NASA Sees Arctic Ocean Circulation Do an About-Face

NOTE: You may recall a story I posted some months ago titled: “NASA: It’s the wind” regarding Arctic wind circulation patterns and the way it drove sea ice further south into melt zones. Commenter Paul Marek brought this story to attention recently, and given the sea ice trend this summer, I thought it was worth bringing to light again. Then and now, “The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming. ” Given our less than predicted catastrophic sea ice loss this year, coupled with this study, it looks like Arctic ice could be on the mend. – Anthony

Scientists used measurements from Arctic Bottom Pressure Recorders
Click for Larger image
This shows contours of the trend in ocean bottom pressure from 2002 to 2006 as measured by GRACE along with hypothetical trends that would apply at the circles if ocean salinity reverted from 1990s values to climatological conditions over the same period.

NASA Sees Arctic Ocean Circulation Do an About-Face
November 13, 2007

PASADENA, Calif. – A team of NASA and university scientists has detected an ongoing reversal in Arctic Ocean circulation triggered by atmospheric circulation changes that vary on decade-long time scales. The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.

The team, led by James Morison of the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center Applied Physics Laboratory, Seattle, used data from an Earth-observing satellite and from deep-sea pressure gauges to monitor Arctic Ocean circulation from 2002 to 2006. They measured changes in the weight of columns of Arctic Ocean water, from the surface to the ocean bottom. That weight is influenced by factors such as the height of the ocean’s surface, and its salinity. A saltier ocean is heavier and circulates differently than one with less salt.

The very precise deep-sea gauges were developed with help from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the satellite is NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace). The team of scientists found a 10-millibar decrease in water pressure at the bottom of the ocean at the North Pole between 2002 and 2006, equal to removing the weight of 10 centimeters (four inches) of water from the ocean. The distribution and size of the decrease suggest that Arctic Ocean circulation changed from the counterclockwise pattern it exhibited in the 1990s to the clockwise pattern that was dominant prior to 1990.

Reporting in Geophysical Research Letters, the authors attribute the reversal to a weakened Arctic Oscillation, a major atmospheric circulation pattern in the northern hemisphere. The weakening reduced the salinity of the upper ocean near the North Pole, decreasing its weight and changing its circulation.

“Our study confirms many changes seen in upper Arctic Ocean circulation in the 1990s were mostly decadal in nature, rather than trends caused by global warming,” said Morison.

“While some 1990s climate trends, such as declines in Arctic sea ice extent, have continued, these results suggest at least for the ‘wet’ part of the Arctic — the Arctic Ocean — circulation reverted to conditions like those prevalent before the 1990s,” he added.

The Arctic Oscillation was fairly stable until about 1970, but then varied on more or less decadal time scales, with signs of an underlying upward trend, until the late 1990s, when it again stabilized. During its strong counterclockwise phase in the 1990s, the Arctic environment changed markedly, with the upper Arctic Ocean undergoing major changes that persisted into this century. Many scientists viewed the changes as evidence of an ongoing climate shift, raising concerns about the effects of global warming on the Arctic.

Morison said data gathered by Grace and the bottom pressure gauges since publication of the paper earlier this year highlight how short-lived the ocean circulation changes can be. The newer data indicate the bottom pressure has increased back toward its 2002 level. “The winter of 2006-2007 was another high Arctic Oscillation year and summer sea ice extent reached a new minimum,” he said. “It is too early to say, but it looks as though the Arctic Ocean is ready to start swinging back to the counterclockwise circulation pattern of the 1990s again.”

Morison cautioned that while the recent decadal-scale changes in the circulation of the Arctic Ocean may not appear to be directly tied to global warming, most climate models predict the Arctic Oscillation will become even more strongly counterclockwise in the future. “The events of the 1990s may well be a preview of how the Arctic will respond over longer periods of time in a warming world,” he said.

Grace monitors tiny month-to-month changes in Earth’s gravity field caused primarily by the movement of water in Earth’s land, ocean, ice and atmosphere reservoirs. As such it can infer changes in the weight of columns of ocean water. In contrast, the pressure gauges installed on the sea floor in 2005-2006 directly measured water pressure at the bottom of the ocean. Gauge data were remotely recovered during the first year of the study.

“The close agreement between the North Pole pressure gauges and Grace data demonstrates Grace’s potential for tracking world ocean circulation,” said study co-author John Wahr of the University of Colorado, Boulder.

“Satellite altimeters, such as NASA’s Jason, are ideal for studying ocean circulation but can’t be used at Earth’s poles due to ice cover,” said study co-author Ron Kwok of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “Our results show Grace can be a powerful tool for tracking changes in the distribution of mass in the Arctic Ocean, as well as its circulation.”

Grace is a partnership between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The University of Texas Center for Space Research, Austin, has overall mission responsibility. JPL developed the twin satellites. DLR provided the launch, and GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Germany, operates Grace. For more on Grace: http://www.csr.utexas.edu/grace/ .

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation.

About these ads

80 thoughts on “NASA Sees Arctic Ocean Circulation Do an About-Face

  1. So NASA is clarifying its earlier statements about the Arctic Ocean circulation being responsible for the low ice of 2007. But this time they are stating that its not necessarily natural? Perhaps they were given a talking to by their colleagues at GISS.

  2. I never heard anything about the findings reported in this NASA article and I suspect it has to do with this one comment in that article:

    “Our study confirms many changes seen in upper Arctic Ocean circulation in the 1990s were mostly decadal in nature, rather than trends caused by global warming.”

