Arctic Sea Ice Melt Season Officially Over; ice up over 9% from last year

We have news from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). They say: The melt is over. And we’ve added 9.4% ice coverage from this time last year. Though it appears NSIDC is attempting to downplay this in their web page announcement today, one can safely say that despite irrational predictions seen earlier this year, we didn’t reach an “ice free north pole” nor a new record low for sea ice extent.

Here is the current sea ice extent graph from NSIDC as of today, notice the upturn, which has been adding ice now for 5 days:

Here is what they have to say about it:

The Arctic sea  ice cover appears to have reached its minimum extent for the year, the second-lowest extent recorded since the dawn of the satellite era.  While above the record minimum set on September 16, 2007, this year further reinforces the strong negative trend in summertime ice extent observed over the past thirty years. With the minimum behind us, we will continue to analyze ice conditions as we head into the crucial period of the ice growth season during the months to come.

Despite overall cooler summer temperatures, the 2008 minimum extent is only 390,000 square kilometers (150,000 square miles), or 9.4%, more than the record-setting 2007 minimum. The 2008 minimum extent is 15.0% less than the next-lowest minimum extent set in 2005 and 33.1% less than the average minimum extent from 1979 to 2000.

Overlay of 2007 and 2008 at September minimum

The spatial pattern of the 2008 minimum extent was different than that of 2007. This year did not have the substantial ice loss in the central Arctic, north of the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas. However, 2008 showed greater loss in the Beaufort, Laptev, and Greenland Seas.

Unlike last year, this year saw the opening of the Northern Sea Route, the passage through the Arctic Ocean along the coast of Siberia. However, while the shallow Amundsen’s Northwest Passage opened in both years, the deeper Parry’s Channel of the Northwest Passage did not quite open in 2008.

A word of caution on calling the minimum

Determining with certainty when the minimum has occurred is difficult until the melt season has decisively ended. For example, in 2005, the time series began to level out in early September, prompting speculation that we had reached the minimum. However, the sea ice contracted later in the season, again reducing sea ice extent and causing a further drop in the absolute minimum.

We mention this now because the natural variability of the climate system has frequently been known to trick human efforts at forecasting the future. It is still possible that ice extent could fall again, slightly, because of either further melting or a contraction in the area of the pack due to the motion of the ice. However, we have now seen five days of gains in extent. Because of the variability of sea ice at this time of year, the National Snow and Ice Data Center determines the minimum using a five-day running mean value.

Ongoing analysis continues

We will continue to post analysis of sea ice conditions throughout the year, with frequency determined by sea ice conditions. Near-real-time images at upper right will continue to be updated every day.

In addition, NSIDC will issue a formal press release at the beginning of October with full analysis of the possible causes behind this year’s low ice conditions, particularly interesting aspects of the melt season, the set-up going into the important winter growth season ahead, and graphics comparing this year to the long-term record. At that time, we will also know what the monthly average September sea ice extent was in 2008—the measure scientists most often rely on for accurate analysis and comparison over the long-term.

It will be interesting to see what they offer in the October press release. Plus we’ll be watching how much ice we add this winter, and what next year’s melt season will look like. Hopefully we won’t have a new crop of idiots like Lewis Gordon Pugh trying to reach the “ice free north pole” next year.

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195 thoughts on “Arctic Sea Ice Melt Season Officially Over; ice up over 9% from last year

  1. BTW, this is ice extent. How did ice area do?

    REPLY: May I kindly suggest you research this yourself and report back, I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment. – Anthony

  2. So why does the Jet Propulsion Laboratory site still highlight ‘historic sea ice changes’ and recent major melting that are clearing arctic ice routes on its home page???

  3. “…natural variability of the climate system has frequently been known to trick human efforts at forecasting the future.”

    Shouldn’t that be the lead? That’s big news!

    MikeEE

  4. Once again I will beat the tired old drum of why the use of 1979-2000 averages. Why not 1986 – 2007 averages? It’s still 21 years. Better yet why not use 1979-2007 averages? I think we all know because it will lower the amount of difference each year from the average, and of course we can’t have that.

  5. I wish the stock market was doing as well……………

    (NSODC).

    (NSIDC)?

    Sorry Anthony……pet peeve.

    (I’m one of those weirdos.)

  6. I especially like “second lowest on record”.

    Maybe its the greater than, less than thing that they don’t get?

  7. This is great news. As 2007 resulted in the loss of most of the “mature” (several seasons old) ice, the 2008 ice would melt much easier. Had conditions in 2008 been anywhere near conditions in 2007, we might have seen a total melt. The 2008 melt season began with thinner, newer ice than 2007 did. New ice has a high salt content and melts easier and is less dense. Each summer that ice is exposed to sunlight causes the brine to work out of it causing its melting point to rise so it takes more heat to melt it. So that 2008 finished ahead of 2007 with a more “fragile” ice pack is significant.

    The real test is going to be 2009. 2009 will start with a much larger base of second year ice than 2008 did.

    Hooray for the baby ice!

  8. MattN (18:12:45) :

    BTW, this is ice extent. How did ice area do?

    REPLY: May I kindly suggest you research this yourself and report back, I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment. – Anthony

    If I’m reading the graphs correctly at Cryosphere Today, the Arctic ice area is virtually indistinguishable from this time last year (maybe slightly more), and the Antarctic ice area is over a million km2 less. The overall anomaly is still pretty scary.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

  9. The problem with this comparison is that we have not yet reached the date of the 2007 minimum, which occurred late in September.

    The 9% number will likely be significantly larger by then.

  10. I would caution against any forcast. We witness AWG people making dire predictions…lets not do the irrational same.

    Still, there’s a damn lot of snow still left on the mountain behind my house and theres been ice under the lawn sprinkler for weeks now.

    Northeastern great basin.

