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September 18, 2012 9:05 AM   Subscribe

While the 2007 IPCC report showed Arctic sea-ice still present in 2100, it is now an unfolding "global disaster" according to Cambridge Professor Peter Wadhams. Climate Code Red summarizes the science, saying the sea-ice is "in a 'death spiral' and likely to be gone in summer within a few years" ... "The sea-ice volume is now down to just one-fifth of what it was in 1979", and paints a newly emerging, rapidly worsening climate picture, urging climate scientists to sound the alarm on new data showing a world on the brink of dramatic tipping points, far sooner than anyone anticipated
posted by crayz (215 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
bummer
posted by the theory of revolution at 9:22 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The obvious question - and suspect I won't like the answer - but what will happen to the polar bears if or when there's no Arctic ice?
posted by Wordshore at 9:25 AM on September 18, 2012


Where can I find info on the practical consequences of the Arctic sea-ice being gone, assuming that "increased global warming" is too vague? Are we all gonna die? Where will the floods hit?
posted by windykites at 9:25 AM on September 18, 2012


The US will do absolutely nothing and just learn to adapt to a warmer climate and rising sea rather than change any sort of behavior. It does not matter what kind of data is presented as scientific data cannot convince half of a nation through "dubious" science. No, humans in general are horrible long term planners and even worse at trying to comprehend facts that are not easily discernible from everyday life. A good amount of USAians are still doubtful that humans even contribute to climate change, thus how can they be convinced that they can stop it? Something bad has to happen from climate change to snap the science doubters that this is real and should be talked about, but just as the frog in Al Gore’s movie, slow change will not do anything. Sea Ice you say? I live in PA and this finding does not affect me in the least.
posted by amazingstill at 9:26 AM on September 18, 2012 [19 favorites]


Wordshore: they will be kept ongoing in zoos. I hope.
posted by windykites at 9:27 AM on September 18, 2012


Woo-hoo! Northwest Passage!
posted by thelonius at 9:29 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


It does not matter what kind of data is presented as scientific data cannot convince half of a nation through "dubious" science.

Even if they were convinced, government regulation is in the hands of the corporations creating the problem. The fox is guarding the henhouse and chickens voting to put up fences isn't going to do much.

The only way to fix government is to get corporations out of the equation. Then we can concentrate on the hard problem: overpopulation.
posted by DU at 9:30 AM on September 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


If we do nothing, doesn't the overpopulation problem solve itself?
posted by silby at 9:31 AM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


We're every so slightly fucked.
posted by PuppyCat at 9:33 AM on September 18, 2012


I agree with amazingstill - it will take a smoking gun in the 'temperate latititudes' to shift viewpoints of the science deniers - something on an epic scale (but preferably not of biblical proportions).
posted by aeshnid at 9:34 AM on September 18, 2012


Reducing the number of humans is only the first step in the overpopulation problem. Preventing us from hitting the ceiling in the future is the second step. Dying off only delays another inevitable bubble.
posted by DU at 9:35 AM on September 18, 2012


seeding the ocean with minerals to absorb more CO2.

let's go ahead and not do this
posted by nathancaswell at 9:38 AM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I used to deride Roland Emmerich's "The Day After Tomorrow" as a goofy work of fictional movie-making.
posted by twsf at 9:39 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know those online simulators where you see google maps, but with the water level raised any number of meters?
Yeah, I checked that tool before buying my house.

My condolences to the coastline populations. And the polar bears.
posted by Theta States at 9:40 AM on September 18, 2012


If Peter Watts turned out to be right about everything I am going to be so fucking pissed.
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 AM on September 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


So if we're already down to 1/5th ice, why aren't we already drowning? What's 1/5th more going to do?
posted by dobie at 9:43 AM on September 18, 2012


Albedo. Weather pattern changes.
posted by DU at 9:44 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


So if we're already down to 1/5th ice, why aren't we already drowning? What's 1/5th more going to do?
The sea ice already floats, so it's not really a sea-level rise issue.
posted by Jehan at 9:48 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kinda bad thinking, the loss of polar sea ice doesn't affect sea levels at all, being that it is already in the sea. It's the predicted melt of the Greenland ice sheet, ice that's over land that will raise the oceans.
posted by Keith Talent at 9:48 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I used to deride Roland Emmerich's "The Day After Tomorrow" as a goofy work of fictional movie-making.

I'm not really in the mood for pronouncements of doom today, so I'm just going to talk about my favourite scene in that wonderful film; the one where Jake Gyllenhaal is being chased by the SuperCold as he races back to the safe room in a library where books are being burned for warmth. You see streets, buildings, cars, etc. frosting over as the SuperCold advances, and when Jake gets to the library he has to race down some hallways and dash through the door juuuuust ahead of the SuperCold (I believe there's a shot of the door frosting over after he closes it). The guy I was watching it with said the only way that scene could have been any better was if the SuperCold had initially gone down the wrong hallway, paused, backed up, and then started chasing him down the right one.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:52 AM on September 18, 2012 [49 favorites]


Woo-hoo! Northwest Passage!

Oh man, I was at an International Law conference in Ottawa 2 years back, with a major focus being Climate Change and the Law. Lo and behold, one of the panels was essentially a law firm who deals with the big oil companies talking about how Canadian / Intl law interacts with the plans to ship materials through the newly-opened up routes. With, if I'm not misremembering, a subtext of "please God nobody mention the Exxon-Valdez". I went from that panel, to one about forced migration in the North due to climate change. Two worlds.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:53 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anyone got a beer?


Whether a worrier or a denier, beer seems to be the final outcome.
posted by Theta States at 9:54 AM on September 18, 2012


Jesus. I'm going to go read about somebody's favorite nintendo game or something now.
posted by dobie at 9:55 AM on September 18, 2012


> Two worlds.

I guess to people like that, it doesn't matter what

1. ?
2. ?
or
3. ?

are, because

4.

is always going to be: PROFIT!!!
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:56 AM on September 18, 2012


I'm not really in the mood for pronouncements of doom today, so I'm just going to talk about my favourite scene in that wonderful film; the one where Jake Gyllenhaal is being chased by the SuperCold as he races back to the safe room in a library where books are being burned for warmth.

I'm not sure how well known this is, but he wasn't supposed to be running from cold, he was supposed to be running from CG wolves. Because the VFX vendors on that show ended up being reshuffled at the last minute, there was no more money for CG wolves. Ice was cheaper.
posted by balistic at 9:57 AM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, how are we gonna chill those beers without the polar ice? That big Coors Light Ice Train is not going to save us.
posted by spicynuts at 9:58 AM on September 18, 2012


(orders box of CG wolves)
posted by Ella Fynoe at 9:59 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


so i don't really like cold weather. if the planet is going to go weather XTREME on us, just let me know where the hot spots will be.

and when the giant container ships filled with icewolves are parked in the middle of Manhattan, well I'll laugh I guess since i'll be getting a nice tan but I won't live long enough to worry about skin cancer.
posted by ninjew at 9:59 AM on September 18, 2012


I think part of the problem is our known condition time scale is too short for climate models. Maybe this sea ice thinning over the north pole was normal for the period before the little ice age. We have no idea. Over most of the history of the planet (geological, not human) there weren't ice caps or very limited seasonal ones. Life got one just fine. In fact the worst times for life (and civilization) has been cold periods, not hot periods (see snowball Earth, little ice age, the black death, etc). All that being said it is probably a bad idea for us to pump lots of CO2 into the atmosphere without knowing what we are doing and even if we don't trigger some huge cascade of bad things (which i personally think is really, really unlikely) we ARE going to have lots of unintended consequences. However, Per capita emissions for the rich nations of the world are declining and I believe the US is back down to the same emissions as we had in 1990 (or something close anyway) and the developing nations have a better example to follow than we do. Global population is likely to be the same as or below current totals in 2100 by just trends in birth rate decline. Population has been at the lower limit of growth projection since the end of the boom in the 1970's and the first and second derivative of the growth is negative everywhere (look up replacement rate and look at growth predictions from the 1970's and come to your own conclusions on this).
posted by bartonlong at 9:59 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Map showing the area (not the volume so it doesn't look like 80%, just a lot.)

Link.
posted by bukvich at 10:01 AM on September 18, 2012


Yeah, it's hard to communicate that Arctic ice melting doesn't lead directly to sea level rise (ice cubes float blah blah blah) but that the effects on weather, currents, CO2 emissions, and all sorts of other fun things might be almost as bad ... and might accelerate melting in the Antarctic, which would be ... bad.
posted by feckless at 10:01 AM on September 18, 2012


Will it help if I drink this whiskey without ice?
posted by Drexen at 10:02 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay. I'm gonna get crucified for this but...

The IPCC predicted that sea ice would be around until 2100. Now apparently it'll be gone in three years. Isn't that, like, a massive miscalculation? Wouldn't that prediction be considered pretty abysmal? What was the error margin on that?

Is there any explanation for the change that has caused this? Has CO2 emissions in the last five years worsened SO MUCH that it could fuck up a 100 year estimate in 5% of its lifespan? Is there any explanation?

If all I ever read is articles like "oh, we predicted this, but it's worse than expected", well, you're pretty shit at predictions aren't you? Are you certain the solutions that you've predicted will help us will actually do so?
posted by sixohsix at 10:11 AM on September 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


Besides, climate change is so pleasant here in Vancouver I may go outside and burn a tire just to do my part at helping maintain the new status quo. Forecast for the balance of the week is 80 deg. and sunny.
posted by Keith Talent at 10:12 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sorry if this is obvious or if I overlooked it, but what are the terrible implications of sea ice disappearing in the summer?
posted by swift at 10:12 AM on September 18, 2012


Welcome to the apocalypse. Here's your carona™ and your shades. Please be seated and enjoy the show!
posted by sendai sleep master at 10:14 AM on September 18, 2012


Good luck getting 2 billion Indians and Chinese to stop modernizing their countries when the West got to do that unfettered with regulations.
posted by Renoroc at 10:15 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


yeah, by, by Miss American Pie, the civilization part was nice, time to go die now.
posted by angrycat at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2012


Besides, climate change is so pleasant here in Vancouver I may go outside and burn a tire just to do my part at helping maintain the new status quo. Forecast for the balance of the week is 80 deg. and sunny.

