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back to article Are the ice caps melting?

The headlines last week brought us terrifying news: The North Pole will be ice-free this summer "for the first time in human history," wrote Steve Connor in The Independent. Or so the experts at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado predict. This sounds very frightening, so let's look at the facts …

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excellent

Not sure why its on the reg but love the article.

Its a shame more newspapers don't do long term temperature trend analysis over one day "hottest day since gates of hell opened etc.." scare stories, but then people would be informed. But I guess "ice caps bigger than x years ago, temp pretty much varies but stable with some variance over last 100 years" isn't an exciting headline.

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Anonymous Coward

trt

The current issue of American Scientist has a long report on the warming of Antarctica http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/2008/4/ecological-responses-to-climate-change-on-the-antarctic-peninsula

The cover shows a penguin on a melting glacier: "The polar bear on a melting iceberg has become the universal cliché symbolizing global warming, but the penguin, the iconic animal from the opposite end of the Earth, might be just as suitable."

"The average midwinter temperature here has increased by 6 degrees Celsius since 1950; this is the highest rate of warming anywhere on the planet, five times the global average."

You say Antarctica is cooling, how do we square that circle?

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Boffin

Global weather

is poorly understood.

What we do know is that large amounts of greenhouse gasses could drive us towards a venusian climate.

There are sensible things we can do to reduce our dependence on technologies that continue to pump potentially dangerous gasses into the atmosphere. When the potential consequences are so dire I'd argue that it's worth studying, and while we do that to reduce the risks that we can see.

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Anonymous Coward

hmm

becouse American Scientist is a popularist magazine backed by folk with an agenda? Hence the cliche covers.

Although I have to say that the Doctors document makes no sense to me at all - but then I'm not suprised - it's long, dull, full of things I don't understand and all in all not very interesting. I'll settle with the thought that he's smarter then and knows more about his subject then most people who place their faith in the current issue of the American Scientist though.

Also - he came up with a theory, the theory didn't pan out, he has rexamined the situation and come up with new theories. I strongly suspect that climate science shall progress this way for several centuries.

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Zzzzzzz

You are countering alarmist articles published in mass media with boring articles in a niche publication. In short, pissing upwind.

There are plenty of places in the Arctic that are ice-free: they're called "polynyas", and they're essential for the survival of marine mammals like Beluga whales and narwhals. They'd drown without them. If a polynya shows up at the North Pole, big deal. Santa's a big boy and can take care of himself.

And why is anyone surprised that when there's less ice in the Arctic, there's more in the Antarctic? Has everyone suddenly forgot that June 21st in Antarctica is mid-fucking-winter?

Wait until you read that there is NO ICE AT ALL in the Arctic. Then, if you're not standing in a pool of seawater, find out where it's all gone. My money's on South.

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Alert

Anarctic Peninsula is 2% of Antarctica

Anarctic Peninsula is only 2% of Antarctica.

"The Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost part of the mainland of Antarctica, and almost the only part of that continent that extends outside the Antarctic Circle."

It has a lot of active volcanoes.

http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/01/22/surprise-theres-an-active-volcano-under-antarctic-ice/

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Joke

A considered response from the green party

Burn the heratic!

How dare he even suggest than global warming is remotely natural.

We all know the planet is doomed by mankind's.. no hold on ebil western capalist country's desire for fossil fuels and will rape the poor 3rd world for all the resources it can eat

No.. hold on that the left wing twat-a-thom in action....

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Hah!

They will twist facts and figures to suit whatever point of view they wish to push. As mention in the article, back in the 70's global cooling was causing a mass panic and people were writing books and making lots of money on the idea. Then people stopped caring so they stopped selling books and making scads of dough. Now they're on about global warming and all the sheeple are freaking out and buying books on how the earth is going to hell in a handbasket due to global warming and the "experts" are making money again. To anyone who cares to delve into the history books, there have been temperature fluctuations ranging from miniature ice ages to global warming for as long as people have cared to note down observations on the weather. Heck there used to be palm trees where I live, but now I have to drive 2,000+ miles south before I see any.

Global warming you say? Bring it on!

