Scientific Jargon – “Would” “Will” “Could” “Might” “Maybe”

Guest post by Steven Goddard
http://gothamist.com/attachments/jake/2006_1_bigwave1.jpg
The BBC has perfected the use of weasel words to create alarm.  They have a lead story today :

The collapse of a major polar ice sheet will not raise global sea levels as much as previous projections suggest, a team of scientists has calculated.

Writing in Science, the researchers said that the demise of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) would result in a sea level rise of 3.3m (10 ft).

There is no evidence presented that such an event would, could or will occur – other than some 30 year old hearsay.

It has been hypothesised for more than 30 years now that the WAIS is inherently unstable,” he explained.

And how many other global catastrophes have been forecast over the last 30 years?  Seems like a new one nearly every week.  The article goes on -

“A sea level rise of just 1.5m would displace 17 million people in Bangladesh alone,”

Sea level is currently rising at 2.378 mm/year.  At that rate, it will take 631 years for sea level to rise 1.5 meters.  During that time hundreds of billions of people may have lived and died – the ultimate displacement.
http://www.aviso.oceanobs.com/fileadmin/images/news/indic/msl/MSL_Serie_J1_Global_NoIB_RWT_PGR_Adjust.png

But the author wants us to worry about 200 years from now.

In other words, if the global average was one metre, then places like New York could expect to see a rise of 1.25m.  Responding to Professor Bamber’s paper in Science, British Antarctic Survey science leader Dr David Vaughan described the findings as “quite sound”. “But for me, the most crucial question is not solely about the total amount of ice in West Antarctica, because that might take several centuries to be lost to the ocean,” he told BBC News. “The crucial question is how much ice could be lost in 100-200 years; that’s the sea level rise we have to understand and plan for.”Even with this new assessment the loss of a fraction of WAIS over those timescales would have serious consequences and costs that we’ve only really just begun to understand.”

Two hundred years ago was before the War of 1812.  Thank goodness people weren’t so ridiculous and arrogant back then as to try to predict and solve our problems.  My question is, how could the BBC pick this obscure piece of speculation as front page news?  NASA can’t even figure out if Antarctica is cooling or warming.
Antarctic Temperature Trend 1982-2004
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WilkinsIceSheet/images/wilkins_avh_2007.jpg

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WilkinsIceSheet/images/wilkins_avh_2007.jpg

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134 thoughts on “Scientific Jargon – “Would” “Will” “Could” “Might” “Maybe”

  1. I sincerely hope that Lord Monckton will be given a role in the next British government, if only to rearrange the British Bare-faced-lying Corporation from the top down.

    What an incredible decline in ethics for such a historically highly respected news organization.

  2. Another “if things continue the way they are” story… Well, if things continue the way they are going now, we’ll be too stupid to reproduce by then. Problem solved.

  3. Thanks, Steve. The actual story is even more offensive with its ‘scientific’ context. Are not the ice shelves actually floating? I can’t imagine the ice has the stuctural strength to support itself. So melting would be like the ice in a drink. Wait, though, maybe the southern ocean would get cold and desalinated enough to drive off the fish and the penguins would all starve. I knew there was something I could feel guilty about! end sarc

  4. How sad. The BBC long ago lost any sense of scruples or integrity on the issue of man’s supposed impact on climate change.

    They’re so totally in the tank for the alarmist camp now that facts no longer matter (see climateaudit re:Steig bogus analysis of Antarctic temp trends, or the Catlin follies, e.g.).

    You cannot debate BBC logically any more than you can debate the Vatican about the existence of angels.

    High priests, heaven and hell, mythical Eden, original sin, salvation through penitence and sacrifice – – – it’s all the same for the true believers.

    There must be a couple of reporters who are beginning to feel the prickly heat of real-world facts who might start challenging the AGW dogma. But that takes cojones, no?

  5. So a study is published supporting the idea that the effects of AGW might be less severe over a couple of centuries than previously imagined, and you’re condemning it?

    Own goal.

  6. My mind boggles that so many
    prognosticate about so much with so little knowledge;
    that so many believe it is possible, even easy, to reduce CO2 emissions;
    and that doing so will rapidly and materially drop CO2 concentration below some magic point;
    and that so many believe doing so will solve most of the world’s ills no matter how tenuously they are connected to climate.
    Here’s a thought: pick an issue you really care about and then go try to solve it directly. Do people need clean water? How do you produce it and deliver it? More and better food? Think about how you can do that tomorrow, next, month, and next year. Go do it. The list is endless and focusing on reducing CO2 isn’t helping anyone or anything nor is it about to.

  7. “Coulda-woulda-shoulda” I call it. I like to watch for the hard-soft wording, such as: “… *will not* raise global sea levels as much as previous projections *suggest*…”, and “The *crucial* question is how much ice *could* be lost …” and to not belabor the point, “… *would* have *serious consequences* …”.

    This stands out at me like red flags, but then I’m an Engineer.

  8. Talk about a contradiction in terms – science by press release.

    “It is possible that…”
    “It is conceivable that at some point…”
    “If current trends continue…”
    “The latest projection seems to indicate…”
    “While it is not possible to forecast, at some point in the future…”

    This is the sort of garbage that says nothing while creating the illusion of danger and the need to act quickly. Even worse is that it can’t really be refuted. No solid objective evidence is presented with which to latch onto. Scenarios are created painting scenes of possibilities. AGW is like a herd of greased pigs. As soon as one grabs onto one slippery pig [fact] the movement trumpets other dangers. You can never seems to get it under control. It was sad to see SWPC play the same game in their press release on solar cycle 24 when they raised the alarm of a possible CME (coronal mass ejection); what should have been a minor footnote was turned into a major paragraph. Too many students with a communication major degree have taken over in the realm of science.

  9. Yes, Yes and erosion and sediment deposits, typhoons, tsunamis and winds, rain, floods droughts and vegetation will reshape the river Deltas of the world over the next 200 years as well.

    So you got a plan to stop that too? What about solving the continental drift problem, or the subduction issue while you are at it.

    I know!!!! an electric car and a Carbon Tax will take care of all these issues!

    What a pathetic attempt at a catastrophic future based on AGW theory. Where are the trillions dead, famine desease, cannibalism, wars, plagues and all the end of days stuff… 3 ft of water in couple hundred years…not even worthy of rebuttal.

  10. AP put out a similar story,

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,520294,00.html

    informing us that –
    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet can be unstable and has long concerned researchers who fear it could collapse as a result of global warming. Previous studies had estimated that failure of the ice sheet, causing it to slide into the ocean, would raise global seas levels by 5-to-6 meters, or 16-to-19 feet.

    but you don’t find out until paragraph 8 (of 10) :
    How fast this might happen was unclear, but an earlier study suggested the melting could take 500 years, which would mean a sea level rise of about a quarter-inch a year.

    That’s about twice the current natural rate, which would give us 10 feet a thousand years from now.

    Makes it tough to sleep at night for worryin’.

  11. This is like, as many 2 billion people will have died because of AGW in 150 years time, i am pretty sure that billions more will have died by that time of causes not related to AGW. A lot more.

    By the way, asking about those weaselwords usually leave the AGW-zealots gasping for breath like a fish on dry land, basically you let them explain what might happen is because the trends of the models show a upward curve that might indicate a decrease in cloud coverage wich on its turn could result in rising temperatures and a downward trend in rainfall or something like that.

    An old saying goes that “a fool can ask more questions than 10 wise man can answer”. And now we have educated fools who are asking questions to those who have obtained their much praised knowledge from the virtual realm and meaningless statistics.

  12. I believe scientists have had proof that the WAIS is unstable for decades. They know that it collapses about every 100K years and it has been about 100K years since the last collapse.

    The way I understand it is that during interglacial periods, water builds up under the sheet and acts as a lubricant. At some point it just slides downhill into the sea and starts forming again. Who knows, maybe THAT is the event that triggers the start of new ice ages. Dumping that much ice into the ocean all at once might act like an ice cube in a gin and tonic and cool the whole southern ocean down.

  13. I was just talking about this with Omni here.
    It seems like we get a climate hokum story every other day.
    Always with the “maybe” in small print.
    Pen Hadrow gets frozen off the ice, picked up by an airplane which wouldn’t have been able to land if their predictions were anywhere close to the truth, and the Beeb credulously reports the ice is thinning much more rapidly then even their worst fears. A bald faced lie.

    And then the obligatory West Ant is going to melt story.
    The latest in a never ending stream of bald faced lies, from the misinformation arm of the British government.
    The US isn’t any better.
    Look at the visuals you are forced to use to illustrate this post.
    Steig etal. Another bald faced lie from a thoroughly documented liar.

    We have to stop expecting these cretins to play it straight. It’s not going to happen.
    Sure it’s fun carping on what a disgrace the Beeb is or how awful the Giss is, but that’s not going to get the job done.

