Sunday, May 03, 2009

Governmental Correction of the Day

Antarctica isn't melting. And one shouldn't base environmental policy on movies, especially films by Al Gore, as the Australian government had to concede last month:
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has moved to water down his claim that sea levels could rise by 6m as a result of the melting of Antarctic ice.

Mr Garrett has also been forced to qualify his suggestion that ice across the whole of the Antarctic continent is melting.

He made the claims while being interviewed by the ABC's Lateline program on April 6 about the reported break-up of parts of the Wilkins ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula.

The Weekend Australian reported that while some ice-shelf melting is under way on the peninsula and in other parts of west Antarctica that may be related to global warming, ice shelves in east Antarctica remain intact.

East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica.

At the same time, the area of sea ice around the continent is expanding, with sea ice growth in east Antarctica and the Ross Sea more than compensating for losses in west Antarctica. Contrary to public perceptions, parts of Antarctica have been cooling.

The suggestion that warming in the Antarctic could lead to sea level rises of 6m was made in An Inconvenient Truth, the film made by former US vice-president Al Gore.

Mr Garrett embraced the prediction of possible 6m rises put to him when he was asked on Lateline whether he agreed with the "scary" scenario outlined by a Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research report, although the upper limit in a worst-case scenario suggested in the report was 1.2m.

He said he had not seen the SCAR report, but added: "Those kinds of projections and scenarios are consistent with what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change brought forward over the last couple of years."

The upper limit of sea-level rises predicted by the IPCC by 2100 is 59cm, with a probable rise of between 28 and 43cm.
Of course, those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it (or recycle it), particularly Gore:
Al Gore said Tuesday the world must act quickly to slow the melting of the world's polar ice packs and glaciers before it reaches a critical rate for global warming.

"We have to act and we have to act quickly because we don't want to cross this tipping point," the Nobel peace laureate and former U.S. vice president told a meeting of foreign ministers, experts and scientists from the most affected countries.
Related claim here.

I note that current (Spring) ice coverage in the Arctic actually is quite close to the 1979-2000 average, and well above that from 2007-08, the recent minimum. And see this reported only one day after Gore's comment:
The research aircraft "Polar 5" today concluded its Arctic expedition in Canada. During the flight, researchers measured the current ice thickness at the North Pole and in areas that have never before been surveyed. The result: The sea-ice in the surveyed areas is apparently thicker than scientists had suspected.

Normally, newly formed ice measures some two meters in thickness after two years. "Here, we measured ice thickness up to four meters," said a spokesperson for Bremerhaven’s Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. At present, this result contradicts the warming of the sea water, according to the scientists.
Thankfully, any future Gore correction--however unlikely--won't be governmental. But, by then, warming alarmists probably will be relying on Prince Charles.

(via Watts Up With That?, Best of the Web, Moonbattery, EcoWorld, Planet Gore)

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