What is the earth’s temperature?

Global warming is an increase in the amount of the sun’s energy that earth retains. This then may cause an increase in the temperature of the planet, referred to as global warming. Why “may cause”? Because the temperature of the earth is affected by many things that act to increase and reduce the amount of energy retained. It’s not just a single factor.

Temperature is the average thermal energy of a material’s molecules. Most of the time, temperature is expressed in degrees C (celsius) or F (Fahrenheit). There is also Kelvin (K), which does not use the designation of degrees because it is an absolute scale (zero K is where all molecular movement stops–a fascinating idea, I always thought*). People generally regard the measurement of temperature as what feels “hot” and “cold” rather than the thermal energy of a material.

Temperature is measured in various ways:

There were the liquid-filled tubes, originally containing mercury. Later, it was a colored liquid. I have always regarded these as most accurate since they are simple and straightforward. I really don’t have any evidence this type of thermometer is usually quite accurate except it’s simplicity and fewer moving parts seems to indicate less chance of error.

There were bi-metal thermometers, copper with steel attached to each other. The metal expand at a known rate as temperature rises and falls. Adding a couple of additional metal pieces allowed for min/max measurement without one actually having to be reading the thermometer at that exact point. Now, many thermometers are digital, based on electrical resistance. Based on my experience with various digital measuring devices, these seem the least accurate and require frequent calibration.

For AGW, there are also satellite measurements, requiring mathematic calculation to convert to temperatures. These give us a more global picture.

How many points are measured? With a satellite, you basically have full coverage of the globe. With land, you do not. The arctic and antarctic, remote areas and so forth have very, very few stations. The USA, Europe and much of North America have coverage while the southern hemisphere is much more sparse. One hears the complaint that North America, as in the US, is not global, but the stations are heavily weighted to the US. So in a sense, North America is a proxy for global, as much as those pine trees and their rings were.

Ocean temperatures have been added to global temperature calculations, but unfortunately, as is the case in so much of climate research, there exist two measuring systems which are completely and utterly different and do not correlate nor back up each other. There’s the ancient “bucket from a ship method” where temperatures were originally measured by literally dropping a bucket from a ship and taking the water temperature. Modern techniques based on this idea are better but still subject to large margins of error. Then there are the buoys a fortune was spent on but the buoys didn’t give the desired result of showing warming, so they seem to have been dropped out, another wasted fortune on climate research. (Eventually, they may prove valuable. One never knows.) All of this means there is no true measurement of “global temperatures”, just measurement where convenient or practical.

What about missing points? If one is using a grid to homogenize and average the temperatures before further averaging, you have to fill in missing points. How? I learned they were called “fudge factors” and were basically “scientific” guessing when I was in college. Now, we call it kriging and other high tech terms. With the aid of computers, we have lead ourselves to believe we can quite magically know what we do not know. Temperatures vary widely, even over short distances. To vainly believe one can estimate accurately is just hubris. Now, it might be “close enough” (like horseshoes and hand grenades “close enough”) but if the error bars are included, it looks pretty shaky. Plus, when we get to averages and anomalies, we’re talking a tenth of a degree as significant. We simply do not have the accuracy to make such claims, even though such claims are constantly made to that effect.

Temperatures used are generally min/max, homogenized and averaged. Homogenized is great for milk, but I am very unsure that it works for the betterment of temperature distributions. Ignoring extremes ignores the reality of temperature on this planet which again, varies widely even in small areas. There seem to be different methods calculating the averages and what gets homogenized. There’s also conflicting arguments about raw data showing more warming than homogenized or homogenizing creating warming. This is the problem with records, adjustments and statistics. It’s far too easy to adjust data to fit the theory. At this point, since there is only one theory that is accepted by many, manipulation in the direction of supporting warming is bound to happen, deliberate or not.

Reducing temperatures to min/max has problems. There is no way to know if the day was 70 degrees for several hours, or 50 degrees then 70 for an hour. There are many days where the min/max is only a point on the scale and not at all representative of the actual temperatures for the day. I realize we lack the capacity to calculate using the massive number of data points using all the temperatures for a day would involve, but get an accurate picture, that is necessary. After all, this is used to determine whether or not the earth is retaining more heat, the original stated goal. What we are doing now is short-cutting to help bolster a theory.

