Yes, Maslowski predicted just two years ago that the Arctic could be ice-free by 2013 — see graph of projected ice volume
UPDATE: The videos of Gore’s talk at COP-15 can be found here. Here is his powerful closing (transcript below) — I have an excellent graph (large PDF) of ice volume trends from several leading scientific institutions based on Maslowski’s 2009 paper at the end:
Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013′
That’s the headline from a December 2007 BBC story on Professor Wieslaw Maslowski’s American Geophysical Union talk about “Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer.” In fact, I heard Maslowski in a May 2006 seminar predict that we could be ice-free in the Arctic by 2016 (search my book, Hell and High Water for “ice-free”).
So the flap over the former Vice President’s accurate statement of what Maslowski said is, indeed, symptomatic of an underlying medical condition — one that, I’d add, is often confused for ASS [see "Diagnosing a victim of anti-science syndrome"]:
Al Gore, speaking at Copenhagen, cited the work of Dr Wieslav Maslowki to the effect that “there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.” In fact, according to the Times (UK) “Maslowki, who works at the US Naval Postgraduate School in California, said that his latest results give a six-year projection for the melting of 80 per cent of the ice.”
Now it’s true that projecting a 75 percent chance of completely ice free in 5-7 years and projecting 80 percent ice loss in 6 years are different things. Gore seems to have gotten this slightly wrong. Still, Gore’s point was that arctic ice is melting at an alarming rate and that is indeed what Maslowki’s research thinks. It’s totally fair of the Times to point out the error, but what they did was do a whole long article with the headline “Inconvenient truth for Al Gore as his North Pole sums don’t add up,” leading with the assertion that “The former US Vice-President, who became an unlikely figurehead for the green movement after narrating the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, became entangled in a new climate change ‘spin’ row.” The fact that Maslowki’s real figure is extremely close to Gore’s an supports the same overall point is suppressed all the way until the eighteenth graf of a story otherwise dedicating to implying that Gore in particular, and climate activists in general, are huge liars.
There’s a lot of shoddy reporting in the climate debate, but this is a reminder that all the way back to the 2000 presidential campaign there are some kind of special journalistic rules that apply to Gore.
This is how Gore talked about the Arctic ice in his long talk:
The video below shows where Gore made the disputed statement — doesn’t appear to be the same talk — but I post it just so you’ll see what the anti-science crowd does to the Nobel Prize winner and teller of inconvenient truths:
It always bears repeating that it is ice volume that matters most, and that appears to have had very little recovery, as this figure from a release from several scientific institutions shows — I believe Gore showed this figure:
Again, you may disagree with this projection, but Gore got the story right.
Wonk Room has a transcript of Gore’s powerful closing remarks:
I wish that I had the words to transfer directly from my heart to yours the passion that I feel for this issue. For me, it raises a fundamental question: Who are we as human beings?
Who are we?
If at some future date, the next generation faces the prospect of living in a world with steadily deteriorating prospects and no chance to reclaim the glories of this beautiful earth that we have enjoyed “” if they look back at Copenhagen and ask, “Why didn’t you act? Why did you let this process fall into paralysis, and neither succeed or fail but become a symbol of futility? What were the arguments were again? You didn’t realize that we were at stake?”
If their conclusion was that the generation of human beings alive in the first years of the 21st century gathered together in Copenhagen with the leaders of virtually every nation in the world and instead of forthrightly addressing a mortal threat to the future of civilization, instead decided that the arguments were more important than the solution, that the compromises were just too difficult and allowed the process to fall into paralysis, thus condemning them to a life completely unlike what they deserve, they would be justified in asking of us:
“Who are you?
Didn’t you care?
Did you not feel any connection to us?”
The real source of the passion and the feelings that I have for this issue is a simple conviction: I don’t believe that’s who we are. I believe we are capable of rising to this occasion in spite of the difficulties. I believe that we are capable of resolving the remaining issues to the point where we can meet in Mexico City this July, in the aftermath of a successful action by the United States Senate in April, and conclude a binding international treaty that begins the process and builds our confidence and leads us to make bolder commitments and cuts in global warming pollution and provides the supports that are necessary until, like the Montreal Protocol process, we get to the point where we actually solve this crisis.
We can do it, we must do it, and as I have said many times, I believe political will is a renewable resource. Thank you very much.
- Arctic ice reaches historic seasonal low; “We are almost out of multiyear sea ice in the northern hemisphere.”
- “It’s like the Arctic is covered with an egg shell and the egg shell is now just cracking completely”