Oh, you know, the Arctic Sea Ice is in a “death spiral”, but good old Antarctica is holding firm – ice sheets as strong as ever, colder and more concrete a Polar Ice Cap than ever before.
Don’t believe that the globe is warming up ? Not even after scanning the available sources ? Well, that’s probably down to the failure of your public and private Media, who are, for the most part, seemingly institutionally incapable of telling the full unexpurgated facts :-
“19 June 2010 : Contrary to the impression you might have gained from the media, the global climate is NOT cooling. In fact, the last twelve months, June 2009 – May 2010, has been the hottest June-May period on record, in both the 31-year satellite record of lower atmosphere global temperature and the 131-year surface global temperature record. In both data series the last 12 months have been more than 0.4C hotter than the average temperature of the last two decades of the 20th century…”
And why just stop at the evidence from the temperatures ? Don’t believe the oceans are deteriorating ? Why not look at the full range of research ?
After several key projects to alert the general public to the melting of the Arctic, some have concluded that pictures of unusual calving icebergs, sea ice scans and time lapse series of glacier disappearance are not enough, not sufficient, to make the case.
Select “CH4” for Methane :-
Watch it while it all melts away…this isn’t modelling, it’s data :-
So, I’m standing in the G2 theatre at the School of Oriental and African Studies, after the “Sceptic Backlash” event, talking with two Climate Change activists, one Irish, one American.
The question arises : since our lifestyles are causing deadly Climate Change for people in other parts of the world, maybe we should have communications based around pictures of suffering children ?
I disagree. I point out that when the environmentalists put out posters about Polar Bears, that the audience pretty quickly realised that the Polar Bears were being used as a “poster child” for Climate Change, and they started to mock the campaigning.
If you’re reading this in the Southern Hemisphere, you will probably already know that the temperatures have been somewhat heated since the beginning of this year.
If you’re reading this in the Northern Hemisphere, and I know most of you are, because I’ve checked, you will probably not have the faintest idea that local cold does not mean global cold.
What’s been happening, to use colloquial, ordinary, everyday language, is that the Climate has been changing at the top of the world, the region near the North Pole. Winds have changed, patterns of heating and freezing have changed, rain and snowfall have changed.
This has had a knock-on effect – some of the areas further South have had a great deal of cooling over Winter. The Arctic has been acting like a giant air conditioner for parts of Northern Europe and Northern America.
You shiver in Paris (or London, or New York), but the Siberian and Canadian permafrost is melting.
Every now and again, some well-meaning, or even lightheartedly jokey relative or friend lets me know I should calm down with the story of the risk of Climate catastrophe as it’s (a) not effective; (b) not necessary or (c) way off the end of the scale. Apparently I’m crying wolf, but there’s not even a messy puppy in the neighbourhood.
There are two narratives at work here. One is that people don’t like being preached too (neither do I), and they feel that the sum total of Climate Change communications amounts to somebody high up the authority chain telling them to change their behaviour, somehow making the common man (and woman) responsible for a problem that should actually be fixed by the governments, who have the power (or large companies and international corporations, who have the financial resources).
The moral of nearly every cultural telling of the Climate Change story is “ten things you can do to make a difference”, and a lot of people feel it will mean shivering in the dark with no car and more tax. People are so not into self-sacrifice and abstention from consumerism, and they react badly, even to the extent of skin rashes, to the fear of micromanaged austerity being thrust upon them.
But that’s not why I talk about Climate Change.
“…Collapse of the ice-sheet was found to occur between 400 and 560 ppmv…”
In all the uproar about the typographical error, and poor research citation, about terminally melting Himalayan glaciers in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, the facts have been overlooked.
Indian Scientists are reporting that Himalayan glaciers lost 16% in the last 50 years :-
““Investigations on glacial retreat were estimated for 1,317 glaciers in 10 sub-basins from 1962. This has shown an overall reduction in glacial area from 5,866 sqkm to 4,921 sqkm since 1962, showing an overall de-glaciation of 16%”, says the latest annual report of Isro. Snow cover monitoring of all basin has been completed, it said. Atlases for three years are ready and one for the fourth year is being prepared. Modeling response of Himalayan cryosphere to climate change has been initiated, Isro added. Meanwhile, a study on the impact of temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) rise on the productivity of the four major cereal food crops — wheat, rice, maize and pearl millet — revealed that yield of all of them showed reduction with increasing temperature…”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty serious, and should merit a barrel-load of news articles. People still need to be made aware that melting snow and ice pack around the world is a serious and permanent problem.
And they might just be bothered to care if they realise that Global Warming can affect their own future food and water supplies.
Joe Romm from Climate Progress has been awarded the first service award of the week from CURRU, the Climate Unscience Rapid Response Unit, for his sterling, hard-working, thorough piece on the meltdown in the Arctic :-
“Misreported study: “It is clear … that the precipitous decline in September sea ice extent in recent years is mainly due to the cumulative loss of multiyear ice.” Physicist: “If temperatures change just a few tenths of a degree then this oh-so-thin ice cap is doomed.””
