Receding Swiss Glaciers Reveal 4000 Year Old Forests
– Warmists Try To Suppress Findings
As many sources, including HH Lamb, have pointed out, back in the Bronze Age around 2000BC, the climate in the Alps was much warmer than now.
It is therefore no surprise to find direct evidence of this from geologist Dr. Christian Schlüchter, Professor emeritus at the University of Bern in Switzerland.
Larry Bell at Newsmax has the story:
Dr. Christian Schlüchter’s discovery of 4,000-year-old chunks of wood at the leading edge of a Swiss glacier was clearly not cheered by many members of the global warming doom-and-gloom science orthodoxy.
This finding indicated that the Alps were pretty nearly glacier-free at that time, disproving accepted theories that they only began retreating after the end of the little ice age in the mid-19th century. As he concluded, the region had once been much warmer than today, with “a wild landscape and wide flowing river.”
Dr. Schlüchter’s report might have been more conveniently dismissed by the entrenched global warming establishment were it not for his distinguished reputation as a giant in the field of geology and paleoclimatology who has authored/coauthored more than 250 papers and is a professor emeritus at the University of Bern in Switzerland.
Then he made himself even more unpopular thanks to a recent interview titled “Our Society is Fundamentally Dishonest” which appeared in the Swiss publication Der Bund where he criticized the U.N.-dominated institutional climate science hierarchy for extreme tunnel vision and political contamination.
Following the ancient forest evidence discovery Schlüchter became a target of scorn. As he observes in the interview, “I wasn’t supposed to find that chunk of wood because I didn’t belong to the close-knit circle of Holocene and climate researchers. My findings thus caught many experts off guard: Now an ‘amateur’ had found something that the [more recent time-focused] Holocene and climate experts should have found.”
Other evidence exists that there is really nothing new about dramatic glacier advances and retreats. In fact the Alps were nearly glacier-free again about 2,000 years ago. Schlüchter points out that “the forest line was much higher than it is today; there were hardly any glaciers. Nowhere in the detailed travel accounts from Roman times are glaciers mentioned.”
Schlüchter criticizes his critics for focusing on a time period which is “indeed too short.” His studies and analyses of a Rhone glacier area reveal that “the rock surface had [previously] been ice-free 5,800 of the last 10,000 years.”
Such changes can occur very rapidly. His research team was stunned to find trunks of huge trees near the edge of Mont Miné Glacier which had all died in just a single year. They determined that time to be 8,200 years ago based upon oxygen isotopes in the Greenland ice which showed marked cooling.
Casting serious doubt upon alarmist U.N.-IPCC projections that the Alps will be nearly glacier-free by 2100, Schlüchter poses several challenging questions: “Why did the glaciers retreat in the middle of the 19th century, although the large CO2 increase in the atmosphere came later? Why did the Earth ‘tip’ in such a short time into a warming phase? Why did glaciers again advance in the 1880s, 1920s, and 1980s? . . . Sooner or later climate science will have to answer the question why the retreat of the glacier at the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850 was so rapid.”
Although we witness ongoing IPCC attempts to blame such developments upon evil fossil-fueled CO2 emissions, that notion fails to answer these questions. Instead, Schlüchter believes that the sun is the principal long-term driver of climate change, with tectonics and volcanoes acting as significant contributors.
Regarding IPCC integrity with strong suspicion, Schlüchter recounts a meeting in England that he was “accidentally” invited to which was led by “someone of the East Anglia Climate Center who had come under fire in the wake of the Climategate e-mails.”
As he describes it: “The leader of the meeting spoke like some kind of Father. He was seated at a table in front of those gathered and he took messages. He commented on them either benevolently or dismissively.”
Schlüchter’s view of the proceeding took a final nosedive towards the end of the discussion. As he noted: “Lastly it was about tips on research funding proposals and where to submit them best. For me it was impressive to see how the leader of the meeting collected and selected information.”
As a number of other prominent climate scientists I know will attest, there’s one broadly recognized universal tip for those seeking government funding. All proposals with any real prospects for success should somehow link climate change with human activities rather than to natural causes. Even better, those human influences should intone dangerous consequences.
Schlüchter warns that the reputation of science is becoming more and more damaged as politics and money gain influence. He concludes, “For me it also gets down to the credibility of science . . . Today many natural scientists are helping hands of politicians, and are no longer scientists who occupy themselves with new knowledge and data. And that worries me.”
Yes. That should worry everyone.
The only real surprise in this story is why the so-called “experts”, that he was up against, were so surprised by his findings. There is ample evidence from HH Lamb and others that temperatures in this part of the world were higher then than now. Apart from anything else, there is the body of Oetzi the iceman, which was discovered a few years ago in a glacier, high up in the Alps, near the Austro-Italian border, at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. Oetzi had attempted to cross the Alps about 5000 years ago.
