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The Importance of Ice on Land

I am going to tell you about the importance of ice on land, the importance of ice on land where it does not melt.  That is not right, ice on land that I am talking about is always flowing, down, and/or outward and always melting and breaking off at the tails of glaciers and the edges of ice sheets.  I have studied the most recent fifty million years.  I start a little over fifty million years ago, after a large, high speed object, rearranged the earth, about sixty million years ago.  Fifty million years ago, there was little or no ice on land and earth was 14 degrees C warmer than now.  The end of my story is now, the most recent ten thousand years, and the thousands of years into our future, which I am confident of but which I cannot prove. This is about this journey.  The data does not represent chaos, it looks more like well planned evolution.

Tom Wysmuller taught me the ice cycle "Climate Theory" of Maurice Ewing and William Donn, and much more since.
Leighton Steward wrote of Fire, Ice and Paradise.  His paradise is the most recent ten thousand years.

Willis Eschenbach wrote: "Why has Earth's temperature stayed so stable? Global temperature has stayed within a narrow band for at least the last half billion years. During that time the planet has seen meteor strikes, and millennia long widespread volcanic eruptions, and huge forest fires, and oceans disappearing as continents were lifted out of the sea, and huge changes in the land cover, and all manner of good, bad, and ugly events. Each of these events had a large effect on the forcings. Despite all of that, despite all of the variation in the forcings and the changes in the losses during all of that geological time, the earth's temperature hasn't moved around much at all. A few percent. And the variation over the last 10,000 years has been less than 1%. For a system as complex as the climate, this is amazing stability."

Don Bogard, retired NASA, member of our Climate Study Group, Geologist, has provided the criticisms of my Climate Theory that has promoted the most improvements in my Theory.  Thank you Don.   This is still going on.  This page changed again.  I wait for Don's response.
Don says temperature has not changed much over ten thousand years because not much has changed.  I now agree, not much has changed because of the excellent regulation.  In spite of orbit changes, temperatures in both hemispheres stayed bounded the same.

The journey, from fifty million years ago to the recent ten thousand years is all about getting sufficient ice on land in cold places where the ice volume can be easily regulated to maintain the current paradise temperature, and sea level.   The temperature has varied in cycles of warmer and colder alternating cycles, going from 14 degrees C warmer, fifty million years ago, to cycles 6 degrees C colder during past million years. From fifty million years ago to 35 million years ago, continents drifted, ocean currents changed, circulating more and more warm water in colder places to support more and more snowfall and more ice on land, with alternating cycles of more and  less ice, repeating.   Continents collided, pushing up mountains, placing more land at high elevations where ice could accumulate. From thirty-five million years to fifteen million years ago, these cycles stayed mostly in about the same bounds, even got a little warmer.  About fifteen million years ago, the cooling resumed, with the high and low values working downward again. This occurred because the continents closed ocean circulation near the equator and forced more warm tropical water to circulate in polar regions.  This put more and more ice on land that is protected in cold places, such that snowfall replaces more ice than that which flows down, outward, and melts. A million years ago, or even two million, this ice cycle increased the temperature at its peaks and decreased the temperature of the bottoms of the cycles and increased the lengths of the low cycles.  Ice core data does show us that each warm cycle put more ice on land in polar regions, and high mountains, with each cycle, that does not return to the oceans in the warm cycles that replenish the ice.  The last major warm cycle, one hundred-thirty thousand years ago, finally put enough ice on the Antarctic, Greenland and the Mountain Glaciers, that was protected from melting faster than was being replenished to prevent the water from returning to the oceans to provide enough water for another major ice age.   The major ice ages of the recent million years occurred because oceans got high and warm enough to provide the moisture to place much more ice on land, but much of it was not close enough to the poles, or on high enough mountains to protect it and it melted and caused, or allowed, major warm periods. 

Many things cause temperature changes, orbit cycles, solar cycles, clouds, greenhouse gases, to name some.   These other factors were working in a similar way, one and 10 and 20 and 30 and 50 million years ago.  The one thing that is different, that makes the most difference, is the volume and location of ice on land now, compared to times in the past.  The ice on land is different now because ocean levels and circulation is different and it promotes different snowfall. It took many cycles of more and less snowfall to place enough ice on land in the right places. This modern ten thousand year period has the proper volumes of ice on land in cold places where it can be regulated in the tight bounds, that we humans have enjoyed in these best of times.

I believe the more snowfall on land in all warmer times does cause the ice advance that is the something that follows that does make earth colder.  I believe the less snowfall on land in all colder times does allow the ice depletion that follows that allows the earth to get warmer.

Greenland, the Antarctic and the Mountain Glaciers host the ice that is most responsible for the regulation. Ice is replenished in warm times and depleted in cold times.  If the temperature proxies are correct, my IR and Albedo numbers are correct. 

The total increase in Albedo comes from bigger ice shelves, more sea ice and more snow cover and maybe clouds.   The total decrease in IR comes from bigger ice shelves, more sea ice and more snow cover and maybe clouds. 

I cannot know where all the more albedo and all the less IR comes from, but the numbers show it is enough.  The Little Ice Age was colder because there was enough more ice on earth.  The Medieval Warm Period was warmer because there was enough less ice on earth and all the factors that depend on this.  This process does regulate the IR and the Albedo. This process can benefit from but does not need any other trigger or forcing. 

We live in paradise now because the right amount of ice is on land where it can be replenished as fast as it melts.  Ice melts faster than it is replenished, when earth is cold, and the oceans are more frozen and it is snowing less.  Ice melts slower than it is replenished when the earth is warm and the oceans are more thawed and it is snowing more. There is no equilibrium temperature for earth; there are very robust equilibrium ice cycles in both hemispheres. That is why we have modern warm periods with cold periods in between that alternate in narrow bounds. This paradise, with amazing stability, is the "New Normal". 

Herman A. (Alex) Pope
Retired Aerospace Engineer
MSC  - Manned Spacecraft Center (1963)
BS Engineering Mechanics VPI/Virginia Tech 1967
NASA - Johnson Space Center (to 2007)
Studying Climate Science, April 2008 to present day