Intermediate Period Half Bond Events

Can the Egyptian Kings tell us something of interest about our future?

I think they can.

I’d even go so far as to assert that they can tell us of an important cycle of weather. A 750 year cycle of “1/2 Bond Event” duration. This has very important implications for us, now, with our sleepy sun.

There are two separate lines of evidence for a 1470 to 1500 year cycle of weather. During the ice age glacials, the cycles are called by one name, during the Holocene interglacial, by another. This is because each was discovered by different means and by different folks. But it is the same cycle and it has been present for hundreds of thousands of years. It would be folly to think “this time is different”.

lists the Bond Events as:

Most Bond events do not have a clear climate signal; some correspond to periods of cooling, others are coincident with aridification in some regions.
≈1,400 BP (Bond event 1) — roughly correlates with the Migration Period pessimum (450–900 AD)
≈2,800 BP (Bond event 2) — roughly correlates with the Iron Age Cold Epoch (900–300 BC)[9]
≈4,200 BP (Bond event 3) — correlates with the 4.2 kiloyear event (correlates also with the collapse of the Akkadian Empire and the end of the Egyptian Old Kingdom)
≈5,900 BP (Bond event 4) — correlates with the 5.9 kiloyear event (correlates with the end of the Pre Pottery Neolithic B, and the arrival of nomadic pastoralists in the Middle East)
≈8,100 BP (Bond event 5) — correlates with the 8.2 kiloyear event
≈9,400 BP (Bond event 6) — correlates with the Erdalen event of glacier activity in Norway,[10] as well as with a cold event in China.[11]
≈10,300 BP (Bond event 7) — unnamed event (correlates with the beginnings of grain agriculture in the Middle East)
≈11,100 BP (Bond event 8) — coincides with the transition from the Younger Dryas to the boreal

There is some reasonable “slop” in those dates as the events themselves have a duration of a hundred years scale and the exact onset and exit can be a bit vague. Some are worse than others. But first off, notice that they are generally bad times for humanity and for civilization. Cold, arid, prone to crop failures and collapse of empires.

presses this cycle further back in time.

Dansgaard-Oeschger events are rapid climate fluctuations that occurred 25 times during the last glacial period. Some scientists (see below) claim that the events occur quasi-periodically with a recurrence time being a multiple of 1,470 years, but this is debated. The comparable climate cyclicity during the Holocene is referred to as Bond events.

Though I note that it does not say “by whom” it is “debated”…

In the Northern Hemisphere, they take the form of rapid warming episodes, typically in a matter of decades, each followed by gradual cooling over a longer period. For example, about 11,500 years ago, averaged annual temperatures on the Greenland icepack warmed by around 8°C over 40 years, in three steps of five years (see [2], Stewart, chapter 13) – 5°C change over 30-40 yrs more common.

Gee, a ‘warming’ of a couple of C over 30 to 40 years… where have I seen folks wringing their hands over a warming of a couple of degrees C in 30 to 40 years ….. Oh, that’s right, the IPCC… and AlGore. So an absolutely normal rapid warming of a couple of C in about 30 to 40 years is followed by? Oh, that’s right, a whole lot of cold…

Heinrich events only occur in the cold spells immediately preceding D-O warmings, leading some to suggest that D-O cycles may cause the events, or at least constrain their timing.

The course of a D-O event sees a rapid warming of temperature, followed by a cool period lasting a few hundred years. This cold period sees an expansion of the polar front, with ice floating further south across the North Atlantic ocean.

Well, that doesn’t sound very nice at all. “A few hundred years” of cold is a bit more than I’d like to see…

And what about those “Heinrich Events”?

Heinrich events occur during some, but not all, of the periodic cold spells preceding the rapid warming events known as Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) events, which repeat around every 1,500 years.

Hmmm… A cold spike, then a warm spike, then a few hundred years of cold. (Yes, there is some quibble over exact dating of Heinrich events and they are only seen during a glacial, but what if the same pattern carries forward, like Bond Events, but with slightly different effects during an inter-glacial?)

What did we just leave in the 1700-1800s? Oh, a cold spell. The Little Ice Age. Some folks have tried to label it as a Bond Event, but it’s missing a lot of the indicia of a very cold persistent event. But what if there is a different cold spike, then a very warm rebound, then the plunge into Bond Event Zero? ( I’ve coined the term Bond Event Zero for the Bond Event that I think will happen about 1500 years after Bond Event 1. It’s mine, all mine ;-)

OK, so we’ve got a very interesting thing here. D-O events are warming on a 1500 year cycle. Bond Events are cold on a 1500 year cycle. Heinrich Events are cold just before a 1500 year warming event. How do all these parts fit together? Are Heinrich Events a kind of Bond Event? Or what? Or are Heinrich Events in addition to Bond Events?

At this point I think the Egyptian Kings have something interesting to say. (They were only called Pharaoh in the final stages. In the Early Kingdom, they were kings). They show what looks, to me, like a 750 year 1/2 cycle cooling event. Whatever you call it, there seems to be more cooling events than Bond events, and they look to be spaced at about the 1/2 point (though perhaps with some bias to one end).

Egyptian History

Egyptian history is divided into “Kingdoms” and “Intermediate Periods”. The “Intermediate Periods” ( or IP ) are often times of social collapse and famine. Traditionally these have been ascribed to some kind of outside invasion or failure of the leadership, or sometimes just general social anarchy breaking out. I think that’s wrong.

What they miss, IMHO, is that fed people are happy people. Hungry people revolt. Starving people tear down civilizations. Food depends on crops that depend on water and weather. So lets look at those cycles of time, and weather, and see what lines up with whom.

While the wiki is interesting, it spends more time on bickering over the exact dates than I’d like. If you want to know the error bands on things, start here:

I’m going to use a simplified set of the dates:

There are some petty quibbles over exact dating of the Egyptian Kingdoms, but it tends to be in the 10s of years granularity (though some particular kings may be off up to 300 years). For our purposes of a ‘hundred years or so’ precision, they are “good enough”. So what are those dates? I’m going to do everything in BC / AD as the BP and related can be very confusing, especially when all mixed together. Was that 4200 kilo year event the same as the 2200 BC history? Well, yes… so why not call them both “2200 BC”? With that in mind, here are the Egyptian dates:

2700 – 2200 BC Old Kingdom
2200 – 2100 BC First I.P.
2100 – 1800 BC Middle Kingdom
1800 – 1570 BC Second I.P.
1570 – 1080 BC New Kingdom

So what happens when we slot in some Bond Events?

2700 – 2200 BC Old Kingdom

2200 BC – Bond Event 3
2200 – 2100 BC First I.P.

2100 – 1800 BC Middle Kingdom

??? What happened here???
1800 – 1570 BC Second I.P.

1570 – 1080 BC New Kingdom

800 BC – Bond Event 2 (Iron Age Cold Epoch starts it in 900 BC)

500 BC – 500 AD Roman Republic for 500 years, then Roman Empire for another 500.

500 AD – Bond Event 1 (The Dark Ages begin in about 530 AD, the fall of Rome)

Renaissance of the 12th Century and the Italian Renaissance eventually leading to the modern age and the British Empire / EU / American Empire.

2025 AD – Bond Event Zero. You Are Here

OK, we have a nice kingdom, then Bond Event 3 and it falls. There is geologic evidence for sand storms, sand deposits in the Nile Delta, and written records of crop failures, famine, aridity, and endless cloud cover.

Then things get better and we have the Middle Kingdom. But at about 1/2 of a Bond Event, we have the second I.P. and the Middle Kingdom falls. What happened there, then?

Followed by a recovery. The New Kingdom. This runs until Bond Event 2 happens.

Yes, the dates are a bit fuzzy, plus or minus 100 years. This stuff is not exact in the sands of time (literal piles of sands at different times…) In any case, The New Kingdom falls.

Next? We have a Roman Republic for about 1/2 a Bond Period, then it transitions to the Roman Empire. Rocky, but it sort of survives a 1/2 Bond Period challenge. But it fails to survive the Bond Event 1 start of The Dark Ages.

So, about 1300 years after the fall of The New Kingdom, we have The Dark Ages. Between the fall of The New Kingdom and The Dark Ages? The Roman Empire rose, and fell… Same cycle, different Empire.

After a bit of recovery, the Renaissance happens. There are some rocky times about 1200 AD as the Vikings invade, but generally some pretty good times. Even Greenland supports colonies. Then, at about 1/2 a Bond Event period, we get The Little Ice Age. About 700 AD was the depths of the cold, add 700, 1400 AD and we’re starting the L.I.A. The French Revolution, the potato famine. Mass exodus for The New World. Then things warm up some.

Coming out of that time the British Empire flourishes and the American Empire bursts on the scene. A few hundred years later, we are having a bit of warm after a bit of cold, and everything is right with the world.


535 AD plus 1470 = 2005 AD.

We hit a temperature peak in 1998 AD or so and started cooling from about 2005 AD. The sun has “gone quiet” and we’ve got a sudden thinning of atmospheric thickness. Snows have returned to North America with a vengeance and Europe is rediscovering what it means to be cold. There are food riots in North Africa, and the event has barely had time to get started.

Climate Cycles in History

Climate Cycles in History

OK, take a moment to look at that chart.

At the start of the graph, in 2200 BC we have a cool down and the collapse of the Old Kingdom. It makes a bit of a recovery, then in that 1500 BC plunge, falls again. It then makes a recovery into the New Kingdom up through about 1000 BC. ( I think this early part of the graph may be compressing this cycle a bit, but it’s also possible that things are not on an exactly 750 year half cycle. At any rate, I think this era likely needs a bit more ‘stretching’ to be right).

The New Kingdom fell to Greece during Bond Event 2, the Iron Age Cold Period. The Persians were pounding on the Greeks, and they pounded back, eventually ending with Alexander the Great and the Ptolemy Pharaohs. Then Greece fell to the Romans as things warmed up again.

From the 1000 BC point we have a clear crash into Bond Event 2 (from which the Greeks benefit, even if they do have a Persian PITA to deal with). Then the Romans benefit from a bit of warmth and start to take over.

Followed by some eruptions at places like Vesuvius at about the 1/2 Bond Event point. The Republic falls, turned into an Empire, and recovers. I think this 1/2 Bond Event period needs some more ‘fleshing out’ as there was a lot going on then. What were the stresses on the Empire in 200 – 100 BC? Then the Empire flourishes again.

Until Bond Event 1 brings the collapse of The Dark Ages. Again, during the cold, the Greek area benefits with The Byzantine Empire cruising through… approximately 306 AD to 1453 AD. Then it too fell during the Little Ice Age. (And subject to Muslim attack).

It looks to me like the Greek area benefits a little during the 1/2 Cycle events, but has problems during Bond Events. (Or perhaps it is just that the ‘neighbors’ have bigger problems, so Greece can get some relief.) Egypt has problems during both, though perhaps with some offset in difficulty between them. And, while the graph does not show it as well as the history of empire shows it, I think there is fair evidence for a ‘Little Ice Age” at the 1/2 Bond Event periods that causes some instabilities.

What About Us?

