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 Misty Dingos on 1/22/2009 4:58:33 PM , Rating: 1
You are attempting (poorly I might add) to do a risk assessment.

The risk assessment process involves a complete to good understanding of the process. I personally don't think climate scientists have a clue as to climate forecasting but let's give them a break and take the average HIGW model as reasonably accurate.

Anytime you do risk assessment you must also apply the probability of that risk.

Adverse Event X Probability of occurrence = Risk Assessment

So you have probabilities: Low, Medium and High. We will assign them numbers 1 for Low, 2 for Medium and 3 for High.

Next is Adverse Event: Death of all living creatures on the planet. Well that is bad so we assign it a high number like 100. At the opposite end is, No climatic effect at all and we could assign that a low number like 1. Then you have all the other Adverse events in between 100 (bad) and 1 (no climatic effect). With let's call death of one billion people being equal to 50.

Now you can do a risk assessment. Given your take on that I would say that you have 1 (probability) X 100 (adverse effect). So you have a score of 100. Let’s look at another example (more likely I think).

A high probability event (3 multiplier).

Adverse event: (50) Governments and individuals continue to call for the reduction of greenhouse gasses in the future. Millions of humans in third world nations die because they lack the industrial support from the first world or they are limited by arbitrary agreements designed to reduce their effect on the planet by modest to moderate industrialization.

3 X 50=150 Risk assessment.

So here we have a risk assessment that is worse than killing all life on the planet. Before you think that what I have done here is just BS this is how they are determining what polices are going to be implemented because of this issue. They are determining how many human beings will have to die to implement their agenda. What is the acceptable loss of human life, what is the acceptable level of human suffering?

So Amiga here is the question of the day. How many people are you willing to condemn to death or lives of suffering to forestall a climate event that you may have not have caused or can in fact affect? All in the attempt to err on the side of caution.

By Amiga500 on 1/23/2009 2:35:14 AM , Rating: 1
So Amiga here is the question of the day. How many people are you willing to condemn to death or lives of suffering to forestall a climate event that you may have not have caused or can in fact affect?

Sorry, I must have missed the bit where the developed world is helping industrialise the 3rd world...

Your post is reasonable*... if Africa was being helped off its knees already - but it is not.

*And a lot more detailed than the condensed 3 lines on risk assessment I presented.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki