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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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RE: Lets do a quick risk assessment...
By Amiga500 on 1/22/2009 3:29:35 PM , Rating: 0
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.

Correct - my original assertion was very wrong.

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

Key word being probably.

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

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
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