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Linux

RE: Anonymous Coward

NASA map showing that most of Antarctica is cooling.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/Images/antarctic_temps.AVH1982-2004.jpg

2007 saw the most sea ice ever measured in Antarctica.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.south.jpg

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Go

Too right

I love articles like this.

Like the one where they actually discovered the warmest year globally on record was 1934 NOT 1998.

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Anonymous Coward

But what does that mean?

I confess to thinking the whole green thing is touting seriously mixed messages. One the one hand, I think we should recycle and we need to be weaned off oil.

But on the other hand I've always felt that this Co2 stuff just reeks of rubbish - humans killing the world! Please. When the world is done with humans it'll get rid of them - not the other way round. It's such overblown human-centric nonsense it hardly merits comment.

However, if, as seems to be increasingly the case, the entire 'Lets go Green' theory is being debunked at every turn, I want to know where this has come from.

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Credibility

Honestly, when are people going to stop listening to Dr. I-am-one-with-Gore Hansen. His FUD has lost any credibility he once had.

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Re: Zzzzzz

"And why is anyone surprised that when there's less ice in the Arctic, there's more in the Antarctic? Has everyone suddenly forgot that June 21st in Antarctica is mid-fucking-winter?"

Surely everyone knows there is *vastly* more ice in the South in absolute terms. (It's miles thick.) Therefore, the only sane reading is that we are comparing "arctic this year with arctic last year" versus "antarctic this year with antarctic last year" and taking the figures for the two hemispheres at the seasonally appropriate moment.

"Wait until you read that there is NO ICE AT ALL in the Arctic. Then, if you're not standing in a pool of seawater, find out where it's all gone. My money's on South."

Surely everyone knows that if the arctic melted then there would be no rise in sea level because it was all floating anyway. The concern is not that arctic melt-down causes a direct sea-level rise, but rather that is changes the polar albedo and causes warming which then (indirectly) causes sea-level rise as land-based ice melts.

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IT Angle

Maybe maybe not

Latest update here http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ Lets see in 2 months time eh?

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Anonymous Coward

scientific trickery

Thanks Bruce. That AmSci article (a serious journal, not to be confused with Scientific American) snookered me, and no doubt many other casual readers.

The cover photo, the caption for the cover, and the article itself misled me into thinking it was relevant to the entire continent, not just a sliver. It is clear, in retrospect, that this report is about an anomaly yet that word never appears and instead there are sweeping conclusions about global climate change.

Truthful dishonesty.

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My own fear for the planet

Doesn't come from the energy produced in by western countries such as the US (despite the inefficient use and over production), nor from Europe.

My fear is when the vast populations of continents where power hasn't been abundant finally get the technology to build their own coal and oil power stations.

As China has proved, because these countries will focus on the cost and quantity of energy rather than it's friendliness to the planet. As we seem unwilling in the west to share the technology we have to produce significantly cleaner power stations and therefore limit the impact these new comers will have on the environment, the consequences will be drastic to say the least.

We could have easily combated this but our desire to appear gracious and charitable apparently doesn't extend to making 3rd World nations independent of the need for our assistance. Real help, such as building infrastructure and clean sources of power don't tie in with the self adulation we get from sending old socks and sacks of moldy grain to half-starved children. Watching them fight and scramble for a handful of life as we chuck it on the floor and congratulate ourselves on how wonderful we are.

If the left wing parties that control Europe and the US were truly the champions of humanitarianism and social well being, we would focus on helping these nations achieve something slightly more valuable than a well in a village.

But if we were to help these nations rise to our level of technology, to help them produce their own clean power, and subsequently their own clean water, build up their infrastructure and help them become 1st World nations - where would all the self-congratulating pricks on TV charity shows go? What would the elitist pricks (on both sides of the political spectrum) do when they could no longer find some poor, malnourished child to sponsor?

So yes, global warming is a real problem, but the real cataclysm has yet to appear - the advent of the 3rd world building the worst polluting sources of power to provide energy to 3/4s of the world's population.

How much use is it to provide 1 - 2 billion with clean energy, when we do nothing to upgrade the 4 billion that will be using the worst sources of energy possible?

