Living Near The Terminal Moraine

I was interested in UJ’s recent post that linked to a photo that showed that a particular Canadian glacier has retreated in the 90 years since 1919.  UJ’s question was whether the photographic evidence of the glacier’s retreat was “bothersome.”

Being a lawyer, my answer to that question is (of course!) it depends.  Glaciers advance and retreat as weather conditions change.  We in Ohio should be acutely aware of that fact because the impact of glaciers can be seen all around us.  During the last Ice Age, advancing glaciers gouged out the Great Lakes, covered most of the State, and shoved enormous boulders hundreds of miles to the Terminal Moraine, which geologists place a few miles to the south of Columbus.  If glaciers were immutable, the location where I am typing these words would still be covered by a sheet of ice hundreds of feet thick and would be a likely playground for the woolly Mammoth and his Ice Age animal companions. 

The question is not whether it is good or bad that glaciers grow or shrink, but why that process occurs.  Is it part of the same natural processes — whatever they may be — that has produced the variable weather conditions, like the Ice Age, that have been found throughout the geological record?  Or, is it the result of human activity and greenhouse gas emissions?  The mere fact that temperatures have increased does not mean that a hypothesis about why temperatures have increased is correct.

This is why, in my view, it is so important to have a legitimate, vigorous scientific debate about climate change, complete with testing and experimentation that challenges the currently prevailing global warming hypothesis.  After all, scientists have been known to be wrong.  When was the last time anyone went to a doctor and asked if they had an imbalance of bodily humours?

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