back to article Greenland ice loss rates 'one-third' of what was thought

The rate at which ice is disappearing from Greenland and Western Antarctica has been seriously overestimated, according to new research. Contrasting estimates of Greenland ice melt. Previous analysis in blue: New in red. The colour bands represent uncertainty. Credit: Nature Geoscience 'Deviates rather sharply from general …

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  1. Rob Farnell

    What the previous researchers need to do

    is get out all their SUV's and other CO2/Methane exhaling commodoties and constantly belch them out until the reality matches the original predictions made. Or, they could just let India and China do it for them.

    Maybe West Antartica has a newly formed volcano area or maybe it is just aliens.

    1. alwarming
      Paris Hilton

      very soon the new research will be old

      and a newer research will say this research overestimated the underestimation.

      Paris, coz she never undermates.

  2. Tony Barnes

    2mm in 6 years?

    So in 1000 year we can expect the oceans to have risen a little over 1 foot as a result of this.

    Forgive me if this doesn't seem like a scary thought...

    1. Elmer Phud
      Alert

      Short Term Memories?

      Maybe we're still coming out of the last ice age and humans place too much importance on themselves. Think they own the place and they've only been around a short time.

      Planet farts and the scum on the top gets disturbed - nothing new.

  3. envmod
    FAIL

    this is a title that i am writing in the space allocated for needless titles

    lol, at any form of climate "research". what a fucking joke.

    1. Tim Parker

      +9 Insightful

      The dark ages are calling, they want their rationality back...

    2. Ainteenbooty
      Thumb Down

      Ironic of you to mention the dark ages.

      Then we assumed that the sun and planets revolved around us, and now we assume the climate does.

      1. Tim Parker

        ..an unpleasant lack of irony

        The point made by the poster was that there is no form of research into what makes our climate tick - to demonstrate or refute anything, by anyone - that amounts to a hill of beans. It's all a 'fucking joke'.

        No mention of who controls what (or rather doesn't) was made - and no-one worth their salt 'assumes' anything about that in the scientific debate about climate, regardless of their stance.

        Not that it matters of course - we've been told the it's all a 'fucking joke' and that's that. Decisive thinking of that calibre must surely come from some powerful knowledge indeed.

  4. Broccoli Spears
    Go

    so..

    seeing as our gubbermint's response in real terms to the impending potential catastrophe of climate change has been approximately f*** all, does this mean they only have to do one third of f*** all to prevent it now?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "as little as 500 gigatonnes"

    Even as a AGW skeptic I find it laughable that 500 gigatonnes of anything can be described as "as little as"

    Sure, they got the figures wrong, massively and embarrassingly so, but the difference seems to be between whether only "shit loads" of ice has melted rather than "fuck loads".

    1. Barely registers
      Flame

      500 gigatonnes = 0.021%

      1km^3 of ice weighs 0.9 Gt, so 500 Gt = 555km^3 ice.

      Volume of Greenland ice approx. 2,600,000 km^3 according to USGS.

      So, ice loss in the 6 years between 2003 and 2009 is 555/2,600,000 = 0.0214%. At that rate it will ice-free in AD30090.

      Put into context, 500Gt of Greenland ice looks like 'fuck all', not 'fuck loads'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You drink it then

        If it is so small an amount.

        1. andy 45

          @Lee and the other plums

          Lee -

          "You drink it then

          If it is so small an amount."

          I will drink 2mm of water every 100 years or so - that should stop the sea level rise.

          1. Daniel Evans

            That, sir, is a length.

            Bit hard to drink a length of water.

            Also, I thought normal humans had this awfully disgusting habit of excreting every so often - or did I get it wrong, meaning humans actually store all the water they consume, ever?

          2. Jean-Luc Silver badge
            Joke

            3 dimensions vs. 1

            you can drink a volume of water, not a height of water.

          3. Steven Jones

            @Andy 45

            Good luck with your drinking. With the oceans covering about 3.6 × 10^8 sq km, 2mm is 7.2 x 10^11 tonnes, or 7.2 x 10^14 litres. Divide that by 100 years, or about 3.16 x 10^9 seconds and that amounts to around 228 tonnes per second, or, in international standard units, one Olympic swimming pool every 12 seconds or so.

            That's some thirst you have there and as you aren't going to be able to excrete any of that, you might feel a trifle bloated.

            Nb. you might also like to speak to your doctor about the salt intake in your diet should you follow this noble route.

            1. Marcus Aurelius
              Go

              It can be used for

              Saline solution to fill Bulgarian funbags. I wait some some expert on Register weights and measures to tell me how many the solution would fill.

    2. Steve Murphy
      Dead Vulture

      You expect unbiased reporting from here?

      Don't forget this is the register. Unqualified "journalists" regurgitating press releases, litter the article with their climate change denial.

      The irony is, while trying to deny climate change, they are reporting an article that states it is happening.

      The register need its own section on badscience - though it may well just link back to the original site.

  6. JaitcH
    Unhappy

    These discoveries should not be used as excuses for inaction

    The trouble with suppositions that global warning is not as bad as first envisioned is that even LESS will be done to stop the otherwise inevitable.

    Bush showed what a dummy can do when most of science was running against him so we should be on guard against complacency - think of all the wonders of nature that have disappeared already.

    The UK will lose it's 'Gulf Stream', Manhattan will become submerged and London's geography will be rewritten and who knows how ever increasing populations will be fed from ever decreasing arable land masses.

    I'm getting on in years but I do my part - avoiding use of my car, recycling heat between exhaust and intake air on my central system, solar water heating, etc. - not for me, but for the future generations.

    1. envmod

      needless title no.2

      "the UK will lose it's Gulf Stream"

      WTF?

      1. Joel 1
        Headmaster

        Could be...

        The melting of the Greenland Ice cap could indeed lead to the Gulf Stream ceasing, and paradoxically for the British climate to get colder.

        The Gulf Stream is driven by thermohaline (heat and salinity) flow and sinks off the coast of N Europe to form the Atlantic Conveyor deep water current which then heads south, and eventually to the Indian Ocean and thence back as surface warm currents via the Carribean and back to Europe as the Gulf Stream.

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

        However, fresh water is less dense than saline water. If the Greenland ice cap melts, it will dilute the salinity of the Gulf Stream, and could reach the critical point where the cooling Gulf Stream water is no longer saline enough (and hence dense enough) to sink and form the Atlantic Conveyor. This will then break the cycle, and the Gulf Stream will cease (for a period).

        This is believed to have happened in the past, when the melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet over N. America resulted in a massive ice-dammed lake (Lake Agassiz). Further melting then released the dam, and a massive amount of water poured into the Atlantic, and for a period the Gulf Stream stopped. This led to a renewed ice age for a time as the flow of heat from the equator to the north stopped (Younger Dryas stadial).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        Its true!

        We're going to buy a Lear Jet instead.

      3. EvilGav 1

        This May or May Not Be a Title

        The theory goes that, if the ice melt from Greenland increases at the rate previously envisaged (and now appears to be bunk), that the resulting cold fresh-water flow into the North Atlantic would push the Gulf Stream south-wards, resulting in much colder weather in the British Isles.

        What isn't clear from any of the models is how the flow would be affected in the manner predicted. There are arguments that the net effect of the cold water ingress could result in pushing the gulf stream further north, due to vortices created around the eastern edge of the cold water.

        It's all highly speculative.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But is it anthropogenic?

      You're assuming that human activity is responsible for climate change. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't - there's a bit of a debate about that at the moment:-) Personally, I walk to work and to the shops, but I really don't know if it makes any difference.

      What is utterly certain is that climate change and sea level change is totally normal and happens all the time, witness the pebble beaches half way up hillsides in the Scottish Isles and the amount of land-mammal bones fished up from the previously dry bed of the North Sea.

      1. Simon.W
        WTF?

        3 questions

        1. Does CO2 in the atmosphere retain heat?

        2. Does burning fossilised organic matter generate CO2?

        3. Was fossilised organic matter being burnt at the same rate before people started digging it out of the ground to burn?

        1. andy 45

          @SimonW

          In answer to your questions:

          1. Does CO2 in the atmosphere retain heat? Yes

          2. Does burning fossilised organic matter generate CO2? Yes

          3. Was fossilised organic matter being burnt at the same rate before people started digging it out of the ground to burn?

          Possibly more so (from things lke volcanoes/forest fires etc, possibly less so. You still have to take into account many other things such as the output of the sun and the fact that clouds also keep the warmth in. Whether man has increased the warming of the planet is still under debate but if he has it doesnt seem to be having any effect.

          1. strum Silver badge

            @andy 45

            >3. Was fossilised organic matter being burnt at the same rate before people started digging it out of the ground to burn?

            >Possibly more so

            What utter, mind-numbing twaddle. In the past 100 years, we have burnt fossiled carbon that took millions of years to accumulate.

