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Arctic Ice Cap Rebounds From 2012 — But Does That Matter?

timothy posted 1 year,7 days | from the ask-me-in-a-few-decades dept.

Earth 400

bricko writes "There has been a 60 per cent increase in the amount of ocean covered with ice compared to this time last year, the equivalent of almost a million square miles. In a rebound from 2012's record low an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia's northern shores, days before the annual re-freeze is even set to begin. The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year, forcing some ships to change their routes. A leaked report to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seen by the Mail on Sunday, has led some scientists to claim that the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century." "Some scientsts" in this case do not include Dana Nuccitelli, who blogs cogently in reaction at The Guardian that the 60 percent increase observed in Arctic ice is "technically true, [but] also largely irrelevant." He has no kind words for the analysis in the Daily Mail (and similar report in The Telegraph), and writes "In short, this year's higher sea ice extent is merely due to the fact that last year's minimum extent was record-shattering, and the weather was not as optimal for sea ice loss this summer. However, the long-term trend is one of rapid Arctic sea ice decline, and research has shown this is mostly due to human-caused global warming." If you want to keep track of the ice yourself, Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis offers frequent updates.

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I can see Al Gore now.... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44794923)

Out there on some Canadian glacier with a bon fire and fans trying to get them to melt again.

Re:I can see Al Gore now.... (4, Funny)

WarJolt (990309) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795425)

I doubt it....He's too busy chasing ManBearPig.

Basic Statistics Deception (3, Insightful)

Elgonn (921934) | 1 year,7 days | (#44794927)

60% increase. Yet no relevant data for scale to understand the shift. No wonder someone else called it 'technically true'.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44794991)

Why would anyone understand something that hasn't been studied in the first place?

Contrary to popular belief, the arctic ice caps are not major subjects of research.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (3, Insightful)

durrr (1316311) | 1 year,7 days | (#44794997)

It's business as usual in AGW-land. Yet another unforseen event? No worries, blame it on CO2 and add another complexity layer on the model.
I expect their models to start matching reality at about the same time as global climate control becomes reality.

Hopefully they will stop predicting catastrophes all the time by then.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795029)

Thus proving that "science" is just a set of unproven theories based on speculative models with assumed constants and extrapolated approximations.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795213)

Or it could be that the whole AGW platform has been hijacked by those pushing "cap and trade" [youtube.com] who will make a mint thanks to the scam being written by the ones who came up with credit default swaps [nakedcapitalism.com] , you know, the ones that nearly wiped out the economy when their make believe numbers turned out to be bullshit?

I'm sorry but I don't give a shit WHICH side you are on, if crap and trade didn't cause a giant bullshit sign to appear over your head you frankly haven't been paying attention. Crap and trade is a classic reverse Robin Hood where all the poor and middle class will pay more while those like the Rev Al Gore farts around in his private Lear jet, rides in a fleet of SUVs, goes to his McMansion with indoor ACed basketball court, yet has the brass balls to say he is "carbon neutral" because he pays himself credits from his own company which would be like me moving money from my right to left pocket, calling it "wealth redistribution" and demanding and GETTING a tax break for it!

You wanna cut down on AGW? Fine by me, there are plenty of common sense ways to get started like putting out a "people's car/truck" that gets over 40MPG and is cheap enough the poor can afford to replace all those used gas guzzlers on the road, paint roofs and roads white to stop the heatsink effect, plenty of things we can start doing tomorrow to get the ball rolling...but you will never hear about any of those, why? Because it don't let a handful of rich douchebags like fatass Al Gore help themselves to your wallet and the government teat, THAT'S why.

A gesture that would go a looong way to getting the skeptics onboard would be to tell that fat hypocrite Gore to jam his Lear Jet up his ass, if you want a spokesman? Got the perfect guy, Ed Begely Jr. That man actually walks the walk, lives in a modest 3 bedroom, drives a small electric with a bike rack so he can bike short errands, he does everything in his power to cut down on waste and pollution. You look at Al Gore and pals and what you see is the classic "do as I say not as i do" bullshit of the rich and spoiled, and until Gore and his ideas get pushed off an iceberg a lot of us will simply call it what it is, a scam, and vote against anybody who supports him and his bankster buddies.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (4, Funny)

reboot246 (623534) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795229)

Hold on there. You're making too much sense to post on slashdot. The people here aren't used to common sense and may react violently.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795337)

The ability to spot a scam is VERY easy, here is how: If a bunch of really REALLY rich people are banging the drum of support, ask yourself THIS question....what is in it for them? From Gates "donations" of software and support for USA style copyrights in the third world to Al Gore and his crap and trade bankster buddies you can be damned sure there IS something in it for them, the rich rarely do anything that doesn't give them at least some ROI, that is why they are obscenely rich after all.

In the case of crap and trade what is in it for them is trivial to spot, the "rules" are being written by Goldman Sachs, right up there with Halliburton and Monsanto on the "rich evil muthafuckers" scale, so you KNOW its gonna have loopholes up the ass and wadda ya know? They ALSO own offshore crap and trade businesses to sell credits, isn't that amazing? Who would have thought? Oh and watch the video, you'll see that many corps will get grandfathered in, so your biggest donors...err...polluters? they'll get a pass, its YOU, the poor dumbass that can't buy a lobbyist, that will have his wallet raped.

If I told you I could sell you a magic rock that for a billion dollars from every country on the planet would stop AGW, would you believe me? So why are you willing to believe Rev Al Gore when he has NOT ONCE, not a single fucking time, said a God damned thing about closing trade to countries that have already said they won't let Al and pals rape THEIR economies, like ohhh...China and India? Oh right, Al and pals make crazy money off the Chinese and Indians, how silly of me.

DO NOT BE SCAMMED FOLKS the scammers are using a combination of appeals to emotion and "we have to DO something!" but their "something" merely empties YOUR wallets into THEIR pockets and does about as much as my magic rock, IE nothing. All crap and trade will do is kill any chance of businesses building shit here, since they can build in Asia crap and trade free with ZERO penalty, Al and pals will make money both on the cheap Indian and Chinese labor AND on taking what little is left in your wallet, and all you'll get is told "Oh well this isn't doing enough to "save the planet" so we need to raise prices by 30% for carbon indulgences....err credits, yeah that will save the Earth!". Bullshit, the only thing it will "save" is a seat for Al and pals in the billionaires club, you will get a magic rock and a big bill.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (4, Interesting)

nadaou (535365) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795453)

The ability to spot a scam is VERY easy, here is how:

You'd do better to learn from the master:

Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit

http://www.xenu.net/archive/baloney_detection.html [xenu.net]

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (0)

Blaskowicz (634489) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795581)

Your opinions on cap and trade have no relation to the physical reality of this world, do you realize that?
I agree cap and trade sucks, yes it's engineered by Goldman Sachs, but in the way the price of CO2 will collapse, after they have made big bucks on it, so it will result both in Goldman et al. stealing incredible sums of money and global emissions still increasing. That's why we need carbon taxes instead.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795325)

putting out a "people's car/truck" that gets over 40MPG and is cheap enough the poor can afford

Are you insane? That's almost communist!

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (1, Insightful)

Eunuchswear (210685) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795341)

I'm sorry but I don't give a shit WHICH side you are on, if crap and trade didn't cause a giant bullshit sign to appear over your head you frankly haven't been paying attention.

Yes, cap and trade is a pain. Anyone sane would just go for carbon taxes, but cap and trade had to be proposed to keep the Republicans on board. It also has the advantage that when it was used for acid rain control it worked.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795597)

I'm not sure whether to take seriously your post or your .sig. The post sounds reasonable enough to me, in that I'd agree carbon taxes would have been a much better alternative than cap and trade. But then your .sig links to a video by pretty much the absolute worst bottom scum of dollar-powered climate denial.

I'll just leave this here [wikipedia.org] . Note I don't even have to sub-link nto a "criticism" section. Pretty much each section qualifies.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (4, Interesting)

nadaou (535365) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795377)

the laws of physics care not what Al Gore thinks or does.

it does not matter if it is Al Gore, JP Morgan & Co., or Colonel Fucking Sanders who points it out: internalising the market externalities around the burning of fossil fuels is the single greatest tool we have to do something about this before it is too late.

we know pretty much how many barrels oil, gas, and coal we sell (and so extract and burn) each year. We know quite well how many molecules of CO2 that will release. We know, pretty much, since the mid-1800s (starting with Fourier) what effect that CO2 will have on our atmosphere. We monitor it both in amount and radioisotope and it matches expectations pretty much spot on.

arguing over the minute details or the character of the messenger is both totally irrelevant and short sighted, not to mention intellectually dishonest.

A cap and trade marked based solution worked beautifully for SO2, there's absolutely no reason it wouldn't work for other pollutants as well, beyond intentional and sociopathic sabotage that is.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795433)

internalising the market externalities around the burning of fossil fuels is the single greatest tool we have to do something about this before it is too late

Actually no, the single greatest tool against climate change is Managed Intensive Rotational Grazing [wikipedia.org] to reverse desertification and sequester CO2 in grassland soil. [youtube.com] Proponents claim if all US beef were produced this way, it would sequester all the CO2 emitted since the industrial revolution in ten years.

[posting as AC to preserve mod points]

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (5, Insightful)

Bongo (13261) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795415)

As an environmentalist (she worked as an environmentalist involved in carbon trading) explained to me, it doesn't matter if CO2 doesn't turn out to be a problem, because by cutting CO2 you force a reduction in production, and a reduction in consumption. Then she added with emphasis, "it's about reducing greed."

You just have to look at the "solutions" people are proposing to see their worldview and political outlook. If the science didn't support their worldview, they'd look for some other way to justify it. A worldview (and we all have one) is self-justifying, self-validating, it-looks-like-a-duck-because-i'm-obsessed-with-ducks.

Note the environmentalists who hold up signs saying "we come armed only with peer reviewed science" (UK's anti-airport groups) but they don't hold up those signs when they protest against GM. Their worldview comes first. Gee there's no evidence that GM is bad? Well we'll protest against it anyway because we know better.

Unfortunately they seem to have a worldview which operates at a lower level of complexity (huuumans baaaad) and so the money-wheelers-and-dealers and corporate types who actually have to work and excel and network and create results (even if only made up results) run rings around the environmentalists, not by defeating their aims, but by exploiting them. Oh carbon trading, what a great made-up-money paper thing, fantastic. Oh windfarms, great let's soak up all that subsidy for our big landowners, etc. "Every wind farm is a gas plant" they say at their corporate conferences. Many activist environmentalists are too stupid and lacking in skills to find good answers to environmental problems (and to be fair they are very hard problems), and instead have this "new-age" culture of oh how lovely if we all went back to pre-industrial levels where we can all live in a small village and sing songs around the fire. Which kinda ignores that in pre-industrial times, you needed many to be in slavery just to provide the "cheap energy" -- today, oil and gas is our "slave power", which is why we can live daily, as if with the energy of hundreds of slaves at our disposal.

So excuse the wild rant, but that's just to illustrate (not prove) a point, that you can put the science aside and say, ok, what if we're facing AGW, what's the solution? And then the "solution" will be a function of people's worldview. Many answers are from pre-modern world views, maybe new-romantic, maybe Marxist, and especially from people who can't count. Oh if we all made a small change... yeah it would all add up to a SMALL change. Try living without electricity, see if you can handle that change.

The rest are power and money drives. Real solutions are basically coming just from the gradual improvements in technology and systems, improvements which have been going on for hundreds of years anyway.

I honestly think they should go live in Third World countries for at least 10 years, and see what the majority of the world is like, and what problems they are facing. Live like the locals do, not just drive around in your SUV lecturing people on how they should live. Heck even my grandmother never had a fridge. I mean the arrogance is astounding, if not, you know, also kinda cute for its naivety.

Anyway this is just a rant, nothing real to see here, move on. Have a nice day.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (2, Insightful)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795463)

The problems I have with the climate change movement in general (ignoring Al Gore types) is a few things:

- Empirical Science isn't a democracy. The majority consensus doesn't dictate the right answer, and I'm tired of the AGW movement trying to paint it that way. Somebody once created a pamphlet called 100 Authors Against Einstein, where they wanted to gather enough opinions to discredit Einstein. Einstein simply said "If I were wrong, one would be enough."

- Patrick Moore left greenpeace (which he helped create) because it bothered him that the entire movement was basically hijacked by socialists. I don't care what your views on socialism vs capitalism are, using shaky claims (e.g. hockey stick graph) to try to push unrelated issues or social causes only serves to undermine the value of empirical science, which is a real shame.

- Many of these models (such as CO2 PPM, temperature) are being based around data that we haven't verified to be accurate because we weren't actually there to measure it proper thousands or millions of years ago (wherever the data points come from.) Ice cores in particular, because ice cores can actually lose data during hot periods (the ice can sublimate.) This means we could have periods just like the ones we are in now where there's a sudden heat spike, followed by cooling, and what we're seeing now may even be something that happens all the time. And on the subject of ice, there's been a lot of alarmism about major glaciers and whatnot melting away, but how many times has this happened in the past, and they end up returning just like this, but nobody was there to actually record it?

