EP305: Australian Ice-Core Study Refutes Its Own Assertions

David Noel
Ben Franklin Centre for Theoretical Research
PO Box 27, Subiaco, WA 6008, Australia.

Tell a lie a thousand times, and it becomes a truth. -- Joseph Goebbels (Hitler's Propaganda Minister)
Quotation EP305-Q1.

Australian Ice-Core Study Refutes Its Own Assertions
A recent publication which covers Australian studies of temperature and carbon dioxide measurements from Antarctic ice-cores is notable for including illustrations which refute its own assertions.

The publication is a video, "The Poles Revealed: Polar Change", made by Wildbear Entertainment for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and published in 2021 [1].

The publication includes a graph of Temperature and CO2 values in Antarctica over the last 400,000 years (Figure F1), derived from ice-core samples. The close linkage of the two parameters is noted, and these are described as "the main factors responsible for driving the climate".

Fig. EP305-F1. CO2 and Temperature levels from Antarctic ice cores. From [1].

Understanding graphs and their implications
Readers will be familiar with graphs, as in Figure F1 above. Most graphs have a horizontal axis. The one here measures time in the past. It extends backwards (right to left) from 0 years (now), back to 400,000 years in the past.

Most graphs also have a vertical axis, usually on the left. The left-hand vertical axis in Figure F1 shows temperature, in degrees C. The red line on the graph is obtained by plotting temperature figures against time ago -- for example, there is a peak on the red line (representing a temperature just under 5 degrees C) for a time about 110,000 years ago.

On Figure F1, there is a second vertical axis on the right, representing CO2 content. So there are two graphs in one here, drawn to make comparison of temperature and CO2 level (blue line) at a particular time easy to compare. There is no significance in the distance between the red and blue lines, this depends on the size of the units chosen. Here the CO2 level scale runs from 150 to 400 ppm (parts per million, so 100 ppm means 100 parts CO2 per million parts air, equal to 0.01 %).

The reason why Temperature and CO2 go hand-in-hand is one of simple physics. The solubility of carbon dioxide in water falls off with increasing temperature -- this is a normal feature of gases. If the temperature rises, dissolved gases start to come out of oceans, lakes, and other water reservoirs -- temperature affects CO2 content, rather than the other way round.

Careful scrutiny of Figure F1 shows confirmation of this, in that temperature peaks are slightly before CO2 peaks, so temperatures are driving CO2, rather than the other way round.

Making deductions from the graphs
Anyone used to analyzing graphs will be able to make deductions from Figure F1.

Deduction A. Values for CO2 and for Temperature each show clearly cyclic behaviour, with each cycle approximately 110,000 years in length.

Deduction B. In each case, a cycle starts with a rapid and almost regular rise, reaches a sharp peak, then falls away with a gradual and notably irregular pattern.

Deduction C. At the present time, Year 0, we are exactly at, or very close to, a cycle peak. This peak is 2-3 degrees C less than the immediately previous one, around 110,000 years ago.

Deduction D. Until recently, up to a few hundred years ago, there was a strong correlation between the Temperature and the CO2 figures.

Deduction E. Around (say) 400 years ago, this correlation was broken. CO2 levels began rising independently of Temperatures, breaking out of their former range of 180-280 ppm to reach values around 400 ppm.

What do these deductions tell us?
No scientist or applied mathematician worth their salt could argue against these deductions. They tell us clearly, that although natural Temperature and CO2 levels are correlated, when considerable extra (non-natural) CO2 is introduced into Earth's atmosphere, it does NOT cause any increase in temperature.

This obvious deduction goes against what many people regard as an established truth. But it may surprise people to realize that this "truth" only started to edge its way into public belief about 35 years ago! The full story about what I view as the greatest hoax ever imposed on civilization is told in "The Great Global Warming Swindle" [4], a video currently viewable on YouTube.

What Maggie Thatcher did
The man-made global warming hoax had its roots in actions of the UK Government under Margaret Thatcher, beginning in the late 1980s.

From 1987 onwards, Thatcher started expressing concern about environmental issues, including acid rain and global warming [3]. Her most notable speech on the topic came in 1988 at the Royal Society, where she referred to scientific evidence apparently linking coal burning to global warming, and called for international action.

Initially, the UK government's actions were seen as hesitant and contradictory, leading to criticism from environmental groups. The government's main focus was on economic growth and energy security, creating a tension with environmental concerns [3].

Nevertheless, the band-wagon which Mrs Thatcher initiated rolled on its way, and became bigger and more and more intrusive into national and international affairs, particularly from the early 2000s on. In 2024, it is amazing, to someone aware of the spurious nature of man-made global warming beliefs, to look on and see how big a part this misunderstanding plays in the world's economic and moral landscapes.

How the CO2 and Temperature figures were derived
If the data represented in Figure F1 has such widespread implications for our civilization, it is reasonable to ask how reliable it is, and how the figures were derived.

For readers without much relevant scientific background, it comes down to relying on the "authority" of those producing the data. In fact, the "authority" of the Figure F1 data is rather good, such that it can be assumed that the actual figures derived are correct, within normal limits of accuracy.

