Maybe some of you intelligencia can shed some light on this for me… This post is nothing earth-shattering, not data driven, and is not particularly original. But I’ve been musing. And what I’ve been musing is that, whatever your personaly belief is about Anthropogenic Global Warming, Environmentalism, Stewardship of our Planet, or whatever else, there is also the need for honest assessment of the facts. Sometimes these facts are comfortable to our preconceived notions, and sometimes they are not.
Back to my analogy… the concern on my end is continually throwing stupid policy after stupid policy (tax and regulation, banning light bulbs, carbon trading, banning lamb meat from UK restaurants, and so on) to solve a non-existent problem. With each step we take, it centralizes more authority and control into the hands of a few, it creates inefficiency, and reduces freedoms, rights, and choices. Seriously… 20 years ago, did we ever imagine that we’d live in a country where the sale of incandescent light bulbs would be friggin’ illegal?
Suppose I think that a certain stock that has dropped will rebound. There are conflicting reports as to its outlook, but I’ve decided to ignore the negative ones. I invest in it. It drops again. I still believe in it, and despite the poor earnings and financial results, I continue to think it’s a winner, so I pour more money in. It drops some more. Damn it, it will come back. I know it will. So I pour everything I have into it. When the company declares bankruptcy, only then will I realize that believing in something in the face of contrary facts, and acting on that belief can have dire consequences.
So, this could be applied to a number of things in the climate debate. Some things seem less clear than others. For example, we have a 12-year flat trend line in global temperatures, using RSS data, but within that period, the last 10 years is actually upward sloped, as are the longer-term periods. Reasonable people on both sides can offer facts that support their opinions, while the honest person will acknowledge that the final answer is not clear. Is the current period a true flattening? The start of a reversal? Or simply a lull in the path of more warming to come?
But then there’s the Southern Hemisphere Ice. And it’s simply mind-boggling to me that the data is basically ignored. Not only is it ignored, but when one piece of the Antarctic shelf is cleaving or melting, it makes the news. Absent in the report is the overall picture. I won’t go into all that, especially since anything I could do would pale in comparison to the work that Jeff has done at the Air Vent (link to the right). Here’s one such example, but he has a plethora of work that he has done reconstructing and analyzing the reports that supposedly somehow showed Antarctic warming, despite increasing ice and decreasing temperatures over the last 30 years.
There are lies, damn lies, and statistics…
But all one has to do is look at the charts. Click on the chart to get a bigger version. Here they are (all charts come from http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu and are linked on the right of the page):
This chart shows the anomalies. For those of you in Palm Beach, a positive anomaly means more ice than typical (defined as the average from 1979-2000).
I asked my 3rd grader if this chart seems to be going up from left to right or down. He said up. My 3rd grader seems more astute in his observation skills than some scientists who don’t like that answer.
This chart shows the ice area over the last year. Again, there is an anomaly line below. That red part above the flat black line = higher.
I suppose you can quibble about the fact that, at this point this year, the ice level isn’t as high as it was last year.
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