Iodine for Health

{This informative article was first published on LewRockwell.com. It has been re-published here by special permission of Dr. Miller. It's a long read but the health incites on iodine usage provided by Dr. Miller make it well worthwhile, particularly in the area of cancer prevention. We also wish to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Cleveland Chiropractic Institute of Overland Park, Kansas for their assistance in locating these materials on important public health issues. - Ed.}

by Donald W. Miller, Jr., M.D.

There is growing evidence that Americans would have better health and a lower incidence of cancer and fibrocystic disease of the breast if they consumed more iodine. A decrease in iodine intake coupled with an increased consumption of competing halogens, fluoride and bromide, has created an epidemic of iodine deficiency in America.

People in the U.S. consume an average 240 micrograms (μg) of iodine a day. In contrast, people in Japan consume more than 12 milligrams (mg) of iodine a day (12,000 μg), a 50-fold greater amount. They eat seaweed, which include brown algae (kelp), red algae (nori sheets, with sushi), and green algae (chlorella). Compared to terrestrial plants, which contain only trace amounts of iodine (0.001 mg/gm), these marine plants have high concentrations of this nutrient (0.5-8.0 mg/gm).

Photo: Kelp off the coast of Hokkaido

When studied in 1964 Japanese seaweed consumption was found to be 4.5 grams (gm) a day and that eaten had a measured iodine concentration of 3.1 mg/gm of seaweed (= 13.8 mg of iodine). According to public health officials, mainland Japanese now consume 14.5 gm of seaweed a day (= 45 mg of iodine, if its iodine content, not measured, remains unchanged). Researchers have determined that residents on the coast of Hokkaido eat a quantity of seaweed sufficient to provide a daily iodine intake of 200 mg a day. Saltwater fish and shellfish contain iodine, but one would have to eat 15-25 pounds of fish to get 12 mg of iodine.

Health comparisons between the two countries are disturbing. The incidence of breast cancer in the U.S. is the highest in the world, and in Japan, until recently, the lowest. Japanese women who emigrate from Japan or adopt a Western style diet have a higher rate of breast cancer compared with those that consume seaweed. Life expectancy in the U.S. is 77.85 years, 48th in 226 countries surveyed. It is 81.25 years in Japan, the highest of all industrialized countries and only slightly behind the five leaders—Andorra, Macau, San Marino, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The infant mortality rate in Japan is the lowest in the world, 3.5 deaths under age one per 1,000 live births, half the infant mortality rate in the United States.

Today 1 in 7 American women (almost 15 percent) will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Thirty years ago, when iodine consumption was twice as high as it is now (480 μg a day) 1 in 20 women developed breast cancer. Iodine was used as a dough conditioner in making bread, and each slice of bread contained 0.14 mg of iodine. In 1980, bread makers started using bromide as a conditioner instead, which competes with iodine for absorption into the thyroid gland and other tissues in the body. Iodine was also more widely used in the dairy industry 30 years ago than it is now.

Now iodized table salt is the chief source of iodine in a Western diet. But 45 percent of American households buy salt without iodine, which grocery stores also sell. And over the last three decades people who do use iodized table salt have decreased their consumption of it by 65 percent. Furthermore, the much higher concentrations of chloride in salt (NaCl) inhibits absorption of its sister halogen iodine (the intestines absorb only 10 percent of the iodine present in iodized table salt). As a result, 15 percent of the U.S. adult female population suffers from moderate to severe iodine deficiency, which health authorities define as a urinary iodine concentration less than 50 μg /L. Women with goiters (a visible, noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid gland) owing to iodine deficiency have been found to have a three times greater incidence of breast cancer. A high intake of iodine is associated with a low incidence breast cancer, and a low intake with a high incidence of breast cancer.

Animal studies show that iodine prevents breast cancer, arguing for a causal association in these epidemiological findings. The carcinogens nitrosmethylurea and DMBA cause breast cancer in more than 70 percent of female rats. Those given iodine, especially in its molecular form as I2, have a statistically significant decrease in incidence of cancer. Other evidence that adds biologic plausibility to the hypothesis that iodine prevents breast cancer includes the finding that the ductal cells in the breast, the ones most likely to become cancerous, are equipped with an iodine pump (the sodium iodine symporter, the same one that the thyroid gland has) to soak up this element.

Similar findings apply to fibrocystic disease of the breast. The incidence of fibrocystic breast disease in American women was 3 percent in the 1920s. Today, 90 percent of women have this disorder, manifested by epithelial hyperplasia, apocrine gland metaplasia, fluid-filled cysts, and fibrosis. Six million American women with fibrocystic disease have moderate to severe breast pain and tenderness that lasts more than 6 days during the menstrual cycle.

