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Earth Science

Scientists Cut Greenland Ice Loss Estimate By Half 414

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-bad-after-all dept.
bonch writes "A new study on Greenland's and West Antarctica's rate of ice loss halves the estimate of ice loss. Published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the study takes into account a rebounding of the Earth's crust called glacial isostatic adjustment, a continuing rise of the crust after being smashed under the weight of the Ice Age. 'We have concluded that the Greenland and West Antarctica ice caps are melting at approximately half the speed originally predicted,' said researcher Bert Vermeeersen."
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Scientists Cut Greenland Ice Loss Estimate By Half

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  • Global warming? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:01AM (#33518338)

    Quick! Change the name!

    CLIMATE CHANGE!

    Yeaaah! Then we'll be able to claim we're right, even when we're wrong! woo!

  • Great news! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:08AM (#33518368) Homepage

    This estimate change means climate change has once again been proven wrong! Right? Right?

    (Hint: No.)

  • Re:Great news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:16AM (#33518406)

    This estimate change means climate change has once again been proven wrong! Right? Right?

    (Hint: No.)

    No, it's just a change in one of the thousands of indicators. However that's only for the people who actually care for the science of climate change.

    For the rest, this estimate will prove just about anything between the third coming of the messiah and the imminent destruction of the Earth by magnetic core spin reversal.

  • Not really! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sd4f (1891894) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:17AM (#33518408)
    I think it just means that in reality, science hasn't got all the right answers, all of the time, and science should be treated, as it was always intended, with a grain of salt.
  • Re:Scientists (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:23AM (#33518452)

    Scientists are wrong again, just like they were about magnets.

    Just as wrong as they were about every single thing except those they've not yet been proven wrong about.

    The method's kind of based on being provable wrong so, everything's going as planned. Nothing to see here unless you know how to interpret the new data.

    i.e.: The news are, on themselves, useless but as a heads up for the result that will come shortly.

  • Re:Not really! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:26AM (#33518466)

    It means that science is not to be confused with religion and changes in estimates of anything should be studied and understood and not used as a pretext to dismiss science itself as unreliable. If you prefer 'stability' over the truth then you either need religion or counselling. Or both.

  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:35AM (#33518512)

    Some bright researchers managed to refine a previous model and come up with better and more accurate predictions. You may want to note how, contrary to some "skeptics" beliefs this wasn't suppressed or refused publication or any other such shenanigans. In the word of a famous person "When I'm proven wrong I change my opinion, what do you do ?".

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:43AM (#33518580) Homepage Journal

    So this must be fake, but if they'd instead said it's accelerating faster, it would be true - right? Because that's what you want to hear.

  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:46AM (#33518588) Journal

    The ice caps are increasing.

    No. They are just decreasing less fast than previously thought.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:02AM (#33518642) Journal
    "We all know that the ice is still melting (but slower than we thought)."

    Given we know the rate of ocean rise with a high level of certainty. The interesting thing about this estimate is that it has flow on effects to other estimates, such that the amount of ocean rise due to thermal expansion could be higher than previously thought which could mean that the oceans thermal inertia is not as slow as we thought.
  • by Moridineas (213502) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:08AM (#33518658) Journal

    It's not even so black and white as you seem to think. Some are increasing, some are decreasing. On the net? Good question, and one I don't know. It seems from recent advances (eg this article) there is still disagreement amongst scientists.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:11AM (#33518672) Journal

    Just like it will be settled when tomorrow they claim that actually the planet is dying at 1% of the rate they first thought!

    No one claims the planet is dying. It may become quite uncomfortable for humans, though.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:30AM (#33518750) Journal
    "The ice caps are increasing."

    That particular hypothisis has been falsified to death, it now requires a blind faith in the hypothisis afterlife to believe it.

    What "republicans and oil executives" need to falsify is this - Snowfall above 3000 meters in greenland is increasing as predicted by climate models. This has nothing to do with the gulf stream (which is not significantly slowing down), it's due to increased water vapour which in turn is due to a positive feedback from global warming. Overall the extra snowfall at high altitudes does not make up for the extra loss at low altitudes, the extra snowfall may even speed up the loss of glaciers by making them top heavy.
  • Re:Not really! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:33AM (#33518768)

    science should be treated, as it was always intended, with a grain of salt.

    Are we talking "grain of salt" as in "not taking it so seriously" or "understanding that some changes to scientific theory and predictions are bound to occur."

    Not taking science seriously, such as thinking maybe the law of gravity won't really apply this time so you can jump off that building, or not really caring whether or not global warming is occurring is dangerous and fairly illogical. Understanding that scientific theories often change with new facts, but that those changes don't mean the whole thing is bunk, that's good.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:46AM (#33518824) Homepage

    Actually it just means that once again the new prediction for sea level rise falls outside of the 95% confidence interval reported in the IPCC reports. Again. Imagine the chances. They've made 3 predictions, all with 95% confidence intervals, and the new prediction falls out of all 3 of them (just like their next prediction fell outside the 95% range for their previous prediction, both for sea level rise and temperature, so actually we should square the 5%). So if their chances are accurately calculated, that they're this wrong should happen once in 10y * 1 / ( 5% * 5% * 5% ) = 80 000 years.

    I'm not a global warming denialist, mind you ... this obviously means that for the next 80 000 years the IPCC will not make a single wrong prediction !

    Actually this is really smart of those scientists. You see, once every 80 000 years they will make 3 sequential predictions, each wrong. It's like, really smart of them to do it right away, then they can be right for the next few dozen millenia ! Brilliant !

  • Re:Great news! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:51AM (#33518858) Homepage

    Since when do we know that ? Sure we know what we see on a few coastlines (quite a few, granted). We do not, however, have anywhere near accurate 3d heatmaps of the ocean, so we have no clue at all what is causing the variations, since to say the least, the ocean is an interesting place when it comes to temperature variations (and not just temperature variations, there's acidity, salinity, and a dozen other things that all influence eachother).

  • Re:Great news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @06:58AM (#33518890) Homepage

    No one claims the planet is dying. It may become quite uncomfortable for humans, though.

    Actually, since the average temperature of the earth is 15 degrees celcius, and the optimum for humans (and animal life in general) is 21 degrees celcius, it will be more comfortable. Also, if history of civilization, specifically the period immediately preceding the little ice age, is considered, there will be a LOT more arable and livable land accessible to humans (Greenland, Siberia, Canada*, for one) with a 6 degree rise in temperature.

    Even if, yes, a rise like this will mean moving a number of large cities. Also, the change will have winners and losers (generally the winners will be more northern or more southern, and the losers more situated around the equator, but that's at best a very inaccurate rule of thumb).

    * yes, global warming will mean Canada will become a livable place, even when you're more than 10 km from the US border.

    Also, we may not understand exactly what effect was responsible for creating the sahara, it appears to have been a global cooling. Perhaps (we don't know) global warming will reverse this.

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:00AM (#33518894) Homepage Journal

    Nothing would please me more than to find out that, in fact, we aren't screwing up the planet after all and that future generations will be able to enjoy a stable climate and SUVs. Really, I hope that everything turns out just great. However, it still doesn't look like it, I think we will face some very tough times. I don't know whether this new data is correct or not, just like I don't know whether the old data was correct or not. But 164 gigatonnes of glacial ice melt per year still sounds like a lot to me, even if it is less than 362 gigatonnes, so I'm not going to become complacent just because it isn't quite as bad as we thought - note that the word "bad" is still in the situation.

    Also, all this means is that Greenland and West Antarctica are contributing less than 1/4 of the annual rise in sea levels rather than accounting for more than half. I guess we have to keep looking to find where the rest of the rise is coming from. None of this evidence contradicts the rise in sea levels, which is going to displace millions of people.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:14AM (#33518978) Homepage Journal

    Actually, since the average temperature of the earth is 15 degrees celcius, and the optimum for humans (and animal life in general) is 21 degrees celcius, it will be more comfortable. Also, if history of civilization, specifically the period immediately preceding the little ice age, is considered, there will be a LOT more arable and livable land accessible to humans (Greenland, Siberia, Canada*, for one) with a 6 degree rise in temperature.

