Audubon Goes Over the Climate Alarmist Edge

The society’s misleading claims about a climate crisis in the Arctic must be corrected

By Robert W. Endlich

Figure 1: Cover of the January-February 2016 Issue of Audubon Magazine.
Figure 1: Cover of the January-February 2016 Issue of Audubon Magazine.
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United States -(AmmoLand.com)- The January-February 2016 issue of Audubon Magazine (Figure 1) proclaims “Arctic on the Edge: As global warming opens our most critical bird habitat, the world is closing in.”

In reality, the magazine’s writers and editors have gone over the edge, with wildly misleading “reports” on the Arctic. The magazine is awash in misstatements of fact and plain ignorance of history, science and culture. It epitomizes the false claims that characterize “news coverage” of “dangerous manmade climate change.” The following analysis corrects only some of the most serious errors, but should raise red flags about most every claim Audubon makes.

Country-by-Country Deceptions

The first part of this issue devotes pages to each of the countries surrounding the Arctic Ocean. The Finland page says “storms become more severe” with warming. The writers are either clueless or intentionally misleading; they likely did not take Earth Science or Meteorology and are oblivious of atmospheric fluid dynamics.

The pole to equator temperature difference drives the strength of storms. If there actually is Arctic warming, that temperature difference declines, and storm strength becomes less severe – not more so.

The Norway page describes the Black-legged Kittiwake and speculates that warming in the Barents Sea attracts herring which feed on Kittiwake prey. The authors are clearly unaware that natural warming and cooling cycles have been occurring for centuries. On a map derived from the Norwegian Polar Institute’s examination of ship logs (Figure 2), a green dashed line depicting reduced Nordic Sea ice extent demonstrates extensive warming in the Barents Sea in 1769. During that particular warm period, ocean currents and weather conditions made Svalbard and even parts of Novaya Zemlya ice-free.

Figure 2. Map showing maximum (April) sea ice extension in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic (Norwegian Polar Institute 2000). The map is based on a database on sea-ice extension in the area during the past 400 years, largely derived from written records found in ships logbooks.
Figure 2. Map showing maximum (April) sea ice extension in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic (Norwegian Polar Institute 2000). The map is based on a database on sea-ice extension in the area during the past 400 years, largely derived from written records found in ships logbooks.

The Greenland page purports to show “Greenland Warming.” However, it was warmer than today during the Medieval Warm Period, and abundant new ice formed in Greenland during the past century. Enough snow and ice accumulated on the Greenland Ice Sheet that Glacier Girl, the P-38 airplane that landed there in 1942, was buried in 268 ft of ice before she was recovered in 1992. That’s 268 feet in 50 years, well over 5 feet of ice accumulation a year, much of it during a period when Earth was warming and Greenland was supposedly losing ice.

Audubon’s cover photo features a Russian oil rig amid an ice-covered Arctic Ocean. It is intended to instill fear, by suggesting that a once solidly icy Arctic is melting rapidly. However, history shows that the Nordic ice extent has been decreasing since at least the 1860s, and probably since the depth of the Little Ice Age, around 1690. In fact, historic data (Figure 3), indicate that multi-decadal variability of Nordic Sea extent (some 30-45% more or less ice during each cycle) has been occurring for over 150 years.

Figure 3. From Vinje (2001), showing the reduction in April sea ice extent in the Nordic Seas since 1864. Nordic Seas (NS), eastern area (E), and western area (W) time series given by 2-year running mean and regression lines. Linear year-to-year interpolations of the ice extent have been made for the western area for 1940 and 1944–46, and for the eastern area for 1868–70, 1874–78, 1880, 1892, 1894, 1940–41, 1943–48, and 1961. The blue area to the right shows the time extent of the satellite-era. Apparently, much of the sea ice reduction in this region occurs in concert with planetary warming as the Little Ice Age ended and with the warming that followed during the twentieth century.
Figure 3. From Vinje (2001), showing the reduction in April sea ice extent in the Nordic Seas since 1864. Nordic Seas (NS), eastern area (E), and western area (W) time series given by 2-year running mean and regression lines. Linear year-to-year interpolations of the ice extent have been made for the western area for 1940 and 1944–46, and for the eastern area for 1868–70, 1874–78, 1880, 1892, 1894, 1940–41, 1943–48, and 1961. The blue area to the right shows the time extent of the satellite-era. Apparently, much of the sea ice reduction in this region occurs in concert with planetary warming as the Little Ice Age ended and with the warming that followed during the twentieth century.