  11. So why does the Jet Propulsion Laboratory site still highlight ‘historic sea ice changes’ and recent major melting that are clearing arctic ice routes on its home page???

    Lack of oxygen at high altitudes.

  12. Here is a number NSIDC isn’t advertising – the average daily extent for January 1- September 16 from AMSR data for each of the last four years.

    2005 – 10,914,719
    2006 – 10,689,056
    2007 – 10,647,319
    2008 – 11,074,703

  13. Yes, the minimal Arctic ice extent is over 9% higher in 2008 than 2007. However, the minimal ice area is virtually the same in both years. Furthermore, it is not clear that the decline in ice area has actually stopped this year.

  14. 2008 Sea Ice Extent 29th Largest in the Written History of Man
    2008 Sea Ice Extent 7th Largest in the Entire Millenium

  15. MattN:

    Here ya go.

    One for the Northern Hemi
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.north.jpg

    and one for the Southern Hemi
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.south.jpg

    Mark Nodine:

    I don’t think there is much to worry about with the Southern Hemi. The overall ice area is less than last year in gain, but so is the loss too. In other words, the curve is not as deep (or steep) as in preceding years. It is simply smaller and less extreme. The last summer bottomed out at 2.1 or 2.2. The three preceding Antarctic summers bottomed out below 2.0. In fact, since 1978 only 2001 and 2003 bottomed out higher than 2008 . We will have to see how this summer goes to see what the right half of the curve is like.

    Plus, as has been well noted here, temporary trends do not equal an inevitable runaway trend that should incite panic. Not that you are saying that. Until something lasting and consistent happens, however, I am not going to lose sleep over it. So far all we have from comparison the historical data is a lot of not-so-well understood oscillations, and there may be other factors (ocean currents, wind, and volcanic activity for example) contributing that we do not yet understand how they fit in to math and the behavior of the ice. Factor in, too, that this is probably the first time in history where large segments of the population, and the media, are paying attention to every little dip and rise in the ice measurements. Thus when something is expected to happen, even little changes can seem big when, overall, they are just business as usual.

  16. So, let me get this straight. Last year we had a large amount of melting which meant that the ice that formed over the winter was “first year ice”. This is, supposedly, inheritently easier to melt due to different checmical composition and the fact that it is thinner.

    This “fact” was beaten into everybody earlier this year when there was talk about an ice-free North Pole.

    Now we have ended up with 9% more ice at the end of the melting season, which shows that the first year ice has held up far better the expected. Next year this ice will become (by definition) multi-year ice and so be even less likely to melt.

    But this is all still a bad thing and demonstrates that we are reaching a tipping point?!

  17. How can anything about ice extent which is restricted to the last few years, or the satellite era possibly point to a ‘tipping point’, or serve as the basis for conclusions on anything other than those few years?
    I really don’t get it.

  18. Yes, James, even though the resulting melt was certainly less than many alarmists had predicted (hoped for?), they will still spin it how they want.

    As for me, I couldn’t be happier with how 2008 ended up. The odds were certainly against it, with the large areas of thin ice, but it held up well enough that 2008 will have a much improved start going into fall than 2007 did. Which bodes well for further improvement next year, especially if another cold winter follows.

  19. Am I missing something about the multi-year ice vs single year? Surely only the areas that melted last year and subsequently refroze over winter are single year ice and the rest (the vast majority) is multi-year? Thus the ratio of multi-year ice to single year ice must be quite high.

  20. Here’s from the uber-reliable Associated Press via Foxnews.com –

    Given recent trends, triggered by man-made global warming, scientists warn that within five to 10 years the Arctic could be free of sea ice in the summer.

    Even though the sea ice didn’t retreat this year as much as last summer, “there was no real sign of recovery,” said Walt Meier of the snow and ice data center. . . “We’re kind of in a new state of the Arctic basically, and it’s not a good one,” Meier said. “We’re definitely sliding towards a point where the summer sea ice will be gone.”

    I do wish they’d lay odds out in Las Vegas. I could use some cheering up $-wise.

    Mike
    Houston Ike refugee

  21. I think everyone should pay attention to Ray’s wise words… try not to ‘forecast’ anything… remember the person who said, at the beginning of June, that only 11 weeks of melting remained? Or just 2 weeks ago when another person said the melting season was over, it had leveled off and even started to refreeze? Both look pretty foolish now.

    As the article correctly cautioned, although the melt season *appears* to be over, you really can’t definitely state that until there has been a sustained upturn… there just haven’t been enough days yet, or a strong enough upturn (in fact, to me, the chart looks pretty darn flat). For that matter, if you think the IARC-JAXA has better data, take a close look at both 2006 and 2007 – they had a slight additional reversal downward after the first ‘minimum’, with what appears to be a new lower minimum in late September of 2007.

    There’s just too much unpredictable weather behavior to call the minimum until well after it has occurred. And, even assuming the minimum so far this year stands, year-to-year variability really does not make a trend in just one year… if you think so, and that a 9% rebound from 2007 to 2008 will indicate continued rebound to 2009, what would you have said in 2006? That year ALSO saw about a 10% rebound from the record low in 2005… I’m curious, does anyone here know what was said in those days, were there any predictions for continued ice growth in 2007? And how did that look after 2007 had come to pass?

    Predictions of ice growth then would have been foolish; not because 2007 took a sudden downturn – that was due to unpredictable weather anomalies – but because you just can’t predict any particular year AT ALL, much less on a erroneously-labeled one-year ‘trend’.

    And the same goes for this year, about any next-year predictions…

    I wouldn’t dare make any predictions about what next year will BE; I might venture an opinion that IF next year shows at least 10% ice growth from 2008 to 2009 or, even better, if it climbs above the infamous ‘average’, that we are pretty definitely in no danger of an arctic ‘tipping point’ any time in the next few years. And, also, that IF 2009 takes a dive like 2007 did, I would take a more serious look at what kind of tipping point we would be likely approaching, and where it might actually be, and what could be done about it.

