Pollution controls caused Arctic ice melt: NASA

posted at 12:18 pm on April 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

People have blamed the retreat of ice in the Arctic on carbon-dioxide driven global warming.  However, new research at NASA suggests that environmental intervention in the 1970s could bear most of the blame.  The elimination of aerosol particle emissions have removed a cooling element for the northern hemisphere, which has reduced a natural balance in the climate on the effect of human activities:

New research from NASA suggests that the Arctic warming trend seen in recent decades has indeed resulted from human activities: but not, as is widely assumed at present, those leading to carbon dioxide emissions. Rather, Arctic warming has been caused in large part by laws introduced to improve air quality and fight acid rain.

Dr Drew Shindell of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies has led a new study which indicates that much of the general upward trend in temperatures since the 1970s – particularly in the Arctic – may have resulted from changes in levels of solid “aerosol” particles in the atmosphere, rather than elevated CO2. Arctic temperatures are of particular concern to those worried about the effects of global warming, as a melting of the ice cap could lead to disastrous rises in sea level – of a sort which might burst the Thames Barrier and flood London, for instance.

Shindell’s research indicates that, ironically, much of the rise in polar temperature seen over the last few decades may have resulted from US and European restrictions on sulphur emissions. According to NASA:

Sulfates, which come primarily from the burning of coal and oil, scatter incoming solar radiation and have a net cooling effect on climate. Over the past three decades, the United States and European countries have passed a series of laws that have reduced sulfate emissions by 50 percent. While improving air quality and aiding public health, the result has been less atmospheric cooling from sulfates.

On NASA’s site, Shindell continues:

In the modeling experiment, Shindell and colleagues compiled detailed, quantitative information about the relative roles of various components of the climate system, such as solar variations, volcanic events, and changes in greenhouse gas levels. They then ran through various scenarios of how temperatures would change as the levels of ozone and aerosols — including sulfates and black carbon — varied in different regions of the world. Finally, they teased out the amount of warming that could be attributed to different climate variables. Aerosols loomed large.

The regions of Earth that showed the strongest responses to aerosols in the model are the same regions that have witnessed the greatest real-world temperature increases since 1976. The Arctic region has seen its surface air temperatures increase by 1.5 C (2.7 F) since the mid-1970s. In the Antarctic, where aerosols play less of a role, the surface air temperature has increased about 0.35 C (0.6 F).

That makes sense, Shindell explained, because of the Arctic’s proximity to North America and Europe. The two highly industrialized regions have produced most of the world’s aerosol emissions over the last century, and some of those aerosols drift northward and collect in the Arctic. Precipitation, which normally flushes aerosols out of the atmosphere, is minimal there, so the particles remain in the air longer and have a stronger impact than in other parts of the world.

Now we have a counterargument to cap-and-trade!  Rather than pursue ridiculous and economically disastrous emission controls on naturally-occurring carbon dioxide, we can simply stop imposing aerosol controls.  That would cost less and have more impact on the problem that climate-change activists claim to want to solve.

However, there are two things wrong with that argument.  First, the modeling is as much unproven as is the CO2-climate-change models are.  The latter completely missed the cooling trend of the last few years, which calls into question their entire premise.  Until the modeling proves itself, the science remains unsettled — as it must for people attempting to extrapolate the future by looking at only the last few hundred years on a planet billions of years old.

Second, and probably more important, most of the activists are less concerned about actual climate change than they are about having an excuse to nationalize energy production, along with everything else.  They stopped listening to “science” a long time ago, as soon as they heard enough to justify confiscatory government policies, and have tried to quash all other lines of inquiry with the same enthusiasm as the medieval Inquisitions, and with the same motivation — power.  Don’t expect them to listen to NASA when the agency refutes part of their argument now.

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Comments

Sounds like all Obama needs to do is to get Captain Picard to bring the Enterprise in orbit, and Geordi can send a stream of particle emissions from the deflector dish into the atmosphere, then configure the tractor beam to keep the particles in the upper atomosphere and not allow them to fall to the planet.

Make it so.

muckdog on April 9, 2009 at 2:59 PM

They tried to do that in one episode. It didn’t work out so well.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 3:22 PM

And don’t get me started on the dairy industry.
Sometimes drugs are just no match for good genetics & good husbandry practices.

Badger40 on April 9, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Yeah, we are buying non-RBGH milk now as well.

Vashta.Nerada on April 9, 2009 at 3:22 PM

I see kids maturing younger, and people getting cancer earlier, which makes me wonder.
Vashta.Nerada on April 9, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Kids are maturing younger because they are growing bigger.
If you can find any studies that show that people are getting cancers at a younger age, and that this is not due to better detection technology, I would love to see it.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Odie1941 on April 9, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Cowardly exit noted.

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 3:25 PM

Drink matai (sp?). The Chinese version of vodka. It will kill any bug you ingest. Just hold your nose while drinking, unless you enjoy the taste of turpentine.

Vashta.Nerada on April 9, 2009 at 3:19 PM

I don’t know it as ‘matai’, but sounds like what we call “baijiu“. Not often, not much. Tastes like and probably is a good rocket fuel.

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Kids are maturing younger because they are growing bigger.
If you can find any studies that show that people are getting cancers at a younger age, and that this is not due to better detection technology, I would love to see it.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Well, yeah, but why are they growing bigger? Is it possibly due to the hormones? We know that RGBH in milk is absorbed by humans, and is suspected in increased incidences of cancer. I don’t know the answer, but a study that proved it or disproved it would take a lifetime. I’m sure news will come out someday on the issue, but in the meantime, I’m sticking with less modified foods to the extent that I can. Can’t hurt.

Vashta.Nerada on April 9, 2009 at 3:32 PM

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Yeah, same stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maotai

Vashta.Nerada on April 9, 2009 at 3:34 PM

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 3:25 PM

What exit?

Odie1941 on April 9, 2009 at 3:47 PM

This is the exact kind of news you will never find anywhere near any outlet that allows liberal ears to hear. They are much to sensitive to handle the truth.

kirkill on April 9, 2009 at 3:53 PM

but why are they growing bigger?
Vashta.Nerada on April 9, 2009 at 3:32 PM

Better nutrition and better medical care so that they don’t get sick as often, and when they do get sick, it’s not as serious and they recover more quickly.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 3:54 PM

What exit?

Odie1941 on April 9, 2009 at 3:47 PM

Good to see that you’re still here. That takes some courage. Now attack and defeat MarkTheGreat on his points!

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 3:54 PM

I might add that people have been getting bigger since long before they even knew what hormones were, much less started putting them in meat. The earlier onset of puberty was also being discussed back then as well.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 3:55 PM

and is suspected in increased incidences of cancer.
Vashta.Nerada on April 9, 2009 at 3:32 PM

Therin lies the problem.
There is no “increased incidence of cancer”.

What can be seen is easily explained by people living longer and by better detection methods. Remove those two factors and cancer rates have held steady for years.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Well butter my butt and call me a biscut. I think we should put Algore in jail…. Gimme freon for my AC!!!!

CynicalOptimist on April 9, 2009 at 3:56 PM

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 3:54 PM

You better be carefull, oddy might start talking nonsense about you as well.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 3:57 PM

Scratch a crisis, find a Leftist.

rvastar on April 9, 2009 at 4:01 PM

You better be carefull, oddy might start talking nonsense about you as well.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 3:57 PM

I’m just here for the games. You’re the gladiators. ;)

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 4:02 PM

Now we have a counterargument to cap-and-trade!

Ain’t gonna change a thing.

The destruction of the economy and environment, and pretty much everything else, continues while the Obama has control

Kini on April 9, 2009 at 4:02 PM

George Carlin’s comic genius trumps all these brilliant scientists.

Buy Danish on April 9, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Better nutrition and better medical care so that they don’t get sick as often, and when they do get sick, it’s not as serious and they recover more quickly.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Or, alternatively, because they are ingesting hormones via their meat and milk. I don’t know the answer, but I’m not willing to chance it. I’ll pay more for unmodified meat and milk.

