What a waste(land)

by Bryan Walker on October 27, 2010

I was pleased to catch sight of the first two words of the headline on the Eco Issues page of the Waikato Times this week — “The Arctic”, it said, and I assumed thankfully that they were going to focus on the alarming developments there. And so they were, but not in the sense I presumed, for the headline continued “– site for an icy cold war?”  The article was all about the competition for seabed resources as the ice diminishes. Nothing at all about the threat to the global climate. The omission was compounded by another headline for an inset panel: “A frozen wasteland no more”. In other words, with the melting of the ice the Arctic is becoming useful.

Incidentally the word wasteland reminded of me how a few years ago the chairman of a local trust, a subsequent national president of the ACT party, opposed making a grant for wetlands restoration. “Wetlands are wastelands,” he said.

 

The terrible irony of referring to the Arctic as a wasteland is presumably lost on many Waikato Times readers. And not too many journalists are likely to question the focus on resource extraction. We can expect a plethora of journalistic analysis of the international tensions over the rights to natural resources from the Arctic as it moves inexorably to losing its sea ice. That appears much more likely to be the substance of reportage and discussion than the consequences for global warming. Political leaders will come alive on the issue. Indeed they already have. Vladimir Putin hosted an international conference last month on the future of the Arctic, and although he claimed development would be sensitive to the environment he also made it clear that he’s no believer in anthropogenic global warming, as reported in the Energy Tribune.  Expect much closer political attention to the exploitation of newly accessible mineral resources than to the implications for global warming.

It is obvious to anyone who follows climate science that a frozen Arctic is pretty well essential to the climate in which human civilisation has developed. The loss of Arctic sea ice and a diminishing Greenland ice sheet carry between them incalculable consequences for change which it is by no means clear we can manage.  That’s why apprehension is the most rational human response to what we are seeing, accompanied by a determination to stop making it even worse. But how much longer do we have to wait for apprehension to be manifest on a wider scale than is so far apparent?  Putin’s no help:

“Is it changing because of human influence or because of unavoidable changes in the planet’s development that humankind cannot prevent? Is it really disastrous for the planet? I don’t want to say that we should give up our efforts to combat global warming, but maybe it is happening regardless of our influence? It is most likely so.”

Nor is there any sign of awareness from the numerous Republican political candidates in the US who have become bogged in a mire of unreason as they variously deny the science altogether, or treat it as highly uncertain, or downplay it in favour of fossil fuel energy. It’s almost unbelievable to see the list of gubernatorial candidates, for instance, whose stances have been reported by the Wonk Room. There are many other articles in the Wonk Room climate section, by the way, reporting the sad story of a major political party’s descent into denial of the most pressing issue of our time.

Back here in Hamilton I shall write a letter to the editor pointing out that far from a wasteland the frozen Arctic is vital to life as we have known it since civilisation began.  I shall deplore the continuing failure of political leadership to come to terms with the reality of climate science, and urge readers to be concerned for their children and grandchildren in the world we are creating. A year ago I could have said this in a column, but the paper’s anxiety about ‘balance’ put an end to that. A letter will be better than nothing.

[I could be the ticket man at Fulham Broadway station…]

{ 125 comments… read them below or add one }

Macro October 27, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Bryan, i shall write too. far too little weight given to the climatic consequences of this impending event! but to give waikato times their due – last week they did have a very good article on the drought in the mid west (i think) was under a bit of morphine cloud in hamilton’s hospital so don’t recall the important details ie author etc.

Bryan Walker October 28, 2010 at 6:44 am

Yes, I felt a bit bad about using the Waikato Times as an example. They have a much better record than some over climate change issues. It was the general phenomenon rather than the WT in particular that I was intent on.

Macro October 28, 2010 at 11:10 am

Bryan, having just recently moved into the Waikato my first reading of the WT was on my hospital bed. I must say I found it a surprisingly good read on my first experience. The full page report on the extensive drought conditions in the US mid west was obviously something that farmers could relate too – but did have the sting in the tale (by a climate scientist) that it was most likely a consequence of GW!
Chipping away at the rather large block seems the only way forward at the moment.

John D October 27, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Does seem a bit weird when records are being broken for cold weather and early snowfalls in Northern Europe at the moment.

Any explanation for that?

CTG October 27, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Which bit of “Arctic warming” do you not understand?

adelady October 28, 2010 at 1:27 am

John, Some NH residents may face some very cold winters if the Arctic warming goes the way it seems to be at the moment. Some people refer to it as WACCy weather. Warm Arctic Cold Continents. This was the first item that came up on a search.

http://climatesignals.org/2010/10/warming-arctic-pushing-cold-winters-south-to-u-s-europe/

Macro October 28, 2010 at 10:25 am

john
as an example:
which is warmer -14 or -16 degrees C?
at which temperature will water vapour form ice? – pressures being equal.
which is warmer 14 or 16 degrees C?
which temperature will cause the greatest water evaporation? – pressures being equal
a warming world will also have a greater hydrological cycle.
more snow and ice precipitation in the Arctic is clear evidence that the world is warming

John D October 28, 2010 at 10:32 am

more snow and ice precipitation in the Arctic is clear evidence that the world is warming

Forgive my cynicism, but it’s quite a hard sell telling that to the British public, when they are digging themselves out of snow drifts for the second winter on a run, especially when not too long ago we were told that snow in the UK “would be a thing of the past”

Macro October 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

so you choose not to understand even the most basic of explanations. much better to think it’s all a load of hogwash and a conspiracy to boot.

John D October 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

@Macro
so you choose not to understand even the most basic of explanations

Your explanation sounded like something from a primary school teacher.

The weather patterns exhibited in Europe at the moment display similar characteristics to those show in the 1940s.

Furthermore, we have ships’ logs from the early 20th Century reporting vast tracts of open water in the Arctic.

My hypothesis is that we are experiencing normal cyclical weather patterns.

It is up to you to prove that this is abnormal and caused by human CO2 emissions.

Macro October 28, 2010 at 11:41 am

“The weather patterns exhibited in Europe at the moment display similar characteristics to those show in the 1940s.

