Putting the Hockey Stick in a Proper Context

Climate Change In Perspective

If you’ve been living under a rock, then you probably haven’t heard of the (now famous) “hockey stick graph.”


‘Hockey Stick’ was coined by the climatologist Jerry Mahlman, to describe the pattern shown by the Mann, Bradley & Hughes (MBH99) reconstruction, creating a graph that is relatively flat with a downward trend to 1900 which looks like an ice hockey stick’s “shaft” followed by a sharp, steady increase corresponding to the “blade” portion.  The hockey stick graphs have featured in the IPCC reports as evidence of Anthropogenic Global Warming, or AGW.

Note that the time frame of this graph is for 1000 years. That’s barely the blink of an eye in terms of the Earth’s 4.5 billion year existence. Also note that everything prior to 1855, the start point of the red line in the graph above, is not actual direct measurement of temperature, but inferred by proxy.

Greenland Ice Core Proxies

The compacted snow in Greenland Ice Cores above the 1855 level is too recent and not compacted enough to be usable in ice core proxies. But everything prior to that is usable, and goes back nearly 52,000 years.  Greenland ice core data doesn’t go back any farther than that. Temperature estimates are determined by analysing the ratio of Heavy Oxygen and Heavy Hydrogen to normal O and H in the samples of ice.
“Oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in the ice are analyzed to determine hemispheric temperatures because heavy water (water with deuterium instead of 1H), as well as heavy oxygen water, (water with 18O instead of 16O), have higher boiling points than regular water, and more heavy water gets into the atmosphere when global temperatures are high. The warmer the earth, the more heavy isotopes wind up in the ice. This has nothing to do with the temperature of the ice, it has to do with the temperatures at the evaporation sites.” [The evaporation sites from which the ice originated, which for this hockey stick graph are primarily from locations all over the Northern Hemisphere.] – scroll down to ‘Modern Warming’ at this link for a more detailed explanation of Greenland Ice Core Proxy derivations.

The Hockey Stick In Context

If you were startled or alarmed at the original Hockey Stick graph above then you may be even more shocked at what I will show you now! The graphs below will show you this ‘hockey stick’ in a proper context to human and geological history:

Original Hockey Stick (proxy data of Temperature) Graph 1 – 1400AD to 1855AD


The Red arrow points to the blade of the ‘stick.’  The ‘blade’ starts at about 1780.  Coal was only just beginning to be used in industrial applications: it was 1781 when James Watt patented his first continuous motion steam engine.  But not until 1804 when the first railway using a steam engine in Wales took place. 

Graph 2 – looking back to 800AD


Here we see the Medieval Warm Period Circa 1000AD, when the Vikings settled Greenland, and the Little Ice Age, late 1300’s to late 1700’s.

Graph 3 – going back to 2700 BC


1400 BC was even warmer than Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period. And look what has happened to the ‘hockey stick!’

Graph 4 – Back to 11,000 BC, the last full-on Ice Age


You should be starting to get the picture by now, but we have two more graphs to go:

Graph 5 – 50,000 Years Ago


Here you can see that the ice-age is punctuated by a wildly fluctuating climate pattern with extreme swings between very cold and not so cold periods. You can bet on it that many violent weather events occurred that dwarf anything of the Holocene, which is roughly the last 1/5th of the graph above.

Graph 6 – 425,000 Years Ago [The Last Four Major Glacial Epochs]  Reconstructed global temperature over the past 420,000 years based on the Vostok ice core from the Antarctica (Petit et al. 2001).


The ‘Hockey Stick’ is now an invisible blip in that little red outlined rectangle on the right, which is our current interglacial period. Previous interglacials(Red Spikes) were all warmer than our current one. 

The clock is ticking…

“A model of future climate based on the observed orbital-climate relationships, but ignoring anthropogenic effects, predicts that the long-term trend over the next seven thousand years is toward extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation.”

And this model is probably correct in ignoring anthropogenic effects because they really don’t amount to much in the long run. And I haven’t even touched on the effects from possible future volcanism which are known to have worldwide repercussions.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the Graph at the top of the post.
Thanks to Morgan Wright’s page: “Global climate change from a realistic, non-political point of view.” for the graphs 1 through 5.

The Definitive Answer: YES! (updated 11/11/15)

Patrick Moore: Should We Celebrate CO2?
GWPF Annual Lecture by Patrick Moore “Should we celebrate CO2?”

“Human emissions of carbon dioxide have saved life on Earth from 
inevitable starvation and extinction due to lack of CO2”. To use 
the analogy of the Atomic Clock, if the Earth were 24 hours old 
we were at 38 seconds to midnight when we reversed the trend towards 
the End Times. If that isn’t good news I don’t know what is. You 
don’t get to stave off Armageddon every day."

The ignorance displayed by ‘Climate Change’ activism and activists is staggering to say the least.
All of the illogical hand-wringing and irrational fears promulgated about atmospheric CO2 are laid bare in this important lecture by Patrick Moore, ex-Greenpeace co-founder, PhD in ecology in 1971. In this lecture he lays out the facts about CO2, the lack of correlation with temperature, the precipitous decline since the Cambrian era, its necessity for life on Earth, and how our use of fossil fuels and the release of sequestered CO2 may just have bought more time for life on Earth to continue! The entire lecture is well worth your time to read. He even addresses the Canadian Oil Sands issue, and the benefits of “cleaning up the biggest natural oil spill in history.”

"If we assume human emissions have to date added some 200 billion 
tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, even if we ceased using fossil fuels 
today we have already bought another 5 million years for life on 
earth. But we will not stop using fossil fuels to power our 
civilization so it is likely that we can forestall plant starvation 
for lack of CO2 by at least 65 million years."

