I noted yesterday this story in Slashdot:
The CBC reports on new research that shows thousand-year-old ice shelves (much different than sea ice) are breaking up and have been reduced by half in a region of Canada over the last six years. ‘This summer alone saw the Serson ice shelf almost completely disappear and the Ward Hunt shelf split in half. The ice loss equals about three billion tonnes, or about 500 times the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza.’ More detailed pictures can be seen at The Conversation, with a quote from Professor Steven Sherwood, Co-Director of the University of NSW’s Climate Change Research Centre: ‘The real significance of this, in my view, is that this ice has reportedly been there for thousands of years. The same is true of glaciers that have recently disappeared in the Andes. These observations should dispel in one fell swoop any notion that recent global warming could be natural.
Meh. Last year it was Manhattan Island units, this year it’s Giza pyramid units. I suppose we can designate symbols for these: // and Δ
Whatever you call it, I call it the “Terrifying Petermann glacier ice chunk 2.0“, dubbed “deniersberg” by feckless Congressman Markey, which later refroze in the Nares Strait ice before it could wreak havoc on worldwide shipping. Before the satellite era we weren’t watching this stuff, so we really only have a few years of observations. Glaciers calve ice into the sea, its what they do. It has been going on for millions of years. By the logic presented in The Conversation, some might argue though that the glacier berg that sunk Titanic was payback for coal use. Just reading through the author list, and you’ll understand why.
Of course the science says, nothing to see here move along.
Papers, like “Late Pleistocene-Holocene Marine Geology of Nares Strait Region“, from Mudie et al., don’t leave much doubt about what was the past climate of the region:
Palaeoceanographic reconstructions from dinocyst assemblages show that from ~6.5 to 3.3 ka BP, there were large oscillations in summer sea surface temperature (SST) from 3 °C cooler than now to 6 °C warmer, and that variations in SIC ranged from two months more to four months less of heavy ice compared to now.
Imagine my surprise though, when I discovered the majority of early commenters at Slashdot taking this article to task. Usually they eat this stuff up. Here are some of the comments:
Re:”These observations should dispel…” (Score:5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 30, @03:44PM (#37571112)
So I’m not one who tends to dismiss things that experts outside my field say, but this statement is quite a blatant fallacy: just because it’s been that way for thousands of years doesn’t mean that any change is certainly not natural. It’s these types of statements that cause so many to lose credibility. It doesn’t give me much faith in someone’s ability to interpret complex data when he can’t even construct a valid deduction from simple facts…