Pharyngula

Did they have to make it so pretty?

The NY Times has put together a lovely illustrated story about data collection on Greenland. The story is prettily terrifying, though. The ice is melting, and forming lakes of liquid water on the surface of the ice cap, which then drains away in fast-running rivers that cut deeper into the ice and then drain into holes that run even deeper into the glacier — it’s a dangerous place, and if you fall in, you’ll be swept away and instantly dumped into a pit. It also means the ice sheet is porous and riddled with rot already.

In addition to the personal terror for the researchers, this work is about a process that’s going to affect us all.

But Mr. Overstreet’s task, to collect critical data from the river, is essential to understanding one of the most consequential impacts of global warming. The scientific data he and a team of six other researchers collect here could yield groundbreaking information on the rate at which the melting of Greenland ice sheet, one of the biggest and fastest-melting chunks of ice on Earth, will drive up sea levels in the coming decades. The full melting of Greenland’s ice sheet could increase sea levels by about 20 feet.

Is that scary enough for you yet? Hang on, there’s worse: our Republican congress.

But the research is under increasing fire by some Republican leaders in Congress, who deny or question the scientific consensus that human activities contribute to climate change.

Leading the Republican charge on Capitol Hill is Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the chairman of the House science committee, who has sought to cut $300 million from NASA’s budget for earth science and has started an inquiry into some 50 National Science Foundation grants. On Oct. 13, the committee subpoenaed scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, seeking more than six years of internal deliberations, including “all documents and communications” related to the agency’s measurement of climate change.

I find the behavior of these Republican science-deniers unbelievable. There’s the obsessive derangement rivaling the Benghazi hearings, the appointment of unqualified know-nothings like Lamar Smith and Darrel Issa to play obstructionist games over scientific issues, and the abuse of legal strategies to harass scientists. Someday, we’re going to look back on this time as a period when the American government basically committed global crimes against humanity, as smiling rich fucks did everything they could to impose their ideological delusions on a dangerous reality.

But do read the NY Times article. The aerial views and maps of the ice sheet are gorgeous, and the field scientists are bravely carrying out important work, while the cowards and crooks of congress close their eyes and try to undermine that work.

Comments

  1. #1 cj orach
    October 28, 2015

    Appears you believe in Man Made Climate Change Intelligent Design. FYI New French Scientist White Paper refutes CO2 Climate Change Hypothesis makes you the “science denier”
    “The Battle Against Global Warming An Absurd.Costly & Pointless Crusade “http://www.scmsa.eu/archives/SCM_RC_2015_08_24_EN.pdf …

  2. #2 dean
    United States
    October 28, 2015

    cj, the paper you reference does nothing to contradict the evidence that the climate change is occurring and that human actions are a primary (overwhelmingly primary) driver.

  3. #3 cj orach
    October 29, 2015

    Dean, Not true the paper completly refutes all aspects of the CO2 Climate Change Hypothisis Change hypothesis for example:

    “There is not a single fact, figure or observation that leads us to conclude the world’s climate is disturbed….”

    “Concentrations of CO2… are bias and dishonest … ”

    “None of the global information on temperature is of any scientific value … ”

    “Rising sea levels are normal …have nothing to do with global warming … ”

    “extreme weather events are no more frequent than they have been in the past… ”

    etc etc etc Might help if you actually read the paper as your conclusions are the exact opposite of the authors findings.

  4. #4 dean
    United States
    October 29, 2015

    “There is not a single fact, figure or observation that leads us to conclude the world’s climate is disturbed…”

    That is not a demonstration, that is an assertion, as are the other comments in the “paper”.

    Don’t let the fact that you don’t understand the science allow you to be swayed by something written by another denier. Perhaps read a little real science instead?

  5. #5 cj orach
    October 29, 2015

    Dean here is another quote from the white paper refuting your conclusions that the paper does not include any facts and observations that contradict the CO2 Climate Change Hypothesis.

    After an exhaustive analysis of the available global temperature
    data the authors conclude:

    “direct use of the available figures does not indicate any genuine trend towards global warming!”

    Page 32
    http://www.scmsa.eu/archives/SCM_RC_2015_08_24_EN.pdf

  6. #6 cj orach
    October 29, 2015

    By the way as to “real science” When facts and observations do not agree with the CO2 Climate Change Hypothesis the facts and observations are not what’s false.

  7. #7 RC
    Mississippi
    October 29, 2015

    For all their talk about the dangers of “Big Government”, the republicans (especially the House republicans) are some of the most obsessively litigious and bureaucratic people on the face of the Earth. They will hold a dozen different hearings on something that has already been looked into a refuted, and if they don’t get a soundbite from those, they will then subpoena years of documents and communications so that they can rifle through them for things that can be taken out of context.

    That’s all it’s for too. They don’t actually give a damn about science, or Benghazi, or any of the other issues they raise a fuss over. It’s pure, shameless political theater so that they can use recordings of the hearings in campaign ads and claim that they’re “being tough on liberals” to their base and donors.

    Well, not just political theater, I suppose. There’s another element of it too. They’re trying to send a message. Don’t do science about politically controversial subjects, or you run the risk of having a congressional inquisition come down on top of you, the company/university you work for, and just about everyone you’ve worked with for the past few years. That part worries me the most, honestly. Science, technology and innovation are what made America great, and they’re trying to stifle that curiosity and innovation because it’s politically inconvenient for them and their donors.

  8. #8 Seth
    California
    October 31, 2015

    Thanks for the link. Great article!

    One of the researchers is quoted as saying they know a “tremendous amount” of taxpayer money is being spent. From *his* point of view as a poorly-paid scholar, yeah maybe a lot of money. But compared to the scale of the Federal government, or the severity of the problem, we are spending a pittance.

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