  3. I’ve noticed a distinct cooling trend on the NOAA camera site — http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/latest/noaa1.jpg

    Over the last week or more the temp has not risen above freezing and ice appears to be increasing.

    Purely anecdotal, but interesting since this is supposed to be the warmest period in the Arctic year.

  4. Very little Arctic ice is ever more than about three or four years old. This is because it traverses the Arctic from west to east, and then melts in the north Atlantic.

    Last year the ice traversed unusually quickly, so the average age of the ice decreased.

  5. While many people are focussed on air temperatures, the real focus has to be put on the oceans, where 1000s of times more energy is stored.
    If the oceans get a sniffle, then the atmosphere catches a major cold.

  6. It’s those darn satellites again disproving AGW.

    Should I list off alarmist excuses over the next 10 years.

    1. This a short term trend, ignore it.
    2. Grace measures changes in GRAVITY not ocean levels it’s better to use a few hand selected tidal gauges in sparse locations around the world that have been selectively “adjusted” for accuracy.
    3. The models predicted this all along, we always said the arctic was suppose to get more snow.

    Did I miss any?

  7. 4. Global warming is not really about the globe warming, it is about the weather getting more extreme. Actually the new slogan is “Climate Change”, ACC if you will. In other words, the AGW chicken littles have already protected their religion with a new equation

    10 IF |Climate Change| > 0.1% THEN AGW = true, ELSE WAIT 1 month GOTO 10

    5. It will take awhile to see if these numbers are accurate, need to build a 30 year history first. Some numbers are more equal than others.

  8. From the interesting link provided by Pierre Gosselin, here’s the polling data: [click]

    This poll is from a very pro-AGW perspective. Even though the commentary tries to spin the results, it’s clear that the alarmist side is running out of gas.

  9. Morrison nicely covered his arse with:

    while the recent decadal-scale changes in the circulation of the Arctic Ocean may not appear to be directly tied to global warming, most climate models predict the Arctic Oscillation will become even more strongly counterclockwise in the future. “The events of the 1990s may well be a preview of how the Arctic will respond over longer periods of time in a warming world,”

  10. Today’s update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center:

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    “The pace of sea ice loss sharply quickened in the past ten days, triggered by a series of strong storms that broke up thin ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Amundsen’s historic Northwest Passage is opening up; the wider and deeper route through Parry Channel is currently still clogged with ice.”

    Also, it appears that the same sort of conditions that brought warmer air into the Arctic in July 2007 has occurred this year, just a little later:
    “Subsequently, a pattern has developed with high pressure over the Beaufort Sea and low pressure over the Laptev and East Siberian Seas (Figure 3). In accord with Buys Ballot’s Law, this pattern has brought southerly winds to the region, enhancing melt, breaking up ice, and pushing the ice edge northward.”

    Will these conditions be reported as “weather” or “climate change”? How can one tell the difference, aside from following one’s bias regarding “AGW”?

  11. It seems I recall some fears expressed regarding shifts in the Arctic currents would be part of the catastrophic trigger leading to shutdown of the Gulf Stream.

    The ultimate causes of these changes in oceanic currents was melting ice, feeding more fresh water into the currents. As the densities of the fresh waters were different than the prevailing salt waters, their presence would serve to shut down the conveyor belts of Atlantic currents.

    Now we see shifts in Arctic currents are fairly common over decadal periods of time. Another example of drawing hasty conclusions with short term (less than ten years) patterns in nature.

  12. Come back in ten years with better data models based on better data and an honest appraisal of the information at hand. Meanwhile, I am going to continue to watch FuelTV and am going to convert from heating oil to coal.

  13. 6. The instruments must have produced bad readings, because they don’t match our models!
    7. GW is taking a break, but it’ll be back with a vengeance in 15 or 20 years.
    8. We’ve fine-tuned our models; now they’re even more reliable!
    9. We’ve adjusted the historical data, now our models are correct.

  14. Smokey,
    Here’s the statistic that’s really stunning:
    !! “52 percent of Republicans support cap-and-trade” !!

    Either this polling data is terribly slanted, or today’s GOP has a lot of spineless weenies in it.

  15. I put hardly any confidence in that ABC poll because it does not state how many people were polled. Even if it was hundreds of thousands, what is that to 300 million American citizens(unless someone can tell me how many there were)?

  16. In this May 07 Nature report, like above,

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v447/n7143/edsumm/e070524-05.html

    Dr. Visbek seems to be claiming that climate change is driving the oceans, and not vice versa. I didn’t find the entire Nature article.

    That would mean climate is perhaps driving the El Ninos and La Ninas, and not the other way around? That to me this would seem absurd. Has anyone read the above, or have a copy of it?

    I guess it fits in with their bizarre hypothesis that global warming causes “cooling”.
    1. We emit CO2
    2. CO2 warms the earth
    3. The warming changes the ocean dynamics
    4. and this somehow produces a La Nina
    5. which then cools the earth

    The whole notion that the atmosphere is driving the oceans sounds awfully far fetched indeed. What do our ocean-expert readers say here?

  17. So much is still not understood…
    (via ScienceDaily):

    http://www.young-germany.de/news-verwaltung/news-singleview/article/cf1e49c910/climate-change-clues-found-in-volcanic-lake-in-germany.html?no_cache=1

    And is backed up nicely by this report (sorry only in German):

    http://www.awi.de/de/aktuelles_und_presse/pressemitteilungen/detail/item/abrupt_climate_changes_during_the_last_ice_age_a_phenomenon_of_extreme_winters/?cHash=85c29c2e97

    Which has the sub-headline: Huge differences between seasons during the climate’s history pose great challenges for modellers.

    If someone said “pretty please with sugar on top”, I would translate this report.

  18. Pierre Gosselin,

    Nope; your logic doesn’t make sense. Here, I’ll fix it for you:

    1. We emit CO2
    2. CO2 warms the earth
    3. The warming changes the ocean dynamics
    4. ???
    5. The Earth cools
    6. Thus proving global warming

    There we go; makes perfect sense now.

  19. Pierre Gosselin (11:57:38) :

    > 7. GW is taking a break

    It’s not takin’ a break! ‘It’s passed on! This global warming is no
    more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s
    a stiff! Bereft of life, It rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the hockey stick it’d be pushing up the daisies! Its meteorological processes are now history! ‘It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, It’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-GLOBAL-WARMING!!

  20. This Der Spiegel article is written by complete fools, but illustrates what Germany has become. A weak spineless nation that has embraced the Greens with such fervour that its people will never be anything other than grist to the Russian mill from now on. So sad, but so predictable.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,565363,00.html

    I anticipated that the EU would eventually disintegrate because it has nailed its flag to the AGW flagpole. Now I think that it will collapse in the face of Russian armour. The UN is crap and NATO is undecided. How’s your Russian comrade? Remember the joke? Visit Russia before Russia visits you! Not so funny now?

  21. In an article that I just read elsewhere, there was mention of researchers from 60 nations working in the Arctic, and, I suspect, most of them involve ice-breakers. Has anyone given any thought to how much more quickly broken ice melts, and/or moves out into the North Atlantic?
    Just a thought.

  22. GISS is in for July at 0.51, just below last year’s 0.53. Thanks to the power of linux, “diff” and “grep -c” show 80 changes in previous values.

  23. Bill Marsh, without spending too much time, I looked at noaa1 over 7/3/08-8/11/08, 10:00 to 14:00 hours. The only temp readings were: 0.0, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0 degC. These seem strangely stable, and only above freezing. For a fractional readout to only have few .5s and 80-90% .0s and no other digits seems fishy. For the same date interval and camera but 20:00-23:00 hours, I found some 2.5 degC temps. Maybe this site needs a survey!?

  24. Basil, a good question. Is it the seasonally adjusted or just plain old regularly adjusted ;-)

  25. Second hottest July this century, and the third hottest July in history!
    Jim Hansen, keeping the dream alive…

  26. The arctic ice melt is assumed to be caused by AGW according to the true believers, however the hard evidence is non-existent.

    I would still like to see a detailed quantified exposition with experimental evidence that CO2 can cause oceans to gain heat. In particular, Hansen et al 2005 attributes OHC from 1993-2003 caused by increasing GHG, namely CO2. Yet, since LW IR does not penetrate liquid water beyond ~.03mm in the physical world, does AGW have special powers?

    The oceans stopped gaining heat after 2003, and IPCC AR4 does not note that inconvenient fact. As it is now, OHC has waned now going on five years. If the AGW hypothesis is correct, how can oceans ever cool? The so-called “heat in the pipeline” is total nonsense.

    Is it a matter of “well mixed water”? Convection? Conduction? There appears to be much arm waiving on this subject, so it would be good to hear from physicists on this.

    I don’t buy it.

  27. The melt in the Arctic proves one thing — ice melts.

    As real scientists keep discovering, the climate is a lot more complicated than how much CO2 is entering the atmosphere. It’s only been about a dozen years since the formal existence of the PDO was acknowledged. Now the decadel nature of Arctic air and water circulation patterns is emerging. Last week it was more about a major storm in the Beaufort Sea moving ice, rather than melting ice. Despite all the panic attacks about the ice melt, I think it will emerge that the Arctic is much more robust than is usually acknowledged. Let’s see how ice extent grows over the next couple seasons as a cooling atmospheric/oceanic pattern emerges.

    Let’s be thankful for the mitigating effects of the oceans, else our climate extremes would be truly dizzying.

  28. Pingback: Top Posts « WordPress.com

  29. F Rasmin (15:47:52) :

    I commented in a recent post about what looked like an upturn in the graph for ice melt. The latest graph appears to have ‘forgotten ‘ about that, and the upturn seems never to have been and is now a downturn!

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews

    I remember that post, and looking closely at the link to the NSIDC chart, which did appear to be starting to turn up. Now the line appears to have been “adjusted” downward.

    Maybe a blink comparison of the original chart with the new and improved chart is in order.

  30. Change in global anomaly from July 2007 to July 2008

    GISS: -0.02
    RSS: -0.216
    UAH: -0.207

    Good thing all the measurements are in perfect agreement, or there’s no telling how different they would be.

  31. Any feedback on how that Artic circulation fits in with this NASA news report?
    News: Antarctic Ice Loss Speeds Up, Nearly Matches Greenland Loss1/23/08

    PASADENA, Calif. – Ice loss in Antarctica increased by 75 percent in the last 10 years due to a speed-up in the flow of its glaciers and is now nearly as great as that observed in Greenland, according to a new, comprehensive study by NASA and university scientists. . . .

  32. > Basil (14:42:31) :

    > Walter Dnes (14:33:47) :

    > What GISS are you looking at?

