Claim: Last 100 years may be warmest in 120,000 years in the Arctic, but not so fast (UPDATED)

Satellite image of Baffin Island, the Baffin M...

Satellite image of Baffin Island, the Baffin Mountains are seen in northeastern Baffin Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the University of Colorado at Boulder, comes this study about radiocarbon dating some dead moss clumps exposed from under ice/snow at 4 locations on Baffin Island that somehow proves “unprecedented” warmth for the entire Arctic for the last 120,000 years. See below for my take on it.

CU-Boulder study shows unprecedented warmth in Arctic

The heat is on, at least in the Arctic.

Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher now than during any century in the past 44,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 120,000 years, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

The study is the first direct evidence the present warmth in the Eastern Canadian Arctic exceeds the peak warmth there in the Early Holocene, when the amount of the sun’s energy reaching the Northern Hemisphere in summer was roughly 9 percent greater than today, said CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor Gifford Miller, study leader. The Holocene is a geological epoch that began after Earth’s last glacial period ended roughly 11,700 years ago and which continues today.

Miller and his colleagues used dead moss clumps emerging from receding ice caps on Baffin Island as tiny clocks. At four different ice caps, radiocarbon dates show the mosses had not been exposed to the elements since at least 44,000 to 51,000 years ago.

Since radiocarbon dating is only accurate to about 50,000 years and because Earth’s geological record shows it was in a glaciation stage prior to that time, the indications are that Canadian Arctic temperatures today have not been matched or exceeded for roughly 120,000 years, Miller said.

“The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” said Miller, also a fellow at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

A paper on the subject appeared online Oct. 21 in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal published by the American Geophysical Union. Co-authors include CU-Boulder Senior Research Associate Scott Lehman, former CU-Boulder doctoral student and now Prescott College Professor Kurt Refsnider, University of California Irvine researcher John Southon and University of Wisconsin, Madison Research Associate Yafang Zhong. The National Science Foundation provided the primary funding for the study.

Miller and his colleagues compiled the age distribution of 145 radiocarbon-dated plants in the highlands of Baffin Island that were exposed by ice recession during the year they were collected by the researchers. All samples collected were within 1 meter of the ice caps, which are generally receding by 2 to 3 meters a year. “The oldest radiocarbon dates were a total shock to me,” said Miller.

Located just east of Greenland, (um, no, to the west – Anthony) the 196,000-square-mile Baffin Island is the fifth largest island in the world. Most of it lies above the Arctic Circle. Many of the ice caps on the highlands of Baffin Island rest on relatively flat terrain, usually frozen to their beds. “Where the ice is cold and thin, it doesn’t flow, so the ancient landscape on which they formed is preserved pretty much intact,” said Miller.

To reconstruct the past climate of Baffin Island beyond the limit of radiocarbon dating, Miller and his team used data from ice cores previously retrieved by international teams from the nearby Greenland Ice Sheet.

The ice cores showed that the youngest time interval from which summer temperatures in the Arctic were plausibly as warm as today is about 120,000 years ago, near the end of the last interglacial period. “We suggest this is the most likely age of these samples,” said Miller.

The new study also showed summer temperatures cooled in the Canadian Arctic by about 5 degrees Fahrenheit from roughly 5,000 years ago to about 100 years ago – a period that included the Little Ice Age from 1275 to about 1900.

“Although the Arctic has been warming since about 1900, the most significant warming in the Baffin Island region didn’t really start until the 1970s,” said Miller. “And it is really in the past 20 years that the warming signal from that region has been just stunning. All of Baffin Island is melting, and we expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming.”

Temperatures across the Arctic have been rising substantially in recent decades as a result of the buildup of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere. Studies by CU-Boulder researchers in Greenland indicate temperatures on the ice sheet have climbed 7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1991.

A 2012 study by Miller and colleagues using radiocarbon-dated mosses that emerged from under the Baffin Island ice caps and sediment cores from Iceland suggested that the trigger for the Little Ice Age was likely a combination of exploding tropical volcanoes – which ejected tiny aerosols that reflected sunlight back into space – and a decrease in solar radiation.

###

-CU-

Contact:

Gifford Miller, 303-492-6962, cell 303-990-2071
gmiller@colorado.edu

===============================================================

I don’t dispute validity of radio-carbon14 dating techniques, but I think there is a logic failure in the claim being made.

The claim is that these plants haven’t been exposed for thousands of years, as dated by the C14 isotope.

At four different ice caps, radiocarbon dates show the mosses had not been exposed to the elements since at least 44,000 to 51,000 years ago.

That might be true, but then again they are long dead, so there wouldn’t be any uptake of new C14 if they were exposed to the open air in the past. There’s no claim that the mosses are now suddenly alive and growing again. So, if they had been “exposed to the elements” since then, they would not have an new C14 in them unless they came back to life and conducted photosynthesis.

Since plant material in the Arctic doesn’t decay like it does elsewhere due to low temperature and low humidity, it could very well remain intact while exposed for quite some time. All I think they can claim is that the plants haven’t been alive for 44,000 to 120,000 years. I don’t think they can’t prove with C14 dating that they have not been exposed then reburied under ice/snow since then. Ice is a funny thing, it can melt due to warmer temperatures or it can sublimate at below freezing temperatures if there’s not enough sustaining precipitation, as we know from Mount Kilimanjaro. What I’d really like to see is what the receding ice edge looks like. Sublimation leaves a signature that is quite different from melting.

Studies by CU-Boulder researchers in Greenland indicate temperatures on the ice sheet have climbed 7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1991.

Greenland is not Baffin island. You can’t just say that a temperature change in one place automatically means a similar temperature change in another place. Similarly, Baffin island isn’t the entire “Arctic”, yet it is portrayed in the press release as if this one proxy indicator of four sampled sites represents the entire Arctic temperature experience back 120,000 years.  It’s Yamal all over again.

Recall our series of stories about “midges” used for proxy temperature reconstruction on Baffin island: Baffin Island Midge Study – debunked for a 3rd time – nearby weather station shows no warming.

This weather station on Baffin Island [Clyde Meteorological station]  shows no summer temperature increase in the last 50 years. Summer matters most because that’s the melt season.

So what’s going on with the receding ice edge on Baffin island; is it melting or sublimating? Inquiring minds want to know.  From the one photo they provided, it is hard to tell:

University of Colorado Boulder professor Gifford Miller is shown here collecting dead plant samples from the edge of a Baffin Island ice cap. Credit: University of Colorado

Of course the uncritical MSM is already trumpeting this story without question, with the usual bent that the posited current warmth is a bad thing.

What really bugs me (besides the fact the press release can’t even bother to mention the title of the study) is that they use of the word “unprecedented” in the title of the press release. Obviously this isn’t true, because it had to be warm enough, long enough, back then to give these mosses a chance to get a foothold and grow. If the warmth today was “unprecedented” they’d find nothing in the way of previous life forms under the receding ice. – Anthony

UPDATE: 10/25/13 11AM PDT

I lamented the lack of photographs to show me what sort of ice loss signature there was. The press release at AGU had such a photo in it which I show below, click for a much larger version.

Fig.1.Sputnik[1]

As ice caps today recede, like this one nicknamed Sputnik, they expose dead plants killed long ago when the ice cap formed and then preserved ever since by the ice. By carbon-dating the organic material, scientists can determine when the plants lived, thousands of years ago, and infer the average temperatures back then that allowed the plants to thrive. Credit: Gifford Miller

Looking at the stream channels, clearly this is mostly a melt process, but did you notice the most important distinction?

Note the albedo difference from the ice cap on the left side versus the right side. The right side is almost pure white, and there are no stream channels. The left side has lots of stream channels and is a dirty brown. Notice also that the ice in surrounding depressions is whiter that the ice cap, which is actually a small hill, though I don’t know what height it is above surrounding terrain.

What this looks like to me is that the windward side of the Sputnik icecap hill is on the left and it is picking up all sorts of debris and particulates (such as carbon soot) on the leeward side there is less deposition, and the ice is cleaner.

As we’ve noted before on WUWT, carbon soot is a big problem in the Arctic.

I’d really like to know why the authors have not mentioned what is obvious to the eye as an alternate possibility for the icecap decline.

About these ads

258 thoughts on “Claim: Last 100 years may be warmest in 120,000 years in the Arctic, but not so fast (UPDATED)

  1. “Obviously this isn’t true, because it had to be warm enough, long enough, back then to give these mosses a chance to get a foothold and grow.”

    Well, as the quote from Miller states directly. A roughly flat trend over 44k years is pretty unprecedented to them. Can’t expect too much as this guy is from the People’s Republic of Boulder. They’re doing well to sort out an order of coffee.

  2. Hmmmmmm! as radiocarbon 14 has a half life of 5,730 years give or take 40 years we are talking about measurements of 5 1,000ths and 5 10,000,000ths of a not very known amount. Given that its creation varies according to the cosmic ray activity at the time and it in turn varies according to sunspot activity. This seems to be very impressive scientific measurements or ……
    I understood that radiocarbon 14 dating was impossible after about 40,000 – 50,000 years!

  3. Anthony, I wonder why the PEER review wouldn’t have also considered what you did and your line of logic. . .?

    . . . oh, did I say Peer Review . . ? Goodness me, I really meant ‘PAL Review’ . . . .

    OK, now I understand why it wasn’t questioned . . . silly me . . :-)

  4. Well, when the snow comes (this year) and completely covers his sampling area; we can excavate down and sample the ‘NEVER’ exposed in 120,000 year old plant samples that he himself sampled from last year.

  5. All [143 plants] samples collected were within 1 meter of the ice caps, which are generally receding by 2 to 3 meters a year
    From how many locations?
    From how long a transect?
    Why no perpendicular transects?

  6. There are so many things wrong with their claim it is hard to believe it ever passed peer rearview. Tree line reached the Arctic coastline 9000 years ago and then receded. Several studies of Bowhead whale bones, driftwood, beach formation, GISP2 ice core and Scandinavian tree ring data all agree that temperatures were much warmer several times during the Holocene. This is another example of peer review failure that allows studies to make unsupported claims and spam the literature.

  7. Our kids will only know what an ice road trucker is from the History Channel…. Maybe they will be able to buy the show in a double DVD set, together with the show that tells them what snow was all about, back in ye olden days?

  8. “. . . , and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
    [Gifford Miller, 2013]

    That made me smile.

  9. So they used a technique that isn’t valid for samples over 50,000 years old to determine that 120,000 years ago it was warm enough to grow moss, but it isn’t that warm now. Which shows that the recent warming is unprecedented.

    I’ve long since come to accept that this sort of drek can be spouted in public without instigating jeering crowds of people pointing and laughing. What bothers me is that an area that hasn’t been able to support life in tens of thousands of years may possibly be able to in the future, and the drekkies think that is a bad thing.

  10. This is as usual a big claim -The Arctic- from a small, specific area. ““The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” said Miller, also a fellow at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

    Not one reference about what atmospheric circulation is in this area during the HCO and the last glaciation in order to understand the regional specifics.

    “Although the Arctic has been warming since about 1900, the most significant warming in the Baffin Island region didn’t really start until the 1970s,” said Miller. “And it is really in the past 20 years that the warming signal from that region has been just stunning. All of Baffin Island is melting, and we expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming.”
    Oh yeah, 20 years is all… and if Miller knew the work of Leroux he’d understand his claim is bogus as the warming here is related to dynamics of stronger MPHs coming out of the Arctic and advecting more warm air along the shores of Baffin and Greenland. I guess 1070hPa pressures must mean warming… LOL
    And to boot, he cherry picked the summer temperatures…

  11. I think the point the original authors are trying to make is the lichen was only uncovered due to receding ice – for whatever reason. As a result the lichen was not exposed to the elements for the last 40,000+ years, which is an interesting claim. More research would need to be done to clear up why this spot hasn’t been (or has it been) uncovered at any time in the previous 40K+ years and how does one prove/disprove that – in other words (Prof. Feynmans’s actually) is it falsifiable?
    What is interesting to me is the melting alps glaciers are exposing villages and people who have been buried in the ice for a thousand years or more.
    Something unusual does appear to be happening in the arctic, and it appears to be balanced by the increasing ice coverage in the antarctic – but why the warming has happened hasn’t been explained well enough to convince me that anyone yet knows the real reason. Personally I think it is part of the ice age cycles – which no one has an explanation for as far as I can tell – and has little if anything to do with CO2 emissions, but I am no expert and as a result my opinion is barely worth the photons you are reading it by…

  12. Jim Steele says:
    “Peer rearview”. A delightfully apt typo. I’ve just started your book. Much there to provoke thought.

  13. I predict that someday we will indeed see something entirely “unprecedented” appear in the annals of “climate science”. It will of course be the arrival of one of these clucks who has the slightest demonstrable capacity for constructing any kind of logically consistent thought or argument.

  14. It seems obvious that this study is crap, because the moss was alive 44,000 years ago and is under ice today. That would point to unprecedented COOLING, not warming.

  15. - Brent Walker says:
    October 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Hmmmmmm! as radiocarbon 14 has a half life of 5,730 years give or take 40 years we are talking about measurements of 5 1,000ths and 5 10,000,000ths of a not very known amount. Given that its creation varies according to the cosmic ray activity at the time and it in turn varies according to sunspot activity. This seems to be very impressive scientific measurements or ……
    I understood that radiocarbon 14 dating was impossible after about 40,000 – 50,000 years!-

    I think what is meant is that it’s at to be at least 30,000 years, and that put into the last glacial period, so everything was cooler +30000 years ago. And it requires going back to last interglacial period for warmer conditions to have existed- which was 120,000 years ago.

    But there already plenty of evidence that it was warmer 6000 years ago. And what they present as evidence seems quite hopeless inadequate.
    All they seem to be proving is it was warming 120,000 years- but we knew that already.

  16. I think the logic is that since the mosses concerned have less than two thousandths of the radiocarbon that would be found in living mosses of the same species, they therefore should be at least 50 000 years old. As the amount actually found is ‘negligible’ (hence the guesswork of 50 000 years old or more) it is not possible to estimate a greater age than 50 000 years old. As the last ice age ended somewhere around 11 000 years ago there is a possibility that the mosses have not been uncovered since the last glaciation started about 120 000 years ago. This leads to the possibility that the mosses are 120 000 years old.

    However, this is predicated on the assumption that there were sufficient mooses (meece ?) around between 120 000 years ago and now to ensure that if they had been uncovered the mosses would have been eaten. I am not sure that this is a strong assumption.

    Their claim leads to the strong conclusion that the climate 120 000 years ago was at least warm enough for mosses of that species to grow, with a weaker conclusion that the climate was warmer than now up to the temperature where those mosses would have been replaced by a species adapted to warmer climates.

    It also leads to the supposition that the smell/taste of this moss was not attractive to mooses and hence they were not eaten though uncovered in the last umpteen years. Did the team test this possibility by offering moss samples to a moose, with currently living moss samples as a control?

    The strongest conclusion one can get from their work is that, in the absence of any statements that the CO2 levels in the atmosphere 120 000 years ago (or more recently, depending on the presence or absence of meese and their propensity to eat dead moss) were not as great or higher than at present, the past temperatures reached levels equal to or higher than today’s without the benefits of AGW. From which one may draw the corollary that CAGW is a load of bunkum.

  17. How can these Baffin island research experts not be aware of the warm period 7,000 years ago called the hypsithermal? Back then trees grew in the arctic where now there is only tundra. Methinks they do know of the hypsithermal and chose not to hype it. :-)

  18. This is another desperate attempt to maintain the myth of current warming exceeding previous warming. It was what drove creation of the “hockey stick”. In that case history was rewritten. As the email Professor Deming received and he spoke about in his Congressional testimony, reportedly from one of the CRU people said, “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”

    Most of the Holocene was warmer than today as the Greenland ice cores show.However, if you are unconvinced by the ice core data, it is supported by physical evidence. Professor Ritchie (University of Toronto) identified and photographed a picea glauca (white spruce) stump on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula in tundra some 100km north of the current treeline (Figure 2). Radiocarbon date was 4940 ±140 years Before Present (BP). It was featured in Hubert Lamb’s classic work Climate, Present, Past and Future. This means global temperatures at least 2-3°C warmer than today.

  19. It’s like the study in Greenland saying the ice is receding further than ever before and Oh yes uncovering Viking settlements? OOPS!

    James Bull

  20. Well, there are global warming skeptics and then there are attribution skeptics. Me? I’m the latter. A finding like this exposes the lack of a credible physical explanation for Eemian warmth. And that’s about it. Potentially it could be a lot warmer today, but it isn’t. Why?, nobody knows. As for the appeal to ‘it must be human caused’, it’s nice to know they have given up on a credible explanation, and are just taking the easy road.

    Definitely valuable research though, as long as one can distil the data out of the alarmist literature….

  21. The possibility or fact that these mosses have not been exposed for 50K does not prove that the current temperature in the area are unprecedented. The glaciers at Baffin Island during the Holocen temperature optimum 6–8000 years ago may have been more extensive covering the actual area. Long periods with warmer summer temperatures may just been working on a much larger piece of ice. We should expect that glaciers during the current interglacial are continuously receding over time, although its borders are oscillating with different climate regimes of a few hundred years. It is possible that Baffin Island experienced warmer climate for a thousand years during Holocene and still had more ice, because that era started with much more of the Laurentide Ice sheet intact. Where was the ice margin 7000 years ago?

  22. One more thing!
    We know that the arctic ocean was icefree north of Greenland during the summers of Holocene Climatic Optimum so the Glaciers may have been gaining mass due to more precipitation.

  23. The abstract states:

    Here we use 145 radiocarbon dates on rooted tundra plants revealed by receding cold-based ice caps in the Eastern Canadian Arctic to show that 5000 years of regional summertime cooling has been reversed, with average summer temperatures of the last ~100 years now higher than during any century in more than 44,000 years,…

    However, Table_S1.xlsx in the Supporting Information only shows 135 samples. Furthermore, the “C14 Age” of the samples range from 225 to 4,285 years in the spreadsheet.

    What gives??

  24. PabloNH said @ October 24, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    “Located just east of Greenland, the 196,000-square-mile Baffin Island…”

    Well spotted :-) Perhaps they held the map upside down…

  25. “The study is the first direct evidence…” Stop right there! The evidence is most definitely indirect.

  26. I see that PabloNH spotted the same hiccup as me. Probably just a form of geographical Freudian slip. Baffin Island is surely West of Greenland…!?

  27. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

    Again with the logical fallacy that since they can’t think of anything else, it must be greenhouse gases. They know all the sources of natural variability? I want them to explain how that miss got under all that ice thousands of years ago. In other words, it was warm enough to sustain moss growth. Then it became cold enough to bury them in snow. Explain that natural variability and why it’s reversal isn’t the answer to why the moss has reemerged

  28. Unprecedented this, unprecedented that – catastrophe, catastrophe! It’s worse than we thought!

    It’s all getting to be a big yawn. People hear “unprecedented” and it’s like, “Oh, yeah, here they go again.” Folks probably listen for laugh value, or to watch what the This-report-shocked-me Brigade are putting on this time in terms of another Let’s-scare-the-pants-off-them pantomime.

    Does anyone have a list of all these reports and can give us a tally of how many times they’ve used that word? Whatever it is, it’s bound to be unprecedented!

  29. Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher now than during any century in the past 44,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 120,000 years, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

    Except ~40 years ago the experts were saying the opposite. Nimoy starts talking about Baffin Island ~3’30” into the video.

    Gifford Miller (Professor, Department of Geological Sciences @University of Colorado at Boulder)
    talks about the cooling starting 3,000 years ago. Some of us are old enough to remember this stuff…

  30. “Does anyone have a list of all these reports and can give us a tally of how many times they’ve used that word? Whatever it is, it’s bound to be unprecedented!”

    What I mean is how many titles have held that word or how many reports use the word at least once, not how many times they use it in each report.

  31. It’s also true that it could have been warmer in the past at other points in the last 50k years, without the ice having melted as much. The GISP2 temperature record shows warmer temps in Greenland over the last 10,000 than at present. It’s quite possible the same is true of northern canada.

  32. Two problems I see are historical. One is the Medieval Period proved the water tables were higher allowing the Vikings access to the Minnesota area and they Mapped all the shores of Greenland. Wine grapes were grown in England.

    Now, one thought in his favor. If the Sunspot Activity we have seen in the last three hundred years was typical during the Medieval period then we can see some proof of accumulated heat being kept by green house gases as a maintenance tool so that Earth didn’t suffer radical changes in climate during the solar minimums at the beginning of each century. Then it is possible for a century to stand out as the warmest.

    If so we can credit the great surge in sunspot activity from 1934 to 1965 and from 1975 to Dec. 2007. It gave us our strongest hurricane seasons known to us at the beginning of this century.

    Most Sincerely,

    Paul Pierett

  33. I don’t know about the Eastern Canadian Arctic being the warmest in 44,000 years or 120,000 years. The following should assist in evaluating this claim.

    Abstract
    We therefore conclude that for a priod in the Early Holocene, probably for a millenium or more, the Arctic Ocean was free of sea ice at least for shorter periods in the summer. This may serve as an analogue to the predicted “greenhouse situation” expected to appear within our century.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007AGUFMPP11A0203F

    Abstract
    Arctic sea ice cover was strongly reduced during most of the early Holocene and there appear to have been periods of ice free summers in the central Arctic Ocean. This has important consequences for our understanding of the recent trend of declining sea ice, and calls for further research on causal links between Arctic climate and sea ice.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379110003185

    Abstract
    Calcareous nannofossils from approximately the past 7000 yr of the Holocene and from oxygen isotope stage 5 are present at 39 analyzed sites in the central Arctic Ocean. This indicates partly ice-free conditions during at least some summers. The depth of Holocene sediments in the Nansen basin is about 20 cm, or more where influenced by turbidites.

    http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/content/21/3/227.abstract

    Abstract
    ….Nevertheless, episodes of considerably reduced sea ice or even seasonally ice-free conditions occurred during warmer periods linked to orbital variations. The last low-ice event related to orbital forcing (high insolation) was in the early Holocene,…

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.010

    Now, I will continue reading.

  34. Baffin Island to the west of Greenland (as any other place on the globe) is only representative of itself and the immediate surrounding. As you can see here

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GrnlndT.htm

    in the mid 1990s (hopefully with accurate records) the west coast of Greenland (Egedesminde 68.7N) was nearly 2C colder than the east coast’s and further north Scoresby Sund (70.3N). Non concluditur !

  35. The only reason this rubbish passed its pal review was because it predicted Thermageddon.

    Fifty thousand years ago was the middle of the last ice age, a time hardly conducive for vegetation growth on Baffin Island. Radiocarbon dating for anything more than 50,000 years is essentially useless as the amount of C-14 in the sample would be too low to measure accurately.

    My belief is the moss came the Eemian, the previous interglacial period, when it was 4-5 degrees C warmer on Baffin Island,

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&cad=rja&ved=0CFwQFjAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffaculty.eas.ualberta.ca%2Fwolfe%2Feprints%2FFrechette_Palaeo3_2006.pdf&ei=LyNqUu_VCciA0AXy8oEo&usg=AFQjCNG1V9n5l9j60SwJEgi-epzsoACwyA

  36. They left out a couple words, a typo no doubt.

    “Located just [2724 miles] east of Greenland, the 196,000-square-mile Baffin Island is the fifth largest island in the world. “

    Not after all the ice melts.

  37. I see warmth, is see mosses, I see unprecedented. Now back to the real world.

    Little Ice Age recorded in summer temperature reconstruction from varved sediments of Donard Lake, Baffin Island, Canada
    Moore, J.J., Hughen, K.A., Miller, G.H. and Overpeck, J.T. 2001.
    Average summer temperatures rose rapidly by nearly 2 °C from 1195–1220AD, ending in the warmest decade in the record (~4.3°C). A dramatic warming event is seen around the same time (~1160 AD) in a tree-ring width record from Fennoscandia (Briffa et al., 1990).

    https://notendur.hi.is/~oi/AG-326%202006%20readings/Anthropocene/Moore_JOPL2001.pdf

    ———————————–

    Regeneration of Little Ice Age bryophytes emerging from a polar glacier with implications of totipotency in extreme environments
    Catherine La Farge et. al. 2013

    Abstract
    Across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, widespread ice retreat during the 20th century has sharply accelerated since 2004. In Sverdrup Pass, central Ellesmere Island, rapid glacier retreat is exposing intact plant communities whose radiocarbon dates demonstrate entombment during the Little Ice Age (1550–1850 AD). The exhumed bryophyte assemblages have exceptional structural integrity (i.e., setae, stem structures, leaf hair points) and have remarkable species richness (60 of 144 extant taxa in Sverdrup Pass). Although the populations are often discolored (blackened), some have developed green stem apices or lateral branches suggesting in vivo regrowth. To test their biological viability, Little Ice Age populations emerging from the ice margin were collected for in vitro growth experiments. Our results include a unique successful regeneration of subglacial bryophytes following 400 y of ice entombment. This finding demonstrates the totipotent capacity of bryophytes, the ability of a cell to dedifferentiate into a meristematic state (analogous to stem cells) and develop a new plant. In polar ecosystems, regrowth of bryophyte tissue buried by ice for 400 y significantly expands our understanding of their role in recolonization of polar landscapes (past or present). Regeneration of subglacial bryophytes broadens the concept of Ice Age refugia, traditionally confined to survival of land plants to sites above and beyond glacier margins. Our results emphasize the unrecognized resilience of bryophytes, which are commonly overlooked vis-a-vis their contribution to the establishment, colonization, and maintenance of polar terrestrial ecosystems.
    —————————

    Holocene thermal maximum in the western Arctic (0–180°W)
    Quaternary Science Reviews Volume 23, Issues 5–6, March 2004, Pages 529–560
    D.S Kaufmana et. al.
    Abstract

    The spatio-temporal pattern of peak Holocene warmth (Holocene thermal maximum, HTM) is traced over 140 sites across the Western Hemisphere of the Arctic (0–180°W; north of ∼60°N). Paleoclimate inferences based on a wide variety of proxy indicators provide clear evidence for warmer-than-present conditions at 120 of these sites. At the 16 terrestrial sites where quantitative estimates have been obtained, local HTM temperatures (primarily summer estimates) were on average 1.6±0.8°C higher than present (approximate average of the 20th century), but the warming was time-transgressive across the western Arctic. As the precession-driven summer insolation anomaly peaked 12–10 ka (thousands of calendar years ago), warming was concentrated in northwest North America, while cool conditions lingered in the northeast. Alaska and northwest Canada experienced the HTM between ca 11 and 9 ka, about 4000 yr prior to the HTM in northeast Canada……

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379103002956

  38. What do I see in Alaska? I know it was very localized, but then so is this study posted above.

    Ancient Forest Thaws From Melting Glacial Tomb
    By Laura Poppick, Staff Writer | September 20, 2013
    An ancient forest has thawed from under a melting glacier in Alaska and is now exposed to the world for the first time in more than 1,000 years.

    Stumps and logs have been popping out from under southern Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier — a 36.8-square-mile (95.3 square kilometers) river of ice flowing into a lake near Juneau — for nearly the past 50 years. However, just within the past year or so, researchers based at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau have noticed considerably more trees popping up, many in their original upright position and some still bearing roots and even a bit of bark,….

    http://www.livescience.com/39819-ancient-forest-thaws.html

    Our Arctic warm period is unprecedented, never have we seen such Warmth in the last 44,000 years. If you believe this, you will believe anything. What a crock of horseshit.

  39. I am going to draw the tree line right here and go have my breakfast.

    Abstract
    ….Here we present palaeoecological evidence for changes in terrestrial vegetation and lake characteristics during an episode of climate warming that occurred between 5,000 and 4,000 years ago at the boreal treeline in central Canada. The initial transformation — from tundra to forest-tundra on land, which coincided with increases in lake productivity, pH and ratio of inflow to evaporation — took only 150 years, which is roughly equivalent to the time period often used in modelling the response of boreal forests to climate warming5,6. The timing of the treeline advance did not coincide with the maximum in high-latitude summer insolation predicted by Milankovitch theory7,….

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v361/n6409/abs/361243a0.html

    Abstract
    ……Tree birches (Betula pubescens Ehrh., B. pendula Roth.) reached the present-day shoreline of Barents Sea in Bolshezemelskaya tundra and 72°N in Taimyr between 8000 and 9000 BP……

    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1552004?uid=2&uid=4&sid=00000000000000

    Abstract
    The palynological record of Late-Quaternary arctic tree-line in northwest Canada
    Open woodlands with black spruce grew as far north as Sleet Lake from 8400 to 3500 yr BP. These woodlands gradually retreated to just south of Reindeer Lake during the late Holocene….

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0034-6667(93)90040-2

    Abstract
    Holocene pollen stratigraphy indicating climatic and tree-line changes derived from a peat section at Ortino, in the Pechora lowland, northern Russia
    ….Trees and a climate warmer than at present persisted until c. 3000 14C yr BP, when forests disappeared and modern dwarf-shrub tundra vegetation developed.

    http://hol.sagepub.com/content/10/5/611.short

  40. From the IPCC’s Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (2005)

    2.7.4.2 Following the sudden end of the Younger Dryas, the Arctic entered several thousand years of conditions that were warmer and probably moister than today ……… most of the Arctic
    experienced summers that were warmer (1–2 ºC) than at present during the early to middle Holocene……. the mean July temperature along the northern coastline of Russia may have been 2.5 to 7.0 ºC warmer than present.

  41. 50 minutes ago Baffin Island was -11°C. How long do the hot temperatures last each year?
    It always amazes me how these places are always melting when the temperature is below freezing for much of the year.

  42. to my way of thinking,when the north pole sea surface ,air and land temperature starts rising we are actually witnessing the planet getting rid of a lot of heat. current low solar activity sure is not going to replace it.

    phil says : However, Table_S1.xlsx in the Supporting Information only shows 135 samples. Furthermore, the “C14 Age” of the samples range from 225 to 4,285 years in the spreadsheet.

    What gives??

    indeed,what gives ?

  43. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

    Just another rent-seeker that in previous decades might have been honest has now caved to the bank-account-padding Religion of Doom. Pathetic.

    We find ancient stumps and Man made tools under retreating glaciers and they have to turn it upside down and say our warming is unprecedented. But when it comes to Vikings and Greenland they shtum real quick. Liars. They must be held to account for their fraud.

    ["shtum real quick" ?? Mod]

  44. Studying prehistoric dead moss and making wild claims–unsubstantiated by the moss itself–is as entertaining as Farley Mowat’s humorous observations on the work of field biologists and their wacky conclusions in “Never Cry Wolf”. Let’s call them the Moss Whisperers.

    Along with several other statements in the press release that defy reason, this one caught my eye:

    “Temperatures across the Arctic have been rising substantially in recent decades as a result of the buildup of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere. Studies by CU-Boulder researchers in Greenland indicate temperatures on the ice sheet have climbed 7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1991.”

    Holy cow, 7 degrees! Quick, tell the IPCC! We have irrefutable evidence of warming caused by human CO2 emissions! Oh wait, 7 F (3.9 C) is way outside the range of IPCC’s computer-generated global climate model “scenarios” for 2013, which is around 1.3 C. Huh. What’s up with that? Could it be the warming was due to something other than “as a result of the buildup of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere” as the article stated? Nah. It’s just gotta be the CO2, the whole CO2 and nothing but the CO2.

    Or are the Greenland ice cap temperature studies by CU-Boulder researchers wrong? Maybe the Greenland ice cap didn’t warm by 7 degrees. Oh wait, it did, sort of. There are very few weather stations in Greenland so it’s impossible to know what the temperature was over the whole ice sheet. Take any temperature reconstruction with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, using NOAA’s reconstruction, you can see a brief and sharp warming trend from 1991 to 2003. After 2003 it cools again. Incidentally, the 1919-1932 warming trend was significantly greater than the recent one and world population (and CO2 emissions) in 1932 was less than 1/3 of what it is today. Interestingly, the seasonal trends since 2003 all sharply decline except for the December-February trend, which is the main reason the annual trend hasn’t shown more drastic cooling. What’s going on in the winter? If you had to choose between unprecedented seasonal human CO2 emissions or shifting jet stream patterns, which makes more sense?

    Meaningless (but really funny) moss studies aside, the 20th century temperature record measured with real instruments (not moss) suggests pretty clearly that any recent warming in Greenland has nothing to do with CO2 or human activity and is driven by natural forces.

  45. Hold on. There was an industrial civilization 120,000 years ago that warmed the planet so much that it led to its early collapse and all of it happened because they did not give their money to their doom sayers? Appalling.

  46. Paul Pierett says:
    October 25, 2013 at 12:41 am

    “If so we can credit the great surge in sunspot activity from 1934 to 1965 and from 1975 to Dec. 2007. It gave us our strongest hurricane seasons known to us at the beginning of this century.”

    And hurricane activity will resume once solar activity resumes. Why? Because low solar activity encourages meridional atmospheric flows, both over land and over northern oceans. This results in cold air moving southward over land and warm ocean water moving northward, in a sort of yin-yang dance which acts to preserve the overall heat balance of the earth. The warmer water moving northward reduces the temperature driving force for hurricane formation and also results in some sea surface cooling around the equator. The cold air moving southward, conversely, causes cold continental winters, and some warming of the arctic, which could explain the observations reported here. This effect would be diminished or absent in the antarctic where there are no major sub-antarctic land masses to channel the effect. Just some thoughts.

    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sfc_daily.php?plot=ssa&inv=0&t=cur

  47. I am always suspicious when I hear researchers taking C-14 dating out to the max limit of useful measurement – 50K years. C-14 is about 1 part per trillion (1E-12) of the carbon in our atmosphere. Therefore if a plant takes up one gram of carbon, only one trillionth is C-14. C-14 has a specific activity of 4.46 Ci/gm (pardon me but I think in the old Curie system). Therefore 1 gm of Carbon has 4.46 E -12 Curies (4.46 pCi) of C-14 which equals 0.165 disintegrations per second. After ten half-lives (~50,000years) of the C-14 there will be 1.05 E-14 Curies which equals .00039 disintegrations per second or 1.4 disintegrations per hour. To get decent counting statistics it is typical to shoot for 5000 counts, so we are looking at 21 weeks to count the quantity of C-14 in one gram of carbon. That takes more patience than I have when counting radioactive material. It requires extremely low (radiation) background counting equipment and a heck of a lot of care not to introduce other confounding factors.
    Typically C-14 counting is done via liquid scintillation counting. Typically with C-14 dating of plant material, the material is ashed (burnt). The resultant ash may be chemically treated to remove impurities and leave only the carbon, but it is nigh on impossible to separate the C-12/C-13 from the C-14. Therefore the C-12/13/14 mix goes in the liquid scintillation vials. I do not know how many grams of carbon are used in the C-14 dating process but the more that is used, the greater the problem of “quenching” (there are a couple different types of LS quenching but in this case it is from blocking of the resultant light during beta particle interaction). This is just one of the confounding possible errors that can cause counting errors.
    Far too many universities do not stress in radioactive material training how radioactive material cross contamination can screw up an experiment in a heartbeat. Because they may not buy and use radioactive materials, too many just doing carbon dating do not get proper training, so I always have doubts of their results. In three universities I worked at, cross contamination was rampant, especially with shared equipment, until proper training was initiated.
    PS: There about 16,000 grams of carbon in the “standard” man. A simple calculation from the data above will give you the number of disintegrations per second in your body just from C-14. Then there are lots of other radionuclides in your body such as K-40 and uranium.

  48. They claim the moss was growing 44000 years ago? To me it is a surprise that the area was free from ice at that time. Does it mean it was warmer 44000 years ago?

  49. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

    Greenhouse warming by compulsion. I imagine Miller, in tears, like a certain UN official, wringing his hands and pleading. No other image suits the statement, therefore it has to be.

  50. I thought “unprecedented” meant never known or never happened before. So, how can something be unprecedented with it happened either 44,000 years ago or 120,000 years ago or some time in the past? If the mosses got there, seems there was precedent for ice melt.

  51. I cannot for the life of me understand why these Calamstrologists came to their wild, specualtive ideas. I am sure they looked into the science literature and decided to ignore ti anyway. Multiple lines of evidence just on this thread shows these clowns are wrong.

    – 1997
    Abstract
    Cryostratigraphy, paleogeography, and climate change during the early Holocene warm interval, western Arctic coast, Canada
    Botanical and cryostratigraphic records from northwest Canada indicate that the climate of the early Holocene was considerably warmer than today: tree line was over 100 km farther north; and a thaw unconformity, dating from 8000 14C years BP, formed at the base of an active layer 2.5 times thicker than at present…..

    http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/e17-076#.UmpXIZzm5hc

    ——————————–
    Abstract – 1971
    …These results suggest that during the Hypsithermal Interval the Arctic Front (July position) was further north, over the Beaufort Sea, a displacement from its present position of about 350 km. The Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, presently occupied by tundra, and dominated by the Arctic airstream in July, was apparently under forest, with warm, moist Pacific air during the Hypsithermal Interval….

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/003358947190069X

    ———————————-
    Abstract – 2001
    Sea-surface conditions in northernmost Baffin Bay during the Holocene: palynological evidence

    ……….The early to middle Holocene, from ca. 9000 to ca. 3600 14C yr BP, is marked by relatively high species diversity in dinocyst assemblages and the significant occurrence of autotrophic taxa such as Spiniferites elongatus, Pentapharsodinium dalei and Impagidinium pallidum. This assemblage suggests conditions at least as warm as at present. From ca. 6400 to ca. 3600 14C yr BP, transfer functions indicate warmer conditions than at present, with SST in August fluctuating up to 5.5°C. After 3600 14C yr BP, the dinocyst record suggests a trend of decreasing temperature toward modern values, marked by recurrent cooling events.

  52. PabloNH said @ October 24, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    “Located just east of Greenland, the 196,000-square-mile Baffin Island…”

    They must have been thinking of Boffin Island.

  53. About the only thing one can conclude from this study is that Professor Gifford Miller is not a rolling stone!

  54. Whats all this about C14 dating being unreliable under 5750 years (give or take 40 years)?

    Wasn’t C14 dating used to prove that the so-called Turin Shroud was 12th/13th century at the earliest and clearly nowhere near old enough to have had contact with Jesus?

  55. Yet it is clear that Greenland was warmer in the very recent past.
    Just like the faux Swedish study, this story is more about deception than information.
    This is yet another deceptive study inspired by the need for AGW promoters to “communicate” (sell) AGW better.

  56. In the Alps about 5300 years ago, the glaciers receded to the point where Ötzi ‘the iceman’ became entombed in ice. The global warming alarmists dismissed the retreat of the glaciers as just an anomaly caused by the weather, but finding Ötzi was because of the climate warming. Now the ice on Baffin Island melts to the point of revealing moss that grew back in the Eemian interglacial, and this immediately attributed to global warming. Might the ice melt be an anomaly caused by the weather similar the one that buried Ötzi?

  57. This just means this is the longest interglacial that the glacier/moss has seen in the last 44,000 years.

    Many of the world’s glaciers have been slowly melting since the ice age ended. Many of them are too far south to remain as glaciers as this interglacial gets longer and longer.

    Maybe the moss grew in the Eemian interglacial since that one was much warmer than this one. They were buried under ice for 100,000 years and only now starting to emerge since the glacier has been slowly melting for the last 10,000 years.

    If the interglacial lasts for another 10,000 years, the southern quarter of Greenland will melt out as well. It is too far south and has too much summer sunshine to have ice-sheets in inter-glacial temperatures.

    One needs to have this perspective to understand the situation.

  58. The paper’s conclusion is nonsense due to the lag time between warming and ice melt. Consider for example that the moss grew 100 thousand years ago during the last interglacial. Then for 90 thousand years it was buried under ice. Then for the past 10 thousand years conditions in the arctic were warmer than today and the ice started melting. Now today, after 10 thousand years of melting, the ice is finally gone and the moss is again exposed.

    The only conclusion that is possible conditions in the arctic today are similar to conditions when the moss grew. However, there was no human produced CO2 when the moss grew, yet there was no ice in the arctic at the location where the moss grew. Thus, there is no evidence that CO2 of AGW is the cause of the ice melting in the Arctic.

  59. How do they know the temperature of the study area on Baffin Island 120,000 years ago? In the photo of the good professor, I see no trees in the area nor enough ice to core and measure trapped bubbles.

  60. Thank you Phil: October 25, 2013 at 12:04 !!
    The abstract states: Here we use 145 radiocarbon dates on rooted tundra plants revealed by receding cold-based ice caps in the Eastern Canadian Arctic to show that 5000 years of regional summertime cooling has been reversed, with average summer temperatures of the last ~100 years now higher than during any century in more than 44,000 years,…

    However, Table_S1.xlsx in the Supporting Information only shows 135 samples with ages ranging from 225 to 4,285 years.

    So 135 samples are less than 5,000 years old, and the remaining 10 (presumably the samples between 44,000 to 51,000 years old) are missing.

    THIS STUDY IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT!!
    No one should be surprised as UC-Boulder is from the same institution that houses Kevin Trenberth and Mark Serreze,

  61. The Pompous Git says:
    October 24, 2013 at 11:42 pm
    And once more, here’s Hubert Lamb’s northern forest limits map comparing 2000 BC with the present:

    ================
    Excellent map, showing that climate changes naturally. Which should be no surprise considering that 20 thousand years ago most of the cities of the “western” world were buried under a mile of ice, and are headed for the same future without AGW.

    The only conclusion one can draw about AGW is that it is currently the only thing that stands between our civilization and the next ice age. Should we be unable to halt the next ice age, most of the great cities of the western world will be destroyed as surely as if they were destroyed by nuclear weapons. The only thing in question is how much time we have before this occurs.

  62. The logic seems flawed to me, as well.

    For an analogy, think of the snow that is last to melt in the spring, on the north slope of a hill. Around here, in New Hampshire, north-slope snow may still be there in May, when things are already starting to grow on south slopes. That north-slope snow will have lasted through all the early warm spells, and even through a hot spell or two when temperatures touch eighty Fahrenheit. However the week the north-slope snow finally vanishes may be raw and cold, with a “snow-eater” fog and temperatures around fifty.

    Using the logic of the aforementioned paper, that week with temperatures around fifty is “unprecedented heat,” while the warm and hot spells that came before, (analogous to climate optimums,) somehow don’t matter or even count.

    The Baffin Island icecap is a remnant of the icecap that reached to New York City in the last Ice Age. It has likely been shrinking ever since. My guess would be that moss was more likely 120,000 years old than 44,000 years old, and likely dates from before the last Ice Age even began.

    It is getting harder and harder to ignore the past climate optimums and “erase the MWP,” in order to pump up the hype about it being warmer now than ever before. Papers like this one are getting harder to find. However Bill McKibben found this right away, and pounced on it like a vulture onto a corpse:

  63. Anthony Watts wrote: “Since plant material in the Arctic doesn’t decay like it does elsewhere due to low temperature and low humidity,”

    The photo shows temperatures above freezing. The clouds appear as typical for moderate or moderately high relative humidity. In my experience, plant material decays under such conditions. If there were a few or several months of such conditions accumulated over the past 44,000 years, I think the moss would have at least largely decayed.

  64. 7 degrees in the Arctic since 1991 and the warmists never picked up on it from satellite and other data? Nope. Not buying it.

  65. Since radiocarbon dating is only accurate to about 50,000 years and because Earth’s geological record shows it was in a glaciation stage prior to that time, the indications are that Canadian Arctic temperatures today have not been matched or exceeded for roughly 120,000 years, Miller said.

    Are these people idiots, or do they just think that we are?

    The fact that ice has receded to expose point X today tells you absolutely nothing about the maximum temp over the ice during the period it was covered.

    Do what these idiots have not, and think about it: Set a twenty pound block of ice on the coffee table in your living room. Set your thermostat to 68F. The ice will begin to melt. After an hour, turn the thermostat up to 90F. The ice will melt faster. After an hour of that, turn the thermostat down to 50F. The ice will continue to melt. At some point, a coaster that you left on the coffee table under the block of ice will become exposed by the melting at 50F. Do you point to it and say “AHA! This proves that the temperature of the room is now warmer than it has ever been since the ice was placed on the table!”?

    Only if you are a ‘climate scientist’.

  66. Um, but if these plants were growing 120k years ago, this suggests that it was significantly warmer at that location back then.

    How does one conclude that CO2 is the cause of warming today but not arrive at the same conclusion for the warming 120k years ago?

    I also find claims like ‘unprecedented’ warming to be very strange coming from a professional geologist, especially since he knows how incomplete is the Pleistocene paleoclimate record.

  67. The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 12:30 am
    Gifford Miller (Professor, Department of Geological Sciences @University of Colorado at Boulder)
    talks about the cooling starting 3,000 years ago. Some of us are old enough to remember this stuff…
    ============
    The evidence is incontrovertible. Mr Spock traveled back from the future to rescue the whales, and took a few moments to record a warning to us all about the coming ice age :).

    Much of the current AGW scare preys on the young and the lack of information about the global cooling scare 50 years ago. It speaks more to the failing of the educational system to explain the reasons that both the press and the government would want to generate alarm in the population.

    Fear over over communism, fear over nuclear war, fear over population, fear over pollution, fear over global cooling, fear over global warming. Without an external threat to worry about, the population will start looking closely at the government, asking why they are spending so much money and delivering so little.

    To deflect criticism, governments generate fear in the population of external threats. The people stop worrying about the government and start worrying about “the enemy”. The government is secure.

    Keep in mind that the “government” is not the party in power, it is the entrenched bureaucracy that lives on regardless of any change at the top. They advise the party in power, they interpret policy, and they implement according to their interpretation.

  68. The press and enviros are running from the actual conclusions of the study. Here is the key part of the press release:

    “Since radiocarbon dating is only accurate to about 50,000 years and because Earth’s geological record shows it was in a glaciation stage prior to that time, the indications are that Canadian Arctic temperatures today have not been matched or exceeded for roughly 120,000 years, Miller said.”

    So Baffin Island is now just beginning to get as warm as it was toward the end of the previous, warmer interglacial period. I don’t see a great issue here.

    But the way it is being played is that it might have gotten this warm about 50,000 years ago. That would be in the middle of the least big ice age. If that claim were true — that Baffin island had mosses growing when Canada was covered by an ice cap 2 miles thick– yes, that would really be news.

