Global Warming? Blame the Tides

By:  James Heiser
10/05/2012
       
Global Warming? Blame the Tides

If climate change theorists want to blame man for warming conditions at Earth’s north and south poles, they may need to start blaming the man in the Moon. Long-term lunar cycles may have more to do with such climate changes due to their effect on tidal patterns than has previously been generally understood. 

If climate change theorists want to blame man for warming conditions at Earth’s north and south poles, they may need to start blaming the man in the Moon. Long-term lunar cycles may have more to do with such climate changes due to their effect on tidal patterns than has previously been generally understood.

A recent post to the Terraforming Terra blog (“An 1800 Year Oceanic Tidal Cycle Driving Climate Change”) points to a peer-reviewed study published in 2000 for evidence of the Moon’s influence on climate change. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was written by Charles Keeling and Timothy Whorf of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC-San Diego. According to the study’s abstract, an 1800-year tidal cycle may be a significant contributor to variations in ocean temperature:

Variations in solar irradiance are widely believed to explain climatic change on 20,000- to 100,000-year time-scales in accordance with the Milankovitch theory of the ice ages, but there is no conclusive evidence that variable irradiance can be the cause of abrupt fluctuations in climate on time-scales as short as 1,000 years. We propose that such abrupt millennial changes, seen in ice and sedimentary core records, were produced in part by well characterized, almost periodic variations in the strength of the global oceanic tide-raising forces caused by resonances in the periodic motions of the earth and moon. A well defined 1,800-year tidal cycle is associated with gradually shifting lunar declination from one episode of maximum tidal forcing on the centennial time-scale to the next. An amplitude modulation of this cycle occurs with an average period of about 5,000 years, associated with gradually shifting separation-intervals between perihelion and syzygy at maxima of the 1,800-year cycle. We propose that strong tidal forcing causes cooling at the sea surface by increasing vertical mixing in the oceans. On the millennial time-scale, this tidal hypothesis is supported by findings, from sedimentary records of ice-rafting debris, that ocean waters cooled close to the times predicted for strong tidal forcing.

As Keeling was among the first credible scientists to suggest a possible human component to global warming, it is difficult to dismiss the significance of the 2000 study as the work of a “climate change denier” — his work monitoring atmospheric carbon dioxide was rewarded with a White House ceremony in 1997 in which the man who would make a career out of the global warming hype — Vice President Al Gore — presented Keeling with a “special achievement award.” Two years after the lunar study was published, Keeling was at the White House once again — this time to receive the Medal of Science from President George W. Bush. However, the conclusion of the Keeling/Whorf study is devastating to the notion that human activity is the driving force behind climate change.

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Photo: Sea wave rolls on coast of small pebbles via Shutterstock

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