            1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
              FAIL

              That's nothing!

              Today I broke a stone with my hammer that had been around for hundreds of millions of years!

              Why don't you think about what you are saying, instead of mouthing insults and cliches...?

          2. John Hughes
            Unhappy

            Volcanoes aren't fossils, neither are trees.

            3. Was fossilised organic matter being burnt at the same rate before people started digging it out of the ground to burn?

            "Possibly more so (from things lke volcanoes/forest fires etc,"

            We know total CO2 output from volcanoes. It is a fraction of the output from burning fossil fuels.

            Trees aren't fossils. Burning forests does not increase long term CO2 concentration (where do you think the carbon in the trees came from?).

            Why are we still at the point where people who don't have a clue feel like they can add their 0.05EUR before making an effort to find out what the fuck is going on?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          WTF?

          @ 3 questions

          Man's widespread clearing of forests and management of the remainder has reduced the amount of fuel available for natural forest fires (e.g. caused by lightning). This has been going on for thousands of years. Why didn't we see a corresponding dip in global temperatures caused by reduced forest fire CO2 emissions?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @@ 3 questions

            At the risk of sounding serious, the natural loss of flora is one thing, but the whole sale clear cutting & burning of, say, the amazon forest is another. I read one artical that theorized that over 40% of the increase in CO2 in the past 30 years can be attributed to Brazil burning trees to make room for cattle ranches.

            Considering that the Amazon river basin has been referred to as the "lungs of the world", at the rate they're destroying the forest down there, it's only a matter of time that the natural oxygen product ceases to be net gain and gets closer to a net-neutral or possible net-loss. Then we're all screwed.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Down

            Forest Clearing

            For multiple reasons - we still grow a lot of plant life in that cleared area - it has not been replaced by barren land - but now much of it is cut down annually (i.e. crops) insead of falling down every century (i.e. trees); however the growth levels (and hence CO2 consumption) are similar.

            Contrast this with the burning of roughly 100,000,000 years worth of fossil hydrocarbons in roughly 100 years, to see why this may be doing more damage than replacing trees with corn.

            We know we can collectively affect the atmosphere - the Ozone holes created by 30 years of CFCs in hairspray and fridges demonstrates that - so the idea that the vast amounts of heat retaining CO2 we have added to the atmosphere will have no affect seems at best cavalier and at worst a selfish delusion to keep our familiar comforts irrespective of future costs.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Coat

          A pedant writes...

          2. Does burning fossilised organic matter generate CO2?

          3. Was fossilised organic matter being burnt at the same rate before people started digging it out of the ground to burn?

          Fossilisation means to turn to stone. Therefore 'fossilised organic matter' is stone and is unlikely to burn.

          Do not confuse with "fossil fuels" such as coal and oil, which are extracted from the ground, and do get burnt. And yes we are definitely burning more now than in the past, if only because there are vastly more humans on the planet than there were when coal/peat was first burnt instead of firewood.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Flame

          Where did Vikings and _Green_land disappear?

          4. question:

          Was there warm period, much, much warmer than now, in 10. century?

          Yes, there was. Obviously that was also caused by burning fossil fuel.

          Greenland was actually green and you could survive there by farming and cattle. Good luck for doing that now. That would require almost 10 C warmer climate than now, on average.

      2. strum Silver badge

        @AC

        >You're assuming that human activity is responsible for climate change.

        Most of the people who know what they're talking about believe it is. So, where do you get your complacency from?

        How certain do you have to be, before you take steps to avoid major damage?

        If 98% of aeronautic engineers said that a particular plane had a 90% chance of crashing, would you ignore them - because the airline assured you it was perfectly safe?

        1. pan2008

          maybe

          What about if the aeronautical engineers didn't get paid if they didn't say that?

        2. Tom 13

          Re: Most of the people who know...

          "Most of the people who scream the loudest believe it is."

          There, fixed that for you.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Flame

          Paid opinions, what a surprise

          "Most of the people who know what they're talking about believe it is."

          Essentially meaning that they don't have a clue what they are talking about. Either they are naive or get paid to say what they are saying: You have to remember that "climate research" is billion whatever, dollars, euros, pounds, bussiness and billions buy _a lot of yes-men_.

          How many of these people make their living from saying what they are saying? Tell us.

          When you get paid to say what you say, it doesn't matter what you know, you say what you are paid to say. That applies to anyone, even you and me.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Flame

            Re: Paid opinions, what a surprise

            "You have to remember that "climate research" is billion whatever, dollars, euros, pounds, bussiness and billions buy _a lot of yes-men_."

            Ooh, all those people spending *so* *much* *money*, ooh, could be up to a billion dollars! Look up the profits of the major oil companies and clue up on where the real money is. Then clue up on how much of an agenda that's likely to be setting in contrast to the comparatively poorly funded and frequently vilified climate researchers.

        4. Andy Goss

          Engineers know how things work

          Aeronautical engineers have had over a century to refine their expertise. "Climate science" is so new that most if not all the "climate scientists" were actually trained in other disciplines, which they are now valiantly bringing to bear on the horribly complex task of understanding how our climate works.

          That's the first task, the second should be to assess how our activities are impacting the climate. Unfortunately the scientists are being pressured to perform the second task first, with predictable consequences.

          Most people would agree that polluting the air, sea, and land is a bad idea, and is going to have unpleasant consequences sooner or later. Irrespective of the AGW debate, perhaps this would be a good time to recognise this and act, before the consequences manifest themselves.

      3. John Hughes
        Unhappy

        Debate?

        "You're assuming that human activity is responsible for climate change. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't - there's a bit of a debate about that at the moment:-)"

        Is there?

        Who are the participants in this "debate". How many of them have the vaguest clue what they're talking about?

        1. elderlybloke
          Linux

          Debate?

          John Hughes,

          We know that the participants who have the vaguest clue are the those who share our own opinions.

      4. Jolyon

        Athropogenic

        This isn't as important as those fillibustering the debate would have us think.

        If it is happening and if it is undesirable then whether or not we are directly causing it is not urgently relevant - the primary concern is what we can do to slow / halt / reverse it.

        -

        Agree with the suggestion that The Register displays a tremendous lack of impartiality on these matters; I guess the biases on the various subjects that get the Vulture's goat are what gives it the particular character we all know.

      5. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        I suggest you start smoking

        Because you know, there has been a lot of debate about tobacco being bad or not.

        Earth is geting hotter, and that is a fact. Are we responsible? We are not sure, but we do know is that we are afecting the climate, in the wrong way (more heat).

        As for the bones you are referring.. ahem, if you are ignorant, please don0r speak too much ;)

        But I will not refrain from consuming, it is stupid to do so if the rest of the world continues to pollute...

    3. Hector K Spankthrust III
      FAIL

      Errr too much Hollywood????

      JaitcH,

      you do know that The Day After Tomorrow was a fictional dont you? Bad fiction but fiction none the less.

      I'm going to shatter a couple of other illusions for you, Father Christmas doesnt exist and neither does the tooth fairy.

      TTFN!

      1. L.B
        Thumb Down

        Perhaps you should try getting information from somewhere else...

        Just because Hollywood makes a totally crap film, does not mean that the scientific theories based on real research by oceanographers is not valid.

        Although most of the media focuses on Greenland Ice melting, there have been other sources that increase fresh water entering the north Atlantic, mainly due to increased rain fall over northern Europe due to the general warming of the oceans, which cases more evaporation, which causes more rain.

        The later effects on the weather (ie: more wind & rain) are the reason “Global Warming” was re-named “Climate Change” as the average mental midgets in society could understand why the former didn't mean having hot summers.

        To those how cannot (or refuse to) believe that humans can effect the climate, do you also believe that we didn't cause deaths by pollution and smog in 1950's London, or that almost every river in the western world was devoid of life 40-50 years ago, and today in China.

        I suppose you also think we have nothing to do with fish stocks being destroyed in just about every sea/ocean; I mean they are so big how can our little fishing boats do that!

    4. Mountford D

      Are we not just a bit egocentric

      in thinking that we can control global systems?

      As other readers have correctly pointed out that climate change had been occurring throughout Earth's history, all of which are due to "natural" causes. Man's (I use that term generically) residency on this planet is nothing but a mere speck in Earth's timeline and we will all be dead, extinct and gone before Earth loses her natural ability to support carbon-based life-forms. Considering that Earth has been hit by at least one, if not more asteroids that wiped out most of lfe as we know it and we are here is a great testament to her tenacity to support life.

      Personally I try and pollute and use up resources as little as I can for the simple reason that I actually like living in a clean environment and do not like wasting resources and money (I am a tight-fisted git). What I am not prepared to do is give up my lifestyle and pander to the hypocritical Green lobby so that they can salve their conscience to my detriment.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Boffin

        @Mountford D

        "Are we not just a bit egocentric in thinking that we can control global systems?"

