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What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze?

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the should-have-discovered-coal-earlier dept.

Earth 258

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Things were looking up for Earth about 12,800 years ago. The last Ice Age was coming to an end, mammoths and other large mammals romped around North America, and humans were beginning to settle down and cultivate wild plants. Then, suddenly, the planet plunged into a deep freeze, returning to near-glacial temperatures for more than a millennium before getting warm again. The mammoths disappeared at about the same time, as did a major Native American culture that thrived on hunting them. A persistent band of researchers has blamed this apparent disaster on the impact of a comet or asteroid, but a new study concludes that the real explanation for the chill, at least, may lie strictly with Earth-bound events."

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Climate change is for pussies. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985135)

Seriously, is there any tech-savvy person out there that feels we can't cope with a temp shift of a few degrees? For fuck's sake - STOP.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 months ago | (#46985211)

Cope, yes. Cope inexpensively, no. Coping with a significantly warmer climate will be expensive. There's evidence that we could spend some money now to reduce the warming, thereby reducing the total cost. Wouldn't reducing the total cost mean that it makes economic sense to reduce carbon dioxide emissions?

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985247)

I fail to understand how extending the agricultural belt northward would not make economic sense. As the polar areas become more agricultural, we all will benefit.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985283)

Tundra soil is not particularly fertile and the processes that enrich soil can take hundreds if not thousands of years. I suppose if you have enough compost to cover Canada and such.

and that ignores the obvious desertification that would happen across huge swathes of currently productive land.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 6 months ago | (#46985465)

Tundra is not marginal. Tundra will become forest, forest will become fertile farmland.

Desertification is not 'obvious'. Key to global warming is more water vapor feeding back any heat increases. Likely increased average rain with increased temperature.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (2)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 months ago | (#46985551)

The impact of warming on food yields [epa.gov] is complex. The latest research suggests that food yields will decrease [asu.edu] with a warming of 2 degrees Celsius.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

radiumsoup (741987) | about 6 months ago | (#46985841)

at the risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, you did cite an Arizona State study, so I must, out of principle, ignore your entire post altogether.

/go Wildcats

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986281)

Arizona State is an expert in porn. If you cite pore and ASU +5. Science? Try UofA - masters of Mars

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986351)

Arizona State is an expert in porn. If you cite pore and ASU +5. Science? Try UofA - masters of Mars

Could be worse...

Masters of Uranus.

[rimshot]

Thank you. Try the veal. I'm here until Tuesday.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 months ago | (#46985737)

Tundra is marginal for most crops. Tundra is typically a thin, acidic soil. Given a couple of hundred thousand years, it probably would pick up a bunch of new critters and plants and become more organically active, but most of us are not that patient.

Re: Climate change is for pussies. (3, Funny)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 6 months ago | (#46986621)

Good thing most of our food grows on ammonium nitrate and very little else.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 months ago | (#46985751)

Desertification is not 'obvious'. Key to global warming is more water vapor feeding back any heat increases. Likely increased average rain with increased temperature.

You seem to be making a common mistake when talking about climate change:
You're confusing global "average rain" with local "average rain."

We know, without a doubt, that climate change will shift weather patterns and create deserts.
We're also seeing signs that climate change is shifting weather patterns and greening existing deserts.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that useless land and useful land switch places in a 1:1 ratio.
That still leaves one big problem: what do you do with all the people and infrastructure that are in the new desert?
It's a problem whose only solutions are extremely expensive.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 6 months ago | (#46986153)

what do you do with all the people and infrastructure that are in the new desert?

Why do the people have to leave? People have been migrating to warmer places for the past century.
It's actually kindof stupid that our cities are on top of some of the most fertile ground.
If Chicago or New York all of a sudden became 10 degrees warmer it would probably boost their
population. The only thing that would have to move north would be the farmers and there is
minimal infrustructure there.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 6 months ago | (#46986277)

For the sake of argument, let's assume that useless land and useful land switch places in a 1:1 ratio. That still leaves one big problem: what do you do with all the people and infrastructure that are in the new desert? It's a problem whose only solutions are extremely expensive.

Well if all of the populated areas suddenly become deserts solar suddenly becomes more viable as you don't have the issue with transmission lines over long distances.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

Layzej (1976930) | about 6 months ago | (#46986189)

In general, we should expect less rainfall at lower latitudes and more rainfall at higher latitudes. Canada will get wetter while California gets drier.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986287)

In general, we should expect less rainfall at lower latitudes and more rainfall at higher latitudes. Canada will get wetter while California gets drier.

