Friday, October 3, 2008

Global Warming or Beginning of The Next Ice Age?

There’s Cold In Them Thar Hills

Today I chickened out on my scheduled 19 kms walk, when I saw how cold and wet it was. I know I won’t be able to do that during VBW, when I need to get 30 kilometres per day under my shoes, come rain or shine. But at the moment I have the luxury of refusal.

Not just cold (8 degrees when we went out to market in the car this morning), not just wet, but for the first time since the summer, we have visible snow on the Pyrenees. We can’t see the mountains from the house because the 1000 metre hill in front of us is blocking the view, but we don’t have to travel far before we can see the higher peaks. From the market in Lavelanet I could clearly see a great deal of snow – I would estimate above 1500 metres – even though the higher reaches of the mountains were obscured by black and threatening cloud.

The rain is welcome. We have had a most peculiar summer but not much quantity of rain. In fact, our whole year has been odd, weather-wise. We were in New Zealand for 3 months, during which it rained twice. We left NZ on April 16th, went to Australia for a week and watched it rain every day – in fact it rained for 14 days. Then Singapore for a couple of days – of course it rained there, but then it rains in Singapore every day. Then UK for a week – rain every day. We arrived home on May 6th and saw it rain every day until near the end of June, when we had, for the first time in 63 days, our first day completely free of rain.

Since then, although the weather has been subdued, we have not had much rain at all. The normal weather pattern here from May to September is that the temperature goes up to about 36 degrees, we have a thunderstorm, it cools down, then builds up again to the next thunderstorm, on a cycle of about 7-10 days. Not so this year. The temperature has been over 30 degrees only for one 3-day spell. Same last year, except that on only one day did the thermometer creep over 30.

Is this global warming? To me it seems not.

Earlier this year I read a newspaper article by Phil Chapman, a geophysicist and astronautical engineer, who was the first Aussie to become a NASA astronaut. He said that in 2007 average temperatures around the world went down, not up. He also said that if last year’s trend continued we would find ourselves, in an amazingly short number of years suffering, not from global warming, but from an Ice Age which would see the whole of Europe and equivalent northerly sections of the other continents, under a vast sheet of ice. He emphasised that he was not predicting this, but that it could happen and that if it did, it would merely fit in with historical cycles, and that under said historical cycles, we are long overdue for an Ice Age.

We are not talking a bit of cold here, we are talking ice several miles thick, much of the civilised world becoming uninhabitable for hundreds or thousands of years (depending upon whether we have a Little Ice Age or a real one), and immense displacement of populations.

It seems that if things go that way, it will happen very quickly. Hopefully I will reach Blackpool at the end of my walk before it succumbs to the ice.

I have managed to trace Phil Chapman's article. If you want to read it, click here:,25197,23583376-7583,00.html

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