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Scientists, Data Challenge New Antarctic ‘Warming’ Study
January 21, 2009

 Posted By Marc Morano – 11:01 PM ET – Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov  

Scientists, Data Challenge New Antarctic ‘Warming’ Study 

‘It is hard to make data where none exist’ 

Comprehensive Data Round Up Debunks New Antarctic ‘Estimate of Temperature Trends’ 

Washington, DC: A new study on Antarctic temperatures – which is contrary to the findings of multiple previous studies - claims "that since 1957, the annual temperature for the entire continent of Antarctica has warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, but still is 50 degrees below zero.”

Despite the fact that the study was immediately viewed with major skepticism by scientists who are not skeptical of anthropogenic global warming claims, many in the media pounced on the study as a chance to attack those skeptical of man-made climate doom. According to the release of the study, “The researchers devised a statistical technique that uses data from satellites and from Antarctic weather stations to make a new estimate of temperature trends. […] The scientists found temperature measurements from weather stations corresponded closely with satellite data for overlapping time periods. That allowed them to use the satellite data as a guide to deduce temperatures in areas of the continent without weather stations.” (emphasis added)

Few media outlets noted that in 2007 Antarctic “sea ice coverage has grown to record levels since satellite monitoring began in the 1979, according to peer-reviewed studies and scientists who study the area.”  [See also other factors impacting Antarctica: “Volcano, Not Global Warming Effects, May be Melting an Antarctic GlacierThe Antarctic deep sea gets COLDER – April 21, 2008 & A January 12, 2008, peer-reviewed paper in AGU (American Geophysical Union) found “A doubling in snow accumulation in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1850.” Map of Volcanoes - See comprehensive data round up below]  

The new Antarctic study was published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature and the lead author of the study was Eric Steig, a University of Washington professor of Earth and Space Sciences. Other co-authors include: David Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, a former student of Steig's; Scott Rutherford of Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI; and Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University.


UN IPCC lead author, Dr. Kevin Trenberth, who is not in any way a climate change skeptic, said of the study, "I remain somewhat skeptical… It is hard to make data where none exist.” Echoing Trenberth’s analysis were several other scientists.


Climatologist Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville questioned the study. "One must be very cautious with such results because they have no real way to be validated," Christy told the AP. “In other words, we will never know what the temperature was over the very large missing areas that this technique attempts to fill in so that it can be tested back through time,” Christy added.


Former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder said the authors of the Antarctic study “overstated” their results. “In terms of the significance of their paper, it overstates what they have obtained from their analysis,” Pielke told the AP. “In the abstract they write, for example, ‘West Antarctic warming exceeds 0.1C per decade over the past 50 years.’ However, even a cursory view of Figure 2 shows that since the late 1990s, the region has been cooling in their analysis in this region. The paper would be more balanced if they presented this result, even if they cannot explain why,” Pielke wrote. Pielke also questioned how the authors “reconcile the conclusions in their paper with the cooler than average long term sea surface temperature anomalies off of the coast of Antarctica.” Pielke added, “These cool anomalies have been there for at least several years. This cool region is also undoubtedly related to the above average Antarctic sea ice areal coverage that has been monitored over recent years.”


A critical analysis of the paper from December 21, 2008, accused the authors of the Antarctic study of making questionable data “adjustments.” (See: Scientist adjusts data -- presto, Antarctic cooling disappears - December 21, 2008) The analysis concluded, “Looks like [study author] Steig 'got rid of' Antarctic cooling the same way [Michael] Mann got rid of medieval warming. Why not just look at the station data instead of 'adjusting' it (graph above)? It shows a 50-year cooling trend,” the analysis concluded.


Alarmists Play Both Sides  


The BBC’s Richard Black filed a report on the new study that included this claim: “'It's hard to think of any situation where increased greenhouse gases would not lead to warming in Antarctica,’ said Drew Shindell from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.”

 Sadly, Black of the BBC does not report that the promoters of man-made global warming fears had already concocted explanations for the failure of Antarctica to warm as models predicted. [See: Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions – February 15, 2007 ]


The warming partisans at have claimed that a cooling Antarctica is just what the models predict! “A cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict,” stated a February 12, 2008, post on Real Climate titled “Antarctica is Cold? Yeah, We Knew That.” The website claimed “Despite the recent announcement that the discharge from some Antarctic glaciers is accelerating, we often hear people remarking that parts of Antarctica are getting colder, and indeed the ice pack in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica has actually been getting bigger. Doesn’t this contradict the calculations that greenhouse gases are warming the globe? Not at all, because a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict… and have predicted for the past quarter century.”


