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Saturday
Nov072015

Climate change and academic oversell

It's not often an article in Times Higher Education can make you laugh out loud, but Helga Nowotny's piece this week managed to reach those heights. Nowotny, from ETZ in Zurich, is writing about overselling of research results and the deleterious effects that this might have on trust in the academy. Her suggestion is that a bit more "we don't know that yet" might be a better approach.

Inevitably talk turns to climate change:

Asked if such an approach may have pitfalls – such as those detailed in the 2010 book Merchants of Doubt, when vested interests sow the seeds of scientific doubt as a way of forestalling action on issues like the harm caused by cigarettes or, more recently, climate change – she responded: “You cannot deny climate change; it’s happening. The scientific evidence is overwhelming.”

But she pointed out that modelling future changes to the climate is fraught with uncertainty, with climate forecasting broadly as accurate as weather forecasting was 100 years ago – although none of this should be used as an excuse for inaction.

I'm not sure that she understands that "evidence" for climate change is the output of those uncertain climate models. She seems to be a victim of the very overselling that she is complaining about.

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Reader Comments (109)

She's right you can't deny climate change there is ample evidence to show it's normal.

Nov 8, 2015 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

aTTP. I think KR is actually Keith Richards who I know to be an avid reader of this blog.

I am interested in this statement though "If there is literally nothing unusual happening in global climate and weather terms, how can 'climate change' be happening?" " Astonishing."

Every metric I've looked failed to provide any evidence that humans are having anything but a minor effect on the climate.

Temperature - temperatures have risen, and I'm sure humans have played some part in this rise, but it began in 1700. In any event we are in a pause that can't be explained away.

Arctic sea ice - it's pretty stable, it goes up and down but the DMI site goes back to 1958 and nothing unusual is happening.

Antarctic sea ice - growing every year

Greenland ice mass loss 200,000Gt/annum, possibly because there seems to have been a problem in identifying ice as water melt, but in any event why wouldn't the ice be melting the world's been warming since 1700? If it continues at this rate we'll have a 7M sea level rise in 15,000 years time.

Antarctic ice mass loss supposed to be caused by warmer waters undermining the ice shelf. But like Mrs Gamp's bedroom in Martin Chuzzlewit which was, "Commodious, if you ignored the presence of the bed", the warmer waters are causing the melting if we ignore the presence of a chain of volcanoes directly under the melting ice.

Tropical Cyclones have neither grown in numbers, nor intensity.

Droughts have neither grown in number, nor intensity.

Sea acidification. The Ph of the sea varies between 8.1 and 8.3, the claim for "acidification" was made when it dropped from 8.2 to 8.1. The sea can only have three states, alkaline, neutral and acidic. It's alkaline it can't get more acidic because it isn't acidic in the first place. The sea has been alkaline for the entire period of it existence.

Sea levels “...there is no evidence for an apparent acceleration in the past 100+ years that is significant either statistically, or in comparison to values associated with global warming." Bruce Douglas of NOAA’s National Oceanographic Data Center in the Journal of Geophysical Research 2012.

So what am I missing?

Nov 8, 2015 at 10:54 AM | Registered Commentergeronimo

I would like to shoot the next person who talks about 'scientific evidence'

Evidence is not scientific, and never can be.

Science is a set of conclusions induced from evidence.

Evidence is a priori to science.

Nov 8, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterLeo Smith

Geronimo,


Arctic sea ice - it's pretty stable, it goes up and down but the DMI site goes back to 1958 and nothing unusual is happening.

If you think this is true, then there is probably little I can say that would change your mind. You're, of course, free to interpret what you see as you wish. However, it's very hard to see how you can conclude that the Arctic sea ice is stable.

Nov 8, 2015 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

geronimo, I think you are missing the billions that have been made, making predictions, and then finding excuses.

The quality of excuses and diversionary tactics has improved. Unfortunately the underlying science has not, and the scientists keep lying. Many of them fail to realise the extent of the lies of their respected colleagues, though it is worth noting how few are prepared to defend Mann and his holey Hockey Stick.

