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Is Antarctica warming or cooling? Either way it proves global warming, according to climate modelers.

In the 1990s, predictions of a greenhouse-warmed Antarctic abounded. As time passed, though, problems surfaced. Research paper after paper indicated that, other than the tiny Antarctica peninsula, the continent was in fact cooling -- and had been doing so for many decades.

Skeptics pointed to this as a flaw in global warming theory. Not so fast, cried the climate modelers. They quickly spun a number of possible explanations, including ozone holes, ocean currents, and terrain that cut off Antarctica from the world's warming. As the certainty in the cooling trend grew, so did their statements, until they eventually began stating that they had predicted a cooling trend all along.

As the folks at RealClimate put it, "Doesn't this contradict [global warming]? Not at all, because a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict… and have predicted for the past quarter century."

Cooling was thus cast as proof of global warming, not refutation. The media dutifully shifted their cameras from penguins to polar bears. The world was safe for Kyoto again.

But now a new paper has appeared, saying that Antarctica is warming after all. Written by Eric Steig and Drew Shindell, the paper purports to prove that past evidence of cooling was incorrect. But doesn't that contradict the models? Not if one can again rewrite history.

Speaking at a news conference today, Steig says, "We now see warming is taking place [in] accord with what models predict as a response to greenhouse gases."

In 2004, Shindell had something very different to say. That year he authored a paper that stated, "Surface temperatures [had] decreased significantly over most of Antarctica," Shindell added, "This cooling is consistent with circulation changes". He dedicated the rest of the paper to demonstrating that climate modeling "reproduces the vertical structure and seasonality of observed [cooling] trends."

Today, Shindell says, "It’s extremely difficult to think of any physical way that you could have increasing greenhouse gases not lead to warming at the Antarctic continent.". One can only wonder if he kept a straight face.

Even the New York Times is playing along, saying that cooling "ran counter to the forecasts of computer climate models". Memories are short.

The real story here isn't Antarctica. It's the willingness to rationalize model results to fit any and all scenarios. To the modelers, their results are consistent with. . . well, everything. Whether warmer or colder, flood or drought, more storms or less -- it's all proof that global warming is real and happening now.

This, of course, isn't real science. A true theory require something called falsifiability -- a set of conditions under which it can be disproven. So far, this is something the modelers have failed to give. It allows them to maintain a facade of unflappable certainty-- but it isn't science.

Among researchers who work with actual climate data, skepticism is climbing. The modelers at least remain faithful. But as of now, their predictions are rather like the gypsy fortune teller who tells you, "You will live a long life -- unless you die young."

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By reader1 on 1/22/2009 9:13:26 AM , Rating: -1

The highlights:

Human-induced global warming is real, according to a recent U.S. survey based on the opinions of 3,146 scientists. However there remains divisions between climatologists and scientists from other areas of earth sciences as to the extent of human responsibility.

Two questions were key: Have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures?

About 90 percent of the scientists agreed with the first question and 82 percent the second.

The strongest consensus on the causes of global warming came from climatologists who are active in climate research, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role.

Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 percent and 64 percent, respectively, believing in human involvement.

I'm going to side with the climatologists on this. Michael Asher has an axe to grind and he's not objective.

By FITCamaro on 1/22/2009 9:18:19 AM , Rating: 4
Oh and climatologists who's research budgets depend on agreeing with whatever the hot issue is are objective?

By Noubourne on 1/22/2009 9:54:56 AM , Rating: 1
Oh wow, I had not thought of that before!

The National Cancer Institute has just put together their 2009 budget. Quick, get over there and tell them to cancel all their grants, because work done on grants never produces good results!!

By porkpie on 1/22/2009 11:10:09 AM , Rating: 5
You think the grant process doesn't affect science badly in some cases? 20 years ago, the UN was saying that first world nations would soon see a massive heterosexual epidemic. That never happened, but it resulted in AIDS research getting much more funding than some diseases that cause ten times as many deaths.

When your research funds come from the government, exaggeration pays off in spades.

By Reclaimer77 on 1/22/2009 4:01:17 PM , Rating: 2
Cancer is real.

Climate Change ?? Not so much..

By Grabo on 1/22/2009 10:17:41 AM , Rating: 2
I'm going to side with the climatologists on this. Michael Asher has an axe to grind and he's not objective.

What, really? He's going to keep digging up anything that 'disproves' a global warming point or anything he can twist into appearing as if it does. And anyone who stands against him shall be downrated. Even other bloggers aren't safe, least of all Mick...

As long as NASA thinks climate change is an issue, I dare say I will. Of course, that poll survey means nothing to masher or his underlings because they couldn't see a stop sign if they walked right into it.