    > This one shows a huge jump to 70, highest July since 2002,
    > and second only to 1998):

    You seem to be looking at the land-temperatures-only version. Have a look at the legend at the top of that text file; it says…
    > sources: GHCN 1880-07/2008 (meteorological stations only)
    > using elimination of outliers and homogeneity adjustment

    The last part of your URL is “GLB.Ts.txt”. Change that to “GLB.Ts+dSST.txt”, as in http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt and the legend at the top of that file will include…

    > sources: GHCN 1880-07/2008 + SST: 1880-11/1981 HadISST1
    > 12/1981-07/2008 Reynolds v2
    > using elimination of outliers and homogeneity adjustment

  33. Bill Marsh (07:33:58) :
    I’ve noticed a distinct cooling trend on the NOAA camera site — http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/latest/noaa1.jpg

    Over the last week or more the temp has not risen above freezing and ice appears to be increasing.

    Purely anecdotal, but interesting since this is supposed to be the warmest period in the Arctic year.

    The air temperature over the ice rarely gets above 0ºC (latent heat), the sensor on the weather station might sometimes go above if the sun is shining on it. I don’t see your ‘anecdotal’ increase in the ice, in fact over the last month the thickness of the ice at that station has decreased from 2.0m to 1.4m and is thinning at the fastest rate of the summer at the moment.

    Mark (07:04:48) :
    I never heard anything about the findings reported in this NASA article and I suspect it has to do with this one comment in that article:

    Well Mark I guess you weren’t listening when it was published last fall when it got plenty of coverage!
    By the way the change postulated in that paper from counter-clockwise to clockwise hasn’t happened yet according to the buoy measurements during this summer, the Beaufort gyre did mostly disappear this summer though.

    That yacht mentioned above should have nice weather for the rest of the week (sunny ~10ºC), there were thunderstorms at their destination tonight though!

  34. Pingback: STAY WARM, WORLD… Roger Carr « Stay Warm, World…

  35. Concerning the ABC poll. If some large majority, some say 85%, get all their information about the world from their TV, then polls are just a report on the job the TV people are doing. The low and falling percentages of AGW believers is not the sort of thing spinmeisters would like on their resumes. Yesss.

  36. Note that our northern state of Queensland is where all we Australians who like the tropics wish to live.
    Or did…

    Even Queensland can’t escape from the cold
    Brett Dutschke, Tuesday August 12, 2008 – 14:35 EST

    It’s a case of icy cold one day, icy cold the next in Queensland as Coolangatta breaks an August record for the fourth time in five days, according to weatherzone.com.au.

    The temperature in Coolangatta plummeted to just one degree early this morning, 10 below the August average. This is the fifth day running that the temperature has dropped lower than 3.6 degrees, the previous record August low in more than 20 years of records.

    Weatherzone

    http://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/even-queensland-cant-escape-from-the-cold/9698

  37. The NSIDC Arctic ice extent graph appears to be incorrect.

    It shows the increase in extent vs. this date last year as less than 15%, yet the actual increase is greater than 30%. Here is a video which shows this qualitatively. Note that almost the entire periphery has expanded.

    Also, note that the NSIDC claim of the Northwest Passage opening does not appear accurate.

  38. About Cryosphere, I look at data curve and views of sea ice areas 08/11/2007 and 08/11/2008.
    Data curve set 7,5% more sea ice area today than last year (4,2 Mkm² versus 3,9Mkm²).

    Views suggest about 30% or more.

    Have you an explanation ?

    Thanks for your answers.

  39. Artic ice extend:

    Anthony and others:
    Why is it that Cryosphere gives a picture that the ice melt of 2008 is close to 2007, when its not?

    And more: if you measure pxel for pixel directly on satellite photos, you will see that the ice extend right now appears even bigger:

    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=08&fd=11&fy=2008&sm=08&sd=11&sy=2008

    For this, use Greenlands size = 2,15 mio kvm to get abs size.

    Am i the only one who sees a problem in the difference how the iceextend is presented? This is the most “hot” subject right now, and before the warmies get away with it, I would wish that this was investigated and exposed to the world. People should not think that the ice extend now is much smaller than it is.

    In cryosphere, for example also compare with 1995, where it seems that the ice extend where smaller than 2008.

  40. Addition: The AMSR-E graph above shows around 0,9 mio kvm2 ice more than 2007 same time. Cryosphere and NSIDC show around 0,3-0,6. Satellite photos shows at least 1 mio kvm2 mor ice ind 2008 than 2007.

    I hope this gets serious spotlight.

  41. Pingback: NASA Sees Arctic Ocean Circulation Do an About-Face « Top Models Blog

  42. Frank L
    Looking at the sat photos, it certainly seems 2008 ice extent is being underestimated. Be careful though – some graphs (like NSIDC) plot ocean that’s at least 15% ice. So I’m not sure if apples are being compared to oranges here.

  43. Interesting that the NSIDC press department appears largely disinterested in Antarctic ice, other than the occasional chunk breaking off an ice shelf on the Peninsula.

    It provides some good insight into their obsession with proving global warming.

  44. I have been monitoring this blog for about four weeks now, and one thing I have noticed over and over… Anthony Watts will insert his own headline onto a story from another source. Alternatively, he will insert some commentary that goes beyond his source information, or misquotes it. These comments or headlines are often inserted into the source material, with no attribution.

    Lets look at the key quote from this story, “The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming. ”

    This simply says that there is a cyclic pattern that can explain a portion of the changes in the Arctic climate, (most experts point to climate changes such as warming temperatures, ice pack melt, and permafrost melt), but that global warming is responsible for some of the change (most experts claim the majority of the changes). The quote say “not all” meaning some or most of the climate change is due to global warming.

    But Anthony inserts this interpretation:
    Given our less than predicted catastrophic sea ice loss this year, coupled with this study, it looks like Arctic ice could be on the mend. – Anthony

    Wow, where did he get this conclusion? I see at least three mistakes in just one line. First, no large scientific organization has predicted catastrophic sea ice loss this year; Some organizations are expecting 5-10 years before the North Pole goes ice free, and the IPCC is saying 30 years, down from their original forecasts of about 100 years. The IPCC originally significantly underestimated the impact of global warming on the Arctic.

    Second, this study doesn’t predict sea ice recovery to previous levels, it simply raises the hope that the dramatic sea ice declines we have seen in the last several years will slow down, due to cyclic trends.

    Third, there is no data, or scientific organization, or significant recent climatology research that could lead anyone to the conclusion that “the Arctic sea ice could be on the mend”, as Anthony states… he pulled this conclusion out of thin air. The GRACE studies mentioned in his source article, has proven conclusively that ice mass is being lost on all three major ice packs, the Arctic, Greenland, and surprisingly, the Antarctic (climatologists didn’t expect the Antarctic to lose ice from AGW). There is no significant research pointing to a mend in Arctic ice pack.

    So the information in the article, is changed in the interpretation, to a different conclusion… Ask yourself why?

  45. Want the truth? Here is a much more accurate story, than the “revised version” presented on this blog:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/10/climatechange.arctic

    “This point was backed by Serreze. ‘The trouble is that sea ice is now disappearing from the Arctic faster than our ability to develop new computer models and to understand what is happening there. We always knew it would be the first region on Earth to feel the impact of climate change, but not at anything like this speed. What is happening now indicates that global warming is occurring far earlier than any of us expected.’ “

  46. Paul K: I just wanted to correct you, the proper term now is “climate change”
    not “global warming”

  47. [snip - I closed down comments on the pachuri story because they got out of hand, I'm not going to reopen the thread here. - Anthony]

  48. “‘The trouble is that sea ice is now disappearing from the Arctic faster than our ability to develop new computer models and to understand what is happening there.”
    OMG, Paul, that truly is alarming. No computer models? What ever will we do?
    Your link, Paul, is pure, unadulterated AGW alarmist hogwash. But, typically, it’s what you people like to call “truth”. Pathetic.

  49. Paul K,

    Serreze is the same guy who forecast the North Pole to be “ice free this summer for the first time.”

    He obviously has an agenda which is outside the bounds of conservative science,

  50. Paul K (11:46:39) says:

    …there is no data, or scientific organization, or significant recent climatology research that could lead anyone to the conclusion that “the Arctic sea ice could be on the mend”, as Anthony states… he pulled this conclusion out of thin air.

    Paul K, you should really read the comments before spouting off like that. It’s embarassing: click. As you can see, the extent of sea ice this year is well within normal parameters.

    And please give a little more respect to our host. Just because you don’t agree, doesn’t mean that he pulls his conclusions out of thin air.

  51. Paul K (11:46:39)

    The quote say “not all” meaning some or most of the climate change is due to global warming.
    You left out “large changes”

    I believe Mr. Watts did an excellent job of tying the two studies (observed data) together.
    Guardian
    This may be only factual statement in the whole article.
    “Satellite images show that ice caps started to disintegrate dramatically several days ago as storms over Alaska’s Beaufort Sea began sucking streams of warm air into the Arctic.”
    The rest is based on opinions and “AGW-CO2 drives the climate” computer models that incorrectly model ocean currents and wind circulation. No wonder they wrong. The computer model aren’t based on observed data. They are based on speculation.

  52. Here we go again… I don’t know why this is, but every time I post something here, people re-state into something I didn’t say, or willfully misinterpret it.

    Lets start with Smokey who said: “Paul K, you should really read the comments before spouting off like that. It’s embarassing: click. As you can see, the extent of sea ice this year is well within normal parameters.
    And please give a little more respect to our host. Just because you don’t agree, doesn’t mean that he pulls his conclusions out of thin air.”

    I happen to agree with Tiger Wood’s dad, who said “Love is a given, but respect is earned!”, and I even go so far to give respect initially, until someone proves otherwise. Beyond that, I am afraid we get into personal attacks, and I would much rather stick with the facts. So I decline to follow up on your personal comments about me.

    Regarding the information on pulling conclusions out of thin air, my comment that linked to another one of Anthony’s recent posts that misrepresented a Chicago Tribune article, but was snipped out by our host. I can’t even link to one of our host’s very own posts; so this makes it difficult to show a consistent misrepresentation in the posts on this blog.

    But there are many examples of misrepresentations of scientific and news articles in these posts, so let me try again in my next post.

    BTW, the link you sent me to, shows only the last seven years of ice data for the Arctic. If you look at current ice compared to the last 30 year trend line here:

    you will see the ice extent is much lower than long term trends, and NOT as you said: “As you can see, the extent of sea ice this year is well within normal parameters.”

    REPLY: Paul K its quite simple, you want to start up a discussion that’s been closed because commenters on both sides got unruly, so I decided to close it. The decision stands. You don’t like the way the article was posted. I understand that. But I’m not going to re-open the thread discussion here because you have issues with it. You are welcome to discuss anything else currently open.

  53. Lets look for more misrepresentations; take this post:

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/polar-ice-check-still-a-lot-of-ice-up-there/

    It begins:
    ” Polar Ice Check – Still a lot of ice up there

    During our last check in, we had a look at northern Canada from the Arctic Circle to the North pole, and found we had quite a ways to go before we see an “ice free arctic” this year as some have speculated.”

