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The Global Midieval Warm Period

Steven Hayward, that prickly thorn in the side of climate change scientists who may soon have his opinion forcibly tattooed on his body by diversity-loving eco-liberals in jackboots, notes a new study by Syracuse University which seems to prove that the Medieval Warm Period was a global phenomenon. This discovery refutes a key argument of the environmental movement by showing that pre-SUV eras were just as warm as we are today. Just nother chip in the ol' climate change iceberg.
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Discussions - 26 Comments

",,,,by showing that pre-SUV eras were just as warm as we are today." Clearly, you didn't read the actual research article because not only was that not their conclusion, but they didn't even come close to inferring that.

The post above is not very clear. However, the Medieval Warm Period is known to history and scientific data that makes it established fact about Europe's climate only helps nail the fact. That conditions were warmer in Antartica at the same time is interesting -- proxy is the word used in the article -- warm up here and warm at the same time down there, doesn't that sound like evidence of a global warming? What did man have to do with it? The referenced article's language is cautious, "'We showed that the Northern European climate events influenced climate conditions in Antarctica,' Lu says" qualifies the argument to the point of absurdity, but perhaps Lu did not want to offend his colleagues who are committed to the manmade global warming theory.

Our part of this continent is enjoying an early and very warm spring. Last year's winter was very long and bitterly cold. (I like this better.) Last year's cold and snowy winter had global warming enthusiasts reminding the unenthusiasts not to jump to conclusions based on local conditions. This year, that is exactly what they are doing, telling us fellow locals that this amazing run of 80 degree days is evidence of global warming, never mind the cold in parts of the country that are usually warm by now. It will be interesting to see how all areas average out and how and if weather patterns are also different in the rest of the year.

Anonymous, where do we find the actual research article?

You wait and see - they'll be resurrecting the ol' "global warming" language as long as the year stays hot, but dropping it for the more insipid "climate change" once local events fail to go their way.

I've often wondered: If all the backdoor socialists (i.e., those who push climate catastrophe as a means of establishing socialist control) fell away from "the cause," how much would we hear about "climate change." I'm thinking not much.

It's funny how I keep hearing the right announce their ultimate triumph over the Environmentalism movement and the Global Warming Hucksters (etc., etc.), but they still, apparently, feel a need to respond to its last, irrelevant remnants. Odd, that.


There are many other peer-reviewed papers that have shown signs of the Medieval Warm Period in other places, like Peru. Now they are seeing in Antarctica, too.

Well, Scanlon, it's not like we have the whole media and 90% of the scientific establishment (plus their multi-millions in grant money) to establish the truth here. We are forced to keep saying the obvious, if only to de-spin the GW establishment.

If climate alarmists really want to improve the deadlock, all they have to do is to reinstate scientific ethics. Get rid of the Al Gore's and the environmental social movement activists. Let's try to be more objective about this.

Oh course, I'm not holding my breath (and not because I'm afraid to exhale more CO2). There's far too much money on the line, and the politicization is simply out of control. And that's the fault of people like you, Scanlon.

Everything is going to be just fine. The whole GW thing is a huge hoax. Who should care what these crazy frauds have to say??

Better to go with the rigorous scientific assessments brought to us by impartial climate laboratory eggheads like Steven Hayward (Ph.D., American Studies) and Justin Paulette (M.A., US Studies/Politics). And James Inhofe, of course.

Snark, nor reference to a mag that's so deep into the GW tank that the bends are imminent, do not constitute argumentation.

The real argument is about what is causing the warming. The fact that Earth's climate has recently warmed up in a similar manner without the benefit of the Industrial Revolution poses some serious questions. If you can't see that, Scanlon, you're just swimming in the same tank with your buddies as SA.

BTW, I used to take Scientific American, but their bias on a number of issues (from GW to social science) was so palpable that I let the subscription lapse. I wouldn't trust them to make soup.

Aw, Justin, you don't know how much this pains me...

From Zunli Lu, the lead researcher on the very project that you referred to (albeit indirectly, with only links to Steven "Exxon" Hayward's gloating and the bland, uninformative press release, not the actual study itself), and said that it **"seems to prove that the Medieval Warm Period was a global phenomenon."**:

“It is unfortunate that my research, “An ikaite record of late Holocene climate at the Antarctic Peninsula,” recently published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, has been misrepresented by a number of media outlets.

Several of these media articles assert that our study claims the entire Earth heated up during medieval times without human CO2 emissions. We clearly state in our paper that we studied one site at the Antarctic Peninsula. **The results should not be extrapolated to make assumptions about climate conditions across the entire globe. Other statements, such as the study “throws doubt on orthodoxies around global warming,” completely misrepresent our conclusions.** Our study does not question the well-established anthropogenic warming trend.”

