CLIMATE: Current warming is normal

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The summer of 2018 produced record high temperatures, a record that may be broken many times if the current period of global warming continues. That record, however, is misleading. It began about 150 years ago during the Little Ice Age (LIA). It contains no records of high temperatures from prior warming periods.

Temperature records did not exist until Gabriel Fahrenheit invented a calibrated thermometer in 1724. Adequate data to develop world average temperatures did not exist until about 1870.

The LIA began in the spring of 1317 when cold weather and torrential rains decimated crops and livestock across Europe.

The Black Death, typically considered an outbreak of the bubonic plague, wreaked havoc on Europe, North Africa and Central Asia in the mid-14th century. It killed an estimated 75 million people, including 30 to 60 percent of Europe’s population.

Earth is now experiencing a normal period of global warming that began in about 1880. For comparison of high temperatures, one must go back 700 years to the Medieval Warm Period — 950-1270 A.D.

Brian Fagan’s book “The Little Ice Age” provides a summary of prosperity in Europe. England’s population increased from 1.4 to 5 million between 1000 and 1300 A.D. France’s population increased from 6.5 to 17.6 million in the same time period.

Earth is now in a normal period of global warming. No one should be surprised that Earth is warmer now than 150 years ago.

ROBERT E. LAUNHARDT

Pinehurst

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