Feeds

back to article Study: Arctic warming at 'stunning' rate – highest temps in 44,000 years

A recent study has shown that over the past 100 years the average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic have been toastier than at any time for at least the past 44,000 years, and perhaps for as long as 120,000 years. "This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Several problems with this study?

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/24/claim-last-100-years-may-be-warmest-in-120000-years-in-the-arctic-but-not-so-fast/

16
14
Silver badge
Trollface

Send a copy to Lewis...

(We still need that Popcorn icon!)

17
0

If a climate scientist wrote a paper that the sun was coming up tomorrow Watts would find "problems" with it.

Let me know if the American Geophysical Union have any problems with it.

19
16
Anonymous Coward

Have you read the paper yourself, or are you merely "retweeting" the unconscionably biased (and,you must admit, logically challenged) "Watt's Up"? I don't recall exactly, but I do believe that if you look up "tool" in the revered Encyclopedia Britannica, there's an engraving of Anthony Watts accompanying the scholarly entry.

10
20
Silver badge

While

While I think there is some substance to global warming, every day we get information, mis-information and down right poorly researched information to the point where the majority of people really don't care anymore.

Everyone and his aunt come up with a theory and if any of it really does have some truth in it, it has already disappeared into a mire of information that is impossible to make head or tail out of.

14
5
Bronze badge
Facepalm

Re: LarsG

Lars is right. What the story on this article doesn't report is that local climate varies widely throughout the Arctic because of all the water/land interactions (lots of islands, changing currents, floating ice packs, and so forth). Thus, data from a single location (on Baffin Island in this case) doesn't mean much for a spot 100 or 1000 miles away in the Arctic that has a different local climate. Even the authors' assumption that the climate at their dig sites on Baffin Island and at their ice core sites on Greenland 500-1000 miles away is comparable enough to "line them up" is quite questionable.

It's the equivalent of looking at the outside thermometer in Chicago in order to determine if you need to turn on your air conditioning at home in Washington, D.C.

16
3

Re: LarsG

You're using the local weather and they're comparing the climate. Yes. Chicago and Washington have different local weather and average temperatures but do you have any reason to believe that the relationship in average temperatures between the two places has changed over the centuries. 44,000 years ago Chicago wasn't tropical while Washington was ice-bound. It's highly probable that both were equally colder/warmer.

If the two places are at the same latitudes and similar sites eg both large islands it increases the validity of comparing climates. So, you compare sites on Baffin Island and Greenland now and use that difference when comparing data from the past.

8
5

@Michael M

The study does seem to make some fairly remarkable assumptions in extrapolating from samples taken at a couple of sites to the whole Arctic. There's another paper published (Ice core O18 based) that suggests that there have been several periods (pre industrialisation) where there were large shifts in Arctic climate, all from natural causes. So we still have a lot to learn....

This is covered at Judith Curry's site: http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/25/unprecedented-arctic-warming/

9
4
Anonymous Coward

Several problems with that study

Read the wattsup 'study' - anybody who brings the medieval ice age into a discussion about GLOBAL climate change doesn't know what they're talking about.

3
4
Bronze badge
Mushroom

What is Carbon-14?

The article that this link goes to is written by someone who lacks even a basic knowledge of science. Carbon-14 breakdown generally has nothing to do with temperature, exposure, or type of plant. Carbon breakdown is the radiological conversion of an isotope carbon-14 into a stable carbon-12.

The article inferred that all of those affected the measurements and so implied the results could not be trusted. This straw man argument simply show the dire lack of intelligence, an excess of gullibility, and an inherent laziness to not even being willing to look up carbon-14 dating.

5
5
Silver badge

Re: While @LarsG

You're correct and you highlight a problem with the way science is now funded (by popular opinion).

There's a very real risk in the general public having access to actual scientific research in a world with instantaneous global communication. The vast majority of people aren't remotely qualified to pontificate on (or even read) any scientific research and those that are qualified quickly lose their grasp on things when they get too far outside their field. The link in the first post is exactly what's wrong. Real science isn't done by picking apart a paper. You can refute someone's findings in a paper of your own, but that isn't what's been done there.

