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2014: The Year Without Summer
« on: April 22, 2014, 09:51:27 AM »
http://www.americanthinker.com/assets/3rd_party/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/04/2014_the_year_without_summer.html

April 22, 2014
2014: The Year Without Summer
By Jeffrey Folks

In their excellent book, The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano That Darkened the World and Changed History, William and Nicholas Klingaman relate the history, causes, and effects of the record cold that gripped the northern hemisphere in 1816.  For most in America, Europe, and Asia, the winter of 1815-1816 was the coldest in living memory.  What followed in the spring and summer of that year was equally disastrous.  It was an entire year of cold rains, crop failures, hunger, and economic collapse.

There were multiple causes for the extreme weather of 1816, but all of them were natural, not man-made.  Chief among them, according to the Klingamans, was the massive eruption of Tamboro in present-day Indonesia.  The force of the explosion was ten times greater than that of Krakatoa, which took place in 1883.  Heightened volcanic activity sent ash particles into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight and disrupting the northern hemispheric jet stream.  One after another, polar vortexes dropped south, not just in the winter, but throughout 1816, and to a lesser extent for years afterward.

The winter of 2013-14 bears a striking resemblance to that of 1815-16, and there is every reason to believe that what follows will repeat the pattern of earlier periods of extreme cold.  The consequences will not be pleasant.  As some have begun to realize, periods of extreme cold are far more destructive than periods of warming.

My prediction of a “year without summer” is based partly on the record of 1816 and other years of increased volcanic activity.  Like 1815, 2013 saw significant volcanic activity, with major eruptions in Indonesia, Alaska, Italy, Argentina, and Japan.  It was inevitable that this "particularly eventful year" of volcanic activity would be followed by a cold winter, just as it is inevitable that more cold will follow.

This prediction is backed up by the National Weather Bureau and other sources that predict an extended period of cold in the northeast and upper Midwest.  This cold may have consequences for farm production since it would likely disrupt planting in the crucial corn- and wheat-growing regions.

The effects of a poor harvest would be higher prices for nearly all foods – not just for Americans, but for consumers in the global marketplace.  And while affluent consumers in developed countries can accommodate higher prices, however painful that may be, the world’s poor cannot.  For billions of human beings, even a slight increase in grain prices results in hunger.  And along with hunger comes social unrest – the sort of unrest that helped trigger Egypt’s Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

While government can do nothing to change the weather, in regard to either cooling or warming, it can direct resources toward productive ends rather than squandering them on green energy boondoggles and other wasteful projects.  Most importantly, it can lower overall spending and thus lower taxes on individuals and corporations, thereby strengthening their ability to withstand economic shocks such as those brought about by weather events like that of 1816...and 2014.  By allowing the private sector to expand and prosper in good times, government could help prepare for inevitable climate cycles.

Bjorn Lomborg, author of Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming, estimates an 11% cost for current governmental climate policies.  Redirecting this 11% of GDP to the private sector would result in global economic growth adequate to address the effects of climate change, whether warming or cooling. Instead of following this common-sense approach, the latest report ("Fifth Assessment Report") from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) urges spending many times more on green energy “solutions” such as those that have failed in Europe and the U.S.   

The greatest victims of such failed thinking, it turns out, are those at the bottom of the economic ladder.  The elite who fund environmental groups seem particularly callous to the fate of those struggling for survival – those for whom a slight increase in the cost of grain or energy can be a matter of life and death.  As Lomborg argues, it is simply irrational to focus on climate change, which even the IPCC admits is less predictable than previously thought, when countries are faced by so many other pressing issues.  Chief among these, I believe, is the need to safeguard and expand free markets that afford economic opportunity.

Instead of expanding free markets, the Obama administration has done all it can to suppress the primate sector and squander wealth, thus leaving the country vulnerable to the economic shock of weather events such as the current near-record cold.

Indeed, global warming alarmists display all the symptoms of “recentcy basis.”  Relative to 1850, global temperatures have indeed risen by some one degree Celsius, but that calculation compares current temperatures with those at the trough of a four-century cold spell.  Relative to longer-term global norms, today’s temperatures are not unusually warm.  They are comparable to temperatures that prevailed during the Medieval Climate Optimum of 950 through 1250 AD.  During this period, a Norse settlement thrived in Greenland and even reached North America.

Like the Medieval Climate Optimum, the past 150 years of warming has actually been highly beneficial: it is no coincidence that the greatest period of economic improvement in human history has occurred precisely during the period of warming since 1850.  The danger is that global temperatures may now be entering a new and ominous period of extended cold.   

The only way to prepare for this eventuality – a certainty at some point, given the long-term history of the earth’s climate – is to maximize economic expansion via the free  market.  Otherwise, the Earth’s population will be left without the economic resources necessary to ensure survival.  This warning was echoed in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, which argued that “[t]he best environmental policy is economic growth.”  With GDP growth of less than 2% – the average for more than five years now – there is no margin of error in the event of severe climate events.  And such events are inevitable, not because of human impact on the environment, but because of natural forces – the same forces that caused the great freeze of 1816.

The best response to climate change – the natural sort, as well as the sort purportedly caused by human industry – is to end green energy subsidies, lower taxes on individual and corporations, eliminate unnecessary regulation of industry, and allow the free market to operate on its own.  Adding 11% to global GDP each year would lift billions out of poverty and assure the well-being of all, no matter what challenges the climate presents.

