About that sea ice

Just amazing.  The IPCC is more sure than ever that humans are causing global warming and that its a bad thing.  Meanwhile fabulously, absurdly scientifically illiterate Republicans have convinced themselves that a rise in artic sea ice from an all time low means this is all a liberal fraud.  To wit, this week’s Mallard Fillmore comics.

It’s really not that complicated that all if you just open your mind half an inch.  Nice piece in the Guardian.  The headline is perfect:

Arctic sea ice “recovers” to its 6th-lowest extent in millennia

As Suzanne Goldenberg reported in The Guardian yesterday, Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its annual minimum extent, at approximately 5.1 million square kilometers. This is the 6th-lowest extent since the satellite record began in 1979…

Thus the scientific data and literature indicate that this year’s minimum Arctic sea ice extent is not just the 6th-lowest in the past 34 years, but most likely the 6th-lowest in at least the past few thousand years…

The Arctic ice has also been thinning rapidly, losing approximately 75 percent of its summer volume since 1980.

So what to make of the many claims over the past two weeks that the Arctic sea ice is “recovering”? These counter-factual arguments primarilyoriginated from David Rose at the Mail on Sunday, whose article Bob Ward accurately described as containing “embarrassing errors” to the extent of being a “humiliation” for the Mail on Sunday.

Unfortunately many other media outlets (the Telegraph and Fox News, for example) assumed David Rose to be an accurate source of climate information – despite his long track record of getting nearly everything he says with regards to climate change wrong – and echoed Rose’s embarrassing errors. Rush Limbaugh engaged in what Graham Readfearn has described as ‘a bad game of Chinese whispers,’amplifying Rose’s errors further by wrongly asserting,

“Now, if you haven’t heard this, the ice at the North Pole, arctic ice, is at a record amount this early in the post-summer season.”

Sadly, the climate contrarian media echo chamber (which has beenworking overtime in advance of the publication of the next IPCC report) has taken factually inaccurate reporting and twisted reality even further, asserting that the 6th-lowest Arctic sea ice extent in millennia is “a record amount.”

In reality, because last year’s Arctic sea ice minimum shattered the previous record low, and the ice had declined the previous two years as well, statistically speaking a short-term ‘recovery’ this year was likely to happen. In fact, it was predicted by most Arctic climate experts.

Had a great moment in class this week.  I talked about climate change as a great example of false equivalence, i.e,. “he said, she said” in reporting when there was very clear scientific consensus on the matter.  I started by stressing the fact that 97% of climate scientists agree on the basic principles of anthropogenic global warming.  Nice buttoned-down conservative calmly waited through the whole point and then asked his question.  “But couldn’t 97% of scientists be wrong?”  So endearing.  Climate scientists wrong but Rush Limbaugh is right.  I’ll buy that.  I, of course, agreed that 97% could be wrong.  But until he or someone comes up with something better than science, I was going to go with that.

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Photo(s) of the day

This Animals in the News gallery from In Focus is awesome.  Definitely worth the click-through to the whole thing.  Here’s my two favorites:

Dan McManus and his service dog Shadow hang glide together outside Salt Lake City, Utah, on July 22, 2013. McManus suffers from anxiety and Shadow’s presence and companionship help him to manage the symptoms. The two have been flying together for about nine years with a specially made harness for Shadow. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

In this photo taken from a remote camera at the Lazovsky State Nature Reserve in the Primorye region of Russia’s Far East, a golden eagle is caught attacking a deer. Remote cameras set up to track Siberian tigers in Russia caught the golden eagle attack on a sika deer, snapping three photos as the massive bird dug its talons into the distressed animal’s back.(AP Photo/The Zoological Society of London)

Quick hits

1) Nice National Journal piece summarizing the GOP takeover of NC.

2) There’s some pretty good evidence a single trade was trying to manipulate Mitt Romney’s share price on Intrade back in the day.

3) A teacher considers the merits of stopping assigning homework (I say maybe not stop, but probably way less)

4) The North Carolina crime lab has been a shameful joke.  Apparently many problems persist despite a lot of attention.

5) Just your typical Republican politician talking crazy.  More women in the workplace is the cause of mass shootings.

6) Loved this economic analysis on why the Washington Redskins aren’t able to win so far this year.

7) Time for vaccine supporter parents to loudly speak up in favor of vaccines.  Amen.

8) Kevin Drum on how our disastrous and foolish austerity policies and the questionable economics behind them.

9) Chances are that although you may usually be a savvy shopper, you haven’t been with your smartphone.  I have.

10) Schools need to teach paying attention.

11) Yeah, you’re tired of the debt ceiling stuff and so am I, but this Chait post is really, really good.

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