Sustainability

The Importance of Good Research

-EM

Before getting into the complexities of climatic sciences, it is important to consider the data one consumes. Well written but factually incorrect articles on any given topic, can be found even on mainstream media sites like Forbes and FOX News. It comes down to being able to verify the source of the data, especially or articles making strong claims.
Consider the  article on Forbes written by James Taylor [1].
If we look at the original article published on NASA’s website [2], it clearly states that the Antarctic sea ice has reached a new maximum. This has been debated over the years, but another study by NASA disputed the claims by IPCC, concluding that the antarctic polar sheets were as a matter of fact expanding (in terms of both area and mass) [3]. The same article [2], also suggest that the Arctic has been losing about 21,000 sq. miles yearly while the Antarctic has only been gaining about 8,000 sq. miles yearly since the 1970’s, thus resulting in an overall net depletion in the polar sheets. This should suffice to prove that Taylor’s conclusion that “Global Warming Not Causing and Polar Ice Retreat” is factually incorrect and misleading when compared with the article it cites.
A lot of people incorrectly compare the ice sheets during different times of the year. A summer comparison from the 1970’s to the winter sheet area/volume in 2016 will yield a satisfying, yet false comparison. A year by year ice sheets level as measured by the NSIDC is presented in an interactive form online and helps better understand the data [4,5].
Overall the rationale and rhetoric of the author seemed extremely poor. For example, stating “A 10-percent decline in polar sea ice is not very remarkable, especially considering the 1979 baseline was abnormally high anyway”, is an absurd statement. He makes a vague claim that the 1979 baseline was high. Secondly, to say that a 10% loss is insignificant is absurd. To put it into perspective, 10% of the United States land mass is greater than the state of Texas and twice the size of the state of California. The author is a lawyer with no prior scientific expertise and presides as the environmental expert for the Heartland Institute. This institute seems to have gotten funding over the years from Exxon Mobil (oil), Koch brother (oil) and Philip Morris (tobacco). It would seem that this institute also advocates that second hand smoking doesn’t have adverse effects [6], which effectively mars their credibility.

 

References:
[1]http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2015/05/19/updated-nasa-data-polar-ice-not-receding-after-all/#221ef9d832da
[2]https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/antarctic-sea-ice-reaches-new-record-maximum
[3]https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses
[4]http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/
[5]http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
[6]https://www.heartland.org/publications-resources/publications/the-big-lie-of-secondhand-smoke

 

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