Start rounding up the animals, better go with 4 of each this time just to be on the safe side.
Listeners to Radio 4's Today programme - and this includes much of the political elite - will have been alarmed to be told that "the Arctic could be ice-free on a summer’s day by the end of the decade". Yet the evidence for this "trend" turns out to be drawn from less than two years worth of data. Dr Seymour Laxon of …
Tuesday 14th August 2012 09:23 GMT Big_Ted
Tuesday 14th August 2012 10:40 GMT K
Tuesday 14th August 2012 11:07 GMT Thomas 18
Thursday 16th August 2012 08:24 GMT Anonymous Coward
I Raise You a Fail [Was: Re: RE: Why?]
I am glad that you were wise enough to use the word 'apparently' right at the start of your comment.
After a cursory glance it would seem as if that rather simplistic paper. In fact a little further research would show that others have challenged the validity of their findings and demonstrate Noerdlinger's and Brower's model to be, well, over simplistic and, as a result, incorrect in it's conclusion.
That's not to say there will be no sea level rise in such a scenario, of course there will. But will it equate to the figure they present? Based on what I have read elsewhere, its highly like that it won't.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 13:49 GMT keith_w
Tuesday 14th August 2012 10:41 GMT Lee Dowling
The Ark, which I presume you're referring to, actually carried 14 of each "clean" animal and 2 of each "unclean" animal (supposedly).
I'm not even religious, but it's amazing how many religious people get that incredibly wrong (probably stems from a desire to eat bacon, which is also against Christianity and most other religions too. Either that or just sheer ignorance or selective blindness).
Tuesday 14th August 2012 13:45 GMT boltar
"probably stems from a desire to eat bacon, which is also against Christianity and most other religions too"
No , just middle eastern ones. Hindus shouldn't eat beaf but they'll happily eat a bacon sarnie.
"Either that or just sheer ignorance or selective blindness"
Doesn't that sum up religious belief in general?
Tuesday 14th August 2012 15:31 GMT Anonymous Coward
Tuesday 14th August 2012 20:01 GMT Fibbles
'Christianity has no concept of clean/dirty or forbidden animals, this was abandoned when Jesus said something along the lines of "nothing is unclean, no food forbidden any more".'
I guess after spending a year and a half at the first council of Nicaea voting on a list of hundreds of gods to create a shortlist of 5 before finally combining Krishna and Hesus, Constantine decided he could really do with a bacon sandwich.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 22:20 GMT Seanie Ryan
Re: water levels
surely we could just build a big pipe to a huge resevoir in the middle of Africa/America/China and store the extra water there?
There, thats the rising ocean levels sorted.
And if theres still too much, we could load it on a rocket and send it to the moon.
i'm 6 and a half and this is all my own work.
oh and IMHO, you need about 300 years of data to accurately predict what a planet might do in its natural cycles...
Tuesday 14th August 2012 20:01 GMT Nightkiller
More correctly, Jesus not have anything to say about the dietary laws. He simply observed that what comes out of a man makes him unclean rather than what goes into him (Matt. 15.11). More relevant is the episode in Acts 10:10ff where Peter has a vision that made him realize that the dietary laws were no longer applicable. That was further reinforced at the Jerusalem conference where the only dietary prohibitions for non- Jewish converts to Christianity were using blood as a food source and eating animals killed by strangulation (Acts 15:29).
Tuesday 14th August 2012 18:17 GMT Marshalltown
Bacon - mmmmh
Actually, according to the NT, Release 1.0 was discontinued in favor of Release 2.0. 2.0 doesn't seem to be nearly as stringent, probably because it was an attempt to open the system out to other platforms, which were using systems that did permit pork, mushrooms, lobster and the like as input. Release 1.0 was extremely finicky about input parameters and a mistake during input could require a system-wide purge. There are still users of Release 1.0 and later modifications 1.0 that do attempt to adhere to the original input guidelines.
Friday 17th August 2012 07:47 GMT Latimer Alder
Religious food bans
In a hot desert climate 3000 years ago it probably was a good idea to be very careful of foods that spoiled quickly...milk, shellfish, pork. But how on earth that bit of good eating advice got turned into some sort of religious instruction.and why still survives in today's world of chillchain, freezers, fridges and Morrisons(*) is completely beyond me.
It seems that are some people who will do and believe anything at all in the name of their 'religion'. Baffling and barking.
(*) Other suppliers are available
Tuesday 14th August 2012 09:22 GMT Big_Ted
"Scientists despair of the public's waning interest in climate change, and like to blame disinformation. They only have themselves to blame"
Its like bird flu, not flocks of dead birds here so for Joe Public and the news feeders its doesn't exist.
Find half a dozen dead birds floating in a loch in Scotland and its front page first report on tv status.....
Until we see London flooded or rain for 3-4 months every day or similar than the majority just won't care. Its the same with this, all the ice melts and unless the gulf stream stops or something equaly drastic then it will mean nothing to them except " Oh the poor polar bears..."
As to the rest of the story, it doesn't make what he says wrong, it just means that the data used shows what he says but there is not enough to accept this as the only outcome yet.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 11:07 GMT Lee Dowling
The public are ignorant, this much is true.
But the problem is that you can't base anything on data until you can provide some evidence of the error associated in your data. This is what all that "six-sigma" rubbish is when they discuss the Higgs Boson. Basically, until it's mathematically MORE likely that you're right (by a long margin), then you're wrong. Or at best your data is inconclusive.
The problem with the global-warming debate is that nobody calculates (or publishes) that error because, and this is the funny bit - nobody can tell you that error accurately because of lack of data and those that can won't get statistically significant results based on the amount of data they *DIDN'T* collect. If you add all the data from everything to ice-cap monitoring to sea-level rises to atmospheric content studies etc. together, you still don't get anything conclusive at all.
And if London floods, it floods "permanently" (i.e. don't worry about what will happen to the residents, because they will HAVE to move out and never go back in their lifetime, or their child's lifetime, or their grandchild's lifetime). That's a pretty drastic action to have to deal with and thus the "fix" is equally or moreso drastic. So you're basically suggesting something whose solution is equivalent to evacuating London permanently. That's a pretty big risk to balance on the say-so of a couple of discredited papers and inconclusive evidence. And, in actual fact, the real problem is much bigger and thus so is the real solution.
The problem here is not scientists ignoring evidence, or the public being ignorant. It's politicians and scientists-with-interests (i.e. those working for certain companies / government departments or who are after getting a media reputation) that are pushing their version of events as if it's the ONLY possible model that works. Despite the fact that just about every global-warming study is proved flawed or inconclusive within a year of release and each focus only on one tiny aspect with miniscule amounts of data available. Two years of ice-cap data is totally worthless without context of other data. Seriously. Just throw it in the bin, it's just not worth the effort. It's no more significant than the waiter in Corfu who insisted on telling a table-ful of scientists and academics that global warming "must be real because it's felt hotter these last few years" - we didn't go back to that restaurant just because of the ensuing argument.
The Earth is almost certainly going to get warmer. At some point. By some degree. A part of that will be man's contribution. We can't say how big that is. Hell, we can't even say we won't flip into an ice age next year, that's how ignorant we are of that particular science. The question isn't "when do we do something?", but "what do we do?" Seriously. Let's just forget the problem for a second and look at a solution. All the solutions are immensely drastic and political suicide and will change the lives of billions of people worldwide. So, is it wise to run in and say "Ha, we can fix this problem that nobody can really agree on the cause, effect, data, or predictions! Now let's switch off all the power stations, stop using oil, stop all manufacturing and shoot all the cows"? Not really.
Global warming isn't something we can just fix. Hell, we can't even agree on if it's happening at all, let alone if we're helping the process along. And what if we've triggered a chain of events that are unrecoverable now? We'd basically change everything we do and the way everyone lives and still end up 10-feet underwater. So until we know WHAT'S happening, we can't fix it. And any potential fix is likely to be the largest change in worldwide history, ever. So let's not rush into such drastic actions on the basis of (at the moment) zero conclusive, mutually-agreed evidence. Because the fact is: we don't know what's happening.