    But this year can’t ‘prove’ anything by itself, either one way or the other.

  22. It would be courteous to the the guys at NSIDC to reference their website when making a quote from it.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    This is the 9.4% figure in its full context:

    “Despite overall cooler summer temperatures, the 2008 minimum extent is only 390,000 square kilometers (150,000 square miles), or 9.4%, more than the record-setting 2007 minimum. The 2008 minimum extent is 15.0% less than the next-lowest minimum extent set in 2005 and 33.1% less than the average minimum extent from 1979 to 2000.”

    Is there any particular reason why you cherry picked the 9.4% figure but omitted the others?

  23. In Aust we also have the media already reporting extremely low ice figures and experts (I’m pretty sure I heard he was from the NSIDC) talking about this being the effect of AGW.

    just couldn’t wait until October to spread the ‘good’ news.

  24. OK I have just noticed that you have included the other figures lower down. You aren’t quite as bad as I was suggesting :-)

    But how about some more graphs like this one?

  25. OK I have just noticed that you have included the other figures lower down. You aren’t quite as bad as I was suggesting :-)

  26. Some of you may be interested to read what the Department of Climate Change in Australia has said to me in response to my query on how they viewed Christopher Monkton’s paper on the falsification of the “Hockey Stick”. I was interested to know whether it affected the government’s plans for an Emmissions Trading Scheme. The reply came to me from an e-mail address [Climatescience@environment.gov.au]. I am not sure how to show the quoted section and hope I have done it correctly. However, the response argues that the melting ice sheets is “unequivocal” evidence of the recent warming not being within historical bounds. The other thing to note about the response was that it came with two different fonts. It was simply a cut and paste job. Probably from the deparment’s FAQs guide. It reads:

    “A number of scientists have tried to dispute the findings of others, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate (sic) – the world authority on climate change reporting – that the warming the globe has experienced is within normal limits. This is not the case, global warming is unequivocal, the evidence being in melting ice sheets, warming oceans and comparison with climate records.

    “The most recent research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the pre-eminent science body in the USA. This research confirms that surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere were warmer over the last 10 years than any time during the last 1300 years, and, if the climate scientists include data derived from marine and lake sediment cores, ice cores, coral cores and tree-ring records, the warming is anomalous for at least 1700 years. Their study used methods that are more sophisticated than others used previously.

    “Thank you for your query.”

    Perhaps others may wish to comment on the quality of the science at the esteemed Department of Climate Change in Australia.

  27. Pingback: Arctic Sea Ice Melt Season Officially Over; ice up over 9% from last year « An Honest Climate Debate

  28. As yet, I have not had any response to emails sent to the BBC. Still, I am not downhearted and here’s another one.

    Dear Mr Black,

    From Anthony Watt’s website, wherein he explains the unvarnished truth about global temperatures.
    “Though it appears NSIDC is attempting to downplay this in their web page announcement today, one can safely say that despite irrational predictions seen earlier this *year, we didn’t reach an “ice free north pole” nor a new record low for sea ice extent.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/artic-sea-ice-melt-season-officially-over-up-over-9-from-last-year/

    * I wonder who was doing that? Was it Richard Black, Environment Correspondent?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6610125.stm

    BTW, I read your latest contribution this morning. Spin as much as you like Mr Black, you and your contacts are fighting a losing rearguard action against the reality that our planet’s temperatures are ultimately controlled by the warmth from the sun. It occurs to me that you personally should now be publicly reconsidering your position on AGW, don’t you?

    Yours truly,

  29. What should now be interesting is how the upcoming season’s ice increase proceeds; how rapidly it proceeds and to how great an extent. The melting and freezing depends not only on the air temperature but also on ocean circulation patterns {how much warm Atlantic water gets pumped into and joins the Arctic Ocean’s circulation pattern}.

    Since the Arctic atmosphere has been cooler this past year, perhaps it will aid in greater ice formation. But if the ocean itself is still warm at depth (especially along Alaska/Canada), perhaps ice there will be slower to reappear. Only time will tell. We’ll see over the course of the next few years what pattern, if any, emerges.

    O/T – Didn’t we just recently see WUWT reach 3 million hits? Just look at it now, about ready to reach 4 million hits.

  30. I felt foolish at times the past summer, because I so often found myself checking the sun for spots, and the polar seas for ice. I did it when suffering insomnia, but it seemed to qualify me for a “get a life” comment. However reading all the comments at this site has fueled my skepticism in three ways.

    1.) The idea of “new ice melting faster” seems more like a proposed-theory than an established-fact.

    2.) There seems to be a problem involving “melt-water pools” being mistaken as “open water.”

    3.) Certain charts, which show how much ice existed before we had satellites peeking down at the poles, involve guess-work which may not be correct; IE: If there was partial ice near the Canadian shores, (where melting was assumed to be swiftest,) they assumed there must be thicker ice toward the poles.

    Over the past summer the web has allowed me to watch a couple of boats struggling through the Northwest Passage, and fighting patches of floating ice all the way, even as satellite data showed open water further out. I suggest the same situation may have existed in the 1930’s, or in 1905, or on other dates, but there was no way for the observers back then to know. The historical record is basically guess-work.

    It has been fascinating to research the history of people who poked about the poles. I have learned a lot about submarines, Cold-War bomber patrols, whalers, Eskimos, Vikings, and explorers. It causes a problem when the sun comes up and I no longer have the excuse of insomnia. I should start working, but remain glued to the computer.

    My impression is that historical charts, which shows the pre-satellite ice-area to be nearly twice as great as it is now, may not be entirely reliable.

