2011-01-13 08:29:02Anecdotal evidence

A bit tired of anecdotal stories like the Vikings in Greenland, I'm glad to announce the definitive debunk of the mith of the little ice age and the roman warm period. This is what David Hume writes in 1777 (search for "228" to find the begining of the quote):

It is an observation of L’Abbe du Bos,228 that Italy is warmer at present than it was in ancient times. “The annals of Rome tell us,” says he, “that in the year 480 ab U.C. the winter was so severe that it destroyed the trees. The Tyber froze in Rome, and the ground was covered with snow for forty days.
He speaks of that river’s freezing as a common event. Many passages of Horace suppose the streets of Rome full of snow and ice. We should have more certainty with regard to this point, had the ancients known the use of thermometers: But their writers, without intending it, give us information, sufficient to convince us, that the winters are now much more temperate at Rome than formerly. At present the Tyber no more freezes at Rome than the Nile at Cairo. The Romans esteem the winters very rigorous, if the snow lie two days, and if one see for eight and forty hours a few icicles hang from a fountain that has a north exposure.”
Who could discover the mild climate of France in Diodorus Siculus’s230 description of that of Gaul? “As it is a northern climate,” says he, “it is infested with cold to an extreme degree. In cloudy weather, instead of rain there fall great snows; and in clear weather it there freezes so excessive hard, that the rivers acquire bridges of their own substance, over which, not only single travellers may pass, but large armies, accompanied with all their baggage and loaded waggons. And there being many rivers in Gaul, the Rhone, the Rhine, &c. almost all of them are frozen over; and it is usual, in order to prevent falling, to cover the ice with chaff and straw at the places where the road passes.”

And here's his explanation of the ongoing warming:

Allowing, therefore, this remark to be just, that Europe is become warmer than formerly; how can we account for it? Plainly, by no other method, than by supposing, that the land is at present much better cultivated, and that the woods are cleared, which formerly threw a shade upon the earth, and kept the rays of the sun from penetrating to it. Our northern colonies in America become more temperate, in proportion as the woods are felled;

Dear fellow americans, noting that Boston is at about the same latitude as central Italy, apparently you did not manage to warm your climate enough ;)
2011-01-13 09:25:14
Paul D


So Roman wine was consistently bad across Europe!

Probably explains why they were happy with British wine.