More global warming hype

Christopher Alleva
Popular Science published a special issue in August. The lead article is a puff piece on climatologists Konrad Steffen who made a career on the ice pack of Greenland. "Koni", as he is known to climate colleagues and friends has spent 32 years in the high Arctic, the last 15 on Greenland. 

Using dramatic pictures like the portrait of Steffen, beard and mustache encrusted with ice, face framed by a heavy fur cap,  peering out sunglasses that reflect the weather station on the ice pack you don't have to be the Amazing Kreskin to figure out where they're going with this one.
"...Steffen personally customized and deployed much of the instrumentation that tells the scientific world, hour by hour and year by year, the conditions on the Greenland ice sheet and how they're changing. We call this phenomenon 'dynamic response,' " Steffen says. "What happens is that the melting accelerates as meltwater funnels down to the bedrock. At the bottom, the water acts as a lubricant, flowing under the outlet glaciers and allowing the ice to slip into the sea more quickly. We hadn't expected that ice sheets could react to warming so quickly." 

"...In fact, new data that Steffen and his colleagues are just beginning to truly understand suggest that the seemingly dire warnings in the recent reports from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may turn out to be profoundly understated.The current acceleration could be a short-term adjustment to the warmer temperatures, Steffen says, or it might last much longer."
In other words, their 15 years of data may be a meaningful or it may not be. Well at least Koni looks good for the picture. Never fear, the author of the piece is ready to counter this honest but uncertain assessment. What source does he turn to salvage the whole exercise? Who else but NASA's infamous Dr. James "Whopper" Hansen.

Steffen isn't willing to make sensational unsubstantiated claims but scientists like lead NASA climatologist James Hansen is more than ready and willing. He says he believes
"Zwally and Steffen's observations, coupled with new data from Antarctica, suggest that a major polar melt may be commencing. They point to a phenomenon called the albedo effect, in which melting ice exposes more land and water, causing the earth's surface to become less reflective, and to absorb more of the sun's energy"
After all the hype and spin the author concedes that the Greenland ice changes are poorly understood. The lead investigator is unwilling sweeping conclusions so they trot out James Hansen to sound the alarm. This is becoming a recurring pattern.
Popular Science published a special issue in August. The lead article is a puff piece on climatologists Konrad Steffen who made a career on the ice pack of Greenland. "Koni", as he is known to climate colleagues and friends has spent 32 years in the high Arctic, the last 15 on Greenland. 

Using dramatic pictures like the portrait of Steffen, beard and mustache encrusted with ice, face framed by a heavy fur cap,  peering out sunglasses that reflect the weather station on the ice pack you don't have to be the Amazing Kreskin to figure out where they're going with this one.
"...Steffen personally customized and deployed much of the instrumentation that tells the scientific world, hour by hour and year by year, the conditions on the Greenland ice sheet and how they're changing. We call this phenomenon 'dynamic response,' " Steffen says. "What happens is that the melting accelerates as meltwater funnels down to the bedrock. At the bottom, the water acts as a lubricant, flowing under the outlet glaciers and allowing the ice to slip into the sea more quickly. We hadn't expected that ice sheets could react to warming so quickly." 

"...In fact, new data that Steffen and his colleagues are just beginning to truly understand suggest that the seemingly dire warnings in the recent reports from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may turn out to be profoundly understated.The current acceleration could be a short-term adjustment to the warmer temperatures, Steffen says, or it might last much longer."
In other words, their 15 years of data may be a meaningful or it may not be. Well at least Koni looks good for the picture. Never fear, the author of the piece is ready to counter this honest but uncertain assessment. What source does he turn to salvage the whole exercise? Who else but NASA's infamous Dr. James "Whopper" Hansen.

Steffen isn't willing to make sensational unsubstantiated claims but scientists like lead NASA climatologist James Hansen is more than ready and willing. He says he believes
"Zwally and Steffen's observations, coupled with new data from Antarctica, suggest that a major polar melt may be commencing. They point to a phenomenon called the albedo effect, in which melting ice exposes more land and water, causing the earth's surface to become less reflective, and to absorb more of the sun's energy"
After all the hype and spin the author concedes that the Greenland ice changes are poorly understood. The lead investigator is unwilling sweeping conclusions so they trot out James Hansen to sound the alarm. This is becoming a recurring pattern.