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By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 23 2014

Want to stump a global warming alarmist?

Just ask him to describe how the Great Lakes were originally formed.

At over 94,000 square miles, the Great Lakes constitute the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, and possess fully 21% of its surface fresh water.  Lake Superior alone is the world’s largest continental lake, while Lake Michigan claims the title of largest freshwater lake entirely within one nation’s borders.

And how were those enormous lakes formed?  By fluctuating climate change approximately 10,000 years ago, as the Ice Age ended and giant glaciers receded so dramatically that they carved massive basins into the continental crust.  In other words, long before the first internal combustion engine or coal-fired electrical plant, the planet experienced a global warming period so pronounced that the world’s largest freshwater lakes were formed.  Imagine the hysteria and politicized attempts to place blame if that was underway today.

That geological history regained relevance this week, as another severe winter freeze descended upon the nation amid the ongoing climate change cacophony.  Specifically, the Great Lakes are currently experiencing their greatest level of freezing in 25 years.  That was several years before Al Gore inflicted “Earth in the Balance” upon the public.

The continually discredited Al Gore aside, The Wall Street Journal detailed the surprising magnitude of the new global cooling crisis this week:

“The Midwest hasn’t had this much ice on the Great Lakes and other bodies of water this early in the season for decades, and another blast of cold is expected this week.  Wind chills as low as 40 degrees below zero are forecast for the Upper Midwest, according to the National Weather Service…  About 60% of the Great Lakes will be under ice cover for the months of January and February, predicts George Leshkevich, a scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  During the past three decades, the average maximum freeze-over has only been about 50% each year.  Last year, it was roughly 38%.  It has been 25 years since the lakes have had this much ice this early, said Mark Gill, director of vessel traffic services with the U.S. Coast Guard in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, which hit minus-16 degrees on January 3.” 

Over at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), meanwhile, climatologists also confirmed that the nearly two-decade plateau in global surface temperatures continued in 2013.  According to Gavin Schmidt, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, “The trends over the last ten to fifteen years compared to the trends before that do appear to be lower than they were.”  He continued, “We’ve been looking at this in separate work, and partially it seems to be a function of internal variability in the system, so the fact is that we’ve had more La Nina-like conditions over the last few years compared to earlier in the 2000s or in the late 1990s.”

According to climate change alarmists, however, that should not have happened.

Consider that in the two decades since 1997, when that temperature plateau began, China, India and other undeveloped nations have industrialized on a massive scale, meaning enormous increases in human carbon output.  The United States, Europe and other industrialized nations have also continued to grow, continuing their carbon output levels as well.  Yet none of the parallel and consequent increase in global temperatures has occurred, despite confident predictions from global warming alarmists.

“Given that the estimates that the average decadal increase in global surface temperature is 0.2 degrees Celsius, the world is now 0.3 degrees cooler than it should have been,” said BBC astrophysicist and science editor David Whitehouse.  “The pause in global surface temperature that began in 1997, according to some estimates, continues,” he added.  “Statistically speaking, there has been no trend in global temperatures over this period.”

So we’ve now experienced a global temperature plateau more enduring than the brief warming period that triggered the current politicized global warming movement in the first place.  As illustrated by infamous high-profile reports from The New York Times, Paul Ehrlich, Newsweek and Time in the mid-1970s, global cooling was the supposed climate crisis that decade.  Yet an even longer period of temperature stability hasn’t moderated their confidence or rhetoric.

Perhaps they’ll simply begin claiming that climate stability is its own crisis.

Regardless, global temperatures are constantly warming and cooling, as the geological history of the Great Lakes shows.  It’s something for climate alarmists to reconsider, as they ice skate over portions that haven’t been this frozen since Ronald Reagan was still in the White House and Al Gore was just a Senator.

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