Furthermore, we have ships’ logs from the early 20th Century reporting vast tracts of open water in the Arctic.”

bullshit

evidence

John D October 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm

THE ARCTIC IS MELTING

“It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated….

(see additional*)

….. this affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.” A request was made for the Royal Society to assemble an expedition to go and investigate.

President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817, Minutes of Council, Volume 8. pp.149-153, Royal Society, London. 20th November, 1817.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/

Macro October 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm

“It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated….

(see additional*)

and you know what happened when they went? one of the most horrific catastrophies in human exploration. they all perished. locked up in the ice for two years. never able to make it back.
it was a beat to get funding for self grandisement!
what a underhand and despicable thing to use this as evidence of warm Arctic sea conditions then.

Richard T October 28, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Actually if you read carefully the excerpt (“the severity of the cold for centuries past”) quoted by John D it actually points to just how unprecedented the current state of affairs are – they are far beyond the temporary (2 year) and probably regional anomaly of 1815-1816.

An own goal! Ha.

John D October 28, 2010 at 12:53 pm

In what way is this an own goal?

I was asked for evidence of previous incidents of melting Arctic conditions; I provided them to the best of my ability.

Macro October 28, 2010 at 1:47 pm

john – as i tried to explain above – in no way was it evidence of the Arctic warming at that time and the outcome of this jingoistic beatup by a Society trying to gain funding for global exploration and world domination for what ever nationalistic purpose! (cf Bryan’s concern over the WT piece we are supposed to be discussing) had extremely tragic consequences.

Macro October 28, 2010 at 1:59 pm
Richard T October 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Well do you believe the “evidence” you presented or not? If you do you then have to concede that the current state of the arctic is unprecedented for the past several centuries. Where Several = 2 + (the number of “Centuries Past”). To me that contradicts denier assertions that the current arctic conditions aren’t that unusual. That’s an own goal in my book.

Artful Dodger October 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Notice that 1817 is in the early “Nineteenth” Century? Besides the Denialist meme quoted above has already been thoroughly debunked, here by Patrick Lockerby. He writes, in part:

“those words … refer to an attempt by William Scoresby Junior to reach the East coast of Greenland. The ship managed to get within sight of Greenland’s East coast, but was confronted by an impenetrable barrier of ice.”

So, dragging out this debunked quote is definitely an “own goal”, and a Red Herring. Best advice? DNFTT!

Richard T October 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Artful Dodger – thanks for that Patrick Lockerby link – really interesting.
I do try and refrain from feeding the caged trolls, but sometimes it is fun to poke them with a stick.

R2D2 October 28, 2010 at 11:00 am

Basic explanations is one things (we / I) have a problem with. Whenever an extreme event occurs, be it snow, rain, drought, cold snap or heat wave, human caused global warming is blamed. But no long term (1000+ years) data is shown to prove the weather is in fact unusual in the historical record.

Macro October 28, 2010 at 11:31 am

so a measurable increase in the hydrological cycle is of no concern to you. even though it is a demonstrable outcome of GW?
einstien’s theory of relativity – 1st go – had the demonstrable consequence of a red shift. it was just a theory up until the predicted red shift was observed some years later.
GW has a number of outcomes. A cooling troposphere, an increase in the hydrological cycle, a steady rise in sea levels, polar regions warming more quickly than equatorial, and so. All these things are being observed. Gareth notes tweets every day of new evidence. do you ever take the time to follow the links?
the rate of warming CANNOT be explained by natural imputations – slight changes to solar radiation etc. these are just too slight. the ONLY satisfactory explanation we have for the post-industrial GW is that of the dramatic increase in greenhouse gases.
Fiddle while Rome burns if you want,

Nick October 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm

” ..a cooling upper troposphere and stratosphere,with a lowering tropopause..” Is that what you meant,macro?

Hey,JohnD,what about the ‘Chiclone’? Second high latitude land megastorm of the year for N America with record low pressures…potentiated by record heat in the south and more water in the atmosphere.

Macro October 28, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Nick,
yes exactly.
typing one handed and not very well.
brain tends to get ahead of the finger!

Macro October 28, 2010 at 11:37 am

“Your explanation sounded like something from a primary school teacher.”
well i did try to make it simple for you – you obviously are having difficulty with the topic.
and yes i have taught in primary, secondary, as well as tertiary institutions, but never pre-school a la wittgenstein.

John D October 28, 2010 at 12:58 pm

you obviously are having difficulty with the topic.

No

Thomas October 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Yes John, you do have difficulty with the topic alright.

One of the many simpleton statements that come from GW deniers are borne in misconceptions about the effects of warmer air on its ability to carry moisture – either away from places where a lot of evaporation happens – or to placed where a lot of condensation and precipitation happens. Hence GW intensifies the climatic zones. Floods get stronger and droughts get stronger.
Now to winter snowfall: The large climatic changes of the arctic due to its rapid warming are leading a change of the weather patterns in the entire region around the arctic. A warmer arctic ocean and the injection of energy from freezing of new ice will cause the air to carry more moisture. This will cause more snowfall.

It is simply nonsense to point to snowfall in the northern hemisphere and take this as a proof that GW is not happening. It is just that: non-sense.

John D October 28, 2010 at 6:13 pm

@Thomas

It is simply nonsense to point to snowfall in the northern hemisphere and take this as a proof that GW is not happening. It is just that: non-sense.

Please point me to the place where I stated that snowfall is proof that GW is not happening.

Unless misquoting me and calling me denier is part of your thing.

And when you have done that, please explain to me why, in the early part of this decade, we were told, in the UK, that snowfall will be a thing of the past.

Got that?

John D October 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

and just to help you along Thomas, here is a link from 2000

“Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past”

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

Macro October 28, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Thomas – it’s a waste of time!
he forgets what he said at the very begining.

“Does seem a bit weird when records are being broken for cold weather and early snowfalls in Northern Europe at the moment.

Any explanation for that?”