But the democratization of communications makes everyone 'an expert' who believes that shouting from a tall enough tower will somehow affect reality. As others have noted, El Reg has a bad habit of this. The end result is exactly what you have noted, there is information overload and no way to discriminate. People are mistaken that more eyes on an issue is always better. Sometimes things are better left to eyes that know what they're looking at.

6
6
Anonymous Coward

Re: While

On one side we have over-whelmingconsenus between climatologists that climate change is taking place, on the other side we have pet journalists of companies that have a vested interest in selling us hydocarbons.

Throw in a few side-shows (cost of wind power, taxes, one correction required in a 1,000+ page document, emails who's authors have been exonerated by 5 inquiries) and the demand for 'balance' in reporting - why now? And why give equal voice to those who are acknowledged experts in their field and those that have no knowledge of the subject?

The best explanation of the situation was written by a guest writer in the Albuquerque Journal 3 years ago entitled 'The Real Climate Controversy'. Sadly its not on their website but has been reproduced elsewehere,e.g.http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/HumSocNewMex/conversations/topics/2058

6
10
Silver badge

Not at all.

His picture is under "Shill".

0
2
Silver badge

Re: While

Since I'm an engineer, I like to point out that from an engineering perspective, there's a major point about climate change that the press doesn't like to discuss and politicians twist into unrecognizable shapes and plots. How do we cope with it?

In the vast majority of engineered solutions you don't can't concern yourself with the root causes of things, that's an Adams-SEP. Your job is to find solutions that modify the certainties of unmanageable/uncontrollable things so that their impacts are either neutralized or harnessed to further another end. You only concern yourself with the things that you can affect.

If we assume that the general scientific consensus is correct, and that the planet is in fact warming, it's a rather pointless endeavor to focus State level resources on changing that. It's like trying to alter gravity with policy; misguided, pointless, and frankly, stupid. There's no harm in doing simply good things, like not being wasteful and not living like an entitled jackass, but none of those things are going to alter global climate shift, no matter what the cause.

Everyday things like building materials, cooling and water management systems and even surface treatments (paints) need to be reassessed and standards updated to deal with a different climate or the real, physical effects on Human civilization at our current scale will be drastic. If we waste all our time bickering about the cause(s) of the shift, we're all going to be in a world of shit when the bricks and cement our structures are built with start to degrade at a pace we can't outrun.

One of our larger long term projects that has already been underway for over two years and involving four other research facilities, is the study of corrosion inhibitors (paint) for exposed infrastructure components that cope better with increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Without much fanfare, the major providers of corrosion inhibitors for structures like bridges, water towers and wind turbines downgraded the life expectancies of their products; five years ago.

Most industries know there is a burning problem, but the hot potato that climate change has become prevents anyone from wanting to talk about it in public because there's a very real risk of backlash from an uneducated and scientifically ignorant public. If the levels of rhetoric and bullshit were scaled back (Lewis...) then actual, manageable problems could be addressed. Until the bullshit level reaches a background level no one can actually do much of anything.

22
1
Anonymous Coward

What distinguishes scientific knowledge from other forms of knowledge is its predictive value. While there is historical data supporting a claim that the sun will rise tomorrow, it is inductive, not deductive, reasoning. It is only valid until a contrary event occurs. It is like the proposition that all swans are white. Then black swans were discovered in Australia, making the proposition false. So, yes, there are problems with such a paper without an appropriate qualification.

2
1
Headmaster

Re: While

Why give equal voice to those who are acknowledged experts in their field and those that have no knowledge of the subject? Because although they might have no knowledge of paleoclimatology, they might actually know something about statistics.

And no, I don't work for Shell or BP or Exxon or...

4
4
Silver badge

Re: While

Statistics huh. Well, statistically, the further outside ones area of specialization one goes, the more personal biases and opinion come into play. Just like being too close to something warps your perceptions of it, so does being too far away from it.

Besides, scientists that don't have tremendously comprehensive maths and statistics educations are almost exclusively a product of a few European countries and North America. Here in the States and in the UK there has been a serious decline over the last fourty years in the amount of education a 'scientist' receives. In South America and Japan, students entering any given scientific field of study know more advanced math, chemistry, physics, meterology, geology and biology that many post-docs from the US or UK. They learn the core components of all science before they move into a specialization. It improves their research, and it helps prevent them from being 'fooled' by shoddy research.

