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Al Gore’s North Pole claims unite scientists and skeptics

Al Gore’s North Pole claims unite scientists and skeptics

The Times
December 16, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-5XwlcBqF0

Al Gore stood by his claim yesterday that the North Pole could be ice-free within five years, attracting a storm of criticism from scientists and sceptics alike.

In an address to the Copenhagen summit, the former Vice-President of the United States quoted an international report published this year, which suggested that the North Pole could have lost virtually all of its ice by 2015.

His comments followed the “climate spin” row, which broke out after The Times revealed that in a speech on Monday Mr Gore appeared to have exaggerated scientific predictions to make them sound more alarming.

Wieslaw Maslowski, a climatologist at the US Naval Postgraduate School in California, on whose work Mr Gore based his claim that there is a 75 per cent chance that the North Pole will be completely ice-free within five to seven years, said that this was a misrepresentation of the information he had provided to Mr Gore’s office.

Yesterday, however, Mr Gore maintained that one of the most visible signs of climate change was at the poles. “In the far north we know that the Arctic sea ice decline has also accelerated far, far beyond the expectation of the climate models,” he said.

“The April 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment, the result of a four-year study by the Arctic Council states, and I quote, ‘There is a possibility of an ice-free Arctic Ocean for a short period in summer perhaps as early as 2015’.”

Scientists rejected the claim, saying that it was at the extreme end of what credible science was predicting. “Over the last two years we’ve learnt that it’s very difficult to melt the oldest ice at the North Pole,” said Professor Jim Overland, a leading oceanographer at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It would be almost impossible for this to happen within five years.”

Richard Lindzen, a climate scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who does not believe that global warming is largely caused by Man, said: “Why would you take anything that Al Gore said seriously? He’s just extrapolated from 2007, when there was a big retreat in the sea ice, and got zero.”

 

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