Felix on the Ice Age
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1998, Laura Lee,Seven Directions Media Inc.
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Thanks to Edward Peterson for his transcription
Laura Lee Lee:
Our next guest says that were not about to destroy
our world - rather, he says, our world is about to
Now Im not usually into doom and
gloom here, but...I think this whole idea about ice ages
and their return: Is it global warming or is it ice ages
that are around the corner?; and are they cyclical in
time? is most intriguing. Besides, the weather has gotten
so weird...its something that we want to talk
He says that for our world about to
destroy us: well, its nothing malicious; its
not Gods wrath for our wrongdoings; just a natural
cycle thats been happening, oh, say every 11,500
years. And its time again for an ice age.
Global warming? Well, he sees it as
just a part of that cycle; part of the mechanism of the
onslaught of an ice age.
Robert Felix, from my own hometown of
Bellevue, Washington is here in the studio with me
tonight to discuss why he believes we could be covered in
ice a decade from now.
Roberts an architect by trade and
hes the author of "Not by Fire, but by
Ice." Discover what killed the dinosaurs and why it
could soon kill us.
I want to mention that I dont
believe this theory. I dont disbelieve it. I
dont know what to think about the weather changes.
I do know that there are some very long
cycles in time, and I do find in what he has to say
intriguing about going through various stages...a
relationship to the galactic center; and Ill tell
you about some of the other hints and other guests that
weve had on the show that mention that as well. So
thats one aspect of his argument that intrigues
Again, weve talked with many,
many guests who lay out the same body, or parts of the
same body of evidence. Many of them have various
different interpretations. So I go into this discussion,
Robert, and welcome, open-mindedly...curious to hear you
out...but I personally have no conclusion.
Its a huge topic, and
theres so many...bits of data to compile, and so
many possible interpretations - that really were
talking about one of two things: either its getting
hotter or its getting colder. Certainly the
weathers not staying the same. Is it cyclical or
random? Those seem to be the quadrant...that were
addressing here...four choices.
So, anyway, thank you and...interesting
book! And again...written for the lay person.
Robert Felix: Thank
Laura Lee: And with a
sense of humor added. So, itll be fun to discuss
this with you here tonight.
First of all, tell me why did you get
into this topic: looking at are ice ages cyclical and is
one just around the corner? And you say they happen very
Robert: They do. You
know, when you were asking about how I got into it,
I heard you talking earlier about...synchronicity, and I,
you know, I dont know... It was about six and a
half years ago that I felt driven to...do this, to write
this book. And I still havent been able to
discover, to...explain to myself where it came from.
But...Yes, I do believe
Laura Lee: It was your "Call to
Adventure?" Is that what youre saying?
Robert: It was. And I heard...somebody
interviewing...another author - I think it was Stephen
King. Im not sure, but they asked him how he chose
what subjects he wrote about, and he said "well,
what makes you think I have a choice?"
Laura Lee [talking simultaneously]:
They choose him. [laughs]
Robert: And thats kind
Laura Lee: They choose him.
Robert: They...they do!
Laura Lee: They show up.
Robert: And thats kind of what
happened to me. But yes, I do believe that the next ice
age could begin any day. I...think in our lifetimes.
Laura Lee: Do you think it already has?
You tell us that the ice flows in...the ice glaciers are
Robert: They are. You know, we hear
about global warming. Thats, I mean, we hear about
it on the radio, we read it in the paper, we see it on
T.V. - but the fact is that the ice sheets are growing.
According to Charles Bentley -
hes a...hes head of the polar research center
at the University of Wisconsin - according to Charles
Bentley, field measurements show that the antartic ice
sheet is growing - not shrinking!
And the same thing with...with others.
Theres a H.J. Walley at NASA who says that satelite
altrimitry measurements show that the Greenland ice sheet
is growing thicker and...thicker. And its growing
thicker at the rate of about 8 inches a year.
