Now that winter has set in, I want to discuss global warming and climate change in general, and in a way that you have likely never seen or heard about before. It seems that this topic is a priority in the world of politicians and the news media who seem to be obsessed about what may happen to us if the climate continues to change in a way that adversely affects our lifestyle.

Not everyone believes in the theory of global warming being caused by the activities of mankind. The non-believers reason that climate change is a natural phenomenon and people have no control over weather or the climate.

Believers in global warming think pollution from industrial activity and automobile emissions has put so much pollution into the atmosphere that a greenhouse effect is occurring, causing adverse climate changes. The term “Global Warming” has in more recent times evolved to be called simply “Climate Change.”

Scientists determined long ago that there have been major prehistoric fluctuations in the climate of the Great Basin that affected the migrations of early inhabitants of the region. Archaeologists and anthropologists generally agree that at one time there was a significant extended period of hot, dry weather that lasted more than 2,000 years. This was known as the Altithermal stage, which lasted from approximately 7,000 to about 5,000 years ago. This extended period of hot, dry weather followed the cool, moist Holocene stage marked by the glacial melting that followed the Pleistocene Age. That stage had left many of the valleys between the mountain ranges of Nevada filled with lakes and marshes teeming with abundant wildlife. It was during that stage that mankind first began to appear in significant numbers.

Once the hot, dry Altithermal stage set in, drastic changes occurred that significantly altered the lifestyle of the scattered bands of human inhabitants. Because human beings at that time depended on water and the wildlife associated with marshes, lakes and rivers, there was a natural migration away from the region when the hot, dry weather began to shrink those wetland resources. It was during the Altithermal stage that all the lakes and marshes that composed ancient Lake Lahontan completely dried up, with the exception of a small portion of Pyramid Lake. An incredibly harsh desert environment emerged where game was scarce or nonexistent, and where vegetation struggled to survive.

During that time, there was no Walker Lake, Washoe Lake, Great Salt Lake or any of the traditional rivers that had fed those bodies of water. Lake Tahoe did not completely dry up, but the level of Tahoe did drop several hundred feet. Proof of this still can be seen today in photos taken by divers at the bottom in parts of the lake where massive tree trunks are still preserved. These trees grew and thrived when the water dropped to that low level for a period of several hundred years. Because the lake level was far below the natural outlet during this length of time, there certainly was no water flowing into the Truckee River. This was global warming on a scale we can’t even imagine today. All the above is factual information that can be confirmed through studies done by the Desert Research Institute where I once worked as a University of Nevada Engineering student. Archaeologists and anthropologists have written extensively about how this extended drought affected the people living here during that warm cycle.

Certainly, based upon the ancient history of the earth, climate change will continue to occur, whether or not people are involved.

This article is by Dayton Author and Historian Dennis Cassinelli who can be contacted at cassinelli-books@charter.net or on his blog at denniscassinlli.com. All books sold through this publication will be at a 20 percent discount and Dennis will pay the postage.