Global Warmists' Sly Polar Disorder

If there’s one thing climate alarmists have become quite good at, it’s retrofitting both their computer models and the climate phenomena those models predict whenever they fail to do so correctly. And whether projecting increases in temperature, sea levels or atmospheric carbon dioxide – that means often.  But some of the most brazen intellectual corruption warmists have committed under fire concerns the sometimes polar opposite trends of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice.

Back in 2005, NASA attempted to excuse the failure of their climate models to predict continued southern ice expansion as an omission of the “snow-to-ice conversion” process in their programming.  Once that algorithm was incorporated, they insisted, their models properly recognized the phenomena as completely consistent with warming predictions, and they offered this assurance:

“A new NASA-funded study finds that predicted increases in precipitation due to warmer air temperatures from greenhouse gas emissions may actually increase sea ice volume in the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean. This adds new evidence of potential asymmetry between the two poles, and may be an indication that climate change processes may have different impact on different areas of the globe.”
Two years later, alarmists everywhere were screaming about what horrors the opening of the Northwest Passage would portend.  It seems the lowest level of Arctic ice since satellite measurements began nearly 30 years ago had actually created the fabled Arctic Ocean shipping lane that had eluded explorers from John Cabot in 1497 to Henry Hudson in 1609 and beyond.  That could only mean one thing --- frightened pundits warned -- global warming of unprecedented magnitude was unquestionably upon us.

But as I pointed out then, while it was true that satellite photos had found an ice-free corridor along Canada, Alaska and Greenland and Northern Hemisphere ice at its lowest level since such images were taken in 1978, it was also true that Antarctic ice levels (Southern Hemisphere) were at record highs for that same period.  And that fact was being completely ignored in the headlines.

Consequently -- all eyes were directed to the catastrophe looming in our northern waters.

Fortunately for realists, since the Northwest Passage hysteria of 2007, Arctic ice has made a rapid comeback, as you can see from this DMI Centre for Ocean and Ice graph, constructed from Ocean and Sea Ice, Satellite Application Facility data. In fact, the 2009 Arctic ice extent appears to be well on track to exceed the previous four years.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent for Past 4 Years

So why do we continue to hear warnings about receding Arctic ice?   How is that possible when the extent is quickly approaching its 1979-2000 mean?   Simple -- the rules have changed again. It’s no longer the area of the ice that counts, but rather the volume. You see, thicker winter ice is better able to survive the summer and in turn help cool the planet while reflecting sunlight back into space.  And, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC),This year, ice older than two years accounted for less than 10% of the ice cover at the end of February.”

So there’s a new metric in town -- The ice that has been forming at a record pace since the 2007 record low simply doesn’t count because it’s not yet as thick and “effective” as older ice. 

And that nonsense somehow gives cover to a mainstream media (MSM) that, despite continually expanding ice, dutifully repeat the retrofitted analysis in headlines the likes of Arctic ice is thinner than ever according to new evidence from explorers and Arctic ice continues to shrink and thin and of course Arctic will be ice-free within a decade.

Pretty slick, huh?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, ice area is nearly 30% above normal and last year managed to set another record maximum.  Sounds like great news.  But for some strange reason, the MSM have again all but ignored all that southern in favor of the northern ice. 

Perhaps that’s about to change.  You see, just as in 2005, the greenhouse gas crowd have come up with an explanation for global warming’s polar opposition.  But this time, they’re not compelled to blame “snow-to-ice conversion” or any similar modeling oversight.  And no perilous expeditions await intrepid green explorers in order to challenge the quality of the growing ice.  No, this time warmists can blame the disparity entirely on their favorite villain -- mankind.

Now, you’re probably wondering just how even alarmist logic might reconcile mankind’s accountability for shrinking (even though it isn’t) ice in the North and simultaneous expanding ice in the South.  Here’s how:

A study published Wednesday by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) confirms that Antarctic ice is indeed continuing to expand.  But does that suggest there’s no global warming taking place?  Quite the contrary, insists lead author John Turner.  Actually, there’s another phenomenon that’s temporarily canceling out warming’s effects -- the hole in the ozone layer.  That’s right, the “depletion of the protective ozone layer has altered wind patterns and caused temperatures in most of the southern continent to fall so that more cold air flows over the Southern Ocean, freezing the water.”

And according to the report, that accounts for every bit of southern hemisphere ocean ice cover increase over the past 30 years.  Strangely, the report puts that growth at about 1% per decade, while the NSIDC calculates that rate at nearly 5%.  But why quibble?  I’m sure it must have been an honest mistake.

Anyway, here’s the real beauty of this new study.

As Dr. Turner explains:
"While there is increasing evidence that the loss of sea ice in the Arctic has occurred due to human activity, in the Antarctic, human influence through the ozone hole has had the reverse effect and resulted in more ice.”

Outstanding play, that.

Point One -- Our gas-guzzling SUVs and coal-fired power stations release CO2 into the atmosphere.  Point Two -- According to more than a few scientists those additional molecules are wholly or partially to blame for the late 20th century warming period.  Point Three -- Our air-conditioners, hairsprays and deodorants once released chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere.  Point Four -- Most scientists blame their stratospheric decomposition for depletion of the planet’s vital Ozone Layer and the Ozone hole in the polar vortex over Antarctica. 

Conclusion -- The selfish actions that melt northern sea ice would do the same to southern sea ice were it not for yet another group of our selfish actions.  What exquisite eco-perfection.

Mind you, BAS’s is not an entirely new theory.  In April of last year, a joint study by the University of Colorado at Boulder, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA also predicted that “Ozone Hole recovery may reshape Southern Hemisphere Climate Change and amplify Antarctic warming.”  But it would appear that somehow, the political potential of the ice extent correlation took a while to sink in.

Of course, as with all things which dare stall the symptoms of the impending global warming doom predicted by their infallible climate models, this one too will be conveniently short-lived and therefore depicted to in no way preclude immediate and extreme action.  In 1987, CFCs were banned under an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol.  As CFCs have rather long atmospheric lifetimes, scientists predict another 50 years before all those previously released fully dissipate from the stratosphere, allowing ozone concentrations, and the Ozone layer, to stabilize.

Says Turner:  "We expect ozone levels to recover by the end of the century, and by then there is likely to be around one-third less Antarctic sea ice." 

Of course there is, Doc.

And as soon as the already 9-year-old Modern Solar Minimum we’re evidently experiencing ends, normal sunspot activity will resume.  And when the current 20-30 year cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation ends, Pacific Ocean surface temperature reduction will end with it.

And all that natural cooling will leave more substance frozen at both poles, and significantly less substance to the already gossamer anthropogenic global warming theory.

But in the meantime, I doubt we'll wait much longer for the MSM to suddenly discover Antarctica.  

Marc Sheppard is the editor of AT’s forthcoming Environment Thinker.

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