CFC's were burning holes in the ozone. We spotted the hole, measured it, determined the cause beyond reasonable doubt, studied it some more, legislated and removed provably-dangerous materials from production to solve it. It took DECADES. And the only human impact was a slightly different substance in your fridge and a slightly different propellant in your aerosol.
With global warming, the human impact will be vast and devastating. You will literally push millions or billions of people into poverty, deprivation and death if you want to "stop" global warming by the release of human-created gases within the next century. So maybe we should have just a *grain* of decent, undeniable evidence before we start panicking and running for the hills and leaving millions in the lurch?
Hell, the funniest/scariest bit about the global warming debate is if we do (or even can) prove it's all man-made, you will have the biggest worldwide riot you've ever seen and nobody would WANT to be in charge of cutting energy sources, global resources, at vast governmental expense, huge taxations required to fund it, and handling billions of displaced people that would be caused by it. Your car will go. All plastics will go. Wood prices will go through the roof (can't chop down those trees!). You won't have processed food. You probably won't have much electricity (brownouts, blackouts, etc.). Your life will change in every way possible. You'll basically go back to living in the Dark Ages, but with 100 times the population. And that's in a first-world country. What do you think will happen to the third-world?
Precisely because the problem is SO drastic, we need a lot more evidence than normal. And we haven't even agreed that what's there is a normally "significant" amount of evidence to do anything yet. You can have a thousand papers all saying the same thing, but if there are even half-a-dozen saying the opposite and equally undeniable, or even a dozen retractions/errors/flaws in methodology, then it all means precisely zip. And certainly NOT what you'd want to base a global rescue mission on.
For all we know, we could read a paper that proved that X was the cause, cut out all X at great expense, and then discover that the alternative Y that we had to ramp up 10-fold to compensate was actually the problem all along.
We don't act until we know. And we don't know. And when we do know, we don't know how to act. But it isn't going to be like cutting out CFC's from your spray-cans and fridges. You're literally going to have to deal with millions of deaths either way, and that means we need to study MUCH more (probably decades, because the global warming thing has been going around scientific circles since at least the 50's and still can't come to an answer) or only react to the effects that we physically notice as we notice them (e.g. give everyone in London a bucket and tell them to start bailing).
This is why any scientist who is happy to wade into this debate and blast their paper's results across the front page before it's even released is probably just a nutter or funded. Any decent scientist would be pulling back until they had absolute, undeniable evidence and then release quietly and let people check the data and realise the implications for themselves.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 13:24 GMT Graham Marsden
@Lee Dowling - Re: ........
You make some good points and, yes, I agree we need more information, so its a shame that you then start claiming that "You'll basically go back to living in the Dark Ages, but with 100 times the population".
Emissions can be reduced by using resources in a more efficient way that we are doing at the moment, it won't be necessary to turn off all the power stations or stop using cars completely etc etc, there are also potential solutions such as Geoengineering techniques (some more feasible or sensible than others) which could be reduce the levelsof greenhouse gasses
Claiming it will be "back to the Dark Ages" is no more credible than basing a paper on only two years of data.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 18:18 GMT Marshalltown
@Lee Dowling Re: ........
What you need to do is actually apply some of those observations about how science operates. The reason for demanding a very high reliability in science is that people turn around an use that information for real things. Imagine the situation of quantum mechanics was actually mistaken: results could not realiably and with high repeatability be separated from noise. You would even be commenting on this. The problem with so called "soft sciences" is that they set thresholds for acceptance of a conclusion that only a gambling addict would consistently bet on. Climate science in its current morph falls in the "soft science" rather than hard science range simply on the grounds that it doesn't seek high certainty at all, ever. You're lucky to see one sigma results let alone two, and that is still gambler's odds. Hard science doesn't want odds of being wrong that low. With two data points, which is what the interviewed scientist had, the odds of being wrong are around 100%.
The importance of high reliability is that it excludes "winning streaks" - I've tossed nine sixes in a row with a single honest die. That is highly unlikely but still happened. You really want to exclude things like that from shaping a "scientific" hypothesis if at all possible. It is why they are still waffling some over whether the Higgs is what they detected.