        In a word yes.

        The classic existence proof was the discovery of a hole in the Ozone layer over the poles seen in the early 90's.

        The key point was that the CFC's identified as a key cause had a *very* precise initial manufacture date (1933 IIRC). This implied that human activity *can* change global climate (there being no CFC mfg plants within a couple of thousand Km's of the Poles) on a *very* short (by geological timescales) basis.

        Are we doing it with CO2? That's another question entirely.

      2. John Hughes
        Unhappy

        Egocentrism

        "Are we not just a bit egocentric in thinking that we can control global systems?"

        Who claimed to control them?

        Are we being egocentric in thinking that we can affect global systems?

        No.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Welcome

      @ ... "inaction".

      While your post is well intended, I think your priorities are a little misplaced.

      I, for one, would like to salute our CO2 producing overlords because that’s where plants get one of the basic components needed for photosynthesis. If I remember the whole concept of “cellular respiration”, during this process, a plant cell takes a lot of CO2, combines it with Oxygen, water and sunlight, chews it all up and digests it and the waste results in a net reduction of CO2 and a net increase in Oxygen. I want to say it’s like a 5 or 6 to one ratio. But I’m not a biologist, so I could be wrong.

      I’d be more concerned by the ravages of Dihydrogen Monoxide. Throughout the course of a single day, Digydhydrogen Monoxide does 10,000 times more damage than any mass release of “greenhouse gasses”. Write Congress; call your MP; hell, stand on the street corner and demand sweeping reform to control this ugly chemical. Countless thousands of needless deaths of people, cattle and God knows how much property damage is caused by this environmental disaster.

      Act now!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        @bws - It's true, run for the hills!

        Dihydrogen Monoxide is indeed very dangerous. I've seen reports that in severe cases of exposure, it can kill a person in around three minutes, and that's when it's in an inert state. And when it gets hot, it gets even worse, merely being near it can cause serious burns.

        And what's more worrying is that I can guarantee everyone has at least some in their house somewhere, it's generally included at the constriction stage, like asbestos used to be.

        How the governments of the world have kept this highly toxic substance quiet all this time is beyond me.

        Dihydrogen Monoxide is dangerous. FACT

        Dihydrogen Monoxide can cause serious injury. FACT

        Dihydrogen Monoxide can kill you. FACT

        People need to know these things.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Big scam.

      "The trouble with suppositions that global warning is not as bad as first envisioned is that even LESS will be done to stop the otherwise inevitable.

      Otherwise inevitable? Says who? Why is every planet in Solar System also warming if this is a man made phenomenon? And please don't try to give 'coincidence' as explanation, like some proponents already did.

      So called "global warming" is normal part of the Sun cycle (about 70 years, btw) and CO2 is brought to picture because state will and can tax you personally for producing it.

      Which part of "scam" you do not understand?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    New results 'deviate sharply' from established wisdom

    No its called "Science". You have a theory and if the data doesn't fit you either have to refine your theory or throw it away and come up with a better one.

    There's no "established wisdom" only current knowledge. Unfortunately that doesn't fit in with the femtosecond news cycles of 24hr media organisations.

  8. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Hardly surprising

    Why is this not a surprise?

    They've been overstating the effects of climate change for years

  9. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Climategate

    Betcha this doesn't make the BBC & ITV news tonight along with the obligatory footage of polar bears on ice floes or reporters on icebreakers.

    2/3 carbon tax reduction unlikely.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this article has a dishonest subheading

    Dr Bert Vermeersen: "We have concluded that the Greenland and West Antarctica ice caps are melting at approximately half the speed originally predicted."

    But somehow the later (reporters?) remark (based on taking a one-sided view of the error bars, perhaps?), "it could be that the current estimates are triple what they should be" is used for the subheader.

    Worthy of Orlowski!

    1. Andrew the Invertebrate

      be fair

      at least Lewis puts his head above the parapit on these articles

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Sheep! Sheep!

      I notice i got marked down for pointing out a fact.

      Clearly theres a few blog tourists who believe anything they're told, irrespective of putting 2 + 2 together themselves

      1. Ian Yates
        WTF?

        tittle

        That's funny, I was thinking the same by reading your post.

        Since you obviously know the truth about climate change (I assume you're refering to AGW), would you mind sharing it with the world's scientists, since they're still doing their research (though, I'll concede a good proportion of it appears to be heavily biased in either direction).

        Personally, I don't know the answer. I read pro and con arguments and try to reason something from it. Since I haven't done any first-hand research, I don't call either side a lier.

        Regardless of the fact of AGW, what's wrong with people using less energy (in any form) if they don't need to?

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          IT Angle

          RE: Ian Yates

          I never said i knew what caused global warming if you read my posts.

          What i said was it's clear they stretch the truth a lot to scare people, and that is a fact as many examples have proved recently.

          What i disagree with most is how the pro climate change people are quick to believe humans cause global warming, despite it happening throughout history many times (including the ice age) and stating it as fact, even though there's no evidence of that.

          It was claimed with 95% certainty that humans are responsible with NO evidence.

          How is that 95% certainty with no evidence?

          At most it can only be 50% in that case

          If you want to mark me down then at least show some intelligence and show some proof that humans cause global warming.

          1. Ian Yates
            Troll

            At risk of further bad karma

            "I never said i knew what caused global warming if you read my posts."

            No, but you did say: "They've been overstating the effects of climate change for years"

            Which is basically saying that you know that AGW is a lie. I don't believe that can be true.

            Perhaps I'm being overly pedantic, but maybe you meant something more along the lines of "They've yet to backup with proof their theories of AGW"

            Getting pissy because people marked down your post and saying everyone who believes in the possibility of AGW is "a blog tourists who believe anything" is petty.

            If AGW is real, the research that's being done and is finding evidence (because there isn't "NO evidence", as you put) needs to be reviewed and confirmed. If it isn't, the research that's being done STILL NEEDS to be reviewed.

            My problem is the disparate groups funded underhandedly bringing climate science in to disrepute by saying that their unrelated research disproves another piece of research in either direction.

            The scientific process has been completely thrown out for AGW in favour of passion and bias.

            In my opinion (and maybe I wasn't clear in my first post), "sheep" are the people that immediately say "it's all a lie" or "unbelievers are evil" (etc.). Unless you're involved in worldwide climate science research, what basis do you have for those absolute statements?

            "show some proof that humans cause global warming"

            Response: "I never said i knew what caused global warming if you read my posts."

            1. david wilson

              @Ian Yates

              The tricky question is how to get even the appearance of rough consensus when there are people at one or both extremes desperate to have their view given more publicity than it might deserve, and/or desperate that no appearance of consensus is reached.

              If anything, the non-scientists or semi-scientists are possibly worse, whether from one or other pressure group, or one or other political viewpoint, many of whom are keen to just cherry-pick whatever looks like the most convenient current figure.

              Then there are the journalists, whether looking to choose the most pessimistic figure out of a given range of predictions so they can write an apocalyptic story, or, in the other direction, looking for any excuse to talk about conspiracies or the failings of science.

              Quite possibly both angles on different days for one journalist, depending on the desires of the editor or proprietor.

              Not to mention the bogus idea of 'balance', which even for many otherwise respectable outlets is really just a cover for 'getting a nice juicy argument'.

              Even if/when there is a broad consensus on what the temperature really was in year X, or what the effects of a particular rise in CO2 or temperature would mean, it's always going to be easy for a media organisation to find someone who'll disagree, whether they really believe what they're saying, or are doing it largely for the money.

            2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
              Grenade

              Use your brain Ian, not someone elses

              "No, but you did say: "They've been overstating the effects of climate change for years"

              Which is basically saying that you know that AGW is a lie. I don't believe that can be true."

              No it's not, learn to read.

              It says clearly "they've been overstating the effects of climate change for years"

              That is a fact as even their own research now proves.

              While it is always claimed how many "scientists" support the man made climate change theory, there are more who don't believe it and are actually silenced if they make a statement

              The UN reports that they have about 2,500 "scientists" who state there is "global warming". There are more than 31,000 scientists who state otherwise and they are never heard from

              Man made global warming is a farce Ian Yates and you can't even present an argument to disprove that, you're just nitpicking and a sheep (a follower of others, with or without rational thinking of your own)

              There is still 0% evidence to prove people cause global warming, whether you argue or not

              On the other hand, theres more evidence people DON'T cause global warming http://www.petitionproject.org/

              1. Ian Yates
                Megaphone

                Excuse me if I don't name-call

                I agree, it's wrong that the media are bias towards the pro-AGW people. I think it's equally wrong to assume that science/truth can be decided by a vote or general consensus.