In animal studies, female rats fed an iodine-free diet develop fibrocystic changes in their breasts, and iodine in its elemental form (I2) cures it.

Russian researchers first showed, in 1966, that iodine effectively relieves signs and symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease. Vishniakova and Murav’eva treated 167 women suffering from fibrocystic disease with 50 mg KI during the intermenstrual period and obtained a beneficial healing effect in 71 percent (it is reference 49 here).

Then Ghent and coworkers, in a study published in the Canadian Journal of Surgery in 1993, also found that iodine relieves signs and symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease in 70 percent of patients. Their report is a composite of three clinical studies, two case series done in Canada in 696 women treated with various types of iodine, and one in Seattle. The Seattle study, done at the Virginia Mason Clinic, is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 56 women designed to compare 3-5 mg of elemental iodine (I2) to a placebo (an aqueous mixture of brown vegetable dye with quinine).

Investigators followed the women for six months and tracked subjective and objective changes in their fibrocystic disease.

A statistical analysis of the Seattle study (enlarged to include 92 women) was done, which shows that iodine has a highly statistically significant beneficial effect on fibrocystic disease (P < 0.001). Iodine reduced breast tenderness, nodularity, fibrosis, turgidity, and number of macroscysts, the five parameters in a total breast examination score that a physician blinded to what treatment the woman was taking, iodine or placebo, measured. This 36-page report, now available online, was submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995 seeking its approval to carry out a larger randomized controlled clinical trial on iodine for treating fibrocystic breast disease. It declined to approve the study, telling its lead investigator, Dr. Donald Low, "iodine is a natural substance, not a drug." But the FDA has now decided to approve a similar trial sponsored by Symbollon Pharmaceuticals. This company is enrolling 175 women in a phase III trial, registered on clinicaltrials.gov. (Any women with fibrocystic disease reading this who might be interested in participating in this study should call its sponsor, Jack Kessler, Ph.D., at 508-620-7676, Ext. 201.)

Most physicians and surgeons view iodine from a narrow perspective. It is an antiseptic that disinfects drinking water and prevents surgical wound infections, and the thyroid gland needs it to make thyroid hormones—and that’s it. The thyroid gland needs iodine to synthesize thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), hormones that regulate metabolism and steer growth and development. The thyroid needs only a trace amount of iodine, 70 μg a day, to produce the requisite amount of T4 and T3. For that reason thyroidologists say that iodine is best taken just in microgram amounts. They consider consuming more than 1 to 2 mg of iodine a day to be excessive and potentially harmful.

Expert opinion on iodine is now the purview of thyroidologists. Mainstream physicians and surgeons accept their thyroid-only view of iodine and either ignore or discount studies that show iodine in larger amounts provides extrathyroidal benefits, particularly for women’s breasts. Thus a leading textbook on breast disease, Bland and Copeland’s The Breast: Comprehensive Management of Benign and Malignant Disorders (2003), fails to mention iodine anywhere in its 1,766 pages.

Iodine has an important and little understood history. Studying kelp researchers have shown how iodine does this and found that kelp will absorb increased amounts of iodine when placed under oxidative stress. Other rersearches have shown that iodine increases the antioxidant status of human serum similar to that of vitamin C.

Iodine also induces apoptosis, programmed cell death. This process is essential to growth and development (fingers form in the fetus by apoptosis of the tissue between them) and for destroying cells that represent a threat to the integrity of the organism, like cancer cells and cells infected with viruses. Human lung cancer cells with genes spliced into them that enhance iodine uptake and utilization undergo apoptosis and shrink when given iodine, both when grown in vitro outside the body and implanted in mice. Its anti-cancer function may well prove to be iodine’s most important extrathyroidal benefit.

Iodine has other extrathyroidal functions that require more study. It removes toxic chemicals—fluoride, bromide, lead, aluminum, mercury—and biological toxins, suppresses auto-immunity, strengthens the T-cell adaptive immune system, and protects against abnormal growth of bacteria in the stomach.

In addition to the thyroid and mammary glands, other tissues possess an iodine pump (the sodium-iodine symporter). Stomach mucosa, the salivary glands, and lactating mammary glands can concentrate iodine almost to the same degree as the thyroid gland (40-fold greater than its concentration in blood). Other tissues that have this pump include the ovaries; thymus gland, seat of the adaptive immune system; skin; choroid plexus in the brain, which makes cerebrospinal fluid; and joints, arteries and bone.