So, if there is any validity in this (and it IS admittedly quite speculative), what does it imply for us?

First up, it implies that the Little Ice Age was not Bond Event Zero (as some folks have tried to claim). That would be a 1/2 Bond event mini-event. That would imply that the proper date for Bond Event Zero is, well, right about now. And it ought to last for a couple of hundred years. Potentially that could make The Little Ice Age the equivalent of an inter-glacial Heinrich Event.

Furthermore, to the extent that Heinrich Events can be seen as the cold 1/2 Bond Event process preceding a DO event (and that is even more speculative), and / or to the extent that a DO/Henrich set ought to have an analog in Bond Events (not very speculative at all):

THE reasonable thing to expect would be a modest cold event, followed by a warming event (DO Event), followed by significant cooling (Bond Event). And what have we had? A modest cold event in The Little Ice Age (with volcanoes, even…), followed by a warming event into 1998, followed by a sleepy sun and the start of significant cooling.

The pattern fits far more than I like…

IMHO, we cool strongly into about 2030-2040 and it takes another hundred years to dig our way back out of it.

If you look at this graph, you can see how we “wobble downward” over time with about 3 down dips per 2000 years, or roughly a 700 year period. (Looking at the thick black line)

Holocene Temperature Variations

Holocene Temperature Variations

Yet only one every 1500 years is counted as a Bond Event. What are the others?

As this graph is in BP, Before Present, some of the dates of “Empire Collapse” from above in “BP” years are:

4200 BP – First IP – Bond Event 3
3800 BP – Second IP
2800 – 2900 BP – Iron Age Cold Period – Bond Event 2

2055 BP – Roman Republic Ends
1534 BP – Roman Empire Ends
1475 BP – Dark Ages begin with 535 AD dark event. (The black line doesn’t dip much, but the thin blue one does)

760 BP – Little Ice Age Earliest start (Atlantic Ice Pack grows)
710 BP – Little Ice Age Middle start (European Summers not reliably warm)
695 BP – Little Ice Age Latest start (Great Famine of 1315)

There is little agreement about the exact start and end of the Little Ice Age, so I’ve included several variations.

The LIA also has a fuzzy ending. By about 200 BP it was over, but not until 18 Hundred And Froze To Death happened as a large volcano cooled things.

Comparing those various dates to the chart, they ‘eyeball’ as landing on a ‘down wiggle’ or close enough to be inside the margin of error.

Measuring from the ‘onset’ dates of 760 BP to 695 BP and adding 750 years gives “about now” as the next cycle date. That the sun has gone sleepy adds a certain sense of impending “something”…

Here is the graph George likes:

George Suggested Alternate Graph

George Suggested Alternate Graph

Per the data description of the composite chart (the one above this one) the GISP-2 data are the light blue line, so this graph ought to match the light blue line on the graph above it.

Welcome to Bond Event Zero (c)…

What to expect? The ancient Egyptian account tells of endless clouds. Similarly, the Roman accounts of the Dark Ages say they started with clouds obscuring the sun. Expect a load of clouds. GCR Caused? Or perhaps volcanic? Who knows. But they block the sun. It gets cold. Very cold. That leads to drying and especially in marginal areas like North Africa, dramatic crop failures. The Nile Floods did not happen as rain in the African mountains failed. The dams of today can help, but not over a multi-year cycle. Places with a lot of water moderation of the climate, and using fishing for food, like Greece, benefit. Northern Europe and North Africa “have issues”.

What empires are there, today, that are likely to “have issues”?

First up, the EU. It is, for all intents and purposes, the Roman Empire remade. Lacking only an Emperor. There is, of course, a nominal Senate, but the people don’t really get to have any power or control. It’s toast when the snows come but, then do not leave. The EU has claimed “control”, with that comes “responsibility” when the fictional control fails to deliver the goods.

Second up, the history in North America says that during Bond Events the center of the country dries out. That’s the “bread basket” midwest. I hope the USA can survive in isolation, but it will have little excess food to export under those conditions. Certainly not enough to fund ‘adventures’ around the world. US Influence fades and we likely have border issues with 80 million neighbors wanting some food…

What happens then? Who knows.

I’d speculate that Africa in particular will have issues, especially in the north / middle. (The tropical areas will likely be OK as they don’t seem to ever change much. Then again, they also are not very important to the world economy). Similarly, Brazil and Ecuador (perhaps spreading as far as Panama and Bolivia) ought to be OK. There is likely to be flooding for a while in tropical areas until the planet cools enough to have rains fall off, but other than that, the places just don’t change much. They have a huge variety of sensitive plants that say “not much drastic has happened” for thousands of years.

That leaves Asia. China likely has horrific drought. It has a large central desert. It’s on the edge of marginal. That gets worse. Japan lives from the sea, so ought to do OK, as would the Philippines. Indonesia would be OK, but for the tendency to blow off killer volcanoes during the cold times… I would expect wars to break out between the frozen Mongols, the Chinese, the southeast Asians with their rice lands (though with lower production) and perhaps including India. (Where monsoon failures would be horrific.) An exploration of the history of Asia might be enlightening here. I’m sure India and China have records…

And Russia just freezes. But then again, I’d not have thought anyone could live there as it is now ;-) Definitely a bit of a ‘dig here’ as to what conditions were like in Russia and Siberia during The Little Ice Age, The Dark Ages, and 900 BC.

I suppose the only “good bit” is that there might well be some cooling in the hot deserts of Persia, Saudi, and Iraq. Another bit of “dig here”, especially as we have nice records from Babylonia and the Assyrian empires. Though the fact that the Hittite Empire collapsed about 1080 BC implies that Turkey doesn’t do so well… and the HIttites were also in parts of Syria… But the Babylonian Empire was doing OK during that first cold period, so Iraq might benefit…

I note that the Sumerian Empire ended in about 2400 BC during a ‘warm phase’ when the Akkadians conquered them from closer to modern Syria. So it looks like warm phases favor the Syrian end of things, while the cool phase favors the Iraqi end.

What is historically quite clear, though, is that the area has a see-saw of empires with the cycle of the weather…

Can we get off this treadmill with modern technology? I’d like to hope so. But we’ve only got about 10 to 15 years to prepare and we are doing exactly the wrong things.

Unfortunately the ability of our political “leaders” has not progressed much since The Old Kingdom…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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60 Responses to Intermediate Period Half Bond Events

  1. Baa Humbug says:

    Evoking the precautionary principle, I’d say quite a few nuclear power plants and desal plants are in order not just for ourselves, but for the 3rd world (just to keep the peasants happy)

    This was very interesting EM thankyou

    p.s. I’m guessing Australia will do OK. Our deserts tend to bloom during La Ninas or cooling periods and we have over 40% of the worlds uranium….SELL Mortimer SELL SELL SELLLLLLL

  2. George says:

    “A modest cold event in The Little Ice Age”

    No, the LIA was colder than any of the Bond Events we have seen in the Holocene. It was cold and it was long. The coldest period in the Holocene since the Younger Dryas. Significantly colder than any of the preceding Bond events. It was also preceded by the MWP.

    My vote is on the LIA as BE0

  3. George says:

    The 535 “Dark Ages” event was not as cold as the LIA but it was accompanied by a stratospheric injection of volcanic material that significantly blocked sunlight for up to 10 years. The first couple of years there was not enough sunlight for many trees and vines to produce fruit. From the contemporary descriptions, it would have looked like a very high altitude “fog” with the sun shining only a pale blue color through it not producing even a of warmth to bare skin in the middle of summer. This apparently lasted for at least two growing seasons before it finally began to clear and the sky didn’t appear “normal” for about 10 years after the event.

    So the 535 eruption that caused this would have been huge. It would have been much larger than the Pinatubo event.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    It looks to me like there are two similar, but different events. One more volcanic with cloud issues and drought, the other a sharp cold event, but not so cloudy. No idea on how to sort the mechanism


    We are also in a long slow downtrend from the max temp about 9000 years ago, so I’d expect each even to be colder than the prior events. I didn’t put that bit of detail in the posting as it was already getting a bit long. The thing that sent me off to look at this was the problem of timing for the LIA. It’s just ‘out of time sync’ for a Bond Event.

    The classic way around that problem is to give a +/- 500 year error band on 1500 year period. With that, you can fit anything…. My aproach is just to have it be a 750 year period, but asymetrical and with some variaion in strength on each ( Stochastic Resonance, if you will: )

    Perhaps just as much a ‘dodge’ but I think it works better.

    If you look at this graph, you can see the ‘wobble downward’ trend:

    and that’s why I think the next one goes even lower…

    Maybe I’ll put that in the posting…

  5. xyzlatin says:

    So what we will need will be plenty of coal or nuclear powered greenhouses with extra CO2 pumped into them to feed the masses? Ironic.

  6. George says:

    Yes, I have noticed the trend downward in temperature, particularly over the past 2000 years. Each warm period is a little cooler than the previous and each cold period is colder than the previous. Sort of like going from Denver to Omaha. You go up and you go down but overall you are going down in altitude.

    For example, the modern warm period is still cooler than the maximum reached during the medieval warm period. And the MWP was cooler than the Roman warm period.

  7. George says:

    I don’t really buy that graph, by the way. I will try to find a better one. It shows, for example, that 1991 was warmer than 1933, that wasn’t the case. It also shows MWP warmer than RWP, that isn’t the case either, as far as I know.

  8. George says:

    I think I like this one:

  9. P.G. Sharrow says:

    The period around 1200 Bc may have about 500 years too many in the Egypt record when compared to the other nearby areas, or the rest of the Med has no archological record for that 500 years. Every thing is dated to the Egypt record.
    The lose of the south west plains due to drought maybe made up with greater rains in the great basin. The brush rangelands of Utah and Nevada will become farmlands with an increase in rain and snow. These were much wetter areas not that long ago. Cooling would move the northern jet south and the wet spring storms south from Washington and Idaho. The southern great plains, now irrigated from aquafers that are going dry will have to be watered with a water project as is the California Water Project. Hungry people will insist.
    A cooling world will hurt Canada not the US. The jet move south will double the amount of water in the Sacramento River system.
    As to the future climate trends, the roller coaster ride we are on has been down hill for the last 8 or 9,000 years and the next 100 looks colder before it warms some for a while. I would recommend a small green house as an addition to your garden for dependable tomatoes. pg

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve added your graph to the article for comparison. It ought to be the same as the light blue line in the composit graph. The “one you don’t like” is made by taking several sources and averaging them to get the black line. The individual sources are the thin lines. There is always the possibility that individual areas have different impacts, so it’s worth looking at both the composit line AND the individual lines (IMHO), but especially so in those cases where there may be “one place moves, others don’t so much” or “reports don’t say it was that cold” when they may not be from all places.

    FWIW, remember that all of the data, even the historical written records, are not all that great back in the Dark Ages (and sometimes worse before that). In some of these cases it may not be the cold, so much as incessant rain, or drought, that causes social collapse.

