Arctic Sea Ice—A Climate Change April Fools?—Not According to Snopes

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This excerpt from an Associated Press report published in the Washington Post is rocketing around the web again (apparently it was uncovered three years ago) this week:

The Washington Post

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulafft, at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic , while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds. Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.*

The punchline:

Oops. Never mind. This report was from November 2, 1922, as reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post…

The Northwest Passage opens

Interesting, since people who are concerned about climate change often cite the fact that Arctic sea ice cover has been declining at a rate of 3 percent per decade as evidence for man-made global warming. The satellite data set issued by the University of Alabama in Huntsville finds that the arctic temperature trend since 1979 is 0.47 degree Celsius per decade which is three times higher than the overall global trend of 0.14 degree Celsius per decade. The National Snow and Ice Data Center issued a this preliminary report on Arctic sea ice cover last week:

On March 7, 2011, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.64 million square kilometers (5.65 million square miles). The maximum extent was 1.2 million square kilometers (463,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average of 15.86 million square kilometers (6.12 million square miles), and equal (within 0.1%) to 2006 for the lowest maximum extent in the satellite record.

A 2006 paper from Geophysical Research Letters perhaps sheds some light on the warming that occurred in the 1920s:

We provide an analysis of Greenland temperature records to compare the current (1995 – 2005) warming period with the previous (1920 – 1930) Greenland warming. We find that the current Greenland warming is not unprecedented in recent Greenland history. Temperature increases in the two warming periods are of a similar magnitude, however, the rate of warming in 1920 – 1930 was about 50% higher than that in 1995–2005.

But science is complicated and climate science is especially so. A 2009 Science study (as reported by LiveScience) found:

Arctic air temperatures in the 1990s were the warmest in the last 2,000 years and were a result of rising greenhouse gas levels, a new study concludes.

The findings, detailed in the Sept. 4 issue of the journal Science, also suggest that if it weren't for these manmade pollutants, temperatures around the North Pole would actually be cooling as a result of natural climate patterns.

"This result is particularly important because the Arctic, perhaps more than any other region on Earth, is facing dramatic impacts from climate change," said study team member David Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "This study provides us with a long-term record that reveals how greenhouse gases from human activities are overwhelming the Arctic's natural climate system." …

The study found that the 10 years from 1999 to 2008 was the warmest in the Arctic in two millennia. Arctic temperatures are now 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 C) warmer than in 1900.

Go here for the LiveScience version. With regard to the 1922 report my colleague Shirley Ybarra drily observed:

What is more fun to think about is the government response then vs. now.

Yes indeed. Go here for Snopes' ratification of the November, 1922 report's authenticity.

*Update: This last sentence in the version circulating on the web seems to have been added by some prankster.

NEXT: Boehner to Frosh GOP Members: There Ain't No Number Yet So Stop Asking

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  1. “The findings, detailed in the Sept. 4 issue of the journal Science, also suggest that if it weren’t for these manmade pollutants, temperatures around the North Pole would actually be cooling as a result of natural climate patterns.”

    So we’re staving off the next ice age–isn’t that a good thing?

    1. The natural forcings are for a very slight cooling trend. The next glaciation is ten thousand years away.

  2. I’ve been recycling my own piss and feces for nothing!

    1. Like you don’t enjoy it…

      1. Aye. I’ve developed a taste for it. At the cost of all the smug I had in the world. I fell for a religion that had me eating my own poop! And now I can’t stop.

        Learn from my mistake.

  3. See? I knew global warming was a hoax.

    Go to school in San Diego? Don’t bring your Bible.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..-your.html

      1. A grateful blogging community thanks you.

      2. Oh, you must be so proud of yourself, diverting traffic from my blog. Whatever, my blog also had a link to the story, so what? We all link stories and then opine.

        1. We all have our goals, Gregory. Stop pumping the vinegar and try a little honey.

          1. Well, I’m a “do unto others what others do unto you” kinda guy.

            1. That almost sounds like a threat. Don’t step in nothing you can’t wipe off, tuff gai.

              1. No, a threat is “if you do x, I’ll do y.” Saying that I do to other what others to do me is a fact. Give me shit? I give you shit. Treat me nice? I’ll treat you nice.

            2. I’m a “do unto others what others do unto you” kinda guy.
              reply to this

              Wow! So you’re not a christian. Are you an atheist or an Moslem? Soemthing else?

              1. “do unto others” comes from the old testament, besides, it’s not a commandment. Remember, Jesus told his apostles that it was better to sell your cloak and buy a sword than to be without one.

                Jesus was no pussy, he wasn’t afraid of defending himself and encouraging others to do the same.

                WHY I LIKE THE RIGHT.
                http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..right.html

            3. “do unto others what others do unto you”

              In that spirit, let me point out that the vast majority of the commentariat refrain from inviting you to visit their blogs.

              1. Maybe the commentariat don’t have blogs? Maybe they have no ads I can click? Whatever, it’s all about me in the end.

  4. But science is complicated political and climate science is especially so.

  5. So clearly we didn’t need a “carbon tax” back in 1920, and we don’t need one now.

    I asked this yesterday to Ron, but he probably missed it on the thread so I’ll repost it on this one:

    “So Ron, could you tell me why we are even having a discussion about which tax would be the most efficient instead of whether or not we NEED a carbon tax/rebate/levy in the first place?

    I don’t understand why this is such a given to begin with.”

  6. Tman: Two responses: (1) I think that the balance of the evidence suggests that man-made global warming could be a big problem so encouraging a transition to low-carbon energy technologies using a gradually escalating carbon tax to substitute for income and payroll taxes over the next century would be a good idea.

    (2) Assume that the alarmists are going persuade our politicians to do something — what’s the least bad thing that can be done? I believe that a carbon tax is it.

    1. Ron: I see your point with (2) – if somethings going to be done, lets choose the best alternative.

      But I have big problems with (1). We want to alter our economies based on the fact that evidence ‘suggests’ something? We’ve done that in the past and it didn’t work out too well. Remember the evidence ‘suggesting’ that margerine was a more healthy alternative?

      There isn’t enough certainty in the science to make any civilization alterine decisions.

    2. Ron,

      With all due respect, it’s pretty depressing to read a columnist for a libertarian publication make the argument that we need to use the power of the federal government to address an environmental issue that “could be a problem”. As the story for this report details, “Temperature increases in the two warming periods are of a similar magnitude, however, the rate of warming in 1920 ? 1930 was about 50% higher than that in 1995?2005.”. So nothing was done in 1920 in regards to addressing the issue and nothing happened.

      Now we have a similar event that is even less drastic than what happened almost 100 years ago, but this time we need to pretend that the Federal Government will be able to “encourage a transition to low-carbon energy technologies using a gradually escalating carbon tax to substitute for income and payroll taxes”?

      For serious? A Reason columnist is making this argument?

      Hello? Is this thing on?

      (shaking head sadly.)

      1. Tman: I don’t see what being a libertarian publication has to do with the scientific question of whether or not man-made warming is occurring. As I said, it’s my best judgment from reporting on this issue for nearly two decades that it is likely to be a big problem. I would be happy to be wrong about my reading of the evidence, but that’s how I see it for now. For more details, see my column, “Confessions of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore” (though given the Left’s current descent in Koch Derangement Syndrome, perhaps I should amend the title).

        I note that you did what many commenters on both sides of this issue do — you cited the 2006 study on Greenland temps in the 1920s that bolsters your apparent view that AGW is not a problem. But there is other evidence to be considered — which is why included a more recent 2009 study, the NSIDC data, and UAH temperature data.

        The larger point is that the data and peer-reviewed studies on arctic temperature trends number at least in the high hundreds and there is no way that a blogpost will resolve the scientific issue to anyone’s satisfaction. Policy we can argue about.

        Man-made global warming, if it is occurring, is an example of the fact that all environmental problems occur in open access commonses. You can do three things to address a commons problem — ignore, privatize or regulate it.

        Cap-and-trade is supposed to be a kind of privatization option, but my analysis of how it’s worked out in Europe and the rent-seeking horror that was Waxman-Markey bill leads me to prefer a carbon tax.

        In any case, you may also be interested in the conclusions in my global warming policy column “Is Government Action Worse than Global Warming?

        1. As I said, it’s my best judgment from reporting on this issue for nearly two decades that it is likely to be a big problem.

          Argument from authority.

          A somewhat warmer earth would be a GOOD thing, BTW. Bad shit happened during the Little Ice Age. Good things happened during the Medieval Climate Optimum.

          1. Appealing to scientific authority on a scientific question is not a fallacious appeal to authority. Fuck. How do you survive crossing the street?

            1. By looking both ways I assume, and not taking someone’s word that the coast is clear.

        2. Ron,

          I don’t see what being a libertarian publication has to do with the scientific question of whether or not man-made warming is occurring.

          I agree, it doesn’t, but that wasn’t my point about you being a Reason columnist. My point was that you are proposing a government solution that is pie-in-the-sky at best, and this would most certainly go against the libertarian philosophy that Reason maintains.

          For more details, see my column, “Confessions of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore”

          I read all of your columns Ron, they are well written, well sourced and full of factual support. But I don’t agree with all of them either. I find it fascinating that you are so good at exposing how pointless and futile government attempts are at addressing these issues, and yet you support a Carbon Tax.

          there is other evidence to be considered — which is why included a more recent 2009 study, the NSIDC data, and UAH temperature data.

          That would simply say to me that the science is clearly NOT SETTLED, either one way or the other.

          You can do three things to address a commons problem — ignore, privatize or regulate it.

          So your European experience is what you would show as an example of the privatization experiment?

          Can’t we do better than that?

          1. Tman: do better than that?

            Maybe a carbon tax?

            With regard to science not being “settled” — uncertainty by itself is not an argument against addressing something that might be a big problem.

            And one should always ask oneself: what evidence could someone supply you that would convince you that something is a problem? If you can’t think of any such evidence, then the problem is you.

            For example, when I asked in public a very good friend of mine in the free market movement (who shall remain nameless) whether a sustained temperature increase of 1 degree celsius per decade would convince him of AGW, he refused to answer.

            1. Maybe a carbon tax?

              alan’s comment below perfectly encapsulates why I think this is not an acceptable answer, either from a libertarian perspective or from simple common sense-“I don’t see a carbon tax has anything but a means for them to get their hands on even more power through the system of taxation.”

              With regard to science not being “settled” — uncertainty by itself is not an argument against addressing something that might be a big problem.

              I agree with this, but by the same token I agree more with folks like Lomborg who insist that there are far more pressing needs to be addressed first that we are ignoring at the expense of “addressing something that might be a big problem”. We already have things that actually ARE a big problem (food, water, etc.) for most of the world, and for them global warming is basically irrelevant.

              And one should always ask oneself: what evidence could someone supply you that would convince you that something is a problem?

              I would ask that they supply some evidence that isn’t so easily contradicted by other evidence, as evidenced by the two points about Arctic warming in this post.

              1. Tman: So the study that found Arctic warmth highest in two millennia is overcome by a study that found a bit of warming in the earlier part of the 20th century? As I say, a judgment call.

                1. Ron:

                  So the study that found Arctic warmth highest in two millennia is overcome by a study that found a bit of warming in the earlier part of the 20th century?

                  No. I wasn’t saying one study has “overcome” the other. What I am saying is that there is a wealth of conflicting data overall in terms of climate science. From a purely scientific standpoint, it would make more sense to put Anthro-GW in the “hypothesis” camp, and let the data fight it out. After all, this is the scientific method.

                  And this doesn’t even include the evidence that a warmer planet isn’t automatically a net negative.

                  With all of the uncertainty combined, the idea that we can trust the Federal Government to install a tax-based solution that would solve the problem is completely preposterous. One need look no further than the disastrous consequences of the ethanol mandates for evidence of what the likely outcome would be from a federally imposed solution.

                  1. Tman: With all of the uncertainty combined,

                    Sliding over again toward the camp that argues that uncertainty warrants inaction.

                    we can trust the Federal Government to install a tax-based solution that would solve the problem is completely preposterous

                    Who said “trust” — I am pointing toward preferred policies, not analyzing politics. Highlighting the most crucial word, I remind you that my (2) reads as follows:

                    Assume that the alarmists are going persuade our politicians to do something — what’s the least bad thing that can be done? I believe that a carbon tax is it.

                    1. Sliding over again toward the camp that argues that uncertainty warrants inaction.

                      No, I agree with you that uncertainty by itself is not an argument against addressing something that might be a big problem. What I disagree with you on is both the idea that a tax is an acceptable solution, and more importantly the Lomborg points about how we are ignoring real actual pressing problems at the expense of what “might” be a big problem later.

                      Who said “trust” — I am pointing toward preferred policies, not analyzing politics.

                      I still don’t believe this is the best we can do, nor am I convinced that the proposed solutions will actually solve the problem, or for that matter even make a dent.

                      Assume that the alarmists are going persuade our politicians to do something — what’s the least bad thing that can be done? I believe that a carbon tax is it.

                      By that measure, I already have evidence from the ethanol mandates that the battle is already lost. I have zero confidence whatsoever that the less damaging option won’t be just as bad the more damaging option. Not only that, the ethanol mandates have by any reasonable measure actually made the problem they were intended to solve WORSE.

                      I know we can do better than this.

                    2. Tman: I know we can do better than this.

                      I don’t know it, but I hope you’re right.

                      With regard to ethanol, I’ve been against those subsidies for a long time.

                      It’s Friday. Go have a drink or two this evening.

                    3. Tman: I know we can do better than this.

                      I don’t know it, but I hope you’re right.

                      With regard to ethanol, I’ve been against those subsidies for a long time.

                      It’s Friday. Go have a drink or two this evening.

                2. The question isn’t about the warming, it’s about the why.

            2. Ron says:
              And one should always ask oneself: what evidence could someone supply you that would convince you that something is a problem? If you can’t think of any such evidence, then the problem is you.

              How about when the signal shows unambiguously above the noise. How about when the data is so clear that grant seeking hacks who are scientists in name only don’t have to discard data that doesn’t agree with their predetermined conclusions, manipulate graphs or studiously avoid even thinking about specific topics ? How about when the science community really does have an actual consensus and when they are confident enough in their conclusions that they can call a spade a spade and slap down the poor science in the prior practices instead of changing the topic or quickly discussing something else when the topic arises ?

              I must admit if those elements were true, I would be significantly more impressed with their findings than I am today.

              Allow me to introduce a novel way to gauge even how serious the true believers are in the righteousness of their cause. We are told over and over again how important this issue is. Here is a great way to determine empirically what the progressives really think. How important is it too them ?

              I think the threat is probably small, but there are political trades I would make in which address issues I think are dangerous (most of the progressive agenda) and I would trade gains in that area for carbon taxes or limitations. Restore the commerce clause, drop total federal and state taxation by 50% (including the carbon tax to be added) and you can have your carbon tax in a heartbeat. Hell, you could even sell it to the tea party that way.

              This is so dangerous, they will give up exactly which progressive causes to save the human species from heatstroke ? Do I hear: “None !”. Pardon me if I don’t believe even they really think it is very dangerous.

              1. I think Instapundit’s metric is a useful one: “I’ll believe it’s a serious problem when the people who keep telling me that it’s a serious problem start acting like it’s a serious problem.”

                Acting like it’s a serious problem, in this context, means dramatically altering YOUR OWN lifestyle before demanding that government require everybody else to do the same.

              2. Distinguishing signal from noise is why climate is considered a period of thirty years or longer. When you look at the longer trend, rather than the five or ten or fifteen year blocks many skeptics emphasize, we see a warming trend occurring a hundred times faster than anything seen since the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, an event where tremendous amounts of CO2 and methane were suddenly released into the atmosphere.

            3. This:

              “For example, when I asked in public a very good friend of mine in the free market movement (who shall remain nameless) whether a sustained temperature increase of 1 degree celsius per decade would convince him of AGW, he refused to answer.”

              …is silly. You still have to connect human action to the rise in temperatures. I’m disappointed in your friend.

        3. As I said, it’s my best judgment from reporting on this issue for nearly two decades that it is likely to be a big problem.

          Tell me something–did you, twenty years ago, when you started reporting on the issue of possible global warming, feel that, if the globe warmed, it was likely to be a big problem?

          Can you see that your statement, regardless of you answer to my question, makes it clear that, in twenty years, you’ve come no closer to finding out any facts? We are still at ‘likely’, ‘could’, ‘might’.

          And, while you disparage that report from the ’20s, you cannot deny that something was ‘likely’ happening them as well–something that hasn’t destroyed the world.

          1. Azathoth: You want guaranteed scientific predictions in a chaotic system? Really?

            In any case, two decades ago I was convinced that global warming was another concocted environmentalist scare. I wrote a whole book on the topic called Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse. For more details on how much joy I have gotten from changing my mind about AGW, see this 2008 Doublethink article.

          2. Azathoth,

            The key is forcings.

            Our climate doesn’t shift because it’s time to, or because it feels like it. Something has to force it to change. In the 1920’s-1940’s a combination of increased solar activity and rising greenhouse gas concentrations were primarily responsible for the warming, though aerosol, ozone and methane emissions also played a role.

            Since the mid-fifties solar activity has been virtually flat, and in 2006 the sun entered its deepest minimum in a century. Nor can change in the planet’s tilt or precession be the cause. As was stated in the article, the natural forcings should be resulting in a slight cooling trend.

      2. And point number two is just as bad. Since they are going to do something stupid and destructive anyway, I will support them. God, Bailey really needs his head examined. You guys wonder why I always call the Reason staff Cosmotarians. Well, here is an example. The bottomline is Bailey doesn’t have the balls to come out and call bullshit in polite company.

        1. john: So with due respect, when the Cato Institute comes out in favor of vouchers as a replacement for Medicare instead of insisting that oldsters pay for their medical insurance and health care out-of-pocket, they, too, are cosmotarian collaborationists?

          Second best is better than worst.

          1. Ron,

            Admitting that old people will need healthcare and then debating about how it should be paid for (by them or the government) is a bit different than believing in the latest fashionable cargo cult. You are just question begging. The whole issue is “is global warming a problem”.

            1. Yes. Next question.

            2. And…are AG emissions a significant factor.

          2. Medicare already exists. The default is we keep on paying into it.

            The carbon tax is something the Democrats want but don’t have. The default is that no carbon tax is implemented.

            Raising taxes higher than they currently are is NOT better than lowering an existing tax.

            1. john: You changed the basis of critique. (2) is a policy position — it has nothing to do with the scientific questions about AGW. See my 1:44 pm response above to Tman on scientific issues.

              prolefeed: I am really puzzled. Who said anything about “raising” taxes? I explicitly advocated substituting a carbon tax dollar for dollar for income and payroll taxes. Nowhere do I advocate an increase in the overall tax burden.

              1. Is it not also possible that a straight-up carbon tax, replacing the income/payroll tax (or corporate income tax?) would not only address a (possibly) detrimental externality, but also be less distorting to the economy?

                1. Citizen Nothing: We’re on the same page.

              2. Riiiiight. You’re gonna add a brand new source of taxation, and the plan is to lower other taxes?

                Do you really think that those other taxes won’t creep right back up to where they were — or that the new tax will rake in way more money than the touted “matching” decrease in other taxes due to some fancy lying?

                You add an extra tax source, and either right away or in a few years the total tax burden will be higher. That’s how politicians work.

                1. Shorter: name a single state that has a plethora of tax sources but a low overall tax burden. Just one.

                  1. prolefeed: Can’t. Still a carbon tax with recycled revenues makes the most economic sense.

                    If the fact that something is politically unlikely means that one should not advocate a good (or this case a relatively better) policy, then that would imply that no one should ever advocate any libertarian policies.

                    1. Ron: I don’t understand. If the carbon tax is a dollar-for-dollar substitution for the payroll/corp.inc. taxes, and the overall tax burden of firms doesn’t increase, then where’s the incentive to produce less carbon?

                    2. FMT,

                      where’s the incentive to produce less carbon?

                      It is much easier to make your business carbon efficient than it is to, say, do the same work with fewer people (the only way to reduce payroll tax). If you lower your cost by lowering your carbon footprint (lower fuel costs AND lower tax burden), and your income tax is lower, you get more bang for each dollar of investment…

                      Pretty basic.

        2. Bailey has written plenty of anti-alarmist material in the past of which I’m grateful, though like John, I’m at a bit at a loss for understanding your position here.

          For one, the alarmist proponents are incrementalist who can not be satisfied. Even if you reach a compromise, and got the entire tax structure to revolve around this particular concept, you would not in anyway satisfy their unquenchable desire for change. You over estimate their rationality by your over exposure to almost rational guys like Greg Easterbrook (okay, I kind of like him to; as a young liberal it was his work that persuaded me that i wasn’t going to die from an environmental apocalypse). I don’t see a carbon tax has anything but a means for them to get their hands on even more power through the system of taxation.

          One thing in our favor is that global warming as a concern doesn’t poll well. War, economic stagnation, etc. are always more in the fore front of the public’s concerns. If we keep our holding pattern of a stalemate for another decade or so, when people realize nothing to not much at all has change in their live due to global warming than the political muscle of the alarmist will be even that much less tangible.

          Give apathy a chance, Ron!

          1. If we keep our holding pattern of a stalemate for another decade or so, when people realize nothing to not much at all has change in their live due to global warming than the political muscle of the alarmist will be even that much less tangible.