Methods used to obtain the ice-core figures are described in Bethan Davies's article "Ice Core Basics" [2], available on the web. Here are some extracts from this article.

"Ice sheets have one particularly special property. They allow us to go back in time and to sample accumulation, air temperature and air chemistry from another time. Ice core records allow us to generate continuous reconstructions of past climate, going back at least 800,000 years. By looking at past concentrations of greenhouse gases in layers in ice cores, scientists can calculate how modern amounts of carbon dioxide and methane compare to those of the past, and, essentially, compare past concentrations of greenhouse gases to temperature.

Ice coring has been around since the 1950s. Ice cores have been drilled in ice sheets worldwide, but notably in Greenland and Antarctica. High rates of snow accumulation provide excellent time resolution, and bubbles in the ice core preserve actual samples of the world's ancient atmosphere. Through analysis of ice cores, scientists learn about glacial-interglacial cycles, changing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and climate stability over the last 10,000 years. Many ice cores have been drilled in Antarctica.

Layers in the ice. To reconstruct past air temperatures, we need the age of the ice being analysed. Fortunately, ice cores preserve annual layers, making it simple to date the ice. Seasonal differences in the snow properties create layers -- just like rings in trees. Other ways of dating ice cores include geochemistry, layers of ash, electrical conductivity, and using numerical flow models to understand age-depth relationships.

Past air temperatures. It is possible to work out past air temperatures from ice cores. This can be related directly to concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases preserved in the ice, using isotope variations in the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the snow.

Past greenhouse gases. The most important property of ice cores is that they are a direct archive of past atmospheric gases. Air is trapped at the base of the firn [upper] layer, and when the compacted snow turns to ice, the air is trapped in bubbles. The air bubbles are extracted by melting, crushing or grating the ice in a vacuum.

This method provides detailed records of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide going back over 650,000 years. Ice core records globally agree on these levels, and they match instrumented measurements from the 1950s onwards, confirming their reliability."

Working out what the data means
So the data used in Figure F1 is reliable. What is not necessarily reliable is the set of conclusions drawn from the data by the authors and others.

It turns out that the speakers in the video from which Figure F1 is drawn have not made honest assessments of the data, but instead have just gone along with the prevailing view that high levels of CO2 lead to high temperatures. There are the usual dire predictions of gloom if current changes continue, with speakers saying "So these are really fundamental changes, step changes, tipping points, and therefore require whoever is living there to fundamentally change its ways".

A speaker says that the CO2 level is now 415 ppm, much higher than at any other time in the last 800,000 years. "The last time that the Earth had CO2 levels this high was more than two and a half million years ago, and that world was very different. At that point the climate was at least 3 or more degrees warmer than present, and the ocean, because [of] melting ice in that era, sea levels were around 20 metres higher than present. So if you let the climate settle down and adjust, that's the kind of planet you go to".

So the speakers have just ignored what the data actually tells us, and have just gone along with the popular view of man-made global warming. In an attempt to justify this, they have relied on conclusions drawn from a time completely outside their area of investigation, "two and a half million years ago",

Why would scientific investigators ignore logic?
It is understandable why the non-expert reader often relies on the most widely-repeated position, whether it reflects reality or not. If those in control keep pushing a misconception, it may well achieve general "consensus". As in the Goebels quotation at the head of this article, "Tell a lie a thousand times, and it becomes a truth".

For the scientist working with, and able to understand, the actual facts, this is no longer fair play. The scientist should have the courage and duty to apply logic and analysis to the facts, and be forthright in saying what they mean, whether or not this accords with the popular view or not.

Unfortunately for scientific truth, real-world circumstances mean that such truths can be dangerous for those bringing the truths forward.

Killing the messenger
Giordano Bruno . On February 17, 1600, in Rome, Italy, the philosopher and astronomer Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake by the Catholic Church for heresy [6]. His heresy was in insisting that the Earth went round the Sun, rather than the converse.

Fig. EP305-F2. Giordano Bruno. From [6].

Admittedly that was over 400 years ago, someone wouldn't be risking their life nowadays by opposing the man-made global warming fallacy, would they?

Perhaps not. But going against official or popular views can still act to greatly disadvantage the opposers. In Australia, at least two scientists have lost their jobs for opposing man-made global warming.

William Kininmonth. Meteorologist William Kininmonth was the head of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre from for 12 years, from 1986 to 1998. He opposed the idea of man-made global warming, against Australian Government views, and in 1998 he was no longer in the job.

Fig. EP305-F3. William Kininmonth.

William Kininmonth published his book "Climate Change: a Natural Hazard" [7] six years after losing his job, in 2004. This book is a detailed and scientific account of climate change and what brings it about.

Dennis Jensen. Scientist Dennis Jensen worked for CSIRO, Australia's national science organization, prior to his election to the Australian Parliament in 2004 [9]. He remained a member of parliament until 2016, when the Liberal Party withdrew his preselection (party sponsorship) and he lost his seat.

Fig. EP305-F4. Dr Dennis Jensen.

According to [6}, "he is known for questioning the anthropogenic causation of climate change" (man-made global warming) and so was in conflict with Liberal Party views. In two elections prior to 2016, he battled Liberal powerbrokers and only barely retained preselection.

