“Global Warming Could Forestall Ice Age, Study Suggests,” an article in the September 4 New York Times by Andrew Revkin, talks about a new study that concludes that human-driven global warming could reverse a slow, long-term Arctic cooling trend and potentially prevent the reappearance of a new ice age over the next several thousand years. What consequences will global climatic disruption and the great ice melt have for the viability of civilization in the meantime? Will the global warming disinformation campaign spin this study into an argument for more greenhouse gases?

Post by Rick Piltz

Revkin writes:

The human-driven buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere appears to have ended a millenniums-long slide toward cooler summer temperatures in the Arctic, the authors of a new study report.

Scientists familiar with the work, to be published Friday in the journal Science, said it provides fresh evidence that human activity is not only warming the globe, particularly the Arctic, but could even fend off what had been presumed to be an inevitable descent into a new ice age over the next several dozen millenniums.

Will the denialists acknowledge that the study adds strength to the scientific case for a major human-driven warming, bolsters the credibility of climate models, and portends disruptive consequences?

Several climate scientists said the study is most significant for showing just how powerfully the Arctic climate appears to be responding to a greenhouse-gas buildup that is having more complex and subtle mix of effects elsewhere around the globe. Darrell S. Kaufman, the lead author and a climate specialist at Northern Arizona University, said the biggest surprise was the strength of the shift from cooling to warming, which started in 1900 and intensified after 1950.

“The slow cooling trend is trivial compared to the warming that’s been happening and that’s in the pipeline,” he said.

He said the study also tends to bolster the credibility of recent computer simulations of climate because the pattern it reveals from field observations largely meshes with what some of the computer models had projected.

Several scientists who were not involved with the study concurred that the extent and pace of the temperature reversal far exceeds the natural level of variability in Arctic temperatures, supporting the idea that the warmup is human-caused and potentially disruptive.

I expect not.  But I won’t be surprised if some denialists run with this sentence Revkin gives them:

Some researchers familiar with the findings said the work bolstered a body of research showing that the Arctic was often substantially warmer 2,000 to 10,000 years ago than it is now, implying that species there are well adapted to deal with such periods.

Surely they’ll avoid this quote from one of the study authors:

But Jonathan T. Overpeck, a study author and climate specialist at the University of Arizona, said the rising concentration of long-lived greenhouse gases guaranteed warming at a pace that could stress ecosystems and cause rapid melting of Greenland’s great ice sheet.

“The fast rate of recent warming is the scary part,” Dr. Overpeck said. “It means that major impacts on Arctic ecosystems and global sea level might not be that far off unless we act fast to slow global warming.”

I expect they’ll extract and find a way to demagogue on this rather odd sentence of Revkin’s, which seems predicated on the idea of society having a planning horizon of several millennia for a policy of emitting greenhouse gases as a geoengineering option:

In the very long term, the ability to artificially warm the climate, particularly the Arctic, could be seen as a boon as the planet’s shifting orientation to the sun triggers ice ages.

Andy, what were you picturing when you wrote that?

In order to misuse the article the denialist bottom-feeders probably would have to acknowledge the reality and strength of anthropogenic warming, so that might pose a problem for spinning it as an argument in favor of greenhouse gases for Ice Age prevention. We’ll see.