Last night I attended the Irish launch of the new global warming propaganda film ‘Thin Ice’ . What interested me was the opportunity to question a panel of experts after the screening. All but one appeared well qualified and knowledgeable in specific areas of science, but the party was somewhat spoiled by the presence on the panel of one ‘Paul Price’. Paul came armed with a white board displaying what I can only describe as a rendition of Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph that had been fed on steroids. Judge for yourselves. He committed the cardinal sin of invoking the precautionary principle with regard to global warming. When I challenged him on this point he appeared not to know what I was talking about. Questions were asked behind the scenes by a senior academic as to why he had been included. I concur.
So, what did I think of “Thin Ice”? Well it’s begging for it isn’t it. Yes I thought the producer, Dr. Simon Lamb, was skating on thin ice with his approach to learning “the Truth” about global warming. Alarm bells go off in my head when I hear a scientist looking for the truth. That’s not what science is about – science is the search for error. The search for truth is theology – but let’s not go there.
At the end of the film Dr. Lamb exclaims that he was “impressed by… how carefully the scientists went about collecting their data excluding all possible sources of error”. Now come on, what scientist worth their salt would claim that they have ‘excluded all possible sources of error’ – none that I have ever come across. And so often it is not what data you produce it is how you present it that persuades people. For example, at the beginning of the film a Dr. Katie Dugger states that “the Antarctic Peninsula is a perfect example of where sea ice has disappeared and so have Adalie penguin populations – they really need the sea ice to do well”. What was the viewer to take from that Dr. Dugger ? Global Warming reduces sea ice, numbers of Adalie penguins decline, ipso facto global warming causes a fall in the numbers of Adalie penguins. Well no, not entirely, not according to NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography who last year completed a 30 year longitudinal study which concludes that “the sea ice hypothesis” promulgated by Dr. Dugger fails.
Not only have Adalie penguin number fallen but so too have Chinstrap penguin numbers and Chinstraps don’t much like sea ice. And just to confuse things even more Gentoo penguin numbers in the same area are doing very nicely thank you. So what’s the real reason? It is the fall in the abundance of Krill (shrimp like crustacean) which just happens to be the favourite food of Adalies and Chinstraps. Gentoos prefer fish and squid. Why is Krill on the decline? The increase in the numbers of Baleen (filter feeder) whales and seals as a result of hunting bans. But NOAA could not leave it at that, they also had to blame global warming for helping to kill off the Krill. Now it is true that the winter temperatures around the West Antarctic Peninsula have increased by 5 degrees C in the last few years. But I’m sure that the active volcano discovered under the West Antarctic ice sheet in 2008 by the British Antarctic Survey had nothing to do with this. And one final thing about the Antarctic – the sea ice is at its greatest extent since the satellite record began in 1979. Today it is 14% about the average (1979 to 2008). Now Dr. Lamb, where is your exclusion of all possible sources of error?