Exploring abrupt climate change induced by comets and asteroids during human history

Extraordinary Evidence and Inexplicable Ignorance: Bunch (2012) and The Bos (2013)




It is telling to read competing journal articles regarding the Younger Dryas Boundary Event. For example below is the recent paper from The Bos, et al., and below that a publication from the YDB team the year before. (I was added as an author to that one based on some field work I did years before starting this blog).

There are a number of interesting observations that can be made, but let’s make the most obvious: Boslough et al., Arguments and Evidence Against a Younger Dryas Impact Event, does not cite Bunch despite being published seven months later. This pattern will be familiar to readers of an earlier post regarding The Bos’ failure to cite LeCompte’s refutation of Todd Surovell’s totemic work.

In the comments section of the LeCompte post at the Tusk, The Bos himself explains this seemingly willful oversight as simply the result of bureaucratic diktat from AGU:


Dear George Howard,

Perhaps this timeline will help you understand why we didn’t cite LeCompte et al.

April 24, 2012: Boslough et al. submitted final draft to AGU, addressing reviewers’ comments.
May 14, 2012: Boslough et al. accepted by AGU for publication.
May 22, 2012: LeCompte et al. received by PNAS for review.
July 24, 2012: Boslough et al. final corrected proofs returned to AGU.
Aug. 7, 2012; LeCompte et al. approved by PNAS.
Sept. 17, 2012: LeCompte et al. published PNAS.

I’m sorry to keep bringing up those pesky laws of physics. They prohibit information from traveling backwards in time. We were forced to wait until after the LeCompte et al. paper had actually been written before we could read it and respond.

— Mark Boslough on the Cosmic Tusk, February 9, 2013

As I said in my reply to The Bos in the comments, this is nonsense. Having been a co-author of a couple of peer-reviewed articles and spoken with others much better published, it is no secret that it is perfectly acceptable and indeed encouraged to give the editor or publisher a call or drop them a note in order to halt or alter your text if new evidence is published. This is certainly appropriate in this instance given the paper, by their own admission, was designed to be a definitive critique that should halt research into the YDB.

Common courtesy — and scientific method it seems — would demand The Bos take a deep breath in such a circumstance, do the right thing, and address the highly detailed evidence published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shortly after his own submission, to an inferior journal, months before his final publication.

(In fact, with respect to Bunch there was even more time for The Bos to do the right thing. Bunch was published in June 2012, and LeCompte later in September 2012. But in both instances all 15 Boslough authors found it more pressing to hear the snap of the rope than the detail of the appeal.)

Moving on. Take a look at the content and tone of the papers. Bunch et al. dives deep into the nanosphere, produces extraordinary images which demand explanation, meticulously documents the composition of the materials, provides cogent narrative with data to back it up — and cites contrary findings without fear or prejudice.

The Bos takes the low road, rules it all simply impossible, calls into question the provenance of the evidence —  and denies citation to over 60 pages of peer-reviewed journal articles directly relevant to his subject.

The problem as always is getting people to read the primary sources carefully using their critical thinking skills to discern the relative validity between the contributions. Give it a try:

Very High Temperature Melt Products — PNAS-2012-Bunch

Download the PDF file .

Arguments and Evidence Against a Younger Dryas Impact Event 

Download the PDF file .


62 Responses

  1. Working my way through Bos et al. . .

    It is really odd that he just starts out with a hammer job, even before he gets halfway through the introduction. He lays no groundwork for the assertions before just saying, blah, blah, blah, they have no evidence.

    In his item 2 in the intro, I find it funny that, of all the alternate sources for climate changes, he chose Broecker, Mister Ice Dam Burst and Flooded Down the St Lawrence. Why? Because if Bos had done his homework on that, he would know that Broecker himself repudiated that scenario as being impossible and lacking in on-the-ground evidence.

    Now, I give MUCH credit to Broecker for accepting that his idea – while a good and reasonable guess – turned out to be wrong. That is the way good science happens – take a reasonable guess and then people go out and try to find out if the evidence supports it or not.

    But Bos sourced Broecker not for his ice dam, but for ” many such climate variations that occurred throughout the Quaternary.” But Broecker was a Johnny-come-lately to the many climate variations in the Quaternary. That honor goes to Dansgaard and Oeschger, for whom those variations were named.

    Bos missed that such variations ALSO occurred during the Holocene. Those are similar in some ways to the Dansgaard-Oeschger events, and the Holocene ones are called Heinrich events.

    Broecker was trying to further explain not only the YDB, but also the D-O events and the Heinrich events, in line with what Dansgaard and Oeschger and Heinrich had tried to do. At the present time, Broecker is looking at an alternative route for the ice dam outpouring – this time up the Mackensie River to the Arctic Ocean. Such an outlet is not only not feasible as a climate changer, but that area was covered in ice age ice sheets still. And it is thousands of miles away from – and with all of eastern Canada and MANY islands in between – the N Atlantic, which is the theorized trigger area for climate change.

    Where Bos says:

    Any special status of the YD derives from the fact that it was the last such event before the Holocene and is the most recent and therefore best characterized.

    he is bullshitting, because he either doesn’t know the subject matter or he is laving out the depth and length of the Y-D – and THAT is what distinguishes it. “The fact”? WRONG. It was NOT the most recent. Heinrich events are more recent, about 7 of them, plus with the YD being considered by “some” (including Broecker himself) as Heinrich event 0, or – literally – H-0. It is WIDELY studied, specifically because of the length of it and its depth, and – far more than any of the other climate events, before or after – because it affected so many things in biology and other subjects.

    So, as you can see, Bos is talking out of his rear and about something he – and evidently no one else on his team – knows jack about.

    IOW, he is trying to minimize the Y-D stadial. THAT, he will find, is a losing battle. It is too big of an event in the natural history of the planet.

    At this point in the Y-D overall issue, no objective people are seeing anything but an open question. Was climate the forcing factor? Or was climate the resultant? Many independents obviously are considering an impact a feasible, reasonable possibility – else why in thew world would they even be going out and seeing if the evidence is there? And then FINDING it?

    That was only item 2 in his introduction. Almost the entire item is faking it.

  2. Okay, in 3.2.1 of the main text, Bos DOES mention the D-O and Heinrich events, but he doesn’t retract or correct this earlier statement that the Y-D “was the most recent and therefore best characterized.”

    In fact, he doesn’t even bother pointing out that ALL the other Heinrich events were more recent.

    Dozens of similar rapid climate-change events, such as Dansgaard-Oeschger and Heinrich events have taken place over the last 100 ky, yet none of these are associated with impacts. Such events recur at a much greater frequency than large (km-scale) impacts and do not require impacts as a causal mechanism. The YD is notable simply because it is recent and the last such climate event before the Holocene.

    And, again, he leaves out the very important facts of its duration and depth.

    Like the other inconvenient Y-D studies, he simply leaves out what doesn’t add to his arguments.

    The man seems to have no principles.

  3. Trent –

    Every little bit of attention on these will be a good thing, to persuade Congress to endow NASA with funds and directives to counter Morrison’s indolence and negligence.

    A slow simmering “War of the Worlds” panic/alarm – as opposed to the 1938 version – is not a bad thing. People being aware that such things DO come our way – like, Robert Grant says, “Wheels are turning.”

    The Russian meteor may have been just what we needed – no deaths, just flying glass and a big wake up call.

    If Morrison won’t get off his duff, maybe others will – and can his sorry ass. NASA hasn’t done anything worthwhile under his command. It’s time for a new chief. Who knows. though? Maybe he will see that this could be a good way to get NASA back up where it should be and get up in front of Congress and up the funding they are already thinking of ponying up (though I am not holding my breath for him to do so, or that his constitution is capable of it).

