- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Oh, dear. What will the doomsayers say now? How will they explain away yet two more scientific studies that clearly contradict the global warming orthodoxy? For much of the past 14 years, since the United Nations created its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we've been warned that human activity is overheating the planet.

And nowhere is that supposed to be more evident than in Antarctica, the proverbial bellwether for planetary climate change.

Indeed, in recent years there have been many scary reports claiming that the White Continent is warming up and shedding its ice shelves at a startling rate.

Which has led to the most ominous forecasts by environmental advocacy groups, such as the National Resources Defense Council.

"Glaciers and polar ice packs will melt," it predicts direly in its global warming "fact sheet." "Sea levels will rise, flooding coastal areas. Heat waves will be more frequent and more intense. Droughts and wildfires will occur more often. And many species will be pushed to extinction."

So how do the climatory Cassandras on the environmental left explain the new study, appearing in the current edition of the journal Nature, that shows a net cooling, rather than warming, on the Antarctic continent between 1966 and 2000?

What is particularly amazing is that the cooling trend has actually gotten more pronounced since the mid-1980s. Air temperatures recorded over a 14-year period ending in 1999 declined by 0.7 degrees in Antarctica's polar desert valleys.

The study's lead author, limnologist Peter T. Doran of the University of Illinois at Chicago, was almost apologetic about the results produced by his team of scientists.

"This is an unexpected twist," he said, tacitly acknowledging that his data are inconsistent with global warming theory.

It's the same thing with the study, published in a recent issue of the journal Science, that concludes that the giant West Antarctic Ice Sheet is actually getting thicker, rather than melting.

Authored by Ian Joughin, a geologist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology and Slawek Tulaczyk, a professor of earth sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz, the study found the ice sheet is gaining 26.8 billion tons of ice per year.

Much like Mr. Doran, Mr. Joughin sounded almost regretful about his scientific findings, recognizing that it contradicts the global warming orthodoxy.

"It could be that this part of the ice sheet is not necessarily sensitive to global warming," he said.

There is a curious thing going on in the scientific community. Scientists who produce research that does not comport with accepted wisdom on global warming like Mr. Doran and Mr. Joughin feel compelled to disavow their findings. Or at least to suggest their results are aberrational.

Indeed, a few years back, the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, released a study that found the continental United States has actually gotten cooler, rather than warmer, over the past third of a century.

Yet, the scientists who produced the center's study went to great lengths to assure that their findings did not undermine prevailing notions about global warming.

Then there was the study by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. They took Antarctic ice core samples from the last three glacial cycles (the transitional periods between ice age and planetary warming) to ascertain the relation between rises in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and increases in planetary temperature.

Based on global warming theory, there should first have been a rise in carbon dioxide levels, followed by a rise in temperature levels. But, in fact, the opposite actually occurred.

Yet, the Scripps scientists insisted that their results were not inconsistent with global warming theory.

It seems clear that much of the scientific community is in denial about global warming. Scientists are so empathetic to the IPCC, the NRDC and other global warming doomsayers that even those who produce research that contradict the global warming orthodoxy are unwilling to admit as much.

Joseph Perkins is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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