Today’s medical establishment is wary of iodine (as they are of most naturally occurring, nonpatentable, nonpharmaceutical agents). Thyroidologists cite the Wolff-Chaikoff effect and warn that TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) blood levels can rise with an iodine intake of a milligram or more. The Wolff-Chaikoff effect, a temporary inhibition of thyroid hormone synthesis that supposedly occurs with increased iodine intake, is of no clinical significance. And an elevated TSH, when it occurs, is "subclinical." This means that no signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism accompany its rise. Some people taking milligram doses of iodine, usually more than 50 mg a day, develop mild swelling of the thyroid gland without symptoms. The vast majority of people, 98 to 99 percent, can take iodine in doses ranging from 10 to 200 mg a day without any clinically adverse affects on thyroid function. The prevalence of thyroid diseases in the 127 million people in Japan who consume iodine is not much different than that in the U.S.

Everyone agrees that a lack of iodine in the diet causes a spectrum of disorders that includes, in increasing order of severity, goiter and hypothyroidism, mental retardation, and cretinism (severe mental retardation accompanied by physical deformities). Health authorities in the U.S. and Europe have agreed upon a Reference Daily Intake (RDI), formerly called the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), for iodine designed to prevent these disorders, which the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates afflicts 30 percent of the world’s population. The RDI for iodine, first proposed in 1980, is 100-150 µg/day. Organizations advocating this amount include the American Medical Association, National Institutes of Health’s National Research Council, Institute of Medicine, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, WHO Expert Committee, and the European Union International Programme on Chemical Safety. These health authorities consider an RDI of 100-150 µg/day of iodine sufficient to meet the requirements of nearly all (97-98%) healthy individuals.

This consensus on iodine intake flies in the face of evidence justifying a higher amount. This evidence includes animal studies, in vitro studies on human cancer cell lines, clinical trials of iodine for fibrocystic breast disease, and epidemiological data. An intake of 150 µg/day of iodine will prevent goiters and the other recognized iodine deficiency disorders, but not breast disease. Prevention of breast disease requires higher doses of iodine. Indeed, a reasonable hypothesis is that, like goiters and cretinism, fibrocystic disease of the breast and breast cancer are iodine deficiency disorders (and uterine fibroids as well).

What Albert Guérard writes about new truths applies especially to iodine: "When you seek a new path to truth, you must expect to find it blocked by expert opinion." The reigning truth on iodine is that the thyroid gland is the only organ in the body that requires this micronutrient, and a daily intake of iodine considerably more than what the thyroid gland needs is potentially harmful. The new truth is that the rest of the body also needs iodine, in milligram, not microgram amounts.

These are the four most common formulations of inorganic (nonradioactive) iodine, as iodide (I-) with or without molecular iodine (I2): Potassium iodide (KI) tablets, in doses ranging from 0.23 to 130 mg; super saturated potassium iodide (SSKI), 19-50 mg of iodide per drop; Lugol's solution, 6.3 mg of molecular iodine/iodide per drop; and Iodoral, each tablet containing 12.5 mg iodine/iodide. Both Lugol’s solution and Ioderal are one-third molecular iodine (5%) and two thirds potassium iodide (10%). Studies done to date indicate that the best iodine supplement is one that includes molecular iodine (I2), which breast tissue prefers.

Iodine was used for a wide variety of ailments after its discovery in 1811 up until the mid-1900s, when thyroidologists warned that "excess" amounts of iodine might adversely affect thyroid function. It is effective in gram amounts for treating various dermatologic conditions, chronic lung disease, fungal infestations, tertiary syphilis, and even arteriosclerosis. The Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Szent Györgi (1893-1986), the physician who discovered vitamin C, writes: "When I was a medical student, iodine in the form of KI was the universal medicine. Nobody knew what it did, but it did something and did something good. We students used to sum up the situation in this little rhyme: If ye don’t know where, what, and why Prescribe ye then K and I"

The standard dose of potassium iodide given was 1 gram, which contains 770 mg of iodine.

Regarding KI and other iodine salts (like sodium iodide), the venerated 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, published in 1911, states, "Their pharmacological action is as obscure as their effects in certain diseased conditions are consistently brilliant. Our ignorance of their mode of action is cloaked by the term deobstruent, which implies that they possess the power of driving out impurities from the blood and tissues. Most notably is this the case with the poisonous products of syphilis. In its tertiary stage—and also earlier—this disease yields in the most rapid and unmistakable fashion to iodides, so much so that the administration of these salts is at present the best means of determining whether, for instance, a cranial tumor be syphilitic or not."

Photo: Pyoderma Gangrenosum

This 19th and early 20th century medicine continues to be used in gram amounts in the 21st century by dermatologists. They treat inflammatory dermatoses, like nodular vasculitis and pyoderma gangrenosum (shown here), with SSKI, beginning with an iodine dose of 900 mg a day, followed by weekly increases up to 6 grams a day as tolerated. Fungal eruptions, like sporotrichosis, are treated initially in gram amount with great success. These lesions can disappear within two weeks after treatment with gram doses of iodine.