Here's hoping that Justin does a blog post to correct this. Steven Hayward, unsurprisingly, has not done so.

BTW, I'm still hoping you'll do an update on your "Climategate" post from way back when - perhaps with a list of how all of the investigations into it turned out.

In order to brush this stuff off you're probably going to have to crank up Conspiranator 5000 with a few extra shovelfuls of clean coal, or perhaps some of the ...ahem... organic matter that's in plentiful supply here at NLT.

On the upside though, the Right can add this to their Indignation and Rage Pile as more evidence that universities are largely leftist propaganda mills.

What lame spin, Scanlon. OF COURSE the guy back-peddles when non-granting-making conservatives draw perfectly reasonable conclusions from his research (thereby calling into question his membership in the GW-hand-me-more-grant-money club). The fact remains, if the same warming trend can be found all over the Northern Hemisphere AND in Antarctica, then it's almost certainly a global phenomena (if you understand how wind and water currents actually operate, that conclusion is even more certain).

If Romney gets elected (a big if, granted), one of the things he should do is suspend all Federal GW research money during his first term. Not to undermine research, but to clear out the self-interest and restore some semblance of scientific rigor.

Leave it to Redwald to call a statement direct from the lead researcher himself "spin."

Again, HIS words:

"Several of these media articles assert that our study claims the entire Earth heated up during medieval times without human CO2 emissions. We clearly state in our paper that we studied one site at the Antarctic Peninsula. **The results should not be extrapolated to make assumptions about climate conditions across the entire globe. Other statements, such as the study “throws doubt on orthodoxies around global warming,” completely misrepresent our conclusions."

And you're being ridiculously and struthiously obtuse on the grants thing. If a scientist honestly thinks that AGW is bogus, or is simply cynical and opportunistic, he/she could find PLENTY of sources for funding skeptical research, in the USA and elsewhere...

For starters:


"Unstoppable Solar Cycles is a short film aimed at school children (with one version narrated by an on-screen school-age presenter) that Heartland helped to distribute.

There were four principal scientific voices in the video, which argued the sun could be to blame for climate change and argued CO2 was a minor element in the climate system.

Dr David Legates and Dr Willie Soon are both well-known contrarian scientists with outlying
views on climate change.

The IRS forms reveal that in 2010 Donors Trust gave $50,000 to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, “for research under Dr Willie Soon”.

A Greenpeace spokesman has told DeSmogBlog it is now "investigating the genesis" of this $50,000 grant, which he said was not disclosed when Greenpeace requested documents from Smithsonian under Freedom of Information laws last year.

As DeSmogBlog and others reported last year, the Greenpeace investigation found that every grant Dr. Soon has received since 2002 had originated with fossil fuel interests.

Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute and Koch Industries were revealed as major supporters of Soon’s research.

One of the other two interviewees in the video, Rie Oldenburg, the curator of the Narsaq Musem in Southern Greenland, claimed the makers of the video had misled her.

She was under the impression she was being interviewed for a video on Norse history. Oldenburg also claimed that the remaining participant in the video, Ingibjorg Gilsladottir, had been told the film was for the Discovery Channel.

The student presenter in the video, “Beth”, concluded, “From what I’ve heard the cost to reduce CO2 will be enormous and, as the scientists said, this may not be the cause. We could create disaster for poor countries and hardship for all of us and not change the pattern of warming and cooling.”

Other recent donations of note from DCF include $100,000 to the James Madison Institute for Public Policy “for climate change and Vaclav Klaus event”. Klaus is the president of the Czech Republic who describes human-caused climate change as a “mass delusion”.

The International Policy Network, which has published papers focusing on the “uncertainties” in climate change science and lobbying against putting a price on greenhouse gases, received $185,000 from DCF in 2010.

In 2010, Donors Trust gave several grants to one of the most overt of all climate science denying organisations, the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, which flew a delegation including Lord Christopher Monckton to Durban for last year’s UN climate conference."

[It should be noted that, unsurprisingly, conservative activist Steven Hayward - a former blogger here at NLT - is on the advisory board of Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, the board of directors for Donors Capital Fund/Donors Trust, as well as working for various other petro-funded interests - and he's on the Ashbrook board, as well. While he is not any kind of scientist, he promotes the work of denialist/skeptic scientists (or quasi-scientists), and sells some pseudo-scientific products himself, and is able to maintain comfortable residences on both coasts (as he's told us about here at NLT) - I know that if I was just after money, I wouldn't be conducting research which backs up (quite redundantly at this point) AGW.]