Good. Most of us who are not in California wish it would just go away. I can live with it becoming an inhospitable desert. I was hoping for a major quake event to split it off into an island so we can disown it, but that doesn't seem likely.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986761)

Fuck you, a lot of places will become deserts that aren't now. And many places will be underwater. Just because it may be helpful to your backyard don't be suck a dick.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 months ago | (#46985575)

I suppose if you have enough compost to cover Canada and such.

Who needs compost when you can just drill/frack more natural gas and turn that into fertilizer?

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

Layzej (1976930) | about 6 months ago | (#46986207)

It is literally seeping out of the melting permafrost so there should be no shortage. Here is a fun video of someone setting the air on fire after poking a hole in the ice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 months ago | (#46985727)

I suppose if you have enough compost to cover Canada and such.

You can have every politician on the North (and South) American Continents. It would be a pretty good start.

Maybe lawyers as a phase II project.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

knightghost (861069) | about 6 months ago | (#46985879)

Tundra soil is not particularly fertile

Nor is current farmland. Crops are grown with fertilizer produced by oil and natural gas. Replacing those will be the problem.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986163)

One only needs to visit current agricultural areas which were not under ice during the last ice age to see how much of the soil the ice took with it.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986387)

...enough compost to cover Canada...

Just dredge the dung heap in Ottawa.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 6 months ago | (#46986577)

Desertification is not obvious. Reports are that the models show that some areas turn into deserts, and others into jungles. So you might need to switch from wheat to rice or sugar cane. Or you might need to go into date palms.

OTOH, desertification CAN be handled, if you have enough energy. (Check out the California central valley. Used to be a desert.) But you need enough energy to move water around, and possibly to desalinate it. (YARG!!!) Jungles, though, are more difficult to deal with. It's better to adapt to it than to fight it. Mangroves, tropical fruits, rice, sugar cane, etc.

As for tundra soil not being particularly fertile....I have my doubts about that. I think the problem is the weather that causes you to have tundra in the first place, particularly permafrost. Tundra is reported to belch alarming amounts of methane when it gets warm and moist, and to me this sounds like a very fertile soil....though quite plausibly one that's deficient in minerals. But you probably can't just plow it. It probably needs to be aerated as well. And you would need to select the correct crops...I can't really say what they would be. (Jungle soil, however, is QUITE poor, because of the heavy flow of water that washes away all the nutrients.)

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 months ago | (#46985287)

Then you may want to read this article [theguardian.com] , for example.

Re: Climate change is for pussies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985517)

I own two sections of corn land that is on the edge and will fail if I can't get water. Where are YOU gonna get the money to pay ME to move my operation 100 miles to the north. This isn't gonna be free, folks.

umm no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985569)

Nobody is going to pay you to move your operation. Your business will fail, and we can finally stop churning out absurd amounts of corn. Probably a good result since most of it just feeds livestock.

Re:umm no. (1)

radiumsoup (741987) | about 6 months ago | (#46985859)

but, damnit, where will my Quarter Pounder come from if they stop making more due to lack of feed?

wait... Quarter Pounders do come from livestock, right?

Re:umm no. (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 6 months ago | (#46986035)

Of course they do!

Experts have estimated that as much as 2-3%, by weight, of the hambuger patty may be composed of 100% Real Beef!

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985485)

There's a modelling that claims that. Most it like Sterns has been proved to be nonsense.

There is hard economic evidence that we have wasted trillions of dollars (mostly by Europeans) achieving very little other than appearing morally superior and that it will be more cost effective to look for a longer term solutions of cheaper carbon free energy.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (0)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 months ago | (#46985585)

I think you should also read this article [theguardian.com] on the cost of global warming. It's costing us now, and will only cost us more as it warms.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986313)

How many times are you going to post that article in this thread? We saw it already. If I had mod points left (just spent the last one before I saw your spam) I'd mod this as redundant.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 months ago | (#46986385)

I'm only posting these comments to clear up misinformation. If people wouldn't post misinformation, there would be no need for me to clear it up, would there?

Don't you see how ironic is it that this whole thread started with someone urging everyone to stop talking about climate change, and that in itself started a whole conversation about climate change? If you don't want to talk about it, just don't bring it up! Just don't look! Just don't look!

