Whew! ‘Global warming’ saved us from global cooling

In a New York Times article highlighting a recent climate study which found that global temperatures are the highest they’ve been in at least 4,000 years, there was an interesting quote from the author of the study, also highlighted, in part, by the Weekly Standard blog:

Though the paper is the most complete reconstruction of global temperature, it is roughly consistent with previous work on a regional scale. It suggests that changes in the amount and distribution of incoming sunlight, caused by wobbles in the earth’s orbit, contributed to a sharp temperature rise in the early Holocene.

The climate then stabilized at relatively warm temperatures about 10,000 years ago, hitting a plateau that lasted for roughly 5,000 years, the paper shows. After that, shifts of incoming sunshine prompted a long, slow cooling trend.

The cooling was interrupted, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, by a fairly brief spike during the Middle Ages, known as the Medieval Warm Period. (It was then that the Vikings settled Greenland, dying out there when the climate cooled again.)

Scientists say that if natural factors were still governing the climate, the Northern Hemisphere would probably be destined to freeze over again in several thousand years. “We were on this downward slope, presumably going back toward another ice age,” Dr. Marcott said.

Instead, scientists believe the enormous increase in greenhouse gases caused by industrialization will almost certainly prevent that. (emphasis added)

So, assuming this reporter is accurate in his description of climate science (which admittedly may be a dubious assumption), the Northern Hemisphere was “destined to freeze over” a couple thousand years from now, only to have that “destiny” change – meaning it was arguably not our destiny in the first place – because man-made “global warming” overtook that “destiny.” Further, we knew this “destiny” to be accurate not because we arrived there as a society and experienced it, but because a theoretical model told us that is where we were going, before those models started telling us we were now moving in the opposite direction because of human activity.

And environmental activists wonder why reasonable people are skeptical about what (today’s) climate science is predicting about our future?

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