In his New York Times “Green” blog article “Running the Numbers on Antarctic Sea Ice” Times reporter Justin Gillis generates a new index of sea ice melt that hypes the loss of Arctic sea ice relative to the gains in Antarctic sea ice. As you’ll see below, perhaps a more appropriate title would have been “Torturing the Data on Antarctic Sea Ice.”
October 5, 2012
January 3, 2012
two three years ago, a prominent paper became a media darling as it, according to the alarmist website Real Climate “appeared to reverse the ‘Antarctic cooling’ meme that has been a staple of disinformation efforts for a while now.”
The Nature paper, by Eric Steig and colleagues, made the cover on the January 22, 2009 issue.
Figure 1. Cover of January 22, 2009 issue of Nature magazine (left) showing the map of temperature trends across Antarctica as determined by the analysis of Steig et al. (right).
Despite Real Climate’s predictable take on the situation, many long-time students of Antarctic climate change (including usn’s here at WCR) yawned. It has been known for decades that there is a net warming in Antarctic surface temperature that began during the International Geophysical Year in 1957. However, what is also well known, is that the vast majority of the observed warming in Antarctica took place from the late 1950s through the early 1970s and that since then—during a period going on 40 years now—there has been very little net temperature change over Antarctica taken as a whole.
July 29, 2010
We have featured Antarctica many times in our essay series, and despite a million claims that “the icecaps are melting,” we continue to find no end of articles in major journals building a case for the opposite. Here we examine some recent research, and find evidence for decreased melting and, at least local, mass gains.
February 16, 2010
Several errors have been recently uncovered in the 4th Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These include problems with Himalayan glaciers, African agriculture, Amazon rainforests, Dutch geography, and attribution of damages from extreme weather events. More seem to turn up daily. Most of these errors stem from the IPCC’s reliance on non-peer reviewed sources.
The defenders of the IPCC have contended that most of these errors are minor in significance and are confined to the Working Group II Report (the one on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability) of the IPCC which was put together by representatives from various regional interests and that there was not as much hard science available to call upon as there was in the Working Group I report (“The Physical Science Basis”). The IPCC defenders argue that there have been no (or practically no) problems identified in the Working Group I (WGI) report on the science.
We humbly disagree.
October 6, 2009
Where are the headlines? Where are the press releases? Where is all the attention?
The ice melt across during the Antarctic summer (October-January) of 2008-2009 was the lowest ever recorded in the satellite history.
Such was the finding reported last week by Marco Tedesco and Andrew Monaghan in the journal Geophysical Research Letters:
A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record occurred during austral summer 2008–2009 according to spaceborne microwave observations for 1980–2009. Strong positive phases of both the El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM) were recorded during the months leading up to and including the 2008–2009 melt season.
Figure 1. Standardized values of the Antarctic snow melt index (October-January) from 1980-2009 (adapted from Tedesco and Monaghan, 2009).
The silence surrounding this publication was deafening.
January 30, 2009
We have reported on many occasions about the climate history of Antarctica, basically concluding that the frozen continent was not warming up during the most recent couple of decades, despite expectations that it should have been.
At first glance, a new paper by the University of Washington’s Eric Steig and colleagues, published in last week’s Nature magazine and featured as its cover story, may seem to challenge our understanding—at least that is how it was spun to the press (see here and here, for example).
But a closer look at what the paper really says—as opposed to what is said about the paper—shows that there is not much in need of changing with the current understanding of Antarctica’s temperature history.
We’ll show you why.
July 1, 2008
Tell us the truth – do the two pictures below really hit home with you? Do they make you want to walk to work, put up solar panels this weekend, and eat lower on the food chain the rest of your life? The images, and literally dozens like them available on the internet, drive home the obvious point that Antarctica is melting, global warming is the cause, and we in the United States are responsible for the demise of the penguins thanks to our appetite for fossil fuels. This type of presentation is very typical of the global warming alarmists – feel free to visit nearly 500,000 web sites dealing with global warming and Antarctica. If you have visited our site before, you would know that the professional scientific literature is full of articles questioning the simplistic statements regarding global warming, Antarctica, and the poor penguins.