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Offline Oceander

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Re: 2014: The Year Without Summer
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2014, 02:25:07 PM »
Apparently the Farmer's Almanac disagrees, saying that NYC, at least, will have a hot muggy summer:  http://nypost.com/2014/04/14/stifling-heat-heavy-rains-to-hit-nyc-this-summer/

Offline aligncare

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Re: 2014: The Year Without Summer
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2014, 03:48:59 PM »
I despise greenies. By viewing humans as something apart from nature those self-righteous alarmists are completely out of touch with the natural world.
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Re: 2014: The Year Without Summer
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2014, 06:35:31 PM »
This is not going to be another 1816, not by a long shot. For one, temperatures were already fairly cold prior to the summer of 1815; 2012 and 2013, on the other hand, were significantly warmer than average. Two, the volcano that triggered the short-term cooling, Tambora, was one of the most massive and extensive in recorded history, and none of the volcanoes in the past 20 years have even come close to it. (Pinatubo, which caused a noticeably cooler 1992, did come somewhat close.)
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Offline Chieftain

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Re: 2014: The Year Without Summer
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2014, 06:56:17 PM »
Tambora was one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in recorded history.  It exploded with a force of about 800 Megatons, and put about 38 cubic miles of dust, ash and tephra into the atmosphere, which is what caused the colder temperatures in the summer of 1815. 

While there can always be another large eruption like Tambora, it is not likely to happen any time soon, and nobody has ever been able to accurately predict a volcanic eruption.


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Re: 2014: The Year Without Summer
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2014, 11:55:25 PM »
Tambora was one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in recorded history.  It exploded with a force of about 800 Megatons, and put about 38 cubic miles of dust, ash and tephra into the atmosphere, which is what caused the colder temperatures in the summer of 1815. 

While there can always be another large eruption like Tambora, it is not likely to happen any time soon, and nobody has ever been able to accurately predict a volcanic eruption.

Not to disagree - but isn't Yellowstone getting ready to blow? That would make Tambora look like a firecracker.
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Offline Chieftain

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Re: 2014: The Year Without Summer
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2014, 08:10:57 AM »
Not to disagree - but isn't Yellowstone getting ready to blow? That would make Tambora look like a firecracker.

Yellowstone is indeed an active volcanic area that has seen at least three major eruptions over the millennia but nothing very recently.  USGS monitors Yellowstone very carefully, but there is no sign of an imminent eruption there at this time.  But yes, if it did blow it would probably rival any other eruption....


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Re: 2014: The Year Without Summer
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2014, 09:17:56 AM »
Tambora was, what, 4 miles across? I know it was bigger than Krakatoa and much bigger than Santorini/Thera.

Yellowstone is 60 miles across. It is going to make one hell of a boom when it blows - probably big enough to shift the entire planets axis slightly.
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Offline WAYNE

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Re: 2014: The Year Without Summer
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2014, 09:22:53 AM »
  The bison are leaving Yellowstone . That is enough of a warning for me not to visit there again..

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Re: 2014: The Year Without Summer
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2014, 11:02:03 PM »
Just one week away from May here in southwest Connecticut, and the next couple of nights look to be in the mid-low 30's.

Only the slightest evidence of leaves on the trees yet...

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Re: 2014: The Year Without Summer
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2014, 11:29:23 PM »
Tambora was, what, 4 miles across? I know it was bigger than Krakatoa and much bigger than Santorini/Thera.

Yellowstone is 60 miles across. It is going to make one hell of a boom when it blows - probably big enough to shift the entire planets axis slightly.

Yellowstone has done so before, at least twice, perhaps three times in the last few million years.  There are at least three calderas at Yellowstone.  Tambora was about three times the size of Krakatoa, so 4 miles across is a good estimate for Tambora.

But there is plenty of evidence that at one time Java and Sumatra were one big island, and an enormous subduction quake/eruption, about where the 1883 Krakatoa was, sundered it into two separate land masses.  There is a nasty subduction zone and permanent hot spot there that will always be prone to extreme events, mainly from the rapid incursion of seawater into contact with magma....massive steam explosions.

Just for conversational purposes, if you want a catastrophic event that would outdo anything a mere volcano could offer, think about an ocean strike asteroid.  The earth's crust is thinnest at the bottom of the sea and a large enough mass traveling at sufficient speed could plow the water aside down to the bottom and open a hole right into the mantle.  We're talking kinetic energy 101, where mass increases with the speed of the object.  Get a 100 pound mass of metal up to a significant percentage of the speed of light and you quickly begin to get relativistic effects, where that mass hits with thousands of times more force.

The resulting tsunamis would be the least of our worries....until the hole in the crust cooled enough to heal, then cooled even more to stop boiling the ocean above it, it would pump live steam directly into the stratosphere where it would quickly condense and cover the entire planet with clouds.  The hot spot would heat the water above it sufficiently to form a permanent hurricane over it that would spin off massive storms across the planet.  It would take decades for the water to snow out of the atmosphere and decades more for even the equator to become habitable...

The volcanoes we know about....the asteroids....not so much......



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Re: 2014: The Year Without Summer
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2014, 12:01:10 AM »
Do you know what happened to the Skywatch program? I've not seen a mention of it in years now, but remember when it was rolled out with quite a bit of fanfare back in the late 60s. It was a network of telescopes, both government and hobbyist that were dedicated to spotting and tracking asteroids that might be incoming. 
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