  4. Clearly, no member of the Congress has asked the GAO or the NASA IG to investigate Griffin’s contempt of Congress in responding to the George Brown Jr. Amendment. Clearly, Adminstrator Bolden is willing to play along as well.

    Its going to take craters from the HSIE to bring this nonsense to an end, or the retrieval of undeniable recent impact mega-tsunami data, like buried villages and towns.

    The other part of it will then be making sure that incompetent rationalizers like Boslough get fired afterwards.

    Otherwise, since they have nothing to fear from doing really crappy work, they will simply say whatever is pleasing.

  5. Hi Steve –

    “That is the way good science happens – take a reasonable guess and then people go out and try to find out if the evidence supports it or not.”

    No. The way good science works in these non-experimental fields is to gather as much data as possible, and then try to suggest a process that might explain all of it.

  6. Ed –

    You are wrong to disagree with my statement. Israde and others ARE going out and finding out if the evidence supports it or not. They certainly aren’t just HAPPENING to be looking at Lake Cuitzeo sediments for the fun of it. Same thing over in Belgium. And Pinter et al are doing that, too, looking for reasons to debunk.

    There is no part of that statement that isn’t correct.

    You saying “gather as much data as impossible” – it is saying the same thing, so what’s your beef with the statement? That the original guess gets modified with more evidence – that is what the further evidence is supposed to do, tweak it into a more and more unassailable position.

    No one (except Pinter, Bos et al) expects that with such an interdisciplinary hypothesis the first guess will nail it 100%.

    Note that 90%+ of Bos’ paper harps on and on about the 2007 Firestone paper, like no later studies have been done, and he ignores the bulk of those later papers – including LeComte and Bunch. Why? Because he’s got no answer to those. Israde he mentions in passing and pretty much misrepresents. It is argument of the most feeble kind.

    They are, of course, beating a bit of a dead horse. The YDB idea has moved on from Firestone 2007. Even if Firestone would retract his paper, there are plenty of studies that would stand without it. It might even be a hindrance at this stage.

    This entire debate will never convince Pinter and Holliday and Boslough. The field needs to let them do their childish crap and go on, ignoring them, like Lyell and Darwin ignored the Vatican.

  7. Yeah, the Vatican wasn’t going to ever accept the scientific findings in the mid-1900s.

    Pinter, Bos, et al aren’t going to ever even acknowledge the other studies. Willful blindness. As long as they have Firestone to pick on an pick at, they get to have their cake and eat it, too.

    Firestone needs to publish a corrective paper, to remove the stuff that was speculation and solidify the rest.

  8. “Firestone needs to publish a corrective paper, to remove the stuff that was speculation and solidify the rest.”

    Yes, I too noticed a lot of speculation with Firestone in his book, which I truly enjoyed, “The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophies.”


    But, though the speculation detracts some from the strength of the argument, Firestone has done this poor world a great service.

  9. Robert –

    I originally avoided buying that book because the cover made it look like some really bad alternative research piece of crap.

    When I did read it, I was impressed, too – up to when Firestone was piling speculation on speculation just a little bit too much.

    It took balls to write that book and that paper. But he could do with an update or sequel for both, to show the state of the inquiry so far.

  10. Boslough Feb 9th: “We were forced to wait until after the LeCompte et al. paper had actually been written before we could read it and respond.”

    That sounded like an intent to read and respond.

    Okay, now here we are in early April. Marc, what is your response now that you don’t have to use a time machine. The paper has actually been written, and have you read it? And if so, we’d love to hear your response.

  11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geminga

    As I remember the book, this info has changed, but, the concept is still there. Looks like the same

    When the event in Russia took place, everyone was talking about it. Today’s news is all about Korea. Yes, anything that reaches the public is a good thing, and, a vivid cover for a book, in this situation, may be just the right thing.

  12. This could take a while…

    I am addressing the summaries in the abstract. I don’t feel qualified to take on the specific points in the body text, and I will leave that up to Ted Bunch and those who have been so insulted by this paper.

    To begin:

    It should be noted that there is not one single Younger Dryas (YD) impact hypothesis but several that conflict with one another regarding many significant details.

    It should be also noted that for several decades there was more than one single hypothesis for evolution, or for quantum physics. With a new broad-spectrum hypothesis it is not unusual for it to take decades for things to work out – as the not-very complete evidence is interpreted in various ways. It is expected that in time this will occur with the YDB also. If the TRUE independent researchers continue finding so much HARD evidence, the hypothesis will begin to find a better focus. At this point there is little reason to suggest it won’t happen. It is funny that those who are fighting the losing battle keep on declaring the discussion is over. Wishful thinking?

    Fragmentation and explosion mechanisms proposed for some of the versions do not conserve energy or momentum, no physics- based model has been presented to support the various concepts and existing physical models contradict them.

    An over-reliance on mathematical models is a weakness, not a strength. It is expected that Boslough, being a modeler and not a field archeologist, would feel this way. It is AN argument he can make. The model he currently has for an airburst, for example, does not at first glance seem to have been borne out by the Chebarkul meteoroid, as there was no huge down-blasted fireball. If there was, Korkino and Yeklut might not still be there. Maybe Bos should go tweak his model.

    Ergo, models may or may not be useful. One only need point at climate models and their abject failures to be able to match reality.

    In addition, the a priori odds of the impact of a >4 km comet in the prescribed configuration on the Laurentide Ice Sheet during the specified time period are infinitesimal, about one in 10^15.

    Let’s talk about the odds for a moment, the odds given by those in the know:

    In 1897 Herbert Howe . . . went on to estimate the chance of a collision and thought that the chance of an impact in the next 100,000 years was “exceedingly slight.”

    “The famous textbook of Russell, Dugan, and Stewart in 1926 stated flatly that comet collisions would happen once in 80 million years….”

    “Clark Chapman and David Morrison published their odds in Nature in January 1994. In ‘Impacts on the Earth by Asteroids and Comets: Assessing the Hazard,’ they concluded that the chance that a large (2-kilometer diameter) object will slam into the planet and terminate civilization during the next century is I in 10,000. To put this another way, such an impact is a virtual certainty in the next million years…”

    “In two centuries, the typical estimated time between comet impacts (from old books) to impacts capable of producing global catastrophe (from new research) has decreased from once every 281 million years (which held for most of the 19th century) to about once ever 5 to 10,000 years in the past year. Compared to estimates made in the past century, one thing has changed in recent years. The NEAs have entered the picture and therefore the odds of impact have shortened dramatically….”

    “A spate of at least nine estimates appeared in early 1995, four of which independently set the interval between such collisions at close to 5,000 years….”

    Quotes all from Gerrit L. Verschuur. Impact!: The Threat of Comets and Asteroids (pp 157-164). Kindle Edition.

    No need to continue. That Boslough is pontificating his conservative views as definitive is to pretend that there exist no astronomers or geologists who disagree with him, and he knows that such is not the case. The science is not settled, and he knows it.

    The odds of it hitting exactly in one spot? Low. The odds that others might have – with some reason – identified a place that fits some of the evidence? Not as low. And that is exactly what they have done. That is much better than Luis Alvarez, actually. People had to look all over the world for Chixculub.

    Barringer Crater is how many years old? 50 kya? What are the odds that that could have happened right there? And so recently – an eyeblink ago in geological terms. Really low. But: It happened.

    It is odd that Boslough, working in a field having to do with rocks falling from the sky – something that was a priori a ludicrous idea – is pointing at others and using the a priori BB gun.

    I’d really like to hear what studies Bos has done on the accounts of comets in past centuries. back when rocks couldn’t fall from the sky – and all the people who asserted that to have happened were ridiculed as being gullible and unscientific. I mean, it is important for his field, after all.

