Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
In a previous article, I noted the treadmill created when you convince politicians to form policy based on untested hypotheses. The anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis was untested because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and others determined to prove, rather than disprove it. Professor Richard Lindzen explained years ago that the consensus was reached before the research even began. Despite AGW proponent’s best efforts to ignore and obfuscate, evidence continues to emerge. Their efforts included writing limited definitions of terms, making false and assumptions and ignoring, manipulating or creating evidence as required. They focused on specific issues in isolated places with a great emotional appeal. Classic examples include people under threat of drowning on remote, supposedly idyllic, Pacific islands, or people in Arctic lands threatened as the symbol of their struggle, the polar, is also starving and drowning. Wonderful, fanciful environmental fairy tales are woven to spread the falsehood of AGW, but as Shakespeare wrote, “at the length the truth will out. “
Climate science was hijacked for the political agenda of showing that there were too many people using up too many resources. The original objective of the political exercise was global population control only possible through a world government. A global threat created by these humans was necessary to transcend national boundaries, and so CO2 induced global warming became the vehicle. Al Gore was central to this political agenda. His climate connection and contribution was rewarded with the Nobel Prize. His population connection included organization and participation in a 1994 world population conference in Cairo Egypt.
Gore’s activities and machinations gained far more media and public attention than virtually anything the IPCC or its promoters did. It is likely that more people watched Gore’s political propaganda movie, An Inconvenient Truth in one day than ever read the Physical Science Basis Report. One measure of Gore’s influence on the public information was exploitation of the Arctic sea ice conditions. To emphasize and emotionalize the situation, he misrepresented the impact on polar bears.
The falsity of all that is emerging as the evidence continues to appear. For example, Susan Crockford reports that,
Polar bears off the ice in W. Hudson Bay are “well fed and in great shape” this year.
Two recent articles speak to the evidence of changing ice conditions that contradict the AGW hypothesis.
Frank Lansner’s “Interesting and positive changes in Arctic sea ice volume”is a good article but I don’t think “positive” is the right adjective. It is a subjective judgment about conditions or their change. This is important because alarmists tell people that warm is bad, but cold from a human survival perspective is much worse. Even in these warm interglacial years, more people die from cold than warm every year. The change Lansner reports is positive because it shows the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) alarmists are wrong.
The second article reports that,
“The area of 1.5+meter ice in the Arctic has tripled over the past four years, and volume has increased about 50%”
Al Gore did more to bring melting Arctic ice to global attention than anyone. Polar bears became victims and poster animals for the destructive human production of CO2. He’s done more than most in creating false ideas and images for his political and economic agenda.
When asked what’s wrong with global warming people invariably reply after some thought that glaciers will melt, and sea level will rise. Gore made this a major part of An inconvenient Truth with animated scenes of Florida and other low-lying areas inundated. He never explained the difference between sea ice and land-based ice or how the former does not affect sea level.
He furthered the confusion with the false story of polar bears drowning. I flew search and rescue in Arctic Canada and saw polar bears at sea swimming comfortably. Gore used an illustration of polar bears climbing up on ice fragments implying they were taking their last available refuge (Figure 1). Here is what was going on.
The photo used by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth was taken in the month of August. This is when it gets puzzlingly funny. Remember this iconic and oh-so-heartrending photograph of two polar bears on a melting icecap published by the Associated Press that was on every darn mainstream publication? What you probably don’t know is that this image was taken in August, a time when polar icecaps naturally melt and the wider shot would have shown that the bears were near land mass. Even the photographer, Australian marine biology student Amanda Byrd, didn’t think the bears were in any kind of jeopardy.
Polar Bears are naturally curious and seek high vantage points. No doubt the passengers on the cruise ship were a potential hunting opportunity.
People were easily fooled because few know anything about the Arctic Ocean and the ice conditions. For most, the Arctic Ocean is a thin line across the top of most world maps that give no idea of its size or shape. It is over 14 million km2 and every year an area approximately equal to the US (9.8 million km2) melts and refreezes at the average rate of 60,000 km2 per day. These figures are based on satellite information that only became available in 1978; then it took two years to create useable data. That 36 years of record is the only semi-empirical data we have. I say semi-empirical because there is even disagreement among the various analysts.
