“Look! Over There!” – In Face of Record Melt, Deniers Furiously Jingle Shiny Keys….

August 31, 2012

 

From the supposedly vacationing Neven, author of the Arctic Ice Blog:

I’m supposed to be on a holiday and should let this one slide, but it’s too much. I was expecting fake skeptics to remain mostly silent in face of the ice massacre up north, but apparently they acutely sense how big this blow is to the remaining shred of their credibility, and so they upped the ante of misleading and distorting stupidity. Anyone can see and judge the silliness of paid shrill Marc Morano, 5-sentence posts regurgitator/vomiter Steve Goddard and of course WUWT. But this Sunday Times article, written by well-known pseudo-journalist Jonathan Leake (search for his name on Deltoid) had a quote by presumed scientist John Christy that really got my hackles up:

Professor John Christy director of the Earth System Science Centre at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said the Arctic had indeed warmed, but there was also anecdotal and other evidence suggesting similar melts from 1938-43 and on other occasions.

“Climate change is a murky science”, he said. “To some it’s an easy answer to say it’s due to extra green house gasses. To the rest of us, separating natural variability from human impacts remains a wicked problem.”

Commenters over at Skeptical Science quickly took this nonsense apart. FirstFrankD:

Danske Meteorologiske Institut published a series of annual reports on arctic sea ice covering most years from 1893 to 1956. The link has one folder per year, with each containing individual pages (month identified by the trailing digit) and the whole annual report (about 5 meg each).

Just referring to August extent…

Its true that ice extent was lower in the 1930s than it had been in the preceding 30 years. In particular, 1938 saw a dramatic reduction from the previous years – it was probably 1.4 M km^2 below the then long term average and maybe 0.6 M km^2 below the already low years in the late 30’s (carefully measured using Eyeball, Mk I).

So, it is fair to say there were some big melts in the 30’s. But Christy’s false equivalence is an epic fail – “similar melts” is pretty nice weasel-wording for mine. 1.4 M km^2 below recent climatology? Considered like that, 1938 was like 2010, I guess.

But in absolute terms, August 1938 extent was much greater (4 M km^2?) than today. So any attempt to conflate the two is…well…I can[‘t think of an adjective suitable for polite company.

Taking the Kinnard graphic – the 1930’s “similar melt” is the second last dip on the graph, the first decline with modern observational data. This saw a return to “normal” after a peak that had seen the greatest extents in 500 years.

Compared to the current decline on Kinnard (even without “enhancement”)? Well, even on Sesame Street they could tell you when one of these things was not like the other…

And then Daniel Bailey posted these two graphs:

Arctic Sea Ice Extent August 1938:

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10 Responses to ““Look! Over There!” – In Face of Record Melt, Deniers Furiously Jingle Shiny Keys….”


  1. We’ve also got a very detailed post on Arctic sea ice coming up next week at SkS which is mostly in response to Christy’s comments. It covers some of the same points as Neven.

  2. Jean Mcmahon Says:

    What does this mean: it was probably 1.4 M km^2 below the then long term average and maybe 0.6 M km^2 below the already low years in the late 30′s

  3. junkdrawer88 Says:

    Remember, it is the Mainstream media that will dig up these clowns so they can continue the “But, of course, this may be just a normal cyclical event and cannot be directly attributed to AGW.” narrative.

    The best I saw so far was a timid “This is most likely the result of AGW”. I’ll bet that took a knock-down drag-out fight with the editor.

  4. andrewfez Says:

    I know it’s apples to oranges, but what strikes me is that the area of open water, where ice used to be hanging out, is similar to the area of Greenland. It’s like you could stick a whole copy of Greenland in that newly opened water. Hopefully that comment isn’t too ‘alarmist’ or implicit, regarding Greenland melt; it’s just my first thought, looking at the picture.


  5. [...] 2012/08/31: PSinclair: “Look! Over There!” – In Face of Record Melt, Deniers Furio… [...]

  6. anotheralionel Says:

    When the likes of Christy get away with saying stuff like this:

    …there was also anecdotal and other evidence suggesting similar melts from 1938-43 and on other occasions.

    if only they could be challenged on the spot to come up with their ‘evidence’. As for anecdotal I am sure that those involved in the Russian Convoys during WW2 would be amazed at Christy’s inclusion of 1940-1943 in that statement.

    Christy, in my view, has now demonstrated without doubt that he has joined Richard Lindzen and Pat Michaels in being engaged in advocacy rather than science. Will he be questioned on his citation of Watts non-appearing paper in Congressional Testimony? He should be.


  7. [...] “Look! Over There!” – In Face of Record Melt, Deniers Furiously Jingle Shiny Keys&… (climatecrocks.com) [...]


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