Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Arctic vs. Antarctic: A Tale of Two Polar Ice Caps

In response to an editorial that implied that the polar ice caps are melting due to global warming, I posted a link to a National Geographic article that reported that the Antarctic ice sheet has grown to the largest ever recorded. In reply, a [perhaps] disappointed correspondent said to me: "You conveniently forgot to mention that the report also stated that the increase was in contrast to the Arctic cap which has been shrinking."

Here was my reply:

Nate: I didn't "conveniently forget." My purpose was to provide balance. Arctic late-summer sea ice is contracting because, well, it's a sea. Water temperatures are higher than land, so it doesn't take much atmospheric warming to melt sea ice, since sea ice is close to the freezing mark. (The atmosphere has warmed less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, right after the end of the Little Ice Age. Half of that warming occurred before major CO2 increases.)

The antarctic is a land mass, and thus much colder. A warming Earth feeds the growth of land ice sheets, because warmer air holds more moisture, which means more ice-sheet building snows in colder regions. There could be other reasons for Antarctic ice growth, as the article suggests. But the point is, this development was totally unexpected by the so-called "scientific consensus." We'd been told that the ice caps (plural) would melt. Not true, so why should we believe the other hysterical "consensus" catastrophes?

This is really beside the point, though. The real catastrophe is the unprecedented assault on the reliable, economical industrial-scale energy mainly provided now (and for the foreseeable future) by fossil fuels that our human lives depend on.

Related Reading:

Growing Antarctic Ice Sheet Belies "Melting Polar Caps" Hysteria

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