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back to article Ice core shows Antarctic Peninsula warming is nothing unusual

New ice core data from the Antarctic Peninsula has revealed that temperatures in the region during the past 10,000 years have often been higher than they are today, and that warming of the sort seen there recently has also occurred in the pre-industrial past. The new data are derived from a massive new 364m-long core extracted …

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At least quote the conclusion

"The long-term climate history provided by the JRI ice core shows that natural millennial-scale climate variability has resulted in warming on the eastern Antarctic Peninsula that has been ongoing for a number of centuries and had left ice shelves in this area vulnerable to collapse during the recent phase of rapid warming. If warming continues in this region, as is suggested by its attribution in part to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations7, 23, then temperatures will soon exceed the stable conditions that persisted in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula for most of the Holocene. The association between atmospheric temperature and ice-shelf stability in the past demonstrates that as warming continues ice-shelf vulnerability is likely to progress farther southwards along the Antarctic Peninsula coast to affect ice shelves that have been stable throughout the Holocene, and may make them particularly susceptible to changes in oceanographic forcing"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At least quote the conclusion

"If warming continues in this region, as is suggested by its attribution in part to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations7, 23, then temperatures will soon exceed the stable conditions that persisted in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula for most of the Holocene."

1. That conclusion isn't supported by the data. The data shows significantly larger temperature anomalies without the loss of stability.

2. No time period is given. Does the author mean if the warming continues for a decade, a century, a millennium?

3. No value is given for the amount of warming before instability. Is it 1C, 2C, 4C, 8C? If its 1C then there might be something to worry about if it is 8C then there isn't anything to worry about as that scenario is so unlikely we would be better of worrying about a meteorite strike.

4. We have no idea on what part CO2 has actually played in the current Antarctica Peninsula warming and what part is down to: a) Natural variation, b) Building runways, erecting buildings, running sight seeing tours and then locating the majority of the temperature sensors there.

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Facepalm

Re: At least quote the conclusion

"That conclusion isn't supported by the data."

I'm relieved that we have an unqualified and anonymous internaut to draw conclusions from some low resolution example graphs rather than having to rely on the conclusions of the scientists who performed the research or the scientists who reviewed the paper.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At least quote the conclusion

Nice argumentum ad verecundiam. Can you actually counter what the anon is saying though?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At least quote the conclusion

Sounds a bit like a sop to the grant-providers who fervently (religiously) believe in warming.

Having said that this warming has precedents, they are giving the obligatory bow to AGW)

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Silver badge

Re: At least quote the conclusion

"1. That conclusion isn't supported by the data. The data shows significantly larger temperature anomalies without the loss of stability."

No they don't. Which data are you looking at? The projected warming this century from rising greenhouse gases surpasses all temperatures on that graph.

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FAIL

Re: At least quote the conclusion

And that's a nice use of the dreary internet staple of throwing in some half-understood latin to make yourself feel clever. An argument from authority is perfectly valid when the authority is a genuine expert on the subject matter. The authors and reviewers of a scientific paper are clearly genuine experts on their own work.

I am quite happy to stand by the assertion that their conclusions are better than those of an anonymous internaut.

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Silver badge

Re: At least quote the conclusion

Conclusion: "If warming continues in this region, as is suggested by its attribution in part to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations7, 23, hen temperatures will soon exceed the stable conditions that persisted in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula for most of the Holocene."

anonymous internaut: "1. That conclusion isn't supported by the data. The data shows significantly larger temperature anomalies without the loss of stability.

Read carefully to spot anonymous internaut's sleight of hand.

Wonder how they got so many upvotes

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At least quote the conclusion

I used Latin because it's a well understood phrase. Your appeal to authority isn't valid however. You haven't refuted any of anon's points. You've just assumed anon is wrong and the authors of the paper are right because they're scientists. Hence, argumentum ad verecundiam.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At least quote the conclusion

Well, if paid shills say what there masters want them to say (so they continue to receive funding), then their supposed "expert opinion" is probably worthless than that of any anonymous commentator as they are quite likely deliberately distorting what they say.

In other words, experts, schmexperts , not worth listening to until they start practicing science not pay -for-say religion.

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FAIL

Re: At least quote the conclusion

I've assumed the authors of the paper are legitimate authorities on the contents of their own paper. That's an entirely valid use of argument from authority.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority

It may be a well understood phrase, but you don't appear to be amongst the group that understands it.

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Re: At least quote the conclusion

"Wonder how they got so many upvotes"

Clicking a button and grunting is easier than reading the article.

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Boffin

Panic Over

So can we finally shelf this research area and start worrying about the asteroids and colonisation.

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FAIL

An Inconvenient Truth?

For Al Gore....

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Anonymous Coward

At long bloody last...

