Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Artic cyclone: the conspiracy that wasn’t (Wattsupwiththat goes shark-jumpin)

If you feel like laughing at conspiracy theories, head over to Wattsupwiththat, where the denialists are sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling “LA LA LA LA LA” about Arctic Sea Ice.

If you didn’t already know, the ice cover at the Arctic reached its lowest extent in the satellite era this month. Skip the media coverage, here’s the NASA source.

One reason for the dramatic fall in ice cover: there was a cyclone-strength storm that churned the sea-ice and made it more vulnerable to melting.

The storm has acted as the perfect distraction for denialists like the Wattsupwiththat blog: “NASA finally admits it – Arctic cyclone in August ‘broke up’ and ‘wreaked havoc’ on sea ice” (my emphasis).

That seems to imply that NASA was trying to conceal the interaction between the cyclone and the sea ice.

Except, of course, that NASA didn’t conceal a damn thing. The cyclone – and its likely impacts – were in public, with comments by NASA, back as far as August, while the cyclone was still active.

In this article, for example, discussing the storm back in August, NASA commented that the storm had already detached ice from the main pack – and exposing the detached ice to quicker melting.

So much for the conspiracy theory.

The article I referred to above also pointed out that the sea ice would not have been so vulnerable if it wasn’t already so thin – by the end of July the sea ice retreat had already broken records.

Conspiracist ideation” anyone?

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