ENVIRONMENT: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
Arctic sea ice recovery contradicts "global warming"
, October 27, 2012
A little over a month ago, when the Arctic sea ice-sheet shrank to an unusually small area, the media was filled with claims that the earth was reaching a climate “tipping point” which could see the end of the Arctic sea ice, and have devastating effects on life on earth.
Among those who propagated this claim was the Australian government’s leading climate change adviser, Tim Flannery, and the chief adviser to the Australian Climate Commission, Professor Will Steffen.
Under a heading, “Sea ice reduction at tipping point”, the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Professor Steffen as saying, “I’m pretty certain that we have now passed the tipping point for Arctic sea ice” (September 23, 2012).
Separately, Tim Flannery said the decline in Arctic sea ice was “a significant wake-up call”.
He added, “We might think that what happens in the Arctic region has little impact on the rest of the world; but in reality what happens in the polar regions affects the whole world, including Australia.”
He was reported in the Melbourne Herald Sun saying, “Melting sea ice contributes to rapid temperature rises in the Arctic, which in turn causes an ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet and global sea level rises” (September 20, 2012).
The claims by Flannery, Steffen and others were always suspect, if only because early in 2012 the extent of Arctic sea ice was around 14 million square km, almost the largest extent for the past 10 years.
Just over a month after these comments were made, the latest surveys of Arctic sea ice show that with the cooling of the northern hemisphere as winter approaches, the extent of Arctic sea ice is back to about what it was in 2007, at this time of year.
Further, the area of Antarctic sea ice (which surrounds the continent of Antarctica) is actually growing, to the extent that there has been little overall loss of sea ice across the world over the past 30 years.
Not surprisingly, there have been no corrections by the climate alarmists, whose statements in September are still being quoted in the media.
At the same time, the UK Meteorological Office (the Met) has released data showing that global temperatures have not risen in the period from 1997 to 2012.
The UK Daily Mail released the information, which was extracted from the latest update of temperatures produced by the Met and East Anglia University’s Climatic Research Unit.
The Daily Mail reported, “The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week.
“The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.” (Daily Mail, October 13, 2012).
In response, the Met issued a statement which suggested that using a 16-year period for temperature data was insufficiently reliable to determine long-term trends.
Yet the Met’s own website is replete with claims that climate change can be deduced from short-term trends.
Its “State of the climate” report, last issued in November 2011, stated: “The period 2000-2009 was warmer than the 1990s that, in turn, were warmer than 1980s. In fact, the average temperature over the first decade of the 21st century was significantly warmer than any preceding decade in the instrumental record, stretching back 160 years.”
A further indication of the natural variability of the world’s climate is seen in the recent figures which show that in continental United States, there were 137 high temperature type records versus 857 low temperature type records in the first week of October, a six-to-one difference. There were 1,154 low temperature type records putting the two-week total for October at 2,011. There were also 24 new snowfall records set in the upper plains area of the US, stretching up to Canada.
This shows us that reliance on one set of figures is dangerous, particularly in the complicated field of climate science, where short-term temperature variations almost always obscure long-term trends.
The preoccupation with climate change is part of an ideological agenda, promoted by the extreme environmental lobby and its allies on the left, and based on a profound hostility to concepts such as low-cost energy, economic growth and profits.
Radical leftists ignore the fact that the West has successfully spread the benefits of economic development from a small wealthy elite to the middle class and raised most of those on low incomes out of poverty.
The measures employed to combat alleged man-made climate change, in Australia, Western Europe and the UN, are inordinately costly. They have diverted billions of dollars which could have been used to address some of the acute problems which many people living in Third World countries are forced to endure — problems such as poverty, environmental pollution (including unclean water and dirty air) and lack of infrastructure.
“Climate change” ideology needs to be challenged and defeated if there is to be a constructive public exchange on the competing priorities needed for economic development and environmental protection.