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An Overdue Dose of Humility in the Global Warming Debate?

If I didn't know better, I'd say something protruded thru the icecap of global warming hubris I've so often talked about. It seems the ice in the Arctic is humbling the researchers because among other things (gasp) there are factors on this planet they didn't put into their computer models.

Is the hubris melting as fast as the Icecaps? We'll see.

Arctic Melt Unnerves the Experts

The Arctic ice cap shrank so much this summer that waves briefly lapped along two long-imagined Arctic shipping routes, the Northwest Passage over Canada and the Northern Sea Route over Russia.

Over all, the floating ice dwindled to an extent unparalleled in a century or more, by several estimates.

Now the six-month dark season has returned to the North Pole. In the deepening chill, new ice is already spreading over vast stretches of the Arctic Ocean. Astonished by the summer's changes, scientists are studying the forces that exposed one million square miles of open water -- six Californias -- beyond the average since satellites started measurements in 1979.

At a recent gathering of sea-ice experts at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, Hajo Eicken, a geophysicist, summarized it this way: "Our stock in trade seems to be going away."

Scientists are also unnerved by the summer's implications for the future, and their ability to predict it.

Complicating the picture, the striking Arctic change was as much a result of ice moving as melting, many say. A new study, led by Son Nghiem at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and appearing this week in Geophysical Research Letters, used satellites and buoys to show that winds since 2000 had pushed huge amounts of thick old ice out of the Arctic basin past Greenland. The thin floes that formed on the resulting open water melted quicker or could be shuffled together by winds and similarly expelled, the authors said.

I called this months ago when I said the models where worthless. Now it seems the "experts" caught up to the obvious.

The pace of change has far exceeded what had been estimated by almost all the simulations used to envision how the Arctic will respond to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. But that disconnect can cut two ways. Are the models overly conservative? Or are they missing natural influences that can cause wide swings in ice and temperature, thereby dwarfing the slow background warming?

It's the same question I posed months ago (above) and the answer to it is, still, obvious. The models have not, can not and will never in my (or your) lifetime be able to take every natural phenomena into account. It just won't happen. They (think they) learned this summer that wind was a big player. What will they learn next year? Or in 20 years? Or 50? -- The earth is not so simple a system that we can model it.

The humility isn't that long lasting however, in the rest of the story, the NY Times could find plenty of morons who claim this is "proof" of something. Still, maybe, just maybe it has a few people taking this a bit more seriously. If "the experts" are so stunned at the changes in 1 year, how can these same experts be counted on for a 300 year forecast?

And BTW if the new of Arctic ice melting has you worried, fear not. (read the whole thing, I'm not going to hold your hand)


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Comments (28)

You forgot to mention one ... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

You forgot to mention one little part of the article.

"some scientists who have long doubted that a human influence could be clearly discerned in the Artic's changing climate now agree that the trend is hard to ascribe to anything else"

In fact " we might have passed a point where it's becoming essentially irreversible"

When, if ever, do you stupid neocons get tired of lying by ommission?

Repeat after me:"c... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Repeat after me:

"complex nonlinear stochastic system"

"complex nonlinear stochastic system"

"complex nonlinear stochastic system"

"complex nonlinear stochastic system"

Repeat as needed to deflate egos and shrink overinflated confidence levels down to realistic proportions. Also repeat as needed to dispel the notion that carbon offsets are really saving the planet.

So it's a result of ice ... (Below threshold)

So it's a result of ice moving. Is that like calving? Because that was Global Warming Evidence Exhibit #1 of Al Gore's "Oprah" appearance, the one that convinced so many upper-middle class housewives that Global Warming was, like, for real.

Yes, Mike. Mine is that ic... (Below threshold)
kim:

Yes, Mike. Mine is that ice is bits of froth on a chaotic system and dependent on local conditions. cb, lissen up if you are civil.

Global temperature is most determined by clouds, determined by cosmic rays, determined by the earth's magnetism, determined by the sun's magnetism, determined by the distance of the sun from the gravitational center of the solar system.

