Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Once More Unto the Breech, Dear Friends, Once More
Here is an opinion piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer. The WTB authors argue that the sea level is rising, so there must be AGW, human caused global warming. They say the sea is rising at more than 45 cm per century when the rate is actually 32cm (and lower than that if you look closely at the slope of the Jason/Argo buoy data since 2006), but let's forgive that 40% error, and look at the isolated examples they give in support (and recall that the plural of annecdote is not data).
The first annecdote is the outer bank islands of North Carolina and Albemarle Sound behind them. The sea is rising! Run for the hills! The outer bank sand islands shift and change as a result of storms and currents constantly. An old outer bank island is a few thousand years old, but the solid land nearby is billions of years old. Change is constant at the edge of the ocean but yes, yes, the seas are rising. The ocean always rises during an interglacial, which we are in now. It rose a lot about 15,000 years ago, but the rate has been pretty flat for the last 8,000 years. This example is not even close to evidence of alarming rates of warming or the alleged cause thereof. What else do you have?
They cite the local warming of an Alaskan village with bad beach erosion on the Chuckchi Sea coast. Yes, it is slightly warmer in Alaska recently. But is it an unprecedented and alarming rate of warming? Crickets chirping. Natural cycles of warming and cooling are not alarming. What causes you Warmies to believe the warming last century was not part of a natural cycle?
OK, many glaciers are melting (which is what they do during interglacials). Yawn. There is the melting of the icefields of Greenland which accelerated in 1995, near the end of the general warming in 2000 (and slowed back down again, the WTB authors fail to mention that inconvenient fact) and, according to these guys, Antarctica too is melting away.
That last one comes from NASA, who doubled down recently, and I think it is hooey. Here is a longer article on the suspect claims of Antarctic melting since 2002, which article raises a lot of healthy doubt about the claim. Antarctica is huge and hardly anyone lives there (maybe a few hundred people overwinter). There are very few reliable weather stations, with a concentration of them in the Antarctic Peninsula. There is no doubt that the sea ice around Antarctica has been increasing over the last 30 years. Does it make sense that the sea ice around the frozen continent is increasing but the land temperatures are decreasing? Satellite measurement of the South Pole area air temperature shows a slight decline over the last 3o years. How is there more melting when it is getting colder there? Satellite altimeter measurements shows a steady growth of the icefields of the interior in East Antarctica, the bulk of the continent. There is some minor melting in the Antarctic Peninsula but that's merely 3% of the continent and is not representative. I think the bulk of the icefield melting in Antarctica is a result of lava flows under the ice. To be fair, the GRACE satellites tell a tale of loss of ice mass both north and south but their results are counter to almost all the other measurements. I'll look into the methodology they use and get back on that.
OldeForce - currently in Ohio, where the warmers keep writing to the Columbus paper to say that scientists would never lie.