Science and Mathematics Faculty Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Journal Title

Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Creationism


In the early years of the modern creationist movement questions were raised as to the role of ice ages in explaining geological data. Beginning with Whitcomb and Morris (1961) and formalized by Oard (1979), a proposed scenario of warm oceans and volcanic activity would provide the needed conditions to initiate a post-flood ice age. During the 1990’s Vardiman used the Community Climate Model (CCM) to study the impact of warm oceans on global air circulation and precipitation patterns. Following Vardiman’s lead this study uses the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) Model E climate model. The first part of the study uses a fixed 30 ºC sea surface temperature to validate against work done by Spelman (1996). The second part of the study incorporates a dynamic ocean as well as increased volcanic aerosol levels to determine the initial conditions needed to provide snowfall rates of significant intensity to initiate accumulation for an ice age.

Given initial sea surface temperatures of 30 ºC, extensive volcanic activity is needed to offset the heat flux provided by warm oceans. The Model E simulations had run times of six years and did not achieve the conditions needed for extensive snowfall at high latitudes. Using a dynamic ocean and volcanic aerosol optical depths of 2.00 give promise of sufficient cooling if the simulation were to extend to several decades. Given the limited run times, these simulations can only provide information about the sensitivity of the climate model and the thermodynamic balance over a limited time scale. Future work using century long runs will provide more conclusive results about the validity of the initial conditions proposed here. Extended runs will also provide valuable information about climate shifts as well as changes in circulation patterns within the ocean, which can then be compared to geological strata associated with the Pleistocene.


Climate, computer simulation, Ice Age


Reproduced by the kind permission of the International Conference on Creationism



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