Ice core data shows Greenland warmer in the past


Greenland temperatures (click to enlarge)

It appears that in Greenland at least, the current warming cannot be said to be “unprecedented”, since similar magnitudes and rates of warming are present in several previous eras. Man certainly didn’t cause those warming periods, so natural climate change obviously had a significant effect on Greenland temperatures over the past 4000 years.

In a paper entitled “High variability of Greenland surface temperature over the past 4000 years estimated from trapped air in an ice core” the authors state:

… we reconstruct Greenland surface snow temperature variability over the past 4000 years at the GISP2 site (near the Summit of the Greenland ice sheet; hereafter referred to as Greenland temperature) with a new method that utilises argon and nitrogen isotopic ratios from occluded air bubbles. The estimated average Greenland snow temperature over the past 4000 years was −30.7°C with a standard deviation of 1.0°C and exhibited a long-term decrease of roughly 1.5°C, which is consistent with earlier studies. The current decadal average surface temperature (2001–2010) at the GISP2 site is −29.9°C. The record indicates that warmer temperatures were the norm in the earlier part of the past 4000 years, including century-long intervals nearly 1°C warmer than the present decade (2001–2010). Therefore, we conclude that the current decadal mean temperature in Greenland has not exceeded the envelope of natural variability over the past 4000 years, a period that seems to include part of the Holocene Thermal Maximum. 

However, in order to get it past the pal-review system, the following caveat was inserted to appease the headbangers:

Notwithstanding this conclusion, climate models project that if anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions continue, the Greenland temperature would exceed the natural variability of the past 4000 years sometime before the year 2100.

Unfortunately, it does little to dampen the effect of the preceding paragraph. Namely even with the additional CO2 presently in the atmosphere and its accepted small warming effect, Greenland was still warmer in the past.

Abstract is here.

(h/t Climate Depot and C3 Headlines)

Environmental activism taints research


Environmental activism is tipping the balance

Environmental activist groups should not be allowed anywhere near scientific research. Such groups have a set of beliefs which will almost invariably skew any such research in which they are involved – whether intentionally or inadvertently.

WWF Australia’s web site sets out its policy with regard to climate change:

Today, because of greenhouse gas pollution, the planet is heating up at a much faster rate than ever before and our oceans are becoming more acidic. Temperature rises can appear small, but small increases translate into big changes for the world’s climate and natural environment.

Hotter days, more severe storms, floods, snowfalls, droughts, fire and higher sea levels are expected in the foreseeable future. These changes threaten jobs, agricultural production, water supplies, industries, human lives and, ultimately, the survival of species and entire ecosystems. Scientists predict that a global temperature rise of close to 2°C (above pre-industrial levels) could result in 25% of the Earth’s animals and plants disappearing because they can’t adapt fast enough. (source)

Leaving aside the obvious errors in those paragraphs, in the view of the WWF, there is no room for doubt. Humans are to blame for climate change and we must do something to stop it. The science is settled, and the debate is over. WWF Australia also strongly supports the “Say Yes” campaign for domestic action on climate change, with links on its home page. There is no ambiguity: WWF has a very rigid political and environmental agenda.

So how can you expect such an organisation to be impartial when assisting with or carrying out scientific research, which, by its very nature, should be impartial and apolitical? There will be little or no incentive to consider the possibility that man’s influence is less than they already “know” to be the case.

We have seen the close links between WWF and the IPCC exposed (see here), which severely damages the credibility and impartiality of the IPCC’s reports, and today we have another doom-laden report, liberally sprinkled with alarming imagery:

The Greenland ice sheet can experience extreme melting even when temperatures don’t hit record highs, according to a new analysis by Dr. Marco Tedesco, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at The City College of New York. His findings suggest that glaciers could undergo a self-amplifying cycle of melting and warming that would be difficult to halt.

Professor Tedesco likens the melting process to a speeding steam locomotive. Higher temperatures act like coal shoveled into the boiler, increasing the pace of melting. In this scenario, “lower albedo is a downhill slope,” he says. The darker surfaces collect more heat. In this situation, even without more coal shoveled into the boiler, as a train heads downhill, it gains speed. In other words, melting accelerates. (source)

Sounds pretty dramatic. But what do we read at the very end?

The World Wildlife Fund is acknowledged for supporting fieldwork activities.

