Science Blogger Blows Gasket as New Ice Records Set

He’re’s a twist; while the north pole ice dwindles to record lows, the south pole ice reaches the maximum extent ever recorded.

A fellow who likes variable star research and AAVSO calling himself Tamino (not his real name – another phantom blogger) who runs a blog called “Open Mind“. He used to be about explaining science, and did a pretty good job, but now has succumbed to the dark side of discourse and posted an opinion …that it’s time to stop even listening to denialists, let alone arguing with them.” and then further says “…it is the republican party in the U.S. that is the problem.“.

Then right after that post, he puts up a graph of Northern Hemisphere Sea ice showing its drop with the challenge “Explain this

It’s just too funny to announce he’s not going to discuss the matter further, then puts up a challenge on record northern hemisphere sea ice minimum, then the next day we get a new maximum ice record in the southern hemisphere. Perhaps the dichotomy was just too much for him. A hint for those in need of pressure valves – it’s all about cycles.

In the same spirt then, explain this ;-)
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

Monday, October 1, 2007 – Record SH sea ice maximum and NH sea ice minimum

Just when you thought this season’s cryosphere couldn’t be more strange …. The Southern Hemisphere sea ice area narrowly surpassed the previous historic maximum of 16.03 million sq. km to 16.17 million sq. km. The observed sea ice record in the Southern Hemisphere (1979-present) is not as long as the Northern Hemisphere. Prior to the satellite era, direct observations of the SH sea ice edge were sporadic.

The NH sea ice area reached an historic minimum on September 16, 2007 (2.92 million sq. km), representing a 27% drop in sea ice coverage compared to the previous (2005) record NH ice minimum.


We have updated our high resolution animation of this year’s sea ice retreat (01/01/2007 – 09/23/2007). WARNING – This quicktime animation is very large at 200Mb, but it illustrates nicely the temporal evolution of this year’s sea ice. Animation: 2007 sea ice minimum animation


In an related story, how ’bout those 2007 hurricanes? It’s such a disappointly quiet year for many.

UPDATE Commenter Aaron Wells writes:
According to Cryosphere Today, normal North Pole ice area at this time is about 5 million km^2, with current amounts amounting to a negative anomaly of about 2 million km^2, for a current total of about 3 million km^2. On the other hand, the South Pole normal area is about 15 million km^2, with current amounts amounting to a positive anomaly of 1 million km^2, for a current total of about 16 million km^2.

Now, it is easy to get alarmed about the North Pole numbers, because they have gotten so close to zero. But the truth is about 2/3rd of total North Pole ice always melts by the end of the northern summer. This summer it got down to about 1/4 of the winter amount.

It is much less alarming if you consider the total between the 2 poles. Using the Cryosphere Today normals and current ice areas, there is normally about 20 million km^2, and currently there is only 19 million km^2. When realize that the total taken together only represents about a 5% reduction from normal, then it does not seem nearly as alarming.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Climate_change. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Science Blogger Blows Gasket as New Ice Records Set

  1. Reid says:

    How can we call the current warming “global” when the southern half of the planet is cooling? The warmers claim the MWP was a regional event. If that was the situation then the current warming is no different.

  2. Larry Sheldon says:

    Busted URL–correct I think:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/arctic.seaice.2007.update.mov

    Editors note: fixed, thanks

  3. Aaron Wells says:

    According to Cryosphere Today, normal North Pole ice area at this time is about 5 million km^2, with current amounts amounting to a negative anomaly of about 2 million km^2, for a current total of about 3 million km^2. On the other hand, the South Pole normal area is about 15 million km^2, with current amounts amounting to a positive anomaly of 1 million km^2, for a current total of about 16 million km^2.

    Now, it is easy to get alarmed about the North Pole numbers, because they have gotten so close to zero. But the truth is about 2/3rd of total North Pole ice always melts by the end of the northern summer. This summer it got down to about 1/4 of the winter amount.

