FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Global Warming and Mythmaking Follies

by

The UK’s right wing machinery, i.e., Mail Online in conjunction with its reliable mythmaker author David Rose, posted an article about global warming just in time for the Drudge Report, and similar sites, to pick up their seemingly devastating article about the “myth of Arctic meltdown” for the long Labor Day weekend, thus, assuring maximum exposure. Globally, Mail Online is the most visited newspaper website.

The headline of the article even goes so far as to use all caps in the middle of a sentence: “…despite Al Gore’s prediction it would be ICE-FREE by now.” Of course, that is not exactly how respected newspapers write headlines, is it, or isn’t it? It seems kind of cheesy, and the headline, in and of itself, is a tipoff that clueless creativity is behind the scoop.

Here’s the headline in full: “Myth of arctic meltdown: Stunning satellite images show summer ice cap is thicker and covers 1.7 million square kilometres MORE than 2 years ago… despite Al Gore’s prediction it would be ICE-FREE by now,” David Rose, Mail Online, Aug. 30, 2014.

The headline is true, except for everything beyond two years.

Just for starters, Al Gore is not a scientist. So, why bother to quote him? Yeah, so he won an Academy Award for a film about global warming, but that’s all about entertainment and Hollywood.

But, that’s not all, as Rose meanders into the science, he positions the facts just cleverly enough to achieve his preconceived result, more on that later. Nevertheless, Rose’s article is correct in many respects, but it’s the “when things happen” and the “dimensions of what happens” where he strays into a pit of pretense, similar to David Copperfield’s sleight of hand, sawing somebody in half. We all know the feet and the head are not really severed. There’s no blood.

Similar to Copperfield’s sleight of hand, Rose’s article states the Arctic ice has recovered over the past two years, and this is true. It really has recovered, but it is also true that trends in nature are never based upon two years, which is not a complete body of evidence. Trends are multi-decadal events, not two years. And, it is indisputable that the trend with ice melt is down, down, down for 50 years.

It is also an established fact that nature trends up and down fluctuations over long-term cycles, similar to stock markets, e.g., secular bull markets in stocks experience corrections down along the way up. Likewise, the 50-year secular downtrend in Arctic ice experiences bumps up along the way. Like Copperfield’s lack of blood, Rose’s Arctic article lacks ice, not nearly enough to change the trend. Not even close!

Using one of the same sources, NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Date Center, Boulder, CO), as Rose used, here is the latest, as of August 19, 2014: “Ice is low, but record unlikely: Arctic sea ice extent is well below average… By mid-August, extent was similar to this time last year, which makes it unlikely that this year’s minimum extent will approach the record low observed in September 2012.”

Here’s more from the same source: “On August 17, sea ice extent was 1.03 million square kilometers (398,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average.”

As such, the same source that Rose quoted uses a long-term trend, not just two years like Rose does.

Ice Extent, according to NSIDC: (ice extent= two-dimensional measurement)

Arctic sea ice extent in 1950 was 8.25 million square miles.

Arctic sea ice extent in 2011 was 4.61 million square miles.

Arctic sea ice extent August 2014 is 5.7 million square miles.

Ice extent means ice that is anywhere between a few inches thick to several feet thick.

However, for complete accuracy, using both ice “extent and thickness,” which is volume (three dimensions rather than two dimensions), here is how Arctic sea ice has fared on a long-term basis, as follows:

Arctic Sea Ice Volume

Source: PIOMAS (Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington- the most respected dataset on Arctic sea ice volume)

Arctic sea ice volume in 1979 was 16.9 thousand cubic kilometers.

Arctic sea ice volume in 2011 was 4.0 thousand cubic kilometers.

Conclusion: Arctic sea ice volume has fallen off a cliff.

Even though he is not a scientist, it looks like Al Gore’s statement, as quoted in Rose’s article, is correct after all, but Rose made fun of the frequently lambasted former VP. Here’s the quote attributed to Al Gore from Rose’s article: “The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff.”

The record shows that over the past 30 years sea ice volume dropped by 76%. That’s “falling off a cliff.”

And, the current number, up to, and including 2014, shows the fall off in volume is 67.5%. That’s also “falling off a cliff.”

Current Arctic Sea Ice Volume (PIOMAS)

Source: http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/

“Sea ice volume is an important climate indicator. It depends on both ice thickness and extent and therefore more directly tied to climate forcing than extent alone.”

“Monthly averaged ice volume for September 2013 was 5,500 km3. This value is 52% lower than the mean over this period, 67% lower than the maximum in 1979, and 0.6 standard deviations below the 1979-2013 trend.   September ice volume was about 1600 km3 larger than in September of 2012 and within 700 km3 of the 2010 September ice volume.”

As can be seen by the last sentence from PIOMAS, it proves Rose’s two-year assessment is correct.

And, kudos to David Rose for including this quote by one of his sources: “Dr. Ed Hawkins, who leads an Arctic ice research team at Reading University… Dr. Hawkins warned against reading too much into ice increase over the past two years on the grounds that 2012 was an ‘extreme low’, triggered by freak weather. ‘I’m uncomfortable with the idea of people saying the ice has bounced back,’ he said.”

Even though David Rose’s recent story could have been cherry-picked out of any number of two-year periods over the past 50 years, and/but giving credit where credit is due, his article in Mail Online has enough balance to give it the “appearance of credibility”… as far as two-year studies go.

The only problem is he left out 50 years of data.

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com.

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 08, 2016
John W. Whitehead
Power to the People: John Lennon’s Legacy Lives On
Mike Whitney
Rolling Back the Empire: Washington’s Proxy-Army Faces Decisive Defeat in Aleppo
Ellen Brown
“We’ll Look at Everything:” More Thoughts on Trump’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
John Stauber
The Rise and Fall of Obamacare: Will the Inside Story Ever be Told?
Ted Rall
Ameri-Splaining
Michael J. Sainato
Mainstream Media Continues Absolving Itself From Clinton, Trump Election Failures
Ralph Nader – Mark Green
Divest or Face Impeachment: an Open Letter to Donald Trump
Gareth Porter
US Airstrikes on Syrian Troops: Report Data Undermine Claim of “Mistake”
Martha Burke
What Trumponomics Means for Women
Ramzy Baroud
Fatah, Hold Your Applause: Palestinian Body Politic Rotten to the Core
Steve Horn
Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General Pick, Introduced First Bill Exempting Fracking from Drinking Water Rules
Joe Ware
The Big Shift: Why Banks Need to Stop Investing Our Money Into Fossil Fuels
Juliana Barnet
On the Ground at Standing Rock
Franklin Lamb
Aleppo Update: An Inspiring Return to the Bombed Out National Museum
Steve Kelly
Hidden Harmony: on the Perfection of Forests
December 07, 2016
Michael Schwalbe
What We Talk About When We Talk About Class
Karl Grossman
The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons
Kenneth Surin
On Being Caught Speeding in Rural America
Chris Floyd
In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists
Serge Halimi
Trump, the Know-Nothing Victor
Paul DeRienzo
Flynn Flam: Neocon Ex-General to Be Trump’s National Security Advisor
Binoy Kampmark
Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Tom Clifford
Trump and China: a Note From Beijing
Arnold August
Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix a ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
John Kirk
Cuba After Fidel
Jess Guh
Repeal of Affordable Care Act is Politics Playing with the Wellbeing of Americans
Eric Sommer
Team Trump: a Government of Generals and Billionaires
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewal of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail