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Arctic Ice Cap Rebounds From 2012 — But Does That Matter? 400

Posted by timothy
from the ask-me-in-a-few-decades dept.
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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Arctic Ice Cap Rebounds From 2012 — But Does That Matter?

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  • by Elgonn (921934) on Monday September 09, 2013 @02:55AM (#44794927)
    60% increase. Yet no relevant data for scale to understand the shift. No wonder someone else called it 'technically true'.
  • Time scale (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Monday September 09, 2013 @03:09AM (#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.

  • by durrr (1316311) on Monday September 09, 2013 @03:14AM (#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.

  • by nadaou (535365) on Monday September 09, 2013 @03:21AM (#44795017) Homepage

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2013 @03:23AM (#44795029)

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

  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Monday September 09, 2013 @03:28AM (#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.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Monday September 09, 2013 @03:30AM (#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.

  • by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Monday September 09, 2013 @03:31AM (#44795075) Homepage

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

    Or

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

  • by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Monday September 09, 2013 @03:53AM (#44795181) Homepage

    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.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Monday September 09, 2013 @04:05AM (#44795213) Journal

    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.

  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Monday September 09, 2013 @04:31AM (#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.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Monday September 09, 2013 @04:42AM (#44795337) Journal

    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.

  • by Eunuchswear (210685) on Monday September 09, 2013 @04:44AM (#44795341) Journal

    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.

  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Monday September 09, 2013 @04:48AM (#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.

  • by sjames (1099) on Monday September 09, 2013 @04:54AM (#44795387) Homepage

    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.

  • by Bongo (13261) on Monday September 09, 2013 @04:59AM (#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.

  • by tp1024 (2409684) on Monday September 09, 2013 @05:02AM (#44795427)

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

  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Monday September 09, 2013 @05:12AM (#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.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 09, 2013 @05:34AM (#44795527) Journal

    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.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Monday September 09, 2013 @05:43AM (#44795557) Journal

    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

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Monday September 09, 2013 @06:52AM (#44795779) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday September 09, 2013 @07:25AM (#44795915) Journal

    Isn't it curious that *most* of the discussions on arctic ice coverage were solely about extent until recently? Now when ice area is increasing, the discussion switches critically to volume of ice.

    The regular amount of goalpost-shifting by "global warming" - sorry, "climate change" - alarmists is frenetic.

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday September 09, 2013 @07:43AM (#44795981)
    Carbon taxes will do nothing in the face of exponential population growth. When it starts getting too expensive, the politicians will begin handing out "exemptions", you know, for the really poor, for the children, etc. And at the end of the day you'll be back to square one, only worse since you will not have addressed the real problem. If there were only 1 billion people in the world we would not even be having the discussion of whether or not our lifestyle impacts the environment significantly. Keep adding more people and it takes less effort for any individual to cause lasting harm. At one point merely existing, without actually consuming or being reckless, will cause harm. And then we're all fucked. But people are blind, blind blind. And they keep shitting out babies like it was their god-appointed duty or something. Oh wait...
  • by locofungus (179280) on Monday September 09, 2013 @07:56AM (#44796049)

    Yes we can.

    2007 was an exceptional year for ice melt, a 1 in 1000 event. In a stable climate we wouldn't expect to see that record beaten for ages.

    But just six years later we saw that record broken. That tells us that either there is a trend in ice extent (there is) or, alternatively, variability is increasing (also generally not a good thing as most living things need a fairly stable environment to survive) or both.

    Even after the exceptional rebound this year, we're still one SD below the long term trend line. Things are not looking good in the arctic at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2013 @08:58AM (#44796381)

    It only "matters" when they melt.

  • by fritsd (924429) on Monday September 09, 2013 @09:39AM (#44796669) Journal
    Yeah, and if Hitler were alive today, he'd probably be a "Warmist" as well, what with his vegetarianism and long walks in the woods.

    Give me a break.

    This whole Slashdot discussion today, based on a Daily Mail article, seems to be mental preparation of the public so that they're properly revved up for global warming denialism,
    before the next IPCC report gets published in a few weeks [climatechange2013.org].