For many years physicians used potassium iodide in doses starting at 1.5 to 3 gm and up to more than 10 grams a day, on and off, to treat bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with good results and surprisingly few side effects.

There is a case report in the medical literature of a 54 year old man who, thinking it was iced tea, drank a "home preparation" of SSKI in water that his aunt kept in the refrigerator for her rheumatism. Over a short time he consumed 600 ml of this solution, which contained 15 gm of iodide, an amount 100,000 times more than its RDI. He developed swelling of the face, neck, and mouth, had transient cardiac arrhythmias and made an uneventful recovery.

Dr. Guy Abraham, a former professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA, mounted what he calls "The Iodine Project" in 1997 after he read the Ghent paper on iodine for fibrocystic disease. He had his company, Optimox Corp., make Iodoral, the tablet form of Lugol’s solution, and he engaged two family practice physicians, Dr. Jorge Flechas (in 2000) and Dr. David Brownstein (in 2003) to carry out clinical studies with it.

The project’s hypothesis is that maintaining whole body sufficiency of iodine requires 12.5 mg a day, an amount similar to what the Japanese consume. The conventional view is that the body contains 25-50 mg of iodine, of which 70-80 percent resides in the thyroid gland. Dr. Abraham concluded that whole body sufficiency exists when a person excretes 90 percent of the iodine ingested. He devised an iodine loading test where one takes 50 mg and measures the amount excreted in the urine over the next 24 hours. He found that the vast majority of people retain a substantial amount of the 50 mg dose. Many require 50 mg a day for several months before they will excrete 90 percent of it. His studies indicate that, given a sufficient amount, the body will retain much more iodine than originally thought, 1,500 mg, with only 3 percent of that amount held in the thyroid gland.

More than 4,000 patients in this project take iodine in daily doses ranging from 12.5 to 50 mg, and in those with diabetes, up to 100 mg a day. These investigators have found that iodine does indeed reverse fibrocystic disease; their diabetic patients require less insulin; hypothyroid patients, less thyroid medication; symptoms of fibromyalgia resolve, and patients with migraine headaches stop having them. To paraphrase Dr. Szent- Györgi, these investigators aren’t sure how iodine does it, but it does something good.

Thyroid function remains unchanged in 99 percent of patients. Untoward effects of iodine, allergies, swelling of the salivary glands and thyroid, and iodism, occur rarely, in less than 1 percent. Iodine removes the toxic halogens fluoride and bromide from the body. Iodism, an unpleasant brassy taste, runny nose, and acne-like skin lesions, is caused by the bromide that iodine extracts from the tissues. Symptoms subside on a lesser dose of iodine.

As theses physicians point out, consuming iodine in milligram doses should, of course, be coupled with a complete nutritional program that includes adequate amounts of selenium, magnesium, and Omega 3 fatty acids. Done this way, an iodine intake 100 times the reference daily intake is "the simplest, safest, most effective and least expensive way to help solve the health care crisis crippling our nation," as the leader of The Iodine Project, Dr. Abraham, puts it.

People who take iodine in these amounts report that they have a greater sense of well-being, increased energy, and a lifting of brain fog. They feel warmer in cold environments, need somewhat less sleep, have more regular bowel movements, and improved skin complexion. These purported health benefits need to be studied more thoroughly, as do those with regard to fibrocystic breast disease and cancer.

Meanwhile, perhaps we should emulate the Japanese and substantially increase our iodine intake, if not with seaweed, then with two drops of Lugol’s Solution (or one Iodoral tablet) a day.

Recommended Reading:

Miller DW. Iodine in Health and Civil Defense. Presented at the 24th Annual Meeting of Doctors for Disaster, can be found here.

Abraham GE. The safe and effective implementation of orthoiodosupplementation in medical practice. The Original Internist 2004;11:17-36 abailable here. A good introduction to The Iodine Project. His other research studies are online here. .

Flechas, JD. Orthoiodosupplementation in a primary care practice. The Original Internist 2005;12(2):89-96. Available online here

Brownstein D. Clinical experience with inorganic, non-radioactive iodine/iodide. The Original Internist 2005;12(3):105-108. Available online here.

Derry D. Breast cancer and Iodine: How to prevent and how to survive Breast cancer. Victoria, B.C.: Trafford Publishing; 2002.

Brownstein D., Iodine: why you need it and why you can't live without it. West Bloomfield, Michigan: Medical Alternatives Press; 2004.

Low DE, Ghent WR, Hill LD. Diatomic iodine treatment for fibrocystic disease: special report of efficacy and safety results. [Submitted to the FDA] 1995:1-38. Available online here.


Donald Miller (sendhimmail) is a cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is a member of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness and writes articles on a variety of subjects for LewRockwell.com. His web site is www.donaldmiller.com






Crossing the Red Sea..finding Pharoah's army

by Anonymous


Photo: Gilded Chariot Wheel

"God's Word is an anvil that has worn out many hammers."

