Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Looking Back On Past Global Warming Predictions Is Always Fun

The Skeptical Inquirer used to have a fun little piece that they did every year: take the previous year's predictions from "psychics" and see how they did.  The results were often quite amusing.  National Review Online points to a quote from John Kerry in 2009:
The truth is that the threat we face is not an abstract concern for the future. It is already upon us and its effects are being felt worldwide, right now. Scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013. Not in 2050, but four years from now.
The September 7, 2013 Daily Mail (okay, not much of a newspaper) has pictures of the August 2012 and August 2013 Arctic Ocean.  The 29% growth from 2012 to 2013 is not terribly important -- just the pictures.  Ice-free?  Not even close.
The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year. More than 20 yachts that had planned to sail it have been left ice-bound and a cruise ship attempting the route was forced to turn back.
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The September 23, 2013 Washington Post reports that at the other end of the world, the Antarctic sea ice has hit a 35 year record high:
Antarctic sea ice has grown to a record large extent for a second straight year, baffling scientists seeking to understand why this ice is expanding rather than shrinking in a warming world.
On Saturday, the ice extent reached 19.51 million square kilometers, according to data posted on the National Snow and Ice Data Center Web site.  That number bested record high levels set earlier this month and in 2012 (of 19.48 million square kilometers). Records date back to October 1978.

1 comment:

  1. Going back a bit farther in time (particularly in "Geologic time")... I have in my possession a copy of Earth Times, Spring 1970 edition. It was a short-lived tabloid from Straight Arrow - the Rolling Stone people.

    In it, editor Stephanie Mills interviewed Kenneth Watt, who was a professor of zoology at UC Davis, and a major spokesman for the "ecology movement." I share for your gratification:

    SM: How long will it be before administrators pay attention?
    KW: The only thing that will get people to change is the severity of the problems. Like at the moment when I say that we’re moving into an ice age, most people say, “Hah. That types him – you know, he’s nuts.” But ten years from now, things will be weird enough that people will be saying, “By God, so that’s why it’s snowing in May!” … Everybody is alerted to the fact that there is a large and obviously educated group frightened stiff. All kinds of people are running around making dire and legitimate projections. But I don’t think that the public is really alarmed. Look, an ice age is a six-degree drop in temperature, and we’ve already got a third of that in New York City, and nobody even notices. I think you have to drop blocks of ice on people before they become aware that the weather’s changing.
    SM: If you had a mastodon charging down Wall Street you might get some action.
    KW: Stephanie, there are mornings when I get up and think, “It’s got to be all wrong, it’s got to be a dream. It can’t be this bad.”

    (He also advocated for banning internal combustion by 1975, because all the crude oil will be gone sometime between 1994 and 2002.)