Someone else stating this whole bloody nonsense as religion. I remember when green was a colour...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At long bloody last...

And how do you think the Black Country got it's name?

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Unhappy

Re: At long bloody last...

In Belgium "Green" is definitely a popular and powerful religion.

The result is, any politicians who want any chance of getting elected, now have to be fully paid up members of the "Green Church." Their policies are often quite amazing, but not always amusing.

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Boffin

A very important point!!!

Was the press release peer-reviewed?

If not, why is anyone listening to it?

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Boffin

Re: A very important point!!!

Because the press release is cut down to sentences of less than 20 words, with words containing less than 3 syllables, and no concepts that require anything over highschool education, making it suitable for the general populace of "the Press" who are generally Liberal Arts grads.

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Silver badge

Re: A very important point!!!

What difference would it make? LP never reads the actual journal articles anyway. He's more of a 3rd party abstract kinda guy.

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Mushroom

Re: A very important point!!!

I believe it was reviewed as evidenced by the published timestamps.

Nature

(2012)

doi:10.1038/nature11391

Received

11 November 2011

Accepted

29 June 2012

Published online

22 August 2012

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11391.html

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FAIL

Re: A very important point!!!

what a stupid thing to say. He couldn't have drawn the conclusions he has without reading the articles.

Did YOU actually read the articles?

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Anonymous Coward

Good science or bad science?

First let me say I'm not a scientist, just a IT guy who likes to know how things work. Shoot me down in flames for being a member of the great unwashed if you like.

So I look at the report and consider that if the data and their analysis is correct it is a data point contrary to the weight of evidence pointing the other way.

Does that mean it's wrong, or does that mean the contrary view is wrong? No: on it's own it cannot prove anything. If the data and the analysis is correct, it means there is something we don't understand.

So let's not jump on the bandwagon and make accusations about either side of the argument. Let's recognize this for what it is: an anomaly that doesn't fit our understanding and can't at presently be explained.

That in itself makes it important and worth more investigation; but it doesn't make it conclusive, so let's not make it so eh?

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Silver badge

Re: No: on it's own it cannot prove anything.

Except it doesn't stand on its own. There are lots of other data points out there just like this one. Each of which has been denounced by the Warmists as at least a lone data point which proves nothing if not being denounced as outright heresy. And which when taken together indicate a political bias that overrides the scientific data.

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I'm not an expert

nor a true believer from either side of the polarised debate so bear with me.

Would I be right in thinking that the fact that temperature variations on this scale have happened before is only comforting if the current variation is not caused by something that is new to the equation?

By which I mean if there's a new sort of temperature variation and the possibility of a 'natural' one too then there might be unpleasantness if the two coincided - is that right?

Or does this research also demonstrate that the reason it has happened before is the same reason it is happening now?

-

I realise this is the last place to be asking for clarification on this sort of topic but I am not sure where I should be asking - at least here I can expect to be guided to the far boundaries either side of the truth which sort of helps define the area to look in.

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Re: I'm not an expert

If the current temperature variation is within the range of what has happened naturally in the past, then it is statistically insignificant.

If what is happening now is shown to be in line with what has happened in the past, then there is no reason to the that what is happening now is due to some new "unpleasantness".

Or put another way, if we can explain the current temperature variation we do see as being down to the natural historical tendency for temperatures on Earth to vary over time, why would we need to think up any other reason to explain it? Occam's razor.

The conclusion quoted above seems to be saying:

"The present variation we are seeing is nothing outside of historical norms, and does not indicate a threat to the stability of the ice sheets. But if there were to be more temperature change in the future at a rate that was faster than the current or historical norm, then this could be bad."

So what?

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Re: I'm not an expert

"if we can explain the current temperature variation we do see as being down to the natural historical tendency for temperatures on Earth to vary over time, why would we need to think up any other reason to explain it?"

Thanks, but that is rather begging the question.

Can we explain the current temperature variation in that way?

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Re: I'm not an expert

Er, yes we can.

If the current variation in temperature is within the bounds of historic natural variation, as recorded in the ice core, then of course it can be explained as being just natural variation. In fact this is the best explanation according to the principle of Occams razor.

What is so hard to understand?

They don't teach science good these days.

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Re: I'm not an expert

You are sort of right. But turn the question around. Why think something new is happening when the evidence is that this is no different than many times in the past?

I think the obnoxious part of this whole debate is the (self-serving) rush to judgement of scientists and press that AGW is the cause of what could very easily be a random fluctuation.

We've had too many instances of ClimateGate disclosures, where data was 'interpreted' to fit AGW (if not downright faked. I think that alone is enough to make me skeptical. If the data showed real support for the theory of AGW, it would not need to be faked.

It would all be very amusing, except that bureaucrats and politicians want to spend billions of our money to be seen as 'Green". Shame on them!!!!!

