2011-08-09 08:22:26Andy Revkin succumbs to the 'climate's changed before' argument
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.177.173.40

Revkin on the Arctic:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/on-arctic-sea-ice-and-warmth-past-and-future/

I’m not worried about the resilience of Arctic ecosystems and not worried about the system tipping into an irreversibly slushy state on time scales relevant to today’s policy debates. This is one reason I don’t go for descriptions of the system being in a “death spiral.”

The main source of my Arctic comfort level — besides what I learned while camped with scientists on the North Pole sea ice — is the growing body of work on past variability of conditions in the Arctic. The latest evidence of substantial past ice variability comes in a study in the current issue of Science. The paper, combining evidence of driftwood accumulation and beach formation in northern Greenland with evidence of past sea-ice extent in parts of Canada, concludes that Arctic sea ice appears to have retreated far more in some spans since the end of the last ice age than it has in recent years.

The argument that past climate change is cause for comfort rather than cause for concern is something deniers like to peddle. Surprised to see Revkin fall for it. Past climate change tells us that our climate is highly sensitive to the slightest nudge and we're giving it a huge shove now, much faster than anything experienced in the past. Dramatic climate change in the past goes hand in hand with mass extinctions. Revkin being duped in this way tells me possibly two things - either that even well meaning environmentalists will grasp at anything to avoid the bleak trajectory we're headed on or that we need to do a better job at explaining the logical fallacies in climate denial so people can avoid falling into these kinds of traps.

2011-08-09 08:25:42
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Yeah, I saw another "skeptic" reference a recent paper (possibly the same as Revkin references) and make the argument that polar bears survived 8,000 years ago when the Arctic was hotter (and/or had less ice), so they can survive the near future as well.

In short, as long as the species doesn't go extinct, we don't care if most of them die off?  That's the sort of argument that apparently gives Revkin "comfort".

2011-08-09 08:36:46
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

How many humans were around 8000 years ago?

When it comes to comparing today with periods of low human populations in the past in the context of species, it is a pointless exercise because really you have two completely different scenarios or experiments.

2011-08-09 09:14:24
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.179.249

What surprised me about this was that he seemed to assume that it won't get hotter in the Arctic this century than during the early Holocene. He seemed very complacent.

2011-08-09 13:43:54
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.157.48

Bah!....... typed up a long response to the article and the stupid site wouldn't accept it, and came back with "try again later". Now can't retrieve contents of it. Grrrrrrrrr!!!

I was pointing out that the deeper Arctic waters will be actually corrosive to shell-making marine creatures within the next decade. Rapid acidification is something never before experienced by Arctic marine eco-systems, and definitely not during the HCO.

2011-08-09 13:59:03
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.245.41

Got a comment in moderation. I await his reply with interest.

2011-08-09 20:37:37
Hoskibui

hoskibui@gmail...
194.144.161.27

It is always curious to me when people assume that because it was maybe as warm as today (because of different reasons), that people conclude that it must be okay.  Since it is warming because of human emission (which continues to escelate), the temperature wont stop at todays value. Maybe today is okay - but tomorrow won't be.

 

p.s. is there going to be special rebuttal to Revkin's piece at SKS?

2011-08-10 00:45:13Rob Painting
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Always best to create and save your comments in a Word document. Cut & paste saves time and frustration.

2011-08-10 01:11:13
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Don't you mean Open Office Badger ? ;-)

Yeah, I use TextEdit on my Mac. It starts up quicker. You don't need wordprocessing software.

Just put a big response together in that, paste it into the form, send it. If it doesn't work then try again later, if it does then just close TextEdit without saving.

2011-08-10 02:39:21Paul D
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

I'm an old fart and have yet to migrate to "Open Office."

2011-08-10 08:18:33
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.179.249

Joe Romm sets Revkin straight.

I'm often confused by what Revkin does. Some of his articles are really good, while others, like this latest one on the Arctic seem aimed only to stir up controversy and, presumably, attention.

2011-08-10 08:26:42
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.72.61

"while others, like this latest one on the Arctic seem aimed only to stir up controversy and, presumably, attention"

Precisely. 

My comment got through moderation. No reply from Revkin - his prior comments suggest he hasn't even considered the ocean acidification aspect. Many of those Arctic eco-systems are on course for decimation.

2011-08-10 08:50:21OpenOffice can edit, save and create Word files
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

I'm a little late to the Revkin-bash party but:

I find him Curry-esque; equal parts:

  • internally inconsistent
  • falsely equivalent [he implies "balance" to dialogue where there simply isn't any from the state of understanding of the science of climate change]
  • apologista

I guess I expect too much from a professional communicator who specializes in climate science in the US...

2011-08-10 13:57:54
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.177.51.236

I'd like to read that Nature paper, but can't afford the subscription.  I have a strong feeling that the authors have taken no account of the variability of shorefast ice extent around Nord.  That is the region of the NEW - the North East Water - a polyna which frequently varies in size.

Near the NEW, on the Cape Morris Jessup side there is a region of shorefast ice and another to the south of Nord.  These ice areas exhibit great variability with no obvious connection to climate or to each other.  When the NEW is at maximum extent, most ice-borne wood will not get across that warm water to land.

The beach features which have been identified as wave-caused could just as well be caused by water trapped behind an ice shove, a sort of mini-tsunami effect.

As far as that region is concerned, great caution should - in my opinion - be exercised and observers should not be too hasty in ascribing beach features and driftwood fluctuations to Arctic-wide variations in climate.  The observed variations are just as likely to be local in scope.

As to the 'anti-tipping-point brigade', in the BAU scenario, we have passed a tipping point.  If drastic action is taken now, then perhaps in about 1000 years the Arctic will have returned to its circa 1900 condition.  But it will still have tipped circa 1990 - 1999.

I will write no article on this without reading the paper.  It may be that the study was more focussed on Ellesmere.  However, reports about the paper consistently mention north, or north-east Greenland.

2011-08-10 14:06:19If you mean the Funder study in Science, Wish granted
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Here ya go:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/Funderetal2011-science-sea-ice-seesaw.pdf

2011-08-10 14:46:54
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.177.51.236

Thanks, Daniel.

A quick skim shows that they have considered the NEW.  I'll study this tomorrow, after some shuteye. Nearly 6am here, definitely long past my bedtime. :-)