Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Artistic interpretation of the flooding of the Mediterranean through the Gibraltar Strait, 5.3 million years ago [image credit: Paubahi @ Wikipedia]


“We may be dealing with the one of the largest floods that ever occurred on our planet,” said the lead author of the study.

It was the most abrupt environmental change, at a planetary scale, since the end of the Cretaceous, says Discover magazine.

One of the largest floods in Earth’s history may have deluged the Mediterranean Sea more than 5.3 million years ago, leaving behind a mass of debris roughly the size of Greece’s largest island, Crete, researchers say.

Scientists investigated a roughly 640,000-year span of time starting nearly 6 million years ago when the Mediterranean became a hyper-salty lake.

This so-called Messinian salinity crisis “was the most abrupt environmental change, at a planetary scale, since the end of the Cretaceous — that is, a sudden mass extinction, including dinosaurs, due to a meteorite impact,” said study lead author Aaron Micallef, a marine geoscientist at the University of Malta.

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Image credit: ScienceDaily


It seems there was ‘a distinct increase in sea ice extent’ at some point in time that led to a switch to longer ice age intervals, but the reason(s) for it are not known.

Researchers from Cardiff University have revealed how sea ice has been contributing to the waxing and waning of ice sheets over the last million years, says Phys.org.

In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, the team have shown for the first time that ice ages, occurring every 100,000 years, are accompanied by a rapid build-up of sea ice in the Earth’s oceans.

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The secret on the ocean floor

Posted: February 21, 2018 by oldbrew in exploration, government, History, innovation

Hughes Glomar Explorer at Long Beach, California (1976) [image credit: TedQuackenbush @ Wikipedia]


One mining forecast claims ‘an emerging undersea industry in oceans around the world could be worth $30bn a year by 2030.’ Do the origins of this go back to the Cold War?

Did a 1970s CIA plot spark a boom in deep sea mining? – asks BBC News.

In the summer of 1974, a large and highly unusual ship set sail from Long Beach in California.

It was heading for the middle of the Pacific where its owners boasted it would herald a revolutionary new industry beneath the waves.

Equipped with a towering rig and the latest in drilling gear, the vessel was designed to reach down through the deep, dark waters to a source of incredible wealth lying on the ocean floor.

It was billed as the boldest step so far in a long-held dream of opening a new frontier in mining, one that would see valuable metals extracted from the rocks of the seabed.

But amid all the excited public relations, there was one small hitch – the whole expedition was a lie.

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What’s in a place name?


Anglo-Saxon England was unusually warm and stormy. Place names coined then could hold clues to how the weather will get wetter and wilder as the climate changes, says Sott.net. Assuming the weather does do that, of course. The author asks: “Is it a surprise that places with watery names are more prone to flooding?”

It’s blowy on the B4380 to Buildwas, writes Richard Webb in the New Scientist. A keen wind whipping across the floodplain from Shrewsbury flaps a misarranged saddle bag strap against my back wheel.

As I cross the river Severn at Atcham, and bend right down the back road past Wroxeter, a black cloud delivers the first dribbles of rain.

England’s place names are a treasure trove of hidden history – if only we could find the key.

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Sun at solar system barycentre 1990 [via Arnholm’s solar simulator]


H/T Michele Casati

INFLUENCE OF SOLAR RETROGRADE MOTION ON TERRESTRIAL PROCESSES
N.S.Sidorenkov, Ian Wilson

ABSTRACT. The influence of solar retrograde motion on secular minima of solar activity, volcanic eruptions, climate changes, and other terrestrial processes is investigated. Most collected data suggest that secular minima of solar activity, powerful volcanic eruptions, significant climate changes, and catastrophic earthquakes occur around events of solar retrograde motion.

Keywords: barycentric motion of the sun; secular minima of solar activity, volcanic eruptions, climate changes; the historical process of humankind.

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Earth and climate – an ongoing controversy


It turns out that the temperature target of the agreement was never properly defined.

New study puts the 1.5°C and 2.0°C temperature limits of the Paris Agreement into a historical climate context, says The GWPF.

The Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015 during the COP21 climate conference stipulates that the increase in the global average temperature is to be kept well below 2°C above “pre-industrial levels” and that efforts are pursued to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above “pre-industrial levels.”

Closer inspection of the treaty text, however, reveals that the term “pre-industrial levels” is nowhere defined in this epochal UN-document, that has meanwhile been ratified by 170 Parties.

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Alaskan permafrost [image credit: insideclimatenews.org]


The idea, so heavily pushed these days, that we are on the brink of ‘hot’ times looks more than a bit weak when compared to some earlier epochs on Earth. Regarding raised CO2 levels, the finding that ‘the most likely source of the carbon [dioxide] came from thawing permafrost during the period studied’ strongly suggests that the thaw would be causing the gas release, not the other way round. Phys.org reporting.

Concentration of carbon dioxide during an intense period of global warmth may have been as low as half the level previously suggested by scientists, according to a new Dartmouth College study.

The study found that carbon dioxide may have been less than 1000 parts per million, or ppm, during the Earth’s early Eocene period. This runs counter to thinking that concentration levels were as high as 2000 ppm in the same time frame.

By comparison, current levels of carbon dioxide observed at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory are around 400 ppm.

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Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley, suspended from a crane during her recovery from Charleston Harbor, 8 August 2000 [image credit: Barbara Voulgaris, Naval Historical Center]


The Hunley was the first combat submarine to sink a warship, in 1864. It was very basic, being designed for a crew of eight, seven to turn the hand-cranked propeller and one to steer and direct the boat. Its discovery in 1995 was described by the Director of Naval History at the Naval Historical Center as “probably the most important find of the century.” ‘Tens of thousands’ attended an official funeral in Charleston, South Carolina in 2004, including all five branches of the U.S. armed forces.

A full 22 years after their bodies were discovered, scientists have come up with an explanation for the mysterious deaths of the crew of the Civil War submarine the H. L. Hunley 150 years ago, reports the IB Times.

The Confederate crew of eight were found seated in their stations on the hand crank that powered the ship. They showed no sign of struggle or trying to escape. They also displayed no sign of physical injury. The bilge pumps hadn’t been used and they hadn’t tried to escape through the air hatches.

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Some Pythagorean triples [credit: Cmglee / Wikipedia]


Could Babylonian base-60 maths be about to make a comeback? The tablet has been dated to between 1822 and 1762 BC and is based on Pythagorean triples, as Phys.org reports. It uses ‘a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles’.

UNSW Sydney scientists have discovered the purpose of a famous 3700-year old Babylonian clay tablet, revealing it is the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table, possibly used by ancient mathematical scribes to calculate how to construct palaces and temples and build canals.

The new research shows the Babylonians beat the Greeks to the invention of trigonometry – the study of triangles – by more than 1000 years, and reveals an ancient mathematical sophistication that had been hidden until now.

Known as Plimpton 322, the small tablet was discovered in the early 1900s in what is now southern Iraq by archaeologist, academic, diplomat and antiquities dealer Edgar Banks, the person on whom the fictional character Indiana Jones was based.

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Is there a contradiction in this IB Times report? First it says volcanism causes cooling, then we’re told the resulting volcanic CO2 could have caused warming.

High concentration of mercury identified in ancient sediments suggest that large-scale episodes of volcanism coincided with the end-Triassic mass extinction around 201 million years ago.

It is likely that these huge pulses of volcanic activity led to great environmental perturbations, leading to the extinction of many species living on Earth at the time and setting the scene for the dawn of the dinosaurs.

Previous studies had already shown that volcanic activity was happening around the time of the extinction and there was some evidence for an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

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The article below was contributed by Istvan Marko, J. Scott Armstrong, William M. Briggs, Kesten Green, Hermann Harde, David R. Legates, Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, and Willie Soon.

On June 2, 2017, in a Letter regarding US withdrawal from Paris climate agreement addressed to the MIT community, Professor Rafael Reif, president of MIT, criticized President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Accords. In this refutation, we propose to clarify the scientific understanding of the Earth’s climate and to dispel the expensively fostered popular delusion that man-made global warming will be dangerous and that, therefore, the Paris Agreement would be beneficial.

Professor Reif wrote, “Yesterday, the White House took the position that the Paris climate agreement – a landmark effort to combat global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions – was a bad deal for America.”

There is no science unambiguously establishing that CO2 is the chief cause of the warming observed since the end of the Little Ice Age. The opposite has been repeatedly demonstrated. Ice cores have revealed that changes in CO2 concentration follow, rather than precede, changes in temperature. During the last deglaciation, the latest high-resolution records show atmospheric CO2 lagging temperature by 50 to 500 years. Our enterprises and industries return to the air some of the CO2 that was formerly present there, and some warming may be expected. That warming will be small and beneficial.

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Just a little reminder of the science still championed by Al Gore, Barack Obama, the UN IPCC, the UK parliament’s climate change committee and all those august institutions of science such as the Royal Society, the AAAS, and the rest. Ed cook offered to put a bomb under it in 2003 by telling the truth (in bold), but none of the Hockey Jockeys at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit wanted to know.

From: Edward Cook <drdendro@xxxx.columbia.edu>
To: Keith Briffa <k.briffa@xxx.ac.uk>
Subject: An idea to pass by you
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 08:32:11 -0400
Hi Keith,

After the meeting in Norway, where I presented the Esper stuff as
described in the extended abstract I sent you, and hearing Bradley’s
follow-up talk on how everybody but him has fucked up in
reconstructing past NH temperatures over the past 1000 years (this is
a bit of an overstatement on my part I must admit, but his air of
papal infallibility is really quite nauseating at times), I have come
up with an idea that I want you to be involved in. Consider the
tentative title:

“Northern Hemisphere Temperatures Over The Past Millennium: Where Are
The Greatest Uncertainties?”

Authors: Cook, Briffa, Esper, Osborn, D’Arrigo, Bradley(?), Jones
(??), Mann (infinite?) – I am afraid the Mike and Phil are too
personally invested in things now (i.e. the 2003 GRL paper that is
probably the worst paper Phil has ever been involved in – Bradley
hates it as well), but I am willing to offer to include them if they
can contribute without just defending their past work – this is the
key to having anyone involved. Be honest. Lay it all out on the table
and don’t start by assuming that ANY reconstruction is better than
any other.

Here are my ideas for the paper in a nutshell (please bear with me):
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Credit: quora.com

The energy that went into making the impact crater is thought to be equivalent to 10 billion Hiroshima A-bombs, as BBC News explains. Nowhere to run/hide/escape.

Scientists who drilled into the impact crater associated with the demise of the dinosaurs summarised their findings so far in a BBC Two documentary on Monday.

The researchers recovered rocks from under the Gulf of Mexico that were hit by an asteroid 66 million years ago. The nature of this material records the details of the event.

It is becoming clear that the 15km-wide asteroid could not have hit a worse place on Earth.

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Credit: worldatlas.com


Something new for geologists to get their teeth into.

The Falkland Islands may be home to one of the world’s largest craters, reports the IB Times. A new analysis has revealed it has many characteristics of an asteroid impact and may date back to the ‘Great Dying’ extinction event.

About 200 similar large craters have been discovered so far on Earth but there are many other examples of them on other planets including on Venus, Mercury and Mars.

The Falkland Islands structure, which is described in detail in the journal Terra Nova, has a diameter measuring approximately 250 kilometres (150 miles). If it turns out to be an impact crater, this size would make it one of Earth’s largest – comparable to the famous Chicxulub crater discovered in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico nearly four decades ago.

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.
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Interesting historical round-up from Paul Homewood, which concludes:
‘There is no written law of nature that says glaciers should be the size they were in Victorian times.’

Indeed.

Update – see also the follow-up post: Rapid Retreat Of Glaciers In Early 20thC

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

Scan

From HH Lamb’s “Climate, History and the Modern World”

We know that sea levels have risen since the late 19thC, and that much of this is due to melting of glaciers and ice sheets. However, we also know that the same glaciers were growing rapidly during the Little Ice Age, so can we say that 20thC sea level rise is anything other than a natural process?

Let’s remind ourselves of just how great and widespread this glacial advance was.

