Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Polar Icecaps - Part 3

So what was happening in 2007 in the Antarctic at the same time as the large melt was happening in the Arctic?

The Southern Hemisphere sea ice area has broken the previous maximum of 16.03 million sq. km and is currently at 16.26 million sq. km. This represents an increase of about 1.4% above the previous Southern Hemisphere ice area record high.

This record level of ice in the Antarctic doesn’t stop the alarmists like British scientist Dr. David Vaughan from continually focusing on the Antarctic Peninsular and Larsen Ice shelves to prove that ‘global warming’ is real.

But a new study in 2008 found active volcano’s under the ice on the peninsular. (see top figure above (red dots are volcano’s) and bottom figure above) which concentrate their heat effects right in the areas where these scientists claim to see evidence of ‘Climate Change’. (seen below)

The first evidence of a volcanic eruption from beneath Antarctica’s ice sheet has been discovered by members of Vaughan's own British Antarctic Survey. The volcano on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet began erupting some 2,000 years ago and remains active to this day. Using airborne ice-sounding radar, scientists discovered a layer of ash produced by a ’subglacial’ volcano. It extends across an area larger than Wales.The volcano is located beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet in the Hudson Mountains at latitude 74.6°South, longitude 97°West.

In January of 2009 the figure above was released on the cover of “Nature” journal, it accompanied an article by Professor Eric Steig and his team claiming that Antarctica was in fact warming and not cooling contradicting all previous evidence. It was a claim that grabbed enormous media attention running as a major news story on print and electronic media. But again all is not as it would first seem. In an article called: Despite the hot air, the Antarctic is not warming up environmental journalist Chris Booker discovered:

But then a good many experts began to examine just what new evidence had been used to justify this dramatic finding. It turned out that it was produced by a computer model based on combining the satellite evidence since 1979 with temperature readings from surface weather stations.

The problem with Antarctica, though, is that has so few weather stations. So what the computer had been programmed to do, by a formula not yet revealed, was to estimate the data those missing weather stations would have come up with if they had existed.

In other words, while confirming that the satellite data have indeed shown the Antarctic as cooling since 1979, the study relied ultimately on pure guesswork, to show that in the past 50 years the continent has warmed – by just one degree Fahrenheit.

A disbelieving Ross Hayes, an atmospheric scientist who has often visited the Antarctic for NASA, sent Professor Steig a caustic email ending: "with statistics you can make numbers go to any conclusion you want. It saddens me to see members of the scientific community do this for media coverage."

But it was also noticed that among the members of Steig's team was Michael Mann, author of the "hockey stick", the most celebrated of all attempts by the warmists to rewrite the scientific evidence to promote their cause. The greatest of all embarrassments for the believers in man-made global warming was the well-established fact that the world was significantly warmer in the Middle Ages than it is now. "We must get rid of the Mediaeval Warm Period," as one contributor to the IPCC famously said in an unguarded moment.
It was Dr Mann who duly obliged by getting his computer-model to produce a graph shaped like hockey stick, eliminating the mediaeval warming and showing recent temperatures curving up to an unprecedented high.

A view point supported by Professor Fred Singer (PhD, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University ofVirginia) :

The recent report in the journal Nature of an unexpected Antarctic warming trend has created a certain amount of scepticism – even among supporters of AGW.

But in an AP news story, two of its authors (one is ‘hockey stick’ inventor Michael Mann from the Real Climate blog) argue that this refutes the sceptics and is “consistent with” greenhouse warming. Of course, as Roger Pielke, Jr, points out, not long ago we learned from Real Climate that a cooling Antarctica was ‘consistent with’ greenhouse warming and thus the sceptics were wrong: “So a warming Antarctica and a cooling Antarctica are both ‘consistent with’ model projections of global warming. Our foray into the tortured logic of ‘consistent with’ in climate science raises the perennial question, what observations of the climate system would be inconsistent with the model predictions?”

The results are based on very few isolated data from weather stations, plus data from research satellites. And here is the rub: these are not data from microwave sounding units (MSU), such as are regularly published by Christy and Spencer, but data from infrared sensors that are supposed to measure the temperature of the surface (rather than of the overlaying atmosphere, as weather stations do).

But the IR emission depends not only on temperature of the surface, but also on surface emissivity — and is further modified by absorption of clouds and haze.

These are all difficult points. Emissivity of snow depends on its porosity and size of snow crystals. Blowing snow likely has a different emissivity than snow that has been tamped down; so surface winds could have a strong influence. The emissivity of ice is again different and will depend on whether there is a thin melt layer of water on top of the ice, temporarily produced by solar radiation. Finally, we have temperature inversions that can trap haze which is essentially undetectable by optical methods from satellites.

The proof of the pudding, of course, is the MSU data, which show a continuous cooling trend, are little affected by surface conditions and are unaffected by haze and clouds. They are therefore more reliable.

Bottom line: As it looks to me right now, the Antarctic Continent is cooling not warming.

So bottom line seems to be we have another report based on another computer model designed by a person that brought us the hockey stick graph. A model, based on incomplete and information of perhaps dubious quality due to natural factors that are all but impossible to predict and replicate, all predicting something that is not being measured by a more accurate system, who’s information is ignored or rejected.

Needless to say the original report from Nature was supported and hyped locally by Professor Barry Brook, in the print media and the ABC.

The ABC even went so far as to expunge from both their podcast and transcript of interview the entire conversation that William Kininmonth had with the ABC reporter Nick Lucchinelli as part of a trio (that include Professor Barry Brook and Professor Eric Steig) that were interviewed simultaneously on the article from Nature journal.

Antarctic Cooling Theory Challenged, January 22, 2009, ABC Radio National:



When challenged on why only the comments from William Kininmonth (a sceptic) were removed,
the excuse given was “time constraint” as can be seen in this link:

The possible reason proposed, of time constraint, is implausible given that the earlier Radio National, starting 10 minutes after the hour at 7:10am, was shorter than the later Local Radio edition starting at 8:00am but the earlier edition was able to include my comments!

The saga does, however, expose weaknesses in ABC policy/management. If there are regularly differences between the versions of AM broadcast on Radio National and on Local Radio then there clearly is no authentic record of what is actually broadcast on Radio National, which is a serious shortcoming. On the other hand, if changes are rare, then an explanation of the reasons for deletion of my comments on this occasion are called for.

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