    You're forgetting that a lot of currently arable land becomes swamp in this context. Remember, if the ice melts the conveyor stops, then the jet stream stops (it's powered by the conveyor which is powered by the thermal differential of ice to ocean) and then we have localized weather. That means some areas get craploads of rain, and some areas get almost none. Areas that are desert become soupy. Areas that are farmland become swamp. Areas that are now scrub become eligible to become farmland once it's cleared. Areas that are now forest begin dying because the trees are no longer in the zone in which they thrive.

    This is not going to be a party if it lasts long.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:24AM (#33519050) Homepage Journal

    Actually, since the average temperature of the earth is 15 degrees celcius, and the optimum for humans (and animal life in general) is 21 degrees celcius, it will be more comfortable.

    You're talking about the average temperature on earth, not the average temperature on land, where people can live.

    Though you may be considering moving to a floating city off of Antarctica, in which case I'll agree with anything you say as long as it keeps you from beating your saucepan with a wooden spoon every goddamn time any news story about climate shows up.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:25AM (#33519056)

    Well, the journal itself doesn't have a divine right to publish papers from the top researchers. If the editorial board make extremely poor decisions, why should scientists feel obliged to publish there? Why should the scientists be associated with half-baked drivel such as the paper in question?

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:26AM (#33519062) Homepage Journal

    Some bright researchers managed to refine a previous model and come up with better and more accurate predictions. You may want to note how, contrary to some "skeptics" beliefs this wasn't suppressed or refused publication or any other such shenanigans. In the word of a famous person "When I'm proven wrong I change my opinion, what do you do ?".

    An honest skeptic would look at the Greenland melt data and say that there wasn't enough evidence. An honest Al Gore would have looked at the Greenland melt and put large error bars around his predictions. Dishonest people on either side refuse any results that disagree with their presumptions.

    I recall watching CSPAN and seeing climatologists talking about how the Greenland melt rate would be 10 times greater than we'd expected, because of the wet pancake effect or something. I'm not an AGW skeptic, though I *am* critical of idiots like that, that claim more evidence than there is. He's up there scaring senators, and... he's wrong. (Or probably is - the Greenland melt is an active area of research.) I'm also critical of people like Sarah Palin who think that human beings can't possibly, ever, affect the climate.

    Unfortunately, it seems most people are dishonest dogmatists for one side or another.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:27AM (#33519074)

    No.

    There is no such thing as a PUBLIC conspiracy.

    A publicly know boycott is obviously not a conspiracy.

    Boycotting journals for publishing crappy papers is exactly the right thing to do. That is how scientists guard the quality of journals. There is no other way (that I know of).

  • Re:Great news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:31AM (#33519090) Homepage Journal

    >>They've made 3 predictions, all with 95% confidence intervals, and the new prediction falls out of all 3 of them

    That's why I especially like one prediction they did (in AR4, I think) that included no change in the predicted models for 10 years out within the error bars (which was something like +0C to +4C).

    So even if there's no climate change, it verifies climate change.
    But if there's +5C change, then, by golly, global warming has been falsified! The results didn't match prediction.

    In all seriousness, though, I think there's a real paradox in what we consider falsification and verification in science if the above two statements are both true.

  • Conveyor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by overshoot (39700) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:37AM (#33519114)
    Looks like I can reset my clock on the anticipated shutdown of the Atlantic Conveyor.

    Less fresh water in the North Atlantic means the thermohaline convection effect will be keeping Europe warm and wet for a while longer. In the short term, that's good. In another sense, though, I suspect it's not so good: it's going to take something dramatic to move climate change out of the "we'll worry about that when we don't have anything more important" category.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:38AM (#33519116)

    I no longer believe you, when you say that you would be "pleased" to hear that global warming isn't that big of a deal. If that were true, why are such stories buried and alarmist stories repeated even if based on incorrect data?