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Thick

The graph showing the change in ice area over time was interesting. What would be much more interesting is the change in ice thickness. My garden was covered in a dusting of snow last winter, but I wouldn't claim last winter was as cold as some in the 80's, when my garden was also completely covered (in several inches of snow).

If you are going to be an armchair scientist at least try to work out why your point of view may be wrong.

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Duuh!

Of course the bloody ice caps are melting! If they didn't melt to some degree, there would be no drinking water and the earth would be shaped like a rugby ball.What is important is whether or not the poles are melting more or less in the long term, just saying that temperatures are higher this year and the arctic is losing ice is no different to a fat chick saying she has lost 2 pounds today,it's meaningless, tomorrow she could be 4 pounds heavier after pigging out on hamburgers and chocolate for 24 hours. Anybody who makes an alarmist statement based on one or two years annual variation should be shot.

At one point in the 19th century it was possible to skate on the Thames, we didn't have an ice age though, and now winters seem warmer it is not certain that Neasden is going to disappear beneath the waves and become the Atlantis of suburbia. A few ups and downs in conditions are proof of nothing, when viewed together over say a period of twenty years it can indicate a trend but it is still not proof of catastrophically melting polar ice. Proof is when we are sitting on the dome of St Pauls dangling our feet in the waters of the enlarged Thames.Can't really argue with that. So if you are worried about being able to prove global warming try to rein in your energy usage, if you fancy the possibility of a paddle with out having to leave your London office don't bother.

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Ben
Unhappy

So Tired ..

Of this crap, (not the article) but the polar (no pun intended) nature of global warming debate. Having just recently finishing my doctorate in chemistry, and though I am not a climatologist, here is what I thinking of the whole bollocks.

1) Greenhouse effect (and I think everyone here would agree) a real effect, without it we would be a ball of ice.

2) Human activity has increased the amount of C02 and other IR active molecules which would logically contribute to the effect.

3) How large and effect this has on the earth and it the resultant problems that could arise has become a political issue and so like all politics, popularised and selective by both camps.

4) The earth has spent more time without ice, than with its just a shame that our existence coincides with an ice-age.

5) By the time some sort of consensus is reached and appropriate actions undertaken, there wont be an fossil fuels left, possibly making this the biggest waste of time ever in human history.

The truly annoying thing, is the lack of objectivity in most of these arguments, compounded by selective data and at times dubious manipulations to prove a point one way or another.

Global warming for me is very low down on the list "Humans should give a shit about" more pressing matters are what we going do for energy? How about all the people starving? Do we have a plan to stop that big rock that's gonna put an end to all these problems?

However, renewable energy sources are a good thing, if we make enough tidal generators we might be able to extend the working day a couple of extra hours. Who wouldn't like an extra few hours a day?

P.S before anyone attempts to undermine my post, by point out syntax and semantic errors of my written English. I have dyslexia, this isn't a formal publication and I have already spent way to much time replying to this article.

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Coat

Ice age scare?

Steven Goddard could you please explain to me this supposed "ice age scare in the 1970s", I'm not aware of papers during the 1970's that match your comment or perhaps my 30 years in the field isn't long term enough.

Apart from that and a usual re-hash of denial data that was discarded years ago by serious researchers this is a great article to explain that global warming is a very complicated issue & that tabloid over simplification makes public and some journalists skimming the headlines too lazy to look up the actual papers and full set of tables to judge the facts!

Oh and if you think the Ice Age scare of the 70's in the tabloid press, (funny didn't know they were peer reviewed journals), Is the one where researchers had evaluated three scenarios extrapolated from the data available at the time, the TABLOIDS chose the Ice Age scenarios because it suited their headlines, funnily enough what we are going through now climate wise, follows almost perfectly the middle scenario that the expert tabloid journalists ignored....

One wobbly scientist does not devalue all the other work. I'm a little fed up with the black or white attitude to global warming.

Can anyone remind me why we have fire extinguishers, or first aid kits?

Bottom line reason I keep my energy consumption as low as possible is simple, preservation of earth's resources and keeping my expenses low,

Funny how people seem to argue we should be wasting our resources because they don't believe in global warming.