So which is it? Models predict Antarctic cooling or do they predict warming? If Antarctica is now allegedly warming, why didn’t the models predict that? The spin by Michael Mann of and the media on this study is stunning.


'Tortured logic'  


Real Climate’s logic was mocked by Professor Roger Pielke, Jr., professor in the environmental studies program at the University of Colorado. “So a warming Antarctica and a cooling Antarctica are both ‘consistent with’ model projections of global warming. Our foray into the tortured logic of  'consistent with’ in climate science raises the perennial question, what observations of the climate system would be inconsistent with the model predictions?” Pielke Jr. wrote on January 21. [ Update: Lead author Steig of Antarctic study caught trying to spin by Pielke Jr. – January 24, 2009 ]


Begley of Newsweek Gleeful  

The media, led by Newsweek’s woeful Sharon Begley, were downright gleeful about the new Antarctic study. Begley declared, “And now the last holdout has succumbed” to global warming. Begley -- who has been the subject of several blunt but accurate Inhofe EPW Blog critiques -- took a shot at the U.S. Senator and his aide. Begley wrote, “The supposed cooling has delighted climate contrarians, such as the prolific Senate staffer (to ‘global warming is the biggest hoax’ Sen. James Inhofe) Marc Morano, who has written, ‘Contrary to media hype, the vast majority of Antarctica has cooled over the past 50 years.’”

Begley concluded, “I look forward to the climate contrarians' arguments that this observed warming is a natural occurrence and has nothing to do with manmade greenhouse gases.” [Response to Begley: “Actually Sharon, skeptics of man-made climate fears are going to let the scientists like the UN’s Trenberth critique and debunk this study. One new study that 'makes data where none exist' and is contradicted by multiple previous studies is hardly a reason for you (and your fellow warming partisans) to celebrate. Climate crusaders (masquerading as reporters) like yourself should take the time necessary to review the latest science developments. How come you are not reporting on the slowdown in sea level rise? Or how about reporting on this: New Peer-Review study challenges 'notion that human emissions are responsible for global warming' or any of the following: The global tropical cyclone season of 2008 ‘close to lowest levels observed’ in decades Global temperatures failing to warm; Peer-reviewed studies predicting a continued lack of warminga failed attempt to revive the discredited 'Hockey Stick'; inconvenient developments and studies regarding rising CO2; the Spotless Sun; Clouds; Antarctica; the Arctic; Greenland’s ice; Mount Kilimanjaro; Global sea ice; Causes of Hurricanes; Extreme Storms; Extinctions; Floods; Droughts; Ocean Acidification; Polar Bears; Extreme weather deaths; Frogs; lack of atmospheric dust; Malaria; the failure of oceans to warm and rise as predicted.” Sadly, Begley’s attitude and reporting appears to be indicative of most of the mainstream media’s shoddy climate reporting. Also See: Defense of Lou Dobbs & Climate Challenge to Andrew Revkin of NYT & U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims


Alex Morales of Bloomberg News cited the late author Michael Crichton’s novel, State of Fear. “The findings may help puncture arguments by global-warming skeptics such as the late author Michael Crichton who have pointed to cooling in parts of Antarctica as an indicator that climate change is exaggerated.” [Note: Kudos to AP's Seth Borenstein for writing the most balanced of all the media's articles about this new Antarctic study.]


Summary of Reactions to New Study and Peer-Reviewed Studies and Analyses Countering Study  

Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann Touts Study as a Way to Refute Skeptics

Excerpt: "Contrarians have sometime grabbed on to this idea that the entire continent of Antarctica is cooling, so how could we be talking about global warming," said study co-author Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University and Real Climate contributor. "Now we can say: no, it's not true ... It is not bucking the trend." [Note: For a reality check on Michael Mann's failed attempt to resurrect the “Hockey Stick,” see this report.]


 Meteorologist Anthony Watts who runs also questioned Mann’s involvement in the study. “Anytime Michael Mann gets involved in a paper and something is 'deduced' it makes me wary of the veracity of the methodology. Why?  Mann can’t even correct simple faults like latitude-longitude errors in data used in previous papers he’s written,” Watts wrote on January 21.