  31. Mike Bryant (18:48:52) :
    “How do you like the title of the article?
    Arctic sea ice settles at second-lowest, underscores ACCELERATING DECLINE
    Maybe it’s just me but somehow an increase does not seem like it should be called an “accelerating decline”.”
    You do like your short term trends don’t you! Don’t forget that this year was actually the largest melt recorded as the maximum ice extent in March 2008 was, as you have mentioned above, was quite a lot more than in 2007. http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
    Also note that we are not quite finished in the seasons melt, there is probably another week or so left.

  32. NOAA:
    “The combined global average land and ocean surface temperature for summer 2008 was the ninth warmest since records began in 1880, and this August was the tenth warmest, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, ”

    NSIDC:
    “Despite overall cooler summer temperatures, the 2008 minimum extent is only 390,000 square kilometers (150,000 square miles), or 9.4%, more than the record-setting 2007 minimum.”

    So could NSDIC and NOAA make up their minds? Is it an unusually cold or warm summer?

    It looks like there is some kind of agenda hiddien behind those statement, both want to blame it on AGW.

    It seems like NOAA want to make a point that we have had very high temperatures (between the lines: AGW is causing it) and NSDIC want to make a point that the reason why the ice didnt shrink more is because it was a colder summer. (Betweem the lines: Natural cooling saved the ice from decreasing more)
    Is that all it takes, a few tenth of a degree C to make the ice grow in Arctic?

    My interpretation of that statement is(very simplified I guess but still…) that if global temperatures stay around 0C anomaly based on UAH/RSS the summer ice will grow in Arctic.

    If it is colder than normal it is natural cooling and if the temperature rises it is AGW. What happened to the natural warming? Did it cease to exist? Can natural cooling exist without natural warming.

  33. Pingback: Alex Jones' Prison Planet: The truth will set you free!

  34. The True Believers(tm) at Climateaudit are already pointing out that that 2008 was the most ice area melt in the satellite area.

    When you can’t win, just change the rules….

  35. Jerker Andersson (02:51:54) :
    “So could NSDIC and NOAA make up their minds? Is it an unusually cold or warm summer?”
    What is not in agreement between the two statements? In the long term it is a warmer than average summer, in the short term it is colder than last year.

    “If it is colder than normal it is natural cooling and if the temperature rises it is AGW. What happened to the natural warming? Did it cease to exist? Can natural cooling exist without natural warming.”
    Typical disinformation, it has never ‘ceased to exist’ and has always known to be a part of natural climate. The whole AGW argument is that these natural cycles alone do not account for the rapid rise in temperatures in recent history.

  36. related:

    The Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia screened the feature-length documentary “Passage” this past Sunday, Sep 14-08. Film maker John Walker created a masterpiece on the Fanklin expedition of 1845, evoking and mixing unique techniques in a fascinating account.

    Here is a detailed review:

    http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/ArtsLife/1078869.html

    The question why Victorian England was racing to find the Northwest Passage at that specific time was not relevant to the arguments on clashes of societies and cultures. Could it be that there were more and more accounts of melting ice because of the end of the Little Ice Age? Bringing the conquest of the Northern route within reach of the Queen’s Admiralty?

    The role of the Inuit – emphasized through modern day statesman Tagak Curley – is central to the movie. We stand to learn much more on Arctic regions by combining native lore and oral history with satellite data…

  37. Lets be fair here, the claims of new ice melting faster were completely valid based on how they measure it. The NSIDC would have been right if the conditions had been identical to 2007 melt season. Well since we all here know that climate conditions change year to year, that did not happen.

    What we saw was in the range of predictions they published earlier in the year, and I actually think they hit the predicted melt. While some researchers with a AGW taint were metaphorically out there with hair dryers hoping for a dramatic event to lead into the UNFCCC 2009 meeting, it just did not happen.

    My real problem with the spin on temperatures and ice is simple, when you look at a curve the points are equally allocated on both sides, so saying things like 10 of the last 12 were the warmest or second lowest in this case is ridiculous because I would not expect anything else.

    Recorded here for posterity.. This year will see an even greater increase than last year in sea ice in the arctic during the freeze and we will have the third lowest ice extent in the Summer of ’09. So not quite back up to 2005 levels.

  38. Peter Martin (23:49:15) :

    It would be courteous to the the guys at NSIDC to reference their website when making a quote from it.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    This is the 9.4% figure in its full context:

    “Despite overall cooler summer temperatures, the 2008 minimum extent is only 390,000 square kilometers (150,000 square miles), or 9.4%, more than the record-setting 2007 minimum. The 2008 minimum extent is 15.0% less than the next-lowest minimum extent set in 2005 and 33.1% less than the average minimum extent from 1979 to 2000.”

    Is there any particular reason why you cherry picked the 9.4% figure but omitted the others?

    The 9.4% increase can stand on its own. Had Anthony noted that “the 2008 minimum extent is only a remarkable 390,000 square kilometers more than the record-setting 2007 minimum” you would not know if that was good, bad or even if it was an increase or a decrease.

    Given the dire forecasts back in June, I wonder why the NSIDC used the word “only.” It almost sounds as though they expected a much bigger rebound but there was more melting than expected. Of course, that’s not what they wrote all summer long.

    I’d rather devote my energy to web pages with a strong science component, but it would be interesting to create a page of climate propaganda and misleading statements. It could have several NSIDC statements this year.

  39. I agree with Tom in Florida’s idea .Why cherry pick your years unless you want to get a particular reading.One thing i’m wanting to know is how thick is this ice in the artic and when they talk about thin ice are they saying the ice is an inch thick or 5 in. or 10in. ???? I know it’s all in the wording.

  40. McGrats (18:58:24) :

    And NASA’s “headlining” press release panders to the fearmongers even further: “ARCTIC SEA ICE REACHES LOWEST COVERAGE FOR 2008″ (see http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NasaNews/2008/2008091627534.html ).