    About 10 years ago, I also believed in global warming, however I stopped doing so. How is such a thing possible?
    1. Climate Change
    I had my first doubts about global warming, when they introduced the term climate change“ which the added claim that climate change“ may not just cause warming in some regions, but may actually cause cooling in others. So all of the sudden climate change“ may cause everything: Hot, cold, stormy, dry, wet, etc.
    2. The first decade of the 21st century
    If the “hockeystick” were correct, we should have experienced a record-breaking hot climate in every year or at least most years between 2000 and 2010, but that just didn't happen. Some people say that 2009 was the hottest year on the record and hotter than 1998, but even if that's true it does not really support the supposed runaway warming-scenario - at all. Now when from the 10 years following 1998 9 have been cooler and one has been warmer, that may show that the climate may be a little warmer than usual (after all 1998 has been the warmest on the record and 2009 may have broken that record), but it points more to a relatively steady climate that may be little bit too hot, but not at all to some runaway climate shift.
    3. Alarmism
    What also disturbs me a lot is the alarmism. The warm periods, no matter when we talk about humans (medieval warm period, little ice age, etc.) or life in general were always the better periods (where “better” means of course that more life can be sustained by the earth)
    So the horror-scenarios don't make that much sense and are blown way out of proportion.
    4. The “experts” opinion
    It is always said that the “scientific consensus” is clear about global warming. Well, science is not a popularity contest and is also not democratic. The “scientific consensus” also said that therapy and short prison sentences would reduce crime, but crime rates in the US quadrupled in the 1960s. The “scientific consensus” said that big government will reduce poverty, yet the higher the taxes are and the more incentives is given to the poor to have large families, the more poverty there is. And of course the “experts” also worried about “global cooling” in the 1970s.
    The experts have a pretty bad track record, especially when it comes to politically sensitive things.
    5. Socialism
    Socialism has always been marketed as rule by the scientists and experts. Everybody shall lose their “bourgeous” human rights like right to property and freedom of association (freedom of association is racist anyway, right?) and submit to “expert rule” because the experts know it all and know it better than us rednecks. Well, not only have the “experts” been very often wrong, the centralized rule from above by the experts has proven to be a bigger disaster than any global warming scenario. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
    Russia has always been a traditional food exporter and was turned into country where millions starve by the “experts”. And famine and widespread starvation has been the hallmark of socialism almost everywhere it has been tried: China, Cambodia, many african countries, etc.
    The “experts” seem to be able to turn a fertile country into a desert not only much faster than global warming, but also repeatedly and in the real word (not just in a computer simulation). Warming may force a change of crops and maybe even a reduction in yield (that's a big “may” - far more likely is that it increases yields because warmer was usually better in the past) but there is no land on earth that cannot be utterly ruined by the advice of an “expert”.
    When the “experts” want to create

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarenN (411219) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:40AM (#33519124) Homepage

    1.1mm per year being the best available globally measured data? Outliers being 2mm? Worst case scenario being 4mm? That WILL displace people,eventually. 4mm per year means that in just under a century, sea levels will have risen a foot. This is the worst case scenario - it's more likely to be 150-200 years based on existing data (it's actually hard to measure exactly - between isostatic rebound, tidal variation, building, etc)

    That's not going to chase anyone out of their homes. Flooding is more likely from heavy rainfall or really stupid building decisions such as building below the water level (New Orleans) or building on flood plains (everywhere else) than from sea level increases. Even the melting of ice causing sea level rises isn't a problem (work out 500Gt versus the amount of ice on Greenland alone), reduced salinity affecting currents is more likely to be a problem.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:56AM (#33519208)

    Ya that is something that really bothers me about the climate change argument. Seems like a large about of people aren't arguing it as a science, they are arguing it as a religion. What I mean is you are demanded to believe all of it, everything, including all the policy recommendations, without question. If you don't, you are shouted down as being an idiot, uneducated, a denialist, and all sorts of things.

