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Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low Extent

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the from-some-angles-at-least dept.

Earth 398

mdsolar writes "Arctic sea ice has hit a record low extent for the period of satellite observation. Further, this record has been set in August when the minimum annual sea ice extent (and the prior record) has always come in September. Further still, the ice is still retreating as rapidly as it was in June and July when normally the decrease of sea ice extent slows in August. It is thus possible the the final minimum sea ice extend for 2012 will be seen in October rather than September as has always occurred in the past. More than one monitoring effort agree on the existence of a new record."

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398 comments

Just in time... (1, Funny)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | about 2 years ago | (#41132289)

... to get first post before it melts

Always interesting... (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#41132297)

...watching nature at work...

Re:Always interesting... (-1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 2 years ago | (#41133147)

Yep. We still have more ice on the planet than at other times.

Citation: Eocene [wikipedia.org] .

Hmmm lets see (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132303)

By October the air temp is around 13 degrees Fahrenheit. The max is 18 degrees and the minimum is 8 degrees. Days with Min Temp Below Freezing 31. http://www.climate-zone.com/climate/united-states/alaska/barrow/ [climate-zone.com] Are you still gonna stand by your statement of melting in October??

Re:Hmmm lets see (5, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41132335)

Not only air temperature but water temperature also has an effect on ice melt. With less ice the exposed water has more chance to absorb heat and warm up which may delay the start of freezing.

Re:Hmmm lets see (3, Interesting)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 years ago | (#41132497)

Couple that with the fact salt water freezes at lower than 0 C and that dramatic line this year, it's possible. If people remember the articles a month or so ago, about the very unusual complete surface melt over the surface of the Greenland ice sheet this summer, it also wouldn't be surprising. As far as salt water, I would think given the volume being diluted that the salinity isn't that much less (due to the melting ice), but it would be interesting to see what effect this major melt has on these levels. What does it take to stop the Atlantic conveyor (probably nowhere near that kind of level, but still)?

That said, I do believe man is responsible for much if not all of the environment change we're seeing, but I really hope that graph is a mistake. I find it somewhat scary. But given the Greenland melt event this year, plus the record high temperatures in the norther hemisphere this year, I think it is probably accurate. Let's hope this year is an anomaly because a change that great in one year is pretty drastic.

Re:Hmmm lets see (5, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41132665)

That's the way it usually works. You get a dramatic year followed by more normal years but a bit lower than the previous normal years. Then you get another dramatic year. Meanwhile on average it just keeps going downhill.

If you're interested in graphs here's a bunch more. [google.com]

Re:Hmmm lets see (5, Informative)

haruchai (17472) | about 2 years ago | (#41132967)

With regard to the Arctic melt of recent years, the VOLUME has been on a steady downward trend with little to no recovery. Extent is probably the easiest to measure but, by itself, it can be very misleading and is heavily influenced by waves and winds.

Re:Hmmm lets see (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132953)

I am so glad you think man is entirely at fault for this. Could you please post your qualifications so others don't make fun of you? Oh never mind, you are supporting GW so you can say the stupidest things and people will just let it go. Don't worry, Obama is a great president too.

Re:Hmmm lets see (5, Interesting)

anubi (640541) | about 2 years ago | (#41132907)

Yes, That reflectiveness of the white ice as compared to the darkness of the deep blue sea is known as its albedo [wikipedia.org] .

Being I first learned solid state linear design on germanium transistors, I am well aware of something we called "thermal runaway", in which the transistor would bias itself on more and more as it got hotter, yet being biased on was what was making it hot. The hotter it got, the more current it passed. Thermal runaway.

The result was a fused transistor.

The mathematics of thermal runaway on those old designs is nearly identical to the albedo-loss calculations of our ice caps. I find it a frightening scenario, as I can't simply change out the planet as easily as I can replace a fused transistor.

Re:Hmmm lets see (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | about 2 years ago | (#41132357)

This is a new record for many factors, and one of them is probably unpredictable temperature. By simple correlation, I would expect this october to be a little bit warmer than last year. (No need to link that oblig xkcd)

Re:Hmmm lets see (5, Informative)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#41132559)

By October the air temp is around 13 degrees Fahrenheit. The max is 18 degrees and the minimum is 8 degrees. Days with Min Temp Below Freezing 31. http://www.climate-zone.com/climate/united-states/alaska/barrow/ [climate-zone.com] Are you still gonna stand by your statement of melting in October??

Do you realize how much time and energy it takes to raise a mass of water even one degree? It's why water temperature is always behind air temperature. You can have 90 degree days all through June and still have cold water temperatures yet still be swimming in September when air temperatures are cold. Water is a wonderful heat sink.

Re:Hmmm lets see (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132845)

It is quite obvious that you are all talking out your asses because you know zero about the arctic and its weather. Yes the sea water freezes at a rate slower than fresh. In places like Alaska they did not have record temps. While the continental USA has a mild winter and has set a number of high temperature records in the last week and pundits ponder whether they will be blaming the dreaded “global warming” for those temperatures, Alaska and Canada have been suffering through some of the coldest temperatures on record during the last week. For example in Circle Hot Springs, AK on Sunday, 29 Jan 2012 the HIGH temperature was a blistering -49F, breaking the -44F record which has stood since 1917. It gets better. That same day in Circle Hot Springs the low temperature was -58F breaking the old record of -52F set in 1941 by six degrees. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/30/bitter-cold-records-broken-in-alaska-all-time-coldest-record-nearly-broken-but-murphys-law-intervenes/ [wattsupwiththat.com] The temperature of the surface of the Arctic Ocean is fairly constant, near the freezing point of seawater, slightly below zero degrees Celsius. If it is already near the freezing point just how much more cooling will it take to start ice formation....not friggin much. Move your happy asses to Barrow and watch the weather and then come back here and tell us all how nice and bath water warm the arctic ocean really is. Dont stay in too long as you have less than a couple of minutes before hypothermia sets in. Uninformed boobs...

