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Scientists Reconstruct Millennium's Coldest Winter

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the it's-only-a-model dept.

Earth 290

Ponca City, We love you writes "In England they called it the Great Frost, while in France it entered legend as Le Grand Hiver, three months of deadly cold that fell over Europe in 1709 ushering in a year of famine and food riots. Livestock died from cold in their barns, chicken's combs froze and fell off, trees exploded and travelers froze to death on the roads. It was the coldest winter in 500 years with temperatures as much as 7 degrees C below the average for 20th-century Europe. Now as part of the European Union's Millennium Project, Scientists are aiming to reconstruct the past 1000 years of Europe's climate using a combination of direct measurements, proxy indicators of temperature such as tree rings and ice cores, and data gleaned from historical documents."

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Bring back the Frost fairs. (4, Interesting)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781647)

So what about global warming ? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781663)

More evidence to contradict common mythological belief in global warming! HA!

Re:So what about global warming ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781719)

Global climate change is dangerous.
A conspiracy between terrorists and the government to force us to buy more gas boilers/air conditioners.

Re:So what about global warming ? (1, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781725)

Well, if the climate models could re-create the last 1000 years, that would be a pretty good validation. I doubt they can though.

I'm not a skeptic, current climate models are not bad. The iterations of IPCC predictions have seemed to close in on their old "most likely" scenarios - which tends to validate that they are not just making stuff up.

I would just have a lot more faith in the models if they were open source. Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm not sure - some of them may be available), but apparently it's more important that researchers keep their competitive advantages away from other researchers than to allow people to replicate their results.

Re:So what about global warming ? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781897)

I would just have a lot more faith in the models if they were open source.

Yes, because climate scientists would rather act as gatekeepers for patches submitted by kids in their basements than focus on the work they're paid to do.

And how do you know that open source principles aren't in play with the work they're doing? Just because they don't have a project up on SourceForge doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't working with any and all interested parties. It might just be that they don't throw the doors wide open and say "Come on in everybody" for a project that you need a high level of expertise to be involved with.

Re:So what about global warming ? (4, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782031)

I would just have a lot more faith in the models if they were open source.

Yes, because climate scientists would rather act as gatekeepers for patches submitted by kids in their basements than focus on the work they're paid to do.

"Open source" doesn't have to mean "patches welcome :)".

The code is not the model (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782079)

The physics included is the model.

And if you don't know that the equation in filre #6273, line 182-9 is actually wrong (it should be +0.034*THETA, not +0.043*THETA) then the code can be 100% correct but the model wrong.

Look at MS's products for interoperability. Is the code being asked for? NO. Documentation on the protocol is. Why?

Well you tell us. Why is interoperability not being served by the CODE being opened?

Re:So what about global warming ? (5, Funny)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782127)

Well, if the climate models could re-create the last 1000 years

It's not too difficult to construct a model that simulates past events, because you know exactly what behaviour it should have.

I would just have a lot more faith in the models if they were open source. Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm not sure - some of them may be available),

No offence, I notice the qualifiers, but I suspect you're not well up on how the (academic) scientific world works.

First, you should note the difference between a scientific model and a computer model. Generally the scientific model is the theory and the computer model simply an implementation of it in program form (though some have argued that a computer model *is* a scientific model, but let's not confuse things).

Anyway, the theory is certainly not kept secret -- it's published in papers and discussed and argued over. That's the whole point of science!

The computer model though is generally not kept secret either. There's no need. The scientific theory is the key, and it doesn't harm the scientists to let others play with their model. Many programs used (I would guess) are open source or public domain. Even if not explicitly so, researchers will often supply copies of the code on request. If the code is not supplied, it's probably because the scientists haven't got around to it yet, or because no one needs it, or because the code involved is trivial.

but apparently it's more important that researchers keep their competitive advantages away from other researchers than to allow people to replicate their results.

I don't know where you've got this idea from, but this doesn't really happen. Researchers may keep ideas quiet until they publish to avoid someone else claiming the glory, but after they publish it's in their interests for as many people to use their work as possible. If people replicate their results, then that's independent verification of their results -- wonderful! If people build on their model to produce a better one, they get cited and gain influence -- great! The difficulty for researchers is actually the opposite problem -- getting people to notice and user their work. I'm sure there are counter examples, but that has been my experience.

Re:So what about global warming ? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782331)

If the code is not supplied, it's probably because the scientists haven't got around to it yet, or because no one needs it, or because the code involved is trivial.

I'm involved in scientific computer modeling, and I've had requests from other researchers to use my code. Though I love everything open-source and believe in sharing information, so far I've decided not to give my code to anybody. The reason is that when you write code only for your small research group, it's usually not very well documented or easy to use. Therefore I know I would get flooded with support requests and questions about the code, and unfortunately I don't have time for that. I wonder how other researchers have dealt with this problem.

Re:So what about global warming ? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782385)

I don't know where you've got this idea from, but this doesn't really happen. Researchers may keep ideas quiet until they publish to avoid someone else claiming the glory, but after they publish it's in their interests for as many people to use their work as possible. If people replicate their results, then that's independent verification of their results -- wonderful! If people build on their model to produce a better one, they get cited and gain influence -- great! The difficulty for researchers is actually the opposite problem -- getting people to notice and user their work. I'm sure there are counter examples, but that has been my experience.

To amplify on this, your scientific credentials depend to an extent on how often your work is referred to in other publications. They won't be if you keep the details secret. These credentials, the scientific relevance of your work, if you will, can have a pronounced effect on your funding by various grant-giving agencies. No-one's going to give you much money if your work is ignored. On the other hand, if your work is widely quoted/referenced, your chances of winning the grant sweepstakes go way up. You need to prove to other workers in the field that you know what you're doing. True, you don't want to be scooped, but you lose out by keeping your results secret.