    This story about west Ant melting away is easily disproven – for us WUWT fanatics.
    The rest of the world has a life.
    It’s not so easy for them to tell the difference between what is likely and what is cowflop.

    SO what do we do?

    I’ll tell you what we shouldn’t do.
    We shouldn’t be recycling the enemies lies for the sake of having a readily available visual aid.

    In Antarctica the sea ice extent is above the 30 year average. Has been for several years.
    Show us that picture.
    Here. Show us this one.

    Show it often so that other media will bump into it by accident. Because a picture is worth a thousand cartoonish Nature cover “maybes”.

    And file Steig away as evidence for the coming climate fraud trials.

  14. Antarctic sea ice extent seems like it is significantly above average:

    and possibly on the verge of record territory. Does anyone have a chart that shows the daily average Antarctic sea ice extent for the last 30 years? Are we close to record territory for this point in May?

    It seems almost comical that the BBC has published an article about “what if Antarctic ice melts”:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8050094.stm

    when Antarctic sea ice extent may be verging on its greatest extent every measured by humans.

    I’ve posted this link previously, but here is an article from back when the BBC was respected and had the courage and integrity to tell the British people the truth:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/56456.stm

  15. Was there not a prediction that New York was going to be overflowing with horse manure before the advent of the automobile? The prediction was right, except it was at the BBC instead of in New York.

  16. Hey, if all that ice is just going to “collapse” anyway, why not make use of it? I would bet people would pay quite a premium for a bottle of antarctic glacial water. Just set up a ship offshore that is a bottling factory and send crews on shore to “harvest” the ice before it has a chance to collapse. You could probably get $10 a bottle for it in the high-end joints. Maybe even vodka made from real antarctic glacial water. Call it Penguin brand!

    Seriously, no sense in letting such a potential economic windfall go to waste!

    I think my inner Ferengi is talking.

  17. Scary stuff. And Steven Chu says flooding makes billions of people at risk. (I don’t know why, but I recall a story in my good old Bible.)

    Related stuff: The possible collapse of the Wilkins ice shelf on the West Antarctica was recently subject for a study, and two examples of the report of this — including (the better) Dot Earth — is described here:

    http://www.cejournal.net/?p=1428?????

    The too alarming article says:
    “Computer modeling of ice sheet behavior and the drilling data found that the ice shelves protecting the West Antarctic ice sheet could disappear in centuries and the majority of the ice sheet could collapse within a thousand years, said Naish.”

    The Nature paper says:
    “Transitions between glacial, intermediate and collapsed states are relatively rapid, taking one to several thousand years.”

    Also the start of a collapse isn’t possible before the water surrounding the ice is 7-9 F warmer than now, so it may start the next century — if it starts…

  18. Don’t worry all tose wind farms operating around the world will solve the problem. OOPS they already have – global temperatures have cooled simce 1998 – they weren’t useless afterall!

  19. The following extract is from The Christian Science Monitor. Note that it mentions/claims that the loss of WAIS is “accelerating” at a dramatic pace in the last 10 years. Can you let me know how true and verifiable this is?

    http://features.csmonitor.com/discoveries/2009/05/15/if-w-antarctic-ice-sheet-melts-how-high-will-sea-levels-rise/

    Even more startling is evidence since the peak of the last ice age, he continues. At one point, the sea level rose 20 meters in 500 years. “That has to be from the ice sheets,” he says. “That shows they can do something really pretty spectacular.”

    Today, it would take a meltdown of all of West Antarctica’s ice sheet, all of Greenland’s, and a significant chunk of East Antarctica’s to push sea levels that high.

    Which brings him back around to the WAIS today. Work that he and his colleagues have been conducting as they try to track changes in the mass budget for the WAIS, particularly the sections of ice sheet that empty into the Bellinghausen and Amundsen Seas – a region of the WAIS that he says is particularly unstable, given its underlying topography.

    “All the losses, and they are big losses, are taking place along that coast,” he says.

    Melting has accelerated dramatically in 10 years

    “The take-home message is that the loss has been accelerating really quite dramatically in the last 10 years,” he says. The same holds true for Greenland, even with the uncertainties that attend the measurements.

    What’s worrisome, he says, is the gap between the range of responses climate models show for Greenland and Antarctica’s ice compared with what scientists are observing.

  20. The British Brainwashing Corporation is at best just another political organ of the state.
    .
    I find it amazing as well that after all this time, the citizen/subjects of the U.K. must =STILL= pay a yearly license to own a TEE VEE set, and that includes a license for each one!
    .
    So, not only is the ‘corporation’ as taxing device, it is accountable to NO ONE save its masters in government.
    .
    Imagine: The citizen/subjects of the U.K. must PAY to be inculcated with propaganda.
    .

  21. Many of us here in the UK treat the state of the BBC as extremely sad. We’ve grown up with it, with its ‘say-it-as-it-is’ journalism, and radio programmes like ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ – which is still good. But it’s really, really disappointing to see environmental journalists bring it down. The latest example regarding the absurd Catlin debacle is a perfect case of very poor reporting, downright lying even. We are embarrassed because the BBC has always been held in high esteem around the world. We once had a mighty empire here – almost certainly the greatest in the world, and will never be bettered. We ruled the seas, and despite our tiny size, influenced politics across the world. Our language will become the standard world language in the near future. The BBC was/is the last standing. It’s very sad.

  22. Yeah well, let’s face it… if the current crop of 20-somethings is any indication, maybe they WON’T be smart enough in the future to adapt to that slooooowwwwllly rising sea level… or even do something so basic as to, you know, move out of the way.

    Weasel words abound in every AGW story I’ve seen. I keep trying to point out to believers that what they read does NOT say “will”, it says “could” or “might”. They just don’t see it, and think I’m being fussy. In my line of work, when you say “could” or “might”, you actually mean “probably won’t, but hey…”

    Why let facts stand in the way of a good scare? Then again, I’m one of those people who laugh at the stupidity of “horror movies”. Seriously, I’ve never yet seen one that could actually scare me. Now, “The Day After Tomorrow” and “The Day The Earth Stood Still” both scared me. I’m sure most readers here know why they did.

    (PS. I also usually cheer for the killer in the teen slasher movies ;) Some of those kids just deserve to be whacked by an insane nutjob.)

  23. “NASA can’t even figure out if Antarctica is cooling or warming.”

    So science is not supposed to be updatable? [snip]. Do you still use the periodic table of 1919 as opposed to today’s?

    “Another “if things continue the way they are” story…”

    Unfortunately, most reputable sources seem to show “things” are not likely to continue linearly and we should but wish they COULD remain the way they are. Feedback will see most systems, especially ice loss, permafrost melt and sea level changes accelerate over the coming decades.

    “The BBC long ago lost any sense of scruples or integrity ..”

    [snip]

    Reply: There, I just snipped the offensive parts out instead of deleting the whole post. I cannot decide which would have been a better course of action. ~ charles the moderator.

  24. dhogaza

    Think yourself lucky you can post your malevolent views here. Your chums at Realclimate certainly don’t allow anyone with views contrary to theirs to post. Why is that do you think? Fear mybe? Definitely an own goal in the credibility stakes. At least WUWT is free to all and not s*** scared of contrary views. See if you can get gutless Gavin to follow Anthony’s example. No chance!!

    Reply: I have been contemplating being tougher on dhogaza since his/her obvious and active participation in the slander of Jeff ID during the Steig et al kerfuffle. Since it is possible the dhogaza was an unwitting dupe of the editorial manipulation of the RC moderators, some slack has been allowed. ~ charles the moderator

  25. Dhogaza

    At least you can publish your contrary views here without fear of censorship which is a lot more than can be said for the situation at Realclimate. Have you ever stopped to wonder why Gavin Schmidt is so scared of contrary comments? In the credibility stakes his redusal to publish such views reallt y is an own goal

  26. There was a time when anything announced by the BBC, was taken as gospel, it was fiercely defiant of politics, wholly independent. Sadly that went a long time ago when it was infiltrated by greeny marxists with an agenda. They are riddled with believers, hence the unprecednted bias towards AGW without a single question being asked. The coup is complete! Having said that at least one of the worst offenders Roger Harrabin has been sacked. Richard Black should be next, follwed by a “night of the long knives” throughtout management!

    On a more scientific point & something I’ve touched upon before, who the hell wants to measure the rate of sea-level rise to three decimal places. 2.378mm/yr is rediculous & I challenge this level of accuracy of measurement of something that isn’t level or flat at any point in time, it’s meaningless. That is the ability to measure overtaking the logic to measure. If it’s rising at a rate of 2.3mm/yr, it’s a about 2mm/yr. If it’s rising at a rate of 2.51mm/yr, then it’s about 3mm/yr! At the risk of repetition, it reminds me of when I worked with “scientists” who would issue drawings for setting out of machinery bases to 8 decimal places, which as explained to them was totally impractical from a structural engineering viewpoint because we just cannot set out to those tolerances (we were looked at as though we came from outer-space), because the concrete expands & shrinks through the curing process as a result of exo-thermic reactions! A classic picture of calculating a theoretical distance, that practically is pointless, we’d be lucky to get it done to the nearest millimetre in reality! Then again I’m an engineer not a scientist. Next time you scientists out there look at a steel structure that looks tall & straight, think again, it’s like a dog’s hind leg in reality!

