All the right wing blogs and climate change denial sites are linking to this story: Inconvenient truth for Al Gore as his North Pole sums don’t add up.
Mr Gore, speaking at the Copenhagen climate change summit, stated the latest research showed that the Arctic could be completely ice-free in five years.
In his speech, Mr Gore told the conference: “These figures are fresh. Some of the models suggest to Dr [Wieslav] Maslowski that there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.”
However, the climatologist whose work Mr Gore was relying upon dropped the former Vice-President in the water with an icy blast. “It’s unclear to me how this figure was arrived at,” Dr Maslowski said. “I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this.”
Mr Gore’s office later admitted that the 75 per cent figure was one used by Dr Maslowksi as a “ballpark figure” several years ago in a conversation with Mr Gore.
Oops, that sounds like quite a boo-boo for Gore. Disproves global warming, right?
Well, actually, no it wasn’t, and no it doesn’t. Because Maslowski did predict that all the Arctic ice could melt by the next decade. From an interview with Maslowski in February of this year (and he’s on record in several places making this statement): Wieslaw Maslowski’s research suggests ice-free summers in Arctic by next decade | EarthSky.
Wieslaw Maslowski: We’re suggesting that sometime between 2010 and 2016, we might melt all this multi-year ice cover during summer in the Arctic.
Other estimates have predicted we won’t see ice-free summers for decades yet. But Maslowski said that these estimates don’t account for the loss of ice thickness.
Wieslaw Maslowski: This total volume loss, which is mostly controlled by the ice thickness loss, has been basically twice as fast as the surface loss observed by satellites.
Maslowski said the Arctic ice loss is a continually accelerating cycle that’s being amplified by global warming. When the Arctic sun shines on open water, rather than reflective ice, the ocean absorbs and stores more of the sun’s heat. Warmer ocean temperatures melt the ice from below, while warmer air temperatures melt it from above.
Wieslaw Maslowski: It’s basically a positive feedback loop, which is saying one change leads to even further changes.
Looks like Al Gore wasn’t wrong after all. His figure of 75% certainty may not reflect Maslowski’s exact thinking, but it’s abundantly clear that this was an extremely minor error. Maslowski took issue with a very narrow point — the 75% estimation that Gore made. And once again, it’s being blown up unrecognizably out of proportion by the denialosphere.
But it’s vital to realize that whether the actual percentage of certainty that the Arctic ice cap will vanish is 75% or some other figure, it doesn’t change the fact that the findings of the current research are extremely disturbing.
And for graphic evidence of this disaster in waiting, here’s one of the satellite images kept classified by the Bush administration, and recently released by the Obama administration, available at the US Geological Survey website: Global Fiducials Library.