Re:So what about global warming ? (5, Insightful)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782409)

I don't know where you've got this idea from, but this doesn't really happen. Researchers may keep ideas quiet until they publish to avoid someone else claiming the glory, but after they publish it's in their interests for as many people to use their work as possible. If people replicate their results, then that's independent verification of their results -- wonderful! If people build on their model to produce a better one, they get cited and gain influence -- great! The difficulty for researchers is actually the opposite problem -- getting people to notice and user their work. I'm sure there are counter examples, but that has been my experience.

Your faith in the scientific method is very sweet; unfortunately it has been shown (Wegman, McIntyre et al.) that Climate Scientists often don't publish all of their data and code. With a lot of these studies it's almost impossible to provide independent verification and a lot of work involves reverse engineering from their results to find out exactly what they did (`Mannian' PCA for example).

With respect to getting people to notice their work, in Climate Science it consists of a simple press release warning of (take your pick) catastrophic warming, catastrophic flooding, catastrophic cooling, catastrophic extinction, catastrophic weather, dead penguins (Linux fans please note!).

Re:So what about global warming ? (0)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782657)

The theory can be accurate, but the computer model is often not. Why? Because the theory is "analog," while the computer model is digital and must deal with discrete math at a necessarily low resolution.

Re:So what about global warming ? (0)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782695)

Past climates are not easy to model - I think it's something about the CFL and the speed of sound making it very difficult to model the weather on a yearly (let alone decade plus) timespan.

Perhaps climate funding goes to the groups with the best models. If this is the case, they would see their code base as a competitive advantage, and there is not way all of them will release their (generally publicly funded) code voluntarily. Even if they wanted to, their administrators might hold them back.

Also, there is no guarantee that code matches the spec (i.e. the published model). Errors, undocumented features, dark hacks and "corrections" can mean that the code can do anything. Maybe the code is embarrassing. Maybe secret bits of the theory are being held back. Who knows?

In an ideal world, the IPCC (which is not short of resources) would publish the software models it uses for its reports. In an ideal world, Newton would have published his calculus, and not just the results that he used it to find.

Re:So what about global warming ? (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782217)

Well, if the climate models could re-create the last 1000 years, that would be a pretty good validation. I doubt they can though.

Our sun is about to enter the 309 year cycle with that ice age:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cycle [wikipedia.org]

Re:So what about global warming ? (0, Redundant)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782493)

Science has been open source since before you were born. Peer reviewed journals have been the way research (at least non private sector research) gets spread between universities and peer reviewed.

Industry shills like yourself may be learning to be a bit more subtle in the ways of FUDcasting, but know that there will always be people smarter than you who will call you on your BS.

Bad Science (3, Funny)

UbuntuLinux (1242150) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781757)

This article, and the research it talks about, is nothing but bad science. Computer models? Tree rings? Proxy indicators? This isn't the internet we're talking about, people, its the climate. IE the temperature. And how do you measure temperature? Well, I use a thermometer, why can't these people?

We all know that, over time, layers of sediment build up, and so, by digging into the ground you are seeing the earth as it was some time ago - so why don't the scientists just use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the soil at different depths?

Re:Bad Science (4, Funny)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782063)

This article, and the research it talks about, is nothing but bad science. Computer models? Tree rings? Proxy indicators? This isn't the internet we're talking about, people, its the climate. IE the temperature. And how do you measure temperature? Well, I use a thermometer, why can't these people?

They've found a way to turn a supercomputer into an extremely powerful thermometer, far better than that wimpy glass tube you have.

We all know that, over time, layers of sediment build up, and so, by digging into the ground you are seeing the earth as it was some time ago - so why don't the scientists just use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the soil at different depths?

Because their superpowerful supercomputing thermometer is far to big to stick in the ground like that.

Re:Bring back the Frost fairs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782119)

Chances are that the equations are too complex and the whole project falls apart around half way through.
Anybody want to place bets?

Re:Bring back the Frost fairs. (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782785)

Unlike what wikipedia states the frost fairs did not stop because of global warming.
The rate of flow and the layout of river have changed which are the primary reason you don't have the Thames freezing any more, the BBC has pictures of parts of the Thames frozen during from this and previous years but that is in slow moving areas.
Also during the years they had some of the longest lasting fairs they were doing construction on the river and daming up parts or slowing the flow of sections and those were the areas that froze.

I hope this is a lab model (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781657)

Scientists Reconstruct Millennium's Coldest Winter

I hope this is a lab or computer model, and does not involve spraying particulates into the upper atmosphere.

A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (2, Interesting)

Schiphol (1168667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781671)

Apparently, winter of 2009 will be one of the coldest in the last 30 or 40 years. Many people is saying that we should find such extreme temperatures increasingly common as a result of global warming.
Is it impossible that this particular result is being publicised to remind the general public that we have been like this before in history, and that global warming may not be to blame as regards are current weather? At the very least, I am afraid this piece of news may have this as a result.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (3, Interesting)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781711)

The article may be a contributing factor to global-warming denialists, but they'd have continued denying anyway. The fact that they might seize on this, and twist it to their aims, is neither here nor there.

The great frost was a relatively little known event historically, to the point that wikipedia only recently got a page about it, and as of this moment, it still hasn't appeared in the page detailing the events of 1709.

Even for those who want to claim it somehow invalidates global warming, it should be noted that the great frost was followed over the next few years by a period of rapid temperature increases. If they want to somehow draw a comparable link between 1709 and 2009, you can throw that back at them as another meaningless statistic.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (-1, Troll)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781859)

Everyone who would deny global warming is a fool.

What I doubt, though, is the unnaturalness that many are talking about. That's a big difference right there.

So what is the CO2 we're releasing doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782451)

Because, *naturally* it would be making the oceans acidic and raising global temperature averages.

