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Greenland Ice Sheet Melts At Record Rate In 2010

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the this-calls-for-a-celebratory-bonfire dept.

Earth 654

RedEaredSlider writes "A study using satellite and ground-based data is showing the Greenland ice sheets are setting a record for the areas exposed to melting and the rate at which they are doing so. NASA says 2010 was a record warm year, and temperatures in the Arctic were a good 3 degrees C over normal."

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The meaning of random (0, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968460)

From TFA: Tedesco said if the variability were random, then over a 30-year period one would expect the record years to be evenly distributed

What absolute rubbish from yet another climate scientist who fails to understand random numbers. Random numbers does not mean "evenly distributed" numbers - especially over such a small sample size. It could be the same number every year for 5 years in a row and still be random, just like you can throw "6" several times in a row with dice and it does not mean that the dice are loaded. That's what random MEANS. Look at the stock market with it's bull runs and bear markets - yet many claim that it's a totally random phenomenon despite this, and tests for randomness support this idea. When he has 500,000 points of data I will start trusting tests for "randomness". But under 30 years' worth of average temperatures and a guy's opinion?

While I don't have a clue on whether his data is true or not, it certainly concerns me that someone who makes such unfounded statements is doing this research in the same way I would be concerned about a paramedic performing a neurosurgical procedure. Apparently he's another pseudoscientist already set on his idea and is collecting information to support his bias.

It's all very good to observe this process but since there is little we can do to stop it, at least we should make an effort to observe and document it properly to see if someone can come up with a plausible, reproducible explanation for it. Putting alarmist, or worse, rabid green "spin" on it is only going to discredit the research in the long run.

Re:The meaning of random (0, Troll)

Pyro.Exe (1520411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968506)

Thank you sir for pointing out these points. People don't realize that the Earth is been around for millions of years and just because we see a changing in a cycle doesn't mean we are causing it. The earth will be here weather we on it or not. Life will live on just as it did without us. Murphy's Law of Research: Enough research will tend to support your theory.

Re:The meaning of random (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968540)

Jesus Christ in a chicken basket! Check your grammar, spelling, and science before posting.

Re:The meaning of random (3, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968554)

Sorry English is my 3rd language.

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968736)

I think he was talking to Pyro.Exe

Your English was rather good, in fact.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968902)

Dunbal, it looks like the AC was commenting to Pyro.exe about the bad grammar, spelling, and science, not you. The way the thread is running at the moment makes it look a little like Dunbal wrote a comment, then logged in to another nick, Pyro.exe, then replied to himself congratulating himself on a good post. Then forgot to use that nick again when replying to the AC...

Then again, it's probably just problems with getting Slashdot to properly display all the comments.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968560)

The earth will be here weather we on it or not.

Icy, what you did there.

Re:The meaning of random (5, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968692)

Thank you sir for pointing out these points. People don't realize that the Earth is been around for millions of years and just because we see a changing in a cycle doesn't mean we are causing it.

Conversely, just because things have been going on for millions of years, doesn't mean we can't screw things up much faster. Our ability to do so became much larger in modern times.

The earth will be here weather we on it or not. Life will live on just as it did without us.

The earth, or life in a general sense continuing to exist is pretty much a given unless we manage to blow it up into space dust, DBZ style. But nobody is worrying about that, AFAIK.

What worries me is that I want myself, my children if I ever have any, familiy, friends, their decendants and so on to be able to live and do so reasonably comfortably. Yeah, humanity in general can adapt and survive events like the flooding of all coastal cities even. But that doesn't mean it wouldn't be a big deal. No, it'd be a huge horrible mess with world-wide consequences, so I really hope we don't have to see it happen.

Re:The meaning of random (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968778)

People don't realize that the Earth is been around for millions of years

Believe it or not, people actually do realize this. They also realize that for many of those millions of years the climate in areas we live in now was not nearly as habitable.

and just because we see a changing in a cycle doesn't mean we are causing it.

That's really a completely separate question. The first question is: "Is the climate changing?" If the answer to that is -yes-, then obviously we want to know what is it going to be like. If its going to be less habitable than it is now, then we want to know whether there are changes we can make to change the outcome to something we would like more.

Really, the question of what the cause is largely irrelevant except possibly as a subtext to what changes we might want to make if its heading in a direction we don't like.

Bottom line, if the earth enters another ice age, wipes most of us out, and we could have prevented it somehow but didn't because some idiot convinced us "It was a natural cycle"... that is not a "win". In other words, who exactly is going to be any happier getting wiped out by an ice age that occurs naturally vs one that we caused. Not me. Wiped out is wiped out. Arguing who's fault it is really isn't that important.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969010)

This is the one of the best posts I've ever seen in one of these climate change battle royales.

Although a lot of people don't seem to be too concerned with the idea of humanity being wiped out, considering they won't be around to see it.

Re:The meaning of random (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968938)

What the fuck is this "Murphy's Law of Research"? I'll tell you what people do to support their assertions, they invent semi-familiar sounding axioms.

The whole point of AGM is that the climactic changes we're seeing are not part of a normal cycle. And what is it that you suggest, that we stop gathering data because the data will point towards a specific theory? That's the whole fucking point. You gather data, and the more data you gather, the clearer the picture becomes, for the theory or against it.

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34969112)

Re:The meaning of random (1)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968514)

people are missing the positives.. less snow to shovel and if Greenland turns green, we have a New Ireland! the glass is half full.

Re:The meaning of random (2)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968532)

Also, much shorter shipping routes from China and Japan to the U.S. East Coast and Europe.

Re:The meaning of random (3, Insightful)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968654)

excpet that getting goods down to the underwater New York, Amsterdam, etc, may present some challenges.

Re:The meaning of random (2)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968702)

In the last 100 years, Tokyo has sank relative to the sea by 19 feet. Has anyone noticed?

Re:The meaning of random (1)

nopainogain (1091795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968854)

I thought it looked lower on tv.

Re:The meaning of random (3, Funny)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968940)

Not really. Many goods have a density higher than that of seawater. The addition of extra fresh water from melting ice caps will help reduce the density of seawater. This will increase the range of products that can be thrown overboard to be delivered to underwater wastelands.

Also, higher sea levels will make it easier for bigger ships to sail right into the heart of sunken cities. This will further increase the efficiency of shipping, and reduce the need for secondary transport systems.

Now please, stop crashing the "glass half full"-party.

Re:The meaning of random (3, Informative)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968732)

Yeah, less snow to shovel will totally offset the slight inconveniences like having to find room for all the population of Florida and other coastal places:

Stats from wikipedia:
- Highest point Britton Hill[4] 345 ft (105 m)
- Mean 98 ft (30 m)
- Lowest point Atlantic Ocean[4] 0 ft (0 m)

Population Ranked 4th in the US
- Total (2010) 18,801,310[3]

The exercise of doing this for the rest of of the coast is left to the reader.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969026)

You're going to need a new Ireland, because it's apparently going to lose the gulf stream and get pretty fecking cold. Here in Scotland we'll probably end up with the same climate as southern Canada. At least the summers will be warmer :)

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968528)

You seem to have trouble understanding the word "expect".

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968550)

You seem to fail at reading comprehension. The parent's complaint was why would anyone expect it in the first place.

Re:The meaning of random (5, Informative)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968602)

You seem to have trouble understanding the word "expect".

Not really. If you roll a 6 sided die 6 times, you don't "expect" to see each side exactly once, but over 600 rolls, you'd expect approximately 100 of each side.

The parent is questioning whether 30 years is long enough for climate trends to be perceptible.

(I'm not a AGW denier myself -- I don't know enough about it to think I know better than the vast majority of climate scientists)

Re:The meaning of random (5, Insightful)

mmcuh (1088773) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968542)

You seem to have trouble understanding the word "expect".

Re:The meaning of random (5, Insightful)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968764)

Mod parent up - the rest of the paragraph that the GP's quote was lifted from shows a very acceptable understanding of what random means. The GP is just looking for some excuse to discredit scientists who mention anything even peripherally related to global warming.

Re:The meaning of random (0, Flamebait)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968812)

They should be discredited, as they're engaged in what is essentially a politically motivated fraud.

Re:The meaning of random (5, Insightful)

Broolucks (1978922) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968900)

Because discrediting AGW isn't politically motivated? You know, I always find it funny when people believe that there is more political motivation to push AGW than to discredit it, as if the large number of filthy rich corporations who would lose from green measures had neither the motivation nor the means to buy scientists and politicians to slow down and muddle the debate. Yet, somehow, Al Gore and his following of tree-loving hippies can do it?

Re:The meaning of random (2, Insightful)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968994)

Include Goldman Sachs, Deutsch Bank and a whole lot of other financial institutions and their political poodles who want to trade carbon credits, alongside the thousands of scientists who need to get citations to have careers and who need to attract research funding to their institutions to get tenure, plus add in the IPCC and UN, who have publicly stated it's about redistribution more than the environment and yes, they can do it. Why are you so naive?

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968906)

Really? 97% of the World's climate scientists are all engaged in the same conspiracy?

Re:The meaning of random (5, Insightful)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968928)

Climate change wasn't political until it got recognized and lumped in with other environmental issues by people with vested interests, such as the oil industry, who are harmed by attempts to rein in practices that harm the environment. What do you suppose is the vested interest that would cause someone to fraudulently support the idea that global warming is a problem?

Re:The meaning of random (2, Insightful)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969050)

Don't be silly. Climate change was political from the moment political activist James Hansen put it on the map by sliming all over congress, in the 1980's. The issue of harm to the environment is a good one and something I fully support (not harming it, trying not to harm it). What I disagree with - and in this I'm in agreement with one of the founders of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore - is that CO2 is in any way harmful to the environment. And that as a consequence of this obsessing over a few tenths of a degree increase in temperature, we're spending huge sums of money on things that are likely to make absolutely no difference whatsoever, ignoring all of the other problems that we really need to be dealing with.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968954)

Because, I suppose, they are telling you something you don't want to hear. I'm sure plenty of quacks felt the same way about the germ theory of medicine.

Because science may have a political dimension hardly means that science is invalid.

Re:The meaning of random (4, Informative)

Stray7Xi (698337) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968932)

The bigger mistake by GP is to not understand the word "distributed" in statistics. It doesn't mean "how far apart" like in common usage. If you deny climate change, you believe there is equal probability for each year to be picked as an outlier year, a uniform distribution (or as he says it, evenly distributed).

Given the values one can calculate a confidence level that it is NOT evenly distributed. Presumably that's what the researcher did, I've never known journalists to publish confidence levels.

Re:The meaning of random (5, Insightful)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968616)

How can you be so sure that there is little we can do to stop it? The fact that we can't prove that we're responsible for global warming doesn't prove that we're not. And if you do a proper risk assessment, like this guy [youtube.com] does in his series of videos that are very much worth viewing despite his silly hats, you'll find that the smart thing to do is to try and do something about it.

Your line of thought sounds like "the Earth is going to hell but we might not be responsible so let's just see where this goes". Consider the possibility that we are responsible, and/or (they don't even have to be connected) the possibility that we can do something about it.

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968672)

There are much more tangible and serious problems to tackle than something we can't even come close to proving we're responsible for. The amount of money being thrown at this thing would probably be enough to clothe and feed all of Africa for 50 years...

Re:The meaning of random (4, Insightful)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968824)

If only that were true. The amount we globally spend on defense is probably much, much more, and may even actually be on the order of magnitude required to feed and clothe Africa. Irrespective of global warming, our prosperity is completely based on cheap energy, so it's obviously prudent to look for alternative sources for it. Coincidentally, this happens to also be the issue at the heart of the global warming problem. A plan to simply extract and burn oil until it runs out isn't a sustainable plan by any stretch, whether or not you care about global warming.

Re:The meaning of random (0, Troll)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968704)

How can you be so sure that there is little we can do to stop it?

Because it's got absolutely nothing to do with man-made CO2 and is just so much statistical noise certain politically motivated activists want to attribute to man? [youtube.com]

Re:The meaning of random (-1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968770)

Haha, moderated troll, LOL. Some astroturfing going on at /.

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968982)

Nah slash has turned into the trendy hangout for creationists, Apple and Microsoft fans and of course the anthropogenic global warming crowd.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969020)

I don't know any creationists and I don't often see them here either. It's obvious astroturfing. I'd love to see the server logs.

Re:The meaning of random (2)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968878)

I love how some people can be so determined in saying humanity has hardly any impact on our planet. Consider the changes in human lifestyle over the last 100 years. Consider population growth. Consider consumption or natural resources. Consider how much of the Earth is changed by human development. Consider the combined effect of those, and then tell me it's a good idea to keep doing what we're doing.

It feels to me like some people are giving in to the fact that we did in fact evolve from monkeys, and they've found another noble cause to hang on to.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968968)

Straw man. I didn't say man doesn't have an impact on the planet - he definitely does. My point is that 20th century warming is almost certainly entirely normal natural variability.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969040)

Ok, but you're wrong on that point. The physics and empirical data show you're wrong.

Re:The meaning of random (1, Insightful)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969068)

There is no empirical data showing that Co2 caused an increase in 20th century temperature. There is a weak correlation between Co2 and temperature in the 20th century. There is a stronger correlation between the PDO and solar activity. But you will ignore the latter, because the former suits your political opinions better.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969114)

Er no, it doesn't. The data from the last 200 years does. However I invite you to look a little further back than that [wikipedia.org] considering that the Earth is not 200 years old.

Seriously you have never wondered why marine fossils get found in the middle of a continent? Hello. But some people are desperate to cling to lies and I will never understand why.

Re:The meaning of random (1, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968972)

How can you be so sure that there is little we can do to stop it?

How do you know that there is something we can do to stop it? I can point out that this has happened before - indeed on a far greater scale. Where's your data?

While it's sensible to make the best possible use of resources and protect the environment, if we pervert and corrupt science in the process then we take a step backwards.

Re:The meaning of random (5, Insightful)

Enry (630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968648)

It's all very good to observe this process but since there is little we can do to stop it...

I think I see your problem.

Here's the facts:

CO2 and methane are gasses that prevent thermal energy from escaping into space
The CO2 and methane levels have been rising
Human activity generates CO2 and methane

Thus, there's nothing we can do about it?

easy fix (-1, Troll)

dlt074 (548126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968710)

all of you that believe in man made climate change stop exhaling CO2 first. i'll observe what happens. a win win for everyone.

Re:easy fix (0)

scotch (102596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968926)

Look, a pithy, stupid, and somewhat psychopathic argument!

Re:The meaning of random (-1, Troll)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968712)

97% of all carbon dioxide is entirely natural in origin. Now what was your argument again?

Re:The meaning of random (3, Insightful)

Enry (630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968756)

And we share 97% of our DNA with chimpanzees. What is your point?

Re:The meaning of random (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968802)

I'm willing to bet that number is higher for some people.

Re:The meaning of random (-1, Redundant)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968768)

As others have pointed out, rising based on what? How do you know what the co2 and methane levels were 1000 years ago? 2000 years ago? 100,000 years ago? "Rising" is a relative term. When we can't predict the weather accurately three hours from now, how exactly am I supposed to believe they can tell me precisely what effect we're having on the environment? It would be one thing if we were dumping toxic waste into a stream and killing everything in site. But to claim on a grand scale that we're dramatically changing weather patterns has proven in the past to be absolute rubbish (global cooling in the 70's). As others have stated, with such a small sample set, claiming to have a definitive map of what's going on does a disservice to people studying our climate.

Re:The meaning of random (4, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968776)

You know from ice, fossil and biological records.

Re:The meaning of random (2, Insightful)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968868)

Yes and if you look at the temperature, which you "know" from the same sources, you will see very clearly that today's temperature is cold compared to the historical average. Not only that, you'll discover that the level of variability we are experiencing now is no different to the level of variability expressed in the historical or geological record. So please, remind me why certain activists are running around screaming that civilisation is going to end, and people like you are nodding in agreement?

Re:The meaning of random (5, Interesting)

Enry (630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968832)

As others have pointed out, rising based on what? How do you know what the co2 and methane levels were 1000 years ago? 2000 years ago? 100,000 years ago?

Ice cores [wikimedia.org] how do they work?

When we can't predict the weather accurately three hours from now, how exactly am I supposed to believe they can tell me precisely what effect we're having on the environment?

When you don't know the difference between weather and climate, how do you know what you're talking about?

Re:The meaning of random (0, Troll)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968946)

This is a familiar meme, but it's complete crap. Weather is what happens when it gets colder. Climate is what happens when it gets warmer. In reality, climate is weather integrated over time. So if, for example, there's been a reduction in hurricane and typhoon intensity over the last 30 years, which completely contradicts the scare stories put out by climate botherers, you will put it down to some local anomaly. Whereas if it were increasing, you would say it's caused by man-made CO2.

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969062)

CO2 levels have been detected in ice core samples, and they do indicate higher CO2 levels that begin AFTER warm periods start. It is not, however, the "end of the world". And it certainly wasn't "man made" millions of years ago, we weren't even around.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968924)

Obviously we could do something about it, but the ugly reality of course is that we won't do anything about it. Well, at least in practical terms we won't -- what we will do is endlessly argue about it and make excuses. :-/

Re:The meaning of random (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969042)

I believe in significant anthropogenic contributions to climate change, but I am far from certain we can turn back the clock. We ought to take the notion that the world is heading towards a new climate equilibrium no matter what we do as a serious possibility.

That doesn't mean we should give up on greenhouse emissions because there's a big difference between getting there in,say fifty years vs eighty or a hundred.

This is not the kind of thing we can know with the kind of certainty we'd like. Somebody with serious intellectual ability needs to look at all the reasonably likely scenarios and their probabilities and develop a rational framework (not just picking your preferred scenario ) for taking them all into account when making policy, whether that is simply maximizing expected economic growth, some kind of mini-max strategy or maybe (in the case of runaway warming ) some way to compensate people who didn't benefit from greenhouse emissions but pay the costs.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969054)

Here's another fact - look a little further back than 200 years and you will see that oceans have had higher sea levels [wikipedia.org] than today+30 meters. Think that the last ice age was only 20,000 years or so ago so there is an overall warming trend. Recognize that increased temperatures produce greater CO2 and methane levels all on their own, in fact ice core data supports this - there is always a rise in CO2 AFTER a warm period and this makes sense because the decomposition of carbonic acid (in sea water) is endothermic (it requires energy). So if you heat sea water with CO2 dissolved in it, you will get CO2 back.

But of course it's useless to argue with you. I don't even know why I bother.

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968682)

Ease up a bit...

Ok, ok... of course this could be random data, but the figures that they've produced certainly appear to be a statistical anomaly and certainly warrant further investigation. And no, the explanation using terms such as 'evenly distributed' is not technically accurate language, it's a good start to explaining the issue to people without statistical training - just because his technical communication skills could do with some polishing for accuracy doesn't subtract from their research. How many of us are brilliant at explaining how a PC works to technically illiterate loved-ones? I think most people that work in technical communications understand the tradeoff between technically accurate and understandable by the masses.

If you're after a scientifically rigorous explanation then have a look at their paper.

And perhaps with an issue like climate change, it would be great to produce a trend line over 500,000 years, but that may cripple any chances we have to mitigate the problem.

The null hypothesis (4, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968766)

What absolute rubbish from yet another climate scientist who fails to understand random numbers. Random numbers does not mean "evenly distributed" numbers - especially over such a small sample size. It could be the same number every year for 5 years in a row and still be random, just like you can throw "6" several times in a row with dice and it does not mean that the dice are loaded.

Of course it's possible -- that's called "the null hypothesis." The rather more interesting question is, "how likely is it?"

If I roll "6" ten times straight, the dice might not be loaded. After all, the odds of doing so (allowing the first time free, since it had to be something) are one in a mere 6^9 -- one in ten million. One in ten million events happen all the time (especially on Star Trek) and if you're a betting man by all means put your money on them and I'll match you on the other side.

Re:The null hypothesis (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969078)

Er, every roll is an independent event. After you roll a "6", the chance of rolling another 6 is 1 in 6.

Re:The meaning of random (3, Informative)

Broolucks (1978922) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968786)

Yeah, but when about half the record years in the last 30 years are in the 15 most recent years, to conclude to the presence of an underlying trend is hardly an extraordinary claim. That does not tell us what caused the trend, and for all we know, it might be a normal, natural fluctuation that will reverse itself soon. Also, the record years do seem to be evenly distributed in the past 15 years, so I'm a tad puzzled. But come on, 30 data points are enough to see *some* trends, and here we can see a clear jump.

Re:The meaning of random (3, Interesting)

symes (835608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968788)

While I don't have a clue on whether his data is true or not, it certainly concerns me that someone who makes such unfounded statements is doing this research in the same way I would be concerned about a paramedic performing a neurosurgical procedure.

Personally I think the guy should be congratulated for trying to communicate some pretty complex stuff to a lay audience. The research paper looks fine, it is where the work is documented, and that is where credibility will be decided. If you want to criticise the science or the scientist go review the paper and then say something a little more substantive.

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968794)

Well heck, maybe now that we have more land thawed, we can start growing more food.

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968864)

When taken as the only form of evidence, yes that's a good observation on your part. But when taken in terms of other lines of independent and indirect evidence your claims are dumb.

Contrary to what you seem to believe, there are other forms of evidence for climate change beyond 200 years worth of temperature data. Another independent line of evidence is the strong correlation throughout the geologic record of high levels of CO2 being linked to higher temperatures, it's happened in many occasions throughout geologic history, and that CO2 was released by a variety of causes.

Re:The meaning of random (1, Interesting)

thethibs (882667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968888)

30 years is too short a period to be drawing conclusions. Looking at all of the current interglacial--back 10,000 years--makes more sense: http://smpro.ca/crunch/GISP2Civil.png [smpro.ca]

On that scale, these guys' record years are chump change. If the Mann Hockey Stick is an indicator that we're leaving the current cold spell and going back to normal temperatures, we can expect lots of "record years" for the next 200-500 years before it turns around again.

Having walked my dogs in -20C weather this morning, it can't get warmer fast enough.

Re:The meaning of random (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968916)

While I don't have a clue on whether his data is true or not, it certainly concerns me that someone who makes such unfounded statements is doing this research in the same way I would be concerned about a paramedic performing a neurosurgical procedure

I'd be more concerned about the paramedic doing the neurosurgery myself: he may kill someone. This guy though - we just laugh at. No harm.

Re:The meaning of random (3, Interesting)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968930)

It's a climate scientist dumbing statistics down for the International Business Times.

Instead of all this qualitative bullshitting and clear lack of understanding of statistics (500k data points?), you should have made a quantitative statistical argument. If you have a 30-year period and random variability (such that any year is equally likely to be the Nth hottest), what is the probability that a 12-year span contains the 5 hottest years?

You qualitatively make it sound like the probability is high. "That's just how random numbers work."

I figure it to be about 0.5%.

That means that it's very likely that it's not simply random variability.

Re:The meaning of random (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969080)

I wouldn't call that absolute rubbish. Over a long enough time period, you would expect the distribution to be evenly distributed if it were random. That's perfectly in line with how statistics work. Just like how, with a coin toss, over a long enough time period, you should expect the distribution of heads vs. tails to be closer and closer to 50/50. The phenomenon is pretty reliable. Consider radioactive half lives. Also, such trends really can emerge even over a sample size of just thirty years. It's a matter of determining whether or not you really have a trend clearly visible over the noise. For example, if temperatures were going up one degree per year every year for the thirty years you'd pretty much have to be insane to argue that there's no trend. If they appear to have gone up maybe one tenth of a degree over the whole thirty years and there isn't a clear rise, then it's much harder to show a trend. It's all about finding a pattern and figuring out how likely that pattern is random or not. You can argue whether or not a trend really is emerging, but you're going to have to use formal statistical methods (which I'll admit aren't my forte) to do it. If you're arguing that anything could happen randomly, then you're technically correct - after all, a brand new car could self-assemble from random nuclear and chemical reactions in my driveway overnight - but you're not being very realistic. Arguing that you can't prove things statistically is, in the long run, equivalent to arguing that you can't prove anything at all, ever.

It's entirely possible that this researcher is not a good statistician. Many scientists are not. But you're attacking the research for "unfounded statements" that are, in fact, well founded. It seems to me that you're just geared up to attack.

YIPPIE !! WE GOT OURSELVES A NEW WORLD RECORD !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968478)

Way to go, Greenland !!

I will buy the entire population a round of drinks at the only pub in Greenland, called, you guess it, The Icicle Melts.

Re:YIPPIE !! WE GOT OURSELVES A NEW WORLD RECORD ! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968966)

I will buy the entire population a round of drinks at the only pub in Greenland, called, you guess it, The Icicle Melts.

I thought it was called Eskimoes.

Big Deal (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968500)

The climate situation has been is a constant change since the very beginning of the Earth. You can't pick an ideal year and say "Thing must never change". So Greenland is melting... New York find itself underwater? No loss. But we'll be able to populate Greenland... Folks, things change.

Re:Big Deal (3, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968622)

New York find itself underwater? No loss.

That shows a pretty callous attitude to the 8.4 million people who live there -- and add all the other coastal population centres.

Re:Big Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968668)

New York find itself underwater? No loss.

That shows a pretty callous attitude to the 8.4 million people who live there -- and add all the other coastal population centres.