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Re: I'm not an expert

"If the current variation in temperature is within the bounds of historic natural variation, as recorded in the ice core, then of course it can be explained as being just natural variation. In fact this is the best explanation according to the principle of Occams razor."

"Natural variation" is not an explanation and so it cannot be selected using Occam's razor. An explanation requires a mechanism. "Natural variation" is just a "it happened somehow" non-explanation.

Here's an actual explanation: The reason why it was warmer in the early holocene is because the Earth's tilt meant more incoming sunlight at higher latitudes in summer months.

The only problem is that doesn't explain the recent warming. As it stands the best explanation available really is greenhouse warming.

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Re: I'm not an expert

" Why think something new is happening when the evidence is that this is no different than many times in the past?"

I wouldn't assume something new is happening but equally it seems wrong, or at least premature, to assume the contrary.

I am all in favour of Occam's Razor but I don't think we have enough facts to know which approach makes the fewest assumptions.

If we are sure that we know how these temperature variations were caused in the past and also sure that the same conditions exist now then it is clear that assuming any further contributory factors is unnecessary.

If, however, the conditions now are significantly different from those known to have caused previous variations in temperature then an assumption of a new factor is the parsimonious approach.

If the cause of previous variations is unknown then Occam might guide us one way but prudence perhaps might suggest not relying too strongly on that guidance.

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Mushroom

There is no such thing as "natural" or "random" variation

Unless you are playing around with quantum effects at the atomic level or smaller, "natural" variations aren't random. They are subject to cause and effect. The bulk property of a system such as the earth isn't subject to "randomness"- the 1 atom bomb per minute of energy increase in the oceans since 1950 isn't some "natural" variation or "randomness".

Anyone putting forward the glib statement "the current warming could just be natural variation" is anti-science in the worst way. Not only does this statement imply that observations of climate are unknowable by science (i.e. no point in trying to understand and model cause and effect), but it also attempts to demolish the work of the people who are doing their best to understand the processes at work.

The "natural variations" crowd are like believers in "intelligent design" (creationists). They too explain changes based on unknowable forces at work, which cannot be analysed and understood by man.

The climate changes observed in the past have been investigated, and while the warming is not unprecedented, the rate of warming is unprecedented. And the known causes for previous warming periods (with subsequent uncomfortable sea rises, climate changes, and mass extinctions) aren't happening now. Which only leaves CO2 or magic (call it "randomness" if you like).

If you believe there is some fuzzy hand-waving, "natural variation" magic at work which somehow accumulates huge quantities of energy in the planet's climate system, you have no business thinking you are an analytical and rational person who believes in science.

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Stop

Re: There is no such thing as "natural" or "random" variation

<blockquote>The "natural variations" crowd are like believers in "intelligent design" (creationists). They too explain changes based on unknowable forces at work, which cannot be analysed and understood by man.</blockquote>

Oh, er do you mean unknowable forces, akin to unknowable substances like "dark matter", Oort clouds as a source of comets, and so forth?

I thought I heard someone whispering "unicorn"...

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A longer history of sea level

A google of:

"sea level change last 250 million years"

should provide a long textbook PDF on sea level for the last 5-6% of the earth's history. It's got nice graphs showing how much both the amplitude and rate of change vary over time.

Relative to the earth's age, 20,000 years is the blink of an eye.

There's lots more literature for anyone who is actually interested in facts.

The climate has always changed.

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"The climate has always changed."

No doubt this is true but we haven't always had to live in it.

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Headmaster

No doubt this is true but we haven't always had to live in it.

Er, yes we have. I know of no place man has lived that hasn't had a climate.

Apart from Islington maybe, where the carbon footprint of an entire Caribbean island is dedicated to eliminating all climate change from man's habitations.

And the history books are littered with civilisations that have come, prospered and then vanished when the climate changed.

I'll admit that not one of them ever used fossil fuel, though. Or drove 4x4s. They didn't exist on a methane emitting diet of brown rice muesli and bean sprouts either, and ride bicycles that made* their heads all pointy shaped.

*since nearly all cyclists have these pointy shaped heads, in the best traditions of the IPCC one may conclude to 3 sigma that the bicycles are definitely the cause of pointy headedness.

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We don't have to live in it now. If the climate changes such that it is no longer suitable for Homo sapiens then we will become extinct and some other species will take our place. The Earth will go on.

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Paris Hilton

Relatively speaking...

"No doubt this is true but we haven't always had to live in it."

Indeed. We've not been here but for a fly's fart-worth of time relative to the age of the planet, and only been massively industrialized for around a couple of hundred years. Our own existence as a modern human species has survived many changes in climate and we've been forced to adapt. Perhaps old times were simpler when we accepted that nature and Gods were out of our control and adapted to meet the demands put upon us rather than assume that our scientific understanding or faith in such makes us more knowledgeable and powerful than the universe, nature, and various Gods. With great hubris comes great cost.

