By Jon Covey, B.A., MT(ASCP)
Edited by Anita K. Millen, M.D., M.P.H., M.A.
Meteorologist Michael Oard’s new book, An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood, is worth reading because it harmonizes evidence for an ice age with the effects of the Genesis Flood. It is an excellent book and can be read and understood even by high schoolers willing to make the effort. I believe this book, even with any flaws it might have, is a book just as revolutionary as was Dr. Henry Morris’ The Genesis Flood. (Oard’s book, Master Books (800) 999-3777)
“To produce an ‘ice age’, the snow must accumulate year by year, change to ice, and advance down to 37°N latitude in the central United States. More summer cooling than 12°C is likely required. As a result of this temperature criterion, an ice age is extremely difficult to account for, especially when only present processes are allowed (p. 6).” Additionally, the ocean had to be much warmer than the average 4°C of today.
We have far too little space to present fully why the Flood scenario is a more reasonable cause for an ice age than any uniformitarian explanation, as Michael Oard says in the above quote. However, in his book, he explains how the ocean was warmed by Flood events and why a warm ocean is essential for the development of an ice age.
Strong absorption of solar radiation by water vapor in the vapor canopy that enshrouded the earth before the Genesis Flood maintained a universally warm climate by reradiating the absorbed heat and heating the ocean (p. 6). The Genesis Flood rain released latent heat from the vapor canopy and heated the ocean. Latent heat is the heat stored in water vapor that is needed to change the state of water from a liquid to a gas. Some creationists think Noah’s ark would have been dangerously overheated by this process (p. 28), but the actual amount of water and heat in the vapor canopy may not have been very great.
When the fountains of the great deep erupted (presumably the 50,000+ known volcanos and seamounts-submarine volcanos) (p. 29), gargantuan lava flows and titanic volumes of hot water and lava gushed out of the depths of the earth and further heated already warm oceans. A warm ocean (above 30°C) would have generated enough water vapor for unusually severe winter snow storms for many years. Even if the oceans had originally been 4°C, which is the average ocean temperature today (p.29), 50,000 active volcanos would have raised the average oceanic temperature and greatly reduced the sunlight because of the ash and aerosols they expel. Volcanic dust and aerosols act as an inverse greenhouse by reflecting solar radiation back to space and allowing heat to escape from the earth. The Krakatoa eruption, in 1883, injected about 100 million tons of dust into the stratosphere. The impact on weather was noticeable for several years afterwards. The effect from the eruption of Tambora, in 1815, was so great that 1816 was called “the year without a summer”. There were massive crop failures that year, due to frost.(p.34)
The Necessity of a Genesis Flood for an Ice Age
Genesis Flood events supplied the necessary conditions for an ice age, producing an ocean filled with warm water and creating a plentiful source of water vapor for heavy winter storms. Multiple volcanic eruptions (the fountains of the great deep mentioned in Genesis) filled the sky with volcanic dust and gaseous aerosols (p.29), yielded cooler summers by blocking out much light and heat from the sun and allowed snow packs to survive from winter to winter. The warm ocean kept the winter marine air relatively warm, so that more moisture could be transported to the cold land masses for snow storms (see graph).
Cooler Air Holds Less Moisture
Uniformitarian geologists can envision a period of cooler summers, so that snow packs can survive. In his 1979 Arctic and Alpine Research article, “An Energy Balance Model of Potential Glacierization of Northern Canada”, L.D. Williams used a computer model to determine how much colder summers must be to preserve snow from winter to winter. The results showed that temperatures had to be 10-12°C lower than average. Cooler summers, however, will have a weakening effect on winter storms. The ocean would be colder and generate less water vapor. Also, the atmosphere’s water vapor carrying capacity is inversely affected by colder temperatures as the graph shows.
Colder summer temperatures alone will not preserve snow packs if the sun’s radiation is not partly blocked as well, because the melting of snow results more from solar radiation than from warm air temperature, as Paterson showed in his book The Physics of Glaciers, 2nd ed., 1981, p. 313. Summer snow cover in north-eastern Canada would cause drier conditions there, and the storm tracks would move further south because of the concomitant expansion of the polar anticyclone – a high pressure system in which the winds blow outward.(p.12) According to Ruddiman and McIntyre (Science 204:173-175, 1979), growth of extensive bodies of ice also implies expansion of the polar anticyclone normally positioned over ice cover in the far north. They say that the expansion of dry cold air would reinforce the normal high-Arctic aridity and slow or stop the rapid growth of ice sheets unless opposed by other parts of the climatic system – by which they mean a 1 to 2°C warmer temperature for the North Atlantic Ocean, which they believe occurred during the first half of glaciation.
In summary, without a warm ocean less snow would fall in the winter and cooler summers alone could not produce an ice age, as the above graph shows. This is why Ruddiman and McIntyre suggested that the ocean was 1-2°C warmer at the beginning of the ice age. This might give a temporary increase in snow, but only for a short time. According to an extensive analysis of sea-surface temperatures for 120 years, Folland and Kates discovered ocean surface temperatures trailed air temperatures by only 15 years.(p.8) Subsequently, the severe decline of water vapor would produce snowless winters, which would be compounded by cooler atmosphere unable to carry much moisture. Oard says that the lack of an abundant supply of moisture is probably the most serious difficulty for uniformitarian ice age theories. (p.55)
Uniformitarian Evolutionists Proffer a Multitude of Theories
One ice age researcher, J.K. Charlesworth, author of The Quaternary Era, remarked 35 years ago, “Pleistocene phenomena have produced an absolute riot of theories ranging ‘from the remotely possible to the mutually contradictory and the palpably inadequate’.” More recently, in “Ice Ages: A Search for Reasons”, from Winters of the World, Brian John reminisced on Charlesworth’s comment and said, “Things have become even more confusing since then….” In other words, evolutionary uniformitarians have no reasonable explanations for an ice age based on present processes. Indeed, they cannot even explain why we have our present ice sheets. Our present climate can maintain them, but it could not produce them.
Oard says, “The picture that emerges at the end of the Flood catastrophe is a barren world with no trees, plants, animals, or birds (except in the Ark). All air-breathing, land-based animals had died and were fossilized, or were in the process of being fossilized, in the sediments of the Flood. The oceans would be about 40 meters higher than today, because the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets had not yet developed. The newly-formed stratosphere would contain a thick shroud of volcanic dust and aerosols, due to the extensive volcanic and tectonic activity during the Flood. It probably was a dark, depressing world. The oceans would be uniformly warm. Conditions would then be established for a second, much-lesser catastrophe – a post-Flood transition to the present-day climate. This would be a post-Flood ice age.”(p.31)
Snowblitz: The Ice Age Starts
Oard says that a snowblitz is what would have occurred after the Flood, and it would have engulfed a far larger area than that envisioned by the most radical proponents of the snowblitz theory. He says that a snowblitz is the concept that a snow cover or an ice sheet develops over large areas all at once, instead of in local mountainous areas, from which it subsequently flows outward. Oard says that in the post-Flood snowblitz, storms would often develop near the southeastern coast of the United States and move northeastward. These storms would be greatly magnified versions of present-day “northeasters” that wrack the eastern seaboard every year.(p.60)