John Locke Foundation's Reality Not Grounded in Reality

The most recent global warming misinformation being spread around the industry-friendly blogosphere is the claim that the massive Arctic sea ice loss over the last 30 years is due to abnormal wind patterns and not global warming.  

Case in point, Roy Cordato, “Resident scholar” at the John Locke Foundation, asks the question: “What's really going on with Arctic and Antarctic sea ice?”

The answer for Cordato and the JLF can apparently be found at the Exxon-sweet Heartland Institute, who claims that the contracting of Arctic sea ice is due to localized wind patterns and “is unrelated to global warming.”

Heartland and JLF even quote a NASA press release as evidence:

“Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic.”

Impressive. Too bad it's only half the story.

Notice that neither the JLF article or the Heartland article actually link to the NASA press release or the actual study. If they did, their readers might have gotten the full picture and the reality of what NASA scientists found.

You can read the full press release here. And even more importantly, you can read the actual NASA study that was published in the Geophysical Research Letters here.

Without a doubt, neither JLF or the Heartland read the actual research paper and I know that because the third sentence in states:

“Dynamic [wind] and thermodynamic [heat] effects appear to be combining to expedite the loss of perennial sea ice.”

In other words, wind is playing a role in that it is actually accelerating Arctic ice loss due to rising temperatures.

That's some solid research by the John Lock Foundation's Roy Cordato, who concludes his article by stating:

Of course organizations like Heartland that point out these inconvenient truths will draw accusations of “denier” and claims that they are being bought off by big oil, but the one response you won’t find is an article demonstrating that the Heartland article is wrong. Hmmm, I wonder why?”

Well there's your answer Cordato, and if you're truly concerned about “sound science” as you claim, you're more than welcome to re-print this explanation on your site.



I was confused by your commentary and thank you for posting the link NASA press release and the full study. However, they both appear to support what Heartland and JLF are saying. Am I missing something here?

The study never mentions global warming. It states how shifting winds are pushing the Arctic sea ice more to the west than usual, where it is then kicked south through the Fram Strait.

You said that the study reports, “Dynamic [wind] and thermodynamic [heat] effects appear to be combining to expedite the loss of perennial sea ice.”

The study says that thermodynamics are expediting the loss of perennial sea ice because, and only after, the unusual wind patterns are sending the sea ice out of the eastern Arctic, where the dark and newly exposed sea water has less of an albedo than the bright sea ice that used to reflect most of the sun’s energy away (see, especially, the bottom of the left column of page 5 and the top of the right column of page 6). Global warming or independently rising temperatures are never mentioned or even hinted at as a cause of the receding sea ice.

If anything, the study indicates that not only are winds responsible for the recent decline in Arctic sea, but will also be the primary driver (as opposed to global warming) of future warming in the Arctic, as the reduced albedo that is occurring due to the shifting winds will result in more solar energy absorption in the Arctic sea.

I am very interested in this subject and just want to know if I am missing something here?

Quoted from the GRL paper: “A warming trend, increasing long-wave radiation, and Atlantic water intrusion in various regions over the Arctic Ocean have been reported [Richter-Menge et al., 2006]. These thermodynamically induced changes to the ice cover may in turn be impacting ice dynamics, with the thinner ice exhibiting enhanced motion and export by the PE”.

What the authors are saying is that the heat effects are changing the properties of the ice, thus making it easier for the dynamic effects to be influenced by the “Polar Express”.

And just how do you explain the abnormal air pressure events which are now occurring in the Arctic? Volcanoes on Venus, abnormal penguin migration in Antarctica or perhaps Global Warming?

Ian Forrester