The move away from a traditional scientific education is a real problem, as scientific marketing is used to fill the knowledge gaps and marketing is still marketing, even if it comes from people in lab coats. The US and the UK already lost their leads in research leadership and their leads in quantity of output are only maintained by the massive amount of marketing dollars thrown at the industry. It's actually quite sad.

7
1
Silver badge
Thumb Up

@Don Jefe: "... Since I am an engineer....."

That howling noise you could hear in the background was me cheering loudly.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: While

I was just thinking the same thing.

Let's forget arguing over whether its real or not, let's forget stupid trivialities like emissions trading schemes and 5p plastic bag charges and let's forget duplicitous environmental taxes. Instead let's take some sensible precautions and power-saving measures but realise that we've outsourced manufacturing to China so its unlikely that anything we do will make an enormous difference.

Then let's think about how we deal with rising seas. Do we need to plan to shift London inland a bit? Where are the flood plains? What happens to food sources, water, electrics and communications infrastructure if seas rise.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm getting bored with people running around shouting that the sky is falling. Of course climatologists and researchers are going to say its a disaster - they would be unimportant (and unfunded) if it wasn't and of course the energy companies are going to say "buy more of our stuff" because that is what they do. If the scientific consensus is AGW is true, I'm not sure if publishing yet another paper about it is really what we need or just self-serving. What we need is some planning, which is really what we employ government for.

5
1
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: While

"The US and the UK already lost their leads in research leadership and their leads in quantity of output are only maintained by the massive amount of marketing dollars thrown at the industry. It's actually quite sad."

Woooo! A non-Brit critisising something to do with Britain! The horror! :-) [ just a joke in reference to a oost I made a few days ago]

Seriously though, you are unfortunately totally right - we. don't develop much here in the UK anymore - and on the rare occasions we do, the people involved generally seem to emigrate to America to continue that development.

I can't commenfdirectly about America, but I'm sure it's far worse in the UK - after all, you have MIT, Silicon Valley, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, apple etc.

Last I heard, even Tim berners-Lee made the USA his home

2
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: While

@Don Jefe - "Without much fanfare, the major providers of corrosion inhibitors for structures like bridges, water towers and wind turbines downgraded the life expectancies of their products; five years ago."

That reminds me of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything where he tells that while the rest of the world were arguing about whether plate tectonics was reality or fantasy, oil geologists had been busy using using those assumptions to successfully locate drilling sites for a decade or so.

5
0
Bronze badge
Unhappy

Re: While

It used to be that a referreed study meant a quality check, now it just means that it has been checked to comply with orthodox global warming group-think.

7
6
Bronze badge
Unhappy

Re: Several problems with that study

On the other hand, anybody that can't explain the climate changes in the medieval period shouldn't be allowed to publish an article on climate change.

6
1
Silver badge

Re: While

You do understand how peer review works, right? I'm not entirely sure you do. It isn't any failing on your part, it is a common misunderstanding. I will attempt to summarize below:

When a paper is sent to a jury for review, they assess your methodologies and make sure that they could result in the findings you are reporting. They don't replicate the experiments or validate your data. They don't agree or disagree with your findings, that's the job of other scientists who may refute your findings with their own study.

After a study is published things do get rather more complex and intensive where the 'value' of your findings are determined by factors like how often it is cited, whether the journal is open or subscription based (open is not a positive thing in that regard) and how recent it is. All those factors, and more, are tallied into score called the 'impact factor' and that is what determines if the general scientific community will accept your findings, beyond a subset of minority parties. Most agency and academic research and grant applications have a minimum impact factor requirement which limits the inclusion of cited works to those with a fairly high impact factor.

Private and industry research generally doesn't have impact factor minimums and it limits the acceptance of their lobbying findings in high quality research circles. That's why you rarely see industry research cited in academic papers, private parties have no real controls on what they can cite: They can dig up some loonies research from 1913 and throw it at the public (who it is aimed at anyway) and act like it is valid because it was peer reviewed.

