Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Separating fact from fiction on Antarctic melting
Climate change is a big deal. It's all over the news. But sometimes too much coverage is a bad thing. Take this press release: West Antarctic ice sheet may not be losing ice as fast as once thought. If you actually read the article, you'll see that while the rate is slower, the ice sheet is still losing ice and contributing to sea-level rise. If you just see the headline, you might think that this is once again evidence that scientists have been getting all worked up over global warming for no reason. Too bad most people don't have the patience to try to sort out all the details, or read the full story. If you're not one of those people, I suggest you listen to today's Diane Rehm show, on which geophysicist Henry N. Pollack (segment available online soon if not already) really broke it down on climate change, even repeating my favorite argument that an unusually cool summer, or even a really warm winter does not disprove or prove climate change is occurring. It's the averages that are important. Also that the whole "hey, I'll enjoy being able to grow bananas in Michigan" crowd needs to realize that not everyone will be so lucky, especially not the millions of people who will lose their homes.