Another Climate Change Scare Is On Thin Ice

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Recently
by Dr. Tim Ball: Time
For Economic Restoration Now Climate Change Deception Exposed

 

 
 

All the scares
generated by the false climate science promoted by political agendas
disappear from the mainstream media and are rarely heard of again.
There’s no follow up in the mainstream media, no apologies
for providing false or inadequate information.

Nasty old Mother
Nature causes the demise by going about her normal business. As
the old advertisement said, it’s not nice to fool with Mother
Nature. The Northern Hemisphere winter is already proving once
again that global warming is another undelivered government promise.

The sequence
begins with identification of an issue. This occurs in several ways
including reporters scanning science journals for articles to sensationalize;
a scientist or Environmental group publicizing an issue. If the
story catches, they’ll push it from various angles. If it loses
traction, they bring in a different scientific angle or raise the
level of potential damage.

Arctic Ice
A Classic False Scare

Melting Arctic
ice grabbed attention and became a major part of Gore’s propaganda
movie An
Inconvenient Truth
. Dying polar bears grabbed emotions and
rising sea levels flooded fertile land inhabited by much of the
world’s poor people. Context quickly appeared as historic reconstructions
of Arctic temperatures and the natural annual variation of ice amounts
showed everything within normal variability. Polar bear experts,
like Mitch Taylor, debunked the endangered polar bear claims. What
to do? Everyone is familiar with the dangers of thin ice so spread
the claim the ice is thinning rapidly and as usual intimate it is
unnatural.

We’ve
only had satellite measures of ice cover since 1980. Launched in
1978 it took two years to establish reliable procedures and determine
accuracy. Since then various computer models have used different
methods to measure and display what is going on. There is still
disagreement between them. One of the differences is how they determine
old, young, and new ice. Another was the problem of ice with water
lying on top. However, the satellite never measured ice thickness.

Fritz Koerner, a Canadian glaciologist who also drilled ice cores
on Baffin and Ellesmere Island, produced an excellent early (1973)
assessment of the situation. Fritz was the first person I
heard report to an Ottawa conference
, that his cores were showing
CO2 levels changing after temperature change. In his paper Koerner
notes, “The mean end-of-winter thickness of the ice is calculated
to be 4.6 m in the Pacific Gyral and 3.9 m in the Trans Polar Drift
Stream.” This difference is important because it reflects
the influence of ocean circulation on ice thickness.

The threat
of unnatural thinning introduced in the late 1990s was based on
the original ice thickness measurements taken by USS Sargo, a submarine
that traversed under the ice in 1960. It followed the surfacing
at the North
Pole in 1958
by the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine.

These early
interests and experiments were driven by military concerns triggered
by the discovery that Soviet submarines were getting into the north
Atlantic by transiting under the Arctic ice by passing through the
deepest channel out of the Arctic Basin, the East Greenland Channel,
thus bypassing the submarine and air barrier set up between Iceland
and Scotland. Ironically we now have access to the extensive Russian
material, but nobody pays much attention, but that’s been the
course of the climate debate all along. I reviewed a paper
recently
and there was no mention of Koerner or most of the
Canadian Arctic ice studies.

In 1999 a second
transit using US submarines measured ice thickness. As usual the
New
York Times
was stoking the warming fires.

“The
research involved measurements of sea ice thickness made by upward-looking
sonar aboard naval submarines operating under the ice sheet. The
first period of data began in 1958 with the first nuclear submarine,
the United States’ Nautilus, and concluded with a cruise
by H.M.S. Sovereign in 1976. The second data set was collected
by American vessels from 1993 to 1997. Dr. Rothrock and two colleagues,
Y. Yu and G. A. Maykut of the University of Washington, compared
data from the two periods at 29 points where the courses of submarines
in the 1990’s intersected with the courses of those in the
earlier period.”

This became
the main source of the thinning scare. There were many problems
with the research not included or subsequently reported by the Times.
These include;

  • The submarines
    did not follow the same route so a few points is unrepresentative.
  • They used
    different measuring equipment; one was a sideways scanning system
    that determined the bottom of the ice from which they estimated
    thickness. The other was a vertical system with a different method
    of estimation.
  • The transits
    were made in different months and Arctic ice changes are naturally
    dramatic from month to month. For example, some 65,000 km of ice
    melts or forms daily.
  • Ice thickness
    is not just due to atmospheric temperatures but determined by
    water temperatures among other factors. One of these is the weight
    of the ice, which varies with snowfall that pushes the ice down
    into the ocean so it melts to limit ice thickness. The only way
    you get substantially thicker ice is when the slabs of ice collide
    and cause massive ridges. Koerner estimated 17% of the total ice
    was ridged or hummocky.
  • Winters
    in 1960 were naturally much colder and snowier than in 1990s.
    The cold period from 1940 to 1980 posed serious problems for the
    warming theorists.

Following the
US transits the British Navy did some measures
in 2004
.

By then the
impact
of ocean currents and transport of warmer water
into and under
the ice was being officially acknowledged.

Figure 1 shows
the pattern of circulation reversals that relates to the differences
referenced in Koerner’s 1973 paper.


Figure 1:
Arctic Ocean circulations with warm and cold phases. Source

Figure 2 shows
the implications of these differences in sub-ice water temperatures.
Heat moves from warm to cold. Seawater is warmer than the ice, which
for most of the year is warmer than the air. As a result heat passes
through the ice to warm the atmosphere. There’s little chance
of measuring the changes because we have virtually no measures of
air temperatures over the ice in the Arctic Basin.


Figure 2:
Generalized energy balance of the arctic. Source: Hidore, O., Climatology
p. 276

None of what’s
going on today is outside long-term variations in ice cover and
thickness. On November 20, 1817 the President of the Royal Society
proposed a letter
to the British 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 inclosed (sic)
the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier
of ice has been during the last two years greatly abated.

Mr. Scoresby,
a very intelligent young man who commands a whaling vessel from
Whitby observed last year that 2000 square leagues of ice with
which the Greenland Seas between the latitudes of 74° and
80°N have been hitherto covered, has in the last two years
entirely disappeared. The change in circulation was triggered
by the eruption of Tambora in 1815.

In the heat
of Cancun Mexico everyone is learning that the fallacies of climate
science and especially attempts to exploit fear and lack of knowledge
or understanding are on very thin ice because they are totally politically
motivated.

December
3, 2010

Dr.
Tim Ball [send him mail]
is a renowned environmental consultant and former climatology professor
at the University of Winnipeg. Dr. Ball employs his extensive background
in climatology and other fields as an advisor to the International
Climate Science Coalition
, Friends
of Science
, and the Frontier
Centre for Public Policy
.

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