Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The North Pole Was Here

Here is an interesting story about the moving melting ice at the North Pole. While the denialists deny, the ice just keeps disappearing. Arctic researchers are investing in floating buoys to study polar ocean dynamics now. But here's my favorite line from the article:

"...the ice is not a uniform cap, as it might appear on a chart, but a milling mass of floes that are in near constant motion. While we were there, the ice beneath our feet was moving about 400 yards an hour. That’s why the sign that the team set up had to be changed from “North Pole Is Here” to “North Pole Was Here” after a couple of days."

Let's hope it doesn't say "polar bears once lived here" any time soon.


alex said...

Given your general position on global warming, you readers might think that you bring up this story in order to give a little extra proof that global warming is true. However, you might want to be extra cautious, since you're on record as decrying /anecdotal/ evidence that says that parts least parts of the earth are cooling.

ScienceAvenger said...

I grant your general point, but there are some important differences between us. I point out things like this as examples of global warming, not proof of it. The proof is in the global temperature readings. The denialists, OTOH, use their anecdotes to argue against global warming, a much more impressive task, and one anecdotes are not up to.

Further, all of the anecdotes the denialists raise are within the typical range of temperature fluctuation, which makes this argument a straw man of sorts. They tacitly assume that global warming means every inch of the globe will warm, without fail, every year, a position no one advocates.

There is also nothing in the denialist arsenal of anecdotes to match the extremity of events like the Greenland ice shelf breaking away for the first time in thousands of years, or the North Pole moving, or evey glacier in Glacier National Park melting away.