Until global warming alarmists downgrade the alarmism to pre-Mannian levels, they are forever doomed to ridicule and failure, so the baby is going to get thrown out with the bathwater.

Nov 8, 2015 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Nov 7, 2015 at 12:59 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Reply: David Evans has a primary objective to show that the core model that gets expanded into GCMs has errors. Then, using mainly IPCC data, he shows how some errors can be rectified or lessened. Finally, he calculates ECS values under different scenarios from the corrected core model.
This is quite separate from his earlier notch delay filter model, which he says he will revisit after he has presented all chapters in the first objective.
I hope that I speak accurately for him. His efforts to date are well worth study and dissemination.
Geoff

Nov 8, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Geronimo, and aTTP, ARCTIC ICE

The loss of arctic ice in the 1830-40s was sufficient to cause the search for the North West passage, a navigable route between the Pacific and Atlantic. Many lost their lives.

Amundsen succeeded at the beginning of the 20th century, and various people have been giving it a go in the last 10 years, but with limited success.

What convinced anyone to believe there was a NWPassage before the age of steam and aerial photography? It couldn't possibly be that people had sailed it before, on an off, for centuries?

Wikipedia HMS Investigator 1848 is worth a look. The lost sailing ship was found in 2010, exactly where it had been abandoned, albeit on the sea bed, not the surface trapped in ice.

Nov 8, 2015 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Golf,
Interesting, thanks. You may find this of interest. I'm no historian, so can't speak to its veracity, but the final paragraph seems relevant.


Amundsen had achieved in a small boat what could not be accomplished in a larger vessel. But while his achievement ranks as one of the key milestones in the exploration of the Arctic, the discovery of a passage for commercial shipping (the original motivation for finding the North-West Passage) was still out of reach. It would take the effect of global warming to open up the possibility of deeper routes in 2007.

Nov 8, 2015 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

You tell them, Physics, you tell them. Set them straight!!

Nov 8, 2015 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterAila

Privately I've been told by some senior health academics that public health is a cesspit of rent seeking unprincipled / power crazed gits.

Even given wholesale misinterpretation by the MSM - the manufacturing of evidence is as the book's author elaborates - is a corrosive and growing problem and since calling out / sanctioning the miscreants is routinely taken as an attack on the main body of "science" by pompous twits sitting in politicised high status sinecures - the problem is rarely remedied.

Nov 8, 2015 at 12:05 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Is climate change going to be the biggest global delusion since christianity, Islam and all other religions?

Nov 8, 2015 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Nov 8, 2015 at 10:13 AM | ...and Then There's Physics

Hand-waving, Ken, you should know better...

Nov 8, 2015 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

aTTP, very interesting piece you quote that completely misses the point that Arctic ice has opened the NWP for centuries, and then closed it again.

Your quote about global warming making things possible in 2007 is therefore undeniable. It seems that global warming has happened before Mann and Arrhenius, and even before mankind could have had an impact on CO2 levels.

So the link between global warming/cooling and CO2 levels (howsoever caused) does not seem to be proven by Arctic ice, or lack of it. But that is basic history for you. Five years ago, the possibility of the NWP being open for commercial shipping and oil exploration was all the rage. Those plans have been put on ice. Lots of it. But if you want to tell those businesses that they do not understand the basic physics of global warming .......

Nov 8, 2015 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

So what am I missing?

Nov 8, 2015 at 10:54 AM | geronimo
===================================================

Nowt. As a number of high-ups at the UN have made it clear, this is nothing to do with climate, it's all do to with wrecking the West. After all we've done for them, as well...

Nov 8, 2015 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Geronimo

"Greenland ice mass loss 200,000Gt/annum, possibly because there seems to have been a problem in identifying ice as water melt, but in any event why wouldn't the ice be melting the world's been warming since 1700? If it continues at this rate we'll have a 7M sea level rise in 15,000 years time."

Nice to see you using numbers, but please make them accurate.

It takes 360Gt to raise sea level by 1mm. If Greenland was losing ice at 200,000Gt/year sea level would be rising by 555mm/year and would rise by 7 metres in 12 years.