It’s very doubtful that using min/max combined is useful. Separating them would let us see where the warming is occurring more accurately. When the min and max are separated, nighttime temperatures are what seem to be going up. The Urban Heat Island effect can explain much of this, as well as the helping to explain the increase in daytime temperatures. Wind turbines can do the same thing on a windy night. AGW and wind advocates argue this does not matter and is local, but if one’s “local” increases are going into the overall average, there is a very real chance there is an effect. Satellites measure further up in the atmosphere, but still, using min and max rather than a daily average of say hourly temperatures may give a very incorrect average overall. I have read that measuring further up in the atmosphere is not useful since we don’t live there, but it’s perfectly fine for determining the energy budget. The objection is really irrelevant to the theory and only relevant to what happens with humans and ground temperatures.

There are other questions and concerns with the temperature measurments, calculations, etc that will be addressed later. This will be something of a series on global warming, an informal one albeit.

(It was said there are no negative Kelvins, but in 2013 it was determined there are negative Kelvins. Negative Kelvins are actually hot, not cold. There is no temperature below 0 Kelvin but there are negative Kelvins. It’s all very bizarre!)

Welcome to clueless

From the “clueless comparisons” department:

“The stone age ended not because we ran out of stones. The same with oil and gas.”  quote from Forbes

That is one of the STUPIDEST, MOST UNEDUCATED, IDIOTIC statement ever made.  It’s equivalent to “we did not starve because we ran out of food, we ran out of cooking utensils”.  And this from Forbes?????  Americans have become drooling fools, knuckle dragging cavemen.  We didn’t run out of the Stone Age, the troglodytes just wear suits now.

Condensation—maybe good for soups, bad for science

Condensing the IPCC report down to a “Summary for Policymakers” has the same result as taking the Dune trilogy (Frank Herbert) and making a two-hour movie.  It destroys the complexity of the input and the output is unusable (or in the case of “Dune”, unwatchable).  

In the news:

Hottest June ever in Paris.  No mention in most articles of the COLDEST June in much of the USA and elsewhere.  Of course not, because FACTS don’t matter, spin does.  If ever you wonder if climate “science” is real science, this is proof it is NOT.  When you only present facts favorable to your side, it’s politics or religion, not science.  So next time someone brings up climate change, just point out the complete hypocrisy of the “scientists” and media in presenting only data favorable to them.  It’s not science.

Concerning the continued screeching about one heat wave, etc:

I find it fascinating that ONE heat wave or other hot event can so shift an average, which is what climate is, enough to declare “climate change”.  You take 6,000 red balls, throw in a blue one, and suddenly, the balls all turn purple.  Fascinating, absolutely fascinating.

Observation:

Weather forecasting is taking on the characteristics of climate “science”.  We start out the week with a forecast in the 80’s or 90’s for the end of the week or the whole week.  Then, two or three days out, the temperature forecast suddenly drops and then goes back up at the end of that seven or ten day period.  The pattern is quite clear.  I’ve monitored it at least six months and the pattern is holding.  Last week, 90’s were forecast for all of this week.  Now we are down to the low 80’s forecast for the three days after today, but still 90’s at the end of the week.  I do believe the contamination of science by “climate science” is spreading like a nasty disease.  It may be eventually fatal to science.

ALASKA HEATWAVE.  WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE, DIE, DIE. 

Per CBS and other crazy people standing on the street corner in sackcloth with a sign “The End is Near”. 

Again, the fools in the so-called media cannot tell the difference between weather and climate.  Yet you never see Michael Mann or any so-called climate “scientist” or media person yelling at the media like warmists “yell” skeptics for exactly the same thing.  As far as I can tell, it’s just wonder to have confused, inaccurate climate scientists, but skeptics better not get anything wrong.  Really?  So climate scientists and the media can be stupid, wrong and lie????  What a wonder recommendation for fake science.

Desperation to preserve the non-preservable

On WUWT, there was an article on solar cells and increasing efficiency.  My response is “yawn”.  It may be unlimited fuel, but we have had the sun for light since time eternal (or the Big Bang or whatever).  Yet the sale of and demand for light bulbs never decreases.  The stupidity of solar (energy—“Energy from Weather”) is quite clear when you look at it that way.  It’s a FAIL.

