Sunday, September 13, 2009
Reference: The effect of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels on glaciers in Greenland
In 2005 two glaciers in Greenland were found to be moving faster than they were in 2001. Scientists concluded from these data that the difference observed was a a long term trend of glacial melt in Greenland and that carbon dioxide was the cause of this trend. The assumed trend was then extrapolated forward and we were told that carbon dioxide would cause the land based ice mass of Greenland to be discharged to the sea and raise the sea level by six meters. They said that the only way out of the devastation was to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.
However, in 2009, just before a meeting in Copenhagen where these deep cuts in emissions are to be negotiated, it was found that the glaciers had returned to their normal rate of discharge. In other words, the changes observed in 2005 did not represent a trend but a temporary natural phenomenon that had been grossly misinterpreted.
Undeterred by data, scientists are now saying that we should make those reductions in carbon dioxide emissions anyway because the miscue by scientists in this case serves to show how little they know about these things, how wrong they could be, and therefore how much greater the danger carbon dioxide could pose for humanity. In other words, the less they know the more urgent their message. If there had been a way of holding climate scientists accountable, they might not have been so brash .