New Research Indicates the Earth
May Be Cooling
by Amy Ridenour
After a decade of
warnings that the Earth's temperature may be rapidly warming,
and that this supposed warming may result in a surge of catastrophic
flooding and lethal storms, it now appears that we may be in
for global cooling instead.
The mammoth west
Antarctic ice sheet, which contains enough water to lift the
world's sea levels by 20 feet, isn't melting after all. Instead,
it's actually thickening and Antarctica itself is getting cooler.1
A new study by researchers
from the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory and the University of California at Santa Cruz, published
in the respected journal Science, found that the ice sheets of
Antarctica, far from melting, actually are expanding by some
26.8 billion tons of ice a year.2
Ian Joughlin, a geologist at CIT, and Slawek Tulaczyk, a professor
of earth sciences at UC Santa Cruz, speculate the thickening
ice sheets are repeating a pattern that occurred from 1650 -1850
when the Earth went through what became known as the Little Ice
The study's lead
author, limnologist Peter Doran, an expert on the study of fresh
water at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is worried about
the cooling's impact on the environment.
Doran says cooling
temperature not only is reducing the amount of fresh water feeding
into Antarctica's lakes, but it's also making the surface ice
thicker so plankton that use sunlight for energy are getting
less sunlight. And that, he says, is bad news for the life forms
that depend on plankton for food.
would continue to diminish, and eventually it would essentially
go into a deep sleep - like a freeze-dried ecosystem," Doran
said in a January 21 interview with Richard Harris, a science
reporter for National Public Radio.4
Doran noted that
only a few years ago the National Science Foundation was seriously
considering moving its campsites away from lakeshores to escape
higher lake levels caused by the melting water.
"We went into
this project with the idea that global warming was going to hit
us any time now, and we kept waiting for the warm summers to
come and they never came," Doran said. "It just kept
getting colder and colder, and that's the story."
The new Antarctica
studies show just how prescient the Bush Administration was last
year when it announced it was would not send the 1997 Kyoto Treaty
to the Senate for ratification.
Supporters of Kyoto
- including most environmental groups and former presidential
candidate Al Gore - have argued that the Earth's temperature
will increase by up to eight degrees over the next century and
that this warming will unleash a chain reaction of environmental
A global warming
fact sheet circulated by the National Resources Defense Council
indulges in some particularly heated rhetoric, direly predicting
that: "Sea levels will rise, flooding coastal areas. Glaciers
and polar ice packs will melt. Heat waves will be more frequent
and more intense. Droughts and wildfires will occur more often.
And as habitat changes or is destroyed, species will be pushed
Gore, ignoring the
advice of several key Clinton Administration officials, took
a last-minute flight to Japan in November 1998 to sign the Kyoto
Protocol even though the Energy Information Administration, the
official forecasting arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, found
that meeting the treaty's requirements could increase gasoline
prices by up to 66 percent and electricity prices by up to 86
percent, and throw up to several million Americans out of work.6
The Clinton Administration,
however, never sent the treaty to Capitol Hill for ratification,
in large part because the Senate unanimously passed a resolution
urging the Administration not to seek approval of any global
warming treaty that "would result in serious harm to the
economy of the United States."7 President Clinton
even signed appropriations bills in 1999, 2000 and 2001 prohibiting
the Environmental Protection Agency from using any funds to "issue
rules, regulations, decrees of orders for the purpose of implementation,
or in preparation for implementation, of the Kyoto Protocol"
unless and until the treaty is ratified by the Senate.8
The Bush Administration,
now struggling to move the country out of a recession, pretty
much delivered the coup de grace to the Kyoto treaty last year
when President Bush announced that the United States would withdraw
from Kyoto, although it would continue to participate fully in
the international meetings that developed it.9 On June
11, 2001, the President committed his administration to support
for greater levels of funding for scientific research into climate
In light of the
new information, President Bush's decision to pursue more research
seems especially perceptive.
The new Antarctica
studies ought to pound the final nails into Kyoto's coffin. It's
ironic that two studies suggesting that a new Ice Age may be
underway may end the global warming debate.
Many of the environmental
groups championing the global warming theory were zealous proponents
of a global freezing theory in the 1970s. These groups then warned
that a barren, ice-bound Earth might, in geological terms, be
Mark Twain once
noted, "I'm from Missouri... if I don't like the weather,
I just wait a few minutes."
We might say the
same about predictions from environmentalists.
1 For more information on recent temperature
readings in Antarctica, see Gretchen Randall, Ten Second Response
#TSR11502, "Antarctica Cooling Despite Supposed Global Warming,"
January 15, 2002, available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR11502.html,
and Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, "Antarctica is Freezing
Cold," TechCentralStation.com, January 15, 2002.
2 For articles about these issues, see Joseph Perkins,
"Scientific Findings Run Counter to Theory of Global Warming,"
San Diego Union-Tribune, January 25, 2002, and Steve Connor,
"Ice Is Becoming Thicker in Parts of West Antarctica,"
The Toronto Star, January 19, 2002.
3 During the Little Ice Age, reports John Carlisle in
The National Center for Public Policy Research's National Policy
Analysis #203, "Sun to Blame for Global Warming": "Temperatures
in this era fell to as much as 2° F below today's temperature,
causing the glaciers to advance, the canals in Venice to freeze
and major crop failures." This paper is available online
4 Richard Harris, reporting, National Public Radio Morning
Edition, January 21, 2002.
5 Natural Resources Defense Council, "Consequences
of Global Warming: Scientists Predict Rising Temperatures that
Could Have Impacts from Floods to Droughts," downloaded
from http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/fcons.asp on January 29,
6 "Impacts of the Kyoto Protocol on the United States,"
Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy,
Washington, DC, October 1998.
7 Resolution submitted by Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV)
and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), expressing the sense of the U.S. Senate
regarding the conditions for the United States becoming a signatory
to any international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions under
the United Nations, adopted by the Senate by a vote of 95-0 on
July 25, 1997. For the complete text, visit http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoSenate.html.
8 Tom Randall, "Bonn Earth Summit Fact Sheet,"
July 2001 (available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/Bonn2001.html),
citing P.L. 105-276 (Conference Report 105-769), P.L. 106-744
(Conference Report 106-379), and P.L. 106-377 (Conference Report
9 For a review of issues surrounding President Bush's
decision, see Tom Randall, "Bonn Earth Summit Fact Sheet,"
July 2001, available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/Bonn2001.html.
10 Christopher Horner, "Rush Hour," TechCentralStation.com,
January 29, 2002.