Summary: Americans’ gullibility, our receptiveness to pleasing propaganda, dominates the politics of both Left and Right (although to different degrees). Of course, since both factions draw from the same population. The election showcased the Right’s (often quite irrational) propaganda. Today we look at similar tactics on the Left, using exaggerated fears to stampede us in the desired direction.
- Starting with theory as certainty: polar bears
- Greenland surface melting
- Polar sea ice shrinking
- The Greenland Ice Sheet Grows Darker
- See these articles for more about polar ice
- Other posts about today’s climate science
- Other Posts about Climate Change Propaganda
Today we look at “Yikes! Government Details 6 Most Terrifying Arctic Trends“, Julia Whitty, Mother Jones, 7 December 2012. It’s based on the NOAA’s 2012 Arctic Report Card (see the graphics here). Let’s compare the two.
Mother Jones uses or paraphrases the text from the NOAA report, except when they edit it for greater impact as propaganda (red emphasis added).
- NOAA: “Wind patterns, clouds, ocean currents, and ecosystems are being transformed.”
- Mother Jones: “Consequently wind patterns, clouds, ocean currents, and ecosystems are undergoing rapid transformations.”
The net effect is to conflate natural and anthropogenic warming, and exaggerate the warming’s effects so far.
More broadly, both Mother Jones and the NOAA report omit two important facts. First, that after two centuries of warming, the rise in temperature has paused during the past 15 years or so. Second, that anthropogenic CO2 was the dominate cause of warming only during the past (roughly) 60 years. This relatively short-term history (as climate trends go) accounts for the difficulty scientists have attributing current weather to changes in CO2. For details see:
- Still good news: global temperatures remain stable, at least for now., 14 October 2012
- When did we start global warming? See the surprising answer (it’s not what you’ve been told).
Both these facts are uncontroversial among climate scientists, yet many (most?) Liberals deny them as heresy. This shows their contempt for science — except when it’s useful for them, as does their disdain for scientists whose research challenges their views (ie, they regard scientists are authorities, unless they disagree with Leftist views — then they’re charlatans and fools).
Now let’s take a more detailed look at the Mother Jones article.
(2) Starting with theory as certainty: polar bears, the icon of global warming
Are polar bears endangered by global warming, as shown by the article’s opening graphic? Perhaps, although flames exaggerate the +2ºC rise since 1920.
Polar bears survived previous warm spells, but today are threatened by a wide range of human activities (eg, pollution, habitat loss, hunting) in addition to loss of sea ice from warming. To see how are they doing we turn to the most recent population data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG), in the report of 15th meeting in 2009 (detailed data here). Red emphasis added.
The PBSG reevaluated the status of the 19 recognized subpopulations of polar bears distributed over vast and relatively inaccessible areas of the Arctic. Despite the fact that much new information has been made available since the last meeting, knowledge of some populations is still poor.
Reviewing the latest information available the PBSG concluded that 1 of 19 subpopulations is currently increasing, 3 are stable and 8 are declining. For the remaining 7 subpopulations available data were insufficient to provide an assessment of current trend. The total number of polar bears is still thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000. However, the mixed quality of information on the different subpopulations means there is much room for error in establishing that range. That potential for error, given the ongoing and projected changes in habitats and other potential stressors is cause for concern.
They’re in better shape than most large predators. Mother Jones superimposes a polar bear on NOAA’s images, confirming the fake message of on-going polar bear die-off.
Update: Research by the Norwegian Polar Institute about the health of the polar bear population in the Barents Sea.
Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) parameters
- Polar bear dens and autumn sea ice coverage at Kongsøya
- Polar bear dens and autumn sea ice coverage at Hopen
- Sea ice cover around important denning areas
- Cub production pr adult female
- Proportion of females with cubs
- Litter size
- Body condition of adult males
There is no significant trend over time. However, a major part of the interannual variation can be explained by variation in the Arctic Oscillation (AO). High values of AO (milder weather) at the time of capture correlate with a lower body condition index (leaner animals).
(3) The melting of the surface of Greenland’s ice
Mother Jones, about their second (of eight) graphic:
Virtually the entire length and width of the surface of the Greenland ice sheet melted for the first time in 2012. This year was also the longest melt season ever witnessed. Plus Greenland’s ice lost some of its glitter as exposed soot, dust, and other particles blew onto the snow, darkening it and making it even more susceptible to melt.
The NOAA report correctly states what happened, including vital details omitted by Mother Jones (in red).
A rare, nearly ice-sheet-wide melt was recorded by satellites for the first time in 2012. The melt season was the longest it has been since satellite observations began in 1979.
(4) Polar sea ice shrinking
Mother Jones, about their 4th (of eight) graphic:
Arctic sea ice used to persist for many years, getting older and thicker with each passing year. Nowadays, not only is the area or extent of sea ice dwindling, but its volume too. The loss of old, thick, melt-resistant ice can easily become a self-reinforcing process. When old ice melts awa y —or when young ice fails to survive melt seasons — the ice that remains in the Arctic is predisposed to melt quickly the following summer. And that’s what’s happening in the 21st century, as you can see in the animation showing ice volume from 1987 to 2012.