  27. Andrew,

    As other comments have inferred, the BBC is disgracefully alarmist and partial for an organisation that is taxpayer funded. You clearly missed their reporting of the pickup of the “successful” Catlin crew. The subliminal images that accompanied the report were blatant propaganda of the worst sort.

    You should try and see the BBC1 10pm news (on whatever day Catlin was heroically completed) – you will probably find it on BBC i-Player. You’ll love it!!!

    Keep up the good work – you keep me and, I suspect, many others, sane.

  28. Does the time period suggested for inundation of Bangladesh due to rising sea levels consider the sedimentary deposits of the Ganges that are increasing land mass there? One would offset the other.

    Also, sea level does not rise uniformly across the globe. Here’s a link to the University of Colorado – Boulder Sea Level Wizard:

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/wizard.php

    I input the coordinates 20N, 90E to approximate the location of Bangladesh. The altimetry-based sea level rise for that part of the Bay of Bengal is approximately 0.33cm/year since 1992.

    But there is another source for sea level trends, though: NOAA’s Tides and Currents (Mean Sea Level Trends for Global Network Stations) webpage. This data is based on tidal gauges:

    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_global.shtml

    Unfortunately, they don’t have a site listed in Bangladesh. The closest gauge they have appears to be in Vishakhapatnam, India. The data there runs back to the late 1930s and provides a linear trend of 0.54mm/year, considerably less than the others.

    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_global_station.shtml?stnid=500-101

  29. N people COULD die of natural causes when X happens, where X is just about any fear you desire to pick and N is any sufficient number of people that are needed to raise the alarm into political action and folly.

    We are living in the shadows of the Soothsayers. Words are their specialty. Predictions that they can’t be held accountable for are their trickery. Time is their friend as people forget their predictions as they put so many of them with variations out over time… to saturate people… who don’t want the details anyway given their busy lives… http://pathstoknowledge.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/living-in-the-shadow-of-soothsayers/

  30. Snap

    “The worst-case scenarios on climate change envisaged by the UN two years ago are already being realised, say scientists at an international meeting.”

    Good job that ‘being realised’ is in quotes because the piece describes:

    risks
    predictions
    estimates
    coulds
    ifs
    maybes

    And its short on actual, real, facts.

    Yes there is a lively blog devoted to exposing the various biases of the BBC – global yawning being one of many.

    The BBC has been hijacked by ‘progressives’ who really believe that it’s OK to distort reality if it’s done for the right reasons. The problem is that it’s a closed feedback mechanism so they then start to themselves believe that their own worldview is objective reality. And it’s a primary source of information for the political classes who then base policy decisions on propaganda.

    In years to come it will be in psychology textbooks as a classic study of group-think.

    Here is a lone voice from the BBC daring to ‘speak truth to power':

    The Catlin Arctic Survey: daring, yes, but is the science any good?

    I wonder if Richard Cable (author) will be invited to the BBC office party this year ?

  31. Like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF and others, the BBC has been subject to entryism, by left wing, anti capitalistic, anti globalizationists. The BBC is different in that it is funded by an enforced tax and receives over £3 billion pounds a year from this. I barely watch it now as it stopped providing an objective view years ago. Its selective views on climate change, support for the EU, Palestine, ethic minorities, Islam, are all in accord with this doctrine. What used to be a fine organisation is now a national disgrace.

  32. What naffs us Brits off is that we are legally obliged to fund this BBC bilge via the Licence Fee. Currently, the BBC seems to be the broadcasting arm of New Labour. It’s just not funny. Not funny at all.

    Brief recent history.

    New Labour signed up to the Kyoto agreement, not because it believes in green issues, you understand, but because of the potential revenue that carbon credits will raise. Any verbal government concern about AGW is pure greenwash for the benefit of the proles and eco-Nazis. Hypocrisy is prevalent. One spokesman suggested that people should not fly away on holidays because of aircraft pollution. The government doesn’t think there’s a conflict signing off on an airport extention at Stanstead, the third largest airport in the UK. We’re expected to reduce our carbon footprints to prevent huge sea level rises yet the government is proposing to build several nuclear reactors around our coastline. Spot any inconsistencies here?

    New Labour holds the purse strings of the BBC’s budget. So we get AGW biased, science-lite, dishonest reporting. Mission aim: frighten the proles into accepting the AGW taxation fraud. The rest of the main stream media jumps onto the alarmist bandwagon with unholy glee. The problem is, the proles are starting to question the alarmism and are beginning to fight back. Newpapers are losing circulation because of the dumbed down garbage they foist on us. The current Parliamentary expenses scandal rocking the House of Commons was outed by the blogosphere, not the Daily Telegraph.

    Philincalifornia suggests that the commonsensical Christopher Monckton be given a place in the forthcoming Conservative government. I wish! This welcome eventuality would require some shrewd political nous on the behalf of David Cameron. So far, such a useful skill seems to have eluded Cameron. Even hard nose Tories are briefing against him. Lord Tebbit, party chairman and Minister for Trade and Industry under Margaret Thatcher, came out and suggested that Tory supporters vote for the anti EU party, UKIP in the forthcoming EU elections. An eminently sensible man, Tebbit understands what the anti-nationlist EU and its suicidal carbon credits legislation will do to the UK.

    Cameron is currently considering booting Tebbit out of the Not-the-Tories party. You might note that Monckton served as Thatcher’s science advisor which is another reason Cameron will overlook Monckton. Cameron sees himself as the heir to Blair and wants to be “at the centre” of Europe. 55% of the UK electorate want out of Europe (they won’t give us a referendum because we’ll tell the EU and Parliament to get lost) which is the reason why this erstwhile Tory voter will be voting for UKIP in June.

    Having seen Cameron’s Shadow Chancellor’s unworkable green pretentions, savaged by Tory voters you will note, ( http://conservativehome.blogs.com/torydiary/2009/04/george-osborne-announces-ten-new-green-policy-initiatives.html ) I’d say that Monckton’s face simply won’t fit in on the Tory front bench because he’d make them look like the idiots they are. And Cameron seems set to have us ratify the Lisbon treaty (aka the EU Constitution but let’s not digress further) one can only assume he’s quite happy to continue perpetrating the AGW carbon credits fraud on the British people. He is useless in Opposition. He’ll be a disaster as Prime Minister.

    And the reason for not rising up and slaughtering them all is…?

  33. The BBC used to be a world class organisation. Millions of people in non-democratic countries used to rely on the BBC for information on what was happening in their own countries.
    I doubt that is true today.

    In the UK today Sky News is now considered to be what the BBC used to be. Unfortunately, will still have to pay for the privilage of financing BBC via the Television Licence fee.

    On the topic of the West Antartic Ice Sheet “slide” into the sea. The implies that all of West Antartica is sloping downhill. For hundreds of miles. Is this correct?
    This seems a bit unlikely.

  34. Short news cycle = recycle latest fake CO2 doomsday science piece.

    The poles will always be cold and full of ice no matter what these people say. The equator low latitudes will always be hot.

    Why? Because of the sun angles.

    Maybe we can adjust the tilt of the earth’s rotation a few degrees and cause the winters be just a little bit colder. Now that might be cheaper then Cap and Trade.

  35. philincalifornia (20:39:53) :
    I sincerely hope that Lord Monckton will be given a role in the next British government, if only to rearrange the British Bare-faced-lying Corporation from the top down.

    Unfortunately Phil, although his party may well get elected, its leaders, Cameron et all, seem to be on message with the rest of the warmists. So, little chance I’m afraid.

  36. papertiger (22:26:48) : “a picture is worth 1000 words”

    Anthony I’m designing bumper stickers out of papertiger’s Antarctica pix and other material today. I’ll see if I can make it into a post for you, for everyone to join in – if you would like.

    Personally I think it’s a brilliant idea…

  37. Matt Bennett,

    Do you find it credible that Antarctica could be heating rapidly over the last 30 years, yet four years ago NASA believed it was cooling at a long-term rate of 10C per century?

    If you believe that, then I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn, and a House Speaker who was lied to by the CIA.

  38. In the actual case, the “collapse” (a word chosen for implying suddenness) of the West Antarctic ice sheet would take at least 500 years. To get alarmed about this is like the Woody Allen character who decided life was pointless because the universe was going to end in 10 billion years. Sorry it is just so crazy.

  39. The BBC must really really hate “Top Gear” which openly ridiculed the whole AGW business, with their drive a couple of Toyota Hiluxes to the magnetic north pole.

