Thursday, January 09, 2014
But, Darling, It's Cold Outside
The evidence of global warming in the fragile ecosystem of the Arctic is overwhelming, and frightening to anyone who reads about it, much less sees it first hand. As I enumerate in “Winter,” the tree line behind which winter has always hidden moves farther and farther north each year, so that it seems likely there will be spruce trees on Arctic islands in the next twenty years. First Nations people are already being evacuated from old coastal settlements; the expectation now is that the Arctic will be seasonally free of ice not in fifty years, as people once feared, but in something more like ten years. Even polar bears have turned to cannibalism as their natural prey disappears. It’s really happening. (And in some parts of the world, as we’re often reminded, climate change means more extreme weather and disruption, not just simple warming. It might even make very cold days in New York City.)The evidence of global warming in the robust ecosystem of the Arctic is underwhelming. Very few of the long term weather stations show any warming. There were not a lot of long term weather stations to begin with, and many of them dropped out when the USSR went belly up in 1989 and very few have been replaced. Many of the remaining stations in the huge area of Siberia, for example, are located in towns most of which heat the whole town with steam from a central boiler station and the steam pipes run through the streets above ground. Weather stations near steam pipes show warming since the steam pipes were installed. Isolated stations do not.
The tree line is not "always" advancing. In some places it is retreating south and climate is only one of a number of things which affect the boundary of the tree line.
Some Yup'ik who built a town on a sand bar on the Chukchi Sea coast and others who built a town on the bank of the Ninglick River, which changed channels, have blamed things other than normal barrier island or changing river bank erosion. The relationship of the erosion to the slight temperature changes in the area has never been established.
No rational person expects the Arctic Ocean to be free of sea ice in the Summer in the next 10 years or ever for that matter. It's really, really cold there, even in the Summer. The predictions of an ice free Arctic Ocean by 2013 made by Al Gore, Jay Zwally, Mark Serreze and Wieslaw Maslowski certainly have not panned out. Probably Alan's 10 year prediction is good as gold though.
Large male polar bears have always killed and eaten smaller bears when food is scarce. That's why the Coke ads (and movie) with a father and cubs 'family' is such a joke. The preying on cubs and yearlings is not something that has recently turned up and it is not the result of less seals but of MORE polar bears. There are in places more bears than the intact ecosystem can support. The numbers went from just 5000 bears in the 50s to 25,000 to 35,000 bears now. Alarmists ought to abandon the polar bear as proof of global warming because the bears are not in danger and are in fact thriving in the Arctic. The increasing number of them tells the complete story.
There is no increase of any extreme weather on any of the graphs counting extreme weather events. In fact, on most such charts, such extreme weather is getting rarer. Alan needs to keep up with current events.
His easily refutable parade of horribles is really ironic juxtaposed to the start of his next paragraph.
There is a larger issue, though, which all sane liberals should recognize, and it is that, in the past, many a planet-devouring wolf has indeed been called out, only to never actually appear: the population bomb never went off; peak oil has not been reached—or, at least, the energy crisis seems to have abated.
He cuts the list of failed predictions of green alarmists very short. It is actually very long. Alan is sure, however, this one is different, this one is real; this wolf will show up this time and eat us.
It's not a wolf, but rather a field mouse, a single field mouse measure of proper alarm.
Labels: Global Warming Hoax; Alan Gopnik