Decrease in Artic Ice Consistent With Global Warming

The New York Times has an article reporting that Artic Ice Hints at Warming, Specialists Say:

Leading ice specialists in Europe and the United States for the first time have agreed that a ring of navigable waters has opened all around the fringes of the cap of sea ice drifting on the warming Arctic Ocean.

By many expert accounts, this is the first time the Northwest Passage over North America and the Northern Sea Route over Europe and Asia have been open simultaneously in at least half a century, if not longer.

While currents and winds play a role, experts say, the expanding open water in the far north provides the latest evidence that the Arctic Ocean, long a frozen region hostile to all but nuclear submariners and seal hunters, is transforming during the summers into more of an open ocean.

Global warming from the continuing buildup of human-generated greenhouse gases is almost certainly contributing to the ice retreats, many Arctic specialists now agree, although they hold a variety of views on how much of the recent big ice retreats is due to human activity.

Besides the information contained, it is notable how this report differs from the typical article we see in conservative publications and blogs from global warming deniers. First note that the article takes an observed fact and reports that this “hints at warming.” Contrast this with numerous articles in which global warming deniers take an isolated single fact (such as here), often with distortions of the information, and use this to claim that global warming has been disproven. Science is based upon a large body of observations, not any single piece of information. While articles in the mainstream media are interesting to read, to evaluate science it is necessary to review what is written in peer reviewed scientific journals, not newspapers.

Secondly note that this article refers to the views of experts in the field, although it would be a much better article if it directly quoted the experts it is referring to.  Unfortunately scientific reporting in the mainstream media has its weaknesses even when presenting generally factual information.

In contrast to basing their article on the views of experts, articles from global warming deniers are typically based upon the writings of a handful of global warming skeptics who are often outside of the field, and who are often on the payroll of the energy industry. A review of  the scientific literature is clear in showing that the consensus viewpoint of scientists actually in the field agrees upon the role of human action in bringing about climate change.

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