Tag Archives: arctic
Here’s a news story from Reuters and reported in the West Australian, October 5,2012.
LONDON (Reuters) – Russia is considering allowing Western companies to own oil licences in its Arctic waters, Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying in Friday’s Financial Times.
The FT reported, without providing a full direct quote, that Novak said the proposal would allow foreign oil majors not only to operate offshore projects but also to “have access to production” and become “co-owners of the licences”.
Novak was cited as saying the idea was being discussed in the energy ministry, although no final decision had been taken.
Only companies that were environmentally safe, technologically advanced and financially robust would qualify, the FT said.
Earlier this month, state-owned oil giant Gazprom OAO <gazp.mm>delayed the start of production at its Prirazlomnoye field, the first Russian Arctic offshore oil deposit to be developed, due to safety concerns.
The Arctic is seen as a key source of oil in the next decade for Russia, the world’s largest producer.
(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Richard Pullin)
Over at WUWT, the denier comments are rather bland but occasionally, one denier will stand up and say something so insightful it warrants mentioning. In this case, in response to Anthony’s post about Arctic sea ice, Screwpuppy actually made sense…….accidently.
Yep, Anthony Watts is excluded from that comment, Screwpuppy, not because he’s not guessing but because he’s not a climatologist you idiot.
Not quite sure what to make of this one from Bob Tisdale.
He alleges that he has criticised other deniers as well as those of us who embrace reality and he may well have, however, the scorn and derision of his Excel graphs applies to ALL his graphs regardless of what they say because they are dodgy. Of most interest is his final comment. Clearly he believes the warming we are experiencing is natural and I almost get the feeling he is looking forward to an ice free Arctic. I assume he was just trolling me in order to qualify for the honour of attaining “denier comment of the day”, however, this is more than likely a genuine reflection of his true position.
Patrick Michaels, not happy with butchering climate science, has decided to try failing at biology, genetics and ecology all in one go. In an article published at World Climate Report and naturally reposted at my new favourite source of idiocy WUWT, Michaels, the oil-funded shill from the CATO institute had a go at misunderstanding and misrepresenting a PNAS paper on polar bear genetics, and did a fantastic job.
When I first read Michaels’ article, I immediately thought about doing a large debunking on it, but to be honest, it is so wrong on so many levels, in so many ways across so many disciplines and in every single paragraph, I just really didn’t think I had the time to do a line by line destruction of it. I kid you not, this article is so bad, even my 12-year-old daughter was able to pick apart some pieces. So, rather than deal with the constant facepalming involved in picking it apart, I urge you to read it for yourself. Wear a John McEnroe type headband for protection. I have though, pulled out my favourite bit of Patrick’s obvious ignorance.
In referring to how polar bears might adapt to climate change he suggested that because there is genetic evidence that polar bears and Grizzly bears diverged a long time ago and because they are able to be hybridised in zoos and produce viable offspring, they will naturally be able to interbreed in the wild. He says,
“And, further, it seems rather than extinction, what a warmer climate leads to is an increase in interbreeding with brown bears—something which apparently took place with some regularity over the bears’ history, even more so in warmer times. So perhaps in extended warm periods, the polar bear becomes a bit browner—and takes on characteristics which are better suited for a warmer climate, only to re-emerge as the great white bear of the north when glacial conditions return.”
Yep, that’s what he said. Now, while there have been a few (3) recorded cases of hybrid bears in the wild, this notion that it is somehow going to be an easy thing is so simplistic and ignorant it beggars belief. For a start, the paper he is referring doesn’t paint a picture of polar bears and grizzly bears interbreeding easily every time there has been a swing in the climate. The last time there was any significant gene flow between the two was 150000 years ago and even then it was fairly limited. That is why polar bears are so genetically depauperate now. If it there was regular prolonged gene flow there would be much higher levels of diversity. But what about ecology? Not only are the two bears very different morphologically, behaviourally they are extremely different. They have different courtship rituals, different levels of aggression etc etc. It’s not an easy thing. But Patrick seems to be inferring that it’s a simple case that whenever polar bears come into contact with brown bears they’ll simply breed and become “a bit browner” and then when it’s all better in the next ice age, they’ll go back to being polar bears. This is where my young daughter said, “That’s stupid! They won’t be the same. They’ll look different,” and she’s right. The hybrids that have been produced in zoos and the 3 documented wild cases, are bears that are very very different, displaying characteristics of both parental lineages. They have white hair on their bodies, grizzly type heads, an arched back, and extended claws. They are also an in-between size. What second, third, fourth,…., hundredth generations would look like is impossible to predict as it would depend on the numbers and how much backcrossing there was etc etc. All the sorts of things Patrick really doesn’t understand. But that is assuming of course that that is a viable hypothesis.
A much more likely scenario is that in the short-term, polar bears will become extinct. The few hybrids that are produced during that death spiral will see their genes swallowed up by the brown bear population, and then, in however many hundreds of thousands of years when we do eventually slide back into an ice age, allopatric speciation will occur in the bear population and something, probably not resembling modern polar bears will emerge. That is of course provided we haven’t driven the brown bears to extinction by then.
So again, I urge you to check out the original paper and Patrick Michaels’ obvious ignorance and facepalm away. Thank me later.
Yet again, Geoffrey Brown, the official blogger for the Climate Sceptics Party has demonstrated his inability to check the accuracy of what he is posting and an outstanding ability to use really dodgy sources. This time he has posted a couple of quote-mined articles from The Alaska Dispatch, an online news website. I’ll come to the geography problem in a moment, but first to the issue of quote mining and general dodginess. For the uninitiated, there is a good definition of quote mining here.
