Another day, another chorus of climate skeptics grasping at straws
First there was Anthony Watts claiming that Arctic sea ice is in fine shape. Then we had the spectacle of Neil Cavuto on Fox pretending to be fair and balanced in an interview with Jim Montavalli while saying, “We are getting more ice in some areas,” as if that somehow disproves global warming.
Sea ice extent averaged over the month of March 2009 was 15.16 million square kilometers (5.85 million square miles). This was 730,000 square kilometers (282,000 square miles) above the record low of 2006, but 590,000 square kilometers (228,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average.
Okay, so think about Texas for a minute. At 268,581 square miles, it’s a pretty big state, right? Well that’s roughly how much extra open water there was in March in the Arctic compared to the 1979 to 2000 average. And somehow, that is clear evidence of global cooling?
Okay, let’s talk about causation: Why is the ice melting? Well, all the jawboning about “global cooling” from climate skeptics cannot obscure the fact that it has been warmer than usual this past winter up in the Arctic, according to NSDIC:
Overall, it was a fairly warm winter in the Arctic. Air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean were an average of 1 to 2 degrees Celsius (1.8 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal, with notable regional variations.
Here’s what that looks like:
(Just in case it’s not clear: The green, yellow and orange areas were warmer than usual this winter.)
How about the long-term trend in ice? From NSIDC:
Including March 2009, the past six years have all had ice extent substantially lower than normal. The linear trend indicates that for the month of March, ice extent is declining by 2.7% per decade, an average of 43,000 square kilometers (16,000 square miles) of ice per year.
This graph from NSIDC shows the long-term trend pretty well:
Or consider this one from Cryosphere Today:
In this graph, the wide swings from 2007 to 2009 look very interesting. And there seems to be a bit of a recovery in 2009. So climate skeptics are grasping at these straws to argue that the case for global warming is collapsing. I’m really truly hoping they’re right! I wouldn’t mind blogging about something else for a change. More important, I’d really, really like to worry less about the world my kids will inherit.
At the moment, though, all I see is a less bad picture than before. And it’s still plenty bad.