Dreaming of a Green Christmas
Posted by Jeff Condon on August 22, 2011
Below is a ‘scary-ish’ plot from Joe Romm’s Climate Regress blog. It shows several things including the heavily processed data of Arctic Sea Ice Volume which is one of the more unreliable datasets available for sea ice with exponential curve fit projections laid on top. Currently in 2011 we are looking at a potential new record low sea ice for the Arctic which I think we will hit – or maybe not. We may even hit a global record low. Of course the record is only 30 years long but that is another issue entirely. If I had a set of links for blogs I don’t read, Climate Regress would top it. I suppose though that there are a number of ways to donate your mind to science, I just prefer to wait until I’m dead to self lobotomize. Just to be really clear, I blame Lucia and Carrick at Lucia’s blog for making me read his post and any additional loss of my already scarce IQ is on their hands. So what do we learn from Joe’ s post? Well we learn not to project non-linear curves past the end of a dataset. Of course you should learn that very early in college but the temptation is always there. Ya see, the end of the curve sticking out past the data does whatever it wants. You can pick all kinds of crazy functions and it is without any doubt that with the right equation, we could fit a curve to the data better than Joe and have the ‘prediction’ on the right launch into the sky in a manner which would make all of paleoclimatology smile. But that wouldn’t be as scary for sea ice would it. The 2022ish projected zero December ice volume does make one wonder what the temperature of the Arctic is in December doesn’t it? After all, even in climatology, sea ice is related to temperature. Here is a temperature table from the Inukjuak temperature station in Greenland Arctic circle: The mean temperature in December is a whopping -18.1 C. So for a zero ice volume condition in December, wouldn’t you expect something a little warmer. Perhaps near zero C? I dunno, being just an engineer, but it seems possible that unless we see at least 15 C of warming in the next 10 years, Joe Romm might have given this post a tiny tweak of exaggeration. Naw. With a name like Climate Progress, any questioning of the text would be anti-scientific. Yes the ice might melt completely someday – again. Yes it could possibly be created in part by human emitted CO2, but Joe’s post is blatantly designed to trick the unwitting into believing that doom is imminent so that he can get the political result he wants. Progress? Of course the prediction he made is idiotic, an entire month of December with zero average sea ice in 10 years??!! I’ll bet Joe (or any blogger) that not one single December day from the years 2020 to 2030 will be ice free in the Arctic. How is that for specific. None of the nuanced language of Joe’s post there eh?
Anyone want to take that bet? How about November? Joe’s plot shows November ice done, gone, finito, by by, all before 2020. A more unrealistic projection is hard to imagine. It makes you wonder if the guy has ever been outdoors North of Washington DC in December. Joe must be either nearing retirement or trying to bring back the ‘most extreme predictions’ posts. Hard to say, but with such prestigious awards available to climate science, it is easy to understand the temptation to try.