What is "unnatural" about that?

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781893)

My biggest issue with the global warming debate, is that it's not a debate. It's religion. Your side calls the other "denialists", the other side call yours "fanatics" or "hysterics".

It doesn't help that scientists/politicians/news have claimed the onset of catastrophic climate change in both directions several times before in recent history. The burden of proof is just huge ("yeah, right, like we'll believe you _this time_"), and that cannot be ignored by deriding the ones that point out flaws.

In all other scientific theories, if a prediction is proven wrong it requires updating or invalidating the theory. When it comes to global warming it is never anything but "the denialists reading it wrong".

You can't first claim "this is probably the last year you can ski here". Then, after several years of record snow fall, change it to "this is extreme weather, just like we said global warming would lead to!" and expect that to convince anybody that disagrees with the theory.

This "the world is flat", "no it isn't" bickering is what makes me not give a damn. Come back when this is no longer a religion and I'll reconsider.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (4, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782085)

There has never been a "this is probably the last year you can ski here" statement from climate scientists. It's straw man attacks like these that make denialists into denialists: instead of criticising the models, the predictions and the findings, you come up with your own stuff. Or you choose to criticise moonbat environmentalist hippies instead of the science.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (5, Informative)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782153)

There has never been a "this is probably the last year you can ski here" statement from climate scientists. It's straw man attacks like these that make denialists into denialists: instead of criticising the models, the predictions and the findings, you come up with your own stuff. Or you choose to criticise moonbat environmentalist hippies instead of the science.

Exactly right.

For example, the oft-troped canard that scientists claimed we were heading for a new ice age back in the 70's.

Most predictions of an impending ice age came from the popular press (eg - Newsweek, NY Times, National Geographic, Time Magazine). As far as peer reviewed scientific papers in the 1970s, very few papers (7 in total) predicted global cooling. Significantly more papers (42 in total) predicted global warming due to CO2.

But of course, the denialists (yes, I'll use that term, because that's what they are) still repeat this debunked claim. In that way, they are damn similar to creationists: Repeating old discredited arguments based on misinformation to back their points.

This means YOU, Anonymous Coward above ("It doesn't help that scientists/politicians/news have claimed the onset of catastrophic climate change in both directions several times before in recent history.")

(Source : http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm [skepticalscience.com] )

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782803)

Well, this is all about how would you expect the street man to make himself an opinion, if it worth him to have one, but it should since credits are somewhat dependants on him and his peers, if the first line information channel is itself biased, incomplete or worst totally incompetent? Then, even if this channel is working well, how would you expect the street man without any scientific culture at all to be able to understand and analyze for himself this information?

I think it is just not possible at all unless the whole country scientific culture become a priority in the educational institutions. Otherwise, the street man will stick on myths and legendary stories from the bible or any other book looking like an authority or someone using it like an authoritative book.

I am not optimistic about any change in this direction, even if the new USA President is less dummy than the former one.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782879)

I'll quote from the comments of that article:

The claim by Peterson that there were only 7 papers in the 1970s predicting cooling is just ridiculous. Anyone can check this with a quick look at Google scholar. Here are two examples they have missed, but there are many more.

Return of the ice age and drought in peninsular Florida?

I keep seeing examples in the media where scientists in one breath state "we don't know precisely why this is occuring", then in the next "but we're sure it's man-made". I'm sorry, that's no science I am familiar with.
Joseph M. Moran, Geology 3 (12): 695-696 (1975)
Convection in the Antarctic Ice Sheet Leading to a Surge of the Ice Sheet and Possibly to a New Ice Age
T. Hughes, Science Vol. 170. no. 3958, pp. 630 - 633 (1970)

What is strange is why people attempt to re-write recent history in this way, when their claims can so easily be disproven.
Where did all the stories in the papers, TV and magazines come from? Were they all just fabricated? No of course not, they came from scientists who made suggestions (like the above 'possibly to a new ice age') which were then hyped and exaggerated by the media. Much the same thing is happening now with the global warming scare.

Then, of course, the comments pointing out how the articles are not really about that etc. And so the circle continues. My point isn't that that comment is accurate, but that there always is one. And then one against it. Ad nauseum.

In a great many theories, common sense can lead you to a conclusion. Anybody can take ice out of the freezer and put it in a kettle on the stove to watch water go from ice to water to vapor.

In the case of man-made global warming, you simply have to pick a side. Who do you trust? There's virtually nothing you yourself can easily verify personally. There's no single "look how this was theorized 50 years ago and not a single of its dozens of predictions have failed" item to point to. On the other hand we can point to failed weather forecasts every single week.

It's simply not possible to come to an objective conclusion without dedicating huge amounts of time to the pursuit. And even then there's no guarantee where you'll end up (there are still serious scientists around that argue against the man-made global warming theory, after all). Most don't bother. Most just pick a side. You believe the one, or the other. Then you start throwing rocks at "the other".

The irony is that most of the changes needed to cut down on emissions has immediate and quite noticeable local effects. It has no negative effects. Instead of focusing on something people can relate to, politicians opt for "the sky is falling" fearmongering.

The reason is obvious, of course. Fear is a lot more potent as a political tool. Take a small country like mine. Politicians are making a huge deal about environmentally friendly cars. When doing so they focus exclusively on local emissions. If nobody here ever drove again, we'd cut the global emissions by some 0.00000015%. Give or take a zero. That has nothing to do with global climate, that's a political agenda.

In any case where you have a controversial issue, where one side does not welcome discussion, that's grounds for scepticism in itself. Whenever a global warming evangelist answers "I read this article about that 'hockey stick' temperature curve being in error" with something along the lines of "you idiot hippie!" as opposed to explaining the Wahl and Ammann examination, it's not helping their credibility. And there's a lot of that going on. _A lot_. You can't behave like an evangelist and expect not to be treated as one.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783033)

There has never been a "this is probably the last year you can ski here" statement from climate scientists.