Vashta.Nerada on April 9, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Mark:

He never made a point – which has been exposed, namely by his exit form the actual issue and dumbass comments, but I do like the way you jump in to “stick up” for an inferior bi-ped, misery loves company; as does stupidity.

Dark:

“talking nonsense” – come on – I am sure you can do better than that. You know, like retract your original idiot post and actually try to make a point.

This is fun.

Odie1941 on April 9, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Oops, I juxtiposed you 2 idiots, my bad – tough to tell the difference at the sub 76 IQ level.

Sort of like beagle poop and lab poop.

Odie1941 on April 9, 2009 at 4:09 PM

tough to tell the difference at the sub 76 IQ level.

Sort of like beagle poop and lab poop.

Odie1941 on April 9, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Apparently. I’m sure you can learn though.

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM

“Second, and probably more important, most of the activists are less concerned about actual climate change than they are about having an excuse to nationalize energy production, along with everything else.”

This may be true of many activists, but it’s not true when it comes to the great bulk of their following. The biggest task is getting the press to report dissenting positions accurately. That would defuse a good bit of the fervor — which is what drives the Congressional engine. The “silent majority” of the public itself is already somewhat skeptical.

JM Hanes on April 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Apparently. I’m sure you can learn though.

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Fail. Try again.

Odie1941 on April 9, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Fail. Try again.

Odie1941 on April 9, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Ok. “I’m not sure you can learn though.”

Better?

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Or, alternatively, because they are ingesting hormones via their meat and milk. I don’t know the answer, but I’m not willing to chance it. I’ll pay more for unmodified meat and milk.

Vashta.Nerada on April 9, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Then how do you explain the fact that kids were growing bigger and maturing faster long before they even had hormones to put into meat, or anything else?

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 4:50 PM

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 4:48 PM

I’ll make a gladiator out of you yet.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Odie1941 on April 9, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Odie, you’re making me feel like I’m abusing the mentally challenged and it isn’t a good feeling.

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 4:52 PM

I’ll make a gladiator out of you yet.

MarkTheGreat on April 9, 2009 at 4:51 PM

No, I’m just a smallish ambush predator that preys on the weak. It’s enough to live on though.

DarkCurrent on April 9, 2009 at 5:15 PM

I can feel another consensus coming on, on the settled science.

Johan Klaus on April 9, 2009 at 5:28 PM

Warming? What warming? Seems to depend on where you look. Take a look at the Nasa GISS data at
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/findstation.py?datatype=gistemp&data_set=1&name=&world_map.x=298&world_map.y=17

PDO shift in 1976, step change up along the northern pacific. It just shifted back to the cool phase last year. Bundle up, Alaska.

iurockhead on April 9, 2009 at 5:31 PM

lets solve 2 problems at once lets burn all the old tires.problem solved

wade underhile on April 9, 2009 at 6:36 PM

Fuck with nature, nature fucks back. And nature always wins. Ask the dinosaurs.

GarandFan on April 9, 2009 at 7:41 PM

Why do the global warming fantasists bother with powerpoints and data and consensus building?

Seems like a waste of effort to me.

They should just give their nutter base a couple grand apiece to pass a Constitutional amendment declaring Global Warming is the truth, or Global Cooling, or Intergalactic Heat Transference or whatever they need to steal fortunes for the Puppet Masters……..and move on.

notagool on April 9, 2009 at 8:33 PM

I thought that it was Al Gore’s flatulence that caused global warming.

BottomLine5 on April 9, 2009 at 9:14 PM

George Carlin’s comic genius trumps all these brilliant scientists.

Buy Danish on April 9, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Just about my all-time favorite — great to see it available on the web. Bookmarked!

RD on April 9, 2009 at 9:46 PM

People have blamed the retreat of ice in the Arctic on carbon-dioxide driven global warming.

I don’t know if this was mentioned earlier, but the ice isn’t retreating at the moment.

