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Man & Nature
Study Throws Wrench in “Settled” Climate Science

Melting Arctic ice has long been an important symbol for climate change activists panicking about the imminent demise of the planet. A new study published this week, however, suggests that humans aren’t the only cause of this dramatic shift; arctic melt is also the result of natural processes. Reuters reports:

Natural variations in the Arctic climate “may be responsible for about 30–50 percent of the overall decline in September sea ice since 1979,” the U.S.-based team of scientists wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change…The study, separating man-made from natural influences in the Arctic atmospheric circulation, said that a decades-long natural warming of the Arctic climate might be tied to shifts as far away as the tropical Pacific Ocean. […]

The study indicates that an ice-free Arctic Ocean, often feared to be just years away, in one of the starkest signs of man-made global warming, could be delayed if nature swings back to a cooler mode.

A study like this doesn’t let us off the hook. Humanity is emitting greenhouse gases at a breakneck pace, and these GHGs are increasing surface temperatures. That’s a serious problem that demands our attention. But that said, studies like this one vividly illustrate our very limited understanding of how the climate actually works. Environmentalists have for years been exaggerating our confidence in our own climate models.

The takeaway from this new study shouldn’t be that we don’t have anything to worry about regarding climate change, but rather that we need to approach this field of science like we would any other: with a healthy respect for the scientific process, and an acknowledgement that there’s a lot more we don’t know than what we do.

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  • Andrew Allison

    This is a recording: there has been NO statistically significant increase in global temperature since 1998.

  • Gary Hemminger

    The global warming junket just keeps going. the weather will alternate between cooling and warming phases, as it always has…and those on the global warming gravy train will just keep scooping up the gravy. At some point this baseless claim that humans are changing the climate in some major way that will overpower all natural forces is going to go the way of the dodo bird…but the people scooping up the gravy are not going to let it go. When Gov. Brown says that global warming is going to cause it to snow less and we will be in permanent drought, does anyone actually say that this year it snowed huge, rained huge, so his theory is all washed up? Nope, didn’t hear anyone except the “climate skeptics” actually hold his feet to the fire, except Joel Kotkin. The only reasonable voice of the left. No actual media reports that Brown’s claim was total hogwash.

  • Angel Martin

    If a novelist were to construct a bogus “science”, it would feature every technique used by the climate change wallahs to push their crap.

    With global warming “science” based on secret datasets, manipulated temperature records, and unjustified instrumental variable substitution (modern tree ring) as well as intimidation / silencing of academic dissent, we can expect many more instances of revisions to the “settled science”.

    • ddh

      Michael Crichton wrote “State of Fear” in 2004.

  • Suzy Dixon

    I’ve had too many “environmentalists” tell me that the Arctic ice melting will raise sea levels, or that an ice shelf, like the Ross ice shelf, in Antarctica I will raise sea levels. Can’t take them seriously after that kind of gaff. They are so ignorant that they don’t even know floating ice caps and ice shelves are giant ice cubes.
    I don’t know what planet these people are from, but on earth ice cubes melting in your glass does not raise the amount of water in it.

    • KremlinKryptonite

      Yes, that is absolutely correct. Huge icebergs and ice shelves are essentially ice cubes, and they do not add water to the ocean because they are already floating in it. if someone mistakes an ice shelf for a glacier then you can ignore them on climate issues at that point.
      Now, glaciers, which by their nature are sitting on land, can add water if they melt, like the Beardmore glacier. But when (if) it will totally melt, why, and to what effect exactly nobody knows.

    • Andrew Allison

      Suzy, as I’m sure you know, I’m an AGW skeptic. However the planet is warmer than in the recent past, and when above sea level ice melts it turns into water, which must necessarily increase sea level (by less than the volume of ice melted, because it’s less dense than water, but some). The question is, how much: the AGW freaks (it just occurred to me that the acronym stands for Al Gore Warming) are probably looking at the total volume of ice rather than the above sea level amount. However, even if the rise in temperature has stopped, ice is going to melt, and sea levels rise. A rational response would be to start taking measures to deal with it rather than engaging in a futile effort to stop it.
      Edit: upon reflection, it seems to me that the volume displaced by melted ice is the same as that displaced by the frozen underwater part thereof, but it’s been a very long time since I studied physics. This would mean that the only contribution to sea level increase comes from ice which moves from land to sea, i.e., sea ice is irrelevant..

      • KremlinKryptonite

        Ice is less dense than water, but barely. 0.9 g/cm^3 vs 1.0 g/cm^3, and as you intimated about 90% of the iceberg is beneath the water. But the watermelons don’t care about that. They are green on the outside only to hide they’re red on the inside.
        It’s a whole lot of nonsense used to manipulate gullible people who think de-industrialization and giving the government more and more power is a good idea.
        I wonder how the starving Soviets or the Chinese felt about such a scheme when they were fighting with the mice for the last few pieces of grain?