The IPCC is out of date. No, really, the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report from the IPCC is now way out of date :-
The satellites and cameras do not lie : glaciers in the Himalayas are melting, and the loss of any part of this “third pole” ice cover threatens the freshwater supply for billions.
This weekend’s Media clamour on the subject focuses on the trail of a mis-attribution of a claim regarding the complete meltdown of the mountain glaciers.
Just because somebody’s got their references wrong, doesn’t mean that the glaciers have magically not been melting after all.
Yes, the IPCC process has failed to pick up this prediction error. No, it doesn’t throw the whole of the IPCC reports into the trash can.
[ PLEASE NOTE : The animation is dated 6th April 2009, so the text in the sub-titles means the year 2008 when it says “last year”. ]
European Winter 2009-2010 is turning out to be a bit parky – best not to go outside unless you can help it (or you’re under the age of 10 and love snowball fights).
However, wintry as it may be in Europe, the Arctic region is experiencing slush-inducing temperatures, and once-frozen sub-sea permafrost is starting to warm up, rot and give off methane. Lots of it :-
The Pliocene, the era in Earth History formerly known as the Pleiocene, is being treated as a potential “analogue” for our Globally Warmed world.
Several strands of Climate Change Science research have been undertaken in recent months, and they are all coming up with dismal results.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is the latest to unleash data on us :-
“Arctic Could Face Warmer and Ice-Free Conditions : There is increased evidence that the Arctic could face seasonally ice-free conditions and much warmer temperatures in the future. Scientists documented evidence that the Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas were too warm to support summer sea ice during the mid-Pliocene warm period (3.3 to 3 million years ago). This period is characterized by warm temperatures similar to those projected for the end of this century, and is used as an analog to understand future conditions…“In looking back 3 million years, we see a very different pattern of heat distribution than today with much warmer waters in the high latitudes,” said USGS scientist Marci Robinson. “The lack of summer sea ice during the mid-Pliocene suggests that the record-setting melting of Arctic sea ice over the past few years could be an early warning of more significant changes to come.”…”
Feeling strangely perturbed ? That would be your internal paradigms spinning.
Al Gore speak at the December 2009 Climate Talks in Copenhagen this week, and you would not believe how he got mauled by the Media and the Denier-Sceptics. Watch and listen to the links below and consider if you can detect the part that stuck in the throat of those who resist putting a halt to Global Warming.
So I’m in the hospital emergency room with a very aged relative with a dodgy ticker, and I’m doing what I can to offer some shred of comfort, stroking head, clasping hand, chatting about this and that.
And I’m looking at the digital monitor, displaying readings from various intensive care technology. And I watch as the arrhythmia, the irregular beating of the heart, clearly shows itself if you stop to look at the display for long enough.
After my careers in engineering and information technology, I went back to university today, to train for my third career, in sustainable development.
Like most of the other people enrolling on the course, I want a green job, and I’m prepared to study for it.
The only future for the economy is in clean energy and saved energy, Renewables and Conservation, and I want to be in there, doing something productive and practical.
Whenever you hear government ministers or public figures telling the people that technology will save us, remember this : the word “technology” is synonymous with the word “business”.
“Technology” is Big Engineering, and this is what is done by large companies and corporations. Large organisations that make profit by selling manufactured products and Energy always have a surplus set aside for their communications budgets, and that includes persuading government people that their business is invaluable and needs promoting.
A cursory Western reader of news about Russia would find curious snippets with little context or explanation. “Russia plants flag on Arctic floor” from 2007 or “Vladimir Putin dives to bottom of world’s deepest lake” from 1st August 2009.
With the new streamlined Russian openness strategy, the information is not withheld, just dumbed-down, it seems. When reported in the Western press, it’s easy for further meaning to erode at this extra remove. But there is a story here. What are they up to ? Staking claims in the Arctic and mining for unconventional Hydrocarbon fuels underwater, that’s what.
In the best Private Eye style, I will merely present to you two statistics and let you deduce the relationship between the two.
If you really don’t understand what I’m driving at, do get in touch :-
It’s proving to be a bad year for Greenhouse Gas control and Polar Ice integrity.
Despite the drop in production of the Developed Economies, due to the downturn/recession, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere carried on rising :-
Steven Chu is a grown up. He has an education, he doesn’t have a mental health problem, he’s not a member of a fringe environmental campaigning group and he doesn’t have anyone pointing any weapons at him.
But he admits in public that he finds Climate Change “very, very scary”.
I can’t see global panic taking hold. Well, I never expected mass hysteria actually, but I would have thought that news of accelerating Antarctic meltdown would have brought out the doom-mongering commentators in droves. But I don’t see much sign of that.
1st Apriil 2009
2pm : Trading our way into Trouble – How carbon trading hasn’t worked so far, why it’s not going to work and the problems it’s causing in the Global South (CarbonTradeWatch).
3pm : Plenary (all together session) – “Their solutions / our solutions” – with starting contributions on “their solutions” and an open discussion on “our solutions”.