Or here...

"Michael Hintze, a leading Conservative party donor who runs the £5bn hedge fund CQS, has emerged as a financial backer of the climate sceptic thinktank founded by former chancellor, Lord Nigel Lawson.


The Global Warming Policy Foundation, launched by Lawson in 2009, regularly casts doubt on the science and cost of tackling climate change in the media and has called on climate scientists to show greater transparency, but has refused to reveal details of its donors.

Charity Commission records show that in 2010 The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation also gave £100,000 to the Institute of Economic Affairs, a right-leaning, free-market thinktank, where Hintze is also a trustee. The IEA has promoted the work of Lord Lawson and other climate sceptics, including a book claiming global warming is not caused by humans but is instead part of a natural cycle. Professor David Henderson, a member of the IEA's advisory council, is the chairman of GWPF's academic advisory council."

Zunli Lu also said, regarding the Daily Mail article that got his relatively obscure research forwarded around by the anti-science AGW deniers, "The reporter of that Daily Mail article published it anyway, after we told him the angle that he chose misrepresents our work.""

That's not backpedaling [note spelling] - that's trying to stop a misrepresentation of one's work before it even begins.

Let's see, if the warming can be found in both the extreme North and the extreme South, what's the chance it was a global warming? Spin indeed. These researchers are terrified that their funding will dry up.

As for your "follow the money" logic, why is it that doing so is always important for rightwing causes but never for leftwing ones? I've heard academics bitch and moan about big oil funding this or that institute, but never a word about the much, much, much larger granting system that feeds group-think among scientists. I'd wager that for every dollar spend on climate skepticism there is $1 million spent on orthodox climate "science." Why, because the Left controls the Federal money, end of story. If you want any of it, better toe the line, fella! No skeptics need apply.

If you were a serious scientist who wanted to approach the climate question critically, and you knew that most of your colleagues (i.e., grant reviewers) were in the "me-too" tank for GW, where would you turn for $$$?

And, not to put too fine a point on it, millions of dollars in grants come from places like the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy. Using your logic, should we dismiss anything produced as a result of these funds as bogus?

This is bloody hilarious. A bunch of blowhards arguing over press releases. Not one of you has read the article and can make an argument for the soundness (or lack thereof) of the research on its own merits. My guess is that not a one of you could come close to accurately summarizing the hypotheses and main findings. So much for an "educated electorate."

Again, as I asked above, Anonymous, where do we find the research article that is referenced? If you know, please direct us.

I know that you don't watch TV, and you seem to get most of your news from your "young friends" on Facebook, but seriously? If you can't figure out how to get the article, then I'm positive that you won't be able to understand it. Working for a college, you should have no trouble accessing it.

I wasn't asking for myself. I am not sure I would understand it, certainly not as a scientist in the field would. It seems to me that you were being rude about the others who were writing here. That bothered me.

If you will demand that people read something, shouldn't you present it? If you understand it better than the rest of us, why not explain? I certainly can agree that the thread wandered in some odd ways. That's not unusual here. However, Neo was direct in his comment, above. is Neo correct? If he is incorrect, could you offer proof?

I'm not demanding that anyone read anything. I'm just being amused by a bunch of people debating press releases because, quite frankly, I find that intellectually lazy. You're the one who keeps asking that I provide a link to the original article, and I admit to finding your repeated request both absurd and disturbing in light of the fact that you take pride in your role of college instructor. Of all commenters, I guess I expected more from you.

Perhaps it is better to remain anonymous, then no one can expect anything of you. Aren't the comments better when they move the argument along in a productive way? It semed to me that's your complaint, that these do not, and yet you are doing the same thing. I am accusing you of the same intellectual laziness that you complain of. You never answered my questions about Neo's comment, for example.

I believe I found the article through Google Scholar:

I need a spare $40 to read it. There, not so lazy, but I need to be either prouder or less poor. I cannot get at it through the college library; it is too new. Maybe next month. Remind me. Don't be lazy.

No, Kate, you don't need a spare $40 to read it. A standard Google search is all that's required, wherein the results (via searching for the article's title) are your sciencedirect link first, and a handy, easy-to-read PDF link is 2nd.