Regarding the end of the Carboniferous Era, Patrick says,

"The Devonian Period beginning 400 million years ago marked the 
culmination of the invasion of life onto the land. Plants evolved 
to produce lignin, which in combination with cellulose, created wood 
which in turn for the first time allowed plants to grow tall, in 
competition with each other for sunlight. As vast forests spread 
across the land living biomass increased by orders of magnitude, 
pulling down carbon as CO2 from the atmosphere to make wood. Lignin 
is very difficult to break down and no decomposer species possessed 
the enzymes to digest it. Trees died atop one another until they 
were 100 metres or more in depth. This was the making of the great 
coal beds around the world as this huge store of sequestered carbon 
continued to build for 90 million years. Then, fortunately for the 
future of life, white rot fungi evolved to produce the enzymes that 
can digest lignin and coincident with that the coal-making era came 
to an end.
There was no guarantee that fungi or any other decomposer species 
would develop the complex of enzymes required to digest lignin. If 
they had not, CO2, which had already been drawn down for the first 
time in Earth’s history to levels similar to today's, would have 
continued to decline as trees continued to grow and die. That is 
until CO2 approached the threshold of 150 ppm below which plants 
begin first to starve, then stop growing altogether, and then die. 
Not just woody plants but all plants. This would bring about the 
extinction of most, if not all, terrestrial species, as animals, 
insects, and other invertebrates starved for lack of food. And that 
would be that. The human species would never have existed. This was 
only the first time that there was a distinct possibility that life 
would come close to extinguishing itself, due to a shortage of CO2, 
which is essential for life on Earth."

Read the entire text of his lecture here: http://www.thegwpf.com/28155

Hat tip to WUWT

(Update 11/11/15) White Rot Fungi Slowed Coal Formation

What Is The Real Cause of Severe Weather?

Claims from the ‘Global Warming/Climate Changers’ side of the ‘debate’ about ‘Earth’s climate’ say that a warmer world has more severe weather. This is a misdirect, and is wholly untrue. The main cause of extreme and severe weather is an increased difference between warm regions and cold regions. When considering Earth’s overall climate(the Earth actually has many climates, but that is a different discussion), the warm regions are the Tropics, and the cold regions are the Poles.
It is the temperature gradient between these two regions that dictate the severity of weather in a given location.

Even during intense Glacial epochs, the Tropics remain relatively warm, simply because of their location close to the equator and the fact that they receive more sunlight and hence more warming than do the Arctic and Antarctic, but because of the tight temperature gradient, a cooling overall climate is more likely to have severe weather. In a world where warming was ubiquitous, there would be a decreased Pole to Tropic temperature gradient, and therefore less extreme weather occurrences. Perhaps that is what we have seen with the last few years of very low Hurricane activity especially noted in the Atlantic activity.

Severe weather is more likely to be seen during transitional Cooling periods, as well as transitional Warming periods, but not as likely during the stasis periods between.
Although severe weather can happen anytime conditions are right.

Dr. Tim Ball, Ph.D. (Doctor of Science), Queen Mary College, University of London (England), 1982, has written a concise article exploring the claim that ‘a warming world will have more severe weather,’ and the historical evidence that demolishes it.

Here are a few teasers, and below is the link to the article by Dr. Tim Ball:

“Every day we hear that storms of greater intensity than ever before are occurring, and it will get worse because of global warming. These claims contradict the current and historic evidence and the mechanisms of formation for mid-latitude…”

“There is no doubt the IPCC set climate research back almost 30 years. They became the central authority on climate change and directed all the focus of research to anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

“The IPCC anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis says the Polar air will warm more than the Tropical air resulting in increased storminess. In fact, this reduces the ZI and, therefore, the frequency and intensity of storms.”

“Their theory of future increased storminess contradicts the physics of the formation mechanism.”

 See more at: http://drtimball.com/2015/how-does-the-ipcc-explain-the-severe-storms-of-history/#sthash.VUZDG8ZQ.dpuf

Illinois’ Sudden Change of 1836

The following is an historical account of a severe change in the weather which occurred in Illinois and much of the midwest on December 20, 1836:

“In 1836 The State of Illinois was less than two decades old. A young Abraham Lincoln of New Salem had just been reelected to the state legislature and had recently obtained his law license. As the Winter Solstice approached in late December, so did a cold front, which local frontiersmen called a “sudden change” (the term cold front would not be coined for many decades). No ordinary cold front, for when it had passed, December 20, 1836 would go down in the memories of many Illinois residents as The Sudden Change Day, Cold Tuesday and The Cold Day in Illinois.

On that afternoon, an intense cold front swept across much of Illinois bringing a prodigious and rapid temperature drop. At 2 pm, the thermometer of Dr Samuel Mead of Augusta had recorded a drop from 40 oF to zero Fahrenheit in less than 8 hours. Many say that drop was nearly instantaneous.

Although actual weather data in the early nineteenth century is rather scarce across much of middle America, oral and written accounts of the event have been passed down in the reminiscences of those living in the state. We are fortunate that some weather observations were made: two individuals residing in Illinois had thermometers and recorded daily readings, and regular thrice-daily observations were taken at a series of US Army posts scattered across the Midwest.”


“Washington Crowder started a trip from Sugar Creek near Chatham to Springfield to obtain a marriage license. Riding horseback, he left in a steady rain. Midway through his journey, he noticed a dark cloud coming from the northwest toward him. Suddenly, a freezing cold wind gust struck him. By the time he was able to reach for his reins, the water soaking his clothes had…”

Read the entire fascinating account here.