Re:Hmmm lets see (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132891)

but the statements aren't looney. You call it global warming, someone else calles it climate change, others call it daily weather. Some one will try to sell you snake oil to cure the ills. Unfortunately, those folks call for billions of your dollars, peso's and dinnaro to solve the problem. You see in my day it was the coming ice age. And they were trying to blame carbon dioxide for trapping the heat in the daytime, and because the new molecule was heavier, coming to the ground and other nasty things that radioated the heat off at night. It came out later that the sun, a variable star in our vacinity was going thru a cycle, and not heating as much, what will the solution be this time, I hear sequestering carbon, but we need the carbon and nitrogen for plants, for oxygen. Plants produce other side effects, like food. Then there is the idea of birth control, or the republican idea of raping all the women, and children like the catholics do. I don't buy those ideas, more snake oil.
Other item that was in the news. I read the inuit reported the variable star in our vacinity wa further north then usual, effects from the gong?

Re:Hmmm lets see (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41133031)

Extent can decrease without melting, for example by compaction of the remaining ice. If refreezing is delayed, extent may decrease into October while ice volume levels off or even starts to increase.

Obviously caused by humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132319)

Ice melting to the lowest point evar? This must obviously be because of human-caused global warming!

Cue the loonies (3, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | about 2 years ago | (#41132325)

I expect this post will be full of the normal vitriol from barely-informed people.

Re:Cue the loonies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132353)

What do you expect? Those who push unscientific ideas like global warming and evolution do not listen to reason or logic. Just because their bizarre theories have been disproved hundreds of times doesn't mean they will stop pushing them. Its all about pushing liberalism down our throats.

Re:Cue the loonies (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41132473)

I think you forgot the /sarcasm tag.

Re:Cue the loonies (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41132359)

And loonies calling everybody else loonies.

Re:Cue the loonies -- uh no, not on Slashdot (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | about 2 years ago | (#41132377)

You must be new here. Slashdot is hardly the bastion of the ill-informed global warming deniers. Slashdot is full of various types or nerds who by and large are smarter than most (exceptions do occur)

Re:Cue the loonies -- uh no, not on Slashdot (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132517)

You'd be pretty amazed. There are tons of incredibly intelligent people that do all sorts of stupid things - deny global warming, believe in a god, vote republican, etc.

Re:Cue the loonies -- uh no, not on Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132677)

Used to be. Slashdot dropped below the average intelligence a few years ago. It's nothing more than a shrill and denier gripe fest.

This is no longer the site where intelligent people hang out.

Slashdot hipsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132801)

So you were here before it became popular.

Re:Cue the loonies (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132383)

JUST WHAT I'D EXPECT TO HEAR FROM A GLOBAL WARMING ALARMIST. I DON'T KNOW WHY EVERYONE IS YELLING ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING ALL THE TIME CUZ THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GLOBAL WARMING BECAUSE THE WORLD HAS ACTUALLY BEEN COOLING SINCE 1998. SO-CALLED GLOBAL WARMING STOPPED IN 1998 AND IT WILL STOP AGAIN IN 2012, YOU'LL SEE.

----
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING. Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING. Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING. Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING. slashdot filter proves law of unintended consequences.

Re:Cue the loonies (5, Funny)

multiben (1916126) | about 2 years ago | (#41132437)

Hey screw you buddy! I went to the beach the other day and it was like totally freezing - more like global cooling I say. And what do scientists know anyway? They're always inside in labs and stuff. You can't test weather with a test tube - just look out your window, man! Anyway, I hope it does get warmer because then I can swim all year. The desert may be too hot, but I don't care because I don't live there.

Re:Cue the loonies (2)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 years ago | (#41132955)

Who goes to the beach in winter?

Re:Cue the loonies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132999)

Who goes to the beach in winter?

Australians? Africans? South Americans? Pretty much anyone in the southern hemisphere....

On the other hand... (4, Funny)

drooling-dog (189103) | about 2 years ago | (#41132505)

I know several people who never took any interest in any scientific matter whatsoever, and yet are now passionate in their critique of climate science and the vast global conspiracy that all scientists and smart people are obviously parties to. If this is what it takes to finally get them interested in science, maybe it's a good thing?

Re:Cue the loonies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132747)

I expect this post will be full of the normal vitriol from barely-informed people.

Which would be remarkably similar to your own worthless post,.

Let me give you some good advice. Find a tall bridge, and jump off
it. You will have just made the world a better and less crowded place, which is much more
than you are now doing.

Scary (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132329)

If climate change is real and man-made, the human race isn't mature enough to react to it in time. The number of people that have a wishy-washy position on it despite the evidence is downright scary. Until the price of food goes up by 10x there isn't going to be a significant reaction, and by then it may be too late.

Re:Scary (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#41132369)

> the human race isn't mature enough to react to it in time

This is exactly why I stopped worrying about it.

Re:Scary (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132403)

> > the human race isn't mature enough to react to it in time

> This is exactly why I stopped worrying about it.

You're right, maybe Peril Sensitive Sunglasses are the way to go.

Re:Scary (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41132987)

There are only so many things you can worry about.

And global warming/climate change for the average person is *way way way way* down on the list. Other pressing things like job, family, housing, healthcare, etc., come first.

And in this economy, climate change isn't even anywhere on the radar. It's a rich people's problem.

--
BMO

The end is not nigh! (4, Insightful)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | about 2 years ago | (#41133135)

Yes, AGW is a serious problem, and denying it makes it costlier. However, the world is not ending. Green(tm) energy is getting cheaper and cheaper. It is predicted that solar will reach residential grid parity as early as 2015*. Not to mention next-generation nuclear. And, in a few decades, nuclear fusion. And if reducing emissions is not enough, we can cool Earth by increasing solar reflection** or by sequestering carbon*** or through some other action.

Also, how can people have such ridiculous short memories? The world was supposed to end in the 1970s though mass famines caused by overpopulation. Then the doomsayers changed their minds and predicted water wars. Then peak oil. Then the ozone layer hole (remember that?). Then acid rain. Then we very closely avoided Armageddon in 2000, due to the Y2K bug. Remember that? The mass societal disruptions, the nuclear wars that would be started because some digital nuclear weapon system misfired due to Y2K? Phew, that was close! But we survived.