As people began to grasp the normal mechanisms of Arctic ice it became necessary to introduce another threat, namely “thinning ice.” Hence the significance of the report of thickening, however, like all information it requires caution.
Gore and other alarmists used the summer 2012 melt to bolster their failing anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis. As usual, information was selective, limited, and mostly wrong; only the lowest area estimate was reported from a range of estimates that varied by 1 million km2 or 25 percent. They claimed air temperatures were higher, but that depended on the sector; Alaska and the Bering Sea had record winds, ice, and cold. Even the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), the primary source of information for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said a four sector approach was necessary.
We now have a better idea of why that is important. The entire ice pack slowly rotates round the Pole driven by the polar easterlies. Some already knew that the extent and condition of the ice are directly affected by wind patterns. We knew because of the anomalous conditions, including extreme Meridional flow, triggered by the eruption of Tambora in 1816. On November 20th, 1817 the President of the Royal Society, London, wrote to the Admiralty:
“It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.”
NASA finally acknowledged this caused the changes in 2007 and again in 2012. The change to more Meridional flow after 2007 caused greater variation in ice amounts as the anomaly diagram shows (Figure 2), although the rate of loss leveled. The pattern follows the temperature record of the hiatus including increased variation.
It is informative to know the story of thinner Arctic ice and Gore’s involvement. In the original claim, they compared two sets of submarine derived measures. The first was between USS Nautilus in August 1958 and HMS Sovereign in 1976. In 1992, more under-ice runs were obtained to provide further evidence of the global warming. They were comparing frozen apples and oranges. Worse, they did not measure thickness. The scientists had no say in the data and how it was recorded. The submariners were recording variations in the bottom of the ice as under transits became regular events. Like aircraft pilots need to know the height of the land, they needed to know how far down the ice extended.
I was an operations officer and aircrew in the North Atlantic and Canadian Arctic during the Cold War tracking Soviet submarines. Our job was to keep track of their positions in the event of war. We discovered there were more submarines, especially in the Atlantic than we were tracking through our surveillance barriers between Iceland, Faeroes, and Scotland. They were transiting under the Arctic ice especially in the deepest exit, the East Greenland Channel.
A major problem is that the bottom of the ice is very irregular (Figure 3). Downward extending ice was called a keel.
“To qualify as a keel, an ice draft must be at least twice as deep as the local minimum draft measured from undeformed ice, it must be the deepest draft among all local drafts, and it must be deeper than 5.0 m.”
“Several errors can occur because of the limitations of the data, collection hardware, and methods selected to do the processing. Studies of the magnitude of errors in data gathered by upward-looking sonar systems indicate a 5% cumulative error and an absolute error of 0.3 to 0.5m.”
That was only part of the problem;
“A substantial effort was spent filtering and attempting to recover useful information from these data sets. The data had frequent ‘dropouts’ or sections of missing data. Additionally, the speed information which was critical for determining distance was often corrupted. Obvious errors were removed but questionable data remained which could effect the results.”
Despite this, they concluded,
“In summary, ice draft in the 1990s is over a meter thinner than two to four decades earlier. The mean draft has decreased from over 3 meters to under 2 meters”.
Approximately a 1meter change with a 0.5meter error.
The trouble is the were not measuring ice thickness but ice draft, the amount of ice below the water line which varies with snow load. Change is naturally dramatic from week to week and decade to decade in the Arctic. The first set was measured in the cold period from 1940 to 1975, the second in the warmer period of the 1990s. Measurements were taken in different months, in different areas, with different equipment, one with narrow and the other wide beam sonar.
An important question is how did they get the second set of data when, because of the Cold War, data gathered by US submarines was top secret? I tried for years to get temperature data from all the submarine work made available for climate and ocean research without success.
By 1992 Gore was Chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology responsible for NASA and apparently able to provide access to another piece of data in the ongoing deception.
In 1992 the US Navy (USN) approved the boundaries of an area within which environmental data from Arctic submarine exercises could be released. It was called the “Gore Box” by the USN, so there is no doubt of the origin.
Maybe Al Gore, whose credibility is on thin ice, can explain how the ice is now thickening, and polar bears are flourishing. He could also explain how the Bears survived the 1817 conditions or any of the other extreme natural variations of weather and ice in the historic record.