The Frozen Fat Finger Fudge

The Frozen Fat Finger Fudge

The Zoe ice core chronology between 1937 and 1951 shows the ammonium and nitrate traces are generally well [but not perfectly: see 1938] synchronised with well defined annual peaks during the [northern hemisphere] summer.

Zoe 1937-51

The ammonium data have been multiplied by 2 and the black carbon data multiplied by 10 to illustrate the time periods when biomass burning could make a significant contribution to the nitrate signal.

Low time resolution analysis of polar ice cores cannot detect impulsive nitrate events
D.F. Smart, M.A. Shea, A. L. Melott, and C. M. Laird
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 119, 9430-9440 (2014)

Click to access 1501.01204.pdf

However, some strange things start to happen to these well defined summer peaks [in the nitrate record] as we travel back in time down the Zoe ice core chronology into the 19th century.

Between 1870 and 1880, for example, it becomes evident that the nitrate data is not driving the chronology because the nitrate peak drifts around between winter, summer and autumn.

Intriguingly, these winter peaks in the Zoe nitrate chronology undermines the mainstream claim that the annual nitrate cycle is driven by biomass burning plumes.

Moving further back in time, towards the transition into the Little Ice Age, the nitrate record develops two very curious habits.

Firstly, the annual nitrate signal occasionally sprouts a shoulder in the spring and/or autumn e.g. 1842, 1852, 1861, 1863.

Secondly, the annual nitrate traces with shoulders have a tendency to become fat fingers that spreads the annual signal over two years in the chronology e.g. 1841-42, 1854-55, 1856-57, 1864-65, 1866-67.


In Greenland numerous spikes are observed in the 40 years surrounding 1859, but where other chemistry was measured, all large spikes have the unequivocal signal, including co-located spikes in ammonium, formate, black carbon and vanillic acid, of biomass burning plumes.

The Carrington Event Not Observed In Most Ice Core Nitrate Records
E W Wolff, M Bigler, M A J Curran, J E Dibb, M M Frey, M Legrand, J R McConnell
Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 39 – Issue 8 – April 2012

Similar fat fingers and shoulders are observed in the GISP H nitrate trace.

The Carrington Event Not Observed In Most Ice Core Nitrate Records
E W Wolff, M Bigler, M A J Curran, J E Dibb, M M Frey, M Legrand, J R McConnell
Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 39 – Issue 8 – April 2012

Unfortunately, these famous five ice core chronologies don’t go further back than 1840.

However, these few examples suggest that the annual nitrate pattern in the ice core may well have included spring and autumn peaks [due to stormy weather] during the Little Ice Age.

This change in pattern coupled with an increase in precipitation during the Little Ice Age could easily confuse the mainstream into double or treble counting fat fingers with shoulders during the Little Ice Age.

Given these clear examples of changing annual nitrate patterns it’s [almost] possible to understand how the mainstream managed to overlook the Little Ice Age in their Greenland ice core chronologies.

The mainstream failure to recognise the changing weather patterns [and associated ice sheet layers] in Greenland during the Little Ice Age helps to explain why they claim the temperature range in Greenland during the Little Ice Age was limited to only 0.54° degrees Centigrade instead of the 2.66° degrees Centigrade indicated by an externally synchronised chronology.


See: The Little Ice Age

This recognition failure adds a whole new layer of meaning to the term fat finger syndrome.

Fat finger, or “fat-finger syndrome”, a slang term, refers to an unwanted secondary action when typing… One may hit two adjacent keys on the keyboard in a single keystroke.

However, this failure merits a separate classification: frozen fat finger fudge.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Atmospheric Science, Catastrophism, Dendrochronology, Earth, Glaciology, Greenland, Heinsohn Horizon, History, Radiocarbon Dating. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Frozen Fat Finger Fudge

  1. Pingback: The Little Ice Age | MalagaBay

  2. Tim,

    So how do they work out the chronological layering of ice? It’s the pachyderm in the paddock. If it involves cutting ice into equidistant thin spherical disks, doing chemical analysis on each disk, then there’s a bit more than fat fingers fudging facts.

  3. malagabay says:

    There is a lot more to it 🙂

    The early deep cores used Flow Modelling and have some very curious artefacts.




    Nowadays I’m sure they are more scientific when they analyse the top famous five layers – but that needs more digging.

    Provided they don’t dig too deep [and ignore the Little Ice Age] they can keep the Holocene and Ice Age narratives intact.

    Like you said: It’s the pachyderm in the paddock!

  4. rishrac says:

    Very interesting work. Very little of this data is readily avaiable.

  5. Those buried WWII airplanes on the Greenland ice cap might give a pointer to deposition rates and depth. I wonder if any research has isolated a distinctive marker layer, say the Carrington event that was global, or the 1908 Tangusta event.

    And the conversion from firm to ice also needs to factor in the Pollack effect, where EZ phases cause formation of pseudo layers by the expulsion of solutes from bulk to EZ water transformation.

    The term ‘ignorance is bliss’ gets an altogether new meaning!

  6. malagabay says:

    In Greenland there is a volcanic layer at 1259 AD in the official chronologies.

    A strong volcanic-acid signal is clearly registered, using an acidity-measuring technique, in the A.D. 1259 ice layer in four different Greenland ice cores (Camp Century, Milcent, Crete and Dye 3).

    This signal is similar in amplitude to the Laki (Iceland) A.D. 1783 volcanic event as recorded in the central and south Greenland ice cores.

    An Inter-Hemispheric Volcanic Time-Marker in Ice Cores from Greenland and Antarctica
    C.C. Langway Jr, H.B. Clausen and C.V. Hammer
    Annals of Glaciology 10 – 1988

    Click to access igs_annals_vol10_year1988_pg102-108.pdf

    1259 layer


    And 1259 looks like it might translate to an event between 1850 and 1900 – possibly Krakatoa 1883

    Little Ice Age

  7. Pingback: Fat Finger Forensics – Stretching The Truth | MalagaBay

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