Nov 8, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

and this


It's the biggest mass delusion the world has seen. It's not going to end any time soon. Not impossible that it will still be around (with its patron saints) 2000 years from now.


go unchallenged.

Nov 8, 2015 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

OK and ThenThere's, it may not literally be the biggest mass delusion of all time but can you come up with a bigger mass delusion delusion from the past 1000 years?

Nov 8, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBig Oil

Entropic Man-

"It takes 360Gt to raise sea level by 1mm. If Greenland was losing ice at 200,000Gt/year sea level would be rising by 555mm/year and would rise by 7 metres in 12 years."

Interestingly, 555 mm/year is about half the estimate made by Mike Archer in 2007 (100 meters SLR by 2100).

Perhaps climate science needs to report the gap between prediction and eventuating reality in dB (decibels).

Nov 8, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

Golf Charlie

Sailors have been looking for the Northwest West Passage for some time.

If the passage opened frequently someone would have succeeded much earlier in the 327 years of trying between Frobisher in 1576 and Amundson's 1903 expedition.

Nov 8, 2015 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Nov 8, 2015 at 10:54 AM | Geronimo...................'So what am I missing?'

Precisely. What ARE we all missing? Someone somewhere, name it, show it, support your claim with a 30 year trend. (after all climate is 30 years, anything less is just weather) There is literally NOTHING UNUSUAL happening re long-term weather (and therefore climate) trends.

This is the biggest fraud in history.

Nov 8, 2015 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

Chris y

Over the last decade Greenland has lost about 200Gt/year. The good news is that this corresponds to 0.55mm of annual sea level rise. The bad news is that the future change is not expected to be linear.

Nov 8, 2015 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Ms Helga Nowotny's "field" is, not surprisingly, "Social Science", which is an "area of study" that, pointed out elsewhere, is neither Science or Social. Odds are that she could not get through an undergraduate Physics curriculum at a 3rd rate University. It is a pitiful comment on modern intellectual norms that she is considered a "scientist" at all, let alone a "spokeswomen for Science", as if there were such a thing. But on second thought, perhaps it is fitting that she is a "spokeswomen for Science"--surely modern "science" deserves such tomfoolery given how the it has allowed itself to be so politicized, and stayed so far from its true mission.

Moreover, the very notion that there is such actual intellectual, theoretical unity of the sciences, or that a supposedly rigorous empirical method as "science" claims for itself requires or supports "spokemen" is a sure sign that we have moved beyond science altogether and move into the realms of clericies and political special interests, and their attendant rhetorics and bamboozling.

Since the claims of the "Climate Science" backers can be so easily debunked, and will so obviously be exposed in time for even the dullest eye to see, one would think that "serious scientists" would understand the very real damage that this nonsense will do to the reputation of Scientific inquiry in the public mind. That few apparently do, and even fewer speak out publicly of this very real danger, one wonders if they were all that "serious" in the first place.

Nov 8, 2015 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterhattiper

Entropic Man 2:19, thanks for the link confirming how in recorded history the North West Passage has had changeable accessibility. What convinces you that the recent opening, now closed, is anything unprecedented? It seems to have been doing it for centuries.

Your reliance on basic physics, does not change the historical evidence you have just referenced. Do you still believe changes in Arctic ice extent, are proof of man's influence on climate change?

What convinced non-indigenous people to believe a route was possible back in the 1500s? Perhaps others had been there before? Maybe in the Medieval Warm Period?

Nov 8, 2015 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The bad news is that the future change is not expected to be linear.
EM, would you care to define the unknown (to me) scientific meaning of the word "expected"?
I really am getting heartily sick of the flannel, or 'hand-waving' of you prefer that term, from those who are desperate for disaster to be about to strike but cannot — or at the very least refuse to — provide anything other than meaningless speculation.
Who is doing this "not expecting"? What is their rationale for "not expecting"? Where is the sound science underpinning any expectations at all about the behaviour of the Greenland ice sheet over the next 10, 25 or 50 years? Where is anything except noise?

Nov 8, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

People who dye their hair cannot face reality !

Nov 8, 2015 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarethJ

The future of climate science, is looking worse than climate scientists previously thought possible.