                I'm aware of the 31k anti-AGW scientists of varying qualification, I'm also aware of two pro-AGW ones (totalling about 5k, I guess).

                Can't say either change my opinion. I've seen as much credible research for either case (words chosen carefully).

                "Man made global warming is a farce Ian Yates and you can't even present an argument to disprove that, you're just nitpicking and a sheep (a follower of others, with or without rational thinking of your own)"

                *sigh* And I'm out.

                I agree the whole discussion is a farce because of the partisanship and corruption on both sides.

                I've not once tried to disprove AGW (I opened with "Personally, I don't know the answer", I'm on the "cutting down our dependence on fossil fuels is a good thing" side) - I merely stated that you presented your opinion as fact, which is something I cannot stand.

                I didn't attack your character (I'll argue "pissy" was an adjective), and I actually didn't mark you down.

                You might also want to look up the meaning of "proof" and "evidence", though.

                1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
                  Welcome

                  Look at the evidence yourself Ian

                  I didn't present my opinion as fact, i presented facts for my opinion Ian

                  http://www.john-daly.com/press/press-01b.htm#cru

                  http://www.globalwarmingisafarce.com/

                  Just a few there who have been following this closely.

                  Look at the climate change evidence yourself and it quickly becomes obvious someone's tampering with it

                  If a graph is released showing one thing, when it's seen again it's been manipulated to show a catastrophe in a few years

  11. Dunstan Vavasour
    Boffin

    Accurately determining rate of ice loss

    According to my O level maths, the most accurate way to measure the rate of ice loss would be as follows:

    1) Measure how much ice there is now

    2) See how long it all takes to melt

    3) Divide (1) by (2), giving the rate in kiloJubs per fortnight

  12. Hermes Conran
    Pint

    Hooray!

    We're going to drown more slowly! Gin and tonics all round!

    (What do you mean there's no ice?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Get out your ruler then

      and start measuring the current ice....

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cooling?

    Interestingly, the UK climate is now on a cooling trend: http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/graphs/HadCET_graph_ylybars_uptodate.gif

    Also, the rate of warming between 1818 and 1830 and 1890 to 1900 is not that much more remarkable than that of 1982 - 2000.

    1. Tim #3

      Excellent news

      As someone who spent two years studying the forthcoming ice age that the scientists were then predicting, maybe I'll be able to put that knowledge to use after all. Should I update my CV yet?

    2. L.B
      Thumb Down

      Try looking again with less biased eyes...

      "Interestingly, the UK climate is now on a cooling trend: http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/graphs/HadCET_graph_ylybars_uptodate.gif

      Also, the rate of warming between 1818 and 1830 and 1890 to 1900 is not that much more remarkable than that of 1982 - 2000."

      The graph is zeroed on the average between 1961-1990, a good century after the start of the industrial revolution so perhaps that chart is a little biased.

      Also the average increase in the last decade is almost a 1 whole degree higher that the previous 4 decades, and the last decades average is a good 1.5 degrees higher than the typical temps for the 2 centuries before that.

      As for trends; having two slightly cooler years, which are still 0.5 degrees above the 61-90 average, does not make a definitive trend at all.

      1. Mark 65
        Flame

        @L.B

        Two centuries of data is fuck all in the timespan of the earth. We like assuming that observed changes can be fitted to Mankind's activity without having knowledge of what has happened throughout the much longer history of this planet.

        By all means pay your carbon taxes and generally lower your standard of living to avoid planetary destruction but I think I'll just use common sense and just not be utterly wasteful (given it costs to do so) instead of believing the current paid-for pseudo scientific whim.

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Pint

          Climate sceptic right here

          "Two centuries of data is fuck all in the timespan of the earth."

          Exactly, and there isn't credible evidence going back that far anyhow, that's how all these wrong predictions were made in the first place.

          Climate change advocates can make as many arguments as possible, but they still can't prove people cause global warming and they can't make everyone forget there wasn't any cars when we last had an ice age

  14. Charles King

    Only 600Gt? Must have fallen down the back of the sofa

    Non-pay link for the analysis by Bromwich & Nicolas: http://polarmet.osu.edu/PolarMet/PMGFulldocs/bromwich_nicolas_ngeo_2010.pdf

    Given the impoverished level of scientific understanding present among most 'decision makers', we can be sure that idiots will use this new calculation to race around shouting, "Don't worry folks! We've only lost 600Gt! Keep on partying!"

  15. John I'm only dancing

    Headed for another Ice Age

    "The rest of Antarctica doesn't seem to be melting at all - indeed Antarctica as a whole is actually gaining ice area rather than losing it - but some regions in the West are melting. The reasons for this are under investigation."

    The angle of the earth's tilt on it's axis does change and this would suggest that this could be the case. One area is moving closer to the equator (relatively) while the other moves further away.

    The reality, accepted by most climatologists is this planet is, in fact headed towards another Ice age. They are cyclical and a global rise in temperature precedes these events. The evidence is in core samples of Ice taken in the Acrtic and Antarctica.

    I heartily await our new penguin overlords (not the Unix variety)!!

    1. david wilson

      @John

      Surely, the only meaningful guide as to whether a region is melting or not on average is whether the *volume* of ice is going up or down, not how the *area* is changing

      If the volume is increasing, then talking about the area increasing is unnecessary.

      If the volume is not increasing, then talking about the area increasing is, at best, misleading.

      However, from the link provided, the 'area' being talked about doesn't seem relevant anyway, since it's actually sea ice.

      I rather wonder why it was mentioned in the first place, especially since the suggested explanations for the sea ice expansion relate to the area having warmed in recent years.

  16. Grivas Bo Diddly Harm
    Pint

    Cheers!

    Surely 'Gt' is an El-Reg Standard Unit of Measurement, being the number of Gin and Tonics* a thirsty Moderatrix can neck in a lunch time?

    *Regional variations might refer to these as jynnan tonnyx, gee-N’N-T’N-ix, or jinond-o-nicks, but the effect is ultimately the same.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    easy fix then.

    Just blow up florida or build some kind of gulf stream deflector, Europe freezes over, no more global warming!

    1. Marcus Aurelius
      Joke

      I am sure

      That the number of Gin and Tonics a thirsty Moderatrix can quaff in a lunch hour is a number for which there is as yet, no proper name.

  18. Sam Liddicott

    rubbish

    Measuring ice thickness across the entirety of greenland is no harder than measuring temperature across the entire earth.

    Slack laziness and guesswork is the problem. We just need more rulers and thermometers. And boy scouts.

  19. Stuy

    But how clean is the floating Ice

    I've never seen anyone consider this in a journal but consider the following:

    You have a block of Ice in a of water glass with a small lead shot frozen in it. As the ice melts what happens to the water level?

    The dense lead pulls more of the less dense ice under the water level until it reaches neutral boyancy. As the ice melts the shot will fall to the bottom and the ice will generally rise to a new level of neutral boyancy and finish melting. The level of the water on the side of the glass will in fact be lower once the melting is complete.

    How much of the floating Ice in antarctica is glacial in origin and therefor full of rocks and other debris? How far will this go to offset the land based Ice melting?

    I'd love to see a reference to an article that has considered this variable in future sea level rises...

    1. Charles King
      Stop

      It goes up and then down, but is still higher at the end.

      "The level of the water on the side of the glass will in fact be lower once the melting is complete."

      Err, no.

      If the block of ice (with shot inside) was floating at the start, then there was a volume of ice which was buoyed up above the water and thus was not contributing to the water level. The water level will be highest at the point where the ice+lead block has lost just enough ice to become completely submerged (since there's now no ice outside the water and the ice is, of course, less dense), and it will then decline as the rest of the low-density ice changes to water. But the final water level will still be higher than that at the start.

    2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Boffin

      Debris in icebergs unimportant

      Your average calved Greenland iceberg only has a life of a few years, mostly spent circling Baffin Bay until the berg gets kicked out into the North Atlantic. Once that happens, the icebergs only last a couple months at most before they melt.

      So even your "dirty" icebergs that ride lower in the water and displace more water are only around to do so for maybe 3-4 years. They don't have enough lifespan to accumulate and displace an increasing amount of water over time.

    3. Nexox Enigma

      You're fully wrong

      """You have a block of Ice in a of water glass with a small lead shot frozen in it. As the ice melts what happens to the water level?"""

      Since the ice, by definition of the word 'float,' displaces a volume of water of the same mass as itself, when it melts the water level will remain unchanged. The theoretical extra mass in the lead will cause the ice + lead object to displace that much more water at t=0, the fluid statics equations will cancel neatly, and the over all water level will remain constant, except for possible evaporation.

      Will people please take a basic physics course before coming up with these sorts of theories?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ nexox

        OK, all kidding aside, what IS the hydrodynamic velocity of an unlaiden iceburg? Eastern/Western European non-withstanding?