Typical conservative!

Re:Big Deal (1)

gollito (980620) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968686)

whoosh

Re:Big Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968722)

You and the rest of your NYC friends are DETESTED by the rest of the country. So go fuck yourself.

Re:Big Deal (3, Informative)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968734)

Greenland isn't melting. The icesheet is ablating. Just because its average temp during the summer is 3C above "normal" (whatever that is) does not mean that the average temp is not 20-30C below freezing.

Re:Big Deal (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968720)

Sure. It's just that moving New York City is more expensive than walking a bit now and then.

so? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968530)

Greenlands shelf is shrinking and the Ross ice shelf in Antarctica is expanding.

its a cyclic system, does it all the time.

Sea Ice (0, Redundant)

rayvd (155635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968708)

This is a great page to follow information on sea ice trends at both poles.

Just say "no" to the religion of AGW... there are much more pressing problems to solve here.

Re:Sea Ice (1)

rayvd (155635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968714)

Link didn't show up.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

Re:Sea Ice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34968920)

...there are much more pressing problems to solve here.

Much more pressing problems, like 'How do we integrate more Intelligent Design into our educational systems?' and 'Which of those pesky vaccines are causing autism?' Seriously, too many people allow their minds to be clouded by reason.

The new abortion (3, Interesting)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968728)

For those who don't remember the Abortion debate in the 80s , it was a lot like Gw. Both sides really intense. Finally you just learned not to bring it up. Both sides too strongly belief in their own POV, no possibility of rational debate. Sex, religion, politics - not possible to discuss in public

Re:The new abortion (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968876)

It's a little different from abortion, because everyone agrees on the physical processes involved. Same for gun control, Iraq and Afghanistan, and other hot-button issues. The arguments on climate involve fundamental disagreements about what's actually happening, not just whether certain things should happen or not. When new data can help clarify the "what's happening" issue, it's absurd to say we shouldn't bring it up because some people might get offended.

Re:The new abortion (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968908)

Responding to my own post to clarify: I should have said "... everyone agrees on the physical processes involved in pregnancy" above. As opposed to IOW, unless you believe that a fetus gains a soul at a certain point between conception and birth, there's broad agreement about what happens during those nine months; the argument is over what we should do about it. With climate change, you have a large group of people involved in the argument who deny that it's happening at all, and another large group who acknowledge that the change is happening but deny that humans have anything to do with it. It's more comparable to arguments over evolution than over abortion.

Great waste of my time.... (0)

sunyjim (977424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968772)

I feel dumber having read that article. Thank goodness it's 2.3 kilometers thick, so at a 1.8 millimeters per year over the past century that sucker will be melted in ONE MILLION, two hundred and seventy seven thousand, seven hundred and seventy seven years! And that's IF the melting continues at all, and even more unlikely keeps melting for the next 1,277,777.77 years. "But that is unlikely to happen for several centuries at least." That's the understatement of the millennium

Re:Great waste of my time.... (3, Informative)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968830)

Read the article more carefully:

Melting ice in Greenland is contributing to sea level rise.

Sea level has risen 1.8mm over the last century.

If all the ice on Greenland melted sea level would rise 7m.

Nothing is stated about how long all the ice on Greenland would take to melt if it continued at the present rate.

Re:Great waste of my time.... (0)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968914)

There is no acceleration in sea-level rise over the medium and long term.... even if you could measure it to an accuracy of mm, which you can't. If sea-level rise is an indicator of AGW, then AGW is false.

Re:Great waste of my time.... (1)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969106)

There is no acceleration in sea-level rise over the medium and long term.... even if you could measure it to an accuracy of mm, which you can't. If sea-level rise is an indicator of AGW, then AGW is false.

Did someone say it was? I've heard no claim of trends in past sea levels as evidence for anything. You can however measure sea level to an accuracy of quite a lot less than 1mm if you average enough measurements over enough places and times and use modern instruments.

Looking forward, a rise in global average temperatures of 2 K or more as the vast majority of relevant experts predict for the rest of this century would almost surely cause a largish rise is sea level due to melting of ice which is currently supported by land in Greenland and some parts of Antarctica. Exactly how large a rise is not yet clear and is rather an important question. Understanding in more detail how rates of ice melt relate to local and global temperatures is important, and is the point of these observations.

