Monday, January 14, 2008

Global Warming and Non-symetical confidence intervals

The Australian is reporting on a new study of Antartica's ice melting. The short story is that it is melting faster than expected and the explanatory theory is that a warm water current is moving closer to shore than it used to be.

THE most comprehensive study to date of Antarctica's ice confirms growing concern that the ice cap is melting faster than predicted...West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula lost nearly 200 billion tonnes of ice in 2006 alone.

That is 75 per cent more than losses in 1996...

According to Dr Rignot, the results showed that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had underestimated the impact of polar melting in its predictions of possible sea level rises next century....[emphasis by Fester]

"This work suggests that the ice flow is accelerating," Dr Allison said.

"It's worrying because ... the changes are happening due to processes we don't understand."

The bolded portion of this article is a common theme of global warming research. When new research is being done, it is either confirming the central hypothesis, or if there is a difference, it is towards faster and more severe consequences. The confidence interval has a central tendency of 'big problem' and the array of outcomes and potential problem spaces trend towards the right hand side of a mental graph which means more severe outcomes are possible. Despite what deniers are saying, the evidence is coming in that the probability of no change is next to nil and benign change is looking less likely.

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