      2. Captain Thyratron

        Or, for that matter...

        ...before taking the word "theory" so lightly?

      3. Tom 13

        @Nexorx: Or at least a basic course in Ancient Greek Geek History.

        Eureka! I found it! I found it!

  20. strum Silver badge
    FAIL

    Desperate Register

    El Reg is getting really desperate now. You're now presenting minor corrections in the existing research as if it invalidated the entire project.

    Get this into your head - certainty is only available in religions; science keeps on improving by checking and revising.

    El Reg doesn't, though; it's stuck on an anti-science kick, and can't seem to shake it.

    1. Barracoder
      Paris Hilton

      No Title Required

      How do you get "anti-science" out of this article? Firstly, "climate science" isn't a science, it's bad software, bad statistics and, damningly, policy-driven. Secondly, reporting that things aren't as bad as the policy wonks have been telling us doesn't make this bad science unless you, like many AGW-apologists, are conflating "belief" with "proof". From my side, I'll go with the actual numbers, not the tree ring proxies, thanks.

      Paris, because there's no Wozniacki photo.

      1. Tim Parker
        Flame

        ..all alone in your own little tiny world....

        > How do you get "anti-science" out of this article?

        strum didn't - the comment was referring to the perceived bent in the Registers coverage in general - learn to read.

        > Firstly, "climate science" isn't a science, it's bad software, bad statistics and, damningly, policy-driven.

        That's your opinion - and your quote. The OP didn't mention 'climate science', they talked about science in general and it's modus operandi.. to quote strum

        'science keeps on improving by checking and revising.'

        Learn to read.

        > Secondly, reporting that things aren't as bad as the policy wonks have been telling us doesn't make this bad science unless you, like many AGW-apologists, are conflating "belief" with "proof".

        They didn't suggest it was bad science - they said it was the way science should work. See above. Learn to read.

        > From my side, I'll go with the actual numbers, not the tree ring proxies, thanks.

        They did - perhaps you could do similar and reply the comments that were actually made - oh, and learn to read. I'd say learn to think but I don't want to push things too far.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      @strum

      "You're now presenting minor corrections in the existing research as if it invalidated the entire project."

      In most fields a 50% *reduction* in a fairly important modeling variable would be viewed as *major*.

      But then I'm not a scientist.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ John Smith 19

        Yeah, being able to accurately predict whether or not an airplane simply "falls out of the sky" 50% of the time might be pretty cool (no pun intended)

    3. Penguin herder
      Boffin

      Re: Desperate Register

      "Get this into your head - certainty is only available in religions; science keeps on improving by checking and revising."

      Don't look at evidence in oceanic mud cores - you won't like it. There are cycles in our climate, always have been. The Sahara cycles between wet/green and desert every 20,000 years or so (how many SUVs caused the last flip? Oh, wait...) and has been shown to turn into a desert in as little as two centuries - without our help. Raising taxes and crippling economies won't change any of that.

      1. david wilson

        @Penguin herder

        >>"Don't look at evidence in oceanic mud cores - you won't like it. There are cycles in our climate, always have been."

        Which in your /scientific/ view proves that any changes at any later time must be just like those in the past, and/or because a past change was natural, that proves that it's impossible for humans to be influencing climate at the moment?

        1. Penguin herder
          Big Brother

          Re: @Penguin Herder

          "Which in your /scientific/ view proves that any changes at any later time must be just like those in the past, and/or because a past change was natural, that proves that it's impossible for humans to be influencing climate at the moment?"

          I will respond scientifically when I preceive the global warming proponents to be basing their positions on science, instead of intimidation, misdirection and fraud. At present, they are locked into assuming that small changes are clearly bad and exclusively anthropogenic (of course all the fault of developed nations). My point is simply that there is credible research showing drastic changes in climate long before humans were capable of doing more than shaking sticks at mammoths and similar creatures. The Earth has been far warmer in the past than it is now and plants apparently liked it.

          Do I want to see us burn oil at ever increasing rates? No. Do I think for one millisecond that ANY money seized under cap-and-trade legislation would do one bit of good in fixing that? Hell No!

          1. david wilson

            @Penguin herder

            >>"I will respond scientifically when I preceive the global warming proponents to be basing their positions on science, instead of intimidation, misdirection and fraud."

            So how are you responding at the moment?

            >>"The Earth has been far warmer in the past than it is now and plants apparently liked it."

            Do you honestly think that's news to climate scientists (or biologists), or that they knew it but somehow none of them managed to grasp the significance of it?

            I'd rather taken the impression that the issue wasn't about whether plants as a whole would survive any possible changes, but whether any changes might be hard (and/or expensive) for humans to comfortably deal with.

            1. Penguin herder
              Big Brother

              Re: @Penguin herder

              >>So how are you responding at the moment?

              Politically, which is what this is all about. If you want to get scientific, I can start spouting about the signal processing involved in turning mud cores into some of the results I discussed, but the politics is really the key to this.

              >>"The Earth has been far warmer in the past than it is now and plants apparently liked it."

              "Do you honestly think that's news to climate scientists (or biologists), or that they knew it but somehow none of them managed to grasp the significance of it?"

              They are IGNORING the significance of it. One might call it An Inconvenient Truth from their perspective. Fraud.

              "I'd rather taken the impression that the issue wasn't about whether plants as a whole would survive any possible changes, but whether any changes might be hard (and/or expensive) for humans to comfortably deal with."

              Given that plants ultimately power the entire biosphere (and recycle the CO2 that we produce in the process), their well being is critical. More plants, more food. If you want a problem to consider, look forward to the next ice age.

  21. No, I will not fix your computer
    Stop

    Forget the science.

    Fossil fuel is limited, whether that is 10 years, 100 years or 1000 years left is debatable, but come the end of the hydrocarbon age (as they will call it) we must have moved on, there is no practical reason (except expense of research) why we shouldn't work out alternative sources of power now, the sooner we do it the sooner we work out how to do it cheaply.

    Using less fuel by walking, cycling etc. will save you money and improve fitness, money that you save can be used to improve your quality of life, maybe to socialise, go to the cinema, for the price of three packets of cigarettes a month you can sponsor a child in Africa, or for the price of three packets of cigarettes you can have three packets of cigarettes (if that improves your quality of life), when I cycle to work I save about £6 a day and if I leave in rushour it's nearly as quick to get home.

    Even if global climate change can never be affected by man and maybe the changes that have been measured are nothing to do with us (although local changes such as smog, loss of fish, dried rivers, quakes cased by reservoirs etc. show us it has been), it's actually more sensible to consider it possible, it's a no-brainer, it's called "being safe rather than being sorry".

    Personally, I'll try and be energy efficient, run a cheap car, insulate, recycle etc. if you want to go on burning tyres in your back-garden that's up to you, future generations will judge us, who knows we may even reap the benefits in our own lifetimes?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Forget the science.

      "Fossil fuel is limited, whether that is 10 years, 100 years or 1000 years left is debatable, but come the end of the hydrocarbon age (as they will call it) we must have moved on, there is no practical reason (except expense of research) why we shouldn't work out alternative sources of power now, the sooner we do it the sooner we work out how to do it cheaply."

      There's no practical reason, and even the economics aren't prohibitive (cough, bailout, cough). The reasons are political, in the widest sense of the term: if you're running a company that takes hundreds of *billions* of dollars every year and whose profits are tens of billions - sums which some nations would envy - would you voluntarily choose a different path, or would you be pulling every lever of power you have to keep that money coming in?

      You can buy a lot of influence with oil money: let everyone worry about global warming, but keep policy moving glacially slow (or at least as slow as one not being lubricated by meltwater), and keep exerting pressure for more drilling in every region. That's the real cover-up: your vote and political "commitments" to sustainability versus brown envelopes and "let them do it - it's for the good of the economy".

      But don't forget the science.

      1. No, I will not fix your computer

        Re: But don't forget the science.

        >>(cough, bailout, cough).

        That's not *real* money, that's devaluing currency to keep the economy from imploding, it's just a fast forward of federal reserve.

        Yes, oil is money and influence, blah, blah, blah, and people who make money from over consumption don't want us to reduce consumption, but this, like the science can be ignored and the problem can still be fixed by you and me switching to more eco-friendly things, like walking, cycling car share etc.

        Let me put it another way, it doesn't matter if the sea level has gone up by 2mm or 6mm over the last ten years, it doesn't matter if the Saudis underwrote two thirds of the gulf war, it doesn't matter who you vote for and why, nothing will change until people change, walking round NYC a couple of weeks ago, everytime I walked past a shop with open doors I got a blast of lovely cold air, A&F is positively fridge-like, the aircon bill must be phenominal, same is true for the cars, multi-litre monsters with a constant stop-go, the metro is great but imagine how a tram system would transform the city, these things don't happen over night, but they start with you and me, my recycling bin has more stuff in it than my rubbish bin (OK excess packaging is another problem, but you have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is to do something rather than nothing).