I am not making any suggestion of wrongdoing, or that WWF’s contribution to this work was anything other than entirely proper. What I am suggesting, however, is that not only should science be impartial and apolitical, it should be seen to be impartial and apolitical. There must be a level playing field and consistent standards applied to the involvement of advocacy and activist groups in scientific research. If it’s OK for WWF to be involved in the preparation of an alarmist report about Greenland ice sheets, it should also be OK for an oil company to assist with a report that challenges the consensus position.

That is clearly not the situation we find ourselves in today, which is more like “WWF – good, Exxon – evil.”

So, here’s the deal. Either vested interests (whether consensus or sceptic) should exclude themselves from involvement in scientific research altogether, or both sides must be treated equally. It has to be one or the other.

Times World Atlas falls prey to climate alarmism


(Click to enlarge)

Some things you really believe you can trust. The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, for example. Not any more. Like so many grand old institutions, it has fallen prey to nonsensical claims that 15% of the Greenland ice sheet has disappeared in the last few years. So the cartographers meekly acquiesce, showing a massive retreat in the ice sheet in the latest edition (see image).

But having been pilloried in the press for the ridiculous claim (even by the BBC and Guardian), they’ve had to back down, as the Guardian reports:

The publishers of the Times Atlas were forced to admit on Tuesday that they were wrong to claim the Greenland ice pack had shrunk by 15%, asArctic scientists rounded on the company for misinterpreting data and failing to consult them.

The humiliating climbdown for HarperCollins – part of Rupert Murdoch’s publishing empire – came after key sources of data on the Greenland ice denied that their research, cited by the Times Atlas, warranted the claims. Despite criticism of the claim by scientists, a spokeswoman for the atlas had, as recently as Monday, issued a robust defence of the claim, saying: “We are the best there is … Our data shows that it has reduced by 15%. That’s categorical.”

But HarperCollins put out a statement on Tuesday saying: “For the launch of the latest edition of the atlas we issued a press release which unfortunately has been misleading with regard to the Greenland statistics. We came to these statistics by comparing the extent of the ice cap between the 10th and 13th editions of the atlas. The conclusion that was drawn from this, that 15% of Greenland’s once permanent ice cover has had to be erased, was highlighted in the press release not in the atlas itself. This was done without consulting the scientific community and was incorrect. We apologise for this and will seek the advice of scientists on any future public statements.” (source)

Maurizio Morabito has a theory:

So the following series of events is consistent with the observations:

  1. Times Atlas personnel read or listen from somewhere that the Greenland ice sheet is melting
  2. They open the Wikipedia page on the Greenland ice sheet
  3. As if by magic…that page contains a map of Greenland
  4. Times Atlas personnel convert that map to the Times Atlas high-quality standard

Now where’s the evidence for it? Where is it indeed, as Michael Corleone would have asked.

And furthermore, Hockey Schtick reports on a new paper that shows an ice sheet on the northern tip of Greenland has remained unchanged or grown slightly in the last few years:

Warmists tell us the effects of AGW should be most evident at the poles. A paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research closely examines the Flade Isblink Ice Cap at the northern tip of Greenland using data from two satellites from 2002-2008 and finds a slightly positive/near zero change in surface elevation and no change whatsoever in mass. However, according to the experts at The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, this entire ice cap has completely disappeared.

Another blow to alarmist credibility – and the Times Atlas – thanks to its desperation to advance an agenda by any means possible.

Greenland ice sheet: rumours of death exaggerated


A few cubes for my Gin & Tonic, please

UPDATE: Almost two years ago to the day, this story: Reports of Greenland Ice Sheet’s demise premature

Another inconvenient result from the Science is Settled Department. Great scare story this one. Evil SUVs warm climate, Greenland ice sheet slips gently below the waves, global sea levels rise 7 metres, millions inundated. Unfortunately for the alarmists, it probably won’t happen for several thousand years, if at all. As you read this, if you listen carefully, you can almost hear the Lefty heads popping in the Guardian’s environment desk as they type out the story, as another favourite of the catastrophists bites the dust:

The threat of the Greenland ice sheet slipping ever faster into the sea because of warmer summers has been ruled out by a scientific study.

Until now, it was thought that increased melting could lubricate the ice sheet, causing it to sink ever faster into the sea. The issue was a key unknown in the landmark 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which pinned the blame for climate change firmly on greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

However, the impact of rising sea temperatures on melting ice sheets is still uncertain, meaning it remains difficult to put an upper limit on potential sea level rises. Understanding the risk is crucial because about 70% of the world’s population live in coastal regions, which host many of the world’s biggest cities, such as London, New York and Bangkok.