Recently, we survived the Apocalypse in 21 May 2011, then 21 October 2011.

Now, of course, all the headlines are about climate change.

Do you know what is the single greatest cause of climate-change denialism? You. Doomsayers. Because you predict the Apocalypse every 5 years, people stopped listening.

Want to help the environment? Start talking straight.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/08/ff_apocalypsenot/ [wired.com]
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_parity [wikipedia.org]
** http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/08/putting-the-breaks-on-climate-change-with-diamonds/ [arstechnica.com]
*** http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/08/25/2359234/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic [slashdot.org]

Re:Scary (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41132529)

Some think we're already doing far too much!

In thrall to the environmentalist lobby and its dogmas, the President and the regulatory bodies under his control have taken measures to limit energy exploration and restrict development in ways that sap economic performance, curtail growth, and kill jobs. ...

As the Obama administration wages war against oil and coal, it has been spending billions of dollars on alternative energy forms and touting its creation of "green" jobs. But it seems to be operating more on faith than on fact-based economic calculation. The "green" technologies are typically far too expensive to compete in the marketplace

So there you have it: we will do whatever is cheapest as of today, environment be damned. But that's probably just some guy's blog, right? Google it and find out.

We're so far from actually changing course to the degree that would be necessary that if anything I think we're just as likely to "double down" and show the environment who is boss instead of trying to appease it. And by "we" I don't just mean the US, either.

Re:Scary (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#41132555)

Why would the price of food go up? We will have that new Greenland orange crop...

In all seriousness, I think the climate is much more resilient than most alarmists are saying. We have had both much hatter times and much cooler times, and nothing tipped over then. The farm belt may move a lot closer to the pools... And with Canada as the new farm belt, the US corn subsidies may be less of an economic drain. (The out of work framers near me are another story) In other words, the change will suck for a lot of people and be a boon for a lot of other people. Just like most major change.

Re:Scary (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#41132567)

OK, I was thinking "Heat? Go to the pool." But I meant to type "closer to the poles."

Re:Scary (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41132703)

We have had both much hatter times and much cooler times...

I was going to take a drive to the Hamptons, but I couldn't find my khakis...

Re:Scary (1)

joelsanda (619660) | about 2 years ago | (#41132943)

If climate change is real and man-made, the human race isn't mature enough to react to it in time.

I guess I can understand the need to identify a cause for global warming - if we can arrest anthropogenic sources of change then it follows we can perhaps slow or stop climate changes induced by people.

If much of the change is related to us burning fossil fuels I think we're basically screwed. Fossil fuels accounts for about 85% of the United States's energy use (see EIA Renewable Energy [eia.gov] ). With a number that high can anyone imagine a social policy change or technological advance that would reduce the amount of CO2 we're dumping into the atmosphere? The US can't pass a bill to save it's postal service - what chance is there in something like the Manhatten Project or Apollo project were science and business collaborate to create something historic and game changing?

A 1930 Model A Ford owner [fordbarn.com] reports getting 20 miles per gallon, for christ's sake. Today the Ford Explorer gets 20 - 28 miles per gallon [ford.com] . In almost 100 years we basically have the same thing in a more deadly model getting roughly the same mileage? Nah ... if that's the best we can do it's time to stock up on dry ice and sun screen.

Re:Scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41133035)

I am going to, for the sake of argument, give you GW. I am also going to give you the fact you are so much smarter than every single person who doesn't think Mankind has anything to do with GW. Now, being as you are so smart, why are you also so stupid? The same scientist that claim global warming also say we can't stop it. We can only slow it. It also would economically ruin the world to put such drastic restrictions on Co2 output. We can assume that you can bitch all you want and the world isn't going to reduce Co2 output. Best case scenario for you is we actually freeze Co2 output. The consensus by scientist is this only slows GW. That's BEST CASE, not going to happen. So why aren't we doing more in the way of ADAPTING to the global warming? Until I see you intelligent people, the intelligent scientist, and the people in charge actually doing something intelligent you can just have your little global warming fuckfest without me or thousands, perhaps millions of others who just think you are stupid. Seems if I were the one thinking this was going to wipe out mankind, or even a large portion of mankind, I would be doing what I could to prepare for the inevitable or at least not call the people who I NEED to help me fix the problem stupid or idiots. I would, for the sake of the world, bite my tongue and make nice. After all, you need me to help you with your beliefs. I don't need you to help me with mine.

Almost Meaningless (-1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41132331)

Without the same observations over a longer period, this data is meaningless in and of itself.

It could easily be part of a cycle we have not been able to observe because we've lacked the means and meaningful observational time frame to detect it. It's simply one point on a graph spanning millenniums.

Strat

Re:Almost Meaningless (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41132341)

Translation: I have found a meme that I can continually repeat to rationalize away any disturbing finding. Now come on kiddies, let's BURN MORE OIL!!!!

Re:Almost Meaningless (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132401)

Oil? We are already burning oil as fast as we possibly can.

Now, we must burn more fracked up gas!

Sometimes I wander if the loonies that oppose all and any nuclear energy projects (including ITER), are somehow not guided by the hand of big oil and big gas companies.

Re:Almost Meaningless (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | about 2 years ago | (#41132793)

There are people that oppose ITER? I have never heard this before.

Re:Almost Meaningless (0, Troll)

Alaska Jack (679307) | about 2 years ago | (#41132439)

Translation: I don't like BlueStrat's perfectly calm, rational point, so I'm going to argue against it with emotion, wave my hands around, and come up with some meaningless term that sneers at his point without SOUNDING too sneery. oh, I know -- "meme." Yeah, that'll work.

So, I have a question for you. Do you consider yourself scientifically minded and skeptical? Do you think it's the OTHER guys who post on emotion, looking for anything that confirms their pre-existing notions? Because -- surprise! -- that's exactly what you just did. Kind of humbling, isn't it? BlueStrat made a perfectly scientific point -- this observation, in and of itself, doesn't mean much, because our data set is so small. We've only been making these observations since (I think) 1978 -- an eyeblink in geologic time.