      2. Tom 13

        Re: Forget the science

        Granted, I have not yet lived quite a half decade, but I recall when I was about 12 reading in one of those environmentally aware nature magazines that parents bought for their kids about how we were guaranteed to run out of oil within 70 years, and how within 25 it would be unreasonably expensive for the average person to buy what little quantities were still available. We are more than a decade past that point and the only thing so far that has made gas unreasonably expensive for the average person to buy has been political interference in the production of oil.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forget the science

          "Granted, I have not yet lived quite a half decade,"

          Half century, surely!

          "but I recall when I was about 12 reading in one of those environmentally aware nature magazines that parents bought for their kids about how we were guaranteed to run out of oil within 70 years, and how within 25 it would be unreasonably expensive for the average person to buy what little quantities were still available."

          So it was scaremongering, was it? In fact, I remember being taught about the limited lifespan of coal, oil, gas reserves at school, and I doubt that Thatcher was on a green kick, somehow. The only thing at play here is the usual inability to predict the future: people didn't think that there'd be much more oil that easily found, but the exploration techniques have obviously improved over time to make certain oil discoveries viable.

          "We are more than a decade past that point and the only thing so far that has made gas unreasonably expensive for the average person to buy has been political interference in the production of oil."

          You can argue that the only reason the US imports so much tar/shale-based oil from Canada is because it gives a degree of flexibility in the oil supply, lessening political considerations and constraints, and if only everyone in the Middle East would just settle down and sell oil at cost then we'd all be OK, but the fact is that new exploration does need to enter new and more difficult/dangerous places (in the general, not political sense). Whether the Saudis have a clearance sale on oil or not, the industry would ultimately need to do deepwater drilling in places like the Arctic, which isn't a walk in the park by any means, even if the technology gets developed to do it in a not completely reckless fashion.

          The sensible thing to do is to consider that releasing gigatonnes of stored carbon into the atmosphere is probably not a wise move (naysayers should consider things like ocean acidity alongside the greenhouse effect) and that doing most of your energy shopping with one industry is a good way of channelling money through a single pipe with plenty of opportunities for corruption and generally bad stuff. The oil business knows that giving oil away now and then hiking the price is bad for business, so it's obviously going to walk a fine line between undercharging and provoking price shocks and overcharging and making people look for something else.

          What's most interesting is how easy it is to keep everyone coming back to the pump even as prices rise to supposedly record levels, and how easily people can be coerced into deriding even the possibility of alternative sources of energy.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about Erik?

    It seems to be a matter of faith with climate scientists that Greenland has been covered in ice for millenia. However historians tell a different story. The coast at least was not icebound even a thousand years ago. It was the Vikings who called it Greenland (or Vinland at any rate) because it's coast was green, covered in vegetation, as distinct from their previous landfall - Iceland - which was pretty barren.

    That the Vinkings reached north america is accepted by most as fact now. Erik the Red and his boys established staging posts in Iceland and Greenland they didn't just sail straight from Scandinavia to what is now mainland Canada. So they knew the territory. If they say it was green I'm happy to accept their word over that of a bunch of climate scientists who have demonstrated quite a startling ability to bend the truth over the last few months.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, Greenland - the paradise of the North...

      That they called it "Greenland" was more spin than truth, to attract settlers. Life was always marginal. Read Diamond's "Collapse" for a short introduction.

      BTW, Greenland's South coast isn't currently icebound anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      No GPS

      I thought the medieval myth was that the Vikings, lacking GPS in the 9th Century, got Iceland and Greenland mixed up. Hence the apparent odd names we're left with today.

      Either that, or calling it Greenland was a piece of PR by Erik the Red, to encourage, Icelandic Vikings to colonise what was, in the 10th century, a frozen hellhole.

      So: Norse Sagas or Climate Scientists - choose your weapons and take your sides ....

      1. Grease Monkey

        PR?

        The idea that Erik called it Greenland as some sort of PR is purely based on the opinion of a few academics. Firstly there is the question of what he would gain by encouraging others. If he were looking for trading opportunities, as is widely believed, then he wouldn't want to encourage others to go the same way. Quite the opposite. Secondly there is the question of Iceland, had he wanted to encourage others to follow him then he would have given that a

        Oh and how could he have got Iceland and Greenland confused, unless he knew they were both there? And since Iceland was pretty much the same barren volcanic lump then as it is now it's unlikely he would have called that Greenland isn't it?

        Lacking GPS? OK so it's not so easy as using a Tomtom* but Viking navigation techniques were somewhat more accurate than those used by Columbus some 500 years or so later.

        *Although Viking navigation seldom sent them up a private driveway in the belief that it was a public road.

        1. Adrian Midgley 1
          FAIL

          Viking navigation

          "Viking navigation seldom sent them up a private driveway in the belief that it was a public road."

          1. The Vikings were rather prone to going up private driveways, en route to pillage, burn, rape etc etc. Hence some portion of the differential distribution of the ABO blood group genes around England.

          2. The Vikings came from an area where it is currently, and I think since this derives from tradtion would have been at that time, the case that travellers may go up roads others might consider private, in order to travel.

          However, that posting was relatively logical, correct and well-informed by the standards of the crap posted by most people in this page. Look something up guys.

      2. Daniel Evans

        Good News!

        "what was, in the 10th century, a frozen hellhole"

        And thanks to the latest bit of "climate research", we now know it's going to stay this way for even longer!

    3. david wilson

      @AC (unsurprisingly)

      >>"It seems to be a matter of faith with climate scientists that Greenland has been covered in ice for millenia. "

      So they *all* claim it was /totally ice-covered/ until the last few decades?

      As you're such an expert on what they think, maybe you could show us where they say that, and also when they variously claim it started to become inhabitable.

      Obviously, if any of them do think it was totally covered in recent centuries, they must presumably also have some thoughts as to when that stopped being the case.

      Honestly, it's a wonder how anyone thinks they have the right to call themself a scientist when there are anonymous geniuses like you around.

      No doubt you can accurately reconstruct the entire climate history of an area on the basis of your totally unbiased interpretations of a few placenames.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: What about Erik?

      "It seems to be a matter of faith with climate scientists that Greenland has been covered in ice for millenia."

      The only articles of faith in question here are those floating around in your head. There is some pretty good reasoning behind the idea that the huge layer of ice covering most of Greenland didn't build up over the last thousand years.

      "However historians tell a different story. The coast at least was not icebound even a thousand years ago."

      Greenland has a pretty long coast, and as others point out, it's not completely icebound now.

      "It was the Vikings who called it Greenland (or Vinland at any rate) because it's coast was green, covered in vegetation, as distinct from their previous landfall - Iceland - which was pretty barren."

      Have you been to either of these places? Iceland isn't some rock in the ocean, you know, and it probably got its name because of the many glaciers visible from the coast. And the greenness of Greenland only supported a limited grazing season for the livestock the Vikings took with them to Greenland: it wasn't lush jungle.

      "That the Vinkings reached north america is accepted by most as fact now."

      And this is pertinent because...?

      "Erik the Red and his boys established staging posts in Iceland and Greenland they didn't just sail straight from Scandinavia to what is now mainland Canada."

      No-one is claiming that they did.

      "So they knew the territory. If they say it was green I'm happy to accept their word over that of a bunch of climate scientists who have demonstrated quite a startling ability to bend the truth over the last few months."

      So you're willing to misinterpret the names given to two land masses on the basis of a deficient understanding of the historical and current geography of those places? Who's bending the truth now?

  23. drag

    ssshh.... don't confuse the hippies with facts.

    """It seems to be a matter of faith with climate scientists that Greenland has been covered in ice for millenia. However historians tell a different story."""

    Don't confuse the hippies with historical facts. It's not a matter of how badly (or even if) bad stuff is happening, it's whether or not there is a possibility of bad stuff happening is what freaks them out.

    Sure telling them that historically the mid-evil warming period allowed farmers to grow crops like grapes far further north then previously possible may seem like it would help them understand how the world climate works.... but that it is irrelevant because it MAY not actually work like that.

    Sure telling them that the tree ring data that was used to draw the 'hockey stick' graphs turned out to have been a extremely regional phenomena, but it's the possibility that it COULD be a problem makes it worth doing something about and ruining the lives of millions of people through massive government interference with the economy.

    Sure telling them that Carbon Dioxide is only about 0.038% and all of human activity may have rose that to about 0.03802% or 0.03805% and though even though carbon dioxide does actually contribute to global warming the amount of carbon released and STAYING in the atmosphere is still in trace amounts and human activities could only really cause a minute amount of change; even with the best estimates. That may be a fact, but it may still be a possible problem in 200 years so freaking out about it now is the only possible solution.