“The Greenland ice sheet is safer than we thought,” said Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, who led the research published tomorrow in Nature.

Shepherd’s team used satellite imagery to track the progress of the west Greenland ice sheet as it slipped towards the sea each summer, over five years.

Researchers had feared that more melting from the surface of the ice in hotter years would in turn provide more meltwater for a slippery film at the sheet’s base. More melting would mean more slippage and a greater rise in the sea level.

But they discovered that, above a certain threshold, the slipping began to slow. On-the-ground studies and work done on alpine glaciers suggest that higher volumes of meltwater form distinct channels under the ice, draining the water more efficiently and reducing the formation of a lubricating film. (source)

Yeah, this stuff really is all settled science, isn’t it? If they can’t tell whether a gigantic block of ice is going anywhere or not, what hope is there for the complexities of the climate system…?

Oops! Ice caps melting "twice as slowly"


Not "worser" than thought

Or half as quickly – woteva. Isn’t it odd that all the errors and dodgy sources in the IPCC report conspired to make the climate change problem bigger, badder, “worser” than previously thought? Wouldn’t you think that roughly half the errors would show it “worser”, and half would show it not “worser”? If you were cynical, you might even conclude that such dodgy sources and errors were included because, oh, I don’t know, the authors had some pre-conceived agenda to push? OK, sarcasm off. But today’s “inconvenient headline” (thanks to Paul at The Daily Bayonet), which comes from the UK Daily Mail, reports that things in the melting ice cap department aren’t quite as bad as previously believed:

The Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps are melting at half the speed previously predicted, it has been announced.

Scientists measured the change in the ice caps by analysing changes in Earth’s gravitational field using two satellites, which monitor the distribution of mass on Earth including ice and water.

When ice melts and joins the sea, this has a small, but detectable effect on the Earth’s gravitational field.

This finding has emerged from research by a joint US/Dutch team from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Delft University.

The average rise in sea levels as a result of the melting ice caps is also lower, the team discovered.

Previous estimates for the Greenland ice cap calculated that the ice was melting at a rate of 230 gigatonnes a year  – 230,000 billion kg. That would result in an average rise in global sea levels of around 0.75 mm a year.

For West Antarctica, the estimate was 132 gigatonnes a year. However, it now turns out that these results were not properly corrected for glacial isostatic adjustment.

This phenomenon relates to the rebounding of the Earth’s crust rebounds [sic] as a result of the melting of the massive ice caps from the last major Ice Age around 20,000 years ago.

These movements of the Earth’s crust have to be incorporated in the calculations, since these vertical movements change the Earth’s mass distribution and therefore also have an influence on the gravitational field.

Researchers have now succeeded in carrying out that correction far more accurately. (source)

Makes a change, dunnit? A bit of good news. Once again, it just goes to show how utterly nonsensical it is for anyone to say about climate change “the science is settled.”

Global warming good news for Greenland


Greener by the day

But, but, but… global warming [er, surely climate change?] is always bad news, right? Not, apparently, for the good folk of frozen Greenland:

Much has been written about Greenland’s melting ice cap, but rapidly changing climate may be opening up new possibilities for agriculture in the south of the country.

Historically dependent on imported food from Europe and government subsidies, Greenland currently flies or ships in almost all of its fresh fruit, vegetables, and livestock feed.

But rising temperatures provide a real opportunity to bolster the country’s fragile farming industry, which helping it become more self-sufficient.

Sky News visited a sheep farm in Qassiarsuk, where the Vikings first set foot when they colonised this land.

The business is run by young Greenlandic farmer Joorut Knudsen, 29, who took over from his father four years ago.

He told us he had more than doubled the size of the farm since then, and if the weather conditions continue to improve he planned to do at least the same again.

‘It is warmer,’ he said.

‘It would help us if it (got) warmer and warmer in South Greenland so we could have more farming.

‘We have the tractors, cutting machines, and equipment just like Europe so we just need bigger farms, more land, and of course, more rain.’

Less cold, more agriculture – gee, sounds kind of like something familiar, doesn’t it? Oh yes, I remember, the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings lived and farmed there, and there were no anthropogenic carbon emissions, coal fired power stations or SUVs. That’s why they called it “Green” land. Duh.

Read it here.

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