    I don’t have much trouble with the article or the headline. Headlines are often a little vague (“Dewey Wins” was not), and the first sentence of the article confirms that the subject is the entire year. It’s no worse than similar headlines you might see like “Hurricane season peaks this week.” or “This morning coldest of the season.”

    You might squabble with the second sentence, but a linear regression over the last 30 years may indeed show “this season further reinforces the strong negative trend in summer sea ice extent observed during the past 30 years.”

  41. are you people serious? It was only the second largest recorded melt in since recording began so it’s no cause of concern? are none of you capable of looking at a graph and seeing a trend line? How does it feel to go through life being functionally illiterate when it comes to math and science?

  42. In my view sea ice extent is not a leading climatic indicator – rather it is a lagging indicator. With the present cooling, I expect sea ice extent to increase in the years ahead.

  43. deepslope–this may be of interest to you. The HBC has a huge amount of info stored at Winnepeg, Manitoba.

    The Southern route of the NW Passage was travelled every year by the HBC(Hudson Bay Company) in the 30’s.

    Gjoa Haven(1930) and Cambridge Bay(1929) pictures showing low ice level. A lot more info in that link.

    http://www.kitikmeotheritage.ca/Angulalk/hudsons/hudsons.htm

    This little boat the Aklavik also made it through the NW Passage in 1937.

    http://iain-cameron.blogspot.com/2007/07/test.html

    Nascopie and Aklavik meet from East and West in 1937
    The Nascopie commonly travelled through the passage in the 30’s.

    http://iain-cameron.blogspot.com/2007/07/aberdonians-arctic-feat.html

    In 1944 Larsen took the St. Roch from Halifax to Vancouver in 86 days through the Parry Channel route.

    http://www.ucalgary.ca/arcticexpedition/larsenexpeditions

    The Arctic travelled the Parry channel route twice and could have travelled right out of the ice free McClure strait. This from 1908 to 1911.

    http://www.ucalgary.ca/arcticexpedition/icebreakers/cgs-arctic

    W.E. Parry travelled the length of the Parry Channel route and back in the early 1800’s and McClure sailed right into the McClure strait from the East around 1850.

    Then there is Amundsen and a lot more evidence.

    This evidence is ignored by science, and it shows the conditions in the Arctic in the thirties were similar to today. And then in the late 40’s the Arctic froze up and the HBC shut some of their posts due to the increased ice.

    What is called science has become an embarassment. One need only look at the NISDC report when there is a 10% drop in ice and they play it like there was an increase. Not science but politics.

  44. The ice level in the 1920’s, 30’s and early 40’s was at a similar low level. The St. Roch went easily through the Northern route of the NW passage which is closed this year and that was in 1944. The HBC had many other boats freely navigating the southern route of the NW Passage.

    Gjoa Haven(1930) and Cambridge Bay(1929) pictures showing low ice level. A lot more info in that link.

    http://www.kitikmeotheritage.ca/Angulalk/hudsons/hudsons.htm

    This little boat the Aklavik also made it through the NW Passage in 1937.

    http://iain-cameron.blogspot.com/2007/07/test.html

    Nascopie and Aklavik meet from East and West in 1937
    The Nascopie commonly travelled through the passage in the 30’s.

    http://iain-cameron.blogspot.com/2007/07/aberdonians-arctic-feat.html

    This evidence is ignored by science, and it shows the conditions in the Arctic in the thirties were similar to today. And then in the late 40’s the Arctic froze up and the HBC shut some of their posts due to the increased ice.

    What is called science has become an embarassment.

    Shawn Whelan,
    Windsor, Ont

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,801448,00.html?promoid=googlep

  45. JP Rourke wrote: “,,,And, even assuming the minimum so far this year stands, year-to-year variability really does not make a trend in just one year… if you think so, and that a 9% rebound from 2007 to 2008 will indicate continued rebound to 2009, what would you have said in 2006? That year ALSO saw about a 10% rebound from the record low in 2005…”

    That may be all well and good, but talking points are talking points and you shouldn’t ignore them or the [snip] will walk all over you!

    Jack Koenig, Editor
    The Mysterious Climate Project
    http://www.climateclinic.com

  46. If this 10% increase per year trend continues, it will only be 10 years before there is no melt at all in the Arctic in the summer.

    In fact, according to the 10% increase per year model constructed by BIDC, the ice pack could reach the equator within 50 years.

  47. Ric Werme wrote: “I don’t have much trouble with the article or the headline. Headlines are often a little vague (”Dewey Wins” was not), and the first sentence of the article confirms that the subject is the entire year.”

    It’s not that the content in incorrect, it’s the way the headline is presented. Word manipulation is an art and when they say “ARCTIC SEA ICE REACHES LOWEST COVERAGE FOR 2008,″ the implication is that another low was reached. In politics, it’s referred to as “Headlining.” And since so few people get past the headline it means everything.

    Jack Koenig, Editor
    The Mysterious Climate Project
    http://www.climateclinic.com

  48. SOG said: “are you people serious? It was only the second largest recorded melt in since recording began so it’s no cause of concern? are none of you capable of looking at a graph and seeing a trend line? How does it feel to go through life being functionally illiterate when it comes to math and science?”

    My Reply: First, it does no good to insult people on this blog. Second, pay attention to your own words – “since recording began.” And how long has that been, pray tell? Oh, about 30 years. A breathtakingly short time for most any natural trend. And a trend does not mean an inevitable continuation towards imminent catastrophe. If the trend were in the opposite direction, would you be calling us functional illiterates for not panicking about the death of the world in the Great Freeze? And if you had been reading this blog with any great regularity, particularly in comments, you would see that from the anecdotal evidence alone of cooler-than-normal weather we are quite aware of “trends.” The problem with people who put their hopes and fears in trend lines is that they think they know enough about the so-called trends to forecast the future upon which they make present decisions. In some cases we do, but in this case we only have a scant 30 years of measurements to go on, far too little to base good judgements upon. And if you were really paying attention, you would have seen Anthony’s post about 1922’s Arctic voyage and how the melting was “worse” then than it is now, yet the world somehow survived.

