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April 06, 2003

There are no new discoveries, hey?

Middle Ages were warmer than today, say scientists. OK, is this new? Perhaps more certain, but I read about the medieval warm period in my "First Book of Climatology" when I was 6. I'm not getting into the global warming debate, but I do wonder if people just forget things all the time or what-since this Telegraph headline is pretty funny since it has been long known that the Middle Ages were warm and that the Little Ice Age was cold. The enviros don't want people to know about past climate change, while the global warming skeptics want to assert that it is business-as-usual....

Update: /. has a whole thread on the story.

Posted by razib at 09:15 PM

Global warming is about power,profit and near religious faith,not science.Remember Gore's staff pressuring a scientist to reverse himself by threatening no research funding?

Posted by: M. at April 7, 2003 05:49 AM

This looks to happen a lot. I had a kiddy video about dinosaurs when I was little, and one of the points it made was about how Stegosaurus and other large herbivores had "second-brains," or masses of nerves in their hips. The video illustrated this in very-80's chalkboard animation.

A couple of years ago (2000 or so) this was all over the news as a brand new discovery. (I later found out Robert Bakker also wrote about it in his "Dinosaur Heresies" in 1986)

When it comes to this stuff, the media seems to have a memory disorder.

Posted by: Lollia at April 7, 2003 08:05 AM

their LEXUS-NEXUS databases don't go back that far :)

Posted by: razib at April 7, 2003 02:50 PM

Of course the medieval warm period (Greenland etc) has been known for ages but it does not hurt to keep reminding people that there are natural climatic variations -- so I too gave the story a brief reference on my blog. Good to see that it was widely reported.

Posted by: john ray at April 7, 2003 07:12 PM

I think what's new here is just that some Harvard scientists did a more comprehensive review of relevant studies than anyone had done before.

From an article in "The Telegraph":


"Such claims have now been sharply contradicted by the most comprehensive study yet of global temperature over the past 1,000 years. A review of more than 240 scientific studies has shown that today's temperatures are neither the warmest over the past millennium, nor are they producing the most extreme weather - in stark contrast to the claims of the environmentalists.

"The review, carried out by a team from Harvard University, examined the findings of studies of so-called "temperature proxies" such as tree rings, ice cores and historical accounts which allow scientists to estimate temperatures prevailing at sites around the world."

And here's something from the press release:


"Smithsonian astronomers Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, with co-authors Craig Idso and Sherwood Idso (Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change) and David Legates (Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware), compiled and examined results from more than 240 research papers published by thousands of researchers over the past four decades. Their report, covering a multitude of geophysical and biological climate indicators, provides a detailed look at climate changes that occurred in different regions around the world over the last 1000 years.

"'Many true research advances in reconstructing ancient climates have occurred over the past two decades,' Soon says, 'so we felt it was time to pull together a large sample of recent studies from the last 5-10 years and look for patterns of variability and change. In fact, clear patterns did emerge showing that regions worldwide experienced the highs of the Medieval Warm Period and lows of the Little Ice Age, and that 20th century temperatures are generally cooler than during the medieval warmth.'"

Posted by: Jesse M. at April 7, 2003 08:37 PM