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UN Climate Report Fails To Capture Arctic Ice: MIT

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the models-in-collision dept.

Earth 465

An anonymous reader writes "The United Nations' most recent global climate report 'fails to capture trends in Arctic sea-ice thinning and drift, and in some cases substantially underestimates these trends,' says a new research from MIT. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, released in 2007, forecasts an ice-free Arctic summer by the year 2100. However, the Arctic sea ice may be thinning four times faster than predicted, according to Pierre Rampal and his research team of MIT's Department of Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS)."

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Doesn't matter what they report (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089380)

The anti-Global Warming people will ignore it. The details don't matter, the truth doesn't matter, and if there's the slightest mistake, error, or just plain poorly worded statement, they'll treat it as proof of a conspiracy dedicated to driving man back to the Stone ages, except with less Jesus and more abortions.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (-1, Flamebait)

XanC (644172) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089416)

hmm, well let's look at this one. It we could be losing it at x rate, or 4x! Translation: we don't have any frapping clue. Yeah, that's what we want to base worldwide economic policy on.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (4, Insightful)

mean pun (717227) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089480)

Yeah, that's a really accurate translation of the scientific statement. Don't give up your day job.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089576)

That *is* the accurate translation of the scientific statement into politics, and the political agenda that governments are basing things on. In other words, people with an agenda who want to drive you into the dirt.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089732)

"Translated into politics" = LIE

The political agenda that cites science of climate change does not have an agenda of driving you into the dirt. The political agenda is to stop polluters from driving us into the dirt.

The political agenda that attacks climate change science is the one that forces the original science to report only the most optimistic projections, based on only the most undeniable evidence. When new science shows that there's a higher probability of a worse projection, that does indeed undermine the credibility of the earlier, pressured science. The proper conclusion is not to ignore the worse projection, but to expect that the accurate projection is even worse still, since the better science is only getting started rolling back the suppression.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090296)

The political agenda that cites science of climate change does not have an agenda of driving you into the dirt. The political agenda is to stop polluters from driving us into the dirt.

This is quite true. It's very hard to determine intent. They could intend to "you into the dirt" or it might just be a convenient, evolutionary-like outcome of their behaviors. That's why I look at outcome not intent.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (3, Funny)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089548)

hmm, well let's look at this one. It we could be losing it at x rate, or 4x! Translation: we don't have any frapping clue. Yeah, that's what we want to base worldwide economic policy on.

4x factorial, that's insane. On the bright side, Canada will finally gain an ice free northwest passage.

Looks like Sir John Franklin jumped the gun by 200 years. Lead is a helluva drug.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (2)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090106)

To paraphrase Sigmond Freud - "Sometines an exclaimation mark is just an exclamation mark!"

Seriously, factorial? ;^)

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089560)

We do know that it's melting, and the only explanation that has any evidence to support it is that it's due to excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I think it makes sense to reduce carbon dioxide emissions now.

To make an analogy, a business may go bankrupt in one year or four years. Do they not have any clue what to do, or is it clear that they need to cut costs or increase revenues to stay in business? In life, we can't wait until we have perfect information before we act, otherwise we'd never act.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (0, Redundant)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089644)

We do know that it's melting, and the only explanation that has any evidence to support it is that it's due to excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I think it makes sense to reduce carbon dioxide emissions now.

Why? Because some cities may slowly flood? You're going to have to do a lot better than that if you want to convince the entire world that they can't burn coal and oil.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089748)

because those cities also happen to be the main hubs of the global financial system? It's no accident they are also major seaborne shipping ports.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089800)

In this case, even that much won't happen. It's sea ice, melting won't affect the ocean levels one bit. Floating objects displace water equal to the volume of an equivalent weight of water. Since the ice is water, when it melts the net displacement won't go up. The effects of global warming may be bad, but this will not cause flooding.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (2)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090138)

Al "Man-Bear-Pig" Gore would disagree with your contention most vehemently, you holocaust-denying, flat-earth Luddite!

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37090310)

The problem is not the flooding (which is important, anyway) -- it's the temperature rise which might make life unbearable -- literally i.e. people could die, but animals most certainly will... we may find another specias is vital to our survival, just like bees.

I saw a documentary stating, from observations of the past, that high temperatures may be triggered by a certain threshold, below which things are manageable and above which the heat increases a lot faster than we can adapt to it.

Knowledge to fight these phenomena must be made inexpensive for all; we must make cheap, even lucrative, to fight global warming... and it must be made very expensive to produce thermal pollution.

We can improve this spaceship, let this be our first step into terraforming Earth into a paradise.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (2)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089898)

Don't forget we can't have nuclear power either. Guess we should dam all the rivers in the world for electrical power. Oh wait, that would destroy eco systems too. Well guess we can ride bikes, and use fires to heat our houses. Although, both of those release carbon into the air, also.

Hhhmmm, I'm stumped. How do we power the world, and save it at the same time. I'm all for saving the world, but we need some serious research into alternative fuels.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (2)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090280)

Arctic ice floats - when it melts, it does not result in a rise in water level. If that's the best argument you have, few will see a reason to take any action you might suggest.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090352)

How about "we're going to run out of it, and it's value in materials technology and agriculture will soon far exceed sticking it in your SUV, you shortsighted fucktard."