If you actually have something meaningful to say, and you want to show all of us you're actually NOT an idiot, well -- what's stopping you?

lllll Alaska Jack

Re:Almost Meaningless (3, Insightful)

Muros (1167213) | about 2 years ago | (#41132581)

Translation: I don't like BlueStrat's perfectly calm, rational point, so I'm going to argue against it with emotion, wave my hands around, and come up with some meaningless term that sneers at his point without SOUNDING too sneery. oh, I know -- "meme." Yeah, that'll work.

So, I have a question for you. Do you consider yourself scientifically minded and skeptical? Do you think it's the OTHER guys who post on emotion, looking for anything that confirms their pre-existing notions? Because -- surprise! -- that's exactly what you just did. Kind of humbling, isn't it? BlueStrat made a perfectly scientific point -- this observation, in and of itself, doesn't mean much, because our data set is so small. We've only been making these observations since (I think) 1978 -- an eyeblink in geologic time.

There is nothing rational about saying we just do nothing about a bad situation because we haven't observed in the past how those situations play out. BlueStrat's post basically boils down to "this is probably just nature at work, and we haven't directly observed nature scientifically for a long enough period to know if this is a temporary condition".

We haven't directly observed arctic sea ice cover for very long, but the trends in our observations tie in very closely with other related more long term direct observations, and for much further back in time through indirect methods. The data is not meaningless, and accusing someone of being "emotional" when they post a sarcastic comment rather than regurgitate the thousands of rebuttals that have been made in the past is just you trying to sound reasonable about your cunning plan to do absolutely nothing.

Re:Almost Meaningless (1, Troll)

Alaska Jack (679307) | about 2 years ago | (#41133087)

What, is Sunday "idiots-upmodding-mindless-drivel they-agree-with day?"

(1) You put this in quotes:

"this is probably just nature at work, and we haven't directly observed nature scientifically for a long enough period to know if this is a temporary condition".

Except... it's not a quote. BlueStrat didn't say "this is probably just nature at work." Those are YOUR words. They are not the words MightyMartian was commenting on. If you want to paraphrase/make up words and start debating them with yourself, be my guest. But don't drag me into it.

(2) There is nothing rational about saying we just do nothing about a bad situation because we haven't observed in the past how those situations play out.

Of course there is. Doing nothing IS sometimes the most rational response. History is replete with instances [wikipedia.org] where everyone would have been much better off if authorities had simply done nothing. I can think of a dozen instances just off the top of my head. Does that mean THIS is one of those cases? I don't know -- and neither do you. We only know about those things in hindsight. But history makes it sand-poundingly obvious that, yes, sometimes doing nothing is much better than a badly misguided attempt to address a problem affecting a complex system we don't understand very well, on the theory that, well, we must do SOMETHING!!

(3) and accusing someone of being "emotional" when they post a sarcastic comment etc etc etc

So pointing out an obvious fact (i.e., that MightyMartian's reaction was emotional and not rational) is an "accusation"?

Cunning? Oh for Pete's sake. Grow up.

lllll Alaska Jack

Re:Almost Meaningless (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#41132601)

That was a very insightful post. To bad many mods won't read past the first paragraph. They will never get the irony of "the meme calling someone else a meme" being modded insightful and the reasoned reply still being -1 Overrated. Sigh. Now which batch of mods will hit me first?

Re:Almost Meaningless (4, Funny)

ra1n85 (2708917) | about 2 years ago | (#41132701)

You're correct that satellites can only provide us with relatively recent data, but scientists have used arctic ice cores and rock samples dating back hundreds of thousands of years to show the rise in atmospheric CO2 levels. The data shows a drastic spike in atmospheric CO2 during the last century. http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ [nasa.gov] As for my personal opinion, I think we're toast. We're far too selfish, divided, and concerned with immediate gratification to change our course. I don't dwell on it too much, though. I find my time better spent in front of nice warm tire and plastic bottle fire.

Re:Almost Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132809)

If you actually have something meaningful to say, and you want to show all of us you're actually NOT an idiot, well -- what's stopping you?

lllll Alaska Jack

As others have already pointed out, satellite data is not the only data available.

If you pretend it is the only data available then you can shoot it down as being a single
data point, but if you look at all the other available data ( such as ice cores ) which provides data points
over the course of several thousand years, then you will be forced by logic to conclude that the
idea that the earth is warming is quite likely to be true.

As for BlueStrat, he is not the sharpest tool in the box here at Slashdot, and it is very rare that he has
something which is of genuine value to offer the discussion.

Re:Almost Meaningless (1)

msclrhd (1211086) | about 2 years ago | (#41132531)

No, it just means that you cannot correlate the data. Without knowing what the high/low cycle was like previously -- with data spanning at least two ice ages -- you cannot make predictions like "this is a result of human pollution" or "this is caused by global warming" or how much of an impact we are having. Now, I am not saying we are having no effect on the planet, I am saying it is difficult to separate natural vs arteficial varaince.

It is possible to measure and correlate human impact on the Earth for things like CFCs, but just having data recorded over a small period of time (when considering ice ages) without any other measurements is not possible to draw any conclusions other than "the Arctic ice is getting smaller for now" (looking at the current trend in the data). We don't know if this is part of a longer cycle (low/high ice cover over ice ages) or if it is associated with the amount of CO2 in the oceans (which we do know is increasing and is man made due to the amount of CO2 we are producing and the equillibrium equation CO2 and water have).

For example, lets say we record the average temperature of a place starting at winter, where we have humans building fires for warmth. As we keep track of the temperatures it moves into summer and the temperatures increase. Now we say that the averate temperature is at a record high. This is true, but we have not recorded the activity for a full season.

Now, one way to get a better picture is to have the records of both the Arctic and Antarctic ice. Measure other factors like the ambiant water temperature, ambiant air temperature, CO2 levels, amount of solar radiation, thickness of the ozone layer, solar activity level (measuring the effect, if any, that solar cycles have on ice levels) as well. Then you can look for correlations and patterns. Then you can create theories and make predicitons based on those.

