When I’m reading about climate change in public forums like the internet, or newspapers, I expect to see denial argments all over. Usually, they’re the same old shit, that’s been roundly debunked by numerous people. So it’s a pleasant suprise to find new arguments – it gives you something to think about.

This one really was suprising though: Richard Lindzen is well known for being a good debater, and well-read. He’s one of the last deniers that mainstream seems to accept. So it’s a suprise that I haven’t seen this particular arguement before: usually these things get picked up like smallpox. This article’s actually a bit old (2004), so I’d expect it to be well spread around the internet by now, but it isn’t.

In the 2004 article/interview by Marc Morano for CNSNews.com, Lindzen says: “Although there is [Arctic] melting going [on] now, there has been a lot of melting that went on in the [19]30s and then there was freezing.”

Ok, so the basic appeal of the argument – it’s happened before, so who cares if it’s happening now? – has appeared in many denial rants before, but this one is very specific, and it isn’t documented in any of the other major lists of old denier arguments.

The second part of the suprise is that it’s so damn easy to debunk. You don’t need to be a scientist for this one. You just need to go to the NOAA Arctic website (see the updated graph). Ok, so there was melting from 1934-40, but there was roughly the same amount of ice INCREASE in the year before that trend started. If any sane person looked at that graph, they’d immediately see that the sea ice extent trend is pretty much static up to about the 50s or 60s, and then the trend swings down dramatically, dropping from a relatively constant ~13.5m sqkm, down to about 11.5-12m sqkm over the last decade.

Anyway, the article is generally crap, nothing that hasn’t been talked about thousands of times since. I just thought that this specific bit should be pointed out. I’m not going to go seeking it, but I’d be interested to know what Lindzen thinks about that graph, and whether NOAA is part of the whole conspiracy or not. I’d also be interested to hear why he thinks that fossil fuel companies, with all their billions of dollars of annual profit, haven’t been funneling some that money into climate science to see if they can get a different result – obviously if it could be done, the rewards (of not having to deal with environmental regulation) would be significant…