    Bos thinks it can’t happen, so he tells Nature so. Isn’t he in the wrong field for that? NO rocks can fall from the sky! Isn’t that the bottom line?

    Like the Clovis Barrier, Uniformitarianism has dictated for 170 years what was a priori impossible. That included, of course, continents that can’t possibly move, for one thing, and Barringer Crater having been caused by a meteor. And comets hitting planets in our time.

    There are three broad classes of counterarguments.

    First, evidence First, for an impact is lacking. No impact craters of the appropriate size and age are known, and no unambiguously shocked material or other features diagnostic of impact have been found in YD sediments.

    Early days.

    We only need to go back the K-T dinosaur killer. The big argument was, “Oh, Dr. Alvarez, you who are crossing over into OUR specialty, where is your crater?”

    Oh! He didn’t find it? And are we to assume then that it didn’t exist? No, because – given TIME – it was found.

    Second, the climatological, paleontological, and archeological events that the YD impact proponents are attempting to explain are not unique, are arguably misinterpreted by the proponents, have large chronological uncertainties, are not necessarily coupled, and do not require an impact.

    Claims that the Y-D was not unique are basically tied to the Dansgaard-Oesgher events and the Heinrich events, which is brought up in the paper. While the TIMING of those events in the earlier Pleistocene and the Holocene are similar to the onset of the Y-D, its duration sets it apart. This is why hundreds, if not thousands, of papers have been written about the Y-D, in terms of climate, biological impact, oceanography, etc., as opposed, to, say, Heinrich event H5.

    There is as yet no evidence for it, but it may yet come to pass that the D-O events and other Heinrich events end up also being tied to impacts. If that in time turns out to be the case, ONE of those events (the Y-D is considered H0 – Heinrich event #0) has to be the first.
    Attempts to ascribe the onset of the Y-D to climate change are, while popular, not any more supported by the evidence than an impact – irregardless of their attention in the popular press. Mr Boslough would know about the popular press. And if one comet – say from Bill Napier’s stock of “coherent catastrophism” loose cannons in the Taurid stream – can hit us only 13 kya, who is to say that they can’t come back and do it again? I suggest Bos take that up with Bill, who actually knows about it.

    Paleontology and archeology – We all know that Clovis Man and the peopling of the Americas is a field in turmoil, since the conservative bastion hiding behind the Clovis Barrier had itself given a wedgie back in 1997. Since they don’t know WHO came here WHEN, they cannot definitively say that X happened or Y happened. They have been discredited and are scrambling for 16 years now, after holding back their own field of archeology for about 7 decades with a wrong paradigm. That a priori thing again: “It can’t happen according to us, therefore it bloody well DIDN’T happen!”

    It is a FACT that 33 megafauna died out in North America at very near the onset of the Y-D. Some argue that some datings show dead mammoths before the YDB, and that is as it should be. Dead animals! Who’d a guessed!

    When they show that mammoths (besides the pygmy ones on Wrangle Island – notably NOT North America) survived past the YDB, let them argue their case further.

    Clovis Man, too.

    Third, we believe that proponents have misinterpreted some of the evidence used to argue for an impact, and several independent researchers have been unable to reproduce reported results. This is compounded by the observation of contamination in a purported YD sample with modern carbon.
    [End of abstract…]

    YOU BELIEVE? Nature is into what people believe now? Oy vey.

    You interpret evidence differently than someone else? WOW. That has never happened in science before.

    You and we all know that the “independent researchers” are merely (yes, merely) opponents of the YD Impact Hypothesis. As such we all (you included again) also know that it is mendacious to call them “independent researchers,” as they have a bone to pick, an agenda, and work together on papers to discredit the YDB.

    You, for example (as Ted Bunch has pointed out) do not attack the best evidence, but the weakest. You also do not address the multiple papers which have – even before LeComte 2012 – pointed out the sloppy work of those “independent researchers” you align yourself with.
    “A” contamination in “a” sample. ONE sample? How about taking on ALL the samples? Cherry picking is the last bastion of fools and criminals – and yesterday’s science.

    I guess I will leave the super-science stuff to Ted Bunch and Bill Napier now. Real scientists, not modelers.

  13. Robert –

    Interesting article. I hope you don’t mind, but I have a slight problem with this paragraph, in that I think they may not have considered every possibility:

    The dead star, also called a white dwarf, is the burnt-out core of what used to be a star like our sun. It is locked in an orbiting dance with its partner, a small “red dwarf” star. While the tiny white dwarf is physically smaller than the red dwarf, it is more massive. When the white dwarf passed in front of its star, its gravity caused the starlight to observably bend and brighten.

    The white dwarf is a dead star. I would assume that they have certain understandings of dead white dwarfs, and they may be right on every one of them. However one possibility is that the white dwarf, being dead, may have developed an atmosphere, and if it has one, it might be a very dense atmosphere. And it may also extend a long way from the surface. If so, the relativistic bending of light may not be anything more than simple light refraction.

    Now, they may have thought of this possibility, and I may be full of sheit.

    But I’ve seen scientists jump to conclusions before, and if they haven’t considered this, perhaps they should.

    I have no idea which it is, but I assume a dead star has a seriously lower temperature than a “live” star – perhaps something on the lines of Jupiter, though I am not positing anything very close to Jupiter.

    There may be other reasons I am wrong, but I want to put this out there as a possible alternative explanation. If I am wrong, it won’t be the first time, and, similarly, if I am right, it will also not be the first time.

  14. I thought you guys would enjoy the article because it is probably comet material in the making.

    Sure, it has to have some sort of an atmosphere. It is in the process of drawing matter from it’s companion.

  15. Robert –

    No offense intended, but what do these links have to do with this post?

  16. In as much as these comments keep devolving into reflections on the history of “catastophism”, I need to clarify a few points for anyone stumbling by here.

    First off, while the general public may percieve the recent work on comet and comet impact as continuing a long tradition of catastophism, in point of fact recent impact studies cames out of data from on massive nuclear explosions (Shoemaker) and data from early warning satellites (Alvarez and Teller).

    The real start of modern work was and is Clube and Napier’s work on peridiocity and recent impacts at the beginning of the 19080’s, which explained data that other scientists had no explanation for.

    As an example of the ensuing process, Firestone was inspired by radio isotope data for which he had no explanation, and he tried several different hypothesis before coming to comet impact. Firestone’s real break was entirely fortuitous, as the archaeologist Kennett’s father was one of Firestone’s colleagues.

    Science is dependent on funding, and I do not like to see it wasted on “work” like Boslough et al’s. Any of them could have stopped publication of their errors, and none of them did.

    The difference between Boslough and Brown’s work and methods may be seen in the recent NOVA special on the Chelyabisnk air burst. Steve, Hermann, Brown’s quick notes there will explain a lot of entry mechanics for you; Boslough’s comments in the face of immediate evidence also shows the difference between models and data.

  17. E.P., I think Steve Garcia has a good point. The support for a theory gets established over time and from many different sources. My math is not good because I am from a language/history viewpoint. For the math, I have to ask my son who is a graduate student in engineering.

    Clube and Napier did a good job because, though the math was, “over the top”, the basic logic was there for everyone to understand. Besides, anything past a million Hiroshima size bombs, gets the point out.

  18. Robert Grant, the Clube and Napier math is too much for me too, those large numbers: $250 on your amazon.com link. ?;^)

  19. Steve Garcia: “A white dwarf is very hot when it is formed, but since it has no source of energy, it will gradually radiate away its energy and cool down,” from Wikipedia, which has us all omniscient now-a-days, with mere clicks of a few buttons. White dwarfs are so-called because white hot. Even hotter are neutron stars, I think, but now I must rush first to replenish my omniscience.

