Media outlets have been hyping a new study claiming Antarctica is melting much faster than anticipated and could cause up to several feet of sea level rise in the coming decades — not centuries.
Some climate scientists, however, were quick to point out the study was based on speculative computer-based climate model simulations, not observations. Veteran scientist Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. even slammed the media and the scientists behind the study for overhyping their findings, calling it an “example of climate science dysfunction.”
Example of climate science dysfunction: submit HYPOTHESIS as an article ->find favorable ed/reviews ->publish in Nature ->highlight in NYT.
— Roger A. Pielke Sr (@RogerAPielkeSr) March 31, 2016
Pielke specifically criticized the New York Times for featuring the Antarctic ice melt study above-the-fold on the front page of the paper Thursday. But other media outlets, like the Washington Post, ran with headlines like, “Scientists nearly double sea level rise projections for 2100, because of Antarctica.”
Pielke wasn’t alone, as other scientists who weren’t swayed by the media’s alarmism spoke up. Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger, climate scientists with the libertarian Cato Institute, were quick to find flaws in the study sounding the alarm on the potential melting of the South Pole.
“The notion of an alarming rise in the ocean coming from there anytime soon has always been difficult to entertain,” Michaels and Knappenbeger wrote on the science blog Watts Up With That Thursday. “It is really cold down there and any melting should take a very long time—thousands of years—to do very much.”
The study, by Rob DeConto of University of Massachusetts Amherst and David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University, used computer simulations to predict Antarctic ice melt could “contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 15 metres by 2500, if emissions continue unabated.”
“In this case atmospheric warming will soon become the dominant driver of ice loss, but prolonged ocean warming will delay its recovery for thousands of years,” DeConto and Pollard wrote.
The study basically doubles the amount of projected sea level rise from global warming because of the increased ice melt from Antarctica.
“Maybe this is what happens when hypersensitive models are fed unrealistic data,” Michaels and Knappenberger wrote.
Michaels and Knappenberger pointed out the Antarctic melt study use models that run way too hot. They “can see that the climate model overproduction of warming infects the DeConto and Pollard paper as well,” the scientists wrote.
The Cato scientists also pointed out the paper assumes carbon dioxide levels “that even the United Nations’ has acknowledged as substantial outliers.”
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