    I read this and immediately thought, who in their right mind would believe that all the ice in the Arctic Ocean would melt this year? Certainly no knowledgeable person would make such a speculation, since it would involve melting off an additional 4+ million square kilometers of ice than last year.

    Basically Anthony set up a “straw man” by misquoting experts on Arctic ice. He then showed some pictures of ice in the Arctic, and easily knocked down the straw man.

    Some of the comments didn’t agree… On July 30th Mike Keep pointed out the straw man:
    “Err, correct me if I’m wrong but weren’t all the headlines earlier about an ice free North Pole (still quite possible as there is another 7 weeks before peak melt), not an ice free Arctic, something quite different.”

    His comment was knocked by many of the subsequent posters, but on July 31, Mike Keep points out my central point of this post, and virtually every one of my comments since I arrived here:

    “It dismays me. This blog has in the past had much good debate but it has become farcical and full of sensationalistic innacuracies lately (the very thing the average blogger here claims the AGW camp are guilty of). Even Anthony who has done much fine work on temperature equipment is guilty of this. I will use this thread as an example. First ice loss in the Arctic is above normal, due to an higher mean temperature anomolies.”

    Then JP Rourke points out the straw man again in a response to Pieter Folkens:

    “a good chance of an ice-fee North Pole” is what the ‘experts’ have been quoted saying – NOT “ice-free arctic”… if you want to persist in saying the latter, please give at least ONE cite, of ANY GW or AGW ‘expert’ saying that. Please? If you can, I will join you in roundly critiquing such statement. It is not going to happen!

    In response, the posters on that thread then cited this source:

    http://www.spacedaily.com/news/arctic-02a.html

    where it says that in the FUTURE the Arctic could go ice free. Direct quote: “Last winter the Bering Sea was effectively ice-free, which is unprecedented, and if this big melt continues, some say the formerly ice-locked Arctic will have open sea lanes as soon as 2015. By 2050, the summertime ice cap could disappear entirely.”

    There were no scientists speculating about an “ice free Arctic” this year, as Anthony said in his post. This site has a big credibility problem, and it is getting bigger.

    REPLY: The issue is one of labels. Yes the original stories said “ice free north pole in 2008″. However, by what mechanism would you propose that the ice at the north pole and environs would melt, leaving a ring of ice around the north pole? As far as I know, such a thing has never happened, nor could I see a mechanism for it to happen. But if you know of one, please explain how such a ring of ice with open water in it could occur and why specifically it would occur this year? The closest I’ve ever seen to an “ice free north pole” was that picture of the 3 submarines with some leads around them, but the pole certainly wasn’t ice free then. If you have a photo or graphic that illustrates the pole being ice free with ice surrounding it, please post it. I’ll be happy to highlight it.

    In my view, since ice tends to melt at the southern latitudes first, with the total extent gradually shrinking from the edges towards the pole (in general, though there are regional exceptions) the phrase “ice free north pole in 2008″ strongly implies that there would not be a ring of ice with a hole at the north pole, where only that area has melted, but a generally ice free area. Thus to me saying that the “north pole would be ice free” also says the edges at lower latitudes up to the pole would be ice free as well. The point of the satellite images was to show that at that time, this had not happened.

    I look forward to seeing real world examples of how an ice free north pole with a ring of ice around it might have happened in the past or would have happenened this year. In my view, simple leads (which happen and disappear) don’t count. This has to be a sustained event.

    As for credibility problem, well I’ll leave that up to site data, which says visits are on the rise. I suppose if my broad credibility were shrinking, so would those numbers, but so far, its been up every month.

    I think the bigger credibility problem is with news agencies that made the big story from this scientist’s errant quote in the first place.

  54. I certainly didn’t expect this response from you, Anthony. I thought that if I pointed out where you have missed the target, or misstated the target in your recent posts, you might calibrate your future posts. But your response is a complete shock! You argue that there isn’t any difference between a forecast possibility of the North Pole going ice free, and a forecast stating the entire Arctic Ocean will go ice free! I am not an expert on Arctic ice, but even I can read the analyses.

    The scientists talking about an ice free North Pole, based those predictions on several factors:
    First, there was relatively thin first year ice at the Pole at the beginning of the season, with multiyear ice in the Greenland sea, Beaufort Sea and other areas were the melt rates would particularly high, and with the best expanse of multiyear ice along the northern coast of the Canadian islands and Greenland. Look at the graphic in this link, and see the hole (of thin first year ice):

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/exclusive-no-ice-at-the-north-pole-855406.html

    Further, the scientists said wind patterns and ocean current patterns could help melt the ice at the Pole this year. Here is a link to a recent post dated August 11 at NSIDC discussing this (check out the conditions for a strong southerly wind over the pole):

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    At this point in time, it doesn’t appear that the Pole will go ice free this year, the melt rate in July wasn’t strong enough. But the forecasts weren’t predicting with certainly the Pole would melt out; only that some forecasters assigned a probability that it might, given the specifics above.

    Contrary to your assertions, no one said the entire Arctic Ocean would go ice free! That is simply a straw man, set up to easily knock down.

    The problem here is that your post misstated what the scientists predicted and forecast… the post was grossly inaccurate, irrespective of what happens next.

    REPLY: I understand the point you are trying to make, but I’ll point out that you made the same misstep you accuse me of.

    I have to call BS on this statement: “Look at the graphic in this link, and see the hole (of thin first year ice):” Sir, “thin first year ice” is NOT a hole. A hole is open ice free water, or water and ice mixed. Please don’t insult me by trying to convince me a hole exists where solid ice is. I’m “shocked” that you would equate a frozen ice surface to a “hole”, thin or not. Your assertion is flat wrong.