    The interesting bit to me is not so much “is it 1 C warmer or colder” as it is “Bad Things Happen every 750 years” – whatever they may be…

    And it’s been 750 years since the last Bad Thing started…

  11. Malaga View says:

    A very interesting start to my day… joining up the historical dots across disciplines… dots that are 750 years apart… overall it hangs together very well… and I reckon that looking for Bond Event Zero is very important because it should be the big one that tips the earth into the next ice age.

    I first started thinking about the big one when I looked at the recurring pattern of ice ages in the Vostok ice core:

    The first thing that really struck me was how the Holocene seems to have had an extended run of warm weather compared to other interglacials…. but that might just be an artefact of ice core proxy and / or sampling period… I really don’t know… but my impression from the graph is that the big one is very close at hand.

    The second thing that struck me was how quickly the earth seems to plunge into an ice age… the earth goes into freezer mode very quickly… the temperatures then bump downwards for a long time… then suddenly the earth seems to shift into warm mode and we get a short interglacial… but before very long we are switched back into freezer mode.

    Further reading introduced me to the Milankovitch Cycles… and it is a very appealing theory… and you can do some wiggle matching between insolation and temperature: But, and it is a big BUT, the insolation record doesn’t show the big button events that switches the earth between freezer mode and warm mode… my conclusion is that insolation is a necessary condition… but it is not a sufficient condition to explain the mode switches… taking a look at John Kehr’s graph seems to confirm this view that the Holocene is waiting for the big one

    So I then took another look at the Vostok ice core and noticed a third thing… the nadir of each ice age is usually associated with a huge spike in dust particles… perhaps the earth gets very dry and there are lots of dust storms… perhaps there is a lot of volcanic activity… but, either way, when the dust levels drop right down we seem to switch into warm mode… and Vostok shows the Holocene dust levels have been very low… we are living in a warm era with very little dust.

    Now I have my thoughts in order to comment on the Climate Cycles in History graphic… and my thoughts are more directed towards volcanic activity… a hefty dose of volcanic dust has been shown to knock temperatures downwards in our very recent history… so my guess is that volcanic dust is a key driver… low dust and high insolation results in an interglacial… and an interglacial can bounce back from a heavy hitting volcanic eruption… BUT as the insolation decreases the interglacial is prone to sudden collapse when a big one really blows… so we are probably looking at some electro-magnetic interaction with the sun to explain earthquakes and volcanic activity… and that might also mean lower solar output… so either way: Its The Sun Stupid

    My closing thought is whether the Hadley Cell, with its fast water cycle, helps clear the air of volcanic dust near the equator… but causes a dust problem for the mid-latitudes where the Hadley and Ferrell cells collide… thus the martinis have been shaken and stirred this morning… so I have left them outside for a freezing event Mr Bond.

  12. oldtimer says:

    Interesting stuff. If your analysis is right and your expectations are realised the question then becomes what should be the response. It seems to me that two primary issues are what sources of energy and of food will cope with the worlds population in a much colder world. The third is what political order (or disorder) will prevail.

    My own impression, and experience, of the political class is that they are, for the most part, clueless and useless when it comes to business matters. That view was formed before the present AGW/lets control CO2 and the climate idea gripped their collective thinking.

    It would be interesting to get your views on the potential evolution of technology in energy and agriculture and also the potential revolutionary changes that could emerge in the technology of these two fields.

    There is another item that deserves a close watch – the sharp decline in the bee population (said to be down by c90% in some places) on whom we depend for a wide range of plant foods. Somewhere I read that in China there are places where they now pollinate by hand! How are they affected by a colder climate?

  13. commieBob says:

    If the cooling happens and the impact is severe as it looks like it will be, we can expect some serious attempts at geo-engineering. In particular, people would want to get rid of the clouds. Something like cloud seeding might work.

    Here’s a quote from Wikipedia: “Terpenes are released by trees more actively during warmer weather, acting as a natural form of cloud seeding. The clouds reflect sunlight, allowing the forest to regulate its temperature.”

    Of course, in the case of the trees, seeding creates clouds. It’s speculation on my part that we can reduce clouds by seeding thus causing precipitation which reduces the water in the air.

    Anyway, people will try something.

  14. Malaga View says:

    So here is some cherry picking… in 535 AD there was sever short-term cooling possibly due to a volcano… and that seems to tie in with the graphic as we plunged into the Dark Ages…

    Shuffle forward 745 years and we encounter a VEI 6 at Quilotoa in the Andes in 1280 AD… but given its location lets say it was a VEI 7… then take a look at your graphic again and we seem to tie in well with the plunge into the Little Ice Age…

    Shuffle forward another 745 years and we get to 2025 AD… or not… give or take 13 unlucky years either side… so 2012 might not be such a bad bet after all :-)

  15. Jon says:

    To Baa Humbug;

    China is building up it’s navy in a big way. If things get really bad there, and things will, a large percentage of the Chinese population (army) will emigrate to Australia. They will simply invade and as Oz has a vast coastline and no nukes they cannot be stopped.

    No other country will come to Australia’s aid (too far away) and they will all be too busy trying to feed themselves.

    I suggest you start learning Chinese.

  16. George says:

    We have recently seen a large subduction zone quake in Indonesia. Events like that seem to precede major volcanic activity by about 10 years or so. In other words, a strip if new material subducts with lurch and it takes about 10 years or so for it to melt and for the melt products to begin making their way to the surface.

    That said, the places that would concern me are Kamchatka and Antarctica. Mt. Erebus had a caldera forming eruption within the last 100,000 years. Such an eruption, particularly if it occurred during winter, would inject a lot of material into the stratosphere as the tropopause is extremely low in altitude in Antarctica in winter. The more material that makes it into the stratosphere, the more impact it will have on global climate.

    That said, there are still a lot of volcanoes in the middle latitudes capable of injecting a lot of material. Keep an eye on Indonesia and if we should have anything major in Cascadia, on the volcanoes there.

  17. R. de Haan says:

    Great article.

    Publications 535

    And for what it’s worth:

  18. John F. Hultquist says:

    At 3:27 am (above) Malaga View mentions the Milankovitch hypothesis.
    Here is a link on an update to those cycles – with improvements.

    In defense of Milankovitch, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, L24703, doi:10.1029/2006GL027817, 2006
    By —
    Gerard Roe — Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle

    Click to access Roe_Milankovitch_GRL06.pdf

    Comments by Luboš Motl (the reference frame) on this paper can be found here:

  19. phlogiston says:

    The orange and blue coloured chart entitled “global temperatures (2500 BC to 2040 AD) shows a developing trend in terms of the amplitude of the warm and cold oscillations. How accurate is this graph? What data is it based on or it is a figurative approximation?

    Even if it is only approximately correct, it seems to show the following: a trend in which the cold dips become wider and deeper (colder) while the warm peaks become narrower and weaker. The last cold interval (LIA) is especially deep and the latest (late 20th century) warm peak particularly thin and weak.

    Extrapolate this forward and the warm peaks are annihilated – there wont be a next one. One theme absent from this excellent post by the Chiefio (perhaps deliberately – “fools rush in etc…”) is the issue of return to glacial conditions and end of the Holocene interglacial. Of course the downslope from interglacial to glacial is long and fluctuating, but looking at record such as the Vostok core, every recent end-of-interglacial begins with a sharp drop from maximal interglacial temperatuers to quasi-glacial over a few centuries. Ends of interglacials are quite clearly defined.

    Does this secular trend of changing amplitudes suggest another cycle exerting itself – that of oscillation from interglacial to glacial? Did the Holocene just end?

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @R de Haan:

    Glad you liked it… It’s what I was itching to get written and posted while we were bickering over ‘what is is’ ;-)


    I don’t have the background on the chart. If you click on it to make it bigger, you can read who made it and chase it down:

    Climatologist Cliff Harris and Meteorologist Randy Mann

    I would only point out that it bears a reasonable resemblance to the light blue line, GISP2.

    But to your point:

    I didn’t bring it up as the time scale is outside the one I was looking at. Part of that “pick your time scale” discipline from stock trading. (Short stocks, long oils, short dollar, long metals; at least until the oil thing sorts out and we find out how many countries survive in Arabian / Berber lands…)

    So the “Glacial” scale is 120,000 years. The “Interglacial” scale is 10,000 years. I was looking at “Bond Event” scale, and that’s circa 1,000 years.

    FWIW, IMHO, the Holocene ended in 4200 BC when the Sahara collapsed and folks evacuated to the Nile Valley. It is just that it takes a long long time to notice ;-)

    So, IMHO mind you, we are already headed down. But there is a strong oscillation on the smaller scale the moves us up and down further and faster than the Glacial trend line, so we don’t notice.

    Look at the fine lines on the composite chart. They run up and down like crazy with a 2 C range / 1000 years. For a Glacial, we get about 10 C / 100,000 years or 0.1 C / 1000 years. (IIRC the graph…) Even if you make that a factor of 5 larger for the wobbly bits, that’s 0.5 C / 1000 years. Swamped by that 2 C.

    So on the time scale relative to me, my family, and their families for several generations, that “glacial” trend is relatively unimportant. Certainly as compared to the 2 C likely to hit “now” ( 100 years).

    Now my opinion is that the next cold dip will be worse than the LIA. By about 0.1 to 0.2 C (and that’s just not enough to get me excited). Far more important will be any impacts on precipitation and farming from that.

    So we look back at the Bond Event records from Egypt and it’s pretty grim what happens to the rains. Then if we look at the Bond Event One happenings, it’s not good either.

    This site looks like it kept a copy of the older version of the Wiki from before when it got ‘sterilized’ after I first mentioned this topic.:

    Migration Period Pessimum

    The Migration Period Pessimum (also referred to as Dark Ages Cold Period) was a period of unusually cold climate in the North Atlantic region, lasting from about 450 to about 900 AD.[1] It succeeded the Roman Age Optimum and was followed by the Medieval Warm Period.

    This Migration Period Pessimum saw the retreat of agriculture, including pasturing as well as cultivation of crops, leading to reforestation in large areas of central Europe and Scandinavia.[2] This period corresponds to the time following the Decline of the Roman Empire around 480 and the Plague of Justinian (541-542).[3] Climatically this period was one of rapid cooling indicated from tree-ring data[4] as well as sea surface temperatures based on diatom stratigraphy in Norwegian Sea[5], which can be correlated with Bond event 1 in the North Atlantic sediments.[6] It was also a period of rising lake levels, increased bog growth and a peak in lake catchment erosion.

    Now what I find particularly interesting here is that Egypt in Bond Event 3 has severe and dramatic droughts, while Europe has more bogs, rising lakes, cold and wet.

    BOTH lead to crop failures. (As France learned during the LIA when wheat failed in the heavy rains).

    Perhaps that explains why Greece had it’s empire in the middle. Not too dry, not too wet…

    At any rate, I suspect it is more tied to some sporadic halting of the Gulf Stream than to global shifts (but that’s just speculation on my part).

    So, back at your point:

    Considering the above, if we have 100 to 200 years of cold wet sporadically frozen Europe with North Africa in chaos from food riots and China with a megadrought problem: Will it really matter if, on the incredibly fast scale of 1000 years, we drop an added 2 C from the start of the Glacial Plunge?

