Tuesday, December 25, 2012


A Lie Travels Half-way Around the World Before Truth Laces Up Its Boots

Here is the headline in yesterday's NYT:

Scientists Report Faster Warming in Antarctica

So one might believe from this headline that the story is thus-- scientists have measured the temperature in Antarctica and found a warming trend from those actual measurements. Even the early body of the story would cause one to believe that.

A paper released Sunday by the journal Nature Geoscience reports that the temperature at a research station in the middle of West Antarctica has warmed by 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1958. That is roughly twice as much as scientists previously thought and three times the overall rate of global warming, making central West Antarctica one of the fastest-warming regions on earth.
You have to read on to find out what really happened.

The new research is an attempt to resolve a scientific controversy that erupted several years ago about exactly how fast West Antarctica is warming. With few automated weather stations and even fewer human observers in the region, scientists have had to use statistical techniques to infer long-term climate trends from sparse data. 

A nearby area called the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts north from West Antarctica and for which fairly good records are available, was already known to be warming rapidly. A 2009 paper found extensive warming in the main part of West Antarctica, but those results were challenged by a group that included climate change contrarians. 

To try to get to the bottom of the question, David H. Bromwich of Ohio State University pulled together a team that focused on a single temperature record. At a lonely outpost called Byrd Station, in central West Antarctica, people and automated equipment have been keeping track of temperature and other weather variables since the late 1950s. 

It is by far the longest weather record in that region, but it had intermittent gaps and other problems that had made many researchers wary of it. The Bromwich group decided to try to salvage the Byrd record. 

They retrieved one of the sensors and recalibrated it at the University of Wisconsin. They discovered a software error that had introduced mistakes into the record and then used computerized analyses of the atmosphere to fill the gaps.
Much of the warming discovered in the new paper happened in the 1980s, around the same time the planet was beginning to warm briskly.

Oh, so there were no new measurements. As an unknown blogger at Watt's Up With That eloquently wrote:
They can’t find any recent warming, so they took a broken sensor with “intermittent gaps and other problems”, “recalibrated” it, “used computerized analyses of the atmosphere to fill the gaps” and “discovered” warming that “happened in the 1980s”.
If that is valid science, I'm Lord Kelvin.

The fact is a very small part of Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed (relatively), that is, the temperatures went from on average -50 degrees C to an average -49 degrees C, over many decades. The overwhelming bulk of the southernmost continent is as cold or colder than "normal." The seas around the continent have undoubtedly been getting colder and are producing ever more sea ice than "normal." (This despite the fact that believers in man-caused global warming have repeatedly told us that the effect of our CO2 would be amplified at both poles). The sea ice around Antarctica has this past year been constantly above normal, sometimes well above it. It's difficult to square that fact with claims of warming, such as it is, anywhere on the continent itself.

The excuse the alarmist use for the Antarctic temperature record not rising is that the seas around the continent act as a heat sink for the amplified, CO2 caused heat in the troposphere. But if that is true, then the Antarctic sea ice should be decreasing with every warmer surrounding seas. That's not happening, thus, their panic to find warming, any warming, even doubtful reconstructed warming, in Antarctica.

"...it doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are -- if it doesn't agree with experiment [or real world data], it's wrong."
R.P. Feynman

UPDATE: Here is a temperature map of Antarctica with the "reconstructed" Byrd station data incorporated. We tend to believe what's easiest to believe. Is it easier to believe the "reconstruction" was mishandled or easier to believe that, for no apparent reason, one single area of Antarctica is much, much warmer than all the rest? I think you know the answer.


There is a volcano in that vicinity call Erebus.
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