  40. Re: Climate “Science” and the Press.

    I have concluded that these over-the-top, misleading, and in some cases factually false climate stories are all about *** FUNDING ***. To keep the research dollars flowing into these research groups, they deliberately seek out ways to push their stories into the public domain via the press, in some cases coinciding with the release of a paper or report. Of course the press laps these “stories” up and is free to contort the facts as they wish (or, more likely, leave out key facts that would change the story line), leaving the scientists later to say “Gee, I never said the ice caps were GOING TO BE ice free next year, I just said they MIGHT BE”. The press can issue a correction on page 27 of their paper, and that is that. Meanwhile, the public is left remembering the original story, in bold type on the front page, “ARCTIC ICE MELTING FASTER THAN THOUGHT, SAYS ARCTIC RESEARCHERS!!” And, before the truth is known, the news organization can take a poll of the people about the arctic; “67% OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC BELIEVE THE ARCTIC WILL BE GONE IN 2 YEARS!!” screams the headline. Meanwhile, another poll shows that only 10% of Americans can point out the Arctic ice cap on a map…

    The process come full circle when, for the next fiscal year, the science group requests NSF funding increases to continue their study of ice melting because of its “extreme important of their to existence of mankind on this planet” (this, BTW, would be a typical quote contained in the funding proposal). Of course, the government says YES! because this IS an extreme problem – after all, they read about it in the NY Times!!

    The cycle repeats itself the following year as more press releases from the scientific institutions find their way into the press…more funding proposals are written…and accepted…

    For a typical example of the climate science press machine, have a look at NSIDC:

    http://nsidc.org/news/index.html

    Note the special contact info on the right exclusively for journalists.

  41. NEWS FLASH – New Orleans SINKING 100 inches/century

    The new data from 150,000 measurements taken from space finds that about 10 percent to 20 percent of the region had yearly subsidence in the inch-a-year range, he said. . . .the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, built more than three decades ago, has sunk by more than 3 feet since its construction, Dixon said, explaining why water poured over the levee and part of it failed.

    New Orleans Sinking Faster Than Thought
    By SETH BORENSTEIN, The Associated Press, Wednesday, May 31, 2006; 11:02 PM

    Bangladesh GROWING by 1,000 square kilometres

    ‘New islands’
    Satellite images of Bangladesh over the past 32 years show that the country is growing annually by about 20 square kilometres (7.72 square miles), said Maminul Haque Sarker of the Dhaka-based Centre for Environment and Geographic Information Services. This was due, he said, to the billion tonnes of sediment that the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and 200 other rivers bring from the Himalayas each year before crossing Bangladesh. . . .Mr Sarkar said that in the next 50 years this could add up to the country gaining 1,000 square kilometres.

    Bangladesh landmass ‘is growing’, By Mark Dummett, BBC News, Dhaka
    Wednesday, 30 July 2008 12:55 UK

    Take away: The biggest issue on deltas rising/falling is the silt load that is increased/decreased by natural or human causes. Ice melting is negligible by comparison.

    PSNews Flash: JUNEAU RISING 3,000 mm

    Juneau could rise another 3 meters over the next few hundred years, says Juneau glaciologist Roman Motyka. The current rate of glacial rebound in Juneau is four times as fast as the current rate of sea-level rise, he said.

    Headlines are designed to sell newspapers!

  42. Wowsers. The ocean I remember from 50 years ago has risen an astronomical depth of 4.68″. No wonder I can’t see any difference. Only Spock can see that precisely. Shift a little sandbar on the beach and your sand castle is thereby erased. Nobody knows your computer sandcastle model ever existed.
    See, see, I told you so.

  43. And that survey point you used to calculate the distance from the road to the mean ocean level has changed. The paving crew over the years has added 5″ to the blacktop. The supervisors, being a perfectionist, pulled it up, then replaced it neatly each time they repaved. Poof. There goes your reading.

  44. New today, with emphases added. Note how ‘could be’ becomes ‘is’ in the space of 3 paragraphs.

    Climate change ‘could kill billions of people’ warn researchers

    16 May, 2009 | By Richard Staines

    Possible side effects of climate change, such as more heat waves and the increased incidence of tropical diseases like malaria, could result in the premature death of billions of people, researchers have warned.

    According to the paper on climate change, published by The Lancet and University College London, worst affected would likely be developing countries such as Bangladesh because they lack sufficient financial resources to deal with events like flooding, crop failure and diseases including dengue fever and malaria.

    ‘Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st Century,’ authors said.

    ‘Effects of climate change will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives of and well-being of billions of people at increased risk,’ they added.

    Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, said: ‘It is an urgent threat, it is a dangerous threat, it is immediate and requires an unprecedented response by government and international organisations.’

    Interesting that it’s a ‘health threat’ now. With ‘increased risk’ of ‘premature death.’ I thought that tobacco, alcohol, and fast food were the biggest health threats. But, hey, what do I know?

  45. If some expert scientist says somewhere that they now think something might happen differently to what they previously thought might happen, and the possiblity, if it eventuates, would affect a lot of people differently to how the prior possibility would affect them if it eventuated, does the bbc have the obligation to report this? If they do not, can they be attacked for reporting this? Probably no and no. Do they have the obligation, as journalists, to beat up every remotest possibility to an immanent threat? Definitely. All lower quality news organizations do this.

    The ice cap will melt, one day, possibly a few thousand years, possibly a hundred thousand years, possibly tens of millions of years in the future, and this will affect sea-level somehow, so the article is accurate in that sense. Its most probable that London will be covered by a kilometer of ice before all this eventuates anyway, which is the funny bit.

  46. Don’t forget how the media jumped all over the Duke lacrosse team rape accusations, wrote endless stories about the race/privilege aspect of the situation, etc. When it became clear the accusations were false, one national reporter said: “The narrative was correct, it was just that the facts were wrong”.

    That’s the mentality we’re facing. It’s all about the narrative. Facts are secondary.

  47. Speculation is irresistible fun. But when people take it seriously, things get dangerous. Mass hysteria and disaster may follow. More speculation at eleven.

  48. BBC again.

    The world’s most important coral region is in danger of being wiped out by the end of this century unless fast action is taken, says a new report.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8047138.stm

    The reefs are actually being damaged by Indonesian fishermen who have found out that catching fish with arsenic and dynamite saves them the tiresome chore of spreading nets.

  49. David L. Hagen (06:34:06)

    Re Mississippi delta and Ganges delta. Here is a topic that I have raised on a few occasions in different threads which no one seems to take much interest in. The drowning of the Ganges delta is a major centrepiece of AGW hype and BBC reports on it with specials about every 6 months.

    Perhaps everyone here is already aware that when the last ice age was in full bloom, the Mississippi and its delta at the G of Mexico (and the Ganges delta) was 150m lower than today (as was seal level). As the sealevel rose, the river flow at the mouth slowed and the river dropped its sediment and built up the delta and, because the silt load was sufficient to do so, it also built out southwards into the gulf as sealevel rise was slowing. As a result, you can drill down 150m through the deltaic sediments, say somewhere between N. Orleans and Baton Rouge, before you reach the gravel river bottom as it was during the ice age. This 150m therefore represents the river delta’s response to rising sealevel.

    Anthony:
    I love all the physicists here for providing such a wonderful education in areas largely new to me (sincerely). But I’m frustrated that there aren’t more geologists taking up this matter of Bangladeshi’s drowing as the sea rises. I’m a Precambrian geologist myself but I think it would be a terrific and long overdue post to have a sedimentologist from a university prepare a simple illustrated article on this subject. Know somebody who can do this?

  50. Re the manufactured hype of the article. I think it would be a fruitful exercise to catalogue these hyperbolic hurried peer-reviewed papers by number and time going forward. I believe as glaciers begin to grow, temperatures drop and sea levels decline, that there will be a crescendo of these kinds of papers coming out, they will peak as world low temperature records increase and then decline as the last hangers-on dwindle – it would be good science to plot this bell curve, give it a name and trot it out in the future when the mad cycle returns (the next, as was the last, panic will be over global cooling). We have begun to see the first phase of this phenomenon in the bet hedging that is going on in present day papers – 30 year hiatus in warming likely, warming not so bad as originall thought, some glaciers are growing because… etc. There is definitely a softening of tone since the confident, strident excesses of ten years ago.

  51. “Pamela Gray (07:46:24) : And when the Wilkins ice shelf rebuilds we should rename it Flanagan’s Folly.”

    Funny. ;)

  52. NASA doesn’t know what to think of Antarctica. But the ice there has apparently decided to be in a growing trend before NASA get’s it’s mind made up. Antarctic ice isn’t looking for any scientific consent before doing what nature will make it do.

    Where is the NASA that put men on the moon?

  53. Flanagan (05:27:24) :

    You should add “former” in front of the Wilkins ice shelf.

