UPDATED: Another Antarctic scare story
ANTARCTICA is melting - and that spells big trouble for Australia. Scientists used to think Antarctica was bucking the trend on global warming by getting cooler. Now it seems they got it wrong.
US researchers have pored over data from satellites and weather stations in the biggest ever study of the frozen continent's climate - and found it's warming after all. Scientists now estimate the melting of Antarctica's massive ice sheets will cause the world's sea levels to rise by one to two metres by the end of the century.
They then wheel out Prof Barry Brook (a favourite of these pages...):
"That's bad news if you live near the Australian coast," Prof Brook said. [Gee, really? - Ed]
"In some areas where you've currently got housing, you'd probably have to abandon those areas."
He said the sea would penetrate up to 1km inland in flat areas like South Australia's lower lakes. Large areas which don't see flooding now would get flooded by king tides. House prices for coastal areas would probably drop, Prof Brook said.
But, as usual, there is more to the story than meets the eye. It appears that the researchers used a "statistical technique" using both surface station data and satellite data to make a "new estimate" of temperature trends. How convenient (the quote "Lies, damned lies and statistics" springs to mind...).
The scientists found temperature measurements from weather stations corresponded closely with satellite data for overlapping time periods. That allowed them to use the satellite data as a guide to deduce temperatures in areas of the continent without weather stations. (source)
"Deducing" temperatures? Sounds like flakey modelling to me. And let's just look at some of the authors of the study:
- Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann
- Scott "Hockey Stick" Rutherford
- Drew Shindell from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (ie. James Hansen)
As Climate Research News so brilliantly puts it:
But wait! There is more fun to be had here - Real Climate, which includes Michael Mann, have previously said, “A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming.” You just can’t lose when playing the ‘consistent with climate models’ game can you!? Presumably, the findings of this new paper don’t contradict climate models either.
Read it here.
- Watts Up With That cites volcanic activity as the most likely cause of any warming; and
- Marc Morano deconstructs the whole thing very nicely over at the Inhofe EPW Press Blog
- Climate Audit is on the case as well here
- The Age goes into full "told-you-so" mode as it labels the report "Clear Evidence Emerges of Antarctic Warming" - not so fast...