By AssBall on 1/22/2009 10:43:39 AM , Rating: 2
Is climate change an issue? Well probably, considering the planet sustains human life. The question you and people who keep thinking your way are missing is: IS IT CAUSED BY HUMANS?

To date there is not enough evidence to support this. Until there is, I don't see any reason why we need to be drafting policies. Note that taking this stance has nothing to do with policies based upon many other proven negative affects of pollution, just "climate change".

By nafhan on 1/22/2009 2:51:15 PM , Rating: 3
How about some more facts:

Fact 4: We're not really sure what the natural cycle is or where it would be if humans weren't contributing

Fact 5: The natural cycle can vary widely

By omnicronx on 1/22/2009 10:51:46 AM , Rating: 2
And anyone who stands against him shall be downrated. Even other bloggers aren't safe, least of all Mick...
While this may be true, I find this article intriguing, it has become increasingly hard to sort through the BS when it comes to global warming, and that goes for both dies. Any time a new study comes out showcasing lowering or raising temperatures, both sides somehow come up with some new crazy way to fit it into their climate models. As far as I can tell, this was the point of mashers blog this time around, not to prove or disprove global warming.

By monoape on 1/25/2009 9:18:07 AM , Rating: 2
> ...both sides somehow come up with some new crazy way to fit it into their climate models.

Both 'sides'? On one 'side' are all the climate scientists on the planet (whose assessments and predictions are more based on empirical evidence than computer models), and on the other are right wing economists, a couple of scientists who work for 'think' tanks funded by ExxonMobil and a whole bunch of scientifically illiterate and dishonest bloggers, like Asher.

The distinction really is that clear.

Get your science from scientists and the confusion will be lifted.

By theendofallsongs on 1/25/2009 10:55:49 AM , Rating: 2
There are plenty of climate scientists who say AGW is a load of hooey. A lot of them are even members of the IPCC. Here's some of them:

By theendofallsongs on 1/25/2009 7:37:39 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the link. Let me quote from it

"It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming." - U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA

By thepalinator on 1/22/2009 11:23:28 AM , Rating: 3
He's going to keep digging up anything that 'disproves' a global warming point
When scientists throw a new conference to announce they've changed their minds again, you don't have to do much digging.

Oh, I love the pic also. Fits perfectly.

By clovell on 1/22/2009 12:14:41 PM , Rating: 5
Did you get the memo? Concensus isn't science.

Concensus of guys who contradict themselves on subjects which they are dubbed experts is even less scientific.

When you've something more than a poll, maybe you can fashion an arguement that's at least valid.

By CatfishKhan on 1/22/2009 10:42:49 AM , Rating: 4
Notice that none of the detractors here so far have bothered to address the substance of the article, but instead have had to resort to polls and questioning people's motives.

Some of us here can think for ourselves, and can use the data itself to come to conclusions without having to worry about majority opinions or what the motives of others might be.

By grenableu on 1/22/2009 11:15:40 AM , Rating: 2
Notice that none of the detractors here so far have bothered to address the substance of the article, but instead have had to resort to polls and questioning people's motives.
You noticed that too?

Personally I think Asher is a pompous ass most of the time, but the amount of waffling and bald-faced lying these climate nazis are engaging in is pretty disgusting. I myself have seen the NYT report that 'models say Antarctica should be cooling'. Now they turn around and say the opposite just to fit the data? Scary stuff.

By clovell on 1/22/2009 1:48:55 PM , Rating: 2
Climate models? You mean the ones that can't predict both past and future results? It's a bit hard to trust something that isn't right.

NASA? Are those the same guys who perform undisclosed 'adjustments' of raw data prior to analysis? Maybe they should stick to putting guys on the moon.

As for the IPCC quote - let me just say that recent studies in New Orleans have uncovered our limited knowledge of how traffic patterns will be affected following a Super Bowl win by the Saints. Do you see how that kind of begs the question?

By Amiga500 on 1/22/2009 3:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
So who do you trust?

Those that happen to agree with your pre-conceived ideas?


By clovell on 1/22/2009 4:47:13 PM , Rating: 3
In a word, no.

It's a bit difficult for me to explain, because I don't feel that this is a black or white issue or situation. I'm always suspect of any scientist that displays an overwhelming amount of zeal - particularly when it is in support of one idea to the discredit of another. When such zeal is evident in the conclusions of such a scientists' work, it raises a flag. Science is to be dispassionate to some degree. I'm also suspect of folks who get carried away with what could happen rather than focusing more on what is happening.

