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27 Feb 2019 | Science Notes

Back when the polar bears were going extinct another reliable alarmist story was about the vanishing Arctic ice. It seems to have been done with mirrors since the ice never really vanished. And now it’s doing a reappearing act sure to startle the audience: there’s more than there was in any of the last four years and it’s still growing. Can it do that?

Well yes. It can. Climate is complicated, as we keep saying, and it’s dangerous to posit simple, not to say simple-minded, linear trends. But to the extent that the alarmist position depends on simple linear trends, or at least relies on them in polemics, it’s important to note when they are not happening. For instance the whole ruckus over 2018 being the fourth-hottest year ever, without mentioning that it was cooler than 2016 or 2017 or, even more noteworthy, that in the United States which has the longest reliable temperature records it was only the 14th-hottest.

Similarly, Arctic ice might fluctuate for all sorts of subtle and complex reasons. Ocean currents, for instance. Or the El Niño that caused the temperature spike in 2016 though it seems not to have had as big an impact on Arctic ice as expected. But one thing that ice is not doing is melting away because the Earth is getting hotter (or because Al Gore said it would). It just isn’t. And anyone who says it is either hasn’t checked the evidence or is, how shall we put it, denying it.

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