You will be surprised to see proof of Pharaoh's chariots and bones of horses and men found in the Red Sea. Evidence of the crossing of the Red Sea.

Photo: Wheel Artifact

Confirmation of the actual Exodus route has come from divers finding coral-encrusted bones and chariot remains in the Gulf of Aqaba.

ONE of the most dramatic records of Divine intervention in history is the account of the Hebrews' exodus from Egypt.

Photo: Exodus Route

The subsequent drowning of the entire Egyptian army in the Red Sea was not an insignificant event, and confirmation of this event is compelling evidence that the Biblical narrative is a truly authentic account.

Over the years, many divers have searched the Gulf of Suez in vain for artifacts to verify the Biblical account. But, carefully following the Biblical and historical records of the Exodus brings you to Nuweiba, a large beach in the Gulf of Aqaba, as Ron Wyatt discovered in 1978.

When Ron Wyatt first visited Nuweiba in 1978, he found a Phoenician style column lying in the water. Unfortunately the inscriptions had been eroded away, hence the column's importance was not understood until 1984 when a second granite column was found on the Saudi coastline opposite, identical to the first, except on this one the inscription was still intact!

Photo: Actual Crossing

In Phoenician letters (Archaic Hebrew), it contained the words: Mizraim (Egypt ); Solomon; Edom ; death; Pharaoh; Moses; and Yahweh, indicating that King Solomon had set up these columns as a memorial to the miracle of the crossing of the sea.

Saudi Arabia does not admit tourists, and perhaps fearing unauthorized visitors, the Saudi Authorities have since removed this column, and replaced it with a flag marker where it once stood.

The Bible writers frequently refer to the miracle of the Red Sea crossing, for it was an event which finds no equal in history.

The Hebrew prophets describe the sea at the crossing site as '...the waters of the great deep...the depths of the sea...' Isaiah 51:10 How deep is the water?

Photo: The amazing land bridge

The Gulf of Aqabais is very deep, in places over a mile (1,600m) deep. Even with the sea dried up, walking across would be difficult due to the steep grade down the sides. But, there is one spot where if the water were removed it would be an easy descent for people and animals.

Photo: Above NUWEIBA BEACH

The spot where the crossing began. This is the line between Nuweiba and the opposite shore in Saudi Arabia. The distance between Nuweiba and where artifacts have been found on Saudi coast is about 18km (11 miles).

Depth-sounding expeditions have revealed a smooth, gentle slope descending from Nuweiba out into the Gulf. This shows up almost like a pathway on depth-recording equipment, confirming it's Biblical description, '...a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters.' (Isaiah 43:16) Knowing the exact spot to which the Bible writers were referring, what is the depth there?

Along this line, the deepest point is about 800m (2,600 feet). No wonder that inspired writers of the Bible described it as the mighty waters. And no wonder that not a single Egyptian survived when the water collapsed in upon them.

Repeated dives in depths ranging from 60 to 200 feet deep (18m to 60m), over a stretch of almost 2.5 km, has shown that the chariot parts are scattered across the sea bed. Artifacts found include wheels, chariot bodies, as well as human and horse bones. Divers have located fossils on the Saudi coastline opposite Nuweiba as well.

Photo: Human & Horse Bones

Mineralized bone, one of many found at the crossing site.

This one tested by the Department of Osteology at Stockholm University, was found to be a human femur, from the right leg of a 165-170cm tall man. It is essentially 'fossilized, ' i.e., replaced by minerals and coral, hence cannot be dated by radiocarbon methods, although this specimen was obviously from antiquity. Mute witness to the miracle of the crossing of the Red Sea by the Hebrews 3,500 years ago.

Photo: One of Four wheels found

A chariot wheel and axle covered with coral and up-ended. Found with a metal detector. Coral-encrusted chariot wheel, filmed off the Saudi coastline, matches chariot wheels found in Tutankhamen's tomb.

Exodus 14:25 "And took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily..."

Since 1987, Ron Wyatt found three four-spoke gilded chariot wheels. Coral does not grow on gold hence the shape has remained very distinct, although the wood inside the gold veneer has disintegrated making them too fragile to move.

The hope for future expeditions is to explore the deeper waters with remote cameras or mini-subs.


The Secret Poceedings of the Kansas Supreme Court...

by Denis Boyles


Locking the courthouse door may seem like a lousy way to insure fair justice for all, but holding secret hearings on one of the state's most controversial issues is exactly what the Kansas Supreme Court is doing.

Most of us don't trust courts that operate in the dark. Americans, observed Justice Hugo Black 60 years ago, have a "historic distrust of secret proceedings, their inherent dangers to freedom, and the universal requirement of our federal and state governments that criminal trials be public."

