The Los Angeles Times today has a story by Robert Lee Hotz that reports on a new scientific article reviewing what’s going on with the Arctic climate. The team finds that the Arctic has been warming up, but that there are now some signs that it may be starting to cool down. There is nothing remarkable in this. The Arctic does get warmer when ocean currents and winds push more warm air from the lower latitudes into the Arctic, and it cools down when the ocean current and wind patterns change and start pushing less warm air northwards. What is astonishing is how one of the scientists who did the research describes what they found. According to the LA Times story:
“This is a region that is fighting back,” said lead author Jacqueline A. Richter-Menge, a civil engineer at the Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H. “There are things that showed signs of going back to norms, trying to right themselves under very dire circumstances.”
This anthropomorphizing of the climate is at about the same level as “The Little Engine that Could”, which no doubt was Ms. Richter-Menge’s favorite book as a child. Or perhaps Disney’s “Bambi”. Plucky little Arctic struggles valiantly to escape demonic greenhouse and return to chilly home. Conveniently, turning natural processes into a morality play allows her to spin the story away from the obvious conclusion: the Arctic’s natural cycle is entering its cool phase.