Climate change denialism in bloom


It was a minor note, really — USGS released a series of satellite photos of ice in the Arctic Ocean.  The photos were taken with U.S. defense satellites (“spy” satellites, most likely) under an interesting agreement between the Department of Defense and science agencies to look at ice, essentially to look at the cold, not come in from it.

Part of that agreement is that the photos don’t get released until Defense says there is no reason to hold them secred anymore.  For some reason — skullduggery?  bureaucracy? — the photos weren’t released during the Bush years.  The Obama administration hustled out a series of photos for scientists to study.

Very few news outlets picked up on the release of the photos.  The Guardian ran the most provocative, prepared-for-public-consumption set of two photos of the sea just off of Barrow, Alaska, which showed a dramatic contrast between 2006 and 2007.  The icy seas of July 2006 were replaced with miles of clear ocean in July 2007.

The Bathtub ran that poster.  And yesterday there was a surge of hits on the article, most going to other posts claiming the photos had been photoshopped.  A commenter here said the same.  Viewers find it odd that there is a stark contrast between land and sea inthe arctic.  Really.  No, really.

So, they said, those photos must be Photoshopped.  At least one radical right blog claimed the Guardian published a fake photo.

Now, I had expected someone to defend Bush, to say that the Bush administration hadn’t really suppressed the photos, just didn’t release them.

But photo fraud?

Denialists resorted to that solution first.

Here are reasons mitigating against fraud.

  1. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released the poster with the photos.  USGS has a long, long history of accurate science, outside political interference.   On a few occasions, USGS reports have been delayed by political appointees — but the instances where one can say the data were corrupted on purpose are very few (if any — I can’t think of one off-hand).  USGS would be unlikely as a source of doctored photos.
  2. It is a crime to jigger the scientific results under U.S. law.   A few scientists have been caught, tried and jailed.  The reality is that most scientist strive to be well on the ethical side of the line of research laws — but it’s a federal crime for government or government-funded scientists to fake results.  I’ll wager every scientist at USGS knows that.
  3. USGS released four posters total, and a couple dozen other photos.  For Barrow, there were 18 photos from 2005 and 2006, and another 8 photos from 2007-2008.    While only four sites were chosen for poster, there are six sites with photos available for study.  Were anyone to jigger one photo, others would need to be jiggered to make them match.  Since Defense still has the originals, a fraud would probably be discovered.
  4. Government scientists have been champing at the bit for eight years to get rid of the fetters of bureaucrats interfering with their research; they wouldn’t risk a fraud just six months in to the new administration, nor would they be likely to risk a fraud at any time, since they think that the truth is of very high value.

MacsMind jumped on the photos:  “Almost so bad it’s laughable”. The blog offers no evidence of fraud, just the spiteful belief of the author.  Well, he does offer photos of a January 2006 ice surge, as if to suggest that the ice from January of 2006 should have stayed hugging the coast near Barrow even through 2007, so any photo that shows clear sea must be false.  Denialists will abandon all types of measure, even calendars and clocks, in their mad rush to cloak the science.  MacsMind even goes so far as to invent a story that the photo was taken at night, and since it shows no lights of ships at sea, they must have been cut out (photos of ice cover generally don’t work well at night — where did he get that?).

Critics of climate change and plans to do something to slow climate change reveal themselves here as not basing their views on the science — here they don’t need the science to “know that it’s wrong.”

Sometimes I wonder if we could cure global warming simply by getting the critics to shut up.

Oh, let’s make them crazy.  Here’s the poster showing the contrast in sea ice in the Beaufort Sea; the caption:

This site is near the edge of the ice pack. In summer, as shown here, ponds of meltwater form on the surface. These dark pools absorb more of summertime’s solar radiation than does the surrounding ice, enhancing melting. Observations of sea ice conditions reveal considerable year to year variability. These images, displaying the variability with regard to the amount of melting, are an example of the long term sequential record needed to support understanding and analysis of this dynamic system. Pond coverage monitored over time contributes to estimates of surface reflectivity that are needed to understand and model the dynamics of sea ice mass balance and temperature.

Beaufort Sea, showing ice in 2006 and in 200

Beaufort Sea, showing ice in 2001 and in 2007

More information:

Radar images of sea ice around Barrow, Alaska

Radar images of sea ice around Barrow, Alaska -"The animation below is from the radar record of the last three days. The images used to produce this animation are from the 10 kW X-band marine radar mounted atop the 4-story ASRC building in downtown Barrow, Alaska, pointed north."

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12 Responses to Climate change denialism in bloom

  1. j a higginbotham says:

    con09: “Are you going to trust the world’s scientific experts … or a bunch of politicians …”

    Neither.
    ———————–

    Then how do one decide what is a reasonable stance on this issue?