    Sure telling them that a great deal of carbon is released due to deforestation caused by subsistence farmers that do not have the knowledge, economics, or technical ability to actually cultivate the land in a way that makes their farming sustainable and the best way to stop deforestation will be to improve the economic livelihood and education of people living in rain forest areas. Teaching them modern farming techniques, modern chemicals, modern cultivated/domesticated plant species, etc etc.

    To hippies that is 'not natural' and therefore 'dangerous' and the only solution is to let those people starve to death while freaking out about people driving cars that are slightly too large and trying to make plastic bags illegal. Because that will save the planet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Hippies?

      The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth's atmosphere is approximately 390 ppm (parts per million) by volume as of 2010[update],[1] and rising by about 1.9 ppm/yr

      I have a source, you don't, apparently:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth%27s_atmosphere

      I have a degree in chemistry, so stfu.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        But not maths it appears

        Thats 0.390% which is virtually the same number as he suggested.

        1. david wilson

          @Anonymous mathematician

          >>"Thats 0.390% which is virtually the same number as he suggested."

          a) If correcting people's maths, it's probably best not to lose a zero after the decimal point.

          b) If responding to a post with a link, it might be worth trying to understand why the link is there, even if that might involve the difficult issue of considering someone's opinion other than your own (I'd suggest the 'and rising by 1.9ppm/year' might be significant)

          c) If implicity trying to defend an original poster, it's probably worth trying to understand whether that poster is actually making any kind of sense, assuming that is within your capability.

          The original post seemed to be claiming (on the basis of no particular evidence) that all combined human effects on CO2 levels are so small as to be effectively unmeasurable, which seems a bizarre claim, since even the fossil fuel companies don't seem to be trying that argument, let alone the overwhelming majority of more or less honest AGW skeptics.

          Not only that, but the original post was simultaneously claiming that humans have no real effect on CO2 levels, but also that the activities of some humans release loads of CO2.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        So...

        So, AC with a chemistry degree, you're actually agreeing with the original poster here? Only he stated C02 made up 0.038%, citing it as a very low figure. You however contest that it is in fact 0.00039%, thereby aiding his argument, and the figure of increase is even lower?

        Where in the name of holy hell did you get your chemistry degree? The online univercity (sic) of Hooville?

        1. david wilson

          @yet another anonymous mathematician

          >>"So, AC with a chemistry degree, you're actually agreeing with the original poster here? Only he stated C02 made up 0.038%, citing it as a very low figure. You however contest that it is in fact 0.00039%, thereby aiding his argument, and the figure of increase is even lower?"

          Making it very simple:

          100% -> 1,000,000ppm

          10% -> 100,000ppm

          1% -> 10,000ppm

          0.1% -> 1,000ppm

          0.01% -> 100ppm

          so 0.039% is 390ppm.

          Which you would, of course, have noticed if you'd bothered to read the link he posted.

          As for the figure for CO2 being 'very low', from your performance so far, I'm not entirely sure you're really qualified to comment on the meaning of any particular figure.

          >>"Where in the name of holy hell did you get your chemistry degree? The online univercity (sic) of Hooville?"

          Wherever it was, I think I'd rate it rather higher than the place you got your maths degree.

          1. david wilson

            May I most heartily thank...

            ...the entity who has been running through the thread downvoting posts that they'd rather didn't exist, even when those posts are so narrowly defined and factually-based that they couldn't really hope to argue with them without looking like an idiot.

            Especially given the general subject of the thread, though the irony of your actions may well have completely passed /you/ by, it is pretty apparent to many people here, and is also touchingly amusing.

            It's so nice that there's a mechanism around to allow even those who can't contribute in writing to participate, and let the world know of the depth of anger that genuinely exists in their bedroom.

            Seriously speaking, for people who have genuine and honest concerns about either specific items of climate science, or actual or suggested political policies, the actions of knee-jerk fingers-in-ears deniers must be as frustrating as the actions of the scientifically illiterate fringes of various green organisations must be to people who have rational concerns about the environment.

          2. Tom 13

            True, but he does seem to be more somewhat more clueful

            than the moron who said volcanoes produce less CO2 than mankind has over his history of burning fossil fuels (although I think I am going have to take up calling them "fossilized" fuels just for fun of it) when it is the reverse which is true and routinely mentioned on the Discovery Channel Mega Disaster episode about super volcanoes.

            1. david wilson

              @Tom 13

              I guess a lot there depends on exactly how things are specified - per specific year, per specific time period, etc.

              I'm sure that people being choosy enough could come out with a vast range of 'true' comparative statements, which (especially if described insufficiently accurately) could no doubt then be exaggerated into an even wider range of bogus statements.

              It's really down to why anyone is asking the question, and whether they are prepared to be specific enough about exactly what they're saying, and what they claim it means.

              If someone hasn't been specific, then it's probably best not to draw too solid a conclusion form their claims.

              If someone, when asked, still fails to be specific about what they're really saying, that is likely to be because they're either honestly uncertain about what they meant, or they were trying to be deceptive.

              It seems that in recent times, annual fossil-fuel-sourced CO2 output is something like 100x larger than the highest estimates of volcanic CO2 output.

              How much CO2 supervolcano eruptions or flood basalt events might release, while possibly being very interesting, isn't actually relevant if the question being asked is "What are the current/recent influences on atmospheric CO2", which seems to be a typical kind of question if the issue is potential human effects on climate in recent decades/centuries.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: ssshh.... don't confuse the hippies with facts.

      "Don't confuse the hippies with historical facts. It's not a matter of how badly (or even if) bad stuff is happening, it's whether or not there is a possibility of bad stuff happening is what freaks them out."

      When "the facts" are actually some uninformed musings along the lines of "Greenland was *all* green - Erik the Red sez so", substituting actual historical facts with new age fantasies, I think you ought to be careful who you label as "hippies".

      "Sure telling them that a great deal of carbon is released due to deforestation caused by subsistence farmers that do not have the knowledge, economics, or technical ability to actually cultivate the land in a way that makes their farming sustainable and the best way to stop deforestation will be to improve the economic livelihood and education of people living in rain forest areas. Teaching them modern farming techniques, modern chemicals, modern cultivated/domesticated plant species, etc etc."

      So, "sustainable" farming is about "modern chemicals", is it? Have you any idea where we get the plethora of "modern chemicals" used in your flavour of "sustainable" farming? In fact, in various regions people would be doing genuinely sustainable farming if it weren't for the "developed world" demand for narcotics, but no, let's patronise them for a bit.

      "To hippies that is 'not natural' and therefore 'dangerous' and the only solution is to let those people starve to death while freaking out about people driving cars that are slightly too large and trying to make plastic bags illegal. Because that will save the planet."

      And now you're off in your own bubble, albeit not one made of plastic, where you can act out both sides of your debate with glove puppets: "The actual debate be damned - I can win this one!"

  24. Uk_Gadget

    Dingo's Kidneys

    The title says it all.... Case Closed!

  25. gimbal
    Coat

    Good luck being heard about that, in Washington

    There's too much political legacy* invested in global warming speculations, far too much for people to hear the basic of the science of the matter over the din of loud opinion. Good luck, though! Perhaps some folks in the political hotbeds of the world will eventually be able to make some reasonable sense out of news like this.

    * including "warm fuzzy" legacy, the unknown factor in so many popular decisions...

    Mine's the one with the Thoreau book in the pocket.

    1. david wilson

      @gimbal

      Presumably you're not suggesting that 'More accurate rate of icecap melting determined' is an argument against the existence of /any/ warming-related melting?

  26. Wallyb132
    Terminator

    Nice and simple

    Yes, we are in a period of global warming, it started, at the beginning of the end last ice age, of which there have been not less than 16 since the creation of the earth! this global warming period will continue until the beginning of the next ice age.

    like someone posted above, human being place too much importance on themselves. Climatology is the great fraud of man kind, that is all, have a nice day.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    making it all a wash

    all that ancient CO2 stored under ground in the form of hydrocarbons is getting pumped out of the ground at billions of barrels per day, replacing that with water will take care of the added water from melting ice. And putting all that CO2 back into the air is just going to make it much more comfortable for everyone above 20 deg or so LAT. What's the big deal?

  28. Joe User

    A point to ponder

    "(Floating sea ice, like that which makes up most of the Arctic cap apart from Greenland, is less of an issue as its melting doesn't affect the sea level.)"

    A thought occurred to me after reading this sentence. Water expands when it changes from a liquid to a solid. When it melts, the water will occupy less volume than the floating sea ice did. That means the oceans will actually have _more_ room to hold meltwater from land ice, causing sea levels to rise even less than predicted. Or is my grasp of physics completely wonky?