- Besides all of that, we already have well known periods where the earth was so much hotter than it is now and had a CO2 PPM ten times what we have now, and very large scale life thrived pretty damn well. In fact, quite possibly the "greenest" period in history: the age of dinosaurs was also the age of Pangaea, and that continental configuration made high temperatures very much obligatory. Some day we will actually inevitably return to that same configuration, see "pangaea ultima". For this reason, I don't think it matters if we see global warming, regardless of whether or not we are the cause. We'll adapt, life will adapt, just as it always has. No matter what we do, we won't end up in a situation like Venus, the physics just won't work due to our location. Just avoid contaminating the ground and air with pollutants (CO2 isn't a pollutant) and we'll be fine.

What a load of horse shit. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795711)

"- Empirical Science isn't a democracy"

No, but scientists agree on the external reality after proof, therefore if the scientists agree on something, then there is proof of it. They don't get together and agree what the reality will be first, you're correct, but that has FUCK ALL to do with AGW and climate science, moron.

"- Patrick Moore left greenpeace"

Yup, to go work for a fossil fuel company on much more money. That is all. He's not a scientist, he's an executive.

"- Many of these models (such as CO2 PPM, temperature) are being based around data that we haven't verified to be accurate "

BULL FUCKING SHIT.

Unless you're talking about models like Svenmarsk's or Lomborg's "CGR's are doing it".

"- Besides all of that, we already have well known periods where the earth was so much hotter than it is now and had a CO2 PPM ten times what we have now"

And the sun 15% cooler than we have now. Moron.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795519)

"Cap and Trade" is not a field of science under AGW. You cannot tell by reading your links whether or not the ice cap has rebounded. You rant exactly like deniers, who project politics onto everything, because after all, if you nothing, you at least know yourself.

Re: Basic Statistics Deception (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795783)

This story appeared urgently and prominently on the "Daily Mail", howg.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795149)

Try reading the guardian article. It was predicted.

With links to predictions not only that it would happen, but why, and what the reaction of sections of the press like the mail would be.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795321)

Predict everything that could possibly happen, blame it all on causative factor X, and sure enough some of the predicted eventualities will come to pass, thereby proving that causative factor X is the boogeyman.

It's a religion, with its own god and devil, and its own scriptures.

Jesus, sheeple.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795353)

?

Try this for size:
http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/9/9/1378692793547/ArcticEscalator450.gif

The prediction is that sea will decline, that there will be some peaks, and they will heralded as recovery.

What's your prediction?

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (0, Troll)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795309)

"t's business as usual in AGW-land."

Hey, careful. This is Slashdot. When it comes to AGW, stating the obvious truth can get you lots of negative mod points.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795779)

Hey, careful. This is Slashdot. When it comes to AGW, stating the obvious truth can get you lots of negative mod points.

Or it can get you lots of upmods from all the Bold Individualistic Un-PC Rebels Speaking Truth To Power just like you.

Like religious fundamentalists, denialists pretending they're a persecuted minority are simultaneously pathetic and hilarious.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795333)

Yet another unforseen event? No worries, blame it on CO2 and add another complexity layer on the model.

But it wasn't unforseen, it was widely predicted that after the record low of 2012 there would be a "recovery".

What do you mean by "blame it on CO2"? What "complexity layer" has to be added to the model/

Do you have the tiniest clue what random noise imposed on a rising trend would look like?

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795387)

More like business as usual for the deniers. 60% up from 75% down is still way down, let's do the math:

Start with 1. 1-0.75 = 0.25. 0.25*1.6 = 0.4. So, even after the rebound we're still 60% down.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (1)

DMiax (915735) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795577)

Just as a guideline X% up from X% down is a net decrease, as is in the other order (commutativity and all). Something many market analysts still fail to grasp.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795607)

There's an excellent video series [youtube.com] by science journalist Peter Hadfield which cuts through the BS on both sides of this issue. Highly recommended, especially for people who think they already know a lot about it. ;-)

[posting as AC to preserve mod points]

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (2)

marcello_dl (667940) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795641)

Hey NOBODY talked about an increase: the summary, wait, the page title, talks about a rebound.
The problem is that credible scientists should anticipate it, or have an explanation for it... it doesn't matter, climate change debate is a diversion, the problem is human caused pollution.

What unforseen event? (5, Informative)

amaurea (2900163) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795539)

80% of climate scientists who were asked last year expected more ice this year than 2013. So this is hardly an unforseen event. The blog link mentioned in the summary [theguardian.com] explains why, but I'll repeat it since you didn't read it.

Arctic ice volume has a falling long-term trends, but on top of that there are short-term year-by-year changes. You effectively have a long-term signal with short-term noise on it. As you can see from this figure [nsidc.org] , the trend is about -0.065 million square kilometers per year, while the year-to-year variations are 0.5-1 million square kilometers. Hence, on a short timescale you can basically only see the yearly random variations. If you suddenly see a large jump, it is much more likely to be a short-term change than a long term one, and several years of observations are needed to see if the long-term behavior has changed or not.

The point now is that if you happen to get a particularly low value of the random yearly variations one year, you are likely to get a larger value the next year. Much like if you roll a die and get a 1, you are likely to get a larger value the next time you roll, simply because there are more values (2,3,4,5,6) that are larger than 1 than those that aren't (1). In general, extreme values are unlikely, and the chance of getting several of them in a row is much lower than getting one of them followed by less extreme values. This is called regression toward the mean [wikipedia.org] .

So to summarize, this was expected, and predicted, and no models will have to be changed based on this observation.

Re:What unforseen event? (3, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795557)

The trouble is this explanation may well be correct, but when we hit a minimum ice level like last year it's ZOMG TEH GLOBAL WARMIN! But when it's not something that supports AGW then it's just weather.

Can't have it both ways

Citation needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795785)

"But when we hit a minimum ice level like last year it's ZOMG TEH GLOBAL WARMIN! "

Citation needed.

NEVER happened. Except with histrionic deniers like yourself pretending that this is what you're being told, when you're NOT being told that.

Re:What unforseen event? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795749)

That would be a fine explanation if the ice level each year was an independent random event. It is not.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795683)

It's business as usual in AGW-land. Yet another unforseen event? No worries, blame it on CO2 and add another complexity layer on the model.
I expect their models to start matching reality at about the same time as global climate control becomes reality.

Hopefully they will stop predicting catastrophes all the time by then.

A temporary bounce back after an extremely rapid decline can hardly be called unexpected. Regression to the mean.

Which climate model predicted catastrophes all the time? None that I've heard of.