And in today’s news, there is another tear-jerker about penguins. A new soon-to-be-published study by University of Washington’s P. Dee Boersma reports that the world’s penguin species are generally in decline (remember, bad things happen to good species and good things happen to bad ones) and the press eats it up. AP science writer Seth Borenstein describes their plight like this:
The decline overall isn’t caused by one factor, but several.
For the ice-loving Adelie penguins, global warming in the western Antarctica peninsula is a problem, making it harder for them to find food, said Phil Trathan, head of conservation biology at the British Antarctic Survey, a top penguin scientist who had no role in the new report.
For penguins that live on the Galapagos island, El Nino weather patterns are a problem because the warmer water makes penguins travel farther for food, at times abandoning their chicks, Boersma said. At the end of the 1998 record El Nino, female penguins were only 80 percent of their normal body weight. Scientists have tied climate change to stronger El Ninos.
Oil spills regularly taint the water where penguins live off Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil and have contributed to the Punta Tumbo declines, Boersma said.
Hmmm, the “several” factors the Borenstein comes up with are “global warming,” “climate change,” and our thirst for oil. If he is trying to be subtle, he doesn’t succeed.
February 27, 2008
We have kidded from time to time about renaming World Climate Report to World Hurricane Report given all the evidence we encounter in the professional literature discrediting the claim of more frequent and intense hurricanes. If we decided to never again report on hurricanes, our next most popular topic would be Antarctica.
Literally thousands of websites on global warming claim that the icecaps are melting at an unprecedented rate due to emissions of greenhouse gases (particularly from the United States), and in case you cannot picture what that looks like, the sites feature an endless number of pictures of blocks of ice floating away from Antarctica (the really effective pictures have a few penguins floating away as well). National Geographic magazine featured a cover story entitled “The Big Thaw,” and based on what you would see in that issue, you would think there is absolutely no debate about rapid and undesirable changes occurring in Antarctica all due to the dreaded global warming phenomenon. As we have shown over and over, nothing could be further from the truth!
February 20, 2008
Just in case you don’t believe our original contention that reports about the impacts of global warming almost always say that ‘bad’ things will happen ‘good’ species and ‘good’ things will happen to ‘bad’ ones, we’ve recently come across perhaps the best example of this phenomenon to date.
A symposium titled “Under Thin Ice: Global Warming and Predatory Invasion of the Antarctic Seas” was held at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) during which several researchers discussed the probability that in the near future, anthropogenic global warming is going to elevate the temperatures in the sea off the coast of Antarctica such that sharks and crabs (read ‘bad things’) are going to invade the ecosystem there (where it has thus far been too cold for them to venture) and wreak havoc, or rather find a “smorgasbord” among all the innocent and unprepared creatures (i.e. the ‘good’ things) that currently inhabit those waters.
January 21, 2008
The ice caps hold a special place in the cold hearts of the global warming advocates who are all too quick to insist that our ice caps are currently melting at an unprecedented rate. We suspect that they will not be particularly thrilled to learn that a paper has just appeared in Geophysical Research Letters entitled “A doubling in snow accumulation in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1850.” The article is by scientists with the British Antarctic Survey and the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada; the work was funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council and the U.S. National Science Foundation. In case you think that the Desert Research Institute in Nevada would have little interest in Antarctica, recall from geography classes you’ve had that Antarctica receives little precipitation and is regarded by climatologists as a frozen desert.
We have covered Antarctica many times in past essays, and despite literally thousands of websites claiming that some calamity is occurring in Antarctica related to global warming, we side with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in this matter. Magazine covers have wonderful pictures of melting of the Antarctic, but IPCC in their 2007 report clearly states “Antarctic sea ice extent continues to show inter-annual variability and localized changes but no statistically significant average trends, consistent with the lack of warming reflected in atmospheric temperatures averaged across the region” (in fact, Antarctic sea ice extent has recently set record highs for both total areal extent as well as total extent anomaly (see here and here)). Furthermore, IPCC tells the world (and we wonder if anyone is listening) “Current global model studies project that the Antarctic ice sheet will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall.”