Interview with Fred Michel on Arctic Ice Shelves

Fred Michel, an Arctic specialist from Carleton University, in an interview, discusses Arctic ice shelf break-up. http://www.cfra.com/chum_audio/Fred_Michel_Jan10.mp3

22 Comments

  1. Pat Frank
    Posted Jan 11, 2007 at 2:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Well, I just listened to what Fred Michel had to report about loss of arctic ice shelves. He says 2/3 of the total loss happened prior to 1960, with 30% since then. I.e., the ice-shelf loss-rate has slowed as the global average temeprature has risen. Shocking!

    All I can say is that when the Nuremberg climate skeptic trials come to Canada — after they’ve righteously disposed of Fred Singer, the Idso brothers, John Christy, and Richard Lindzen down here — they’ll be hauling Fred Michel into the docket; just after Tad Murty, probably. He insists it’s all naturally occurring “climate variability” not IPCC’s “climate change” (read AGW) and that humans are responsible for about 10% of current warming.

    Like the judgment calls that parameterize our quantitative GCM predictions of future climate, though, Michel’s 10% is just a ball-park guess.

    Evidence for AGW: MIA.

  2. Lee
    Posted Jan 11, 2007 at 11:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Pat,

    Nuremberg?
    I’m invoking Godwin’s law – stop being an a**..

  3. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Jan 12, 2007 at 12:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Grist Magazine’s staff writer David Roberts called for the Nuremberg-style trials for the “bastards” who were members of what he termed the global warming “denial industry.”

    Roberts wrote in the online publication on September 19, 2006, “When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.”

    Lee, since the AGW adherents have publicly called for Nuremburg style trials for “deniers”, Pat’s comment is not Godwin, it’s current events. Stop being deliberately obtuse …

    w.

  4. Lee
    Posted Jan 12, 2007 at 12:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    willis, I have not seen such comments ever before, so I followed this up.

    That quote is not “the agw adherents,” it is one person posting an angry comment in a short book review, being an inflammatory ass on his blog. It isn’t ‘current events’ it is one line by one person, being blown out of all proportion.

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 12, 2007 at 12:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    No more of this please.

  6. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 16, 2007 at 11:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Climatic hubris: The Ellesmere Island ice shelves have been disappearing since they were first mapped in 1906

    Fred Michel

    16 January 2007

    National Post

    On Saturday evening, the science director of the David Suzuki Foundation told CBC Newsworld that world scientists agree”¢’‚¬?we must act now “to stabilize the Earth’s climate.” We have heard a similar refrain for years. We are told over and over that the rise in temperatures during the 1990s is accelerating the rate of melt of our polar ice caps as never before and worldwide flooding will wash away coastal settlements. Droughts, hurricanes, pestilence and all forms of calamity will be upon us and future generations if we do not reduce our carbon dioxide emissions that, so they say, is causing global warming.

    A couple of nights earlier on CBC News, Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria asserted with respect to recent events, “[This] is nothing — wait ’til 2050. This is scary. I mean the kind of climate change in store in the next 50 to 100 years is equivalent to the climate change that existed between when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth in the Cretaceous and today. That’s 60 million years of climate change happening in a hundred years!”

    Besides the fact that the mass extinction that wiped out most of the dinosaurs was actually 66 million years ago, Weaver apparently also does not realize that in those millions of years the climate has been extremely variable, ranging from nearly tropical in polar regions to ice sheets covering much of North America and Europe. This period also saw changes from some of the highest sea levels ever to some of the lowest.

    In late December, the media expressed shock as a large piece of ice shelf on the north end of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic broke off and created seismic waves. It was reported that 90% of the northern ice shelves had now been lost. Not mentioned was the fact that this is an ongoing, albeit intermittent event. Since the ice shelves were first mapped in 1906, they have been gradually disappearing. In fact, research papers on this ice shelf, published in 1986 and 2001 by Dr. Martin Jeffries of the University of Alaska, show that by 1962 roughly 60% of the ice shelf had already disappeared. Since then, an additional 30% has broken away with a larger loss than the most recent one occurring about 30 years ago. In other words, 60% of the ice shelf was lost in the first 56 years of this period (over 1% per year) versus 30% in the last 44 years (or 0.67% per year). Is that acceleration? Before today’s global warming hype, Jeffries reported that “the coincidence of tidal and seismic events in 1962 created a critical condition that caused the ice shelf calving.” He concluded that further losses were to be expected.