When you look at sea ice one thing you really want to take notice of is temperature, rather than assuming that less ice means "warmer" automatically. Temperatures in the arctic are normal to below normal this summer. That leaves you with few alternatives: 1) like 2007 ice is lower because of anomalous wind patterns, or 2) the water under the ice is warmer, or 3) both of the above. News stories have been common this year about ships and students trapped in ice due to wind packing ice into areas that are not normally blocked. So, item 1 is guaranteed. Given that the Bering Straits and the area immediately north have seen a lit of ice this year, and are still not wholly ice free - well straits are, but the exit to the Arctic Ocean isn't yet - see: http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticicennowcast.gif.
So, yes, ice up north is less. But is it melting? Who knows?
Wednesday 15th August 2012 04:22 GMT Anonymous Coward
Re: @Lee Dowling ........
* The salinity of the water is increasing, raising it's boiling point
* The structure of the ice is subtly different this year, possibly because of some dye or pollutant, causing it to absorb more radiation (in a non-visible spectrum)
* All the oil and other crap dumped from these research vessels is sat on the water like a skin, preventing it from clumping up correctly.
There are literally several other explanations other than "it's getting hotter", and even "it's getting hotter" isn't an explanation, it's a visible effect.
As has been said, on things of this scale the potential for doubt has to be absolutely zero- and you can't get it on a couple of data points measuring one aspect of one point of the Arctic.
Saying that, we should still push towards higher efficiency technologies; this makes tech faster, smaller, cheaper, lighter and less battery intensive (so more portable). So everyone wins!
Friday 17th August 2012 17:59 GMT NomNomNom
Re: @Lee Dowling ........
Thing is guys, scientists have been measuring a bunch of stuff over many years in the arctic. You might want to come up to speed with the information and knowledge out there about arctic ice before presuming you can dismiss what scientists are saying or come up with alternative explanations:
The trend this Dr calculated for arctic sea ice volume decline wasn't based on just two datapoints as claimed, it is based on several continuous years of measurements.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 09:23 GMT Sandtreader
Tuesday 14th August 2012 10:40 GMT NomNomNom
Re: (Slightly) longer term view
That's the annual mean trend you've calculated there. The summer minimums is declining much faster. Unfortunately woodfortrees allows me to highlight the summer minimum, but not to stick a trendline through it unless anyone can figure out how?
Wednesday 15th August 2012 12:09 GMT Sandtreader
Re: (Slightly) longer term view
Fair point about the annual mean trend. You should be able to get the summer minimum trend with from: 1979.6 / every: 12 / trend but this doesn't work, it forgets the expanded scale. I'll add it to the bug list!
(Neat trick using every:12, BTW, hadn't thought of that myself!)
Tuesday 14th August 2012 10:03 GMT I ain't Spartacus
BAN GIN & TONIC!
This threat to global ice supplies must end now!
Alternatively, if we are so selfish that we can't live without ice in our drinks, we can at least save the polar bears by replacing their ice-habitat. Emergency drops of Foxes Glacier Mints into the Arctic sea will give them something to stand on. I've seen the mini-documentaries run on TV during the 80s, and those polar bears looked very happy perched on their Foxes Glacier Mint-bergs...
Tuesday 14th August 2012 10:40 GMT NomNomNom
" Dr Laxon himself recommends using much longer timescales. As he wrote in a 2003 paper (High interannual variability of sea ice thickness in the Arctic region Laxon, Peacock and Smith, Nature), "the sea ice mass can change by up to 16 per cent within one year" and "this variability must be taken into account when determining the significance of trends".
So how can Dr Laxon now justify using an inadequate data set to make a long-term claim? Alas, we don't know."
Probably because the full quote is:
"This variability must be taken into account when determining the signiﬁcance of trends derived from intermittent submarine measurements of ice draught."
And he's using satellite measurements now that are not intermittent.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 11:05 GMT NomNomNom
"Arctic ice is cited by catastrophists as a potential "tipping factor" (or "hysteretic threshold behavior") for two reasons. Cooler water may affect oceanic circulation, with consequences for countries south of the ice cap. And less ice may decrease the albedo."