Follow the link http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ [nsidc.org] and scroll down to the chart that shows month of August ice extent 1979 to 2013. That really puts it into perspective. Also notice how they've made things look better than they are (not worse as conspiracy theorists would expect) by fitting a line instead of say a second or third order polynomial.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (0)

Tailhook (98486) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795209)

Yet no relevant data for scale to understand the shift.

There no point to such data. You can predict the consensus either way: either the event is within the expected annual fluctuation and the consensus AGW science is secure, or the event is an outlier, demonstrating the erratic consequences of AGW, demanding accelerated action.

There is no data that can possibly threaten AGW 'science', so be cool. There is nothing to worry about.

Re:Basic Statistics Deception (1)

AK Marc (707885) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795237)

The logic exactly matches the anti-climate arguments.

1st? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44794933)

Really?!

Does it matter? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44794941)

Yes, because it proves global warming is man made and occurring right now. Just like the terrible hurricane season we saw last year, and the mild hurricane season this year, this is all caused by man made global warming.

One data point? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44794947)

Looking at a single year doesn't tell us much about the trend. Here is some real data.

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2000/09/Figure31.png

Re:One data point? (2)

dgatwood (11270) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795131)

Oblig. xkcd: extrapolation [xkcd.com]

Re:One data point? (3, Informative)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795173)

Yes, you're right. Here's a load of data points showing that the Antarctic Sea Ice Area is well above the long term average and has been growing slowly for at least 15 years.

http://sunshinehours.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/antarctic_sea_ice_extent_zoomed_2013_day_45_1981-2010.png [wordpress.com]
http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/image1.png [wordpress.com]

Perhaps sea ice extent oscillates between the North and South Poles

Re:One data point? (-1)

Splab (574204) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795249)

Random graphs from random blogs proves your point how?

So on day 45, it might be more, but what about the last 320 days? What are the sources?

Second one shows an "anomaly" of 1 million sq km, but what is this anomaly? Out of context it could show anything...

Re:One data point? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795471)

Perhaps you could put some meat on your hypothesis that sea ice extent oscillates between the poles. But in reality there is little or no connection between the two. The situations are quite different, the Arctic being an ocean surrounded by land whereas the Antarctic is a continent surrounded by ocean.

There are some explanations for the increase in Antarctic sea ice. One part of it is that the winds that circle Antarctica have strengthened, possibly related to the ozone hole over the continent. This tends to open up polynas that create more areas of open water to freeze. Another part is that changes in currents and greater precipitation due to global warming conspires to put fresher water at the surface which makes it easier to freeze. What is not true is that Antarctic sea ice is increasing because it's getting colder. That is demonstrably false.

climate error #113, aborting. (5, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795619)

Perhaps sea ice extent oscillates between the North and South Poles

Yes, it's also been noted that the frequency of that (rough) oscillation seems to be synchronised with the seasons, weird huh?

Seriously, the ice at the two poles behaves in totally different ways. Just pause for a second and think about the geography, Antarctica is a land surrounded by deep oceans and a strong circumpolar ocean current, the Artic is a (relatively) shallow sea surrounded by land. Melting at the south pole INCREASES* the extent of the Antarctic sea ice.

This is because in Antarctica the majority of the sea ice comes from glacial outflows, this ice breaks up with the mechanical action of the waves and floats away as icebergs. Whatever bergs (or ships) that are still close to the coast in autumn become part of that years sea ice. The mouths of these glaciers are enormous and create permanent ice shelves that are several hundred feet thick.

These ice shelves are the best indicators that the warming trend is impacting Antarctica [wikipedia.org] , we are seeing Antarctic ice shelves that have existed for at least 4kys breaking up disappearing at the rate of roughly one a year for over a decade now.

OTOH Greenland and the Antarctic peninsula have a lot in common and are both effected by something called Polar Amplification [wikipedia.org] , a phenomena predicted by the much maligned climate models BEFORE it was observed in the data. There are a whole bunch of such phenomena that were predicted by models and subsequently observed in the real world, "stratospheric cooling" is another well known example.

In other words sea ice extent is basically meaningless without some context, What you really want to know for the Artic is sea ice volume. I've been following the subject for over 30yrs and the best estimates of volume that I have seen use data gleaned from cold war sonar maps that were declassified sometime in the last decade. According to those figures Artic sea ice volume is now less than 1/5th of what it was when I was born (1959).

Some (perhaps unwelcome) advise, forget about climate science for now and spend a year or two working on your technical research skills, the best way I know of doing that is to skip church (or some other overrated social club), and spend the time browsing WP and "double checking" the theories and assumptions you hold most dearly. Science is intelligently designed to evolve towards the ideal of "truth" (google "the relativity of wrong" and read it, I can't be bothered to link it). Not only that but for the last couple of centuries the rate of these changes has been increasing over time, Meaning that the older you get the faster it changes, and the more neural archives you will need to update (a personal "theory" that I use to explain my "senior" moments).
I jumped on the quote above because I first heard it in the mid-90's, I'll concede that on the surface it sounds plausible as it did to me when I first heard it. However as with most of the anti-science "talking points" pushed by a minority group within the FF industry via extremely effective (but surprisingly cheap) professional lobbyists, the theorised "oscillation" soon melts under a skeptical eye. This is why "deniers" don't normally give an alternative explanation. let alone one that stands up to rigor of broader peer-review process. I strongly suggest you use a reputable source [skepticalscience.com] to check out the next climate meme before you infect others with it. As stated in the title your particular meme is #113.

Re:One data point? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795207)

On one side, but then last year there was a whole mess of shit thrown on the AGW fire about how the sea ice is all but gone. Stop media sensationalism, then maybe we can have rational debate and rational resolutions

So basically 2012 was an outlier (4, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | 1 year,7 days | (#44794961)

And makes this year look good in comparison but the overall trend is still downwards.

Re:So basically 2012 was an outlier (0)

durrr (1316311) | 1 year,7 days | (#44794973)

What if 2012 was the norm and everything else is an outlier?!

Re:So basically 2012 was an outlier (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795025)

That's not how it works. Learn science or stop posting your ignorant blathering.

Re:So basically 2012 was an outlier (2)

beelsebob (529313) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795211)

You're both right, in a way. You're right that the definition of "outlier" is a data point that's outside a band around the trend line. However, I believe a WHOOSH is in order. He's suggesting that the data we don't have (for other years) might make the higher data points the outliers, not the 2012 result.

Personally, I doubt that though.

When did reality ever matter to climate change? (0, Troll)

tp1024 (2409684) | 1 year,7 days | (#44794967)

For all they care, the ice cap could return to the extent of 1980 wthin a couple of years and all they'd say would be:

See, an extreme weather event! This proves climate change is true!