Ouch, my sides. That statement's going to seem even funnier when our children read it thirty years from now.
posted by IjonTichy at 10:22 AM on September 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


sixohsix: f all I ever read is articles like "oh, we predicted this, but it's worse than expected", well, you're pretty shit at predictions aren't you?

No. It just means there are more feedback loops than anticipated that accelerate the process.
It's complicated shit and they're generally trying to err on the side of caution.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:22 AM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ouch, my sides. That statement's going to seem even funnier when our children read it thirty years from now.

I've always wondered what it sounds like when people laugh through gills.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:25 AM on September 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


Between this and the jellyfish, I really dread that we're going to end up here. I wonder what will finally become The Soylent Oceanographic Survey Report, 2015 to 2019 - the smoking gun of final, inevitable environmental collapse. Actually, I think it probably exists today, under lock and key (National Security, natch).
posted by j_curiouser at 10:26 AM on September 18, 2012


we'll be eating crickets* long before people I think.

*now rebranded as Land Shrimp!

actually deep fried n oil they're not that bad but nothing is bad deep fried in oil
posted by The Whelk at 10:33 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


what are the terrible implications of sea ice disappearing in the summer?

Direct and soon to be observed consequences are:
1. More warming, since dark open water absorbs the heat that used to be deflected by the ice and snow
2. Warmer Arctic > weakened jetstream that separates Arctic and temperate air masses > slower oscillations of the course of this jetstream > long periods of unchanging weather > droughts and floods.
posted by hat_eater at 10:34 AM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


paints a newly emerging, rapidly worsening climate picture, urging climate scientists to sound the alarm

Yeah, that'll work because because everybody pays attention to what climate scientists say.
posted by charlesminus at 10:35 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kinda bad thinking, the loss of polar sea ice doesn't affect sea levels at all, being that it is already in the sea. It's the predicted melt of the Greenland ice sheet, ice that's over land that will raise the oceans.

That, and also thermal expansion of the oceans themselves. Slightly warmer water means water that takes up slightly more space, and "slightly more space" when you're talking about oceans means "millions of people left dead or homeless".
posted by ZsigE at 10:39 AM on September 18, 2012


Sorry if this is obvious or if I overlooked it, but what are the terrible implications of sea ice disappearing in the summer?

No time to back up with citations but:

Melting sea ice doesn't add to sea levels, but without the sea ice, much less sunlight gets reflected beck off the surface of the oceans, which therefore warm much more. This is likely to:

- increase the rate at which we reach the 'tipping point' at which temperatures rise enough for the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves to melt, which is when the sea level rises really start, and could change rather quickly
- lead to warmer seas that will unlock the permafrost that lies under the seabed in arctic regions, releasing vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas far, far more potent than CO2.
- create an unstable jetstream, which will lead to much more unstable and extreme weather for europe, the UK and other places: droughts, floods, etc.

It's not good news.
posted by dowcrag at 10:39 AM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


If all I ever read is articles like "oh, we predicted this, but it's worse than expected", well, you're pretty shit at predictions aren't you? Are you certain the solutions that you've predicted will help us will actually do so?

I really never understand this form of concern trolling. "Science has failed us, therefore []!" - like, what - now let's listen to Bozo the Clown instead? Let's ignore anyone who is a scientist and proceed as if we have not a single shred of comprehension of the likely consequences of our actions?

I agree that the low-balled, conservative estimates out of the IPCC have allowed the world to be complacent about effects we thought would be borne by our grandchildren. Using that to throw mud over the entire endeavor in a seeming endorsement of the status quo is worse than foolish
posted by crayz at 10:41 AM on September 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


The goodness the Canadian government is exercising responsible stewardship of our Arctic waters.
posted by islander at 10:43 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the Economist (Dec. 12, 2011)
"Maybe a hundred years down the line, nobody will look back at climate change as the most important issue of the early 21st century, because the damage will have been done, and the idea that it might have been prevented will seem absurd. Maybe the idea that Mali and Burkina Faso were once inhabited countries rather than empty deserts will seem queer, and the immiseration of huge numbers of stateless refugees thronging against the borders of the rich northern countries will be taken for granted. The absence of the polar ice cap and the submersion of Venice will have been normalised; nobody will think of these as live issues, no one will spend their time reproaching their forefathers, there'll be no moral dimension at all. We will have wrecked the planet, but our great-grandchildren won't care much, because they'll have been born into a planet already wrecked."
http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/12/climate-change?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/durbanandeverything
posted by perhapses at 10:45 AM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Prediction is difficult, especially when it concerns the future.
posted by rdone at 10:46 AM on September 18, 2012


The IPCC predicted that sea ice would be around until 2100. Now apparently it'll be gone in three years. Isn't that, like, a massive miscalculation? Wouldn't that prediction be considered pretty abysmal? What was the error margin on that?

IPCC and other climate experts have also warned for years that their estimates might be significantly understating the pace at which the problem will progress, due to cascading feedback effects that are not strictly linear in nature (climate systems behave like dynamic, fluid systems, so they're potentially subject to non-linear chaotic effects or the so-called butterfly effects, where tiny differences in initial conditions can lead to radically different outcomes, and feedback effects can cause processes to accelerate after a certain threshold point much more rapidly than can be reliably predicted).

It's always been known and understood that, by the very nature of chaotic systems, it's likely impossible to accurately predict just how quickly things can get bad--but of course, big important political bodies that influence world policy like the IPCC have to be responsible and can't go around announcing the most alarming potential scenarios casually, because then they might be accused of irresponsible scaremongering (of course, even when they report on the more conservative, consensus possibilities, they're still accused of that, but what do you want in the age of Truthiness?)...
posted by saulgoodman at 10:48 AM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


yeah so what do we do
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:50 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


yeah so what do we do

You don't do anything aside from deal with a gradually declining standard of living.

Your children, however, die.
posted by aramaic at 10:52 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


that was actually an earnest question, bro
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:54 AM on September 18, 2012


To answer the question posted above about the practical consequences of arctic sea ice loss, I would suggest exploring the following blog:
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/?m=1

Or googling "Clathrate gun hypothesis" and "methane release Laptev Sea".

Or, you know, fuck those scince guys, they've been wrong before...
posted by c13 at 10:59 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


that was actually an earnest question, bro

Unfortunately at this point, it looks like the answer you got is pretty earnest as well...
posted by c13 at 11:02 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think at this point the best answer is a massive investment in portable high density power (fusion, fission, whatever), self contained ecosystems, and interplanetary travel.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:04 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's getting to the point where gambling on an(other) atmospheric modification project is looking less risky than trying to reduce CO2 output and otherwise just letting events take their course.
posted by wierdo at 11:09 AM on September 18, 2012


Your children, however, die.

Everybody dies.

The doom and gloom on this is just unreal! It will be a transition to a warmer Earth, which the human race will handle mostly gracefully. If you want something concrete to do, I would suggest donating to efforts to move people in very low lying nations to someplace better. Global warming isn't the Bangladeshi's fault, but they are going to get crushed by it. So helping them help themselves would be a good step.

The Cretaceous period was 10C hotter than now, and may have had completely lifeless oceans around the equator. Life was still plentiful and totally awesome.

The "we're screwed and we're going to die" is getting as old as the "it isn't happening, la la la la." Every person living today is descended from someone who dealt with worse weather with less resources. We will adjust and survive*.

*As a group. Individual survival is, as always, a game of chance.
posted by BeeDo at 11:15 AM on September 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


yeah so what do we do

There's two sides to this. On one hand, there's what you can do as an individual. These kinds of lifestyle choices of trying to reduce your ecological footprint are not mathematically going to make any difference, but they will make ecological thinking part of your life, which leads to the second point.

This is a political problem, and its one which involves a massive trend against the current status quo and the powers that be. What you can do is calmly, sincerely, informedly, explain to everyone you know that this is the most important problem facing us right now. Don't scaremonger, just do your very best to get the information out there. If you convince ten people that climate change is a big deal, they may convince more people, and political change can happen if other people are doing what you're doing.

Political changes like this can happen surprisingly quickly. The conversation on the environment is happening, the point now is to bring it to its first conclusion, and to do so as fast as possible. I'm not any stripe of politician or ecologist, but what I try to do when the topic can be brooched amongst friends is convince as many people as possible. I do this as if I were trying to convince people away from racism 50 years ago, or slavery 200 hundred years ago.

And ignore those who feel the need to surround themselves with hopelessness. Hope is the only way. Even if an oracle could tell me now that we're all doomed, I would fight as hard as I could to stop the destruction of the planet and civilization as we know it. I could not stand to do otherwise.
posted by Alex404 at 11:16 AM on September 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


Every popular and promoted prediction has been magnitudes less extreme than reality has ended up giving us.

One can therefore predict that we're rather fucked and facing some horrible challenges soon. Like, a few years soon.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:25 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


yeah so what do we do

Consume less; measure wealth in terms of how little one needs; help relieve suffering.
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 11:30 AM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


It will be a transition to a warmer Earth, which the human race will handle mostly gracefully.