There's more too it than that. It will also likely affect atmospheric circulation too. Summer without sea ice will mean far more evaporation from the ocean and more water vapor in the air. All the sunlight will go into heating the ocean rather than melting ice. Larger waves will be possible with less ice, and larger storms. There will be salinity changes too, changes in freshwater layers and potential ocean current changes.
Whether or not you call all this a tipping point doesn't really matter, it's a big change in state that could very well impact northern europe and canada.
"Ice extent has varied much more dramatically in the past, long before global-warming skeptical Top Gear was conceived or broadcast."
Indeed, which shows the arctic can change markedly. Ie it's highly sensitive. Long ago the arctic had palm trees and crocodiles and the ocean temperatures in summer were above +20C. How can it get that warm? Well the arctic in summer, thanks to near 24 hour daylight actually receives more sunlight than the sahara. It's possible that the only thing keeping it cool has been the sea ice cover, reflecting summer sunlight and maintaining a cool layer of water near the surface. The fact it used to be much warmer.
Saying that sea ice has declined before misses the point, unless you can show that when it declined before it didn't seriously affect NH weather patterns. There is even the possibility, if it gets warm enough that we'll see the emergence of fabled arctic hurricanes in summer.
Arctic sea ice has declined far faster than expected. The last IPCC report projected zero ice in the late 20th century. That now looks like an underestimate. A few scientists now have been sounding the alarm that the ice could go in a matter of years.
Wednesday 15th August 2012 08:01 GMT PatrickE
"Indeed, which shows the arctic can change markedly. Ie it's highly sensitive. Long ago the arctic had palm trees and crocodiles and the ocean temperatures in summer were above +20C. "
Thats the *Antarctic*! The Arctic icy bit has no land mass. The palm trees must have been the floaty type.
How can it get that warm? Well the arctic in summer, thanks to near 24 hour daylight actually receives more sunlight than the sahara."
It will receive more hours of sunlight but when you consider the angle of incidence, the insolation in terms of watts/sqm may well be a lot less in the Artic (and Antarctic). I don't know but I suspect the fact that the Sahara gets bloody hot all year round and the Arctic is not hot even in its summer would point to a lot more energy hiitting the sands than the ice.
Wednesday 15th August 2012 12:41 GMT Tim Parker
"It will receive more hours of sunlight but when you consider the angle of incidence, the insolation in terms of watts/sqm may well be a lot less in the Artic (and Antarctic)."
Quick and dirty check at 0 degrees longitude for June 2011 sees the equator get just under 400 W/m2 and the North Pole just under 500 W/m2 (there are certain assumptions see here for more details)
Tuesday 14th August 2012 11:06 GMT John Galt
Scientists despair of the public's waning interest
I certainly don't despair of anything other than the continual blather promoting anthropogenic warming.
FWIW I'm a geologist turned geophysicist. So I know a bit about the history of the earth and time series analysis. Sadly such combination seems all too rare.
The thing that amazes me most is the life of this silliness given that a casual look at a sea level curve over geological time (e.g. 250 million years) will show that the rate of rise and fall of sea level is quite variable.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 12:01 GMT Anonymous Coward
Re: Scientists despair of the public's waning interest
Not quite sure what that has to do with the price of eggs?
The scientists are discussing arctic ice volumes not sea level rise. Past variability in sea levels, climate or all sorts of things is undisputed. That in the past these variations may have been greater than those we see today is also undisputed.
The issue is that it it is happening today, and we are living today. If melting sea ice changes climate in significant ways, saying that it was all a lot worse 310 million years ago is unlikely to be much help.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 13:21 GMT NomNomNom
Re: Scientists despair of the public's waning interest
"The thing that amazes me most is the life of this silliness given that a casual look at a sea level curve over geological time (e.g. 250 million years) will show that the rate of rise and fall of sea level is quite variable."
And the dinosaur cities survived just fine didn't they!
Tuesday 14th August 2012 18:17 GMT Grikath
Re: Sealevel variation over geological timescales
Sea levels, and climate, do indeed vary wildly over geological timescales, for various reasons. As many people have remarked this does not have much influence on the "price of eggs" today.
