The Ice Man Commeth

Continuing to expand the horizons of the Globe Earth on which we all live is a pursuit I enjoy as as a weekend hobby as well as way of life.   This includes subjects like climate and weather and an overall clearer understanding of the paleoclimatic record to better appreciate the small blink of time that we currently  find ourselves existing in.

The topic of Ice ages is of particular interest because the current explanation of Ice age timing , although reasonable, appears not to be  particularly accurate or predictive in nature.

Looking at the graph below it would appear that in the not so distant past , large temperature swings were not nearly as common as they are today.

blocked 5 mil

Figure 1

I have “blocked out”  and overlaid approximately 800,000 year “windows” that each show markedly different types of temperature fluctuations over  this 5 million year proxy from sediment reconstructions. Each block highlights a visual change in  frequency , slope or amplitude. These are windows are arbitrarily created and are heavily biased by my own creative choice and pattern recognition.   The most recent block (far left) has the largest swings and a lengthening frequency between cycles and this is the glaciation period I will be focusing on.  It would suggest, from a glance at the trends,  that a colder world with deeper cycles and longer periods between “interglacials” is becoming the norm.

Now lets take a closer look at this last 800,000 year period in some finer detail.  These graphs, outlined below, are strewn across the interweb in a variety of forms and formats.  This one below is from a NASA site and I will reference several others as we go.

(Note it has “now” on the right instead of the left as in the above chart)


Figure 2

Here we note that a 10c temperature fluctuation is not the least bit uncommon but in fact the norm.  note that after a sharp spike and short pause there is a long, slow decline to a  prolonged colder valley.   The short pause we call an interglacial. My question is not”why the trend to a continued colder climate”  but instead “what might trigger this sudden “melt” and warming  in an otherwise downward cooling trend.  It is a lot of heat, after all that is needed to break a high albedo, snow covered earth and start melting massive amounts of Ice that have taken many thousand years to accumulate. It’s easy to see the saw tooth pattern in the graph above when highlighted and accented in the graph below. This sawtooth waveform is not present, or even possible by definition in the previously accepted Milankovitch cycle due to the additive sine functions of orbital fluctuations.

saw tooth

Figure 3

Note in the above graph how there has been a change from shorter more frequent cycles in the past to longer deeper cycles over the more recent 450,000 years.  Its unclear if there is a buried , declining  secondary cycle or a move to a much stronger first melt followed by a less impressive secondary melt.

What I am looking for is some combination of orbital parameters that can trigger the “melt phase” and which then subsides for a period until repeating this cyclic pulse heating phase.  This is not unlike like a home furnace that cycled on and off.

Looking at only two of the many orbital parameters first proposed by Milankovitch (Figure 4)  Here we have orbital eccentricity ( red dashed) and net solar insolation( 65N, black solid).  Net insolation is ultimately derived from a host of other orbital parameters, but I will show here, how it is a secondary driver of the smaller fluctuations.

Some other features of the graph below(fig 4); vertical yellow lines (trigger intersect) vertical green lines are calibration dates.  These lines run through all subsequent graphs as reference points.

1p1million year cycles

Figure 4

So how did I select the yellow trigger bands?   These lines were chosen to always intersect a positive change in orbital eccentricity , combined with  a positive rise in net insolation.   In order to get a hard spike and the sawtooth pattern we need to use “rate of change”(slope) for both values and not just the current net value.

I derived a fairly simple calculation based on this and produce  (Figure 5).  The blue line is the temperature forcing based on this and represents when the heat is “turned on “. Again, note how the yellow trigger bands are largely located at the onset of the interglacial warming spike.    I would call the blue line a “heating curve” showing when the heat is turned on and when its not. It has then been displaced 23,000 years in order to turn it into a temperature proxy.  this sounds like a long time  but is relatively short when melting thousands of vertical feet of glaciation.

saw tooth past with yellow

Figure 5

There is close correlation to the calculated cyclic action (primary and secondary waves) but the overall magnitude is not particularly well represented.  In other words, I can say “when” but not exactly how big due to a poor understanding of all the other factors in play.

Now, lets compare the “heat cycle” from figure 5  and the yellow “bins” that contain each glacial period to ice core data.  I have used the green vertical lines to mark a “now” and 400K calibration point so multiple records and proxies  can be more easily compared and stitched together on non-conforming graphs.

400 k w heat spike

Figure 6

There is a slight shift in the exact alignment with time but then it needs to be considered that Glacial ice layer timing may be more variable in calibration than orbital cyclic timing.  Several thousand years of variation is easily possible unless secondary calibration methods are employed.

Moving forward we can have a quick look at what predictions we might make from this. for example, when and how long will the next cold snap last and when can we expect relief.  Looking back at Figure 4 you can see that the orbital data indeed extends into the future.