All that to say, that peer review is the first public step in the quality control protections built into the scientific process. You can clear the peer review hurdle with some pretty ridiculous findings if your methodologies are solid, but there are other, far more rigorous, tests that the research must pass before it is accepted as a general consensus.

Never in 150+ years has peer review itself been a measure of validity and it isn't supposed to be. The general misunderstanding of peer review by the public is another great example of how college level education is being squandered by failing to teach in broad, core principals and processes in exchange for ever increasing specialization and 'business' classes.

7
0
Bronze badge

Well, I am afraid that I must admit to having some part in that.

Sorry, but I really love beans!

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: While

"Everyone and his aunt come up with a theory and if any of it really does have some truth in it, it has already disappeared into a mire of information that is impossible to make head or tail out of."

Well, if you owned a petroleum company, you'd be investing in misinformation by the supertanker load as well to protect your business and profit.

1
5

I've read the paper. Genrally, Miller has turned out some pretty good research, but this one is very sloppy. He even refers to Baffin Island as being east of Greenland (it's to the west). Temps could have been warmer in the past but not for a period long enough to sufficiently melt the glacier to expose the moss. At the very least he should have included a minimum time period of warmth (if the past were warmer it was for a time period less than that required to melt ice 70 meters thick). He over ran his headlights on this one. Maybe he isn't monitoring the work of his grad students enough.

3
0

Re: While @LarsG

What is the field of expertise of the author of this paper, is it paleontology, geology, glaciers, or climate? The problem with climate is that it requires an understanding of many fields of science, denying anyone from being a true 'expert'. A climatologist could spend an entire career going down one path - say the physics of gases - believing his field best explained climate changes, while the true driver of climate was intergalactic cosmic rays, a subject completely foreign to him. The probability is, that in this fiield, everybody is right about something, but no one is right about enough things for climate to be understood. Climate quite possibly the sum of everything possible - from cosmic rays to volcanoes to ocean cycles, with the final result depending on the relative strengths of many, many variables at any given time.

3
0

Re: Several problems with that study

Do you have a problem with the dozens of peer-reviewed studies documenting the evidence of a medieval warm period at numerous places all over the globe? You will find that the 'consensus' is that it was a global event.

3
0

Re: While

I don't give a rap who supports what. The fact that Mussolini dictated that trains run on schedule does not diminish the value of trains running on time.

The data over th last seventeen years show that all the CO2 we've dumped into the air has not resulted in warmer temperatures. The climate changes - it always has - and we really have no clue as to why or how.

9
5

Re: While

"If we assume that the general scientific consensus is correct, and that the planet is in fact warming,"

Are you sure you're an Engineer? One who actually designs things?

As an Engineer who does I'm not taking anyones word that "it'll all work OK", I want to convince myself this is the case, I want to see the raw data. In the case of CAGW...

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1850

...it convinces me we have nothing to worry about.

2
1
Pint

Re: While

"While I think there is some substance to global warming, every day we get information, mis-information and down right poorly researched information to the point where the majority of people really don't care anymore."

Mission Accomplished! For the extremely well-financed oil and coal salesmen.

1
4

Re: While

I've been trying to point this out to friends for years, but I just get shouted down as a "Denier".

Kind of like a guy with a bad leg infection, the Doctor puts all his energy into attempting to save the limb, and none into researching what prosthetics and changes to his lifestyle might be needed in the even of amputation.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: While

As a rather successful engineer, I recognize the fact that attempting to do scientific research from by bedroom is not effective. If you are an engineer then the vast majority of your work is based 100% on the word of others.

Do you reanalyze formulas or materials data to prove that underlying knowledge and material you're using to construct a pressurized vessel are valid? Fuck no. You accept the findings of others and you base your work off of that. If you're trying to refute every piece of information you are given you are not an effective engineer. You must trust other people word at some point.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: While

Google what Burt Rutan had to say. His 40 page presentation cuts through the bullshit like few others

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: While

Don, I assume in you 160+ years, you exclude the past decade or so where the pro-AGW crowd have pretty much educated Joe Public to believe that "peer reviewed" = "absolute scientific truth"?

