Rising sea levels predate fossil fuelBy PETER GILDERSON,
Now that the record breaking cold of earlier this winter is in the rear-view mirror, the global warming alarmists are emerging from their hibernation. They point out that the Paris Climate accord, which was signed by most countries except the United States, aimed to control global temperatures to be no higher than two degrees Celcius (3.6 deg. F) above pre-industrial revolution levels. Further, they say, even under the best-case scenario a one-degree rise could increase the likelihood of flooding, droughts, and heat waves. Let's take a step-by-step look at the situation.
Scientists tell us that 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age the polar ice cap started retreating. In North America that ice cap stretched as far south as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and New England. I have personally seen a sign in Green Bay that indicates the southern extent of the ice cap 10,000 years ago. The Land of Lakes was blessed with thousands of fishing venues as the glaciers melted. In Maine, I have observed striations on rocks near the top of a 200-foot hill that were caused by glaciers. These scratches, running in the direction of the flow of the glacier, were caused by the massive weight of a glacier with rock debris at the base as it slowly moved downhill. Therefore, the ice cap was significantly more than 200 feet thick at that location at that time. We'll discuss the implications of this below.
Another fact recognized by scientists is that sea water has risen since the last ice age. The 51-milelong land bridge between Alaska and Siberia has now been covered. We believe the causeway was used by early civilization to populate early American Indians from Asia. Signs of human activity have been discovered beneath the sea in the Bering Strait. The depth of water is between 98 and 160 feet, suggesting a small hill may have existed on the "bridge." The English Channel is another example of a land bridge that has been covered since the ice age.
The next step is to see what these observations mean as they relate to the global warming debate. First let's look at the retreat of the polar ice cap. If a crow was crazy enough to fly from Green Bay to the arctic ice cap he would travel approximately 2,500 miles today. So, during those intervening 10,000 years the average retreat of the ice cap is about 1/4 mile per year. During the last 1,000 years there has been a "Medieval Warming Period," and a "Little Ice Age." These events have obviously caused major departures from the norm.
Regarding the rise in sea levels, today's Bering Strait depth indicates that the sea has risen at least 160 feet in the last 10,000 years (caused by the partial melting of the massive ice cap.) This indicates that sea levels have risen an average of about one foot every 60 years during this time.
Global warming alarmists point to retreating glaciers and rising sea levels as evidence that man's use of fossil fuels in the last 200 years has caused these events. They highlight the flooding of low-lying parts of Miami and Manhattan during some storms, the shrinking ice caps, and retreating glaciers. The geological evidence submitted above indicates that these events have been progressing naturally for thousands of years, even before mankind discovered fossil fuels. The Paris Accord would have placed unnecessary restrictions on the U.S. economy. It would have put us at a competitive disadvantage versus China and India, the largest polluters, who were given exempt status from the restrictions.
Peter Gilderson, Madison, 601-853-4632