Dirt & Bones: Climate Change

For some folks the words CLIMATE CHANGE are a rousing call to arms. That’s not my intent in this post. I’m not interested in the pros or cons of current political clashes concerning the causes and effects of mankind’s contribution to the warming — or the cooling — of the earth. (I was a college student in the 1970s when the great climate controversy was not about global warming but global cooling. They told us not to have children. Widespread glaciation was eminent.) This post concerns the climate in the Northern Hemisphere during the setting of my manuscript, HORSES OF THE WEST SUN, circa 5700 B.C

Herein, I’ll probably be the recipient of rotten tomatoes, but it was WARMER.

Archaeologists and climatologists almost all agree that approximately 9,000 to 5,000 years before the present, our planet experienced generally warmer temperatures than today within the Northern Hemisphere. This period of time is called the Holocene Optimum. For hunter-gatherers warmer weather usually made life easier. Winters were more vicious, but in areas where cold winters meant more snow (Lower Danube), lush forest-edge growth would often result, which supported a larger animal population. The natural occurrences that caused this warming period include:
Jet streams. Fast flowing, narrow bands of air currents affect Earth’s climate as they flow above the earth at the edges of large air masses of relatively stable temperature (polar or tropical). Earth’s jet streams are produced by solar radiation and the force of the earth’s rotation.
Thermohaline circulation (THC). THC is a global-scale system that is mainly the result of the ocean’s saline content, surface temperature, and surface currents. Under the influence of these factors and others, warm tropical waters move north, cool, and sink. Then they flow into deep ocean basins. The oldest water masses have a circulation time of 1,000 years with varying effects on earth’s climate during that lengthy cycle.
Orbital eccentricity. Earth’s orbit is impacted by the gravity of all planets in the solar system, particularly Jupiter and Saturn. When this gravitational influence causes the earth’s orbit around the sun to grow more elliptical, the length in days of spring and summer, as compared to winter and autumn, changes. Longer winters and autumns (up to a six day variance and more) equal shorter springs and summers, and vice versa. Thus climate is impacted.

My take, after I researched climate for my novel, is that climate is a whole lot more complicated scientifically than most political pundits — on both sides of the aisle and in between — want us to believe.

So, what do you think? Are you intrigued, angry, or really don’t care one way or the other?

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17 Responses to Dirt & Bones: Climate Change

  1. Rod Galer says:

    I was always taught to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Whether or not we are causing climate change is maybe not the point. It just seems reasonable to me, that we should do everything we can to reduce our impact in case it is happening because of us. I like your pictures. 🙂

  2. Karen Salter says:

    I agree with your research. I also add that there is cyclical patterns. You can go back for as recent or far as you choose, and there will be periods of cold, where, as you said, when you were in school it was a “cooling” concern. And then there are warmings. But it all seems to balance out. I believe above all, we need to care for and nurture our world, our earth and do all to make it grow. We do not want to abuse or use up it’s resources. That’s where the balance comes in, as well. I like your consideration. Do you remember several years from now, when big business started stripping the rain forests? There was a scare then that it would change the weather patterns, etc. Well, that is happening. However, we never hear anymore of that contribution. Good research, Sue. Hot topic.

  3. Karen Salter says:

    Oh, and I really like the gravitational pull. I’ve wondered about that.

  4. Chas says:

    Hi Sue. My two cents. Don’t worry about climate change, it is to late to correct. The children of today are doomed and we can not correct this unless the Yellowstone volcano slows and we go into an ice age like what happened when the Siberian volcano covered the wold in a ice shield except for a small patch of South America.

    No people say we are in cycles and we go through warming and cooling cycles. This is based upon the axis of the earth and the fact the distance of earth from the sun changes over time is an established pattern. So people who deny global warming say we are in the warming cycle. The problem is the earth is now moving way from the sun so we should be entering a new ice age so. So yes according to the movement of the earth in relation to the sun they were right in the 70’s. One explanation of antes movements that is being investigated now is the possibility of a 9th and 10 plants beyond Pluto that takes around 10,000 years to circle the sun. The is about the cycle of past ice ages.

    Finally as it relates to you storyline. Scients are studying the effect of large heards of migrating animals, such as the woolly mammoths up north, bison in North America and elephants in Africa as well as horses, cattle, etc. as these herds move the trampled the grassland which pushed old dead grass or thatch into the soil. Animal droppings or manure than fell on the ground and fertilized the soil for new crops to come up. What they are finding is the loss of migrating herds may have a bigger impact on the rise of green house gasses than burning coal, oil, gasoline, etc.

    So about the time SpaceX starts building doomed cities on Mars we will have the technology studied and developed because we will be living in underground and doomed cities on earth, or will it be floating cities like we will need to live above the surface of Venus. Oh, forgive my spelling.

