UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper: April 4, 2005, 7:00 p.m. Richard B.

Alley, The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000). Ch. 4: The Icy Archives ― Ice Sheets and Glaciers. Chapter on “how an ice sheet works” (31). If all ice melted, ocean would rise 200’ (32). Glaciers flow because ice is a “‘hot’ solid,” i.e. near its melting point (33). Layers thin and stretch (3427). Flow corrections (38-39). Ch. 5: Ice through the Ice Age. Tree rings (12,00 years) and sediments (tens of thousands of years) used for dating (42-43). Layers of snow identifiable by sun’s transformation of summer snow into hoarfrost (coarse-grained, low-density snow) (4344). Walls of snow pits (44-48). Compacted snow is called firn (48-49). At 200 feet, snow becomes ice, trapping bubbles (49). At just less than a mile, gas bubbles become “an ice-air mixture called gashydrate or clathrate” (50-51). Layers observable by electroconductivity (51-53). 1783 Laki eruption used for reference point (54-55). Several counters to check consistency (55-57). Other climatic indicators (57-58). Ch. 6: How Cold of Old? Temperature change (paleothermometry) (59-60). Isotopic effects on evaporation and condensation, which vary with temperature and can be measured with a mass spectrometer, make possible paleothermometry (6064). Explaining borehole ice temperature variations as the effect of air temperature at time of precipitation (65-68). Matching the two is a test of the reliability of an ice core for paleothermometric purposes (69-70). Ch. 7: Dust in the Wind. Aerosols (71-72). Effect of cosmic rays (72-73). Meteorites (73-74). Contamination must be avoided (73-74). Effect of wet and dry deposition (74-75). Ch. 8: Tiny Bubbles in the Ice. Gases mix well in the atmosphere in a few years (77). Greenland and Antarctic ice cores yield same atmospheric results (78). Carbon dioxide and methane lower in ice ages (78). PART III: CRAZY CLIMATES

“Earth’s wildly complex, linked, feedbackdominated climate system in which atmosphere, oceans, ice, land surface, and living things interact with each other and with the solar system to drive weather forecasters and climate scientists to distraction” (131). PART I: SETTING THE STAGE Ch. 1: Fast Forward. Much evidence that abrupt climate change is typical (3-4). “‘Conveyor belt’ circulation” can be “suddenly shut off or turned on again” (5). “This book is a progress report on abrupt climate change” (5). Importance of climate (5-7). Thousands are engaged in “Earth system science” to develop an “‘Operator’s Manual’ for planet Earth” (7). Importance of historical record to climate modeling (7-8). Plan of book (9). Ch. 2: Pointers to the Past. Sediment is indicative of climate (11-12). Ice cores, generally 4”-5” in diameter, can be two miles long and “include the entire history of the ice sheet and the air above it” (13). PART II: READING THE RECORD Ch. 3: Going to Greenland. Henri Bader of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers working in what is now known as the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) initiated modern ice coring, as chief scientist for IGY (1957-1958) in NW Greenland (17-18). Mid-1960s, Byrd station in Antarctic (Tony Gow) (18-19). S. Greenland core from Dye 3 finished 1981 (19). GISP2 (Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2) & GRIP (Greenland Ice Core Project) drilled 20 miles apart for control purposes, 1989-1993 (21-22). GISP2 supplied by U.S. 109th Air National Guard (22). Polar Ice Coring Office & Univ. of New Hampshire’s Paul Mayewski handled drilling (23). Storage in onsite lab; later in National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver (23-24). Drilling routine (25). GRIP (26). Drilling technique (2730). Core space filled with butyl acetate (27-28).

Ch. 9: The Saurian Sauna. Summary: past climate has varied widely; climate is like a drunk: it either sits or staggers (83). Diverse, small ‘pushes’ have caused large changes; humans can effect climate change (84). Feedback effects: large  small; small  large (84). CO2, through the “weathering” reaction (CaSiO3 + CO2  CaCO3 + SiO2) and its reversal give earth a natural thermostat (85-86). This is a long-term negative feedback, but many short-term feedbacks are positive (87). The slow negative CO2 feedback operates on a cycle circa 100 million years. Plate tectonics also operates on a circa 100-million-year ‘cycle’ (88-89). The meteorite hitting Yucatan 65 million years ago had short climatic effect, but it is believed to have killed the dinosaurs (89). Ch. 10: The Solar System Swing. Amount of ice was much greater 20,000 years ago (91). Isotopic analysis of shells reveals size of ice sheets (92-93). Fourier analysis can be used to sort out sorts of variability (93-95). Ice periodicities are 100,000; 41,000; 19,000 & 23,000 years (95). Milutin Milankovich predicted this (95). Earth’s rotation axis has an angle varying from 22° to 24° in 41,000 years (96-97). Orbital eccentricity varies on a 100,000-year cycle (97). Wobble in earth’s rotation axis creates precession of seasons on a 19,000- or 23,000-year cycle (97). [“Ice-age cycles were caused . . . by orbital wiggles” (108).] Related “curiosities” (98). Ch. 11: Dancing to the Orbital Band. Why large ice sheets melt more quickly than small ones (99102). Water vapor scarcer during ice ages (102-03). Same for other greenhouse gases (103-04). Carbon dioxide levels affected by a variety of processes (105-08). Ch. 12: What the Worms Turned. More rapid changes (109-10). Greenland ice cores tell “the clearest story” (110). Pollen from Dryas, a mountain flower also called avens, in bog cores, identifies three recent cold periods: the Younger Dryas (11,500 to 12,800 years ago), the Older Dryas, and the Oldest Dryas (110-11). Windblown contaminants and isotopic measurements indicate 15° F. change in a decade at the end of the Younger Dryas (111-12). Jeff Severinghaus of Scripps measured temperature-induced isotopic sinking that confirms this (112-14). Methane levels show these

