While the clear majority of the news media correctly focused on the record amount of ice loss in the Arctic (the North Pole) that smashed ALL previous seasonal records.
The editors of Forbes magazine decided to instead print an article by James Taylor a senior fellow for environment policy at the Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News that pointed out that the amount of sea ice in the Antarctic at roughly the same time was instead hitting a record maximum.
According to Mr Taylor’s logic since the sea ice around one pole is shrinking while sea ice around the other pole is growing so there is no problem or indication of dramatic climate change and people are just being alarmists. His sarcastic quote “This sure sounds like a global warming crisis to me.” makes that obvious.
His article does not properly reference scientific data nor in the proper context, he also doesn’t mention that sea ice gain & loss at the poles is normal every 6 months as the seasons reverse, when one pole experiences summer the other experiences winter.
So most all the other media was correct to focus on the dramatic, unprecedented historical loss of ice at the North pole.
The Forbes article also suggested that mainstream media might have to retract some stories and admit that they are misrepresenting scientific data and mentions specifically that National Public Radio (NPR) published an article on its website claiming, “Ten years ago, a piece of ice the size of Rhode Island disintegrated and melted in the waters off Antarctica and that two other massive ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula had suffered similar fates a few years before.” There is plenty of documentation available to back up NPR’s statements, search for the “Larsen B Ice Shelf” and “Wilkins ice shelf” for starters there are others as well.
What he fails to mention is that according to scientific measurements (The National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado), both the thickness and extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic have shown a dramatic decline over the past thirty years.
It would be nice for readers to know that there are significant differences between the small increase in Antarctic sea ice compared to the substantial amount of loss in the Arctic, which is many times higher, that would of course negate the everything is balancing out theory.
Arctic: Significant decrease of 4.1% (~500,000 km2; 193,000 mi2) per decade
Antarctic Small increase of 0.9% (~100,000 km2; 42,000 mi2) per decade
Mr Taylor is trying to do more than just hint that there is not a climate problem and that one poles loss in another poles gain and that it all balances out!
He also doesn’t mention any of the other indicators that also point at a serious climate issues, such as increasing sea level from NASA’s GRACE satellite.
Over 300,000+ have viewed and tens of thousands of people have liked, tweeted and shared the incorrect conclusion as presented by Forbes.com in their “Antarctic Sea Ice Sets Another Record” article as some sort of proof to counter the mountain of evidence presented in 1000’s of scientific peer-reviewed articles that clearly state the contrary—that serious climatic changes are happening and it’s probably way past the prudent time to do something about it. Sadly the bad information has already been spread like the proverbial plague.
Perhaps even more insidious is that the keywords and phrases peppered throughout the Forbes article have no doubt been specifically chosen to fool the search engines with the peer-reviewed published scientific data so that even people searching for phrases such as: “Arctic sea ice record loss” will have the Forbes article about Antarctic sea ice show in the results as well that will say that there is a record INCREASE in sea ice, which could easily confuse the issue for many people.
The article goes on to try and create some sort of conspiracy that Google doesn’t really have much in the way of search results for Antarctic sea ice extent. Which of course is perfectly logical since such a term does not describe the situation or have a major influence to climate change (The Arctic ice is floating in the ocean) and the Antarctic ice is mostly sitting upon land. Hence there isn’t much of an Antarctic Sea ice story to talk about.
The article seems to suggest that diminishing sea ice on the north pole is being gained by the south pole. If sea ice is increasing in the Antarctic it’s because more land ice is melting and falling into the sea, which is in fact even a worse situation since land ice being added to sea increases sea levels.
He makes a big point that NPR failed to mention that in some places around the southern continent that Antarctic sea ice has been growing since satellites first began measuring the ice 33 years ago and the sea ice has been above the 33-year average throughout 2012.
Trying to create an exaggerated case about their being a little more sea ice in a particular parts of Antarctica or that it is snowing more than average during the winter months has about a snowball’s chance in hell to counter the mountain of evidence that suggests that major climate change and global warming is occurring.
Especially even after the Koch brother’s own financed studies have said otherwise.
Koch-funded skeptic scientist, Richard Muller said about the study in the NY Times:
“Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.
These findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that defines the scientific and diplomatic consensus on climate change.”
Conclusion: The Koch-funded study has found that the IPCC “consensus” was too conservative and underestimated both the rate of surface warming and how much could be attributed to human emissions. That means Global Warming and the Climate Crisis is even worse than the what the IPCC suggests.
To say otherwise is akin to major crime against humanity, since such statements could delay a united response to rising carbon in the atmosphere as accelerated Global Warming could easily qualify as the most important and challenging issue human civilization has ever faced.
