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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Siberian Permafrost Warning—ready for prime time?

Just a warning about the warning, really...

This article in The Guardian (UK), "Warming hits 'tipping point'" may have substance... or not. The report quotes some who say that the Siberian permafrost is melting for the first time in the last 11,000 years, and that this melting may trigger catastrophic ecological collapse.

The article is—typical of Guardian prose—extremely alarming, one sided and, absent contradictory voices, quite convincing.

Until one probes further. See the research on the research done by a correspondant at Chaos Manor, Joerg Fliege, that outlines the problems with taking this warning seriously... yet.

Again, there may be genuine cause for concern, but if you see a lot of brouhaha in the press and on the blogosphere in the upcoming weeks, keep in mind Dr. Pournelle's comments on Joerg Fliege's information,

"... The melting of a region of permafrost that has remained frozen for 11,000 years is an important matter, and one would expect to see it widely reported and investigated, with more references to the scientific literature. Which is not to say it is not real, but until I see something other than a report in New Scientist repeated by the Guardian, I do not think it worth a very great deal of attention. Which is not to say that a less partisan source will not be found; but until it is, I'm not revising my views on global warming."_*_

Just watch out for those one-sided alarmists, OK? I'll reserve judgement until I see some hard data from more than one researcher/group. It's certainly been warmer in the last 11,000 years (think "Maunder Minimum" eh?) than in the last 150 or so since the "Little Ice Age" ended, so why now?

More information, less noise, please. Oh. Right. Mass Media Podpeople. The signal to noise ratio is so lopsided as to render all MMP "reports" essentially all noise. *sigh*