Macro October 28, 2010 at 6:50 pm

and the has the temerity to say
“Please point me to the place where I stated that snowfall is proof that GW is not happening.”
but then consistency is not a strong suite in the denial system of logic

John D October 28, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Just in case you are having cognitive problems with reading my links, Macro and Thomas, here’s a snippet:

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

The effects of snow-free winter in Britain are already becoming apparent. This year, for the first time ever, Hamleys, Britain’s biggest toyshop, had no sledges on display in its Regent Street store. “It was a bit of a first,” a spokesperson said.

Gosh, a CRU scientist is telling us that snow will be “rare and exciting”.

Golly, look here’s another rare and exciting photo of snow in Britain:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weather/8061737/Snow-to-hit-Britain.html

Oh, heres’ some more rare footage

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7864395.stm

and some more

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=42237

and some more

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1240319/As-Britain-told-expect-snow-10-days-rest-world-coping-Arctic-weather.html

Nick Barnes October 27, 2010 at 10:57 pm

John D: whereabouts in Northern Europe? Here in the UK we’ve been having some very mild weather for the time of year. On Monday I was walking dogs on the beach in blazing sunshine, in a T-shirt.

I’m not sure what you are questioning. The arctic certainly has historic warm temperatures and low levels of sea ice. This certainly has significant climatic effects all over the northern hemisphere, especially in the northern temperate zones. In different regions, those effects may include warming, cooling, more precipitation, less precipitation, and changes to wind patterns.

In any case, with my amateur climate scientist hat on, I am vaguely expecting a cold and snowy winter here in 2010/11 — about the same as 2009/10 — because (a) La Nina and (b) lots of evaporation from the unusually large areas of open water in the Arctic.

cynicus October 28, 2010 at 3:10 am

Counter a cherry pick with an opposite cherry pick. Me like! :-)

John D October 28, 2010 at 8:51 am
Byron Smith October 28, 2010 at 10:41 am

John, you do realise that by giving these cherry picks in response to Nick’s question, you haven’t addressed the far more important comments from CTG and Adelady?

Macro October 28, 2010 at 10:44 am

john
have you ever watched water heat up?
have you noticed how the fluid eddies and flows, there seems no set patten – just warm water rising in a chaotic manner.
swum in the sea when its just warming up? some parts warm others bitter cold.
the atmosphere is a fluid and behaves just like that. some parts heat up and other parts stay cold. air pressures may rise and fall rapidly. (like steam bubbles in water). quickly falling air pressure affects temperature – like a fridge or heat pump.
extreme weather events (at both ends of the temperature spectrum) are a clear sign of a warming world.

R2D2 October 28, 2010 at 2:22 pm

extreme weather events (at both ends of the temperature spectrum) are a clear sign of a warming world”

WTF?? I guess the world has been warming then since.. forever really. Or have extreme weather events only been happening since people came along?

The below is an interesting perspective on some events that if they happened today would surely be blamed on AGW,

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/65357/two-asias-mega-droughts-influenced.html

Macro October 28, 2010 at 2:29 pm

you’ll stop at nothing r2
pedant to the end!
what i should have said was “increasing extreme weather events are further evidence.. etc”
my apologies for this – but you knew that already!

John D October 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Can you define what you mean by “extreme weather event”, and provide evidence to support the assertion that these events are increasing

Macro October 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm

no
i’ve wasted enough time already – but you can find it yourself if you care to look! the failure here is not mine but yours.
even re-insurers are aware of the impending escalation of insurance.

Gareth October 28, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Do your own research. Spoon-feeding someone who shows no interest in reading and understanding the references provided is a waste of time. You could start by reading the recent posts at Hot Topic that have discussed the subject.

John D October 28, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Ok, I have some research for you

Top 50 disasters, 1939 to 1999
Severe weather on the decline
http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0134883d7590970c-pi

Hurricanes since 1970

http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c01348742dbcd970c-pi

Ten worst cyclones

http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0133f492ebed970b-pi

More fun:

http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0133f492e944970b-pi

No doubt I will be accused of cherry-picking, linking to “denier sites”

I look forward to your rebuttal.

Nick October 28, 2010 at 3:29 pm

We have better forecasting,earlier warning,better building codes and better mass evacuation options for many areas of the world now,John. It is now easier to mitigate megastorm impacts by moving people..unless you’re in Myanmar.

Gareth October 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Referencing Goddard, king of the cherry-pickers! Way to go, JohnD, way to go. Come back when you’ve read the references provided, not shopped around the usual suspects for talking points.

Nick October 28, 2010 at 3:37 pm

“Severe weather disasters on the decline”,not “severe weather on the decline”. Is there a gene for your selective vision?

Nick October 28, 2010 at 3:49 pm

“Extreme hurricanes becoming rare”? Somehow,I don’t think the stats on hurricanes hitting the US mainland-a very small subset of the globe-will tell you much about this subject.

R2D2 October 28, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Macro: “even re-insurers are aware of the impending escalation of insurance.”

I am aware insurers are lobbying for action on emissions.

Look at slide 15 of the below link. Look at all the insurance claims.

http://ips.ac.nz/events/downloads/2010/Manning%20seminar.pdf

What do you notice? The most likely place for an extreme event in Australia is the eastern sea board. The most likely places in Asia are India / Pakistain / China / SEA. The most likely in the world are the USA and Europe.

Hmmm could this be, that people are more likely to live in high risk places than low risk? Could it be people are causing the events? Or could it be that when more people get wealthier more people get insurance and then more people claim on insurance?

Read the context the slide was presented in. And this from a prominient NZ climate scientist!

Macro October 28, 2010 at 7:47 pm

you really are unbelievable R2! Talk about spin! You take a raft of evidence – notice the graph on increasing extreme events from the insurers – it wasn’t increasing “costs” as you imply with your spin – but increasing number of events! something you persistently want to avoid accepting. no amount of evidence will satisfy you! you will be spinning in your grave.

Nick October 28, 2010 at 6:18 pm

R2D2,US figures show that extreme one-day precipitation events are on the increase there,and extreme heat records outnumber cold by 5 to 1. While there is no doubt that disasters happen to people not empty places and we are better at anticipating them and invest more in that, there seem to be some trends in extremes developing.

