Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ice scare

One needs only to read the first paragraph of this UK Independent article to flag the BS-o-meter:
It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.
"The first time in human history"? Well, since weather satellites have only been around since the late 70s that's a pretty bold statement.

But for the brave souls who care to venture on beyond the first paragraph the article doesn't mention much about any other possible causes for the melt other than Bush-produced warming, such as this theory or this one.

We know the media loves these kinds of pre-emptive sky is falling stories as long as they follow the narrative. Stuff like this, not so much. Trouble is, the narrative has been fuzzed by McCain's embrace of climate change, tempering the gloom since they can't pin the blame on the nearest Republican as easily these days.

But politics aside, is the ice really melting more in summer these days? Yes it is. Such a thing usually occurs when it gets warmer, and indeed Hansen's GISS data, despite his earlier calculation error and the fact he's an arrogant attention whore with a savior complex, shows that it's warmer now than we've seen in hundreds of years. The satellites confirm warming since their inception.

But here's the rub--we still don't conclusively know why we've seen lull since the el-Nino peak in 1998. It could be artificial, something skewed by the exceptionally warm year of 1998 or some other trend not yet discovered. But to hear tell, the zealots claim that upward trends from 1920-1950 and 1980-1998 are unquestionably the sole fault of humans (American humans) yet any downward or steady trends such as from 1950-1980 and recently are sloughed off as feedbacks or natural variability. In other words, don't question the warming, but feel free to speculate like crazy on the cooling or neutral trends. There's a parallel to Obama in there somewhere.

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