Re:Almost Meaningless (0, Troll)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41132615)

Translation: I have found a meme that I can continually repeat to rationalize away any disturbing finding. Now come on kiddies, let's BURN MORE OIL!!!!

Nice strawman you built there. I never said anything about burning oil or touched on energy at all in my post.

I'm all for alternative energy sources where they make economic and practical sense.

One data point on a scale covering millenia doesn't prove anything. It only tells us that, *right now*, there seems to be less arctic ice than there has been over the last decade or four.

We know that global climate has changed radically over the ages, from much warmer than now to much colder than now.

We simply don't have data spanning enough time to know whether this is natural or not.

Why don't you be honest and abandon all pretense that you're basing your opinions on science and the scientific method.

Whenever someone mentions unusually cold temperatures in a single winter or even a decade or two, well, that's just weather. Why isn't the reverse true?

What you advocate isn't science, it's evangelism.

Strat

Re:Almost Meaningless (5, Insightful)

Muros (1167213) | about 2 years ago | (#41132839)

Translation: I have found a meme that I can continually repeat to rationalize away any disturbing finding. Now come on kiddies, let's BURN MORE OIL!!!!

Nice strawman you built there. I never said anything about burning oil or touched on energy at all in my post.

I'm all for alternative energy sources where they make economic and practical sense.

Economic to the general populace or economic to those who benefit from not paying the for the full cost of their actions?

One data point on a scale covering millenia doesn't prove anything. It only tells us that, *right now*, there seems to be less arctic ice than there has been over the last decade or four.

We know that global climate has changed radically over the ages, from much warmer than now to much colder than now.

We simply don't have data spanning enough time to know whether this is natural or not.

At the timescales you are talking about, having enough data on the past is irrelevant. We would need instead to have data on a sample of similar planets with similar chemical compositions, in similar orbits around stars of similar age size and luminosity, with a similar distribution of landmasses and a similar ecosystem. Bit of a tall order. Just because something happenned in the past doesn't mean it will happen again, and the longer the timescale involved in any cycle, the more chance that things will be different the next time around due to different starting or external conditions to the cycle. We won't have a repeat of pre-carboniferous conditions. Even if we dug up all the coal and oil in the world that we can find and released them back into the atmosphere, tectonic processes will have slightly changed the chemical balance at the surface. The earths orbit will be slightly different, it's rotational speed will be different, the moon will be further away than back then. The amount of light hitting us from the sun will be different. If you want to talk about massive timescales, what nature decides to do to us should be given a judicious shove in the direction we want things to happen, because nature doesn't care about us.

Why don't you be honest and abandon all pretense that you're basing your opinions on science and the scientific method.

Whenever someone mentions unusually cold temperatures in a single winter or even a decade or two, well, that's just weather. Why isn't the reverse true?

What you advocate isn't science, it's evangelism.

Strat

Why don't you be honest and just admit that you are trying to say science doesn't know, so we should do nothing? I like your little "evangelism" dig. Suggesting that climate theory is a religion.... haven't heard that one before.

Re:Almost Meaningless (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#41132905)

Whenever someone mentions unusually cold temperatures in a single winter or even a decade or two, well, that's just weather. Why isn't the reverse true? What you advocate isn't science, it's evangelism.

I have a feeling you're going to just scoff at any science anyway, but low and high pressures alternate. If there's been an unusually cold winter one place, other places probably had unusually warm winters. The whole globe isn't cooling down, it's warming up. And we do have other less accurate measures that go further back in time, you're the one claiming we don't have enough information but can't be bothered to find out if it's true. If you go camping and make a fire and a forest fire breaks out near your campsite and you go "it's not proven, forest fires can start by lightning strikes" yet nobody has seen a thunderstorm pass through your claim of natural causes starts looking pretty weak. Replace the campfire with the whole earth burning oil, the forest fire with melting ice and the lightning strike with natural variation and you have a pretty good analogy.

Re:Almost Meaningless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132371)

rtfa

its saying that the current level of ice is already lower than it has ever been recorded, and it's not even the end of summer yet, so we expect there to be even more loss of ice to come.

It has nothing to do with datapoints and isn't saying anything, other than ICE IS GOING AWAY

Re:Almost Meaningless (0)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41132487)

rtfa

its saying that the current level of ice is already lower than it has ever been recorded, and it's not even the end of summer yet, so we expect there to be even more loss of ice to come.

I did rtfa.

It's comparing satellite measurements which means, at best, measurements since only the 1960s/70s. On a global climate scale time frame, that's nothing.

It's like measuring the distance between continents in the morning and then in the afternoon and claiming that because no meaningful difference exists between the two that continents are stationary and don't move.

It has nothing to do with datapoints and isn't saying anything, other than ICE IS GOING AWAY

Which is precisely my point, but it won't stop the AGW religious extremists from pointing to this and saying "See! I told you so!" as we can already see from the other comments.

Strat

Re:Almost Meaningless (1)

jc42 (318812) | about 2 years ago | (#41132683)

It's like measuring the distance between continents in the morning and then in the afternoon and claiming that because no meaningful difference exists between the two that continents are stationary and don't move.

Nah; the graph the temperature curves for several years, plus decade averages. So it's more like measuring the distances between continents and showing graphs of the changes for years and decades. We've been able to do this for a while now, and the results for the Atlantic (a few cm wider each year) turn out to be quite consistent with the 80-100 million year age for that ocean.

So maybe we something different from widths of oceans, if we want to ridicule the significance of these graphs. I wonder what other roughly similar measurements might work better ...

Re:Almost Meaningless (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#41132759)

Funny enough if you go digging through the old Inuit stories, there are a few where entire groups have been wiped out because of the sea ice or lack thereof. Again, that's oral tradition and people don't like to consider that or anything. This stuff really isn't earth shattering to people who've spent any time in the far north of Canada and talked to them. It's wax and wane.

Records kinda mean squat just like you said, we've got plenty of stations here in Canada, which are only 10-20 years old. Some no more than 30 years old, and those are included in the weather sampling data. Heck, we've got some places that record temperature data for places that are 30-40km from where they state. Or are in bad locations, like next to cold mountain rivers. Or are in the shade for 80% of the day, or other inane things.