    Not to me. Not even to my grandkids.

    Some new society will blossom nearer the equator in 100 years and carry on from there.

    The Glacial will be hell for Canada and Russia, but the rest of the world won’t notice much for a few thousand years. (While the cold hits relatively fast, the ice builds up about linearly with time over 100,000 years…)

    Given all that, I’m more interested in what Wheat futures are likely to do in the next decade, and oil prices in the next 30 years, than I am in what happens to wheat prices from the news Gulf Plains Of Florida as the ocean drops reexposing about 2 x as much Florida land … in 50,000 years.

    I’d probably care more if I lived in Sweden or Nome… but I don’t, so I don’t…

    So, for you, and for Melaga View (with his concerns over quick entry to Freezer Mode): You will notice I’ve carefully avoided actually measuring the speed and depth of representative Entry Plunges and getting a real number. That’s because I fear you are right and I’m trying not to notice…. Maybe if I don’t actually figure out the real number it will just go away ;-)

  21. Malaga View says:

    @ phlogiston
    The orange and blue coloured chart entitled “global temperatures (2500 BC to 2040 AD) shows a developing trend in terms of the amplitude of the warm and cold oscillations. How accurate is this graph? What data is it based on or it is a figurative approximation?

    My perspective is that the chart is figurative… perhaps indicative is a better word… the shape of the early warming periods are nicely rounded and symmetrical… and my guess is that these smooth warming curves are based upon some pretty sparse data.

    When we look back at the Medieval Warm Period we have more information and more data points and a different shape… a rounded, slow rise towards the apex followed by a very steep plunge into cold of about 4 F in a hundred years.

    Moving forward into modern times we get far more data points and accuracy… and the shape of the warm period evolves further… the smoothness erodes further and we can clearly see the dip in temperatures caused by Mt Pinatubo.

    From this I conclude that we have to view the temperature record as fractal… our perspective is very much determined by scale… zoom in on any part of the smooth curve and you will see oscillations and cycles… right down to the level of days and even hours and minutes… this means that the smoothness of the historical record is an illusion… temperature is a fractal roller coaster.

    @ E.M.Smith

    You will notice I’ve carefully avoided actually measuring the speed and depth of representative Entry Plunges and getting a real number.

    Well that is the 64,000 dollar question… and it is not easy to see an Entry Plunge in a fractal data record… so we can guess or just close our eyes… both are equally valid… but I find it educational when I guess out loud because I always learn from my mistakes…

    So my guess is based upon the dip in temperatures after the Mt Pinatubo VEI 6 eruption in 1991… VEI 6 is defined as colossal with more than 10 cubic kilometres of material ejected… a VEI 7 is defined as super colossal with more than 100 cubic kilometres of material ejected… the last VEI 7 was Mount Tambora in 1815 which resulted in the year without a summer… but the recent history of VEI 7 eruptions shows a periodicity of 750 to 850 years… a VEI 8 is defined as mega colossal with more than 1,000 cubic kilometres of material ejected… and the last VEI 8 was Taupo about 26,500 years ago.

    But the point to remember is that the VEI scale is logarithmic… so a VEI 6 eruption is somewhere between 10 and 100 cubic kilometres… the 1991 Pinatubo eruptions released an estimated 6 to 16 cubic km of ash… so it is really a VEI 5 or 6… and Pinatubo was just an inconspicuous, heavily eroded mountain covered in dense forest before it erupted. The Tambora eruption in 1815 was at the low end of the VEI 7 classification with an estimated ejected volume of 160 cubic kilometres… the estimated 71,000 death toll resulted mainly from starvation and disease… and Tambora had been dormant for several centuries before it started to rumble in 1812.

    My guesses are:

    Bond Events are associated with volcanic eruptions… VEI 6 eruptions – or greater… the scale of the Bond Event very much depends upon the size and latitude of the eruption and levels of insolation… but they come out of nowhere, kick in very quickly and have dramatic consequences for empires and civilisations

    Bond Event Zero [ © E.M. Smith ] will mark the end of the American Empire… it will be associated with global famine and disease… it will be triggered by a large VEI 6-7 eruption – probably in the Pacific Ring of Fire… it will probably mark the beginning of the next ice age… and it could happen as soon as 2025 AD [ © E.M. Smith ] or 2012 [ © Mayan Calendar ]… or it might even get delayed for a while… but it will arrive one day in the not too distant future.

  22. Malaga View says:

  23. beng says:

    John F. Hultquist

    In defense of Milankovitch, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, L24703, doi:10.1029/2006GL027817, 2006
    By –
    Gerard Roe — Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle

    Click to access Roe_Milankovitch_GRL06.pdf

    Comments by Luboš Motl (the reference frame) on this paper can be found here:

    Very interesting discussions.

    John, those papers to me are very important. They show an astonishing correlation of glacial ice changes w/summer solar input at high northern latitudes. Such a tight correlation implies to me that there can be little else significantly affecting the ice-change rate. That includes ALOT of factors (including CO2) that some hold dear to their hearts. :)

    IMO, other effects must come into play during interglacial transitions (both coming and going) because Milankovitch solar input cycles (~22k yrs) continue during the long glacial periods w/o any apparent significant effects. Something else has to “help” or coincide w/those peaks.

    What could it be? Concerning these Bond events, there must be some very large heat transport change to cause such rapid and large changes. The slow Milankovitch forcings themselves can’t do it. Volcanoes possibly, but at regular intervals? The best explanation I can think of is some major air/ocean current change. Since the Bond (& D/O) events are much more visible in the Greenland ice-cores than Antarctic, a reasonable scenario could be that either the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation fails and/or the N Atlantic current redirects southward toward SW Europe, then curves south. This would quickly chill the N Atlantic & Barents Sea, which would allow sea-ice to expand to cover these areas in winter. A reversal of this effect can cause an equally rapid warming.

    So a combination of a cold Bond event occurring during a cycle of low NH summer insolation could be much of the trigger mechanism to end an interglacial. Starting an interglacial seems to require additional effects tho. Maybe the very high atmospheric dust levels right before an interglacial decreases the albedo of the glaciers? I dunno. :)

  24. beng says:

    Malaga View

    My guesses are:

    Bond Events are associated with volcanic eruptions… VEI 6 eruptions – or greater… the scale of the Bond Event very much depends upon the size and latitude of the eruption and levels of insolation… but they come out of nowhere, kick in very quickly and have dramatic consequences for empires and civilisations…

    Malaga View, how do volcanic eruptions cause the sudden, drastic warming D/O events during glacial periods? Perhaps you’re just addressing interglacial Bond events, but to me these seem very similar (if not equivalent) to the D/O events during glacials. And I’m skeptical about non-random volcanic eruptions….

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @Malaga Vew:

    NAHNAHNAHNAH (hands over ears) I can’t hear you!!!!

    OK, if I must look ….

    Yes, temperatures are fractal. Your point about the “size of the ruler” changing what we can see is exactly what happens with fractal features.

    ” VEI 7 eruptions shows a periodicity of 750 to 850 years”

    Now where have I seen 750 years before ….

    I have no sound basis for it, but my working thesis is that the planetary positions modulate the earthquake and volcanic cycle. We’ve just gone through a very quiet volcanic period (and warm times) and right on schedule things have started getting shaky again. Correlation is not causality, but it tells you were to “dig here” first…

    So maybe one of our Scientific Astrologers can enlighten about any planetary alignments that happen every 750 +/- 50 years or so? Syzygy or not….

    (I’ve always wanted to have a valid reason to use the word syzygy ;-)

    On your Hadley Cell thesis, you might want to notice the new posting about turbulence recently. I suspect the two are related. That the ‘squashing’ of air column height we’ve had compresses the cells and changes both the turbulence and the ground effects. You don’t constrain a rotating mass to a shorter arc and have no effects…

  26. E.M.Smith says:

    @Malaga View:

    Don’t know why the embed behaviour of Youtube has changed. It seems to wander a bit as Youtube changes things then wordpress changes things. At any rate, adding a space instead of the = let the link work. Don’t know why it’s not showing the video directly.

    At any rate, great song (James Taylor “You can close your eyes”).

    FWIW I have a ‘pet thesis’ that Neanderthals and Cro Magnion ‘blended’ in Europe and the Middle East giving us modern Europeans and the tendency for Jews and Europeans to be very similar in some “odd” aspects as compared to the ROW. In that context, I’ve got a set of ‘marker traits’ I watch for. (Not conciously, it’s ‘delgated’ and I get a ‘flag’ when something is detected).

    So for James Taylor, things just lit up.

    So my list of “Neandertal Markers”:

    Higher pitced voice – small or no “adams apple”. (Neanders had very small vocal cords)

    Larger nose, prominent. (sometimes called a ‘weak chin’ but actually a more forward bony area around the nose that just makes the chin look ‘receded’ in comparison)

    “Tall” face. (Think Spencer Tracy or Anthony Quinn that sometimes gives the apearance of a lower or sloping forehead, but is actually an extension of the facial structures up the front of the scull.

    Large well spaced ( “owl like”) eyes. Often with a heavy brow ridge.

    Wide ‘dome’ skull. Cro’s are more narrow / tall scull cap shape while Neanders are more broad / spreading. The gene for this trait has been identified.

    There is a ridge at the back of the skull that can sometimes be seen in selected French populations as a residual, IMHO, but it’s hard to see in living people as hair hides it. Sometimes you can see a bit of it in side shots of Patrick Stewart but I’ve not found a photo good enough to validate that yet.

    Larger hands, more “square” fingers. What I call “Farmer Hands”.

    Neanders also had very high strength and low pain sensitivity (if their bones showing lots of damage indicate a willingness to suffer it gladly…) Hard to “see” but sometimes manifests in observable ways. IMHO, many of our American Football players show these body genes. You just don’t see a guy like them in the Watusi, Bantu, Chinese, etc. populations. Also note that the trait shows up in American blacks where there has been crossing, but much less so in African blacks (though in some, due, IMHO, to “colonial influences”…)

    Short legs, long torso. Often seen in “Santa” like images.

    “Barrel Chest” with poor side to side or twisting motion (Also often seen in Santa like images, with pot belly…)

    There are a few more, but you get the picture.

    Now realize that not every modern with a bit of Neander in their past has all these markers. Genes have a life of their own, and once put into a population split up and go their own ways. It is the ‘recombination’ that makes for new varieties that have advantages.

    So maybe the “big harry heavy muscled body” is good for wrestlers, but not so good for singers. Yet the small vocal box makes for really good Top Tenors… So you end up with some really good “Irish Tenors” who are of light build, but then there are also the Luciano Pavarotti type, complete with barrel chest and all… and with that light tenor voice…

    Notice that he has a “long face” too along with a strong brow ridge and the ‘owl like’ eyes (though not too strongly)….

