Would it surprise you to learn that the global warming alarmists fouled up again? Me neither, but this time its the legacy media that deserves the blame.
For those who are keeping track (admittedly not easy given the numbers), we have now reached forty-six examples of data manipulation, errors, and other shenanigans from global warming alarmists, and that’s just from what I’ve been able to blog on this subject since Climategate broke in November of 2009, which is now about four and a half years ago. This time, however, it’s a matter of the scientific studies cited being grossly exaggerated and badly misinterpreted.
The two studies were published by Geophysical Research Letters and Science respectively. Together, they have been reported as evidence that Antarctic ice will melt to such an extent that sea levels will rise by as much as 4 feet, and that such melting is “inevitable.” The only silver lining is that such melting could take centuries (or perhaps a millennium), but that didn’t stop the Governor of California from claiming two of his state’s biggest airports will be under water (Watts Up With That).
Larry Hamlin has a post on WUWT debunking the media hype, but I thought it would be best to read the studies myself to see what they actually said. The decision was an eye opener.
First, the GRL paper, which from a methodological perspective, does the exact opposite of what was claimed. It did not predict future ice behavior, but rather mapped an equation to past ice data for several glaciers in Western Antarctica (going back no more than forty years) and as an aside, used it to model temperature change.
The Science paper is even narrower, looking at only one Western Antarctic glacier (Thwaites). Furthermore, the authors of this paper provide neither their data nor their equations for their model (the GRL authors did both), instead only mentioning a melt coefficient. The projections they use for ice melting (and projected sea level rise) are only for the effects of the Thwaites glacier – meaning any countering effects from the rest of the continent were not considered (the authors themselves acknowledged that Antarctic ice as a whole is expected to increase, but only used it to gauge effects on Thwaites itself).
To be fair, the authors admit to the limitations of their work (emphasis added):
Our simulations are not coupled to a global climate model to provide forcing nor do they include an ice-shelf cavity-circulation model to derive melt rates. Few if any such fully coupled models presently exist. As such, our simulations do not constitute a projection of future sea level in response to projected climate forcing.
In other words, the paper explicitly rejects doing what legacy media reports claim it does.
How bad has the alarmist media been on this? This New York Times story even throws up the ozone layer as a reason – something neither study even mentions.
Keep in mind, Antarctic ice as a whole just reached a thirty-year high (WUWT). As for the western Antarctic, it’s had a history of ups and downs (WUWT), in no small part due to a recently discovered under-ice volcano (WUWT).
In other words, don’t believe the hype.
Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon