19 June 2010

Adélie penguins doomed - we're next

Time magazine has picked up on a Science (subscription only) article alleging that:
The world's polar regions are warming up faster than the global average, but the western edge of the Antarctic Peninsula is especially steamy. Over the past 50 years, winter temperatures have shot up by an almost (sic) unbelievable 6°C - more than five times the global average

This, it seems, is very bad for the cute Adélie penguin (picture), but good for the Chinstrap (actually even more cute, but not pictured). All in all, a portent of doom:

As for why anyone should care about changes so far from where most of us live, endangered cute penguins are sufficient reason for lots of people. But for the rest of us, the changes going on in the Antarctic may well be a preview for what's on the way, in a rough sense, for the rest of the world's marine ecosystems. Coming soon, in short, to a seashore near you.
Do not despair. The ever-meticulous WUWT presents all the datasets on which this allegation might have been based, and makes the following points:
First, once again some mainstream climate scientists are exaggerating. There is no dataset in which we see a WAP air temperature rise of 6°C in fifty years as claimed in the Science paper.
Second, although it is widely claimed that there is good agreement between the various ground based datasets, as well as between the ground and satellite data, in this case we see that they are all quite different. Not only the amplitude, but in many cases the sign of the trend is different between ground and satellite data. The CRU/Hadley dataset varies from the GISS datasets. In all, there is not a whole lot of agreement between any pair of datasets.
All of which makes it very difficult to come to any conclusions at all … except one: it would be nice if we could get some agreement about one of the most basic data operations in the climate science field, the calculation of area averages of temperatures from the station data, before we start disputing about the larger issues.

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