media bias

Claim: global warming causes Arctic ice to melt and Antarctic ice to increase

Within just a few days in September, Arctic sea ice extent reached the lowest minimum ever recorded by satellites since 1979, while at the same time, Antarctic sea ice reached the greatest extent ever recorded.

In my post “The Arctic-Antarctic seesaw” I explained how natural forces work to produce these phenomena.  In my post “Challenge to the Arizona Daily Star – get the facts” I accused the Arizona Daily Star of content bias because they prominently reported the Arctic minimum, but until now, did not report the Antarctic maximum.

Now, 21 days after the Antarctic maximum, the Arizona Daily Star has reprinted an AP article which attempts to spin observations to fit AGW global warming theory: “Experts: Global warming means more Antarctic ice.”   The article author is Seth Borenstein, long known for bad reporting on climate change.     With global warming media bias, it’s “heads I win; tails you lose.”

The AP/Star story says, “It sounds counterintuitive, but the Antarctic is part of the warming as well.”  Really? Was this a surprise to some climate scientists and their models? Let’s see what the climate models said according to a study in the Journal of Climate:

“We examine the annual cycle and trends in Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) for 18 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 models that were run with historical forcing for the 1850s to 2005. Many of the models have an annual SIE cycle that differs markedly from that observed over the last 30 years. The majority of models have too small a SIE at the minimum in February, while several of the models have less than two thirds of the observed SIE at the September maximum.”

A study from Ohio State University titled “Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions” says “temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.”  Also, there has been “no increase in precipitation over Antarctica in the last 50 years. Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet.”

In other words, the climate models predicted less sea ice in the Antarctic as well as in the Arctic.

The AP/Star story says: “Shifts in wind patterns and the giant ozone hole over the Antarctic this time of year – both related to human activity – are probably behind the increase in ice, experts say.”

The shifting winds affect mainly the West Antarctic peninsula and these winds have the effect of breaking up the ice, not increasing it.

From the Ohio State study:

“The westerlies have intensified over the last four decades or so, increasing in strength by as much as perhaps 10 to 20 percent.  There is a huge amount of ocean north of Antarctica and we’re only now understanding just how important the winds are for things like mixing in the Southern Ocean. The ocean mixing both dissipates heat and absorbs carbon dioxide….The peninsula is the most northern point of Antarctica and it sticks out into the westerlies. If there is an increase in the westerly winds, it will have a warming impact on that part of the continent, thus helping to break up the ice shelves…Farther south, the impact would be modest, or even non-existent.”

That Antarctic sea ice increase is due to global warming is without proof, only desperate speculation.

Even the Arctic sea ice minimum has little to do with global warming.  As I reported in Arctic sea ice reached record low extent in 2012 – or maybe not” the National Snow & Ice Data Center said Arctic sea ice extent dropped rapidly between August 4 and August 8 during what they called “The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012.”  That storm caused “mechanical break up of the ice and increased melting by strong winds and wave action during the storm.” So wind tends to melt and dissipate ice, not increase it.

In this era of alleged human-caused global warming, both continental and sea ice are increasing in Antarctica. “Satellite radar altimetry measurements indicate that the East Antarctic ice sheet interior north of 81.6-S increased in mass by 45±7 billion metric tons per year from 1992 to 2003.” (Source) And a new paper says in part: “Antarctic Peninsula ice core records indicate significant accumulation increase since 1855…” (Source). According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, total Antarctic sea ice has increased by about 1% per decade since the start of the satellite record..

It seems that the AP/Star story is mainly science fiction, agenda-driven spin,  and once again the Arizona Daily Star is doing disservice to its readers by not getting the facts.

And there is this other inconvenient fact: there has been no net global warming since 1997 in the lower atmosphere according to UAH satellite data nor any net warming of surface temperatures on land or sea according to the British Met Office.