By Ghost of John Brown
You're probably thinking that this will be an article on some wild prophecy from Al Gore on the future of man kind. Actually, it's not. There are things that have already happened to the world which have brought down civilizations. Global warming has already brought down civilizations and caused world wide chaos. As you will see, though, there is no corporate boogey-man to this story.
Warning - I will get a little "geeky" for a couple of paragraphs, but I'll get back to the original topic shortly. Tonight I was watching the program "Engineering an Empire", with host Peter Weller. It is a great series. The fascinating thing that was mentioned off-handedly was that after the reign of Sneferu (2613-2589 BC), (his "Bent" pyramid is pictured on the right) Egypt fell into a deep drought lasting well over a century. A hundred year drought? That kind of caught my attention. This aridification spelled the partial collapse of the Egyptian Empire. Click on "continue reading" below for more.
The aridification of this period was not limited to just Egypt. The global climate change is referred to as the "4.2 kiloyear event" (4,200 years BP "Before Present") and correspondingly "Bond Event 3", named after Gerald Bond of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. The 4.2 kiloyear event describes the severe drought that was experienced around the equator. Bond Event 3 relates to the severe cold and glaciation of the northern climates. Research suggests that parts of the Red Sea dried up because of the drop in the ocean levels. This was accompanied by the build up of the ice mass (glaciation) in the northern climates.
The severe drought spelled disaster for Ancient Egypt, the Akkadian Empire in what is now Iraq, and affected the Harappan civilization in the Indus Valley (Modern day India and Pakistan).
The 4.2 kiloyear event and Bond Event 3 follow what is referred to as the 1,500 year cycle (more precisely 1,470 years, but most round up). The 1,500 year cycle is well documented through ice cores, sediment samples, etc., etc., etc. If you have the time, read through this excellent article by Fred Singer regarding the cycle.
OK, now back to the non-geeky portion of our show.........
As humans, we tend to have a perspective that is similar to our own experience. As such, we've lived through the late 20th Century and now we are at the start of the 21st Century. We think of this as "normal". Our ancestors who lived through the "Little Ice Age", probably thought that was "normal", as did their ancestors who lived through the "Medieval Warm Period" about 350 years earlier. If I told you that New York Harbor would freeze over next winter so that you could walk from Manhattan to Staten Island, you would say the climate has gone nuts, but that was the "normal" climate a few centuries ago.
During the decline of the Egyptian Empire around 2,500 BC, there were no SUV's, no industrial plants, no clear cutting of the Amazon, no rise in CO2, etc., etc., etc. We just had the earth and the sun - that was it. Without those SUV's, the earth's climate went into a tailspin. Civilizations were ruined and people had to migrate to find a more suitable area to live. Recent evidence has shown that the same drought conditions happened in North America as well.
Our planet and more importantly our sun changes its climate based on very long cycles. Why? I don't know - it just does. Perhaps there is a really smart scientist that can tell you why we are on a 1,500 year cycle, but from what I HAVE read over the last few years, it is a hotly (no pun intended) debated topic.
What is clear is that temperatures across the planet are A) not necessarily the same across the globe. Severe cold in northern climates can correspond to severe drought at the equator; and B) The temperature extremes that we have seen over the last 10,000 years have had nothing to do with man made activities, and have been far more severe than we have experienced in the last 100 years.
We'd all like to think that we have a profound impact on the world. Thus the global warming crowd just HAVE to believe that if there is a change in the earth we must have had something to do with it. However, the earth has been changing (and will continue to do so) for centuries and millennia without man having a single thing to do with it.
Global climate change IS a major concern. Imagine the global impact from expanding glaciers and a hundred year long drought in the middle east. There is really not a question of if this will happen, but when. Think about the conflict that occurs right now based on water shortages along the equator. Now magnify that by about five-fold and you will see what we will be in for. Some want to attribute this to man made causes and will try to prevent it by changing our policy on energy and the environment which is folly. However, the concern about the impacts is real. It is just not something that we are going to control. It has happened before, and it will happen again.
The ancient Egyptians found out that the earth can change on its own. Sadly, our "educated" modern man, hasn't figured that out.