    BTW, in The Film Zulu there is a wonderful scene where the Zulu are singing a praise / fight song and the British respond. There is a very telling, IMHO, line where a fellow (that I think is Irish) says roughly “They are good singers with a great bass section, but they’ve got no top tenors!” One side had Neander genes to work with ;-)

    At any rate, it was the first time I’d actually looked closely at James Taylor while he was singing and “The Flag” went up:

    Higher pitched voice – check.
    Small ‘adams apple’ – check.
    “owl eyes” – check.
    Strong brow – check.
    Large hands – check. (though he uses them more like a Cro with fine dexterity… the advantage of crossing…)
    Promenent nose – check.
    Broad dome scull cap – check.
    Broad chest – check (though not quite ‘barrel’)
    Short legs – maybe … hard to see in the video
    “Long face” – partial check. About a 50/50 mix IMHO

    There’s more, but you get the idea.

    FWIW I think that the hybrids have advantages (in various fields depending on the particular mix of genes). It comes with disadvantages too, though. IMHO the ‘difficult’ birth process of modern humans is a result of a Neanderlike skull and a Cro like body…

    One ‘odd’ implication of this (and a highly speculative and controversial one) is that any Neander genes that have been ‘traded over’ to American Blacks will result in a phenotype that will be superior at some things, both to their African Black ancestors and to their European White ancestors. Perhaps this is part of why you see domination in things as diverse as football and music along with the rise of stature in politics, academics, and all aspects of life. Hybrid Vigor is real, even in people. You see something similar in the “Eurasian” blends. Vis Tiger Woods as an example, IMHO, of Hybrid Vigor writ large. Mixed Asian (Thai, Chinese), Black, American Indian, and Dutch European heritage.

    (Yes, as a plant breeder I can’t help being aware of genetics and crossing potentials. It’s how you get the best and most interesting results, no matter what “racial purists” might want to say / think to the contrary. “Purebreds” are useful, yes, but mostly, IMHO, as genetic stock for making the really spectacular crosses. Even Cabernet has been traced back to an unexpected cross… and a variety of our favorte wines have an ancestral grape that some growers had advocated killing off as it was ‘uninteresting’ but now is known to be foundational to their gentics. Vis:” Sixteen wine grapes that have long been grown in northeastern France, including ‘Chardonnay’, ‘Gamay noir’, ‘Aligoté’, and ‘Melon’, have microsatellite genotypes consistent with their being the progeny of a single pair of parents, ‘Pinot’ and ‘Gouais blanc’, . ” From the wiki: “The name Gouais derives from the old French adjective ‘gou’, a term of derision befitting its traditional status as the grape of the peasants. Likewise, the German name Weißer Henuisch labels it as one the lesser, Hunnic grapes.” It is now seen as a very important source of genetics. That people think this kind of thing does not also happen in humans is a polite PC self deception. )

    At any rate, if you start watching for that ‘mix of traits’ you start seeing patterns…

    Oh, as a sidebar, I think that “body hair” is also a Neander trait that’s carried forward. Why Europeans have it, and Asians (along with most original African blacks) don’t.

    I’m suspicisious that ‘wisdom teeth’ problems may be an artifact of the crossing. The spouse is very Cro and never got any wisdom teeth at all… I had two of mine come in no problem (only the bottom ones had problems… but even there I’ve still got one of them…)

    The large nose often comes with large ears, so I have a suspicion that the ears were larger too, but also not preserved in fossils.

    There is also some evidence that Neandertals were redhaired. (They have identified a redhead gene in them, but it is different from the gene in moderns. My suspicion is that Neanders had multiple variations, but only one carried through the crossing and we found a different one in the only sample tested from Neanders…)

    I’d further speculate that they are the source of the blue eyed / white skin genes. In about 25000 years of equatorial life, they will be selected against and a population will evolve to being black (skin cancer driver). But at high cold northern locations, the white skin is a major advantage (Vit D formation from face exposure only). So they really only ought to have evolved in “high cold places” with people covered in fur / hide clothing …

    So why do we find them in The Levant? Gee, one of the two places (the other being Europe) where Neander and Cro skeletons are found overlapping for a few thousands of years…

    Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to show that those connections exist as eye color is not preserved anywhere… unless they find more Neander genetic material to work with.

    At any rate, I love the video, both for the music and for the opportunity to be reminded of the virtue of “Hybrid Vigor” and our potential Neandertal mixed heritage…

    ( Well, looking over this, I also realize it’s a nice ‘case study’ in how an Aspe sees the world. I hit a link, watch a music video, and all that cascade of stuff runs throught the brain in about a minute. Before the video even ends. Takes sooo long to translate it to linear speach and share it… but at least you get to see a glimpse inside the chaos… )

  27. E.M.Smith says:


    ” Malaga View, how do volcanic eruptions cause the sudden, drastic warming D/O events during glacial periods? Perhaps you’re just addressing interglacial Bond events, but to me these seem very similar (if not equivalent) to the D/O events”

    Perhaps the natural state is warmed, and only when the volcanoes go quite we get to see that?

    “What could it be? Concerning these Bond events, there must be some very large heat transport change to cause such rapid and large changes. The slow Milankovitch forcings themselves can’t do it. Volcanoes possibly, but at regular intervals? The best explanation I can think of is some major air/ocean current change. Since the Bond (& D/O) events are much more visible in the Greenland ice-cores than Antarctic, a reasonable scenario could be that either the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation fails and/or the N Atlantic current redirects southward toward SW Europe, then curves south.”

    That’s the $64 Billion dollar question, IMHO…


    “To Baa Humbug;

    China is building up it’s navy in a big way. If things get really bad there, and things will, a large percentage of the Chinese population (army) will emigrate to Australia. They will simply invade and as Oz has a vast coastline and no nukes they cannot be stopped.”

    There was a “joke” in the USSR during their tensions with China. It went something like:

    A war breaks out between USSR and China.
    First day, all goes well and 100,000 Chinese surrender.
    Second day, war going spectacularly well, 1,000,000 Chinese surrender.
    Third day, never such glory for Mother Russia, 10,000,000 Chinese surrender.
    Fourth day, USSR surrenders…

  28. George says:

    I think the record shows that the slide into ice age is relatively slow. The coldest time of the last glacial was just before the start of the Holocene. My guess is that the cause of the sudden warming is release of methane hydrates due to the decline in sea levels. We end up with a huge release of methane.

  29. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @George; I think if there were that kind of methane out burst there would be a large CO2 spike as the methane degraded. I don’t recall such in the CO2 level proxy. Oh yes “industrial” type and not “natural”.
    I would guess that the amount of dirt/dust accumulated on the ice and exposed in the late desert phase would cause a large albedo tipping point and a fast warm up over the northern hemisphere. There would be many feet of dust or fine soil accumulated over 10s of thousands of years. Soil covered grasslands atop of ice fields. Perfect area for migratory giant grazers in the summers. Until it finished melting. The dirt / soil is still there as the finest wheat lands in the world. pg

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    If you look at this graph:

    There is a sharp down spike at the onset of the ice age. It’s about 1 C / 1000 years over about 10,000 years. Per my eyeball measure of the graph.

    At the bottom, it’s very dry with loads of ice. I don’t think it’s an albedo thing, as the dust is around for about 20,000 years. I’d expect it to have an effect before that…

    Per Milankovitch, it’s the warming of the N. Hemisphere in summer that does it (due to the longer residence of N.H. pointed toward sun when N. Pole is pointed at the sun at apogee) and with the maximal “tilt” toward the sun too. Any other combo and it’s Ice City. So that “start of interglacial” comes when planet Tilt is MAX, planet is N.H. toward sun at Apogee (so more days of summer) and orbital ’roundness’ is ‘best’. ( I’ve forgotten if that means more excentric so even more summer days or less excentric so closer to sun, but I’m pretty sure it’s “most eccentric” so apogee gives the maximal number of summer days…)

    So, once you are in a glacial, you stay there UNTIL all those things line up, then the ice starts to melt. What happens THEN is the feedback that makes it go so fast. IMHO, those feedbacks include:

    1) Albedo change. Land darker and water more absorptive.

    2) Increasing humidity gives a big water vapor feedback. It’s not the CO2, “it’s the water, stupid” as I like to tell the wamers ;-)

    3) Potentially outgassing of decayed plant stuff burried under snow for 90,000 years. There we’re plants when the snow fell that never left… now it’s leaving. Hello Permafrost Decay… Methane, CO2, ???

    4) I would speculate that as ocean depth increases during Interglacials (like now), we get a formation of the southern circumpolar current (or at least a strenghtening of it.) This would imply that during glacials when the ice is very thick and the ocean is low, there is a weaker circumpolar current due to a chunk of it getting deflected up the coast of Chile making the Pacific a lot colder. That would reverse during warming. This, then would also impact the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. I expect there is no warming “Gulf Stream” during a glacial state. Once it re-froms, the North Atlantic gets supercharged warming… I’ve seen a paper on ocean sediments that found that during the last glacial at least part of the time the Atlantic current ran the other direction…

    So we’re locked up in a cold frozen state with the polar cold keeping the oceans cool and the orbital state keeping the N.H. an ice box. VERY low moisture in the air so the IR losses are quite high. Orbital shifts make it just warm enough to start some melting…. summer N.H. ice starts a retreat and the (wet) land starts to warm and make rains.

    Begin feedbacks:

    More humidity -> more warmth -> more rains -> less ice -> more exposed dark wet land with dark albedo -> more humidity.

    Ice melting raises sea level, so more cold water goes circumpolar instead of up the coast of Chile. Pacific warms -> more warm rains -> more ice melt -> more humidity (see above line and) -> higher ocean -> stronger circumpolar flows and weaker cold up the Chile coast -> Pacific warms…

    As the ice melts, more dark wet dirt is exposed and the permafrost melts -> decay of plant stuff -> more methane, CO2, etc. -> darker albedo (see albedo feedback above) -> more evaporation -> more humidity heat trapping (see water feedback above with rain ice melt feedback and see ocean rise feedback) -> more ice melt -> more permafrost melting…

    At least, that’s the way I see it.

    The biggest “good news”, IMHO, is that while the rise out of an ice age happens with staggering speed ( about 2,000 to 4,000 years per my ersatz measure of the graph with a bit of dry noodle ;-) I was putting some noodles in storage jars and one was left escaped on the desk…) so about 1C per 200 years to 400 years; the fall back in takes about 10,000 to 20,000 years. So about 1 C per 1000 to 2000 years. Not something to lose sleep over.

    (I note in passing that this is about double to 4 x the ‘pessimistic’ number I’d guessed at above… so I rather wish I’d not looked at the actual rate. But even at 1 C / 1000 years, I’m not real worried. That’s 0.1 C / 100 years. I can’t think of many folks who would notice a 0.1 C change in their lifetime… And that’s why I’m more concerned with the very rapid pace of things like Bond Events… they happen with onset inside one lifetime. )

  31. George says:

    I don’t know. It would depend on the rate at which it degrades. The thing is, when you reduce sea levels by 400 feet, you begin to expose considerable hydrate deposits, particularly in colder regions of the world. One good earthquake and kaboom, it goes like a bottle of shaken soda.

    And if you look at the temperature record during the glaciation, you also see spikes of warming followed by a gradual return to colder temperatures. The pattern almost always looks like a sawtooth. Sharp rise, gradual fall.