Anyone, with the slightest knowledge of the Alps, would know that nobody these days would attempt to cross a glacier at this height with the sort of clothing and equipment available to Oetzi.
In 2008, the BBC offered a fuller explanation.
Melting alpine glaciers are revealing fascinating clues to Neolithic life in the high mountains.
And, as a conference of archaeologists and climatologists meeting in the Swiss capital Berne has been discussing, the finds are also providing key indicators to climate change.
Everyone knows the story of Oetzi the Ice Man, found in a glacier on the Austrian-Italian border in 1991. Oetzi was discovered at an altitude of over 3,000m.
He lived in about 3,300 BC, leading to speculation that the Alps may have had more human habitation than previously suspected.
Now, more dramatic findings from the 2,756m Schnidejoch glacier in Switzerland have confirmed the theory.
It all started at the end of the long hot summer of 2003, when a Swiss couple, hiking across a melting Schnidejoch, came across a piece of wood that aroused their curiosity.
They took it down with them, and gave it to canton Berne’s archaeological department, where careful examination and carbon dating revealed the piece of wood to be an arrow quiver made of birch bark, dating from about 3000 BC.
“Finds in the Alps are very rare anyway,” explains Albert Hafner, chief archaeologist with the canton of Berne. “But this is unique; we don’t know of a quiver like this anywhere else in the world.”
At first, the news of the find was kept quiet; historians feared treasure hunters on the Schnidejoch as the ice melted. But teams of archaeologists went up, and more and more artefacts were discovered.
The ice has protected the leather for thousands of years
“We now have the complete bow equipment, quiver and arrows,” says Mr Hafner “And we have, surprisingly, a lot of organic material like leather, parts of shoes and a trouser leg, that we wouldn’t normally find.”
And the finds are not confined to 3000 BC. Some of the leather found, and a fragment of a wooden bowl, date from 4500 BC, older even than Oetzi, making them the oldest objects ever found in the Alps.
And from later periods, a Bronze Age pin has been discovered, as well as Roman coins and a fibula, and items dating from the early Middle Ages.
Key to climate change
What fascinates scientists about the age of the finds is that they correspond to times when climate specialists have already calculated the Earth was going through an especially warm period, caused by fluctuations in the orbital pattern of the Earth in relation to the Sun.
At these times, historians now speculate, the high mountain regions became accessible to humans.
The Roman coins found on the Schnidejoch are being seen as proof that the Romans used this route to cross the Alps from Italy to their territories in northern Europe. Interestingly, one of the Earth’s chillier periods coincides with the decline of the Roman empire.
As the Earth cooled and the glaciers grew again, the Schnidejoch and other passes like it would have been blocked by ice. So did fluctuations in the Earth’s climate contribute to the fall of the Roman empire?
“Well that may be stretching things a bit,” laughs Martin Grosjean. “But what we do know is that the climate has fluctuated throughout history; in the past the driving force for the changes was the Earth’s orbital pattern, now the driving force is green house gas emissions.”
For Martin Grosjean, the leather items found on the Schnidejoch, dated at over 5,000 years old, are proof, if any more were needed, that the Earth is now warming up.
“The leather is the jewel among the finds,” he says. “If leather is exposed to the weather, to sun, wind and rain, it disintegrates almost immediately.
Bit by bit, the Neolithic way of life is being revealed
“The fact that we still find these 5,000-year-old pieces of leather tells us they were protected by the ice all this time, and that the glaciers have never been smaller than in the year 2003 and the years following.”
Scientists and archaeologists from all over the world attended the conference in Berne to hear about the Schnidejoch findings, and present research of their own.
Patterns have begun to emerge: researchers in Canada’s Yukon region have found evidence of Neolithic farming and domesticated animals at high altitudes.
Again, they correspond with the calculations climatologists have made about the Earth’s warmer periods.
In Norway, Atle Nesje has been analysing glaciers for the past 25 years. His calculations for the Norwegian icefields show a similar shrinkage and growth pattern to the alpine glaciers.
“Now these archaeological findings seem to fit quite nicely with our glacier reconstructions,” he says. “This is very important in the debate about climate change in the past, the present, and also in the future.”
A reconstruction of the shoes these mountain people used to wear
For historians however, the Schnidejoch is unexpected evidence that early man was far more at home in the high Alps than had been previously thought.
“In 1991, we were completely surprised by Oetzi,” remembers Albert Hafner. “Up to then, we had always thought the Alps were not used, that people never went there.
“Now with Schnidejoch we know they were rather keen on mountaineering. It was a big challenge for them; look at the shoes, no Goretex for them. But we know they went up regularly.”
The reality is straightforward. The Alps, and regions elsewhere, were much warmer than now around 5000 years ago, and, indeed, for most of the time before that going back to the end of the Ice Age. There is absolutely no evidence at all that suggests current temperatures are, in any way, unusual.