The Wheels Slowly Turn on the Shifting Sands of The Narrative
After years of saying the Little Ice Age was just a European, or Northern Hemisphere event, now apparently it was more global. It’s just that it was caused by volcanoes and white guys.
Michael Marshall, The Guardian
The ‘little ice age’ of the 14th to the 19th centuries brought cold winters to Europe and unusual weather globally. Studying how humans adapted could be valuable.
The story isn’t entirely settled, but researchers are increasingly confident about the initial trigger: volcanoes.
“You have these eruptions that are happening in clusters,” says Degroot. A 2015 study used data from ice cores to identify 25 major eruptions from the past 2,500 years. Between 1200 and 1400, there were huge eruptions of the Samalas volcano in Indonesia, Quilotoa in Ecuador and El Chichón in Mexico.
But the volcanoes reasoning is a bit hand-wavy and vague, so Michael Marshall knows he needs other reasons. He considers the sun as a ball-of-pure-light for a few paragraphs, ignoring that it might have a magnetic field 12,000 times bigger than Earths, or a solar wind that buffets Earth at a million miles an hour. Thus, on the basis of ignoring most solar physics, he rules it out as a big contender. Which leaves him free to fill in the gaps in his theory with the two most fashionable Voodoo dolls of Postmodern Witchcraft — White Men and CO2.
… this cold spell was caused by humanity – in a truly horrible way.
The great dying
In 1492, Christopher Columbus reached the Americas. Over the following decades, Europeans began colonising them. In the process, they fought with Indigenous Americans, often killing them. But even more lethally, they brought diseases. One of the worst was smallpox, which killed millions.
As well as being a genocide and a tragedy, this may have had an impact on the climate. Many Indigenous Americans were farmers who had cleared forests for their crops and when they died the trees grew back, drawing carbon dioxide out of the air and cooling the planet.
So White men killed the nice native farmers, and that meant the forests grew back, which was terrible, by the way, and the naughty trees ate up all the CO2 from the Sky-Princess, and thus the world mostly, sorta got cooler. See how this works?
Not that I’m mocking the devastating effect of smallpox, just the cult-like unfalsifiability of the Climate Religion. All roads lead to white men and CO2.
And of course, like all ideological fantasies, it raises more questions than it solves: if forests are that dangerous, should we be replanting them hither thither? What if we get carried away with the carbon credit schemes and trigger another ice age? And doesn’t this destroy the whole HockeyStick Graph? How can there be both a global little ice caused by volcanoes and then by Christopher Columbus AND also a flat line for the last thousand years of history? Besides, doesn’t extra CO2 cause the ice caps to melt which slide off the polar crustal plates, leading to more volcanoes?
But of course, the shifting narrative has its own uses. Should the world cool now, instead of warm, volcanoes make a handy back door escape route. The climate models will never be wrong — it’s just bad luck. Someone will get a good grant and find volcanoes got bigger, or more clustered, or spewed different particulates, or in different jet streams.
Still not wrong:
Coming soon: how the Medieval Warm Period was caused by the Russians.
Columbus Discovers the New World | Clyde O. DeLand