Just externalize the cost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985643)

It won't be expensive, I'll just make my children pay for it like they are currently paying to sustain my early retirement age and current standard of living.

Fuck You Got Mine,

-- The Baby Boomer Generation

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

kenwd0elq (985465) | about 6 months ago | (#46986125)

It would probably be much less expensive to remedy a few degrees warmer - thus INCREASING the growing season in North America - than a few degrees COLDER, which might make a whole lot of people very hungry. AND cold. But neither is especially likely.

The warmist view is based almost entirely on computer models which cannot predict the present based on the past. I would be strongly opposed to betting a few trillion dollars worth of economic growth on a computer model's forecast for 20 years hence.

50 years ago, there were no "reputable" scientists who accepted either continental drift OR the out-of-this-world concept (literally!) that an astronomical impact might have caused the mass extinctions of 65 billion years ago. Both are now generally accepted. Earth scientists today are trying to explain the Younger Dryas as anything OTHER than an impact event.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986337)

Good points, and not only that but a few hundred years ago the 'consensus' was that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Beware of scientific consensus without actual facts to back it.

Re: Climate change is for pussies. (0)

kenh (9056) | about 6 months ago | (#46986197)

Define "significantly warmer" - a degree a century is hard to get worked up about...

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46985235)

Why do you think it wills top at a couple of degrees? AS long as we keep spewing more green house gases, more energy will be trapped. Once we completely overwhelm the system,. then the human species, at best, will be living in mud huts eating grubs.

Re: Climate change is for pussies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985667)

It won't even be that much. Temperatures have increased 0.2 deg C in the past 150 years. Temperatures have not risen in 17 years. We're still over 1 deg C cooler than during the medieval warm period. The medieval warm period was so conducive to agriculture that human populations exploded and there was an "almost renaissance" in the Holy Roman Empire in modern day northern Germany. Unfortunately that all ended when the larger populations proved effective at spreading plague. On top of all that, climatologists at MIT are predicting we're already a few years into a 50 year cooling period.

Re: Climate change is for pussies. (5, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 months ago | (#46985853)

There's so much misinformation in your post it hurts. It's warmed 0.7 degrees Celsius [wikipedia.org] in the past 134 years. It is currently warmer now [wikipedia.org] than any time in the past 2000 years. In the past 17 years Earth has warmed [skepticalscience.com] by about 0.1 degrees Celsius per decade. And there's no sign of cooling or even temperatures leveling off.

Re: Climate change is for pussies. (1)

plover (150551) | about 6 months ago | (#46985967)

You missed the part where Slashdot delayed his post. Check the date. He originally wrote it in 1836.

Re: Climate change is for pussies. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986101)

Everything in your post is factually incorrect at best and maliciously misleading at worst. There's been only 0.2 degrees of net warming since 1940. That's far less than 0.2/decade.

Re: Climate change is for pussies. (2)

Layzej (1976930) | about 6 months ago | (#46986381)

Nope. Not even close. Closer to 1C since 1940: http://woodfortrees.org/plot/g... [woodfortrees.org] . Where on Earth did you get 0.2C since 1940? That's just crazy! We've had almost 0.2C warming during the "pause" of the last 17 years: http://www.woodfortrees.org/pl... [woodfortrees.org]

ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986457)

Not even close - around 1C since 1840 - try again: http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/mean:12/plot/hadcrut4gl/trend

Re: Climate change is for pussies. (2)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 months ago | (#46986695)

In this graph from NOAA [ucar.edu] you can see there's been far more than 0.2 degrees warming since 1940. It looks to be about 0.5 degrees Celsius since 1940. In fact, it's warmed 0.6 degrees Celsius since 1970.

Re: Climate change is for pussies. (1)

Layzej (1976930) | about 6 months ago | (#46986239)

It has raised almost 0.2C in the last 17 years - a period you claim that we've seen no warming: http://www.woodfortrees.org/pl... [woodfortrees.org]

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

Berkyjay (1225604) | about 6 months ago | (#46985243)

If this was a purely technical problem to be solved with no issues gathering the resources to solve it then no. But this is much much more than a technical problem. The big issue is going to be political and finding the will to divert trillions of dollars to adapting to the change in climate while people will need food and new homes. Of course there will be wars to fight because of all this and that isn't cheap either. Are we smart enough to adapt? Absolutely. Do we have the will and foresight to adapt on our own rather than being forced to before billions die? Probably not.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

iamacat (583406) | about 6 months ago | (#46985269)

Temperature? Peace of cake! Nasty insect born diseases and drastically reduced supply of food and fresh water? There will be a much less than 6 billion of us left after it all goes down.

