Why Science Should Never Be Considered “Settled”

Yesterday Giz Magazine posted an article about Greenland‘s ice sheet. In recent years, conventional wisdom has been that Greenland’s ice sheet is getting darker due to soot from fossil fuel and/or forest first, possibly resulting in accelerated melting of the ice. Recently, Dartmouth College has come up with a new theory.

The article reports:

Now, however, researchers from Dartmouth College believe that the ice may still still be relatively clean, and that its darkness in the photos could just be due to faulty sensors on the satellites.

Ordinarily, untainted ice sheets reflect much of the sunlight that hits them back up into the sky, limiting how much solar heat is absorbed by the ice. With the Greenland ice sheet, the concern has been that dark carbon particles in the ice are allowing it to absorb more heat, speeding up the process at which the ice will ultimately melt away for good.

Led by Prof. Chris Polashenski, Dartmouth scientists analyzed dozens of snow samples taken from the ice sheet between 2012 and 2014, and compared them to samples taken over the prior 60 years. They reportedly found no significant difference in the amount of black carbon particles or mineral dust in the samples. Additionally, they ruled out algae as the culprit.

The researches have suggested that the degradation of sensors in NASA’s MODIS(Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) satellites could be making the ice look darker in the photos.

The bottom line here is very simple–we don’t control the climate. I believe that as the inhabitants of planet earth we have a responsibility to keep the planet as clean as possible. I also believe that we need to do that in a way that does not hamper our economic growth. Statistically, the countries doing the least polluting are the countries with free market economies and relatively free societies. No company operating in a free market environment wants to kill off its customers. We don’t need to give a world government control of the world’s economy in the name of controlling global warming–individual free countries are quite capable of managing both pollution and their economies.


When The Numbers Just Don’t Add Up–Fudge Them Or Ignore Them

This article is based on two stories–one posted by the Daily Caller today, and one posted at wattsupwiththat.com yesterday.

The article at the Daily Caller deals with the increase of ice and the lack of melting ice in Greenland.

The article reports:

But alarmists have been neglecting an inconvenient fact about the polar region: Greenland is seeing healthy levels of ice and record cold temperatures over parts of the polar island.

Northeast Greenland saw its coldest May on record since measurements started back in 1949, and the island as a whole is colder than normal. Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, has also seen its coldest year on record, according to science blogger Steven Goddard.

Greenland is also seeing much less ice melt than normal, according to the Danish Meteorological Institute. Basically, Greenland’s ice sheet has accumulated a lot of ice, but seen little melting this year.

The article at wattsupwiththat is very scientific and illustrates how some global warming supporters (I really can’t call them scientists) have adjusted (redone) the climate data in recent years so that the fact that there has been no global warming in recent years is hidden in the new numbers.

The article concludes:

Comments from Georgia Tech Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry:

The greatest changes in the new NOAA surface temperature analysis is to the ocean temperatures since 1998.  This seems rather ironic, since this is the period where there is the greatest coverage of data with the highest quality of measurements – ARGO buoys and satellites don’t show a warming trend.  Nevertheless, the NOAA team finds a substantial increase in the ocean surface temperature anomaly trend since 1998.

In my opinion, the gold standard dataset for global ocean surface temperatures is the UK dataset, HadSST3.  A review of the uncertainties is given in this paper by John Kennedy http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadsst3/uncertainty.html.  Note, the UK group has dealt with the same issues raised by the NOAA team.  I personally see no reason to the use the NOAA ERSST dataset, I do not see any evidence that the NOAA group has done anywhere near as careful a job as the UK group in processing the ocean temperatures.

The real bottom line here is that we really don’t know as much as we like to think we do. The impact of man on global climate is unknown, but as much as I hate to admit it, in the grand scheme of things, man really is a very small part.

Another Global Warming Ooops

A helicopter is taking off Greenland Ice Sheet

Image via Wikipedia

On September 17, WattsUpWithThat posted a story about the growing number of complaints about the new Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World. The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) disputes the information about Greenland given in the Atlas.

The article at WattsUpWithThat reports:

“There is no scientific evidence that the area of the Greenland ice sheet since 1999 has shrunk by 15% as the latest edition of the ‘Times Atlas shows,” says climate researcher Ruth Mottram, DMI.

The article further reports:

The error may have occurred if katograferne from the ‘Times Atlas have used satellite images of Greenland to assess ice spatial distribution.

“When I look at satellite images of Greenland, it looks real enough dark along the coast, but that does not mean that the ice has disappeared” says climate researcher and continues: “The dark color is caused by dirt, dust and volcanic ash that makes the ice dark especially in Southeast Greenland. “

I am not by any means a scientific type, but I can understand the mistake. It’s always easier to draw the conclusions that back-up your pet theory. However, when your pet theory has the potential to ruin the global economy, maybe it’s time to reconsider.

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