WUWT Ice Survey Shows Thickening Arctic Ice

The data is collected from the US military web site http://imb.crrel.usace.army.mil. All of the active military buoys show significant thickening ice over the past six months to a year, as seen below…

UPDATE: The military site also has graphs which are supposed to show depth. It appears that many of these are broken, which is why I used the more reliable temperature graphs. The depth at which the ice drops below the freezing point of seawater (-2C) is of course the bottom of the ice. You can’t have water in a liquid state below it’s freezing point.

Some of the buoys have reliable depth data, and they correspond closely to the temperature data…

INC on April 9, 2009 at 9:47 PM

. Another reason for their forecast reduction is due to anomalous cooling of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic.

DerKrieger on April 9, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Anomalous my ass.

I don’t believe this modeling any more than any other, but it is pretty funny.

darwin-t on April 9, 2009 at 9:56 PM

I don’t believe this modeling any more than any other, but it is pretty funny.

darwin-t on April 9, 2009 at 9:56 PM

Ditto! :)

RD on April 10, 2009 at 4:37 AM

Global warming is a symptom of increased solar activity.
Global cooling is a symptom of decreased solar activity.
Mankind is arrogant. Sometimes it bites us in the rear, other times we merely think it does.

darktood on April 10, 2009 at 7:34 AM

Fuck with nature, nature fucks back. And nature always wins. Ask the dinosaurs.

GarandFan on April 9, 2009 at 7:41 PM

Just what did the dinosaurs do to bring on an asteroid?

MarkTheGreat on April 10, 2009 at 8:17 AM

About the only argument Gore can use is that Computer Models aren’t accurate. Oh wait, that would blow away their whole argument that global warming exists in the first place!

jeffn21 on April 10, 2009 at 10:32 AM

six munz ago I couldn spill szintuz and now I r one.

Herb on April 10, 2009 at 11:10 AM

Save the Earth. Eat an environmentalist.

JohnGalt23 on April 10, 2009 at 1:45 PM

This is a misleading/disingenuous argument.

If we reverted back to the environment that sustained us for thousands-millions of years, without any human contaminants, we would have no problems. Because we produce significant amounts of one class of harmful pollutions does not mean we should produce a second class to alleviate one of the problems of the first. We should eliminate the first class.

greenLibertarian on April 10, 2009 at 5:26 PM

Shindell’s research indicates that, ironically, much of the rise in polar temperature seen over the last few decades may have resulted from US and European restrictions on sulphur emissions. According to NASA:

My God … I wish they would make up their minds.

Nothing like “consensus” huh?

Why don’t we all agree to leave well enough alone and just embrace whatever is happening. I think we prolly did an okay thing by eliminating man made pollutants. But CO2 is a natural frigging byproduct of LIFE and has been since … well since life appeared on this earth – or close to it anyway.

HondaV65 on April 10, 2009 at 11:02 PM

I, and only I know about a great catastrophe that is going to befall the universe: all matter in the entire universe will be destroyed by a DEATH RAY FROM SPACE…unless you do exactly as I say.

We can’t afford to wait, because there is a chance that I am right…and then YOU’ll be responsible for destroying EVERYTHING….sun, moon, stars, planets, comets….EVERYTHING!! Destruction is less than 10 years away. And I’ve got a whole herd of people who agree with me, so it must be true (I’ve anointed all of them as “true scientists”): those who disagree are “DEATH RAY DENIERS”: wild kooks who should be ignored. Proof? We don’ need no stinkin’ proof!!! After all, what sane person doesn’t want to SAVE THE UNIVERSE?? …and we’re running out of time!

You might be able to avert this cataclysm by earning as much money as you can and buying all of the shiny new things you can get your hands on. The shiny things will deflect the DEATH RAY FROM SPACE, and will save the universe.

So do your part. Send your whole family to the store NOW. Have the kids buy something every day. Turn your lights on. Buy jewelry and large shiny automobiles: the bigger the better. Wax the cars you already own. Paint your house a bright color, and then buy another house and paint a bright color also. YOU CAN SAVE THE UNIVERSE!!!

(hey, it worked for Algore!)

landlines on April 11, 2009 at 12:12 AM