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Go

The lost city...

"...it is not certain that Neasden is going to disappear beneath the waves and become the Atlantis of suburbia."

'The Lost City of Neasden'. I like the sound of that. What say we start a list of story ideas and then sell them to the BBC?

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Antarctic Ice Cap Expansion

What the author chooses to ignore is that if Antarctic ice melt were to be accelerating there would be a corresponding reduction in the salinity of the Southern Ocean and a raising of the freezing point of the ocean waters. The result would be a temporary increase in the size of the southern winter ice cap. Perhaps this is an indication of what is actually happening.

Bob

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To Right

"Like the one where they actually discovered the warmest year globally on record was 1934 NOT 1998"

Alexis, you would have been right about that back when they discovered the error. Since then they have continued the practice of revising past temperatures and lowering them and as a result 1998 is now back on top.

Oh, and before the tree huggers jump in, it was the USA highest temperature not the global one.

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Paris Hilton

Melting ice leads to falling sea level

As far as I recall, the Arctic just comprises of ice - no land.

According to Archemedes, when a mass is imersed in water, it displaces it's own volume of water - so the ice is displacing an amount of water equal to it's own volume.

When I was at school - (OK so that was quite a while ago) I was taught that the volume of water increases as it changes state from a liquid to a solid.

Therefore, if all of the melts at the N Pole, it ceases to displace any water and actually water will flow back in to fill the void that was left by the ice. (Bit simplistic I know but that's what happens to your mind when you read too much mush).

If the volume of water from the melted ice is less than the volume of the ice that melted - should the sea level not go down?

Hmmm...................

Paris - becasue her welcome would always be warm and moist

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Flame

Drivel

Cherry-picked quotes and data points to continue the author's continuing crusade to refute the global scientific consensus of anthropogenic climate change.

The Reg is being irresponsible in giving column inches to this armchair scientist and his denial-of-reality campaign.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Melting ice leads to falling sea level

Now, take some ice that ISN'T in the water and put it in.

Still no level rise?

Now, is Greenland floating on water?

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Anonymous Coward

Will Gore be stripped of his Nobel?

If at some point in the future Global Warming is proven to be a crock, will Al Gore be stripped of his Nobel? Is there a precedent for such action?

Even if the message is right (ie. GW is true), it would seem to be worth shooting the messenger. Al has done a not exactly walked the walk and talked the talk:

* Lives in a house that uses 20x the electricity of the average American who are already huge consumers.

* Cherry picking data.

* Using bogus images to incorrectly support his cause (eg. the polar bears apparently stranded on shrinking ice --- a photo taken in summer near the Alaskan shoreline well within easy swimming distance of land).

At worst he's a charlatan. At best he does his cause a disservice.

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Anonymous Coward

Carry on driving.

Just as with the "passive smoking causes all cancer" rubbish leading to a ban on smoking rather than a radical revision of the place of the car in society, so the presentation of alarmist, over the top and at times evidently made up crap about global warming makes people wary and resistant and the real need gets ignored, which is...

a radical revision of the place of the car in society.

I don't disbelieve climate change, I just think there's a lot more to it than the lightbulbs we use. Like the hopeless addiction to the internal combustion engine. There is no need for business flights - WE HAVE HIGH SPEED VIDEO NOW, as one example.

Even if we are not warming the planet, there is the issue of legacy. What sort of polluted, crap hole will the earth be like when, as others have pointed out, the rest of the 4 billion or so people get access to cars and fossil fuel generated electricity?

Capitalism and materialism makes people into self centered monsters.

Scenario for a disaster movie - Saudi Arabia collapses into the giant hole left by all the oil being pumped out. This begins to happen in other places too. Texas follows. Wait, that is is happy ending film not a disaster movie.

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Anonymous Coward

Wilful ignorance

Believe what you want, but if you don't mind, could you stop trashing the place and get out of here? Thanks.

