Unstoppable collapse in the credibility of climate science?

The climate science community and its media lackeys are currently in full hysteria mode about two papers on the “unstoppable collapse” of Antarctic ice sheets. This is a “Groundhog Day” climate scare story that comes around every few years (see here, here, here, here for example, or this notoriously misleading image of Greenland, or do your own time-ranged google search).

A rare voice of relative sanity is Andy Revkin, who on twitter drew attention (See WUWT) to an article he wrote in 2009 about the misuse of the word “collapse”, discussing a paper by Pollard and DeConto saying that melting and sea level rise would be slow. Revkin wrote about the latest media frenzy, criticising some of the headlines as “completely overwrought”.

An article in the Guardian is particularly worrying because it is written by a British Antarctic Survey scientist, Hamish Pritchard.  West Antarctica ice sheet collapse: ‘it will change the coastline of the world’  uses ‘will’ throughout, giving no doubt and no indication of time-scale. Rather than cite the papers, Pritchard links to an article by Guardian climate activist Suzanne Goldenberg.  Although Pritchard talks about the West Antarctic ice sheet, the abstracts of the two papers  only refer to some particular glaciers. He claims that “the authors are guys that are normally pretty conservative“, which is untrue. Lead author Eric Rignot has been writing alarmist papers and media articles about Antarctic glaciers for some time, was quoted in the 2009 Revkin article linked above criticising Pollard and DeConto, and is widely reported as saying we have “passed the point of no return”.

What is particularly depressing is the failure of the climate science community to say anything critical of any of this hype.  As Josh put it:

When questioned about this, one of them seemed only concerned that an embargo had been broken, while another tried to defend Pritchard’s ‘conservative’ claim.  It is unfortunate that we don’t seem to have any climate scientists in the UK with the integrity and courage of Judith Curry or Roger Pielke.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, rather than the world of speculative computer model projections, here is the latest Antarctic sea ice extent graph, showing that it’s currently more than two standard deviations above the 1981-2010 average. For some reason this news does not seem to have hit the headlines. What would have happened if it was more than 2 SD below average?



[ This post was written before the shocking news of Lennart Bengtsson’s letter of resignation from the GWPF, referring to enormous pressure, withdrawal of support from colleagues, and McCarthyism, that prompted an uncharacteristically outspoken post from Steve McIntyre. See also WUWT for more details. This is relevant to this post in that (a) it further damages the credibility of climate science, and (b) perhaps our climate scientists are fearful of what might happen to them if they are seen to be in any way critical of climate scaremongering. ]

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