    The bending of light rays near massive objects is at the heart of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. This has been verified many times by astronomical observations, beginning early last century by viewing stars behind the Sun, which makes light rays curve around itself: Very tricky experiment because you must block out the solar corona, and I have no idea how it is done.

  20. Hermann, I noticed that price myself. Great investment on my part, but, what the hell is giong on with that book? And, only five copies out there?

  21. Robert –

    While I am pretty certain that prices for Clube and Napier’s books will continue to rise, your return on investment may be similar if you invest in used copies of the first edition of my own “Man and Impact in the Americas”.

    What is going to seal the HSIE is the documentation of the larger impact structures from it. The concentration of impactites will likely play a role in reducing this time period to less than the 10 years needed to find Chixulub and the 30 needed to find Shiva.

    B.’s work is nothing more than a hinderance, and I certainly hope his performance is justly rewarded by then at the latest, if not immediately.

  22. Hi all –


    This conference was organized by “comets don’t hit” Morrison, and you will especially note Bolsough’s major role. No one from the comets have hit school is present.

    All you can expect from this group is impediment to the search for geological markers of the HSIE, and that includes the sicking of various delusional nuts on you.

    To make my biases clear, I favor MPC at Harvard as the INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC data clearing house, and not Sandia.

    I need some cash and help to finish off my search and documentation of a major HSIE astrobleme here in the US, which will force the “comets don’s hit” school to shut up completely.

    Other tham that, this is a really good event, and all of thesse people have been working in the field for a long time. And no, I don’t want to shoot Morrison. Also, their current effort will provide them with sufficient data to convince themselves that both comets and dead comet fragments do indeed hit.

  23. E.P. Grondine,

    Thanks for the heads up.

    When my wife starts feeding me her Science daily out takes from that conference, I will be able to delete before reading. 😉

  24. Hi TT –

    High point so far: Schweikert could barely stand all of the BS at this conference. In some ways it is a repeat of the 2003 conference.

    The only daily coverage seems to be from Parabolic Arc.

    While I view this conference as a bureaucratic attempt by Morrion to control the field and impact studies beyond his lifetime, there are some very good presentations being made despite this. What Morrison intends to do with this conference is to control long into the future who exactly the experts are.

    I hope this conference is archived for later viewing.

    I am doing as much as I can to recover the data that will put an end to his “comets and dead comet fragments” do not hit nonsense. Aside from that, if getting greater detection money means calling dead comet fragments “asteroids” then I am willing to suck it in at this critical time.

  25. This may seem to be off topic, but I wasn’t sure where to post it as a comment. . .

    I was watching a TED Talks presentation by a Brit named Aubrey de Grey entitled “A Roadmap to End Aging.” In it he made the following statement:

    “…The reason it is wrong because of progress. There are two sorts of technological progress, really. There are fundamental, major breakthroughs, and there are incremental refinements of those breakthroughs.”

    He then showed powered flight as an example of how fundamental breakthroughs might take a very long time to achieve, but that once accomplished, further refinements will often follow fairly quickly.

    I would posit that the 2007 Firestone et al. paper was one such breakthrough.

    I would further posit that once Firestone’s breakthrough was made – giving a new framework within which to interpret evidence – others are now seeing the evidence all over the place. Daulton, Bos, et al., notwithstanding.

    We should remember that Darwinism was not accepted by many (if not most) of his contemporaries. We have it as the prime paradigm now in good part because the skeptics died off and were not replaced on their side of the aisle, while the then younger generation outlived them and thus had the last word.

    The continuing roll of papers that keep appearing (and that George is posting here) are, in effect, the “incremental refinements” in this inquiry that de Grey spoke of. If it were not for Firestone’s paper, researchers would be interpreting the evidence in a much different way – or missing it altogether. A fter all, how many people who KNEW about Alvarez’s Iridium layer later saw the black mat and thought nothing of it?

    Firestone et al. gave them all a TESTABLE, FALSIFIABLE context to compare their observations against. (This as opposed to the computer model that Bos has which can’t be tested against reality – and which, IMHO, when compared to Chelyabinsk DID fail.) And test it they are doing. And one by one, they are coming to see that Firestone – while needing refining – essentially fits with the evidence.

    Yes, the Daulton Gang is fighting it tooth and nail. Of COURSE someone is going to fight it. That is the natural course of events with any proposed new breakthrough. But the weight of the evidence, in the community, is coming down on Firestone’s side, even as it refines and defines the breakthrough more precisely. That is ALSO natural.

    The direction things are going, the Daulton Gang will need to eat crow at some point – that or find themselves marginalized. I expect the latter will be the case.

    They seem to have rounded up the wrong guy in Bos, since he knows much less about impacts than making pretty images. This breakthrough will come down to field research, not writing code for models.

    The coupe de grace will, of course, be when a crater – THE crater – is found. I can hear it already: “No! That isn’t the crater! You are all wrong!”

    What else will they be able to say? There are, after all, those who argue that Chixculub was not the dinosaur killer.

    For me, it is a continuing honor to be here and able to keep such close tabs on the progress of the refinement of Firestone’s breakthrough premise.

    At the same time, it is am amazing to me that after Shoemaker-Levy 9 the entire astronomy and geology fields didn’t erupt into catastrophism fever. It is preposterous how many ostriches it takes to screw in a lightbulb in those fields – especially those with their heads in the geological sands. NEOs are out there, most of which we don’t know exist yet, and to have NASA so far behind the curve on impacts is the single stupidest “state of the science” thing in my lifetime. As Chelyabinsk showed, we can get blindsided at any moment, and NASA is sitting around with its collective finger up its bum.

    Fortunately there are small groups of honest, open-minded scientists out there testing the Firestone hypothesis and incrementally improving the information database about what has happened in the past. We do need to know what has been possible in the past before we can know what we might need to do in the future. If it turns out that the YDB impact hypothesis is wrong, then we need to do nothing, because it will be proven that such things have not ever happened and we don’t need to worry about it. NASA will be right, the Daulton Gang can laugh, and life will go on. But if Firestone’s breakthrough is prove correct, we have things do do.

    So far, Firestone is winning, even if in a refined state. So, more and more, it looks like we will have work to do.

  26. Steve, I’ll have to differ with you.

    From my point of view, the breakthroughs were Clube and Napier’s work and books on comet impact, with Firestone, Kennett et al.’s work being a later refinement.

  27. Ed, I do agree with you on Clube and Napier. Their foundational work is, without a doubt, the basis and framework for all comet impact work since. But it seems to me that the YDB specifically will be the tipping point, and on that we have to point to Firestone and that first group in 2007.

    I am reading a book on theoretical physics – most of it about quantum theory, Relativity, and string theory – and (by one of them) its failures over the last 40 years, and the author talks about “Unification theories.” He separates scientific work into two classes: 1.) unification theories and 2.) refining research – work that takes the original concept and determines what within it is worth keeping. One of the features of unification theories is that they almost immediately trigger new research in almost completely unexpected directions. The are called unification theories because they connect two or more things that had previously not bee seen as related. An important feature of unification theories is that they are empirically testable.

    Clube and Napier, regrettably, never got a large number of people behind their efforts (in their camp), while Firestone lit a firestorm, one that is still going on.

    Not even Alvarez’s work lit a fire like Firestone et al 2007 did. People went out looking in one direction: Find the crater – and when the crater was found, everything went back to normal.

    Firestone tied not only extinctions with impact, but also connected all those black mat sites into one gestalt. That makes it a threshold work: The world of impact research is not the same anymore. People went out there thinking, “This I can test in a falsifiable way,” and they did go out – and many have found it to be even more widespread than originally thought. All that is work that never would have been done – because it is the unification that is what is intriguing and worth researching.

    I give Clube and Napier a huge lot of credit, but their work was not earth-shaking, paradigm shift stuff – maybe not bold enough in its tying comets with their effects on earth. Maybe the world wasn’t ready for their findings. Maybe Firestone came along late enough in the game, being able to stand on the shoulders of Clube and Napier. (And maybe the Russian meteor came along at the right time, too.) But it is the unifying ideas that are the crux of it, IMHO.

    The Daulton Gang are wrong in thinking that picking out a spherule here and a spherule there will cut the legs out of the Firestone YDB theory. Yes, per reductionism it is important that the bits and pieces have to fit. But the BIG picture is what Firestone brought to the table, and it is on that front that the Daulton Gang has nothing. Calling spherules insect shit only made things worse for them. They brought in Bos to broaden their attacks, but he is just a modeler, and this war will be (and is being) won in the trenches – literally.

    It is quite clear at this juncture that the YDB impact killed off the megafauna and Clovis Man, even if all the evidence isn’t toted up yet. And it is quite clear that the YDB event was world-wide or nearly so. The Daulton Gang nipping around the edges isn’t doing a damned but of good, even if they have the science press on their side. Important people are being won over, and new research keeps on “suggesting” “consistencies with” the YDB impact theory.

    One thing that amazes me is that Firestone came at this all trying to find out why 14C spiked. It had to be a BIG event to do that and it is something climate change can’t explain. I am amazed that there isn’t more in that direction going on. Maybe Firestone exhausted that evidence trail.

  28. Sorry Steve, but there were and area a large number of people who began impact studies due to Clube and Napier’s work, and are working on impacts now due to theit work.

    To bring you up to speed, after Alvarez, there were two theories to explain periodic ELEs. Ome was by Muller, aupported by Morrison, who proposed Nemesis; the other was Clube and Napier who proposed cometary impact.

    Morrison supported Meuller based on the impact rate he had derived from data from the Moon. Unfortunately, Morrison igneored the Moon’s nearby latge companion, the Earth. His estimate for ELEs was seen as high when he made it, but we now know it is too low by a factor of 4. And off by one to two orders of magnitude for smaller cometary amd comet fragment impacts.

    NASA, since it is dominated by manned Mars flight “enthusiasts”, accepted the lowest impact hazard estimate it could find. Gene Shoemaker died attempting to recover a nice estimate from Earth data, and George Brown Jre passed om. Add in the inter-center fighting, and you have a real mess. Boslough is just the latest, and his attack has been very effective in reducing research funding and making the HSIE demonstration more difficult.

    Firestone is no different than many other researchers who were faced with data which they had no explanation. Those 14C anomalies drove Firestone to impact only after he had tried every other explanation. The key data was gathered by Kennett, and Firestone’s meeting him was entirely by chance.

    The key to establishing the HSIE (Holocene Start Impact Event) is documenting one of the craters from it. But for my stroke and other misfortunes since then, that would be done already.

  29. E.P. Grondine

    ELE — extinction level events?

    Steve Garcia,

    “An important feature of unification theories is that they are empirically testable.”

    That is the key.

    Testing by skeptics can go on despite the established order’s rear guard action. Especially if there is a profit motive in results of the tests, as seems to be the case in Canadian mining companies.

    The Holocene Start Impact Event/YDB, we seem to be seeing a lot of parallels with Plate Tectonics in Geology.

    The difference this time is that the whole AGW scam’s income stream will be — ahem — “heavily impacted if YDB pans out.

  30. Hi TT –

    Yes. Nothing like using a phrase known by many people.

    Which Canadian geological formations are you referring to?

    I’ll have to disagree with your assesment of a relationship between establishing the HSIE and denying the AGW hypothesis.

  31. Ed –

    First off, when I talk about Firestone, I do not mean ONLY Firestone. I mean that entire team, including Kennett, etc. I do not mean to demean any of them.

    Secondly, Firestone exhausting all other explanations – jeez, that is great science, the way it is supposed to work. When there are multiple possibilities, you use a process of elimination. Don’t put him/them down because of that.

    While the infighting at NASA is a major part of the scene and the part you focus on, it is not the only thing going on. NONE of that scramble is science, only politics. We all sympathize with you on the frustration that Mars is getting the attention. But what has to happen after Chelyabinsk is that Morrison and the others have to begin to realize they need to put their ears to the ground and finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. And they are – and of course with a spin to try to salvage some funding for their pet projects. And yes, in the meantime nothing is being done on impacts. Not now, but soon. If we get one more Chelyabinsk the lid will fly off and impacts will get all the attention. In case you hadn’t noticed, NO ONE in the general population, and almost no one in Congress gives a rat’s ass about Mars missions. That means that Morrison is out of step with the times, in more ways than one. YES, the sooner he goes, the better.

    But Firestone et al have had a MUCH bigger impact on the public than Clube and Napier ever did. It doesn’t help that their books are so freaking expensive. IMHO Firestone has had ten times the impact out in the world than Clube and Napier. And I say that even with all my huge respect for their work. Clube and Napier’s follow-ups haven’t dented the public consciousness at all. In terms of others following up on their work, let’s do the counting up after the YDB is around for 20 years.

  32. Trent –

    At the risk of us going off on a tangent, I have to agree more or less with Ed about a connection between HSIE and CAGW. Nothing in the YDB has anything to do with CAGW. I am extremely well informed about CAGW (from a skeptic’s POV), and can think of no connection whatsoever.

    That some argue the YD onset was because of climate change? That is such a small part of the CAGW scene that it doesn’t cause a blip on the radar one way or another.

    The climate change at the YD onset is them putting the cart before the horse. They try to blame it on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning (the cause of the “Day After Tomorrow” bullshit), but that has been dealt with by Rodney Chilton (and others). The LIS melt never came swooping down the St Lawrence at ALL, much less at that time. Evidence of such a flood was looked for in western Ontario, and none was found at all. They are now looking for an outlet on the MacKensie River, but that puts all the water on the western Arctic Ocean. And that is beside the fact that the sinking of waters east of Iceland could not possibly “suck” water up from the Florida coast – that entire mechanism is critically flawed in the real world, and any HVAC engineer could tell them that. Ergo, a mechanism that can’t been happen is supposed to have failed and brought on the YD. It is a total disconnect with reality. The climate change was a RESULT of whatever caused the YD onset, not the cause of it. Climate change advocates are so stridently hyper to assign climate change to everything that has ever happened that they cannot see the forest for the trees.

    As to CAGW’s income stream – a valid point on your part – will some day come to an end, but it won’t have anything to do with a HSIE being shown to be real. There will be those 50 years from now who will still think that climate change caused the YD onset. But the rest of the world won’t. Everyone on that bandwagon spends all their time on the 21st century, not on a point in time 13,000 years ago.

    In some imaginary world the proving of a catastrophe at 12,900 years ago might possibly kill off CAGW – but only by killing the entire Gradualism meme. But that isn’t going to happen. A HSIE would find its way into Gradualism long before it had any effect on CAGW, which IS based, at its most fundamental level, on trying to crowbar the warming of the 20th century into Gradualism.

    No. CAGW will collapse of its own failings, not because of an HSIE.

    Off topic:
    Trent – I agree that CAGW is a scam. Read anything written or spoken by Patrick Moore about their agenda. He was a co-founder of Greenpeace, and he has long since become an enemy of their agenda – because they have lost contact with reality, and he points out what their real angle is. I do assume you are familiar with WattsUpWithThat.com and ClimateAudit.com, as well as Climategate. I could – literally – talk or write for days on the subject, but won’t. Not here.

