Summary: Today we have several pieces of good news about our changing climate. It is good news from an amazing source.
Extraordinary news from The Guardian!
“How soon will the ‘ice apocalypse’ come?”
by Tamsin Edwards at The Guardian.
The bien pensants at The Guardian are credulous consumers of climate doomster stories. So this science news story is extraordinary. It debunks a long-time favorite story of the Left about the coming end times, when Antarctica slides into the sea. See this excerpt of the opening and closing (red emphasis added).
“An emotive article on the ‘ice apocalypse’ by Eric Holthaus describes a terrifying vision of catastrophic sea level rise this century caused by climate change and the collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet. But how likely is this – and how soon could such a future be here? …
“I was particularly concerned about some of the implied time scales and impacts. That ‘slowly burying every shoreline …creating hundreds of millions of climate refugees …could play out in a mere 20 to 50 years’ (it could begin then, but would take far longer). That ‘the full 11 feet’ could be unlocked by 2100 (Rob and Dave predicted the middle of next century). That cities will be ‘wiped off the map’ (we will adapt, because the costs of protecting coastlines are predicted to be far less than those of flooding). We absolutely should be concerned about climate risks, and reduce them. But black-and-white thinking and over-simplification don’t help with risk management, they hinder.
“Is ‘the entire scientific community [in] emergency mode’? We are cautious, and trying to learn more. Climate prediction is a strange game. It takes decades to test our predictions, so society must make decisions with the best evidence but always under uncertainty. I understand why a US-based climate scientist would feel particularly pessimistic. But we have to take care not to talk about the apocalypse as if it were inevitable.”
What does this mean?
For three decades the Left has given confident predictions increasingly dire scenarios about out ever-changing climate.
The latest: the end of humanity and devastation of the Earth — predictions with little support in the peer-reviewed literature or work of the IPCC. For example, the 10 July 2017 issue of NY Magazine featured “Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells — “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.” This was the most-read article it its history.
Equally exciting is “Will humans be extinct by 2026?” at Arctic News, and “Are we headed for near-term human extinction?” by Zach Ruiter at Toronto Now — “Recent studies suggest it is irresponsible to rule out the possibility after last week’s “warning to humanity” from more than 15,000 climate change scientists.”
Most exciting is journalist Peter Brannen’s new book, The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions (see this excerpt in The Guardian).
This campaign to influence US public policy — the largest in our history — has been almost totally ineffective. Has the Left realized this and returned to relying on science to inform to public — rather than exaggerations and partial truths to terrify people? That would mean using the work of the IPCC and major climate agencies (rather than cherry-picking bits and pieces), and above all looking at the full range of scenarios used in IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report.
That would be a radical change from their past. For example, manufacturing nightmares by misrepresenting its worst-case scenario (RCP8.5) as the result of business-as-usual trends. For example, RCP8.5 makes the unlikely assumption that coal becomes the major fuel of the late 21st century, as it was of the late 19th century.
Another example: see the news misreporting a big GAO report about climate change.
More good news!
One of the countless climate “tipping points” we passed was in 2007 — “Scientists: ‘Arctic Is Screaming,’ Global Warming May Have Passed Tipping Point” (AP).
“Greenland’s ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer’s end was half what it was just four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by The Associated Press.
“‘The Arctic is screaming,’ said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government’s Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. …
“This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: ‘At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions. …The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming. Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died.’ …”
For an update see “Tricky Sea Ice Predictions Call for Scientists to Open Their Data” by Alexis Madrigal at Wired.
“In 2007, the extent of sea ice in the Arctic declined rapidly. The drop from the previous year was so precipitous that it garnered worldwide attention and media coverage. In the last couple of years, the extent of sea ice in the Arctic, measured by the amount of square miles it covers, has recovered. This series of events, which underscored the year-to-year variability of the measurement, has made researchers cautious about describing events in the Arctic.