    So what U Colo has done is to enable people like Bill McKibben to make claims about mosses growing in the Arctic in the middle of the last ice age, even though later in the press release they say that the likely story is that Baffin Island is now about as warm as it was at the end of a long period of warmth during the Eemian, the last interglacial.

    It seems to me that this work is a piece of good but unremarkable science. Yes, plants grew in the high Arctic during the Eemian, which was warmer than today’s interglacial, the Holocene.

  69. “The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” said Miller, also a fellow at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

    Ah yes, the good ol’ logical fallacy of “we don’t know what else it could be, so it must be x”, or the Ad ignorantiam argument.

  70. So were the Eskimo’s driving SUV’s when the moss grew in the first place? How did the Arctic get so warm in the past without fossil fuel CO2?

    We are told over and over again that elevated CO2 from fossil fuels is what drives warming, but for this moss to grow in the past without elevated CO2 says that something else causes warming.

    If anything , this paper is evidence that something other than CO2 must cause warming.

  71. The Viking settlements in Greenland* are a real problem for Miller et al. It was almost certainly warmer in Greenland during the MWP. Viking artifacts are still buried in the permafrost. The basic logic is that anything buried in permafrost got there before the permafrost formed. ie. It was warmer then than it is now. In any event, it is unlikely that the Vikings were farming on permafrost**.

    *NY Times story about Vikings in Greenland

    Normal farming is impossible on permafrost

  72. Louis Hooffstetter says:
    October 25, 2013 at 6:12 am
    —————————————————

    As Louis said, there is no data presented of C14 ages older than 5,000 years in the supplemental which contains all 145 samples they say they used.

    We need to find an on-line version of this paper to see if they really found moss older than this date or just provided us with another climate model simulation / made-up climate history story.

  73. fred berple: “Without an external threat to worry about, the population will start looking closely at the government, asking why they are spending so much money and delivering so little.”

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” — H.L. Mencken

  74. bruce cobb: “Ah yes, the good ol’ logical fallacy of “we don’t know what else it could be, so it must be x”, or the Ad ignorantiam argument.”

    In fairness, that’s the grant of legitimacy about the bulk of notions in science over the last century. We assume hypothesis x. We cannot test it, so it cannot be refuted. Therefore, it is true. If you should have the unmitigated gall to mention such things the response is: “But it’s what scientists believe.” “There’s a consensus.” “The science is settled.” “It’s a necessary hypothesis.”

    There’s something of a distinct social problem involved. Acknowledging it put’s the institution of Science in credibility jeopardy, and destroys whole fields and branches of True Fact acquired ad Ignorantiam. Not acknowledging it means that the fields are kept. But even the discussion that we *should* permit Science to be the playground of the Ignoranti, also puts the institution in credibility jeopardy.

    So shut up and eat your lichen. The Baffin boffins worked terribly hard bringing their ignorance to you.

  75. It can’t be.

    The modern Inuit are just that, modern in age. They moved eastward only a few thousand years ago, when the Arctic ocean opened up. They came upon the last of the Dorset people who are now extinct.

    There is a lot of other data to show that temperatures have been warmer in the last few thousand years than now up there. The only way this study could be published is for both the writers and editor-reviewers to live inside a ping-pong ball of academia and refuse, not just be ignorant of, work others, especially anthropological, have done in the Arctic.

    Ice sheet retreat is revealing a lot of buried forests and tundra that are post-end of glaciation, revealing both a warmth and a renewal of glaciation. These type reports just don’t make sense.

    Incompetence in the line of not doing due diligence and cross-checking outside your specific study are grounds for termination with cause in private practice. We need the same level of accountability and censure in the academic, tax-payer supported world. A chill on research? Certainly when there is a public repercussion – the business of not crying fire in a crowded theatre is not an infringement of free speech, so when you make big statements that create policy positions in government, you should be accountable for ensuring that you have really, really checked out the veracity of your words (though a George Bush vis-a-vis WMD didn’t think so).

    We’ve given a free ride to the liberal eco-green. “Raising consciousness” has been their excuse for not getting it right. Misdirection, misinformation and plain manipulation is what they have really been up to, all to push their ideological agenda that is not defensible by reason or pragmatism.

  76. There is growing evidence that Vikings had a trading post positioned on Baffin Island centuries ago:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/10/121019-viking-outpost-second-new-canada-science-sutherland/

    Given that Vikings travelled in oversized rowboats with a sail, I am betting it was pretty darn warm during the Medieval Warming Period to have established any kind of outpost so far north on Baffin Island. Perhaps the Vikings of old knew more about “unprecedented” warming that we do.

  77. Whilst I have witnessed plenty of examples of tautology of logic, this is the first example of an experimental tautology. It’s a tautology because while it purports to show that today’s Arctic is of unprecedented warmth, the experiment would yield the same result no matter what period in history it was performed.

    Consider that the ice sheets have been receding since the end of the last ice age. It must be true, that at any point in the last several thousand years, it would be possible to find mosses that have recently become exposed from receding ice. When this would have been possible in Baffin island, it is difficult to say.

    Nevertheless, let us suppose that some medieval scientist were to go to Baffin island with a hypothetical Carbon dating machine. He could walk the perimeter of the ice and pick samples of moss and subject them to the same analysis. The result would show – surprise, surprise – that this particular moss has remained covered in ice for at least 50k years. Ergo, today is warmer than any time in 50k years.

    If that is not a tautology, I don’t know what is.

  78. This sounds like another study where they knew the results they wanted and created a process to get those results. A few critical questions from an objective senior scientist should have stopped this study before it went beyond this preliminary proposal phase.

  79. “Temperatures across the Arctic have been rising substantially in recent decades as a result of the buildup of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.”

    It appears that no evidence was presented by CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor Gifford Miller to justify that statement.

  80. JJ says:
    October 25, 2013 at 6:37 am

    “The fact that ice has receded to expose point X today tells you absolutely nothing about the maximum temp over the ice during the period it was covered.

    Do what these idiots have not, and think about it: Set a twenty pound block of ice on the coffee table in your living room. Set your thermostat to 68F. The ice will begin to melt. After an hour, turn the thermostat up to 90F. The ice will melt faster. After an hour of that, turn the thermostat down to 50F. The ice will continue to melt. At some point, a coaster that you left on the coffee table under the block of ice will become exposed by the melting at 50F. Do you point to it and say “AHA! This proves that the temperature of the room is now warmer than it has ever been since the ice was placed on the table!”?

    Only if you are a ‘climate scientist’.”

    It seems to me that JJ has nailed the childish reasoning used by the scientists. There is no connection of any sort between the time that these mosses emerge and the temperature at that time.

    Also, Vince Causey’s “tautological experiment” is a beauty to behold.

  81. The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Excellent recall. I’m reluctant to speculate as to why Dr. Miller’s opinion changed so drastically.

  82. The CU researchers missed their opportunity for fame. They could have shown proof of Bigfoot using similar logic and unfalsifiable methods. This is just another AGW “Bigfoot” claim.

  83. Thank you for yet another indication at what clowns these researchers are. The unprecedented warmth that is exposing lichen that obviously (at least to me) grew in a period warmer than now. And these people call themselves scientists. And the “peer” reviewers? Just another indication that the reviewers are actually peers – clowns just like the original researchers. Thanks Anthony

  84. That the MSM would be all over this “unprecedented” claim reinforces the idea Miller is simply using this stuff for PR. Oh sure sea levels during the HCO were at least 1.5m higher across the Pacific… but shhh todays warming in Baffin Island is unprecedented.

  85. commieBob says:

    October 25, 2013 at 7:17 am

    The Viking settlements in Greenland* are a real problem for Miller et al. It was almost certainly warmer in Greenland during the MWP. Viking artifacts are still buried in the permafrost. The basic logic is that anything buried in permafrost got there before the permafrost formed. ie. It was warmer then than it is now. In any event, it is unlikely that the Vikings were farming on permafrost**.

    What does this say about all the mammoths found in Siberia down in the permafrost?

  86. Hi Steven
    Interesting video, but too many parameters (five in total), the von Neumann’s elephant comes to mind.

    ############

    the point is simple: when observation doesnt match theory, working scientists don’t falsify theories. They take one of two paths. Second, which path leads to truth is not knowable from the mere fact of theory not matching observation. you cant know which path is right. you only know: there are two paths.

    We have a current theory of gravity. its works to build cars and buildings and fly things to the moon. But Opps, there are anomalies with that theory. the galactic rotation anomaly

    http://www.chaos.org.uk/~eddy/physics/galactic-spin-anomaly.html

    and the slingshot anomaly

    http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-11/new-satellite-could-explain-bizarre-flyby-anomaly-spacecraft-slingshot-around-earth

    Notice how nobody yells that einstein has been falsified. even though the observations do not match the theory. there are anomalies. Science doesnt throw out theories wholesale. there’s a fork in the road. And nothing tells you IN ADVANCE which fork to take. you only know: here is a fork. theories get forked they dont get falsified.

    Sometimes the neptune fork ( posit something unseen) works.
    Sometimes the neptune fork fails ( vulcan) and theory needs to be expanded. Not junked, not falsified, but refined, expanded, reframed.

  87. Steven Mosher says:
    October 25, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Einstein hasn’t been falsified. Einstein didn’t falsify Newton. Present anomalies do not falsify either expression of gravitational theory.

    But CACA has been repeatedly falsified, indeed was false on its face when first proposed & has been shown more laughably wrong with each passing year.

  88. I think his point would have been much better served if he were wearing a bathing suit while collecting the moss.

  89. Bill Illis said on October 25, 2013 at 7:20 am:

    As Louis said, there is no data presented of C14 ages older than 5,000 years in the supplemental which contains all 145 samples they say they used.

    Bill, so far only Louis has picked up on the fact that there are 10 samples missing. No, the supplemental does not contain all 145 samples – the supplemental only has 135 samples. I’m not sure that these 10 missing samples would show C14 ages older than about 4,000 years, as Louis has speculated. They are simply not there. All told, there is precious little data supporting this study. I don’t know how you get from samples, many of which are only a few hundred years old, to saying that the warming is unprecedented in the last 120,000 years. I agree with Louis. This study does not appear to be credible.

  90. mkelly says:
    October 25, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Mammoth carcasse finds say that permafrost has been intact for tens of thousands of years. The discovered mammoths lived during the last glaciation on steppe-tundra with permafrost not far below the surface. More permafrost formed on top of them after death. Although we’re in a warm interglacial now, permafrost is in no danger of melting, since it was even warmer for thousands of years during the Holocene Climatic Optimum, after the retreat of continental ice sheets.

  91. Steven Mosher says:
    October 25, 2013 at 10:08 am
    Notice how nobody yells that einstein has been falsified. even though the observations do not match the theory. there are anomalies. Science doesnt throw out theories wholesale. there’s a fork in the road. And nothing tells you IN ADVANCE which fork to take. you only know: here is a fork. theories get forked they dont get falsified.

    Oh, please. You aren’t seriously comparing einsteins’ theory of relativity with the half-baked politics and money-driven CAGW conjecture, are you?

  92. “””””…..Brent Walker says:

    October 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Hmmmmmm! as radiocarbon 14 has a half life of 5,730 years give or take 40 years we are talking about measurements of 5 1,000ths and 5 10,000,000ths of a not very known amount. Given that its creation varies according to the cosmic ray activity at the time and it in turn varies according to sunspot activity. This seems to be very impressive scientific measurements or ……
    I understood that radiocarbon 14 dating was impossible after about 40,000 – 50,000 years!…….”””””

    Well if the 1/2 life is 5730 yrs (I’ll take your number), then ten half lives, would be 57,300 yrs, and you would be down to 0.1 % (1/1024) of the original 14C amount. I seem to recall that they use mass spec to isolate, and count individual atoms, when they do these sorts of studies. Can they detect one part in a trillion, of something like carbon ??

    I didn’t catch their logic in expanding from 44,000 yrs to 120,000 yrs .

    The bristle cone pine studies that were used to calibrate the radio-carbon dates, probably don’t go back much more than 5,000 years. I assume you need a live tree, or know a priori, when it died, and some rocket scientist, with a masters in botany, murdered the oldest known bristle cone pine tree by cutting it down to count the rings; it was 500 years older (5,500 yrs) than the second oldest known tree. True genius, lies in some of these college graduates.

  93. Bruce Cobb says:
    October 25, 2013 at 10:23 am

    “Oh, please. You [Steven Mosher] aren’t seriously comparing einsteins’ theory of relativity with the half-baked politics and money-driven CAGW conjecture, are you?”
    ____________________________
    Yes, he is.

  94. @Armagh Observatory

    >Wasn’t C14 dating used to prove that the so-called Turin Shroud was 12th/13th century at the earliest and clearly nowhere near old enough to have had contact with Jesus?

    The testing was done in so confused a manner that the results were filled with uncertainty. It is very much like how the hot spot was treated in AR5. The tests were conducted in such a way that it created confusion as to who was given which sample of what and in the end, it was clear there were ‘data issues’. In the end, in both the cases of the Shroud and the Hot Spot signature, the bottom line read that the test results are inconclusive due to data quality problems so the answer you want is probably in there, if you want it to be.

    In the case of the Shroud, it leaves open the possibility that it is ‘could be really old’, and in the case of AR5, they conclude the warming troposphere – the legendary hot spot – ‘is probably there’.

    You get what you pay for, apparently.

  95. Steven Mosher says:
    October 25, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I thought you were familiar with W. V. Quine’s “Duhem-Quine Thesis.” It explains the choice open to one when a falsifying observation is encountered. There are as many paths of response as there are hypotheses and observations that go together to imply the falsifying observation. Falsification is retained.

  96. Phil says:
    October 25, 2013 at 12:04 am

    The abstract states:

    Here we use 145 radiocarbon dates on rooted tundra plants revealed by receding cold-based ice caps in the Eastern Canadian Arctic to show that 5000 years of regional summertime cooling has been reversed, with average summer temperatures of the last ~100 years now higher than during any century in more than 44,000 years,…

    However, Table_S1.xlsx in the Supporting Information only shows 135 samples. Furthermore, the “C14 Age” of the samples range from 225 to 4,285 years in the spreadsheet.

    What gives??

    The other 10 samples are in Table 1 of the main paper that you linked and are explained in the main text. These are the samples that date to greater than 29k years before present.

  97. “””””……@Mosher……We have a current theory of gravity. its works to build cars and buildings and fly things to the moon. But Opps, there are anomalies with that theory. the galactic rotation anomaly
    http://www.chaos.org.uk/~eddy/physics/galactic-spin-anomaly.html……””””””

    Your referenced article doesn’t say anything about any disagreement between general relativity and classical physics of the cosmos. I’m not aware of any discrepancie between classical models of the cosmos, and either special relativity or general relativity; both of which are strictly classical physics theories.

    Now it is true, that the current state of observational knowledge of the cosmos does show serious discrepancies, between the present cosmos, and the cosmos of 1905. That is not a problem of Einsteinian gravitation; it IS a problem of the structure of the universe, and the components thereof.; which clearly is not what it was believed to be in 1905 (when Einstein’s principal theories were first published). There was NO expanding universe, or black holes, in the cosmos of 1905; no big bang either. Find us some discrepancy between Einstein’s gravitation, and the universe of 1905. What general relativity doesn’t explain, is what other unknown components of THE universe are controlled by structures and laws not yet known.

    The galactic rotation anomaly, is a problem of galactic composition; not a problem of Einstein’s classical theories of gravitation.

  98. For more than 55 million years, Ellesmere Island remained in one place while the world around it changed. Fifty-five million years ago, verdant forests grew at 75 North latitude. These wetland forests, [comprised] of species now primarily found in China, grew on an alluvial plain where channels meandered back and forth and periodic floods buried stumps, logs, and leaves intact. Today the forests are preserved as coal seams that outcrop on the edges …[of] modern Ellesmere Island, [where] there are no forests, and the tallest vegetation grows less than 15 cm high. Large parts of the area are polar desert, subject to intensely cold and dark winters and minimal precipitation.

    http://all-geo.org/highlyallochthonous/2010/01/coal-and-the-fossil-record-of-climate-change-in-the-canadian-high-arctic/

  99. University of Colorado Boulder professor Gifford Miller is shown here collecting dead plant samples from the edge of a Baffin Island ice cap. Credit: University of Colorado

    The picture shows Gifford Miller collecting moss samples for C14 dating. He’s doing that bare handed, bare headed, and leaning over the collection site and open sample bag so the samples can be contaminated with his own effusion of carbon based exfoliating dander. Sample contamination with his own modern carbon emissions is almost assured.

    If the photo is representative of Miller’s sample collecting technique, the ‘science’ was compromised from the inception.
    MtK

  100. Mosher,

    You are confusing a falsifying observation with an anomaly. The latter is a falsifying observation that proves permanent and thwarts all efforts to adjust theory. Mars’ path across the sky was an anomaly for Ptolemaic astronomy.

  101. Steven Mosher says:
    October 25, 2013 at 10:08 am

    “Sometimes the neptune fork ( posit something unseen) works.
    Sometimes the neptune fork fails ( vulcan) and theory needs to be expanded. Not junked, not falsified, but refined, expanded, reframed.”

    How is this different from a comment an essay produced by a freshman taking composition? Is there nothing distinctive about science?

    Are there statements that describe the world that can be known to be true apart from theory? If not, what counts as evidence for theory?

  102. This may be a bit off topic…

    I was perusing the Arctic Sea Ice News over at NSIDC (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/) and noticed something I couldn’t explain. Can anyone help me? At the bottom of the page the include Table 1 Previous Arctic sea ice extents for the month of September. it shows the ice extent for September 2013 is virtually identical to 2009. The question I have is about the trend in % per decade relative to the 1981-2010 average.

    What I didn’t understand is if 2013 ice is the same as 2009, then why is the negative trend higher this year (-13.7%) than it was in 2009 (-12.0%). Shouldn’t it be lower because the number of years in the divisor has to be larger?

    Thanks,

    MikeEE

  103. Theo Goodwin says:
    October 25, 2013 at 11:41 am

    CACA never rose to hypothesis status in the first place. It was stillborn, indeed falsified even before being hatched. It never satisfied the requirements of the null hypothesis, ie never showed that temperature observations (even after fraudulent manipulation) were anything out of the ordinary for the Holocene or any other interglacial.

    The climate record doesn’t begin 30, 50 or 100 years ago. Thirty years is barely even a long enough period to qualify as “climate” rather than weather. With valid data, the 1920-40s were warmer than the 1990-2010s. It was warmer 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000, 6000, 7000 & 8000 years ago than now. It was much warmer during the Eemian & at least one other interglacial during the past 500,000 years.

    CACA is a blatant hoax prima facie, not a valid hypothesis, as it fails its first test prediction.

  104. MikeEE says:
    October 25, 2013 at 11:42 am

    This may be a bit off topic…

    What I didn’t understand is if 2013 ice is the same as 2009, then why is the negative trend higher this year (-13.7%) than it was in 2009 (-12.0%). Shouldn’t it be lower because the number of years in the divisor has to be larger?

    The trend is calculated using a linear regression algorithm that in some sense optimizes the line for all the data points. Without going into the mathematical details, the trend is more negative through 2013 data than it was up to 2009 because 2010-2012 all fall below the regression line by more than 2013 falls above it.

  105. So, let’s see…out of the last 2.6 MY of the Pleistocene there have been something like 20 glacial/interglacial cycles each about 120,000 years long. Each cycle is made up of a 20,000-ish year long interglacial (warm) period where the temperature varies a few degrees about a pleasant average level conducive to plant and animal (e.g., human) existence, and a 100,000 year long period of glacial (very cold) conditions with average temperatures many degrees below a level conducive to plant and animal survival. Our present, interglacial period (Holocene) has covered only the last 12,000 years or so. It doesn’t take any kind of government-funded study, Doctoral/Masters thesis or intellectual exercise to figure out that of the last 44,000 or 100,000 years, much of that time (32,000 to 88,000 years respectively) has been colder….much colder…that the last 12,000 years. So the claim that the last 100 years has been the warmest in the last 44,000 or 100,000 years is pure harum scarum…the false expansion of a false claim to make the supposed situation sound scarier. What BS.

  106. Another Geo’s Take says:
    October 25, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Besides which all the actual evidence in the world shows that earth has been warmer than now for at least half of the past 9000 years.

  107. I can clearly see that the greenhouse gas paradigm shift in geology, paleontology, and archaeology is going to be very, very fruitful.

  108. Mosher: “the point is simple: when observation doesnt match theory, working scientists don’t falsify theories.”

    Yes, thank you for stating the obvious.

    “But Opps, there are anomalies with that theory. the galactic rotation anomaly”

    Proving that current gravitational theory is false. Might be useful in various scales, but false. Stop me if the words are too big for you.

    “Notice how nobody yells that einstein has been falsified”

    The model they are using for gravitational slingshot has been falsified, nothing more.

    In both cases the first case is: It’s false. The second case is: Let’s figure out why it’s false.

    More importantly, if you state that random theory X was *not falsified* by a disproof. Then either you didn’t even test the theory in the first place, and so nothing was disproven. Or you’re a dissembling toad that talks about DoD models of the F-22.

  109. milodonharlani says:
    October 25, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I concur wholeheartedly. Hansen got the ball rolling and the modelers hopped on the bandwagon. Climate science has not emerged from the cellar of wrongly modified and fake data in which it was born.

  110. M. harlani…without a doubt. The whole hottest ever BS bandied about by the alarmists just falls into the “temperature varies a few degrees about a pleasant average level conducive to plant and animal (e.g., human) existence” part of the statement. The climate concern humanity should be thinking about and planning for, at least conceptually, is about what we will need to do warm and feed ourselves when our current interglacial temperatures inevitably fall off the edge of the Holocene plateau and into the glacial abyss. I could be a cold, dark, and violent time.

  111. Theo Goodwin says:
    October 25, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    And CACA replaced Marxism in the academy & government as the horse on which statists could ride roughshod over freedom, prosperity & reality.

  112. Bruce Cobb said @ October 25, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Oh, please. You aren’t seriously comparing einsteins’ theory of relativity with the half-baked politics and money-driven CAGW conjecture, are you?

    It would appear that Mosher become increasingly desperate. I’s really very sad…

  113. Another Geo’s Take says:
    October 25, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Even the minor climate fluctuations of the Holocene show how deadly & destructive is cold. Humans could burn up all the accessible reserves of fossil fuels without being able to stop the next glaciation. Maybe we can come up with other means of retarding the formation of ice sheets. Or perhaps we’ll really luck out & discover that eccentricity is the most important of the orbital mechanics controlling glaciations, since it’s headed to a major low over the next 30,000 years.

    If not, then watch out below!

  114. milodonharlani said @ October 25, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    And CACA replaced Marxism in the academy & government as the horse on which statists could ride roughshod over freedom, prosperity & reality.

    Welcome to hyperreality:

    The postmodern semiotic concept of “hyperreality” was contentiously coined by French sociologist Jean Baudrillard in Simulacra and Simulation. Baudrillard defined “hyperreality” as “the generation by models of a real without origin or reality[3] “, it is a representation, a sign, without an original referent. Baudrillard believes hyperreality goes farther than confusing or blending the ‘real’ with the symbol which represents it; it involves creating a symbol or set of signifiers which actually represent something that does not actually exist like Santa Claus. Baudrillard in particular suggests that the world we live in has been replaced by a copy world, where we seek simulated stimuli and nothing more. Baudrillard borrows, from Jorge Luis Borges’ “On Exactitude in Science” (who already borrowed from Lewis Carroll), the example of a society whose cartographers create a map so detailed that it covers the very things it was designed to represent. When the empire declines, the map fades into the landscape and there is neither the representation nor the real remaining – just the hyperreal. Baudrillard’s idea of hyperreality was heavily influenced by phenomenology, semiotics, and Marshall McLuhan.

    And just to dot the “i”s and cross the “t”s:

    More than a third of 16 to 23-year-olds (36%) do not know bacon comes from pigs and four in 10 (40%) failed to link milk with an image of a dairy cow, with 7% linking it to wheat, the poll of 2,000 people for charity Leaf (Linking Environment and Farming) found.
    Some 41% correctly linked butter to a dairy cow, with 8% linking it to beef cattle, while 67% were able to link eggs to an image of a hen but 11% thought they came from wheat or maize.
    A total of 6% of those questioned knew that salad dressing could come from rapeseed oil, compared with the national average among all age groups of 24%.
    Although four in 10 young adults (43%) considered themselves knowledgeable about where their food comes from, the results revealed a “shocking” lack of knowledge about how the most basic food is produced, the charity said.

  115. Besides the good points made by Anthony and others, it amazes me how a study that contains several assumptions which are shaky at best and a time frame of 120,000 years ago can be treated as anything but wild unproven speculation.

    To me, these sort of liberties in science used to provide proof of things is why this field has turned into a farce and used as biased ammunition to show one side.

    This will get more attention than it deserves. It’s not like independent lines of evidence to contradict or confirm or several independent and unbiased teams are conducting research are getting equal weighting.

    This will stand as evidence of what the objective of the study intended to show.

    However, TIm Ball makes the best point:
    “Most of the Holocene was warmer than today as the Greenland ice cores show.However, if you are unconvinced by the ice core data, it is supported by physical evidence. Professor Ritchie (University of Toronto) identified and photographed a picea glauca (white spruce) stump on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula in tundra some 100km north of the current treeline (Figure 2). Radiocarbon date was 4940 ±140 years Before Present (BP). It was featured in Hubert Lamb’s classic work Climate, Present, Past and Future. This means global temperatures at least 2-3°C warmer than today”

    Dr. Balls information negates the significance of this study’s conclusion.

    It’s not just climate science where research findings make false conclusions:

    http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

  116. Another Geo’s Take: “The climate concern humanity should be thinking about and planning for, at least conceptually, is about what we will need to do warm and feed ourselves when our current interglacial temperatures inevitably fall off the edge of the Holocene plateau and into the glacial abyss.”

    The answer is already baked in the AGW cake: Let them burn coal.

  117. jquip

    you dont get it.

    ‘When Newton’s or Einstein’s gravitational theory is applied on galactic and cosmological scales, various anomalies are found: most famously, the orbital speed of stars far from the centre of a galaxy is roughly constant, where the theory predicts that it should fall off with radius r as 1/√r ”

    now if you spend time around here people will thrown feynman or popper at you.
    If the observations conflict with the theory, then the theory is falsified.

    well, not so quickly.

    when the theory conflicts with the observations you have choices. historically scientists rarely throw out an entire theory. ask yourself why

  118. Steven Mosher said @ October 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    now if you spend time around here people will thrown feynman or popper at you.
    If the observations conflict with the theory, then the theory is falsified.

    well, not so quickly.

    when the theory conflicts with the observations you have choices. historically scientists rarely throw out an entire theory. ask yourself why

    Why? Because most theories provide useful predictions even when they also generate anomalies. CAGW has to date made no verifiable predictions that I know of after thirty years of making them.

  119. milodonharlani says:
    October 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm
    Another Geo’s Take says:
    October 25, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Geoengineering to retard the growth of ice shields is probably as far-fetched as geoengineering to cool the earth. In either case, adaptation is likely the most reasonable and cost effective approach. Nuclear anyone?

  120. Jquip says:
    October 25, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    The answer is already baked in the AGW cake: Let them burn coal.

    Or the dead….

  121. Steven Mosher says:
    October 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Historically, you are wrong. Dozens of theories have been falsified & more hypotheses. Also major parts of big theories which survive in part.

    Just in the past 50 years major theories like the immobility of continents, nonexistence of catastrophic ice age floods & the steady state theory of the universe have been falsified.

  122. Another Geo’s Take says:
    October 25, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Adaptation would be better. Whether the ice sheets return in 500, 5000 or 50,000 years, humans will be able to adapt. People fleeing Canada, Scandinavia & Siberia may well live in floating cities in tropical oceans, powered by temperature variations at different depths. Also, deserts will become fertile under the new climate regime, even without fusion to desalinate seawater (from which the fuel would also come).

  123. MarkB said October 25, 2013 at 10:54 am:

    The other 10 samples are in Table 1 of the main paper that you linked and are explained in the main text. These are the samples that date to greater than 29k years before present.

    Thank you for correcting this error on my part. I made an assumption I should not have made, because I have not been able to access the paper itself.

  124. Steven Mosher says:
    October 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm
    “now if you spend time around here people will thrown feynman or popper at you.
    If the observations conflict with the theory, then the theory is falsified.

    well, not so quickly.

    when the theory conflicts with the observations you have choices. historically scientists rarely throw out an entire theory. ask yourself why”

    Climate theory, as presented by the IPCC, has no confirmations, no true predictions, to its name.

    I am not saying that all of it is false. Arrhenius’ equations look good in the laboratory, though no one has a formulation of how they play out in the atmosphere.

  125. milodonharlani says:
    October 25, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Exactly! And there are a huge number of American academics riding on the “global warming/whatever” bandwagon who would never have endorsed such reporting and reasoning before the bandwagon came along. I take it that they experience a degree of cognitive dissonance that induces bliss.

  126. Steven Mosher says:
    October 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    “when the theory conflicts with the observations you have choices. historically scientists rarely throw out an entire theory. ask yourself why”

    If you’re trying to get funding, the theory is required. And I’m not being sarcastic.

  127. Yet another CAGW study wherein their conclusions are unsupported by their data. Leaps of illogic are required.

  128. milodonharlani said @ October 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Just in the past 50 years major theories like the immobility of continents, nonexistence of catastrophic ice age floods & the steady state theory of the universe have been falsified.

    More correctly, continental immobility and uniformitarianism were observation statements, not theories.

  129. Theo Goodwin says:
    October 25, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    IMO there are formulations as to how the GHG effect plays out in the atmosphere. At low concentrations, well below 100 ppm, CO2 does have a net heating effect on our planet. But the effect is logarithmic, so that another 100 ppm has relatively little additional effect, a third & fourth such increase less & even less, & a fifth practically none, barely measurable, if at all. Let alone tenth, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th & 70th coats, as in prior geological periods.

    I’ll mention again Dr. Lenzen’s analogy of painting a wall white. The first coat has a major effect on appearance, but each additional coat doesn’t make the wall look much more white.

  130. ‘When Newton’s or Einstein’s gravitational theory is applied on galactic and cosmological scales, various anomalies are found: most famously, the orbital speed of stars far from the centre of a galaxy is roughly constant, where the theory predicts that it should fall off with radius r as 1/√r ”

    That’s not what happened. Nobody observing the orbital anomaly of galaxies said that gravitational theory is wrong. Quite the opposite. They started from the premise that it is correct, and then proceeded to deduce that there must be more matter spread throughout a galaxy than previously thought.

  131. I may have been too quick to apologize. Am I correct in understanding that they based their conclusion on 10 samples out of 145 (~7%)? Wouldn’t it be appropriate to conclude that their conclusion is based on the outliers? It would seem that this is a self-falsifying paper as about 93% of their data does not support their conclusion, or am I making a mistake in my logic?