Now, when you look, when you consider
that Antartica, that the ice sheet covers around 5
million square miles and the Greenland ice sheet covers
another 700,000 square miles - thats twice as big
as the United States!
To...have that big of an area be
accumulating ice at the rate of 8 inches a year is a lot
Laura Lee: But they also say
its...shrinking around the edges and a lot of flows
are falling off and some scientists are worried that
the...some of the ice is gonna melt and were going
to have...flooding around the coast. But those, I mean
"where are we in the cycle?" is a difficult
question to ask.
What I find instructive is to look back
in time, which we can do through the geological record,
and say: Is there a cycle?
What the ice age proponents say is that
ice ages are a fact of the planet. And weve had
other guests on the show who argue that...its
really a mystery of the data. Rand Flem-Ath in particular
has a very interesting theory. Causes you to think and
try it on, but you could say: Where are we in the cycle?
Well, ice ages - this one last 100,000
years - and you have the 12,000 year interglacial warming
period. Well, the ice age ended 11,000 something 500
years ago, so that to me causes me to pick up and notice
and say: "Oh well, if that cycle still holds, then
were about due for another one."...Thats
what I find interesting. Can you explain that and argue
Robert: Absolutely. You know,
theres...the study was made back in 1976, and it
was a study called CLIMAP - Climate Long range
Investigation Mapping And Prediction - that
was...spearheaded by people at Lamont Verde-Perth (?)
Observatory. It had, oh, something like 200 institutions
and universities involved. So were talking a
But anyway...they checked sea cores for
last 500,000 years and they discovered that ice ages have
begun or ended ABRUPTLY - and Id like to get back
to that word eventually. But theyve begun or ended
abruptly, almost exactly like clockwork, every 11,500
years! For half a million years!
I dont know why were
ignoring that study. It was published in Science
[magazine] in 1976. It [the article] was called
"Pacemaker of the Ice Ages."
For the next couple of years after that
came out, we heard newspaper headlines about "The
Ice Age Cometh," and then somehow we ended up
talking about global warming. I dont know where
thats come from.
Laura Lee: Well, according to the way
that youre putting the data together, the global
warming is just one stage in the whole process. You need
to heat seas in order for more moisture to go into the
air, in order for more snow to fall...So its just
part of the cycle.
And...what I find dangerous is to look
at one piece of a very big cycle and say "Oh, this
is the trend," and then give it more weight
than...it really constitutes. So I wonder if were
doing that...a lot?...You know, we can see a little
localized trend over here - is it global? We can see one
trend - where does it fit in the overall picture? So,
again, I just dont know if we know enough to even
know about this.
We have two options: its warming
or its cooling; its random or its
cyclical. And thats what Id like to explore
with you here tonight...
Why dont you get into the ABRUPT
- how do we know that the ice ages come and go abruptly?
Because according to, and I dont believe the
standard climatologists and geologists...necessarily. I
dont know what to think. But they tell us its
a gradual process and the ice ages are motivated...or
driven rather by the Earths tilt, the eccentricity
of the orbit, and other cycles...in time. Thats how
they explain it. So how do we know; how do you know
its abrupt? They tell us its gradual.
Thats a way of going about it.
Robert: It is driven by those things
that youre talking about - no question about that.
But the way I know its abrupt, and...if anyone
hasnt been to school in the last, like 4 or 5
Laura Lee [jokingly]: Oh, lets
all raise our hands
Robert: Thats right. Now I
learned in school...that ice ages began slowly,
that...Theres a study in 1987 called GLIP -
Greenland Ice Core Project - where they drilled deep
cores into the ice in central Greenland...They drilled
almost two miles deep - where they reached ice that had
formed as much as 250,000 years ago. And they discovered
that every ice age in the last 250,000 years - and
thereve been quite a few by the way - everyone
began in less than 20 years! Sometimes in less than 10
years! And they did it - heres another big surprise
- they did it from periods of warmth such as today!
