33,000 to 26,000 years ago which may have allowed the Cro-Magnon Man to migrate northward and populate Europe by blending in with or eradicating the resident Neanderthals. Another warm period ushered in the Bronze Age,which began about 3800 years ago. During this favorable climatic period, people migrated northward into Scandinavia and reclaimed farmland with growing seasons that were at that time probably the longest in more than 2000 years.

The great empires of the Bronze Age came to an end with the Centuries of Darkness chill, but warming returned during the Greco-Roman Age. During this period, philosophy made its first important advances with the thoughts of Aristotle. However, when the climate cooled again, the Roman Empire ceased. A flourishing Viking culture in Greenland met the same fate during the Little Ice Age, which ran from about l280 to l860. The little ice ages are cooler periods, which last several centuries. They occur about every l300 years. By the year l000, the Vikings had discovered Greenland, where their settlements started producing wheat and livestock. But after l200, the climate began to cool rapidly. The frozen harbors of Greenland failed to open in the summer -thus, trade with Europe dropped off sharply. By l400, Europe’s contact with Greenland had been lost. A slight warm-up about l500 allowed ships to make it back to Greenland, but by then the stranded Viking population had starved to death - with their graves becoming shallower and shallower as the permafrost returned.

Many today say our current global warming is because of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Charles disagrees. He says while we do have global warming, it’s still not to the same level as when the Vikings were farming in Greenland. “Therefore, the magnitude of the modern temperature increase being caused solely by an increase in carbon dioxide appears questionable.” On the other hand, solar output variations to climate change may be significant.

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