    It is much less alarming if you consider the total between the 2 poles. Using the Cryosphere Today normals and current ice areas, there is normally about 20 million km^2, and currently there is only 19 million km^2. When realize that the total taken together only represents about a 5% reduction from normal, then it does not seem nearly as alarming.

  4. wattsupwiththat says:

    Test comment, pay it no attention

  5. Lon says:

    Anthony,

    Congrats on the address change. You should have called me, I’ve got a truck and would have helped you move. The software does have a much more polished appearance than the E-R stuff.

    Otherwise, good luck, and I’ve got you bookmarked.

    Lon

  6. Bruce Hall says:

    Anthony,

    This is part of the larger issue of confusing climate oscillations with a new trend.

    http://hallofrecord.blogspot.com/2007/09/hemispheric-climate-oscillations-and.html

  7. Tamino says:

    [Editor's note - this was posted on my old blog, and apparently Tamino missed the fact that this new blog was online, so to be fair I have reposted his comments below from the old blog.]

    I see you’ve chosen to do what denialists love to do most when confronted with truth: change the subject.

    I can certainly understand that you’d rather not discuss the fact that the southern hemisphere data shows no statistically signficant trend, while the northern hemisphere not only shows a statistically signficant downward trend, the ice loss shows statistically signficant acceleration. Or the fact that southern hemisphere sea ice has broken the previous record by a miniscule 0.8%, while northern hemisphere sea ice has broken the previous record by a whopping 27%.

    So I’ll answer your challenge: the reason for the record southern sea ice extent is natural variation. There’s no statistically significant evidence that it’s anything else.

    As for the northern hemisphere, the evidence is not just statistically significant, it’s undeniable, that it’s not natural variation. So: explain it, or shut up.

  8. Michael Jankowski says:

    Predictably, the commenting cheerleading posters follow Tamino’s rhetorical footsteps, comparing people with rational comments to Creationists and McCarthy-ites, and throwing out that “denialist” word repeatedly.

  9. ZK says:

    Notice how everyone glosses over the length of time these “records” cover ? Any climate-related “record” that can be measured in a few decades is simply a joke.

    What was the arctic sea ice extent in the 1920′s, when there were reports in newspapers of record ice and glacier melts ? Or during the period when there were large settlements in Greenland ? No one really knows, so calling the current status a “record” is a clear example of alarmist scaremongering.

  10. Peter Hartley says:

    Further to ZK’s comment, note that these satellite records start in 1979, a period known from actual temperature measurements to be unusually cold (especially in the arctic) for the 20th century. Given these temperature measurements it would be surprising if the amount of ice in the arctic had not decreased significantly in the following 28 years. The same temperature measurements also show, however, that the arctic was much warmer than recent years in the 1930s, so surely there was less arctic ice back then than now. Sure enough, if you look back at newspaper articles from the 1930s and 1940s you will also find much mention of the northwest passage, ocean voyages in the arctic and so forth. Whenever someone tells you about warming in the arctic, take note and you’ll often discover that the comparsion period is the 1970s.

  11. Stan Needham says:

    As for the northern hemisphere, the evidence is not just statistically significant, it’s undeniable, that it’s not natural variation. So: explain it, or shut up.

    Well, there you have it — case closed.

  12. Laurence Sheldon says:

    [I dint read the notice either--but I was able to copy mine over.]

    Not sure who the tamino rant was aimed at, but I would (as a seriously uninformed person) like to know are we talking about proof of man-made GLOBAL warming involving two GLOBES, one whose North-pole ice proves that man-made global warming is at work, and another GLOBE whose South-pole ice proves that man-made global warming is not at work? Is this another proliferation of humvee’s is causing Martian icecaps to disappear?

  13. ZK says:

    Perhaps Tamino can explain to us why it is “undeniable” that it is not natural variation, when the records go back only a few decades ?

