You’ve probably heard the alarmed scientists and politicians before: Global warming is causing glaciers to melt, serving as the proverbial canary in the mine shaft of a planet on the brink of disaster — and the world could end in just over a decade as a result.
But many of those same scientists are now scratching their heads and scrambling to come up with an explanation after an important glacier in Greenland was found to be growing again.
The Jakobshavn glacier is a massive ice sheet that’s about a mile thick. This frozen wonder has influenced history in the past, with many experts believing that the iceberg that famously sunk the Titanic broke off from this ice sheet before drifting into the North Atlantic.
Over the last few years, climate experts pointed to retreating ice on the Jakobshavn glacier as Exhibit A in the global warming debate.
“The Jakobshavn glacier around 2012 was retreating about 1.8 miles and thinning nearly 130 feet annually,” The Associated Press reported.
That is, until now. Despite climate experts and politicians alike insisting that massive, economy-changing regulations were needed to stop glaciers from melting, it seems the Earth had other plans.
Over the last two years, the Jakobshavn glacier has been growing again at the same rate it was previously shrinking.
“Ocean temperatures in the bay’s upper 250 m have cooled to levels not seen since the mid-1980s,” the glacier study found.
Yes, despite human population growth and fossil fuel use bemoaned by figures like Al Gore over the last few decades, ocean temps in that region have been going down.
“That was kind of a surprise. We kind of got used to a runaway system,” said Jason Box, a scientist who works with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.
Other scientists admitted that the new ice being added to the glacier was likely part of a natural process largely outside of human control.
“A natural cyclical cooling of North Atlantic waters likely caused the glacier to reverse course, said study lead author Ala Khazendar, a NASA glaciologist on the Oceans Melting Greenland project,” the AP reported. “The water in Disko Bay, where Jakobshavn hits the ocean, is about 3.6 degrees cooler than a few years ago.”
It’s worth pointing out the Greenland-sized elephant in the room here: If “natural cyclical cooling” is a major factor in glacier density, wouldn’t that imply that the inverse — natural cyclical warming — also sometimes occurs?
This seems a bit like a shell game. When there appears to be a cooling pattern, it’s cyclical and natural; when there’s a warming pattern, it’s all the fault of humans and we need massive government takeovers to stop it.
Scientists seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to explaining the unexpected shift in the Jakobshavn glacier. Experts were quick to breathe a sigh of relief that ice was expanding, but went on to still call the glacier expansion “bad news.”
“(T)his is bad news on the long term because it tells scientists that ocean temperature is a bigger player in glacier retreats and advances than previously thought,” the AP reported.
A University of Washington ice scientist named Ian Joughin called it “a temporary blip” and predicted that the glacier would continue to melt even after the last few years of data showed the opposite.
“In the long run we’ll probably have to raise our predictions of sea level rise again,” NASA climate scientist Josh Willis said.
Again, those same climate scientists failed to predict that the glacier was going to grow over the last two years and called it a “surprise.”
And that’s the big point here: Scientists have a pretty poor track record at making large-scale predictions years into the future. Climate models are useful, but as this unexpected glacier growth just showed, they’re also deeply flawed.
“We conclude that projections of Jakobshavn’s future contribution to sea-level rise that are based on glacier geometry are insufficient,” the glacier study said.
That is exactly why caution and conservatism should be the watchwords when experts preach doom and gloom. We simply don’t know enough about the climate and the planet to gamble entire economies on predictions, and we should be wary when only one side of the facts are used to push big-government expansion.
Good science will acknowledge that there are far more unknowns than knowns — which is exactly why there’s far less of a consensus on global warming than the political left wants to admit.