Here's the conclusion from the actual study:

"We report the first comprehensive geochemical study on an ikaite-containing core to demonstrate the potential of using hydration water δ18Ohydra as a paleoenvironmental proxy. Porewater solute concentrations indicate that these authigenic carbonate minerals form in a narrow and shallow zone where Ca and DIC are both relatively enriched. Coupling δ13C of ikaite crystals and δ13C of porewater DIC, allows estimation of formation depth for individual crystal. The
ikaite formation depths are then used to calculate the time of crystallization relative to the ambient sediments. δ18Ohydra and δ18OCaCO3 throughout JPC2 at Firth of Tay are reported. The youngest crystal precipitated in modern porewater validates the fractionation factor
obtained in the previous study (Rickaby et al., 2006). The late Holocene climate pattern inferred from δ18Ohydra and δ18OCaCO3 is comparable
to other records from the region and our ikaite record provides new support that the MWP and LIA might have influenced the AP. In the future, paired δ18Ohydra and δ18OCaCO3 may be used to calculate δ18O of paleo-porewater indicating temperature changes. At this
stage, the geochemistry of ikaite serves as a qualitative, rather than a quantitative, climatic proxy, because it remains challenging to account for kinetic effects on uptake of δ18O into the carbonate during
crystallization and any post-crystallization exchange of δ18Ohydra signal."

I wonder why Prof. Lu might not appreciate some bonehead from the DailyMail turning that into "Is this finally proof we're NOT causing global warming?" or, per Paulette:

"This discovery refutes a key argument of the environmental movement by showing that pre-SUV eras were just as warm as we are today. Just nother chip in the ol' climate change iceberg."

I don't know what sort of distinction you're trying to draw between yourself and Anonymous. I certainly don't know who "Kate" is any more than I know "cowgirl" or even Pete Spiliakos. It doesn't really matter. If you have a point to make, just state your case and, preferably, back it up with some evidence.

Further to that, why reject or dismiss what the vast majority of scientists (in relevant fields) have to say but then nod righteously at what Justin Paulette, Steven Hayward, or (the writer for the article in the DailyMail tabloid) Ted Thornhill have to say? While I can't be certain about Mr. Thornhill's scientific creds (he's on Twitter though, tweeting about wine-tastings and the like!), I do know that both Hayward and Paulette have exactly zero credentials in any of the physical or natural sciences - no advanced training at all. They can only regurgitate items like this Daily Mail article (which triggered the whole frenzy in the conservative blogosphere) and various contortions thereof.

Again, when it comes to these matters, I highly recommend you keep in mind the "Goofus or Gallant?" comparison chart if someone's credibility level isn't obvious to you from the get-go. For instance, compare Prof. Lu and Steven Hayward (more on Hayward in my previous comment above, which is relevant to this) as you go through this guide - #s 5-9 are quite relevant for the comparison I suggest:


So, I am wondering, have Hayward, Paulette, Andrew Revkin of the NewYorkTimes (whom Hayward tips his hat to in his powerline post touting the study for what it isn't; Hayward noted that Revkin about the study...and called Revkin "one mainstream reporter who shoots straight on this issue.") or Ted Thornhill done any follow-up on this since Lu delicately and politely called them out on their misreadings of his research (calling them "misinterpretations" would be far too charitable, I think)?

Where are the corrections, the addendums? You'd think they'd be easy to post, what with the modern high-tech wonders available to all of them via their blogs and Twitter accounts.

And here's a Reuters article I'd encourage you to check out:

You might also want to check out what this Republican meterologist has to say:

Neo did not provide links to any articles, so I am unsure how to respond to your question. Of course, I would be glad to read any that he/she and/or you would recommend to further my understanding of the scientific literature around this topic. I await your suggestions.

Kate, where'd you go? How was that article on iakite crystals?

Sorry, I didn't know I needed to come back.

1. The study does show there is evidence of a global warming period when it could not possibly have been man-made. It is evidence, not proof. We already know the northern hemisphere was warmer from historical evidence. This is a different kind of evidence and from a different area.

2. People have traced me to my college, contacting me by email. I write too personally and have written that way too frequently over the years to be as wholly anonymous as Anonymous currently is. You can find Pete through a typical Web search these days.

3. Hayward and Paulette write about what scientists write. They are skeptical of of consensus science. Isn't that a good thing?

4. A meteorologist's blog proves what? If I pointed to something similar, what would you say?

Anonymous, I only expected you to do what you told me I should do. I disappointed you? We are disappointing each other.

"1. The study does show there is evidence of a global warming period when it could not possibly have been man-made."

Kate, it's good to be confident in one's intelligence and ability to work outside of one's comfort zone (in your case, I believe that's English), but I don't think you've interpreted that study correctly. Once again, lead researcher Lu, on his own research:

"Several of these media articles assert that our study claims the entire Earth heated up during medieval times without human CO2 emissions. We clearly state in our paper that we studied one site at the Antarctic Peninsula. **The results should not be extrapolated to make assumptions about climate conditions across the entire globe. Other statements, such as the study 'throws doubt on orthodoxies around global warming,' completely misrepresent our conclusions."

