Don't be either surprised or alarmed to see lots of authoritative-sounding "hottest time ever" media reports in advance of President Biden's pledge to recommit America to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and support for his all-out war on fossil energy aimed at eliminating carbon emissions from electricity by 2035, and achieving "net-zero carbon emissions" by 2050.
An example appeared in a January 26 Wall Street Journal editorial "World's Ice is Melting Faster than Ever" citing "a new satellite study" which concluded that global melting had dangerously accelerated 65% between 1994 and 2017.
The research was conducted by a team of legitimate scientists from the U.K.'s University of Leeds Centre for Polar Observation and Modeling, the University of Edinburgh, University College London and an Edinburgh-based climate data company called Earth Wave Ltd.
Where the study conclusions go feverishly wrong concerns altogether unsupportable speculations that the melting was "driven by rising atmospheric and ocean temperatures resulting from greenhouse gas emissions."
It's well known that the Northern Hemisphere was as warm or warmer when carbon dioxide levels were lower two thousand years ago during the "Roman Warm Period," and again a thousand years later when Eric the Red's Norse followers raised livestock in southeastern coastal Greenland grasslands and fished for cod in ice-free waters during the "Medieval Warm Period."
The Journal article makes a special point of announcements by NASA and the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service that average global surface temperatures in 2020 and 2016 were warmer than every other year since 1850 (when the Northern Hemisphere began warming out of the "Little Ice Age.")
The average global temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the time systematic – although spotty and inconsistent – record-keeping began in the the 1880s. Weather and surface satellite monitoring satellite records, such as those reported in the Journal reference, first existed in 1979.
Not mentioned was that about half of all estimated warming since 1900 (which was then about the same as today) occurred before the mid-1940s despite continuously rising CO2 levels. Those "highest ever" temperatures that alarmists refer to are typically a mere few tenths or even hundredths of a degree above previous records set many decades ago.
Nor is there any scientific basis for projections by lead author Thomas Slater that future ice losses "will increase the frequency of global climate, and losses will increase the frequency of extreme weather events such as flooding, fires, storm surges and heat waves."
Extreme weather has not increased in frequency or intensity over the past century. The U.S. recently enjoyed a century-long record 12-year respite from category 3-5 hurricanes, ended finally by Harvey and Irma in 2017. There were also far fewer violent U.S. tornadoes during the last 35 years than the same period before, with a remarkable total absence in 2018.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said "it is premature to conclude that human activities – and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming – have already had a detectable impact upon Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity."
The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agrees that it too lacks evidence showing that global warming is making storms and flooding worse. Modern day floods and droughts are certainly no worse than past floods or the multi-decadal droughts that devastated Anasazi, Mayan and other civilizations.
Incidentally, seas have in fact, not been rising at an accelerated rate … just the same 7 inches per century that has been occurring ever since the Northern Hemisphere has been warming out of the Little Ice Age.
Whereas the study cited in the Wall Street Journal reported that the Earth lost 28 trillion metric tons of ice between 1994 and 2017, with slightly more than half of the loss having occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, it's fundamental to understand that temperature and ice gains and losses are naturally occurring events.
Arctic temperatures tend to fluctuate back and forth from warmer to cooler on approximately two-decade-long Atlantic Ocean oscillation cycles that have no real connection to atmospheric temperatures, much less CO2 concentrations.
As I previously reported in a 2012 Forbes article, satellite observations of approximately 200 Greenland glaciers across the continent over a period between 2000 and 2010 also showed that their individual growth and shrinkage rates were highly complex and varied, both in location and time.
Glaciers in the northwestern portion of Greenland typically showed accelerations throughout the study period, while those in southeastern Greenland showed speed-up from about 2000-2005, then remained at fairly steady rates from 2006-2010.
Even more surprisingly, some accelerating glaciers were in proximity to others that were decelerating. The researchers hypothesized that a variety of local factors controlled their individual behaviors, including regional climate and terminus sea ice conditions.
Nevertheless, a long-term average suggests that about half of the glaciers expanded as the other half shrunk.
As for Arctic sea ice, the volume in the 1940s was lower than more recently in the 2000s.
NASA satellite data indicates a net Antarctic ice sheet gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001, followed by a slower 82 billion ton per year gain between 2003 and 2008 when atmospheric CO2 levels were close to those of today.
Most of Antarctica is cooling, with warming occurring over just a small portion of the continent that juts out into the Southern Ocean. That region is volcanic, with both surface and sea bottom vents.
So, let's all try to relax a little. Those dramatic West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) glacial melts alarmists love to photograph crashing into the sea that have been occurring for many thousands of years weren't caused by your SUV after all. Instead, let's properly blame those dirty subsea ash-burping volcanoes.
But don't expect to hear or read reports on this in the media. There's no big buck payback in it for their global warming hysteria-driven green energy agenda marketers.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. Larry has written more than 700 articles for Newsmax and Forbes and is the author of several books. Included are: "How Everything Happened, Including Us" (2020), "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure and Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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