  32. E.M.Smith says:


    I think the sawtooth is because rain can melt snow in a big hurry with sunshine and albedo feedbacks and watervapor feedbacks; but building up snow takes longer as mass transport from the ocean is slower.

    Think about normal seasons. You get “spring floods” as a large quantity of snow melts in spring; but you have a slower onset of winter ice / snow buildup.

    The problem with the methane clathrate destabilization hypothesis is that almost all the clathrate is well more than 400 feet below the destabilization pressure down in the oceans of the world. The second problem is that the destabilization horizon would slowly be moving down over the life of the water drop, so gassing would be happening over 100,000 years. Anything below the horizon is not destabilized, anything above it has already destabilized… More like letting the pressure leak out of your soda bottle over 100,000 years as the ice forms on land.

    So unless you get 100,000 years between big quakes, the ‘shake and fix’ model has a problem…

    (I’d not write it off fully, though, there may be some mechanism I’m just not seeing…)

  33. George says:

    Yes, I have considered the “pluvial rains” possibility and it is a valid one. Thing is, it has to get pretty warm pretty fast for that to happen. If Chicago is under 5000 feet of ice, then the top of that ice is at 5,000 feet altitude. The annual temperature at 5,000 feet above Chicago is a bit lower than it is at ground level.

    But the problem is the rocketing of the temperature in such a short period. How many years do you think it would take to melt a mile thick layer of ice even if we plopped it down on Chicago today? That ice doesn’t go away immediately. It still has a strong impact on albedo. So the albedo doesn’t drop immediately, the ice doesn’t melt immediately, but the temperature basically skyrockets from the coldest in 100,000 years to warmer than today in a very short period of time.

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    George, your “short period of time” is 10,000 to 20,000 years.

    That’s plenty of time to melt a mile of ice in the rain. Even if you started at the edge (where by definition it’s at the limit and ready to melt, as it’s already melting).

    5000 feet is 6 inches a year. 1 inch each of the months of the 1/2 year that isn’t cold.

  35. Wayne Job says:

    Any major climate shifts that are sinusoidal in nature have an ultimate cause that is external to our earthly abode. The only repeating patterns can be found in the Newtonian mechanics using euclidian geometry. These patterns of changed energy input and changed gravity forces create the changes in temperature and the unstable conditions that cause increased tremors and volcanoes. Sadly the Earth is heading into a less than propitious period, predicted by scientists using celestial mechanics and ignored by those true believers of the magic properties of CO2. E.M. the cooling has begun and it is far from certain how quickly it may encroach upon the worlds well being. My age precludes me from much of what is to come, but I do have grandchildren. Our governments are being foolish and trying to destroy the very infrastructure that may end up our salvation.
    Keep up the good work sir.

  36. pyromancer76 says:

    “…How an Aspe sees the world. I hit a link, watch a music video, and all that cascade of stuff runs throught the brain in about a minute. Before the video even ends. Takes sooo long to translate it to linear speach and share it… but at least you get to see a glimpse inside the chaos… )”

    I am delighted that you have taken “retirement” early so that you have time to translate your great reasonableness within the chaos into linear speech. I hope your style of blogging will draw an audience that might afford you some additional income. Blogging is an amazing arena for creativity; you seem to be exploring a unique niche (sp) within.

    You have convinced me. I must get serious about exploring land in warmer climes — if not for myself, then for those progeny.

    This is quite a thread. With your fine commenters, you have probably hit about every button that seems important — as in setting up hypotheses for proof or fail — regarding climate change and living-together-well-or-ill (“empires”). I like the large picture: the Milankovitch warmest alignment setting things off for future comfort for a “short” time; after that it does seem to be the water, the water, 70% of Earth’s surface, preeminent as a GHG, and those ocean currents distributing warmth and cold. (But the process to get from cold to warm must be messy and dangerous in the extreme — I still plan to explore Washington State scablands — how many floods? and how large were they? — can technology do something to tame these events?) And we humans are happiest when we are fed well.

    Volcanoes appear to add to cold forcings. Although eruptions occur mostly randomly, so far as we know, no predictable alignments found as yet, you have pointed out their favoring solar minima. I have found two articles that second the idea, albeit in a statistically small way. Also I keep a file on these guys and gals for the 17th C, and it keeps growing. Wasn’t it Malaga View who mentioned this, too? Perhaps volcanoes contribute most significantly to the pluses or minuses in the 700-750 year thesis as well as to more significant cold when the big ones towards the poles erupt.

    The one ingredient you’ve left out is asteroid-comet impact in any predictable way. I guess that means we must wait for better satellite and telescope data. Those orbits of bits and pieces heading our way have got to be somewhat on a schedule, although I guess not in a Bond or half-Bond way.

    As someone interested in history, the succession of emprires has always fascinated. I have thought that those who found significant energy resources (water, first and foremost, then new materials for weaponry, then slavery) and imaginatively developed them were the next empire builders. Funny you mention grass from glacier-period dust. The Huns seemed to create the largest land empire on grass for their herds as well as developing amazing horsemanship — and aggressiveness.

    Regarding energy development and empires. The American period either is at an end because our enemies (envious ones from within and without) have found ways to stop our remarkably inventive development of natural resources. OR, we are taking a breather and sorting things out as we change from one resource (easy oil) to others (natural gas, more difficult oil, nuclear, and, always, water — we do not have to put up with drought). I hope it is the latter, although the number of those who hate, and the freedom with which they are permitted expression of it in deceitful and destructive actions, and the high positions they hold, is troubling. As a (research) psychoanalyst, it seems that resentment towards and revenge against (internal) parents is a most powerful motive for self-destructive behaviors — and these motives are (infinitely) imaginatively hidden from ourselves. Once this issue is sorted out (among others, of course), it is amazing what full lives individuals can live — even those who appeared significantly “mentally ill”.

    I hope we can sort out the societal envy that is attempting to throttle affluence, development, and the scientific method before we plunge into the next really cold period.

    Hope you enjoy the snow! I enjoyed the tight focus within your cascade of ideas. I bet you hadn’t noticed that I couldn’t sleep tonight.

  37. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, I’ve noticed now… and as you can see, I’m up too. (though finally starting to fade…)

    Glad you enjoyed the ‘look behind the curtains’… I’ve spent 50 or so years hiding it (as it only got me hurt as a kid, not realizing that everyone was not like that…) and it’s kind of a final satisfaction to be able to share moments of it without grief from it. To be able to accept The Gift and The Differernce both, and without fear of rejection…

    On why societies age and die… I think it varies by type of governance. The Founders did a pretty good job of laying out the bounds (and I may make a summary of it one day).

    The ‘thumbnail sketch’ would be:

    1) Dictatorships end when the dictator dies or gets too old to hang on to power (either enfeebled or the folks just get fed up with them… see Lybia / Egypt / …) Rarely, but sometimes, the dictator’s kid can take over.

    2) Monarchy lasts as long as there are “good kings” and / or the bad ones don’t screw it up too badly and end up in the #1 failure modes.

    3) Democracies fail when “the people learn they can vote for themselves the largess of the public purse”. (What we are experiencing now, as too many of the features of the Republic have been removed).

    4) Communism / Socialism fails similarly to Democracies and Dictatorships, depending on which way they evolve. They have the added burden of stagnant development after the first ‘great leap’…

    5) Empires tend to be stable. They can fail when they stagnate like Socialist systems and / or expand to cover so many people that they end up in the “largess” problem. Bread and Circuses, with no one to form the army. They can be stable for very long times, but are usually not big on ‘civil rights’.

    6) Republics are stable until such time as they become lazy and unguarded. Then they evolve either into democracies (as we are, with Senators now directly elected instead of ‘State Agents’) and end up in the Largess problem (as we are) or have a national emergency where a ‘strong man’ takes over and converts it to an Empire (which we are at risk of… and drifting slowly toward…) Oddly, the EU is headed this way by bureaucratic drift… A very odd case. Headed down the path to an Empire of the Clerk… which someone will take over eventually …

    There are several other less frequent forms, but you get the idea. For example, Theocracies. These are basically either a Dictatorship or an Empire anyway, but with a bit more stability as their ‘propaganda’ has more of a lock on folks.

    What this posting does, IMHO, is just show that folks will put up with a lot more “crap” from Empires and Republics (and Dictators and…) during good times than during bad, and when really bad times come with food shortages, everthing that was barely tolerable blows up and governments collapse. Even the very stable Empires…

    Asteroid impacts are basically random as near as I can find. They have a predicatble density of event that is inverse with size. So millions of sand grains, but a ‘city killer’ only every many years and ‘planet killer’ only every 60 million years. It’s a pretty smooth curve, you just don’t know when any given one will hit. The last ‘big one’ seems to have been the one that did in North American large mammals and The Clovis People. 10,000 years ago?

    So I’m sure some of the spikes in the historical record are rock fall events. But until you find the fingerprint for each, you don’t know when / which. For volcanoes, they are mroe cyclical. Many have clear periodicities (modulo a bit of random, but not too much) I’m a bit too sleepy right now to remember which ones, but there was stratigraphy done on some of them that showed a period. For Yellowstone I think it was something like 600,000 years. IIRC, it’s like 600,000 years, 1,300,000 years, and 2,000,0000 years for three main erruptions. Tambora or Krakatao too have some periodicity. There is a stochastic component, and very long term drift, but the basic physics is repeated in a loop. Like “Old Faithful” on a very long time scale. It isn’t exactly accurate, and sometimes misses beats, but more regular than not. Some others are more random like the other more random geysers. “Stochastic resonance” is, I think, the descriptive term.

    At any rate, I’m getting fuzzy… time for bed…

  38. Malaga View says:

    Out of interest I took at look at a Briffa MXD reconstruction graphic yesterday… its a version posted by Steve McIntyre that includes the hidden data at

    I then marked up large volcanic eruptions on the graphic… and most of the big ones immediately precede a sharp dip but they all bounce back… however, a relatively small VEI 5 eruption (at a strategically placed volcano like Katla in Iceland) can have a significant impact.

  39. Malaga View says:

    Glad you enjoyed the ‘look behind the curtains’… I’ve spent 50 or so years hiding it

    Thank you for coming out from behind the curtains and sharing you thoughts…

  40. George says:

    Republics are stable until such time as they become lazy and unguarded.

    In the case of ours, I believe we have a hyperactive legislature. You would think, looking at the number of laws passed in each session of Congress and with each session’s laws piled on top of the laws of every preceding session, they would have written just about every possible law by now.

    In their search for more “green field” to lord over, they begin creeping deeper into areas that are the jurisdiction of other authorities such as the states and our personal lives. They all must run around to appear to be doing something that justifies their existence when maybe the best thing to do is nothing.

    I see no reason for a full-time legislature in this country. It seems they could meet once every two years for a few months and do all their damage at once.

    Let’s get rid of Congressional pensions. That might eliminate quite a bit of the problem right there. In fact, lets get rid of pensions for ALL elected offices. You can pay into social security like everyone else, but no special pensions for elected officials.

