On June 13 Chris Mooney of the Washington Post wrote how Antarctica’s ice sheet was “melting at a rapidly increasing rate” and “pouring more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually” — all this according to “a team of 80 scientists”. The doomsday media response was immediate.
Mooney of course blamed CO2 for the speculated ice melt change, and renewed the calls for a cut in greenhouse gas emissions in order to save ourselves.
Firstly the CO2 ice-melt logic here is extremely flimsy and even preposterous: An already hugely uncertain 200 billion ton figure gets adventurously blamed on Co2 through a long, uncertain and highly complex chain of physical processes — one that ignores an array of natural factors.
Secondly, Mooney’s language sounds dramatic, but the reality isn’t dramatic at all. A worker with an annual salary of $100,000 who gets a raise of $100 this year compared to $50 a year earlier also sees “a rapidly increasing” pay raise “rate” (100%). In reality the raise was meaningless.
Mooney and the media here are using trick language to purvey fake images of significant activity.
Only 0.001% of the total mass
Though the (hugely uncertain) 200 billion ton ice melt figure may sound impressive, it is in fact very tiny compared to the entire Antarctic total ice volume, which according to Dr. Don Easterbrook’s book “Evidence-Based Climate Science: Data Opposing CO2 Emissions as the Primary Source of Global Warming Evidence-Based Climate Science” is estimated at 26.5 million cubic kilometers.
Artefact of statistical torture
200 cubic kilometers of 26.5 million cubic kilometers is in reality only about an estimated paltry 0.001% of the total Antarctic ice mass. And (if it were true) would have only a minor effect on overall sea level rise.
The scientists themselves admit there’s much uncertainty involved and that the calculated 200 billion ton ice loss depends in part on model assumptions. Read more here.
The 200 billion ton figure is indeed more an artefact of statistical torture and modelling. When it comes to complex Antarctic ice mass, you can make the paltry data that’s available say whatever you want.
In this case 80 scientists participated in the waterboarding of the data.
One decade is not climate, but rather weather variability
What is more, the authors compared the last decade to the one before. Well, changes seen in one decade and compared to the one earlier is what we call weather changes, not climate change. Just because one decade is wetter than the one before it, it doesn’t mean the next will be wetter as well. Junk science.
Reality: Antarctic ice area growing rapidly
The satellite imagery and data concerning Antarctic ice area, which go back almost 40 years, in fact show an increasing long-term trend, according to one recently published peer-reviewed study…
Moreover NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally published a paper in 2015 showing ice sheet growth in eastern Antarctica had outweighed the losses in the western ice sheet, and so ice mass was growing and not shrinking.
And today Zwally is set to release a new study that will show that the eastern Antarctic ice sheet continues to gain enough ice to offset the losses in the west. “Basically, we agree about West Antarctica,” Zwally told The Daily Caller. “East Antarctica is still gaining mass. That’s where we disagree.”