Climate Change in Europe? Always Been No Big Deal


By: Warner Todd Huston

An AFP story from September 5 headlined “Melting Swiss glacier yields Neolithic trove, climate secrets” was quite interesting. In fact, it was down right educational. It was all about how new human artifacts from up to 6,500 years ago have been found ion the melting ice fields of the Swiss Alps and these new finds say something important about so-called “anthropomorphic global warming.”

The story about the artifacts was really fun to read. With the ice fields melting, scientists and enthusiasts have found things like a birch bark quiver filled with arrows, leather clothing, and tools appearing literally out of 6,500 years ago to today as if by time warp. The speculation is that many of these items were from a single traveler that accidentally lost his life those thousands of years ago as he traveled alone across the mountains.

These findings are being touted as a way to pinpoint when humans were more easily able to travel by foot across the Alps. Of course, now a’days it is difficult to take a stroll across the Alps without freezing to death, you see.

“We know that people were only able to walk on this site when it was relatively warm,” said Martin Grosjean, executive director of a national network called Swiss Climate Research. “When it was too cold, the glacier advanced and it was not a passable route.”

Scientists have long known there were periods of warmer weather in the region but the artefacts allowed them to identify the exact years, when the site would have been passable on foot.

According to Grosjean, such data could help sharpen forecasts for the future by taking into account patterns of natural temperature fluctuation.

So, let’s take a minute to think about this. The Alps was once a temperate zone where men could casually walk across the mountains to visit other, far-flung villages. Then global cooling came and the Alps froze up. Now, the area just might be returning to a more temperate climate.

Now here is the thing:

People lived comfortably in that area of Europe 6,500 years ago when it was warmer. Then it got cold and lo and behold people still lived in that area of Europe. Now that it may be getting warmer, guess what? People are still going to be living comfortably in that part of Europe.

So, the net effect? Global warming, global cooling, and global warming again did little to curtail the ability of men to adapt. Yes, this story shows that warming and cooling has happened many times in the past and man has survived. And, unless our ancient hiker was actually driving his SUV up into those younger mountains, it is doubtful that his fellows had much to do with making his world cooler, just as we have no role in ours getting warmer.

One thing here is an assured fact, though. During this warming age no one will lose a birch bark quiver of arrows in the Alps. See, man’s technology has changed a bit since that sunny day 6,500 year ago when our distant ancestor took his last faithful walk into the mountains.

And, gee, maybe that technology might make this warming cycle and the next cooling cycle even that much easier for us to endure?

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