 

Call me when it’s safe out there.

Unvarnished Answers to Global Warming

The New York Times ran a piece a little over a year ago about short answers to hard questions about climate science. I am presenting my answers to these questions (questions in red), based on extensive research of climate articles, science and research papers.

1. How much is the planet heating up?

First, we have to decide which temperature set to use. There are several. Do we want raw or adjusted numbers?

Second, we have to decide what to do when values are missing. What method do we use to interpolate the values? What is the uncertainly in those measurement?

Third, we must decide how the average is to be calculated. Do we grid the data? Do we use anomalies from a base period? If so, which base period?

After all these decisions are made, we can give an answer. There will be many different answers, depending on what values are used and methodology is used. Which is correct? All of them and none of them. That is the wonder of statistics. All will most likely be increasing in value or remaining more or less level.

Most of the warming since 1950 is due to humans, according to the article. Why 1950? It has been warming since the 1880s or before at rates similar to after 1950. Suddenly, in 1950 humans jumped in and start to raise the temperature? Mostly, as far as is ascertainable, 1950 is used because it fits the theory. The year 1950 fits the theory and the theory shows 1950 is when warming by humans began. That is called “circular reasoning”–using your conclusion to prove your theory. It’s logically invalid. It proves nothing.

2. How much trouble are we in?

None or apocalyptic. It depends entirely on how much faith one puts in the calculations, models and the theory itself. Al Gore made a comment about 4 Hiroshima bombs per second added energy. This would be 2 billion Hiroshima bombs since 1998 if we stop at 2014. One calculation found on the website NoTricksZone shows this amount of energy would raise the temperature of the ocean .024° 1

While Al Gore makes things sound very, very scary, physics says there’s not a reason to panic.

What will the increase mean? No one can say. There’s a lot of “may” “could” “might”. However, when pressed, climate science says it cannot predict local changes. Local changes are what affects people. If those changes are unknown, then we know nothing useful about the future of climate. People live locally, not globally.

We have the ability to move goods everywhere on the planet, so local droughts and floods should not have the devastating effect they had in the past. People can more inland or elsewhere if oceans rise.

Will things change? Of course, whether or not CO2 continues to rise. There is no way to hold the climate level.

3. Is there anything I can do?

A tiny bit, maybe. You can drive a fuel-efficient car, replace your appliances with energy-efficient ones (ONLY when your current one stops working. Otherwise, you’re filling landfills for no reason and requiring more manufacturing of replacement appliances), you have no choice but to use CFL and LED light bulbs (LED’s are BRIGHT! My lamp now points at the ceiling to avoid the extreme brightness.), use water wisely (growing a water-intensive lawn in a drought area is just foolish. Forget the “save the earth” factor). The New York Times says take fewer airline trips. Maybe people should try writing Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio and let them know they are NOT helping. Forget carbon offsets. They are pretend accounting that does nothing except serve to advertise how virtuous you think you are. Climate is not affected by displays of virtue.

4. What’s the optimistic scenario?

We as humans do what we do best–adapt. We resist the “end-of-the-world” wailing and figure out how to deal with a changing climate, as we always have. We don’t kill every eagle, condor and bat trying to make electricity like they did decades ago. We do not panic and start doing “something”. Doing “something” with no clue as to the outcome or based on fear is no better than doing nothing. There is little chance humans control the climate. There’s virtually no chance of getting everyone to agree on solutions to a global climate change. Adapting is the best option, done locally.

5. Will reducing meat in my diet help?

No. It will, however, mostly make many people very cranky and increase interpersonal conflicts. The idea behind reducing meat does not hold up to scrutiny.

6. What is the worst case scenario?

In an effort to circumvent the reality that humans are not likely to be the major driver of climate, a world-wide dictatorship is established and millions or billions die due to lack of affordable energy.

7. Will a tech breakthrough help us?

No one knows.

8. How much will the seas rise?

No one knows. People can and will move away from the coast. Whether they do it matter-of-factly or wailing and moaning depends on how people are taught to deal with change.

9. Are the predictions reliable?

No one knows. Predictions 100 years in the future are science fiction. Probably even at 50 years.

