Print 104 comment(s) - last by ekv.. on Jan 28 at 4:00 AM

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."

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By Amiga500 on 1/22/2009 12:41:18 PM , Rating: 0
Do you understand what the "problem" "may" snowball into? Just going to extremes, you are aware that once upon a time Mars had an atmosphere? How do you think that disappeared?

Personally speaking, I'm not overly bothered about all life, the extinction of a few species of millipede in the Amazon doesn't exactly get me alarmed.

However... and you may call me self-centred or whatever, even the potential for the extinction of the human race does get me alarmed.

RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By masher2 on 1/22/2009 12:50:29 PM , Rating: 4
> "are aware that once upon a time Mars had an atmosphere? How do you think that disappeared?"

It disappeared due to a combination of the shallow Martian gravitional well and the lack of a magnetic field to protect the upper atmosphere from the solar wind. Are you suggesting that global warming will somehow impact gravity and magnetism?

I must again point out that, over geologic time, CO2 levels have averaged much higher than they are now. During the Devonian, for instance, they stood as high as 4,000 ppmv -- over ten times current levels -- a period in which life was both more abundant and diverse than what we see today.

RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By Amiga500 on 1/22/2009 1:03:33 PM , Rating: 1
If those (grav well and mag field) were the sole reasons there would never have been an atmosphere to start with as both are relative constants*.

You know that as well as I do.

Something changed - and it wasn't Mars' mass.

*It possibly could have been the magnetic field, but I consider that unlikely. If it is the case - it then is something we need to understand the mechanism of ASAP.

As I said in another post, I don't particularly care about all life - I am more concerned about human life.

RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By Zshazz on 1/22/2009 3:00:25 PM , Rating: 5
I remember reading somewhere that the core of Mars cooled and thus shut down the magnetic field. It isn't a constant at all, since it's produced by the super-heated fast-moving liquid metal.

Plus, the whole point of the article is to show that these climate change "scientists" (to use the term extremely loosely) can and do change their models to predict whatever is happening. I.E. it's not possible for them to be wrong.

It's silly. The same method of science can be used by me to say "The more humans there are, the bigger the universe is, because humans have been increasing, and the size of the universe is increasing" ... and then, if we were to find out that the universe was shrinking, I could say "The number of humans has increased to such a dramatic level that it is causing a humanus-magnito-gravitus field and is causing an implosion on a universal scale!!" ... and if it switched back to the universe is increasing, I could just say "Oh... well, the number of humans has increased to such a degree that it is counter-acting the humanus-magnito-gravitus field!"

As you can see, it is utterly ridiculous. There is no way to "prove" them wrong when they do this (hence, they do this... they get paid so much money to study "climate change" ... so obviously, they're going to try to prolong it until they retire with $21 Billion in their bank account). The best way to find out if it's true or not is to apply some common sense to it. Obviously the number of humans isn't increasing the size of the universe, because it increased before our time. Obviously human emissions (especially CO2) aren't changing the climate, because the emissions have been higher in the past naturaly, because climate has changed in the past without us, and because we have no solid proof and the climate change scientists only manipulate the data to show their favor, so we can't even trust raw data anymore.

Point is, GW/Climate Change is probably one of the biggest and most effective shams in all of human history.

RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By Amiga500 on 1/22/09, Rating: 0
By tookablighty on 1/22/2009 3:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
What exactly is at stake? The planet's been more than a mite warmer before and we humans still did just fine. I'm not planning on keeling over because the thermo goes up another degree, are you?

RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By Zshazz on 1/22/2009 8:14:41 PM , Rating: 2
Key word being probably.

Actually, I was just dodging the anti-christians who think Jesus is the biggest and most effective sham in all of human history. It's vaguely worded, but I do mean that it's a sham, just the question is whether it's the one of the biggest or not. Either the scientists that support the theory, like the one quoted in the article, actually believe what they're saying is true (in which case, clearly have some mental illness) or they're simply pulling a gigantic scam to get as much research money as possible.

Because so much is at stake, I'm not happy to take the chance, are you?

