Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A brief outline of climate thru the ages. Part 1

Having a right view of biblical history should affect one's thinking in many areas. When we consider climate there are several scriptural and historical data to take into account: the state at creation, the effect of the Fall, the massive changes occurring at the Flood, and reasonable inferences concerning the epochs following, such as the ice age and medieval warm period.

Climate would be affected by the state of creation such as
  • The presence or absence of ice at the poles (including land at the poles)
  • The distribution of land including the possibility of a single land mass (Gen 1:9)
  • The presence, distribution and height of mountains
  • The initial temperature and global variation of temperature
  • Atmospheric conditions favouring cloud formation
  • Atmospheric gas concentration (possibly including carbon dioxide levels)
In Eden there was no rain initially,
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—(Gen 2:5-6). 
There is debate over whether the word 'ed (אד) means mist or spring (see also Job 36:27). Either way, there was no rain at this time. Rain could have first appeared,
  • After creation but before the Fall
  • After the Fall but before the Flood
  • At the time of the Flood
A possibility may be that the world had a more even temperature with a high water vapour content. Minor cooling (including overnight) would lead to mist and dew formation. If rain occurred shortly following creation or after the Fall (which shortly followed creation) it may have been predominantly warm showers.

The time of the Flood led to a massive outpouring of rain and volcanic-like release of water over 40 days leading to massive global flooding for several months followed by drainage of the land. This is the cause of most of the sedimentary rock that is present across most of the earth.

Antarctica sans ice (Wikipedia).
The ice-age logically is a postdiluvian phenomenon. The Flood markedly altered antediluvian geology and would have destroyed evidence of prior ice-ages. There is documentary evidence for the ice-age as well as geographic features that suggest a much greater extent of current glaciers: glacial valleys, fiords, lower sea levels. The presence of frozen animals suggests that the initial stages of the ice-age were comparatively rapid. The lesser extent of ice in the present day shows the regression of the previous ice-age and (probably) an increasingly warmer global climate.

The medieval warm period followed by cooler periods suggests that the climate has either stabilised since the end of the ice-age with natural variation (predominantly solar), or possibly that we are still warming post-ice-age in a damped oscillating pattern.

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