Skeptical Science Blames Population Reduction For Little Ice Age

Which they’re also saying didn’t really occur. The article starts out by mentioning several natural, saying they are “proposed” causes, such as decreased solar activity, volcanic activity, and a slow-down in the ocean conveyers, and then states that they were non-factors. So, it can only be caused by humans! (via Steven Goddard)

(Skeptical Science) The Black Death caused a decrease in the human populations of Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East during the 14th century and a consequent decline in agricultural activity.  A similar effect occurred in North America after European contact in the 16th century.  Ruddiman (2003) suggests reforestation took place as a result of this reduced human population and agricultural activity, allowing more carbon dioxide uptake from the atmosphere to the biosphere, thus having a cooling effect.  Ruddiman concluded as follows.

“If the 10-ppm CO2 decreases are caused by plague-induced reforestation events, they would cool northern hemisphere temperatures by ∼0.17°C, assuming a 2 × CO2 sensitivity of 2.5°C.”

Of course, we’ve seen the exact opposite effect in recent centuries, as the human population has continued to grow, increasing deforestation, and of course anthropogenic CO2 emissions through burning fossil fuels.  However, it’s difficult to classify increased human greenhouse gas emissions as a “recovery from the LIA.”

There’s a problem with this. A big problem. The spread of the Black Plague causing fleas living on rats and other animals was actually caused by cooler, wetter conditions. The conditions caused by the coming Little Ice Age, not by the warmer, drier atmosphere of the Global Climate Optimum. But the attempt here is to Blame it all on humans, and state that fewer humans is simply an awesome idea, along with, again, linking the LIA to Mankind, rather than natural forces.

To sum up, with the exception of the human population, the factors which contributed to the LIA cannot account for the global warming of the past 50-100 years.  Further, it is not physically accurate to claim that the planet is simply “recovering” from the LIA.  This argument is akin to saying that when you drop a ball off a cliff, it falls because it used to be higher.  There is a physical mechanism for these changes.  In the case of the ball, it falls because of the gravitational pull at the Earth’s surface.  In the case of the global temperature, it is warming from the increased greenhouse effect due to human activities.

Well, maybe then we should run an experiment where all the Believers in human caused climate change should kill themselves, with the Climate Realists as the control group, and we’ll see what happens. The article, which is entitled “What ended the Little Ice Age”, forgets to actually mention what ended the LIA, but we’re supposed to assume it was humans, even though the LIA ended in the mid-1800’s, not 50-100 years ago, which, interestingly, had a slight cooling period from the 40’s to late 1970’s, and has seen a statistically insignificant warming of just 0.14F since 1997.

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2 Responses to “Skeptical Science Blames Population Reduction For Little Ice Age”

  1. Dan Pangburn says:

    Many (if not all) really missed the boat when they looked at TSI, didn’t see any effect and ruled sunspots out as a factor. If they had thought of conservation of energy and looked at the sunspot time-integral they might have discovered what actually drives the average global temperature. Change to the level of non-condensing ghg has no significant effect.

    One corroborating study is described at http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/01/blog-post_23.html . This shows a trajectory based on the sunspot number time-integral beginning in 1610. The decline of the LIA and rapid rise since approximately 1941 are evident.

    After about 1895, accurate temperature measurements were made world wide and revealed the oscillations above and below the sunspot-number-time-integral-trajectory. The oscillations are caused by the net effect of ocean cycles (which are dominated by the PDO). The resulting graph and physics-based equation that accurately (R2=0.9) calculates the measured anomaly trend are shown at http://climatechange90.blogspot.com/2013/05/natural-climate-change-has-been.html

    Several other informative links are in the References at http://consensusmistakes.blogspot.com/

  2. Ecstacy_of_Idiocy says:

    This argument is akin to saying that when you drop a ball off a cliff, it falls because it used to be higher. There is a physical mechanism for these changes. In the case of the ball, it falls because of the gravitational pull at the Earth’s surface. In the case of the global temperature, it is warming from the increased greenhouse effect due to human activities.

    OMG.LOL. I spewed my coffee on that one. Was this written by an elementary school dropout?
    A is caused by B, and B is similar to C, therefore C is caused by W*B*A/G+j-5^WTF!

    First, yes, the ball did fall because it used to be higher. It also fell because nothing was supporting it from beneath to oppose the force of gravity. Remove the opposing force and gravity forces the ball to be lower than before.
    Temperatures recover due to the cyclical nature of our world. Is he saying that the normal state of our world is frozen? And the warming from the last ice age is due entirely because of man’s greenhouse gas additions?

    Someone likes to play god, do they?

    So, now we’ve gone from a static view that our world should be 0.2F cooler.. just because, to now one that is 5C cooler. All this to try and explain away natural conditions and natural forcings, both internal and external.

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