Study claims large parts of Antarctica has been cooling from 1970s to 1990s

Excerpt: However, autumn temperatures in east Antarctica are cooling over the long term. And east Antarctica from the late 1970s through the 1990s, cooled slightly, Steig said.


Even Pro-AGW scientists wary of this new study! Kevin Trenberth says ‘I remain somewhat skeptical… It is hard to make data where none exist.’

Excerpt: The researchers used satellite data and mathematical formulas to fill in missing information. That made outside scientists queasy about making large conclusions with such sparse information. "This looks like a pretty good analysis, but I have to say I remain somewhat skeptical," Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in an e-mail. "It is hard to make data where none exist." Shindell said it was more comprehensive than past studies and jibed with computer models.



Alabama State Climatologist Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville questioned the results of the new Antarctic study [Note: Clarifies Christy’s views on the study. –Updated January 28, 2009]

Excerpt: Technique questioned:  Researchers in this study developed a new technique that combined data from satellites and automated weather stations in Antarctica to make what they say is the best estimate of the continent's temperature so far. However, there are very few weather stations on Antarctica, and the satellite data have been available for only the past 25 years. This troubles some scientists. "One must be very cautious with such results because they have no real way to be validated," says atmospheric scientist John Christy of the University of Alabama-Huntsville, who was not part of the study. "In other words, we will never know what the temperature was over the very large missing areas that this technique attempts to fill in so that it can be tested back through time."  Researchers had thought Antarctica was getting cooler in part because of the ozone hole over the South Pole. This break in the protective ozone layer brings cooling weather patterns across parts of Antarctica. Steig agrees that the ozone hole has contributed to cooling in East Antarctica. "However, it seems to have been assumed that the ozone hole was affecting the entire continent, when there wasn't any evidence to support that idea, or even any theory to support it," he adds. 


Pielke Sr. Challenges New Antarctic Study - January 21, 2009

By Former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder

Excerpt: 3. How do the authors reconcile the conclusions in their paper with the cooler than average long term sea surface temperature anomalies off of the coast of Antarctica? [see:]. These cool anomalies have been there for at least several years. This cool region is also undoubtedly related to the above average Antarctic sea ice areal coverage that has been monitored over recent years; see]. 4. In Figure 2 of their paper, much of their analyzed warming took place prior to 1980. For East Antarctica, the trend is essentially flat since 1980. The use of a linear fit for the entire period of the record produces a larger trend than has been seen in more recent years. In terms of the significance of their paper, it overstates what they have obtained from their analysis. In the abstract they write, for example, “West Antarctic warming exceeds 0.1C per decade over the past 50 years”. However, even a cursory view of Figure 2 shows that since the late 1990s, the region has been cooling in their analysis in this region. The paper would be more balanced if they presented this result, even if they cannot explain why.


Scientist adjusts data -- presto, Antarctic cooling disappears - December 21, 2008

Abstract excerpt: "We use statistical climate field reconstruction techniques to determine monthly temperature anomalies for the near-surface of the Antarctic ice sheet since 1957. Two independent data sets are used to provide estimates of the spatial covariance patterns of temperature: automatic weather stations and thermal infrared satellite observations. Quality-controlled data from occupied instrumental weather stations are used to determine the amplitude of changes in those covariance patterns through time. We use a modified principal component analysis technique (Steig et al., in review, Nature) to optimize the combination of spatial and temporal information. Verification statistics obtained from subsets of the data demonstrate the resulting reconstructions represent improvements relative to climatological mean values."

Mann's not the only one inventing his own "modified" PCA. Looks like Steig "got rid of" antarctic cooling the same way Mann got rid of medieval warming. Why not just look at the station data instead of "adjusting" it (graph above)? It shows a 50-year cooling trend.


 Antarctic Facts Debunk Alarmists - Comprehensive Report on Antarctic Data & Studies – As of October 31, 2008  

March 27, 2008 Senate Report: Media Hype on ‘Melting’ Antarctic Ignores Record Ice Growth

Alarmists Try Again: Claim CO2 Causes 2% of Antarctic to Melt & Ozone Depletion Causes 98% to COOL! – October 30, 2008