    Well, that isn't science. Science isn't about unquestioning acceptance of dogma, especially when you are talking things far beyond the theory itself (like what must be done as a result of the theory). That makes me really question the motives of the people pushing it. I don't necessarily mean the people doing the research, but the people pushing it on the Internet and so on. It seems to me that they probably aren't the educated, enlightened people they want to pretend but rather people who have grabbed on to a belief, for whatever reason, and now demand everyone think like them.

  • Re:Scientists (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:59AM (#33519228) Homepage Journal
    Scientists are always wrong.

    That is, until one of them gets it right.
  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:59AM (#33519230)

    An honest Al Gore would have

    And an honest commentator would have put (WARNING: POLITICIAN!) behind the name.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:04AM (#33519266)

    What about the people that suggested the 'accepted truths' were extremely alarmist and that using such hyperbole to get a point across would be incredibly damaging to future efforts at swaying hearts and minds towards making things better?

    Do we get an apology for being called deniers?

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:22AM (#33519380) Homepage

    Except for certain low-lying island nations in the pacific, but fsck'em why should we care?
    You ask a salient point why should we care? No really, why should the other 6+ billion people living on the earth all freeze to death in the winter and bake in the summer, so a bunch of islander can continue to live somewhere a strong hurricane(or cyclone) could wipe out their entire community. But hey, you drive a Prius right?

  • Re:Great news! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:23AM (#33519392) Homepage

    Both Europe and America were filled with swamps before humans fixed it (in the late middle ages).

    So what is the problem ? First, swamps won't recreate unless we screw up water management badly, and even then we can simply close them up again.

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:29AM (#33519428)
    Science corrects itself after finding new facts, no news at 11.

    Besides, wether or not global warming is caused by humans isn't the important bit, the important bit is that we learn to understand the dynamics of our only place to live, Earth, and how to prepare for the future.
    If global warming is real, it's important that we know what this will bring in the future, what the effects will be on the weather, the oceans, the wild life,...
    And even if it's not actually warming, the science that goes into studying this will serve us in the future.

    The fact is, we don't have a full understanding of the dynamics involved, all studies i've seen seem to indicate there is in fact global warming, and frankly, i don't care whom or what caused it, i want to know how we're preparing for the next day.
  • Re:Great news! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:39AM (#33519512)

    I'm not a global warming denialist, mind you ... this obviously means that for the next 80 000 years the IPCC will not make a single wrong prediction !

    You're not very strong at probability either. ;)

  • Re:Scientists (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:44AM (#33519556)

    They don't have superpowers like Captain Obvious does.

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarenN (411219) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:50AM (#33519614) Homepage

    on sea level rise alone - a lot of Tuvalu is 1m above sea level. To cover it in water would require 250 years of 4mm per year, so it's not going to disappear overnight.

    Bear in mind that 250 years ago there were an estimated 1.5m colonists in North America divided between British, Dutch and French colonies, the Prussians, the Holy Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire and others were fighting the Seven Years war, the British had just gained control of Canada by capturing Montreal from the French and beginning the end of the French and Indian war, the Marathas kingdom in India was fighting (and losing to) the Afghans to their North, and George III was raised to the British throne.
    A quarter of a millenium is a long time :)

  • Re:Great news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paeanblack (191171) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:53AM (#33519656)

    If the average global temperature increased then the average air pressure would...

    It would do nothing along the lines of what you are thinking. The atmosphere is not enclosed in a rigid container (external force), but held by gravity (body force).

    The average pressure at sea level is the gravitational weight of the atmosphere divided by the surface area of the earth. The classical mass of the atmosphere is independent of average temperature.

    Yes, local temperature changes cause local pressure changes. This does not mean global average temperature changes cause global average pressure changes.

  • Re:Not really! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:53AM (#33519660) Homepage Journal

    I think it just means that in reality, science hasn't got all the right answers, all of the time, and science should be treated, as it was always intended, with a grain of salt.

    I don't think you understand what science is.

    This paper is science. There is not the slightest reason to disbelief in science even the tiniest bit because one prediction has been replaced by a better prediction - because that is exactly what science is all about. Science is a highly successful method of getting ever closer to whatever the "right answer" may be, by falsification, replacement, improvement.

