by Larry Vardiman, Ph.D., and Michael J. Oard, M.S.*
There is strong geological evidence for an Ice Age, so the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) has always been interested in explaining it within a biblical framework. ICR founder Dr. Henry M. Morris briefly alluded to the Ice Age in his and John Whitcomb’s groundbreaking book The Genesis Flood.1
In 1990, ICR published a theoretical explanation for the Ice Age in An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood, now out of print, written by former National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Oard.2 In this book, he used two mechanisms suggested by other creationists to explain how the Ice Age could occur after the Flood. One of the mechanisms was that volcanic aerosols trapped in the stratosphere after the Flood and replenished by post-Flood volcanism cooled the continents during the summer. The second mechanism was the warm ocean water after the Flood from pole to pole and top to bottom. Details can be found in Frozen in Time.3
ICR atmospheric scientist Dr. Larry Vardiman and computational engineer Dr. Wes Brewer conducted computer simulations to see whether Michael Oard’s proposed mechanism (warm oceans) could explain how thousands of feet of ice would accumulate within a biblical time frame. Through gifts from donors, a computer was built at ICR that had the power of a small Cray supercomputer. A computer model used by the National Weather Service was adapted to run on the ICR computer to forecast precipitation, wind speed, and storm patterns. Storms over the western U.S., in the Gulf of Mexico, along the East Coast, and in the Arabian Sea were simulated for higher ocean temperatures and compared with known storms.4,5
Warm ocean temperatures were found to energize storms and produce stronger winds, faster updrafts, and more precipitation. Warm oceans also caused more rainfall at middle latitudes. In the simulations, ice sheets and glaciers grew in high latitudes, some middle-latitude areas, and in mountainous areas within centuries, not hundreds of thousands of years. These were encouraging results because Michael Oard had estimated, based on heat balance equations, that the Ice Age probably lasted 700 years.2
Additional work explored the vast ages assigned to Earth’s thick ice sheets. Michael Oard spent three months at ICR working on a book refuting skeptics’ claims that the deep ice cores of Greenland and Antarctica are millions of years old.6 And Dr. Vardiman published a basic analytical model for the rapid growth of a post-Flood ice sheet.7
The Genesis Flood’s ability to plausibly explain the Ice Age is one of the strong points of the creation model of Earth history. Many have enjoyed the video documentary of Dr. Vardiman’s explanation of a biblical Ice Age from atop Mt. Baker in Washington State with a view of a glacier in the background.8 Visitors to both the original ICR museum in Santee, California, and the ICR Discovery Center in Dallas, Texas, are often excited and encouraged to see how the Bible makes sense of this ancient climate mystery. And these results continue to inspire additional work by other creation researchers.
- Whitcomb, J. C. and H. M. Morris. 1961. The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 292-311.
- Oard, M. J. 1990. An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood. El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research.
- Oard, M. J. 2004. Frozen in Time: Woolly Mammoths, the Ice Age, and the Biblical Key to Their Secrets. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
- Vardiman, L. 2010. An Ice Age in Yellowstone National Park. Acts & Facts. 39 (12): 12–14.
- Vardiman, L. and W. Brewer. 2011. A Well-Watered Land: Numerical Simulations of a Hypercyclone in the Middle East. Answers Research Journal. 4: 55–74.
- Oard, M. J. 2005. The Frozen Record: Examining the Ice Core History of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research.
- Vardiman, L. 1994. An Analytic Young-Earth Flow Model of Ice Sheet Formation During the “Ice Age.” In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism. R. Walsh, ed. Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship, 561-568.
- Is Genesis History? 2019. Compass Cinema DVD. Directed by Thomas Purifoy, Jr. For more information, visit IsGenesisHistory.com.
* Dr. Vardiman earned his Ph.D. in atmospheric science from Colorado State University.
* Michael Oard earned his M.S. in atmospheric science from the University of Washington.