With regard to John Gibbon’s article The Arctic ice cap is melting…’ ‘Irish Times Opinion 27th September 2012 I feel it necessary to take him to task on ‘the truth’ in his submission. He quotes Churchill in respect of ‘the truth’ and then proceeds to be very economical with this most precious and rare commodity. He states ‘the truth’ that on 16th September Arctic sea ice hit its lowest level ever recorded but spares us ‘the truth’ that we are seeing a record sea ice expansion in the Antarctic. Could the record sea ice melt be due to other factors? If John is so wedded to ‘the truth’ then why did he not mention that NASA posted a video on 18th September in which they stated that an Arctic Cyclone on 5th August played a ‘key role’ in record ice melt.
John also states “The last time the Arctic is believed to have been ice-free is during the Eemian period about 125,000 years ago yet the Holocene Climate Optimum 6,000 years ago was 4 degrees C warmer than today. Is it reasonable to hypothesise that the Arctic would have been ice-free under those conditions? Many scientist think so. So John’s statement about the Eemian being the last time the Arctic is believed to have been ice-free is simply his version of ‘the truth’.
John is clearly exhibiting what the Nobel Laureate Ferdinand von Hayek called “Pretence of Knowledge”. John thinks he understands climate, like the economists of 1929 and 2007 thought they understood the world economy, but the contradictions, innumerable variables and sheer size of these complex systems makes humanity’s attempts to understand them, let alone control them, utter hubris.
John is not the first to cry wolf. This quote from ‘The New Scientist’ magazine 1st December 1960 – ‘…warming is evident. …If this goes on the Arctic Ocean will be open year round before the close of the twentieth century’.
And John is wont to quote the scientists who speak his ‘truth’. In relation to the alarmist vision of a 97% surface ice melt in Greenland on 12th July he quotes Son Nghiem of NASA “This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to data error?” If only Nghiem had spoken to his NASA colleague Dr Lora Koenig (a Goddard glaciologist and member of the team analysing the satellite data) his fears would have been allayed, quote, “Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time.” Now John talks in his opening paragraph about spin and obfuscation. His selective quotation is a clear example of spin and obfuscation as these two quotes are from the same NASA article.
When someone begins the defence of their particular position with an appeal to ‘the truth’ beware. John is mistaken in his belief that science, whether climate or otherwise, is about the search for ‘truth’, as every scientist knows, science is the never ending search for error.