So, to answer the question: Of course it doesn't matter. The whole language of the climate change has been geared to make it impossible for absolutely anything to happen that could make the true believers doubt their creed. Be it warm or cold or average. Be there storms or a lack of them. Be there rain or drought in contradiction to forecasts - they will merely say that the "climate has become unpredictable" - which is yet another proof that the climate is changing, because as we know from historical records, the climate has always been predictable in all the thousands of years of recorded history.

Absolutely nothing matters when the object of science is politics, except for money and rhethorics.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795031)

Exactly.

It gets warmer = Global Warming caused by us.
It gets colder = Climate Change caused by us.
It gets warmer, but not as much as predicted = Global Warming and Climate Change, caused by us.
Climate stops changing = game over, planet is dead.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795063)

For all they care, the ice cap could return to the extent of 1980 wthin a couple of years and all they'd say would be:
See, an extreme weather event! This proves climate change is true!

No. Climate is the mean value of a long series of datapoints observed over a long period of time.

Any one datapoint can vary up to several standard deviations from the mean, without affecting whether climate change is occuring or not.

Climate is by definition the long term pattern.

Climate change is a change in the long term pattern as time progresses. Therefore: no observation of a single datapoint is capable of saying much at all about the climate.

Observing a massive loss of ice or massive increase in ice one year is neither capable of proving, and also not capable of disproving climate change.

Furthermore; we know that climate change naturally occurs --- that is, there are natural cycles such as Milankovitch cycles; precession of earth's orbit, variation of Earth's tilt naturally effect climate over long periods of time.

There may be numerous things that contribute to natural climate changes.

The whole global warming argument; is there is some non-natural, or human created factors perturbing the natural climate changes that have and are occuring; because some correlation might have been observed with rising temperatures over time, and human development: measured from ice core samples.

This is already highly speculative; even relying on long-term data, that human activity has significantly accelerated or altered the natural climate change.

The trouble is: we don't fully understand what the natural change is, therefore: what mechanism allows us to measure how much humans supposedly affected it?

If it's so hard to show climate change based on long term data, then it's nigh impossible to infer ANYTHING from datapoints about what happened during 1 year.... there's no reason 2013 is a magic year where you can take an observation capable of showing that climate change isn't happening; it's simply not true that you can observe what happens in 2013, and infer from that any fact about climate change.

One, two, three, even 4 or 5 years in isolation does not establish a new climate pattern.

We're talking about 100-year trends here.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (4, Insightful)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795181)

But the loss of sea-ice is at most measured over the last 30 years. So therefore by your statements, the apparent loss of Arctic sea ice cannot be proven to be related to climate change, whether natural or not.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795199)

Perhaps a 26000 year trend? (A complete axis tilt / wobble cycle)

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (4, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795307)

> No. Climate is the mean value of a long series of datapoints observed over a long period of time.

Oh. Would you care to point me to the hoards of level headed climate activists who say this about Hurricane Katrina or Sandy? I seem to have missed them. For what you say implies that they should be out there on the streets, shouting at the top of their lungs that hurricane activity is a mean value in a long series of datapoints observed over a long time and that "Any one datapoint can vary up to several standard deviations from the mean, without affecting whether climate change is occuring or not."

> Furthermore; we know that climate change naturally occurs --- that is, there are natural cycles such as Milankovitch cycles; precession of earth's orbit, variation of Earth's tilt naturally effect climate over long periods of time. There may be numerous things that contribute to natural climate changes.

Of course, there have never been variations over the course of 100 years. Such as the last 100 years. The climate has always been stable and people have always been able to easily adapt to anything nature threw at them, because it happened over a much longer time frame. Archeology begs to differ.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_civilization [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorset_culture [wikipedia.org]

> The whole global warming argument; is there is some non-natural, or human created factors perturbing the natural climate changes that have and are occuring; because some correlation might have been observed with rising temperatures over time, and human development: measured from ice core samples.

Well no. The whole global warming argument, as put forward by the IPCC and the rest of the climate change community, is that human created factors far outstrip any natural causes. In fact the IPCC argues that there is a strong natural tendency of climate cooling at work.

If we assume that CO2 was the sole cause of warming in the last 130 years and nothing else was going on, this would imply that a doubling of CO2 would cause a rise of 1.6K. Temperatures rose by 0.8K while CO2 rose by 42% (Which is one half of 100% in a logarithmic relationship. If CO2 concentrations rise by another 42% you have more than doubled the concentration). The climate models of the IPCC claim that a doubling of CO2 will result in a rise between 2 and 4.5K, with the most likely value being 3K.

Taking this at face value, this means that the IPCC claims that there is a natural process at work that would have cooled the world by about 0.6 ... 1.2K in last 130 years, if it wasn't for CO2 emissions, which counteracted this trend. Then again, all climate models and predicitons the IPCC put forth failed to predict the stagnating temperatures of the last 15 years.

If climate models are incapable of predicting short term developments, then certainly the predictions in the IPCC reports should have as many scenarios predicting that global temperatures cool down over the next 10 years as there should have been scenarios showing a rising trend over the next 10 years. None of the former exist. If the claim that climate models can't predict short term changes is true, then climate scientists certainly don't act as if they believe this claim. Because in this case, they should have had many scenarios included in the first, second and third IPCC assessment report predicting a stagnation or decline in temperatures in the first decades after their respective release.

Whatever those "scientists" in the inter GOVERNMENTAL panel on climate change claim (for those are politicians or people who act as politicians, certainly not as scientists), has been in bad faith. They use their claims of uncertainty to hide their mistakes and to defend inflated claims of the capacity of CO2 to cause global warming.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795397)

Would you care to point me to the hoards of level headed climate activists who say this about Hurricane Katrina or Sandy?

Hoards? Hidden in a pirate's chest somewhere?

Maybe hordes? But do level-headed people come in hordes?

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (4, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795427)

If that is all you can muster, the argument must have been a good one.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795527)

Oh. Would you care to point me to the hoards of level headed climate activists who say this about Hurricane Katrina or Sandy?

You're misunderstanding how science works and what the claims were. You make a prediction (e.g. pumping loads of extra energy into a chaotic system will cause more extreme weather) and you then look at the new data to see what it does to your hypothesis. Each data point will do one of three things:

  • Fit with your predictions, and therefore strengthen your hypothesis.
  • Not fit with your predictions, but within your predicted error margins, and so have no impact on your hypothesis.
  • Fit completely outside your predictions, disproving your hypothesis.

The scientists you are referring to are saying that they have more data points in the first category when these events happen. They don't conclusively prove their hypotheses (but then, that never happens in science), but they do lend it some extra weight.

