Maybe there really is nothing new under the sun, Big Lizards has an interesting link to an article about global warming, 55 million years ago...at the North Pole:
New research has found that a scant 55 million years ago, the North Pole quickly developed a climate much like Florida today:
The new analysis confirms that the Arctic Ocean warmed remarkably 55 million years ago, which is when many scientists say the extraordinary planetwide warm-up called the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum must have been caused by an enormous outburst of heat-trapping, or greenhouse, gases like methane and carbon dioxide. But no one has found a clear cause for the gas discharge. Almost all climate experts agree that the present-day gas buildup is predominantly a result of emissions from smokestacks, tailpipes and burning forests.
I think this planet is a lot tougher than some folks give her credit for. What is more I think she has her own way of doing things, oblivious to us.
I have often wondered what the reaction would be today to the Dust Bowl my family went through in Oklahoma. No rain...for a long long time. Sand everywhere, dead cattle everywhere and hungry people everywhere. This was the 1930's, just 25 years or so after Oklahoma became a state. My mother was a little girl and would remember all her life the family leaving the Bend in Konowa, Oklahoma and setting out for the migrant camps of sunny California with nothing but a few dollars, some canned food, the old truck, Papa's banjo and Grandma's Bible.
When I was a little girl we were not allowed to wear pants to school, it had to be skirts or dresses. But that same hot wind blew fierce sometimes and so my mother would let me wear jeans under my petticoats. I can remember waiting for the school bus with my skirts whipping up around my head, a bandana tied across my face to keep the blowing red sand and dirt out of my nose and mouth. We kids would hold hands to make sure the wind did not blow us over. Sand storms that blotted out the sun like some biblical curse were rare, but once experienced they were unforgetable.
In the winter there were no sand storms but because of the nuclear testing in the states to west of us we were told to never eat the snow. This was a disappointment because snow was such a treat in Oklahoma. We only got about 3 inches a year and we would get out in it as quick as we could so that we could make a dwarf snow man before it all melted away.
This was decades after the Dust Bowl.
Today much of Oklahoma is green and with the fear of the once abandoned and hungry the state has tried to make sure it will never blow away again. There are more man made lakes and reservoirs in that state today than the Indians and cowboys could have imagined. But man can only do so much. If the hot wind blows again and the rain stops for long enough it can turn back into no man's land.
And the old timers know it. Global warming maybe just as inevitable.