You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 17, 2008.

I was rude to Antony Watts a while back for misinterpreting the differences between different Arctic Ice measurements. Now, I am going to praise him. Well done to you, whom I know as a ‘climate skeptic’ (though not the wing-nut variety), for following through on the suggestion and contacting Walt Meier. Even better done to publish his responses, in full, on your blog.

Walt Meier is someone who took the trouble in the past to answer my own questions on sea ice, in the era before I dreamed of blogging, and he is, without doubt, a gentleman as well as a scholar of distinction. His work on the Cryosphere is literally world-class, and his patience in addressing the questions put to him on Watts’ blog is remarkable.

But I am not convinced, Mr Watts, that you are quite up to the mark on the issue of sea ice. This isn’t to say that I think I am an expert (am not), but your coverage of the ‘recovery’ as being ‘reassuring’ doesn’t seem to make much sense. The graphics to which the posts refer show recent sea ice development pretty much in line with the expected pattern, yet the underlying implication is that the current season’s recovery is in some way significant as an indicator that the long-term decline of the Arctic sea-ice is less serious than Dr. Meier’s responses clearly state.

Of course I respect your right to your own take on climate change and your own opinion on these matters, but I can’t help feeling that you’ve published Walt’s answers without reading them, or perhaps without understanding them. Maybe you simply don’t want to acknowledge them or the possibility of them being correct; I don’t know. But Meier has a long and distinguished career in the field, and a rational, dispassionate observer might, if required, conclude that the more credible witness in this matter is the specialist rathert than the commentator.

When I developed my own interest in the field, one place I found most useful was the open-access, peer-reviewed journal The Cryosphere . The paper under discussion are also of great value. Unlike the commenters on William’s blog, who seem to think that nobody outside a scientific field reads the journals or the papers, I have read much of this content and, whilst I do not in any way claim expertise, I do think I have a handle on the basics of Cryospheric science, enough to justify a belief that i can comment inteliigently on the subject, if not always accurately. Therefore I commend this short course of reading to your readers, who might as a consequence find many more subjects to question and challenge in the current scientific understanding of the state of the cryosphere.

My praise of you is not false in any way: I genuinely do respect anyone who is willing to publish both their own thoughts and contradictions to it in an open way, as you have. But my concern is also genuine: I still don’t think you have a grasp of the science or the processes.



Blog Stats

  • 67,511 hits
October 2008