Here's a short list of places where secret court proceedings are not unknown:

  • North Korea
  • Iran
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Syria
  • Zimbabwe
  • Kansas

All those secretive Syrians and enigmatic North Koreans probably would beg to differ, but, to paraphrase everybody's favorite Sunflower cliché, "what's up with Kansas?" How did it hop onto that short list of kangaroo judiciaries?

Back in June 2007, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri filed charges in the Kansas Supreme Court against former Attorney General and Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline, all part of the ongoing battle by abortion clinics to prevent government enforcement of state laws regarding late-term abortions and child molestation.

Peter Brownlie, Planned Parenthood's CEO, confirmed the filing and that's the last we've heard, because Planned Parenthood requested a secret hearing, and the Kansas Supreme Court gave them one. That meant, according to David Klepper, blogging at the Kansas City Star, "the public couldn't see what the court case involved, couldn't read the filings, couldn't sit in on what surely must have been a fascinating hearing before the Supreme Court."

It's risky business when courts invite ridicule, but at the Kansas Supreme Court, the invitation's a standing one. Because of the eccentricities of state law, none of the supreme court's justices have ever been vetted by elected representatives. As many critics, including KU law professor Stephen J. Ware, have complained, "..there's no confirmation process at all" the governor appoints them and there they sit, sometimes dozing through cases that often seem to have already been decided by some backroom handshake.

Because Kansas has never had a conservative governor, there's not even much political diversity on the court. All the members are in general agreement on the way things ought to be in Kansas in fact, in 2005, they even started passing legislation of their own, deciding to the penny how much the state should spend on educating kids. Most of them have, at one time or other, made clear their impatience with wing-nuts and others who disagree with them.

You'd think conservatives would be pleased with a court that has moved so far back in time that its hearings resemble the Star Chamber trials that ended the reign and the life of Britain's Charles the First back in the 1600s.

But no. this afternoon, Rep. Lance Kinzer's House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings "public's invited, of course"on HB 2825, a crowbar bill that would pry open courtroom doors across the state by limiting the ability of judges to conduct secret trials and hearings or have their pleadings sealed.

The Planned Parenthood v Kline case triggered Kinzer's concern, but, as he wrote in an email, the bill is "more of an open [government] issue than a pro-life issue." In a statement released yesterday, Kinzer wrote, "The public has a fundamental interest in all cases that are submitted to a court for resolution. It is an unfortunate reality today that many of the most important public policy issues facing our State are being decided by courts. As such it is more important than ever that our judicial process is open and accessible."

An open court presided over by justices who have been through a public confirmation process? There's a wild and crazy idea, one that's never been tried in Teheran or in Topeka.


Denis Boyles, comments on the media and the Midwest for National Review Online, also writes the Monday, Monday column for Kansas Liberty. He's the author of Superior, Nebraska, an oddly-titled book mostly about Kansas.



Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

{This article supports the observation that Anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide are not causing global warming or climate change. As can clearly be seen in the Figures, the Medieval warming period shows much greater temperatures than those of post modern industrialization. Additionally, sea levels have been rising well before the onset of the oil and gas age.

This is an abridged version of the original piece by Arthur Robinson, Noah Robinson and Willie Soon, a bit lengthy but well worth the read. It is reprinted by permission of the authors. The complete article is available here. - Ed. }

by Arthur Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, and Willie Soon


Figure 1 (Main photo): Average length of 169 glaciers from 1700 to 2000 (4). The principal source of melt energy is solar radiation. Variations in glacier mass and length are primarily due to temperature and precipitation (5,6). This melting trend lags the temperature increase by about 20 years, so it predates the 6-fold increase in hydrocarbon use (7) even more than shown in the figure. Hydrocarbon use could not have caused this shortening trend.

Political leaders gathered in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 to consider a world treaty restricting human production of "greenhouse gases," chiefly carbon dioxide (CO2). They feared that CO2 would result in "human-caused global warming" – hypothetical severe increases in Earth's temperatures, with disastrous environmental consequences. During the past 10 years, many political efforts have been made to force worldwide agreement to the Kyoto treaty.

When we reviewed this subject in 1998 (1,2), existing satellite records were short and were centered on a period of changing intermediate temperature trends. Additional experimental data have now been obtained, so better answers to the questions raised by the hypothesis of "human-caused global warming" are now available.

Figure 2: Surface temperatures in the Sargasso Sea, a two million square mile region of the Atlantic Ocean, with time resolution of 50 to 100 years and ending in 1975, as determined by isotope ratios of marine organism remains in sediment at the bottom of the sea (3). The horizontal line is the average temperature for this 3,000-year period. The Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Optimum were naturally occurring, extended intervals of climate departures from the mean. A value of 0.25 °C, which is the change in Sargasso Sea temperature between 1975 and 2006, has been added to the 1975 data in order to provide a 2006 temperature value.