    Lighten up and show a little more courtesy, please.

  49. Also to be considered (by anyone not functionally illiterate in science) is that 1979 was right at the nadir of the post WWII cooling period, and temperatures hit a high point from 1998/2001 (including both El Nino and La Nina) and have been near-flat ever since. Thus is is not much of a headline that last year’s melt was “the second largest in recorded history”.

    Especially considering that the greatest was last year, and the winter ice recovery was massive (thus leading to a lot of 1st-year ice, which tends to melt faster).

    The bottom line is that temperatures were cooler, there was less wind at work, and therefore there was an “Ice-min” gain of 9.4% over last year when many if not most had predicted a new record.

    If ice continues to recover, no doubt we shall experience the 3rd or 4th “greatest melt” next year. This will, no doubt, be construed as “further evidence of the continuing degeneration of Arctic ice”.

  50. When sea ice melts it cools things off. Most of the cooling is done by the sea water beneath it, not the air above. When the sun goes down, open water and first year ice radiate more thermal energy than multi-year ice does. Multi-year ice contributes more to global warming than first year/open sea water does. Multi-year ice is about 3 meters thick while the Arctic sea water is hundreds of times thicker.

  51. I have just come across a book, ‘Northwest Passage: The Quest for an Arctic Route to the East’, text by Edward Struzik, photography by Mike Beedell, published in 1991by Blandford.

    It was delivered today and when I open the first page I read the following:-

    “In 1983, the owners of the cruise ship Linbad Explorer offered a luxury voyage through the Northwest Passage in Canada’s Arctic Archipelago…….the New York based company…..advertised the voyage as one that “would or would not make it.” …..and the following summer…..the vessel completed the 4790-mile (7712-km) journey from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Point Barrow, Alaska, in just twenty three days.”

    Remember this was at a time when the planet was coming out of a cooler period that had begun in the 1940s!

  52. You do like your short term trends don’t you! Don’t forget that this year was actually the largest melt recorded as the maximum ice extent in March 2008 was, as you have mentioned above, was quite a lot more than in 2007. http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
    Also note that we are not quite finished in the seasons melt, there is probably another week or so left.

    You do like your short term trends don’t you. Don’t forget that we have exploration evidence of at least as little ice in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. And let us not forget times in the past which were at least as warm as now (MWP, RWP) for which we have no polar data. Of course, you believe in the bogus hockey schtick, so I don’t expect to change your mind, not with your blinders on.

  53. Typical disinformation, it has never ‘ceased to exist’ and has always known to be a part of natural climate. The whole AGW argument is that these natural cycles alone do not account for the rapid rise in temperatures in recent history.

    “Recent history”. That’s like waking up one morning and seeing that it’s raining, and deciding there’s an emergency because it wasn’t raining yesterday. Recent history is too short a time to determine anything about global climate. Not to mention that the so-called “recent warming” is coming from seriously flawed measuring stations, and mysteriously adjusted data. The satellite record shows no dramatic rise since the record started, which is still an incredibly short time on which to base a trend.

    You need to make me confident in the data before I’ll believe the sky is falling.

  54. Isn’t this the same group that predicted the ice would be 30% less than last year, due to the fact there was so much new ice ? Instead, the ice this year is 10% greater than last year. So, They are only off by 40%.

  55. The Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia screened the feature-length documentary “Passage” this past Sunday, Sep 14-08. Film maker John Walker created a masterpiece on the Fanklin expedition of 1845, evoking and mixing unique techniques in a fascinating account.

    What’s really interesting about the Franklin Expedition is one of the main reasons it failed. Lead used in the cans of their canned food caused dementia, which is why they dragged a piano across the ice and tundra after their ships were abandoned.

  56. Why am I suspicious that all the AGW proponents are focusing on arctic sea ice mainly because recent global temperatures aren’t fulfilling their expectations. When global temperature’s tick upward, as they inevitably will, they will change their focus. And they will also forget their arguments that short-term changes aren’t statistically significant.

  57. I’m sure it was just luck. I saw on CNN back in June there was a 50% chance of the entire cap melting this year. I mean the guy had a computer and a pony- tail, how could one doubt it?

  58. Jeff Alberts (8:22:35)
    “What’s really interesting about the Franklin Expedition is one of the main reasons it failed. Lead used in the cans of their canned food caused dementia, which is why they dragged a piano across the ice and tundra after their ships were abandoned.”

    Some believe that but it is in dispute. Personally I believe it is more likely the food was not properly canned and they were poisened. They quit eating the canned food and eventualy resorted to cannibalism even though there was large quantities of the canned food left.

    It is worth noting that it was very common not to long ago to supply drinking water to the cities via lead pipes and much of this pipework is still in use. And until very recently the solder used in the pipes contained a large amount of lead.

  59. It seems as if the study of the science of global climatology started in 1979 and we find these idiotic vacuous pronouncements of historic records that ignore contrary historic anecdotal data. I guess if we have a historic 2008/2009 cold winter it will be based on the period beginning in 1979. To predict future catastrophic effects base on such a short timeline, questionable models, and data is ridiculous and belongs in a Science Comic book or Hollywood films and not being bandied about by so called reputable scientists and robotic reporting by the tabloid news media. An AGW comic book might become a best seller.

  60. For the alarmists who can’t believe we do not see the the TREND toward a hot house world.

    Consider that this TREND is measured since the satellite era, about 1979. This is less than 30 years. 30 years that covers ONE POSITIVE PDO cycle. This does NOT cover a matching NEGATIVE PDO cycle. It only covers THREE solar cycles. Based on sunspot data we have “SEEN” virtually nothing of the possible variations in the Sun with modern instrumentation.