Well, I agree, but it is all about your definition of mostly.. The human race dealt with Spanish Flu and Hitler mostly gracefully.
posted by Chuckles at 11:33 AM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


@alex404

Thank you. Is there a centralized page of e.g. resources and information I can use, like an official NASA deal to show people? And is there any kind of non-scientist organization that I can join to help with this, some kind of citizens' auxiliary?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:34 AM on September 18, 2012


BeeDo,

The real short-term problem isn't sea level rise. I'm not worried about life on earth. The Cretaceous was indeed a super-greenhouse, probably without permanent ice anywhere aside from the tops of polar mountains. Life still thrived.

My primary concern is maintaining a climate compatible with feeding everyone. Famines today are avoidable tragedies. There is enough food to keep everyone on Earth fed, just barely. We have turned a huge proportion of the world's biosphere over to making food for people. There is a good argument to be made that even if the climate was in a stable state that we are extracting so much from the earth to feed us that we are drawing down the productive capacity available to us. We already fix 200% more nitrogen from the Haber-Bosch process than the entire terrestrial biosphere does.

Can we continue to feed a growing population under these constraints, along with the pressures of climate change? I doubt it's possible if we don't immediately start to decarbonize our economies. An erratic jet stream causing devastating droughts and floods all over the northern hemisphere is not good for agriculture. Looked at the price of corn lately? 4ºC warming or more, which is what we are on track for, takes us way, way outside the stable climate that has existed for the entire history of agriculture. Can we adapt without billions starving? I sure as hell hope so, but perhaps we'd be better off avoiding that particular experiment, no?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:36 AM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


The obvious question - and suspect I won't like the answer - but what will happen to the polar bears if or when there's no Arctic ice?
Downsized. The free market has spoken!
posted by Flunkie at 11:39 AM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


It will be a transition to a warmer Earth, which the human race will handle mostly gracefully.

No, it won't. Those riots this past week? Those are happy children playing in comparison to the shit that is going to go down as crops fail, lowlands flood, and folk freeze or boil to death.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:42 AM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hopefully, these warnings in recent years will encourage the marketplace to develop only useful, practical, energy efficient devices and products to limit the effects of carbon emissions. Or, maybe not. Le sigh.
posted by Wordshore at 11:43 AM on September 18, 2012


Wat to do:

Reduce/Stop eating meat, bike more, purchase less, have fewer kids, live in a city.

Talk up the problem. Contact your representatives.

My wife and I spent last month reaching out to our elected representatives explaining our serious concerns about this issue.

I'm not sure what else to do until the food riots start.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:48 AM on September 18, 2012


bartonlong: Over most of the history of the planet (geological, not human) there weren't ice caps or very limited seasonal ones. Life got one just fine.

Over virtually ALL of the history of the planet, there were no humans. This "everything is going to be fine" line of argument works only if humans and their civilization mean nothing to you.


Is there a centralized page of e.g. resources and information I can use, like an official NASA deal to show people?

http://climate.nasa.gov/

And is there any kind of non-scientist organization that I can join to help with this, some kind of citizens' auxiliary?

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/
posted by dmayhood at 11:49 AM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


For my money, the most sensible thing we can do is learn how to address large issues of global concern. That is, learn how to steer our collective fate with some degree of consensus. Clearly we have not done well on this to date. We will need, as a species, to decide how many people should be around, and what kind of quality of life they should have. These are questions we will inevitably face, and we can choose to address them, or not. The chatter here that veers between armageddon and le sigh does not bode well, but happily the fate of the planet will probably not be decided in the blue. Probably.
posted by stonepharisee at 11:50 AM on September 18, 2012


But the majority of the world's population isn't contributing the majority of the greenhouse gases. I know population control tends to be a favorite theme to some, but in this case, it's kind of a non sequitur because over-consumption dwarfs over-population when it comes to what's directly contributing to these problems.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:05 PM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


It will be a transition to a warmer Earth, which the human race will handle mostly gracefully

It's not remotely some simple case of higher temperatures; it's an Earth with incredibly more heat energy, giving rise to bigger and more frequent storms, less predictability, and greater extremes of all sorts (including local instances of lower temperatures.)

We'll handle it mostly gracelessly by denying it, saying the government should do something about it, and running screaming from cities wrecked by hurricanes.
posted by Zed at 12:06 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, population control is a hot button topic that (understandably) sets off many individuals' personal self-preservation instincts, while hopefully we can all admit and accept that we have a consumption problem, especially in the western hemisphere.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:07 PM on September 18, 2012


@This, of course, alludes to you

You're welcome. People seem to have answered your questions down the page now anyway, and I agree with what they say.
posted by Alex404 at 12:08 PM on September 18, 2012


while hopefully we can all admit and accept that we have a consumption problem

Why do you hate Capitalism?
Why, without capitalism you wouldn't have a computer to type on, you hypocrite!
/wingnut
posted by Theta States at 12:22 PM on September 18, 2012


Will it help if I drink this whiskey without ice?

It will help your whiskey.
posted by Aizkolari at 12:32 PM on September 18, 2012 [15 favorites]


But the majority of the world's population isn't contributing the majority of the greenhouse gases.

Yah, I try to keep my mouth shut about this but overpopulation really distracts from the issue. Never mind that it isn't the primary problem, but were it taken seriously politically, we would be looking at large scale genocide. Society would be ripped apart, which is what I thought we were trying to preserve in the process.

Overpopulation betrays a serious lack of understanding and imagination with respect to the problem.
posted by Alex404 at 12:36 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, I think our only way out of this one where the West maintains its standard of living is if we finally figure out fusion power or a more politically and environmentally palatable fission option. That and we're going to have to try some of the geo-engineering options like seeding the oceans with minerals to sequester carbon.
posted by Aizkolari at 12:44 PM on September 18, 2012


In addition to the many changes to our physical environment from global warming that are now measurable and will only get greater, it has been estimated that 20-30% of all species assessed so far will be at risk of extinction if global average temperatures exceed 1.5-2.5 C. (We are now at +0.8 C.). Keep in mind that thousands of species are already at risk from all types of human impacts. On top of this, many other species are being severely reduced in abundance and distribution by habitat loss and overexploitation, to the point where they are, or soon will be, ecologically inconsequential.

All well-studied marine, terrestrial and freshwater groups of species are showing these changes now, as well as changes in their seasonal occurrence and life-histories, in response to global climate change. Only a relative few are showing increases, and these tend to be invasive species.

People tend to be pretty sanguine about these enormous changes in the biosphere, largely because most of us are unaware how closely our wellbeing is tied to the wellbeing of all other parts of the ecosystems that support us. But to paraphrase David Suzuki, if you think that healthy ecosystems don't matter, just try holding your breath for 10 minutes.

How much are properly functioning ecosystems worth? Well, they are worth everything there is, because we cannot live without them. So human-induced changes that damage them massively, like global warming, ought to greatly concern everyone.

Those here who brush off the effects of climate warming as inconsequential (like BeeDo) are forgetting that it is just one of several massive changes we are making to the life-support systems of Earth. While humanity will likely survive even our worst efforts in some form, the effects are likely to be catastrophic for our civilization. Surely, therefore, it makes sense to reduce these human impacts to whatever extent we can.
posted by dmayhood at 1:21 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


IIRC, while Vancouver may be more pleasant, it's not a given that warming benefits northern climes. Northern Europe, and the UK in particular benefits from the warmth of the Gulf Stream. If climate change causes a shift in that currant, the things could get much cooler for that part of the world.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:24 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


seeding the ocean with minerals to absorb more CO2.

let's go ahead and not do this


Yes, please. We seem to seriously fuck up when we try to change mother nature's plan. Invasive weeds and animals, desertification, whatever, we aren't good at tweaking natural systems.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:24 PM on September 18, 2012


I think it's very, very strange that humanity-loving liberals would jump at the opportunity to blame "overpopulation" for global warming. Seriously, there's no there, there.

Seriously, I think the more people we have, the more likely it is that we'll come up with the technologies (because they will be technologies, not policies) that help us get out of this mess.
posted by downing street memo at 1:41 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


BeeDo: The Cretaceous period was 10C hotter than now, and may have had completely lifeless oceans around the equator. Life was still plentiful and totally awesome.

In case you are not just joking around -- the Cretaceous was also 65-145 million years ago, long before humans existed. Since there is at best an insignificant effort being made to stop warming of our climate, we can look forward to humans being able to test your view that a climate 10 C warmer than now will make life "plentiful and totally awesome." Because in the absence of meaningful action, that's where we are headed, and we are going to do it in millions of years less time than it took the Cretaceous climate to get that way.
posted by dmayhood at 1:44 PM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Some technologies (trains, airplanes as mass transport, electrical utilities, automobiles, the internet) historically also needed the right policies to make them happen and/or work on a large scale. This is one of those kind of problems, in my opinion--a market failure that the market's short term orientation will never correct left to its own devices. That's the entire crux of our problem.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:47 PM on September 18, 2012


What a load of crap. It's summer, of course the ice melts like it does every year. This year is one of the shortest melt seasons on record in the Arctic. Of course the alarmists use 1979 (peak ice) as their starting point ... how convenient. But multi-year ice is growing in area and volume since the 2007 minimum and we have satellite data that goes back to at least 1974 (possibly further). Alarmists don't like to use those years in their analysis because it screws up their narrative.

Examination of several proxy records of sea ice indicate ice-free or near ice-free summer conditions for at least some time during the period of 15,000 to 5,000 years ago. Polar bears managed to survive and are thriving today. Their numbers are near triple of what they were 40-50 years ago.

On February 20th, 1969, The NY Times warned that the Arctic could be ice free by 1990 and that we'd all be dead by 2000.

In 1972, Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen said the Arctic would be ice free by the year 2000.

Mark Serreze predicted an ice free North Pole in 2008. Obviously that didn't happen.

A Norwegian expert also predicted an ice free Arctic by 2008.

NASA's TOP ARCTIC SCIENTISTS Jay Zwally said the Arctic would be ice free by 2012.