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people can't be bothered waiting

Surprisingly, if you are after an all-singing-all-dancing picture as to the climate trends over the entire planet you will have to wait quite a number of years whilst the data are being recorded. In addition to this, climate science is a field still in its infancy. Rigorous water-tight science of a system so complex is bound by the pace at which the data either verify or disprove any theories. And, since the data can only be gathered in real time, a 30-year old field has precious little to go on (yes, I realise data can be surmised from older weather stations, tree-rings, ice bores and the like, but these are largely indirect measures, and rarely apply worldwide).

Why do I have to be bombarded with such sensationalism at every slightest event, and every event being construed almost beyond belief to suit the agenda of increasingly vocal groups of questionable authority? No other science would put up with it. It almost seems like opinions borne entirely from imagination are given equal or greater precedence than anything based upon sound science and unbiased quantitative analysis.

Oh, sure there's plenty of open ocean one year, and plenty of sea-ice the next, and yes, I'm concerned. I just can't make head nor tail of it until I understand what's happening in the long term and more importantly what mechanisms are responsible for these effects. Nobel prizes cannot be won by anecdotes... No actually, scratch that. They can.

Thanks for an interesting and well researched article. I just wish wish more people could base their ideas and publications on sound data, and not a photograph of a fluffy creature looking sorry for itself in some slightly-less icy wasteland.

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Coat

Archimedes

@Andy Poulton

Sorry, but you applied Archimedes' principle incorrectly. A mass will displace it's own *volume* if *immersed*, yes, this is obvious. But a *floating* body will displace it's own *weight*, not volume. And ice floats. So, as Ken Hagan correctly pointed out above, if all the ice in the Arctic melts then this *on its own* would have no effect on sea level. Don't believe it? Fill a glass to the very brim with ice and water, then leave it, covered, until the ice has melted. There will be no spillage over the brim, nor any empty space at the top. The glass will stay full - provided it is covered to prevent evaporation, that is.

Still, as Mr Hagan rightly points out, other bad things happen when the ice goes away which do lead to sea level rising.

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Flame

Global warming?

I'm just waiting for it to **5£"**! warm up, whatever happened to 'Flaming June?'

Extra coat needed at the moment.

please note: this is no evidence of a trend upwards, downwards, sideways or backwards.

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Silver badge

Scientists lying... that's scary!

is not the details (ie. whether or not Global Warming is true/false; whether or not ice is melting; whether it is caused by soot or CO2) but how these scientists are changing their stories.

Changing your story in the light of new evidence is perfectly acceptable, but now we have these climatologists making barefaced lies and discounting evidence.

We expect Al Gore to tell porkies: he's a politician and movie maker.

But scientists are supposedly feeding us the objective truth. Clearly they're practicing "truth management" and are only puppets being manipulated like terrorist hostages to say "the right thing" in front of the camera.

Who the hell is pulling their strings and why?

If we can't trust the blokes in lab coats, wtf can we trust?

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@Cheevy

<i>Funny how people seem to argue we should be wasting our resources because they don't believe in global warming.</i>

The exact opposite. We believe we should not be wasting huge resources on meaningless GHG reduction strategies because global warming is demonstrably NOT happening whether we believe in it or not.

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Paris Hilton

Dear God

Can't think why I'm reminded of Private Eye's articles on the MMR/Autism links...

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Anonymous Coward

A few comments

@ Philip Kroker; and the other nay-sayers; Sorry to hear about your palm trees, maybe you should visit here? Twenty years ago none, too cold! Now; they're all over the place since it's warm enough for them to survive the winter.

Oh, but watch out for alligators! It seems that since 1970, they've established a nice permanent colony here, which is serving as a base for even more northward expansion. (Five years ago, a 'gator in a backyard here would be statewide news. Now it's becoming common to see them dead on the roadside, run over.)

And why are the mayflies showing up in March? And why has the mowing season stretched to midwinter here?

Maybe global warming's false, but the coastal plains of North Carolina sure seem headed that way!

Oh, and the arctic icecap melting? Eh. it happens from time to time, but the surprise is, that if it becomes steady enough, the salinity of the Arctic sea changes, and the Gulf stream either dives, or turns across the north coast of Canada. Either way, The UK and Eastern Europe turn into one big ice sheet without the gulf stream's warming currents. (How's that for a twist? Global warming will freeze you to death!)

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Paris Hilton

Destroying the earth

> But on the other hand I've always felt that this Co2 stuff just reeks of rubbish - humans killing the world! Please. When the world is done with humans it'll get rid of them - not the other way round. It's such overblown human-centric nonsense it hardly merits comment.

Anything that contains the phrase "destroy the earth" is a violent lie perpetrated by some shady sod who has never been in an aeroplane. One look down at the glittering expanse of earthness below is more than enough to convince anyone sensible flying in a plane that the whole of humanity is an insignificant scum living an invisible life atop a shiny beautiful jewel. It can't be destroyed, we won't be casting the shattered hulk of a deflated planet across the solar system after cynically glugging its essence, all we did was dig up a bit of carbon that was lying around on or extremely near the surface. We might cause an unfortunate reaction leading to difficult circumstances for the descendent members of the human race but those too will prove a tricky species to eradicate. People look around at their rich and modern surroundings and wracked by a fashionable existential guilt worry that their children won't be able to enjoy the energy luxury that they have - only the point has been missed that the children, knowing no better world themselves, will make do with whatever is left to them, if humanity reverted to Stone Age there's be no more or less happiness than before (arguably there'd be more) the normal would be the normal. The Romans didn't wander the earth groaning and moaning that life was unbearable without two international summer holidays every year. Humanity like every species is subject to the simple rules that the lucky adapt while the selfish and slow die.

PH because she destroys my illusions of self-restraint and personal culture presenting as an object to be salivated at great energy expense over. Also she has flown in a plane and has trouble with pesky moulds.

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Boffin

Responsibility, Please

Here we go again ...

Not that there is no place for articles such as this to highlight over-simplification or over statement by climate scientists, but the article commits the very same errors itself in critiquing those scientists. Plus, with a topic as significant and politically-charged as climate change, my very strong opinion is that each "journalist" has a responsibility to balance their article and place it in context, else they will quite rightfuly be accused of attempting to steer public opinion in a harmful and negligent manner.

About ice: Arctic average ice volume, year-on-year, is a better measure than ice area ... but I suppose the fact that average ice volume has shrunk fairly steadily since the 60's is somewhat inconvenient.

By the way - why is it that we never see El Reg attack the climate change naysayers, GHG polluters and their vocal supporters ... we only see criticisism of climate change proponents. Mmmmmmm.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Charles Manning

Scientists lying... that's scary!

I'll tell you who's pulling their strings - the politicians are.

I'm staying anon on this because I used to be the editor of an prestigious science journal and I will repeat what many of my colleagues are saying in private and some in public - the quality of science that is being done currently in many areas sucks. This undoubtedly stems from the "publish and be damned" philosophy which was brought about by tying research funding and promotions to ill-conceived targets such as the number of publications rather than their quality. This was happening as far back as the mid-1970s and it's produced a generation of career scientists who care little for the truth and more about just getting it in print.

I can only speak about the biomedical field because that's where my experience lies. I regularly review articles submitted for publication. I also review grant applications made to major biomedical funding bodies. Most are hopeless. Ill-conceived and poorly controlled. But the real issue I have is that the scientists are just not being honest. They lie by omitting to tell the whole truth. They are biased and are pushed into it by the system which encourages it. Politicians head the system so they are ultimately at fault here but the scientists have to take their share of the blame for not standing up for the truth.

This is not to say there isn't some good biomedical science being done, clearly there is. But there is an awful lot of dross and worse, some of this dross is being done in areas of real importance which does nothing but muddy the water.

In my view climatology suffers from the same problem. Follow the money.

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Paris Hilton

BFHD

Q -So would you say that we should run around and panic like Morons?

A- Why yes I would.

What real measurable difference will this actually make to me or anyone that I know or indeed anyone in this country or the EU or anyone alive today? None thats what - except that the Government Dyson will probably suck even more cash from me.

Paris - because she's got more of a clue than the Eco Mentalists.

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Flame

Fed Up

I love this, we get a not bad article pointing out some rather major flaws in one of NASA's "finest" and what's the response..