What do we call “reliable”? It warms up? That’s possible with or without human input. It warms faster? Define “faster”. If it warms 2° based on whatever method we chose back in #1, by 2100, is the prediction is reliable? The effects of that increase are unknowable, of course, and verification of accuracy is decades out. It’s a useless prediction/projection.

10. Why do people question climate change?

Because that’s what is involved in science–questioning, testing and learning. To not question is to not be scientific. The methodology and data manipulation found in climate science seems to fit the definition of “bad science” and needs to be called out.

Then there’s the favorites:

a. Oil companies pay people to question the science. No, oil companies love global warming. All that money they make on useless turbines and solar panels via subsidies and tax breaks can be used to build the required natural gas backup for these plants at a much lower cost to the company. There is also zero evidence that oil companies have paid off anyone. If it is true, oil companies have better public relations people than the government, universities and Hollywood. These people would have to be super geniuses and majorly talented to exceed the combined efforts of those big hitters.

b. Politics is blamed. Conservatives and libertarians tend to question the theory. The same is true of progressives as far as blindly accepting the theory If conservatives don’t believe in global warming because it’s in line with their political beliefs, it holds that progressives believe in global warming for exactly the same reason. Translation: This idea clearly indicates climate change belief is NOT about science at all, but is indeed a political battle. It’s about political ideology. It cannot be settled by science since none is involved.

11. Is crazy weather tied to climate change?

No one knows.

12. Will anyone benefit from climate change?

It stands to reason some will some won’t, just as is true with most everything else in life. It was a pointless question.

13. Is there any reason for hope?

More and more countries are realizing how politically motivated so-called solutions to all of the alleged manmade climate change is. Countries and individuals are more willing to refuse to join in the “solutions” that cause damage, costs trillions and have little or no hope of success. Rational discussions of the topic are slower coming.

14. How does agriculture affect climate change?

No one knows. If we drop our agricultural practices and return to hunter/gather lifestyles, millions will perish. The best we can do is work at making food growing as efficient as possible and avoid practices like deforestation whenever practicable.

It should also be asked how wind turbines and solar panels destroy the landscape and may affect climate. We know turbines increase the surface temperature below the turbines by mixing air, much like the fans in citrus groves that are used to fight against frost.

How do skyscrapers affect climate? How do primitive villages affect climate? How does the migration of humans from one area to another affect climate?

One can go on all day with these hypotheticals. No one knows. It is generally believed that most actions in some way affect climate, but to what degree is not known and may never be known. Climate is a very complex chaotic system.

15. Will the seas rise evenly?

Unlikely. Geography and tectonics and gravity indicate it will probably be uneven. We can’t predict the pattern, so we adapt as the rise occurs.

16. Is it really about “carbon”?

NO, it’s about CO2. “Carbon” is shorter, so media people and others have taken to using that term. It is extremely unscientific, however. Carbon is an element, CO2 is a compound. Carbon is found in many, many things on Earth. This “shortcut” is another indication of the lack of science in the discussions of climate change/global warming. It’s intellectual laziness. It does make a great marking catch-phrase. It’s truly sad “science’ has sunk this low.

1 http://notrickszone.com/2014/03/22/sks-hiroshima-bomb-heat-clock-fraud-claim-2-1-billion-climate-ground-zeros-yet-cant-find-a-single-one-of-them/#sthash.bc5IIopa.dpuf

Just a few new thoughts

In reading through various blogs and sites this morning:
Headline: Poor nations want US to pay reparations for extreme weather (USA Today)
There you have it. Full circle to humans being the medicine men who control weather. Centuries of progress have brought us back to where we now encourage primitive societies to belief in parapsychology in order to justify demands that “richer” nations (read as “the gullible USA with trillions of dollars in debt) give up the money and hard work they have done and dole out money to nations that have not done as well. What it really comes down to is “a handout is so much easier than actually succeeding”. If there’s any doubt, you are referred to the many parasitic species in nature. (Remember, after the parasite kills the host, the parasite dies. This seems to have been forgotten.)

