The Bipolar Antarctic, Studies in Contradiction
Posted by Jeff Condon on June 21, 2009
This link was called to my attention by Anthony Watts from a reader in WUWT thread. The article is issued by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. Written by Rachel Hauser.
Until recently, the Antarctic ice sheet looked to be bucking the global warming trend. This assessment relied on temperature data collected from a sparse network of mostly coastal weather stations. To provide a more complete picture of Antarctica’s historic surface temperature regime, a team of U.S. scientists employed an innovative technique to construct 50-year estimates of the near-surface temperature anomalies for the entire continent. The resulting climate field reconstructions for 1957-2006 show an overall warming trend across Antarctica, with this trend being strongest over the West Antarctic ice sheet.
From Dr. Steig.
Steig adds that their results also agree well with similar work by previous researchers. “The main thing we added is information about what is happening in West Antarctica, a large region of the continent that is particularly lacking in weather stations,” he explains.
How does previous work ‘buck the warming trend’ yet the new work showing a high warming trend, be in agreement with previous researchers? Perhaps someone can explain. Steig et al found a 0.118 C/Decade trend yet obvious and reasonable methods come up with about 1/3 of that.
Here’s a great question by our government reporter in the article linked above. Talk about stepping in it:
The study sheds light on an outstanding question in Antarctic climatology: has the strong warming observed on the Antarctic Peninsula also extended inland over continental West Antarctica?
Mann made global warming! I’ve got this one —- Yes, yes it has.
Guess what! The AGW scientists and I are apparently in agreement.
The reconstructions indicate that the answer to this question is yes, with warming trends extending well into West Antarctica in excess of 0.1°C per decade during the past 50 years.
An interesting mention of knowledge of the overweighting of the peninsula. I don’t want to start a fraud thread so keep your comments reasonable. It does sounds like knowledge of the spread of peninsula warming into regions where surface temperature stations don’t agree with this result. After all there are surface stations in West Antarctica. Drs Steig and Schneider make this pitch for their proxy work, papers which someone might want to check on.
This finding is supported by measurements from nearby ice cores and boreholes that also indicate warming during the last half century, notes Schneider.
This quote from Dr. Steig is odd.
“This isn’t a surprising result,” says Steig. “The same weather systems that bring warm, moist air from the Pacific onto the Antarctic Peninsula also affect West Antarctica.”
I’m not sure what he’s saying about not being surprised but we who live outside climatology regularly see exaggerated results by scientists in government global warming documents. The trend in Steig et al is obviously exaggerated in comparison to measured data. I believe he’s talking in this interview rather than writing slowly, so I’s going to assume he’s saying that rather than ‘not surprising’ he’s acknowledging out the match to some ice core studies he’s done (I haven’t read any so the match is assumed).
The funding source:
Funded by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs and led by Eric Steig, a glaciologist and isotope geochemist at the University of Washington, the team based their temperature reconstructions on observations collected at manned weather stations
The point I keep coming back too when I think about peer acceptance of this paper is, if the Antarctic won’t melt —- there is no flooding. If it won’t even warm, future flooding is difficult to discuss. The latest government issued document titled Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States had a big effect on me, it was an advocacy document being sold by US government employed scientists (who put their credentials on the line) as though it were science. It was full of exaggerations and what was obvious intentional misrepresentation. There’s no other way to put it, and I won’t soon forget.
This does not imply that Steig et al. was intentionally exaggerated, but I don’t hear enough climatologists or any Steig et al. authors coming forth to point out the hideous flaws in that report. Acceptance of a document like that damages all climatologists credibility and those that do not recognize the problem honestly, deserve our scorn.
May you live in interesting times.