If we assume that CO2 was the sole cause of warming in the last 130 years and nothing else was going on

No one is claiming this. There's a reason why these models take very large compute clusters to run: they have a huge number of variables and input data from a very large number of experimental inputs.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (2)

tp1024 (2409684) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795741)

>> If we assume that CO2 was the sole cause of warming in the last 130 years and nothing else was going on

> No one is claiming this. There's a reason why these models take very large compute clusters to run: they have a huge number of variables and input data from a very large number of experimental inputs.

You do not seem to realize that this assumption was entirely in favor of the hypothesis that CO2 causes global warming.

If it is true, as you say (and I also assume), that CO2 was not the sole cause of global warming, then the effect of CO2 must have been even weaker. On the order of 1K rise after a doubling of CO2 or less. But people who say that are usually called "denialists" or "lukewarmer".

If your claim was serious, you should seriously consider how a 42% rise in CO2 concentration could possibly result in less than 0.8K warming - if a 100% rise of CO2 is supposed to result in 3K warming or more.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795369)

Agreed but try to convince people who swallow this stuff whole without any critical thinking.

Manmade CO2 being the cause doesn't make sense when you learn about CO2.

We have just discovered through new satellite surveys that Antarctic ocean currents wrap around the world and take up to a thousand years to complete.

From what I've read we can't even do a true climate simulation until the advent of quantum computing.

There is so much we don't know and too many are afraid to admit that.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (2, Informative)

mvdwege (243851) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795565)

You're an idiot. The human-made factor in the current climate change is a measurable, empirical fact. The only to explain it away is to come up with a different mechanism, and explain why it would overwhelm the effect of human-contributed CO2 concentration increases.

For those who are interested, this is the chain of causality:

  1. CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas by trapping infrared radiation.
  2. CO2 can even do this in small concentrations. The minimum concentration is way below the current concentration in the atmosphere.
  3. The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is increasing.
  4. A large part of the CO2 concentration increase comes from burning fossil fuels, as proven by the C13/C14 ratio in atmospheric carbon.
  5. The observed mean temperature over the entire Earth is observed to rise.

That's the basics of AGW theory. There are lots of interesting things to study around the basics, and a lot of them are not well understood yet, but the CO2 hypothesis is over a century old, and all the opponents have produced against it is think-tank sponsored media smears.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795111)

Absolutely nothing matters when the object of science is politics, except for money and rhethorics.

Ahh.. yes, the climate scientist barons, with their mansions and private jets. Oil barons got nothing on them.

It is quite funny when you have the worlds scientists on one side, and a range of oil-funded right-wing think tanks on the other - and the latter is the ones accusing of mixing politics into it.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (3, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795363)

How about this guy:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Asbeck [wikipedia.org]

And the austere little hut he calls his home:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Remagen,_Schloss_Marienfels.jpg [wikimedia.org]

You may now proceed to delude yourself into thinking that Germans would have spend over $500bn on "renewable" energy (that will be a large heap of trash after 20years, when state-mandated funding runs out), if it hadn't been for the frantic claims of climate disaster that saturated media for the last decades. And that noboby benefits at all from any of this. Least of all farmers who managed to convince the public that food should be burned as "bio"-ethanol and "bio"-diesel, while at the same time being cheered and applauded.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (1)

scsirob (246572) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795621)

Where are my mod points when I need them. +5 Insightful

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795147)

The problem is are they taking into account the entire fleet of ships that flood the oceans, and other forces, volcano's rising on the see floor, lets not forget the amount of lava flowing from the Hawaii islands into the ocean, mud slides, mountains continuing to rise, oil rigs, ect ect.. Add to that how they started measuring the oceans and how sloppy they were, compared to today's more accurate instruments.

It goes back to basics, fill a bath tub up with ice and water, after it melts there is no difference, but when you start adding sand or other items to it it is going to displace and rise.

It's not a question of climate change, even events in the bible of the great flood are from ice melting (so scientists claim, and these events have been seen in other regions through out the world) the planet is always at a constant change, again the problem with the media/press is the fact they believe the planet is going to stay in a constant state, reality has shown it is always evolving and changing, and I am starting to believe that scientists are stuck with a certain way of thinking, or of theory, and it is now a race of people making bold claims to make a name for themselves.

I do not doubt these changes it has been an on going thing since the planet formed, and I do have concerns over what is in store for the future, but science has been wrong or at least inaccurate (drastically in most cases). The days of open thinking in science died out when they started to take education far to serious, and they stick to a certain mind set, when anyone comes out and questions this, they are either anti-science or they are trying to give a much broader perspective of the way science should be.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (1, Offtopic)

Kjella (173770) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795267)

Ah, this reminds me of the dicussion about evolution. One side has a scientific model - or actually a heap of scientific models based on the same idea - they keep tweaking and rejecting all the time but no matter what weird creature shows up evolution can be tweaked to fit. While the other side has picked a story and is sticking with it and because it's been literally unchanged for the last 2000 years that "proves" it's the right answer while the other side is constantly fudging their numbers to make it look right. I mean it's not like the other side brings any alternative models or explanations to the table, it's the same beat up record that natural changes are large and unpredictable while your data is short and weak and you're just chasing statistical blips and coming up with fancy explanations. There's no data about AGW that can't be explained away either.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795411)

It does remind me of the EARLY phase of the discussion of evolution.

Do you remember those days? When people pushed policians to immediately impose drastic measures on the population to prevent genetic decline? Do you remember that this was an undeniable fact shared by a broad scientific consensus?

Do you remember Eugenics?

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (1)

Bongo (13261) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795465)

Or that the term "holism" was coined by Jan Smuts.

See, if everything has a natural holarchical order (wholes made of parts) then it became obvious that the European Colonials had to take their natural place at the top of the stack, in South Africa, and Apartheid became justified.

Climate Change is Reality (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795269)

Climate change is reality - there is overwhelming evidence that the earth is currently warming. There is overwhelming evidence that the climate in the past has changed e.g. 10,000 year ago there was an ice age. Some of these cycles are well understood and related to natural phenomena e.g. precession of the earth's axis of rotation. The question which is being debated is how much of the current warming is natural vs. man-made.

The debate is complicated by the media's lack of reporters with any level of scientific training or competence. They have trouble distinguishing weather (day to day conditions) from climate (average over multiple years). They also seem unable to distinguish between pseudo-scientists and real scientists. This by itself is pretty typical but, unlike many cases (e.g. LHC black holes destroying the earth) there is no clear scientific consensus yet with which to counter the pseudo-scientists which makes it very hard for those of us not involved in the field to really understand what the current state of the real scientific debate is.