Speaking of parasites, global warming activists are now trying to sue in court to get their ideas in place. Having failed in virtually all other arenas, the great American past-time of suing people has entered the environmentalists tactics now. This would be proof positive that science is not involved in any way in global warming theory. Courts have virtually no science involved except by accident. See OJ Simpson trial if you have doubts. Plus the thousands of personal injury lawyers suing for every drug reaction out there, real or imagined, warned or nt, plus every stupid act of a human being blamed on someone else that has money the lawyer can get (this is not about the “victim” of the drug or the person who committed the act of stupidity). What this latest development really says is “NO SCIENCE HERE”. Move along.

Following the example of global warming scientists, I ran across this question in Retraction Watch (http://retractionwatch.com/2015/08/27/yes-many-psychology-findings-may-be-too-good-to-be-true-now-what/)
“A criticism we’ve heard of replication efforts is that it’s very difficult for a new group of people to gain the skills and tools to do the same study as well as the original authors, so a perfectly valid result may still fail to be replicated. Do you think this study addresses this criticism in any way?

The Open Science Collaborators have installed several checks and balances to tackle this problem. Studies to be replicated were matched with the replicator teams on the basis not only of interests and resources, but also of the teams’ expertise. The open data files clearly indicate the expertise of each replicator team, and the claim that a group of over 250 psychologists lacks expertise in doing these kinds of experiments is a bit of a stretch. Certainly there may be debates about certain specifics of the studies, and I expect the original researchers to point at methodological and theoretical explanations for the supposed discrepancy between the original finding and the replication (Several of the original researchers responded to the final replication report, as can be seen on the project’s OSF page). Such explanations are often ad hoc and typically ignore the role of chance (given the smallness of effects and samples sizes used in most original studies finding a significant result in one study and a non-significant result in another study may well be completely accidental), but they are to be taken seriously and perhaps studied further.
One should always report one’s methods and results in a manner that allows for independent replication; we now have many safe online locations to put supplementary information, materials, and data, and so I hope this project highlights the importance of reporting studies in a much more replicable and reproducible manner.”

Note the attempt to say the replicators are just not smart enough or skilled enough to repeat the experiment.  No, that does not fly here any more than in global warming.  If you cannot present the results of your experiment, whether it be a real data one, computer modeling or survey (the last two are really not experiments, but they are called that often), then you have not produced useful results.  If we must rely on the experimenter’s awesomeness and brilliance for verification, sorry, not science.

Scientific badger

Scientific badger

Leapin Lizards Lilly, it’s cold!

All this talk of global warming and now we see this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/07/28/exceptional-cold-front-blankets-montana-wyoming-peaks-with-rare-july-snow/

and this:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/29/the-gore-effect-continues-down-under/

On the “hot side”:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/29/new-york-today-ride-the-heat-wave/?_r=0

Wiki defines a heat wave as:

“A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather”

AMS says it’s weather over 90F degrees.  In the Middle East, it’s considerably warmer that much of the time.  So many terms in climate have very, very fluid meanings.  If it’s over 85F and we need a reminder of how dangerous global warming is, then that’s a heat wave.  My question is “why do we care about the heat wave and then ignore the freezing temperatures”?  Because it doesn’t fit the global warming beliefs or because global warming is a hard sell to cold tourists visiting Jackson, Wyoming?  Probably both.  Talk about “cherry picking”.

UPDATE:

Off topic and truly frightening

From a comment section on a news site—”It is said by many scientists that we have already passed the tipping point and in roughly 100-125 years, there will be no humans left on the planet. We aren’t needed, we have nothing offer except harm, death and destruction. The earth doesn’t need us and would clearly be far better off without us. We are the most heinous and most malignant beings to ever happen to our mother.”

The self-louthing here is incredible.  How can anyone espouse a philosophy that says they are hideous parasites that would be better off dead?  I sincerely hope this person did not reproduce.  Think about this—warming belief can lead to self-hatred and despising of the human race.  Why in the world are we trying to save the planet for this?  Who in their right mind follows such a philosophy?  This is on the level of Jim Jones and his cult that killed themselves.  Be afraid.  Your future is being dictated by people who hate you and want you dead.

