Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Arctic Sea Ice & Polar Bear Commentary

Updated on 12/9/17
Used Wayback Machine to fix some broken links

As I document below, of all the dishonest climate change hysteria mongering, there is nothing more dishonest (or, more profitable) than the hysteria surrounding Arctic sea ice and Polar Bears.

Let’s ignore the fact that
Southern hemisphere sea ice is growing.
Click the image to enlarge & view the source
(Cyrosphere Today):
Click the image to enlarge & view the source
Image Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20151230172516/http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png

Northern hemisphere sea ice is melting.
Click the image to enlarge & view the source (NSIDC):

Click the image to enlarge & view the source
The question is: Is this even remotely unusual?
The answer, documented below, is NO!

1) Northern hemisphere ice has been melting for 20,000 years!

About 20,000 years ago -- at the time of the Last Glacial Maximum -- northern hemisphere ice stopped expanding and began receding. In general, northern hemisphere ice has been melting ever since then. Why would we expect it to stop now?

Given the natural (and extreme) variations in ice melt in the past, where do some get the arrogance to think their computer models are the gold standard for how much ice should now be melting?

Eventually, the ice WILL stop melting and WILL begin expanding. That will mark the beginning of the next glacial period. NASA has documented “around 100” such glacial (and interglacial) periods to have occurred over the last 2.5 million years (at regular, albeit variable, intervals).

2) The next glacial period is what we need to worry about.

During the last glaciation, the area now occupied by New York City was covered by an ice sheet “1,000 feet thick”. It WILL happen again! Fortunately, peer reviewed science suggests we have about 50,000 years to prepare for that truly catastrophic (and purely natural) climate change.

3) There is NOTHING even REMOTELY unusual about current Arctic trends!

IF our summers were to see a total melting of the Arctic sea ice AND sea levels were to rise another 4 to 6 meters, that would ONLY replicate the conditions witnessed during the previous perfectly natural, perfectly normal interglacial warming period (the Eemian).

But, don’t believe me; believe the alarmists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Quoting the FAQ page at the NSIDC site:
A) “5,500 years ago, the Arctic had substantially less summertime sea ice than today”

B) “The last time that scientists can say confidently that the Arctic was free of summertime ice was 125,000 years ago, during the height of the last major interglacial period, known as the Eemian. Temperatures in the Arctic were warmer than now and sea level was also 4 to 6 meters (13 to 20 feet) higher than it is today”
Of course, not even the alarmists at the IPCC believe sea levels will -- by 2100 -- rise anywhere near levels seen during the Eemian.

In fact, the latest IPCC report suggests sea levels will rise a mere 18cm to 59cm (7” to 23”) by 2100. See Table 3.1 on page 45 from this rather large and slow loading IPCC PDF file.

Melting Arctic sea ice, by the way, does not contribute to sea level rise.

4) Polar Bears have ALREADY survived a TOTAL absence of Arctic sea ice!

The bottom line on Polar Bears is this (as presented by purely political CAGW alarmists at Berkeley):

“The differences among the bears' [DNA] sequences pointed to a split between polar bears and brown bears just 150,000 years ago.”

Regardless of their attempts to distort the facts regarding current conditions, even these Berkeley alarmists freely admit that Polar Bears have already survived a period when ALL the Arctic sea ice melted during the summers -- see point #3.

5) Compared to the previous 4 perfectly NATURAL interglacial warming periods, there is NOTHING unusual about current temperatures OR trends!

The maximum temperatures achieved during each warming
were quite uniform and well above current temperatures.
Click the image to enlarge it:
Click the image to enlarge it
Click here to further explore & verify the above data.

The current warming trend began 2,000 years ago.
And, there is NOTHING unusual about the latest warming!
Click the image to enlarge it:
Click the image to enlarge it
Click here to further explore & verify the above data.

6) So, combining all of the above points, we conclude that:

A) Polar bears survived a perfectly natural, perfectly normal period (the Eemian) during which ALL the Arctic sea ice melted during the summers and are still with us today.

B) We also note that -- contrary to popular (revenue generating) propaganda -- Polar Bears are doing just fine.

7) To Summarize:

A) The Polar Bears and the Arctic sea ice extent (and/or volume) are no cause for concern (except to your wallet).

B) The totalitarian political religious cult of environmental extremism and the policies they seek to impose are cause for GREAT concern!

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