    What is undeniable is that the recent variations in the arctic ice are trivially minor compared to historic changes in the ice coverings in the northern latitiudes, changes which occured long before mankind had any impact whatsoever.

  14. Michael Jankowski says:

    Just as melting land-based ice has been raising sea levels for 20,000+ years
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1d/Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png ,
    why is it that we shouldn’t be seeing the same melting from sea ice?

    And based on this graphic http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/images/ice_extent.gif, it would seem that either there is a substantial lag on the order of decades between warming and arctic sea ice melt, or else much/all of the blame belongs to soot (or else we’d have observed melting in the 30s and 40s).

    So where’s the proof it’s all GHGs?

  15. RP says:

    What is to explain? We’ve been tracking Artic ice for aprox 3 decades, so we do not know if this is such an anomoly. Without accurate historical records, this isn’t something to explain, but something to study. Furthermore, to be labelled a ‘denialist’, how does this show ‘global warming’? As an outsider, I look at the data provided on both the Artic and Antartic ice coverage over 30 years, and conclude that it was a warm summer in the North and a cold winter in the south. I also realize that throwing out numbers like 27% and 0.8% mean nothing without knowing what 100% of the size is.

    Just as another explain this, can anyone tell me if ice breaker activity in the Artic alter the thawing or freezing rates of the ice? I mean, we are constantly trying to go through the Northwest Passage with Ice Breakers, have we helped nature open it up?

  16. tmitsss says:

    We ask ourselves the question, Why would Adm. Peary start his trip to the north pole on March 1st, 1909? Why not wait until it was warmer? Is it because even in 1909. the benefits of getting to the pole before serious melting started out weighed the cold temperatures he would face in March.

  17. Douglas Hoyt says:

    Here is an explanation:

    Recent Rapid Decline in Sea Ice caused by Unusual Winds, says NASA

    A few of our commentators on this blog found this story earlier today and I thank them.

    Anyway, in a news release from NASA Monday, a group of scientists have determined that unusual winds caused the rapid decline (23% loss) in winter perennial ice over the past two years in the northern hemisphere. This drastic reduction is the primary cause of this summer’s fastest-ever sea ice retreat in recorded history which has lead to the smallest extent of total Arctic coverage on record.

    According to the NASA study, the perennial ice shrunk by an area the size of Texas and California combined between the winter of 2005 and the winter of 2007. What they found was the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia and Alaska was dominated by thinner seasonal ice that melts faster compared to the thicker ice confined to the Arctic Ocean north of Canada. The thinner ice is more easily compressed and responds more quickly to being pushed out of the Arctic by winds.

    “Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic,” said Son Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and leader of the study. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted in the warmer waters.

    More at http://global-warming.accuweather.com/2007/10/recent_rapid_decline_in_sea_ic.html

  18. Reid says:

    Tamino says “As for the northern hemisphere, the evidence is not just statistically significant, it’s undeniable, that it’s not natural variation. So: explain it, or shut up.”

    How far back do these records go? To 1979 I presume. That is too short a time for records to be meaningful.

    It is undeniable that polar amplification is not happening since the Antarctic is not warming. No polar amplification means the anthropogenic greenhouse hypothesis has been falsified. Add the lack of tropospheric warming and the fossil record showing temperature leading CO2 and the AGW hypothesis has collapsed.

    It’s time to end the denial Tamino. The AGW hypothesis has been falsified.

  19. Tamino says:

    Douglas Hoyt:

    Nice try. Congratulations for not changing the subject.

    But you haven’t explained the decline in arctic sea ice. You’ve only offered part of the reason, and one that applies only to the last few years. It’s as though I challenged you to explain why Paul McCartney is such a revered musician, but you’re loathe to admit that the Beatles were a great band or that he was an outstanding singer and composer, so you reply it’s because of his oscar-winning song for one of the James Bond films.