Bring on the psychics

“a) No it’s not and b) you can’t make projections from long term past data. If you want to simulate what the future will do you have to build a model.”
From the comment section of the Daily Mail

There’s many insults about how skeptics don’t understand climate science. Here we have guy that apparently thinks you contact a psychic and get a model for climate change. Why a psychic? Well, you can’t make projections from long-term past data (I thought long-term made prediction easier. That’s why weather forecasts are hit and miss but climate science is gospel and absolutely true) and you can’t use short-term data (try mentioning the leveling of temperatures over the last 20 years and there will be no doubt of this). So we can’t use long-term data and we can’t use short-term data which means we can’t use data at all. That only leaves a psychic. A model might be able to be created using no data, though every time a skeptic suggests it, they are shredded for the notion, but such a method is really questionable, certainly not verifiable and not science. We see here a global warming advocate arguing that there is no science in global warming and believing it helps his argument. It does if you’re on the skeptic side.

Another story has come up about polar bears facing extinction in 10 years. Again, the climate crew must be employing a psychic for these prediction. Real polar bear scientists and those living in the North all say polar bears are doing fine–increasing in number actually. However, it seems those computer models say polar bears are going to be wiped out if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels. Truly, I think we should start substituting “psychic” for “computer model” since the models bear no resemblance to reality in any way. Predictions have been consistently wrong for decades. Psychics can get by with a record like that, but science cannot. If the predictions fail over and over, the model is wrong. It is not reality that is wrong, as the global warming advocates would have you believe.

Did someone request a psychic?

Did someone request a psychic?

Arctic Ice

I have reached a point in my studies where I can present my conclusions on what a melting of arctic likely means. Is it a sign of the apocalypse, or a natural phenomena?

First, I note with interest that the National Snow and Ice data center will be updating the sea ice baseline from the currently used 1979 to 2000 to the 1981 to 2010 interval. This means 10 years of diminished ice cover will figure into the average used for comparisons. This should result in the ice extent anomaly becoming smaller—in other words, the melt will be closer to average. In July, the change will be implemented and I look forward to seeing the effects.

Where to start? Studying arctic ice proved enlightening. There are many hypotheses for what causes ice melt. Plus, forces acting on sea ice are not the same as that acting on land ice. Land ice melts in reaction to air temperature, wind, storms, snow cover. Sea ice melts mostly due to water temperature underneath the ice, wave motion and storms.

There are terms:
slp sea level pressure
AO Arctic Oscillation
NAO North Atlantic Oscillation
lfo low frequency oscillation
sst sea surface temperature
enso el Niño southern oscillation
smmr scanning microwave radiometer
ssmi special sensor/ microwave imager
first year ice
multiyear ice (important because the two types of ice have different melting rates)
Beaufort Gyre (a mean annual clockwise motion in the Western Atlantic)

Then the proxies:
Marine sediment records
sea floor sediments beneath the ice give the best information
resolution varies by location—central areas are low resolution with a long time scale
continental margins are high resolution with a shorter time scale
ice rafted sediments are the most direct proxies
skeletons of marine animals/organisms
coastal records, driftwood, whalebone
terrestrial vegetation, ice cores
historical records
the 18O/16O ratio
Use of multiple proxies is required to reduce the probability of errors.

According to Lora Koenig, (Goddard glaciologist) a melt similar to the current one occurs every 150 years and this one is right on time. For those of you on the advocate side, I give you: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/07/28/1114628/-NASA-Made-up-150-year-melt-cycles-NY-Times-Slammed-NASA-for-Unprecedented-Melt-Every-150-Years#
It is a political blog with unlabeled axes on the first graph, but it does provide an alternative point of view (she was pressured by politics—wait—that’s what the questioners say about advocates. Now advocates who rejected that explanation when it was used as an explanation of why climate scientists all stick together and don’t go against “consensus”, are using the argument themselves. Most interesting.) I did not find verification of her political motivation. I did find other articles that verified the 150 year cycles based on ice cores.

Another interesting item was an announcement from NSID that they would revise their algorithm for the Greenland Ice Sheet early. The adjustment resulted in fewer melt days. What is interesting is how measurements are not straightforward. It seems we have to mathematically adjust so many of the measurements. Since no direct measurement may exist, there’s really no way to verify the accuracy, nothing concrete to compare to. The best we can do is have independent calculation and verify the “close fit” or “way off” nature of each method. The change in the algorithm appears to have been
due to temperature records showing the temperature had not hit the melting point. This is as close to direct verification as we get, it seems. This also illustrates the lack of reliability in the science, especially if the melt gets a headline and the correction gets virtually no notice.