    I mean, if one’s hypothesis is that White Men Can’t Jump and one chooses 145 White Men at random, of which 135 can jump to varying degrees (some quite well – corresponding to the samples with a “C14 age” of just a few hundred years) and 10 are truly pathetic, on what basis can one conclude that the hypothesis is demonstrated? The logic escapes me.

  132. The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    IMO adherence to the theory of extreme uniformitarianism in the face of accumulating evidence against it was an example of faith in a secular religion creating resistance to scientific fact. Geologists of the middle of the last century found modern catastrophism distasteful because it smacked to them too much of Biblical floods, so were reluctant to adopt the emerging synthesis of the two. In fact, many never did, but simply died off.

    Also IMO continental immobility counts as at least an hypothesis, although as a ruling tenet of geology until well into the second half of the last century, it does qualify as a theory. I feel that it was falsified in the same way as the theory of species immutability was in the 19th century, ie by a convincing explanation for the mobility (sea floor spreading) & mutability (natural selection) previously lacking, making it no longer possible to maintain opposition to “continental drift”, now known as plate tectonics, & the “transmutation of species”, now known as evolution.

    Every century since the 17th (if not before) shows examples of major, long-prevalent & dominant scientific theories being abandoned, when predictions derived from them were falsified. A few will spring to everyone’s mind, probably even Steven M. Mosher’s, such as the phases of Venus falsifying the Ptolemaic system, the phlogiston theory by oxygen, the four “elements” by the atomic theory, spontaneous generation by Pasteur’s experiment, the humor & miasma theories of disease by his (& others’) germ theory & the inheritance of acquired characteristics by natural selection & modern genetics (although revived in the USSR), among others.

  133. PS: Observations by Wegener, du Toit & others had long showed that the continents must have moved, but prevailing geological theory refused to accept the evidence for lack of an explanation. It was hard to abandon orthodoxy.

    I am reminded also of Lord Kelvin’s too low (by a factor of 50 or more) calculation of the age of the earth, based upon thermodynamics, an hypothesis overthrown by the discovery of radiation.

  134. Mosher: “historically scientists rarely throw out an entire theory. ask yourself why”

    Prestige, funding, introductory pedagogy, costly text books, religion, politics, activism, ideology, trolling… I don’t think I missed any did I? Try doing some of your own work and add to the list.

    “If the observations conflict with the theory, then the theory is falsified.”

    Yes, precisely. There’s a lovely quote from Einstein about the matter. But for the ‘waitaminute’ caveat there’s a better one from him: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    Your misguided crusade can’t seen to disentangle that if the observation disagrees with the experiment it doesn’t necessitate that the observation disagrees with the theory. In the converse, just because it dribbled off your chin, doesn’t make it testable. Since you seem to have a real struggle with this, let me give you a poignant example:

    Proposition A: You exhaling is warming the planet
    Proposition B: If you keep exhaling Ethiopians will starve.
    Proposition C: We modeled your exhaling in an inclusive model of a high-degree polynomial that has fake numbers to stand in for all the other planetary things we have absolutely no clue about.
    Proposition D: The model pulled a Buzz Lightyear. Reality did not.

    1) Which of those have been falsified by D?
    2) Is B even testable in principle?
    3) Does C and D together have any necessary relation to A?
    4) If D did not exist, would A, B, and C be true?

    Answer sheet:
    1) C
    2) No. Not until you can cross the rubicon at D.
    3) No. A is one of a multitude of hypothetical nonsense that are disproved as a *set*
    4) Only if you’re in a cult.

  135. @ milodonharlani

    If we take NAS definition that “a scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation” then I would ask what did “continental immobility” explain? I certainly agree that 19th C geology was anti-Biblical Flood, but what does “nonexistence of catastrophic ice age floods” explain? Nit-picky I know, but it doesn’t help understanding much when assumptions, observations, theory and law are conflated as so often happens in these discussions.

  136. milodon: “Also IMO continental immobility counts as at least an hypothesis, although as a ruling tenet of geology until well into the second half of the last century, it does qualify as a theory.”

    Worth noting that there’s no actual difference between a hypothesis and a theory in lay usage. In technical usage in the Sciences a hypothesis is a ‘what if’ that hasn’t been tested or has been tested and failed. A theory is a hypothesis that has been tested and has so far failed to fail. And a law is some variation in degree of ‘because, damnit.’ Either because what the theory posits provably exists, and it’s contradictory would be pervasive, obvious, and lead to absurd results everywhere that we cannot find. Or because it is a required axiomatic consideration for a hypothesis/theory.

  137. Jquip says:
    October 25, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    I go along with that distinction. A theory may consist of a body of hypotheses the prediction of which have not yet been found false.

  138. The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I could have expressed myself better. Establishment geology didn’t accept the hypothesis of continental drift, despite all the evidence in its favor, including just looking at the map of the world as known from the 16th century. Its counter hypothesis was that the continents do not move. This might be considered an observation, although it was not a valid one.

    Long before the 20th century, it was known that continental land masses do move up & down, as in earthquakes. And the biological & geological connections pointed out by Wegener were indeed valid observations. So IMO, that continents don’t move was the prevailing theory or hypothesis of geology until the discovery of sea floor spreading falsified it by providing a mechanism that couldn’t be explained away.

    Similarly the prevailing geological hypothesis was that massive catastrophic floods didn’t occur, despite all the actual observations showing this belief to be false. The advent of aerial photography helped convince younger geologists that Bretz, et al, were right about the Missoula Floods, falsifying objections by their orthodox elders & confirming the catastrophists. This made the profession more amenable to consider later catastrophic explanations for observed events, such as an extraterrestrial cause for the K/T mass extinction.

    Maybe a semantic distinction without a difference.

  139. milodonharlani says:
    October 25, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I meant no formulation that allows prediction of effects on water vapor or cloud behavior.

  140. Theo Goodwin says:
    October 25, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    The IPeCaC’s formulation regarding water vapor & cloud formation has been repeatedly shown false, yet it remains the cornerstone of their CACA hypothesis. Without their false assumptions, no initial C is possible, for starters, due to too low a climate sensitivity to doubling CO2 concentration from AD 1850 to 2100, or whenever.

  141. @ milodonharlani

    Samuel Warren Carey was an Australian geologist who was an early advocate of the theory of continental drift. His work on plate tectonics reconstructions led him to develop the Expanding Earth hypothesis. I did my geology in the school he founded at UTas. While plate tectonics is taught there these days as part of the formal curriculum, a lunchtime lecture on expanding earth was organised by the lecturer for those interested in alternatives. Both theories (explanations for observations) would appear to have severe problems.

  142. Zeke says:
    October 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    That’s the flip side of CACA’s anti-scientific excuse, “What else could it be?” if not CO2.

  143. milodon: “I go along with that distinction. A theory may consist of a body of hypotheses the prediction of which have not yet been found false.”

    I don’t care much for the distinctions, mostly as I’m not a Positivist. Lacking that, it all seems a bit strained. Then there’s the other problem, which is ‘theory’ as in ‘large discipline,’ ‘metaphysical principle,’ or untested theorems (logical) that extend from a theory (pick any usage). And this is not helped at all when it is popular to call a hypothesis a theory because… it simply isn’t tested or testable and you want credibility. (AGW, Origin theories/Creation myths, all of Economics…) Which is why I typically stick with ‘theory’ for everything on the Philosophy side and ‘empiricism’ for everything on the experiment/engineering side. Makes me happy and understood even if people gripe about heresy should I accidentally state ‘the 2nd theory of thermo…’

    “This might be considered an observation, although it was not a valid one.”

    Observations are fine, as are rule-of-thumb. But to state that ‘The continents don’t move’ as a hypothesis, requires that we can prove it, or prove it’s contradictory, either one, if we are to state ‘this is True, damnit’. Every valid test of a hypothesis simultaneously tests its contradictory. And until it is properly tested it is a big ol’ belief system. No more and no less, and of no greater worth or import than an infomercial.

    ———

    Zeke: “If you don’t like it complain about Kuhn and his “paradigm shifts.”

    Popper had the right of it (mostly) by the lights of reason. Kuhn had it spot on by the lights of man. But Kuhn is not responsible for man being.

  144. Zeke said @ October 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I think the reason scientific theories are not discarded when there are extraordinary exceptions to the theory is because the scientific experts use the excuse that they do not have a better theory.

    I’m not sure what you are suggesting here. That scientists should prefer a worse theory, or no theory at all? According to Popper, no theory is true. Theories are only an approximation to truth and subject to rejection when a better theory comes along.

  145. Jquip says:
    October 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Popper had the right of it (mostly) by the lights of reason. Kuhn had it spot on by the lights of man. But Kuhn is not responsible for man being.

    Popper was a philosopher and Kuhn a sociologist. One prescribed and the other described. ‘Nuff said…

  146. The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    IMO plate tectonics has fewer & less severe problems than an expanding earth, although I’d be glad to hear what you consider those of tectonics to be. Had an expanding earth been a more compelling explanation, geologists might have abandoned immobile continents before the discovery of seafloor spreading & the dating of oceanic crust.

    Same was true of inheritance of acquired traits to explain what was in the early 19th century called “development” (the accepted observation that life forms have changed over time) through “transmutation of species” or “transformism”, an hypothesis anathema to the establishment. Natural & sexual selection offered scientific explanatory mechanisms more compelling than Lamarckism or the concept of continuous supernatural creation favored by prestigious, older naturalists.

  147. Jquip says:
    October 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I agree that immobile continents was part of a belief system unsupported by evidence, yet clung to by presumably rational scientists. Now their movements can be measured directly rather than simply inferred from observations.

    Same was true of scientists who were sure that the earth doesn’t move or that species don’t evolve.

  148. It appears no one read Steve McIntyre’s comment or the abstract he provided. Everyone went off in a dozen different directions but not the one pointed out by Steve. The dating technique used in this study has problems that are not accounted for.

    Steve McIntyre says:
    October 24, 2013 at 10:09 pm
    Here http://www.geochronometria.pl/pdf/geo_32/Geo32_02.pdf is an article entitled “TOO OLD AMS RADIOCARBON DATES OBTAINED FROM MOSS REMAINS FROM LAKE KWIECKO BOTTOM SEDIMENTS (N POLAND)”. It cites other work finding similar problems.

  149. The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    I’m not a fan of Kuhn’s, but in his defense would note that he was a physicist before becoming an historian & philosopher of science. During the war, between his undergrad & grad degrees in physics from Harvard, he worked on radar.

    You’re right that his work did get picked up by sociologists, & arguably misused & abused by them, as is their wont.

  150. milodon: “Now their movements can be measured directly rather than simply inferred from observations.”

    Surely so. But prior to that point it was a Mighty Maybe. Possibly so, and possbily not. Doesn’t matter either way until you get into the Great Heroics needed to keep Guam from capsizing. After we got some experience with the topic (measurements) we have no worries about Guam tipping over. (Unless you’re a legislator…)

    ——

    Keith W: “It appears no one read Steve McIntyre’s comment or the abstract he provided. ”

    Sure, C14 dating is no silver bullet and there are reams of cases where it’s been shown that the calculated age is far less or greater than it should be. Every C14 exercise starts with: Assume nothing cocked up my carbon. Which is about like any other notion: Assume my distribution is Gaussian. But in either case it’s terribly rare in publication to find folks validating either assumption. Which is neither here nor there. Since the problem with the past, is that we weren’t there for it.

  151. milodonharlani said @ October 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    IMO plate tectonics has fewer & less severe problems than an expanding earth, although I’d be glad to hear what you consider those of tectonics to be.

    I’m actually pretty much an agnostic in this, but the two main points agin PT are the lack of debris accumulation at the subduction zones, and both the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Oceans appear to be expanding. FWIW there’s a lot of material here:

    http://www.expanding-earth.org/

    That web page is a lot more “breathless” than what was presented at UTas from what I was told. I never made the expanding Earth lecture due to a prior commitment. I thought it telling that Tunks wanted to expose us to the theory; he’s a practical field geologist rather than an armchair theoretician.

  152. “Phil says:
    October 25, 2013 at 12:04 am
    However, Table_S1.xlsx in the Supporting Information only shows 135 samples. Furthermore, the “C14 Age” of the samples range from 225 to 4,285 years in the spreadsheet.
    What gives??”

    That data only shows that Baffin Island was as warm or warmer than today,between 225 and 4,285 years ago.Which disputes Millers own conclusion.

  153. milodonharlani said @ October 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    I’m not a fan of Kuhn’s, but in his defense would note that he was a physicist before becoming an historian & philosopher of science.

    I was predisposed to dislike his work based on the selected quotes I had read (often enough, required to read). Having recently read the book (not quite to the end yet) I found much food for thought therein.

    Expanding on what I wrote above: Popper prescribed what science should be iff we were all really excellent theoretical physicists. (Bench biologists for example need not apply). Kuhn described what he found most scientists were actually doing.

  154. It sounds to me like warming is a LONG term trend. Hey, maybe we can reverse 120,000 years of natural warming with new regulations, higher taxes, and wealth transfers?

  155. Looking at a post at Climate Audit:
    Gifford Miller vs AR5 (FOD) Reconstructions
    by Steve McIntyre, climateaudit.org
    February 11th 2012 3:14 PM

    Miller et al (GRL 2012) url has attracted much recent attention for its argument that volcanism can account for the MWP-LIA transition. In my opinion, it is important for another reason, a reason not mentioned and apparently not noticed by the authors themselves. It offers a highly plausible re-interpretation of Arctic varve series, an interpretation that, in effect, stands the temperature interpretation of the important Big Round Lake, Baffin Island varve series on its head. Arctic varve series, including Big Round Lake, have become a mainstay of temperature reconstructions used in AR5 (FOD) and likely to be used in AR5 (e.g. Kaufman et al 2009) and Miller’s interpretation of varve data impacts multiple “new” AR5 studies. CA readers are familiar with climate scientists having trouble with the orientation of varve data e.g. the use of Tiljander’s varve data in Mann et al 2008-2009 (the latter frequently cited in AR5).

    On Miller et al (GRL 2012) pdf with url provided by Steve, there is an interesting chart Figure 2. (f) Temperature anomalies over southern Greenland (wrt 1881–1980 AD mean) from the borehole temperature inversion at DYE-3 [Dahl-Jensen et al., 1998].

    Gifford Miller Global Cooling Scare on an episode of “In Search of… with Leonard Nimoy”

    Also Climate Audit commenter: Klockarman Posted Feb 22, 2012 at 5:09 PM [... ]a much younger Gifford Miller appeared on this (In Search of… ) show, and they filmed his appearance on Baffin Island, and he discusses that evidence on Baffin Island indicates a cooling and drying trend for the last 3,000 years, etc. Here’s the segment (1st of 3) that features Miller (his appearance starts at 5:30 in the video)…

    2-23 In Search Of… The Coming Ice Age (Part 1 of 3) – YouTube

  156. The Pompous Git: “Kuhn described what he found most scientists were actually doing.”

    Right, thing is Science sells itself on the basis that it does what Popper speaks of. But Science does what Kuhn speaks of. Which is the really astonishing idea that people act like people. The way to eat your cake and have it has always been the same in either case: Replicate.

  157. A “sublime” reply to a hideously poor attempt at propping up the dying CAGW meme with pseudoscience.

  158. The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    “Expanding on what I wrote above: Popper prescribed what science should be iff we were all really excellent theoretical physicists. (Bench biologists for example need not apply). Kuhn described what he found most scientists were actually doing.”