    Am I to panic over every single observation that is new and doesn’t fit short term theories and observations???

  61. @Doug
    As I sit here at the computer, with my pony tail…….
    OK…they PAY me to have a pony tail…so you really do have a point!

    @Bobby Lane
    I was sitting here with my frustration meter maxed out, trying to mentally edit a rational reply to SOG…when you posted your calm, reasonable answer…thank you!

    Unfortunately, going to lunch didn’t over come my frustration entirely…so, SOG, whoever you are, you must be new here. Everyone else, please forgive me a moment to vent.

    1. This site is not just about AGW. It is about whatever Anthony finds interesting. That varies widely. He has never generated [as far as I know] an artical on roller derby….but if someone, somewhere, generates a paper coralating global temperatures or glacial retreat to the league roller derby scores…well, stranger things have happened.

    2.The folks here are some of the most interesting on the net. A great many have more that 30 years of experience in science, engineering and other challanging ways of passing time…several are top experts in their chosen fields…if you listen with an open mind, this is a place to learn a great deal that is hard to come by, anywhere else.

    3. Folks come here to share information…if you are trying to score points by putting anyone down, you will probably be more comfortable, somewhere else. Personal attacks are not acceptable conduct. Occationally, someone slips up..but the best of us promptly appoligize [hint]. Attacking data is not a personal attack.

    Now that that is over….

    I keep finding myself, staring at the screen and wondering: “How the hell did I ever get into THIS situation?”

    More CO2 is good for plants. That is a fact. More CO2 helps the forest and the crops. Fact. The vast majority of plants and animals, humans included, do better when this planet warms up by a few degrees. Fact. The less ice around the north pole, the better it is for world wide shipping and the more access we have to valuable resources. Fact.

    SO, I find myself sitting here, hoping CO2 will level off or decrease, hoping that we will see a world wide drop in temperatures and hoping the entire Arctic Sea freezes over. Either old age has finally fried my brain, or the crack pots have finally pushed me over the edge….

    Or, does anyone else get those moments…..
    [sigh]
    cdl

  62. But Mark… the Antarctic is less than last year but wasn’t last year a “all time” high in the antarctic? And doesn’t a loss of 1million square km barely bring that back into the normal range?

  63. Pingback: Arctic Ice Up 9% from Last Year - Beast Toast

  64. Why the difference between NSIDC (SSMI) and IARC/JAXA (AMSR-E) data is bigger each year?
    Sea ice extent minima:
    NSIDC (SSMI) AMSR-E
    2008: 4.520.000 km2 4.707.813 km2
    2007: 4.140.000 km2 4.254.531 km2
    2006: 5.758.000 km2 5.781.719 km2

    From 20.000 km2 of difference in 2006 to 200.000 km2 in 2008…

    Since the Cyosphere Today area series are derived from SSMI, I think the divergence is not between area (as in 2007) and extent (10% more than in 2007). The problem is that we could have a divergence SSMI/AMSR-E.
    Any comments?

  65. McGrats (06:51:15) :

    Ric Werme wrote: “I don’t have much trouble with the article or the headline. Headlines are often a little vague (”Dewey Wins” was not), and the first sentence of the article confirms that the subject is the entire year.”

    It’s not that the content in incorrect, it’s the way the headline is presented. Word manipulation is an art and when they say “ARCTIC SEA ICE REACHES LOWEST COVERAGE FOR 2008,″ the implication is that another low was reached. In politics, it’s referred to as “Headlining.” And since so few people get past the headline it means everything.

    I’m sure it could be better, e.g. “ARCTIC SEA ICE REACHES LOWEST COVERAGE FOR 2008 ON TIME.” What would you have written?

    Given that the author started with the NSIDC press release “Arctic sea ice settles at second-lowest, underscores accelerating decline,” I think he did pretty well at resisting headlining. Your ire would be better directed at the NSIDC.

  66. Apart from the “extent” I am more interested why the blue-line stalled and went down precipitously at the end of July. There is a clear peak on the line. Up to the point the slope of the line was “levelling” a little then drop down. If it continued it would go “above” the gray line of avarge line. Alas it made a deep dive. And thru nearly all the August days it suggested to go below of the dashed line of 2007.

    At the end of August the blue line was once again “corrected by nature” and pushed up to rob us of a new record meltdown. Any clues to any events making the two corrections?

    Regards

  67. Mary Hinge (02:44:45) :

    “Also note that we are not quite finished in the seasons melt, there is probably another week or so left.”

    [snip] Have an open mind and look at the evidence. Enough has been given to you over the past few days for you to realise that there is logically something wrong with the AGW hypothesis.

    [REPLY - Let's keep it civil, folks. ~ Evan]

  68. 150,000 square miles more is a chunk of ice the size of Montana.

    That’s not a small piece of real estate . . .

    [I had to de-spam that one. You used the magic words: "real estate" ~ Evan]

  69. Craig D. Lattig (09:56:16)

    “SO, I find myself sitting here, hoping CO2 will level off or decrease, hoping that we will see a world wide drop in temperatures and hoping the entire Arctic Sea freezes over. Either old age has finally fried my brain, or the crack pots have finally pushed me over the edge….”

    You’re not alone my friend.

  70. Przemysław Pawełczyk (P2O2):

    There was an unusual heat wave in northeastern Siberia in August. The unusual melt in August was essentially all in that area.

  71. So here we sit, watching ice melt and getting all bent out of shape over it.

    Hmmm . . .

    (Almost as interesting as watching ice freeze.)

  72. Mary Hinge: “The whole AGW argument is that these natural cycles alone do not account for the rapid rise in temperatures in recent history.”

