Saturday, June 13, 2015

MARK STEYN & THE MEDIEVAL COOLER THAN NOW PERIOD

Mark Steyn harked back to Magna Carta at last weeks  Heartland Institute  Climate Conference :
"When I was a schoolboy we were taught that the England of 1215  was a degree or so warmer than today.  And vineyards were sown as far north as the Isle of Ely... a stones throw from where  the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit stands today,  the Climategate guys,  so I will take global warming seriously when they tear down the Climate Research Unit, and sow a vineyard making an amusing little Chateauneuf du Phil Jones.

But now, as in 1215, Scotland is five degrees north of East Anglia, and several  degrees  cooler than England.  So if as Mark says:

"the England of 1215  was a degree or so warmer than today.  And vineyards were sown as far north as the Isle of Ely..."  
the present production of wine in Scotland if anything demonstrates today's British climate to be "a degree or so warmer than...1215." 


Here's another swig of Mark's strange brew :
'It’s an elitist thing... They’re the ones who actually deny science. They basically took a jackhammer to a thousand years of sane scientific observation of natural climate variability of the Medieval Warm Period when they were making wine in Greenland,'     ( 22  April 2015 )

Next,  he'll  be  telling us  Erik the Red  sailed West  in search of fresh mango juice.  

Steyn's counterfactual tasting notes bode ill for his libel trial : grapes  never  grew in  medieval  Greenland ,  but  the Industrial Revolution did happen, and global warming in its wake has pushed  British winemaking north through grim Northumberland into, Heaven help us, Scotland!

While Steyn makes  crapulent  claims about winemaking in Greenland,  and charges those who doubt Vinland voyages prove global  medieval warming with suppressio veri,  canny Scots vignerons have been busy establishing vineyards closer to the Arctic Circle than the Isle of Ely.

Mark  may want to see the Climatic Research Unit torn down because it  overlooks Winbirri Vineyards. It really wouldn't do for his libel jury to sample the dead-ripe 2013 vintage  that testifies to the rise in  degree-days that has added 56  or more amusing little wines to the Cote du Jones lineup, including the eponymous Isle's Elysian Fields, where, the producer's note, 


 " There is documentary evidence that the monks at the Abbey and later the Cathedral at Ely cultivated vines right through the Middle Ages "
 To the dismay of deniers touting an erstwhile "pause," 2003 saw  Burgundy's earliest harvest since record keeping began in 1370- Chandon's Corton Charlemagne was picked on August 15,  the grapes having already ripened to the heady limit of fermentation- the wine was bottled at 14.5%  alcohol!  



Like many ersatz climate skeptics, Steyn  has  his history backwards; the medieval warm period simply  wasn't warm enough to grow wheat, let alone grapes, in Iceland or Greenland, witness how clerics there were forced  to  celebrate  mass  with items as alien to The Last Supper as oatcakes, ale and fermented crowberry juice.

Hearing of this heresy in 1237, Pope Gregory IX  told Archbishop Sigurd of Norway to order Greenland and Iceland's clergy to import the real deal in sacramentals--panis de frumento et vini de uvis from warmer climes,  a description  met by today's brae wine frae north o' the Doon.

While it's naughty of Mark to ignore Little Ice Age winemaking in Nova Scotia, I can't fault Matt Ridley leaving  his Northumbrian coal-lands  vineless : plantings on equally bituminous acres this side of the pond produce haggis-friendly wines with a scary witch hazel nose and terrifying hydrogen sulfide finish.  But for all the ginger he puts into it,  Mark Steyn's  fortified  hogwash merely strengthens the case for The Medieval Cooler Than Now Period.