Beh. I liken most of this stuff to the jump in autism. Sure there's been a jump, because the diagnosis standard was changed. In turn, of course we're seeing a difference and warmer weather. We have more stations(well kinda), in fact some countries are removing a lot of them. But in others, they're so poorly placed they're useless.

Re:Almost Meaningless (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#41132621)

It has nothing to do with datapoints and isn't saying anything, other than ICE IS GOING AWAY

In summer too. Imaging that. It is, however, implying that it it going away faster and further then ever before. Which is true for a very small value of "ever" in a geological time scale.

Re:Almost Meaningless (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132423)

Without the same observations over a longer period, this data is meaningless in and of itself.

It could easily be part of a cycle we have not been able to observe because we've lacked the means and meaningful observational time frame to detect it. It's simply one point on a graph spanning millenniums.

Strat

Translation # 2: Let's stop doing meaningless science on things that that span millennia. let's BURN MORE OIL!!!!

Moral of the story: Invent time travel first so we can have at least 3 points on the graph to make climate change REALLY convincing.

Re:Almost Meaningless (5, Interesting)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41132593)

Here's a paper about Arctic sea ice for the past 47 million years: "History of sea ice in the Arctic" (Polyak, et. al. 2010) [osu.edu] . It may have some of the information you seek. Here's the abstract:

Arctic sea-ice extent and volume are declining rapidly. Several studies project that the Arctic Ocean may become seasonally ice-free by the year 2040 or even earlier. Putting this into perspective requires information on the history of Arctic sea-ice conditions through the geologic past. This information can be provided by proxy records from the Arctic Ocean floor and from the surrounding coasts. Although existing records are far from complete, they indicate that sea ice became a feature of the Arctic by 47 Ma, following a pronounced decline in atmospheric pCO2 after the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Optimum, and consistently covered at least part of the Arctic Ocean for no less than the last 13–14 million years. Ice was apparently most wide-spread during the last 2–3 million years, in accordance with Earth’s overall cooler climate. Nevertheless, episodes of considerably reduced sea ice or even seasonally ice-free conditions occurred during warmer periods linked to orbital variations. The last low-ice event related to orbital forcing (high insolation) was in the early Holocene, after which the northern high latitudes cooled overall, with some superimposed shorter-term (multidecadal to millennial-scale) and lower-magnitude variability. The current reduction in Arctic ice cover started in the late19th century, consistent with the rapidly warming climate, and became very pronounced over the last three decades. This ice loss appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years and unexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

Re:Almost Meaningless (1)

Alaska Jack (679307) | about 2 years ago | (#41133103)

Good post -- the abstract sounds interesting. Thanks! lllll AJ

Re:Almost Meaningless (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41133117)

The last low-ice event related to orbital forcing (high insolation) was in the early Holocene,

It's not obvious from your quote so I'll just point out that the Holocene began 12,000 years ago. [wikipedia.org] . That means that this era of an Ice-free arctic occurred in the Age of Men, and it didn't kill us all off - nor were we responsible for it. "Insolation" means higher solar input. So we can blame the sun for warming before, but not now for some reason.

Re:Almost Meaningless (4, Informative)

drooling-dog (189103) | about 2 years ago | (#41132599)

Explorers have unsuccessfully sought a Northwest Passage for a lot longer than climate satellites have been orbiting the Earth, so it seems likely that the current minimum dates back to pre-industrial times, at least.

But if you're arguing that "we need more research", then by all means advocate for that to your congressional representatives. House Republicans have been trying to slash climate research funding for a long time. They're also trying to prohibit [sciencemag.org] the National Institutes of Health from funding health economics studies. I wonder what issue that might relate to?

See no evil, hear no evil...

Quit complaining (1, Troll)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41132355)

It's good for business, and that's all that matters. For one thing it gives Japan easier access to oil shipped from the North Sea. Carnival Cruise Lines can do more Arctic tours, and have Polar Bear steaks. They can club baby seals and have tailor made coats made right on board. This is not a disaster, it's an opportunity. Make the best of it.. while it lasts.

Coming Soon the tropics of Labrador (2)

DevotedSkeptic (2715017) | about 2 years ago | (#41132361)

Start looking at northern land that can be purchased cheaply, soon it may be prime tropical real estate!

Re:Coming Soon the tropics of Labrador (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41132435)

Sure, after it thaws out, then dries out, and assuming it's far enough above the current sea level to remain dry on sea level stops rising. So maybe in a couple hundred years.

Re:Coming Soon the tropics of Labrador (1)

DevotedSkeptic (2715017) | about 2 years ago | (#41132499)

you're thinking of Northern Labrador, we will still want places to ski! The Happy Valley - Goose Bay area will be the new Florida.

Quasi-monotonic functions (2)

matthiasvegh (1800634) | about 2 years ago | (#41132411)

If arctic sea level is a quasi-monotonically decreasing function, then isn't every point in time (after a certain threshold, and when the level changes) a record low?

Yawn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132425)

Yawn.....speculations.

All Right-Thinking People Know ... (5, Funny)

jabberwock (10206) | about 2 years ago | (#41132455)

... that if climate change were legitimate, the Earth would "shut down" and prevent any bad consequences.

Re:All Right-Thinking People Know ... (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41132463)

Is that you Todd Akin?

Re:All Right-Thinking People Know ... (3, Interesting)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#41132527)

... that if climate change were legitimate, the Earth would "shut down" and prevent any bad consequences.

It does this regularly. We call them Extinction Level Events. When things get too out of balance the Earth tends to get rid of the thing causing the imbalance. That's why we should take warning signs seriously.

Re:All Right-Thinking People Know ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132695)

You're a fucking idiot.

Re:All Right-Thinking People Know ... (0, Flamebait)

Alaska Jack (679307) | about 2 years ago | (#41133141)

Good lord -- I thought the mods were retarded today BEFORE I saw this post.

"When things get too out of balance"?!?! Allow me to mentally wander back to the old techno-libertarian days of Slashdot, when goofy claptrap like this would have been MERCILESSLY MOCKED, not modded "interesting."