350.org reports that many scientists believe the Arctic will be ice free by 2013.

In 2007, Professor Wieslaw Maslowski claimed that the Arctic would be ice free by 2013 and then later said that prediction was probably too conservative.

PIOMAS and Al Gore say we'll have an ice free Arctic in 2014.

The Arctic Institute says we'll be ice free in the Arctic by 2015.

The Arctic Council said we'll have an ice free Arctic by 2015.

James Hansen said that Manhattan would be underwater by 2008.

Summer temperatures north of 80N (where NASA has no thermometers) have been running below the long term mean for many years, and the ice there is 3-5 meters thick. Multi-Year ice has increased since 2007.

Talk about an ice-free Arctic should be discussed in supermarket tabloids, not scientific journals. It's just not physically possible without a radical change in climate and people who peddle this nonsense have no idea what they are talking about, regardless of their credentials.

Meanwhile, Antarctic ice area set another record high for the date yesterday, and is now the sixth highest daily value ever recorded. Surely more ice is also caused by climate change as well. ICESAT data shows mass gains of ice in exceed ice loss.

Now ... is there anyone willing to bet their hard earned money that we'll have an ice free Arctic by 2020? I will take all bets... :)
posted by GrooveJedi at 1:53 PM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Honestly, I think that when you start seeing things like the U.S. Army being cited as a source of expertise on climate change (because they are gearing up to deal with the upcoming fight for resources in the newly uncovered Arctic) the right wing uh-uh-no-you-didn't-dumb-scientist! talking point game switches from merely annoying to shameful.
posted by feloniousmonk at 2:05 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Amazingstill: That's far to complex. GWB already laid out why this crisis will be ignored, like, FOREVER ago.

"The American way of life is not negotiable."
posted by absalom at 2:08 PM on September 18, 2012


"In the end, it will just melt away quite suddenly." Sure it will.

In 2007, they said this - "Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007," the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC. "So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative."

Then ice extent increased and Serreze said that they overreacted. "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.”

5 years later, they're doing the EXACT same thing. - "Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, said that a prediction he made in 2008 that the ice could be gone in 2015 because of global warming was looking cautious...It could even all go this summer,” he said. “So I think the 2015 date is now looking a bit conservative. We may end up having an ice-free summer before then.”

I wonder how 2-5 meters of ice is going to melt THIS SUMMER when the summer is now over and temperatures are well below freezing. These people are lunatics.
posted by GrooveJedi at 2:09 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Peter Wadhams, warns Co2 levels are rising at a faster than exponential rate. When arguing for scenario B which is complete nonsense, they claim that CO2 emission trends have been reduced, but when it suits their needs they change the story to super exponential.
posted by GrooveJedi at 2:11 PM on September 18, 2012


The obvious question - and suspect I won't like the answer - but what will happen to the polar bears if or when there's no Arctic ice?

Well, they will just have to get jobs.
posted by mattoxic at 2:12 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


GrooveJedi: Do you have a version of that word salad with links to actual sources and citations, or can I just trust you?
posted by saulgoodman at 2:16 PM on September 18, 2012


Happy to provide sources, but didn't want to litter the page with them as I still have no idea how to embed links on here. What are you looking for specifically?
posted by GrooveJedi at 2:17 PM on September 18, 2012


Citations that prove all those things you say were actually said by someone not you. For all of them would be good, since those are specific as hell claims, but even a grab bag would be a good start.
posted by absalom at 2:21 PM on September 18, 2012


It's also really amusing to go through this mefi-post from 2007 (sea ice minimum) and see all the doom and gloom predictions back then. The ice has rebounded significantly since 2007. In 5 years, I'll come back to this thread and laugh.

http://www.metafilter.com/65512/September-2007-polar-sea-ice-anomaly
posted by GrooveJedi at 2:22 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


GrooveJedi: Why don't you go ahead and provide reputable sources for the following claims you've made:

1) This year is one of the shortest melt seasons on record in the Arctic.

2) alarmists use 1979 (peak ice) as their starting point

3) Summer temperatures north of 80N (where NASA has no thermometers) have been running below the long term mean for many years

4) Meanwhile, Antarctic ice area set another record high for the date yesterday, and is now the sixth highest daily value ever recorded.

This is, to put it kindly, bullshit and you are making it up.
posted by ssg at 2:28 PM on September 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


I don't see any predictions of doom and gloom there. What I see is some people saying wow, this is scary/crazy/maybe serious, others talking about the scientific process, and it's all capped off with an argumentative derail about whether the scientists are competent. I'm sure you could find such examples, but not in that thread. This doesn't bode well for the credibility of your other casual dismissals.
posted by feloniousmonk at 2:29 PM on September 18, 2012


Well, while GrooveJedi learns how to insert links into posts, I'll direct your attention to the first thing that comes up on google. Admittedly it's only a Nature paper (those crazy scientists, right?), but it says that changes in the arctic are so fast, they need to recalibrate all their climate models. But no worries, amphipods apparently will be just fine.
posted by c13 at 2:43 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


C'mon guys, who are you going to trust, climate scientists who've spent their lives doing this or Metafilter user "GrooveJedi"
posted by downing street memo at 2:45 PM on September 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


Believing the user "GrooveJedi's" comments comforts me that I can maintain my current life without stressing out, so the answer for me and mine is simple.

(that said, I feel a bit too close to the gulf coast.)
posted by subversiveasset at 2:48 PM on September 18, 2012


You should trust me, for I sing the song of hope. All futures are better if you have hope.

Some of you are just way to eager to lay down and die about all of this. Is this the "cool" thing to do or something? I'm not particularly calibrated to popular culture, so I might be missing the joke. If my parent's generation had had that level of defeatism, river fires would still be a major concern in the US.
posted by BeeDo at 2:53 PM on September 18, 2012


Oh, here's another link to NSIDC showing a continuing overall decline in arctic sea ice as recent as yesterday. Given that this year melt blew past the record of 2007, I'm really waiting for GJ's improvement in Internet skills so I can see the proof of "arctic sea ice record high for yesterday".
posted by c13 at 2:54 PM on September 18, 2012


As you wish, I think I figured out the embed thing.

On February 20th, 1969, The NY Times warned that the Arctic could be ice free by 1990 and that we'd all be dead by 2000.

In 1972, Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen said the Arctic would be ice free by the year 2000.

Mark Serreze predicted an ice free North Pole in 2008. Obviously that didn't happen.

NASA's TOP ARCTIC SCIENTISTS Jay Zwally said the Arctic would be ice free by 2012. “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.”

350.org reports that many scientists believe the Arctic will be ice free by 2013

PIOMAS and Al Gore say we'll have an ice free Arctic in 2014 (downloaded data file).

In 2007, Professor Wieslaw Maslowski claimed that the Arctic would be ice free by 2013 and then later said that prediction was probably too conservative.

The Arctic Institute says we'll be ice free in the Arctic by 2015.

The Arctic Council said we'll have an ice free Arctic by 2015.

James Hansen said that Manhattan would be underwater by 2008.

Summer temperatures north of 80N (where NASA has no thermometers) have been running below the long term mean for many years, and the ice there is 3-5 meters thick. Multi-Year ice has increased since 2007.

Meanwhile, Antarctic ice area set another record high for the date yesterday, and is now the sixth highest daily value ever recorded. Surely more ice is also caused by climate change as well. ICESAT data shows mass gains of ice in exceed ice loss.

Of course these alarmists will always cover their asses with the usage of "may" "could" "might", etc. so that when their doomsday predictions fail (and they usually do), they can come up with some way to magically explain it all away which is what James Hansen does on an almost weekly basis at this point. He and the IPCC's predictions based entirely on climate models (and not empirical data) have failed miserably and anyone who takes the time to look at the data themselves can see this. The problem, as I see it is that most of us just don't 'have the time so we rely on mainstream media which pushes a corporate agenda disguised as saving the planet to appeal to our emotions. I could go on ... :)
posted by GrooveJedi at 2:56 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Antarctic ice area set another record high for the date yesterday, and is now the sixth highest daily value ever recorded.

All the cites for this point to an article posted by CFACT.

I'm not seeing them as the neutral arbiter in this discussion.

Nothing that I can find to back this up apart from the bare assertion.
posted by mygoditsbob at 2:58 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


GrooveJedi: the summer is now over and temperatures are well below freezing.

Water temperatures are still well above freezing, however. It takes considerable time for the seawater to lose enough heat to start freezing again.

This is why we leave the science to the scientists: things are not always as simple as they look.
posted by dmayhood at 2:59 PM on September 18, 2012


I literally cannot wait for the comment I know is even now brewing ripping all of those links to shreds.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:03 PM on September 18, 2012


I just picked one at random ("James Hansen said that Manhattan would be underwater by 2008") and couldn't find any support for the claim made in the link text. The only reference in that piece to Manhattan being underwater is a description of a scene in a movie. There is a reference to the Maldives being underwater, but I don't think anyone will dispute that this is where they are headed. Additionally, the term "2008" isn't present anywhere on the page.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:03 PM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Man, I really meant to delete literally from that comment before posting.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:04 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Summer temperatures north of 80N (where NASA has no thermometers) have been running below the long term mean for many years

I haven't run an analysis of the data, but just eyeballing it tells me that you really didn't look at the graphs, since the temps for the later years seem to be running quite a bit above the mean. Did you just copy this from someone else without actually looking at it for yourself?
posted by mygoditsbob at 3:05 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


On February 20th, 1969, The NY Times warned that the Arctic could be ice free by 1990 and that we'd all be dead by 2000.

In 1972, Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen said the Arctic would be ice free by the year 2000.
Both of these are from Bernt Balchen, who wasn't a scientist. They appear to be general beliefs, not measured claims.
posted by Jehan at 3:12 PM on September 18, 2012


Meanwhile, Antarctic ice area set another record high for the date yesterday, and is now the sixth highest daily value ever recorded.

