By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, Weatherbell.com
The Huffington Post has yet another error filled story today featuring Michael Mann who is touring the world on a two year sabbatical to try and restore histarnished reputation after climategate and the hockey stick debacle. Let’s play the liberal media’s favorite game of fact checking.
Low-lying island nations threatened by rising sea levels this century could see the disastrous consequences of climate change far sooner than expected, according to one of the world’s leading climate scientists.
In the wake of last month’s discovery that the extent of Arctic sea ice coverage hit a record low this year, climate scientist Michael Mann told the Guardian that “Island nations that have considered the possibility of evacuation at some point, like Tuvalu, may have to be contending those sort of decisions within the matter of a decade or so.”
Mann, who is the director of Pennsylvania State University’s Earth System Science Center, said that current melting trends show sea ice is “declining faster than the models predict.”
FACT CHECK: The melting is to be expected and parallels the melting that took place the last time the Atlantic Multidecadal oscillation was in its warm mode. Also unlike what Mann says, NASA reported a long lasting, unusually strong arctic storm helped compact the ice. The last minimum in 2007 occurred when an unusual wind pattern forced ice to exit the arctic to the Atlantic.
“The models have typically predicted that will not happen for decades but the measurements that are coming in tell us it is already happening so once again we are decades ahead of schedule,” Mann told the Guardian.
This year’s record melting, which occurred under more “normal” conditions than the previous record set in 2007, left Arctic sea ice at a minimum “nearly 50 percent lower than the average ... for the years 1979-2000,” according to Climate Central.
Rapidly decreasing sea ice suggests that the melting of polar ice sheets may occur more rapidly than previously predicted. Mann explained to the Guardian that “we [will] really start to see sea level rises accelerate,” as the Greenland and the west Antarctic ice sheets disappear. Unlike with the melting of sea ice, these ice sheets would introduce vast quantities of water into the world’s oceans, making them “critical from the standpoint of sea level rise,” according to Mann.
FACT CHECK: Greenland had a warm spell in June coinciding with near record summer blocking. But the melt was minor surface melt and very brief and entirely overplayed in the media. The entire ice sheet did not melt as portrayed but a thin layer of slush developed as surface daytime temperatures reached the middle 30s in July. It is forecast to be -51F this week.
Richard Alley, no skeptic and a colleague of Mann at PSU has this Greenland analysis long term.
The ongoing rise in average global temperatures, which has accelerated Arctic ice melt, has been largely attributed to the burning of fossil fuels and the resultant increase in greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
FACT CHECK: No rise in temperatures the last 15 years even as CO2 has risen over 8% and human emissions from fossil fuels by almost 20%
For the most vulnerable island nations, like the Maldives, Kiribati, the Torres Strait Islands and many others, rising seas will bring significant coastal erosion and saltwater contamination of limited freshwater supplies. Environmental group Oceana recently noted that nations dependent upon the sea will face food security threats as greater temperatures and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide increase ocean acidity and put marine life at risk.
FACT CHECK: Sea level rises began leveling off the last half of the 19th century and have been flattening even more in recent years
And the promised changes at Tuvalu have been undetected for decades.
Despite the increasingly clear picture painted by scientific observations and climate modeling, “There’s a huge gap between what is understood by the scientific community and what is known by the public,” according to NASA scientist James Hansen. Recent polling suggests that as much as 35 percent of the U.S. population and 37 percent of the British public remain unconvinced of the scientific reality of climate change.
Well the public smells a con game that Hansen and Mann and the climate clowns at climate central are playing.
And of course, no mention of the new record high ice extent for the Southern Hemisphere.
The story as a whole gets a full 4 Pinocchio’s. But then again most political and environmental stories in the HUFFPO start with at least 3, right up there with the WAPO.