There were some rather dire predictions about the 2006 and 2007 hurricane seasons.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (0, Troll)

vague disclaimer (861154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782325)

Your side calls the other "denialists"

They get called deniers because that is exactly what they are: in the face of overwhelming evidence, they continue to deny, using logic that is identical to 9/11 wonks, moon hoax nutters and, yes, even Holocaust deniers.

The classic approach is to take one *apparent* anomaly and present is as if it is Popperian falsification - when the truth is more often that the supposed anomaly is itself explained by the theory

And what about proven scientific fraud? (5, Insightful)

Garwulf (708651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782817)

"They get called deniers because that is exactly what they are: in the face of overwhelming evidence, they continue to deny, using logic that is identical to 9/11 wonks, moon hoax nutters and, yes, even Holocaust deniers."

And what about proven scientific fraud?

A couple of years ago, two Canadians named Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (aka MM) decided to try to recreate the famous "Hockey Stick." As I recall, one was an economist, the other a mathematician - their work was just to reproduce the results Mann had published using Mann's own model and technique.

They couldn't do it.

In fact, they found two things:

First, Mann and his team had cherry picked their data. They took only the lowest samples from the Medieval Warm Period, and only the highest samples for the modern period. In the case of the former, quite a lot of data was collected and then withheld, data which placed the Medieval Warm Period as considerably hotter than today. This is the equivalent of a historian trying to erase the Roman Empire from history.

Second, Mann's model itself would generate a "hockey stick" out of any data that was fed into it. MM fed a number of samples that were actually random noise into the model, and every single one came out a hockey stick.

Once MM corrected the graph and collected more representative data, what they found was a Medieval Warm Period quite higher than temperatures today, followed by a dip in temperature, and a rise in temperature in the last few years, but NOT one that was out of the ordinary in terms of size or scale.

The paper in which this was published ( http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/mcintyre.mckitrick.2003.pdf [climateaudit.org] ) raised enough questions that in 2006 it was put before a committee led by a statistics professor named Edward Wegman, which performed an independent review of both Mann and his team's "hockey stick," as well as MM's work on debunking it. Not only did they find and report to Congress that the "hockey stick" could not be reproduced, but also that the entire paleoclimate field had become isolated and often unwilling to share important data, or clarify their methodologies - in some cases claiming that a bad methodology was fine because the answer was correct anyway. MM's work was upheld, and the "hockey stick" was debunked.

Sources so far:

http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/WegmanOp-Ed.pdf [uoguelph.ca]
http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/trc.html [uoguelph.ca]
http://www.climateaudit.org/?page_id=354 [climateaudit.org]

When it comes to the IPCC report, the committee broke its own rules to use Mann's "hockey stick." This is documented here: http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2008/8/11/caspar-and-the-jesus-paper.html [squarespace.com]

This is very far from "logic that is identical to 9/11 wonks, moon hoax nutters and, yes, even Holocaust deniers" - it is, however, a damning observation that the emperor is wearing no clothes.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (1)

whoop (194) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783093)

followed over the next few years by a period of rapid temperature increases.

So, what was it that caused global warming 1710+? SUVs? Aerosol deodorant? Oil refineries? Americans consuming too much? Because today, these sort of things are the reasons for global warming. The globalwarmites definately never want to hear anything like "temperatures fluctuate."

One can only hope (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781775)

that if they can show periods of both cooling and warming that they actually publish it any get past the hyperbole of the groups who profit of the global warming industry. The problem with every generation is that they think they are unique. It has all happened before and will happen again.

Still it is a great thing to announce during a cold snap.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781793)

What? Winter isn't a global phenomenon. It occurs on one hemisphere at a time. AFAIK, Australia has a particularly hot summer this winter. And it's not a particularly cold winter here.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (3, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781875)

Australia has a particularly hot summer this winter

Worst. Understatement. Ever.

It got to 46 degrees C (114F) here two days ago, and temperatures all over southern Australia broke records. Over 100 people have died in fires and over 600 houses have been lost (in Victoria - i don't know about other states)

On the northern side of the country they are having some pretty bad floods.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (1)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782883)

Can't blame the climate for the arsonists.

Forest fires are a natural forest rejuvenation mechanism. Temperature isn't so much the cause as is drought (although they often go hand in hand).

However, if the news is trustworthy, the current fires are most all set by insane criminals.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781843)

Winter 2009 where exactly? I live in Switzerland and this has been a winter that has finally come close to what I was used to as a kid. I'm still waiting for one that will be on par.

So where is this super-cold winter supposed to be?

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (3, Funny)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781953)

Where I live we just broke a 70 year old record for snowfall in a given period. I see no sign of global warming making this place snowfree anytime soon.

I keep my car running 24/7 to try to help it along, but I still have to shovel the snow _upwards_ when clearing it off the roof.

Recently read that the ski resorts in the Alps are also struggling with the highest snow fall in a decade.

We clearly need bigger cars.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (0)

M-RES (653754) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782357)

I see no sign of global warming making this place snowfree anytime soon.

Now you do see the problem with your statement don't you?

You see no sign of GLOBAL warming having a LOCAL warming effect? This is one of the big problems - people assuming that 'global warming' means every single micro-climate in every single locale on the planet will experience a warming effect, rather than the reality that they'll probably experience more extremes of weather pattern (places with wet climates will get wetter, places with dry climates will get drier - to grossly generalise).

What GLOBAL warming shows us is that the mean temperature across the entire planet is increasing, not just in your local neighbourhood (if in your local neighbourhood at all).

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782271)

Can I send you mine? The import duties might be expensive.

