June 17, 2010

From Ben Dussan:

Re: Arctic ice at multi -millennium low: researchers (June 3): It is amazing that “scientists” use such iffy terms in their scientific output:

ap­pears to be un­matched over at least the last few thou­sand years: Is this an opinion? Otherwise, how can you make such an unsubstantiated statement?

with cer­tain skills and luck: Although luck may play a role in some scientific finds, I think that it is unscientific to rely on luck when making factual like statements.

sci­en­tists can search for a bio­chem­i­cal mark­er that is tied to cer­tain spe­cies of al­gae that live only in ice. If that mark­er is in the sed­i­ment, then that loca­t­ion was likely co­vered in ice at the time: Does it mean that ALL ice must have such algae? What does likely mean in terms of probability?

Satel­lites can pro­vide de­tailed meas­ures of how much ice is co­vering the pole right now…. While know­ing the loss of sur­face ar­ea of the ice is im­por­tant, Polyak said that this work can’t yet re­veal an even more im­por­tant fact: how the to­tal vol­ume of ice—thick­ness as well as sur­face ar­e­a—has changed over time. “Un­derneath the sur­face, the ice can be thick or thin. The new­est sat­el­lite tech­niques and field ob­serva­t­ions al­low us to see that the vol­ume of ice is shrink­ing much faster than its ar­ea to­day. The pic­ture is very trou­bling. We are los­ing ice very fast,” he said. These statements are contradictory. Care to elaborate on them new­est sat­el­lite tech­niques and field ob­serva­t­ions, and much faster?

Perhaps what is the most troubling aspect of subject article is the inference that just from a few (compared to the utter vastness of the arctic) sediment core samples you guys give a whole picture of the arctic. In other words it is implied that the arctic ocean floor is homogeneous, in terms of its composition, and that the sediments came primarily from above the floor, thus appearing to neglect particulates carried by ocean currents from just about anywhere in the world oceans and rivers…. Also the inference that you guys know all what’s needed to be known to make such factual like statements quite frankly is, to put it mildly, quite ludicrous. It is ok to give opinions, but they must be stated as such, and not as facts.


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