Tamsin Edwards is part of a team that has come out with a new paper on Antarctic ice and its probable destiny. If I understand it correctly, it attempts to forecast contributions to sea level rise from the Antarctic if our changing climate causes significant ‘instability’ in the ice sheet.
Its conclusions include a range of possible sea level rise (from this source only): “Here we project that the Antarctic ice sheet will contribute up to 30 cm sea-level equivalent by 2100 and 72 cm by 2200 (95% quantiles) where the ASE dominates. Our process-based, statistical approach gives skewed and complex probability distributions (single mode, 10 cm, at 2100; two modes, 49 cm and 6 cm, at 2200).” Tamsin writes in the Guardian that this instability will most likely contribute about 10 cm to sea level rise by the end of this century.
Because that’s not enough to alarm anyone, the paper has so far been greeted with a resounding silence in the alarmist corner of the climate blogosphere. Only William Connolley, the Miserabilist Mustelid, has blogged on it. As major media have featured stories on it (see the BBC piece here), the alarmist blogs have ignored it.
Both extremes in the climate debate have selective vision. But the alarmist side is a bit more comical about it–it’s as if they have to have a therapy session (maybe led by Stephan Lewandowsky) before they can agree on a response. In this they are like sheep, easily led to a single point of view which they then defend with all the resources they can muster.
However, perhaps their attention is on another story–the resurgence of the population of polar bears on the other end of the planet. Bishop Hill calls our attention to the story as given by scientist Susan Crockford. The population range is now given as between 20,129 and 32,558, with a mid-point of 26,344. Last time they checked it was 25,000.
Certainly the Guardian is interested enough to write a story. Of course, their story isn’t about the recovery of the polar bear population. In fact, they don’t mention it (although they do give the new figure). The headline of their story is ‘Climate change is single biggest threat to polar bear survival.’
Which is not true. The single biggest threat to their survival is hunting.
If it is true that 2015 will see the hottest average temperature since 1850–if it is true that 14 of the warmest 15 years have happened this century–if it is true that the environment populated by polar bears is undergoing dramatic change due to temperature rises–then what are we to make of a significant rise in their population?
Perhaps we should consider the possibility that polar bears, smart as well as savage, have within their ursine minds the ability to adapt successfully to a changing climate, as they have done repeatedly in the past.
Perhaps we should wonder if the Guardian’s reporters are as adaptable as polar bears. They continue to write the same story regardless of changing facts on the ground.