    Like

  2. conservative09 says:

    “Are you going to trust the world’s scientific experts who have no reason to lie about it or a bunch of politicians who are denying it so they can protect the polluting industries that feed money to them.”

    Neither.

    “Would you rather pay a little to be prepared or to pay a catastrophic amount later in case you’re wrong?”

    It’s not going to be a little.

    “Are you going to continue to support industries that pollute and therefore risk your health,the health of your children and the health of everyone around you. are you going to let them damage the economy that way?”

    A lot more than pollution risks the health of people. I think Nuclear Energy would be our best option, what do you think?

    “And do you care about National Security?”

    Yes.

    Like

  3. Nick Kelsier says:

    RC,

    of course the problem with your position is that everything you love about Wisconsin…will be somewhere in the middle of Canada and Wisconsin will end up being what Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma are if not more like Arizona and New Mexico.

    Global warming is not a good thing. Plants will die, animals will die…humans will die.

    Like

  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Reasonable Citizen: Easier, you should move to Tucson or Dallas. Easier to move one human family than alter the entire world’s climate . . .

    And if you move? You’ll miss the fall leaves turning, the snow in winter, and the crocuses coming up through the snow just before spring. You’ll enjoy daffodils in January, but you’ll wish they hadn’t gone so soon at the end of March.

    But come on down!

    Like

  5. ReasonableCitizen says:

    I live in northern Wisconsin. I support global warming regardless of root cause.

    Like

  6. Nick Kelsier says:

    Actually, Ill even give you a couple more questions for you to answer for yourself, Conservative.

    Are you going to continue to support industries that pollute and therefore risk your health,the health of your children and the health of everyone around you. are you going to let them damage the economy that way? After all…unhealthy people aren’t as productive economically speaking.

    And do you care about National Security? After all..we import most of the oil we use from an area of the world that has bred the terrorists who we’ve been fighting the last 8+ years.

    Like

  7. Nick Kelsier says:

    Conservative, no the real question is this:

    Are you going to trust the world’s scientific experts who have no reason to lie about it or a bunch of politicians who are denying it so they can protect the polluting industries that feed money to them.

    Then you can ask yourself this question: What if you’re wrong? Would you rather pay a little to be prepared or to pay a catastrophic amount later in case you’re wrong?

    Like

  8. Jane M says:

    Try the following:

    http://astore.amazon.com/gt09a-20

    Great initiative !!!

    Jane M.

    Like

  9. conservative09 says:

    Warming comes and goes.

    Cooling comes and goes.

    The question is, who or what causes it?

    Like

  10. Nick Kelsier says:

    Hattip says:
    You really need to stop calling people who disagree with you “denialists”, it is a pernicious rhetorical device and has little to do with honorable and reasonable discussion.

    Then says this:
    It would appear that you are in denial. Unwittingly or not, this has become a sort of secular (read Marxist) “religion” with you and you are using all the propaganda technique inherent in such dogmatic and received belief systems.

    Hypocrisy much, Hattip? Because what you said is pernicious rhetorical device that is designed to stifle any rational discussion.

    And ed is right when he says science is on his side, Hattip. 99% of the world’s scientific experts on the subject all say climate change is real.

    Like

  11. Ed Darrell says:

    How should I typify them, if not as denialists? What else is their defining characteristic?

    You think that the consensus is turning to claim that warming is not occurring? You should pay closer attention. Scientists who do the studies, scientists who advise on policy, insurance actuaries, shippers, and the Defense Department, now make plans to deal with the changes. It’s gone beyond consensus. Landslide of conviction, based on the evidence.

    Like

  12. hattip says:

    You really need to stop calling people who disagree with you “denialists”, it is a pernicious rhetorical device and has little to do with honorable and reasonable discussion.

    There is no “consensus” and science is really turning against the AGW position. It would appear that you are in denial. Unwittingly or not, this has become a sort of secular (read Marxist) “religion” with you and you are using all the propaganda technique inherent in such dogmatic and received belief systems. It is quite specious to claim that “science” is on your side. It is not, and cherry-picking, goal post moving, appeals to authority, emotional appeals, personal attacks and all such logical fallacies will not change this simple fact.

    “Climate change”, so far as it is affected by human activities, is much more about Marxist redistribution politics and our elites desire to keep “lower orders” in their places (and those elite’s pocket’s full) than it is about science. You need to do some reflection here for the project you are supporting will blight billions of lives for generations and severely damage the progress of our civilization should it come to fruition. IT might destroy our civlization altogether.

    The results of the hideous project are quite real as is the immorality of it. We should not shirk our responsibility merely for the sake of fads and comforting moral vanities. We all have the obligation to rise above immaturity, credulity and fatuousness.

    More is at stake than left-wing hobby horses or the coffers of the corrupt political machine that is today’s Democratic Party

    Like

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