I finally got around to watching Thin Ice – thanks Rachel. I sometimes struggle to get around to watching things that are factual, because I’m inherently lazy and it feels that it will take some actual effort. This, however, was extremely good and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I found the beginning quite emotional, as it showed people arriving in the Antarctic and commenting on how it was a life changing experience. It’s something I did myself just over 20 years ago, and it is indeed a remarkable experience. I did once ponder if such experiences do influence how we perceive issues like climate change; there are some remarkable, and important, places on this planet that – in my view – have intrinsic value. Maybe being more directly aware of this influences how we assess the risks associated with climate change.
I won’t say much about Thin Ice. It was a mixture of the presenter (Simon Lamb) discussing climate science, and interviews with scientists. Ray Pierrehumbert did a great job of explaining the basics of the greenhouse effect. Myles Allen pointed out (as is my view too) that, as a physicist, it was pretty obvious that increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations would cause warming. Maybe this kind of comment is where the “science is settled” meme comes from, but it is essentially true; we might not have complete understanding of the details, but the basics are pretty settled. It discusses the different surface temperature datasets and how they all suggest essentially the same basic picture. It touches on Climategate (I won’t give away whether it concluded that it was a storm in a teacup, or not 🙂 ). It discusses climate change in the past, and what might happen in the future.
It really is – in my view – worth watching. It was even possible to support it, but that seems to have finished (you can even find Rachel’s name there). You can still stream it, download it (as I’ve just done this), or buy the DVD. I’d certainly recommend watching it if you haven’t yet done so.