Arctic Warming

Not by Fire but by Ice



  29 March 2006      

E-mail to Ruth O'Donnell


I recently received an e-mail from Ruth O’Donnell asking how I explain the
warming in the Arctic Circle . I'd like to answer her questions.

Ruth said that she owns my tapes and reads my website often, but is becoming
uncomfortable with the fact that I seem to ignore a lot of evidence that points to
global warming.

“This is some of the best reporting in the world,” Ruth continued (referring to an
article in the Washington Post: 2.html?referrer=email)

“This is not some quack spouting off about global warming.  It's the most detailed
example I've seen of some of the effects of the melting ice in the Arctic . People are
losing their way of life, animals are dying, and things like HORNETS are appearing
in the Arctic Circle . Because it's getting warmer and the ice is melting.”  “I think it's very hard to dispute this kind of factual evidence.” “With more and more stories
about the effects of global warming in the press, in order to preserve the credibility
of your theory, I would like to see you mention -- and deal with -- some of the
facts about recent global warming that are being reported on your website.

“I do love your reports, but I really would hate for anyone to think that you're
totally ignoring the existence of global warming.  We have enough politicians who
want to do that.”

 Respectfully, Ruth O'Donnell

And here's my answer:

Dear Ruth,

 Thank you for a very thoughtful e-mail. With all of the reports about warming in
the Arctic , and the photos, and the anecdotes, it’s hard to deny that something is
going on.

However, jumping to the conclusion that these changes are the result of human
activity – as so many newspaper articles and TV shows imply - is a very big leap.
(Besides that, I don’t think the Washington Post always has the most objective
reporting in the world.)

First, let me say that I think humans have a negligible effect, if any, on the Arctic
climate. How could they? I doubt that there are many more humans living in the
Arctic right now than there were a hundred years ago.  

My contention is that any Arctic warming is caused by underwater volcanic

This scenario became much more plausible after German-American researchers
discovered more hydrothermal activity at the Gakkel Ridge than anyone had ever

According to the Max Planck Institute, “The Gakkel ridge is a gigantic volcanic
mountain chain stretching beneath the Arctic Ocean . With its deep valleys 5,500
meters beneath the sea surface and its 5,000 meter- high summits, the Gakkel
Ridge is far mightier than the Alps .”

Two research icebreakers, the USCGC Healy from USA and the German PFS Polarstern, recently joined forces in the international expedition AMORE (Arctic
Mid-Ocean Ridge Expedition). In attendance were scientists from the Max Planck
Institute for Chemistry and other international institutions. 

The scientists had expected that the Gakkel ridge would exhibit "anemic"
magmatism. Instead, they found "surprisingly strong magmatic activity in the West
and the East of the ridge and one of the str ongest hydrothermal activities ever seen
at mid-ocean ridges."  

"The Gakkel ridge extends about 1800 kilometers beneath the Arctic Ocean from
north of Greenland to Siberia , and is the northernmost portion of the mid-ocean
ridge system." 

To their surprise, the researchers found high levels of volcanic activity. Indeed,
magmatism was "dramatically" higher than expected. 

Hydrothermal hot springs on the seafloor were also far more abundant than
predicted. "We expected this to be a hydrothermally dead ridge, and almost every
time our water measurement instrument came up, they showed evidence of hydrothermal activity, and once we even 'saw' an active hot spring on the sea
floor," said Dr. Jonathan Snow, the leader of the research group from the Max
Planck Institute. 
(This is also on my website at

Look at what they said!

No wonder the ice is melting! No wonder the Arctic is growing warmer!

As far as I’m concerned Ruth, everything that we see happening in the Arctic  
is the result of natural forces. The oceans have warmed prior to previous ice 
ages, and they’re doing it again. It’s all part of the ice-age cycle, and I think 
it is signaling our entry into the next ice age.

Robert Felix



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