    That real revolution in thinking has not yet made it into our ape brains. We enjoy the successes it has given us, from technology to medicine to psychology, diplomacy, social sciences, practically everything around you except sunday church and friday flirting is heavily influenced by science. But few of us have made scientific thinking our home. When was the last time you stopped yourself in a fight with your girlfriend to re-examine the facts and try to actively falsify your hypothesis about her reasons?

    Our ape brains want to verify, we feel more secure if we think we are right. Science wants to falsify, to show that the model is wrong, in as much detail as possible, so we can make up a new one that is better.
    Or in less individual and more social terms: Religion starts by postulating a few facts, and then killing everyone who disagrees. Science starts by postulating a few axioms, and then trying as hard as possible to show that they're wrong. On those that survive, we build more theories, again trying hard to show they're wrong.
    For geeks: Science is like crypto. An untested cipher is considered weak until enough time has passed and enough people have tried breaking it that everyone else accepts that "we" as a hole don't - at least yet - know a way to do it, so for the moment it's a good cipher.

    So to bring it all full circle: This is an improvement of the climate change models, and disproves them in the same way that finding a good attack on RSA breaks cryptography. It doesn't, breaking ciphers is an important part of cryptography.

  • Re:Scientists (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DriedClexler (814907) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:04AM (#33519796)

    "We have not answered every question you have. Each answer led to more questions. But perhaps now we are confused at a more sophisticated level, and about more important things."

  • Re:Not really! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by locallyunscene (1000523) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:27AM (#33520176)
    What do you mean "science doesn't work that way"? Peer review is a vital part of science. You can't prove a theory 'correct', but that is not a claimed goal anyway. Scientific consensus on a theory just tells you that a given theory matches the data provided up to that time. The longer a theory stands the more data is accumulated that either supports or data com,es out that the theory needs to be revised.

    In the case of TFA they revised how fast Greenlandic ice is melting, but it is still melting at non-trivial rates. The data still supports the theory for global warming.

    "Deniers" are generally called that because they forgo the peer review process claiming conspiracy, and/or repeat frankly debunked claims.
  • by Hylandr (813770) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:30AM (#33520266) Homepage
    Here's a citation:

    Global warming will exist., so long as there is money to be made.

    - Dan.
  • Re:Great news! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:33AM (#33520344) Homepage

    Come on, read your own post. You're basically saying that climate science is a fantasy and doesn't have anything to say about the real world.

    Of course those confidence intervals mean that according to the IPCC there is a 95% chance that the reaction of the real world will fall within the claimed range.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:52AM (#33520704) Homepage

    No, then you've falsely claimed a confidence interval. Let's compare here :

    A scientist claims electrons have a charge of 1.2e (95% confidence interval).

    This turns out to be a mistake in his measurement equipment. So if you look at his data, obviously this is a correct conclusion, he's just measured it wrong.

    According to you, therefore, that claim will be correct. Was the original claim wrong or not ? Obviously is was wrong.

    What is claimed by the ipcc is that their predictions will match what happens in the real world. Only they're giving out conflicting predictions ... whoops. That means, just like the electron example, that they're wrong. Simple.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:15AM (#33521178)

    I no longer believe you, when you say that you would be "pleased" to hear that global warming isn't that big of a deal. If that were true, why are such stories buried and alarmist stories repeated even if based on incorrect data?

    About 10 years ago, I also believed in global warming, however I stopped doing so. How is such a thing possible?
    1. Climate Change

    The change to climate change simply reflects that the Earth is a complicated system and global warming doesn't simply mean everyplace
    gets uniformly warmer.

    2. The first decade of the 21st century
    If the “hockeystick” were correct, we should have experienced a record-breaking hot climate in every year or at least most years between 2000 and 2010, but that just didn't happen.

    There are natural fluctuations superimposed on an overall warming. Is this really so hard to understand?

    3. Alarmism
    What also disturbs me a lot is the alarmism. The warm periods, no matter when we talk about humans (medieval warm period, little ice age, etc.) or life in general were always the better periods (where “better” means of course that more life can be sustained by the earth)
    So the horror-scenarios don't make that much sense and are blown way out of proportion.

