A study published today in Geophysical Research Letters
shows that climate scientists have significantly underestimated the power of global warming from human-generated heat-trapping gases to shrink the cap of sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean, and concludes that an open-water Arctic in summers could be more likely in this century than had been estimated in the latest international review of climate research released in February by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The new study reviewed nearly six decades of measurements by ships, airplanes and satellites estimating the maximum and minimum area of Arctic sea ice, which typically expands most in March and shrinks most in September.
The researchers found that since 1953 the area of sea ice in September has declined at an average rate of 7.8 percent per decade. Computer climate simulations of the same period had an average rate of ice loss of 2.5 percent per decade.
In other words, the latest computer models underestimated what can be gleaned from already existing observational data by 300%!
This will not come as a surprise to anyone who has read Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future
by Orrin H. Pilkey and Linda Pilkey-Jarvis. The authors present a devastating critique of the way mathmatical models of natural systems are currently used. They convincingly show that qualitative
modeling can produce meaning results, but quantitative
Thus models can show that greenhouse gases will lead to climate catastrophe, but they cannot predict when the planet will warm by 1 or 10 degrees, whether the sea will rise 10 inches or 10 feet, and so on. What's more, Pilkey and Pilkey-Jarvis show in case after case how scientists got so absorbed in misguided quantitaive modeling that they failed to take into account direct observational data that was right under their very nose.
There is no more dramatic case of this than the recent report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which did not include recent direct observational data of the shrinking Greenland ice sheet, using instead mathetmatical models that were already proven wrong by this observational data. Why? Because, they argued, the IPCC (which by the way is a political body in which scientists actually represent their governments) was not empowered to engage in speculation!!
Somehow, they got so confused in their useless modeling that they came to believe that the modeling was actual fact, while direct observational data that contradicted their models was "speculation
And now we have a report showing that the best mathmatical models not only failed to predict the shrinking of the Greenland ice shee but the same thing for the Arctic ice pack as well.
More on this in future blogs.