R2D2 October 28, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Well the hot days is self explanitory – the world has warmed since records begun in the late 1800s.

When was the wet days since? I seem to remember a past discussion on here where if you went back to the 30s there was no trend (trend since the 70s)

Nick October 28, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Those one-day extremes are since the end of the 70s.

R2D2 October 28, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Not long enough to establish a trend. We know the 70s was a cooling period.

Dappledwater October 28, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Those one-day extremes are since the end of the 70s. – Nick

Not long enough to establish a trend. – R2D2

Uh-oh. Aside from being wrong R2, you’re going to regret making that comment.

CTG October 29, 2010 at 12:46 am

You know R2, I am beyond angry with your denial of the most basic facts.

You have a political agenda that you want to push – that’s fine. But this constant denial that any of the extreme weather events of late have anything at all to do with global warming is beyond the pale.

I understand that you don’t want to take personal responsibility for what is happening. That’s a natural response – for an infant. At some point, though, you have to grow up and behave like an adult. The first step is to admit responsibility. Then, and only then, can we talk about what to do about it. You cannot seriously expect to be part of the solution if you deny there is a problem in the first place.

So, how about you start acting like an adult, eh?

Or are we in for a lot more of the “fingers in the ears, wah wah wah, can’t hear you” behaviour?

Artful Dodger October 29, 2010 at 7:32 am

CTG: Hey mate, you are falling for a classic internet Troll (a term for a person who, through willful action, attempts to disrupt a community or garner attention and controversy through provocative messages). Thus you are providing lulz to your tormentor, which only encourages further abuse.

As a relaxation exercise, try this: Rate your Subject according to the CDCI (Climate Denier Crackpot Index). I think you’ll be shocked and amused at the number you arrive at, just from this Hot Topic alone.

Cheers, Mate!

RW October 29, 2010 at 10:50 am

Sounds very sensible. R2D2 is a 24-carat gold-plated troll and also has an unstated religious fundamentalist motivation, judging by the stuff posted on a newspaper website by someone with a very similar name.

bill October 29, 2010 at 2:10 pm

R2 reminds me of the running joke in the Simpsons where Mr Burns cannot remember Homer’s name no matter how often it’s given to him ( ‘What? Talk sense man!’)

It was the Easterbrook Affair (search for ‘C3PO’ in comments at that stage) that really clinched it for me – R2 simply cannot / will not understand or acknowledge anything that isn’t convenient for his world view. Period.

Similarly as for John D the only reason to ever respond to him is setting the record straight for other readers. Hoping to persuade him is a Quixotic errand.

Rob Taylor October 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Here’s a one for all you deniers out there, doing your best to keep science out of politics!

“What is the point of civilization in the first place if we don’t use our hard-won understanding of how the universe works to influence our decisions on how to organize ourselves?

Watching one Republican candidate for office after another declare outright that they do not believe humans are causing climate change is befuddling enough. But to flat-out reject science as a guide to policy is beyond medieval. It’s a retreat to pure superstition, a surrender to barbarism. We might as well be reading omens in the entrails of sacrificial animals. Our wealth as a country, our incredible technological wonders — the Industrial Revolution! — were built upon scientific discovery.

Should the FDA reject clinical test results in deciding whether to approve a drug? Should the U.S. Corp of Engineers ignore physics when building dams and levees? Scientists say asbestos is dangerous to human health and cigarette smoking causes cancer. Who cares? Let’s continue to build public schools packed with the fire-retardant material and give free Camel nonfilters to teenagers!

We need more science in the political process, not less. The countries that understand that will thrive and prosper. The ones that don’t will undoubtedly fail, if they haven’t already doomed themselves.”

http://www.salon.com/news/global_warming/index.html?story=/tech/htww/2010/10/27/keep_science_out_of_politics

John D October 28, 2010 at 1:59 pm

We need more science in the political process, not less.

Yeah, worked pretty well for these guys, until they killed a few million in the process

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism

Gareth October 28, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Another own goal: Lysenkoism is a fine example of how politics can corrupt the science process (not the other way round), which is pretty much what’s happening in the US, with Republican candidates for high office seemingly proud to deny climate science, and therefore any need to restrain carbon emissions.

Artful Dodger October 29, 2010 at 7:57 am

Gareth: I believe we may be witnessing a new “all-time, single-thread” record high on the CDCI (Climate Denier Crackpot Index). It’s like watching a young Leonardo da Vinci, jumping off a cliff…

As Blog master, you may also enjoy reading Greenfryer’s Denier vs Skeptic collected “Works of Wisdom”.

Greenfryer also has a sensible “Comment Policy” posted on every page:

“Comment Policy

Comments that are not relevant to the post that they appear under or the evolving discussion will simply be deleted, as will links to Denier spam known to be scientific gibberish
* The “Mostly” Open Thread” is for general climate discussion that is not relevant to a particular post. Spam and abuse rules still apply;
* The “Challenging the Core Science” Comment Thread is for comments that purport to challenge the core science of anthropogenic climate change.”

CTG October 29, 2010 at 7:21 am

So, John, do you agree with the SciAm poll that we “need to keep science out of the political process”?

Yes or no?

John D October 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm
Mike Palin October 28, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I agree that science should provide the basis of sound public policy and abhor what the Republican Party is doing in the US.

However, the risk associated with some hazards is not clear-cut. For example, there is a fair bit of evidence that the most common form of “asbestos” used in many applications – including as a fire retardant in building materials – is not the acute toxic substance made out in the popular media (with a fair bit of help by some law firms). And as to the statement, “It’s a retreat to pure superstition, a surrender to barbarism. We might as well be reading omens in the entrails of sacrificial animals”: well, those of us who live in New Zealand might want to think about certain pending legislation concerning the coastal and marine environment before we throw stones.

I bring these potentially unpopular views up simply to contrast with the overwhelming consensus amongst climate scientists – and many of us on in associated disciplines – of the threat of unchecked anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases to Earth’s atmosphere.

