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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 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.)

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