Your link points to the graph of the daily mean temperature and climate north of the N80 as a function of the day of year. It shows that the current temperature is running higher than the mean. It has nothing to do with ice area.
However, if you follow this link from the very same site, you can see that sea ice extent is indeed lowest since at least 2005, and continues to decrease, just as all other normal sources show.

I really can't decide whether I'm arguing with an imbecile, or a troll at this point.
posted by c13 at 3:12 PM on September 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


1) This year is one of the shortest melt seasons on record in the Arctic.

Actually, I stand corrected. It's not one of the shortest melt seasons on record, it is THE SHORTEST MELT SEASON ON RECORD.

According to JAXA, the Arctic melt season (date max minus date min) has gotten about 30 days shorter since 2005. You can look it up for yourself. Oh, and here's the raw data as well.

2) alarmists use 1979 (peak ice) as their starting point

You can see it in all of their datasets, including the one posted to start off this thread. The explanation is simple. A handful key climate related satellites went into orbit in 1979, which coincidentally was the coldest year since the 1920s in the US (according to USHCN raw data) and also the year of peak Arctic ice. This has caused satellite temperature and Arctic ice trends to be unrepresentative of the long term patterns (since they use the coldest year as their starting point). There's a word for that, it's called propaganda. It also occurred shortly before the eruptions of El Chichon and Mt. Pinatubo, which further dragged temperatures down. Additionally, NSIDC chooses to not report satellite data prior to 1979, which inconveniently shows that there was a lot less Arctic ice in 1974 than there was in 1979. Ironically, this is actually shown in the IPCC report.

3) Summer temperatures north of 80N (where NASA has no thermometers) have been running below the long term mean for many years

According to the DMI (which is more reliable than NASA's data because NASA has no thermometers above 80N), Every summer since the year 2000 has had below normal temperatures north of 80N

4) Meanwhile, Antarctic ice area set another record high for the date yesterday, and is now the sixth highest daily value ever recorded.

The data.

This is, to put it kindly, bullshit and you are making it up.

Why would I make this up? There are your sources and data ... to put it kindly, go fuck yourself.
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:13 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


GrooveJedi: On February 20th, 1969, The NY Times warned that the Arctic could be ice free by 1990 and that we'd all be dead by 2000.

The NYT DID NOT make this claim; a "polar explorer and flier" circulated an unspecified paper that, the article stated, made that claim. Without that paper, it is pretty much not possible to support your argument. Is all of your evidence this bad?
posted by dmayhood at 3:15 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, here's another link to NSIDC showing a continuing overall decline in arctic sea ice as recent as yesterday. Given that this year melt blew past the record of 2007, I'm really waiting for GJ's improvement in Internet skills so I can see the proof of "arctic sea ice record high for yesterday".

I clearly pointed out ANTARCTIC sea ice record high, not Arctic. Nobody is denying that the Arctic is melting, as it does every summer. Try harder.
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:15 PM on September 18, 2012


Mark Serreze predicted an ice free North Pole in 2008. Obviously that didn't happen.
If you read the article, it's a very specific North Pole, meaning the precise geographical point. He didn't intend this to mean the whole arctic.
posted by Jehan at 3:15 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I clearly pointed out ANTARCTIC sea ice record high, not Arctic.

So your comments have actually nothing to do with the topic of the original post? Is that what you're saying?
posted by c13 at 3:17 PM on September 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


The NYT DID NOT make this claim; a "polar explorer and flier" circulated an unspecified paper that, the article stated, made that claim. Without that paper, it is pretty much not possible to support your argument. Is all of your evidence this bad?

You're missing the point. They reported on something that was not true and used an "unspecified paper" as their source. Much in the same way they quote scientists today who use corrupted datasets. The point of this is to show how the corporate media pushes the climate agenda. Not gonna go down that tangent, did you care to argue against any of the other items I listed? Happy to respond.
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:18 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


According to the DMI (which is more reliable than NASA's data because NASA has no thermometers above 80N), Every summer since the year 2000 has had below normal temperatures north of 80N

I think you need to look at the rest of the year as well, not just the summer. The later years in the data all show substantial upward deviations in the temperatures on an annual and 2012 in particular shows an upward departure for September that is unprecedented.

We can even argue about the data for the summer, but the extent of the ice melt is tied to how much ice is put down in the winter so warmer temps in the winter contribute to ice melt in the summer in an indirect way.
posted by mygoditsbob at 3:20 PM on September 18, 2012


If you read the article, it's a very specific North Pole, meaning the precise geographical point. He didn't intend this to mean the whole arctic.

I read the article. Did that specific North Pole or precise geographical point melt? Of course it didn't. He also predicted a record minimum, which of course didn't happen either.
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:20 PM on September 18, 2012


I think you need to look at the rest of the year as well, not just the summer. The later years in the data all show substantial upward deviations in the temperatures on an annual and 2012 in particular shows an upward departure for September that is unprecedented.

We can even argue about the data for the summer, but the extent of the ice melt is tied to how much ice is put down in the winter so warmer temps in the winter contribute to ice melt in the summer in an indirect way


I agree wholeheartedly and that is another, longer discussion. But the topic of this thread is about the melt season and the "global disaster" that gets peddled every summer. Again, they are using 1979 (peak ice and coldest year) as their starting point, keep that in mind.
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:22 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


The point of this is to show how the corporate media pushes the climate agenda.

Yeah, you know who really owns Time Warner?

Polar bears.
posted by IjonTichy at 3:22 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well now I'm curious on where you are sourcing this information.

Are you pulling it from CFACT or one of the other players with a financial interest in producing energy from burning hydrocarbons?

The source of the data in this conversation is critical because if it is coming from the folks that are in the process of subverting the science for economic gain, it loses a lot of credibility.
posted by mygoditsbob at 3:25 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


"“The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security,” [Defense Secretary Leon] Panetta said here at a reception hosted by the Environmental Defense Fund to honor the Defense Department in advancing clean energy initiatives. “Rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” Panetta said." - Defense.gov

Corporate media and their agendas indeed.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:26 PM on September 18, 2012


I read the article. Did that specific North Pole or precise geographical point melt? Of course it didn't. He also predicted a record minimum, which of course didn't happen either.
Can you point out the part where he says that? I'm honestly having a hard time finding it. The nearest he seems to get is:
"Even if you lost only half of the first-year ice this year – which would be average – you are still in for a very low ice extent this summer,"
Which appears to have been an accurate prediction.
posted by Jehan at 3:27 PM on September 18, 2012


Woo-hoo! Northwest Passage!

Just in time for Canada's frozen tundras to become new breadbaskets.
posted by Talez at 3:29 PM on September 18, 2012


Well now I'm curious on where you are sourcing this information.

Are you pulling it from CFACT or one of the other players with a financial interest in producing energy from burning hydrocarbons?

The source of the data in this conversation is critical because if it is coming from the folks that are in the process of subverting the science for economic gain, it loses a lot of credibility.


In some cases, I have linked you to specific articles, in other cases I have linked directly to the data. You can look up that data for yourself and I turn the question back onto you. If the source of the data for all the alarmism is coming from the same folks who are subverting science for economic and political gain, it loses a lot of credibility. I am not claiming that all of these scientists are crazy, are idiots or are evil but in many instances, they are using corrupted, unreliable data.
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:33 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's not what I asked.

Where did you source this stuff?

Did you just "know" this stuff?

Did you do a google search?

Or did you copy and paste a bunch of links from some other site?

If the latter, I'd like to know the site. It will tell us a lot about the point of view of the person who originally aggregated the links.
posted by mygoditsbob at 3:36 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can you point out the part where he says that? I'm honestly having a hard time finding it.

Here you go.

And here.

He says: "We kind of have an informal betting pool going around in our center and that betting pool is 'does the North Pole melt out this summer?' and it may well" ... It's a 50-50 bet that the thin Arctic sea ice, which was frozen in autumn, will completely melt away at the geographic North Pole, Serreze said.

If it's a 50/50 bet then that means there's an equal chance it won't, so why are they betting that it will and of course CNN runs with their doomsday headline to push the corporate profit agenda.
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:39 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's not what I asked.

Where did you source this stuff?

Did you just "know" this stuff?

Did you do a google search?

Or did you copy and paste a bunch of links from some other site?

If the latter, I'd like to know the site. It will tell us a lot about the point of view of the person who originally aggregated the links.


What does it matter? Some of it I know, some of it I searched for ... what matters is what the data says, not what website I found links to the data on. The point of view of someone who posts something in an article or blog is irrelevant if they are linking DIRECTLY TO THE DATA. If you'd like to discuss the specific data, I'm all ears.
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:41 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


oh right the link has quotes from groovejedi on metafilter followed by the phrases he copied + original source for said phrases

hth
posted by Ictus at 3:47 PM on September 18, 2012


Several of the specific claims you made in your link dump were not borne out by the links that they pointed to. This makes it hard to take an invitation to discuss the data seriously and adding claims of media bias & greedy scientists to the mix doesn't help.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:48 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


So your comments have actually nothing to do with the topic of the original post? Is that what you're saying?

No, I am saying that you have a reading comprehension problem. You are attempting to put words in my mouth by misquoting me as saying that Arctic ice reached a record maximum when I clearly said that Antarctic Ice reached the record maximum. This was the last statement in my post (the rest of it related to Arctic Ice). I presented it to show the ridiculousness of how the media focuses on ice loss in the Arctic while remaining completely silent on record ice in Antarctica. Where are all the threads about that? Shouldn't we be rejoicing? :)
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:48 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I picked 2 links at random to follow: "We'd all be dead by 2000." Nope. "James Hansen said that Manhattan would be underwater by 2000." Oddly, no mention of James Hansen, Manhattan, or 2008 in that link.
posted by leopard at 3:49 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Several of the specific claims you made in your link dump were not borne out by the links that they pointed to. This makes it hard to take an invitation to discuss the data seriously and adding claims of media bias & greedy scientists to the mix doesn't help.