Global Warming not Global Weather. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782133)

The key area of the debate of Global Warming is the fact that the math is based on statistics. While statistics calculations are relatively easy (especially with a computer) the problem is getting good random data, and factoring in additional effects. Then for most people the calculations used are not as intuitive by most people even the ones who are good with math. So it makes the entire concept and all the work done difficult for people to get. So if they don't understand it what will they do... Go with their gut instinct.

Some people will disregard the data all together, then other people will take the data as absolute truth and see the world ending. Then there are people somewhere in the middle who will either think it wont be that bad, or a bit worse then estimated.

Now global warming in is simplistic view means the Mean of Normal Distribution Curve of probability for the weather has shifted up in temperature. That doesn't mean the shape of the Normal Distribution Curve changes it is still normal, If we were destined to get record cold this year we will probably still get it. Except for the -10F temperature we get -8F temperature.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782321)

It's not for my locale.

We had record snows... I remember them being the same in 1976, my parents remember winter being this way most of the time in their early lives.

They also said that Detroiters and New Yorkers whined just as much about a little bit of snow back then as they do now.

Call me when I have significantly colder days for longer. We had our very normal stint of 14-24 days below 10degF although none below 0DegF which is abnormal.

Re:A somewhat Conspiracy-Theory-ish observation (1)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782643)

I had several feet of snow fall on Nov 12, (3-4 feet deep on top of the car). Usually it doesn't start coming down like that until Dec, and in 2007 we still had green grass at Christmas.

The average temp would be probably around the -7%C this year, at a guess.

That's volcanic compared with some things ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781701)

Sounds positively warm compared to the cold hearts of some girls I've known.

But not as cold as some geeks' overclocking setups.

Frost post (-1, Flamebait)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781703)

Part of the global warming no doubt...

"Proxy indicators"? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781749)

Blatant euphemism for indirect and highly circumstantial evidence.

I think I'll use proxy indicators the next time I serve on jury duty... you know - things like race, sex, and religion should all be valid evidence according to EU-sponsored scientists.

Re:"Proxy indicators"? (2, Interesting)

XSpud (801834) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782089)

I wouldn't have thought climate scientists would have much of a problem with climate proxy indicators being referred to as indirect evidence so there's no need for your use of the pejorative term "euphemism" there.

And if you think "circumstantial evidence" includes race, sex, and religion in a court of law, you clearly don't have an understanding of this term either.

Read up a bit on the science involved and you might be surprised to find some of these proxy indicators are little different than using the existence of fossils to infer the presence of dinosaurs in prehistory.

Or perhaps you don't believe in dinosaurs?

This project appears to be good science, whatever your views on climate change - it's recognizing there is a limit to the accuracy of what we currently use as proxy indicators, but by comparing proxy indicator predictions against actual measurements, it hopes to refine our use of these indirect measurements so we can use them to get a clearer idea of the causes of current climate trends.

As usual... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781771)

A bit of topic, but funny enough, as usual one could say, when it gets cold as hell, someone is bound to invade Russia. In 1709 it was the Swedes that marched against Moscow. The later attempts by Napoleon and Hitler failed as well, mostly because it got a lot colder than usual.

And as can be expected, most of the Swedish army froze to their death, paving the way for the expanse of the Russian empire.

It's all a plot ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781801)

to put another stealth tax on us poor honest law-abiding motorists.

Everything is. Everything

what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781807)

The article says that the temperatures went down to -15 Celsius, I must be missing something, -15 is nothing, it's much lower than that every winter in Quebec...?

Re:what? (3, Insightful)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781983)

The problem is not absolute temperature, it the difference between what is expected and the actual temperature was.

The supply of seasoned wood would not have been large enough to last a longer colder than expected winter. Similar for food supplies for both people and livestock.

Barns would not have been build with thermal insulation as a primary concern, far more important would have been rain proofing and making sure enough air gets in to prevent suffication so a very cold snap would have caused serious issues for livestock welfare.

Not that cold (4, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781817)

"On 10 January, Derham logged -12 ÂC, the lowest temperature he had ever measured. In France, the temperature dipped lower still. In Paris, it sank to -15 ÂC on 14 January and stayed there for 11 days."

For the imperialists among us, -15 C is 5 F. That's really not that cold, and I don't know about the whole "exploding trees" and "combs falling off of chickens" stuff supposedly going on at that temp. I live in Virginia, which is considered the South. We're at a significantly lower latitude than France, and we've had at least 5 days of single digit F temps just this winter alone, and that is typical. Of course our cold temps pale in comparison to Canada, and the northern New England states Maine, New Hampshire, etc.

So maybe those temps are atypical for parts Europe, but trees, and chickens and many types of livestock endure temps that low regularly every single year, which makes me wonder if there was some hyperbole going on back in 1709.

Re:Not that cold (3, Informative)

oliderid (710055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781871)

We're at a significantly lower latitude than France, and we've had at least 5 days of single digit F temps just this winter alone, and that is typical.

France and other western european countries enjoy (imho) the gulf stream effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_Stream [wikipedia.org]

Buildings, farms and livestock (especially in southern france) aren't designed for such temperature and certainly not for long period under such a temperature.

Re:Not that cold (2, Insightful)

jwilty (1048206) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782261)

"Before the year was out more than a million had died from cold or starvation"

I'd like to see the actual breakdown of deaths from cold and from starvation. Even with buildings designed for warmer temperatures, I have a difficult time believing "Livestock died from cold in their barns..." at +5 F. The combined body heat of many livestock gathered in a small indoor space should have raised the temperature significantly.

Perhaps many of the memories of the harsh winter were influenced by the poor crop and subsequent food shortages the following summer?