Put there for you denialist. (1)

aepervius (535155) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795391)

http://iwantsomeproof.com/extimg/siv_annual_polar_graph.png [iwantsomeproof.com] Cliamte change is the overall trend : starting from the 1980 to today each decade there has been a lower volume and extent than the previous decade. YOU are looking at the orange line in the center and the red line , and saying "woooot 1 year with more ice see global warming don#t exists thx k bye".

You sir are ignorant.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (2)

Bongo (13261) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795429)

The failure of global warming proved climate change, and the failure of climate change proves climate disruption.

It is always worse than we thought.

Re:When did reality ever matter to climate change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795747)

Nice troll :)

Time scale (5, Insightful)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | 1 year,7 days | (#44794969)

Pointing at year-to-year variations in order to prove or disprove a phenomenon that has a time-scale of decades is stupid, no matter which side of the argument you're on. This is like saying you don't believe winter will be cold, because the weather is actually warmer today than it was last week.

'Analysis' (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44794983)

You won't find an analysis in Daily Mail. Use some other word.

"technically true, [but] also largely irrelevant" (0, Troll)

pecosdave (536896) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795013)

In other words

it doesn't support my political position in which global warming is an important factor, therefore this data is irrelevant"

Re: "technically true, [but] also largely irreleva (3, Informative)

nadaou (535365) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795203)

no, it really is largely irrelevant. here are the numbers up to and including last week:

http://iwantsomeproof.com/extimg/siv_annual_polar_graph.png [iwantsomeproof.com]

Re: "technically true, [but] also largely irreleva (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795417)

Thanks. You've made the only post that this article needs. All the rest is just a waste of time

Re: "technically true, [but] also largely irreleva (1)

Two99Point80 (542678) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795655)

Finally, a graph showing volume rather than area!

visualizations to put these numbers in context (4, Insightful)

nadaou (535365) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795017)

To put this in some context, have a look at Jim Pettit's "spiral" graphs and consider that the grey zone in the NSIDC plots linked from the summary are still two standard deviations from the norm, and this year we're almost touching that (if that doesn't mean much to you now would be a good time to brush up on your statistics). So compared to last year we've gone from holy shit batshit insane outlier to just plain old holy shit.

https://sites.google.com/site/pettitclimategraphs/sea-ice-volume [google.com]

To anyone about to complain that the number of samples is too short, 1) these measurements start when humanity invented the satellites to measure it - can't change that, and 2) we have deep Greenland ice cores for a pretty good idea of what was going on before.

Re:visualizations to put these numbers in context (1, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795047)

> 1) these measurements start when humanity invented the satellites to measure it - can't change that,

Exactly. This means that the data is bad and you can't change that. Period.

The absence of a possibility to improve upon the quality of data is NOT a redeeming quality, if you want to find out the truth about something. It is only a redeeming quality if you want to do politics.

Re:visualizations to put these numbers in context (3, Interesting)

nadaou (535365) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795129)

are you so obtuse that you can't see what's happening here?

http://iwantsomeproof.com/extimg/siv_september_average_polar_graph.png [iwantsomeproof.com]

or are you purposefully keeping your head in the sand until this all blows over?

If nothing else, I hope we can agree that the outlook for polar bear cubs born today is pretty fucking grim.

Re:visualizations to put these numbers in context (1)

Splab (574204) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795197)

Nah, it's no big deal, the grown up polar bears are dying faster than they can breed, so no cubs to worry about.

Re:visualizations to put these numbers in context (1)

AK Marc (707885) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795359)

The fact that the data is limited doesn't make it "bad data". You are just proving you don't know how data works.

the uncanny valley of 1.5 sigma weak-sauce science (4, Interesting)

epine (68316) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795791)

Exactly. This means that the data is bad and you can't change that. Period.

By the prudent norms of science, this is an excellent first approximation. For the first hundred years, the satellite data will support at most modest convictions. Our accumulated climate record will really hit its stride two centuries from now. And actually, from nearly every perspective of human progress, this represents a tremendous leap over what was known previously. Why should the earth's climate prove easier to decode than Mendel's peas? We finally found the actual genes and we're still pretty sketchy about how they really work. Complicated little buggers they are.

That said, the satellite data isn't actually bad, it just falls way short of historical norms of scientific prudence. We're stuck wandering around in the uncanny valley between one sigma and five sigma.

This doesn't mean society can't choose to draw a tentative, intermediate conclusion and act on that basis. However, the consequences of human political resolve are even murkier than the climate science itself, and the scientists can't help up sort this out, unless they have a giant boner for N=1. We have no control planet. Any choice we made can only be compared to counterfactual outcomes grounded in a proto-science itself still slowly gaining clearance from the null hypothesis on its major claim and with error bars a mile wide on the magnitude and immediacy and severity of the presumed effect.

I think we should be paying plenty of attention to the impacts of climate variability whether or not the cause is anthropogenic. Let's just not put the knee-jerk "all change is bad" types in charge who once decided that forests should never burn. Blockading change is change, too. One of the consequences of embarking upon a global economy is that you soon reach the situation where there's no such thing as somebody else's problem, whether the root cause is anthropogenic or not.

I have severe reservations about whether it's a good idea to instigate novel political initiatives on a global scale (e.g. abandonment of the hydrocarbon economy) against a back-drop of alarmist proto-facts. Much of the time our best, well-cured, time-proven facts barely suffice to move the political dial in any coordinated way. That's going to radically change over the twenty years? I highly doubt it. Of course, change has to begin somewhere, however bleak the early returns.

I was reading about some dude yesterday knowingly infected with HIV who had sex with 300 partners, none of whom he informed, and many he lied to. The ultimate self-gratifying scumbag. But what if he only worried he had HIV and never got himself tested? Would he still be a scumbag? Yes, I think so. Even if his worry is only 1.5 sigma? Yes, I think so.

But if Exxon has only 1.5 sigma belief that carbon emissions could prove disastrous, it's business as usual. "We didn't know!" Not with scientific certainty, anyway, which is unfortunately true. Any certainty worth having is late to the party. This is, however, entirely the wrong standard of prudence and concern. While 1.5 sigma is merely a proto-fact, not yet conclusively proven, it nevertheless demands proper consideration. Facthood in the moment is way too high a standard (and harlot to corporate convenience).

In retrospect, we will know the difference. Just as we do now about the impact of CFCs on the ozone layer. Whatever doubt remained about this in 1970 is now totally busted. We could confiscate their profits in retrospect. That would make them think twice about not knowing in the first place. I understand that it's bad form to suddenly shout "New rule!" so we could instead begin by suggesting that existing companies take out insurance against future confiscation of profit derived from embarking upon unproven, potentially destructive lines of business—as soberly judged by a future generation with a vastly superior knowledge base (subject to the same horrific political winds deflated by one percent, but as I said, however bleak the early returns, change must begin somewhere).

