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A greenish Arctic fantastical … and mental contortions way down in the south

2 April 2013
Climate change

At http://phys.org/print283951814.html … computer simulation models are predicting trees are going to start growing on what is now tundra in the next 40 years. The article has two maps – one as it is now, tundra with some shrubs, and another one with lots of trees in place of the graminoids.

Rising temperatures will lead to a greening – or a general increase in plant cover around the shores of the Arctic Ocean, and the paper was actually published in Nature Geoscience (March 31st). In Siberia, it is thought, trees might grow hundreds of miles north of the present tree line. The point might be asked – is this computer data biased? It seems more than a little likely as the simulation relies on the uptick in recent temperatures, drawing an ever uplifting line far into the future – a projection rather than a fact. It also relies on suppressing other data, such as Hubert Lamb's numerous articles and books which show the Arctic warming in the 1930s and 1940s, before temperatures plummetted in the 1950s and 1960s. It also ignores all those British Naval log books and climate records from the Arctic Ocean where there is plenty of evidence of a decline in Arctic ice during the 19th century, and a rise in levels of ice towards the end of that century and the early part of the 20th century. Hence, imput nonsense and get nonsense speeling out of the other end.

On the other hand, can anyone make sense of the claim that the Antarctic ice cap is melting (when the continent is virtually always below freezing point) and causing water to flow from beneath the ice sheet which in turn causes sea ice volume to increase – year on year. In other words, the evidence is unequivocal that it has been getting colder in the Anatarctic and yet it is warming that is causing the outwards signs of the cold. Is this mental acrobatics?

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