Re:Climate change is for pussies. (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 6 months ago | (#46986393)

Temperature? Peace of cake! Nasty insect born diseases and drastically reduced supply of food and fresh water? There will be a much less than 6 billion of us left after it all goes down.

Meh, so we will have to reevaluate the toxicity of DDT [straightdope.com] again.

Global Warming, of course. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985137)

Er.. I mean Climate Disruption.. yeah, that's it.

Re:Global Warming, of course. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985233)

Yeah, about that.... Sorry, I left the fridge door open. My bad. Here, I'm turning up the heat to compensate.


God.

Re:Global Warming, of course. (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 6 months ago | (#46986059)

science fail.

Re:Global Warming, of course. (1, Troll)

bobbied (2522392) | about 6 months ago | (#46985251)

Er.. I mean Climate Disruption.. yeah, that's it.

I just refer to it as "Global Warming (or Name du joure)" now. They've had to change the name so often in their attempts to keep getting reactions from the sheep that I'm loosing track of what it's been called. Maybe if they start getting the dire predictions right..... Like having more droughts, floods, tornadoes or something....

Sort of like communist, liberal, progressive, democrat etc.. (Yes, I know I repeat myself.. ) (grin)

Re:Global Warming, of course. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985439)

They changed the name because the general public is too stupid to understand that an increase in average global temperature doesn't mean that every area on Earth will experience an increase in temperature. Too many people making foolish statements like "This winter is colder than last year's, how's that for 'global warming'??!"

Re:Global Warming, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985973)

no, they changed the name because the virtual name-tennis match between the "impending Texas glaciers" of the 70's and the "impending Antarctic swampland" of the 90's was too much to keep people interested - when the scientific community can't agree on their predictions of doom and gloom, they look like Chicken Little, and they are in danger of causing people to stop paying attention (and, even worse, then they stop donating or calling their congresscritter to pass another law for more funding). A nice, strategically generic name like "climate change" makes it easy to include a lot of data (too much conflicting data, really, but for some in the climate prediction industry, that's just fine by them) and it's flexible enough to allow sea changes to the predictions (pardon the pun) without bursting the bubble. Everyone can get nice and lathered up about the impending crisis of the day, and no matter what the data is, they will always be able to support the claim, because it's juuuust ambiguous enough to allow ALL data to fall within the generic term chosen. And viola, you have a permanent taxpayer-funded industry.

Re: Global Warming, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986481)

"Climate prediction industry?" Are you talking about weather.com, or those fat cat academics earning millions by purposefully misleading people? Wait, they're doing neither of those...

Re:Global Warming, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986001)

They changed the name ...

And we know they changed the name because absolutely no one uses the term 'Global Warming' any more ... no wait ... I mean absolutely on one uses the term 'Climate Change' any more ... no that's not right either. I'm sorry, I'm giving up. My conservative brain simply can't cope with the idea of the same thing having multiple names and still remaining the same thing ...

I'm just so glad that pointing out name changes saves me from having to engage in all the difficult evidence and math and sciency stuff ...

Re:Global Warming, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986411)

They changed the name because the general public is too stupid to understand that an increase in average global temperature doesn't mean that every area on Earth will experience an increase in temperature. Too many people making foolish statements like "This winter is colder than last year's, how's that for 'global warming'??!"

Ahhh, yes. The standard "progressive" belief that the "general public" is literally "too stupid" to know what's best.

And isn't great that they have you self-proclaimed "smart progressives" to take care of them?

FYI, that's called "sarcasm".

And sorry, I don't pretend to know what's best for someone else, much less "the general public". Though given they voted a 1/2 term Senator with NO executive experience to be President by falling for vapid self-congratulatory phrases like "We are the ones we've been waiting for!", "Yes we can!", and "Hope and change!". Who could have seen his feckless policies leading to a "reset" in relations with Russia to, oh, about Cuban Missile Crisis days. And we do wonder what the Syrian government thinks of his "red lines". (Think? Nah, we KNOW the most popular toilet paper in Damascus today has red lines all over it...)