I'm not sure I understand what you are saying. Care to elaborate?
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:49 PM on September 18, 2012


"The Arctic Institute says we'll be ice free in the Arctic by 2015." What the link actually says: "If this trend persists over the coming years we could experience an ice free Arctic Ocean by the summer of 2015."

Pathetic.
posted by leopard at 3:51 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am not really sure how to elaborate. Either through innocent misinterpretation or out of some lesser motivation you've presented a series of claims which are unsupported by their sources or only supported when those sources are read with the least charitable interpretation possible. This leads to my disinclination to take your invitation to "discuss the data" seriously.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:54 PM on September 18, 2012


Actually, I stand corrected. It's not one of the shortest melt seasons on record, it is THE SHORTEST MELT SEASON ON RECORD.

If you didn't notice that the article you linked is from 2010, then you might want to be a little more careful. It is 2012 today, check your calendar. Also, if you look to a reputable source, you'll find that it turns out 2010 was not the shortest season on record. All the same, it was the 3rd lowest year for sea ice extent at the time.

Your other data links are similarly not-applicable (wrong pole!) or useless.

I don't think there is anything to be gained by engaging with you here.
posted by ssg at 3:56 PM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I just picked one at random ("James Hansen said that Manhattan would be underwater by 2008") and couldn't find any support for the claim made in the link text. The only reference in that piece to Manhattan being underwater is a description of a scene in a movie. There is a reference to the Maldives being underwater, but I don't think anyone will dispute that this is where they are headed. Additionally, the term "2008" isn't present anywhere on the page.

Try scrolling to the bottom ... there's a link there that says "Continue Reading" ... click on it.

And since you brought it up, the Maldives are not sinking underwater, and are currently making long-term expansions to their airport.

“On opening day, the terminal will have the capacity to meet demand up to the year 2025 with minor expansion which is a requirement under the concession agreement,”

The United States has committed 511 million dollars to the project ... why would they do that if they really believed it will be underwater in a few years? :)
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:57 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, that's kind of the point of alarmism. It's always an "if", "could be", "might" or "maybe" ... never based on empirical data, always based on conjecture and fairy tale predictions of what could happen if ...
posted by GrooveJedi at 3:59 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please show me the exact quote from that article where James Hansen says that Manhattan will be under water by 2008. It's entirely possible I missed it but I certainly did click the continue reading link. We can discuss the Maldives next.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:01 PM on September 18, 2012


If you didn't notice that the article you linked is from 2010, then you might want to be a little more careful. It is 2012 today, check your calendar. Also, if you look to a reputable source, you'll find that it turns out 2010 was not the shortest season on record. All the same, it was the 3rd lowest year for sea ice extent at the time.

Thank you for pointing that out, I did not notice as was searching for dates only (Sept. 16th). Still, 2012 will be one of the shortest melt seasons on record.
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:03 PM on September 18, 2012


The reason I ask for a direct quote here is because what I believe you are objecting to is that journalists sensationalize science using out of context quotes to incite alarm. This is something I don't think anyone here who is concerned about climate change would argue, but is entirely orthogonal to whether or not the science itself is legitimate.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:03 PM on September 18, 2012


Please show me the exact quote from that article where James Hansen says that Manhattan will be under water by 2008. It's entirely possible I missed it but I certainly did click the continue reading link. We can discuss the Maldives next.

"If what you’re saying about the greenhouse effect is true, is anything going to look different down there in 20 years?” He looked for a while and was quiet and didn’t say anything for a couple seconds. Then he said, “Well, there will be more traffic.” I, of course, didn’t think he heard the question right. Then he explained, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. "
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:06 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or to expand on that further, there is a huge difference between a scientist making an off the cuff remark and the conclusions of a formal report. Saying "yeah, in 20 years the West Side Highway will probably be underwater" does not somehow reduce the credibility of a multi-year study conducted by numerous professionals operating in a discipline which is based on rigorous analysis, which is quote the opposite from the process which goes into making casual conversation with laymen.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:06 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is the West Side Highway under water?
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:06 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Try scrolling to the bottom ... there's a link there that says "Continue Reading" ... click on it.

I had already done that. Rather than giving me instructions, why don't you find the James Hansen quote for me?

Again, no mention of James Hansen, Manhattan, or 2008 in that entire discussion.

Pathetic.

Yes, that's kind of the point of alarmism. It's always an "if", "could be", "might" or "maybe" ... never based on empirical data

Yes, a good forecaster would never use words like "if" "could be" "might" or "maybe." That must be why your paraphrases remove those phrases. We all know that only alarmists are uncertain about the future, anyone acting in good faith knows exactly what will happen.

I personally don't worry about anything happening until after it's already happened.

Super pathetic.
posted by leopard at 4:07 PM on September 18, 2012


Fair enough. Then let's look at his Scenario A, B, and C predictions from his reports, all of which have proven to be miserable failures.
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:08 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


again, missing the point entirely.

"The sea-ice volume is now down to just one-fifth of what it was in 1979"

yes ... and what is it compared to 1974?
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:10 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


GrooveJedi: You're missing the point.

I guess I am. I was under the impression that you could support your claims through your links. You can't, as others have pointed out as well. Support for many of your claims is just not there. There is thus no reason to believe that your other "evidence" is reliable either.

The technical term for your stuff is bullshit. It evidently matters not to you whether what you say is true or not. Your real purpose seems to be to obfuscate. Responding to your posts is just a waste of time.
posted by dmayhood at 4:13 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Plenty of support for my claims in the links provided and in the follow-ups. I stood corrected on one previously. If you'd like to point out something specific, by all means ... otherwise it is YOU who is obfuscating by attacking me and ignoring the claims themselves.
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:15 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK I had missed the James Hansen quote. Of course it's a second-hand quote from a reporter who is being interviewed, and it's an off-the-cuff estimate, and even that doesn't say that "Manhattan will be under water." It also contains sociological speculation about the effect of rising temperatures on crime.

BTW was Hansen correct to predict that temperatures would increase?

yes ... and what is it compared to 1974?

You're so coy! Why don't you tell us?
posted by leopard at 4:16 PM on September 18, 2012


Re-reading that article, I think pointing to that statement as a claim that Manhattan is going to be under water by 2008 is disingenuous ("And remember we had this conversation in 1988 or 1989." so what is being presented as a quote is not even actually a verbatim quote).
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:17 PM on September 18, 2012


Fair enough, it's not a literal quote. But it shows the mindset of this so-called scientist who actually believes that it was even possible. Look at Hansen's official Scenario A, B, and C predictions. They are laughable.
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:18 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Additionally, NSIDC chooses to not report satellite data prior to 1979, which inconveniently shows that there was a lot less Arctic ice in 1974 than there was in 1979. Ironically, this is actually shown in the IPCC report.

The link goes to a 400-page PDF. I guess I'll read the whole thing now to verify your vague claim.
posted by leopard at 4:22 PM on September 18, 2012


My popcorn is getting stale...
posted by WaylandSmith at 4:24 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


We have photographic evidence of changes taking place in the polar ice which, based on our understanding of physics and various earth sciences, appears to indicate what looks like the beginnings of a feedback loop with the potential to become self-reinforcing, which would be catastrophic. Hansen's work isn't the basis for this science, but it is the basis for a lot of heat in the media. For the sake of argument let's just assume that everything Hansen has done in his entire career is totally wrong. What changes?
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:25 PM on September 18, 2012


No, I am saying that you have a reading comprehension problem.

I have a reading comprehension problem!? You posted a link to a graph of daily mean ARCTIC temperatures (says so in big-ass letters right at the top and the legend right under the figure!) claiming that it showed that the ice extent in ANTARCTICA has set a record high, you fucking idiot. And I'm the one with a reading comprehension problem?
How can I put words into your mouth when what comes out of is a shit stream of inanities? It's impossible to change noise into something else.
Antarctic ice extent is currently increasing? Setting aside the irrelevance of this for the present topic of discussion, have you considered why might that be? No, it's not because of "teh media". Could it be, gee, I don't know, because fucking seasons are reversed in the south hemisphere!? And while there is an ice minimum at one place, there is a maximum at the other? Like is explained here?
And while we're on the topic of the evil stupid media. Yes, captain obvious, the media is indeed evil and stupid. But what does it have to do with science? Or scientific publications?

Fair enough, it's not a literal quote.

Oh really? So it's bullshit, no?

But it shows the mindset of this so-called scientist who actually believes that it was even possible.

So called? How many Nature papers have you got?
posted by c13 at 4:28 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're so coy! Why don't you tell us?

Why don't you read the IPCC report for yourself and find out?

The short answer is that Arctic Ice Extent today is about the same as it was in 1974.

If the NSIDC used the complete satellite data set, people would see that Arctic ice gain/loss is cyclical. Here's an example (from GISS) of what that looks like.

James Hansen of course doesn't want us to know about this, so he corrupted the data. That's what you can do when are an activist with a political agenda, who also controls the data.
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:29 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey guys, I know you're having fun arguing with groovejedi. But does someone who knows about ecosystems want to advise me on where I should move to in order to have an optimal chance of survival? I have subsistence skills. I'll mail you seeds.
posted by windykites at 4:31 PM on September 18, 2012


Yeah. Hansen controls the data, yet you can read about it in the IPCC report.
posted by c13 at 4:31 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I kind of feel like we're approaching "No Mr. Icke, the Queen is not a lizard..." territory with this whole scientists-as-activists-with-devious-agendas thing, so I'm going to bow out, but I wish you luck.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:31 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


How well did Hansen do?
posted by perhapses at 4:33 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey guys, I know you're having fun arguing with groovejedi. But does someone who knows about ecosystems want to advise me on where I should move to in order to have an optimal chance of survival?