  33. Hi Steve –

    I find it interesting that you tell me all about a field I have worked in for 15 years, while using the regal “we”, in which you include yourself. In addition to which you provide me with your keen insights on the evolution of NASA impact hazared policy, as well as your analysis of the current space political situation.

    I suppose it is as the old addage goes, when it rains it pours. About the only things missing are you confusing impact events, or spouting about imaginary impacts based on imaginary physics.
    But then I can always rely on others for that.

    About 40 minutes into the following video there is very astute comment on the lack of geologists attending this meeting:


    You may enjoy watching all of the videos of the sessions at this site.

  34. In case it looked like I was contradicting myself:

    I do not think if any impact happened at the YDB it could in any way affect the arguments of global warmers. They would still argue that CAGW is real, and nothing anyone could say would dissuade them.

  35. Ed –

    Thanks for finally posting something we can sink our teeth into. I will watch the videos with great interest.


  36. Steve Garcia, E.P. Grondine,

    A proved example of abrupt climate change happening for reasons having nothing to do with humans and everything to do with nature is a “Emperor has no cloths moment” for the AGW crowd with the public.

    No public support = no money from politicians on the make.

    As for spotting the AGW scam, I don’t need WattsUpWithThat.com and ClimateAudit.com, or Climategate.

    Many of the AGW climate scientists spearheading AGW are the same people involved in the “Nuclear Winter” scam that destroyed Carl Sagan’s career as a scientist.

    “Nuclear winter” started as a half-hearted Soviet disinformation campaign. They were surprised at its reception, and it took them some time to get behind the Doomies who took it a lot farther than the KGB ever expected. As well as the extent to which Western scientists comprised themselves on its behalf.

    One of the better books documenting that Soviet “Nulear Winter” scam can be found on local dollar store book racks and is titled: “Comrade J – the Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War”, by Peter Earley, published by the Penguin Group, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2007 (ISBN-13: 978-0-399-15439-3).

    This work of alleged non-fiction covers the recollections of Sergei O. Tretyakov, a KGB/SVR officer who defected while working as station chief in Manhattan. The author (a former reporter for the Washington Post) states that he was contacted by Tretyakov (with the cooperation of the FBI and CIA) after he published a book about Aldrich Ames, which apparently caught Tretyakov’s eye.

    The actual book, which by necessity is based almost entirely on the undocumented recollections of Tretyakov, has some interesting things to tell about modern day Russia (grossly corrupt) and their intentions towards us (unchanged, it appears). Reading it is kind of like listening to your grandfather walking down memory lane (probably why it was only a buck), but worth the slog.

    Tretyakov describes how the SVR inserted agents into former Soviet Republics and the UN in violation of international agreements, and managed US assets (apparently, traitors like Ames are rare and most US assets are either blackmailed or unsuspecting fools like Trent Lott).

    Tretyakov also described how the UN Oil for Food program was used as a cash register by the Russians all the way up till the invasion in 2003 and how they baited Carl Sagan with manufactured data to support his nuclear winter theories (successfully, it appears. Sagan was the only one believing them in the end).

    It also helps that a friend of mine who read both Carl Sagan’s article on Nuclear Winter and the December 1983 TTAPS “nuclear winter” article in Science spotted a huge flaw in Sagan’s piece and passed it to American atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer — author of the book “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years” which I own.

    Sagan said in his October 1983 Parade article that his colleagues (Turco, Toon, Ackerman & Pollack) supported his opinions there. They didn’t as Sagan’s (fallout) radiological model, which was based on a Lawrence Livermore Laboratories study which assumed that ALL the nuclear reactor fuel rods in the entire world, including all the spent rods awaiting reprocessing, were irradiated and vaporized as if they were the U-238 casings on “hydrogen” bombs (really fission-fusion-fission devices).

    [See Lawrence Livermore study by Joseph Knox described on page 4 at footnote 4 of the December 1983 TTAPS “nuclear winter” article in Science, specifically pages 14-15 of Knox’s scenario]

    The above Knox scenario is physically impossible.

    Since my friend was a FEMA volunteer Nuclear Civil Defense coordinator at the time, he spotted the flaw when Sagan’s Parade article came out in Oct 1983. As he told me later:

    “Nuclear power plants tend to be so spread out that missle warheads just can’t do it. What is required are multiple simultaneous detonations by really big terminally guided warheads (at least 5 meg – preferably 20+ meg) delivered either by suicide bomber aircraft, or physical takeover of the sites and use of multiple simultaneous truck-delivered weapons with smaller yields.”

    The other TTAPS authors had specifically told Sagan that they disagreed with that Knox model, and not to use it. But Sagan did, and claimed that they agreed with him.

    So, to protect their own professional reputations, they inserted a footnote in the formal December 1983 TTAPS “nuclear winter” article in Science which specifically denounced the Lawrence Livermore study Sagan had said they agreed with.

    Armed with that data, my friend sent S. Fred Singer all of the above and Singer put the word out quietly in the science community of what Sagan did. The comminity then dropped “Nuclear Winter” like a hot rock to avoid a messy public scandal involving their credibility with both the public and Reagan era US Government grant award decision makers.

    This resulted in Sagan losing all further science grant money and turning into a fair-to-good science fiction writer.

    So Science data manipilation is pare for the course with the Doomies — which the AGW crowd is — and Sagan was both a Soviet tool as well as a Doomie fool.

  37. Sigh –> “Nulear Winter” Poor spelling will be the death of me.

    E.P. Grondine,

    Regards your earlier question, see this link on an ancient Greenland Impact crater:


    Only around 180 impact craters have ever been discovered on Earth and around 30% of them contain important natural resources of minerals or oil and gas. The largest and oldest known crater prior to this study, the 300 kilometre wide Vredefort crater in South Africa, is 2 billion years in age and heavily eroded.

    Dr McDonald added that “It has taken us nearly three years to convince our peers in the scientific community of this but the mining industry was far more receptive. A Canadian exploration company has been using the impact model to explore for deposits of nickel and platinum metals at Maniitsoq since the autumn of 2011.”

  38. Hi TT –

    [For what it is worth, an increase in typos may be a sign of an approaching stroke. My typos are very bad permanently now; you have to learn to forgive yourself and be thankful for what you have.]

    It is very interesting that the Carlsberg Foundation financed that work in Greenland. From what I can make out of it, geological work on impacts in Canada is far more open than that in the US – the recent work on the large buried ancient impact there being a recent example.

    I do not think that demonstrating the climatic effects of the HSIE will have any effect on the AGW “debate”.

    While that Peguin book you mention sounds like a very interesting read, that is not the way I remember the effects of the Nuclear Winter hypothesis, nor the way it propagated.

    As I remember it from the time, the volcanologists supported it immediately, as the necssary dust loads for climate collapse were well established by them to a first order.

    Thus once proposed, Nucl;ear Winter met with instant acceptance; it was simply that no one had thought of it. The observation helped to lead to a backing away from Mutually Assurd Destruction.

    With the research on impact events, it is likely that we will get firmer estimates of the necessary dust loads for global climate collapse. This has important consequences for understanding the effects of any limited conflict, such as an Israeli-Palestinian (Moslem) conflict with WMD systems. Also with the newly arming nations, there is the very pressing problem of accidental launch due to impact to deal with.

    Since my stroke I try to avoid any and all discussion of any and all defense systems.

    PS – Trent Lott being duped does not sound right to me.

  39. E.P. Grondine

    >>Trent Lott being duped does not sound right to me.

    I live in the US Defense Procurment bureaucracy.