Claim: CO2 causing Antarctic peninsula to warm; ozone depletion caused the rest to cool  - Data pins polar warming blame on humans -
Excerpt: The report may go some way towards silencing climate skeptics who point to evidence that most of Antarctica has been cooling for some time. "There is strong warming in the Antarctic Peninsula," Karpechko said. "But for several decades there has been a slight cooling of the rest of the continent. This slight cooling is due to circulation changes which are partly caused by ozone depletion. "This is why there has been a bit of confusion as to what is happening in Antarctica. But we expect a recovery of the ozone layer in the future. We may also expect that the Antarctic warming trends will emerge more clearly." Commenting on the study conducted by the UEA, Professor David Vaughan, a Glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey told CNN, "This is exactly the sort of study we need. The poles are extremely important in the climate change debate and the rapid warming in the Arctic is one of the icons." Professor Vaughan, who is studying the patches of warming happening in Antarctica, concedes that the cooling that's occurred in the past 30 to 50 years is "a little perplexing." But he agrees with Dr. Karpechko over the effects of the ozone hole.


Reality Check: Climatologist John Christy Debunks Latest Claims on Antarctica – October 30, 2008 (Kudos to Canadian Press for striving for balance in a global warming article!)

Excerpt: The Canadian Press: John Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama, has done studies on climate models and says they are extremely limited tools in trying to mimic what happens in nature. He said they are unable to reproduce all of the naturally occurring influences and, as a result, give a false picture of what might be causing changes in the environment. Clouds, for example, can dampen warming in the real world, but he said models have been shown to amplify warming. "They overstate the confidence of what they have in that result because we have too many examples of models that fail," Christy said from Huntsville. "We have shown that climate models just don't have the variability that nature provides to us." Christy too disputed whether the bulk of continental Antarctica is warming, saying that it is, in fact, cooling. The report looks largely at the Antarctic peninsula - which makes up two per cent of the continent - and the eastern and western coastal regions, where they have found warming. The report focuses on temperature changes going back to 1900 and up to the present, but doesn't include earlier periods when areas in the Arctic were actually warmer than they are today and were not affected by man-made greenhouse gases, said Christy. "Just 1,000 years ago the Arctic was much warmer than it is today so it's interesting that they would use the term conclusively," he said. "Natural variability can account for warming since the Arctic has been warmer before."


Inconvenient Peer-Reviewed Study: East and West Antarctic ice sheets have ‘different climate histories’ – ‘a phenomenon that persists in modern times’ - May 30, 2008

Excerpt: There is an interesting News Focus story in this week’s Science journal, that helps to confirm the different climate histories for the East and West Antarctic ice sheets - a phenomenon that persists in modern times: ANTARCTICA: Freeze-Dried Findings Support a Tale of Two Ancient Climates - A surprising cache of ancient plant material adds evidence for divergent climate histories of the East and West Antarctic ice sheets over the past 14 million years. Excerpt: These findings appear to be contradictory at first glance, but in fact they buttress an evolving view among scientists that the two major features of the continent, the western and eastern ice sheets, have experienced vastly different climate histories. Data from the Dry Valleys reveals an East Antarctic Ice Sheet that is high, dry, cold, and stable, at least in its central area. And the ANDRILL cores suggest a more volatile West Antarctic Ice Sheet that is subject to the changing temperatures of the sea in which it wades. “It reaffirms the fragility of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet [WAIS] and the stability of the central part of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet,” says Peter Barrett, a sedimentologist at the Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) in New Zealand, who advised the ANDRILL project.

We can't think of any other cause, it must be us - 'Prehistoric civilization' blaming thunderstorms on upset gods - October 31, 2008

Claim: ‘We could only explain the warming that's been observed if we included human-climate influences’
Excerpt: 'We can't think of any other cause, it must be us' - This is the depth to which scientific research into climate change has sunk, like a kind of prehistoric civilization that blames thunderstorms, earthquakes and volcanoes on humanity somehow having "upset the gods". A Canadian study has concluded that we must be causing climate change because nothing else can explain it. Under the triumphant headline "Study confirms human impact on climate change", The Age reports all this without any discrimination: "We found that we could only explain the warming that's been observed if we included human-climate influences, particularly greenhouse gases," the study's author, Nathan Gillett, told ABC Radio. "And we couldn't explain those changes [if there] were just natural influences on climate like volcanoes and changes in the brightness of the sun."


Excerpt: Arctic Reality Check: Why isn’t the cooling Antarctic considered ‘an indicator of what might happen to the rest of the world?’ - By Climate Scientist Dr. Ben Herman.