I am if the chance is infintismally small. As far as I'm concerned, the chance of Yellowstone blowing and killing off the planet (you realize, when that thing goes, it'll release more emmisions than the human race has in the past 100 years, right? ... and it'll be freaking instant) is greater than humans causing climate change and killing us. I almost 100% believe (I realize that you'll nitpick this part, but nothing can be 100% certain, you can't even be 100% certain your physical body exists... you could just be a figment of your own imagining ;)) that climate change is being done by forces far greater than us (e.g. cycles of sun, which has been much more strongly correlated with temperature change than emissions... hey, it even passes the common-sense test, where we get heat from gets hotter = us getting hotter!). And even if I were wrong, like others have said, the climate of Earth has been far "worse" in the past and life was in greater abundance. If anything, we'll thrive more if we pump CO2 into our atmosphere.

Frankly, I'm more afraid of the universe randomly imploding because people fart too much :-\

RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By on 1/23/09, Rating: 0
RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By Amiga500 on 1/22/2009 3:27:02 PM , Rating: 2
It disappeared due to a combination of the shallow Martian gravitional well and the lack of a magnetic field to protect the upper atmosphere from the solar wind. Are you suggesting that global warming will somehow impact gravity and magnetism?

Done a brief bit of digging, and there is indeed evidence to strongly suggest the magnetic field of Mars has weakened substantially over time, driven by a cooling core.

I would assume that core cooling was internally driven, indeed I would hope that core cooling was internally drive. Regardless - that is something that merits further study.

RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By phxfreddy on 1/22/2009 10:22:41 PM , Rating: 3
Amiga500 == Die hard member of the congregation and choir of the Church of Latter Day Warming.

By Amiga500 on 1/23/2009 2:30:54 AM , Rating: 2
You bothered to read my posts on other threads on this?

RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By rdeegvainl on 1/22/2009 2:32:33 PM , Rating: 5
you are aware that once upon a time Mars had an atmosphere? How do you think that disappeared?

Definately wasn't man made global warming.

RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By Amiga500 on 1/22/2009 3:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
Thats another little gripe of mine.

Who really cares if climate change is man made or not?

Humans have always sought to control the local environment - it has what has made us the No.1 species on the planet. Extending control to the global environment should be near the top of our priorities.

(Now, obviously getting control of the environment means so much more than building a few wind farms - as they do not control the environment at all)

By WTFiSJuiCE on 1/23/2009 2:14:36 AM , Rating: 2
It honestly does matter if climate change is man made or not, because if it is then we actually can take steps within ourselves to contain that.

Extending control to the scale of the global environment? We can't even stop China from creating toxic winds that swoop down from the Gobi Desert, picking up all of the pollution particles from its grand industrialization and spreading it slowly all over the globe (while making thousands in Korea ill). And yet, you want to control the Earth's environment in its entirety?

Ok, hold on. I think I still have August De Wynter on speed dial, maybe he'll let us use his weather machine for kicks one more time.

Even if we could control the Earth's climate, we can't stop the sun from creating sunspots (in particular I believe we are just coming off of a maximum period of sunspots), therefore creating a strong solar wind, and reducing cloud cover which warms the planet surfaces.
What do we do about that? Shoot sulfur bombs into the atmosphere to cool ourselves until the danger goes away?

What about when global cooling happens? Are we going to send nuclear missiles into the sun to give it a jump start?

Major Tectonic Shift? Develop an enormous glue gun on the ISS and paste California back to the mainland?

What if a supervolcano erupts? There's nothing in our bag o' tricks for that one.

The problem with your gripe is that nature isn't something that is outside of us. We didn't just evolve above nature thanks to social contract. It's our arrogance as the 3rd most intelligent species that makes us think we can control the very environment we live in completely.

In the meantime, I'll just sit here and wait for the dolphins to thank us for the fish and leave the planet just before it explodes.

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Most Popular ArticlesSmartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
UN Meeting to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance
September 21, 2016, 9:52 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Update: Problem-Free Galaxy Note7s CPSC Approved
September 22, 2016, 5:30 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki