Yesterday I posted on Part 1 of German ZDF television’s Terra-X series two-part documentary on climate and human history appearing on January 11 and 18. Part 1 covered the world’s climatic changes that occurred during the last ice age and up to the time of the Roman Empire.
Part 1 clearly showed that the earth’s climate changed naturally, at times very dramatically within a matter of a decade or two. Warm periods were accompanied by rains and periods of vibrant human prosperity. Cold periods saw droughts, crop failures, mass migrations and deadly political and societal instability.
Warm Roman Empire
Today the focus is on Part 2, which looks at the earth’s climate since the Roman Empire until today. It starts by stating how the “paradise-like” warmth during peak period of the Roman Empire was brought on by the optimal orientation between the earth and sun. The warm Roman period was marked by “stability” says Mark Maslin (3:10).
Tree ring studies from oak trees show that “the temperature 100 year before Christ indeed rose. On average the temperature was 2°C warmer than 100 years earlier” (3:37). Clearly such an increase is more than double today’s increase the globe has seen since 1900. That high Roman temperature level stayed some 300 years, the documentary tells us, allowing for “stable and strong growth“.
At the 4:30 mark the documentary tells us that glaciers in the Alps melted and allowed the Romans to expand their empire all the way to Scotland. The warm period also took hold globally, says the ZDF documentary, and was not a regional phenomena. The ZDF documentary shows at the 5:40 mark how the Chinese Empire blossomed at around 200 BC. All thanks to the sun.
Finally at the 8:24 mark German researcher Gunther Hischfelder of the University of Regensburg tells that the Romans eventually ran into an enemy they even could not vanquish: “Over the long-term there was one opponent that became so strong that even the Romans could not conquer it, and that was climate change.”
Always the sun
Surprisingly at the 8:38 mark, the ZDF documentary tells viewers something that has long been taboo in Germany:
Every climate change is controlled from outer space. It depends on the earth’s orbit around the sun, the tilt of its axis and on the predominant solar activity. After the change in times the solar activity was probably weaker and the Gulf current delivered less heat.”
This, the documentary says, led to a “clear [natural] cooling (9:00)“. Already in Part 2 we see that climate temperature changes of 2°C over a matter of decades were nothing unusual – and were all owing to natural factors that scientists today refuse to acknowledge are in play.
Cold…fall of Roman Empire
As the cooler temperatures began to take over during the Roman period, catastrophic droughts took hold and crop failures led to starvation. Rome was under pressure to supply food to its remote territories and outposts.
To illustrate the degree hardship, scientists analyzed the bones of a north German teenager uncovered from the swamps(10:10). DNA analysis of the arm and leg bones showed severe malnutrition. Twelve of the child’s 14 years were spent in a state of “severe hunger”. As had happened many times over the course of history, mass migrations occurred as cold led to crop failures.
Just before the end of the Roman Empire, these migrations were facilitated as natural borders and barriers such as large rivers and marshes froze over and allowed people easily walk across them (11:40). For example in the year 406 AD, 90,000 Germanic tribespeople crossed a Frozen Rhine river and into Roman territory (11:58) in a single day. Bit by bit the Roman Empire was invaded before collapsing ushering in the post Roman dark ages.
This dark period was exacerbated further by the mega-eruption of llopango in El Salvador (13:02), which led to written records of extreme cold and darkness in the year 536 AD. Scientists believe the eruption ejected 84 cubic kilometers of ash into the atmosphere, destroying everything within a 1000 km radius and darkening the skies over Europe and even China. Ash from the llopango eruption is even seen in ice cores from Antarctica (15:55). The material reached into the stratosphere and caused an “18-month long climate anomaly of cold and darkness“. Millions of people of people died as a result.
As fear gripped the planet and nature regained the upper hand, the conditions became ideal for religions to thrive, warning of the wrath of God and offering the hope of salvation (20:00).
Rise of Central American civilizations
While war and fear plagued Europe, climate conditions were however ideal in Central America, and civilizations there blossomed (22:00). At the 22:30 mark we see the Nazca Lines (before they were ruined by Greenpeace). By 900 AD, natural climate change struck the Central American region again as prolonged droughts ground down the once mighty Latin American cultures (22:45). What was behind the sudden change? At the 23:20 mark the documentary again points at the sun.
Responsible was solar activity.”
Medieval Warm Period by the sun
But the documentary dances around about how solar activity impacts the earth, hinting at basic solar irradiance, and avoiding Svensmark’s theory. At the 24:15 mark:
That also applies to the year 800 AD. The sun is at a maximum activity. It’s irradiance especially strong. The blue planet gradually begins to heat up.”
The warmth, the documentary says, “opened up the Arctic from North America to Europe” and allowed explorers to venture out and the Vikings to settle in “an almost ice-free” Iceland and in Greenland (25:30) 1050 years ago. Lief Ericson reached Newfoundland at about the year 1000 AD (26:30). In Europe the warming took hold with a vengeance. The documentary says at the 26:50 mark:
On average the temperature was 3°C warmer than the years before.”
Europe was transformed into a rich bread-basket (27:20). The weather was once again stable and planning was possible. At this point we get hints that the documentary is trying to tells us that normal weather in warm times is stable. Yet history tells us that storms also occurred during the warm Medieval Period.
Gunther Hischfelder tells that the warm period of the Medieval Period had consquences (29:25):
The creation of cities was a response to climate change and provided the spark for a take-off for human history, an explosion in culture and civilization, and is thus the reason it is the cornerstone for the creation of our modern world.”
All thanks to the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), which was as warm and even warmer than today. At the 29:50 mark we see that “three quarters of Germany’s cities were created during the Medieval Warm Period”. Growth exploded all over Europe. By the year 1250 AD, “Europe’s societies were as strong as never before” (31:35).
Strangely, and probably on purpose, the ZDF documentary focusses only on Europe for its look at the Medieval Warm Period, and presents no examples of it occurring at other locations on the globe – as it did for the earlier warm periods. Is the ZDF trying to have us believe that MWP was regionally isolated in Europe? Scientific proxy data tell us it was warm all over the globe.
Sun strangely disappears as a climate factor in the year 1250
At the 32:00 mark the documentary looks at the beginning of the end of the MWP: “In the second half of the thirteenth century it got markedly colder in Europe“. The reason was a number of erupting volcanoes at various locations around the globe, the documentary says (32:10) that it cooled the global climate for almost 500 years. So according to the ZDF, the sun stopped playing a role in climate change 800 years ago. Strange that all the other climate changes before that, the sun was always to blame.
No matter what the real reason for the post MWP cooling may have been, the ZDF tells us that it was warm during the Medieval Warm Period and that it then cooled substantially after 1300 AD. That de facto refutes the bogus claims of a steady climate made by Michael Mann.
Longest cold period since the last ice age
In fact, the ZDF documentary calls the Little Ice Age, which had a solid lock on Europe by the year 1500 AD, “the longest cold period since the last ice age” (33:15). And there’s a huge magnitude of literature available from the times clearly documenting the extreme weather and hardship endured by Europe during this time. Here old records describe extreme storms and harsh weather, crop failures, starvation, pestilence and widespread death (36:00). In just 100 years, the population reduced by one third. Fear gripped the continent and sorcerers were blamed (36:50). (Sound familiar?) 60,000 people were burned at the stake for “cooperating with the Devil” in brewing bad weather. Today we have crazed lawyers wanting to put industries on trial for the same thing.
Clearly the ZDF documentary tells us that cold periods are disasters, and warm ones, like the one we are witnessing today, are hugely advantageous.
At the 37:30 mark the ZDF describes how glaciers advanced over North America, Scandinavia and the Alps, where entire villages were swallowed by the ice. Things got so bad that Europe plunged into war and mayhem (38:20), eventually culminating in the French Revolution (39:10). The final icing on the cake was delivered by the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815, which gave the world the year without a summer in 1816 (40:30).
Modern warming – sun nowhere near in sight
The Little ice Age ended around 1850 with what the ZDF suprisingly calls the “beginning of a period with moderate and stable temperatures. It characterizes the weather until today.” (41:30).
At the 42:00 minute mark the ZDF finally deviates from reason, claiming that for the first time in history, with industrialization, man has changed the climate of the earth. No more mention of the sun as a factor, which made its last appearance on the climate stage 800 years ago. Now it’s mankind’s fault. I was expecting the documentary to end in this silly way, and I was not wrong in doing so.
Mark Maslin at the end puts the icing on the cake, making a totally insane comment at the 42:30 mark where he proclaims that man actually now has the chance to take control of the climate – away from the sun, oceans and other forces of nature. Try not to burst out laughing:
We are now at the point where we can decide what the climate of the future will look like. When we as a world community, all nations working together, are able to really prevent global warming, that would be fantastic. That would be the first time that the climate doesn’t control us, but rather us would control it. We can make sure that all future generations will have a stable climate.”
Wow! Just pay them indulgences. Apart from Maslin’s and the ZDF’s sheer nonsense in the last two minutes, an excellent documentary on the climate since the last ice age.