No Chill: NYT Sets Off Front-Page Alarm on Antarctic Iceberg; Actual Scientists Playing It Cool

July 14th, 2017 11:04 AM

Downplaying its hallowed veneration of “science” for the sake of climate alarmism, the New York Times used the story of a huge iceberg which broke off this week from an ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula as an excuse to warm up the “climate change” machine, on the paper’s front page on Thursday.

Climate reporter Justin Gillis, who has a long record of alarmist, activist reporting on this issue, and Jugal Patel made the most of the opportunity under the tilted headline “Antarctica Sheds Huge Iceberg That Hints at Future Calamity.” That despite the scientific consensus that this particular collapse was not connected to global warming.

Julia Seymour of the MRC's Business and Media Institute pointed out that:

Scientists with Project MIDAS watched the rift in Larsen C ice shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula grow over time and although they expressed concerns about what it means about the stability of the overall ice shelf -- they specifically refused to connect it to manmade climate change. Swansea University glaciologist Dr. Martin O’Leary of MIDAS called it “a natural event” and admitted “we’re not aware of any link to human-induced climate change.”

Gillis and Patel wrote Thursday:

A chunk of floating ice that weighs more than a trillion metric tons broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula, producing one of the largest icebergs ever recorded and providing a glimpse of how the Antarctic ice sheet might ultimately start to fall apart.

A crack more than 120 miles long had developed over several years in a floating ice shelf called Larsen C, and scientists who have been monitoring it confirmed on Wednesday that the huge iceberg had finally broken free.

There is no scientific consensus over whether global warming is to blame. But the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula has been fundamentally changed, according to Project Midas, a research team from Swansea University and Aberystwyth University in Britain that had been monitoring the rift since 2014.


Larsen C, like two smaller ice shelves that collapsed before it, was holding back relatively little land ice, and it is not expected to contribute much to the rise of the sea. But in other parts of Antarctica, similar shelves are holding back enormous amounts of ice, and scientists fear that their future collapse could dump enough ice into the ocean to raise the sea level by many feet. How fast this could happen is unclear.

The Times used the natural event as an excuse for alarmism despite facts suggesting they should just chill out.

In the late 20th century, the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts out from the main body of Antarctica and points toward South America, was one of the fastest-warming places in the world. That warming had slowed or perhaps reversed slightly in the 21st century, but scientists believe the ice is still catching up to the higher temperatures.

Some climate scientists believe the warming in the region was at least in part a consequence of human-caused climate change, while others have disputed that, seeing a large role for natural variability -- and noting that icebergs have been breaking away from ice shelves for many millions of years. But the two camps agree that the breakup of ice shelves in the peninsula region may be a preview of what is in store for the main part of Antarctica as the world continues heating up as a result of human activity.

Gillis and Patel reached back a generation for confirmation of their concern, in a "classic paper" from a "renownwed geologist.".

The collapse of the peninsula’s ice shelves can be interpreted as fulfilling a prophecy made in 1978 by a renowned geologist named John H. Mercer of Ohio State University. In a classic paper, Dr. Mercer warned that the western part of Antarctica was so vulnerable to human-induced climate warming as to pose a “threat of disaster” from rising seas.

He said that humanity would know the calamity had begun when ice shelves started breaking up along the peninsula, with the breakups moving progressively southward.

The Larsen A ice shelf broke up over several years starting in 1995; the Larsen B underwent a dramatic collapse in 2002; and now, scientists fear, the calving of the giant iceberg could be the first stage in the breakup of Larsen C.

“As climate warming progresses farther south,” Dr. Rignot said, “it will affect larger and larger ice shelves, holding back bigger and bigger glaciers, so that their collapse will contribute more to sea-level rise.”