Monday, June 28, 2010

How it works

Steve Goddard has brought forth another one of his whistling-through-the-graveyard articles on the Arctic sea ice. And in a classic WUWT move, he offers the following two quotes:

From The New York Times, 1969

From the 9th century to the 13th century almost no ice was reported there. This was the period- of Norse colonization of’ Iceland and Greenland. Then, conditions worsened and the Norse colonies declined. After the Little Ice Age of 1650 to 1840 the ice began to vanish near Iceland and had almost disappeared when the trend re versed, disastrously crippling Icelandic fisheries last year.

From The New York Times, 2000

The thick ice that has for ages covered the Arctic Ocean at the pole has turned to water, recent visitors there reported yesterday. At least for the time being, an ice-free patch of ocean about a mile wide has opened at the very top of the world, something that has presumably never before been seen by humans and is more evidence that global warming may be real and already affecting climate. The last time scientists can be certain the pole was awash in water was more than 50 million years ago.

Is it possible that the IPCC is trying to rewrite the history books?


So, do these two news articles published thirty years apart contradict each other? (Not that that would be such an amazing thing if it were true.) As it turns out, no. Follow the quote back to the source and you find:

Col. Joseph O. Fletcher, a retired Air Force polar specialist now with the Rand Corporation in California, has cited the absence of pack ice around Iceland as an index of such trends.

From the 9th century to the 13th century almost no ice was reported there. This was the period- of Norse colonization of’ Iceland and Greenland. Then, conditions worsened and the Norse colonies declined. After the Little Ice Age of 1650 to 1840 the ice began to vanish near Iceland and had almost disappeared when the trend re versed, disastrously crippling Icelandic fisheries last year.


Steven implies that "there" is the Arctic, when "there" is actually "pack ice around Iceland." If this confusion is deliberate, he lied. If accidental, he's lazy and sloppy. As is so often the case with deniers, it's hard to tell which.

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