From Hansen down the chain, the "peer reviewed" card has been very heavily played, and it is proven that a cadre of pro AGW "scientists" has managed to hijack the process to limit the publication of offending papers.

We need lots more research where the exercise is not to "prove" AGW, but to falsify it (though AGW is so nebulous that falsification in a strict sense is not logically possible, which I guess is the point ...). There is way too much confirmation bias in way to much reasearch that is funded to "look for a signal" in the noise that points to the magic CO2 tap that, when turned off, will mystically stave of the impending eco-doom.

4
0

Tool ?

Well, that would be an ad hom attack then...

Anything useful to say ?

0
0
Silver badge

Re: While

"Google what Burt Rutan had to say. His 40 page presentation cuts through the bullshit like few others"

Burt Rutan is a good example of why engineers don't necessarily make good scientists.

On page 27 he displays a graph of temperature and solar activity which is presented as "temperature correlates with the sun not hydrocarbon use".

Several problems, but here are the two major ones:

1. the graph shows Arctic temperature, not global temperature. Why? If the subject is global warming surely you compare global temperature with solar activity. Interesting fact: global temperature doesn't correlate well with the solar activity trend. Was that why arctic was used instead?

2. The graph only goes up to 2002. It omits the sharp downturn in solar activity since 2002 at the same time as a sharp increase in arctic temperature that completely smashes the solar/temperature correlation. A convenient omission.

You tell me the explanation for why Burt Rutan used this graph. Perhaps engineers don't have as high standards when it comes to analyzing theories?

Here's a more accurate graph:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Temp-sunspot-co2.svg

Why didn't he use that?

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: While

--- Why give equal voice to those who are acknowledged experts in their field and those that have no knowledge of the subject?

Science and the Scientific Method is such that disinterested parties, or even parties which strongly disagree, should be able to come up with the same results after following the same procedures. This is how The Truth is determined in the Modern World.

If the raw data, processes, and procedures are not made available for disinterested parties - then it is not science. The conclusions expressed without raw data and procedures are little more than dogma. People tire of this religion, pushed by politicians, trying to scare common people into paying tax indulgences.

These new "Salem Witch Trials" go to burn people "at the stake" who dare to disagree with the new "High Priests" publishing their "concensus" papers citing unpublished/non-existent raw data massaged with proprietary algorithms funded by public moneies... those monies could melt-away, like an ice cap in our modern day, if there was no alarm bell struck, in order to call for more taxes & funding for the next rounds of studies.

We clearly see why people are so unfortunately sceptical about Anthropogenic Global Warming. Get rid of the religion and let's get down to the hard-science. All the data, models, and procedures should be public. There is nothing more poisonous than secret raw data, secret procedures, and concensus of individuals who will lose their funding (or possible future funding) if the fatwa they declare does not their next welfare payment by "The State".

4
0

Re: While

"If you are an engineer then the vast majority of your work is based 100% on the word of others."

I only have to 'believe' a few basic principles, much of our lab work at university was showing these hold true. Everything else can be derived and tested.

"You accept the findings of others and you base your work off of that"

Only if they seem sensible and the results make sense.

Unlike....

The same amount of warming between 1910 - 1940 as 1970 - 2000 with much less CO2 in the air.

No warming since 2000 with 8% more (than 2000) CO2 in the air.

Climate 'models' continue to show an increased rate of warming.

Can you point to a peer reviewed climate model? Can you indicate the quality standards the climate models are developed to?

3
0
Silver badge

Re: You do understand how peer review works, right?

That's only how they want you to THINK peer review works. The truth is something entirely different.

I worked as the DTP for a respected (in its field) scientific journal (closed at the time because open wasn't around then, not sure what it is today but I expect still closed since that was the second largest source of how the NPO behind it got its money, the first being its standards book used by an entire industry). Standard practice was for the author(s) of a paper to recommend at least three people to review the submitted paper. They were the people who typically reviewed the paper for technical accuracy. We had very few papers that weren't published after the author was able to respond to or incorporate criticism from the review. After the paper was peer reviewed it underwent an "English" review. Usually this was fine and it was the equivalent of a literary technical review. I do however recall one paper where the last "English" reviewer rewrote the whole paper with the author. The editor only realized what happened 30 days before the publication date. It was temporarily held, got a cursory secondary technical review and was published.