    The magnitude of the natural cycles is not known. The natural temperature rise is estimated as the proportion of the observed temperature rise which cannot be explained by the AGW theory, and is generally assumed to be around 50% of the observed rise.
    But this doesn’t make sense as, if the temperature then falls back to its previous level over much the same period of time, (which it’s often been observed as doing) the magnitude of that natural temperature drop must be about three times the magnitude of the natural rise over the previous period. If the natural rise and fall were of the same magnitude then the observed temperature would stay level rather than falling.

  73. evanjones (12:06:56) :

    So here we sit, watching ice melt and getting all bent out of shape over it.

    Hmmm . . .

    (Almost as interesting as watching ice freeze.)

    …and if we get bored, we can all go count sun spots…..
    cdl

  74. jonk (12:13:50) :

    Sorry Evan. I’ve got to stop reading Mary’s posts – bad for my blood pressure.

    jonk

    I have been reading Mary’s comments long enough to know that it doesn’t take much for Mary Hinge to become unhinged and go on a commentary binge that makes me want to cringe!

    [REPLY - Health first! But bear in Mind that Mary is deep in the heart of what may fairly be described as "enemy territory". She therefore draws a lot of fire, and, like all of us, gets fed up at times. I can sympathize with that. Furthermore, she's sharp and smart and I find her to be honest in her beliefs and serious about the debate. If I believed AGW was nearing a tipping point, I know I'd be positively frantic. ~ Evan]

  75. I logged on to this item as a class were going out
    It was on the data projector
    and I heard several express surprise at the “more ice” headline
    Maybe I should do that more often
    leave it on such a page and see if they ask anything :-)

  76. I wrote: “If the natural rise and fall were of the same magnitude then the observed temperature would stay level rather than falling.”

    Sorry, got that a bit wrong. The observed temperature would still rise, but at half its previous rate.

  77. Hi folks,

    This interesting website was thrown up by a google search I’ve set up. I’ve got no personal opinion on the retreat or advance of the ice, or really on global warming, but I have just suggested the overturning of another scientific orthodoxy.

    I was very interested to read the comments about the Franklin Expedition and how the members of it were poisoned by the lead in the tinned food they took with them. The eminent palaeo-pathologist Dr. Owen Beattie autopsied the bodies of three Franklin Expedition members and found them to have very high lead burdens. This was also the case with bone fragments from other Expedition members too. Dr. Beattie and his collaborators concluded that this lead had come from tinned food.

    I am an independent British archaeologist who has researched the Franklin Expedition extensively. Every one told me as a fact that the lead poisoning was caused by tinned food. This puzzled me because tinned food only made up about 16% of their provisions, and there simply wasn’t enough on the Expedition to account for the very high levels of lead seen in Expedition members’ remains. Also, tinned food was quite widely used elsewhere by the 1840’s, yet didn’t seem to have caused lead poisoning. So I analysed the contemporary records and found that the ships were fitted with a large scale steam heating and desalination system which, given the materials in use at the time, was almost certain to produce water with a truly massive lead burden. Unlike the tinned food, which was used on lots of other Expeditions, this distilled water and steam heating system was unique to these ships for this voyage only. So for the first time we have evidence of a really massive and UNIQUE source of lead pollution on this Expedition.

    I’ve attached a link to this comment to the paper I’ve just published on the Hakluyt Society website and if you’re interested I’d be most keen to hear your views.

    The reason I’m posting is that the ‘lead from tins’ thing is almost an urban myth. It’s the ONE THING that everybody knows, or thinks they know, about the Franklin Expedition. But I think my paper shows that, as it turns out, this is actually wrong. Just shows how a scientific orthodoxy can be overturned.

    Hope you find this interesting

    William

  78. Austin, you wrote, “The retained heat flow into the Arctic this year was about half of 2007 all things being equal.” What’s your source and do you have a link? Appreciate it. Thanks.

  79. Pingback: More self-fisking global warming hype : Pursuing Holiness

  80. Pingback: Lesezeichen vom 17.09.2008 | Revolution

  81. Overall sea ice has been trending down from 1978 to now. Between 2000 and 2007 this trend looks like it may have accelerated. Using Cryosphere Today’s area chart, 3 of these 8 years from 2000 to 2007 have seen increases in ice compared to the previous year.

    Since 1990 there have been 3 other years where area has increased by around half a million or more square kilometres from one year to the next.

    The most recent run with 3 consecutive years of increasing sea ice minimum was 2003 to 2005. Other 3 year runs of increasing sea ice happend 82-84 and then 85-87 (84-85 was a big decrease)

    I cannot find a run of 4 consecutive years of increasing sea ice between 1979 and 2008.

  82. Sorry to be pessimistic, guys, but ‘9%’ more ice means that it’s still at the lowest level since satellite measurement began.
    – it the NH is in a cool phase due to the La Nina, then this means that when the next El Nino comes along it’s get even less, right?
    – to predict a that there’s a sign of recover from where we are now, is pure wishful thinking
    – the trend is still very much heading in the downward direction.

  83. (I wish we could edit our own posts after ‘posting’ to get rid of the typos that you inevitably only see after you’ve hit the ‘submit button!)

  84. S.o.P wrtoe:
    are you people serious? It was only the second largest recorded melt in since recording began so it’s no cause of concern? are none of you capable of looking at a graph and seeing a trend line? How does it feel to go through life being functionally illiterate when it comes to math and science?

    As others have noted, what kind of trend line is 30 years when you are talking about global temperatures or the polar ice cap?

    Anyone care to comment on the book “Unstoppable Global Warming:Every 1,500 Years” by Singer and Avery?

    I just read this about the Vikings experience:


    Near the end of the 10th century, the Vikings sailed west from Iceland in their now-iconic longships. They soon bumped into a huge new uninhabited island. Its cool waters held plentiful codfish and seals. