Science and Mathematics Faculty Presentations

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Creation Geology Society Sonference


Truett McConnell College, Cleveland, GA

Event Date



Creation, creation science


Explanations for the Pleistocene Ice Ages in the context of a recent creation have ranged from denial of the existence of ice ages to a single contracted ice age with multiple surges. This second position mentioned in The Genesis Flood (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961) and modified by Oard (Oard, 1979) relies on a warm ocean in the wake of a global flood. The warm ocean provides a ready source of water vapor, which can be deposited over cold polar land masses as snow. Since a warm ocean prevents land masses from cooling sufficiently to accumulate snow, it is necessary to propose a cooling mechanism to offset the heat flux from the ocean. The most likely mechanism is reflection of sunlight by high concentrations of volcanic aerosols in the atmosphere. Two validity studies of this scenario were performed by Spelman and Vardiman. Spelman looked at the sensitivity of atmospheric parameters to different sea surface temperature distributions (Spelman, 1996) and Vardiman studied the enhancement of precipitation due to hot mid-ocean ridges (Vardiman, 1998). Over the past decade no additional simulations have been published using this scenario.

Simulation of climate has progressed significantly over the past ten years and a number of models are available to study the validity of a rapidly developing ice age due to warm oceans. Current climate models not only simulate the circulation of the atmosphere, but also the circulation of the ocean, build up of sea ice and response of land surfaces. Two models from the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) are used for this study. GISS Model II (Hansen, 1983) simulates the atmosphere at a resolution comparable to the studies done by Spelman and Vardiman. This earlier model can also be run efficiently on a desktop computer in order to explore a number of preliminary scenarios. The GISS Model E (Schmidt, 2006) is designed to be more flexible and makes it easier to use different ocean models and aerosol parameterizations.

To limit the scope of this study, only the heat flux from the ocean surface and between the ocean mixed layer and deep ocean is studied. The mixed layer includes the first 50 - 100 meters of the ocean’s surface. It varies with latitude and season and is mixed by thermal gradients and wind-shear. The deep ocean interacts weakly with the mixed layer due to stability of the lower ocean beginning at the thermocline. Regions of sinking and upwelling through the mixed layer do exist due to the thermohaline circulation and interaction with continental boundaries; however, in modern day oceans this interaction has a minimal effect on climate variability over the time period of centuries.

If the deep ocean was warmer in the recent past, then there would be an enhanced vertical circulation over the full depth of the water column. If the full depth of the ocean were treated as a mixed layer, the thermal adjustment timescale would be 40 years (Marshall, 2008). Model II and Model E are used to calculate the heat flux entering the mixed layer from the deep ocean. By comparing current ocean heat fluxes with that of a warm deep ocean it is possible to verify the cooling rate of the deep ocean and to infer an enhanced interaction between the deep ocean and the mixed layer. This enhanced interaction not only includes heat transport, but also nutrient transport, which may have implications for the ocean biome.

Included in

Geology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.