Media Coverge of Climate Exposed

I won’t do a comprehensive roundup, but just focus on one quote, from the Canadian Broadcasting Company:

News of accelerating effects of global warming, such as the recent collapse of a massive chunk of Antarctic ice and worsening cyclones and flooding, has put even more pressure on the UN talks to provide decisive action.

There are only two ways that anyone with a lick of information about climate could call the recent ice shelf collapse "evidence" of accelerating global warming:  Bias, or abject ignorance.  Here are four key facts that the CBC article ignores but I posted here:

  • Global temperatures have been flat for 8-10 years, after being up substantially the decade previously.
  • Recent ocean measurement work as reported on NPR show ocean temps. over last 5-6 years to be flat to slightly down
  • 98% of Antarctica has cooled over the last decades and has built up ice pack — 2% has warmed (in the Antarctic Peninsula). I will leave it to the reader to guess where Al Gore sent his cameras
  • In August 2007, or about a half year ago, sea ice extent around Antarctica was the largest ever recorded (since measured by satellites in 1979). So, within the last 6-8 months, Antarctica had record sea ice buildup.

Given this backdrop, it is astounding that one could interpret the collapse of an ice sheet that happened faster than one scientist predicted as "accelerating global warming." I can’t think of any mechanism where the behavior of an ice shelf would be a more sensitive measure of the pace of global temperature change than would be the direct measurement of air and sea temperatures themselves. 

An even minimally thoughtful analysis would argue that the ice shelf collapse is either 1) a natural cyclic event or 2) the result of a very local weather phenomenon.

And don’t even get me started on the "worsening cyclones and flooding."  Where?  By what measure.  I challenge anyone to point to a single study that shows worsening cyclones or flooding.  The only ones I have seen that have purported to do so (such as "an Inconvenient Truth") have done so by ignoring the improvement in detection technology or the increase in real estate value along coasts and flood plains.  When the latter are accounted for, no increases have ever been demonstrated.

There are reasonable ways to argue that the earth has warmed over the last half-century.  Citing an ice shelf collapse or increased media coverage on flooding (which creates the impression there is more) as evidence are not among them.

  • Scientist

    No, temperatures have not been flat. You can only claim this by blatantly cherry-picking.

    And no, 98% of Antarctica has not cooled. The figure is 58%. I pointed this out before, with a link to the paper. But you just trot out the same old rubbish again. Why? Is it because you don’t read comments, because you don’t understand the paper I cited, because you have some other paper you believe (if so, which is it?), or because you are deliberately being dishonest?