            Given a little more consideration, even this may be a little too pessimistic. If Obama does not win in 2012, the Green Corporatist Agenda will be dead as a politically viable movement just like gun control advocacy diminished considerably when Democrats realized it was costing them elections. Even if the it is not a central focus of blame if Obama loses, it sure wont be viewed as a

            1. a winning issue which is all that matters for the politicians.

              1. Alan: Your strategy may be right. But I try to avoid doing politics — I much prefer analyzing policy.

                Just curious — what if Obama is defeated and global temperatures continue their increase, perhaps even speed up now that we appear to be coming out of a solar minimum? When do you get worried? What evidence persuades you that there is a problem?

                1. You can’t avoid politics when you are talking about taxation. Especially when you are talking about a reformation of the taxing system that sounds like it would be handing over the power of taxation to a contested agenda.

                  If Obama is defeated, and the GCA agenda goes down with him, then we will be a position to deal with any changes more rationally in a more even playing field.

                  That of course, is a vague answer. However, until you have an actual problem that imposes itself on actual people you only have your imagination to define the implications. You need an actually suffering litigant to weigh the actual suffering before an effective solution can take place.

                  The way the ‘problem’ is being approached now imposes suffering to offset something that is slightly more expected to occur than nothing tangible occurring at all. Hence making that policy under discussion faith based.

                  I get worried when there exist a tangible threat that is not an agenda driven photo-op. If there is a meteor headed for us, and taxation is a means to stop it, we still need to check with the alternatives before we decide to do go down that route for the rational reason that the power of taxation is the power to destroy capital.

                  1. Just to make the idea, admittedly radical, I’m alluding a little more clear — given that not only whether or not significant human caused climate change is occurring a mystery to us, but the form of harm that it will take, if any, is even more so. Not only can we not pre-adapt to it before it occurs, but our attempts to do so will result in enormous miscalculations with the same sort of probability as losing at the spinning wheel in Vegas. In other words, the policy that you pick before hand is likely to be the incorrect one.

                    1. Alan: policy that you pick before hand is likely to be the incorrect one.

                      Very likely true, but I reference my (2) above.

                  2. Alan: Actually you can avoid politics when it comes to evaluating the economic effects of various taxation schemes. That’s what I think I am doing in this case.

                    I do not agree with AGW is “slightly more expected” to occur than nothing based on the reasons and evidence I have supplied elsewhere.

                    AGW is certainly agenda-driven, but there is scientific evidence to evaluate. My judgment says that there is a good chance it could be a big problem. In addition, as I have noted in posts above, uncertainty does not by itself warrant inaction.

                    As I said to Tman – it’s Friday. Go have a couple drinks tonight. Enjoy your weekend.

                    1. I agree with some of your criticisms here Ron, but I’m still biting the Carbon tax hook. Not only has the science of AGW gotten murkier in the ‘is it manmade?’ way but more so in the ‘will it even be a bad thing’ way. And if we really do need to reduce CO2 output by 80% below 1990 levels, then fuck it that won’t happen without destroying human civilization. The harm from fossil fuel reduction will vastly outweigh the harm from global warming.

                    2. Quite the contrary. Over 97% of climatologists now accept Anthropogenic Global Warming.
                      http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/….._final.pdf

                      As for the “It won’t be bad” argument, SkS has a good summary of the research, and you can read the papers for yourself.

                    3. No, 76 of only 79 climatologists who responded to the survey answered yes to this statement:

                      2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

                      Define significant. 10%? 20%? 80%?

                      Or does “significant” simply mean “statistically significant” (which could be very little!)

    3. (2) Assume that the alarmists are going persuade our politicians to do something — what’s the least bad thing that can be done? I believe that a carbon tax prison for these morons is it.

    4. Re: Ron Bailey,

      I think that the balance of the evidence suggests that man-made global warming could be a big problem

      You don’t know that.

      so encouraging a transition to low-carbon energy technologies using a gradually escalating carbon tax to substitute for income and payroll taxes over the next century would be a good idea.

      You can’t know that either. Acting individuals are a fickle bunch, yet you want to treat them as if they responded to stimuli the same way a computer program responds to data.

      Assume that the alarmists are going persuade our politicians to do something — what’s the least bad thing that can be done?

      Tarring and feathering them would be a good start.

  7. Arctic air temperatures in the 1990s were the warmest in the last 2,000 years and were a result of rising greenhouse gas levels, a new study concludes.