Laura Lee: And it didnt take alot
of degree of difference in temperature. Now their
explanation is that you have longer, colder winters and
the summers melt doesnt melt all of the ice.
So the time the next winter comes with its
snowfall, you have a little accumulated from the last
time, and so its this gradual accumulation. Could
you collect the ice in 10 or 20 years, or was it suddenly
a day rush?
I know that you mentioned floods happen
at the end of the ice ages and sudden melt-offs of these
glaciers, but what about going into one?
Robert: Most floods happen at the
beginning of ice ages too, stages too, in themselves
because you know theres one surprising thing is:
that during an ice age the temperatures really dont
get any colder.
During the very depths of the last ice
age, temperatures in the tropics and subtropics were only
4 degrees colder than they were otherwise.
Laura Lee: So lets all move to
the tropics and the subtropics.
Laura Lee: I mean, where is the
Robert: Im ready. Im ready.
But the point is that the temperature is cold enough -
right now - to have an ice age! That comes from Marsh
Ewing (?) - he was the one time director of Lamont Verde
(?) Earth Observatory. According to him, its cold
enough right now to have an ice age!
Laura: In the northern latitudes?
Robert: In the northern latitudes. All
we need is more moisture. Thats all we need, and
were getting it! When I look at all of these giant
Laura: Look at El Nino.
Robert: Yes. Well that has a lot to do
with it as far as Im concerned.
Laura: Oh, you say El Ninos not
an isolated event. Although they can explain it as:
"Well, those Gulf breezes arent doing what
they used to do in this body of warm water"; but
youre saying its part of the mechanism?
Robert: Yes. I believe were about
to see the worst rash of El Ninos in 11,500 years.
Laura [laughs]: Hold on to your
hats...Well come back with Robert Felix. Hes
written a very intersting book: "Not by Fire but by
Ice." Discover what killed the dinosaurs and why it
could soon kill us.
But, of course, I say: Well, the
Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnon did a very nice job of
surviving the ice ages - they retreated to caves, they
lived a very inward and a very interesting life - so
its survivable; and maybe we dont have the
skills today...but we could learn [Laura laughs]. But
then Id rather be too hot than too cold.
When we come back Robert why dont
you just take some time and lay out your theory for us
and...then Ill try and tear it apart [Laura
laughs]. Well come right back with Robert Felix.
Im Laura Lee.
Laura: Laura Lee - on the Laura Lee
show - talking with Robert Felix who says that our world
is about to destroy us through us. Makes you wonder about
those...ancient peoples who had their various first
world, second world, third world, fourth world, fifth
world and all of its various destructions...doesnt
Robert - oh, I want to mention - Robert
is now gonna lay out his theory. Ill sit back and
listen. And I want to mention that also hes gonna
talk about magnetic reversals. Hes gonna talk about
Earths journey through our galaxy, and how
that...impacts this. This is really a detective story,
and thats how I view it.
Putting out pieces of the puzzle and
then you step back and say: well what does the puzzle
mean? what is it trying to tell us here?...And again,
many possible different interpretations over the same
data. Were gonna listen to how Robert Felix is
putting it all together.
Robert, why dont you begin now,
and tell us: what do you think is happening? why do you
think its cyclical? And tell us the broad brush
strokes, and then we can go through and piece together
the data that you say supports this. But if you can give
us a sense of context: whats happening? what is the
cycle that you believe were a part of?
Robert: Well the biggest thing that I
see is our warming seas. You know, I...cannot deny that
our seas are warming. And that looks at first glance
to...almost everyone like global warming.
But what I write about in the book is
that just prior to the last glaciation, just prior to the
glaciation that killed the mammoths - sea temperatures
increased. They went up - not down - by between 10 and 18
degrees Fahrenheit. And that has happened prior to other
glaciations too. And, for instance the dinosaur
glaciation 65 million years ago, and thats where I
came up with this...to begin with actually is that just
prior to the dinosaur extinction sea temperatures
increased by - and this depends on who you talk to - by
between 8 and 22 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now that, still, that sounds like
global warming, but let me ask you a question...or any
cook out there: What happens if you take a pot of water,
you put it on the stove - even if you turn the heat onto
its lowest setting - what happens to that water?