        • Andrew Allison

          If the environuts have their way it will be us fighting for the scraps (we have a lot more to lose than the Russians and Chinese). I’m beginning to think that we can safely divide the anticipated sea level rise by 10. Which doesn’t alter the fact that we need to prepare to deal with it rather than wasting our time and money on attempting to change the climate.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “That’s a serious problem that demands our attention.”

    No, it isn’t.

    The Earth has been warmer than today, many times in the past, and we are still here. During the medieval warm period Greenland was colonized and they were growing grapes and making wine in Moscow. For the last 1.5 million years the Earth has been going through ice ages every 100,000 years. Interrupted by warm periods which last from 11,000 to 14,000 years. Our present warm period is 14,000 years old and growing long in the tooth. When the Glaciers return (2 miles thick over New York City), much of the northern hemisphere will become uninhabitable. If increases in Carbon Dioxide (aka, Plant Food) will slow or prevent this disaster, then I want more “Plant Food”.

    Experiments have proven that the increase in Carbon Dioxide from 285 ppm to today’s 400 ppm, has increased plant growth by 15%. And since Plants are the bottom of the food chain, that means 15% more LIFE.

    This begs the Question: Why do all these “Global Warming” jerks HATE MORE LIFE?

    Mother Nature sees Mankind and the tens of thousands of species in the Humanocentric ecology as her proudest achievement.

    • Fat_Man

      A warmer world is a happier and healthier world.

    • Esther

      Maybe Russia is hacking the planet? It looks like they would benefit from global warming.

      • Fat_Man

        The Russians are also oil producers, so they benefit when western governments kneecap their domestic producers. That is why they are major funders of “environmental” groups

  • marcossantiago

    “…………and these GHGs are increasing surface temperatures. That’s a serious problem that demands our attention. ”

    Who is writing this drivel?

    In the spectrum of problems requiring our attention, and money to address, this one is somewhere near the bottom quarter.

  • Mike

    So, human activity is responsible for at least 50% of the sea ice decline. It is far more than I thought.

    But who cares about ice? It’s about oil – the main source of Russia’s wealth. Oil and propaganda. Boosting environmental concerns about the fracking industry and feeding the turmoil in the Middle East suppresses the supply. On the other hand, discrediting the climate science will keep the demand rising.

    • ARMSTROB

      From what I see besides yourself millions of people care about ice and that is why so many people talk about it. The best part about this article is that it discredits neither side of the argument. Instead it strengthens the need for open-mindedness. Until renewable resources can fill the void left without oil and coal as energy sources what other choice is there? Just saying make it happen as Obama tried with his terrible subsidies of wind and solar is not a viable solution. We need the technologies in many areas and right now they just are not there.

      • Mike

        New technologies? Right now we can confidently say that federal funding for research will be cut across the board. This includes NIH, NOAA, and, closer to the topic, the Office of Basic Energy Science at DOE. The latter is the main source of funding for all Physics and Material Science-related basic research in the US. Trump’s requested 20% budget cut means no new grants or renewals of funding for the ongoing projects. It is a declaration of war on science, war of attrition.

        I am done with trying to be open-minded, it just cannot wait for another two or three years. Trump already managed to do more than enough damage, it is time to show him and his cronies the way out of town.

  • ljgude

    David Horowitz – a red diaper baby who turned against Communism when he saw its murderous side – said his card carrying parents were actually relieved by Khrushchev’s outing of Stalin in 1956 because they no longer had to defend him and could start afresh to build the Communist future. He argues that they are like a millennial cult that every time doomsday fails to arrive on the appointed date, simply sets a new one. I think that millennialism is key to recognizing what we are dealing with. Notice that when the Soviet Union collapsed that the left ended up rejecting the ‘middle way’ advocates Bill Clinton and Tony Blair and doubled down on fundamentalist socialism with Sanders in the US and Corbyn in the UK. But it is the Greens – as KremlinKryptonite point out – who are the great inheritors of the millennial nature of Marxism. The literary form of the apocalypse has been around since before Christ and appeals not to just our minds but our deepest religious instincts and therefore empowers deep conviction and activism. I believe it is millennialism that makes both Red and Green tick. The best book I’ve read on millennialism particularly as it applies to Communism is Richard Landes’ Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience although he doesn’t extend the argument to Greenism. That is understandable in an academic employed in a Massachusetts Uni. 😉 Pollution is real, dangerous and usually man made. Global Warming and Climate Change are grand narratives. Consult any Post Modern college professor on the problematic nature of grand narratives without mentioning those two particular ones and see what you get.

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