Carbon dioxide is a trace gas with trace effect, except as fertilizer in which it functions with large effect. Gerlich and Tscheuschner have shown that the IPCC model of greenhouse warming is unphysical; it requires a transfer of heat from a hot upper stratosphere through a cooler lower stratosphere to a warm troposphere, which violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

We are probably entering a cooling phase. James, Spacecase, Hansen and the Piltdown Mann have perpetrated the most expensive fraud of all time.

I'll not have to prove my case. Time will take care of that.
=============================

You know there probably was... (Below threshold)
kim:

You know there probably was a Northwest Passage, and not just the chimera we've been taught it was. I'm guessing it opens occasionally and unpredictably.
===============================================

Mike:<blockquo... (Below threshold)

Mike:

Also repeat as needed to dispel the notion that carbon offsets are really saving the planet.
Don't even get me started on the Bullocks that is "Carbon Offsets". Carbon Offsets (C.O.s) were invented to get the rich to support the idea of Global Warming, since C.O.s were created to render nonexistent the affect of Global Warming on their profligate lifestyles.
CB,I don't know if I... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

CB,
I don't know if I'm a neocon but I guess based on your assessment I'm stupid. Having worked in science myself, when I see the phrase "some scientists" it usually indicates opposing views maybe with even enough data out there to support either hypothesis. Kind of an everyday thing. It's what really keeps the wheels of research turning. I don't think you have a slam dunk on the neocons on this one but keep trying - even a blind hog digs up an acorn every now and then.

Antiartica is getting colde... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

Antiartica is getting colder and why is this so called global warming happen only in the northern hemasphear if its global would it be happening all over? GLOBAL WARMING IS A LIBERAL GREEN WEENIE LIE

Things like "since satellit... (Below threshold)
bill-tb:

Things like "since satellites" -- about 30 years. Then there is, "in the last century". Doesn't this just cause the predictive confidence to well up in your chest. History began when you were born.

The condensed version of 4.5+ billion years. Maybe a wee wider view is required before drawing conclusions.

Last week the "CFC causes the ozone hole" meme went poof. Isn't science grand.

The lies being told today b... (Below threshold)
kim:

The lies being told today by the warmers will haunt true environmentalists because they will fuel the develop at all costs movement and damage the credibility of legitimate environmental concerns. They should be ashamed of themselves for the warping of the truth the overdose of certainty caused them to allow. Just look now at the truth of DDT, ozone, and now greenhouse effect. Why the initial allergy to truth?

I dunno.
======

Well, since it's a complex ... (Below threshold)
kim:

Well, since it's a complex nonlinear stochastic system, I'll blame Canada.

My proof? Steve McIntyre. Man, if he ever got paid what he is worth.

I believe his camel would fall to its knees long before the eye of the storm.
=====================================

Now, you want some fun? Re... (Below threshold)
kim:

Now, you want some fun? Read:

Stringscape in Physics Review.
=============================

You forgot to men... (Below threshold)
Paul:
You forgot to mention one little part of the article.

"some scientists who have long doubted that a human influence could be clearly discerned in the Artic's changing climate now agree that the trend is hard to ascribe to anything else"

NO I DIDN'T

I CLEARLY said:

The humility isn't that long lasting however, in the rest of the story, the NY Times could find plenty of morons who claim this is "proof" of something. Still, maybe, just maybe it has a few people taking this a bit more seriously.

You owe me an apology.

Truly though, I am interest... (Below threshold)
kim:

Truly though, I am interested in what physiological changes besides fertilizing plants a 40% increase in Carbon dioxide causes. What is the effect in the brain, the lungs, the kidneys, and really every tissue, of the increase in this easily diffusible gas?

Also, I think CO2 increases will be buffered unpredictably in the ocean. We poorly understand the carbon cycle.

Carbon's origin is vulcan, its fate to be virtually irreversibly sequestered underground by the action of the sun on plants and animals, and geological forces. It is completely unknown what our recent release, somewhat like shaking a bottle of champagne before opeining it, has done in this overall carbon scheme. We more likely had too little available carbon, than too much, but that is just guessing with Roger of Ockham.
==============================

Reading comprehension is a ... (Below threshold)
EndlessEcho:

Reading comprehension is a must. It's obvious he's blind with liberal rage & thus nothing about this fool's behavior is civil.

