Wednesday, February 6th 2013, 9:11 AM EST
Have Cold, need Heat. Global temperature means haven’t risen for 16 years now but some politicians still think the globe is experiencing runaway overheating. At the -50 C/F in mid latitude Canada right now even the polar bears are not frolicking on the beaches, but elsewhere, the heat is being turned on; namely on the climate prognostications previously given by the proponents of global treaties to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which have been claimed to be the mother of all evil.
The climate debate suffers from many misconceptions, some of which arise from misleading terminology. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls carbon dioxide (CO2) a “pollutant.” Nothing could be further from the truth. CO2 is an invisible gas without any smell, and non-toxic. In some environments, such as the air in submarines its concentration is typically several times that of the earth’s atmosphere where its level is approximately 400 ppm (parts per million).
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Just to juxtapose CO2 with a real (air) pollutant, for example sulfur dioxide (SO2); SO2 is an entirely different kettle of fish. It has nothing to do with CO2. Sulfur dioxide burns your nostrils and lungs and causes respiratory illness, etc.
The fact is that CO2 is absolutely vital for all life on earth. All of the carbon in our food, in fact in our own bodies is entirely derived from the atmospheric CO2 through the photo-synthesis (PS) process. Apart from CO2, the PS process also requires some other nutrients (phosphorous, nitrogen, minerals and trace elements) and, of course, sunlight to function. Plant growers make use of that by artificially boosting the CO2 level in their greenhouses to 1,000 ppm and more as plants just thrive under high CO2 levels, from pine and citrus fruit seedlings, to cassava, corn and wheat. But, you say, the summer sea-ice in the Arctic is shrinking, supposedly due to increasing CO2 in our atmosphere...
Ice at the North Pole
The North Pole is a geographical point on the earth. It has no other redeeming features. In fact, it is not even on land, but covered by the water of the Arctic Ocean. The extent of Arctic sea-ice varies tremendously with the seasons, namely from an annual maximum of ~15 at the height of the Arctic winter to a mere ~4 million square kilometers at the end of the Arctic summer. In other words, its annual variation of ~11 million square kilometers is much greater than its average minimum extent. That fact alone should give you some food for thought.
Contrary also to widely-held beliefs, the North Pole has often been open water during the summer and not just in recent years. That is on record by a variety of submarines surfacing there over the last 50 years. If you don’t believe me, just check the newsreels and logs of the USS Skate which encountered much open water on its voyages there in 1958 and 1959.
Old charts of the Arctic typically show the extent of the Perennial Sea-Ice (PSI) in the Arctic Ocean. I have one of those, published in 1973 by the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Canada. It shows the southern / eastern limit of the PSI being entirely being west and north of the Canadian Arctic island archipelago, as you can see in Fig. 1, below.
Fig. 1. Perennial Arctic sea-ice extent (light colored area), chart published in 1973.
Obviously, that ice cover is in stark contrast to the ice-coverage graphs published in recent years by National Geographic (NG) magazine and other publications. The latter typically show the maximum and minimum extent of ice cover at the height of the Arctic winter and summer periods, but never the PSI extent. To show you how misleading some articles can be, let’s look at an ice-chart published by NG in 2011 (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2. Minimum extent (white area) of Arctic summer se-ice, as per National Geographic magazine, July 2011.
As you can see, the minimum summer sea-ice extents vary substantially between the two graphs. NG’s graph (Fig. 2) has it extending through much of the Canadian Arctic archipelago islands, while the older map (Fig. 1) shows it entirely outside of the archipelago. You may wonder, why is there such a difference? Once again, it’s in the definition, this time of what is “ice.” According to the answer I received from NG, the PSI ice [Fig 1] is “more than 2 years old and tends to be thicker and more resilient than younger ice” [Fig. 2].
Are other claims as to a shrinking Arctic ice cover more trustworthy than those about the ice cover? What about the polar bears?
Polar Bear Range
Pictures of cuddly polar bear cubs have been a mainstay of many organisations wanting you to donate to their cause of “saving the polar bears” for many years. Polar bears live in the Arctic and are well adapted to that environment. The NG article “On Thin Ice” mentioned above also contains photographs of polar bears in their natural habitat. That’s where things really get interesting: most of these pictures were taken at Svalbard which is OUTSIDE even NG’s exaggerated minimum summer sea-ice extent, the other ones at unspecified locations, perhaps the local zoo.
The gist of the message here is that the “climate change” agenda has been hyped in many reports, even in some outlets of high reputation and previously deemed to be reliable. No wonder that much of the public falls for such stories; after all very few people have ever to cope with chills of -50 C or less.
In short, there is a difference between a temperature of +50 F in Houston, TX and -50 F in International Falls, MN or further north in the “great white north” of Canada.
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