I have a friend with a Masters in Mathematics who has written papers. He frequently remarks that the fields are so narrow that you always know who the relevant people in your area are. And there is no way to hide who the actual reviewers are when you receive their reviews even though the names are removed. So you can't either freely criticize or freely defend your study, you always have to consider the political implications of what you write/say.

In short whether the system works as an honest quality control or a Politburo censorship board depends entirely on what the intentions of the reviewers are. And that fundamentally is the problem with the politicization of AGW/Climate Change is. Because the money holders and the leading researchers are working hand-in-hand while engaging in the name calling of Denialists for skeptics reviewing their work they are most likely working like a Politburo, not an honest review committee.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: This is how The Truth is determined in the Modern World.

A generally good post, but this line is a major nit.

The Modern World generally has no use for The Truth let alone a working definition of it. Between Heisenberg, Darwin, Hegel, and Popper The Truth went the way of the Dodo. To the extent it exists today The Truth is what the AWG proclaim to their fellow cultists. What Science does pursue these days are Facts. Facts which can be independently verified, tested, and repeated. These Facts are generally analyzed with proven statistical methodologies. Substitute "Facts" for "The Truth" in your post and I'd be in complete concurrence.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: This is how The Truth is determined in the Modern World.

So A desktop publisher (glorified Data Entry), who types in Science articals, who has a friend in maths, intends to lecture the rest of world in peer review, Yet dismisses out of hand the opposing argument, as nonsense, or is that what your friend told you to say ? maybe you waiting on voices in your head to confirm it or did you read it your bible, because I find hard to listen to someone who goes on about truth & facts, and quotes bible fairy stories, in later posts here ...

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

It must be us!

Assumption is not proof.

10
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: It must be us!

If everything else has been examined, the assumption holds water until an alternative is found.

Its called 'The Scientific Process' and the word 'proof' only applies to mathematics.

I.e. with the current level of knowledge the only explanation for this phenomenon is man is causing it.

If we discover that there is a race of mole men creating CO2 to destroy the surface of the planet for us, then obviously the assumption would have to be revised. If you have any eveidence of that, or any other possible cause(s) for this that have already been considered and ruled out, speak out. I'm sure the coal & petro-chemical industries would be happy to provide you with the billions they've been paying to PR companies to attempts rubbish reputation (as they can't rubbish the science) -don't forget, these are the same companies that still tell us that smoking is fine, as is passive smoking. Money beats morals.

3
5
Silver badge

Re: It must be us!

I hope we do discover a race of mole-people who are attempting to change our environment to better suit themselves.

Not only would it be a lot more fun that way, it would also eliminate a lot of the finger pointing that's preventing anyone from doing productive in all this.

7
1

Re: It must be us!

"I.e. with the current level of knowledge the only explanation for this phenomenon is man is causing it."

There are other explanations. It could very well be part of the natural cycle. IMO you first have to prove the current observations are outside the natural cycle before you even start looking at the alternatives.

Sadly, with only 30-odd years of satellite data, and (at most) two centuries of manual data collection of various quality -- how can you draw any conclusions at all concerning a 1 degree warming over the timespan of a century?

As for this report -- that island is geographically limited. This report deals with local clima variations, clearly not global ones. (isn't that what is often said when someone points out that Greenland recently used to be ...green?)

4
1

Re: It must be us!

Nonsense. A hypothesis with no supporting evidence is not accepted even if no other alternative is proposed. In this specific case, no one can explain why, if the assumption of CO2 warming is valid, temps have failed to go up over the last 16 years. We can discard the climate models because they have been proven to be wrong, despite having no alternative models.

And the money spent promoting AGW dwarfs anything spent questioning it. The evil-oil company meme has grown tiresome. They are energy companies and will be selling us energy in whatever form produces the most profit. The money that started East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, a main proponent of AGW, came from Shell and other energy companies.

4
1

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.