Dont worry. its just a cycle. (-1, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968820)

its just a climate cycle. it happens every 10,000 years or whatever interval fox news says. lets just all pump up carbon gases and speed up the meltdown so we can, well, drown fast ?

Doesnt matter if it is a cycle or not. (5, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968870)

carbon gases, humans adding up to it, will make everything worse. its one thing to have to build huge dams and sets in order to save london, netherlands etc from sinking, and its another to have the sea levels rise higher than we can prevent with building dams or sets, due to exacerbating the situation through our pollution.

i assure you, those who are opposing the measures will not be there, to spend money to save anything, when the time comes. its better to ignore them entirely now, rather than having to blame them and not being able to find them anywhere when the clock hits the hour.

Cool! (2)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968872)

All those Greenlanders will be chilling out at the beach in 50 years.

Plus we won't have to worry about Florida land scams - it will ALL be swampland. And every homeowner will be underwater, so no need for a bail-out. Just attach huge inner tubes and let the hurricanes float your abode to a new state.

Sigh (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968934)

I wanted to come here and make some fake troll posts just for laughs. Sadly, the real trolls have beat me to the punch.

Melt Rate (-1, Troll)

hackus (159037) | more than 3 years ago | (#34968986)

Given how active volcanically Greenland is, I don't think there is much we can do about the problem.

It would be better if we recognized that we like to make our own environments and actually developed societies and civilization along those lines. People would probably never go "outside".

In a way I think we are making a ton of excuses not to go into space and just leave the earth or start making plans to do so.

Which brings up a couple of issues...

1) We went to the moon, and we just _stopped_.

Given how greedy a species we are as we leave billions to starve on a daily basis to practice this greed, I am surprised we aren't mining away at the asteroid belt right now.

I mean, the solar system basically represents a limitless resource, so any amount of money would be a pittance to do this given the returns...even if it costs quadrillions of dollars to develop such technology.

Very odd.

2) Carbon Credit Trading Scheme. Talk about a scam. I hear it just got hacked in fact. Have you noticed that climate change conferences are always populated with research funded by billionaires and they always reach the same old conclusion?

Which is, people are killing the planet so we have to make everyone pay a tax.

How the heck does that solve the problem of climate change?

3) I would like to see a conference populated with all of the names on that black list they created during the Email leaks of scientists that don't tow the line on strictly _man made_ climate change that had different views on climate change.

Which, do not require a carbon credit scam or billionaires to attend a scientific conference.

4) Why is that, billionaires attend these conferences, then give us the solutions to problems they create? I mean, if you are a billionaire, you control huge amounts of so called poisonous CO2 gas emissions that threat to destroy our planet.

Why would I trust the findings of anyone associated with these people?

-Hack

Re:Melt Rate (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34969032)

Given how active volcanically Greenland is,

Kudos on being the only person to point out that during this whole volcano disrupting aircraft flight over europe thing possibly having an effect. Does anyone have any data on how volcanic activity effects local weather patterns and ground temperature? Volcanic events and solar eclipses seem to be the only things cavemen ever kept records of, so there should be some pretty good data to start with.

Re:Melt Rate (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34969098)

Have you noticed that climate change conferences are always populated with research funded by billionaires

Have you ever been to a scientific conference, know anything about science funding, or even met a scientist?

The big two conferences in climate science (and geosciences in general) are the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting and the European Geosciences Union General Assembly. The research is mostly government funded: in the U.S., the big funding agencies are the National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Energy, U.S. Geological Survey, etc.

How the heck does [a carbon tax] solve the problem of climate change?

It makes the price of fossil fuels account for their environmental costs, correcting the market distortion due to this negative externality. The higher price of fossil energy makes alternative energy and energy efficiency more economically attractive, reducing consumption of fossil fuels.

I would like to see a conference populated with all of the names on that black list

There isn't any blacklist of scientists. But climate deniers did make up their own "scientific" conference. It's the Heartland Institute International Conference of Climate Change. You can find plenty of nonsense there if that's what you're looking for.

Why is that, billionaires attend these conferences

Billionaires don't attend scientific conferences. A few attend political conferences, such as Copenhagen, but the vast majority of attendees are not billionaires.

Why would I trust the findings of anyone associated with these people?

Scientific research has nothing to do with billionaires or their behavior.

real numbers. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34969058)

Let me know when it starts effecting the Fahrenheit temperature. Then I'll give a sh*t.

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