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Who saw that coming?

17 Apr 2019 | News Roundup

There’s one headline that never gets old when it comes to climate. “Global Warming Is Shrinking Glaciers Much Faster Than Scientists Thought, Study Finds”. That AP story, with minor variations, ran in publications from Canada to India. In fact the headline is so popular that if you type “Earth’s glaciers are m” Google autocompletes it. Which suggests, at least, that the science isn’t “settled” since it always turns out to be wrong. And it’s always worse, way worse, aaaaah we’re all going to die worse. Year after year. Decade after decade. So why aren’t we dead?

One problem with this AP story, considered calmly, is that we now have satellite imagery we didn’t use to. So we know more about what’s happening inside glaciers. That we can now see internal melting doesn’t mean it just started. But if they aren’t melting faster than they were, the consequences aren’t worse. Besides, glaciers are also advancing in places. And they were in dramatic retreat in the 19th century. Once again there’s something fishy about attributing the latter part of a consistent trend to a different cause than the first part. Especially if the first part went on for a lot longer.

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