Storm's Journal

 Ice Ages and Global Warming

Thousands of years ago there were no spots on the sun. They began to
appear, they have increased in number, and they will continue to increase.
Hence there will come a time when the sun will radiate less and less
strongly, and finally, when it has become completely dark, it will cease
to radiate any light at all. Therefore we have to reckon with the fact
that in the course of time, a comparatively long time, the source of the
light and life that now issues from the sun will be physically obliterated
for the earth. And so the phenomenon of the sunspots  among other things
 shows clearly that one can speak of the earth coming to an end.
Everything of the earth that is spiritual will then take on a different
form, just as I have told you that in olden times it had a different form.
Just as a human being grows old and changes, so the sun and the whole
planetary system will grow old and change.

A good or bad vintage year, for example, is connected with phenomena such
as the sunspots, also with the appearance of comets. Only when they are
observed in connection with phenomena in the heavens can happenings on the
earth be studied properly.

Now of course still other matters must be considered if one is looking for
the reasons for abnormal weather. For naturally the weather conditions 
which concern us so closely because health and a great deal else is
affected by them  depend upon very many factors. You must think of the
following. Going back in the evolution of the earth we come to a time of
about six to ten thousand years ago. Six to ten thousand years ago there
were no mountains in this region where we are now living. You would not
have been able to climb the Swiss mountains then, because you would not
have existed in the way you do now. You could not have lived here or in
other European lands because at that time these regions were covered with
ice. It was the so-called Ice Age. This Ice Age was responsible for the
fact that the greatest part of the population then living in Europe either
perished or was obliged to move to other regions. These Ice Age conditions
will be repeated, in a somewhat different form, in about five or six or
seven thousand years  not in exactly the same regions of the earth as
formerly, but there will again be an Ice Age.

It must never be imagined that evolution proceeds in an unbroken line. To
understand how the earth actually evolves it must be realized that
interruptions such as the Ice Age do indeed take place in the
straightforward process of evolution. What is the reason? The reason is
that the earth's surface is constantly rising and sinking. If you go up a
mountain which need by no means be very high, you will still find an Ice
Age, even today, for the top is perpetually covered with snow and ice. If
the mountain is high enough, it has snow and ice on it. But it is only
when, in the course of a long time, the surface of the earth has risen to
the height of a mountain that we can really speak of snow and ice on a
very large scale. So it is, gentlemen! It happens. The surface of the
earth rises and sinks. Some six thousand or more years ago the level of
this region where we are now living was high; then it sank, but it is now
already rising again, for the lowest point was reached around the year
1250. That was the lowest point. The temperature here then was extremely
pleasant, much warmer than it is today. The earth's surface is now slowly
rising, so that after five or six thousand years there will again be a
kind of Ice Age.

From this you will realize that when weather conditions are observed over
ten-year periods, they are not the same; the weather is changing all the

Now if in a given year, in accordance with the height of the earth's
surface a certain warm temperature prevails over regions of the earth,
there are still other factors to be considered. Suppose you look at the
earth. At the equator it is hot; above and below, at the Poles it is cold.
In the middle zone, the earth is warm. When people travel to Africa or
India, they travel into the heat; when they travel to the North Pole or
the South Pole, they travel into the cold. You certainly know this from
accounts of polar expeditions.

Think of the distribution of heat and cold when you begin to heat a room.
It doesn't get warm all over right away. If you would get a stepladder and
climb to the top of it, you would find that down below it may still be
quite cold while up above at the ceiling it is already warm. Why is that?
It is because warm air, and every gaseous substance when it is warmed,
becomes lighter and rises; cold air stays down below because it is
heavier. Warmth always ascends. So in the middle zone of the earth the
warm air is always rising. But when it is up above it wafts toward the
North Pole: winds blow from the middle zone of the earth toward the North
Pole. These are warm winds, warm air. But the cold air at the North Pole
tries to warm itself and streams downward toward the empty spaces left in
the middle zone. Cold air is perpetually streaming from the North Pole to
the equator, and warm air in the opposite direction, from the equator to
the North Pole. These are the currents called the trade winds. In a region
such as ours they are not very noticeable, but very much so in others.

Not only the air, but the water of the sea, too, streams from the middle
zone of the earth toward the North Pole and back again. That phenomenon
is, naturally, distributed in the most manifold ways, but it is
nevertheless there.

But now there are also electric currents in the universe; for when we
generate wireless electric currents on the earth we are only imitating
what is also present in some way in the universe. Suppose a current from
the universe is present, let's say, here in Switzerland, where we have a
certain temperature. If a current of this kind comes in such a way that it
brings warmth with it, the temperature here rises a little. Thus the
warmth on earth is also redistributed by currents from the universe. They
too influence the weather.

In addition, however, you must consider that such electromagnetic currents
in the universe are also influenced by the sunspots. Wherever the sun has
spots, there are the currents which affect the weather. These particular
influences are of great importance.

Now in regard to the division of the seasons - spring, summer, autumn,
winter  there is a certain regularity in the universe. We can indicate in
our calendar that spring will begin at a definite time, and so on. This is
regulated by the more obvious relationships in which the heavenly bodies
stand to one another. But the influences resulting from this are few. Not
many of the stars can be said to have an influence; most of them are far
distant and their influence is only of a highly spiritual character.

(Rudolf Steiner, Evolution of the Earth and Man and The Influence of the Stars, 
Lecture XI; September 13, 1924; Dornach; GA0354)

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SUBMIT AN ARTICLE posted: February 10, 2007