Re:Not that cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782525)

300 years ago. Remember that. You have a crop failure and you don't just phone up the next supplier on your list. Crop failures due to extreme cold would be widespread, meaning that it effects everyone and everything. And yes, the total death toll probably did take into account people that continued to die into the Spring and Summer because there wasn't enough food. Again, 300 years ago. This is a key point that many people here seem to keep missing. Life was very different back then.

Re:Not that cold (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782555)

It didn't necessarily say that all of it happened at -15 C everywhere. Remember the -15 C was only what was recorded in Paris. It was not that temperature everywhere. -15C is however usual for Paris for 11 days; elsewhere it was colder than normal.

From the article it said that the unusually cold winter destroyed the winter crop staples like winter wheat which led to starvation in the summer (when it was to be harvested).

Re:Not that cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782465)

Buildings, farms and livestock (especially in southern france) aren't designed for such temperature and certainly not for long period under such a temperature.

They design livestock in France? Must be delicious.

Re:Not that cold (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781873)

... but trees, and chickens and many types of livestock endure temps that low regularly every single year, which makes me wonder if there was some hyperbole going on back in 1709.

Are you suggesting Sir that our ancestors might be prone to exaggerating? Telling tall tales? Prone to jest?

Hogwash I say! Pure unadulterated hogwash.

Now if you'll excuse me I've an appointment with Baron Münchhausen.

Re:Not that cold (4, Interesting)

jspoon (585173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781943)

The chicken comb thing happens in the midwest. It's pretty much frostbite, and a caution that the same will happen to your ears if you let it. Of course, where I'm talking about the low temperatures are below zero, Fahrenheit, and the wind chills can be pretty extreme. Never heard of trees exploding-I wonder if someone had an ice storm and got confused about what actually happened.

Re:Not that cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782017)

Never heard of trees exploding-I wonder if someone had an ice storm and got confused about what actually happened.

Probably the ice storm.

Dead tree breaking sounds like a crack. Live tree breaking sounds like a small explosion. "They say."

Re:Not that cold (5, Informative)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783007)

I've seen trees explode(well the aftermath) here in upstate NY. It usually only happens when you get a cold snap BEFORE winter. Before the trees have enough time to pull all the sap out of them selves. Trees with tons of sap still in their trunks, sap made up of mostly water that expands when it gets cold, that suddenly drop to teens F and single digits F will make a tree explode.

Re:Not that cold (2, Insightful)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781951)

Of course our cold temps pale in comparison to Canada, and the northern New England states Maine, New Hampshire, etc.

Where I live in upstate New York, we've hit -15 F (-26 C) several days this year. Further upstate from me has gotten to -25 F (-32 C) below. Friends in Maine tell me they've seen -35 F (-37 C) this winter. These weren't just for a day, but for several, even more than a week at times, before returning to ever-so-slightly warmer temperatures.

Even if things were cold back in 1709, methinks they doth protest too much.

Re:Not that cold (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782161)

Of course our cold temps pale in comparison to Canada, and the northern New England states Maine, New Hampshire, etc.

Where I live in upstate New York, we've hit -15 F (-26 C) several days this year. Further upstate from me has gotten to -25 F (-32 C) below. Friends in Maine tell me they've seen -35 F (-37 C) this winter. These weren't just for a day, but for several, even more than a week at times, before returning to ever-so-slightly warmer temperatures.

Even if things were cold back in 1709, methinks they doth protest too much.

And here in London... well, I'll let Wikipedia say it:

London has a temperate marine climate, like much of the British Isles, so the city rarely sees extremely high or low temperatures. Summers are warm with average high temperatures of 23 ÂC (73 ÂF) and lows of 14 ÂC (57 ÂF), however, temperatures can exceed 25 ÂC (77 ÂF) on many days.[76] Winters in London are chilly, but rarely below freezing with daytime temperatures around 2 - 8 ÂC (36 - 46 ÂF), while spring has mild days and cool evenings.

We had 15cm of snow last week (on Sunday/Monday), the most in 18 years. Most years it snows maybe once or twice, if it settles it doesn't last more than a day. I'd protest if it got to -37C! I think I'd have to wear all my clothes.

Re:Not that cold (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782885)

In -37 C, you just don't go outside much.

I had never studied London's climate (nor have I had the opportunity to visit, unfortunately), but that does seem mild. Even though we've had -15 F here in the winter, NY summer days can hit 90-100 F (32-37 C) with ease. A bit more extreme than your spot, I guess.

Re:Not that cold (1)

addsalt (985163) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781995)

In France, the temperature dipped lower still. In Paris, it sank to -15 ÂC on 14 January and stayed there for 11 days

What? While the weather here in France has been a little colder than normal (I'm midway between Paris and Lille), saying it has been -15C for 11 days is just false. There has been one day where this area hit -15, but we've been staying above 0C most days.

Re:Not that cold (2, Informative)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782203)

GP was quoting. It was -15 on the 14th Jan 300 years ago.

Re:Not that cold (1)

chrisgeleven (514645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781997)

We had a -20 F day a few weeks back one morning in Southern NH. A few hours north of here was even worse, -40 F I heard.

Usually in the winter, Southern NH is in the 10F-30F range. We may have a day or two that drops below 0 or a day or two when it can get into the 50s, but those are fairly rare.

We had couple weeks in a row this year of single digits to near 0 day time temps. It was really unusual for us in the southern part of the state.

Of course, a few years ago, I remember a week of 60 degree temps in the middle of January. Now THAT was unusual.

Sometimes NH weather is absolutely nuts.

Re:Not that cold (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782365)

non judicious trees that dont handle EXTENDED periods of sub 20 degrees temperature will freeze and "explode" as in very slowly split open from the expanding ice.

the "cold snap" would have to last at LEAST 1 week and have no temperature rises or direct sunlight to cause bigger trees that have enough water in them to "explode".

as for chicken combs freezing and breaking off, sounds like raging old coot embellishment to me, the chicken would have suffered frostbite and had it blackened and dead far before it froze solid and broke off. Livestock dying inside is suspect as well, but I'm guessing what they called "inside" was a lean-to with 2 or more sized wide open and not a modern barn where you can close off all four sides and maintain at least 10deg higher temps inside just from the body heat of the animals.

yes I grew up on a farm, we also forested the land as well.

