Whatever we hear about the Arctic these days we should keep in mind that most information is based on satellite measurements of Arctic sea ice since 1979. With a little over thirty years of data many scientists and environmentalists use decreases in Arctic sea ice as a sure sign of man-made global warming. A little over thirty years of data is hardly a blink of an eyelid in terms of geological time. As Richard Lindzen, a prominent global warming skeptic and professor at MIT puts it, “this is a primitive field where nobody has much idea of anything.”
There are some other issues that cloud the temperature data from the Arctic. They include an expanded definition of ‘Arctic,’ extrapolations rather than accurate temperature measurements, and the simple fact that the Arctic has been warmer in previous times.
First, let’s look at the expanded definition of ‘Arctic.’ If you headed south from the Arctic toward the equator would you expect the weather to change? Well, you don’t have to be smarter than a fifth grader to know that the further you got away from the Arctic Circle the more likely the weather wouldn’t be as severe. One unreported fact about the Arctic is that its geographical boundaries have been expanded. Several years ago the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) decided to expand the Arctic by about 50% or approximately 4 million square miles. Have you seen or heard about this from the media?
What about temperature extrapolations? James Hansen of NASA, an ardent believer in man-made warming announced recently that “The 12-month running mean global temperature in the Goddard Space Institute (GISS) analysis has reached a new record in 2010. The main factor is our estimated temperature change for the Arctic region.” The GISS figures show that recent temperatures in the Arctic have been up to four degrees C warmer than in the long-term mean. Yet, as Dennis Avery reports, “Here’s what Hansen doesn’t report. GISS has no thermometers in the Arctic. It has hardly any thermometers that are even near the Arctic Circle. How do they determine the temperature? GISS estimates its Arctic temperatures from land-based thermometers that each supposedly represents the temperatures over 1200 square kilometers.” Art Horn observes, “You must be asking how can GISS show any temperature readings at all north of eighty degrees if they don’t have any data? The answer is simple, they make it up. In broadcasting there is an old saying that says, “Why let the truth stand in the way of a good story.” Apparently GISS and NOAA have borrowed that storyline to make the case that the world is warming dangerously due to the way we make energy.”
In 2007 you probably heard about the most expansive Arctic ice melt ever, but were you told of the record refreeze that autumn? During a ten-day period in November, a NASA eye-in-the-sky recorded sea ice in the Arctic Ocean growing 58,000 square miles per day—about the same size as Illinois or Georgia.
Arctic Was Warmer Before
The Arctic was warmer between 1920 and 1940 than it is now. Here’s a familiar-sounding report about a Norwegian scientific expedition to the Arctic (in 1922), courtesy of Steven Hayward:
“The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen and the eastern Arctic all point to a radical change in climate conditions, and hitherto unheard-of high temperatures in that part of the earth’s surface…Ice conditions were exceptional. In fact, so little ice has never before been noted…Many old landmarks are so changed as to be unrecognizable. Where formerly great masses of ice were found, there are now often moraines, accumulations of earth and stones. At many points where glaciers formerly extended far into the sea they may have entirely disappeared. The change in temperature has also brought about great changes in the flora and fauna of the Arctic.” –Monthly Weather Review, November 1922
Ian Plimer adds, “Arctic climate has always been complex yet we are constantly bombarded with glib explanations of Arctic climate variability. We often hear in the media about unprecedented warming of the Arctic. A good way to test this claim is to go to Baffin Island, Canada, one of the coldest parts of the world, and measure pollen, fossils and oxygen isotopes. Pollen from some of the Baffin Island lakes shows that it was some 5 C warmer 10,000 and 8,500 years ago than now.”
Some folks have decided to trek across the Arctic to highlight global warming. Paul Driessen and Willie Soon describe their efforts. “First American Ann Bancroft and Norwegian Liv Arnesen trekked off across the Arctic in the dead of the 2007 winter “to raise awareness about global warming,” by showcasing the wide expanses of open water they were certain they would encounter. Instead, icy blasts drove temperatures inside their tents to -58F, while outside the nighttime air plunged to -103F. Facing frostbite, amputated toes and even death, the two were airlifted out 18 miles into their 530 mile expedition. Next winter it was British swimmer and ecologist Lewis Gordon Pugh, who planned to breast-stroke open Arctic seas. Same story, Then fellow Brit Pen Hadow gave it a go, but it was another no-go. This year (2010), Aussie Tom Smitheringale set off to demonstrate ‘the effect that global warming is having on the polar ice caps.’ He was rescued and flown out, after coming ‘very close to the grave,’ he confessed.”
Al Gore ought to join one of these treks for a reality check. In 2008 he predicted that ‘the entire north polar ice cap will be completely gone in five years.”
The Arctic shows no signs of warming, according to the latest data from the Danish Meteorological Institute’s Center for Ocean and Ice. During June 2010, in fact, virtually every single day saw temperatures below the mean experienced over the last half-century. The data which is taken daily casts doubt on climate models that had predicted a steady warming of the Arctic. The Danish Institute has tracked mean temperatures above the 80th northern parallel since 1958. By contrast, the record most folks cite, ‘the satellite record’, as mentioned earlier is only a little over thirty years long.
Christopher Horner sums this up quite well, “There’s something about the upper northern latitudes that causes reporters and editors to completely abandon perspective. One factor could be that the predicted global warming is largely limited to the northern hemisphere. In fact, despite the radio silence in the face of inconvenient research, the Arctic gets disproportionate attention from the media given that it contains less than 3 percent of the world’s ice compared to the cooling Antarctic whose growing ice mass represents approximately 90 percent.”