“’In hindsight, probably too much was read into 2007, and I would take some blame for that,’ Serreze said. ‘There were so many of us that were astounded by what happened, and maybe we read too much into it.’ …”
More good news, from Vencore Weather: “Impressive cold continues on Greenland with high snow/ice buildup” by meteorologist Paul Dorian — “Significant growth in the Petermann Glacier during the last five years.”
Lessons learned from this.
First, it means the alarmists have been proven wrong yet again. Likewise, their claims that the IPCC and climate agencies are “too conservative.” Second, that journalists lust for clickbait stories produces unreliable news. Focusing on worst case climate futures doesn’t work. It shouldn’t work.
The works cited in these articles
As always, we start with Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC’s AR5 (2014).
“In the Antarctic, a decrease in sea ice extent and volume is projected with low confidence for the end of the 21st century as global mean surface temperature rises.”
(1) Widely misreported so that “Pine Island Glacier” became “Antarctic”: “Retreat of Pine Island Glacier controlled by marine ice-sheet instability” by L. Favier et al. in Nature Climate Change, February 2014.
(2) “Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Under Way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica” by Ian Joughi et al. in Science, 16 May 2014 (gated).
(3) “Changes to Circumpolar Deep Water” by Bethan Davies at AntarticGlaciers.org, 15 September 2014.
(4) “Mass loss of the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica from four independent techniques” by Tyler C. Sutterley et al. in Geophysical Research Letters, 16 December 2014 — “During the common period 2003–2009, the mass loss is 84 ± 10 Gt/yr with an acceleration of 16.3 ± 5.6 Gt/yr2, nearly 3 times the acceleration over 1992–2013.”
(5) “Potential sea-level rise from Antarctic ice-sheet instability constrained by observations” by Catherine Ritz et al. in Nature, 3 December 2015 (gated; open copy here) — “Our assessment suggests that upper-bound estimates from low-resolution models and physical arguments (up to a metre by 2100 and around one and a half by 2200) are implausible under current understanding of physical mechanisms and potential triggers.”
(6) “Contribution of Antarctica to past and. future sea-level rise” by Robert M. DeConto and David Pollard in Nature, 31 March 2016 — “Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 15 metres by 2500, if emissions continue unabated.” Note the wild alarmism of that. There are no reliable estimates of fossil fuel resources that allow “unabated” burning in the 22nd century, let alone through to the 25th century.
(7) “On the Short-term Grounding Zone Dynamics of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica” by Pietro Milillo el al. in Geophysical Research Letters, 28 March 2017 (gated) — “…we estimate a retreat rate for 2011–2015 of 0.3 km/yr at the glacier center…, which is 3 times slower than for 1994–2011…. We attribute the decrease in retreat rate to colder ocean conditions in 2012–2013 relative to 2000–2011.”
(8) Edwards described this paper as “less pessimistic”: “Widespread movement of meltwater onto and across Antarctic ice shelves” by Jonathan Kingslake et al. in Nature, 20 April 2017.
(9) Also see “Hot News from the Antarctic Underground“, the NASA press release about volcanic heating of Antarctic sea ice. Here is the study: “Influence of a West Antarctic mantle plume on ice sheet basal conditions” by Helene Serouss et al. in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, September 2017.
For More Information
- How climate scientists can re-start the public policy debate about climate change.
- A story of the climate change debate. How it ran; why it failed.
- Good news from America about climate change, leading the way to success.
- “Good news for the New Year! Salon explains that the global climate emergency is over.“
- Stratfor gives us good news, showing when renewables will replace fossil fuels.
- Look at the trends in extreme weather & see the state of the world.
- Updating the RCPs: The IPCC gives us good news about climate change, but we don’t listen.
- Save the world from climate threats, myths and fears.
- Roger Pielke Jr.: the politics of unlikely climate scenarios.
To learn more about the state of climate change…
… see Pielke’s book The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change. See my review. Here is the publisher’s summary…
“In recent years the media, politicians, and activists have popularized the notion that climate change has made disasters worse. But what does the science actually say? Roger Pielke, Jr. takes a close look at the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the underlying scientific research, and the data to give you the latest science on disasters and climate change. What he finds may surprise you and raise questions about the role of science in political debates.”