Re:Not that cold (1)

VON-MAN (621853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782407)

The whole quote should be this:

"On 10 January, Derham logged -12 ÂC, the lowest temperature he had ever measured. In France, the temperature dipped lower still. In Paris, it sank to -15 C on 14 January and stayed there for 11 days. After a brief thaw at the end of that month the cold returned with a vengeance and stayed until mid-March."

Which means that it stayed at these low temperatures for 11 days, it thawed for 6 days, and then it froze again for 1 and a half month. So it mostly froze hard for a _long_ time, and this means that in that time the freeze has time to really set in. Hence exploding trees.

"We're at a significantly lower latitude than France", New York and Madrid are at the same latitude and don't have the same climate. You really cannot compare like that.

Re:Not that cold (1)

jsiren (886858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782647)

-15 ÂC is nothing if you're dressed properly. If you're in the position of an 18th century peasant in having no properly heated place to stay and no way to dress properly for the weather, things can get ugly really fast.

Considering the region's usual climate, the buildings most likely didn't much of a thermal insulation to speak of, so when it was -15 ÂC outside, it wasn't very warm inside either. (Somebody probably will correct me if I'm wrong.) Animal shelters probably had no heating at all. Making fires in the shelters was probably not an option, if it meant choosing between equal risks of freezing and burning the animals. Some animals could perhaps have been temporarily kept inside the house, but that wouldn't have solved the whole problem.

As to trees "exploding", it's not unusual for trees to split with a loud bang when it's cold enough. All it takes is a tree with a high water content and a long and deep enough frost period for the water in the tree to freeze. The water expands as it freezes, and when it expands enough, something has to give. If this is a new thing to an observer, together with a record cold spell, it probably is very impressive. I don't know if some more fragile woods might actually explode; we do have ash trees and even oaks in southern Finland, and they do survive the occasional cold spell. The 1709 frost must have caught plants "off guard"...

Re:Not that cold (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782845)

I can certify chicken are not freezing in place in an non-isolated and unheated barn by -30ÂC. I used to have many chicken in such a barn and the temperature often goes well below -20ÂC here and it can stay such for a week or so. Also, I never say an exploding tree in my whole life, for such a phenomenon to manifest, the tree must be full of water and the freeze being very fast.

I wonder how we'd cope now? (4, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26781891)

And with roads and rivers blocked by snow and ice, it was impossible to transport food to the cities. Paris waited three months for fresh supplies.

OK, modern power transmission and transport infrastructure is much more sophisticated. But still very vulnerable to extreme weather conditions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_storm#Notable_ice_storms [wikipedia.org]

Modern 'just in time' supply chains have less stock everywhere in the pipeline, so are intolerent of the slightest disruption. How would we do if this kind of thing hit again?

Just another example that "global warming" is bunk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26781969)

Well, there you have it. Looks like we must have gone through Global Warming even back then. And we (and countless polar bears) obviously survived.

Global warming (and "global cooling" as described in the 1970's) is nothing more then politically correct rhetoric. Call it "Global Climate Change" or "Global Climate Concern" but stop preaching something that is nothing more than a cyclic event.

A story for Depression II? (4, Insightful)

smchris (464899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782019)

When oil will start to become as common as it was in 1709 and we'll have more homeless?

-15 C? Give me a break. I live in Minnesota. -15 C is a _good_ night in January. I've seen more than -30F (-34C if I Qalculate! correctly) and over -100F (-73C) wind chill by the old calculations. I had to start the car once at -24F this year -- and that was what it got _up_ to by a sunny holiday 11 am.

Dang. Never seen a tree explode though. That sounds exciting.

Re:A story for Depression II? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782267)

I grew up in northern Vermont and it was common to see at least one night in February go down to -50 F in the winter. I remember in 93 we had it drop down to -60 F twice and that doesn't factor in the wind chill.

Molog

Re:A story for Depression II? (5, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782283)

I expect you're prepared for that. Happens every year?

Living in London, I'm not prepared for -15C, but that's OK, it never happens. I'm not really prepared for -5C. When there was 15cm of snow last Monday most people didn't go to work: very little of the public transport was running, mostly because it's not worth spending millions on snow/ice clearing equipment that'll be used once every 20 years. They also ran out of salt/grit, the emergency stockpiles weren't big enough.

The last time I took the "wow! it snowed!" photos was 2007. It seemed a huge fall of snow at the time. Looking back, you can still see the grass, and it only lasted a day.

Re:A story for Depression II? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782701)

When there was 15cm of snow last Monday most people didn't go to work: very little of the public transport was running, mostly because it's not worth spending millions on snow/ice clearing equipment that'll be used once every 20 years. They also ran out of salt/grit, the emergency stockpiles weren't big enough.

Any trees explode?

Re:A story for Depression II? (1)

carnalforge (1207648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782399)

Wow man, i thought that even in what's considered the world's coldest city, Yakutsk [wikipedia.org] the coldest measured temperature was -64.4C (-83.92F). -100F (-73.3F) in Minnesota? Maybe you refer to some other Minnesota that we dont know that happens to be somewhere in siberia? :-P

Re:A story for Depression II? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782439)

Wow man, i thought that even in what's considered the world's coldest city, Yakutsk the coldest measured temperature was -64.4C (-83.92F). -100F (-73.3F) in Minnesota? Maybe you refer to some other Minnesota that we dont know that happens to be somewhere in siberia? :-P

He explicitly stated -100F was Wind Chill.

