Steve Luckstead ("Science Matters") and E. Kirsten Peters ("Rock Doc") are two of my favorite contributors to the U-B. Their articles are informative and entertaining. The most recent by Peters, "Figuring out climate changes is a lot like playing with Jell-O" (Jan. 1), describes the fascinating science of coring. She relates how studies of these core samples have identified 10 major climate intervals in the last 15,000 years including the warmest era (the Optimum) -- much warmer than today -- that occurred about 6,000-8,000 years ago.
One such interval where temperatures were higher than today was the Medieval Warm Period (800-1300 AD). The Little Ice Age (1300-1850) followed, ending with another warming cycle 1850-1998), followed by the current cooling period. (Note recent lack of sunspots and cold records being broken across the country.)
The timing of Peters' article was perfect as I had just finished reading a remarkable report: the American Meteorological Society Monthly Weather Review, Volume 50, Issue 11, dated November 1922. (Google for a detailed PDF version).
The report, "The Changing Arctic," submitted to the State Department by American consul George Nicolas Ifft at Bergen, Norway, Oct. 10, 1922, describes how "the ice conditions were exceptional and in fact, so little ice has never before been noted."
The expedition, sent by the Norwegian Commerce Department visited Spitzbergen and Bear Island, sailing "farthest north ever reached with modern oceanographic apparatus." They found that "Many old landmarks are so changed as to be unrecognizable ... where formerly great masses of ice were found, there are now often moraines, accumulations of earth and stones ... at many points where glaciers formerly extended far into the sea they have entirely disappeared." A Capt. Martin Ingebrigtsen, "who has sailed the eastern Arctic for 54 years past, says that he first noted warmer conditions in 1918, that since that time it has steadily gotten warmer, and that today the Arctic is not recognizable as the same region of 1868 to 1917."
Scientists using two coring boreholes in Greenland reconstructed the temperature history there over the past 50,000 years. Analysis confirmed the Climatic Optimum mentioned above and also the most recent warming that peaked in 1930 - corroborating the 1922 report! They call it the "great Greenland warming of the 1920s."
Al Gore's outrageous and false claims have made him (and others) very rich and powerful at the taxpayers' expense. Always follow the money. That, unfortunately, is an inconvenient truth.