This is of little consolation to those who have lost their lives, and those continuing to lose their livelihoods, as a result of bogus fears.

Meanwhile penguins and polar bears just get on with their lives, happily ever after.

Nov 8, 2015 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Golf Charlie

"What convinced non-indigenous people to believe a route was possible back in the 1500s? "

Greed mostly. They knew of the Pacific and a northern route between the Atlantic and Pacific would be a valuable trade route; much shorter than going around the Southern routes. Also, the Inuits had a habit of telling the explorers what they wanted to hear, that there was clear water further West.

Note that Franklin, the first man in after the Vilings, had commercial backers and came back with 1200 tons of what he hoped was gold ore. Later, exploration by naval vessels was a way to fame and promotion.

Reading the reports, the existance of a passage was confirmed initially by Franklin's second land expedition. The sea expeditions found parts of the passage open at various times, but the repeated theme was "further progress blocked by ice". Noone found a continuous run through in a single year until 2007.

Nov 8, 2015 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

"If you think this is true, then there is probably little I can say that would change your mind. You're, of course, free to interpret what you see as you wish. However, it's very hard to see how you can conclude that the Arctic sea ice is stable."

There are constant predictions of an ice free Arctic, global warming alarmists and climate scientists have predicted that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free by 1979, or 2000, or 2008, or 2012, or 2013, or 2015, or 2020, or 2030, or 2050.

We've only been able to measure Arctic sea ice extent since 1979, claiming that there is some stable state the Arctic sea ice extent over such a short period of time is a bit of a stretch.

1. ‘It will, without doubt, have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice, has been during the last two years greatly abated. This affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened, and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them, not only interesting to the advancement of science, but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.’

President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817, Minutes of Council, Volume 8. pp.149-153, Royal Society, London. 20th November, 1817.


2. The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulate, at Bergen, Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds. Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.
 
As reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post. November 2, 1922.

3. William Scoresby a whaling captain 1789 – 1857 wrote to Sir Joseph Banks, one of Captain Cook’s companions and an Arctic explorer, that for the last two years he, Scoresby, had not found any ice on the coasts of Greenland between 74 degrees and 75 degrees. “Such an opportunity to reach the pole by travelling up the Greenland coast will not come again for a while!”

Nov 8, 2015 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Jeremy Poynton, after bribery and corruption scandals involving FIFA, IAAF, and UN, the last thing that the IPCC needs now is science. Science has always taken second fiddle to money, in the IPCC.

Nov 8, 2015 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

EM, thank you for the correction.

Nov 8, 2015 at 4:37 PM | Registered Commentergeronimo

Geronimo

But all this optimism came to nothing. When expeditions followed up these reports they found the way blocked.

Nov 8, 2015 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM do you citations for these follow up expeditions. I'm not an expert on expeditions to the Arctic two centuries ago, or even in the early 20th century, but I would have thought that setting up an expedition to go to the Arctic just to check it was unblocked would have been out of the question financially. Even if it wasn't out of the question, the logistics of setting up such an expedition would mean it would be a long time after the reported lack of ice. So please let's have the evidence.

Nov 8, 2015 at 5:03 PM | Registered Commentergeronimo

I see no reason to assume that today's "predictions" and "hopes" should "come to anything" either.
At least in the 19th and most of the 20th century those who studied these thing didn't see them as being disastrous and, lo and behold, they were right. I doubt that today's professional pessimists will be so fortunate.

Nov 8, 2015 at 5:04 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I think she meant that scientific opinion is overwhelming. Certainly the only answer you get when you ask what this elusive evidence consists of is a link or a reference to the number of scientific organisations that say similar things. If you are lucky you'll get this link to NASA's definitions of the evidence.
http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