Re:A story for Depression II? (1)

VON-MAN (621853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782495)

Yes, but almost non-stop for two months?

Re:A story for Depression II? (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782505)

I don't know what a Qalculate is, but (as you probabably are aware) Google is great at unit conversion. You can 'search' for "-30F in C" which yields "(-30) degrees Fahrenheit = -34.4444444 degrees Celsius". You can also do things like "1 us gallon in cc" with gives "1 US gallon = 3 785.41178 cc".

Similarly, you can do wacky things like "1 gallon per hour in hogsheads per fortnight" which yields "1 (US gallon per hour) = 5.33333333 hogsheads per fortnight".

Re:A story for Depression II? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782897)

Are you really that ignorant?

It's not about absolute temperature. It's about relative temperature and the magnitude of change from the usual conditions.

The local ecosystems won't be prepared for such a temperature drop. The trees wouldn't have the subcellular structure to prevent from going through phase-transition and freezing. They probably didn't burst into flames, rather, they probably became very brittle and shattered during a strong wind.

In addition,the local infrastructure couldn't handle it (structures weren't designed to maintain warmth at those temperatures, so people and livestock froze to death).

Just my 2 Euro Cents.

Re:A story for Depression II? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783077)

As a fellow Minnesotan, I too was 'awestruck' by the 'impressively' low temperatures sited.

Wasn't it within the last decade that we hit -40 (which is the same in C or F so I won't bother with a unit). I actually walked a half mile out in that with just my winter coat (figured I'd see what -40 felt like), felt rather nice out as there was no wind.

I haven't ever seen a tree explode, though I have seen exploded trees up in northern MN. They are pretty impressive.

Reputable science (1, Troll)

ferd_farkle (208662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782029)

This from the magazine that recently ran with a cover story proclaiming "Darwin Was Wrong".

"...trees exploded... chicken's [sic] combs froze and fell off..."

What next, Elvis sightings?

Re:Reputable science (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782435)

The cover story about "Darwin Was Wrong" was, of course, strictly accurate, as it concerned the growing evidence that horizontal gene transfer is actually a significant feature even in multicellular life, and hence that the "tree of life" that Darwin's original version of evolutionary theory was based around is, in fact, more wrong than we thought it was.

Of course, it was a sensationalist headline, but that's not quite the same as being disreputable.

it's all relative (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782043)

I've seen several comments here saying "It gets colder than that here. Grow a pair, wusses!" I'd like to point out a few things to you idiots.

First, cold is relative. If you're in a place that rarely goes below freezing, then having it suddenly go to -15C is a huge change. If you live somewhere that gets colder than that, well then good for you. But not everyone does. I suppose you'd tell people in Hawaii that they're morons for not keeping snow gear around for that once-in-a-lifetime snowfall that they might get.

And second, we're talking about life 300 years ago. If it suddenly got that cold, you couldn't just turn up the heat, or run down to the corner store and get a thicker hat and blanket. These were different times. There was no electricity. Whatever supplies you had were pretty much what you lived with.

So to say "But it gets colder where I live" really doesn't say anything of value. It just shows how self-centered and narrow-minded you can be.

Re:it's all relative (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782549)

So to say "But it gets colder where I live" really doesn't say anything of value. It just shows how self-centered and narrow-minded you can be.

Most of the "But it gets colder where I live" are directed at the exploding trees, dying livestock, and chicken-combs falling off.

Re:it's all relative (1)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783083)

Trees that are prone to explode in cold weather don't grow up to be large trees, they get killed of rather soon.

So, it is no miracle you don't see exploding trees in your cold locale.

Now get the Amazon rainforest to -15C and I promise you a whole lot of snap, crackle and pop!

Don't call people names (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783001)

Unless you get everything right. Go look up the English translation for Mauna Kea. They do have snow skiing in Hawaii.

Freedom. (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782051)

And into this mess the democratic revolution was born. Interesting, climate change leads to social change. (see James Burke's "After the warming")

Warm? Cold? (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782083)

Hang on a second, didn't the IPCC already study this? Its third report completely removed the medieval warm period from a series of graphs and statistics! Are you telling me that was all a load of rubbish and that we don't actually know the climate of the last 1,000 years? So if that's the case, why are Hansen and Gore running around the world with their trousers around their ankles preaching that current warming is unprecedented in the last 1,000 years?

I invite knowledgeable sceptics to respond (this is not a troll!).

It's millennium, not millenium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782115)

I thought that people would have gotten this right then years ago.

Stradivarius.... (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782209)

There's some interesting theories out there that the extreme cold weather during the general time period TFA refers to is partially responsible for the sounds produced by Stradivarius violins - that the particular slower tree growth during the period resulted in a type of wood that brought about the unique sounds of those instruments. Probably a more music-savvy person can expound on the matter.

Related to the Maunder Minimum ? (5, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782235)

The cold winter in 1709 was towards the tail-end of the "Maunder Minimum [nasa.gov] " in sunspots and solar activity. Given that sunspot numbers are again unusually low [nasa.gov] , maybe it will happen again [popsci.com] .

Re:Related to the Maunder Minimum ? (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782831)

Don't warry, we have already technology in place to shield us from cold due low solar activity. It is, basically, thick layer of CO2 [turning to sun my naked ass].

Illiterates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782403)

It's millennium.

Little Ice Age (2, Interesting)

JTsyo (1338447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782557)

The History Channel had a show about this over the weekend. There was also a year that it snowed in July in the Northeast US. The possible reasons they gave were: -solar min -volcanic activity releasing sulfur high into the atmosphere -fresh water from northern ice disrupting ocean currents

Re:Little Ice Age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782775)

Except "Little Ice Age" generally refers to a period that began 400 years before the event we're talking about here.
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