If you're worried about catastrophic sea level rise, move to San Francisco, right on the coast like Al Gore did.
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:34 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm supposed to read a 20-year-old 400-page report that predicts rising temperatures and rising sea levels just so that I can verify your vague claim about the 1974 Arctic ice levels, even though you already have a record here of misstating sources? Thanks.
posted by leopard at 4:35 PM on September 18, 2012


where I should move to in order to have an optimal chance of survival?

I'm being serious here. Have you considered what "survival" would look like when the majority of earths species, humans included, die off? Look at the graph of the world population and see if you can notice a dip around the beginning of the last century. Yet we had two most devastating wars during that time, and you can read about what life was like back then. Now look to the right side of the same graph and imagine what reducing it by say even charitable 50% would feel like. Are you sure you want to go through it? Knowing that, as far as humans are concerned, it's going to be forever?
posted by c13 at 4:37 PM on September 18, 2012


One time, Al Gore left all his lights on!
posted by perhapses at 4:39 PM on September 18, 2012


I bet Al Gore sold all his other residences, including the one 15min away from my house, in order to afford to move into a house in california. And since he's clearly got no means of moving elsewhere now whenever he wants, it clearly shows that there is no climate change.
posted by c13 at 4:42 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


How well did Hansen do?

Ahh yes, Real Climate. Definitely not a biased source. Run by Environmental Media Services - founded by Al Gore's former communications director, it poses as a science site, but is mainly political and is known to censor and remove comments or studies which don't support its agenda-based nonsense.

In 2005, Real Climate said that the period from the 1950s to the 1970s had artificially cool temperatures – due to man made aerosols. Then, they use 1951-1980 as their baseline for normal temperature.

Frauds.
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:42 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm supposed to read a 20-year-old 400-page report that predicts rising temperatures and rising sea levels just so that I can verify your vague claim about the 1974 Arctic ice levels, even though you already have a record here of misstating sources? Thanks.

I read it.
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:43 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nice debating with you kind folks. G'day :)
posted by GrooveJedi at 4:44 PM on September 18, 2012


Nice debating with you kind folks. G'day :)

It's only a "debate" if both sides have valid points.

From our end, it was winning us 12 straight sets because you said the scoreboard was rigged and refused to leave the court.

Bring a tennis racket, not a spoon, next time.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:50 PM on September 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Fraud: anyone who disagrees with me.
posted by perhapses at 4:53 PM on September 18, 2012


There were questions above about what we should do, and how we shouldn't loose hope, etc, etc. I can't help but think that where this whole hope thing is going to bite the dust is not the impossibility of solving the technological or political problems (however late it may be). Rather, all good intentions, clever science, wise diplomacy,awesome machines will crash against the kind of stupidity illustrated above. We really are just monkeys running on consoles of a nuclear reactor, pressing all the colorful buttons and twisting knobs...
posted by c13 at 4:58 PM on September 18, 2012


Are you sure you want to go through it?

Here's the thing: if I'm alive, I will in all likelihood have the opportunity to kill myself. But once I am dwad, I no longer have the option to live. So yeah, i'd be willing to try.
posted by windykites at 5:37 PM on September 18, 2012


The obvious question - and suspect I won't like the answer - but what will happen to the polar bears if or when there's no Arctic ice?

they'll be in manhattan with the icewolves
posted by ninjew at 5:43 PM on September 18, 2012


The above is actually a great illustration of the cupability oil companies and their merchants of doubt bear. Groovejedi would be unlikely to know, care, or certainly question anything about the results of literal tonnes of peer-reviewed papers outlining a looming catastrophe, if the issue hadn't been muddied by carbon generators and used a signfier of right wing politics. In an age where bipartisanship is all but dead, it's very difficult to have a pure policy response to anything. This is why regulation is so important, and those companies should burn in hell.
posted by smoke at 5:52 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Additionally, I think it illustrates the atomisation of public discourse. To all intents and purposes, Groovejedi in inhabits a different world to me, a parallel universe that is similar, but different. There can be no agreed-upon facts; it is this that makes negotiation, understanding, very difficult. His world is not warming; mine is. How do you reconcile that?
posted by smoke at 6:01 PM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


groovejedi: In 2005, Real Climate said that the period from the 1950s to the 1970s had artificially cool temperatures – due to man made aerosols.

What RealClimate actuallys says at the link:
Firstly, there was a trend of cooling from the 40′s to the 70′s (although that needs to be qualified, as hemispheric or global temperature datasets were only just beginning to be assembled then).

...

there were concerns about the relative magnitudes of aerosol forcing (cooling) and CO2 forcing (warming), although this latter strand seems to have been short lived

...

The cooling trend from the 40′s to the 70′s now looks more like a slight interruption of an upward trend
The link does not argue that the 1950s-1980s were a period of unusually low temperatures. It says that there was a slight cooling trend from the beginning to the end of the period. If the 1980-2010 period was just a reversal of a downward blip, it would actually show up as basically equivalent on average to the 1950-1980 period. Of course that is not the case.

smoke, groovejedi's world is defined in opposition to your world, that's why you can't arrive at any understanding. Whatever you believe, he will believe the opposite.
posted by leopard at 6:04 PM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


What the fuck is this see-no-evil derail? The actual fucking data was linked by me previously on metafilter. We're in a lot of trouble if methane release happens due to melt (and it would, if the surface ice disappears).
posted by jaduncan at 6:15 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think it is safe to assume that you are not going to tell us where you cut and pasted the links from.

That's fine, but when you cut and paste on a volatile topic where folks with lots of $$ at stake are trying to pull a fast one on the public, you will get called on it.
posted by mygoditsbob at 6:19 PM on September 18, 2012


Whatever you believe, he will believe the opposite.

It's not even opposite, really. You have a guy that seriously claims that "James Hansen of course doesn't want us to know about this, so he corrupted the data. That's what you can do when are an activist with a political agenda, who also controls the data." And we know he did this because we can read this data (the correct one? or the manipulated one? Who really cares?) in the IPCC report.
posted by c13 at 6:27 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Arctic Institute says we'll be ice free in the Arctic by 2015.

No it doesn't. It says

If this trend persists over the coming years we could experience an ice free Arctic Ocean by the summer of 2015.
[emphasis mine.]

The Arctic Council said we'll have an ice free Arctic by 2015.

No it doesn't. It says

Because climate change in the Arctic region is occurring faster and to a greater extent than anywhere else, the Arctic Ocean may be ice-free for a short period of time as early as the summer of 2015, according to the 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report completed by the eight Arctic Council Nations. [emphasis mine.]

These qualifications are not mere evasiveness. They are intended to convey a precise meaning supportable by the then-available data.

Again, the evidence is all but conclusive that GJ doesn't give a good GD about the truth. He is all about spreading a thick layer of shitfog.
posted by dmayhood at 6:33 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Look, my only real question, as a (nearly) lifetime resident of the Great Lakes region, is: what are the chances of climate change making Lake Michigan into the next Mediterranean Sea? I mean, *checks map* Mediterranean climate is basically a function of being leeward of fairly warm year-round waters in non-tropical regions, right? So if it got warmer and drier around here... yes? Talk me down here, Actual Scientists. I'm starting to side with the deniers.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:33 PM on September 18, 2012


I was going to say something clever, but on second thought, nevermind.
Enjoy the Riviera.
posted by c13 at 6:56 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the core of GJ's position:
I presented [the Antarctic data] to show the ridiculousness of how the media focuses on ice loss in the Arctic while remaining completely silent on record ice in Antarctica.
..which is a logical fallacy. Just because it is cold in one part of the world doesn't negate global warming. But even then, it is incontestable Antarctica is heating up, both on land and sea, just not as quickly (for good physics reasons).

GJ, if you want to discuss Antarctica and global warming, that might be interesting. But it has nothing to do with the Arctic and your bringing it up really does give the appearance of argumentative rhetoric.
posted by stbalbach at 7:06 PM on September 18, 2012


tivalasvegas: Don't get excited, we'll be draining the great lakes to irrigate the great dust bowl.
posted by absalom at 7:24 PM on September 18, 2012


You can't have it, there's an Interstate Compact and everything.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:27 PM on September 18, 2012


It's worth repeating ... the dataset they use starts conveniently in 1979 (peak ice, coldest year). Go back to 1974 and you'll find that the ice extent was just about the same as it is today.
posted by GrooveJedi at 7:54 PM on September 18, 2012


Go back to 1974 and you'll find that the ice extent was just about the same as it is today.

Please provide a cite for this nonsense. No, a link to a 20-year-old 400-page report that whose clearest conclusions blatantly contradict your point of view (the report predicts rising temperatures and rising sea levels, both of which came to pass) doesn't count.
posted by leopard at 8:18 PM on September 18, 2012


Not that I expect to convince GrooveJedi - as he's shown a willful insincerity when it comes to quotes and citations - but it's worthwhile pointing out that there are several ways arctic ice can be measured:
  1. Arctic ice can be measured terms of extent of coverage, i.e. the surface area ice of any density over water. GJ thinks that 2012's coverage is the same as in 1974 (repeating the talking points of many climate denial sites over the last few days) but misses an important point: the reason that graphs begin from the late 70's, rather than 1974, is because satellite observation of the Arctic began in 1979. The measurement of sea ice extent before that time was based on estimates from the ground. In other words, scientists are doing the right thing: they are using an established, reputable baseline to compare sea ice extent against. It's the denier's who are, once again, cherry picking.
  2. The Arctic can also be measured in terms of stable, "multi-year" ice - that is, ice that remains over two or more summers, vs. the stuff that comes and goes from season to season. In this area, the measurements are irrefutable: not only is there less multi-year ice than at any time since satellite observation began, but the evidence shows that this previously stable ice is melting at faster rates.
  3. If one puts aside coverage measurements, we can look at the overall mass of the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps, through gravimetric studies: even if the extent of sea ice was the same from year to year (and it isn't - it's declining overall, at both poles), such studies show that the thickness of the ice sheet is diminishing.
I don't expect this evidence to convince deniers, but I would urge those like GJ to closely inspect their own biases: a strong part of climate change denial is a belief in a worldwide conspiracy theory of scientists and environmentalists. If you want to win the argument (and potentially win a Nobel Prize), put aside accusations of bias, stop misquoting and repeating talking points, study the science, and actually prove that the data is wrong.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 8:51 PM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


A-ha-haha.. man, this is truly comedy gold.