What *does* influence the price of eggs is rampant speculation in food prices, in which the current climate "debate" is a stiff westerly wind in a forest fire.
Scientifically speaking there is indeed a global warming trend, any idiot with half a brain can see that, and it's been known to happen for more than half a century.
What we do not conclusively, and *scientifically supported*, know is which factors are causing this, and how these factors actually relate.
Human activity is but one of many factors involved in global warming, and the resultant climate change(s), and there is no conclusive evidence this plays a major part in the whole picture.
CO2 my not even be the major contributor when it comes to this. The landscape of the northern hemisphere has been drastically changed in the past millennium, with a resultant change in albedo and all the other things associated with it. There's the solar cycle. There's the simple fact that the actual local surface rises or falls as the globe is still resetting after the release of the weight of the last glacial cap, etc. etc. etc.
Someone who makes conclusive statements about this whole mess with the current state of knowledge is like the Luser who states that "His Computer is broken" to IT support.
You simply *know* there's something up, and you prepare the cattleprod..
Tuesday 14th August 2012 12:01 GMT John 98
Naive and prejudiced - who?
Didn't hear the interview but popuar website I read quoted him as saying "ice could (NOT would) go in a decade". Site also made mention of significant natural variation including complete melt every couple of centuries.
Given the economic and political fallout, methinks it seems reasonable to warn of such an event being possible and unreasonable to dismiss the prediction out of hand a la Texan Tea Party
Tuesday 14th August 2012 13:10 GMT Steve Crook
2 years of data?
I must admit, when I heard the piece I thought they said 2050 for ice free, but I was half asleep at the time and the iplayer isn't helping me find the 'package' they broadcast. How the hell can you arrive at any sort of reliable trend from two years of data?
That said, there have been predictions of this nature going back three or four years. There was one in 2010 from Russian scientists that said 'mid century' that the Arctic would be ice free. They may be right, but they also said that ice extent for 2010 would be lower than 2007 http://en.rian.ru/science/20100720/159884899.html
At the risk of enraging warmistas, WUWT has actually got a good compendium of Arctic ice data if you're interested.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 13:22 GMT compdoc
damn the public!
The public sees less ice at the poles, and higher than average daily temps, and coastal areas flooding and beaches disappearing, and fires making deserts out of forests, and changes in climate like drought, and they think to themselves - global warming! What a bunch of idiots this public is! We know better though - we know its ok to pump billions of tonnes of gasses into an ecosystem that's going through a warming cycle. Cant possibly affect it!
Tuesday 14th August 2012 13:32 GMT Anonymous Coward
The earth is approximately 4.5 BILLION years old and, for 4.5 BILLION years, has been undergoing some form of climate change.
We (the hairless monkeys who just generally fuck things up) have approximately 200 years of reliable data (i.e. not data that is extrapolated from the latest and greatest scientists knickers).
In other words, WE DON'T HAVE A FUCKING CLUE!!
Tuesday 14th August 2012 13:36 GMT SPiT
The principal evidence / issue for sea ice loss in the Arctice is not the area of coverage but an apparent substantial reduction in thickness. Unfortunately this appears to be a multi-year side effect from a single really bad year of ice cover leaving it enormously difficult to extrapolate reliably without viewing a lot of data.
However, in terms of public reaction you might like to consider that this years weather is principally ascribed to warming in the Arctic and that therefore this is a very serious issue for the UK.
Warming in the Arctive reduces the gradient of the tropopause between the equator and the pole leading to significant reduction in the energy being pumped into the jet stream. This leaves the jet stream considerably less stable with all the fun events of this year. May be the public are ready to worry about this.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 13:49 GMT Curly4
The Cause of the Climate Change Hype!
Follow the money! Those who are hyping the climate change is those who will receive larger grants if they can make the grant givers that there is a dire need for more money to study. What is not considered (or don't care if they get their money) is the rules and regulations and laws that this hype has and will cause. If true, which I am in doubt. some of these changes may not be bad but if not true then such a waist of resources which could have been put to a much better use.