Others in Australia and Elsewhere. I can only speculate how much others have suffered by losing their careers and incomes due to opposing man-made global warming. Many may have been disadvantaged in a lesser way, by losing promotions or grant support, or being sidelined or otherwise subtly punished.

Record temperatures and amplified storms, droughts, and floods
There seems little doubt that the Earth is currently undergoing global warming, with temperature records not matched by anything in living memory. But are we at a natural cycle peak, and can the peak cause disruptive weather events beyond the norm?

The answer to both these questions is "Yes". Not only are we at the peak of a long-cycle temperature event, but we are also at the peak of a shorter temperature cycle, one of about 1000 years.

Fig. EP305-F6. Temperatures since 900 AD, from tree rings.

Figure F6 shows temperature figures since 900 AD [8], derived from tree-ring studies in the northern hemisphere (trees grow faster and form wider annual rings at higher temperatures). The existence of a temperature cycle of around 1000 years is in good accord with historical facts.

For example, after around 1000 AD, the Vikings colonized Greenland (at that time, presumably "green"). Their colony lasted for several hundred years, until it was wiped out by cooler temperatures.

Around 2000 years ago, the Romans were able to grow grapes in the north of England. Only in the last few years has this again been possible -- in the 1950s, a greenhouse was needed, even in the south of England, to successfully grow grapes.

So, it is quite true that we are experiencing "record high temperatures", we are sitting at the peak of both the 1000-year and the 110,000-year cycles. But can these temperatures in themselves cause extreme weather events?

The answer to this is again "Yes". Longer-term changes in local temperatures can move climate bands and seasonal weather events north or south of their former positions. Areas accustomed to high seasonal rainfall will have developed forest or jungle able to absorb monsoonal downpours. If a changing climate moves these downpours to reach normally arid areas, these will not absorb rain readily, and flooding will result.

The Good News and the Bad News
The good news is that we appear to have reached the peaks of the current temperature cycles. Average temperatures should start to decline in the near future, How soon should this start to occur?

Fig. EP305-F7. Extrapolation of future temperature forecast.

We can make an estimate of this by assuming that the pattern of decline will be like that from the previous peak, a thousand years previously. Figure F7 shows a graphical image of this, copying a section of the last decline and adding it, in red, on the current peak.

The pattern of decline may not exactly match the previous one, but it could be similar. It suggests that temperatures will be in obvious decline by around 2050, and by 2100, people's concerns will be about combatting the increasing cold.

Prospects for recognizing the hoax (Short-Time): DIM
The Man-Made Climate-Change movement has built up to a band-wagon of such size and complexity that it will not easily be halted in its tracks, This movement is like a global religious movement or church, with millions of followers, many of whom rely on their church to provide their income. These followers will not give up their beliefs, or incomes, in the face of logic.

This church is also swelled by untold millions of moral members -- people convinced that too much CO2 is bad for the planet, and should be combatted by them publicly, leaving them with a glow of virtue. As in most ages, this group has a large representation in the young, seeking to improve the world -- not a bad thing in itself. As with most belief groups, logic does not play a large part in their thinking.

Prospects for recognizing the hoax (Medium-Time): BETTER
Widespread social misconceptions in the past, such as the Tulip Mania in 1630s Netherlands, or the South Sea Bubble bringing down European economies in the 1720s, eventually worked their way out of social roles and became forgotten.

In the same way, it may be expected that the current Carbon Neutral / Greenhouse Gases / Global Warming preoccupation will have worked its way out of prime social concern in the next couple of decades. It has been running for some 35 years, and may naturally fade. Of course, in many countries of the world it was never a great concern, and in some, other areas of concern may push it out of favour -- in Australia, public concern has been more with the rights of the aboriginal population recently.

Prospects for recognizing the hoax (Longer-Time): GOOD
In the longer term, if the implications of Figure F7 are to be accepted, public concern will be with Global Cooling rather than Global Warming. With the snows advancing, people will find it hard to remember the old days, when they worried about Carbon Dioxide.

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References and Links

[1]. The Poles Revealed: Polar Change. Video. Wildbear Entertainment for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, 2021.
[2]. Bethan Davies. Ice Core Basics. https://www.antarcticglaciers.org/glaciers-and-climate/ice-cores/ice-core-basics/ .
[3]. Bard AI. When did Maggie Thatcher's government in Britain promote the idea that burning coal causes global warming?
[4]. The Great Global Warming Swindle. Video, MRA Entertainment, 2007. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIRICfZOvpY .
[5]. William Kininmonth. https://www.desmog.com/william-kininmonth/ .
[6]. Giordano Bruno. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giordano_Bruno .
[7]. William Kininmonth. Climate Change: a Natural Hazard. Multi-Science Publishing, 2004.
[8]. David Noel. EP301: Will Greenzilla Destroy the Earth? -- The Facts Behind Global Warming. http://aoi.com.au/bcw/Greenzilla/index.htm .
[9]. Dennis Jensen. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Jensen .

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Compilation started 2024 Jan 12. First version on Web, 2024 Jan 23.

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