Another heartbreaking story of climate doom!

Summary: Another day, another heart-rending story about the coming climate doom. Okjökull is dead. They say that we killed it. The story is bogus, as usual.

Earth melting - Dreamstime-33491903
ID 33491903 © Rolffimages | Dreamstime.

Okjökull (aka Ok) in the Langjökull Group is a small cupola-type mountain glacier located north of a snow-filled summit crater on Ok, a volcano in west-central Iceland. Named for its shape like a yoke. It has died and become famous. As universities do these days, Rice put out a lurid press release. Red emphasis added. Academics in every field are joining the climate publicity parade!

“Iceland’s first glacier lost to climate change will be remembered with a monument to be unveiled next month at the site of the former glacier. Researchers from Rice University in Houston, author Andri Snær Magnason and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson will join members of the Icelandic Hiking Society and the general public Aug. 18 to install a monument recognizing the site of the former Okjökull glacier in Borgarfjörður, Iceland.

“The melted glacier was the subject of the 2018 documentary “Not Ok,” produced by Rice anthropologists Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer. The film, narrated by former Reykjavík Mayor Jón Gnarr, tells the story of “Ok,” which in 2014 became the first glacier in Iceland to lose its title because of global warming. Boyer and Howe said scientists fear all of the island nation’s 400-plus glaciers will be gone by 2200. …

“’In the same spirit as the film, we wanted to create a lasting memorial to Ok, a small glacier that has a big story to tell,” Boyer said. “Ok was the first named Icelandic glacier to melt because of how humans have transformed the planet’s atmosphere. Its fate will be shared by all of Iceland’s glaciers unless we act now to radically curtail greenhouse gas emissions.’”

Memorial to the Okjökull glacier in Iceland
Click to enlarge.

Of course, journalists went wild with the story, such as  The Guardian’s “Icelandic memorial warns future: ‘Only you know if we saved glaciers.’” My favorite was ScienceAlert’s “Iceland’s Heartbreaking Glacier Memorial For The Future.” Climate activists went over-the-top, as always. As usual, the story was bogus.

Okjökull glacier
Photograph of the Okjökull glacier on 15 September 2003 by O.S., NEA.

For a history of OK, see The Glaciers of Iceland: A Historical, Cultural and Scientific Overview by Helgi Björnsson (2016).

“Once upon a time, the glacier had crept forwards in all directions from the top of Ok. Pure winter snow settled every year on the sand that had been blown onto its the previous summer. …There is no longer an accumulation zone on Ok and so every year a thin sliver is sliced off from the surface of the entire glacier, revealing the layers of sand-like rings in a tree trunk.”

Björnsson describes how Ok shrank rapidly during the 20th century, as shown by its area on various maps:  38 sq. Km. in 1901, 15 in 1910, 5 in 1945, and under one Km. in 2016. Most of this was before anthropogenic warming became the dominant cause of warming. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report said that …

“It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”

We know little of the history of the Ok glacier, and especially about how past climate cycles affected it. The only mention I find in the literature is this from Geographic Names of Iceland’s Glaciers: Historic and Modern by Oddur Sigurðsson and Richard S. Williams, Jr. (USGS), page 164.

“The place-name is noted in Harðar saga “og Hólmverja,” which may have been written as early as the 13th century (possibly 15th century). Ok may not have had a glacier at that time because of the preceding warmer period.”

If Ok died during the Medieval Warm Period, it was born again during the Little Ice Age. It may have lived and died countless times during it long life. Its latest death is another example of weather converted into propaganda.

Fake news - Dreamstime_115632360
ID 115632360 © Violka08 | Dreamstime.

Disregarded warnings by climate scientists

Qui tacet consentire videtur ubi loqui debuit ac potuit.
– Roman adage: silence means assent when he ought to have spoken and was able to. See Wikipedia.

A few scientists have warned about the complicity of their peers in climate activists’ propaganda. As in this prescient op-ed in the BBC: “Science must end climate confusion” by climate scientist Richard Betts, 11 January 2010.

“Of course, we know that these things {extreme weather} happen anyway, even without climate change – they may happen more often under a warmer climate, but it is wrong to blame climate change for every single event. Climate scientists know this, but still there are people outside of climate science who will claim or imply such things if it helps make the news or generate support for their political or business agenda. …

“{D}o climate scientists do enough to counter this? Or are we guilty of turning a blind eye to these things because we think they are on ‘our side’ against the climate sceptics? …Climate scientists need to take more responsibility for the communication of their work to avoid this kind of thing. Even if scientists themselves are not blaming everything on climate change, it still reflects badly on us if others do this.”