  41. pyromancer76 says:

    I agree with Malaga View. So glad you became comfortable with pulling back the curtains. Did your efforts at WUWT help? It must have given you an international following because your thinking and your work is a real treasure for us all. Even though I come out of history (first) and psychoanalytic studies (the academic part — actually complete and total psychoanalytic training, many years of effort), my first love was geology, physical geography. I thought AGW was “science”, until I devoted myself to finding out. There were a number of contributors to WUWT in that early time who seemed especially insightful and knowledgeable, and you were one. I have always wondered if Anthony was supportive in your initiating a blog. And what will become of blogging (both yours and this new “art-communication-education” form) 3 or 5 years into the future. As far as I am concerned, just keep sharing your interests; you will help shape its future.

    I also have always wondered about the intiation of empires; if what becomes an “empire” — a republic in the case of early Rome (more important in my view) — finds/develops the conditions to mobilize the intelligence and creativity of a great number of talented individuals, which sets the individual empire on its path. This must take the contributions of those we know today as engineers, mathematicians, scientists, amazing tinkerers, as well as those gifted with charisma. Then once warm weather cooperates, they can coast, as you suggest, for a long time — until the decay (and the cold) sets in. Early 19th America was such a place, with people who had never dared think well of themselves (of course, these were always-rebelling, religious English men and women). The American experiment stripped away class (military, church, aristocracy) so that talent and inventiveness could rise, enabling multiple engines of creativity rarely seen in the entire course of history from my reading of it. (I am idealizing, of course, but there is truth in it when compared to other societies.) I look forward to your thoughts on our Constitution, government, and national (and “empire”) ways.

    Regarding asteroids-comets, I have been somewhat convinced by those who say that Earth was bombarded off and on from 40,000 years ago until the beginning of the Holocene. I will try to find the citations. (Some of the impacts might have contributed to the the break-up of the huge ice sheets and the Pacific NW floods — Washington scablands.) But then, maybe bountiful rain (that inevitable influence of “water”) is enough to melt those ice sheets.

    I remain very grateful for your contributions to reasonableness in The Present.

  42. E.M.Smith says:


    I was incomplete… The “lazy and unguarded” are the people. The Politicians see the opening and drive a bus of opression and self dealing through the opening… just as you describe.

    @Melaga View and Pyromancer76:

    Well, it’s nice to know it’s not “an issue”… even if it does look a bit odd to most other folks…

    Mostly it’s just finally relalizing how it all fits together. Now that I undertand more “how I’m different and how it works” and can ‘linearly explain’ it, it can be ‘linearly described’. Before it was just a gesthalt of non-verbal form and un-languageable… The understanding has unfolded a few years prior to WUWT, but the habits of “hide the method behind the curtain” are strong and deep. Spend a few decades being told “You can’t do that, no one can” and you get tired of it…

    I once had a ‘summer school enrichment’ class. It was the bright idea of the local school district to try and take the stigma off ‘summer school’ as being for dummies by putting together a program for smart kids. I actally enjoyed it. We did things like tour the Treasury office at the State capital where we saw bales of old money being sent to shredders…

    We were given a paper to put: place, date, people, etc. (all of which I filled in) and a large space for “Notes”. At the end of the week or two, we turned in our ‘package’. I was called up. Stern look: “WHY are there no notes?”

    Innocently, I simply stated the truth: Because I remember it all.

    Long glare. A couple of pointed questions…

    I proceeded to recited, almost minute by minute the whole trip and what was seen…

    A small look of astonishiment … and then “Well, you MUST take NOTES. Do better next time.” and sent back to my seat….

    I never did another “enrichment” program. I don’t do stupid things….

    Later, in High School, I tutored some local fairly bright kids. We were in Advanced Math together, so they were no dummies, but we were moving fast. We finished the whole program early and moved on to beginning calculus ‘just for fun’ … (when calculus in high school was rare).

    I have very strong memories of a couple of times, staring at a problem, Just Knowing In That Way, what the answer was and how to set up the problem. I’d sketch the problem and formula and say “see where that comes from?” And get blank stares. Then realizing that THEY didn’t DO that. I then learned, on the spot, how to ‘reverse engineer’ a method to do the same thing… which was what most people were supposed to do, but wasn’t what I did. I learned how to take the Right Brain just knowing and turn it into verbal linear process that I then taught them. That same thing helped me a lot as a computer programmer. The Flash, then a few days transcribing and debugging…

    Now I spend more time enjoying The Flash and less time translating, but still like that skill (thus the postings here). Also, with age, memory has become less perfect. I now only remember things that I find “important enough”… so “Notes” are more valuable to me now. (This actually started as my “on line notebook” for GIStemp code porting; partly because as soon as I realized how broken GIStemp was, it wasn’t ‘important enough’ to remember… but I’d commited to the process.)

    Though there are times you can see me fail. I’ve tried for months to figure out a way to explain that: “Yes, you CAN make an average of a bunch of temperatures, but the precision in the 1/100 C place, while you can calculate something, has no meaning.”

    And I’m stuck on how to get past that. The majority of the carpers insist that I’m an idiot because everyone knows you can calculate a near infinite precision average even if the numbers are not that precise. But that’s not the point, the point is the loss of meaning. It’s an average of WHAT? That means WHAT? I’ve eventually made postings about Intensive variables and the fractal nature of temperatures and a few other things to try to get it ‘filled out in words’. And I’m getting closer. (What is the meaning of an average of a bunch of data points from semi-random sample points of a fractal surface? When even measuring a fractal surface is non-determinant? What is the meaning of an average of intensive varables? What does it mean when it is both?) All well and good, but still not the whole of The Thing Just Known… just seeing that empty void where “meaning” is supposed to be found… and find there none…

    So partly it’s cathartic for me to deal with finding better ways to understand the process, in the hopes of making it easier for others to understand… and maybe to improve my ability to harness / translate it…

    Back to WUWT:

    I was posting a fair number of comments there, then realized that often I was retyping almost verbatim what I’d typed a month before. So I started putting up ‘finished arguments’ here. That’s where the “no shortage of stuff” and “no energy shortage” postings came from. Then I could just say “There is no energy shortage: [link]” and save a lot of time.

    There wasn’t a lot of direct consult, it just growed…

    In the last year, the pace at WUWT picked up to where I couldn’t read all the postings and comments. (An Aspe thing is a strong need for “completion”… you must have ALL the parts grasped…) so needing to just ‘skim a few’ and move on is, er, “stressful”. So I’ve posted less there. Simply part of time and stress management.

    At the same time, many of the same old tired arguements got trounced well enough that they stopped being made. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a “Oh No!!! We’re Going To Run OUT of Oil!!!” comment. I guess they got tired of all the Giga Quads of Coal and Coal To Oil being shoved in their faces ;-)

    At any rate, I try to keep up with WUWT, but when you get to an article and it’s already got 200 comments, what is left to say?

    What makes empire?

    I think it is a civilization arising from a troubled time. Which-ever society starts the growth cycle in the Next Warm Time first, starts to get more material goods, and more food, fastest. Then more power, to expand and take over new under-performing lands. That then improves their performance and expands the empire.

    It’s the intersection of Power Lust at the top, Greed in the middle (and to some extent near the bottom), along with the bottom peasants seeing an improvement in lifestyle too… so they acquiesce to power in exchange for success.

    “Nothing succeeds like success”.

    Until things turn bad. Once failures begin, empires fail.

    FWIW, you can see this same dynamic play out in corporate mergers and growth / death. It’s part of what keeps capitalism vital. We don’t have an entire Social Empire collapse, we have constant turnover of smaller parts.

    Remember Digital Equipment? At one time King of Computing? Now the dust of history. The empire grew large while things got better (more markets more sales more booty) and when growth stopped, they stagnated. The PC did an encirclement and cut off their “lands”… and eventualy the empire fell and the bits were picked up by HP and turned into a different empire. (Along with Tandem Computers and some others).

    Some empires are smart enough to keep moving to new lands. Like the Goths who started in Asia and over thousands of years wandered over all of Europe, crossed to North Africa and then headed back East. So IBM made typewriters, then mainframes, then moved into PCs, now is taking over “computer service”. GE started making electric generators and lights. Now does “finance” and train engines and toaster ovens and jet engines and glue / plastics. Who will they invade next as the last land loses productivity?…

    But what stays the same? Ambition at the top (“King of Software”). Greed in the middle (stock options, a title… “Lands and Lordship”)… A Better Paycheck at the bottom. (“Bread and Circuses”) And when those things stop, new blood doesn’t enter and the old ossifies then falls into disrepair and ruin when things turn bad.

    So in commerce, a “new land” pops up with new ideas, new processes, and new products. Then new empires grow as new Emperors fight for dominance of the space (vis Steve Jobs and Bill Gates). In geography, it’s when real new lands are found (that are usually occupied by someone less able…) or when the “recovery” from really bad times start and “whoever grows firstest and fastest wins the space” (or sometimes most ruthlessly – Vis Chin for China and Kahn of The Golden Hord…)

    Once that process is underway, the transition from one Emperor to another is the rocky bit… Vis Alexander The Great and his division on his death, as with Kahn… Or when Apple shoved Jobs aside and hit a decade of troubles.

    If it makes it through that transition, it grows to a dominant empire. (China, Rome, the followers of Mohammed on his death.. though eventually they fell into sects and infighing, it was hundreds of years later).

    The British Empire and the American Empire both avoided the Leader Change problem. Britain via a defined Crown Succession process, the USA via an orderly election of Presidents. Each had “new lands” (to steal from less strong hands…) in a race with others for world dominance. (Britain against Spain and France, where stupid decisions by Spain cost them the world… that whole ‘loss of the armada’ thing and letting The New World go so easily; while France sold of their New World holdings to fight at home…) The American Empire came about as we took over and dominated the middle of North America, then spread out into the Pacific and economically sucked in an “independent” (abandoned) South America. Two World Wars lead to the end of The British Empire and We were left dominant, but with the USSR entering “new lands” in the rubble of Europe. So that Empire grew… with new technology (borrowed from the west) and newly dominated lands.

    Where are we know? Well, the USA is not gaining in strength and we’re not giving folks a better pay check nor is that ‘lands and titles’ thing working out… So I’d put us on the skids. But look over at China and…. hmmmm…

    The trouble in The Arab World is simple:

    A lot of folks entering their prime “ambition years” of 20’s to 30s and NO prospects. No “new lands” (real dirt nor lands of economic growth), no ‘better paycheck’ and a nice degree that ought to yield a “Title” at least… “Manager” or “Doctor” or “President of Shoelace Dying” or SOMETHING…

    One of the protesters set himself afire after his produce from his vending cart was confiscated by the Police. He had a college degree and his only means of support was “street vendor” and even that megre hope got dashed… That is the definition of a “powder keg”…

    So if “Nothing succeeds like success” is true, what is “Nothing fails like …” in the context of so many dashed dreams?

