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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 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 (blog) 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 (blog) 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.

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