Hmm, maybe you're right. The general public sure is pretty stupid....

Oh, I'll save you the trouble: "It'sBOOOOOSH'S fault!!!!!

Re:Global Warming, of course. (-1, Troll)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 6 months ago | (#46985313)

Er.. I mean Climate Disruption.. yeah, that's it.

LA LA LA LA Can't hear you! LA LA LA LA

well of course (0)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 6 months ago | (#46985147)

I was Fred Flinstone and all those fuckers in bedrock burning that brontosaurus oil!

Re:well of course (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#46985497)

[It] was Fred Flinstone and all those f*ckers in bedrock burning that brontosaurus oil!

Bill O'rockly on Foxosaurus News says that theory is a bunch of brontosaurus droppings.

No Hummers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985171)

Pre-industrial society ... nice and cold!

Lack of (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985191)

Global Warming

imagine what we will *know* tomorrow... (1)

NeroTransmitter (1928480) | about 6 months ago | (#46985215)

you almost need a score sheet for all of the times science disproves itself. but, i guess that means it's working

It was the Long Night. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985249)

Oh my sweet summer child What do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north, when the sun hides it face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods.

The Others Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell that was cold and hard and endless beyond all memory of man. There came a night that lasted a generation, and kings shivered and died in their castles even as the swineherds in their hovels. Women smothered their children rather than see them starve, and cried, and felt their tears freeze on their cheeks.

In that darkness, the Others came for the first time They were cold things, dead things, that hated iron and fire and the touch of the sun, and every creature with hot blood in its veins. They swept over holdfasts and cities and kingdoms, felled heroes and armies by the score, riding pale dead horses, and leading hosts of the slain. All the swords of men could not stay their advance, and even maidens and suckling babes, found no pity in them. They hunted the maids through the frozen forests, and fed their dead servants on the flesh of human children.

Now these were the days before the Andals came, and long before the women fled across the narrow sea from the cities of the Rhoyne, and the hundred kingdoms of those times were the kingdoms of the First Men, who had taken those lands from the children of the forest. Yet here and there in the fastness of the woods, the children still lived in their wooden cities and hollow hills, and the faces in the trees kept watch. So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost. He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog and a dozen companions. For years he searched until he despaired of ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities. One by one his friends died, and his horse, and finally even his dog, and his sword froze so hard the blade snapped when he tried to use it. And the Others smelled the hot blood in him and came silent on his trail, stalking him with packs of pale white spiders big as hounds...

Damn Cave Men not burning enough Trees! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985273)

Come on, it was because the cavemen where not burning enough of the rainforest to keep the world warm. It was their OWN fault.

Re:Damn Cave Men not burning enough Trees! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#46985537)

It's possible man's increased hunting efficiency reduced the population of grazing animals such that grass and brush growth increased, triggering side-effects of some kind.

Winter is coming! (0)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 6 months ago | (#46985301)

Sorry, had to be said. And speaking of GoT, has anyone worked out a model of their solar system? Sure, I could use teh Google, but what fun would that be?

What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985315)

Cold weather.

My invoice is in the mail.

Re:What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985723)

nigger=you

The prevailing theory... (4, Informative)

Layzej (1976930) | about 6 months ago | (#46985397)

"The prevailing theory is that the Younger Dryas was caused by significant reduction or shutdown of the North Atlantic "Conveyor", which circulates warm tropical waters northward, in response to a sudden influx of fresh water from Lake Agassiz and deglaciation in North America. Geological evidence for such an event is thus far lacking. The global climate would then have become locked into the new state until freezing removed the fresh water "lid" from the north Atlantic Ocean. An alternative theory suggests instead that the jet stream shifted northward in response to the changing topographic forcing of the melting North American ice sheet, bringing more rain to the North Atlantic which freshened the ocean surface enough to slow the thermohaline circulation. There is also some evidence that a solar flare may have been responsible for the megafaunal extinction, though it cannot explain the apparent variability in the extinction across all continents." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y... [wikipedia.org]

Re:The prevailing theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985531)

Here we have yet another press release by a minor scientist acting like he has personally discovered The Higgs Boson. It's news value is questionable.

What he has done is question the dates Firestone uses for the theory, that most people don't believe anyway. And in these cases the redating turns out to be just as biased as the original dating it claims to contradict. These debates are not uncommon, they are about dating errors that feed into theories that can't be conclusively proved or disproved anyway. Eventually you might enough independent dates to get a more accurate dates for the sites, that often turn out to be completely different from previous conflicting dates.