    The last 10,000 years were spent with less then 1 degree change in the global temperature. Before that was a glacial period that was about
    6 degrees cooler? So projections of an increase of 2 or 4 or more degrees are a very big change, one which hasn't been seen in historical
    times.

    4. The “experts” opinion

    Just jabbering. What does this have to do with science.

    5. Socialism

    More jabbering. Oddly enough, the main proposals to combat global warming are much more libertarian then socialism. The suggest
    estimating the total amount of carbon that can be emitted and then creating a market for this carbon. Private property rights aren't the
    hallmark of socialism. In any case, as a thought experiment, just pretend global warming is real and see how your favorite political
    system would address it.

    6. Conspiracy!

    You are correct it is not a conspiracy.

    7. Constant ad hominem attacks

    Look in the mirror and read your post to yourself. See if you can spot an ad hominem attacks.

    8. Lies
    Oh, and of course the lies. When Al Gore shows a poor little ice bear no longer finding any ice he did that with the knowledge that the ice bear population is on a record high. When the British global warming institute gets it email-server hacked and revealed that they would rather destroy their raw data than release it to the public it really speaks for itself.

    Current polar bear population is irrelevant if in 100 years their hunting range disappears. The files data was lost well before the email hack,
    this was a known issue. If the original records, rather then the copies are found, will you suddenly become a believer?

    9. Missing predictions and polls

    Actually you are incorrect. You do not understand the difference between weather and climate. More over you don't understand chaos.

    10. Peak Oil

    Peak Coal.

  • Re:Ololololo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:32AM (#33521502) Journal

    In science, when your hypothesis is falsified by the data being different from its predictions, you abandon it and look for a different model.

    In religion, when the predictions of your dogma turn out to be wrong, you tell your critics that they just don't understand how your religion works, and really with a deeper understanding you were right all along.

    Supporters of the notion that "AGW is a serious threat" keep sounding like the latter case to me. When the data is unexpected, the models are adjusted to explain that too, and the modelers keep believing. Creationists have really entertaining explanations for the fossil record - but it doesn't help your case if the explanations come after the data, as that's sort of the opposite of a prediction.

    If your belief in AGW (or anything else!) is scientific and not religious, then you can both explain the belief at a qualitative level (quick: how does a greenhouse work?) and you can explain what new data would cause you to abandon your belief. In my experience, most people who consider themselves intellectuals have a religious faith in scientists (the intellectually lazy approach) instead of having scientific beliefs.

  • Re:Not really! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oiron (697563) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:45AM (#33521716) Homepage

    That there are people who blindly ignore evidence in their attempt to smear a theory with inconvenient predictions muddies the waters, and results in our current state where anyone who so much as questions any data or theory on anthropogenic climate change is an "anti-science global warming denier", and the slightest correction to data is "proof of the gubernment conspiracy", with BOTH of these being a detriment to actual climate science.

    Those who raise new questions (like this study) are skeptics who advance the scientific method. Those who keep bringing up the same old "but they believed in global cooling in the 1970s" crock are deniers. There's a difference.

  • by benhattman (1258918) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:56AM (#33521938)

    I didn't bother to read most of your drivel, but you should at least firm up your first argument.

    The climate is complex. Which means that it is entirely possible for the global climate to warm, while a given local climate becomes cooler or drier or wetter. The term climate change is just an attempt at framing the discussion so people stop wasting time with the argument "I don't know about this global warming, last weekend the high was only 75F".

    A real world example is that while much of the US was mired in record heat waves this summer, my hometown in the pacific northwest had high temperatures above 70F for less than 60 days, and highs above 80F for probably fewer than 20 days. The PNW is a drizzly climate, but even the locals got pretty punchy. If I were like most people and assumed the entire world were just the same as my own corner, I could conclude from this summer that global temperatures had cooled nearly 10F on average since 2009!

