ENVIRONMENT: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
Arctic melting: don't spoil a good story with the facts
, November 22, 2008
Satellite images showing that the Arctic ice-caps are expanding have made no impact on devotees of global warming, writes Peter Westmore.
Every day, the media publish new reports of alarming warming of the polar ice-caps, the latest being that the lemmings are jumping off cliffs in Norway to escape the heat. Meanwhile, environmentalists have had polar bears declared an endangered species.
|Comparison of Arctic ice caps|
November 2007 and November 2008.
(Satellite images from University
of Illinois web site).
However captivating such stories are, the latest scientific evidence indicates that the Arctic ice-cap today is significantly larger than it was on exactly the same day in 2007, as shown by the accompanying satellite images downloaded from the University of Illinois web site (pictured right).
Apart from the sea-ice, snow and ice on the land also cover a significantly larger area in 2008 than in 2007. The most striking element of the images is the relatively small amount of the Arctic Sea, lying between the North American and Eurasian continents, which is not icebound.
The actual amount of ice on the seas is slightly larger than shown on the images, because sea-ice covering less than 30 per cent of the ocean surface is not displayed on the images.
The only part of the Arctic Sea not covered with ice is a small tongue of water near the Bering Strait, which lies between Alaska and Russia.Devotees of global warming
None of this has made any impact of the devotees of global warming. On the day after these images were posted, a headline in the American Science Daily
screamed, "Conclusive proof that polar warming is being caused by humans".
After referring to the findings of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Science Daily
declared, "A newly updated data-set of land surface temperatures and simulations from four new climate models show that temperature rises in both polar regions are not consistent with natural climate variability alone and are directly attributable to human influence.
"The results demonstrate that human activity has already caused significant warming, with impacts on polar biology, indigenous communities, ice-sheet mass balance and global sea level."
Whatever might be predicted by computer models, there has been no significant warming, no adverse impact on polar flora and animals, and no significant change either to polar ice or to global sea levels.
In America, the National Wildlife Federation has called for polar bears to be declared an endangered species, to protect them from the impact of climate change.
But as American commentator Humberto Fontova has pointed out, "There are roughly twice as many polar bears in the world today as thirty years ago."
The politically correct, but factually wrong, line that polar bears are threatened by climate change has won some surprising adherents.
Under the Bush Administration, the US Geological Survey predicted that two-thirds of the world's polar bears would disappear by 2050, based on projections for the shrinking of summer sea-ice caused by global warming, and last May the Interior Secretary in the Bush Administration, Dirk Kempthorne, invoked the US Endangered Species Act to proclaim polar bears a "threatened species".
On the same day that the University of Illinois reported rising ice-fields in the Arctic, Nature
magazine carried an article from Norwegian and French researchers which declared that lemming numbers were declining because of global warming.
However, the small print in the article made clear that the number of the wild animals depended on a number of factors, including the presence of predators such as arctic foxes and owls which depend on a variety of sources of food. In any case, the number of lemmings is still high, and lemming populations are subject to periodic rapid change.Cooling of the earth
Professor Don Easterbrook from the Department of Geology, Western Washington University, recently published an article which documented the current cooling of the earth. He wrote: "IPCC computer models have predicted global warming of 1° F per decade and 5-6° C (10-11° F) by 2100, which would cause global catastrophe with ramifications for human life, natural habitat, energy and water resources, and food production. All of this is predicated on the assumption that global warming is caused by increasing atmospheric CO2, and that CO2 will continue to rise rapidly."
Professor Easterbrook said that over the past decade, since 1998, temperatures had not increased by 1°F, as predicted by the IPCC. Rather, they had remained roughly stationary until 2007, "when global temperatures turned sharply downward".
Professor Easterbrook concluded, "In 2008, NASA satellite imagery confirmed that the Pacific Ocean had switched from the warm mode it had been in since 1977 to its cool mode, similar to that of the 1945-1977 global cooling period. The shift strongly suggests that the next several decades will be cooler, not warmer as predicted by the IPCC." (Global Research
, November 2, 2008).- Peter Westmore