Laura: It goes into the air as vapor.
Robert: Yes, it does. It evaporates and
eventually - if...you do it in your kitchen, its
gonna run back down the windows - but eventually, on a
major scale, I believe thats whats happening
in our oceans right now. Our oceans are warming - agreed;
but I believe that excess moisture is rising into the sky
and is coming back to Earth as giant floods, giant
storms, giant blizzards
Laura: And more ice on the...ice cap?
Robert: More ice. More
Laura: More snow on
Robert: Right. Wherever that moisture
falls where the temperatures below 32 degrees,
its going to start accumulating as...snow. And once
it gets to 100 feet deep and starts to settle - it
becomes ice. Thats where I think its coming
from: is from the warming ocean.
Laura: Lets get back to what you
believe is heating the oceans, and youve got some
interesting scientific data to back that up, and then
tell that part of the cycle. But if you can continue to
talk, so that we can understand more: how does this lead
to...an ice age?
Robert: You bet.
Laura: Going back to this heating of
Robert: You bet. OK. Well, here is
where I think were making a big mistake, because
were crying, were running around saying that
humans are causing global warming - which means humans
are heating these oceans. Well, you know, if youve
ever had a backyard swimming pool, and...realize how much
money it costs to heat one little dream swimming pool,
and we think WE have the power to heat the entire
oceans?! They cover 71% of our planet.
Laura: Were kind of puny, right,
on that scale?
Robert: We are. Now I believe that
underwater volcanic activity is heating our ocean. That,
I believe, is it. And you know, thats another
thing. Thats another part of the cycle that happens
with ice ages is that at the beginnings of previous ice
ages. Volcanic activity has increased a lot. Its
Now therere been numerous studies
- I mean hundreds of studies - of scientists trying to
say: Well gee, all of that ash rising into the sky -
would it cool the skies and would it cause the ice age?
But then when they...actually looked at the stratographic
record...theres not enough ash there to...have done
the trick. So, theyve kinda backed off on that
But I think theyve been missing a very
important...part about volcanic activity. According to
experts at NOAH, 80% of all...volcanic activity occurs
Well, right now, were going
through a period of the worst volcanic activity - the
heaviest volcanic activity - in at least 500 years. Now
if NOAHs 80% ratio is right - and I dont see
why it shouldnt be - that means that underwater
volcanic activity must be going crazy right now. I think
Laura: Well, three-fourths of the
Earths surface is water, so theres greater
likelihood that these volcanoes would happen underwater
and we wouldnt see them. But youre saying
its accumulating higher temperatures in the ocean,
all this volcanic...activity.
I was interested to read - which I
hadnt seen before - many of the new discoveries of
underwater volcanoes that youre citing. Big regions
of new volcanoes, and not just Hawaii...Youre
saying many parts of the...ocean...are seeing as much as
the ocean ridges pulling apart youre seeing.
Robert: Right. Many, many areas. You
know, well, one problem we have is that...the study of
underwater volcanic activity is really in its infancy.
And scientists really dont know yet, but...in 1993
- just 4 years ago - they discovered 1133 new under... -
not new - but they discovered 1133 underwater volcanoes
that they didnt previously know existed. They were
off the coast of Easter Island.
Now the entire - up until that time,
they thought that there were about 10,000 underwater
volcanoes in the entire world.
Laura: So to find 10% additional
Robert: Yeah...in such a small area -
because they were found in an area about the size of New
York state. About...
Laura: But think of all the ones out
there that youre gonna tell me that they
havent yet discovered.
Well come back with Robert Felix.
Hes laying out his theory as to why he thinks the
next ice age is just around the corner, and its
cyclical, and it will be abrupt.
Im Laura Lee.