Perhaps you take a postmodernist approach to reading physical science research papers?

"3. Hayward and Paulette write about what scientists write. They are skeptical of of consensus science. Isn't that a good thing?"

That's great to be skeptical (where was all that skepticism in the run-up to war with Iraq? Might've been more useful in that case), but I would say they have no expertise to evaluate the consensus science, and in the case of Mr. Hayward, the financial backing from sources which clearly have a vested interest in denying the consensus clearly compromises his credibility.

"4. A meteorologist's blog proves what? If I pointed to something similar, what would you say?"

Well, he's a self-described moderate Republican (and Christian), for starters:

"I am a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative; a fan of small government, accountability, self-empowerment, and sound science. I am not a climate scientist. I’m a meteorologist, and the weather maps I’m staring at are making me uncomfortable. No, you’re not imagining it: we’ve clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern. (...)

Trust your gut - and real experts. We should listen to peer-reviewed climate scientists, who are very competitive by nature. This is not about “insuring more fat government research grants.” I have yet to find a climate scientist in the “1 Percent”, driving a midlife-crisis-red Ferrari into the lab. I truly hope these scientists turn out to be wrong, but I see no sound, scientific evidence to support that position today. What I keep coming back to is this: all those dire (alarmist!) warnings from climate scientists 30 years ago? They’re coming true, one after another – and faster than supercomputer models predicted. Data shows 37 years/row of above-average temperatures, worldwide. My state has warmed by at least 3 degrees F. Climate change is either “The Mother of All Coincidences” - or the trends are real.

My father, a devout Republican, who escaped a communist regime in East Germany, always taught me to never take my freedom for granted, and “actions have consequences.” Carbon that took billions of years to form has been released in a geological blink of an eye. Human emissions have grown significantly over the past 200 years, and now exceed 27 billion tons of carbon dioxide, annually. To pretend this isn’t having any effect on the 12-mile thin atmosphere overhead is to throw all logic and common sense out the window. It is to believe in scientific superstitions and political fairy tales, about a world where actions have no consequences - where colorless, odorless gases, the effluence of success and growth, can be waved away with a nod and a smirk. No harm, no foul. Keep drilling.

In 2008, before it became fashionable to bash climate science, I had the honor of welcoming Iraqi war veterans back to Minnesota for a banquet. The keynote speaker was my hero, Senator John McCain. At dinner I asked him point blank “is it possible this warm, freakish weather is all one great big, cosmic coincidence?” He rolled his eyes, smiled and said “Paul, I just returned from the Yukon. The Chief Elder of a local village presented me with a 4,000 year old tomahawk that had just melted from the permafrost. The short answer? No.” How did we get from there – to here, with an entire party in perpetual denial? Is it still Al Gore? Fear of a government land-grab? My party needs to step up and become part of the solution, which, this century, will generate far more jobs and GDP than legacy, carbon-based industries."

You can read the whole thing here (in my previous comment I only linked to an article that linked to this, the original op-ed itself):

If you pointed to something similar? Do you mean an equivalent scenario, such as a lefty progressive meteorologist who had regular contact with climate scientists and studied their work, and noticed that the changes that climatologists predicted 30 years ago were NOT happening, and actually thought that the majority of scientists were very wrong on the issue?

I'd be curious to see what they have to say, and why.

1. I work in English; my last degree is the Ashbrook MAHG. In anything else I am an autodidact. Home schooling my kids, I studied all kinds of things, including climate and weather. Does that make me an expert? Heck, no, it just leaves me interested. I said the observation in the study is evidence, not proof, and it is. If there is evidence of warming in vastly separate areas of the globe at the same time, it raises a question about whether those are isolated situations or if the whole globe was warmer at that time. Was the Earth closer to the Sun than in other periods? Maybe. Why not? We really just don't know enough, do we?

3. Feel free to be skeptical about the financial backing of anyone. I am also skeptical of scientists conclusions about what they observe, because the money that funds them and their studies comes with ideological strings attached. You have to know that, but seem to find such strings invisible when tied to certain people.

4. My gut says your meteorologist's gut is wrong. I don't care what McCain said. How did he get to be one of your heroes? Deciding that global warming or cooling is all about what man does and then setting out to prove it with selective evidence is not good science. It is typical of leftist politics, though, and I say the hell with it.

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