  29. Jean-Luc Silver badge
    Pint

    Good news, even for folks worried about climate change.

    Should we not be happy that one measure of the supposed climactic impact of human-originated CO2 has been overestimated?

    I still "believe" that climate change is happening, but the more time we have to get our bearing, settle our scientific disputes and figure out adaptation strategies, the better.

    Reality is that 20 yrs ago, the words "climate change" would have meant diddly to anyone on the street and little to many scientists. The biggest polluters are generally democratic Western countries, because we are basically more efficient economically. It'll take a while, more science, more data and probably more obvious problems, before voters are ready to change their consumption and voting patterns.

    A series of quick major catastrophes might do the trick as well, but only an idiot would wish for that.

    Would also help if the IPCC guys took their PR more seriously and more scientifically. i.e. no more trivially wrong wolf crying about vanishing Himalaya glaciers and the like.

    p.s. If climate change turns out to be a mirage, I will on the first flight to Tahiti, dumping CO2 outta my 747 all the way.

  30. John Savard Silver badge

    Other problems

    Given the effects of global warming on such things as coral reefs, and, far more importantly, rice yields, that we may not be facing coastal flooding quite as soon as expected seems to me to be a rather minor detail. If there were no way to avoid global warming without devastating economic consequences, I could understand ignoring it for as long as we could get away with. But that isn't the case: there's such a thing as nuclear power.

  31. Chris_B
    Flame

    How to save the planet

    What I can't understand is if all these people want to 'save the planet' why don't they just turn their computers off ? Would save everyone a lot of bother.

  32. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Boffin

    To all you blind chaps

    When I was 7, 8 and 9 I used ice-skate on the canals in Northern Germany every year and this was 25 years ago. they have not been able to do it since the late 1980's because the ice is too fin. All over the place you paintings of children skating on the canals dating back to the 19th century.

    2003 was the hottest summer in France ever recorded.

    Europe used to be thick forest, we cut all the tress, but that did not matter much, until we used coal and later oil at industrial levels - since the planet is getting hotter in places. The pace is accelerating and will continue to until every chinese family has a car they can afford. Forest fires are not an issue, the role trees were playing for centuries was to transform CO2 into O2 - reversing the effect. Trees had millions of years of advance on the animal kingdoms production of CO2 and CH4. Now, deforestation is taking place across the globe, mostly in Aisa and south America - this is bad news, guys. Bio fuel used extensively across South America is also not good, because more CO2 is poured into the atmosphere with ever less tress to absorb it.

    Now you can say the scientists are getting the figures wrong, the ice is not melting fast enough bla bla bla .,... the effects are undeniable and we need to react - if we start early, we might not even notice a difference in our lifestyles.

    It is undeniable that this is taking place, CO2 along with CH4 (from intensive farming) as well as other gases are known to cause this. We need to act. Our USian friends are also getting hurricanes that get more frequent and stronger every other season ... You act as if you were on the Titanic: sir, don't worry the ship is unsinkable ... until it is too late.

    We managed to control CFG somewhat, lets do the same for CO2.

    1. Mark 65

      Blind leading the blind

      "2003 was the hottest summer in France ever recorded."

      Not necessarily the hottest it's ever had. The end.

      1. Jean-Luc Silver badge

        So?

        The North Pole used to be balmy in Dino-time and we weren't to blame. Doesn't mean we want to put it back to that state.

        France was under big ol' sheets of ice at another time. Doesn't mean we want to want to put those back there. Oh, wait...

  33. david wilson

    So...

    In summary, in mid 2010, we have a NASA correction for NASA figures published a whole year earlier.

    Forgive me if I didn't turn on the news that day, but I somehow failed to notice the massive extra urgency given to worldwide climate change amelioration plans (especially the well-known world-leading ones from those guys in Washington) by last year's initial figures.

    What exactly did those figures end up doing, so what should corrections end up undoing?

  34. Stephen 10

    Standard red herring argument

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Greenland-lost-fraction-of-ice-mass.htm

    Seems to cover this quite nicely.

    On a more serious note, why has the Reg decided to position itself in a position contrary to 98% of climate scientists?

  35. My New Handle
    FAIL

    Another inconvenient truth

    The sky is not falling. Goldilocks does not exist. Man-made global warming is a myth.

    And in other news - Al Gore gets a new mention http://tinyurl.com/29gy7ya Now that is what I call "inconvenient".

    I particularly like "... the global warming huckster that flies around the planet on private jets and lives in a home that consumes 45 times the energy of the average American ..."

    Precisely.

    1. Marcus Aurelius
      Troll

      El Reg and scientists

      El Reg has long taken the waste water out of scientists. This is perhaps because Computing is really more of an engineering discipline than a scientific one, and an engineer only believes a scientific theory when he has built something that successfully uses the theory.

      1. david wilson

        @Marcus

        >>"El Reg has long taken the waste water out of scientists. This is perhaps because Computing is really more of an engineering discipline than a scientific one,"

        Well, there are engineers, and then there are journalists.

        From looking at the general media, it seems that even journalists with zero scientific understanding are quite happy to write about science as if they understood it, or complain about what 'The Scientists' are doing, as long as they think there's a market for what they write.

        The fact that someone is being somewhat hostile to science isn't necessarily an indication that they understand what they're talking about.

        Ultimately, you have to judge a journalist on how informed and even-handed they seem to be being, and whether they seem to be saying more than the odd thing that flags up as either irrelevant, misleading, or wrong.

        As for engineers v. scientists, most of the engineers I know seem pretty open to science - not necessarily jumping on every speculative bandwagon on the fringes of theoretical physics, but neither stomping round with a smouldering inferiority complex or multiple chips on their shoulders.

        At least, that's true for the engineers who are still doing engineering.

      2. Stephen 10

        re El Reg and the scientists

        "This is perhaps because Computing is really more of an engineering discipline than a scientific one, and an engineer only believes a scientific theory when he has built something that successfully uses the theory."

        or maybe it's just an adjunct of the Salem Hypothesis:

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Salem_hypothesis

        I feel there's been a major shift in editorial direction and style - Andrew O seems to have set the agenda and it's moved to some pretty extreme and frankly irrational viewpoints. They seem to prefer to get their climate science from economists and geologists. Or site single author papers as authorities, not the raving of cranks that they are.

        pity...

    2. Hector K Spankthrust III
      FAIL

      Replying using standard red herring argument

      Ah the old 98% of climate scientist agree myth......... Someone's been listening too much to the Big Green spinmeisters perhaps???

  36. system11
    Grenade

    Too many.

    Too many people.

    Until that great big leering elephant in the room is addressed, everything else is a futile waste of time which will only delay the inevitable. It's astonishing how many climate campaigners and scientists never, ever talk about it.

    1. david wilson

      @system 11

      >>"It's astonishing how many climate campaigners and scientists never, ever talk about it."

      It's also astonishing how many /other/ people never talk about it either.

      Typical media stories about famine in a given country where the population is now far larger than the last time they had a famine there almost never point out that if food supply is marginal, having a continually and rapidly increasing population is not merely asking for trouble, but is pretty much guaranteeing it.

      Frequently, even the fact that the population has doubled or more in a generation or two isn't even mentioned, as if the problem was entirely down to failures of food distribution and nothing to do with having many more people to feed.

      Such population increases are likely to be a problem for the places involved even in the absence of any human-induced climate change, and quite possibly a serious political problem for other countries as well.

  37. quarky
    FAIL

    Page = Plank

    The Register is becoming the IT version of The Sun, and Lewis Page is the worst culprit. You may as well replace the headline on all his stories with "Good. News. Ruined".

    Anyway, why did Page completely skip over and ignore the first paragraph of the report from Nasa?

    "Global temperatures are increasing. Sea levels are rising. Ice sheets in many areas of the world are retreating. Yet there’s something peculiar going on in the oceans around Antarctica: even as global air and ocean temperatures march upward, the extent of the sea ice around the southern continent isn’t decreasing. In fact, it's increasing."

    Maybe because (apart from the last four words) it doesn't fit in with his crazy belief system? Maybe like a writer for the Sun, he just craves attention? I suppose ultimately, it is easier to ignore the article (apart from those four words) and use it as another prop to his ignorance?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    facts, who needs them

    from the link:

    "we have found a glacial isostatic adjustment model that deviates rather sharply from general assumptions. But at present there are too few data available to verify this independently"

    So they made up this model, but it doesn't have any supporting data. Never mind everything is ok now.

    Riiiiight.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    So what?

    Either

    .

    AGW is happening in which case we should stop polluting the planet

    or

    AGW isn't happening, in which case we should still stop polluting the planet.

  40. chris 130
    Megaphone

    We Open University Environmental scientists already knew that

    But no one listened;

    It was on the telly and the BBC news too,

    so who's got egg on their face now, eh?

    Eh??

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