In Figure 7 below the green line to the left is today (now) and we’re just starting on the way down that cooling hill into the next abysse.   I see 48,000 years with no big heating periods.  – Maybe a tiny “blip” secondary  recovery at the 12,000 year mark but that won’t melt much ice.

This whole exercise is not particularly important or significant when a human life span is measured in decades -not millennia – and nobody today will ever know if this cyclic and heating cooling prediction is correct.  It may however raise some questions and lead to a better understanding of the geological and astrophysical parameters that may be at play.

next 200k

Figure 7

I have only dabbled briefly with this entire concept and i’m sure there may be better ways to approach the problem and better orbital parameters to choose from and algorithms to resolve.


Why would positively accelerating and increasing orbital eccentricity  create such a powerful heating cycle?

What process could be involved?

If this is a heat source rather than an a climatic positive feed back loop,

Is the source internal or external to the planet?


Moon Rise

After watching a video by Mrthriveandsurvive”  I had to respond with some corrections to his statements like  “this photo is just wrong!  a joke!  NASA is lying to us again” .

I don’t know why I watch these videos… Probably its in shear amazement how wrong some people can be and at the same time,  be so convinced they are correct.  Most all of the flat earth arguments are “from ignorance”  and are backed up with facts like ” i just don’t see how this can be”

I did a “screen grab” from his Part 2 video ( the nasa clip is actually an awesome  shot from lunar orbit) so that I could have a look at exactly what he was talking about.  As usual “Mr.TnS” was in a bit of lather about how the video could not be possible because the sizes were all wrong.  As if he had a clue what they should be like.  My point of this post is to reinforce the fact that you need to know “what it should look like” before you say what it shouldn’t.  Perspective is easily misjudged and you need to know all the conditions of the picture before you can judge it as “faked”.

So here is the Photo from Lunar orbit looking at the Earth…


You can see the YouTube bar (time)and his cursor on the screen.

I added: some yellow lines so I could measure the curvature of the moon and calculate the apparent drop across the picture width, A dot near the top to represent the sun and what it would look like if it were in the same photo – ( it’s well above the picture in this shot),  A red circle around the Earth to get an estimated pixel diameter, and the white text in the upper left to summarize what conditions were required for the photo to be correct.

And there it is.  Nothing wrong at all.  I don’t have info on the camera lens used on the orbiter so I had to estimate using the earth.  same with the orbital height.. just an assumption.  But with those two factors assumed …there is nothing to suggest this photo is anything but authentic.  This is EXACTLY what you would expect to see.

Now, I want to reverse the perspective and doctor up the same photo to show the moon would appear using the same camera orbiting at the same height above the earth. This will show hopefully show the size comparison using the same settings.


And there it is!  See that tiny half moon where the half earth used to be?  This is your size comparison under identical conditions. Not hard to imagine the shadow curve that the blue earth might strike on the moon from this point of view.

The Curve of the Earth

The distance to the horizon is simple to calculate if you know the radius of the sphere your standing on and the height of your observation.   Several Web references have Curvature often quoted as “8 inches/ mile”  .  This is an accurate number but is often misunderstood as to its meaning.

For arguments sake we will assume the earth is a smooth sphere of 3950 miles radius. We will wipe out waves, tides, hills and valleys to simplify the calculations and make the concept simpler to visualize and therefore easier to understand. We will also remove atmospheric fog and temperature diffraction so there is no misunderstandings.

With an 8 inch / mile curve you can start anywhere , walk a mile in any direction and you will be 8″ lower than from where you began.  I say lower but in fact you will be exactly the same “height” or distance from the center of the earth.  No matter how far you walk you will always be on the surface and therefore always the same height.

Lets have a look at the visual limit.  This is how far you can see before the Surface of the earth drops out of view due to its curvature.  This “limit” can actually be described or measured in 3 ways, the horizontal distance, the line of sight (LOS)distance, and the walking distance.  For small heights these are all virtually the same. The horizon calculation requires some simple Pythagorean math and a the little picture below to clarify the meanings of the distances involved.


Below is a chart of the “Drop” at different distance out or over.  I have also shown the gravitational plumb or “Tilt” of the object as one moves away from the starting reference point.  We will notice that the quoted “8 inches/ mile” curvature is not really useful here in establishing how far you can see.  It applies roughly only to the first 8″.


Looking at the graphic, you can see why at “3950 miles distance” the drop is 3950.  Its a radius.  This chart has nothing to do with how far you can “see” but are numbers basically defining the curve of the earth.  You can also see that in order to calculate the horizon distance, the viewers height above the ground and planet radius are the only numbers needed.