If Mr Taylor wishes to try and debunk the overwhelming amount of evidence that global warming is occurring with his article about the amount of sea ice on a particular day during the Antarctic winter: “Antarctic sea ice set another record this past week, with the most amount of ice ever recorded on day 256 of the calendar year (September 12 of this leap year) it would be prudent to dig a little deeper into the subject.
Not mentioned in the Forbes article is that there is a significant difference between sea ice in the Arctic compared to the Antarctic. Arctic ice is much thicker than the southern Antarctic sea ice, so when looking at satellite pictures of disappearing sea ice during the poles respective summers Arctic sea ice melting is more significant and indicative that serious global warming is taking place. On the positive side at least Arctic ice is already in the ocean and thus won’t contribute to a rise in ocean levels when it melts, however, the ice melting from Greenland and other land-based ice is yet another matter.
Specifically the Arctic is covered by sea ice that is 2 to 3 meters (6 to 9 feet) thick and in some places 4 to 5 meters (12 to 15 feet) thick. Antarctic ice is typically 1 to 2 meters (3 to 6 feet).
The article also says that it is snowing more in the Antarctic than ever suggesting that additional snow is somehow proof that the south pole is getting colder not warmer, but the reason why it is snowing more could easily be explained because warmer temperatures can hold increased moisture, and until recently it was too dry and cold to snow as much!
The article also fails to mention that the Southern Ocean Surface Air Temperature has continued to increase since 1979, which might explain the increase in sea ice due to increase calving of the ice sheets. The decrease in salinity of surface seawater, due to increase precipitation, could facilitate the increase in the formation of sea ice in the short term before sea temperatures warm beyond a certain point. In addition the Ozone hole above the Antarctic causes a colder atmospheric temperature than what is experienced by the north pole, which could also contribute the additional sea ice.
Why would the author and Forbes.com print such misleading information?
Part of the reason might be because the author James M. Taylor works for the Heartland Institute which is sponsored by Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry so they might have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo of keeping the world hooked on fossil fuels for as long as possible.
The Heartland Institute has had documents previous leaked to the press via desmogblog.com that the free market “think tank” was trying to undermine science and deny evidence indicating climate change and even going so far as to trying to disseminate a new school curriculum that “dissuading teachers from teaching science.”.
Other connections that might cast some doubt on Mr Taylor’s statements as printed in this particular Forbes.com article and many others of a like nature are that the Heartland Institute 2005 IRS Form 990 lists Walter F. Buchholtz, an ExxonMobil executive, as Heartland’s Government Relations Advisor. Also since 1998 the annual ExxonMobil Worldwide Giving Reports showed that over $675,000 was given to the Heartland Institute.
Could it be that Forbes would print this article and a slew of others that deny Climate Change because six of the top 12 largest companies according to their own top global 2000 company list are in the fossil fuel industry and no doubt make up a significant percentage of the advertising revenue?
Remaining global warming doubters, which included the recently defeated Politicians such as
Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan may be trying to distract and delay action by pointing to specific and relatively less statistically relevant events such as those mentioned by James M. Taylor. Try to keep in mind that there are also literally 1000’s of other events and peer-reviewed papers published that are in agreement with climate change and global warming trends such as: Greenland’s unprecedented melt event that occurred this year, record breaking temperatures that are occurring worldwide, and tornadoes in NYC etc.
Just in case it was perhaps missed the most important point to be made is the fact that there are some business entities that are purposely going out of their way to slant the truth about Climate Change and Global Warming in the mainstream media. In this case the finger should get pointed at: ExxonMobil, Koch brothers foundations, Forbes and the Heartland Institute, which at the very least would qualify as behaving in a highly socially irresponsible manner.
An Update: The following Summer of 2013 resulted in “only” the 6th lowest amount of arctic ice on record, however, instead of signaling the start of a new ice age and the end of global warming as some are claiming, that fact doesn’t change the bigger and longer term trend that we are very likely to see a north pole that soon will be completely ice free. The US Navy’s Regional Arctic System Model (RASM) thinks it will happen by 2016, which is 80 years earlier than most models. Having an ice-free Arctic may be good news for shipping, but it’s bad news for Global Warming as that ice reflects 80% of the solar radiation that hits it back into space, without that ice all that energy and heat is added to the ocean and atmosphere.
The Global Warming/Climate Change misleading Forbes article
Repeated at multiple online locations:
All About Sea-ice
NY Times: The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic
ExxonMobil Worldwide Giving Reports (Heartland institute funding)
How ExxonMobile Funds Climate Change Skeptics
Forbes global 2000 company list
Greenland experiences melting over 97% of its area in mid-July
Global Mean Sea Level Time Series 1992-2012 (seasonal signals removed)
Video of The Arctic’s Record Breaking Ice Melt
The infamous misleading Forbes.com Article
EV of the Year Judge, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last seven years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+, Linked in or website