The average temperature of the Earth has varied within a range of about 3°C during the past 3,000 years. It is currently increasing as the Earth recovers from a period that is known as the Little Ice Age, as shown in Figure 2. George Washington and his army were at Valley Forge during the coldest era in 1,500 years, but even then the temperature was only about 1° Centigrade below the 3,000-year average.

During the Medieval Climate Optimum, temperatures were warm enough to allow the colonization of Greenland. These colonies were abandoned after the onset of colder temperatures. For the past 200 to 300 years, Earth temperatures have been gradually recovering (26). Sargasso Sea temperatures are now approximately equal to the average for the previous 3,000 years.

The historical record does not contain any report of "global warming" catastrophes, even though temperatures have been higher than they are now during much of the last three millennia.

Figure 3: Arctic surface air temperature compared with total solar irradiance as measured by sunspot cycle amplitude, sunspot cycle length, solar equatorial rotation rate, fraction of penumbral spots, and decay rate of the 11-year sunspot cycle (8,9). Solar irradiance correlates well with Arctic temperature, while hydrocarbon use (7) does not correlate.

The most recent part of this warming period is reflected by shortening of world glaciers, as shown in Figure 4. Glaciers regularly lengthen and shorten in delayed correlation with cooling and warming trends. Shortening lags temperature by about 20 years, so the current warming trend began in about 1800.

Figure 4: Average length of 169 glaciers from 1700 to 2000 (4). The principal source of melt energy is solar radiation. Variations in glacier mass and length are primarily due to temperature and precipitation (5,6). This melting trend lags the temperature increase by about 20 years, so it predates the 6-fold increase in hydrocarbon use (7) even more than shown in the figure. Hydrocarbon use could not have caused this shortening trend.

Surface temperatures in the United States during the past century reflect this natural warming trend and its correlation with solar activity, as shown in Figure 3. Compiled U.S. surface temperatures have increased about 0.5 °C per century, which is consistent with other historical values of 0.4 to 0.5 °C per century during the recovery from the Little Ice Age (13-17). This temperature change is slight as compared with other natural variations. Three intermediate trends are evident, including the decreasing trend used to justify fears of "global cooling" in the 1970s.

ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE

During the past 50 years, atmospheric CO2 has increased by 22%. The magnitude of this atmospheric increase is currently about 4 gigatons (Gt C) of carbon per year. Total human industrial CO2 production, primarily from use of coal, oil, and natural gas and the production of cement, is currently about 8 Gt C per year (7,56,57). Humans also exhale about 0.6 Gt C per year, which has been sequestered by plants from atmospheric CO2. Office air concentrations often exceed 1,000 ppm CO2.

Much of that CO2 increase is attributable to the 6-fold increase in human use of hydrocarbon energy. However, figures 2, 3, &4 show that human use of hydrocarbons has not caused the observed increases in temperature.

Between 1900 and 2000, on absolute scales of solar irradiance and degrees Kelvin, solar activity increased 0.19%, while a 0.5 °C temperature change is 0.21%. This is in good agreement with estimates that Earth's temperature would be reduced by 0.6 °C through particulate blocking of the sun by 0.2%(18).

Figure 5: U.S. surface temperature from Figure 3 as compared with total solar irradiance (19).


Between 1900 and 2006, Antarctic CO2 increased 30% per 0.1 °C temperature change (72), and world CO2 increased 30% per 0.5 °C. In addition to ocean out-gassing, CO2 from human use of hydrocarbons is a new source. Neither this new source nor the older natural CO2 sources are causing atmospheric temperature to change.

Carbon dioxide has a very short residence time in the atmosphere. Beginning with the 7 to 10-year half-time of CO2 in the atmosphere estimated by Revelle and Seuss (69), there were 36 estimates of the atmospheric CO2 half-time based upon experimental measurements published between 1957 and 1992 (59). These range between 2 and 25 years, with a mean of 7.5, a median of 7.6, and an upper range average of about 10. Of the 36 values, 33 are 10 years or less.

There is no experimental evidence to support computer model estimates (73) of a CO2 atmospheric "lifetime" of 300 years or more.


FERTILIZATION OF PLANTS BY CO2


How high will the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere ultimately rise if mankind continues to increase the use of coal, oil, and natural gas? At ultimate equilibrium with the ocean and other reservoirs there will probably be very little increase. The current rise is a non-equilibrium result of the rate of approach to equilibrium. One reservoir that would moderate the increase is especially important.

