I never seem to hear anything from 'ice' or 'ice age' experts on the news, and I really want to understand their perspective.
. . . and then, FM wrote:
( During my grad school years, I actually used to be a global "cooling ist")
When i was in university, the clever position of young scientists studying climate was to predict an approaching ice age. What most people at the time did not understand was that these folks were talking in the range of 10,000 to 150,000 years. After i left university, in the 1970s, many young scientists were still talking about a coming ice age, and by then had begun to talk about a possible "mini-ice age" event in the near future, because, of course, governments don't give grants for people to study things which government doesn't think will have any proximate effect.
I strongly suspect that a good deal of the rise of the global warming lobby among academic scientists is tied to the government grant mill. Governments will give grants to study things which seem like they might soon have an effect on their constituency. But i have seen several problems with the entire global warming set of allegations, mostly from an historical perspective (the perspective i am qualified to review). One is that the data is not wide nor deep. Most climate information comes from the weather services of various nations, most of which are little more than a century old. And these services cluster near "heat islands," which is to say, places with dense human populations. Even were that data reliable, we don't have a clear cut base line to which to compare it. We don't know what climate conditions were like hundreds of years ago, thousands of years or tens of thousands of years ago (the last massive glaciation only began to rapidly retreat about 15,000 years ago). We have crude information--for example, Dorset culture Eskimos were tied culturally to pelagic seal populations and the populations of other acquatic mammals which preferred cold water. Therefore, the belief that there was a "mini-ice age" in the North Atlantic between about 500 BCE and 500 CE has been inferred from, among other data, the habitation sites of Dorset bands, which can be identified from the seal bones, the cultural artifacts, and only occasionally from the human remains (very few Dorset burials have been found, and we don't know enough about their culture to know if they commonly exposed remains, as so many aboriginal people in North America once did). We have scant historical records, such as that of Pytheas, a colonial Greek from the Massilia (Marseilles) colony in what is now southern France. He left an account of his voyage to what obviously were the British Isles, and a less obvious account of a voyage north to an island which was probably today's Iceland. He states that the pack ice clustered around the northern shores of the island he describes, and it it were Iceland, that would tend to confirm the occurrence of a mini-ice age, since in historical times since the continuous occupation of Iceland (first by the Irish and the Picts, and then by the Norse), the pack ice never extended so far south.
Studies of ice cores from Antarctica can give some useful climate data, but none of the sources, whether historical records, inferential evidence from archaeology nor ice cores from Antarctica can, so far, tell us to what extent there is an extraordinary, human-caused warming of the planet.
I have not expressed these ideas for years around here, because early on, in 2002 or 2003, i made similar remarks, and was literally attacked for having expressed politically unpopular views among a certain group of members here.
I say none of this as a scientist, because i am not a scientists. However, i have taken note of the events of my own time, and the subject of climate is important in history, both distant and recent. I read and i pay attention. I, too, am less than convinced of the quality of the "evidence" which is advanced for human-produced global warming. But i don't often say so, because the view is unpopular, i don't want to be associated with right-wingers who attack the idea for political reasons without advancing convincing arguments, and i don't intend to argue this out again and again and again with people who aren't listening anyway.