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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 Grabo on 1/22/2009 10:17:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
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
quote:
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.

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/03/stop_me_if...

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/09/you_cant_m...


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:

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=...


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
quote:
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.


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