Plant life provides a large sink for CO2. Using current knowledge about the increased growth rates of plants and assuming increased CO2 release as compared to current emissions, it has been estimated that atmospheric CO2 levels may rise to about 600 ppm before leveling off. At that level, CO2 absorption by increased Earth biomass is able to absorb about 10 Gt C per year (100).

Does a catastrophic amplification of these trends with damaging climatological consequences lie ahead? There are no experimental data that suggest this. There is also no experimentally validated theoretical evidence of such an amplification.

GLOBAL WARMING HYPOTHESIS

Predictions of catastrophic global warming are based on computer climate modeling, a branch of science still in its infancy. The empirical evidence – actual measurements of Earth's temperature and climate – shows no man-made warming trend. Indeed, during four of the seven decades since 1940 when average CO2 levels steadily increased, U.S. average temperatures were actually decreasing. While CO2 levels have increased substantially and are expected to continue doing so and humans have been responsible for part of this increase, the effect on the environment has been benign.

Not only has the global warming hypothesis failed experimental tests, it is theoretically flawed as well. It can reasonably be argued that cooling from negative physical and biological feedbacks to greenhouse gases nullifies the slight initial temperature rise (84,86).

Figure 6: Qualitative illustration of greenhouse warming. "Present GHE" is the current greenhouse effect from all atmospheric phenomena. "Radiative effect of CO2" is the added greenhouse radiative effect from doubling CO2 without consideration of other atmospheric components. "Hypothesis 1 IPCC" is the hypothetical amplification effect assumed by IPCC. "Hypothesis 2" is the hypothetical moderation effect.


When an increase in CO2 increases the radiative input to the atmosphere, how and in which direction does the atmosphere respond? Hypotheses about this response differ and are schematically shown in Figure 6. Without the water-vapor greenhouse effect, the Earth would be about 14 ºC cooler (81). The radiative contribution of doubling atmospheric CO2 is minor, but this radiative greenhouse effect is treated quite differently by different climate hypotheses.

The hypotheses that the IPCC (82,83) has chosen to adopt predict that the effect of CO2 is amplified by the atmosphere, especially by water vapor, to produce a large temperature increase. Other hypotheses, shown as hypothesis 2, predict the opposite – that the atmospheric response will counteract the CO2 increase and result in insignificant changes in global temperature (81,84,85,91,92). The experimental evidence, as described above, favors hypothesis 2.

The computer climate models upon which "human-caused global warming" is based have substantial uncertainties and are markedly unreliable. This is not surprising, since the climate is a coupled, non-linear dynamical system. It is very complex. Figure 7 illustrates the difficulties by comparing the radiative CO2 greenhouse effect with correction factors and uncertainties in some of the parameters in the computer climate calculations. Other factors, too, such as the chemical and climatic influence of volcanoes, cannot now be reliably computer modeled.

Figure 7: The radiative greenhouse effect of doubling the concentration of atmospheric CO2 (right bar) as compared with four of the uncertainties in the computer climate models.

The greenhouse effect amplifies solar warming of the earth. Greenhouse gases such as H2O, CO2, and CH4 in the Earth's atmosphere, through combined convective readjustments and the radiative blanketing effect, essentially decrease the net escape of terrestrial thermal infrared radiation. Increasing CO2, therefore, effectively increases radiative energy input to the Earth's atmosphere. The path of this radiative input is complex. It is redistributed, both vertically and horizontally, by various physical processes, including advection, convection, and diffusion in the atmosphere and ocean.

The reasons for the failure of the computer climate models are subjects of scientific debate (87). For example, water vapor is the largest contributor to the overall greenhouse effect (88). It has been suggested that the climate models treat feedbacks from clouds, water vapor, and related hydrology incorrectly (85,89-92).

The 3,000-year temperature record illustrated in Figure 1 also provides a test of the computer models. The historical temperature record shows that the Earth has previously warmed far more than could be caused by CO2 itself. Since these past warming cycles have not initiated water-vapor-mediated atmospheric warming catastrophes, it is evident that weaker effects from CO2 cannot do so.

There is no indication whatever in the experimental data that an abrupt or remarkable change in any of the ordinary natural climate variables is beginning or will begin to take place.

CONCLUSIONS

There are no experimental data to support the hypothesis that increases in human hydrocarbon use or in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing or can be expected to cause unfavorable changes in global temperatures, weather, or landscape. There is no reason to limit human production of CO2, CH4, and other minor greenhouse gases as has been proposed (82,83,97,123).

We also need not worry about environmental calamities even if the current natural warming trend continues. The Earth has been much warmer during the past 3,000 years without catastrophic effects. Warmer weather extends growing seasons and generally improves the habitability of colder regions.

As coal, oil, and natural gas are used to feed and lift from poverty vast numbers of people across the globe, more CO2 will be released into the atmosphere. This will help to maintain and improve the health, longevity, prosperity, and productivity of all people.


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