    Wind patterns utterly fail to explain the decline which is clearly present from the very beginning of satellite obserations (and is strongly statistically significant). In fact, starting in late 1978 (when satellite observations began) you only have to go as far as 1986 (a trifle over 7 years) to find a statistically significant trend. Haven’t you wondered why never before in human memory have “wind patterns” opened up the northwest passage? Here’s a clue for you all: temperature increase.

    The arctic doesn’t just show a record low in sea ice this summer. It shows strong, statistically significant, persistent, accelerating, dramatic loss of ice cover ever since satellite observations began. The challenge wasn’t just to explain the record low this summer; it was to explain this. You’ve still got some splainin’ to do.

  20. Stef says:

    “dramatic loss of ice cover ever since satellite observations began.

    Why the italics? No one has denied the fact. But why the italics? Is that 28 years supposed to mean something when compared to the age of the planet? People drive cars that have been around longer then those readings, does that mean that cars have been around since the dawn of time?

    The only denier is you. You deny that maybe, just maybe, the satellite data doesn’t cover enough time to prove anything.

    Many years ago at school, we were taught that regional climates are measured over 30 year spans at the very minimum. Anything less then 30 years data that was just guesswork. While I have no doubt that modern technology can improve the accuracy, you still need a long period.

    Guess the next number in this sequence: 7 33 ?

    You are making a guess without enough data, and calling anyone who disagrees with you a “denier”.

  21. Douglas Hoyt says:

    Higher velocity winds are generally associated with cooler temperatures. In astrophysics you see this on the planets as the further you go from the sun, the higher the wind velocities.

    On the Earth, if temperatures cool, then there will also be less vertical mixing or convection. With less convection, there is less impedance to horizontal wind flows and hence higher wind velocities. GCMs also predict this effect will be occcuring. So in the Arctic, there may be a long-term secular decrease in temperatures leading to increased wind velocities that are blowing the ice away.

  22. Michael Jankowski says:

    The study refers to winds for “splainin” the losses of past two years, not just “this summer.” I guess we’ll have to read the article to see if they looked to see if winds could’ve explained any prior losses (of couse, the unusual winds could be due to AGW, right?). It’s tough to find attribution if you don’t look for it.

    Yes, “wind patterns” may not have opened up the northwest passage before (although there seem to be all sorts of accounts claiming the northwest passage has been opened up before), and maybe “temperature increase” has something to do with it. But that would raise the question as to why such a “temperature increase” in the 30s and 40s didn’t have the same effect. Maybe soot has something to do with it?

    Is there still an acceleration starting in the mid-90s? Yes. Of course, there was a deceleration in the early 80s with a rate that appears to have held steady until the mid-90s – what’s the explanation for that?

  23. Jeff says:

    Ok Tamino, you’ve chosen a cold starting point and ended up at a warmer finishing point. Nice cherry-picking. Now start at 1934 and end now. Oh, you can’t because there isn’t sufficient data? Aww, too bad. So YOU prove to us that this is unprecendented. That’s your burden, we don’t have to prove otherwise.

  24. HerbF says:

    It is Tamino who has some explaining to do. In the 1970s, alarmists like Tamino were warning about global cooling. If you measure from the times of global cooling panic to the times of global warming panic, you should expect some change in climate. This is a natural variation. ‘satellite observations began’ during a period of global cooling. Greenland was warmer when the Vikings settled there in the Middle Ages than it is today, probably due to the SUVs that the Vikings drove, and the massive industrialization. 30 years is a very short time relative to the age of the Earth. You need to objectively look at the big picture. Mars is warming now. I suppose the Martians are causing it to warm.

  25. MattN says:

    Really? You sure about that? Really sure?

    Please look at the 1st graph in this entry.

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/a_new_record_for_antartic_total_ice_extent/

    Explain it, or shut up.

  26. MattN says:

    Sorry. The above entry was for Tamino and his assertaion the Antarctic showed no trend in ice coverage. It seems I have not mastered the blockquote function on this site yet….

Comments are closed.