Such debates are a staple of geology, climatology, paleontology, anthropology, archaeology etc. They go on for decades until something conclusive turns up, something just become accepted as true and unquestionable (whether it is or not) or people die or get bored and move on to something else.

Not exactly a new theory (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 6 months ago | (#46986167)

I remember hearing Wally Broecker talk about the ice dam + flooding hypothesis back in the mid-1990s (or possibly earlier).

Re:The prevailing theory... (2)

lazy genes (741633) | about 6 months ago | (#46986717)

I developed a computer model that showed that the polar vortex could be pulled and held at a lower latitude. My model showed that gravitational pull from the moon can move the polar vortex in a predictable way. Another important part of my model showed that sea surface temperature can cause the same effect. My conclusion is that excess carbon is producing more algae and limiting photons to release energy on the sea surface causing sea surface temperatures to rise. The warm air will take the path of least resistance and push the polar vortex off the pole. This happened a few times last winter. I first observed this pattern several years ago and wrote about it on Slashdot. The bottom line is we are doomed.

Put this in perspective (1, Informative)

GPS Pilot (3683) | about 6 months ago | (#46985431)

It's interesting that this comes on the same day that low-information journalists are panicked because "the melt that has started could eventually add 4 to 12 feet to current sea levels. [detroitnews.com] "

Apparently they're not aware that this is trivial compared to what nature dishes out. During the Last Glacial Maximum (only ~23,000 years ago), sea level was 400 feet lower than it is today.

Every species that's alive today, including polar bears, managed to survive that massive 400-ft increase in sea level.

In fact, every species that's alive today has managed to survive dozens of glacial advances and glacial retreats -- each one of which caused massive fluctuations in sea level.

The low-information voters and low-information journalists also seem unaware that the natural and normal state of the earth is to not have any polar ice caps whatsoever. The only reason Earth currently has polar ice caps is because the Quaternary glaciation (i.e., the most recent ice age) is not completely over; we are still emerging from it.

Re:Put this in perspective (4, Insightful)

Livius (318358) | about 6 months ago | (#46985469)

No-one is suggesting the human species won't survive.

Large numbers of individual humans might not.

Yes, let's put this in perspective (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 months ago | (#46985479)

Well, it's really the rate of sea level rise that's the issue. Adding 4 to 12 feet to current sea levels "eventually" over 10000 years is no problem. Adding 4 to 12 feet to current sea levels "eventually" in the 2100s is a different matter entirely.

Re:Yes, let's put this in perspective (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#46985639)

Are you accusing polar bears of being slow learners! How dare ya!

Re:Put this in perspective (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46985867)

In fact, every species that's alive today...

Don't mean to be rude, but that's a daft thing to say.

natural and normal state of the earth...

No longer applies.

Re:Put this in perspective (2, Informative)

Layzej (1976930) | about 6 months ago | (#46986089)

During the Last Glacial Maximum (only ~23,000 years ago), sea level was 400 feet lower than it is today.

Good thing they didn't have any coastal cities 23,000 years ago. That would have sucked.

In fact, every species that's alive today has managed to survive dozens of glacial advances and glacial retreats

What about the species that aren't alive today? How did they do?

Re:Put this in perspective (2, Insightful)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 6 months ago | (#46986107)

Apparently they're not aware that this is trivial compared to what nature dishes out. During the Last Glacial Maximum (only ~23,000 years ago), sea level was 400 feet lower than it is today.

So the billions of inhabitants of the world's major cities would have been much further away from the coast back then? I wonder how they got their fish?

Re:Put this in perspective (2)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 6 months ago | (#46986115)

Then there's the low-information posters that seem unaware of just how much time, effort, and money, it would require to move the infrastructure for more than half of the worlds population.

But why let facts get in the way of us feeling important eh?

Re:Put this in perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986395)

People have been leaving the rust belt in droves since the 70's. Some specific areas had HUGE declines in short periods of time.

Re:Put this in perspective (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 months ago | (#46986175)

The low-information voters and low-information journalists

Some of the reporters are probably dupes, but don't think for a minute that the owners and their cohorts, who own the seaside mansions, aren't going to do everything in their power to take money from the working poor to protect their investments. External (or existential) threat is the universal motivator and government action is the universal solution.

Yeah, we're in an upswing. That's what everybody who studies the glaciation cycles has known for decades. Are humans bumping it along? Perhaps, but it's going that way whether humans do so or not, so get used to it. But maybe we'll all chip in for another seawall to get Mr. Burns through for his lifetime. Our grandkids can build his grandkids an even bigger seawall.

Re:Put this in perspective (1)

fermion (181285) | about 6 months ago | (#46986191)

It will not be horrible. Even at 12 feet the US will not lose much. Except that in the US for much of NYC, and some parts of New Jersey that provide food and foodstuffs. And Miami and much of Florida. All the shipping and refining on the Gulf Coast including BASF and Dow plants. Not to mention Sacramento and other bits of California. And I would not care but people who live in the luxury homes in the US are so entitled. Look at when we asked them to pay more for flood insurance. They said, no thank you, we will enjoy out governement handout, if we buy insurance at all. Because we know that the government will increase the deficiet so we can rebuild our luxury homes at taxpayer expense. So it is likely to bankrupt the US in the long run because as the flooding becomes more severe, instead of condemning the land and moving people elsewhere, we will just pay them over and over again for the privileged of having them live in a flood zone. Also, our favorite guy living in Palm Beach won't even have a home. I am sure he will file a claim for free money. Might even have to move a place where he has to pay taxes.

Re:Put this in perspective (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 6 months ago | (#46986515)

The low-information voters and low-information journalists also seem unaware that the natural and normal state of the earth

Pray tell, 4 digit "high minded" fool. Whence is apt to take the reins of this big blue space ship? Sentience is a game changer, fucko.

Waste of time (5, Informative)

scribble73 (879745) | about 6 months ago | (#46985449)

This headline promises a lot, but delivers nothing. The article just looks briefly at the controversy -- in other words, we still don't know.

This comes from a good Journal, but reading it was a waste of time.

Yes, dear (0)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#46985529)

Those pants make your ass look fat.

If Al Gore-like shamans lived back then... (3, Funny)

mi (197448) | about 6 months ago | (#46985533)

If Al Gore-like shamans lived back then, the insufficient fervor of the rival shamans in keeping the fires going all day and night would've been blamed for the freeze.

Anybody failing to keep their fire going would be shamed and punished — unless they paid tribute (to buy global freezing offset credits) to the right shaman, of course.

Not really much here (5, Informative)

x181 (2677887) | about 6 months ago | (#46985605)

Old Argument (Younger Dryas): We found iridium (rare on earth but abundant in meteorites), nanodiamonds and magnetic particles covering ancient tools and mammoth remains at sites which we believe are around 12,000 years old. Therefore, we believe a cosmic collision caused the 1,300 year deep-freeze.

New Argument: We performed radiocarbon dating on tools found at the 29 sites described in the Old Argument and found that only 3 of the 29 sites were around 12,000 years old. The tools at other sites were much older or younger. Therefore, the deep-freeze was probably not caused by a cosmic collision.

What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze? (2)

MrShaggy (683273) | about 6 months ago | (#46985707)

This was caused by my ex- wife..

Re:What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze? (1)

radiumsoup (741987) | about 6 months ago | (#46986025)

if only you were the first post, we could have avoided a hundred others and a lot of useless debate!

go quicker next time

Re:What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986353)

Going to quick is probably why she's his ex.

Global Dynamo. (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | about 6 months ago | (#46985799)

Because I said so.

Aftereffect of the Human-Robot War (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 6 months ago | (#46985817)

We had to black out the sky to cut off their access to solar energy. We eventually won and abandoned modern technology, but effects of the blackout on the climate could not be overcome.

.

AGW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986057)

Someone predicted AGW, and the ancient civilization overcorrected, and were wiped out.

Fix the headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986469)

1300-year conflicts with "12,800 years ago"

So you either meant "13000 year deep freeze" in the headline, or the summary should read 1,280 years ago.
In the latter case, you probably meant 734 C.E. so you'd have said that. Therefore, I assume the headline is in error.

A kind of /. discussion where (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986523)

Non computertech numbskulls play intelligent. It's like seeing baboons attempt speech!

Dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46986811)

Dinosaurs overreacted to a global warming scare and scavenged so much CO2 into the soil, they cause an almost irreversible global cooling. And that boys and girls is why we have so much oil and coal now.

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