John D October 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Mike
I am interested to see you quote the asbestos issue.
I believe this was, if my memory serves me right, written about in a post by Christopher Booker.

Pachauri made some rather pointed remarks about “climate sceptics smearing themselves in asbestos” a while back.

Good to see you are on the side of reason.

R2D2 October 28, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Rob: Putting our own opinions aside for a second, this is not as black and white as you make out.

In a democracy if anything is clear cut 100% proven by science then the people will decide based on cost benefits etc. Alcohol and driving is dangerous, therefore lets legislate against it. But to what level? Where’s the cut off? Here we have disagreement and the majority wins.

Of course science is not done by majority. So we cannot always have the best science included in every political decision. The alternative? A scientific dictatorship? I think the cure would be worse than the solution.

So in order for science to influence policy it must win over the public.

But you are probably a little quick to jump to the conclusion that scientists are well placed to make policy decisions. What makes you assume that if, for example, a scientist finds eating saturated fat causes heart disease we should regulate saturated fat? There are other things to consider; administration cost, perverse incentives, welfare costs etc. Policy is a complicated domain.

Kiwiiano October 28, 2010 at 2:59 pm

It seems that every time we get an apparent anomaly like cold winters in Europe or Nth America (ignore the abnormally heavy snow) the Blogosphere erupts in “see, that PROVES AGW is all a hoax!!!!”
Alas, no. Not unless they can step back to view the whole picture and simultaneously explain the record high temperatures, the record droughts, the record rainfalls, the record ice melts in Greenland & Antarctica, the disappearance of glaciers world-wide, the shifting seasons, the bubbling methane, the thinning Arctic ice, the sinking oceanic pH, the disappearing plankton, the warmer nights, the odd behaviour by walrus & polar bears, the collapsing permafrost, etc etc etc etc.
Sure, individually each can be dismissed as coincidental, but there’s a helluva lot of coincidences piling up.

Rob Taylor October 28, 2010 at 3:53 pm

So, John D, are you admitting to being anti-science, or just “pro” the pseudoscience touted by denialist PR fronts for vested industrial interests?

John D October 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm

John D, are you admitting to being anti-science

I have provided some graphs. Perhaps you could do the same, to prove your assertion that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent.

I have had a look at the posts here and I can’t find any.

Thanks

Lank October 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Yep the poles are heating up out of control – just like James Hanson forecast…. http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/polar-amplification/#more-5862

John D – Unfortunately only the ‘hot’ news gets reported. Can’t say I’ve seen much mention of these temperatures in the recent press. But of course these temperatures are another sign of AGW aren’t they Gareth?

Nick October 28, 2010 at 8:01 pm

The Goddard Self-Sabotage Meme : Whenever Steve ‘discusses’ a subject he will deliberately get it completely wrong. Similar to the Lank Loop.

CTG October 29, 2010 at 12:37 am

You’re quoting Steve “My brain hurts from counting pixels” Goddard?

You mean the Steve Goddard who thinks that the Antarctic is so cold it snows CO2?

You mean the Steve Goddard who thinks the air pressure in the Arctic is 0.006 atmos?

You mean the Steve Goddard who is so scientifically illiterate that even Anthony Watts is embarrassed by him?

That Steve Goddard?

And you think we should be impressed by him… why?

bill October 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm

This is the same Steven Goddard who was so utterly unable to understand the concept of the triple point and it’s relation (or lack thereof) to polar climate – and yet so smugly in the Dunning Kruger zone that he could not even accept correction coming from his own side – that Anthony Watts himself ended up telling him ‘Steven, you really need to stop’ ?

But he didn’t!

(I’m going to link to Watts! That won’t happen often http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/29/sea-ice-news-20/#comment-472379)

Lank October 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Hey Gareth – I’m sure you are aware that cold temperatures forced an end to the Viking colonization of Greenland in about 1430, the Thames River in London froze over most winters but the last time it froze was 1804, and in the 1600s and 1700s animals in Europe would die of cold inside barns which never happens now. Like the medieval warm period, temperature proxies around the world confirm that these cold and intervening warm periods were worldwide. Now that seems strange – warming and cooling cycles that long ago can’t all be down to AGW can they?

Thomas October 29, 2010 at 8:50 am

Indeed we have had warming and cooling cycles all along.
But now we humans have raised the CO2 levels of their pre-industrial levels from around 280 to just under 390 ppm.
We have also added other GW gasses in significant levels.
So on top of the natural variability of the climate we are adding new forcings which will lift the ‘game’ of Earth’s temperature significantly.
The CO2 is the main driver at present and together with further positive feedbacks (arctic albedo, more Methane, warmer Oceans more CO2 etc.)
So temperatures will go up as we have ample evidence now.
The new “warming and cooling cycles” will happen on top of the human triggered warming.
For a taste to where this can lead to read this (temperatures may exceed limits to human habitation for large parts of the world in the future)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504155413.htm

Lank October 28, 2010 at 7:00 pm

And of course not many of your readers will be aware that in some parts of Russia temperatures have dropped 40-50 degrees centigrade over the last couple of weeks. Another good example of AGW in action eh Gareth.

http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/russian-heatwave-update-41f-forecast-for-siberia/

Bob Bingham October 28, 2010 at 10:24 pm

One of the problems with global warming and 390ppm of CO2 is that we have not been there before,
One of the things that has been predicted for a long time is that the melting of Greenland ice could stop the gulf stream and plunge northern Europe into a cold age. That has not happened yet.
Instead it appears that the warming of the Arctic is disrupting the wind streams and sending cold air south to Europe and the USA.
There will be a lot of unpredicted things happening as it all progresses.

adelady October 29, 2010 at 1:29 am

There’s a name for it already. WACCy weather.

Warm Arctic Cold Continents.

Artful Dodger October 29, 2010 at 8:28 am

Gareth: This is a prime example what could be Moderated under a Comments Policy prohibiting “links to Denier spam known to be scientific gibberish”.

