“What we’ve seen in the Arctic over the last two years has been such breathtaking change that you have to worry about stability for sea levels and for the entire northern hemisphere climate system. The rate of ice melt in 2005 increased by about five times over what it was previously. It’s been very, very large again in 2006.
“Now, if you take those two years as the new trajectory for ice melt in the Arctic – we’ve only two years of data there – but if we do that, there will be no Arctic to melt in five to 15 years, and that’s an astonishingly short period of time for an ice cap that’s existed for 3 million years.”
Now Flannery is being alarmist here. It is wrong to base the trend on the last two years and ignore the years before that. A more reasonable analysis suggests that the Arctic summer sea ice will take till 2050 to all melt. Bolt missed this and instead came up with:
Except, of course, that what Flannery – an expert in bones, not weather – had said was a typically wild exaggeration.
From the IPCC report released last week:
The last time the polar regions were significantly warmer than present for an extended period (about 125,000 years ago), reductions in polar ice volume led to 4 to 6 metres of sea level rise.
The Arctic ice disappeared not 3 million years ago, Tim. But 125,000.
In the very first comment, MichaelF made the obvious point that the IPCC report did not say that the Arctic ice disappeared 125,000 years ago. Bolt replied:
As for your unsupported claims about me being wrong about Arctic warming and icecover, please read http://atoc.colorado.edu/~dcn/reprints/Overpeck_etal_EOS2005.pdf
OK, let’s read it. First paragraph (my emphasis):
The Arctic system is moving toward a new state that falls outside the
envelope of glacial-interglacial fluctuations that prevailed during
recent Earth history. This future Arctic is likely to have
dramatically less permanent ice than exists at present. At the present
rate of change, a summer ice-free Arctic Ocean within a century is a
real possibility, a state not witnessed for at least a million
years. The change appears to be driven largely by feedback-enhanced
global climate warming, and there seem to be few, if any, processes or
feedbacks within the Arctic system that are capable of altering the
trajectory toward this “super interglacial” state.
When Ender pointed out Bolt’s own reference proved him wrong, Bolt tried to salvage something from the wreckage by changing 125,000 to 1 million
The Arctic ice disappeared not 3 million years ago, Tim.
But 125,000. (Wrong: See in comments below.) But 1 million:
Lack of sea ice and large ice sheets in the Arctic 1.5 to 1 million years ago and perhaps 125,000 year ago produced major differences in albedo and heat budget with respect to the present Arctic.
Except that his reference is woefully out of date, being from 1991. And, according to the NSF:
If the ice pack continues to decrease in coverage and thickness, researchers suggest the possibility of a nearly ice-free Arctic — an area that has been covered by ice for at least three million years — and a vastly changed world.