    The point is the whole “ice free” forecast and media blitz on it was flawed from the start. And as you rightly point out, whether probability or just bone headed public PR forecasting for effect, its not likely to happen.

    Again unless somebody shows me an actual significant and sustained hole in the sea ice at the north pole, its just arguing semantics. Ice Free North Pole or Ice Free Arctic, (or your new phrase “Ice Free Artic Ocean”)none of these is happening.

    “I thought that if I pointed out where you have missed the target, or misstated the target in your recent posts, you might calibrate your future posts.” Yes indeed, I’ll be more careful in choosing descriptive words so I don’t have to waste time in semantic arguments like this over the use of the words.

  55. However, by what mechanism would you propose that the ice at the north pole and environs would melt, leaving a ring of ice around the north pole? As far as I know, such a thing has never happened, nor could I see a mechanism for it to happen.

    So yes you did pull it out of thin air, you invented a fantasy scenario and then proceeded to ridicule it! However, if the N Pole were to become ice free this year (the estimate was a 50/50 chance) it would most likely be an extension of last year’s situation when ice-free water was encroaching from one side (Siberia), see link.

    This would of course not form your imaginary ring, especially since the multi-year ice accumulates on the N American coastline.

  56. Frank L/ Denmark (01:36:19) :
    Artic ice extend:

    Anthony and others:
    Why is it that Cryosphere gives a picture that the ice melt of 2008 is close to 2007, when its not?

    Because it is! You are comparing two different parameters and appear to think that they’re the same, they are not.
    Sea Ice Extent is the sum of the area enclosing ice concentration of greater than 15%, Sea Ice Area (as reported by CT) is the sum of the area x concentration, and therefore is a better measure of the amount of ice.
    As an illustration you could have the same area of ice distributed in two ways, average concentration of 25% and 75%, in the first case the extent would be 4x the area whereas in the second it would be 1.33x the area.

    As shown by CT the area is fairly close to the ’07 value (~0.3Mm^2 behind on 08/12).

  57. It doenst matter what kind of method you use, area or area*concentration, the point is the same:
    The ice extend in 2008 is back to 2005 level:

    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=08&fd=12&fy=2005&sm=08&sd=12&sy=2008

    This was recently by alarmist said to be 100% impossible. But non the less.

    So the ice extend is NOT decreasing this year and so the so called “scientists” should not say so in ANY way. Should not manipulate readers to think so. it stinks!

    This detail about the geographical point, the north pole:
    Should it happend that this point by freak coincidence should be ice free it is of no relevanse: The important thing is that EVEN THOUGH THE ICE WAS THIN, ICE EXTEND IS BIGGER IN 2008 than. This does certainly not indicate a warmer artic, and any article who makes the impression of artic warmer in 2008 than 2007 is FALSE! And thanks to Anthony these misleading articles are pinpointed.

  58. Anthony. I return to your site every now and then and find that there are more and more posts from people who advocate global warming! Why are they so concerned with the material here? Why are their numbers increasing ? Could it be doubt? Could it be that this site represents some sort of danger?.Soon you might have to open up another site because this one has been hijacked!

  59. Thanks for posting this graph, Phil. It clearly shows us that current sea ice is well within the range referred to as “normal.”

    That’s what I like about graphs. We can immediately see if we need to panic. This isn’t one of those times.

    Oh, and F Rasmin, don’t worry about the true believers. We can handle them [and it's known that at least six of them are the same individual, masquerading as a group].

    The glaring difference between sites like this one and alarmist sites is that most alarmist sites do not allow uncomfortable or inconvenient truths to be posted. RealClimate is a case in point, along with Rabett, Tamino and others. They don’t understand that the truth emerges through discussion, not through censorship. Maybe that’s the reason they censor, no?

  60. Frank L/Denmark (00:03:17) :
    It doenst matter what kind of method you use, area or area*concentration, the point is the same:

    Actually it does, I suggest you read up on the subject before pontificating further.

    Smokey (17:52:01) :
    Thanks for posting this graph, Phil. It clearly shows us that current sea ice is well within the range referred to as “normal.”

    Actually I didn’t but I guess you know that.
    shows that this year’s ice is already as low as the minimum area recorded in the last 29 years except for last year, and is still dropping at ~0.1Mm^2/day. Not within the normal range. Unless melting stops within the next few days this year will see the largest ice melt in the satellite era!

  61. Why, Phil, you old cherry picker you! You only showed the top half of the planet. Did you think we wouldn’t notice?

    Well, if you can cherry pick Northern Hemisphere sea ice, then I guess I can cherry pick Southern Hemisphere sea ice: click

    Oh, and the North Pole still has enough ice cover to make Santa go out and polish his sleigh: click

    See? There’s plenty of ice. That kayaker is gonna have himself a tough time paddling across the North Pole.

    So no need to panic, Phil. Just try to relax, and try to think happy thoughts. The AGW boogeyman only scares those who are prone to fright.

  62. @Phil
    Of course the difference in measuring method are important to know, but one more time, and this time please try to relate to the point (!!) – which by the way is getting clearer and clearer EVERY DAY now, here 14/8 comparisation between 2008 and 2005 :

    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=08&fd=14&fy=2005&sm=08&sd=14&sy=2008

    I write one more time:

    The ice extend in 2008 is back to 2005 level. This was recently by alarmist said to be 100% impossible. But non the less.

    So the ice extend is NOT decreasing this year and so the so called “scientists” should not say so in ANY way. Should not manipulate readers to think so. it stinks!

