The cult of global warming, aka “alarmists”, have found a new drum on which to bang. Scientists recently announced that the western ice shelf in Antarctica is “collapsing”. Immediately the “Chicken Little” pronouncements of imminent doom were sounded by the usual suspects all implicitly tied to AGW. The UK’s Guardian sounded the alarm in various headlines which read:
“Two separate studies confirm loss of ice sheet is inevitable, and will cause up to 4m of additional sea-level rise
‘Collapse will change the coastline of the whole world’
Reading on into the actual findings of the studies, however, one finds that the drama that is implicit in these headlines could have been tempered a bit with a very slight modification:
But the researchers said that even though such a rise could not be stopped, it is still several centuries off, and potentially up to 1,000 years away.
Oh. So it isn’t a crisis that will impact the world today or anytime in the near future, correct?
This is not new stuff either. This story has been popping up since 2008. I wrote about it here and here. As noted in 2008, a fairly simple discovery, not mentioned in any of these articles, proffered an explanation of why the ocean water was warming and the ice shelf was melting.
“Scientists have just now discovered an active volcano under the Antarctic ice that “creates melt-water that lubricates the base of the ice sheet and increases the flow towards the sea”. That could include the Wilkins Ice Sheet as well (the article cited talks about the Larson A and B sheets.
But, say the alarmists, we’re not talking about Wilkins or the Larson sheets. We’re talking about the Thwaites glacier.
The study honed in on the Thwaites glacier – a broad glacier that is part of the Amundsen Sea. Scientists have known for years that the Thwaites glacier is the soft underbelly of the Antarctic ice sheet, and first found that it was unstable decades ago.
The University of Washington researchers said that the fast-moving Thwaites glacier could be lost in a matter of centuries. The loss of that glacier alone would raise global sea level by nearly 2ft.
Thwaites also acts as a dam that holds back the rest of the ice sheet. Once Thwaites goes, researchers said, the remaining ice in the sheet could cause another 10 to 13ft (3-4m) of global sea-level rise.
Ok. Well, let’s look at a couple of pictures then. The first is from the 2008 post I did on the volcano:
The second picture, from the Guardian article, shows the area of the study. The red dot is the glacier in question:
Does anyone notice anything interesting? Yes, that’s right, the glacier in question is in the vicinity of the volcano in question. And I don’t think anyone would argue that a undersea volcano can’t heat up the sea in the vicinity to a little higher temperature than it would be normally (it was certainly successful with Wilkins). Has it had an effect? Who knows … it doesn’t seem to have been mentioned at all in the study. But, if you go to the Guardian article you’ll see an embedded 17 second video that attempts to explain the effect of the warmer water on the glacier. It shows less dense (and therefore lighter) warm water somehow flowing under much denser and therefore heavier cold water to destabilize the glacier. The only reasonable explanation for such a flow would be if the heat source were somewhere near the bottom of the ocean, no? Otherwise its hard to explain how that warm water got below the cold water and stayed there.
But if you question things like this, you’re an ignorant nincompoop. A “denier”, which, by the way is akin to being a member of the KKK and a Holocaust denier all in one. However, I’m certainly not denying that something is happening in Antarctica. I am questioning the purported cause though. It isn’t at all unimaginable that the side of Antarctica most exposed to warmer South Pacific sea currents and experiencing volcanic activity might see some melting due to causes unrelated to CO2 put in the atmosphere by man.
That, of course, won’t stop the cultist from declaring themselves to be the ones with science on their side and deniers to be the fact-challenged among us. Here’s a perfect example from today’s NYT:
But the unfortunate fact about uncertainty is that the error bars always go in both directions. While it is possible that the problem could turn out to be less serious than the consensus forecast, it is equally likely to turn out to be more serious. In fact, it increasingly appears that, if there is any systemic bias in the climate models, it’s that they understate the gravity of the situation. In an interesting paper that appeared in the journal Global Environmental Change, a group of scholars, including Naomi Oreskes, a historian of science at Harvard, and Michael Oppenheimer, a geoscientist at Princeton, note that so-called climate skeptics frequently accuse climate scientists of “alarmism” and “overreacting to evidence of human impacts on the climate system.” But, when you actually measure the predictions that climate scientists have made against observations of how the climate has already changed, you find the exact opposite: a pattern “of under- rather than over-prediction” emerges.
Really? If that’s the case, that should be pretty easy to demonstrate, shouldn’t it? Since pictures are worth 1,000 words, here’s a little picture I picked up over at The Federalist that does exactly that – it demonstrates that the pattern of the climate models is exactly as the “deniers” have claimed they are:
Somehow, the claimant from the NYT couldn’t be bothered to actually fact check. Instead she swallowed whole the alarmist line and regurgitated it with the usual ignorant literary smirk found in most of their fact free writing. Sean Davis sums up the argument for most “deniers” very well:
I have a simple rule when it comes to people who want me to invest obscene sums of money in their forecasts of discrete future events: just be accurate. If you come to me and tell me you can predict future stock market performance based on these five factors, then you had better predict future stock market performance based on those five factors. All you have to do is be correct, over and over again. But if your predictive model is wrong, I’m not going to give you any money, and I’m certainly not going to pretend that what you just did is science. Any idiot can make incorrect guesses about the future.
