September 23, 2012

The Tribune-Review STILL Gets The Science Wrong

From today's Sunday Pops:
Writing at, James Taylor notes that Antarctic sea ice continues to set records — not for melting but for increasing. In fact, he says such sea ice “has been growing since satellites first began measuring the ice 33 years ago and the sea ice has been above the 33-year average throughout 2012.” Throw another log on the fire, honey, it’s getting cold outside...
This is the Taylor article Scaife's braintrust references - it's filled with all sorts of interesting bits if info.

Before we delve into it, let's see how Mediamatters frames the whole thing:
In order to distract from the announcement this week that Arctic sea ice is at a record low, right-wing media are pointing to Antarctic sea ice as proof that climate change isn't occurring. But Antarctic sea ice gains have been slight, whereas Arctic ice decline -- a key indicator of climate change -- has been extreme. Furthermore, scientists have long expected the Arctic to experience the first impacts of climate change, and still project that in the long run, sea ice in both regions will decline as greenhouse gas concentrations increase.
So there's a difference between Arctic Ice and Antarctic Ice.  But this is nothing new.  Take a look at this from 2008:
While the Arctic and the Antarctic experience similar greenhouse gas levels and solar radiation, each region responds in a dramatically different way, especially in temperature and loss of sea ice, says an international team of scientists that includes a NOAA oceanographer. While the Arctic is warming, most of Antarctica is not, largely because of the ozone hole, but projections indicate that is likely to change.

“While some people would say this is a paradox, these different responses are mostly consistent with what we know about how the climate system works,” said James Overland, lead author and an oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.
This was four years ago.  Four years ago.  So how is it "new"? Now let's go back to Taylor, who pleads:
Please, nobody tell the mainstream media or they might have to retract some stories and admit they are misrepresenting scientific data.
Again, guess who is misrepresenting the science.  The anti-science climate deniers.  Let's take in some more data and see what the reality is.  First Micheal Lemonick at ClimateCentral:
The sea ice that covers the Arctic Ocean has plummeted to its lowest level on record — but down at the other end of the world, the sea ice surrounding Antarctica has swelled. That’s no surprise, considering that winter is just ending in the Southern Hemisphere — but what may be surprising is that the overall extent of Antarctic ice has grown by about one percent per decade, on average, since satellite records began a little over 30 years ago.

You might reasonably suspect that all the fuss about disappearing Arctic sea ice is overblown, then, given the growth of ice down south.

But you’d be wrong, for all sorts of reasons.

The first is that the one percent growth per decade in the Antarctic pales next to the much faster 15.5 percent drop per decade in the Arctic. They aren’t even in the same ballpark. Not only that: while the sea ice bordering Antarctica has been growing slightly, the massive ice sheets that sit directly atop the frozen continent are shrinking, at an accelerating rate, with worrisome implications for global sea level rise.
Overall the ice is declining across the planet.  If because of the ozone hole or whatever it's increasing slightly on one pole or the other, does not, despite what Scaife's Braintrust would want you to believe, change that basic scientific fact.

There's one thing of Taylor's I wanted to point out.  It's a seemingly out of place sentence at the end of his piece:
Interestingly, a new NASA study finds Antarctica once supported vegetation similar to that of present-day Iceland.
Not sure what that has to do with "debunking" climate science but when you look at the study, you'll see it's about what Antarctica looked like in the middle Miocene period - 16.4 and 15.7 million years ago and that:
"The ultimate goal of the study was to better understand what the future of climate change may look like," said Feakins, an assistant professor of Earth sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. "Just as history has a lot to teach us about the future, so does past climate. This record shows us how much warmer and wetter it can get around the Antarctic ice sheet as the climate system heats up. This is some of the first evidence of just how much warmer it was."
He's not saying that we're entering into a cycle of Antarctic warming that recurrs every 16 million years is he?

Yet another bit of anti-science BS pushed by the right wing media to "debunk" established science.


Social Justice NPC Anti-Paladin™ said...

And Arctic ice decline is a key indicator of [Anthropogenic] climate change
and it confirms our bias

EdHeath said...

HTTT - Are you saying we should ignore increasing Arctic ice melt during the summer months?

Right, you only like the scientists who develop new TV's, new pills, who figure out how to force fed cows corn. The ones who point out inconvenient truths, they're the ones who are biased.

Social Justice NPC Anti-Paladin™ said...

Media Matters is full of scientists who point out inconvenient truths?
Arctic ice loss was hyped
In a September 18 video posted by NASA on its website, they admit that the Arctic cyclone, which began on August 5, “wreaked havoc on the Arctic sea ice cover" by "breaking up sea ice."

Unknown said...


You are welcome to be sceptical of the claims of human-caused global warming. You are welcome to point people to evidence that favors either a.) the earth is not warming or b.) the cause of current warming trends is not (primarily?) human activity, and c.) current warming trends could reverse and quickly.

Just remember, there are multiple independent lines of evidence supporting the claim that global climate is warming. Whatever explanation you favor has to account for all those lines of evidence. And if you admit the climate has been warming and want to explain it as due primarily to something besides human activity, your explanation of that will need to make some testable predictions and we'll see, won't we?

A few years ago some global warming sceptics were claiming that global temperatures would peak in the mid 2000s and we would enter an extended cooling period c. 2009 or 2010. Jack Kelly, one of our favorites around here, posted multiple columns ridiculing global warming "alarmists" and predicting that by the mid 2010s they would be eating their words. Well, Mr. Kelly has gone largely silent on the matter over the last couple of years. Too busy bashing President Obama, or unwilling to admit he was wrong?

Here is one example of what Kelly had in mind. I'll let you do the research on how Dr. Latif's admittedly opaque original paper was treated by the media and people in your camp. It's not an encouraging story :<