    Why would such a lie enhance the story?

  54. Gary Pearse: Along the line of your 06:34:06 is the question I have been asking since the Global Warming hysteria first began to peak:

    What was the sea level in the Bay of Bengal in AD1000? (Note: I would allow +/- 100 years or so).

    If you go and look at the dates of “ancient civilizations” you will discover that most of them are roughly a thousand years old, i.e. they correspond with the European Climate Optimum. If the glaciers of Greenland had retreated sufficiently to allow farming there, what did that do to the proto-Bengladeshi?

    Regards,
    Ric

  55. After long pondering, and, as an engineer, I have come up with
    a “workaround” to the problem of sea level rise.

  56. [snip – sorry, this is not the National Enquirer, I don’t allow that sort of stuff here – Anthony]

  57. Ric Locke (11:01:25) :

    What was the sea level in the Bay of Bengal in AD1000? (Note: I would allow +/- 100 years or so).

    As I said, I am a Precambrian geologist and not an expert on this more detailed aspect of historic responses of the deltas to moderate sea level changes. However a general answer would be that deltas adjust to sea level changes relatively quickly. If sea level rise was gradual (in the order of the rate today that is causing all the alarm) the delta would build up more or less to keep pace. Now periodically, the sediment load on the delta slumps under its weight causing the subsurface part of the delta to spread forward into deeper water and this can cause flooding on the seaward fringe, however, the sediments unrelentingly repair this, build it up again and extend it farther seaward. In the case of a major sea level rise following the end of the pleistocene glaciation, this periodic slumping built a forward base on the sea floor, so that when sea level falls again (say in the cooler period prior to the “Optimum”), exposing soft sediments higher above sealevel, the elevated sediments are subject to erosion and generally are reduced to near sea level again. The subsequent sea level rise of the “Optimum” would result in building up of the delta again. Essentially, the dweller on the delta would not perceive any sustained change in sea level. Regarding the periodic slumping, this occurs over time eventually even if sea level doesn’t change at all.

    Ric, I’m glad you raised the question. Maybe some expert will be attracted to do a post on this subject and possibly even correct a Precambrian mining exploration geologist’s simplified view of the process of delta evolution.

  58. Determining global sea level rise

    http://www.howstuffworks.com/framed.htm?parent=question356.htm&url=http://www.agu.org/revgeophys/dougla01/dougla01.html

    The most ubiquitous source of regional submergence/emergence at tide gauge sites is the Post Glacial Rebound (PGR) that continues from the last deglaciation. It is manifest over the entire planet, not just at locations ice-covered at the last glacial maximum. Vertical crustal movements due to PGR at most sites are of approximately the same magnitude as the global (eustatic) rise.

    “the determination of a single sea-level curve of global applicability is an illusory task.”

    In fact, short (a few decades) tide gauge records are of no use whatsoever for determining an underlying long-term global trend, because of low-frequency fluctuations of sea level.

    Douglas [1992] carried out a systematic global analysis of sea level acceleration, and arrived at a similar result that no acceleration of global sea level has occurred over the last 150 years that is statistically significantly different from zero at the 95 authors have bounded any acceleration that might have occurred in the last 150 years at an order of magnitude or more less than that predicted to accompany global warming in the future [ Houghton et al., 1990].

    Global sea level rise as an indicator of climate change

    From these considerations it is clear that simply obtaining a value for global sea level rise in the past, or detecting an increase in the future, is not enough for sea level rise to serve as an unambiguous indicator of global climate change. Global sea level, whether observed to increase, stay the same, or decrease, must be analyzed and understood in terms of all of the factors that affect it for meaning to be attached to it.

  59. Pamela Gray (07:46:24) :

    You’ll just make him more big headed than he already is. I like a quite life so don’t shout it about.

    Thanks …David

  60. ” Flanagan (05:27:24) :

    You should add “former” in front of the Wilkins ice shelf.”

    I’m looking at satellite pics of the Wilkins Ice Sheet right now, it looks much larger now than a few weeks ago. Theres this funny effect that happens when the temperatures drop below 0 C, see, it crystalizes into this substance called ‘ice’. Even salty sea water freezes at -2 C. Winter conditions in Antarctica accelerate this process.

  61. Bangladesh risking faster than 600 mm/century
    After the last ice age, Bangladesh grew in the face of 1000 mm/century sea level rise. It is now growing in spite of 400 mm/century subsidence plus 238 mm/century ocean rise. See:

    Sea level first intersected a major portion of the lowstand surface not, vert, similar10,000–11,000 cal yr BP, marking the onset of sediment trapping and delta growth. Despite rapid sea-level rise (>1 cm/yr), sediment load was sufficient to maintain relative shoreline stability during this time. . . . Unlike many other delta systems, subsidence in the subaerial G–B delta is not dominated by compaction, but rather by plate-driven tectonic processes that generate rates up to 4 mm/year.

    The significance of large sediment supply, active tectonism, and eustasy on margin sequence development: Late Quaternary stratigraphy and evolution of the Ganges–Brahmaputra delta, S. L. Goodbred Jr. and S. A. Kuehlb
    Sedimentary Geology, Volume 133, Issues 3-4, 15 June 2000, Pages 227-248

    Note the Delta’s numerous changes in the last 10,000 years.

    Pollen and stratigraphic data indicate the existence of a brackish water estuarine mangrove swamp forest in this area during the last 9880 cal yr b.p. The development of the mangrove forest is not shown continuously in the Holocene record. Rapid transgression of the sea (9240 cal yr b.p.) halted the development of the mangrove. After about 8420 cal yr b.p. mangrove recolonised the area and persisted until 7560 cal yr b.p. as a result of a balance between the sedimentation and sea level fluctuation. The mangrove disappeared again from the site until 4800 cal yr b.p. because of a high sedimentation rate and possible delta progradation with loss of habitats. The reappearance of mangrove at the study site occurred with a return of a brackish water estuarine environment and the site then gradually became supra tidal during the mid-late Holocene. The continuity of the mangrove development and dynamics was interrupted by the fluctuating sea levels.

    Holocene mangrove and coastal environmental changes in the western Ganga–Brahmaputra Delta, India, Arghya K. Hait, and Hermann Behling, Volume 18, Number 2 / March, 2009, pp 159-169 pdf

    Anthony,
    I endorse Gary Pearce’s request to ask some specialist to write a summary article.

  62. Don’t forget “suggest”, as in, “The world might be coming to an end, and several computer models suggest that women and minoroties may be hardest hit.”

  63. The title of this thread reminded me of a government issued memo from 1987:

    “Order 1320.50 dated October 10, 1985, provides that all directives written by the AVS complex will use the mandatory words “shall” and “must” to direct and the permissive words “will” and “should” to guide.”

    Think about it. I believe the warmers to be in possession of the memo.

  64. This discussion (like the IPCC forecasts) seems limited to the melting of the ice sheets. Ice Sheet Dynamics aren’t included. (But the are included in Wikipedia.)

    Since the surging nature of ice SHEET motion is a relatively recent discovery, and is still a long way from being entirely understood, no models have yet made a comprehensive evaluation of the effects of climate change. However, it is clear that climate change will act to destabilize ice sheets by a number of mechanisms.
    Rising sea levels will reduce the stability of ice SHELVES, which have a key role in reducing glacial motion. Some Antarctic ice shelves are currently thinning by tens of metres per year, and the collapse of the Larsen B shelf was preceded by thinning of just 1 metre per year. Further, increased ocean temperatures of 1oC may lead to up to 10 metres per year of basal melting.
    (…regional warming of 1.5oC…preceded the collapse of Larsen B…)

    New York City was mentioned. It is vulnerable now to hurricane storm surges that could flood the tunnels underneath. They contain utility infrastructure, as well as the subways. The city was spared the last time only because the storm surge arrived at low tide.

  65. A reminder that the science of ice shelves and sea levels is by no means settled comes with this advert currently on the met office website

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/recruitment/vacancies/001758.html

    “A significant uncertainty in future projections of sea level is associated with dynamical changes in the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and a key aspect of this uncertainty is the role of ice shelves, how they might respond to climate change, and the effect this could have on the ice sheets. The goal of the post is to contribute to improved scenarios of sea-level rise, which is an important aspect of climate change, with large coastal impacts.

    Specific job purpose
    Incorporate a model of ice shelves into the Met Office Hadley Centre climate model to develop a capability to make projections of rapid changes in ice sheets, thereby leading to improved scenarios of future sea-level rise.”

    tonyb

  66. Mike Lorrey (13:26:11) :

    ” Flanagan (05:27:24) :
    You should add “former” in front of the Wilkins ice shelf.”

    “I’m looking at satellite pics of the Wilkins Ice Sheet right now, it looks much larger now than a few weeks ago. Theres this funny effect that happens when the temperatures drop below 0 C, see, it crystalizes into this substance called ‘ice’. Even salty sea water freezes at -2 C. Winter conditions in Antarctica accelerate this process.”