Science, properly practiced, is the search for truth. Science, properly practiced, rejects forecasting models that consistently produce inaccurate forecasts. There’s nothing scientific about shouting down anyone who has the audacity to point out that the only thing your model can accurately predict is what the temperature won’t be.
After the story this morning about the alarmist scientist turned skeptic this story comes as the cherry on top of the AGW sundae:
Faced with the embarrassing fact that sea level is not rising nearly as much as has been predicted, the University of Colorado’s NASA-funded Sea Level Research Group has announced it will begin adding a nonexistent 0.3 millimeters per year to its Global Mean Sea Level Time Series. As a result, alarmists will be able to present sea level charts asserting an accelerating rise in sea level that is not occurring in the real world.
Human civilization readily adapted to the seven inches of sea level rise that occurred during the twentieth century. Alarmists, however, claim global warming will cause sea level to rise much more rapidly during the present century. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) computer models project approximately 15 inches of sea level rise during the 21st century. That’s more than double the sea level rise that occurred during the twentieth century. A more “mainstream” prediction among alarmists is 3 feet of sea level rise this century. Some alarmists have even projected 20 feet of global sea level rise this century.
Satellite measurements, however, show global sea level rose merely 0.83 inches during the first decade of the 21st century (a pace of just 8 inches for the entire century), and has barely risen at all since 2006. This puts alarmists in the embarrassing position of defending predictions that are not coming true in the real world.
So, as with temperature and other data that has been used in this scam, they decided to doctor the numbers.
The NASA-funded group claims glacial melt is removing weight that had been pressing down on land masses, which in turn is causing land mass to rise. This welcome news mitigates sea-level rise from melting glacial ice, meaning sea level will rise less than previously thought. However, it is very inconvenient for alarmist sea level predictions. Therefore, instead of reporting the amount by which sea level is rising in the real world, the Sea Level Research Group has begun adding 0.3 millimeters per year of fictitious sea level rise to “compensate” for rising land mass.
The extra 0.3 millimeters of fictitious sea level rise will add up to 1.2 inches over the course of the 21st century. While this is not monumental in and of itself, it will allow alarmists to paint a dramatically different picture of sea level rise than is occurring in the real world. For example, the current pace of 8 inches of sea level rise for the present century is essentially no different than the 7 inches of sea level rise that occurred last century. However, with an artificially enhanced 9.2 inches of sea level rise, alarmists can claim sea level is rising 31 percent faster than it did last century.
All I hope is Guam doesn’t tip over because of all of this.
If there’s anyone out there that still believes the “science” involved here is valid much less settled, you might want to buy some ocean front property in Idaho.
It’s becoming laughable, isn’t it?
More alarmist myths bite the dust. The claim that rain forests would be damaged by warming:
The threat to tropical rainforests from climate change may have been exaggerated by environmentalists, according to a new study. Researchers have shown that the world’s tropical forests thrived in the far distant past when temperatures were 3 to 5C warmer than today. They believe that a wetter, warmer future may actually boost plants and animals living the tropics.
There are many climactic models today suggesting that … if the temperature increases in the tropics by a couple of degrees, most of the forest is going to be extinct. What we found was the opposite to what we were expecting: we didn’t find any extinction event [in plants] associated with the increase in temperature, we didn’t find that the precipitation decreased.
Or the claim that melting glaciers would threaten 2 billion people:
The spectre of imminent thirst and/or starvation for billions by 2035 from melting glaciers would appear to have been confirmed as the worst kind of alarmist scaremongering.
Sea level increases and more violent hurricanes?
First, there is still no proof the Earth is experiencing “dangerous” warming. Temperatures have levelled off since 1998. Many measuring locations are also located in unsuitable areas. Furthermore, the methodologies of averaging temperature are inconsistent and full of problems. This is why “Global Warming” was replaced as a slogan by “Climate Change” (nobody denies that climate changes), and more recently by “Climate Disruption” (which is impossible define or prove).
Second, the increased temperature is supposed to increase sea level mainly by melting the ice-caps, which is impossible. Thermal expansion of the oceans seems to be of little consequence at present because the satellite measurements show the oceans are cooling. Le Mesurier gilds his picture with a few asides on “extreme climatic events” in general and hurricanes in particular. Recent studies, however, show no increase in hurricane activity in the last 40 years.
But remember, the "science is settled".
Then there’s the drive for “green jobs” , “green technologies” and how that’s faring:
MORE than $1 billion of taxpayers’ money was wasted on subsidies for household solar roof panels that favoured the rich and did little to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, a scathing review has found.
Despite a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government, Solyndra, a maker of solar panels in the southeast San Francisco Bay Area city of Fremont, will close one of its manufacturing plants, lay off 40 permanent and 150 contract workers, delay expansion plans of a new plant largely financed with the government-guaranteed loan and scale back production capacity more than 50 percent. Despite the hype and tax money, Solyndra seems unable to compete with Chinese manufacturers, whose prices are lower. This is the latest bad news for the company touted by Mr. Schwarzenegger and President Barack Obama as one of the green industry’s supposed shining lights.
Because, you know, government’s do this stuff so much better than private markets.
Thought you’d want to know.