    We need some perspective here. Popper and other philosophers of science have described what theories should be when properly formulated. Their goal is to explain standards for criticism of science. Kuhn’s work is sometimes taken as a criticism of this normative view. It is not. To be sympathetic to Kuhn, which I am, what he did was describe the psychology of scientists as they practice. That psychology cannot yield standards for criticism of science. However, it yields a lot of other things that are very interesting.

    I am interested in explaining and refining standards for science. I am interested in criticism. I take it our goal here is criticism and explanation of our grounds for criticism.

  159. The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm
    Zeke said @ October 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    “I think the reason scientific theories are not discarded when there are extraordinary exceptions to the theory is because the scientific experts use the excuse that they do not have a better theory.
    I’m not sure what you are suggesting here. That scientists should prefer a worse theory, or no theory at all? According to Popper, no theory is true. Theories are only an approximation to truth and subject to rejection when a better theory comes along.”

    No scientific theory can be proved true, once and for all and finally. We must always remain open to experience and recognize that our best theories are subject to change. However, our theory at the time is true until it is falsified.

  160. Here is a link to a pdf of a powerpoint presentation with some of the material in the paper presented as part of the “Arctic Program” at UC Boulder and dated 23 Oct 2012.

    At that point, they only had 5 data points that were more than 20,000 years old. The claim that organic matter has been preserved under an ice cap for ca. 120,000 would probably be record-breaking from an archaeological point of view. The oldest fibers, according to an archaeologist in the family, are from about 7-10,000 year ago in the desert SW of the USA. Mammoths have been found that have been frozen tens of thousands of years.

    A date of 40,000 years or so is at the limit of detection and indicates that the sample contains virtually no Carbon-14 and could be considerably older than 40,000 years. The article linked by Steve McIntyre concerns samples that contain less C14 than they should or none at all. Aquatic mosses are especially susceptible. I saw this article and others, but Steve had linked it first.

    Following is my first impression of the issue, but I claim no expertise in this area. The basic assumption in C14 dating is that the organism is obtaining its carbon from the atmosphere, so the C12/C13/C14 ratios are fairly constant until the organism dies, at which point the ratios change because C14 is radioactive and decays to N14, IIRC. However, if the organism obtains its carbon from a different “reservoir”, then the C14 dating will be incorrect or not-datable. Aquatic mosses growing in bodies of water with limestone sources obtain their carbon from dissolution of the limestone, which essentially contains no C14 (any C14 originally present in the limestone has long since decayed). Similarly, volcanic CO2 is also C14 depleted and organisms near volcanoes are likewise C14 depleted, but they need to be fairly close (hundreds of yards, not miles, IIRC).

    The claim that Baffin Island is warmer now than 120,000 years ago must overcome questions raised by others in this thread, such as soot melting glaciers not temperature, etc. Similarly, the preservation of organic matter for 120,000 years is, to my knowledge, unprecedented. I think that these data points should be treated as outliers, pending further evidence that they are not a result of dating problems, contamination, etc.

  161. @ Theo Goodwin

    What we should do, I suggest, is to give up the idea of ultimate sources of knowledge, and admit that all knowledge is human; that it is mixed with our errors, our prejudices, our dreams, and our hopes; that all we can do is to grope for truth even though it be beyond our reach. We may admit that our groping is often inspired, but we must be on our guard against the belief, however deeply felt, that our inspiration carries any authority, divine or otherwise. If we thus admit that there is no authority beyond the reach of criticism to be found within the whole province of our knowledge, however far it may have penetrated into the unknown, then we can retain, without danger, the idea that truth is beyond human authority. And we must retain it. For without this idea there can be no objective standards of inquiry; no criticism of our conjectures; no groping for the unknown; no quest for knowledge.”
    ― Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge

    Emphasis mine.

  162. Content, Context, Fungibility and Disproof by Jack Cohen D.Sc., F.I.Biol. as published in The Citical Rationalist

    Introduction

    I am a biologist. While teaching biology, especially reproductive and evolutionary biology, at the University of Birmingham I promoted, and taught, a Philosophy of Science course: Bacon, Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos with asides to Waddington, Lysenko, and warnings about naive DNA preformationism. Our best students enjoyed even this amateur approach, but were unfamiliar with many of the classical Physics examples like Michelson-Morley or even Newton v. Einstein. These classical examples do not translate into Biology at all well; the quasi-biological ones are worse: black-versus-white swans becomes a simple problem of taxonomy, not an issue of disproof. The interesting issues were, I thought, common to biological science and physical science, and I felt that my teaching (for Popper, mostly from Conjectures and Refutations, 1963a) was inadequately based because the students didn’t seem to take the physics examples into their biology. Now I believe that there are real problems within this transfer; further, I believe that the biological arguments must spread back into physics and raise questions about the classical physics examples themselves, about naive disproof arguments in science generally.

    http://www.tkpw.net/tcr/volume-02/number-03/

  163. Jquip says:
    October 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Cruel, but the poor, derided legislator’s error was hardly less errant than the former Vice President’s “hanging earth upside down” or “millions of degrees” at its center.

  164. Is this a simple question? If the moss is there at all, it was WARM ENOUGH for it to take hold and GROW in the first place, meaning that this is NOT the warmest it’s ever been. Wouldn’t there be active moss alongside the 120,000 yo moss, or 44,000 yo moss, if it’s as warm today as it was “back then”?

  165. The Pompous Git: “Content, Context, Fungibility and Disproof by Jack Cohen D.Sc., F.I.Biol. as published in The Citical Rationalist”

    Not Even Wrong. This is a rather stock n’ trade majesty of the Sorites Paradox. Are particles describable? Sure. Do a stateful/chaotic ensemble of them compose atoms? Sure. Are atoms describable? Sure. Do a stateful/chaotic ensemble of them compose bulk matter? Sure. Is bulk matter describable?

    It better damn well be so. For if his statements about stateful/chaotic systems hold any relevance then he can’t read a mark of a ruler composed of a nest of chaotic ensembles all the way down. This is stupid of course, and right up there with “But the heat could instantaneously leave the sea!” It’s a game of obfuscation that folks love to play when the very last thing they want to be is? Proven wrong.

    And yet none of them have any problem whatsoever reading the mark of a rectal thermometer. Especially climatologists, since they’ve got their eyes right on the thing.

  166. milodon: “Cruel, but the poor, derided legislator’s error was hardly less errant …”

    True, but it fit better with plate tectonics. Had some good sport reading about the expanding Earth notions. Entertaining stuff, and a thanks to you and Git for the introduction.

  167. The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I wonder how long the expanding earth lectures continued.

    To me a lack of accumulation debris doesn’t signify, given subduction. None should be expected.

    The Pacific is shrinking, not expanding, but even if it were expanding at the same time as the Atlantic, that wouldn’t invalidate the observable fact of plate tectonics, since continental plates could be subject to compression.

    The fact that seafloor is younger as you near the ridges & older the closer you get to the continents would seem to be conclusive support for the hypothesis of seafloor spreading. Almost nowhere is seafloor older than the ~200 Ma breakup of Pangaea.

    To credit an expanding earth, you must believe that it both expands & contracts, since supercontinents have formed & spread apart repeatedly over billions of years. IMO the proposition is better supported that the impact forming the moon lofted lots of crust into space, which coalesced into the moon, while giving the surface of our planet plates of thin oceanic crust & thicker continental crust, floating on the mantle. Superplumes like lava lamps under the crust carry these plates together & apart rather rhythmically.

    A theory explaining so much so well & having stood up so well to attempts to falsify it, probably, IMO, has a great deal of validity. I’m all for scientific agnosticism, but also like theories that help me understand reality.

  168. Jquip says:
    October 25, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    You’re welcome. Tasmanians & Oregonians are nothing if not open to zaniness, including elevating GLBTQ (I hope I have that right) candidates to high legislative office. Sometimes the zany are the sane ones. But not I fear in the case of the expanding earth, an explanation for a problem already solved by actual observations in the 1950s rather than prior speculation.

  169. When a community of scientific experts decide on a “paradigm shift,” they have taken their prerogative to decide:

    “what is to be observed and scrutinized
    the kind of questions that are supposed to be asked and probed for answers in relation to this subject
    how these questions are to be structured [terminology to be used, assumptions]
    how the results of scientific investigations should be interpreted
    how is an experiment to be conducted, and what equipment is available to conduct the experiment.” (Wik)

    As if that isn’t enough, the advantages for this “community” of “researchers” continue to tumble out of Kuhn’s philosophy: “Since scientists’ worldview after a paradigm shift is so radically different from the one that came before, the two cannot be compared according to a mutual conception of reality. Kuhn concluded that the path of science through these revolutions is not necessarily toward truth but merely away from previous error.” http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-structure-of-scientific-revolutions-at-fifty

    Many objections to climate science and to all of these new studies in archaeology, paleontology, and geology are really objections to the underlying “paradigm shift” which frames all questions and interpretations in terms of the effects of greenhouse gas emissions from human life on earth systems – better known as Tipping Points in the Anthropocene Age.

    I do not think Popper was in any way overly idealistic about the scientific method when he criticized Kuhn in The Myth of the Framework. He showed historically that many scientific achievements happened without any cabals having a paradigm shift. The power of theories and of a shared language structure and terminology is a constant danger to scientists. Scientists are people, and are easily imprisoned by unconsciously held prejudices, esp. within a protected community with its own language. The clash of cultures, of paradigms or “frameworks,” and criticism at all phases of the scientific process is necessary, mainly because the power of theories and our need for them in making observations. (The book is much better than I have made it out to be.)

  170. Richard says:
    October 25, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Technically not eons, nor even eras or periods. Epochs, yes, one period, yes. The last polar crocodilian or champosaur probably decamped for balmier climes in the Eocene Epoch of the Tertiary or more fashionable Paleogene Period, c. 50 Ma.

  171. milodonharlani said @ October 25, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    I wonder how long the expanding earth lectures continued.

    I don’t know. Prof Carey had retired some years before I enrolled in my early 50s. I doubt that they formed a large part of the curriculum. Both theories explain most of the observations and Carey still has his followers one of whom used to post here quite regularly.

    I’m curious as to why you don’t think the overriding continental plate wouldn’t scrape the soft material and sea mounts off the oceanic crust as it is subducted.

  172. milodonharlani said @ October 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    You’re welcome. Tasmanians & Oregonians are nothing if not open to zaniness, including elevating GLBTQ (I hope I have that right) candidates to high legislative office.

    According to the wiki-bloody-pedia, glbtq.com has 2.2. million words on notable gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual or transgendered and queers. That’s about the same number of words Isaac Newton devoted to telling the world about his religious ideas :-)

  173. I do not see where they have proven anything. If say, 100 years ago, someone were to have gone there and taken moss samples from the just-exposed ground at the margin of the shrinking ice cap, those dead moss samples would have had the same C14 signature as their sample. Therefore, the temperature rise preceeding the “100 year ago sample taking” could also be claimed to be unprecedented in the last 44,000 years (without anthropogenic influence). If my logic is flawed, someone please explain to me where I went wrong!

  174. Dear A. Grimm,

    Thank you for your excellent, highly informative, post about C14 dating at 3:30am on 10/25/13. I found it very helpful. I especially wanted to tell you this not just because no one mentioned it (there are lots of other fine posts, here, that were never acknowledged) but, mainly, because a commenter after you, from his post, clearly had not read what you wrote (or he would not have written what he did). It’s always a bummer when it appears that no one read what one took time and care to write. Well, someone DID read it! #(:))

    Gratefully,

    Janice

    P.S. @ Caleb — your north slope analogy at 6:20am on 10/25 was well-written and helpful (JJ’s giant ice cube, too).

  175. Steven Mosher says:
    October 25, 2013 at 10:08 am
    “here is a fork. theories get forked they dont get falsified.”

    You are progressively losing it.

  176. Forty-four thousand years ago the earth was in the glacial period which preceded this inter-glacial Holocene. The claim that it was warmer 44,000 years ago than any time since, until today, simply makes no sense.

  177. This story was splashed across the news yesterday in Canada. I fell off my chair laughing. More unprecedented lies, propaganda and BS. The Climate Liar community has no shame. They will say anything to support their cause. The really sad thing about all of this is Canadians actually believe this crap is true.

  178. Zeke says:
    October 25, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Excellent post. With Kuhnians, the bottom line is that your “conceptual scheme,” “worldview,” or whatever you want to call it, causes you to experience the world according to its dictates and causes you to understand the world and other scientists according to its dictates. Like all Marxisms, it takes for granted that our thought is to some degree determined. That is what is most offensive about it. The Kuhnian view demands that all standards of criticism for science must be set aside during “conceptual revolutions” because the poor fellows suffering the revolution are caused to be unable to communicate across the “conceptual divide.” What garbage.

    Popper was correct to criticize it.

  179. Zeke says:
    October 25, 2013 at 9:26 pm
    “Kuhn concluded that the path of science through these revolutions is not necessarily toward truth but merely away from previous error.”

    If one looks at it as an evolution, the distinction is moot; as like in an evolution, new, superior solutions are always better than all previous solutions (assuming we don’t forget our history) with regards to an objective -i.e. global – evaluation function. A relativist has to maintain that there is no such objective evaluation function or absolute truth; good luck getting through life with that (relativism becomes a very real handicap for the individual afflicted with it; an evolutionary disadvantage. Relativism tries to sell its incapability to recognize truth as a virtue. Itself being a paradigm forever on the way to its own extinction, dying by its own hand.)

  180. I exported a few of the slides from Miller’s presentation linked by Phil says: October 25, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    We’re talking about some pretty small ice-caps here on very high isolated mountains.

    5 samples collected were supposed to be above the Laurentide ice-sheet. While the mountains are high (the ancient Torngat mountains), I don’t see how this is possible. The ice-age glaciers on Baffin Island and down into Labrador started on this mountain chain, probably as early as 110,000 years ago. None of the snow that fell here melted until about 9,000 years ago. These small ice-caps would have scraped everything off the mountain-top at some point in those in 101,000 years, if not from the Laurentide itself.

    Then a table of the dates arrived at in the 5 samples that passed the threshold of 40,000 years.

    I don’t know, maybe the story holds together, that they recovered moss samples that are probably from the Eemian interglacial before 110,000 years ago. But it doesn’t mean it is now the warmest period in 44,000 years. These little ice-caps have been melting back for 9,000 years at least and will continue to do so as long as the interglacial continues.

  181. ” . . . . show the mosses had not been exposed to the elements since at least 44,000 to 51,000 years ago.”

    Here’s my question. Why would they have been exposed to the elements during that period, as the region was continuing to be thrust deeper and deeper into the last ice age?

    I’d also note that on the Greenland cores (Vostok – NEEM) graph there, there are two very telling peaks of warming during the past 6,000 (est) years or so.

  182. Now that Anthony mentions soot I went looking and found this. Sorry they are not all peer reviewed.

    Black carbon: The dirty (and doubly evil) sidekick of CO2
    December 20th, 2010 by Rebecca
    Heard of black carbon before? Yeah, you think so, but you’re not entirely sure what it is or how it’s related to climate change? You’re not alone – scientists everywhere are starting to pay more attention to this dirty sidekick of CO2…….

