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Climate Variability Over the Holocene
Overpeck, J. and Webb, R.  2000.  Nonglacial rapid climate events: Past and future.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 97: 1335-1338.

What was done
The authors give a brief overview of what we know about climate variability during the past several thousand years of relative warmth that has characterized the current interglacial, i.e., the Holocene.

What was learned
In the category of ENSO/Pacific Variability, Overpeck and Webb cite evidence indicating that shifts in ENSO frequency occur at annual, interannual and multidecadal intervals, providing "evidence that ENSO may change in ways that we do not yet understand."  In fact, they note that data from corals seem to suggest that "interannual ENSO variability, as we now know it, was substantially reduced, or perhaps even absent," during the middle of the Holocene.

In the category of African-Asian Monsoon Variability, they cite evidence indicating that large abrupt changes in monsoon moisture availability have occurred multiple times throughout the past several thousand years, although "a lack of research prevents precise reconstruction, explanation, or modeling of these changes."  And in the category of North American Drought Variability, the authors note that "droughts of the 20th century were relatively minor compared with those in the past," which, they say, "opens up the possibility that future droughts may be much greater as well."

What it means
Clearly, as this article well indicates, all sorts of climatic parameters have experienced variations over the course of the Holocene that have far exceeded variations that have occurred over the period of the Industrial Revolution.  Equally clearly, these significant climatic perturbations, which preceded the development of modern civilization, could not have been caused by human activities.  Hence, it is only to be expected that we will experience similar erratic climatic behavior in the future, which will also not be caused by man.  Yet, as soon as the climate undergoes such changes, the climate alarmists will point to them as proof of their predictions, when in reality they are no proof at all.

This is the great danger we face: a faulty political-based rush to judgment about the merits of the CO2 greenhouse effect theory based on some future extreme climatic event that is not in any way, shape or form related to anthropogenic CO2 emissions.  And in view of the hold that the climate alarmist crowd already has on the minds (or is it the aspirations?) of prominent politicians worldwide, the wrong decision would almost certainly be reached.  Perhaps we better pray for good weather for more than the usual reasons!