Melting Tundra Deceptions

Toward the end of the January-February issue is an account of a visit to Wainwright, Alaska, an Inupiat village of about 556 natives, located on the Arctic Ocean in North Slope Borough. The Native Inupiat much prefer to maintain their subsistence culture, which has been their tradition since their ancestors settled nearby about 13,000 years ago.

Figure 4: Wainwright, Alaska. From the online version: “The Iñupiat use portable houses and sandbags to shield themselves from rising waters and melting permafrost, but can they save their culture?”
Figure 4: Wainwright, Alaska. From the online version: “The Iñupiat use portable houses and sandbags to shield themselves from rising waters and melting permafrost, but can they save their culture?”

The caption to the Audubon photograph of the village (Figure 4) emphasizes rising ocean waters. However, most of Alaska has falling sea levels, the result of the isostatic adjustment of northern North America. This rebound effect began with the melting of the Wisconsin Ice Sheet, as Earth emerged from the Wisconsin Ice Age and entered the Holocene between 15,000 and 10,000 years ago. The nearest tide gage to Wainwright is Prudhoe Bay, and sea level rise there is very small: 1.20 mm/year +/- 1.99 mm/year (up to 7.9 inches per century) – so small that sea levels might actually be falling there, as well, when margin of error is considered.

The Audubon writers mention “melting permafrost” numerous times, but when the Natives spoke about this in 1979, they clearly did not view it as a problem. In fact, in their own words, recorded in The Inupiat View, the Natives specifically say melt water is scarce in North Slope Borough. What has happened in the years since?

First, the North Slope has a summer, and from early June until mid-September air temperatures average warmer than 32 degrees F. Wainwright’s extreme maximum once reached 80 degrees Fahrenheit! During summer, the soil melts, creating an “active layer.” The surface is not permanently frozen, but is melted part of the year, every year. Whether there actually is problematical “melting permafrost,” as claimed by Audubon, can be determined only by finding the long-term trend in the thickness of the active layer.

Specialists studying this phenomenon publish reports in the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring Network, in NOAA’s annual Arctic Report Card, and elsewhere. The 2012 Report Card edition had an extensive section on permafrost.  A quote from this edition pours freezing water on Audubon’s “melting permafrost” claim:  “Active-layer thickness on the Alaskan North Slope and in the western Canadian Arctic was relatively stable during 1995-2011,” it notes.

The NOAA Arctic Reports do have a heavy dose of alarmist rhetoric, especially in the boilerplate introductory sections, but the actual measurements and data present nothing that supports the alarmist polemic of the day. The long term pattern shows centuries-long slow warming, with multi-decadal fluctuations; significant or alarming anthropogenic trends are simply not there.

Audubon should stay away from areas where it has no expertise – specifically imagined or invented catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

Audubon’s equivocal policy on wind power ostensibly calls on wind energy developers to consider planning, siting and operating wind farms to avoid bird carnage; the Society claims to support “strong enforcement” of laws protecting birds and wildlife. On the other hand, the same Audubon policy speaks about “species extinctions and other catastrophic effects of climate change” and “pollution from fossil fuels.”

When read together, this schizophrenic policy clearly puts Audubon on the side of climate alarmism – with the loss of birds and bats merely a small price to pay in an effort to “save the planet.”

Another article shows that Audubon’s alarmist climate claims, rather than bird safety, clearly dominate president David Yarnold’s concerns. Beneath a picture of a forest fire, an editorial quotes him: “Climate change is the greatest threat to birds and biodiversity since humans have been on the planet.”

Yarnold’s editorial is rife with  alarmist propaganda: increasing drought (data show drought  decreasing in the United States over the past 110 years in regions where we have temperature and rainfall measurements) … increasing forest fires (not so, according to actual data) …increasing species extinctions  (virtually no extinctions have occurred except on isolated islands where predators were introduced by humans) … and more flooding (there has been nothing outside normal experience).

Audubon needs to concentrate on saving birds and other flying creatures from the very real death machines that kill countless thousands, perhaps millions, of them every year. These killing machines include wind turbines, that chop up raptors, song birds and bats, and heliostats (installations using mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays) that incinerate them.

Bats pollinate crops and consume insects. However, the number of bats killed has been conservatively estimated at 600,000 annually, and may be as high as 900,000.  The Ivanpah solar-to-electrical-energy plant in California’s Mojave Desert actually ignites birds in flight; the dying birds are called “streamers,” because they emit smoke as they fall from the sky. One report estimates that over 100 golden eagles and 300 red tailed hawks are killed yearly by wind turbines at California’s Altamont Pass, but another calculates that millions of birds and bats are killed every year by US wind turbines.