Leaving trolls such as this here tempts naive Commenters (and allows both Sock Puppets and Meat Puppets to perpetuate a false or pseudo-debate.

This is the primary tactic Denialists use to perpetuate inaction on Climate Change and Green Energy solutions.

Let’s stop playing the victim, let’s Stop Inaction!

Rob Taylor October 28, 2010 at 10:17 pm

I expect, Lank, that this cooling is a phenomenon called “Autumn”, soon to be followed by an even colder spell known as “Winter”.

Perhaps you are not aware of the differences between long-term climate, the annual seasons and the day-to-day weather?

Dappledwater October 28, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Rob, I’ve run across that Lank somewhere else. He/she is incapable of reason. DNFTT. Our resident trolls are quite enough.

Le Chat Noir October 29, 2010 at 12:05 am

A seconder for DNFTT. The way things are going around here Gareth may have to rename the blog Hot Trollop. But at least the locals don’t get their Ls and their Ws mixed up.

Gareth October 29, 2010 at 1:12 am

Hot Trollop!

Can I have one?

Please…?

;-)

Artful Dodger October 29, 2010 at 8:31 am

Gareth: I miss the “Thumbs Up”… Dappledwater and Le Chat Noir this is your 2 big thumbs up!

bill October 29, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I miss the thumbs up, too!

And I suspect that ‘Lank’ is likely to make us all miss the thumbs down if he persists.

Lank October 29, 2010 at 1:14 pm

H Dappled – Lets have a few facts on ice melt….
about 90% of the world’s ice (approx 70% of fresh water) is located in Antarctica where the average ice thickness is over 1,800 metres (deepest is 4.8 kilometres thick). The average temperature is between -20C and -49C at some of the small handfall of stations that record temperature there.
How do you expect a few parts per million increase in CO2 to cause this to melt in any significant amount? Interesting though that land ice in the Antarctic is slightly decreasing (if you can believe NASA) but ice over the peripheral ‘warming’ water is increasing in extent. How does that fit with global warming?

bill October 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm

‘How do you expect me to believe that an increase of a few hundredths of a percent of Alcohol in my bloodstream makes me unfit to drive a car (if you can believe doctors!)’

Lank October 29, 2010 at 12:57 pm

That’s right Rob – Autumn in both hemispheres – lets put that down to CO2.
We can put the warm summer they’ve had in Russia down to ‘summer’ too so why didn’t your alarmist mates do that??

Kiwiiano October 29, 2010 at 7:07 am

Quoting John D:
Ok, I have some research for you
Top 50 disasters, 1939 to 1999 Severe weather on the decline

Pity the list didn’t extend to 2010, entirely by coincidence, we have from the USofA just last Tuesday:
Visible satellite image of the October 26, 2010 superstorm taken at 5:32pm EDT. At the time, Bigfork, Minnesota was reporting the lowest pressure ever recorded in a U.S. non-coastal storm, 955 mb. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.
Quoting Minnesota meteorologist Paul Douglas on the subject:
My dad was the biggest Republican that ever walked the earth. He always said: “Actions have consequences.” To pretend that a 38% increase in greenhouse gases isn’t going to have any impact, that we can have our cake and eat it too, and smear it all over our face, and maybe have our grandchildren deal with the hangover, I think it is immoral.

Artful Dodger October 29, 2010 at 10:23 am

Hi Kiwiiano. At this point in the game, you may benefit from reading about the Denialists’ Deck of Cards. Can you identify the Cards in play? Cheers, mate!

Sam Vilain October 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm

That looks like a good idea. Instead of being drawn, simply reply with a link.

Eg,

Basic explanations is one things (we / I) have a problem with. Whenever an extreme event occurs, be it snow, rain, drought, cold snap or heat wave, human caused global warming is blamed. But no long term (1000+ years) data is shown to prove the weather is in fact unusual in the historical record.

2♣, skepticalscience.com entry #2, that 1500 year thing Crock, IPCC TAR 2.3

The only good reason to counter these arguments is for the benefit of casual readers who come across their tosh. So, give them links to established sources, which of course the deniers are unable to refute, rather than arguments to counter.

Artful Dodger October 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Snap. Bloody brilliant, mate! Well done. Tell us how you insert the symbols for the Card suits, so we can all use this short hand.

Now we just need a drop down toolbar to automate the debunking … Wack-a-Troll. LOL!

John D October 29, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Please can you reconcile the following statements, preferably using your dropdown toolbar or prepared troll material

(a) @Thomas October 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm
A warmer arctic ocean and the injection of energy from freezing of new ice will cause the air to carry more moisture.
This will cause more snowfall.

(b) However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.
“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.
The effects of snow-free winter in Britain are already becoming apparent.

TomG October 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm

First sentence @ Thomas October 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm.

“Yes John, you do have difficulty with the topic alright.”

Artful Dodger October 29, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Easy: 8♣ – “Red Herring“. Quoting a 10 year old comment made to a newspaper by a Scientist doesn’t refute core Climate Science, which is published in peer-reviewed Journals. But you knew that, didn’t you. LOL!

But don’t mistake this for a genuine debate, anyone. Denialist tactics are to nit-pick, muddy the waters, and exploit other’s ignorance in a desperate attempt to delay public policy change.

JohnD, don’t expect anyone here to take you seriously, or waste anymore time addressing your rhetorical arguments, until you make a clear, simple statement that you are not receiving any form of compensation, monetary or otherwise, for the posts you do on this blog.

Else, buh-bye.

John D October 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm

So I take it that Dr Viner’s comments have now been debunked, that cold snowless winters being a “thing of the past” is not true, and you have peer-reviewed evidence to back this up?

Fingers on dropdowns….

Artful Dodger October 29, 2010 at 3:43 pm

So there you have it folks: Since JohnD has passed over his opportunity to deny it, he tacitly admits he is a Paid Denialist.

These people are engaged to troll Climate change blogs and Newspapers, waste other’s time and mislead naive Readers, by vested interests that stand to loose when Society makes the inevitable switch to clean, abundant renewable Energy.