changes are coupled to the rest of the world’s climate (114-15). Rapid changes (on the order of a decade) confirmed by sediments showing Venezuelan winds lessening (116-17). Such changes are faster than any in historic times (118). Record of last 100,000 years shows these “Dansgaard-Oeschger events or cycles” are typical, however (118-20). Gerard Bond of Columbia’s North Atlantic sea floor cores confirm Greenland ice core patterns over longer periods (121-22). Heinrich events (dumping of layers of rocks on ocean floor in North Atlantic) and Bond cycle (a few thousand years of cooling leading to an iceberg inundation, and then a few years or decades of spectacular warming) explained by ice from bottom layer of Hudson Bay Ice sheet ‘skating’ over bedrock to ocean, due to trapped heat (122-26). Recap: “a roller coaster riding the orbital rails, with Heinrich-Bond bungee-jumping off the roller coaster while playing with a Dansgaard-Oeschger yo-yo” (126). Anomalies (127). “The current period of stable climate is among the longest on record” (128). PART IV: WHY THE WEIRDNESS? Ch. 13: How Climate Works. Earth’s balance of radiant energy exchanges (131-34). Atmospheric heat exchanges drive the weather (134-40). Ocean circulation also accounts for about half the movement of heat in the climate; the saltiest and therefore densest water, in the North Atlantic, plays an especially important role (140-42). Wally Broecker of Columbia’s conveyor belt paradigm, or ‘cartoon’ (142-44). The importance of the north Atlantic is due to the combination of Drake’s passage and the Coriolis effect (144-45). Ch. 14: A Chaotic Conveyor? The descending part of the conveyor belt (the north Atlantic) is the easiest to jam, by freshening the water (147-48). Computer models best tests (148-49). “Models indicate that when the sinking stops in the north Atlantic, nearby regions cool a great deal and most of the hemisphere cools at least a little” (150). Analysis of shells of bottom-dwelling animals seems to show “north Atlantic circulation has three modes: the hot mode, with far-north [north & east of Greenland] and near-north [south & west of Greenland] sinking; the cool mode, with only nearnorth sinking; and the cold mode, with no northern sinking” (153) (151-54). Operation of these modes

creates compensating effects elsewhere (south Atlantic, for the “cold mode”) (154-56). Shutting off sinking seems to be the source of climate “flipping” (156-58). Ch. 15: Shoving the System. Volcanoes not very important (159). Solar variation and magnetism seem relatively unimportant (160-61). Floods have probably played a major role (161-62). Likewise ocean currents (162-63). But Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations not yet fully understood (163). Other possible switches: the tropics (El Niños), Antarctic waters (163-65). PART V: COMING CRAZINESS? Ch. 16: Fuelish. Critical questions: Will nature or humans return climate to ‘normal’ wild fluctuations? And if so, what can we do about it? (169). Origin of fossil fuels: geothermally cooked algae, coal from woody plants, natural gas from either one (170). Carbon dioxide we are putting in the atmosphere will remain there for a long time, but will eventually be recycled (170-72). “The modern scientific consensus is that positive feedbacks will amplify global warming,” but prediction is difficult (172-73). On consensus and contrarians (174). Correlation of CO2 and temperature leads Alley to support IPCC consensus (175-76). Economic notion of discounting encourages doing little about global warming (17778). Finiteness and fairness as arguments for “nontraditional discount rates” (178). On the big questions, “we don’t know” (178-79).

Ch. 17: Down the Road. Future is unknown; prediction may be impossible (181). Not certain that global warming will preserve us from abrupt changes (182-83). Thomas Stocker of Univ. of Bern’s model shows speed of increase of greenhouse gases determines whether the conveyor belt shuts down (183). When this happens would be decisive as to the effects (183-84).. Ch. 18: An Ice-Core View of the Future. What to do? “I don’t know” (185). Opinions: change is coming; there will be winners and losers (186). Losers will outnumber winners (186-87). Slowing down is an insurance policy (187-88). Saving excess capacity is insurance (188). Overpopulation a danger (189). Hopes for “soft landing” of stabilization but doesn’t know how to achieve it (190-91). Trench metaphor: in the absence of ability to see how big it is, it’s best to speed up (i.e. educate and ‘empower’ people) (191-92). Appendix 1: A Cast of Characters. GISP2 (19396). GRIP (196). Graduate students (196-98). Appendix 2: Usage of Units. “I switched back to using customary units” (199). Sources and Related Information. 22 pp. Acknowledgments. .

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