    So that on 2013-09-27, Joe Public will say to Jane Public: "but it's all rubbish; wasn't that in the newspaper a few weeks ago?".
  • by dkf (304284) <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> on Monday September 09, 2013 @10:39AM (#44797287) Homepage

    Carbon taxes will do nothing in the face of exponential population growth.

    Which is why you want to be educating women, as that seems to be the most effective mechanism for reducing population growth rates.

  • by Rujiel (1632063) on Monday September 09, 2013 @12:10PM (#44798479)
    DERP INTERNET Is there an invisible army of retards on /. such that trash like this gets marked funny on any article about warming?
  • by Alef (605149) on Monday September 09, 2013 @03:31PM (#44801469)

    - Empirical Science isn't a democracy. [...] 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."

    And they all failed to prove Einstein wrong, in the same way everyone who has tried to prove the climate models (fundamentally) wrong have failed. For anyone who isn't a physicist, don't you agree that it is relevant to note that the vast majority of physicists agree that Einstein's theories of relativity are correct?

    - Patrick Moore left greenpeace (which he helped create) because it bothered him that the entire movement was basically hijacked by socialists. [...]

    Then don't listen to Greenpeace! It doesn't matter what they say, listen to what climate scientists say. Forget about Greenpeace.

    [...] 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. [...]

    For what reason would there be? If that were the case you suddenly have two new problems to find explanations for: 1) There would have to be a mechanism that can cause sudden spikes in the Earth's energy exchange at a planetary scale, other than greenhouse gases; and 2) You need to find a reason why the current increase in greenhouse gases, which should have exactly that (heating) effect based on pretty basic physics, for some reason doesn't.

    - 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:[...]

    Apart from the somewhat dubious claim that it was the "greenest" period in history, then yes, there has been periods with much higher CO2, and consequently a much warmer climate (despite a weaker solar radiation back then). Nobody, who knows what they are talking about, is claiming that a hotter climate precludes life -- that isn't the issue. The issues are that:
    1) Many current organisms will not be able to adapt that quickly to a climate change, meaning we will lose much biodiversity for some millions of years until new species have developed. This isn't a problem for "life" itself, but a loss for humanity.
    2) Human societies will take a pretty big hit in adapting to a hotter world. For one thing, during such warmer periods as you refer to, the sea level was 50 to 70 meters higher than it is today. We are of course not talking about any such increases in the near term, and we could probably adapt to even such extreme changes without going extinct if we had to, but the cost of for example moving portions of coastal cities (to name one of a long range of potential consequences) just so we can continue to use oil for a few decades longer than we otherwise would have (since it runs out anyway), is completely disproportionate. There are other energy sources.

    By the way, I find it somewhat interesting that you say we have "well known periods where the earth was so much hotter", talking about periods hundreds of millions of years ago, a few sentences after you declare your distrust for historical temperature records because "we weren't actually there to measure it proper thousands or millions of years ago". Which way do you want to have it?

  • by cundare (1141279) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @12:26PM (#44809135)
    ...and this, class, is an example of argumentum ad hominem. In essence, it asserts that 25 years of research into climate-change -- research that is accepted by virtually every national government, every national science foundation, every peer-reviewed journal of even modest credibility in three broad fields of science, and the overwhelming majority of scientists worldwide in those fields -- is actually an enormous decades-long hoax. And the proof of this, um, extraordinary assertion, is the conclusory statement that there are "really rich people" who could reap financial benefits if the results of this research are true. Get it?

    A more nuanced analysis would reveal that, if climate change is real, it will be a disaster for most of these national governments, many of whicfh are already a bit tentative in their finances. See, e.g., Australia. The cost to protect coastal urban areas will be astronomical, there will likely be large numbers of refugees (even in industrialized nations, but the problem will be far worse in the less-developed areas of Africa & South America), and the political issues alone will likely destabilize governments. Especially scary is that some of the countries likely to be hardest hit are nuclear powers, like Pakistan & India. So why in the world would nearly every national government -- including many that would resist agreeing with each other at gunpoint -- secretly conspire to perpetuate such a hoax.

    Then again, some of the wackier denier types are the same people who believed with all their hearts that the President of the United States is not an American citizen. Or that he's both a secret Muslim and a believer in Reverend Wright's "radical black" sect of Christianity. Don't expect rational.

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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