    Flanagan suffers from GWDS (Global Warming Derangement Syndrome). Unfortunately, facts are not one of the prescribed remedies for this. Don’t confuse him with logic and factual information.

  67. Gary Pearse: “I believe…there will be a crescendo of these kinds of papers coming out, they will peak as world low temperature records increase… We have begun to see the first phase of this phenomenon in the bet hedging that is going on in present day papers…”

    You imply that at some point in the future there will be a crescendo of hyperbolic climate change papers, but also that at the moment we are seeing climate scientists hedging their bets.

    So are we heading for a crescendo of hyperbolic climate papers, or are we already seeing a softening of climate predictions?

  68. @Just want truth

    I think your words should be quote of the week.
    You so much focus on what everyine should be focussing on:

    “Where is the NASA that put men on the moon?”

    Bravo

  69. Re: Climate Heretic

    Subduction issue. Yes! Nobody’s talking about that. What is Al Gore going to do about the subduction thing? Maybe California is going to get sucked into the magma someday. (Alas, Mrs. Pelosi won’t be around to emote about it so vividly ….)

    But what’s Obama’s plan? Polar bears? Why are we talking about polar bears when parts of the earth are gettin’ sucked into the great abyss!

    Whatever “they” do about it, however, expect higher taxes.

  70. What is 2009 Arctic ice from 2008?

    diverging

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    diverging

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php

    With Antarctic ice in a growing trend and Arctic ice also in a growing trend, well, we some day “could” have them meet at the Equator twice a year. This “would” bring us in to another Glaciation period. That “might” make Al Gore say he was wrong (don’t hold your breath).

    “Maybe” I am joking. ;)

    But seriously it looks like 2009 Arctic melt doesn’t have a chance of surpassing 2008 melt—no joke.

  71. At least you can publish your contrary views here without fear of censorship which is a lot more than can be said for the situation at Realclimate.

    People who claim that contrary views are not allowed to be posted at Real Climate clearly do not read Real Climate.

    *interesting* contrary points of view are allowed there. The same endless drivel that typifies WUWT isn’t because the moderators find it boring and unproductive.

    Just as scientists running a blog on petroleum geology would before long find posts claiming that oil has an abiotic source boring and unproductive.

    Reply: Comments at RC have been edited by moderators to change their meaning making dissenting views appear much weaker than the original comment and open to attack by their users or the moderators. That does not happen here. The dishonesty is documented and you have participated in it either wittingly or unwittingly. There is simply no sense of ethics there. Sure we get a lot of drivel here, but that is a consequence of a more open policy. ~ charles the moderator

  72. Frank Lansner (15:30:25) :

    Thanks Frank. But how about evanmjones gets in a week late with this from last week?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It is the very model of a modern Maunder minimum
    (I wanted to be plainer but I couldn’t find a synonym)
    And thanks to modern media it’s not believed by anyone
    The sun has done a bunk and we will freeze for a millennium
    And so I’ll see you later; I am off for the equator
    For is the very model of a modern Major-minimum
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    With what the data show both the Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere ice doing it fits.

  73. “Would” “Will” “Could” “Might” “Maybe”….lack of compromise, means of not getting fired too soon, but anyway showing some residue of conscience by avoiding direct lying… or enough cowardship to satisfy friends and enemies.

    Just Want Truth… (10:39:32) :

    Where is the NASA that put men on the moon?
    There is not a Wernher von Braun now. Those achievements are always the work of individuals.

  74. I too used to support the publicly funded BBC here in the UK but as you can guess – no more. It is like listening to opinion through a group hugging “bong smoke” session at Green Peace. News reporting has well and truly left the building.

    This article, which may have appeared here some time ago remains my favourite and would be hard to beat by any standards. Lets get things straight here… out of all the animals on the planet this is the species that we have the least effect on. As far as I can see the biggest real threat to EP’s is rough weather at chick hatching season which, lets face it, is a situation that could only be improved by AGW!

    What we have here is Nintendo Science x Nintendo Science x a guess x another guess x what we think might sell. Bottom line is that ATM EP’s are doing just fine but lets not let that get in the way of a good headline and some Nintendo Science …

    Emperor penguins face extinction !!

    Do read it carefully if you have not seen it before – a real Gem – one to keep.

  75. Francis,

    Please help me, I’m trying to find where the “collapse” of the Larsen B Ice Shelf affected sea level.

    I feel guilty that I have lived so long without ever considering the key role that ice shelves play in “reducing glacial motion.” In the future, I too will vote to spend trillions of dollars in a bold effort to pretend that we are doing something to stop this very serious problem.

  76. Oh I forgot … lets not fail to include some Disney in there .. for the Kids …

    “whose long treks across Antarctic ice to mate have been immortalised by Hollywood”

    You just can make it up!

  77. Lucy Skywalker (05:32:22) : Personally I think it’s a brilliant idea…

    Between you and Mother, that makes two people who think I’m brilliant. :)

    Thanks Lucy.

  78. “Steven Goddard (16:35:16) : In the future, I too will vote to spend trillions of dollars in a bold effort to pretend that we are doing something to stop this very serious problem.”

    You’ve underestimated the amount. You need 3 more decimal places :

    “….Andrei Illarionov, economic advisor to Russian President Putin, recently observed that costs to stabilize atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide during the next one hundred or so years could approach 1.8 quadrillion dollars (that’s the number 18 followed by 14 zeros),”

    –The Telescope: Environment Issues On The Horizon*, December 2003 | Issue 4

    * (A Publication of the Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

  79. Just Want Truth… (10:39:32) :
    Where is the NASA that put men on the moon?

    Richard Lindzen …
    It is my impression that by the end of the 60’s scientists, themselves, came to feel that the real basis for support was not gratitude (and the associated trust that support would bring further benefit) but fear: fear of the Soviet Union, fear of cancer …

  80. Speaking about worries on impending catastrophes, I remember that back in 1960 a little old lady heard the speaker in the New York Planetarium say that the Earth will disappear in smoke about 50 billlion years when the sun converted into a brown dwarf. She rose and asked the speaker:

    “How many years did you say, sir?”
    -“Five billions years, madam.”
    -Oh! I am relieved now. I thought you said five MILLION years.!”

  81. It’s not just the Beeb.

    Brits at their Best highlights political backlash by the UK government. Retribution on Michael Savage for featuring Viscount Monckton on the day of Al Gore’s sales pitch before congress.
    The UK banned Savage from entering the country three days later, putting him on the terrorist watch list.
    From the other direction, a day after the show and in unison with the UK government, Real Climate, and their various residuals (specificly Lambert at Sciblog), stepped up their attacks on M in order to mitigate the damage of one appearance on a free radio by Monckton.

    Dates – check the dates.

    I have serious doubt that a Watts Up type blog would be allowed to operate in the United Kingdom.

  82. dhogaza (16:10:39) :

    “People who claim that contrary views are not allowed to be posted at Real Climate clearly do not read Real Climate.

    “*interesting* contrary points of view are allowed there. The same endless drivel that typifies WUWT isn’t because the moderators find it boring and unproductive.”

    There have been far too many comments posted here by reasonable [and interesting] skeptics, telling of being arbitrarily censored and/or banned from RC to believe what you’re trying to sell here.

  83. dhogaza,

    Last year RC was having a discussion which had become focused on an article I had written, and half way through the discussion Gavin started editing and then completely censoring my posts.

    The censored posts were not rude, off-topic or inappropriate – and didn’t even include my normal sarcastic tone.

  84. Re: Just The Facts (12:46:02)

    Glad to see this publicity.

    I have seen DTR changes severely misinterpreted (in a jurisdiction that will remain anonymous). Severely costly policy action was taken, inflicting adversity & severe obfuscation on millions. I have confirmed that the same flawed methodology is used in other jurisdictions. Be aware that some governments have their own very amateur in-house climate forecasts – of ghastly inaccuracy — pure simpletonism.

    – – –
    Re: Stu Miller (13:48:45) & Steven Goddard (18:25:28)
    Thanks for sharing these notes.

  85. Steven Goddard (18:25:28) :

    dhogaza,

    Last year RC was having a discussion which had become focused on an article I had written, and half way through the discussion Gavin started editing and then completely censoring my posts.

    The censored posts were not rude, off-topic or inappropriate – and didn’t even include my normal sarcastic tone.

    Ah, but you see, dhogaza has already explained: Your posts became “boring” and “uninteresting” to the moderators and clearly had to be edited, as we all know that boredom and open, honest debate cannot coexist. Try to include more flowery adjectives (and perhaps a wee bit of nudity) in your future posts. Oh, and I hear Gavin is particularly excited by shiny objects (and shiny climate models), so there’s another tip.

