We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
From LiveScience comes the news that Antarctica may have been a dramatically warmer place at a geologically-recent time. Summertime temperatures could have averaged in the mid-50s fahrenheit along the coast -- comparable to New York in October, at a time when Antarctica was already sitting squarely over the south pole. Today, summer temperatures hover around 25 degrees at the same location.
Co-author David Marchant said "climatologists are uncertain exactly what caused this intense period of cooling."
Fourteen million years ago. As I recall, Antarctica's Antarctic Peninsula was still sort of connected to the southern tip of South America. Nothing visible above water, but it was enough to divert the current northward. Meant that the water around Antarctica stayed warm.
Then, about three million years ago, the connection broke and the circumpolar current got started. That isolated Antarctica from the rest of the world and thus insulated the continent could freeze over.
Alan, you are right about the mechanism but the dates are off - the Drake Passage (between South America and Antarctica) opened up 41 million years ago, not 3 million years ago. By 14 million years ago the current had been already been circulating for millions of years, so something else must have changed to influence the climate at that time.
That's an ingenious explanation, Alan Kellogg. Haven't heard that one before. I just figured, that because the earth is a living organism, it gets warmer, it gets colder from a complexity of natural factors. As Jules Crittenden observed, "The world geets warmer, the world gets colder, and nobody quite knows why." Although Al Gore thinks he does.
The one thing I don't depend on for accuracy is computer projections -- partly because the ones that we use now to predict the weather even five days in advance are so inaccurate that we can't count on them for planning.
I'm thinking of last year's Hurricane Humberto, which planned on visiting my town, Houston, with a direct hit. Funny thing happened. When it crossed the coastline, it turned sharply right and missed us completely. Instead of wind and rain and destruction on a large scale, there was a vast, echoing silence that morning as people went about their business.
As I recall when I was a young lad 14 or 41 million years ago, I'm getting on in years so its hard to tell. Oh but what the hay, a million here, a billion there, whats the diff? I notice nobody says what 'may' have happened. Everyone talks of hypothesis and theory as fact. Computer models based on best guesses cannot produce facts.
I agree with BD, its the SUV's fault.