Does that seem a good reason to you, or do you have some other magic source of complex long-chain hydrocarbons you're not telling anybody about it?

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089916)

We do know that it's melting

And has been doing so for the past 12-14,000 years.

and the only explanation that has any evidence to support it is that it's due to excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Or whatever causes climate shifts when human activity wasn't around to be blamed.

To make an analogy, a business may go bankrupt in one year or four years. Do they not have any clue what to do, or is it clear that they need to cut costs or increase revenues to stay in business?

In that situation, it'd probably be best if they entered bankruptcy court now since they're in the end game.

In life, we can't wait until we have perfect information before we act, otherwise we'd never act.

We can't have perfect information, but we can have better. It's an obvious strategy to wait till we have better information. There is a real choice here.

So let's look at the situation. We have some evidence that there's global warming, some connection with greenhouse gas emissions by humans, and models with quality that varies from pretty good (radiative models) to extremely poor (the economic factors in climate estimates a century from now). We have significant institutional biases (particularly, funding, peer pressure, and the environmentalism ideology). We have huge amount of money and political power in play (environmental government agencies, for example, can expand their power considerably). And we have a remarkable lack of urgency.

That says to me "wait". We'll get better data and if things get worse, it'll be rather slowly. It'll also give us time to weed out alternate explanations for the perceived global warming such as changes in solar activity, orbital configuration, or other non-anthropogenic possibilities.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (2, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090242)

As is typical for climate change deniers, you have left out a key factor in your "the climate is always changing" screed.
The correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and warmer climates is well established. And there is reason to debate which is the cause and which is the effect. What you have so conveniently omitted from your argument however, is that, as near as we can tell the level of CO2 has never risen as quickly as it has for the last few decades. Not even close. Given that empirical evidence and it's temporal proximity to our CO2 producing activities, only a fool or someone with an agenda would ignore the correlation.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37090324)

As is typical for climate change deniers, you have left out a key factor in your "the climate is always changing" screed.

The correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and warmer climates is well established. And there is reason to debate which is the cause and which is the effect. What you have so conveniently omitted from your argument however, is that, as near as we can tell the level of CO2 has never risen as quickly as it has for the last few decades. Not even close. Given that empirical evidence and it's temporal proximity to our CO2 producing activities, only a fool or someone with an agenda would ignore the correlation.

Yes there is correlation, CO2 TRAILS not leads temperature increases!

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090332)

Actually it is suspected to have increased at similar rates before (as a result of cataclysmic volcanic activity messing up the permafrost ), and when it happened last time the majority of species alive on earth went extinct. Not the kinda thing you want to cause to happen if you can avoid it ...

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (4, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090272)

So it's just an amazing coincidence that we'll have ice-free summers in the Arctic 200 years after we started burning fossil fuels en masse?

We have excellent "undeniable [reuters.com] " evidence of global warming. We have over 100 years of climatology that tell us that the carbon sensitivity is probably between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius, starting with Arrhenius [wikipedia.org] and continuing to the latest estimations [wikipedia.org] . We have agreed that we want to keep the global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius [wikipedia.org] . The only way we can achieve this goal is to begin reducing carbon dioxide emissions immediately, given the information we presently have. To me, that says "Act now!"

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (5, Interesting)

camperslo (704715) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089686)

Even though the waves from the tsunami following the recent 9.0 Japan earthquake were not very large when hitting Antarctica, about 50 square miles of ice broke off.
Some of the many factors are not linear, so a simple loss multiplier or even one based on monotonically increasing loss will have limited accuracy. That's no excuse for denial, as what's happening is quite clear.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=51665&src=eorss-nh [nasa.gov]

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (4, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089688)

Trends and quantitative coefficients are not the same thing. In this case the trend matters for policy makers, the coefficients do too, but not nearly so much.

Drunk driving is bad. Since we haven't precisely quantized how exactly every single persons ability decay with blood alcohol limit do we just let people drive drunk, or just go with a best guess of 0.05 or 0.08 and iterate? Even if we have the quantized result, say on warming or drunk driving or anything else that doesn't really tell us what policy should be unless you want to say it should be 0. What should humanities contribution to global warming be? If we say '0', basically you're asking to kill 6 billion people, destroy every factory, car, power plant ever produced and go back to an 80% mortality rate before we're 5 years old. That's probably not a great goal. I suppose it means no abortions, but I don't think even religious nutters would be willing to take that tradeoff. For drunk driving you accept a certain degree of impairment as so minimal as to not really be important, though if we drove cars that went 1000Km/h we'd have a different tolerance level. For global warming we have to accept some amount of warming, because there has already been some, and we're not, in any reasonable time frame going to correct that. So the question is 'how much worse do we let it get, and, on a best guess, how much is it going to cost us'? To with that we wonder 'at what point can we not do any more'? With the ozone layer 160 of the 200 or so countries in the world banned the most serious damaging chemicals about 15 years ago. So there is still damage to the ozone layer happening, and it is likely that it won't be completely repaired until well into the 22nd century. We've certainly taken, in that case, the largest most relevant steps, and we'll be another decade or two before we really know if it was enough, or if we need to do more, but at least we've stopped the, majority of the ongoing damage.