Towit!
1. The carbon dioxide level from Antarctica.Just ignore the contradictory data from Arctic ice cores, plant stomata data, geological reconstructions and ignore that CO2 as a climate driver is only a weak hypothesis, not a fact.
2. A statement by the IPCC that the evidence is unequivocal. Of zero value by itself.
3. Sea level rise in the last decade being double of that in the last century. This claim comes entirely from comparing the satellite data to previous tide gauges. Since tide gauge data still shows only 1.4mm/year the comparison is entirely invalid and utterly refuted by less duplicitous scientists in the up to date literature.
4. Global temperature rise - well sure if you now ignore satellites (unlike with sea level) and declare that the solar minimum is responsible for the pause; something that had previously been stated as impossible by NASA. Otherwise this is data for the defense not the prosecution.
5. Warming oceans. Again ignoring the flat warming since 2003 and unscientifically assuming the calibration jump between XBT and Argo measurements represents an actual temperature rise.
6. Shrinking ice sheets. Just ignore that the Antarctic is growing as even NASA say elsewhere on their site.
7. Declining Arctic sea ice, Just ignore that the Arctic is only as warm now as the 1930s and that said rapid decline has now reversed and has been absent for 3 years.
8. Glacial retreat. No actual science to back this one up beyond massive extrapolation from minimal data. Nor could it be evidence of any manmade warming as it might be natural.
9. Extreme weather events increasing from 1950. Well maybe but not from 1930 or 1900 so not evidence of anything except rank bad statistics by NASA or NOAA or whoever else disagrees with the IPCC SREX.
10. Ocean acidification. Well the jury is out here since only one Pacific trancept is yet available. The assumption actually rises from the unphysical IPCC assertion that the sea is a CO2 sink rather than a source in a warming world.
11. Decreased snow cover. A sign perhaps equally of natural warming if it were even true.

And the rather more compelling evidence for natural climate change that NASA somehow failed to mention;
a. Cooling of the stratosphere stopped in 1996. This was supposed to be a fingerprint of AGW according to the IPCC.
b. Tropical troposheric hotspot of the models is not there in reality. Yet another missing IPCC fingerprint,
c. The hiatus - which suggests that natural climate change is underestimated by the models.
d. Cooling of the Antarctic entirely contrary to the hypothesis.

Gee let's scientifically compare the contrasting evidence...I declare that nature wins by a landslide.

Nov 8, 2015 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

The less we know, the more urgent is the need for action, according to the prominent Cognitive Psychologist, Stephan Lewandowsky,

"In a nutshell, the greater the uncertainty the more we have to worry about the future—so uncertainty should be an impetus for action rather than an excuse for delay." https://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/22zwkq/science_ama_series_im_prof_stephan_lewandowsky_i/

Know-nothings should be leading the charge...

Nov 8, 2015 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug

I am looking forward to a year when there are no more disastrous predictions about sea ice.

Fuelled by climate science activists, and over generous funding, these disastrous predictions continue unabated for the time being.

The PreMannian era of climate science was not as rich and bountiful, but managed to sustain a small but healthy population. Overcooked climate science always leaves a bitter after taste, with worthless scraps to be pursued by scavengers.

Nov 8, 2015 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Know-nothings should be leading the charge...
Nov 8, 2015 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug
I thought they were.

Nov 8, 2015 at 6:47 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson, unfortunately the 'know nothings' are also lecturing on global warming in schools, universities and on the BBC. People wonder about declining standards of education. Perhaps it is not the quality of the students, or the teachers, but the quality of the material being taught, and the unquestioning faith placed in it.

Nov 8, 2015 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

If you think this is true, then there is probably little I can say that would change your mind. You're, of course, free to interpret what you see as you wish. However, it's very hard to see how you can conclude that the Arctic sea ice is stable.
Nov 8, 2015 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics
==============================

As it would seem, it rarely is, with ice loss recorded at regular intervals throughout the last century. And then the climate crazies turned up and ran around, waving their hands in the air. Didn't they, Ken?

Nov 8, 2015 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Entropic Man-

"The bad news is that the future change is not expected to be linear."

Yes, there has been an endless series of sea level rise hobgoblins. Interestingly, some of these are sufficiently antecedent to present day that they are now dust-binned nonsense. Meanwhile, the SLR doubling times range from 2014 BBC's 1.5 years to the 2015-peer-reviewed 120 years of Caldiera et al.

That's a floor-to-ceiling prediction range of 38 dB.