    That’s pretty cool that we were keeping temperature records some 1500 years before the invention of the Farenheit and Centrigrade temperature scales.

    1. Sometimes, reading the article helps.

      The researchers uncovered this masked cooling trend by reconstructing Arctic temperatures over the past two millennia with data from Arctic lake sediments, glacial ice and tree rings, all of which provide records of the changes in temperatures up there.

      1. Yeah right, next thing you’ll be telling me that the universe used to be smaller, even though rulers hadn’t been invented yet.

  8. One thing I’ve never understood is why no one discussing arctic sea ice or glaciers seems to mention that phase changes are isothermal.

    They love talk about loss of ice surface area, but also leave out the thickness. Not knowing the real thickness of the ice cap means we really don’t know how much energy lost by the melting ice to the rest of the earth. Maybe we do know it, but simply reporting the lost/gained surface area tells us very little about the real effects of changes in ice mass.

    The energy absorbed by melting, or released in freezing the ice is about 1/1,500th of that needed to change the temperature of the atmosphere by the reported 0.014 K/year.

    For instance, the energy required to melt/freeze the ice cap is 4.89E16 J, while the energy required to raise the temperature of the entire atmosphere of the earth by 0.014 K/year is 7.23E19 J.

    Note that when the ice melts, it is absorbing energy from the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and from the direct radiation of the sun. When it freezes, it gives all that stored energy (minus entropy losses) back into the hydrosphere and atmosphere.

    [I’m basing this on the estimated mass of the atmosphere from the CRC Handbook, 56th ed., and my WAG of an average boreal polar ice thickness of 10m over the extent listed above –this is another of my peeves, people love to talk in terms of ice extent, but leave out thickness so it’s impossible to see how much energy they’re talking about.]

    1. Also note that air temperatures mean very little to melting of ice–the exchange of energy to the ice from air is dwarfed by direct insolation–the heat capacity of air is less than 1/4 that of water, and 1/2 that of water ice.

    2. Note in 2nd para, “energy lost by the melting ice to the rest of the earth.” should be “energy transferred to the melting ice from the rest of the earth.”

    3. This goes with my theory of deep ocean cooling over the last 10 years. The hurricane energy was above average from 2002-2007, which is usually a sign of there being energy imbalances on the surface of the ocean. It seems just as likely given the (relative) inactivity of the sun in the latest cycle, the rise of water vapor in the upper atmosphere, the spike and falloff of cyclonic activity, and the melting sea ice that surface warning is coming from a net positive exchange from deep ocean to surface ocean energy.

    4. Arctic specialists discuss ice volume all the time. Check the NSIDC website to learn more.

      As for determining its volume, that’s what GRACE is for.

  9. Fucking adapting to change, how does that work?

    1. Like the difference in a person moving from the countryside to an urban heat sink? You’ll have to buy a slightly different set of clothes for starters; lighter, more cotton based, I would imagine. Also, slightly lower php in your deodorants so you don’t stain your fine silks. My, how do we possibly account for these externalities in our daily lives? No wonder we’ll need expensive forms of wealth transferals and a whole new class of super competent and super intelligent bureaucrats to manage a complex regulatory scheme to manage the change (if it happens).

    2. Usually by the vast majority who can’t adapt dying off.

      Luckily for independent self-reliant anti-aggression libertarians, that’s mostly people in countries that aren’t contributing to the problem.

      1. You were just standing there this entire time, weren’t you?

  10. The study found that the 10 years from 1999 to 2008 was the warmest in the Arctic in two millennia. Arctic temperatures are now 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 C) warmer than in 1900.

    Such information tells you either of two things: One, the baseline only covers 2,000 years, a mere pittance in terms of geological times. Or, that temperatures were also high beyond 2,000 years ago but saying so would spoil the narrative…

    1. a mere pittance in terms of geological times

      But fairly significant in terms of human civilization. I mean, if we look at this at a cosmological time scale, well…

      (~_^)

  11. “A 2006 paper from Geophysical Research Letters perhaps sheds some light on the warming that occurred in the 1920s:”
    The link won’t let me in.
    Could you perhaps share the title and authors of said study?

  12. Guess this post has been pretty dead, still for those interested – here’s a bit more information

    “Can the arctic warming of the early 20th century be explained?”
    http://www.arctic-warming.com/…..cience.php
    ~ ~ ~

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