We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

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This August researchers making a first analysis of data from the European Space Agency’s observation satellite CryoSat-2 were startled to find that the loss of sea ice – as measured both by depth, and by area – was far more dramatic than their own forecasts had predicted. The summer Arctic could be an open sea within a decade.

Guardian editorial, 17 September 2012

Despite having a belief in CAGW two-and-a-half letters to the left of most commenters on this blog, it told me something about my own beliefs that my first thought when I saw this was “why have they reverted to making their bets public, short term and easy to measure? I thought they had given that up after the Himalayan Glaciers fiasco.” Only later did it occur to me that “they” might be making this public prediction because they believed it.

ADDED LATER: 2022? No, 2016. Right or wrong, and I am inclined to think “wrong”, kudos to Professor Peter Wadhams for not hedging.

12 comments to Bookmark this

  • Frank S

    Perfectly plausible thing to believe in since there has been extensive summer melting in the north polar regions at least twice in the 20th century – in the 1940s-50s and in the 1920s-30s. If only it could be reliably counted on every year, then great opportunities for sea-traffic would arise, but sad to say, the melting is not at all reliable. Furthermore, the possibility that we are moving into a solar minimum and a cool-phase Pacific Decadal Oscillation, makes more dramatic summer melting even less likely in coming decades.

  • RogerC

    I notice that they phrased it as speculation, though. “Could be”, not “will be”. I think they’re still hedging, and they’re nowhere near as confident in their predictions as they’d like to appear.

    “So the consequences of ice loss could be considerable,”

    There’s that “could be” again. Not even a “would be”, just a “might be, might not be, we’re not going to commit, could go either way”.

    “although nobody with political authority seems so far to have sufficiently considered them.”

    Perhaps because those making the claims aren’t putting their money where their mouth is?

  • TDK

    Given that the last time they predicted Ice free Summers was in 2007 and it was supposed to happen as early as 2012, I share Natalie’s bemusement. They clearly believe that no one has a memory.

  • David C

    The thing that puts most sane people off believing this sort of stuff is that it is transparently propaganda, rather than scientific discussion.
    Just because a statement is made by a propagandist and is made to advance a cause does not make it untrue of course, but it should give pause for thought.

  • Chip

    If the Arctic is ice free next year it will tell us nothing about man’s influence on climate. We simply cannot measure our contribution to warming, and the models that pretend do are all over the place.

    For the record, the Arctic Often had much less ice than today, and the world didn’t end:

    “”Our studies show that there have been large fluctuations in the amount of summer sea ice during the last 10,000 years. During the so-called Holocene Climate Optimum, from approximately 8000 to 5000 years ago, when the temperatures were somewhat warmer than today, there was significantly less sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, probably less than 50% of the summer 2007 coverage, which was absolutely lowest on record. ”

  • It might be fun to track these sorts of predictions on http://predictionbook.com/ – which is a web site which can tell you how good you are at making predictions, but presumably can be used to measure other people’s as well.

  • Northwest Passage for the win!

  • Stonyground

    The prediction that I believe that you are refering to is still available online.


  • jsallison

    I’ll believe that there’s demonstrable glueball wormening (thanks, Kim) when I can buy a bottle of Greenland Rosé at my local popskull store. Oh, and cheese, too. Bring me Greenlandian cheese!

  • I read yesterday that Antarctic ice has just hit a record high.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    If the Arctic is so free of ice, I have a wager for the CAGW crowd: A new Franklin expedition.

    If the Arctic seas are that readily navigable, they should have no difficulty in traversing the Northwest Passage via the route Franklin attempted, using a replica of his ship.

    I’m feeling generous so they can pack tinned food that isn’t contaminated with lead.

    Any takers?

    Just a suggestion though. Hire the fattest crew you can find and pack lots of barbecue sauce……

  • mdc

    A decade is not short in political terms; at the very least the headline will be long forgotten by the time it can be readily disproved. Who remembers when The Guardian was running with global cooling and the coming second Ice Age?

    That said I agree it’s better not to assume people are wireless conspiracybots; usually they aren’t and are responding to individual incentives only.