  86. The biggest problem with the Scientific Jargon:
    “Would” “Will” “Could” “Might” “Maybe” is that those who calls themselves scholars estimates from computerprograms, quality of those programs obscure to say the least, a scenario using an unproven assumption “The Human impact on CO2 makes the medium temperature rise” and use that as as fact in their analyse of other assumptions. That’s what Theories of Science call Circle Proof.

    Even IF the unproven assumption was true, which I am sure it isn’t, there are Human impact problems closer to home that needs be taken care of not by planning what might happen 200 years from now, but here and now. I am thinking of the hugh usage of chemicals that change the human reproductive capacity and so has done the last 40 years. Some of the chemicals used have an impact on the male reproductive capacity which already have been observed. As it have in more than one animal population as well.

    I am also thinking of the chemicals impact on something the so called scholars had had better thinking of as first choice: Clean drinkable water. Some of the chemicals are hard to stop by using biological or chemical cleaning of water. Water for drinking as well as waste water returned to the water system in lakes, rivers and ocean.

    It’s a hugh problem that the so called scholars forgotten that they and we all not have time to wait 200 years to see what the impacts will be. We have seen them. So why continue a shadow show with something that are at best a minor probably natural problem instead of taking the real problem on the table seriously? I guess it’s all about money. While it might be true or not that some scholars in gread try to get as much money for their studies as possible, the need of money to solve the real problem in fact is more than quadratic the total of all that money to get a starter solving the real problem for mankind…

  87. There is something else, another word, that is *hinting* at our demise due to the AWG Hypothesis.

    Oh, can it really even qualify as a hypothesis? What would falsify it? Hmmm…

    Certainly if the AWG Hypothesis Activists (AWGHA) act recklessly that could be our demise!

  88. Steven Goddard

    Of course you’re right–ice shelves float.

    Generally, the concern about the collapse of ice shelves is the loss of whatever hold-back-effect their is on the ice sheet behind. With the ice shelf gone, the
    ice sheet may accelerate…into the sea…and then the sea level does rise.

    Obviously, there’s only limited room for ice sheets behind the Antarctic Peninsula itself.

    The real worry might be with the ice shelves that extend the length of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The WAIS stands on the sea floor itself. If the ice shelves were to collapse, then the warmer sea water could reach the underwater base of the ice sheet.

  89. OK, I read a couple of comments, and then in came the Christian bashing nonsense. Why? I don’t pick apart the absurdity of the belief that we are the luckiest of beings in the known universe. [sorry about this snip]

    This may get deleted, but I hope it does not. The religious comparison is ridiculous.

    Reply: I’ll look into it. ~ charles the moderator

    Reply2: This looks like Jim Cole’s post upset you. It appears that it was less a religion bashing post than a bashing of the BBC as a faith based rather than objective news source. While it used poor religious and potentially offensive stereotypes, it doesn’t look like the intent was what you perceive. I see no need for action. Next time you complain, can you cite specifics post so I don’t have to look through more than a hundred of them? ~ charles the moderator

  90. Dash

    I always wondered why otherwise reasonably written well founded scientific papers whose whole body points to the conclusion that global warming is a fraud, invariably end with the disclaimer “the conclusion of this paper doesn’t falsify climate change.”
    Powerful stuff at that Liberal Madness link.

    You might want to click through to this Brits at their Best.
    They have a link to the complete Monckton segment on the Michael Savage show in MP3 format. Two parts. (If you don’t already have it – I didn’t see it on your Monck page :)

    And As long As I’m handing out plugs, Steve Miloy’s Green Hell will be the featured book on CSPAN’s Book TV, tomorrow 2 PM (ET). That’s 11 AM over here in California.

  91. norah4you (21:22:12) : “I am thinking of the hugh usage of chemicals that change the human reproductive capacity and so has done the last 40 years.”

    Norah, I think the zero growth climate changers view that as more of a feature, rather then a problem.

  92. @Just want truth

    Well im afraid i still prefer your
    “Where is the NASA that put men on the moon?”

    I think this is a clear message to Nasa to make them aware what they are about to through overboard. They should be crying by now of what they have lost. Nasa needs to be told what they are doing by not creating Glasnost and honest science. 20 years ago the Sovjet managed to bring about Glasnost, how many years is it going to take for Nasa?

  93. norah4you (21:22:12) “That’s what Theories of Science call Circle Proof. […] So why continue a shadow show with something that are at best a minor probably natural problem instead of taking the real problem on the table seriously?”

    papertiger (23:16:01) “[…] invariably end with the disclaimer “the conclusion of this paper doesn’t falsify climate change.””

    Good calls – (and the answers, regrettably, are as simple as they seem – money/funding, maintenance of social connections, administrative convenience, etc. – dynamics of human nature …so no surprise progressive folks are starting to rock-the-boat harder – a warning shot across the bow of the old culture’s increasingly-entrenched sterility – because sterility implies no survival… – the polite, tolerant grace period: tick, tick, tick – continues passing by … … … will they snap to their senses?… be ready…)

  94. “would” “could” “might”… yes well anything is possible.

    We have found real solid scientific irrefutable evidence which suggests we may face a catastrophe one day perhaps even soon. *

    * or something else

  95. @Jack Hughes

    Great article, I also like this quotation:

    “When I asked Yogesh Chauhan, the chief adviser, corporate responsibility, why [the BBC doesn’t buy carbon offsets for their correspondents’ travel], he replied: ‘The biggest impact we can make is through our programmes.'”

    Well, the biggest impact any climate skeptic can make is to steer people back towards real environmental problems.

  96. The wilkins ice shelf is “growing”? Surely we’re not living on the same planet.
    Wilkins two weeks ago

    Wilkins now

    Try to locate the big long iceberg that used to be the bridge to Charcot Island…

  97. From Jack Hughes’ 2007 Jeremy Paxman piece: I have neither the learning nor the experience to know whether the doomsayers are right about the human causes of climate change. But I am willing to acknowledge that people who know a lot more than I do may be right when they claim that it is the consequence of our own behaviour.

    Jeremy Paxman is perhaps the BBC’s most penetrating and caustic Newsnight presenter. He once said that when he was interviewing politicians, the question he was asking himself was: “Why are these people lying to me?”

    He is, without doubt, an extremely intelligent and highly-educated man. And he’s justly sceptical of politicians. And it shows. But, somehow or other, when it comes to climate change, he can’t bring any scepticism to bear on what they say. He can’t seem to ask of climate scientists what he asks of politicians: “Why are these people lying to me?” Why not?

    Perhaps the answer is that, while he is a highly articulate and literate man, he may not have much of a science education. And that’s what he means by his lack of ‘learning and experience’. According to his Wikipedia entry he studied English at Cambridge University, and edited its undergraduate magazine, before joining the BBC to work on radio and later television. He also now presents University Challenge, the BBC’s most demanding quiz show. But what does he know about science? Not much, maybe.

    In the UK, and perhaps elsewhere, we have (or had) Two Cultures. Anyone in the education system sooner or later got to a fork in the road, with one way leading to the Arts, and the other leading to Science. And someone like Paxman clearly took the road to the Arts. At which point his science education stopped, and he spent the rest of his time reading English, literature, history, philosophy, politics, and the like. He probably didn’t do any physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, or medicine. He probably wasn’t interested in all that. Because the really interesting issues (for him) all lay in politics and philosophy. Science was for nerds. It was for technicians and engineers.

    And that means that when Paxman encounters a science issue, he simply doesn’t have the means at his disposal to examine it critically, as he might critically examine a piece of English, or a political doctrine. All he can do is to meekly defer to the superior wisdom of ‘scientists’ and ‘experts’ of one sort or other – something he would never dream of doing with politicians or civil servants.

    And it’s because Britain is being run by Paxmans, largely devoid of any science education, that the whole country has been handed to ‘scientists’ and ‘experts’ lock, stock, and barrel, all scepticism suspended. But these so-called ‘scientists’ are really political opportunists – and charlatans – who have seen a way to advance their own political agendas behind a smokescreen of science. They rely on people like Paxman not being able to bring sceptical intelligence to bear on them. They also rely on their ability to co-opt or marginalise real scientists, who are seldom as politically adept or sure-footed as they are.

    When the dust finally settles on AGW, it will perhaps be seen as something which grew out of a cultural division which needs to be bridged, to ensure that, as far as possible, people are given a fully rounded education, in which both Arts and Sciences have equal weight, and there cease to be Arts-educated graduates who know nothing about science, nor Science-educated graduates who know nothing of the Arts. Or, as seems more and more to be the case, nothing about either.

  98. Flanagan (03:45:42) :

    The wilkins ice shelf is “growing”? Surely we’re not living on the same planet.
    Wilkins two weeks ago

    Wilkins now

    Try to locate the big long iceberg that used to be the bridge to Charcot Island…

    You said the Wilkins Ice Shelf no longer exists. Why are you argueing over its extent?