Now, that's half of it. The other half is a bit more philosophical. I've always been more of a fan of the modest scientist. That vast majority that work in a lab or in the field all day who never apear in the evening newscast. Those men and women who spend their conclusions raising further questions regarding their work and elaborating on its potential shortcomings rather than rationalizing or hiding them. These are the people that patiently devote themselves to uncovering the underpinnings of our universe. I don't find that AGW doomsday-predicting scientists fit that bill. Rather than opening an honest dialogue, I find that they repeatedly claim to have the only answer.

In the end, I'm a statistician. I trust numbers insofar as I can trust their source. When 'adjustments' are made to raw data that are not documented and justified in the public domain, my trust is lost.

By masher2 on 1/22/2009 12:25:57 PM , Rating: 3
> "Personally I think Asher is a pompous ass most of the time, but the amount of waffling and bald-faced lying these climate nazis are engaging in is pretty disgusting..."

I'm sure there's a compliment in there somewhere. :)

For the record, this new study was also coauthored by Michael Mann, the originator of the discredited "hockey stick" climate graph. The study methodology is to interpolate vast amounts of missing data from Antarctica, data which purports to show warming. Even Kevin Trenberth, an IPCC lead author and rampant climate alarmist, said of the study, "I am is hard to make data where none exists".

The actual data from live surface stations in Antarctica still shows a significant cooling trend.

By Apprentice777 on 1/22/2009 2:43:23 PM , Rating: 3
masher2 Maybe you can figure out how significant it is….but I’m seeing a new petition signed by “More than 34,000 scientist stating global warming probably is natural and not a crisis.” It’s also posted at

Doesn’t that trump the above mentioned petition??

By masher2 on 1/22/2009 2:49:32 PM , Rating: 3
That's the Oregon Petition; It's been gaining names for a few years now. I'll let you be the judge of how significant it is, but clearly the old mantra of "consensus" and "the science is settled" no longer holds water.

By the way, I'll be attending the 2009 Climate Convention mentioned in your link. Expect to see a few stories live from the convention floor.

By monoape on 1/25/2009 9:44:24 AM , Rating: 2
That petition is significant if you value the opinion of dentists, agricultural engineers, Ginger Spice and dead people in determining the validity of climate science.

And there's a good reason that the 'International Conference on Climate Change' (ooh, sounds impressive!) needs to use a totally discredited list like that - it's the best they've got.

That should tell you all you need to know about the strength of the Denier's argument.

If that's not enough, take a look at the 'keynote' speakers - three politicians and two people whose scientific opinions have been discredited by the rest of the climate science community and who work (indirectly) for ExxonMobil.

The only way to take anything from this bunch seriously is if you're so desperate for global warming to not be real that you suspend all critical faculties.

By theendofallsongs on 1/25/2009 10:57:53 AM , Rating: 2
This BS about claiming any skeptical scientist "works for Exxon" is getting pretty old. There are thousands of scientists who believe AGW is baloney. It's not just some big oil company conspiracy.

By monoape on 1/25/2009 5:50:43 PM , Rating: 2

Unless your definition of 'BS' is 'stuff I don't want to be true', you're wrong - again.

By theendofallsongs on 1/25/2009 7:35:09 PM , Rating: 3
Lol, you're going to do a lot better than that, quoting a tinfoil-hat site like "Exxon Secrets"? Yeah, bet they're unbiased huh?

Even your own site doesn't have any sort of smoking gun. It merely shows that a (very) few skeptical scientists have given a speech or been an advisor to some non-profit organization that once got some check from Exxon. Wow. Hold the presses! Who cares if they didn't actually get paid by an oil company, when we can play the old "guilt by association" game huh?

Oh, let's see how many other problems we can find here too.

a) Exxon stopped all funding years ago, yet these skeptical scientists are still just as loud as ever (even louder, in fact).
b) Enviro groups and govts give thousands of times as much to the other side. That's BILLIONS a year. And they're still doing it today. Hell, even BP gives $2M to some anti-carbon wacko group.
c) There's thousands of skeptical scientists who have never been affiliated with any of these groups.

This whole argument is just a big fat smokescreen, to cover up the fact theres no real evidence that AGW is any sort of catastrophe. When you have real proof, you don't have to resort to attacking the reputations of the other side.

By monoape on 1/25/2009 10:45:11 PM , Rating: 1
> Exxon stopped all funding years ago,... - and note that they are 'cutting' funding which does not necessarily mean total cessation.

Either you're clueless or a liar - which? As though it matters - just another nobody internet wingnut, ranting away against reality.

By theendofallsongs on 1/26/2009 12:15:37 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for proving my point for me. It says Exxon stopped funding those groups and yes, it means stopped ENTIRELY. Exxon is a public corporation, their books are public records. They can't secretly fund anything.

