20th June - Today's News

We are a nation of total weather geeks! No, not us in Britain (we're more like uber weather geeks!) but our cousins out in Australia.

Today's entry in the "tell us something we didn't already know" category is carbon dioxide not to blame in ice age mystery. It's well established that the shift into the current 'ice age' mode that began around 3 million years ago was primarily due to tectonic movements, in particular the closing of the Panama gap and the rise of the Himalaya. These conspired to further reduce the efficiency of ocean currents and weather systems to spread the heat recieved around the equator to more northern latitudes, allowing for the gradual build up of the Greenland Ice Sheet. These conditions persist today with just the occasional brief interglacial - such as that we are currently in - during which the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets temporarily retreats. I'd never even heard before that a reduction in CO2 had even been considered as a contributory cause! Of course, that won't stop persons in certain circles from using this new annoucement to 'prove' that CO2 had no effect on global temperature. Which is nonsense. Presumably these same people also think that smoking cannot cause cancer because people who don't smoke get cancer ..... If a fire occurs without a lightning strike it does not prove that lightning strikes cannot casue fires!

Moving on ...... we also learn this week that Tornado season is a dud and how aerosols mask climate change.

The "5.2kya" event is something I've long been interested in, not least because it seems to coincide with the rise of the Indus Valley, Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilisations (and, indeed, the building of Stonehenge). Lonnie Thompson - whom I don't always agree with - has been doing a lot of research into this climate event and the latest news is that ancient drought and rapid cooling drastically altered climate. But the unanswered question is what caused it? There is also evidence that ENSO became more active around this time - and of course this was also when the Sahara turned form savannah to desert. Just a subtle shift in the Milankovitch cycles, affecting Northern Hemisphere insolation and subsequent knock-on effects? Or something more sinister? Perhaps it was Nibiru! hehehe! (I'm joking!!!)

Up on the Sun, today's cosmic weather report is that the sunspot drought is breaking. Bad news for noctilucent cloud watchers but better news for aurora fans. And is this sunspot delay due to sluggish solar 'jet stream'? Some think so. Although that then just raises the next question: why is the solar 'jet stream' so sluggish? Perhaps it's been suffering pig cold ......


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