Global warming is a tricky problem, it's not really an individual problem, so we can't mandate individual responsibility for it, it doesn't manifest itself equally everywhere, and if someone else doesn't do there part, the people who do are forced to do more. None of these make for good policy problems, especially when dealing with the americans. The kyoto protocols aim for a CO2 reduction from 1990 levels are basically arbitrary, it's a starting point of a policy, not a quantified analysis of what's required. Because there is no scientific requirement, it's a matter of what cost/benefit we are willing to trade. But it's also a collective, shared responsibility, one that isn't going to be borne equally. Poor countries are poor for a lot of reasons, but the rest of us got rich polluting the planet, and now we're saying they can't become rich unless the do it a different way, that's not fair to them, but it's not fair to the rich world to demand we make all the cuts and poor countries can pollute like crazy negating anything we do.

Either way. Being off on the the exact value of a coefficient is not all that important to the policy problem. We're not doing enough. It's a matter of degree of how much we're not doing. The only thing to do is to try and minimize further warming, and iterate as time goes on.

Since this is a tech board, I'll put it in CS terms. We, in CS, regularly analyze algorithms in 'big O' notation, n^2, n^3 etc. It's a rare, specialized skill to put actual coefficients in front of each term, and most of the time, big O notation gets the job done (and if you really need them it's easier to measure them than calculate them). Policy based around science is mostly worried about the big O notation, because once we start changing policies, whether thats about the ozone layer, sulfur in the air, greenhouse gases or whatever, all the previous detailed assessments get thrown out, and you start looking for the new trend.

We don't want to base world economic policy on "it's not doing any harm lets keep going" when it's clearly doing harm, it's a matter of degree. Doing nothing isn't really a good plan, especially when the effect lags the cause, and the cause is collective not individual. Beyond that, it's trial and error, because not everyone in the world is going to agree to whatever happens. So we should be doing the best we can, and iterating as we can based on how the situation changes.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (3, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089974)

We don't want to base world economic policy on "it's not doing any harm lets keep going" when it's clearly doing harm, it's a matter of degree.

How about "It's doing less harm than the fix would do. Let's keep going." Does that work for you?

Global warming is a tricky problem, it's not really an individual problem, so we can't mandate individual responsibility for it, it doesn't manifest itself equally everywhere, and if someone else doesn't do there part, the people who do are forced to do more.

So what if some people have to "do more"? Let's keep in mind that the proposed fix, reverting to 1990s levels or less, also forces some people to "do more" than other people. We also need to keep in mind that there's no mechanism in place that can keep those who would suffer under a climate control regime from complying. Currently, the future CO2 producers will be the US and the bigger emerging countries such as China and India. None of them have shown the inclination to damage their economies in order to reduce the effects of global warming. And they all have sufficient power to avoid being forced to accept a climate deal that is detrimental to their interests.

For me the kicker is that I don't see a reason to mitigate global warming effects. Land is not that scarce. People and societies can and do move, particularly on the time scales that global warming acts. For example, there's enough people moving in the US that effectively the entire population moves every six or so years.

Most buildings have a life of around 20-50 years. So any problem that's on a longer time scale mostly will involve real estate that hasn't yet been built.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (4, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090316)

How about "It's doing less harm than the fix would do. Let's keep going." Does that work for you?

What harm exactly does dumping less shit into the atmosphere do? There are lots of ways to accomplish that, all of which come with their own trade offs of course. Nuclear is well, nuclear, solar and wind have their own complications (mostly about resources and space uses). Burning coal and oil isn't exactly good for the atmosphere. Less CO2 in the atmosphere is good.

The kyoto protocol is not, as you have wrongly referred to it, a 'fix', it is one iterative step, upon which to base more iterative steps. 15% before 1990 levels is both arbitrary and silly. That equates to some actual year (probably 1987 or something), so even the target is phrased in a goofy way. And we can't even do that. Therein lies the problem. The burden on people are going to follow the protocol and make cuts (mostly europeans) is going to be harder, and more to the point if we need to cut X from the atmosphere and only europe is going to cut anything they have to not only cut X, but X+Y, where Y is whetever everyone else is adding to the problem. And yes, no one is obliged to accept anything. International agreements rely on everyone who agrees to actually do it. That's my point of where policy starts to fall apart. Peace treaties require everyone agrees, war requires only one party to agree to it. Such is the way of international agreements. You can try all you want to impose your will on others, and there are non violent ways to accomplish that, but in the end yes, if china doesn't agree to go along with it, either the rest of us cut more to cope, try and impose our will on them (trade sanctions) or we do nothing and cope with the consequences. Of course if no one goes along with it china is unlikely to try and solve this problem on their own, not that they could if they wanted to.

But yes, we must disagree on what to do about it. If you think displacing millions of people, spending hundreds of billions of dollars to keep more people from having to move, seriously disrupting food production around the world and so on are worthwhile tradeoffs so you can keep using coal fired generators rather than uranium, thorium, solar, or wind, then all that remains is disagreement.