Oops, Stringscape is at Phy... (Below threshold)
kim:

Oops, Stringscape is at Physics World.
=======================================

Astonished by the summer's ... (Below threshold)
iurockhead:

Astonished by the summer's changes, scientists are studying the forces that exposed one million square miles of open water -- six Californias -- beyond the average since satellites started measurements in 1979.

So once again, short time frame, and that time starts when satellite are available. And the invention of the microscope surely led to more germs. From temperature measurements in the 1930's, it was a lot warmer then than now, BUT I wasn't there to see it, therefore it does not exist. Childish.

Ah, Kim.....your obtusene... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Ah, Kim.....your obtuseness is so charming.

"I think CO2 increases will be buffered unpredictably in the ocean."

"It is completely unknown what our recent release........ has done in this overall carbon scheme."

And then there is our spring plover.........

"why is this so called global warming happen only in the northern hemasphear if its global would it be happening all over"

And Paul...I owe you nothing.

What CB owes is a change of... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

What CB owes is a change of nickname since the one that CB is using is so obviously a fraud.

cb, just how the carbon we ... (Below threshold)
kim:

cb, just how the carbon we released is interacting with the ocean is not thoroughly known, nor is the effect of our release on the carbon cycle. I'm not so obtuse as human knowledge is limited. I'm flattered by your implication, however.
=================

buh bye CB... (Below threshold)
Paul:

buh bye CB

The entire Global Warming a... (Below threshold)

The entire Global Warming argument reminds me of the argument against rogue waves.

The entire Global Warming a... (Below threshold)

The entire Global Warming argument reminds me of a cult, which it is.

One way to start thinking a... (Below threshold)
thecomputerguy:

One way to start thinking about CO2 and how increased concentration in the atmosphere will affect life is to consider CO2 concentration in the past - how does the level of CO2 concentration of the past compare with today.

The answer to that: In the distant past, CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been as much as nine times higher than today. If anything, plants that evolved in such "high concentrations" of CO2 are starved by the lack of CO2 today - one of the reasons they pump CO2 into greenhouses - to feed the plants.

Everything that lives on this planet today survived tremendously higher CO2 levels than today. And its not like we're putting out all *that* much CO2 - in fact, Man is responsible for less than 4% all CO2 emission on the planet (not to mention the CO2 emission we stop by doing things like building homes out of wood, and fighting forest fires).

The Global Warming House of Cards is falling in front of your eyes... good riddance - its just a bunch of neo marxist bullshit.

Incredible. All the earlie... (Below threshold)

Incredible. All the earliest year listed in the whole article is something like 1930 while almost all other dates are in the 1980's or even 1990's.

The melt is unprecedented!

It's never been warmer before humans began to affect our climate!

There only used to be farms on Greenland and grapes in Vinland.

But never mind that.

The article of course has t... (Below threshold)
Proud Kaffir:

The article of course has to include some misleading information; otherwise, it wouldn't be the NY TImes. It states:

Some scientists who have long doubted that a human influence could be clearly discerned in the Arctic's changing climate now agree that the trend is hard to ascribe to anything else.

"We used to argue that a lot of the variability up to the late 1990s was induced by changes in the winds, natural changes not obviously related to global warming," said John Michael Wallace, a scientist at the University of Washington. "But changes in the last few years make you have to question that. I'm much more open to the idea that we might have passed a point where it's becoming essentially irreversible."

The statement and quote make you believe that this scientist was a recent global warming skeptic who became convinced by this new evidence. However, this article from Jan 2005 states:

Dr. John Michael Wallace,, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, and once an advocate of the position that all global warming was natural, is another who's had to give in. As of 2000 he came to admit that the 1990's warming "pulled me in a mainstream direction", and he's now about 80% sure global warming is human-caused.

So he started becoming convinced of manmade global warming in 2000 and was fairly convinced by 2005. He's hardly a new convert, as the story implies.


Our plover has an excellent... (Below threshold)
kim:

Our plover has an excellent point. His migration must cross the equator.
==========================

As a new deck officer (a.k.... (Below threshold)
Dave A.:

As a new deck officer (a.k.a "ship driver") on a polar icebreaker in 1979, I remember learning that the apparently mis-named Northwest Passage indeed was, on occasion in years past, navigable. Evidently, it was again this year for just the first time since then.




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