    Phil try to look very careful at the link i gave.
    1) Does it look as though the north pole has less ice in 2008 than 2005?
    2) Does it actually look as though 2008 has more solid ice around the north pole than in 2005
    3) Is it not interesting that this “back to 2005″ happends EVEN THOUGH the ice was thin 1 year ice?
    4) Is it then fair in any article to claim that we now in 2008 has exeptionally big chance of an ice free north pole??

    Phil:
    We have globally colder temperatures than last year, and we have more ice than last year and the sun has gone sleeping. So, Phil, please understand that some of us finds it misleading with these “ICE-FREE NORTH POLE” articles. If you dont understand it, i guarantee, many others will.

  63. Frank L/Denmark (23:53:12) :
    @Phil
    Of course the difference in measuring method are important to know, but one more time, and this time please try to relate to the point (!!)

    It’s not a difference in method, it’s different quantity altogether and the one which represents the amount of ice is ‘area’, ‘extent’ just tells you how it’s spread out!

    – which by the way is getting clearer and clearer EVERY DAY now, here 14/8 comparisation between 2008 and 2005 :

    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=08&fd=14&fy=2005&sm=08&sd=14&sy=2008

    I write one more time:

    The ice extend in 2008 is back to 2005 level. This was recently by alarmist said to be 100% impossible. But non the less.

    Your saying it a second time doesn’t make it correct.

    So the ice extend is NOT decreasing this year and so the so called “scientists” should not say so in ANY way. Should not manipulate readers to think so. it stinks!

    Again not the relevant parameter, whether it’s more or less than last year depends on the wind as much as anything else. Ice area is very close to last year and could finish either way, with the amount of fragmented ice still there a record is still possible.

    Phil try to look very careful at the link i gave.
    1) Does it look as though the north pole has less ice in 2008 than 2005?

    Whether it does or not depends on someone’s photoshopping, there’s no data at the Pole, see the black dot in the actual image, no data!

    2) Does it actually look as though 2008 has more solid ice around the north pole than in 2005
    No

    3) Is it not interesting that this “back to 2005″ happends EVEN THOUGH the ice was thin 1 year ice?
    It’s surpassed 2005, already 2008 has less ice than the minimum in 2005, despite starting with 1 million sq km more area this spring!

    4) Is it then fair in any article to claim that we now in 2008 has exeptionally big chance of an ice free north pole??

    No one said ‘exceptionally big chance’, Serreze for example said 50/50, check out the fractured region at ~135ºE.

    Phil:
    We have globally colder temperatures than last year,

    Global temperatures aren’t particularly relevant to the fate of Arctic ice, even NH is of limited applicability, we’ve had 26ºC in the Canadian Arctic this summer. But those temperatures aren’t included in your ‘global’ statistics.

    and we have more ice than last year

    As pointed out above it’s a wash at present.

    and the sun has gone sleeping.

    Really how much has the TSI dropped this year?

    So, Phil, please understand that some of us finds it misleading with these “ICE-FREE NORTH POLE” articles. If you dont understand it, i guarantee, many others will.

    I suggest that you inform yourself on the situation then.
    Yesterday’s AMSR-E image from JAXA is a good start:

  64. As I’m seeing it:
    Still “almost but not quite” where we were last year in terms of total sea-ice area in the arctic. Though its worth noting that the bizzare occurance of a record peak of Antarctic sea Ice area happened at this date last year. Its well down on that now in the antarctic.
    So Global sea ice area has smashed the previous record low.
    If anyone wants to take a boat between the atlantic and pacific, the NW and NE passages are now wide open and ice free for near a week.

    Shows that the arctic surface meltpuddle of lower salinity water is certainly reducing heat transmission on the gulfstream current to the arctic this year compared to its effect on the last few years nthrn summers. Despite which the Ice volume is at a record low 1 mth out from expected min. And the ice area is well below 2006 and even 2005(the previous to 07record low ), still darn close to 2007 at this date. Worth noting that data over the last 3 decades shows rebound behaviour, with low ice events usually followed by quite high ice area the following year. There was a significant rebound in winter from over 3 million sqkm below 1979-2000 mean in late oct 2007 to 0.3mil below mean in mar-apr 2008. So the difference between winter 08 and now is record number 3 mentioned in this post.

    Don’t stress. Change forces evolutionary growth. The last simular magnitude enviromental shock was the Toba supervolcano 78000 years ago. Wiping out 99.9% of humans then caused the rational brain to evolve.
    Lets learn from our mistakes with this opportunity. ;-)

  65. I found that black spot hidding the area around the nth pole very annoying too. Click on “old (ssmi)” above the image to get the same colour mapping and full picture as previous years. The new image processing hides a lot. And it is curious that the “black spot” appeared on Nasa feeds right after the plughole subduction event was visible. A very scary phenomina if it becomes more common.
    My opinion from my experience is that the spin on PR, and sometimes the data provided by Nasa can be influenced by big business interests. Always be skeptical.
    My take on the raving about current circulation direction:
    When there is a significant ice cap the entry of the gulf current tends to force clockwise surface circulation.
    A fractured and broken cap makes it inevitable that winds drive surface current circulation in anticlockwise mode.
    Don’t agree with “just a normal cycle” PR on the circulation direction. Mis-direction for the masses and “blue pills” for the people who desperately want to keep believing that humans can do what ever they like with no big consequences IMO.
    Big money pays lots for blue pills like those. The red pill of reality requires you to research the mechanisms, data and discard what beliefs are just easy and pleasant, rather than supported. A matrix connundrum.

Comments are closed.