A more recent warning is in “Why setting a climate deadline is dangerous” by Shinichiro Asayama et al in Nature Climate Change, in press. Gated. Open copy here.

“Although the rhetoric is usually seen by scientists as a misleading interpretation of the IPCC findings, the IPCC and most climate scientists have so far kept silent, thereby implicitly seeming to endorse it. However, given that the IPCC’s SR15 report helped to create the condition for this rhetoric, as the institutional authority for climate science the IPCC should take responsibility for more actively engaging in political conversations around it.”

Climate science – perhaps all of science, perhaps all of us – might pay a high price for this cooperation with activists’ exaggerations and fictions about climate change. The stakes are too high. We cannot afford this.

Conclusion – and other posts in this series

These debunkings are easy to write because climate activists are not even trying hard anymore. They have broken all effective resistance, can say anything – and journalists rebroadcast it without criticism. That is the kind of power that re-shapes a nation. For more about this, see other posts in my series about the corruption of climate science.

  1. About the corruption of climate science.
  2. The noble corruption of climate science.
  3. A look at the workings of Climate Propaganda Inc.
  4. New climate porn: it forces walruses to jump to their death!
  5. Weather porn about Texas, a lesson for Earth Day 2019.
  6. The Extinction Rebellion’s hysteria vs. climate science.
  7. Activists hope that fake news about droughts will win.
  8. Listening to climate doomsters makes our situation worse.

For More Information

The website of Ólafur Ingólfsson, Professor of Glacial and Quaternary Geology at Iceland U, has a good introduction to Iceland’s ice caps and glaciers.

Here is an example of a typical episode of hysteria about polar ice in 2013: The North Pole is now a lake! It was gullibly accepted by many on the Left, who ignored the rebuttals by scientists. James D. Agresti shows the long history of misreporting melting at the North Pole.

Back in 2009 and 2010 I wrote skeptically about the melting sea ice predictions (e.g., here, here, and here). This goes up on my list of accurate predictions.

Hat tip on this story to Anthony Watts.

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

Please like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter. See the important things to know about global warming. For more information see all posts about the arctic region and polar sea ice, and especially these …

  1. About the forces melting the arctic sea ice (not just CO2).
  2. What we learned from the freak storm that “melted the North Pole” on 30 December 2015.
  3. Terrifying predictions about the melting North Pole!

Books about the state of climate science

The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters & Climate Change by Professor Roger Pielke Jr. (2018).

The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened by Susan Crockford (2019).

Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.
The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened
Available at Amazon.


7 thoughts on “Another heartbreaking story of climate doom!”

  1. “I am firmly of the view that the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels and to restore nature to the equilibrium we need for our survival”
    — Prince Charles, speaking at a reception for Commonwealth foreign ministers. Source: BBC, 25 July 2019.

    The Prince is quite right about this. The current intense bombardment of the US public by climate doomster stories cannot be long continued without burning out the public’s interest in it. Even 18 months might be too long.

    1. Ron,

      It is a good example of the daily bombardment of the US public with climate propaganda. All weather is pathologized and blamed on us. They usually no longer even bother to show that it is related to climate change.

      1. Larry,

        Highly irresponsible journalism. “And scientists tonight-pointing to climate change”. How many? Which ones? All of them? Some of them?

        All day long this goes on. Every big weather event is blamed on climate change.

        I spent most of my working career diagnosing and repairing emission controls on motor vehicles, mostly FMC products. If they only knew what was going on under the hood since 1970.
        These same brainwashed treehuggers would ride around for a year with their check engine light on and bitched at emission inspection time when they had to pay to get it fixed.

        Hypocrisy at it’s finest.

  2. As most of these 97% consenting science-people are aware of the very political character (sic) of anything relating to the “climate catastrophe we’re facing now” ;) still larger proportion knows well:
    “Whose bread I eat his song I sing.”
    And the explanation of their suspicious silence may as well rest in another paradigm:
    “Don’t bite the hand that feed you.”

    1. Jako,

      “As most of these 97% consenting science-people”

      As I and many many other people have shown, there is a “97%” consensus among climate scientists about the obvious, best expressed by the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report …

      “It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”

      CHatter away with your fellow climate deniers, anti-vaxers, creationists, and Flat Earthers. Civilization will continue onwards. Another ancient saying applies: “The dogs bark but the caravan moves on.”

  3. Pingback: Another heartbreaking story of climate doom! | Watts Up With That?

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