There’s 60 per cent more sea ice in the Arctic this year than there was last year, which means claims that the Arctic would be ice free in summer by 2013 were ridiculously over blown.
It does not mean, however, that this happened because of a “chilly Arctic summer”.
Rather the summer was chilly because of all that ice.
Too many participants in this debate just don’t get the fundamental physics – it is sea temperature that drives surface atmospheric temperature, not the other way around. When the sea warms it makes the air warmer, and a bit of extra CO2 in the atmosphere acts like a jumper, making it harder for heat to be emitted and raising the average temperature as a result.
The really hot temperatures that we experience are caused by the land, particularly deserts, being heated, but as they don’t retain the heat in the way that oceans do, there effect is transient.
It’s as silly to say that the ice is there because the summer was “chilly” as it is to say that global warming has stopped because it is hiding in the ocean.
If it is “hiding in the ocean” what is the mechanism that apparently suddenly reversed 15 years ago and started sucking warmer surface water down to depth?
But there is more misattribution around. Tony Abbott did not win the federal election by pushing an agenda of climate skepticism. What he did was promise that dealing with climate change wouldn’t hurt electors, and moved to scrap those programs that were hurting electors.
He still notionally accepts that climate change is an issue, which is sensible politics, as most of his electors believe it is too – they just don’t see why they should have to pay for it.
The problem with confusing cause and effect is that it leads one to make basic mistakes – whether in the physical sciences, or the political ones.