    If they had free and open economies someone would have started businesses to employ those folks more productively. And if they had ‘self directed’ decisions on education, more of them would have gone to ‘vendor school’ and fewer would spend their lives getting Political Science degrees and “Engineering” degrees in a country with no engineering jobs… (and if you DO choose to do that on your own when the councilor says”There are not a lot of jobs for Gothic Hairsylist in Tripoli” then you know it’s your own damn fault… )

    At any rate, that’s my ‘nickle tour’ of Empire life cycles as I see it…

  43. Pete says:

    @ E.M.Smith : you said:
    Though there are times you can see me fail. I’ve tried for months to figure out a way to explain that: “Yes, you CAN make an average of a bunch of temperatures, but the precision in the 1/100 C place, while you can calculate something, has no meaning.”

    I try to explain that with a reference to speed:
    On the highway I note min & max carspeed over a 1 hour stretch , calculate the “average speed” by adding min & max together & dividing by 2. This “average speed” is 49.85 (mph or Km) . Now how far did I travel?

    This fails to convince true believers because obviously speed is not temperature but some others get it.

    Thanks for the good work & blog

  44. Doug says:

    Last year I came across your comment on WUWT regarding Bond Event Zero and followed the link over to your site. I’ve reread that posting at least a dozen times and this current posting as well. I find this whole subject of plunging into an ice age scary and fascinating as we are on the cusp of something monumental.

    The term syzygy was used to describe spin orbit coupling in David Dilley’s ‘Global Warming – Global Cooling’. His goal post theory states that we’ll be on this bumpy ride until about 2835, give or take, and then plunge into the next great ice age. That roughly coincides with the half cycle Bond Event Zero. Can you clarify this timing?

    By the way, the Harris and Mann chart has been around for a long time. When I first saw this back in ’98 they were forecasting a deep cold period starting about now and extending through 2036 (Maunder perhaps?). They’ve since changed the future cast to show an upward change in temperature as if they’ve been Gored, although their articles don’t reflect that entirely.

  45. Verity Jones says:

    Late to the party as usual, this is just a quick note to complement you on this whole thread. I did get a chance to read the post when you posted it but have not had a chance to comment all week. I’ve just managed to read most of the comments now too. Wow!

  46. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Nice distillation of the rise and fall of empires. pg

  47. Malaga View says:

    Interesting paper on Length of Day:….44b..22S

    Basically, Tidal Friction should cause the Length of Day to increase at a rate of 2.3 milliseconds per century… but it doesn’t… observations going back to 700 BC show an average increase of only 1.7 milliseconds per century… so there is some force that reduces the effects of Tidal Fiction… and here is the really interesting bit… this force causes quasi-periodic variations of non-tidal origin with amplitude some 3 ms and periodicity 1,500 years or so.

    The paper has a nice graph to demonstrate this effect over time… the force kicks in and the increase in the Length of Day slows down to nothing for a couple of hundred years… then about 500 AD this force starts to disappear for 750 years and the Length of Day starts to increase… then it starts kicking in again… but it should be noted this is probably a smoothed curve and Length of Day data may be fractal in nature.

    So there seems to be some support for the 750 year Bond Events in the Length of Day history… its like dabbing the brakes on a car… the car kangaroos down the road… assuming this is an electro-magnetic force then these jolts could be associated with changes in ocean currents, earthquakes and volcanic activity.

  48. George says:

    The major problem we have in the US today is the mechanics of the situation that we have allowed to be built.

    For example:

    Politician “lends” $1,000,000 to his campaign charging the campaign 10%/year interest. So now the politician is making a $100,000/year income stream from the money lent to the campaign.

    Politician makes sure that his own loan is the very last debt paid off by the campaign entity. If the politician is in office for decades, maybe the loan doesn’t get paid off for decades. Or maybe he lends even more.

    Now the politician is in negotiations with a public employee union that shovels money to his campaign fund which in turn becomes part of the income stream generated by the loans. In this way the money passes directly from the union to the politician’s personal bank account.

    Two interesting pieces of information: In just 2007 and 2008, the NEA donated $53 million dollars to politicians. They were the single largest donor in the country. Then comes this news:

    Amid substantial membership losses and a $14 million shortfall in its general operating budget, the National Education Association plans to double each active member’s annual contribution to the national union’s political and media funds.

    I have no problem with an individual donating to any politician of their choice. I have no problems with collective bargaining. I *do* have a serious problem with collective bargaining while shoveling cash into the pockets of the people you are bargaining with. This creates a direct financial incentive on the part of the politician in increase the amount of that shoveling. You then have the union negotiating with someone who is, in effect, on the union payroll. Who is representing the taxpayer in that discussion?

    So it seems right that public employee unions should either be banned from political contributions *or* banned from collective bargaining. They can’t have both. Having both is a recipe for disaster as we are now seeing.

    A report came out last week that California wouldn’t be able to cover all the promises made to the public employee unions even if there was no housing crash (Little Hoover Commission).

    One of the features of the Wisconsin proposal is that the state would no longer garnish employee wages for union dues. The unions would have to collect their own dues from the members. This is what the unions are most upset about. When NY City did that, union contributions went down 35%. The unions were finally able to intimidate the city politicians into reinstating that garnishing for dues. This isn’t about “worker’s rights”. This is about tens of millions of dollars being funneled through unions to politicians.

    The way these money flows are configured, it is institutionalized corruption. The politicians are in the pocket of the unions. Well, at least the politicians of one party. The NEA donates 98% of its cash to one party. That party is now out of office in many states and the unions are now reaping the whirlwind they have sown.

  49. George says:

    And now today we have the President of the AFL-CIO saying that the best way to increase unemployment is to raise taxes.

    I kid you not. This guy is a key “Obama Administration Adviser”, too. Never in the course of history has increasing taxes ever increased employment except employment by the government that is doing the taxes.

    The government is the most unionized sector of the American economy. Increasing taxes would increase UNION employment and funnel more money into the union.

    This is about money, not about workers. The unions represent a declining percentage of American workers. This is why we are in the pickle we are in. We have politicians effectively on the union payroll.

  50. Malaga View says:

    Freudian slip.. I meant to write Tidal Friction… but Tidal Fiction does seem appropriate…

    There are a few that have tried to piece together an overview of a Bond Event in 535 AD…

    There were days of darkness.
    The plague swept around the world 3 times in about 10 years.
    There were seven years of crop failures.
    Nations changed their religions.
    Empires Fell.
    In places great drought destroyed the land.
    In other places floods brought chaos.
    Tree rings didn’t show normal growth for fifteen years.

  51. George says:

    Amazing what a massive stratospheric injection of volcanic debris can do.

    If it were to happen today, we would have mass starvation on a scale not ever seen before on the planet in absolute numbers. A repeat of Toba would probably nearly wipe us out.

    The last VEI8 (Taupo, NZ) eruption was about 26,500 years ago. The last VEI7 (Tambora, Indonesia) was in 1815.

    The 535 eruption was probably a VEI6. There are about 50 VEI6 eruptions every 10,000 years. There are less than 10 VEI7 eruptions in the same period of time and there have only been less than 50 VEI8 eruptions in the last 36 million years. But much depends on the amount of material injected into the stratosphere and the composition of it.

    At the time of Tambora’s eruption, its peak was probably already at around 14,000 feet altitude so the material had a considerable head start in getting to the stratosphere.

    My guess is that it didn’t take much to disrupt things back in 535 and I don’t think it would take much today, either.

  52. E.M.Smith says:

    @Melaga View:

    Very Nice Catch…. Very Nice Indeed…

    BTW, fixed the ‘fiction’ for you ;-)


    But what modulates the volcanos…. periodically…

  53. H.R. says:


    Something you didn’t bring up: just wait until taxpayers realize that there is a hidden tax that they are paying as well as the tax they see.

    Background: I’ve always wondered why government employees had to pay taxes. Why wasn’t their salary just lowered a bit and no taxes taken out since they are being paid with tax money?

    Lightbulb! It’s another form of kickback and increases tax revenue. Government employees don’t pay taxes. Taxpayers pay their wages and thus, pay their taxes as well. After you’ve paid a public employee via your taxes, they kick back a portion of your taxes to the ‘government’ by paying their taxes with your tax money.

    Wait ’til people catch on, eh?

  54. George says:

    “what modulates the volcanos”

    An accumulation of heat. Same thing that causes geysers to be periodic. You build up heat which builds up pressure, eventually the pressure finds its way out and you start over again. I would expect the period to lengthen over time, though, as radioactive decay progresses and there is less heat produced by that decay over time.

    I don’t necessarily think there is any outside cause to it. One thing to look at, too, is the timing between great subduction earthquakes and the volcanoes above that subduction zone. Cascadia’s last major slip as in January of 1700. The last known tephra producing eruption from Rainier was around 1835 or so. Baker erupted in the 1840’s.

    Mt. Hood: “The last eruptive period took place around 170-220 years ago, when dacitic lava domes, pyroclastic flows and mudflows were produced without major explosive eruptions. Minor 19th-century eruptions were witnessed from Portland. ”

    So it would seem that what causes the eruptions of subduction zone volcanoes to be periodic is that subduction tends to be periodic in that the subducting plate becomes “stuck” and is then suddenly released in a megathrust event that results in a sudden subduction of a lot of material. Then we see increased volcanic activity from those volcanoes for a couple of hundred years, they settle down and the cycle repeats itself.

    In the past decade we have seen major subduction zone quakes in both Indonesia and Chile. I would expect to see elevated volcanic activity in those regions for the next couple of hundred years as a result.

    What is interesting is the Pacific Plate and its subduction in the Northern Pacific. This doesn’t seem to “stick”. It is very rapidly subducting and volcanic activity is pretty much constant from Kamchatka through the Aleutian arc.

    Also note:

    The high volcanoes of the Cascade Range in Oregon and Washington — Mount Hood and Mount Rainier, for example — form a short chain of this type, vigorously active until not many thousand years ago but now showing only infrequent activity. The decline in volcanism reflects a plate-boundary change now underway to the west: there was until recently rapid subduction of a small Pacific plate beneath northern California, Oregon, and Washington, but the pattern is presently changing; the San Andreas Fault system is now breaking across the small plate. …

    From: Hamilton, 1976, Plate Tectonics and Man

    So that range saw more active subduction until a few thousand years ago but now the Pacific plate is moving North, subducting under Alaska at about 3 to 4 cm per year. That’s pretty speedy and why we see nearly constant activity in the Aleutians and Kamchatka.

  55. J Martin says:

    Perhaps this paper on Judith Curry’s blog sort of lends support to your theory of an extra terrestrial source for glaciations.

    “”Where does the dust come from?

    Examining the elemental composition of ice core, we speculate that the large levels of dust that are present in periods where the Earth is in the state know as Ice-ages, are of extraterrestrial origin. This postulate, and the periodicity of the ice-age/warm-age cycle, suggests that the solar system may regularly, every 80-82 thousand years, pass through Fe/Cl/Ca rich dust clouds.””

  56. Brian H says:

    “the New Kingdom up through about 1000 AD.”
    No, that’s about 2,000 yrs too long and late!!

  57. E.M.Smith says:

    @Brian H:

    Had it right in about a half dozen other places, but didn’t get the AD / BC thing right on that one…

    Fixed, thanks…

  58. Pingback: Gale Combs: More evidence of long term climate cycles « Tallbloke's Talkshop

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