Nov 8, 2015 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

Nov 8, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Mike Jackson
========================================================
Mike,

"expected" is a scientific term, similar to "most likely", "very probably", "95%", and "computer model data"...

Nov 8, 2015 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

So the Arctic is melting before our very eyes, the Greenland icecap will be gone by Tuesday, yet... "Snow coverage of the northern hemisphere is telling us the same story. In October 2015, at 21.4 million square kilometers, it was the fourth greatest extent since measurements began in 1967, and is 4 million km² above the international WMO 1981-2010 mean" and yet... "“…The net growth of the Greenland ice sheet, which surely is a surprise for many, saw an increase in October of approximately 200 km³ (200 billion cubic meters) since September 1, 2015, i.e. in just 2 months"

We're DOOMED I tell ya. Nothing left to do ... but run around waving our hands in the air.

http://notrickszone.com/#sthash.TEVTRETI.t7xzKar8.dpbs

Nov 8, 2015 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Geronimo 4.32 hrs gives evidence that Arctic has been ice free before providing citations.

EM 4.37 hrs says that subsequent expeditions found no such thing, not providing citations.

Geronimo 5.03 hrs asks for evidence.

Geronimo 17.58 hrs hasn't been provided with any evidence.

Nov 8, 2015 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

An icebreaker or a ship with a reinforced bow, guided by GPS, is a very different proposition to a wooden sailing vessel, guided by inaccurate maps & a theodolite.

Nov 8, 2015 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

["What convinced non-indigenous people to believe a route was possible back in the 1500s? "]

Greed mostly

Pretty much sums up the Gores, Granthams and Manns of this world.

Nov 8, 2015 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

geronimo:

the St. Roch was the first vessel to sail the Northwest Passage from west to east (1940-1942), the first to complete the passage in one season (1944),
Incredibly, they managed to make the crossing not just once, but twice, and in only 86 days the second time!
http://www.vancouvermaritimemuseum.com/permanent-exhibit/st-roch-national-historic-site

Nov 8, 2015 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

geronimo, greed and vanity led many explorers to their death searching for the North West Passage.

In the 21st century, with all the money, technology, satellites etc, many a climate scientist is facing doom, brought on by their misguided predictions of an unprecedented sea route through the North West Passage. Not

Give it another 50-100 years, and there will be talk of unprecedented access through the North West Passage. History keeps repeating itself.

For anyone apart from climate science experts, it looks like the climate warms up and cools down again. Climate science experts can't explain it, whilst they remain fixated on CO2.

Nov 8, 2015 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC: "geronimo, greed and vanity led many explorers to their death searching for the North West Passage."

I'm sure you're right, but there's something wrong with EM's assertion that people trolled off to the Arctic to see if the reports of it being ice free were correct. Greed is a much better reason, but even then it strikes me as odd that two hundred years ago anyone would be able to put together an Arctic expedition inside a couple of years. Moreover as they'd be expecting the Arctic to be iced over why they'd report it was. Anyway Arctic aside I'm still not understanding why there's a "climate change" scare given the overwhelming evidence that nothing very much is happening.

Nov 9, 2015 at 4:53 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Tony Heller has a post on some very interesting scientific evidence that is devastating for the CAGW-believers:
http://realclimatescience.com/2015/11/nasa-has-known-since-1971-that-co2-is-not-dangerous-yet-lied-to-the-public-continuously

Nov 9, 2015 at 5:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterPethefin

ESmiff at Nov 8, 12.25am is onto something. For stuff to happen in a society a consensus of important actors is needed. For example, if "Progressives" and big business make common cause, albeit from different motives, stuff indeed does happen. Both Progressives and Big Business are revolutionary in the sense that the status quo offers them nothing. We, the bourgeois citizen, quite like the status quo. But against those organised forces we cannot resist. So we face our world being changed by people we don't like, for reasons we don't understand, and there's apparently nothing we can do about it. Hmmm.

Nov 9, 2015 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

"So we face our world being changed by people we don't like, for reasons we don't understand, and there's apparently nothing we can do about it."

Well put.

Nov 9, 2015 at 9:36 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

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