Monday, February 23, 2009

An old time climate skeptic is at it again. George Will adds to a sad record of sticking his head in the sand with another weak objection to the science behind climate change. Already two letters to the editor (Frank Tursi, and Loren Hintz) have pointed out fallacies in Will's reasoning.

It seems George is taking liberties with other people's data. Especially egregious is his misrepresentation of data from the Arctic Research Center at the University of Illinois. The Center posted a statement objecting to Will's interpretation of its data, which unambiguously show a decrease in sea ice since 1979 rather than the increase or no change that Will reports.

But a picture is worth a thousand disclaimers. Follow the link below for a graph of Arctic sea ice extent shown as the anomaly from the 1979-2000 mean ice extent. This means that the zero line on the y-axis represents the mean sea ice extent during the years 1979-2000. The jagged up and down line shows the deviation from that 1979-2000 mean. Sea ice is clearly decreasing since 1979.

The tragedy here is the willingness of otherwise intelligent people like George Will to either outright lie to make a point, or to be so self-deceived that they cannot see reality when it stares them in the face. There is no excuse for the intellectual dishonesty and/or careless scholarship represented by Will's latest disgrace of a column. We all deserve an apology, and his and our children and grandchildren deserve a retraction of his ridiculous rant that only makes it more likely that they will suffer from our inaction regarding climate change.

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