1) Interesting article

2) HEATHEN... SINNER... Burn the heritic

3) Scandalised "you can't deny Global Warming" and finger wagging.

Ok, Global Warming is the biggest political football of recent years. It has spawned an entire industry of busy little bees pouring money in to it, not to discover facts, but to support their own beliefs. Scientific papers are no longer the peer reviewed unvarnished "truth", they're the "truth" that the person funding the research wants you to know. This works both ways pro argument or counter.

The interesting thing this article is based on, is it's pointing out the flaws in the research of the pro GW brigade and one of their chief cheerleaders. It's not gone out and commissioned a chunk of research to "prove" it's case, it's used existing research and shown it to be less than accurate.

Face it folks, you're never going to get the truth on it, but I do know that if a bunch of politicos tell me "you must be scared and let us do x,y or z" then I for one am going to ask "why?" and won't stop until I have an answer. I've only got bits of one now so I keep reading the research (and god is some of it intensely dull) and hope....

As for all of you who want to burn the heretic - get a grip you bloody sheep. Try thinking a little bit for yourself rather than leave it to the politicos. If you still think that GW is real and in-your-face scary then fine, but at least derive the opinion yourself.

PS We're not talking "Climate Change" which is a basic and fundamental part of our planet, it's just Global Warming I doubt!

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@responsibility, please

"the article commits the very same errors itself in critiquing those scientists"

agreed, both sides concentrate on "coldest year" or "hottest year" type stuff when individual years are meaningless in the context of climate change. No matter what else is going on, the climate is always going to be wheels-within-wheels interlocking cycles of rise and fall, with a ludicrous amount of random thrown in for good measure. But that doesn't mean our now-noticable-on-a-global-scale changes our world don't have an effect, it just means you can't write nice headlines :)

ironically, i've seen a report that suggests a warming effect would be more noticable if it were not for high-altitude polluting caused by air travel reflecting some of the heat... it claims there was a distinct rise in global temperature after 9/11, when a lot of planes were grounded.

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Pirate

So what, who cares and Am I BOVVERRED!

Does any of this actually matter? As we rant and rave and wring our hands about how we are killing the planet, we are only really saying one thing, that climate change will make it difficult or impossible for the human race to continue to live on this planet in the way we do now. Whether the surface of the Earth is 30, 70 or 99% water, the planet will continue to exist and life will continue on it. I am a normal human being and I have got my head up my arse. I cannot see the the truth, I cannot hear the truth and I cannot tell you the truth. But I will shout my opinions at the world because I am the only one who is right!

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Anonymous Coward

Hansen - Our Saviour

You IT guys better watch out... Hansen will be calling for you lot to be prosecuted as climate change criminals too...

http://progcontra.blogspot.com/2008/06/dr-james-hansen-speaks-out.html

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Bronze badge

Don't stop

Reg, please do NOT stop these articles as some of the best comments follow them . Always good to see what people have to say about subjects like this and since most Reg readers are fairly bright it can be informative too.

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Whisky, no ice

I challenge Hansen to a walk-off in a freezer room.

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Flame

@So Tired ..

Hats off to the most enlightened post.

Both sides of the debate are far too extreme that it destroys the public's interest (except for those extremes).

We ARE releasing increasing amounts of gas in to the atmosphere that wouldn't normally be there. This will have some kind of affect, we just don't know what.

The Earth is also warming as we come out of the current ice age.

Whether we're compounding the issue or not, reducing our output of these gasses (and our dependency on burning depleting fossil fuels) can be no bad thing.

Bless Gore, since his heart is in the right place, but his evangelistic preaching is doing a lot of damage to his own message.

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Re: Don't stop

"and since most Reg readers are fairly bright it can be informative too."

I take it you're not including you in that list? And I quote:

"Of course the bloody ice caps are melting! If they didn't melt to some degree, there would be no drinking water and the earth would be shaped like a rugby ball."

Now can someone else ('cos Chris won't believe me, will he), please tell him what they learned in Georgraphy at school about "the Water Cycle". If you can't reproduce it, just let him know whether "melting ice" had ANYTHING to do with that picture.

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