A Potemkin Village of Ice

As reported today in the Washington Post, the cold winter has lead to more Artic ice than has been seen for several years, “maximum sea ice extent in March increased by 3.9 percent over that of the previous three years.”  Wow. Global Warming is done and we need to fear the ice?  Well, first off, “climate” is not measured in three years: “the total ice coverage was still 2.2 percent below the long-term average.”

Even more interestingly, is the look and consideration of long-duration ice coveage.  “The very old ice, which remains in the Arctic for at least six years, made up more than 20 percent of the Arctic in the mid- to late 1980s, but by this winter it had decreased to 6 percent.”  As one scientist noted,

It’s a facade, like a Hollywood set. There’s no building behind it.”

A Potemkin Village of ice coverage.

“Long-lasting ice,” the ice that might stay around a decade or longer, has dropped dramatically.  “T the percentage of the Arctic Ocean with this stable ice cover has decreased from more than 50 percent in the mid-1980s to less than 30 percent as of last month.”

But, that facade, that Potemkin Village helps feed the denier/skeptic community’s truthiness sound machine.

“Because we had a cold winter, the public might think things have gotten better,” said Walter Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “In fact, the loss of the perennial ice makes clear that they’re not getting better at all.”

Yes, a weather pattern does not prove, disprove, or disrupt long-term climate change.  The Globe is warming and we’re seeing the impacts, even if a day or a winter might be colder than one in the past.

Now, in this article, there is an interesting confusing statement.

Officials said the loss of long-lasting ice was less the result of warming of the atmosphere than of a long-term rise in ocean temperatures …

Guess what, the two are combined.  “Global Warming” includes the warming of earth and of the ocean. The ocean is a carbon-dioxide and heat sink. Without warming of the atmosphere, would there be warming of the oceans?

NOTE:  Ice is a hot topic nowadays. See, for example, Andrew Revkin yesterday, A Farewell to Ice discussing the melting of glaciers.

PS:  Hat tip to Celsias for the wonderful Potemkin Village cartoon.


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