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Gonoinemus Vertens Speaks His Mind

Viewers watching tonight’s Q&A “Green And Everything In Betwen“, 30-APR-2009 on the ABC would have seen Barnaby Joyce’s head inflate to Zeppelin-like proportions and become irridescent red as the propulsion mechanism of some deep-ocean jellyfish
Approximate appearance of Baranaby Joyce's Head On Q&A last night<

as he fulminated on the ‘quasi-religious’ climate change cultists, their threat to the employment of Illawarra coal-miners and the latest ‘science’ that proves the climate change hypothesis ‘far from settled’.

The science that is stoking Barnaby’s fires is this recent article in Geophysical Research Letters 36 (April 2009) by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey summarized here: Increasing Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Linked to the Ozone Hole and then mispresented by The Australian on April 18 “Revealed: Antarctic ice growing, not shrinking” directly triggering Barney’s regurgitation reflex after over-stimulating his outrage gland.

What’s The Fuss ?

The British Antarctic Survey has recently concluded that the ice sheet over Eastern Antarctica has increased significantly over the past 30 years due to changed weather conditions created by the Ozone Hole. This has offset ice losses in Western Antarctica, home of the famous ex-Larsen Ice Shelf and now destabilised Wilkins Ice Shelf such that:

the annual mean extent of Antarctic sea ice has increased at a statistically significant rate of 0.97% per decade since the late 1970s.

This has been independently verified by Australian Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison quoted in The Australian article:

Sea ice conditions have remained stable in Antarctica generally,”

The Australian gleefully concluded:

A paper to be published soon by the British Antarctic Survey in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is expected to confirm that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded.

…and so The Australian once again does its readers (but not its constituency) a disservice by misrepresenting pro-Climate Change science as supporting the denialist or skeptical hypothesis so beloved by Baranaby Joyce, the National Party and fellow travellers.

What The Australian Should Have Told You

The British Antarctic Survey are IN AGREEMENT, not contra the Climate Change hypothesis. Their research in GRL 36 said bluntly that

1) Anthropogenic Greenhouse gases are causing serious ice loss in the Arctic;
2) Anthropogenic Greenhouse gases are also causing serious ice loss in the Antarctic;
3) Human activity of a different kind (use of CFCs) is mitigating ice loss in the Antarctic; but
4) As the Ozone layer heals we can expect the Antarctic to lose one-third of its ice cover by 2100.

Lead Author, Professor John Turner of BAS in his own words:

“Our results show the complexity of climate change across the Earth.

While there is increasing evidence that the loss of sea ice in the Arctic has occurred due to human activity, in the Antarctic human influence through the ozone hole has had the reverse effect and resulted in more ice.

Although the ozone hole is in many ways holding back the effects of greenhouse gas increases on the Antarctic, this will not last, as we expect ozone levels to recover by the end of the 21st Century. By then there is likely to be around one third less Antarctic sea ice.”

How Not To Be A Newspaper

The Australian is thus caught with its pants down misrepresenting Climate Change science. It is not interested in fairly representing the climate debate and finds a willing echo chamber in those with vested interests to defend, such as Barnaby Joyce and Cardinal George Pell.

If it had a conscience it would blush as deeply as Gonoinemus.

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