And yeah, it was only a year ago. So I got the date a bit off. So what, I was still right.

BTW, Nice job of ignoring all the other points, like the fact that alarmist scientists are getting over 1,000 TIMES as much funding, and they're still getting it today. If anyone is getting paid to spout BS, its the pro-global warming loonies.

By reader1 on 1/22/2009 12:06:49 PM , Rating: 1
Some of us here can think for ourselves

That's fine, but at some point you have to rely on others to act, you can't do everything yourself. You'll have to rely on someone else's conclusion eventually. Michael Asher is not someone I would rely on because he isn't smart enough.

By Dove2Three on 1/22/2009 12:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
Why not rely on your own eyes and brain? You can see these scientists changing their story every time the data changes. That doesn't mean anything to you?

Asher has opened my eyes on the climate debate. Not because I'm "relying" on him, but because the evidence just doesn't add up.

By dever on 1/22/2009 3:01:00 PM , Rating: 2
Safeguarding the most precious of human achievements -- Liberty -- is far from "doing nothing."

"Doing nothing" is letting the politically motivated take and spend your money without thought, and without critical skepticism.

By Erudite on 1/22/2009 1:02:47 PM , Rating: 2
Michael Asher is not someone I would rely on because he isn't smart enough.

Whatever else one might be able to say about Michael Asher, I don't believe that "he isn't smart enough" should be one of them - whether or not you agree with what he is saying.

I don't put much faith in the "pro-global warming" arguments I seem to hear from Jason Mick, but I'd hardly say he "isn't smart enough" either.

Just because you don't agree with someone's point of view shouldn't make it OK to judge them in such a way, especially publicly. (I would consider the comment section of a blog that anybody can read, logged on or not, public) I understand that we're all human and sometimes we judge people anyway, and sometimes it ends up here... but I don't think an attack on his character is going to gain you any points here. I like to think that most of the DT readers are more mature and open-minded than that.


On a semi-related note, this is a blog, not a news website. Don't expect the same kind of objectivity you should see on a news site on a blog.

By Reclaimer77 on 1/22/2009 4:06:23 PM , Rating: 2
Michael Asher is not someone I would rely on because he isn't smart enough.

Asher is the single best poster on Daily Tech and one of the top, if not the top, writer. He holds his ground, but he backs it up with facts and proof. Something nobody really does here. He seems to also have an understanding and knowledge of a vast array of topics. And he's one of the few here who just "gets it".

Not smart ? What have you ever done here exactly ?

You sound like just another guy who got butthurt from being Mashed :P

By reader1 on 1/22/2009 5:21:23 PM , Rating: 1
Al Gore has a Nobel Prize. Michael Asher has ~10K posts on a PC hardware site. You guys aren't losing because you're wrong, you're losing because you're weak and stupid.

By kyleb2112 on 1/23/2009 6:27:05 AM , Rating: 2
Do you believe in Gore's Ocean level predictions which were rejected by the UN? Do you believe in the discredited "hockey stick" graph? Or perhaps you believe the Nobel Prize has the magical power to transmute BS into truth if Al Gore rubs it just right.

By werepossum on 1/23/2009 7:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
by reader1 on January 22, 2009 at 5:21 PM
Al Gore has a Nobel Prize.

This would be the Algore who recently bought a condo near the beach in San Francisco?

Algore isn't (quite) stupid enough to believe what he preaches, he just knows lots of other people are, and that makes a good base of power and profit. First you scare the sheeple, then you shear them selling carbon offsets. Yes, he has a Nobel Peace Prize; so does Arafat. It's the Lefty of the Year award, awarded not by scientists but by lefty politicians. Again, it's only useful to advance the lefty agenda among the sheeple.

But now Obama is here to take care of stupid people, so don't feel too baaad (pun intended.)

By porkpie on 1/22/2009 11:06:22 AM , Rating: 3
meteorologists were among the biggest doubters
I think the meteorologists are more trustworthy here than the "climatologists", which are really just a bunch of guys playing with their computer models. The meteorologists don't have billions in research money on the line.

Anyway this survey is asking the wrong question. The question isn't "is the earth warming", its "is CO2 causing a crisis?" Ask that question, and you won't see hardly any scientists agree.

By werepossum on 1/23/2009 7:56:53 PM , Rating: 2
Climatologists are just meteorologists who aren't smart enough to actually predict anything verifiable.

No true scientist with any grounding in climate or history (human or natural) would condescend to take a survey on whether the earth is warming up since the end of the Little Ice Age . It's like a survey on whether ocean levels are dropping since the peak of the last wave, only useful for idiots.

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