Most buildings have life spans several multiples if not orders of magnitude longer than you have suggested. That that may not be good policy, or good for the buildings and people inhabiting them, but your assertion is factually incorrect. Lots of post WW2 housing was not built to last, that's true, but that is a fraction of the total buildings built in the world.

Land is not that scare is an interesting assertion. I certainly disagree with it on two levels. First, not all land is useful. There's lots of empty land in the middle of the sahara, that doesn't help anyone. That goes to the first problem which is that *usable* land is becoming scarce, and moreso if we want to preserve any remnants of natural habitats for other creatures. Secondly, land, overall, in a lot of places *is* scarce, and, importantly, those are the most populated places, and many of them are poor and those people aren't going to be able to move to places with space (least of all places with usable space). Where are we going to move a few hundred million southeast asians, or chinese or japanese? How about europeans? They aren't exactly welcome in africa for example, and the reason the europeans went rampaging around the world is they didn't have enough space for themselves in europe. And there were a lot less people in europe 150 years ago than there are today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_real_population_density_(based_on_food_growing_capacity) has an illustrative chart. What you are suggesting is sacrificing habitable, food growing areas, to compact people into less space, and hope more of it becomes arable. Not to mention the enormous cost of packing up and moving people and all of the infrastructure that goes with them (assuming they have any, and if they don't where are they going to go, and who isn't going to be happy about that plan).

Even the US is starting to run into overpopulation issues, and that's in a massive country, and it's getting worse as it gets hotter, not better. Whether that would be offset by new arable land in canada and russia is hard to say, but it seems an enormously reckless gamble.

People and societies moved when peoples and a society was a few thousands of people, and you can take culture when you move a king and a small army and occupy a place. Moving millions is another problem. There are perhaps 90 or 100 million people of 'english' (not scottish or irish) descent around the world... including about 40-45 million in the UK. See the problem? In 400 years of english settlement, pretty much wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted, there are still nearly 50 million of them in the UK itself (which is a small plot of land). The biggest migrations of people (post ww2, the partition of india and chinese internal migration) are all interesting case studies. Post WW2 and the partition of india were both, to be diplomatic... lossy. Lots of people didn't survive the process - I'm not sure that's a model we want to emulate. China (which sort of mirrors the US) isn't so bad, but it's also carefully controlled and managed, which isn't so easy when people are desperate and starving.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089768)

hmm, well let's look at this one. It we could be losing it at x rate, or 4x! Translation: we don't have any frapping clue. Yeah, that's what we want to base worldwide economic policy on.

Or maybe you should RTFS a little closer. Four years ago they concluded we were losing it at x rate, and this more recent MIT research claims we're losing it at 4x rate. If you RTFA the researchers say this is because the IPCC looked primarily at temperature change and underestimated the effect mechanical forces such as drift have on thinning.

Look, you can bury your head in the sand all you want, but don't act surprised when some of us take it more seriously that Arctic ice has shrunk by a third in the past 30 years and that it hit a new low in July.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089448)

The anti-Global Warming people will ignore it. The details don't matter, the truth doesn't matter, and if there's the slightest mistake, error, or just plain poorly worded statement, they'll treat it as proof of a conspiracy dedicated to driving man back to the Stone ages, except with less Jesus and more abortions.

And trolls will trot out some generic stereotype strawman, then post as Anonymous Coward. /irony noted

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089968)

And other anonymous cowards will post complaints about the first person who posted anonymously.

Out of Jealousy perhaps.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (-1, Troll)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089568)

May I? They don't call it the "global warming" anymore, it's the "climate change". There also used to be "ozone-wholes" in our atmosphere due to man-made spacecraft "puncturing" it. Needless to mention about somewhat 100+ years of somewhat "accurate" temperature measurements logs and constantly changing estimates of the doom day for this planet. I might add to that a natural volcano eruption produces so much CO2, that our silly civilization cannot produce in a half a century. I do not deny human footprint on the environment, but it seems that the global warming has become the new nemesis of a judgment day only from a scientific point of view. There is no conspiracy, it is simply another money drain...

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089596)

You have no idea what you are talking about.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (1)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089640)

Seems that you have many arguments to counter...

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (4, Insightful)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089654)

You may want to educate yourself before posting claims.

1) It's still called global warming. Always has. The media calls it "climate change", even though properly it's global warming.
2) Ozone is O3, which exists as a gas in our atmosphere. A spacecraft can no more "puncture" ozone than you can puncture the air around you with your fists.
3) We first started recording global temperature change in the mid-20th century.
4) No reputable scientific paper or journal has predicted a "doomsday", the media make those claims.
5) CO2 is not the only "greenhouse" gas, or even the most important.
6) There is cause for concern, but no cause for "judgment day" or "doomsday".

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (1)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089798)

I totally deem this as a huge media story non the less, and before you tell somebody to go educate themselves you should broaden your horizons. 1) You're right the media has changed the name ever since the "climate-gate". 2) Ozone-wholes or Ozone depletion occurred or so we thought because spaceship had certain chemicals in the fuel they used. You should read about Ozone layer depletion myths. 3) Precisely my point. This mama (Earth) has been here for so long that 50 years of records isn't enough to even make assumptions. Moreover, aside from temperature logs there are history books and various literature that indicate the weather difference. 4) Yet again media being media. 5) Volcano erupts more than just CO2. 6) It is presented as such.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (1, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089708)

Evidently you may not.