Dr. Herman Excerpt: First of all, the Arctic sea ice is at its minimum in September, not October or November as the scientists in the McClatchy article states. As Arctic ice experts, they certainly should have known this. Another point is that the Arctic temperatures do not "naturally peak in October or November". They peak in mid August generally. Also the article states that since the world's climates are interconnected, what happens in the Arctic may be an indicator of what will happen in the rest of the world. How about what happens in the Antarctic then? Since its ice area has been increasing, is this also an indicator of what might happen in the rest of the world?

[Note: Alarmists up to same tricks alleging present climate only explainable by human activity. Even the partisans at Real Climate now appear to concede CO2 is not all powerful! 1) Oops! Propagandists at  Let Truth Slip Out! – ‘The actual temperature rise is an emergent property resulting from interactions among hundreds of factors’ – September 20, 2008 -

2) UK Scientist: – ‘Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables’ Not Just CO2! By UK Professor Emeritus of Biogeography Philip Stott of the University of London - ]


Flashback: A February 2007 study reveals Antarctica is not following predicted global warming models - Senate Report: Media Hype on ‘Melting’ Antarctic Ignores Record Ice Growth - March 27, 2008

Excerpt: “A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models." The research was led by David Bromwich, professor of atmospheric sciences in the Department of Geography, and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University.


Not Global Warming: Winds are Dominant Cause of Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheet Losses – October 3, 2008

Excerpt: Two new studies summarized in a news article in Science magazine point to wind-induced circulation changes in the ocean as the dominant cause of the recent ice losses through the glaciers draining both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, not ‘global warming.’ The two studies referred to are: 1) ‘Acceleration of Jakobshavn Isbræ triggered by warm subsurface ocean waters’ by Holland et al, published in Nature Geoscience. The Abstract states: Observations over the past decades show a rapid acceleration of several outlet glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. One of the largest changes is a sudden switch of Jakobshavn Isbræ, a large outlet glacier feeding a deep-ocean fjord on Greenland’s west coast, from slow thickening to rapid thinning  in 1997, associated with a doubling in glacier velocity. Suggested explanations for the speed-up of Jakobshavn Isbræ include increased lubrication of the ice–bedrock interface as more meltwater has drained to the glacier bed during recent warmer summers  and weakening and break-up of the floating ice tongue that buttressed the glacier.


2) ‘Modelling Circumpolar Deep Water intrusions on the Amundsen Sea continental shelf, Antarctica’ by Thoma et al, published in GRL.

The Abstract states:

Results are presented from an isopycnic coordinate model of ocean circulation in the Amundsen Sea, focusing on the delivery of Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) to the inner continental shelf around Pine Island Bay. The warmest waters to reach this region are channeled through a submarine trough, accessed via bathymetric irregularities along the shelf break. Temporal variability in the influx of CDW is related to regional wind forcing. Easterly winds over the shelf edge change to westerlies when the Amundsen Sea Low migrates west and south in winter/spring. This drives seasonal on-shelf flow, while inter-annual changes in the wind forcing lead to inflow variability on a decadal timescale. A modelled period of warming following low CDW influx in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s coincides with a period of observed thinning and acceleration of Pine Island Glacier.


The Antarctic deep sea gets COLDER – April 21, 2008

Excerpt: The Antarctic deep sea gets colder, which might stimulate the circulation of the oceanic water masses. This is the first result of the Polarstern expedition of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association that has just ended in Punta Arenas/Chile. At the same time satellite images from the Antarctic summer have shown the largest sea-ice extent on record. In the coming years autonomous measuring buoys will be used to find out whether the cold Antarctic summer induces a new trend or was only a "slip".  The Polarstern expedition ANT-XXIV/3 was dedicated to examining the oceanic circulation and the oceanic cycles of materials that depend on it. Core themes were the projects CASO (Climate of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean) and GEOTRACES, two of the main projects in the Antarctic in the International Polar Year 2007/08. Under the direction of Dr Eberhard Fahrbach, Oceanographer at the Alfred Wegener Institute, 58 scientists from ten countries were on board the research vessel Polarstern in the Southern Ocean from 6 February until 16 April, 2008.


East Antarctica's Role in Global Sea Level Change 'will not result in any increase in sea level' – April 23, 2008

Excerpt: East Antarctica's Role in Global Sea Level Change – Reference: Mackintosh, A., White, D., Fink, D., Gore, D.B., Pickard, J. and Fanning, P.C. 2007. Exposure ages from mountain dipsticks in Mac. Robertson Land, East Antarctica, indicate little change in ice-sheet thickness since the Last Glacial Maximum. Geology 35: 551-554. What was done - The authors derived altitudinal transects of 10Be and 26Al exposure ages across the Framnes Mountains in Mac. Robertson Land that allowed them to calculate the magnitude and timing of East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) retreat following the Last Glacial Maximum. 