The Chicxulub impact -- did the asteroid somehow sense that things down on Earth were "too out of balance"? Did it think: "Hmm... I'll take care of this!"

lllll AJ

Re:All Right-Thinking People Know ... (2)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#41132669)

Anyone with even half a clue knows that the bad-consequences ARE "the earth shutting-down".

- Sux To Be Us
- Life (for us) will become more harsh, more distressing, less convenient
- Nature / The Earth , on the other hand, doesn't give a flying fart for Human Beings, and will continue on nonetheless

I for one do not believe that things will be as bad as some scientists would claim. If nothing else give-or-take a few hundred million years and you'd never know that Human Beings Completely Screwed Up The Environment.

Yes folks, short of international thermonuclear war nothing "we" do to the environment is really *all that bad*.

Although given our current behaviour it does seem likely we're well on our way to DESTROYING ALL HUMAN LIFE on this planet.

What's really scary about this... (5, Insightful)

jurgen (14843) | about 2 years ago | (#41132465)

What is really scary about this is that only a few years ago scientists were saying that the Arctic "could be ice free in summer before the end of the century" and the deniers were calling them alarmists THEN. Then in the last couple of years some of the most alarmist of these alarmists have been saying that the Arctic could be ice free in summer in the next couple of decades.

Now I look at the slope of the line on that chart and I think the Arctic is going to be to be pretty close to ice free THIS summer.

The Arctic sea ice is showing us how much more rapidly things can change than even the "worst alarmists" dare to predict when positive feedback loops kick in and tipping points are passed. What will be the ripple effects of this? Where is the next tipping point?

Re:What's really scary about this... (5, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#41132577)

Don't worry folks, as soon as the Climate Change Alarmists (NB not commenting on their correct-ness, just saying "them's whut 're ringing the alarm bells") are proved 100% RIGHT (in the Arctic becoming ice-free) the Wisdom Of The Deniers will suddenly perform an about-face and loudly proclaim "yeah well so what , now PROVE that this is absolutely and necessarily BAD".

The joys of being a RELIGIOUS FANATIC is that you can keep moving the goalposts in an endless "blind faith means you're never having to admit you're wrong" litany.

We're seeing EXACTLY this same behaviour here in Australia. The Glorious Leader of The Opposition INSISTED that The Carbon Tax would have an IMMEDIATE and DEVASTATING impact on the economy.

Now that he's been proved CONCLUSIVELY wrong on that specific count, he's turned about and is loudly claiming "Yeah Well trust me, I'm right and you're wrong, it'll be devastating just in the long term".

Re:What's really scary about this... (1, Funny)

boligmic (188232) | about 2 years ago | (#41133095)

I'm 37 years old - the Arctic will NEVER be ice-free. Ever.

Why should we devastate our economy when NOTHING WILL EVER HAPPEN.

As always, I'm 100% correct and you are 100% wrong.

Re:What's really scary about this... (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#41132705)

Well, note that the chart is of the "white lies, black lies and statistics" type. If you actually extend it down to 0 you'll see there's a pretty far way to go still. Then again, it's also like a smaller and smaller ice cube in a big glass of water...

Re:What's really scary about this... (3, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | about 2 years ago | (#41132861)

Now I look at the slope of the line on that chart and I think the Arctic is going to be to be pretty close to ice free THIS summer.

Well, note that the graph is missing it's zero line. If you add that in, below the line of month names, you get a better picture of it all.

What I see is that the top (light grey) curve, representing the 1980s' average, bottoms out somewhat below 8. This year, it looks like the minimum will be somewhat below 4. So over roughly 3 decades, we've lost roughly half the Arctic sea ice. This would imply a back-of-the-envelope, one-significant-digit estimate of an ice-free Arctic somewhere around 2040.

Of course, if you look at the graphs too closely, you can sorta see an acceleration, with the 1990s curve somewhat closer to the 1980s curve than to the 2000s curve. Then there are the three lowest years' curves that don't show much of a pattern, and this year's curve way lower than any of the others. But this isn't very many data curves. Maybe it's all accelerating and the Arctic will be ice free by 2020; maybe not.

One thing that is clear is that we're not going to do much about it. So we should just stock up on a good supply of popcorn, and watch the show. And not buy any ocean-front property, no matter how good a deal the seller makes it sound like (because it's not just sea ice that's melting).

Re:What's really scary about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132901)

I look at the slope of the line on that chart and I think the Arctic is going to be to be pretty close to ice free THIS summer.

I think you are being misled by the fact that the bottom of the chart is conveniently located at 2, not zero. But personally I don't see anything utterly catastrophic with ice-free Arctic. Much better than another ice age in my book.

Global Warming is Great! (4, Funny)

oracleofbargth (16602) | about 2 years ago | (#41132477)

Global warming is a Great thing!

We can provide for endless new jobs over the coming centuries as we have to rebuild literally thousands of drowning cities! We will open up new sea shipping lanes, as previously impassable straits are expanded from rising ocean levels! Previously frozen tundra will become prime temperate real estate!

Imagine the possibilities!

/sarcasm

Solution (1, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about 2 years ago | (#41132479)

We should just turn our air conditioners around and turn them on full blast. That'll cool the outdoors down.

Short term record (0)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#41132513)

This is a prime example of a record low over recorder history. In this case recorded history is only the last 30 years. It does not indicate if there was a lower ice sheet cover in the last 100 years, 1000 years or 10,000 years Climate change is a long term phenomenon and 30 years of climate data is an indication of global warming but something similar could have happened outside of recorded history. Too many people look at the word "record" and interpret it as "this has never happened before" while in this case the true statement is "this had not happened in the last 30 years".

Re:Short term record (4, Informative)

jurgen (14843) | about 2 years ago | (#41132641)

Actually the true statement IS that "this has never happened before". Ok, maybe it did happen in the interglacial periods before the last ice age, but not in the last 1450 years [skepticalscience.com] for which we have ice cores and other proxy data... and by that point there is no reason to not assume it to be true for the rest of our current interglacial unless you have some good argument to the contrary. You don't NEED the rather super-precise satellite observations we have for the last 33 years to make this kind of statement.

If this weren't so tragic it would be really funny seeing you deniers all flailing madly about for a way out of this one.

Re:Short term record (0)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#41132977)

What I meant was from the information in the satellite photo comparisons the statement "this has never happened before" is not valid. This reminds me of a math joke;

An economist, an engineer and a mathematician are on a train to Glasgow. The economist looks out the window and sees a pasture full of sheep. He says "Wow, all of the sheep on Scotland are black." The engineer look out the windows and says "No, some of the sheep in Scotland are black." The mathematician looks out and says "In Scotland there exists at least one pasture where the sheep are black on at least one side." The mathematician's view is the most correct. There is not interpretation no extrapolation; just a statement of what was actually observed.

that point there is no reason to not assume it to be true for the rest of our current interglacial

There is a very valid reason; that being to never assume anything because that is the line between science and conjecture. Science require proof; not assumptions. Observations are only valid within the time period of the observations. They say nothing about what happened outside that period.

I agree that Ice cores and other proxy data show more information but that is not what we are talking about. A 30 year period is far from "ever" and that is what the article is about.

Re:Short term record (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#41132685)

Yeah, but 30 is longer than any history to a lot of people on slashdot... :)

Re:Short term record (2)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about 2 years ago | (#41132699)

A simple sediment core from the Arctic seabed provides temperature and biological records going back a very long ways, and can trivially establish if the ocean in an area was exposed or whether it was covered with ice.

Yes, I know the saying goes, don't argue with a fool because outside observers won't know the difference. Sorry, I fed the denier troll. Slaps back of hand. I'll try not to let it happen again.

Re:Short term record (0, Troll)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#41133023)

It is funny that you assume I am a denier. I do not deny the conclusion but the method that came to that conclusion. There is plenty of other data that support the presence of global warming. What I am saying is that this "record" is not relevant as the period of observation is too short.

Had the article been about sediment cores and plotting information based on those my statements may be quite different. The observation period for sediment cores is hundreds or thousands of years. That is far different than the 30 years of satellite data.

Are we so jaded that anyone who questions scientific methodology is called a denier?

Re:Short term record (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#41132715)

I think we have good enough records to say unequivocally this is the lowest sea ice in several hundred years. Proxies from boreholes drilled in the Arctic Ocean indicate it's the lowest for several thousand years. Here's [osu.edu] a paper I referenced in a reply above about Arctic sea ice for the past 47 Ma.

Re:Short term record (0)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#41132899)

I am not saying it may not be true but that this method is invalid. This specific record was obtained by comparing satellite photos taken over the last 30 years. As you have stated, boreholes cover several thousands of years and are a valid indicator of long term change. A 30 year record is much to short to prove anything.

NSIDC hasn't called the record yet (4, Informative)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about 2 years ago | (#41132549)

If you read response #4 of this update [realclimate.org] from Real Climate, you will see that the National Snow and Ice Data Centre hasn't called the record low yet (as of 26 Aug 2012 at 12:04 PM), since they use 5-day moving averages on their graphs. The graph referred to by the realclimate.org update and I think in the OP is based on daily data. The response is from Walt Meier of the NSIDC. I'll quote it here:

These are daily values, not the 5-day average, which is not quite at a record yet. Using a 5-day average removes some of the noise due to weather and other effects that cause small errors in the daily values. Thus the 5-day estimate is a more robust measure of sea ice changes. We will make an announcement on our web site when we have passed the current record: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ [nsidc.org]

Walt Meier

NSIDC

I think however that there are other data series that do agree that the record has been broken, even with 5-day averages. Here is my favourite data compilation [google.com] for Arctic Sea Ice. It contains many different graphs from different sources. Taken together, the data paints a disturbing picture.

Re:NSIDC hasn't called the record yet (5, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#41132781)

The frustrating thing is that The Climate Change Deniers insist that the BEST plan for humanity is to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING until after The Catastrophe has struck.

I, for one, fail to see the wisdom in that stance.

Sure, I fully understand that behaviours less damaging to the environment will be expensive in terms of both money and politics.

But seriously folks this is pretty much the same thing as Your Doctor telling you that you need to do a significant amount of exercise and change your diet if you want to NOT DIE OF A HEART-ATTACK in the next ten years.

The Climate Change Deniers are sitting there in the consult room saying "but PROVE ABSOLUTELY AND CONCLUSIVELY that I will have a heart-attack, and be EXACT and SPECIFIC about when".

Re:NSIDC hasn't called the record yet (1)

yester64 (2516722) | about 2 years ago | (#41133011)

Mm.. i think deniers say 'its not happening', like a pregnancy.

Re:NSIDC hasn't called the record yet (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#41133125)

The point is to use some kind of exception to get the doctor to go from "you WILL die of a heart attack" to "you MIGHT die of a heart attack" and then think "might schmight, I might and I might not" and just pretend that's a total unknown instead of a very strong probability.

But seriously folks this is pretty much the same thing as Your Doctor telling you that you need to do a significant amount of exercise and change your diet

because there's no way [wikipedia.org] you can become the world's oldest person smoking from you're 21 to you're 117, drinking alcohol (port wine) and eating lots of chocolate. People like that just need one counterexample of a person who didn't have a heart attack and they're fine. Yeah maybe that'll kill you or something else will kill you but it's all statistics and in the end something will kill us all, so why worry? And in an odd sort of way, I can understand that because dead people don't worry over the life they never got to live. I mean if I went to sleep tonight and never woke up, everybody would be all "oh ah torn away so early, what a shame he died so young" (well, 30s is still young when it comes to dying) but I'd have no clue about it. I'd gone to bed thinking I'd live to be a hundred and never find out I was wrong.

Nice graph. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132569)

That one is worth looking at.

Where's the pre-1979 data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41132653)

Weren't the first arctic tracking satelittes launched in the mid 1960's? It should be instructive to see all of the available data. It would also be helpful to show a chart of the yealy data rather than just averages of decades.

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