Some people don't call it "global warming", because idiots like you couldn't stop saying that extreme cold in Winter somehow proved it wrong, even when the overall average of the globe is indeed warming.

You can't spell "holes". And there were, and still are, ozone holes. Only idiots like you said spacecraft "punctured" the atmosphere, though spacecraft exhaust does destroy atmospheric ozone and contributed to the holes. But it was spraycan propellant and coolant CFCs that mainly destroyed the ozone. Until we banned them and let them regenerate. Now they're a lot better. Idiots like you denied they existed, and now deny they ever existed, or that we could affect them by either exhausting CFCs or banning them. Just like idiots like you now say we can't affect the climate by industrial exhaust. But in fact the recent experience with ozone holes shows we do.

Idiots like you are the ones constantly believing religious nuts proclaiming constantly changing doomsday dates.

You might add that BS about volcanoes, but it's just another lie created by polluter think tanks for idiots like you to repeat.

So no, you may not. In future, do not.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (1)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089856)

For one, I do not degrade to insults when having arguments. Read my comment above.

Re:Doesn't matter what they report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37090282)

Aside from your gross misunderstanding of the causes of the ozone layer depletion, the regulation of CFC usage is the perfect example of how policy can prevent a global environmental disaster. We did something, and it helped. The occasional moron showing up to argue that there was never a problem in the first place is something we have to live with, due to the action not being too late.

I guess (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089412)

I guess we'll all drown, then.

Re:I guess (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089462)

I guess we don't know how to use colons.

Re:I guess (1)

McGuirk (1189283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089494)

I guess we don't know how to use colons.

Where would a colon be useful in that sentence?

Re:I guess (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089510)

That was my question, too.

Re:I guess (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089522)

He's referring to the 1942 accident at sea where a vessel went off course and collided with a oil rig because of absence of a single colon in the navigation log.

Re:I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089564)

Nowhere. And since we don't know how to use them, it wasn't useful in the headline either.

Re:I guess (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089574)

I believe this is more a comment on the suspicious newspapery usage of a colon in the headline. Maybe we could commission "a new research" on it?

Re:I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089670)

That's exactly opposite of the way newspaper headlines use colons.
A newspaper would have had "MIT:" at the start, since that's who's doing the saying.

Re:I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089518)

I guess we don't know how to use colons.

I guess we don't know the difference between a colon and a comma then.

Re:I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089530)

No, I guess you don't. Get an irrigation.

Re:I guess (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089466)

No, the arctic ice is floating. When melting the volume will shrink so that the resulting water will occupy the same amount of space in the ocean that the ice previously took.
Melting the ice off Greenland will have a larger impact on the ocean level than what melting the arctic ice will have.

Re:I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089600)

I think you mean "Will take LESS space then the original ice". Water expands when it is frozen, shrinks when it melts.

Makes me wonder - how much will the sea level drop if only the arctic ice melts.

Re:I guess (1)

AiwendilH (1887186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089672)

Ahm...not at all? I thought the the amount of space water skrinks at melting is the amount of space the ice has above the surface of the water. So if ice melts the space it takes in the oceans will be the same.

Re:I guess (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089832)

That is correct, for floating ice.

But is only part of the picture. liquid water's density also has a small temperature dependence. Warm water is less dense than cold, although a degree or two isn't going to be a significant percentage, it can still add up to noticeable changes in depth when you're talking about a column of water 4 km deep - it only takes a .04% increase in volume to equate to an extra 2 meters in depth...

Re:I guess (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089810)

Not at all.

It's pretty simple and known to man since Archimedes.

The ascending force equals the amount of water displaced. Floating ice thus will displace exactly the volume of water corresponding to its weight. And if it melts, it will have exactly the volume of the water displaced, because it's water itself.

Re:I guess (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089904)

1. If the arctic melts it's because the ocean is warmer, meaning it has expanded.
2. No climatologist on Earth believes that the Greenland glaciers can survive an ice-free Arctic Ocean in the long term.

Re:I guess (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089784)

But the liquid water would absorb rather than reflect sunlight as ice/snow would..

Re:I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37090276)

It would also absorb more CO2 and other gasses.

Re:I guess (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089582)

Melting Arctic sea ice will not raise sea level. Melting ice sheets on land (mostly Greenland and Antarctica) will make sea level rise.

Re:I guess (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089764)

oh yeah, that. sorry.

So (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089452)

Someone wants more funding.

Before you mod me down, I was a scientist but refused to play the political game. Now I work in computing.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089476)

No you don't.

Re:So (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089630)

I was his colleague. He did refuse to play the political game. Also there was a strict policy against snorting whiteout that he was always running into, but it was probably more the political thing.

Should be interesting (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089474)

We obviously won't be able to stop this melting by just reducing emissions. It will be really interesting to see what happens with shipping lanes and military strategy if we can go right over the pole (with boats, instead of just with missiles).

Re:Should be interesting (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089680)

More importantly, even if we CAN stop this ice from melting by cutting emissions, we aren't willing to do what it would take to cut the emissions that much. Most people would rather have a car than a polar bear (and me too, to be honest).

