An airplane wing trying to avoid ice flying off the shelf
Scanning the major news sources today provided a glimpse into the inane fascination with ice. Once again, we receive the report of an ice sheet that has dislodged itself from the mother ice shelf.
This time it is not in the Antarctic, where we risk the plight of Penguins, but instead it is in the Arctic – Northern Canada to be exact.
The press wire is from Edmonton, Alberta Canada. It reads as follows:
A chunk of ice spreading across 18 square kilometers (seven square miles) has broken off a Canadian ice shelf in the Arctic, scientists said Tuesday. Derek Mueller, a researcher at Trent University, was careful not to blame global warming, but said the event was consistent with the theory that the current Arctic climate isn’t rebuilding ice sheets.
“We’re in a different climate now,” he said. “It’s not conducive to regrowing them. It’s a one-way process.”
He said a crack in the shelf was first spotted in 2002 and a survey this spring found a network of fissures.
The sheet is the biggest piece shed by one of Canada’s six ice shelves since the Ayles shelf broke loose in 2005 from the coast of Ellesmere, about 500 miles from the North Pole.
Well, I’ll give the good man credit – he was careful not to blame global warming. The problem is that the very fact that this is even news is meant to imply that it’s because of global warming. And worse, it is meant to imply that global warming is anthropogenic. The finer points of the argument have long ago been lost, but I refuse to miss a chance to beat that drum. In the big scheme of things, this story is a non-story.
Let me provide a little picture that shows the reader what is not reported alongside this story about huge ice chunks floating away that will kill us all. It’s a little something called sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean. You will see the cyclical nature of ice melting and freezing, with data going back to June 2002. The intent here is not to argue that current values are comparable to values decades ago, but just to give an indication regarding recent trends in the ice extent.
An inconvenient ice measure
This updates daily, but the value of sea ice coverage, as of July 29, 2008 was 7,324,219 square kilometers.
Now, go back and read the story above. We are being told about 18 square kilometers. For those of you who are not mathematically inclined, that means that what has just been splashed as a headline on the major news outlets represents 0.00025% of the Arctic sea ice.
Also note where we are this year in total Arctic sea ice compared to the last three years… It’s larger. Yes, it is lower than the three years preceding that, but it certainly looks like there is a rebound from last year’s low point that seems to be missed in the reporting.
It makes my head hurt. Read the rest of this entry »