    Senator’s Lott and D’Amato were both notorious for a great deal of stupid stuff in the pursuit of campaign contribution bucks that marked them as dupes of _many_ interests. Their votes may not have been “for sale,” but they sure as heck were being rented cheap.

    As for the TTAPS study, and your memory of events, there were more problems with the TTAPS study than Sagan’s radiology.

    This is from the letter that my friend sent Professor S. Fred Singer —

    …Many of the TTAPS sources, for both articles, are taken out of context or used as the basis for simplistic and misleading generalizations. Several even contain uncited matter tending to refute TTAPS’ allegations. This is especially true of J.Appl.Meteorol., 15, 355, 1976, cited in TTAPS Science, reference 77, which seems to show that the soot all by itself would cause a significant greenhouse effect, exactly the opposite of what TTAPS claims. A copy is enclosed.


    It appears that the key assumptions of TTAPS are:

    1) A 5,000+ megaton nuclear war would put sufficient dust into the stratosphere from ground burst detonations to decrease continental interior surface temperatures by 14EC.

    2) A 1,000+ megaton nuclear war would put sufficient soot into the stratosphere from urban firestorms to decrease continental interior temperatures by about 23EC.

    3) The dust and soot in the stratosphere would remain there for about a year.

    4) A 5,000+ megaton nuclear war would put enough soot into the troposphere to reduce continental interior temperatures by approximately 3EC. This condition would last for 2_3 months.

    5) The usual mechanisms of heat transfer from the ocean to continental interiors would not operate and nothing would replace them.

    6) Radiation exposures from fallout would be much higher than expected due to middle duration “tropospheric” fallout.

    I question each of these, as follows.


    TTAPS assumes that a 5,000+ megaton nuclear war would put sufficient dust into the stratosphere from ground burst detonations to decrease continental interior surface temperatures by 14EC.

    I believe that TTAPS overestimates the amount of dust which would be raised into the stratosphere, and the reflective properties of said dust, while ignoring offsetting absorption of reflected light by soot at the same altitude.

    First, TTAPS directly disagrees with the 1975 National Academy of Sciences study (Long_Term Worldwide Effects of Multiple Nuclear_Weapons Detonations) concerning the amount of dust raised. The NAS estimated that a 10,000 megaton nuclear war would raise 10 x 107 _ 10 x 108 tons of dust into the stratosphere (pp. 54_60). TTAPS Geophys. alleges that a 5000 megaton nuclear war would raise 1.5 x 109 tons (p.8, table 4a) and TTAPS Science alleges that it would be 7.7 x 108 tons (table 2a). These are significant differences _ more than an order of magnitude between the NAS and TTAPS Science, with the latter postulating half the megatonnage of the former. TTAPS mentions the NAS study but does not state why they disagree with it by so large a margin. In view of the avowed political goals of the TTAPS authors (promote a nuclear freeze), this sharp and unexplained difference with the NAS study is suspicious.

    Furthermore, the amount of dust raised into the stratosphere by ground bursts should have declined in the nine years since the NAS study as the average size of warheads has decreased. I read somewhere that the environmental effects of nuclear detonations, in terms of dust and nitrous oxide depletion of ozone, have decreased sharply with the deployment of smaller, more accurate warheads, both MIRV’s for ICBM’s/SSBM’s and SRAM/cruise missiles for bombers, because warhead yields under one megaton cannot penetrate the stratosphere. TTAPS Geophys. says that detonations of 100+ kilotons do so. FEMA is checking into this for me.

    Second, most studies, not just TTAPS, over_estimate the volume of dust from a groundburst because they assume that groundbursts detonate at exactly ground level, when this is not the case due to fusing problems. TTAPS even assumes subsurface bursts due to “earth_penetrator” warheads, which I am informed are not even under development. TTAPS’ use of subsurface detonations, when such warheads do not exist, is suspicious in view of their other dubious practices. Air Force Magazine reports recent studies showing that ground burst craters are smaller than previously computed, possibly because of the fusing problem, and I will ask editor Edgar Ulsamer for information on these points.

    Missile warheads have a high terminal velocity due to an exceptionally streamlined shape, which is intended to minimize horizontal wind vectors. Nuclear weapons usually have three fuses, a radar altimeter/proximity fuse, a barometric altimeter which often sets off a timer, and an impact fuse. Radar altimeters/proximity fuses are exceptionally vulnerable to EMP. Impact fuses for nuclear weapons are quite unreliable because, according to a former B_52 pilot I know, the deceleration of impact will marginally but effectively deform the shock wave lenses from the high explosives of a nuclear weapon’s trigger, thereby causing the fissile material to shoot out to one side rather than imploding into a critical mass. Only if a warhead is lowered by parachute will an impact fuse work reliably.

    This means that the only reliable fuse is the barometric altimeter, which is not as accurate as the other two. According to my source, most nuclear weapons fused for ground bursts are intended to detonate 100 _ 300 feet above the ground. My source also has a low opinion of ICBM accuracy and reliability, and believes it likely that many of them will impact so far from their targets that a substantial proportion of those fused for groundbursts will impact before their trigger operates, and dud.

    Third, TTAPS may have overestimated the effects of dust in the stratosphere,for two reasons: the size_dependent nature of the reflective properties of dust particles,and a possible unused variable in TTAPS’ baseline comparisons with volcanic dust. TTAPS correctly notes that the 1975 National Academy of Sciences study of this subject erred in simply comparing dust raised by nuclear ground bursts with volcanic dust without evaluating potential differences in particle composition. Nuclear detonations are much more violent than volcanic eruptions and tend to produce smaller particles. Fred Hoyle’s Ice: The Ultimate Human Catastrophe, states that dust particles under one micrometer in size are not effective light reflectors, though smaller, more powdery particles up to that point are better light reflectors. Dust particles from nuclear detonations which reach the stratosphere would tend to be the smallest and least massive, and might contain such a high proportion under one micrometer in size as to render TTAPS’ calculations on this point unreliable.

    TTAPS’ baseline for evaluating the effects of volcanic dust on the earth’s albedo consisted of the Mount Agung and El Chichon volcanic eruptions. The latter was highly sulfuric in nature, and the sulphur which reached the stratosphere formed minute droplets of sulfuric acid which reflected sunlight. TTAPS Geophys. mentions this problem but I do not believe it actually takes it into account in its computations. This is something I must ask for your help on.

    Sagan said in his Parade article that they had compared the TTAPS model for “nuclear” dust effects with a volcanic dust model to establish the former’s accuracy. One would think that Messrs. Turco and Toon would have informed the geophysics profession at once if they had developed an accurate model for determining the relative effects of dust and sulfuric emissions for volcanic eruptions.

    Another question I have about dust in the stratosphere concerns its relationship with soot allegedly raised there by “firestorms” (about 1.125 x 107 tons). I suspect that the soot would absorb much of the light reflected by the dust.


    TTAPS assumes that a 1,000+ megaton nuclear war would put sufficient soot into the stratosphere from urban firestorms to decrease continental interior surface temperatures by @ 23EC.

    I am suspicious of TTAPS’ allegation that environmentally significant amounts of soot would reach the stratosphere in view of several deceptive points in their analysis. I directly dispute the effects that TTAPS says the soot would have.

    TTAPS Science does not indicate at all that most of the environmental effects they allege are due to the only 5% of total smoke emissions which reach the stratosphere, all of it derived from “firestorms”. This could be deceptive. Furthermore, “firestorm” is an inflammatory term, almost a buzzword. Only the cores of a few older cities have the density of combustible material to create or support a firestorm in the commonly accepted sense of the word. TTAPS Geophys. notes this and defines their use of the term as meaning any urban fire of sufficient intensity to raise soot into the stratosphere, which is a circular definition. In addition, it also continues to use the term in its generally accepted sense, which is a deceptive practice. TTAPS Science does not state that its definition of firestorm differs from the commonly accepted one, which is clearly deceptive.