Re:Should be interesting (3, Funny)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089710)

It would be different if I could ride a polar bear to work, though.

Re:Should be interesting (2, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089720)

Cutting carbon emissions doesn't mean we can't have cars. It means that cars need to be more energy efficient in the near future and run on energy not derived from fossil fuels in several decades. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions doesn't mean doing without. It seems that most people who don't want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions really just don't want to lower their standard of living. Fortunately, we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly and keep our standard of living.

Re:Should be interesting (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089944)

According to Hansen et al. [arxiv.org] , we not only have to stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere, we have to start removing it immediately because there is already too much.

Your solution is talking about 'running on energy not derived from fossil fuels in several decades,' but that isn't soon enough. We need a solution that will work now.

In other words, if Hansen is right, we're screwed. Because we aren't going to implement a solution right now.

Re:Should be interesting (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089990)

According to Hansen et al (from the link you gave) "An initial 350 ppm CO2 target may be achievable by phasing out coal use except where CO2 is captured and adopting agricultural and forestry practices that sequester carbon. If the present overshoot of this target CO2 is not brief, there is a possibility of seeding irreversible catastrophic effects." We do have decades to act.

Re:Should be interesting (1)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090370)

Does this mean we should stop mowing our lawns?

Re:Should be interesting (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089984)

Cutting carbon emissions doesn't mean we can't have cars. It means that cars need to be more energy efficient in the near future and run on energy not derived from fossil fuels in several decades. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions doesn't mean doing without. It seems that most people who don't want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions really just don't want to lower their standard of living. Fortunately, we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly and keep our standard of living.

And save money at the same time as reducing resource usage.

Re:Should be interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089734)

Speak for yourself please.I hope you die in a car accident tomorrow.

Re:Should be interesting (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089814)

Wow, I'm being messaged by a polar bear. Sorry about your home bear, not gonna do much about it.

Please (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089506)

I can't believe AGW nonsense is still being pushed at /.

Re:Please (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089656)

Yeah because we've been pretending its not there for long enough, shouldn't it have gone away by now?

The best source restricted (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089508)

The US military has detailed information on ice sheet thickness going back 50 years but it's mostly classified. The Russians have similar information and I think their excitement recently over exploiting the arctic shows where they think the trend is heading. They aren't looking at a 100 years from now but in the next decade or two. Most of the discussion is over coverage of the ice but the more telling is thickness. As the ice thins a huge part of the arctic could be exposed in a single season from a major collapse in sea ice.

Re:The best source restricted (4, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090188)

50 years of data sounds like a lot, until you realize it doesn't even go back in time far enough to include the last ice age... It's like extrapolating the stock market's performance for the day by analyzing the previous few minutes of trading.

Re:The best source restricted (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37090228)

The thing is: Look at *any* satellite images! Compare 5 years apart. 10. 20.
It's blatantly obvious. Half the damn ice is gone!
And at that rate, you will be able to get to the north pole solely using a boat in a few decades/years

Now I don't even give a fuck about where it came from and why anymore. I just don't want that thing to get fucked up, that I have to live in and that I need to survive. You know fuckin EARTH.

I never understood some people. You don't shit in your living rooms, do you? Not even when it would have no effect. Which is quite a silly thought. So why do you shit in the atmosphere you breathe and water you drink?

Am I the only one who, as a software designer, thinks the concept of a process that can run forever because its net effect on the environment is zero, is very appealing and elegant? You know... with all resource transfers being a set of interconnected loops and everything getting re-used.
And the only energy source needed to drive them all, as is the case anyway for nearly everything on earth, is our awesome giant fuckin' fusion reactor in the sky! ^^
Now THAT is seriously cool!

The usual. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089516)

Nothing to see here citizen. Move along now.

We're just going to keep pretending these long term problems are not a big deal.

Because when it IS a big deal.. We'll be dead by then. So.. S.E.P.

Better link (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089552)

Screw ibtimes, worthless ad-walling craps.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110811113956.htm [sciencedaily.com]

Re:Better link (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090148)

Better yet, here's the actual paper [ucar.edu]

Typical science news... (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089598)

Typical science news "ZOMG our predictions could be wrong, but we need $x million to do more research about if we are right or not". Everything is made into a crisis to get more funding. Just look at all the hyped up illnesses in the past decade, if all those "predictions" were right all of us would be dead with bird flu/swine flu/MERSA/SARs.

Re:Typical science news... (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089652)

Everything is made into a crisis to get more funding.

Therefore it's absolutely safe to conclude that there can be no possible crises ever.

[/s] SARS, the bird flu, and the swine flu were made into crises by the media, not scientists. If you equate what you hear in the news with science, you've got big problems. As far as MERSA goes, it does seem to be fairly bad. [webmd.com] I don't know if some scientist told you that everyone was going to die in 3 years if they didn't get funded or what, but this anti-science thing you've got going on is stupid.

Re:Typical science news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089774)

> the swine flu

Scientists made than one a lot worse, because it was labeled a pandemic following the criteria
that were set up in advance. The scientists who made those criteria failed to account for
"technically a pandemic, but without the corpses rotting in the streets".

