Climate science Q&A: Has 40% of all Arctic ice melted?

ByChristopher Monckton of Brenchley

Q. The great truth-monger Al Gore claimed yesterday that 40% of the Artic Ice Cap has already disappered, and that the other 60% will be gone in 5, 10, or 15 years. If almost half of the Artic ice has already melted, then why aren’t London, New York, Miami, Venice, Houston, Singapore, etc., under water?

Is this the same type of over-exaggeration that Gore was guilty of practicing when he claimed that the Earth’s core temperature is several millions of degrees? I cannot wait for your debate with the great truth-monger!

A. Even if the entire Arctic ice cap were to disappear altogether, as it did during the summer in the medieval warm period and throughout the year 850,000 years ago, sea level would not rise by as much as a millionth of an inch, because the Arctic polar ice cap is floating. You can demonstrate this for yourself by taking a large glass, placing a big ice-cube in it, then carefully filling up the glass with water until the water is exactly level with the rim. Now let the ice melt. Even when all the ice is gone, the water level remains exactly the same, and not a drop spills over. I recently demonstrated this experiment at lunch after a talk at Lloyds of London. The brokers and underwriters were fascinated.

For a few weeks only, in September 2007 only, the Arctic ice cap lost just over a quarter of the ice extent that it would normally have at its summer minimum, so that there was less ice than there had been in the 28 years since satellites had been able to give us a reasonably reliable measure of it. By September 2008, almost half of the missing ice had returned. By September 2009, nearly all of it had returned. We know that the temporary loss of late-summer sea ice at the minimum in September 2007 was not caused by “global warming” for three reasons. First, the climate of the Arctic is known to be highly volatile: it was actually warmer in the 1930s than it is today. Secondly, a paper by NASA in 2008 attributed the disappearance of the sea ice the previous summer to unusually strong northbound currents and winds from the Tropics that had very little to do with “global warming”. Thirdly, just three weeks after the 28-year Arctic sea-ice minimum, the Antarctic sea ice – which had been growing steadily  – reached a 28-year maximum.

Al Gore, however, is seeking to rely on rather poor-quality and highly uncertain attempts by various methods to gauge the thickness as well as the area of the summer sea ice. The earliest measurements were actually made by US nuclear submarines that occasionally passed under the Arctic ice cap, and are not generally regarded as reliable. Satellite-based measurements, which Gore also relies upon, are also very chancy. Surface buoys are also used, with indifferent results. Last year a much-publicized but remarkably inept surface expedition – the Catlin expedition, which was given acres of generally fatuous and adulatory coverage in the mainstream news media – attempted to travel over the ice to the North Pole at the time of the sea-ice minimum to measure the thickness of the ice along the route. However, the expedition encountered three problems that rendered its measurements useless. First, intense cold that the planners of the expedition had not expected (they had believed their own propaganda about “global warming”) was so severe that their measuring instrument froze and could not be used. Secondly, once the instrument froze they were reduced to trying to measure the ice thickness with a stick, and eventually even with a tape-measure. Thirdly, the cold weather and their lack of fitness for an Arctic expedition led them to take the easy route across the Arctic ice cap, following generally flatter ice surfaces that accordingly gave a self-selected sample of generally thinner ice. Scientifically speaking, the expedition was and is regarded as a joke and a publicity stunt funded by “global warming” profiteers in the London insurance market, which has repeatedly – but so far unsuccessfully, for the free market has stood in its way – published lurid, fanciful, and exaggerated brochures adumbrating higher premiums to cover the additional risks of loss arising from extreme-weather events related to “global warming”. In due course, these brochures, with their unscientific and excessive statements about the imagined (and imaginary) dangers of CO2-induced “global warming” written by scientists long notorious as politicized campaigners rather than as seekers after objective truth, will form part of the extensive police enquiry – following the Climategate email scandal – that will look into every aspect of the global financial and scientific fraud that is “global warming”.

Al Gore’s dishonest sci-fi comedy horror movie has already been the object of a highly critical High Court judgment that identified nine major errors in the movie (all of them in the direction of excessive and scientifically-insupportable alarmism). The judge – even though he was a former candidate for the political party that governed Britain at the time of the case, found against the British Government, which had proposed to circulate the movie to every school in Britain, and ordered the Government to circulate 77 pages of corrective guidance to all schools in England before the movie could be shown to vulnerable and innocent schoolchildren. SPPI’s website has a list of 35 errors in Gore’s movie and in the accompanying book. Gore, therefore, has a proven track-record of fanciful and often childish exaggeration. For instance, the judge found that his claim that sea level would imminently rise by 20 feet was flagrantly overstated. The judge said: “The Armageddon scenario that he depicts is not based on any scientific view.”