    TTAPS Geophys. does note, and incorporate to an undetermined extent, countervailing factors such as prompt washout of soot particles from intense fires. I lack the technical background to evaluate the manner in which their model incorporates these factors. It appears that TTAPS Science does not incorporate these factors in its calculations, and it was published while the Geophys. article has not been.

    TTAPS Science says that firestorms would produce 7% of total smoke emissions, and that 5% of total smoke emissions (all of it from firestorms) would enter the stratosphere. This is a decrease of only 2/7, while TTAPS Geophys. assumes a 50% prompt washout rate. It does seem that TTAPS Science is less accurate than TTAPS Geophys. on this point. The uncharitable might suggest that it is not possible to get enough soot into the stratosphere to reduce surface temperatures by the desired levels unless realistic levels of prompt washout are ignored.

    Furthermore, both articles note that soot from wildfires is relatively uniform in size and thereby less effective as cloud condensation nuclei, and then imply that this also applies to soot from urban fires, which is anything but uniform. This is a simplistic generalization taken out of context. I wouldn’t be surprised if their model actually incorporates this mistake but cannot determine this myself.

    I also question the size of the burned out urban areas TTAPS assumes. They include southern hemisphere cities. I am thoroughly informed on military matters and I have never heard of any targeting plan for either the United States or the USSR which includes attacks on those. There are some military targets down there, chiefly communication facilities and an occasional bomber base, but not cities. TTAPS seems to be going out of its way to maximize environmental consequences no matter how militarily implausible the required targeting plan is.

    What seems to be the biggest error in TTAPS on the effects of soot in the stratosphere concerns the long_wave radiative properties of the soot particles which reach the stratosphere. The second source in TTAPS Science reference 77 (J. Appl.Meteorol. 15,355, 1976, by Gray, et al.), states of carbon black:

    “This finding agrees well with the results of a thermodynamic heat transfer analysis of the carbon particles by the authors in which it was found that about 95% of the absorbed solar energy is conducted to the surrounding air while about 5% is emitted as long_wave radiation.”

    Those soot particles which particularly intense urban fires might carry into the stratosphere would be the smaller, least dense and most hydrophobic and non_reflective ones, i.e., contain the greatest proportion of small particles with the highest proportion of carbon black. These would therefore tend to retain heat rather than radiate it into space. It seems to me that the 1.125 x 107 tons of soot which TTAPS Science alleges would reach the stratosphere (p.12) might be capable of creating a substantial greenhouse effect all by itself, precisely the opposite of what they claim. Gray’s article also seems to state that soot in troposphere would increase precipitation, not decrease it.

    A Russian study of the original Crutzen _ Birks article in Ambio, Twilight at Noon _ The Atmosphere After A Nuclear War, seems to agree with the greenhouse effect of soot. This Russian study, On the Modelling of the Climatic Consequences of of Nuclear War, is enclosed. Civil defense writer Bruce Clayton sent it to me. It states that the surface would get colder while the upper atmosphere gets so much hotter that it eventually reverses the surface cooling trend and actually increases surface temperatures to 20_40EC above normal.

    TTAPS Geophys. specifically states that the stratosphere as we know it would cease to exist, but does not say what would replace it. Is it possible that some consequent structural change would introduce hitherto unknown countervailing factors? If so, what?

    There are more points regards the flawed TTAPS study, but I won’t waste the bandwidth here. Short form — Doomies always manipulate science data. The TTAPS study was no different then Climategate, the Climate Scamers just got caught a lot earlier in their scam.

    I can e-mail the letter — minus my friends personal information — if you wish to see it.

  40. Dear all, Trent

    Considering that senary a global war I think the model of urban fires is necessary to consider the amount of fuel (in vehicles) circulating (and fuel tanks) in cities, ports, industry etc, which is much larger than a few decades ago.

    I believe in the resilience of the atmospheric system under punctual extreme events. Apparently, since there were at least two large cosmic impacts (Permian-Triassic extinction event, 240 Ma; Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, 65 Ma) modifying the atmosphere, in several of its levels. After the crisis, the ecosystem entered in relative equilibrium and evolution turned its course.

    I believe, this is my impression, the stratosphere should return to balance through natural mechanisms that gives stability (current).

    Ok, maybe a little different, but substantially the same (in a decade, a century, a millennium?)

    Or something like atmospheric discontinuity between the Holocene and Pleistocene?


  41. Hi TT –

    I may comment some more on your note later, or maybe not. What I gave you was the working perspective as I saw it.

    When you get down to freezing temperatures, frozen is frozen, and then its kind of counting icicles on the end of a stalk. Either estimate was sufficient discouragement.

    We could go into the different types of dust and their effects on suspension times (briefly mentioned in Man and Impact in the Americas – hope you have your copy alreaady.)

    To return to the topic at hand, small impacts throw a lot of light on what kind of dust load is necessary to cause temperature and food collapse. It looks to me to be much smaller than earlier thought, and this is important in view of religiond as social processes and modern nuclear technologies, i.l. local wars or NGO acts.

    But the study of recent impacts has been starved for funds, due to a really bizarre intersection of co-incidences.

    As I’ve mantioned before, I’ve had a stroke. Writing these few words is very difficult for me, and the only reason I can do it is because I thought these things through well before I got had mine. I do not like to talk about defense matters now, and particularly publicly.

    Impact doesn’t care, and has generated catastrophes regardless of political and religious systems. It has been handled here now in the US on a bi-partisan basis. So I’ll pass on commenting on Trent Lott, other than to state that I do not think this is the place to do that, and to ask that you stop doing it here.

  42. TT

    Not only would I appreciate it if you left political pecadillos off this bbs, I would also appreciate it if you left AGW off it.

    Omce again, they are issues entirely separate from impact science. There are places that are appropriate for them, but it would be nice if you did not try try to tie up this bbs with that discussion.

    Once again, the proper term is Holocene Start Impact Event, not Younger Dryas Boundary event.
    The dates are different.

  43. I’d like to see one single piece of peer reviewed literature that refers to the “Holocene start Impact Event”. I question why it is that we only see the term used in Mr Grondine’s own self published book, and blog posts, and only insisted on being used by him.

  44. Trent –

    I was trying to cut myself short so as to not hijack this thread, but I see that effort failed miserably.

    One thing you said: “Short form — Doomies always manipulate science data.” I thought this is funny, because to a high degree CosmicTusk is a doomie blog in itself.

    I know who you meant, though, and I agree.

    I am amazed you didn’t bring in Sagan and the runaway greenhouse that he argued – that similar to Venus, the Earth’s atmosphere is capable of going greenhouse and not being bike to stop. When Venus’ atmosphere is 96% CO2 – vs the Earth’s now 0.04% – there is no equivalence possible. That claim in itself is at the heart of the CAGW doomsaying, with the doomies arguing all sorts of positive feedbacks, all of which are input into the climate models incorrectly. The reality curve on the feedbacks is negative (as temps go up, more cooling effects occur), but the modelers don’t bother with reality on this point.

    Sagan was not exactly the first to propose the runaway greenhouse effect, but he was the one who resurrected it from its grave and popularized it and gave it its present place on the altar of doom.

  45. Trent –

    BTW, I think Sagan was an earlier version of Boslough – someone who became the darling of the media. I thought he was a nearly complete boob – and boring as the day is long in June. His “Cosmos” should have been marketed for putting people to sleep.

    That will be my last O/T comment here. I agree with Ed that this discussion doesn’t belong here.

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