    I understand the sentiment that political framing of scientific questions is fraught ground, but in my country people like to scream at each other until the loudest voice is deemed right. So, some people are trying the approach of screaming about global warming because they think the future state of humanity might depend on it. You can belittle those people if you like, but at least they're arguing over something that might matter rather than how many blocks away from a site of murder you can/should build a mosque.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScentCone (795499) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:20AM (#33522370)
    Please do not disturb him with annoying distractions such as observations of actual ice.
  • by huckamania (533052) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:25AM (#33522448) Journal

    The paper was peer reviewed. How else could these 'scientists' have known about it and fought it against publication if it wasn't? These 'scientists' didn't like the results. They really, really didn't like their own research being used against them. They probably thought that the researchers got to pick their reviewers because that's how they roll.

    This whole argument is really about restoring the Medieval Warm Period. Mann completely removed it from his proxy reconstructions and others have put forth the argument that it was regional or hemispheric. The study in question showed that the MWP signature appears in multiple sets of data. More recent studies have shown that it did exist and was a global phenomenon.

    You would think that the burden of proof is on the side that overturns established theory. The MWP was in previous IPCC reports and was not considered controversial.

  • Re:Ololololo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:46AM (#33522806) Journal

    Scientists certainly do "believe" in evolution (well, a few of them don't, I suppose) and that belief is justified by a great many successful predictions made by that theory (and not by others).

    It's simply not the case that science is about adjusting the theory to fit the data (well, it happens, but it's not seen as good science). Newtons theories weren't "adjusted" by relativity, they were proven wrong. They were still useful, in fact very predictive in most cases, but nevertheless wrong.

    Anyway, that whole discussion misses the point: as you say, it's not about black-or-white "right" or "wrong", its about how predictive is a hypothesis over the domain of interest. Thus far, to the extent that the climate modelers have deigned to make any predictions, the predictive value of those models has been crap. Call it "right" or "wrong", I don't care, but I call it "not sufficiently predictive to justify telling me what to do in my daily life"!

    And what about you - sarhjinian - are your beliefs about AGW scientific or religious? Do you actually understand what you're arguing for, or are you just saying "I'm part of the 'in' crowd that believes in X, not one of those lossers with unfashionable beliefs".

    Quick: how does a greenhouse work? Are we in an ice age right now? What's the only 10ky period of relatively stable climate in the past 400K years, per the accurate ice core data - is a stable climate norma? What's the obvious ~100ky cycle in that data? What's the highest historical level of CO2 (as a multiple of today's) since the oxygen catastrophe? How well did life on land do during that time?

    Well, have you actually taght yourself about this stuff, or are you just fashionable?

  • Check for yourself (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thethibs (882667) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @05:06PM (#33527456) Homepage

    This is something anyone on Slashdot should be able to do. First, go get the GISP2 ice core data at

    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/summit/gisp2/isotopes/gisp2_temp_accum_alley2000.txt [noaa.gov]

    Pull the data into Excel or R or your favourite tool and plot the most recent 10,000 years (period since the end of the last ice age). You'll find it easier to interpret if you convert the age to years AD and BC and normalize the temperatures to make them relative to current.

    You'll see that the Mann Hockey Stick is right where it's supposed to be. What's surprising is how tiny it is (said the actress to the bishop).

    What I find most interesting is that, since 8000BC, it's only been as cold as it is now three times, and for each time only 200 or so years. So is it going to get warmer? Yeah, that's a safe bet if we don't get an ice age first. It's going to get a lot warmer before it gets to what's been normal and comfortable for most of modern human history.

    Does Mann demand an explanation? No--there's nothing exceptional about the current trend--it doesn't require an exceptional explanation. It's just the climate being the climate.

    The next thing I did was superimpose the rise and fall of the great human cultures in both the Old World and the Americas, with a focus on equatorial civilizations. With a couple of exceptions, they all get their start during warming periods. A few, the Hittites, both Romes, Islam, see their fortunes literally rise and fall with temperature.

    But don't take my word for it. It's an hour's work to see for yourself.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." -- Karl, as he stepped behind the computer to reboot it, during a FAT

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