Antarctic Glaciers Going To Sea At Faster Rate – Volcano -- NOT Global Warming to blame! – February 24, 2008

Excerpt: David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey said the team found new evidence from group of glaciers in West Antarctica which cover an area the size of Texas. […] He said the glaciers, particularly the Pine Island Glacier, has surged sharply in speed towards the ocean-- and it's not because of global warming. […]Scott's research revealed evidence of a volcano that erupted through the ice about 2,000 years ago. The whole region could be volcanically active and could possibly be releasing geothermal heat to melt the base of the ice and help its slide towards the sea. If the glacier continues to surge and discharge most of its ice into the sea, the Pine Island Glacier alone could raise global sea level by 25 centimeter. If the entire region were to lose its ice, the sea would rise by 1.5 meters worldwide.


Flashback: Alarmists Tactics Unmasked in Antarctica – Senate Report: Media Hype on ‘Melting’ Antarctic Ignores Record Ice Growth - March 27, 2008

Excerpt: Climate scientist Dr. Ben Herman, past director of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and former Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona, stated, “It is interesting that all of the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) stories concerning Antarctica are always about what's happening around the [western] peninsula, which seems to be the only place on Antarctica that has shown warming. How about the net ‘no change’ or ‘cooling’ over the rest of the continent, which is probably about 95% of the land mass, not to mention the record sea ice coverage recently.”  


Flashback: Media’s biased Antarctic Reporting - – Senate Report: Media Hype on ‘Melting’ Antarctic Ignores Record Ice Growth - March 27, 2008

Former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., presently senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, chastised the media’s Antarctic reporting as “typical of the bias that many journalists have.” Pielke wrote on March 25, “The media has ignored in their reporting the increase in Antarctic sea ice cover in recent years, with, at present, a coverage that is well one million square kilometers above average.” Pielke added, “Unfortunately, it appears that most journalists just parrot the perspective of the first news release on these climate issues, without doing any further investigation. If this is inadvertent, they need to be educated in climate science. If deliberate bias, they are clearly advocates and the reporters should be clearly and publicly identified as having such a bias. In either case, the public is being misinformed!”


Flashback: Former Virginia State Climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels and Paul C. Knappenberger, a senior researcher with New Hope Environmental Services posted comments on Antarctica in February on their website Michaels and Knappenberger wrote a February 27, 2008, article titled “Antarctica Ain’t Cooperating”: “Another major article on temperature trends in the Antarctic has appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research by a team of scientists from Ohio State University, the University of Illinois, and the Goddard Space Flight Center; the research was funded by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs Glaciology Program. […] That is correct – despite all you have heard elsewhere on the subject, the South Pole has been cooling over the past half century. The previous research team also reported that any warming in Antarctica has slowed and the cooling has accelerated in the more recent three decades. According to Monaghan et al., yet another team previously examined Antarctic temperatures and “noted that prior to 1965 the continent-wide annual trends (through 2002) are slightly positive, but after 1965 they are mainly negative (despite warming over the Antarctic Peninsula).”


Flashback: “Volcano, Not Global Warming Effects, May be Melting an Antarctic Glacier”

Excerpt: In addition, the media’s reporting on the alleged “melting” of Antarctica fails to take into account other factors. “Volcano, Not Global Warming Effects, May be Melting an Antarctic Glacier” read a headline in a January 21, 2008, article. The article read in part: Scientists have discovered a layer of volcanic ash and glass shards in Antarctica, evidence of an old eruption by a still active volcano that researchers believe may be contributing to the thinning of Antarctic glacial ice. Hugh F.J. Corr and David G. Vaughan, two scientists with the British Antarctic Survey, recently published their discovery of the volcanic layer in the journal Nature Geoscience. The discovery is unique, according to Dr. Vaughan. He said, “This is the first time we have seen a volcano beneath the ice sheet punch a hole through the ice sheet.” The volcano’s heat could possibly be melting and thinning the ice and raising the speed of the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica. (Other links on Antarctic Volcanoes: Map of volcanoes in Antarctica; and NASA Image of Antarctic Peninsula and pacific ring of fire groups of volcanoes. )