  5. Mary Phillips says:

    I agree with you and also with Karen in her statement “we do not want to abuse or use up it’s resources.” Also, the cycle thing. The earth is going to do what it wants to do and I guess it is time for the warming trend part of it but, we have terribly abused what God gave us and I imagine we will continue to do so. We have dug so many deep holes in our planet that I truly believe that is what causes some of the sink holes that we are experiencing everywhere. We have stripped our rain forests to nothing, I live in an area where timber is a big business and they do a lot of what they call a clear cut which means they go in strip all the trees out of an area and just leave all the debrie which makes me sick when we go by these areas. Some replant but most do not. It so hurts my heart to see this. I am going to shut up now. Just had to voice my opinion.

  6. Pegg Thomas says:

    We don’t have enough facts to make sweeping statements about the climate – changing or not – of this planet. Man has only been able to catalog the weather for a fraction of the time the earth has been here. We can make some educated guesses about temperature before thermometers, but that’s what they are, educated guesses. We don’t “know” half as much as we think we do, sometimes. But here’s the thing – I cheated. I read the back of the book. The world will still be here when Christ returns. Man isn’t going to kill it off, even if we tried. 🙂

  7. Nancy says:

    Did you say horses?! 🙂

  8. Nathan Galer says:

    So interesting, Sue! The science of the natural fluctutions of earth and its relationship to other planest and the sun is fascinating. Natural cycles definitely do exist, but at no period in history before the last 100 or so years were living creatures extracting billions of tons of material from underground and releasing it to the sky. Carbon in the atmosphere dating back at least 400,000 years has never been above 280 ppm until about 1950. Today it exceeds 400 ppm. I completely agree with other commentors that it is about balance and the equation is extremely unbalanced with our current way of life. The early humans to arrive on our continent were far more advanced than we are today in their respect for the balance of nature. We are lucky to be living during a long mild period in the natural climate cycle, but we are blowing it by putting ourselves in a greenhouse. Luckily the same science which has brought us this information also has brought us the technology to alleviate our situation. We just need to all get on board and invest in it before it is too late. I’m really looking forward to reading your new book!

  9. suehar says:

    Thank you, Nathan. I love having this additional information. It puts everything more into perspective for me. We surely do need to take care of our beautiful planet!!

  10. suehar says:

    For sure horses, Nancy!!! I loved studying about the first people who “tamed” them. (They also ate them.) And also about the few breeds that were the foundation for our horse breeds today.

  11. suehar says:

    I’ve read the back of the book, too, Pegg!! 🙂

  12. suehar says:

    I hate to see those clear cuts, too, unless they are replanted, Mary Phillips. I’m all for using renewable resources, but let’s be sure we DO renew!!

  13. suehar says:

    Wow, some very interesting info here, Chas. Thank you for sharing. My dad is a “soils” guy (degrees in soil sciences). Since I was a child, I’ve had the importance of keeping our soils fertile and how to do so pounded into my head. I don’t think he ever mentioned large herds pounding thatch into the soil, but it sure makes sense.

  14. suehar says:

    Thank you, Karen. We need to love our earth and support the students and the scientists and the everyday folk who are doing what they can to keep the earth as healthy as possible.

  15. suehar says:

    Thank you, Rod. Those photos are taken from the log house looking out at Munoscong Bay. I totally agree with you. We have to reduce our impact! Walk softly!

  16. Emily Rose Seifferlein says:

    Hi Sue! What a cool question. You are right, global climate is a complicated monster. I have a couple more factors to consider: Plate Tectonic cycles and something called the Milancovitch Cycles — there are three, you described one above, eccentricity. The other two are Earth’s tilt on its axis and its “wobble”. When you combine all these factors we can see in the rock (and ice and tree) record that climate does indeed fluctuate. We have lots and lots of data to support this. We can track sea level change in the rock types and can look at CO2 concentrations in gas bubbles trapped in ice cores. We can look backwards in time 800,000 years and see the CO2 concentration in ice from Antarctica. Nowhere in that time have concentrations increased so quickly. When Earth has a chance to adjust it does…but it’s never before had to deal with a species that digs stuff out of it and burns it up! Thanks for this dialogue….I like to read stuff like this when no one says something like “libtard” or “sheeple”. 🙂

  17. suehar says:

    Yes, Emily, we surely do need to get our act together and figure out how to counteract our tendency toward pollution. I think everyone on both sides, except for the extremes, agrees that an earth-friendly lifestyle is what we need. One of my reasons for writing this blog about climate is that I could envision many people being upset by the way I portray the weather in the novel HORSES OF THE WEST SUN, which is set in Eastern Europe 5700 bc. Every novelist wants readers rather than enemies!! I, too, like you love that this discussion has not descended into name calling! I guess we’re more mature than that! In this century that maturity seems to be on the wane!!

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