DNFTT

Lank October 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Yeh Kiwiiano but your good ‘ol dad probably forgot about the Armistice Day Blizzard (or the Armistice Day Storm) which took place in the Midwest region of the US on 11-12 November 1940. The intense early-season “Panhandle hook” winter storm cut a 1,600-kilometre-wide path through the middle of the country from Kansas to Michigan.

Snowfalls of up to 69 cm, winds of 80–130 km/h, 6.1 m snow drifts, and 30 °C temperature drops were common over parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. In Minnesota, 69 cm of snow fell at Collegeville, and the Twin Cities recorded 41 cm. Record low pressures were recorded in La Crosse, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota. Transportation and communications were crippled, which exacerbated finding the dead and injured. The Armistice Day Blizzard ranks #2 in Minnesota’s list of top-5 weather events of the 20th century.
But hey no one got hysterical and tried to blame it on global warming!!!

Kiwiiano October 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Lank, there have undoubtedly been some extreme weather prior to the effects of AGW, but I was drawing attention to John D’s assertion that severe weather was on a decline.
In fact there have been quite a number of records set this year….
Coastal North Carolina’s suffered its second 500-year rainfall in 11 years.
Tennessee’s 1000-year deluge aka Nashville’s ‘Katrina’.
Oklahoma City Paralyzed By Flash Floods.
Northeast was hit by record global-warming-type deluge .
Georgia’s record-smashing global-warming-type deluge
Throw in the Pakistan floods and Russia’s heat waves and the coincidences just keep piling up.

Daniel J. Andrews October 29, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Anyone saying the Arctic (or wetlands) are a wasteland, should include a “context-modifier”. That is, something that puts their words in context.

E.g. “Never having been to the Arctic, never having talked to people who live in the Arctic, never having talked to an ecologist/biologist/limnologist/scientist who has studied the Arctic, and never having read anything on the ecology or the biology of the Arctic or even attempted to educate myself on any matter of the Arctic, I can then say, without getting out of my comfortable arm-chair, that the Arctic is a wasteland”.

In a perfect world, the brain should do a preemptive strike and disable the mouth from uttering something that would mortify both brain and body if actually uttered. There’d be a lot of very silent politicians around (hey…win-win situation).

Lank October 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Hey guys – No answers to my questions??
“Lets have a few facts on ice melt….
about 90% of the world’s ice (approx 70% of fresh water) is located in Antarctica where the average ice thickness is over 1,800 metres (deepest is 4.8 kilometres thick). The average temperature is between -20C and -49C at some of the small handfall of stations that record temperature there.
How do you expect a few parts per million increase in CO2 to cause this to melt in any significant amount? Interesting though that land ice in the Antarctic is slightly decreasing (if you can believe NASA) but ice over the peripheral ‘warming’ water is increasing in extent. How does that fit with global warming?”
Not like Gareth to dodge making any comment.

Gareth October 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm
Artful Dodger October 30, 2010 at 1:02 am

Hi Gareth: above is another prime example of a thread that could be moderated under a tighter Comment Policy.

This thread is: 1. Clearly off-topic to begin 2. Demands references 3. provides own when nobody bites 4. disagrees with everything 5. refuse correction 6. repeat Ad Nauseum. Obviously a comment place here just here to disrupt, and attempt to create a false impression of a genuine debate.

I wonder if you check your logs to identify Sock puppets. How many of these Trolls are multiple identities of the same Commenter? Email for advice.

Also, if you haven’t yet seen it yet, this Blog is essential reading on Trolls and Trolling:

* What is a troll?
* What motivates trolling?
* How do I recognize a troll?
* Tactics to Expect

It may be an appropriate time for a new Post to educate Readers on how best to deal with Trolls. A DNFTT policy also requires vigilance so that meat puppets and sock puppets that reply to an initial Troll are also moderated. Otherwise the Troll can also play the victim until they land a live one, which is of course their ultimate goal.

CTG October 30, 2010 at 6:55 am

Artful, I don’t think it is useful to dismiss everyone with a contrary viewpoint as a troll.

Although Lank definitely is a troll.

Gareth October 30, 2010 at 9:00 am

Hi AD, thanks for the thoughts. I’ve considered all the points you raise, but have decided to stick with a very light-handed moderation policy. One of the reasons I established Hot Topic in the first place was to provide a place where climate sceptic arguments could be dealt with, and to heavily moderate those sceptics who do turn up here would work against that, in my view. That said, I do have a policy – comments should be on-topic (interpreted reasonably broadly), should not be libellous or gratuitously rude, should not just be long cut’n’pastes from other sites, and — of course — DNFTT.

RW October 31, 2010 at 9:15 am

It seems to me – putting aside the possibility that several of the current crop of trolls are merely sock puppets – that this site is currently the target of a lot of hostile activity. For anyone wanting some relief, I suggest browsing Climate Progress might lift the spirits a bit, despite the grimness of many of the topics.

Kiwiiano October 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm

No-one would suggest that Antarctica would melt overnight, but it is melting. Not as fast as Greenland that has similar masses of ice but it is partly protected by the circumpolar weather patterns.
The increase in sea ice area (not necessarily thickness) is attributed to reduced salinity of the ocean surface due to melting and (fer crissake) RAIN in Antarctica. That doesn’t happen very often, it’s normally way too cold.

Bob Bingham October 30, 2010 at 8:21 am

Because humans can live in a wide variety of climates you make the mistake of believing that the world can cope with big shifts in temperature and still be habitable for life as we know it.
The ‘normal’ range of CO2 is 240 to 280 and the temperature would be 5c cooler. When I was boy the prediction was that we would be going into an ice age over the next few thousand years. Which was a reasonable prediction and before the big surge in CO2..
With CO2 at 390ppm and still climbing where do you think the temperature is going and what will it reach? We can all guess at that but is it in our life time?

Lank October 29, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Kiwiiano – So how does all this ice melting occur to dilute the sea if air temperatures are below freezing for almost all of the year over almost all of the Antarctica continent??
Could you please give me a reference to show how ice melts when temperatures are way below freezing. Wouldn’t all this RAIN tend to freeze?