  99. idlex (06:22:56) :
    You are touching a key point on education. Perhaps many do not remember that during II world war a lot of professionals were needed, the sooner the better, so one of the things invented then it was those kind of exams where it is only needed to check/choose the right answer among several, a kind of “trivia”, so producing a kind of “fast food” professionals. The other problem is the over specialization which produces not only that kind of “fast food professionals” but “hamburgers or hot dogs specialists”.
    Nobody seems to think that information is material, it is a quantity, and when distributed carelessly it loses content.
    Universities so degraded from “universitas” (i.e.:universal knowledge) to “take and deliver” small pieces of so called knowledge. This is why we have such specialists as for example “dermatologists” who, by definition, simply ignore they have to deal with a part of a whole called a human organism.
    Then, as before, real breakthroughs in knowledge will be achieved by gifted individuals and it does not matter what naive democratic ideologies we could have, reality proceeds this way.
    That is why you assertion of being run by Paxmans is absolutely real.

  100. dhogaza (16:10:39) :

    The same endless drivel that typifies WUWT…

    So why contribute to it? :-)

  101. Jack Hughes (02:17:44) :

    This is the BBC’s own man, Jeremy Paxman:

    “the BBC’s coverage of the issue [climate change] abandoned the pretence of impartiality long ago. But it strikes me as very odd indeed that an organisation which affects such a high moral tone cannot be more environmentally responsible. “

    To be fair to Mr Paxman, I think the emphasis should be on the first sentence. His suggestion about responsibility is the consequence of the moral tone that he has already criticised – he’s not agreeing with it.

    He may not be a scientist, but he demonstrates an aptitude for critical thinking that many scientists should emulate. I’m pretty sure George Monbiot wouldn’t go near an interview with him…

  102. Gary Pearse

    Re your comment about the scare cycle, I heartily recommend Christopher Booker & Richard North’s “Scared to Death.” The book charts a number of major scares, including the current AGW nonsense. By their thesis, we’re in the penultimate phase, though with difficult to undo legislation coming up fast, the denouement may not come quickly enough.

  103. Southern Hemisphere ice :

    2009 has done its “May Day” crash in to 2008. It now looks to be surpassing 2008.

    It looks like the Wilkens ice shelf hasn’t has any effect on this rapid growth. And it looks like that fact isn’t having any effect on the alarmists. They still will be alarmists anyway.

  104. idlex (06:22:56) “When the dust finally settles on AGW, it will perhaps be seen as something which grew out of a cultural division which needs to be bridged, to ensure that, as far as possible, people are given a fully rounded education […]”

    Well-said – (& not just the part I’ve quoted).
    It’s not just the arts-science split, it is also the splits within each. I’ve been around 7 branches of science — the good folks speak different languages. The knowledge I bring from other disciplines doesn’t always get the respect it deserves – and non-math/stats folks tend to overestimate what goes on in math/stats camps (which tends to be abstract, since you don’t (generally) get as much respect in those fields if you go “applied” instead of “pure”). I could go on in detail…
    You’ve made the point that the climate issue is multi-disciplinary – that’s it in a nutshell — (everyone has a say).

    – – –
    Adolfo Giurfa (10:20:16) “[…] “fast food professionals” but “hamburgers or hot dogs specialists”. Nobody seems to think that information is material, it is a quantity, and when distributed carelessly it loses content.”

    Nice. This gets complicated. How do I even comment without being labeled a socialist? (even though such attacks are laughable leftovers of cold war propaganda programming – capitalism is _so_ firmly entrenched – what’s the point in trying to obfuscate that reality?…) Since people won’t talk sense, we are stuck with a mess (for now…)

    – – –
    dhogaza (16:10:39) “The same endless drivel that typifies WUWT […]”
    James P (10:55:52) “So why contribute to it? :-)”

    dhogaza makes some good points (not saying this was a tasteful one of them tho)

  105. The Beebe’s Jeremy Paxman:
    I have neither the learning nor the experience to know whether the doomsayers are right about the human causes of climate change. But I am willing to acknowledge that people who know a lot more than I do may be right when they claim that it is the consequence of our own behaviour.
    This sounds like the ultimate cop-out. Anyone halfway intelligent, with some common sense, willing to do a modicum of digging has the ability to see through the doomsayers.

    idlex said: Perhaps the answer is that, while he is a highly articulate and literate man, he may not have much of a science education.
    Sorry, but I’m not buying it. Paxman clearly is showing both moral and intellectual cowardice on this issue. A scientific background really isn’t necessary to be able to see through the bovine manure. Some cojones are, on the other hand, somewhat necessary to do something about it.

  106. This sounds like the ultimate cop-out.

    Or he’s just being pragmatic. Given the attititude of his employer towards anything even mildly critical of AGW, and its aversion to newsreaders getting themselves in the news, he may just be balancing a privately-held opinion with keeping his job! I note that Drs Bellamy and Whitehouse are no longer in that position.

    It’s easy for us on WUWT to sniff at those who have swallowed the AGW line, but not everyone has seen or heard the contrary view, and I suspect that the even the majority here have had to be converted. I include myself.

  107. dhogaza makes some good points

    I’m sure he does, but characterising all of WUWT as ‘endless drivel’ does rather undermine them! Or does he mean everything except what he writes..? :-)

  108. reminds me of a local expression – ” IF my Auntie had balls she’d be my Uncle !”
    Thats the wonderful thing about the word “if “. It allows you to postulate almost anything.

  109. Bruve Cobb said: Paxman clearly is showing both moral and intellectual cowardice on this issue. A scientific background really isn’t necessary to be able to see through the bovine manure.

    It helps a bit. Having written quite a few simulation models of various kinds, and learned in the process how sensitive they can be to initial conditions, I’m not inclined to believe the output of Global Climate Models. Particularly when some processes – e.g. cloud formation – are apparently not well understood.

    But really it’s when people start saying “the debate is over” that I smell BS. And that’s got nothing to do with science.

    James P said: he may just be balancing a privately-held opinion with keeping his job!

    I don’t see where the ‘balance’ is. The piece of his writing in question was about how the BBC wasn’t very good at practising the environmentalism it preached. He ended up making five recommendations for steps the BBC could take to be more environmentally responsible. Would he write something like that if he was a closet sceptic?

  110. Scientific Jargon – “Would” “Will” “Could” “Might” “Maybe”

    The most dangerous weasel words are “is consistent with”. It sounds scientific to the general public, but it is really weak. “Is consistent with” is not proof.

  111. Interesting that I happened to read a paper today.

    K.F. Yu et al 2008 Microatoll record for large century-scale sea-level fluctuations in the mid-Holocene

    So basically, around 7050 to 6600 years ago, the world’s oceans were about 2 meters higher than they are today (171 to 219 cm is the range given in the paper). What is interesting were the fairly rapid step changes that occurred. They found “step changes” of 20 to 40 cm on century time scales. Meaning a 40cm sea level rise or drop in a hundred years. One of the most dramatic step changes is the reduction in sea level, say, 6760 years or so ago. Sea level dropped about 35cm over roughly 50 years time and has never recovered to its former height.

    So when you hear Al Gore talking about “unprecedented” sea level rise, know that it is pure bunk. Sea levels are lower now than they were at about the time agriculture was spreading through human civilization. There were two significant periods of rise during the time span referenced in the first paragraph above. The first was about a 25cm rise over a little less than 50 years time. Levels dropped back about 10cm over the next 50 years and then rose again about 30cm over the following 50 years and then dropped the 35cm mentioned above. So those were some rather dramatic swings over a 50 year period. At about 6675 ya the sea started “slowly” rising again until the end of the study period when it was about 200cm (2 meters) higher than it is now at around 6550 ya.

    The peak was at 219cm higher than current sea level a little more than 6750 ya and according to the coral formations, the highest reached in the Holocene.

    The bottom line is that climate has been much warmer in this interglacial than it is now. There is no reason to doubt that it could get just as warm again due to natural causes. There is no reason to doubt that sea level change can not be dramatic and fast due to natural causes. It has happened before … several times … and there is no reason to believe it won’t happen again.

    I wonder if Gore’s head would explode if the sea level dropped half a meter over the next 50 years.

  112. He ended up making five recommendations for steps the BBC could take to be more environmentally responsible. Would he write something like that if he was a closet sceptic?

    I think he might – he spends his professional life playing devil’s advocate, and I notice that he follows the recommendations with the words: “None of them will save the planet. But they might save the BBC from looking like corporate hypocrites.”

    I also like his remark: “The problem is that no one has yet worked out how to generate electricity by hand-wringing.” Sounds pretty detached to me.

  113. Can’t we have more of Anthony? I find Steven’s writings incoherent, full of ignorant statements underwritten by an overriding tone of shrieking. This site used to be much better. Standards must be maintained. You can’t give these alarmists any ammunition.

  114. After all, it would be a PR disaster if the problems with Steven’s post were discovered by the diligent work of the objective auditor.

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