The history of glacial advance in the European Alps is well documented. Historian, Brian Fagan, offers us this horrifying account:

View original post 1,484 more words

Carving at Göbekli Tepe


The alleged event appears to pre-date the Göbekli Tepe site itself by at least 1,500 years, which seems at odds with the idea that the carvings were intended as observations of it.

Ancient stone carvings confirm that a comet struck the Earth around 11,000BC, a devastating event which wiped out woolly mammoths and sparked the rise of civilisations, says the Daily Telegraph.

Experts at the University of Edinburgh analysed mysterious symbols carved onto stone pillars at Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey, to find out if they could be linked to constellations. The markings suggest that a swarm of comet fragments hit Earth at the exact same time that a mini-ice age struck, changing the entire course of human history. 

Scientists have speculated for decades that a comet could be behind the sudden fall in temperature during a period known as the Younger Dryas.
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Tony Heller, AKA Steve Goddard, has published two short videos on youtube covering the topics of the extreme weather of 1936 compared to today, and the way temperature data has been manipulated to hide the 1940s-1970s cooling trend. Well worth 15 minutes of your time.

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[click on image to enlarge]

[click on image to enlarge]


Another one to add to the ‘how and why did they do that?’ list of ancient sites. Years of research lie ahead.

Imagine you are about to plan and construct a building that involves several complicated geometrical shapes, but you aren’t allowed to write down any numbers or notes as you do it. For most of us, this would be impossible.

Yet, new research from Arizona State University has revealed that the ancient Southwestern Pueblo people, who had no written language or written number system, were able to do just that – and used these skills to build sophisticated architectural complexes, reports Phys.org.

Dr. Sherry Towers, a professor with the ASU Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center, uncovered these findings while spending several years studying the Sun Temple archaeological site in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, constructed around A.D. 1200.

“The site is known to have been an important focus of ceremony in the region for the ancestral Pueblo peoples, including solstice observations,” Towers says. “My original interest in the site involved looking at whether it was used for observing stars as well.”

However, as Towers delved deeper into the site’s layout and architecture, interesting patterns began to emerge.
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Petrified log at Petrified Forest National Park, AZ [image credit: Jon Sullivan / Wikipedia]

Petrified log at Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
[image credit: Jon Sullivan / Wikipedia]


They seem to base their estimates of the past solar cycle length on a study of only 79 years’ worth of data which is almost certainly too short for high accuracy, but the results are interesting nevertheless.

A pair of German researchers has found evidence in ancient tree rings of a solar sunspot cycle millions of years ago similar to the one observed in more modern times, reports Phys.org.

In their paper published in the journal Geology, Ludwig Luthardt and Ronny Rößler describe how they gathered an assortment of petrified tree samples from a region in Germany and used them to count sunspot cycles.

Scientists know that the sun undergoes a sunspot cycle of approximately 11 years—some spots appear, grow cooler and then slowly move toward the equator and eventually disappear—the changes to the sun spots cause changes to the brightness level of the sun—as the level waxes and wanes, plants here on Earth respond, growing more or less in a given year—this can be seen in the width of tree rings.

In this new effort, the researchers gathered petrified tree samples from a region of Germany that was covered by lava during a volcanic eruption approximately 290 million years ago (during the Permian period), offering a historical record of sun activity.
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Still from pulsar animation.  [Image credit: NASA]

Still from pulsar animation. [Image credit: NASA]


The exoplanet revolution began 25 years ago today. On Jan. 9, 1992, astronomers Alex Wolszczan and Dale Frail published a paper in the journal Nature announcing the discovery of two planets circling an incredibly dense, rapidly rotating stellar corpse known as a pulsar.

It was a landmark find: while several alien-world “candidates” had recently been spotted, Wolszczan and Frail provided the first confirmation that planets exist beyond our own solar system, reports Mike Wall.

“From the very start, the existence of such a system carried with it a prediction that planets around other stars must be common, and that they may exist in a wide variety of architectures, which would be impossible to anticipate on the basis of our knowledge of the solar system alone,” Wolszczan, who’s based at Pennsylvania State University, wrote in a note about the pulsar planets for the “Name Exoworlds” contest sponsored by the International Astronomical Union.
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