From what I can tell, our industrialization is simply coincidental with natural climate trends of a planet we've known for only a small percentage of its life, the history of which we have to make conclusions which have tendencies to change over time. Given this potential, I recall a phrase from methods: "Correlation is necessary but not sufficient for causation."

Paris, neither necessary nor sufficient.

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WTF?

Agenda?

Why is the Register always pushing a climate-sceptic agenda these days? All the articles are about how climate change isn't happening, or it's no different to usual, or it's not man-made or whatever. Has anyone else noticed this bias emerging?

After Fukushima it was refreshing to see El Reg's coverage of the Japanese response suggesting that it was very good, that the systems coped well and that it should be an advert for nuclear power; all the other press I saw was writing it off as a catastrophe. In this case though, there is loads of press saying climate change isn't that bad, so I'm not really sure why the Register is pushing this so hard - it's not an alternative viewpoint.

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Meh

Re: Agenda?

Surely an alternative viewpoint, to be valid, should look at the facts? There are lots of screwball sites out ther if you just want 'Alternative' viewpoints to things- qv Moon Hoax, JFK, 911 etc.

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Megaphone

Re: Agenda?

Groups like Greenpeace really don't make it easy to convince skeptics (or even militant skeptics/deniers like Lewis) - as discussed on a previously much more balanced article about geothermal power by Andrew, groups like Greenpeace et al are simply political lobby groups now who are just as dogmatic as people like Lewis. All we end up with is an endless cherry-picking war of attrition where both side most of the time are sticking their fingers in their ears.

Greens need to become more pragmatic and realise that things like nuclear power, clean gas burning and geoengineering isn't necessarily bad (it isn't ideal but wind power is hardly going to produce the world's required energy at this point in time) and will will do until we can design cleaner systems, and deniers like Lewis need to stop jumping on every shred of isolated data that defend their worldview and ideology and look at the thing holistically...it isn't some sort of conspiracy by governments to elicit more tax from the populace.

Yes, there are plenty of parroting, dimwitted greens who cannot think for themselves, but there are also plenty of parroting dimwitted conservatives who don't want to change a thing and want business as usual.

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Facepalm

Re: Agenda?

Because... who do you think is the editor?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge
Stop

Re: Agenda?

"Why is the Register always pushing a climate-sceptic agenda these days? All the articles are about how climate change isn't happening, or it's no different to usual, or it's not man-made or whatever. Has anyone else noticed this bias emerging?"

That's unfair to El Reg. Look at who writes the articles. It's always Lewis and Andrew. Lewis especially leaps on anything vaguely supportive of his views and tries to turn it into a story; often incorrectly.

It's crap, and it's really tainting the entire publication. We can't go more than a week without Lewis shoving his politics down our gullets, on an entirely non-IT related subject.

I really hope some anti-climate change publication make Lewis a job offer that he can't refuse so, so that we can shift the focus back onto IT and knob puns.

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Megaphone

Re: Agenda?

"I don't know that the Register has an editorial bias. Lewis (and to a degree Andrew Orlowski) do seem to though."

Lewis doesn't SEEM TO have an editorial bias. He HAS an editorial bias.

I could describe it as an 'greenophobia'. Every 'green' speaking is just wrong for him.

Does climate change is happening ? No. Well maybe yes, but not so much, not because of us. It's a big green fascistic conspiracy...

Fukushima ? Great event, all was well, nobody was hurt, no contamination in food and fishes etc.... In a few month when global memory will fade he will probably write an article about the FACT that fukushima didn't happened.

I don't know why I keep reading his articles, some masochism probably.

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Re: Agenda?

In my experience it's quite rare for the mainstream news outlets to stray from the standard pro-AGW reporting. So, yes, the Reg is alternative. Mind you, it appears that Roger Harrabin is starting to get bored of drinking the kool aid in this article about the use of the word "unprecedented" that relates to recent reports about Arctic melting:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19269571

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Mushroom

Re: Agenda?

Maybe because they don't belive in the religius part of the climat politic and publish whatewer FACTS that come to the surface.

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Bronze badge

Re: Agenda?

"I really hope some anti-climate change publication make Lewis a job offer that he can't refuse..."

Some might suggest that application of Occam's Razor indicates they already have.

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FAIL

Re: Agenda?

Lewis is a Parish Vicar of the new dogma so can't afford to be balanced or logical. He has his Holy Trinity to sustain.

Weapons, High Technology and Acronyms.

Sometimes all three come together in one project and he can be seen facing West towards the Pentagon, bowing down and gibbering ecstatically.

Does make The Reg look silly on some big issues but that's religion for you.

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