If your eye is 5 feet (60″) off the ground the horizon (tangent edge of the sphere) will appear to be 2.74 miles away.  That’s as far as you can see.  You can see beyond the horizon only if  the object you are looking at has some additional height of its own.

If we have a ladder to climb up we get a better vantage point and can see a bit farther.  If we are on a ship adrift in a large ocean, the crows nest offers a much farther view than does standing on the deck of the ship.  I suppose that’s why they built them in the first place.

If we stand on the ship deck our eye is say 32 feet off the surface of the water.  From here, we can see the world out to about 7 miles in any direction.  Lets climb the crows nest which is 100′ higher than the deck.  Now at 132′ view point ,we can see out 14 miles, or an additional 7 miles to the horizon.  This is 2 times the horizon distance and 4x the area of ocean now within view.

Lets imagine we are looking for a volcanic Island that rises 500 feet out of the ocean. The top of the island can “see back to its horizon”  about 27 miles. Adding this to our crows nest horizon limit of 14 miles, we find we should be able to spot the top of the island from 41 miles away.   “Land Ho!”

We could take an airplane, a balloon ride (30,000 ft = LOS of 212 miles) or the view expected from an orbiting satellite.  All are easy to calculate the horizon distance.  The free desktop version of “Google Earth” has a readout of your observation height and the view of the planet from that point (out to 63,000 km) and even the curve of the horizon can be see.   Technology is wonderful!

Below is a quick reference chart of ” How high, how far..”  showing some different vertical vantage points compared to how far the horizon appears.  The right column is your view limit to the horizon for something that is flat.  If the object your viewing has height,  you must add its “reverse” viewing distance to your own.


You will notice that even as the vertical viewing distance increases drastically, you can never see half of the earth (3950.0) . Your missing an inch or two on the edges.

( some abbreviations in the above chart… leo = low earth orbit, GS = Geo stationary orbit.    moon and sun distances are approximate.)

The horizon looks flat.

Flat earth conspiracy types seem to have a few things in common. All arguments start with a vague understanding of an idea and then they become twisted into a strange nonsensical rationalization of misguided observation.  Bad Science results.

Generally the observation itself is incorrect and the initial premise is flawed from the get go.

A typical FE starting premise might be..  “The earth is flat because the horizon is not curved”
My response to this might be. “How curved should you expect it to be?”
If you don’t know what your looking for you won’t know when you have found it.

The bigger a planet gets the less curve will be detected. You need to use a bit of trig but its very easy to work it out. There are a couple of variables that need to be set before you can get the correct answer.  Apart from the radius of the planet size your standing on, you need…

First – what is you viewing height? The farther you are from the surface the farther the horizon appears and the more curve you can see. Standing on a floating raft in the ocean, your view point might be only 5 feet above the water surface.

Secondly – over what “width” are you trying to measure the curve. Let’s assume we will take a picture of the horizon and then measure the curve with a ruler placed on a monitor.  A telephoto camera lens has a small field of view and a wide angle lens has, well,  a “wide angle” of view. The wider the view the more curve will be captured in the photo.  If we then display our image on a 16″ wide video monitor we should be able to measure the curve.

Now, not wanting to get bogged down in math details, I’ll just give you a couple of results that I worked out on a simple spreadsheet.
Given a Viewing height of 5.0 feet and an iPhone camera lens of 63 degrees… results in a Horizon distance of 2.75 miles and an expected curve on the monitor 0.003″ That’s 3/1000 of an inch on each side.  Not measurable.

Lets try something from a higher vantage point like looking out of an aircraft window from 42,000 ft.  Same camera and the horizon is now 250 miles away and the curve in the picture should be about 1/4″.  Remember that’s a 1/4″ on a 16″ wide desktop monitor not on a 3″ camera display.   This is at least measurable but you will need a an oceanic flight, a window seat, and no clouds or haze in order to capture the horizon curve.

So go do it!  or just look at Google Earth.

Open Mind – Closed Brain

Work in Progress…

An “Open mind” is often touted as the only way to greater enlightenment and true knowledge.  Simply “free your thoughts”…. “Let go” of conventional knowledge and constrained ideology and then the truth will be revealed

This is how all religions, conspiracy plots and even fad diets get you to stop using your brain.

An ancient technique or discovery is often revealed that current science simply denies.  “Open your mind to the possibilities”  imagine the glory that awaits you while others have missed this golden opportunity.

Critical thinking is what most people do throughout most of their daily lives.

To “open ones mind” in this respect simply means to close down the critical thinking device.  Close that part of your brain  in charge of keeping you alive and making the best possible choices.

Abandon all you know for now and just accept everything your told as true and unarguable.

Why do people have such a hard time with basic physics and math?   It must be the greatest downfall of the education system.   A simple understanding of just a few of the basics will lead you toward making better life decisions.