socialist plot to ruin current world powers (what he actually wrote was "Kyoto is essentially a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations"); Al Gore won't talk to global warming pooh poohers in Denmark; someone else thinks it's Y2K all over again along with The Emperor's New
Clothes...BUT...glaciers don't lie.
Glaciers, especially the polar ice sheets, are a lot like Santa Claus -- they know who's been naughty or nice over the millennia. Paleoecologists read the ice core samples like an ancient
encyclopedia of earth's history spanning, likely, 200,000 years in Antarctica and 125,000 years in Greenland. The language is air bubbles, dust particles, pollen grains and snow layers along with all chemical isotopes involved. For example, analysis is so precise they can tell if a nuclear test was set off by the U.S. or Russia during the Cold War. Pollen grains give evidence of the species of plant life. However, glaciers don't always tell the whole truth.
Every spring you may notice garage-less car-fanciers washing their cars more often. Their cars are covered with a light dust even though they haven't driven anywhere. It's pollen. If, after a spring rain, you see a scummy yellow rim on a mud puddle, it's pollen. If your daughter comes home with a yellow nose in June, she's been smelling dandelions. It's pollen. A walk through our local bush could stir up a powder puff from those fascinating candles of club moss. It's spores. While lots of plants have pollen or pollen-sized eruptions, not all have the capability to be carried great distances by global air streams to reach the polar ice sheets and enter their "pages" of history.
The non-polar glaciers are melting as Al Gore shows so convincingly in his Inconvenient Truth. In
fact, they started rapidly melting 18,000 years ago. Nipigon was covered by the Wisconsin Glacier that moved in a south-southwest direction as evidenced by rock scratches east of Jackfish, near the Steele River, for example. Non-polar glaciers were the movers and the grinders and the transporters. Eight thousand years ago we were out from under the ice and populated by the
Aqua Plano peoples as evidenced by the lithics (stone tools) in local museums. (Nipigon Historical Museum for one)
Paleoecologists can't get ice cores from those non-polar glaciers that have melted. What they now do, is take cores from ocean bottoms, corals, lake sediments and peat bogs. They still study pollen and use it to track the re-growth of vegetation after the glaciers receded. Some arctic plants were pushed down to our neck of the woods and still survive. Pale corydalis is quite wide-spread in our area, but some plants are limited to the depths of Ouimet Canyon or islands in Nipigon Bay.
Global temperature has been determined by the quantity of oxygen 18 versus the regular oxygen 16. These two oxygens are present in the ice cores and the sediment cores and coral and as one report said, even our own bodies. The ocean cores provided a second unit of measure, the radiolaria, a one-celled protozoa. The scientists count their little stacked bodies like tree rings. Instead of wet and dry, they call it hot and cold years. So, where does this put us in long view of our planet's average temperature? The average global temperature for ninety percent of the last 600,000 years has been 72F or 22C. Presently we are in a cool stage, recovering from The Little Ice Age, but in the last thirty years our world has warmed up 0.6 degrees F to 58.6F or 14.8C.
Non-polar glaciers also impacted bird species, splitting some into Eastern and Western ranges as the glaciers shoved southward over the Great Lakes. The Thunder Bay Field Naturalists list 346 species in our area. At least twenty-six 'western' birds have come visiting relatives in the last ten years. In 2006, I had a White-winged Dove (Texas) and an Oregon Junco at my feeder. Already, in 2007, Red Rock has had the Gray Crowned Rosy Finch (Rocky Mountains home). A Robin has lived all winter in Nipigon. At this writing, February 4, 2007, it is minus 32C.
Somewhere in the world, the glaciers are melting.
[from the newspaper Superior Sentinel, March 2007]