The short answer is that Arctic Ice Extent today is about the same as it was in 1974.

If the NSIDC used the complete satellite data set, people would see that Arctic ice gain/loss is cyclical. Here's an example (from GISS) of what that looks like.


And the link leads to... Ta-Dam! : GISS Surface Temperature Analysis.
posted by c13 at 9:01 PM on September 18, 2012




The claim that this is the shortest melt season on record points to an article from 2010. The 2012 melt season is not over as shown by both the Arctic Sea ice monitor and NSDIC graphs. It may be close to the end or near the bottom, but it isn't clear we're at the bottom.

An unsourced claim has also been made that 1974 had a similar low sea ice extent(LSIE) to the 2012 record. According to the Walsh and Chapman dataset, which has been compiled from available observations and measurements in the pre-satalite era we see that LSIE estimate for 1974 was 9.6 million sq km. Compared to the 8.9 million sq km noted in 1979 and the most recent LSIE as of this writing of 3.5 million sq km.
posted by humanfont at 9:24 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but the current temperature in Reykjavik is 34F, which clearly proves that Arctic Sea ice monitor and NSDIC graphs are bullshit.
posted by c13 at 9:30 PM on September 18, 2012




Look, folks, either everyone from the Royal Society to the IPCC's thousands of climate scientists to the environmental management bureaucracies of pretty much every country on earth knows what they're talking about, or GrooveJedi has cracked the greatest conspiracy in the history of science wide open. You think just anyone with five bucks and a delusion can post here?

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get my broker on the horn. Going long on Maldivian real estate investment trusts.
posted by gompa at 10:14 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


[There's no cleaning up this thread without turning it into Swiss cheese, but going forward, comments will be deleted and you will get a night/day off for "fuck you"ing (etc.) other members. Do not do this.]
posted by taz at 12:13 AM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]




(I started gathering these before I read other comments doing the same, but might as well post 'em.)

NASA's TOP ARCTIC SCIENTISTS Jay Zwally said the Arctic would be ice free by 2012. “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.”

The quotation refutes your own claim, GrooveJedi: "could be nearly ice-free" isn't "ice-free". As for claims from 1969 or 1972, climate science was barely a thing back then, so of course those timespan claims were speculative; but observations of the overall direction of climate change are bearing out the general point.

350.org reports that many scientists believe the Arctic will be ice free by 2013

This misrepresents the actual phrasing of "scientists now believe the Arctic could have no ice in the summertime as early as 2013". It isn't 2013 yet, so this could still happen, but "as early as" indicates the starting point of a possible range of years, not an absolute prediction of exactly that year. Even if it doesn't happen in 2013, but 2015 or 2017 or even 2022, it's hardly an indictment of the larger point, that it will be "80 years ahead of what had been predicted just a few years ago".

James Hansen said that Manhattan would be underwater by 2008.

Your links really aren't helping you. He was painting a scenario where
parts of the shoreline would be underwater, not the whole city a la
Waterworld. As to when, in "1988 or 1989" he was expecting
this "within 20 or 30 years", so let's see where we are in 2018. Given how much has changed in the Arctic in the past ten years, every year makes a difference.

Of course these alarmists will always cover their asses with the usage of "may" "could" "might", etc. so that when their doomsday predictions fail (and they usually do)...

Usually? Bit of ass-covering there?

the corporate media pushes the climate agenda

Only the other day I was talking with a climate change denier elsewhere who told me my links to Guardian reports were suspect because that paper is "a fully paid-up member of the conspiracy to destroy the Western economies at whatever cost". It's good to know that the entirety of corporate media are members too. Murdoch and his mates must be so proud.

Why don't you read the IPCC report for yourself and find out? The short answer is that Arctic Ice Extent today is about the same as it was in 1974.

Almost all the occurrences of "1974" in that report are publications dates for citations, apart from two sentences unrelated to sea-ice. But there is one relevant sentence: "Since about 1976 the areal extent of sea-ice in the Northern Hemisphere has varied about a constant climatological level but in 1972-1975 sea-ice extent was significantly less."

"Significantly less" than 1976-1990 tells us nothing about how it compares with now. And area doesn't give us the full measure of the problem anyway; volume is far more worrying.

2012 will be one of the shortest melt seasons on record

Yet such an effective one. I wonder why.
posted by rory at 5:38 AM on September 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just to be clear, 2012 will certainly not be one of the shortest melt seasons on record.
posted by ssg at 7:26 AM on September 19, 2012


There was also a comment about the high levels of sea ice in the antarctic. It should be noted that the anomalous reading is just slightly over one standard deviation from the 1979 to 2000 average. That isn't really notable given that it is the middle of winter. During the last Antarctic summer the minimum was slightly over one standard deviation below normal. The best that can be said is that Antarctic sea ice is more stable than the ice in the arctic. The arctic is several standard deviations away from the mean. If we were grading
These as students on a curve we could say Ms Antarctic Sea Ice has gone from a C to a C+/B- while her brother has gone from an C to an F and is in critical danger of being
expelled.
posted by humanfont at 8:40 AM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Where did our groovy skeptic friend go? He was so engaged... with the facts...
posted by kaspen at 1:35 PM on September 19, 2012


He seems to have melted away. I think the cause is probably anthropologic global moderation.
posted by humanfont at 5:40 PM on September 19, 2012


GrooveJedi: Now ... is there anyone willing to bet their hard earned money that we'll have an ice free Arctic by 2020? I will take all bets... :)

More free money? If you're reading and serious, I'm in for $500.
posted by jaduncan at 7:23 AM on September 20, 2012


The consequence of loss of sea ice? Dark ocean water absorbs heat better than shiny ice, so the ongoing milting is accelerating the general warming trend. Eventually (not for quite some time, beyond the lifespan of anyone living, probably), if the whole of Greenland and the whole of Antarctica melt, the highest that sea levels could ever rise is 80 meters or 262 feet above the current level. So no Water World and no real-life version of Noah's story. Citation.

"The IPCC predicted that sea ice would be around until 2100. Now apparently it'll be gone in three years. Isn't that, like, a massive miscalculation?"

The IPCC predicts that sea ice will be around until 2100. It's also recently been surprised to find indications that the sea ice might melt all the way in the summer beginning as early as 3 years from now, based on the more-and-faster-than-expected way it's been melting in recent summers. Parts of it melt and re-freeze every year, but lately it's been melting more than freezing.

Sea ice in the Arctic has always waxed and waned with the seasons. Sooner than expected, the permanent ice will melt away.

This doesn't mean it won't get cold in winter anymore. There will still be ice at the North Pole, at least during the winter, for at least another ninety-ish years.

NASA has a good slideshow of Arctic Sea Ice minimums (summer ice) since 1979 at http://climate.nasa.gov/keyIndicators/. It shows the way the ice minimum has shrunk over time.

I personally doubt that the Arctic ice minimum will drop to zero in 2015. Maybe 2020.

GrooveJedi: I'm in for five bucks at 2020.
posted by Sleeper at 1:42 AM on September 21, 2012


Or, reviewing the thread some more: See the last thing dmayhood said.
posted by Sleeper at 1:47 AM on September 21, 2012




Meanwhile, Antarctic ice area set another record high for the date yesterday, and is now the sixth highest daily value ever recorded. Surely more ice is also caused by climate change as well. ICESAT data shows mass gains of ice in exceed ice loss. (GrooveJedi)
It may be surprising that the overall extent of Antarctic ice has grown by about one percent per decade, on average, since satellite records began a little over 30 years ago.. You might reasonably suspect that all the fuss about disappearing Arctic sea ice is overblown, then, given the growth of ice down south.. But you’d be wrong, for all sorts of reasons. The first is that the one percent growth per decade in the Antarctic pales next to the much faster 15.5 percent drop per decade in the Arctic. They aren’t even in the same ballpark. Not only that: while the sea ice bordering Antarctica has been growing slightly, the massive ice sheets that sit directly atop the frozen continent are shrinking, at an accelerating rate.. In any case, climate scientists have long expected that the Arctic would warm up faster than the Antarctic. By the second half of the century, however, climatologists say that the human warming signal will become more apparent, and Antarctic sea ice will begin to follow its Arctic cousin in a downward spiral.
GrooveJedi, are you still in five bucks, or did you skip town :)
posted by stbalbach at 12:58 PM on September 22, 2012






I just looked at this again. Maybe it'll make me look dumb to try to clarify the last thing I said, but: I personally doubt that the Arctic sea ice minimum will drop to zero to below 1 million square kilometers, from the high of nearly 9 million square kilometers, which is what they mean when they somewhat misleadingly say "ice-free" in 2015. Maybe 2020.
posted by Sleeper at 1:48 PM on September 24, 2012




The obvious question - and suspect I won't like the answer - but what will happen to the polar bears if or when there's no Arctic ice?

In the Land of the Pizzly: As Arctic Melts, Polar and Grizzly Bears Mate
posted by homunculus at 3:06 PM on October 3, 2012




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