Re:Typical science news... (2)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089936)

A pandemic doesn't mean corpses rotting in the streets. You can have a pandemic without a single fatality, if the disease is not fatal. Pandemic [reference.com] just means the disease is spread over a wide area, and does not give any indication of how deadly a disease it. I think the scientifically illiterate public are more to blame for the misunderstanding than scientists or the press. Scientists actually saved thousands of lives by determining that the young were most at risk and quickly developing an effective vaccine which was administered first to those most at risk.

Oh, great, another CRISIS!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37090016)

What the previous poster was saying, was that 'just because it's a manufactured crisis doesn't mean that it is a crisis', and on that point he is quite right. Very few crises, whether man-made or natural, and cried out by the media *or* scientist, rarely come to pass. He didn't imply that crisis can't happen, just that the track records of both the media and scientists cast serious doubt on their claims, and it is their fault, no one else.

They have both learned that the squeaky wheel, and the crazy-eyed doom-spouting researcher or scientist, get the oil (money). It makes more sense now, doesn't it? They want to eat at nice restaurants and drive BMW's too, just like everyone that works for the UN.

Rather than wasting money and trying to avert climate changes that we can't stop (regardless if we caused it or not), we should be spending time and effort not on stopping it, but dealing with the change. But, because there apparently is not nearly as much money to be made in such planning, rather than in control of people's lives (which, what a coincidence, is very much what many government and UN bodies want), this will be considered 'Not doing anything!' and will not be pursued.

Independent, truly progressive thinkers, can now see this 'crisis' for what it truly is (a wealth redistribution plan, and a power grab), and be prepared to resist. Power to the people!

All of this reminds me of the eroding coastline where I live, that as the beaches disappear and the ocean comes lapping at the foundations of expensive condos and mansions, our state and local governments spend millions (every few years!) to 'replenish' the sand that waves have washed away. Mind you, this has been happening for all of Earth's history, the changing coastlines (so it's not Global Warming, friends), but what do we do? Stop building within spitting distance of the powerful, ever-constant, ocean's waves? No. Humans keep building on untenable and impermanent coastline, hope for the best, then seem shocked when one storm comes along and threatens all of this hard work. What nerve! Since we can't change mother nature, then we have to change something, right? So some people try to change other people's lives and livelihoods. No thanks. You can take your hysterics elsewhere.

Re:Typical science news... (5, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089926)

Just look at all the hyped up illnesses in the past decade, if all those "predictions" were right all of us would be dead with bird flu/swine flu/MERSA/SARs.

Can you point to a single reputable scientist who claimed that everyone in the world was going to die from a flu pandemic? I'm not a flu expert, but my personal opinion is that the scientists actually understated the threat of a flu pandemic, whilst the media overstated it. The problem with the media is that they deal in the now, and have very little grasp of reporting long-term threats. Scientists tend to be more cautious and won't make predictions that aren't backed up with numbers.

The 1918 flu pandemic [wikipedia.org] infected 32% of the world's population, and killed 3% of the world's population. As far as I can see, there is absolutely no reason why such a pandemic couldn't be repeated today. And whether it will be more or less deadly is impossible to predict - H5N1 [wikipedia.org] killed 60% of infected humans - a mortality rate far higher than the 1918 flu. If H5N1 was as transmissable as the 1918 flu then over 3 billion people would've been killed. This is a number and a risk far in excess of the danger of terrorism, and yet we will spend literally trillions of dollars "fighting terrorism", whilst we spend only millions seeking flu vaccines.

Given the potential danger from flu, and the fact that the victims would be everyone on the planet, it seems like the per capita risk is several orders of magnitudes higher than terrorism. And yet, all of the funding, and all of the political debate, focuses on terrorism. It's crazy, and people who brush it under the carpet by saying "well, we haven't had another pandemic yet", have entirely missed the point. The fact that the 2009 swine flu outbreak [wikipedia.org] didn't kill millions isn't a reason to believe that the threat does not exist - rather, the fact that the 2009 pandemic turned out to be caused by an entirely unseen new variant of the flu that incorporated genes from 5 different viruses should prove beyond any doubt that flu evolution and mutation does pose a continued threat to humanity.

But instead of heeding this warning, people like you will say "Ahh stupid scientists got it wrong! Everyone didn't die". But in fact 18000 did die, and it is only down to chance that this particular flu variant wasn't more lethal and more widely spread. How many dollars have been spent for each victim of 9/11 fighting the terrorism threat? How many dollars have been spent for each victim of H5N1 fighting the flu threat? For whatever reasons, our society is very bad at assessing risk when it comes to long term threats. We judge everything through the lens of the media, which reports current events news, and anything longer than a decade can be kicked into the long grass in the political world.

Rant over...

Re:Typical science news... (1)

StandardAI (1988770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090286)

Why not look at the illnesses of the past century? The eradication of smallpox, millions of lives saved from other disease through preventive medicine. You know nothing of what you speak of and choose to speak against the people who are actually trying to make the world a better place.

Politics? (4, Interesting)

DreadfulGrape (398188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089616)

Interesting that /. has categorized this article as "Politics" instead of "Science."

Not that I'm complaining, necessarily.

Terrible Headline (3, Interesting)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089624)

The way the headline reads, it looks like MIT is accusing the UN of not taking Arctic ice into account in their global warming calculation, i.e. MIT says there should be less global warming because the UN forgot to calculate a cold thing.

That is the OPPOSITE MESSAGE from what the story actually says. Does slashdot even have editors anymore?

Re:Terrible Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089824)

Does anyone actually RTFA before making nonsensical posts in /. anymore?

Re:Terrible Headline (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089828)

It seems more-or-less to represent the article. If you want a direct quote from the article that kind of conveys the same message, there is this one:

On the other hand, large cracks in winter's ice cover help create new ice, since the extremely cold air in contact with the liquid ocean promotes refreezing. Because "everything is coupled" in these intricate feedback loops, "it's hard to predict the future of Arctic sea ice," Rampal says.

Re:Terrible Headline (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089840)

Does slashdot even have editors anymore?

Yes, but they seem to think global warming is fiction.

Re:Terrible Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089922)

lol... "Does slashdot even have editors anymore?"... had an account in 2001/2, people would say that all the time. Some things never change.

Re:Terrible Headline (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090210)

Apparently, I've forgotten to read between the lines of a scientific paper, because it doesn't sound like much of a polemic.

Here's the discussion.

Discussion and summary:
Consistent with AR4, this analysis demonstrates that observed and modeled late 20th century Arctic sea ice loss cannot result from natural variability alone. Indeed, an anthropogenic influence on the most extreme observed 1979-2010 negative trends is now evident for all trend lengths examined (2-54 years). While CCSM4 can reproduce the observed ice loss, it also shows that internal variability exerts a strong influence on sea ice trends, especially on sub-20 year timescales. Comparing a six-member CCSM4 ensemble to observed trends suggests that internal variability has enhanced observed ice loss and facilitated detection of an anthropogenic influence on observed trends during the satellite era (1979-present). In a warming world, multi-decadal negative trends increase in frequency and magnitude, trend variability on 2-10 year timescales increases, and when internal variability counteracts anthropogenic forcing, positive trends frequently occur on 2-20 year timescales in the second half of the 20th century, and on 2-10 year timescales in the first half of the 21st century.

But maybe I've missed something. Read the paper [ucar.edu] and tell me what you think.

Thaks for information (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089646)

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Re:Thaks for information (1)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089804)

If only we had a best answer button.

Summary - climate science can't predict shit. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37089762)

To quote from the horse's mouth:

Because "everything is coupled" in these intricate feedback loops, "it's hard to predict the future of Arctic sea ice," Rampal says.

Please... warming == more energetic weather system (1)

Gnu Zealand (1139875) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089778)

I'll take the opportunity to re-state this: Global Warming is an accurate but misleading appellation. Warming a fluid system, such as a planet's atmosphere or water in a pot, results in more, and more vigourous motion. Weather will become more violent. Some places will get colder or wetter. Larger weather systems will mean, at times, more icy air will be swept from the poles into the temperate zones and similarly sweep warmer air to the poles. It will be disastrous and expensive. People who rarely see frost will get heavy snow, like us, today. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/5443420/Major-weather-disruption-around-NZ [stuff.co.nz]

Re:Please... warming == more energetic weather sys (2)

Marble1972 (1518251) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090140)

Warming a fluid system, such as a planet's atmosphere or water in a pot, results in more, and more vigourous motion. Weather will become more violent.

That fails to explain why there are colder outer planets with significant atmosphere that have orders of magnitutude more violence. And the place on earth with the higest average wind is Antartica.

I guess a heated pot is not a good approximation for a planetary weather system. So - no - I don't really buy the higher temperature = more violence meme. Nor the 'once in a lifetime' crap the media regularly dishes out.

Not exactly news (1)

surveyork (1505897) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090128)

It has been known for a while that the 2007 report failed to include the effect of sea ice loss, mainly because there was no reliable data at that time, I think. We aren't going to drown in 10, 20 or 30 years, but sea ice is shrinking and thinning faster than previously expected. Most glaciers are shrinking too.

Re:Not exactly news (2)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37090364)

I think you're pretty confused. The 2007 report failed to include the effect of ice sheet loss on sea level rise. The 2007 IPCC report did include sea ice loss, which has other effects, such as decreasing the albedo of Earth which speeds up warming. One thing in particular sea ice loss doesn't do is raise sea level, because the ice is floating.

Global Hysteria (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37090292)

How many of you who believe in Global Warming can actually tell me how much CO2 actually contributes to the greenhouse effect? How many of you can tell me what the #1 contributor to the greenhouse effect actually is? If you think you know the answer to these questions because you listen to the news and to your favorite celebrity and believe them then what will to do when you find out they and you are wrong? What are you going to do when you find out they are ignoring the real answer in order to exploit your fears for purely political reasons? Will you admit that it's all a sham or will you just come up with some other lame excuse for believing what they want you to believe? Ok here's the first answer. CO2 combined with methane and sulfur dioxide and all the other talked about greenhouse gasses contribute less than 4%. The #1 greenhouse gas is water vapor which contributes 96%. If we were somehow able to eliminate CO2, other than killing all life on earth, would only lower the average earth temperature by a few degrees. But before you start fomulating your next excuse try looking up some facts.

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