Gore is not the only politicized member of the governing class to have made this type of exaggerated claim about the diseappearance of polar ice. In 2005 the accident-prone Sir David King, who had no scientific qualification relevant to the climate issue but was then chief scientific advisor to the Government, told the members of the Environment Select Committee of the House of Commons that half of the ice at the South Pole had gone. There was, and is, no basis in science for this assertion: sea ice in the Antarctic has been on a rising trend throughout the 30-year satellite record, and land ice has also been increasing in thickness almost everywhere except in parts of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Recently, as part of the carefully-coordinated campaign of news releases by climate-science profiteers and fraudsters around the world, the British Antarctic Survey – now more lavishly funded than ever thanks to the “global warming” scare that it so relentlessly but unscientifically promotes – issued a report saying that trillions of tons of ice had disappeared from West Antarctica in the previous five years. However, in the last four of those five years there has been no statistically-significant rise either in sea level or in column absolute humidity – a (rather uncertain) measure of the amount of water vapor carried in the atmosphere at any one time. My question to the BAS is this. If all those trillions of tons of ice disappeared, and they did not go into the sea or the air, where did they go?

Finally, we should consider the question whether any harm would arise even if the entire Arctic ice cap were to vanish in the summer, as Gore has long been hoping it will. This question is never raised, given the acres of coverage that the scientific profiteers and their poodles in the mainstream news media devote to the subject.  The reason why the question is never raised is evident as soon as one knows the answer. At most, the sea ice could only disappear for a few days or weeks each year. Were this to occur, the polar bears that are the poster-children of “global warming” and its excitable campaigners would merely return to the land margins of the Arctic where they were all born, as would the seals on whose blubber they feed. The bears are well used to this. Going back 125,000 years, to the previous interglacial warm period, temperatures in the Arctic were 6 Celsius (11 F) warmer than the present. At that temperature, the Arctic ice cap was absent for several weeks each summer. The polar bears survived, just as they are surviving and prospering today – there are five times as many of them as there were in the 1940s.

“Global warming” profiteers such as James Hansen at NASA are fond of saying that if the sea ice in the Arctic were to disappear the Earth’s albedo would diminish so greatly that less sunlight would be reflected back to space, dangerously amplifying the Arctic warming. Fortunately, this overstatement is easily disproven. The angle at which the Sun’s rays meet the surface is so small at the Poles that even a substantial loss of ice there – particularly during the short summer season – would make very little difference to the Earth’s albedo. We conclude, therefore, as we are often compelled to do, that the rent-seekers and profiteers in science, politics, business, academe, education, and the media are – as usual – piling on the nonsense in the hope of continuing to enrich themselves mightily at the expense of the rest of us. Gore himself has profited more greatly from lying about the climate than anyone else. If he persists on his present course, in effect offering a false prospectus to actual or potential investors in his Generation Investment Management corporation, he will in due course properly face charges of fraud and racketeering, as well as charges under the financial regulatory system of the City of London. For the moment – but only for the moment – he is safe, because the City of London is regulated not by any politicians we elect but by the all-powerful, unelected Kommissars of the European tyranny, his fellow rent-seekers, which recently grabbed control of all financial markets and is itself profiting hugely by the additional taxation it is levying to “combat climate change”.

If you detect some anger in my reply to your question, you are correct. The behavior of the great and the good in talking up the “global warming” scare is a cruel disgrace, and it is killing millions through starvation caused by the doubling of world food prices following the decision of world “leaders” to take vast acreages of agricultural land from growing food for people that need it to growing biofuels for clunkers that don’t. The UN’s right-to-food rapporteur, Herr Ziegler, has rightly said that at a time when millions are starving the replacement of food-growing with biofuel-growing is – and I cite his words exactly – “a crime against humanity”. Does Gore have anything to say about the international massacre of the innocent and helpless that – to take one example – has reduced the poor people of Haiti to eating mud pies made with real mud? No, of course not. There is far less money in helping the poor than in the “global warming” scam.