Gareth – easy to hide behing your DNFTT. I suggest that you are a GCATG!

Kiwiiano October 29, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Lank…according to satellite measurements over the whole continent, East Antarctica in particular is leaking land ice off the edges faster than it is accumulating it in the middle. The rate of loss is increasing by 26Gtonnes/year which is a lot of G&Ts.
The sea ice around Antarctica is increasing because the ozone hole has increased cyclonic winds that push the ice around opening more areas to freezing. At the same time, the Southern Ocean, which is warming more rapidly than any other ocean, generates more rain & snow which dilutes the upper layers, increasing stratification and preventing the warmer waters below from transferring energy upward. Hence the upper, less salty layers tend the freeze more readily.
Anyone interested in more details can go to http://www.skepticalscience.com/antarctica-gaining-ice.htm
(a highly recommended site for anyone genuinely concerned about climate disruption)

Carol Cowan October 29, 2010 at 10:52 pm

thumbs up, Kiwiiano. I think a lot of people do not realize how HUGE Antarctica is – that’s a lot of ice to melt. I blame the Mercator Projection.

Bob Bingham October 30, 2010 at 8:37 am

I like to get things into proportions that I can relate to.
Antarctica is about twice the size of Australia and the ice is about 3Km thick. Ice melt is measured in Giga tonnes which is a cubic kilometre and you could drive alongside a hundred of those in an hour.
It takes 12 hours to drive from Sidney to Brisbane and its still nothing on the map of Australia. There is a lot of ice down there. Lets hope it stays solid.

Lank October 30, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Good point Bob Bingham. The amount of ice melt in antarctica (25Gtpa according to the learned Kiwianna) is about equivalent to a single skin cell falling off Kiwianna’s body i.e completely, and certainly statistically irrelevant to Kiwianna’s body weight.

If Kiwianna had any knowledge at all of ice she would know that ice sheets move downslope with gravity and will carving off into the sea. This is not melt – it is a sign of a healthy and probably a growing icecap.

Ice will not melt in temperatures significantly less than freezing (where are the rivers of water?) and if Kiwianna’s rainfall/sea water dilution theory is correct on the scale that is required then Antarctica’s overall ice must be in positive growth not negative.

Why call me a troll when I just point out some logic?

Lank October 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Actually Kiwiiano, your comment “No-one would suggest that Antarctica would melt overnight……. Not as fast as Greenland that has similar masses of ice” is clearly incorrect. Close to 90% of all of the ice in the world is in the Antarctic. Greenland is relatively irrelevant when it comes to comparing the amount of ice they host.

RW October 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm
Eco Divad October 30, 2010 at 5:52 pm
Macro October 30, 2010 at 8:13 pm

“relatively irrelevant”!
Your lack of grammar is exceeded only by your lack of rational thought.

Kiwiiano October 31, 2010 at 7:46 am

Irrelevant compared to Antarctica, perhaps, but it is losing ice rapidly too. The rate acceleration there is around 21Gt/yr and Greenland’s loses could cause problems in the Nth Atlantic if it disturbs the salinity of the Gulf Stream, as happened when giant lakes forming with meltwaters from Canadian glaciers were dumped into the Labrador Sea, triggering the Younger Dryas cold snap.
Antarctica does have problems with the loss of the buttress effect of the ice shelves, allowing the rate with which some glaciers move to accelerate to faster than their accumulation zones can cope. You don’t have to have actual rivers of water, although they do have then in Greenland. They’re called moulins and they allow surface melt water to flow down under the glacier, lubricating the rock surface below.
Note that even if only 1% of Greenland and Antarctica were to melt it would provoke an 80cm sea level rise, enough to cause problems around the world, especially with confidence in coastal real estate.

Gareth October 31, 2010 at 9:19 am

In fact there are rivers and lakes underneath the Antarctic ice sheet – a whole complex hydrology going on down there: here’s amap.

Tony October 30, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Thanks Kiwiano for that very interesting link on the Antarctic. The accelerating rate of “land” ice loss is most certainly disturbing, but not unexpected given the state of the rest of the world’s ice trends. I assume that as land ice melts that the land ice interface becomes better lubricated further accelerating loss. If so then the EA may well be a gigantic juggernaut just waiting to crash into the ocean like a giant snowball. I for one have managed to cut my FF consumption to practically 0 this year by walking and cycling everywhere. I’m sure many others could do the same if they weren’t so damn lazy.

Byron Smith October 31, 2010 at 11:34 am

This article really brought home to me the cruciality of water (not air) temperatures for ice cap melt. Water’s ability to hold large amounts of thermal energy (many times more than the equivalent volume of air) means that (a) most of the warming from anthropogenic climate change is going into the oceans and (b) the most serious threat involving the loss of large volumes of land ice comes from underneath, where glaciers that drain Greenland and (esp West) Antarctica flow directly into the ocean, especially where these glaciers are grounded on land that is below sea level (as significant parts of both Greenland and West Antarctica are, due to the weight of the ice depressing them).

CTG November 1, 2010 at 12:16 am

Yes, that is a good article. Brings home two major points for me – first, that the notion of a scientific conspiracy is utter bunkum when you look at the reality of what real scientists do on a day-to-day basis; and second, that all the sophistry about whether temperature records really show warming, and whether UHI might be having an effect is utterly powerless to explain the physical reality of what is happening to the ice.

Anybody who is remotely sceptical would ask themselves: what are the chances that temperature records would be showing false positives at exactly the same time that major ice masses are showing the effects of warming?

(For the hard-of-following, i.e. R2D2, I will answer that rhetorical question: absolutely zero).

Dappledwater October 31, 2010 at 11:46 am

Byron, thanks for that. A great article. Kudos to Rollingstone magazine. Shame the overwhelming majority of the mainstream media have their heads buried up their backsides.

Byron Smith October 31, 2010 at 11:56 am

Yeah, I’ve read a fair bit about ice melt and that article managed to both give me important new information and yet be highly readable.

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