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Edge – August 14, 2007

I recently wrote about Dr. Dyson’s article on global warming. I found his analysis to be quite interesting even though he did meander into off topic conversations.

Alun Anderson wrote a rebuttal to the paper and it also merits consideration and contemplation. This is not a contest of votes, but rather a way for one to become educated in the various issues and arrive at a reasonable opinion.

It is unfortunate that Dr. Anderson does not directly repudiate many of Dr. Dyson’s discussions. Is this because they were true or because they were not worthy of his effort? It is not obvious in this article.

As before, I can only capture a small part of the long article.  Please see the link at the end of the article to read the entire discussion.

Scientists are totally aware of the shortcomings of their models and up here in the Arctic they are gathering data with unprecedented energy. Now that International Polar year has begun, there are going to be more scientists up in the Arctic that at any time in history. They need that data to validate their models and satellite observations.

Knowing that Arctic climate models are imperfect, it would be reassuring for me, if not for the scientists, to be able to write that scientists keep making grim predictions that just that don’t come true. If that were so, we could follow Dyson’s line that the models aren’t so good and “the fuss is exaggerated”. Scarily, the truth is the other way around. The ice is melting faster than the grimmest of the scientist’s predictions, and the predictions keep getting grimmer.

Some of that fresh water stored up in the Arctic Ocean might find its way out into the Atlantic, as happened during the Great Salinity Anomaly of the 1970s, giving the Arctic a chance for revenge on the rest of the planet. Repeated on a larger scale, the fresh water has the potential to change ocean currents and world climate.

Dr. Anderson spends a great deal of time discussing the geopolitical realities of a warmer Arctic and I suggest you read his comments here.

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