    This is something I saw evidence of myself on the icecaps I studied on Baffin Island for my Master’s thesis. Some of them were dotted with little cups melted into the ice. At the bottom of each cup was a pool of black silt — check it out:

    http://www.acespace.org/blog/2010/12/black-carbon-the-dirty-and-doubly-evil-sidekick-of-co2/

    ——————————

    A trajectory analysis of atmospheric transport of black carbon aerosols to Canadian high Arctic in winter and spring (1990–2005)

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/10/5065/2010/acp-10-5065-2010.pdf

    Temperatures during the Holocene

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012
    New paper shows surface temperature of Arctic icecap was warmer during most of past 11,000 years
    A paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows that a large ice cap in the Canadian Arctic had surface temperatures higher than the present for the vast majority of the past 11,000 years [see graph below]. The paper also shows that the meltwater fraction in 2010 was slightly less than the vast majority of a 7000 year period from roughly 10,000 to 3000 years ago.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2012/04/new-paper-shows-surface-temperature-of.html

    JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 117, F02006, 21 PP., 2012
    doi:10.1029/2011JF002248
    Summer melt rates on Penny Ice Cap, Baffin Island: Past and recent trends and implications for regional climate

    So there you have it. It’s not warmer now that the last 120,000 years or 44,000 years or 10,000 years. As many suspected it was made up stuff.

  183. More on soot in the Arctic.

    Abstract – 2007
    20th-Century Industrial Black Carbon Emissions Altered Arctic Climate Forcing
    Joseph R. McConnell et. al.
    Black carbon (BC) from biomass and fossil fuel combustion alters chemical and physical properties of the atmosphere and snow albedo, yet little is known about its emission or deposition histories. Measurements of BC, vanillic acid, and non–sea-salt sulfur in ice cores indicate that sources and concentrations of BC in Greenland precipitation varied greatly since 1788 as a result of boreal forest fires and industrial activities. Beginning about 1850, industrial emissions resulted in a sevenfold increase in ice-core BC concentrations, with most change occurring in winter. BC concentrations after about 1951 were lower but increasing. At its maximum from 1906 to 1910, estimated surface climate forcing in early summer from BC in Arctic snow was about 3 watts per square meter, which is eight times the typical preindustrial forcing value.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/317/5843/1381.short

  184. The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Sign of the times. Don’t know when the Q got added to the LGBT. Some people must have felt left out, bless their hearts.

  185. The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Debris does accumulate in trenches where the oceanic plate subducts under the continental plate. The material comes from both the continental & oceanic plate. But it doesn’t fill the trenches, which are the deepest places on the surface of our planet, up to 35,000 feet deep. Much of it gets subducted eventually, as the continents continue to override the oceanic plates, or buried by sediment.

    The force of an ongoing collision between oceanic & continental plates causes the leading edge of the continent to buckled & compress, raising up a folded mountain range parallel to the plate boundary. The rising mountains slough off lots of rocky debris, which rolls off the continent into the trench. This material is joined by seafloor mud & ooze scraped off the descending plate, as you suggest, creating a wedge of thick, organics-rich sediment.

    Continental rock is too buoyant to be forced downward, so when continental plates collide, they crumple but stay at the surface. Think of the Himalayas, where the Indian & Eurasian plates are colliding. Oceanic plates however are topped by basalt, hence dense enough to sink into the mantle, so only oceanic plates can subduct.

    The evidence for this process is overwhelming. Plate movements are directly measured now. An expanding earth doesn’t explain observed phenomena. Volcanic rings of fire mark the colliding ocean-continent plate boundaries. Tectonics allow us to figure out where the plates were in the past, which reconstructions are confirmed by magnetic chronology & all other means of checking.

    Continental drift is an unavoidable consequence of seafloor spreading from the volcanic ridges running around the planet, which started as rifts between the continental plates on the supercontinent Pangaea. Seafloor dating confirms the break up of Pangaea derived from other lines of evidence.

  186. OK, a few questions:

    What is the point of bringing in Kilimanjaro and sublimation? Pressure atop Kilimanjaro is what, half an atmosphere? Not sure what the elevations of the Baffin ice caps in question are, but the highest point on the island is just a tad over 2,000 meters, less than half of Kilimanjaro. So the pressure regime is quite different, as of course is the insolation regime. So the two situations don’t compare very closely in those respects. And what is the postulated sublimation supposed to imply anyway? It’s not clear whether the suggestion in this post is that sublimation could have exposed the moss sometime 1) during the glaciation, 2) early in the Holocene, or 3) recently.

    If during the glaciation, that would be pretty surprising; much of the hemisphere remained stably glaciated, after all. Why would a patch on Baffin Island sublime bare in the middle of an enormous expanse of ice? If during the Holocene, then why didn’t some other biological activity leave a trace–caribou eating it, bacteria decaying it, other organisms colonizing it (and thereby changing the isotope signature)? After all, we know the Holocene Arctic wasn’t a biological desert; it supported human habitation by about 4,000 years ago. And if today, then what’s the point? We know the Arctic is warming already; if the ice cap *were* subliming rather than melting, what would that change?

    Regarding the “Clyde, NWT” graph–to my eye it looks very much as if there is indeed a warming trend “over the last 50 years.” (Maybe not over 70 years–it appears that the summers from ’49 through ’62 were relatively warm up there.) But what would it look like if it didn’t stop in 2009? Or if the data for ’04 and ’05 weren’t missing? And what would the annual data look like? (Yes, I know that the ‘summer is most important because it’s the melting season,’ but hey, I’m not the one who brought in the suggestion of sublimation here!) Trivially, why is the graph labelled ‘Clyde, NWT?’ (OK, it *used* to be part of the NWT prior to 1999, but as far as I know the English name has always been “Clyde River.”) That doesn’t bear directly on the content, but you have to wonder what the source was, and why the graph is outdated and apparently incorrect.

  187. What great comments, links etc. All you ‘denier’ fanatics
    sure can express coherent thoughts!!:)
    My brother sent me the 44k year piece just
    to annoy me, as when he says Anthony is a fringe dweller!
    Thanks to you, I have buried him in 15 minutes and
    He won’t be back for a little while.
    Was it Mosher who was talking about Duhem- Quine?
    Very important and of course one can compare the two
    ideas in at least one way, there is still a problem that
    people do not understand that Einstein, after reading
    Duhem, was not the same thinker as in 1905!
    Many physicists do not understand that Einstein, once
    Machian, but after 1916 or so refined his understanding, thanks
    to Duhem. Good point.

  188. CU-Boulder study shows unprecedented warmth in Arctic

    The peer reviewed references above, from others as well as myself, demonstrate that this claim is false. Tree stumps, Holocene Climate Optimum, regenerated moss from the Holocene, etc. Their claim is bogus. Where is the BULLSHIT BUTTON? This study is nothing but BULLSHIT.

  189. Kevin McKinney,
    The studies claim is crap. Have you seen the references countering their BULLSHIT claim? Read them and be honest to yourself.

  190. Jimbo, you sound angry. Why? I am simply asking questions, as a good skeptic should. Do you not have answers for them?

  191. Dear Phil,

    I must beg to differ, my esteemed WUWT friend. Perhaps you have, in your noble desire to keep us polite and coolly professional, forgotten?

    We are in a war for TRUTH. Robustly labeling the propaganda the Envirostalinists spew forth (which they style “science”) “crap” or worse is simply to be forthright and accurate. Wars are not won by polite discussions in quiet rooms where all observe the professional courtesies. Wars are won with passion for truth and vigorous speech. Language is a POWERFUL weapon. Let us use it boldly!

    You go, Jimbo!

    AGW policy is killing people, Phil. We need to always bear this in mind.

    Your goal is a worthy one per se, I would just ask you to reconsider whether it is a wise one given the context.

    Yours with hopes I have not alienated you,

    Janice

  192. Theo Goodwin said @ October 26, 2013 at 7:54 am

    The Pompous Git says:
    October 25, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Excellent.

    For me, that’s the touchstone. Every time I read Conjectures and Refutations I feel… refreshed. How some can lump Popper in with Derrida and his ilk amazes me. So it goes…

  193. Here’s a sample of Judith Curry’s take on this paper.

    Recall that Kara/Laptev Seas is in the heart of the lynch pin region for the Stadium Wave. Note, Marcia Wyatt did not have any data sets from the Baffin/Ellesmere region of the Canadian Arctic to include in the stadium wave analysis.

    Clearly, there is substantial spatial variability of climate variability in the Arctic, with Opel et al. noting a see-saw between the Eurasian vs North American Arctic and seasonal variations (annual vs summer). Especially interesting is the absence of MWP and LIA in some of these high latitude data sets.

    In any event, extrapolating from one location in the Arctic to inferring Arctic-wide change is clearly not supported. It further seems that single locations don’t have a very large radius of influence, viz the differences between Baffin and Ellesmere.

    The natural internal variability in the Arctic seems to be an exceedingly complex dance between atmospheric circulations, sea ice, ocean circulations and ice sheet dynamics, on a range of timescales. We have some hints about how all this interacts, but much is unknown. In light of this, simplistic inferences about global warming in the Arctic seem unjustified.

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/25/unprecedented-arctic-warming/

    A bit of exposed moss on Baffin Island does not tell ups a lot about Arctic wide conditions apparently. If Miller feels it’s OK to do this then we can do the same to show he’s wrong (see my above references).

    Warmest since….when?
    When I first started reading this I was actually excited about novel evidence that might be relatively decisive regarding how unique current temperatures are in the arctic, relative to the Holocene/Pleistocene. Alas, as I continued reading that hope faded quickly and I now instead marvel at how the authors could state the conclusions they do, given the methods and data presented……………

    …………..we have four sites clustered together at one end of the 1000km sampling transect that give very anomalous results relative to the 135 samples collected all along that transect. So why in the world are they focusing on those four sites, to the exclusion of the much more geographically extensive 135? How can the authors just blow past this fact without discussing why in any way? Reviewers, HELLO?? The authors then note the oldest radiocarbon ages are near the limit of the method and then hypothesize that these are therefore probably under-estimates. But by how much?……….

    http://ecologicallyoriented.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/bad-study-on/

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

  194. Here is another local study. Miller et. al. can’t have it both ways.

    The ice cores showed that the youngest time interval from which summer temperatures in the Arctic were plausibly as warm as today is about 120,000 years ago, near the end of the last interglacial period. “We suggest this is the most likely age of these samples,” said Miller.

    Really!!!

    Abstract – 23 January 2013
    Eemian interglacial reconstructed from a Greenland folded ice core

    Between 128,000 and 122,000 years ago, the thickness of the northwest Greenland ice sheet decreased by 400 ± 250 metres, reaching surface elevations 122,000 years ago of 130 ± 300 metres lower than the present.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7433/full/nature11789.html

  195. Imagine the receding edge of the Greenland ice sheet exposing some dead moss because of present day warming. Surely, the dead moss still under the icesheet is going to be more or less the same age. Let’s imagine the temperature goes down a couple of degrees and stays there for a century, but is still warm enough to melt more ice and expose more moss. A researcher comes and samples the moss at the new edge of the ice sheet (the stuff formerly there at a greater distance away has been blown away) and declares the past decade has been the warmest in 5k years (the limit of the dating technique), when in fact it was a couple of degrees warmer a hundred years before. Now assume we had a much warmer period 6,000years (Holocene climate optimum 6-8,000 years ago) but the ice at this locality was 50m thick and melted down to 10m thick. The moss would be still snuggled under the ice during a much warmer period. This warming would not be recorded in Miller’s data

    The only thing we are “sure of”, assuming proper dating is that the moss died some X years ago. Many climate changes up and down could have (and most certainly did) occur prior to the exposure of this moss. Surely all we have established is the date of the onset of a major COOLING in a previously warmer environment.

  196. Black carbon can melt the ice without the temperatures actually being warmer than 120,000 years ago. The solar energy absorbed can nearly all be going into the latent heat of melting at least until the ice is gone. The temperature itself need not be any warmer.

  197. How about dating the soil under the plants?

    All the evidence shows that it was much colder in the Arctic 44,000 years ago & much warmer than now during the Eemian.

  198. Steven Mosher says:
    October 25, 2013 at 10:08 am

    “Notice how nobody yells that einstein has been falsified. even though the observations do not match the theory. there are anomalies. Science doesnt throw out theories wholesale. there’s a fork in the road.”

    Steven, Einstein’s theory works! Yes “the” anomaly has been filled in with dark matter to preserve the theory (I personally think the dark matter patch is a load of baloney, however). But what about a “theory” that has never been proven to be correct even in the rough. Okay, so CO2 absorbs some IR bands – heralding that the physics is “correct” may not be relevant. What if the system reacts negatively to the effect (the evidence is mounting as we speak). All you have is a correct theory that CO2 absorbs IR; the rest is linear thinking and speculation of the sociological kind on where this fact is leading. The “anomalies” you refer to re Einstein are in a different league altogether. In climate science theory of CAGW the anomalies totally overwhelm the theory such as to render it a small and possibly temporary effect. CAGW is not only not landing a rover in a selected location on Mars, it isn’t even correct on which way is up.

  199. Um…. doesn’t the fact that moss grew there in the first place indicate that it used to be warmer there than it is now??

  200. milodonharlani says:
    October 26, 2013 at 10:58 am

    This animation of the breakup of Pangaea is good, showing India setting the major plate speed record across the Indian Ocean from leaving Antarctica to colliding with Asia:

    http://www.tectonics.caltech.edu/outreach/animations/drift.html

    The introductory blurb is wrong however that there were dinosaurs in 250 Ma. The first archosaurs even potentially qualifying as dinosaurs didn’t evolve until after 235 Ma (Carnian Age of the Late Triassic Epoch), so far as is now known. Pangaea was still largely intact then, & dinosaurs appear to have arisen at fairly high latitudes in SW Gondwanaland, ie southern Africa & South America.

    The evolution of ornithodire (bird-line vs. croc-line) archosaurs into dinosaurs appears to coincide with the Carnian Pluvial Event, a minor extinction associated with changes in the geometry of carbonate platforms & anoxic deposition of black shales. Philip Mulholland has admirably discussed these features & processes from the proximal end of the Mesozoic Era, ie the Cretaceous Period, when dino diversity & dominance peaked & fell:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/20/the-oceanic-central-heating-effect/

    In the succeeding Norian Age (~228 to 208.5 Ma), other ornithodires evolved into pterosaurs.

  201. “Wars are not won by polite discussions in quiet rooms where all observe the professional courtesies. Wars are won with passion for truth and vigorous speech.”

    Janice, I would humbly submit for your consideration the suggestion that calling something crap–with or without caps or italics–is a good deal less persuasive than actually answering the questions that people may pose? I would certainly be more likely to agree to Jimbos’ point of view were he to explain it. But my questions have not been answered, as it happens.

  202. Doc Snow:

    At October 27, 2013 at 11:45 am you say

    my questions have not been answered, as it happens.

    Please tell what those “questions” are, or have you been posting in this thread using multiple identities?

    Richard

  203. My apologies if this rather obvious point has been already mentioned, but I am more pressed for time than usual and have not read all the comments.

    The paper’s authors find ancient moss uncovered by a retreating ice sheet. They date the moss and then conclude that current temperatures must be the highest (since the ice is just now disappearing) since the moss was covered.

    Very bad failure of logic.

    The extent of the ice is certainly variable with the temperature, but not solely with the temperature. Ice extent is a function of temperature and time. There is a lag rate because ice takes a finite time to soak up that heat and melt. If the ice sheet were a kilometer or two thick at the beginning of the current interglacial, how long would it take to melt, even if the temperatures thousands of years ago were near tropic? Finding moss now exposed does not show that today is the warmest, but only that today’s warmth plus the integral over time of all the warmth since the end of the last Ice Age, is enough to melt the ice.

  204. The implication of the latent heat of melting is that melting ice is at zero degrees C until it is through melting. The temperature at Baffin Island does not have to be warmer than 120,000 years previously, there just has to be input of heat at zero degrees C, possibly not from a warmer atmosphere at all, but just from black carbon absorbing solar energy in the melt zone. Alternatively, it doesn’t even require more warmth, less accumulation compensating for summers losses would suffice. There should have been better peer review on this paper.

Comments are closed.