Audubon needs to get some real science in its research and show true empathy for the human-caused deaths that our flying friends face on a daily basis

About Robert Endlich:

Robert Endlich served as a weather officer in the US Air Force for 21 Years. He has a BA in geology and an MS in meteorology and is a member of Chi Epsilon Pi, the national Meteorology Honor Society. (A more extensive version of this article can be found on MasterResource.org)

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Steve johnson, geologist

Changes in the isotopic composition of carbon IN carbon dioxide is a very strong indicator that an OLD source of carbon is contributing significantly to the atmosphere. OLD means any carbon older than 4-5 half lives of Carbon 14. That means much 25,000 year old carbon is entering the atmosphere. What sources of such carbon do we have? Oil, coal, natural gas and LIMESTONE. So…I ask…yes…cars, houses, power generators, oil-gas wells etc. are the obvious sources but what about contributions from dissolution of limestone, cement etc. from natural/artificially enhanced acid rain and higher chemical activity due to temperature changes. I… Read more »

Paul Schroeder

Carl is clearly one of the new advocates of NoNothingness. A Fox News addled brain.

Jack Patriot

And you too, Rattlerjake: Another fing MORON. How dare you lump in the origins of Homo Sapiens with the lies of our government and medical industry.

It just goes to show how ignorant YOU are. How about you take your pseudo-open mind and shove it up your …

IP Address: 50.188.133.152

Jack Patriot

Hey Carl, you’re a fing idiot. there are 8 BILLION humans on this planet, and we’re increasing our numbers exponentially every day.

To think that we COULDN’T alter our environment or that we are UNABLE to change the climate/weather is complete and utter idiocy.

Why don’t you go suck the corporate globalist’s d*&^s some more and refrain from posting any more stupid s*&t on here.

IP Address: 50.188.133.152

Rattlerjake

It never ceases to amaze me at the number of individuals that still believe in anything that is unsupported by fact. Global warming, Cruz’s eligibility, Ovomit’s birth certificate, government’s explanation of 9/11, Evolution, Hitlery’s honesty, man on the moon, that radiation or chemotherapy will cure cancer, etc., etc., etc. It just proves that just because a human has a brain doesn’t mean they know how to use it! There is no limit to the stupidity exhibited by humans, especially those on the left, who can’t see the truth. For those idiots that actually believe this guff, I’d like just one… Read more »

JohnC

The vast majority of the scientific community believes that there is a direct human influence in climate change. I am not a scientist, but I am not investing in a bunch of beachfront property.

Carl

Global Climate Cooling, Warming, Change, Disruption or any other adjective you care to use has/is and will continue with absolutely no assistance by mere mortals and that infernal internal combustion thing. The climate Police conveniently ignore that giant orb we refer to as the Sun and dismiss geology or any other discipline that threatens to interfere with the stream of money they are receiving. Let me now shift my analysis to a level the Global Crowd can understand. Anyone that believes Man is capable of CONTROLLING/CHANGING the natural evolution of Mother Earth is a complete Blithering Idiot. This is my… Read more »

Gerald Brookman

Maluka: Naturally occurring climate change is one thing, anthropomorphic climate change, which is occurring today and started with the industrial age, quite another. A huge majority of well informed climatologists who are not employed or receiving generous grants from the fossil fuels industry agree. Audubon is a disinterested party, or maybe I should say an independent party interested in the truth. I trust them, and not the fossil fuel shills.

Maluka

Can you say “CLIMATE CHANGE”? It has been occurring for a few years, millions at least. For those who went to public school and did not learn anything that was before man was on this planet. How did man’s absence cause MAN MADE GLOBAL WARMING?

Jamal Munshi

“dangerous manmade climate change.”

there is of course pretty good arguments for the theory that global warming is man-made but the only empirical evidence that it actually works out that way is a correlation between cumulative fossil fuel emissions and surface temperature as shown in this article
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n12/fig_tab/nclimate2064_F1.html

this correlation is spurious because cumulative values of random numbers are also correlated. please see
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2725743

Ghonadz

The writers and editors at the Audubon are quite correct about the changes happenibg in the Arctic and elsewhere due to human caused global warming, and their report is entirely in line with current scientific observations of the Arctic and the scientific understanding of the climate change crisis the world is facing. Robert Endlich is a ideologically/politically motivated reality denier stooging for the fossil fuel industry, and his article is full of fraudulent nonsense and outright lies. His “articles” are only ” published” on denier cult blogs sponsored by the Koch brothers and would get laughingly dismissed as bogus junk… Read more »