Geoffrey starts with the title “Ice Free Arctic?” and then goes on with selected sections of the article with quotes allegedly from Captain Stephen Carmel, senior vice president for Maersk Line Limited where he essentially discusses the unpredictability of sea ice making it unlikely the northwest passage will be used by Maersk as a sea route anytime soon. His argument however is based firmly in the world of economics. The idea here, by being selective and using a provocative title is to give the impression that someone in authority is questioning the science behind the melting Arctic. The big problem with this article though is the paraphrasing and attribution employed by the author. There is a mix of direct quotes and paraphrasing mixed in with what could well be his own opinions. Here is an example.
Shippers can’t afford to be knocked off schedule by shifting ice or fog in the Arctic, he said, and both are potential problems. Shipping lanes in the region are opening, but there is still a lot of ice even in the summer. “When we say ‘ice free,’ we mean no ice,” Carmel said.
The only thing we can be sure the captain said is the directly quoted part. It is likely he said the first part but has that been paraphrased? Who said the sentence beginning with “Shipping lanes…”? Anyway, the whole article is like that. I urge anyone to check it out for themselves and makeup their own mind about the overall tone, in particular make note of the references to the Northeast passage.
So, we then move onto part two of Geoff’s post which refers his readers to another article appearing in The Alaska Dispatch, this time from “a month later”. It was actually a few weeks later but I’ll cut Geoff some slack on that one. Sometimes maths can be tricky, but not as tricky as Geography. I started reading and was instantly aware that something wasn’t quite right, thought I couldn’t put my finger on what. Here’s the passage that bugged me. It was the opening paragraph.
Brutal sea ice conditions that northwest Alaska battled all winter haven’t receded in parts of northern Canada. Two resupply ships are stuck waiting at the mouth of Frobisher Bay in Iqaluit because of tough ice conditions. Frobisher Bay is an inlet of the Labrador Sea.
I stopped reading and scratched my head trying to work out why this bugged me. Have you worked it out yet? It took me a few minutes but then it occurred to me. Alaska is in the northwest of North America and the area of Arctic Ocean adjacent is called the Beaufort Sea. The Labrador Sea is between the northeast of Canada and Greenland. Iqaluit is more than 3000km away from the Beaufort Sea and Alaska!
But it’s worse than that. The title of the Article is actually “Brutal Bering Sea ice blocking Arctic supply ships.” So where is the Bering Sea?
You have to wonder if someone in Alaska, writing in an Alaskan news website, can’t even get some simple Alaskan and Arctic geography correct, how can you trust anything else they have written? Apparently Geoffrey can. Anyway, the rest of the article is just about some boats going to various places and about some problems with sea ice.
So why has Geoffrey posted this? I think he and his ilk like to focus on anything they think throws any doubt on anything to do with climate change. No doubt Geoffrey felt that all the talk in these two articles about ice in the Arctic somehow sheds doubt on the knowledge that the Arctic is indeed melting. Perhaps, rather than reading really badly written newspaper articles, he should instead focus on the actual science.
Well the AGW denial blogosphere has lit up with claims that the Antarctic isn’t melting. Hooray! Global warming is dead! I knew it was a scam! Or is it? So, what’s causing all the excitement? A new study still in press but partially reported on by the American Geophysical Union that has found the ocean under the Fimbul Ice Shelf in East Antarctica isn’t warming as fast as models had predicted and as such the ice shelf isn’t melting as fast as it is gaining ice. The write-up all the deniers are cutting and pasting from, “The Register” and can be found here. It was so exciting it prompted my favourite denial blog to open with “Should we rely on computer models or examine real world data?” I’ll come back to that.
So what’s going on with the deniers? Well, it’s the same old thing of focusing on little things while ignoring the big things. What’s funny about this, or not so funny, is the fact that while the models may have been not quite accurate, that is no surprise given the paucity of data available for that area. Apparently it was too dangerous to obtain under ice measurements during the winter months at the time that the models were developed. So what will scientists do now that they have more accurate data? Will they try to bury it? Well, no. They will continue to improve the models and publish their results dispassionately, as they have done in this case. But does the apparent failure of this one model mean all the models are wrong? Well, as much as the deniers hate models and as much as they would like all the models to be wrong, that simply isn’t the case. But let’s get away from models for a second and look at the results and lets look at what scientists already know. The fact that this result has turned up in east Antarctica really isn’t a surprise given the stark differences between east and west Antarctica in terms of warming.
Quite a large difference between east and west I’d say. This is also why the headlines in the deniers blogs about Antarctica are also misleading. What’s happening in east Antarctica is very different to the west. But then that’s just like deniers to 1. misrepresent facts and 2. ignore the bigger picture. So go ahead deniers, crow about east Antarctica and the old models that didn’t work, but before you do, let’s have a look at some “real world data”. I don’t really need to say anything about these following graphs. They speak for themselves.
Crowing about little things while ignoring the large obvious things to justify a nonsensical irrational position is the ultimate in juvenile wilful ignorance. Say hello to an ice-free August/September in the Arctic by mid decade and a completely ice-free arctic by 2035…at the latest. By promoting the irrational denialist position, the vested interests and their science illiterate sycophantic brain-dead bloggers can take part of the blame for the 30 years of government inaction. Time that, if better spent, could have in all likelihood prevented this impending situation.