Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Climate change skeptics may be about to lose one of their favorite arguments

By Chris Mooney July 27, WashPost

Whenever you point to melting ice in polar regions, climate change doubters or skeptics have an answer. Ice floating atop the seas around Antarctica, they point out, is growing — and that’s not what you would expect from global warming, right?

In late 2013 and early 2014, an iconic moment capturing this phenomenon occurred when a research vessel, MV Akademik Shokalskiy, actually found itself trapped in Antarctic ice, and its 52 passengers — including some scientists — had to be rescued by helicopter. Climate skeptics had a field day. “It will take far more than helicopters … to salvage the theory of so-called ‘global warming,’” wrote Deroy Murdock. “It remains trapped in Antarctic ice.”

There’s no doubt that growing Antarctic sea ice is a mystery in the climate system — and an anomalous, seemingly contrary indicator. However, if a controversial and much-discussed new paper from famed former NASA scientist James Hansen and 16 colleagues is correct, then actually it could be a troubling climate warning sign. (Indeed, other scientists have reached similar conclusions.)

According to Hansen’s thinking, expanding Antarctic sea ice is precisely what you would expect to see if the Antarctic continent itself is losing a lot of ice mass from its vast ice sheet, adding to sea level rise.

(More here.)

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