These kind of articles give the assumption that these effects result purely from global warming. While the world has been warming (melting polar ice) for two centuries (only in the last 60 years do human emissions dominate), there are other powerful anthropogenic (human-caused) forces. Such as wind, which is the major force affecting polar sea ice over short periods of several years — and is the major force producing the rapid loss of sea ice shown here. See the articles below for more evidence.
(5) The Greenland Ice Sheet Grows Darker
Mother Jones omitted this graphic from the NOAA report, as it would ruin the narrative. The world burns aprox 8 billion short tons of coal per year; all that soot falls to earth (especially from China’s plants). It drastically increases melting after landing on ice. Section six has links to some of the large literature about this problem. NOAA’s text:
The darkening of the ice sheet caused by warming is a self-reinforcing process. Darker ice reflects less sunlight, which accelerates warming and melting.
Percent sunlight reflected by Greenland Ice Sheet from June-August 2012, compared to 2001-2010:
(6) See these articles for more information
(a) Effect of wind on polar ice:
- “Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice“, S. V. Nghiem, Geophysical Research Letters, 4 October 2007 — Free copy here.
- “Summer retreat of Arctic sea ice: Role of summer winds“, Masayo Ogi, Geophysical Research Letters, 18 December 2008 — Free copy here.
- “Influence of winter and summer surface wind anomalies on summer Arctic sea ice extent“, Masayo Ogi et al, Geophysical Research Letters, 2 April 2010 — Free copy here.
(b) Effect of soot on surface ice:
- “Strong radiative heating due to the mixing state of black carbon in atmospheric aerosols“, Mark Z. Jacobson, Nature, 8 February 2001
- “Soot More Culpable in Climate Warming Than Expected“, Scientific American, 23 December 2003
- “Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos“, James Hansen and Larissa Nazarenko, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 13 January 2004
- “Climate response of direct radiative forcing of anthropogenic black carbon“, Serena H. Chung and John H. Seinfeld, Journal of Geophysical Research, 1 June 2005 — Free copy here.
- “Aerosol organic carbon to black carbon ratios: Analysis of published data and implications for climate forcing“, T. Novakov, Journal of Geophysical Research, 8 November 2005 — Free copy here.
- “Present-day climate forcing and response from black carbon in snow“, Mark G. Flanner at al, Journal of Geophysical Research, June 2007 — Free copy here.
- “Impure as the Driven Snow“, Scientific American, 8 June 2007 — “Soot is a bigger problem than greenhouse gases in polar meltdown.” This discusses Flanner et al, Journal of Geophysical Research, June 2007
- “Climate change: Aerosols heat up“, Peter Pilewskie1, Nature, 2 August 2007 — Absract only.
- “Increasing solar heating of the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas, 1979–2005: Attribution and role in the ice-albedo feedback“, Donald K. Perovich et al, Geophysical Research Letters, 11 October 2007 – Free copy here.
- “Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon“, V. Ramanathan and G. Carmichae, Nature Geoscience, April 2008 — Free copy here.
- “Climate response to regional radiative forcing during the twentieth century”, Drew Shindell and Greg Faluvegi, Nature Geoscience, March 2009 — Abstract, NASA’s summary.
- “Black carbon aerosols and the third polar ice cap“, Menon et al, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11 December 2009
- “Black soot and the survival of Tibetan glaciers“, Baiqing Xu et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 29 December 2009
- “Black Carbon’s Grey Areas: Key Messages from a Yale Workshop”, Bidisha Banerjee, Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media, 13 July 2010
(7) A series about the current state of climate science
- When did we start global warming? See the surprising answer (it’s not what you’ve been told)
- The IPCC sees the pause in global warming!
- The IPCC gets better. Climate alarmists freak-out.
- IPCC says “It is likely that the sea level rise has accelerated”. The evidence is flimsy, showing a larger problem
- The seas are rising, and have been over ten thousand years. What comes next?
(8) For More Information about climate change propaganda
For more information see the other FM Reference Pages:
- Posts on the FM website about Climate and Science
- Science & nature – studies & reports
- Articles from the 1970′s about global cooling/warming
Posts about Climate change propaganda:
- An example of important climate change research hidden, lest it spoil the media’s narrative, 22 May 2009
- An army of Davids storm the walls of the scientific establishment, 19 June 2009
- About those headlines of the past century about global cooling…, 2 November 200
- Quote of the day – hidden history for people who rely on the mainstream media for information, 12 February 2010
- The hidden history of the global warming crusade, 19 February 2010
- Fear or Fail: about the melting Greenland ice sheet, 24 May 2010
- Lies told under the influence of the Green religion to save the world, 30 July 2010
- Puncturing the false picture of a scientific consensus about the causes and effects of global warming, 20 September 2010
- More about the forecast for flooded cities in the late 21st century, 16 October 2010
- Looking into the past for guidance about warnings of future climate apocalypses, 17 October 2010
- Kevin Drum talks about global warming, shows why the Left’s credibility has collapsed, 17 October 2012
- Hurricane Sandy asks when did weather become exceptional?, 28 October 2012