In Quaternary Science Reviews, there was an interesting study on the history of sea ice. It explains proxies and many aspects of researching ice. The conclusion was “unexplainable by any of the known natural variations.” The implication was that humans were the only possible cause, not nature. This is basically the exclusionary principle—nothing else explains the phenomena so it must be “x” (in this case, us). In the study, this is not stated but rather implied. The actual conclusion is the ice melt is anomalous. That conclusion is an actual scientific statement that refrains from over-reaching: the ice is melting at a rate outside our defined “normal”.

In researching arctic ice, I found an article with a study saying the record surface melting was caused by “unusual atmospheric circulation and jet stream GrIS. This event was the largest such event since the 70’s and maybe longer. The study involved using a computer model and satellite data. Based on the results, the melt’s main forcing was atmospheric—the NAO, GBI (Greenland Blocking Index—a high pressure system over Greenland) and the polar jet stream. Researchers note that in time we will know if the was anomalous or part of an emerging pattern. Patience before drawing conclusions is a very good practice. So is more data collection.

Sea ice decline is actually small: -2.24% per decade. Headlines such as “Why Arctic Sea Ice will vanish in 2013” are designed to lead people to thinking climate change is much faster and larger than the data would indicate (I’ll wait until September to see if the headline comes true. Also, this story states we have had a stable climate for the last 11,000 years. Any time I ask about a stable climate, I am told “the climate never was stable”. It’s headlines and stories like these that lead people to asking when was climate stable and doubting the accuracy of climate change science.) I also found a report that Peter Wadhams, review editor, IPCC Working Group I report says the arctic will melt by 2015, if not sooner. The exaggerations seem endless.

One of the proxies used for study is historical records. I’m including some here. While there will be an immediate “That’s not science” reaction from many, consider that internet marketing surveys are now being published in peer-reviewed journals. Old newspaper headlines are certainly as reliable a measure as internet marketing surveys.
From Climate Depot:
1922 Washington Post “Arctic Ocean Getting Warm, Seals Vanish and Iceberg Melt”
1923 “Radical Climate Change Melting Down the North Pole”
1935 “Russian Ship Sailed 500 miles from North Pole in Ice Free Water”
1947 “International Agency needed to Stop the Arctic Meltdown” (No word on how that would work)
1907 “Arctic Heat Record—Hottest Place in Europe
Some of these may have been “local” events but the belief in apocalyptic meltdown of the arctic is nothing new.
As you can see, there are many theories/hypothesis on arctic ice melt. What seems most apparent is we lack sufficient understanding at this point to draw accurate conclusions, especially long-range ones. In 2002, satellites from GRACE began detecting tiny variations in Earth’s gravity that indicate changes in mass distribution on earth, including the movement of ice into the ocean. These are detecting decreases, but with only a decade of data, its too soon to establish a pattern as climate change rather than short-term weather changes. Even if we do find a significant decline, we cannot simply jump to “human-caused”. We live on a dynamic planet that is always changing. Monitoring may help us prepare for the changes by alerting us sooner, much like radar for tornadoes and hurricanes. Just like the storm alerts, the knowledge can only warn, not prevent. We can study, learn and adapt, but in all probability, it’s not something we control nor something we can prevent.

References:

http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/AdultDiscussionPlease
http://www.livescience.com/28399-clouds-greenland-ice-melt.html
http://junkscience.com/2013/07/14/study-no-consensus-among-scientists-about-the-cause-of-recent-increase-in-ice-sheet-mass-loss-observed-by-satellites/
http://www.climatedepot.com/2012/08/27/dont-panic-arctic-ice-hits-record-low-climate-depot-explains-arctic-melting-hype/
Polyak, L., et al, History of sea ice in the Arctic, Quaternary Science Reviews (2010)
http://phys.org/news/2013-06-jet-stream-climatically-exceptional-greenland.html
http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112875668/jet-stream-caused-greenland-ice-sheet-melt-2012-061713/

Click to access Liu_GRL31A.pdf


http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/2013/03/an-early-spring-calibration-for-melt-detection/
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/4084c8ee-fa36-11e2-98e0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2apWLP7jt

Scientific Badger

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