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Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 19:58:53 -0700
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From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: The Hamaker Hypothesis (3 of 7)

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                     "New Ice Age by 1995?"
                       The New York Times
                          July 25, 1988
To the Editor:

Some climatologists  are beginning  to see  a significant rise in
global  temperature   in  the  1980's,  and  attribute  it  to  a
greenhouse effect  from carbon  dioxide and  other gases ("Global
Warming Has  begun, Expert  Tells Senate,"  front page, June 24).
In  looking   at  global   temperature  averages,  however,  most
climatologists ignore dramatic increases in regional and seasonal
differences.   While lower  latitudes and midlatitude summers are
becoming hotter  and drier,  the higher latitudes of the Northern
Hemisphere and  Northern Hemisphere  winters  have  been  getting
colder and  wetter  --  with record cold winters  --  during this
decade of record global warmth.  What could be going on?

Since the  greenhouse effect  magnifies heat radiated back by the
earth from  the sun's  warmth, it will be much more pronounced in
the tropics  than at  the poles,  which get  little  sunlight  to
magnify.  Thus, the temperature differences between the poles and
the tropics  is increased  by the  greenhouse effect,  magnifying
global pressure  differences (warm air rises, cold air sinks) and
creating higher  winds.   Indeed, hurricanes  and tornadoes  have
been increasing dramatically in the last 50 years.

As the  tropical oceans  heat  up,  more  of  their  moisture  is
evaporated to  form clouds.    The  increasing  pole-tropic  wind
systems move  some of  these additional  clouds toward the poles,
resulting in increased winter rainfall, longer and colder winters
and the gradual buildup of the polar ice sheets.  This phenomenon
has come  to be  widely recognized  by climatologists  in  recent

What most  of them  do not  recognize is that this process may be
the engine  that drives the 100,000-year cycle of major ice ages,
for which  there is  no other  plausible explanation.  Before our
species came  along, to dig up and burn fossil fuels and create a
climate-altering greenhouse effect, nature may have been doing it
periodically on  its own:  as soil minerals are eroded or leached
away, the  earth's vegetation loses these essential nutrients and
dies back  significantly.   Carbon is  meanwhile returned  to the
atmosphere where it becomes carbon dioxide, creating a greenhouse
effect, with all its climatic consequences.

The final  piece of  the puzzle  is this:  As the glaciers slowly
cover large  sections of  the earth  over tens  of  thousands  of
years, they grind the rocks in their path into a fine dust.  This
rock dust  is then carried by wind and water over many widespread
areas of the globe.  Because rocks are composed of minerals, this
mixture of  dust from  many types  of rocks remineralizes many of
the earth's  forests, rejuvenating  them.   As  they  thrive  and
spread, they  consume the  excess carbon  dioxide,  and  nature's
greenhouse effect subsides, shutting off the wind and evaporation
engine that built up the glaciers.  Though this scenario has been
accepted by  only a few scientists so far, every element of it is
fully supported by the scientific literature.

In 1979,  Genevieve Woillard,  a  pollen  specialist  in  France,
concluded from  detailed studies  that the  shift  from  a  warm,
interglacial climate  to ice  age conditions  at the beginning of
the last  ice age,  some 100,000  years ago,  took "less  than 20
years."   Her observations of the decline of European forests led
her to  conclude we  may be in a similar period of rapid climatic
change and  only a few years from the start of the next major ice
age.   By her  reckoning, and that of John Hamaker, who developed
the theory  I've outlined,  we may be less than seven years away,
and our climate may continue to deteriorate rapidly until life on
earth becomes all but unsupportable.

We know how to reverse the greenhouse effect:  stop clear-cutting
the  earth's   remaining  forests,   reduce  fossil-fuel  burning
dramatically in  favor of  non-polluting  energy  sources,  plant
billions of acres of new fast-growing trees and remineralize much
of the earth's forests with rock dust.  There may be time to stop
the cycle,  if we  recognize  the  problem  right  away  and  act

Berkeley, California
July 15, 1988

The writer is director of People for a Future.

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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