Flashback: Another inconvenient fact that the media likes to avoid is Antarctica ice extent GREW to record levels in 2007. A September 11, 2007, article on IceCap.US explained: “While the news focus has been on the lowest ice extent since satellite monitoring began in 1979 for the Arctic, the Southern Hemisphere (Antarctica) has quietly set a new record for most ice extent since 1979. This can be seen on this graphic from this University of Illinois site, The Cryosphere Today, which updated snow and ice extent for both hemispheres daily. The Southern Hemispheric areal coverage is the highest in the satellite record, just beating out 1995, 2001, 2005 and 2006. Since 1979, the trend has been up for the total Antarctic ice extent.”


Flashback: A January 12, 2008, peer-reviewed paper in AGU (American Geophysical Union) found “A doubling in snow accumulation in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1850.” The abstract of the paper by Thomas, E. R., G. J. Marshall, and J. R. McConnell, states: We present results from a new medium depth (136 metres) ice core drilled in a high accumulation site (73.59°S, 70.36°W) on the south-western Antarctic Peninsula during 2007. The Gomez record reveals a doubling of accumulation since the 1850s, from a decadal average of 0.49 mweq y−1 in 1855–1864 to 1.10 mweq y−1 in 1997–2006, with acceleration in recent decades. Comparison with published accumulation records indicates that this rapid increase is the largest observed across the region.


Flashback: UN scientist Dr. Madhav L. Khandekar, a retired Environment Canada scientist and an expert IPCC reviewer, noted in 2007 that the Southern Hemisphere is COOLING. Dr. Khandekar wrote on August 6, 2007: "In the Southern Hemisphere, the land-area mean temperature has slowly but surely declined in the last few years. The city of Buenos Aires in Argentina received several centimeters of snowfall in early July, and the last time it snowed in Buenos Aires was in 1918! Most of Australia experienced one of its coldest months of June this year. Several other locations in the Southern Hemisphere have experienced lower temperatures in the last few years. Further, the sea surface temperatures over world oceans are slowly declining since mid-1998, according to a recent world-wide analysis of ocean surface temperatures.”


Flashback: Ivy League Geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack, the chair of Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, explained that the Earth has been warming for about 20,000 years, and humans have only been collecting data for about 200 years. "For most of earth's history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has only rarely been cooler," Giegengack said according to a February 2007 article. (LINK) Giegengack further explained that extremely long geologic timescales reveal that "only about 5% of that time has been characterized by conditions on Earth that were so cold that the poles could support masses of permanent ice."


Flashback: Dr. Duncan Wingham, Professor of Climate Physics at University College London and Director of the Centre for Polar Observation and Modeling, has presented evidence that Antarctic ice is growing. According to a December 15, 2006, article in Canada's National Post, "Early last year at a European Union Space Conference in Brussels, for example, Dr. Wingham revealed that data from a European Space Agency satellite showed Antarctic thinning was no more common than thickening, and concluded that the spectacular collapse of the ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula was much more likely to have followed natural current fluctuations than global warming."  "One cannot be certain, because packets of heat in the atmosphere do not come conveniently labeled 'the contribution of anthropogenic warming,' " Wingham said, noting that the evidence is not "favorable to the notion we are seeing the results of global warming." Wingham and his colleagues found that 72% of the ice sheet covering the entire land mass of Antarctica is growing at the rate of 5 millimeters per year. "That makes Antarctica a sink, not a source, of ocean water. According to their best estimates, Antarctica will ‘lower global sea levels by 0.08 mm' per year" the National Post article reported.


Global warming may not affect sea levels, study finds – January 10, 2008

Excerpt: The most pessimistic predictions of sea level rises as ice sheets are melted by global warming may have to be scaled back as a result of an extraordinary discovery that ice persisted when the Earth was much hotter than today. Scientists have discovered that glaciers survived for hundreds of thousands of years during an extraordinary era when crocodiles roamed the Arctic and the tropical Atlantic Ocean was as warm as human blood. They had thought that Earth was ice free during the so called Turonian period, a "super greenhouse world" between 93.5 million and 89.3 million years ago. But now evidence has been found of hothouse glaciers that persisted by studies of tiny plankton and other marine organisms. Large ice-sheets existed about 91 million years ago, during one of the warmest periods in the past 500 million years, an international team of scientists reports in Science.


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