The corporations will complain about the difficulty of tying the incentives of their existing management to these adverse consequences far into the future (and so will the corporations refusing to insure them at sane rates while this problem remains).

That is a big problem. It's the big unsolved problem of the recent banking fiasco: the smart people who drove the economy over a cliff mostly walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars. I think that the people responsible for taking these risks should have their skin at stake until we know with high confidence, perhaps years later, they didn't actually sink the ship they were so well compensated to navigate safely.

I have a vaguely formed idea in my head that the amount of leverage a financial firm is permitted to take on should be tied to the length of time executive bonuses are held in public escrow against future financial calamities. If the firm subsequently mutters "too big to fail" while pointing at itself within that term, cancel all escrowed bonus payments for each and every bonehead recently in charge. The devil is in the details and there are myriads of problems with this, but it certainly rights the worst term in the equation as things presently stand, and that term proved to be on the order of a trillion dollars, so I fail to see how a serious implementation of this could lead us to being worse off (though no doubt we'll be told we ended up worse off with counterfactual vigour of owning the most expensive suit).

The governance of self-serving corporations in the public interest does seem to need a viable level of fact halfway between wild-ass-guess and scientifically proven against which to impeach their greed. The other solution, which seems to hold sway among climate scientists, is that we deflate historical norms of scientific certainty to serve this purpose in the delicate meanwhile. Proto-facts are the new king. Everyone line up to call the other side dunderheads for not bowing to your side's self-evident truths. Then complain when the public dials out with their hands over their ears.

I personally think that deflating historical norms of scientific certainty in exchange for a political outcome that won't transpire is badly judged. Do you need to discover the Higgs boson to believe in the standard model? Not really. Is turning every last stone decade after decade what makes science great? Absolutely. Science is like gravity: the weakest of all possible forces, until substance accumulates in due course.

Due course has no concern whatsoever about whether we need or wish to act promptly. Passing off proto-facts as real facts is weak-sauce science.

My preference is that we get busy strengthening our social institutions (rather than deflated them) so that we're better prepared to cope if/when climate change actually rocks the blue marble. This is the real work of the human species. Nearly every indicator of the best places to live are tied to the strength of a country's social institutions (e.g. adherence to and respect for the rule of law).

It's that old problem about awareness. The more you improve, the greater your perception of the problems as yet unsolved. For this reason, every generation runs around petrified that the whole process is about to switch gears and run backwards. But today's fear is bigger than ever before!

True enough. It's always possible that a black swan has photographed your generation's license plate. Just like the many Christians who believe in the second coming who expect it will happen in their own lifetime. It rather puts the long view out of mind.

Re:visualizations to put these numbers in context (2, Informative)

gatzke (2977) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795715)

Arctic is shrinking and Antarctic is growing. Global mean appears flat to me.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg/ [uiuc.edu]

I thought we were going to all be killed by global warming hurricanes? Or is that off topic?

confirms what I already knew (4, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795027)

We have been heading for the next Ice Age, and a disastrous period of global cooling. It is only by the release of more CO2 that we can save ourselves. Some people with their own self interests (research budgets) are trying to stop that, as well as some people doing so simply because they are pure evil (Al Gore).

Dana Nuccitelli works for an oil and gas company (1, Insightful)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795075)

Why should we listen to fossil-fuel sponsored shills like Nuccitelli?

Or

Why does the above question only matter when a person questions AGW?

Re:Dana Nuccitelli works for an oil and gas compan (1)

Xest (935314) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795389)

Because it means there's high potential for conflict of interest. If however they're defending the theory of AGW then there's clearly no conflict of interest is there?

Re:Dana Nuccitelli works for an oil and gas compan (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795549)

If however they're defending the theory of AGW then there's clearly no conflict of interest is there?

Most of the 'fossil-fuel companies' are actually energy companies now, and will happily sell you solar panels, wind generators, and so on, and be the first in the queue for government subsidies on these things. There's a conflict of interest when they make claims in both directions, the difference is that in one case they are making the same claims as people with less of a conflict.

Re:Dana Nuccitelli works for an oil and gas compan (1)

Xest (935314) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795701)

Sure, I wasn't commenting on the company and question though, the GGP was talking about people who work for fossil fuel companies.

I agree that anyone working for a solar panel firm similarly has a conflict of interest in defending the theory of AGW, but to date they've been strangely absent from the debate - presumably because they're way smaller in size and so don't have the money to pay the shills like the classic oil/gas companies do (and those with fingers in both pots probably simply give not a shit). Or perhaps they're just more professional and realise that sticking their nose in would raise conflict of interest arguments and simply only harm their viewpoint. Who knows, but either way there's an obvious reason why it's fair to take with a pinch of salt the opinion of someone with a vested interest which is a simple concept yet one that seemed to baffle the GGP.

Pic says it all (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795263)

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2000/09/Figure31.png [nsidc.org]

Or see third chart on left if that link dies:
http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ [nsidc.org]

Re:Pic says it all (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795399)

And as your picture shows the august 2013 Arctic sea ice extent may be 60% higher than 2012 but it's still lower than any year before 2007. As the AC below posts it's a regression to the mean. Wake me up if 2014 and 2015 are higher still.

Regression toward the mean. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795291)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regression_toward_the_mean

Back to Warming (1)

TheRon6 (929989) | 1 year,7 days | (#44795379)

Thank god we have decades of research proving that an overactive massive industrial infrastructure is just the solution to this sort of thing. A few more coal plants should fix this, right?

My, the deniers are out tonight! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795487)

Why does Slashdot let them use this platform to spread their lies?

All the scientists agree that the Earth is continuing to warm up dangerously - we just haven't been able to detect it for a while because the heat has gone to the bottom of the sea. People who continue to question this proven truth also believe in Intelligent Design and that the moon landings never happened - Slashdot ought to ban them from spreading these unscientific lies.

one-year ice vs multi-year ice (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795501)

Used to be multi-year ice, now it's one-year ice. Major difference.

No such thing as man made global warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795513)

www.climatedepot.com

Still, don't let the facts get in the way of your religious belief system...

Jezuz christ. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44795663)

What is the most likely consequence of a measured natural event that has just seen to have hit a record to do the next time it's measured?

That's right: "recover".

Natural systems with noise will have a trend that will go up and down on that trend, therefore a maxima will likely be followed by a minima that is higher than the previous local minima.

What the fuck is slashdot doing with this clickbait bullshit?

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