What does the increase in Arctic Sea Ice tell us?

The amount of ocean covered by Arctic Sea Ice has continued to increase, despite us having reached the time of the year when melting should have started.  The Daily Mail reports today that this increase has ‘astonished climate scientists’.

Scientists from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado say that last month’s rise was part of yearly variations in ice cover and could not be taken as a sign that global warming is coming to an end.  But that is one hell of a variation and it is in keeping with the recent trend of Arctic Sea Ice recovery over the last few years.

The question is, what does this increase in Arctic Sea Ice tell us?  Anthony Watts of the excellent Watts Up With That? blog gave a very good explanation yesterday when he wrote:

It may be winds pushing ice further southwards in the Bering Sea, it may be fresh ice. It may be a combination. While this event isn’t by itself an about-face of the longer downward trend we’ve seen, it does seem to suggest that predictions assuming a linear (or even spiral) demise aren’t holding up.

That’s the bottom line.  What this does is undermine the computer models upon which so many projections are made, and treated by some as fact.  The models upon which governments are making policy that have huge economic implications for us are not performing.  They are flawed.

Many years ago this planet experienced an ice age.  Without mankind’s recent small contribution to nature’s emission of CO2, the planet started to warm.  Most of the ice melted, glaciers receded, seas rose and permafrost reduced.  What is to say the earth is not continuing that natural transformation now and mankind is not responsible for the warming seen in recent decades?  What is to say we are not seeing the first signs of the Earth arresting that change and cooling again, as per its own natural cycle?

Climate scientists argue that it is the increased rate of change in recent decades that proves (without hard evidence) mankind is a causal factor in recent warming.  But over the last year the increased rate of sea ice recovery has been put down to natural variation.  So too has the bitter cold experienced from the UK to China. Climate Change scientists can’t have it both ways.

There is still too much we do not know or understand about our planet’s regulation of the climate to make ‘certain’ pronouncements.  How can we be sure that the recent warming was not a natural variation?  Over the next few years this question will have to be answered if Joe Bastardi’s forecast of a warmer summer is followed by his consistent prediction of a period of cooling – particularly if CO2 continues to rise.

There is no getting away from the observations over the last few years showing that despite an increase in CO2 concentration, the volume of sea ice in the Arctic has been recovering.  Something is awry.  Some parts of the globe continue to warm while many others are showing signs of cooling down.  The models have been shown to be flawed.  If you put incorrect information in you’re going to get incorrect information out.

Instead of doggedly sticking to a rigid, inflexible position on climate change and its causes, scientists should be exploring what is really going on and be prepared to reconsider what observation, rather than modelling, tells us.  That after all is the role of science.  It is not there to be used as a tool to steer political policy making.

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2 Responses to “What does the increase in Arctic Sea Ice tell us?”


  1. 1 alfredtheordinary 03/04/2010 at 4:02 pm

    “scientists should be exploring what is really going on and be prepared to reconsider what observation, rather than modelling, tells us”

    But that would mean abandoning their income streams; their Westminster and EU government and other grants that require them to call all sceptics “Flat Earthers”

    “With only days to go before Copenhagen we mustn’t be distracted by the behind-the-times, anti-science, flat-earth climate sceptics. We know the science. We know what we must do.” Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the EU State of Britain, Dec 3rd, 2010.

    (As reported in The
    Telegraph
    )


  1. 1 The latest Pen Hadow inspired Arctic ice drama from BBC « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 13/04/2010 at 2:19 pm
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