    In the work I have been involved with on Bylot Island in the eastern Canadian Arctic, we have found a fairly continuous glacier retreat of 40 to 50 metres per year since the late 1940s when air photos were first taken. Clearly, this retreat is nothing new — it is a long-term response to natural variations in climate. The Little Ice Age from the 1400s to the mid-1800s was the coldest period in the past millennium, cold enough to allow skating on the canals and rivers of England and mainland Europe. Before that it was much warmer – 6,000 years ago during the ‘climatic optimum’ the Canadian Arctic was perhaps as much as 3C to 5C warmer than today. Then, the depth of thaw of the upper permafrost was much more than we see today.

    Last year, when a conference was held at Tuktoyaktuk on the shores of the Beaufort Sea, news reports blamed global warming for the massive coastal erosion that is endangering the community. However, research has documented that such erosion has been occurring along this part of the Mackenzie Delta at a rate of tens of metres per year for centuries, if not millennia. At one time the community would have been kilometres from the coast. The shores of this region are ice-rich and susceptible to erosion by waves and warm temperatures. What we are witnessing is natural, ongoing change and certainly nothing new.

    The success of the human species has been largely due to its ability to adapt to environmental changes. With the evolution of megacities, we now seem to feel that we are powerful enough to change the environment at our whim. Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact on New Orleans should have been a wake-up call to the fact that we must still be ready to adapt to environmental change, including climate variations. Instead, it has been used by alarmists to promote their impossible goal of “stopping climate change.” In reality, climate is constantly changing and will continue to change no matter what we do.

    We need to put our energies and resources into solving real environmental problems — air, water and land pollution, the loss in biodiversity, and urban sprawl, to name just a few. “Stabilizing the Earth’s climate” as suggested by Suzuki’s science director, is sheer fantasy. Its time to chill out on climate change hysteria.

  7. Dano
    Posted Jan 16, 2007 at 1:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The advantage of this opinion piece, Steve, is the Allied Experts list at Fred’s NRSP can be used as a ‘usual suspects’ roster.

    Best,

    D

  8. Dano
    Posted Jan 16, 2007 at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    oops. linky

  9. Pat Frank
    Posted Jan 16, 2007 at 3:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #7 — But another view depending on a brigade of homeboys that included Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, and Ray Pierrehumbert wouldn’t bother you at all, would it Dano.

  10. Pat Frank
    Posted Jan 16, 2007 at 3:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The thread link to Fred Michel’s National Post article didn’t work. This should get there.

  11. Pat Frank
    Posted Jan 16, 2007 at 4:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Fred Michel, by the way, is now held to be a “felony criminal conspiracy accomplice” by folks like those that Lee says are not really serious after all about having Nuremberg-style trials for scientists who disagree with the A-part of AGW.

    A perusal of the linked page — a new experience for me — by the way, reveals a frantic and lurid accusatory rhetoric unmatched anywhere except among the truly nuts.

  12. Dano
    Posted Jan 16, 2007 at 4:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 9, 11:

    9: depends upon whether one is talking about belief or empiricism.

    11: One can find nut jobs anywhere. The key is it depends upon whether one projects or conflates the few nuts to an entire population. Oh, and whether the nut jobs have the ear of those in power (this is changing, fortunately).

    Best,

    D

  13. Pat Frank
    Posted Jan 16, 2007 at 7:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #12 – Empiricism is mere inductivism in another guise. It provides no prospect for theory-based conclusions. Those in power with regard to AGW alarmism reside at the IPCC, not in Washington. I see no immediate prospect for sanity at the former.

    So, Dano, regarding your own vote of confidence in empiricism, can you provide an empirical GCM confidence limit produced by propagating the parameter uncertainties through the model?

  14. jae
    Posted Jan 16, 2007 at 8:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    13: Watch out Pat, Dano will bury you in irrelevant “linkys.”

  15. Dano
    Posted Jan 17, 2007 at 6:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    13:

    Empiricism is mere inductivism in another guise. It provides no prospect for theory-based conclusions.

    Ah. So you don’t trust science. I take it you don’t do medicine, then.

    Seriously, you are confusing empiricism with gathering empirical evidence using the scientific method. Certainly if a theory-based conclusion is valid, then you can gather data to test that theory. That’s the deal with science – being able to test the theory. Otherwise, it’s not science.

    Best,

    D

  16. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jan 17, 2007 at 8:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Seriously, you are confusing empiricism with gathering empirical evidence using the scientific method.

    Ah, the old scientific method! Not to change the subject too much, but here’s a linky from wiki about “the scientific method”:

    “…Another basic expectation is that of making complete documentation of data and methodology available for careful scrutiny by other scientists and researchers, thereby allowing other researchers the opportunity to verify results by attempted reproduction of them. This also allows statistical measures of the reliability of the results to be established…

    Is “refusing to be intimidated into releasing code” in line with the scientific method?

  17. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jan 17, 2007 at 10:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #6 – “Last year, when a conference was held at Tuktoyaktuk on the shores of the Beaufort Sea, news reports blamed global warming for the massive coastal erosion that is endangering the community. However, research has documented that such erosion has been occurring along this part of the Mackenzie Delta at a rate of tens of metres per year for centuries, if not millennia. At one time the community would have been kilometres from the coast. The shores of this region are ice-rich and susceptible to erosion by waves and warm temperatures. What we are witnessing is natural, ongoing change and certainly nothing new.”

    Looking at a map of the Mackenzie Delta, one thing becomes immediately clear – the lithosphere it sits on is submergent. Note how the main channel is an estuary – highly unusual for a delta of this form. There is a possible explanation for this. Consider what is happening tectonically. There is a subduction zone along the Alaskan shore. Beyond the high mountains, there is undoubtedly extension going on in the contiental crust. Just how far does it go? Not only that, but the Arctic between single digit E longitudes and westward to the date line is formed by sea floor spreading (albeit, decreasing toward the pole where it then switches over to the compressive regime eventually culminating in the Urals). So, the entire North American Arctic shore is a passive margin and innately subsiding. Add to that the rise in sea level which happened (but appears to be now leveling off) since ~ 10K YBP. Of course the Mackenzie Delta is eroding. Although at some point is will start to build back up again. No more estuary, no more winter ice road out onto the sea?

  18. Pat Frank
    Posted Jan 17, 2007 at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #15 — Science is not empiricism, Dano. Science is theory and result. Empiricism derives conclusions from extrapolating results without reference to a falsifiable theory. Science derives conclusions — in the way of closed predictions — from falsifiable theory.

    I can see now why you’re an AGW alarmist: you’re given to extrapolating trends and coming to conclusions driven by personal preferences. Here’s a fact, Dano, from the science side of things: the “A” in AGW is not a unique explanation for the climate trends of Earth. There is no cliamte theory good enough to provide a unique explanation.

  19. Dano
    Posted Jan 17, 2007 at 6:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    18:

    I don’t know what you’re on about. I’m the one that rejected your empiricism use, and the one whose comment #15 you just repeated but didn’t read in your headlong, ululating rush to paint me with the brush you had already dipped and had ready to go.

    Best,

    D

  20. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jan 17, 2007 at 7:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #17 – Clarification – by “Alaskan shore” I meant “Alaskan Pacific Shore.”

  21. Wondering Aloud
    Posted Mar 25, 2008 at 10:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    From following links above I have learned something. #8

    One thing you wont see at Real Climate, a balanced discussion of the issue. I wonder what planet they are talking about, it sure isn’t this one

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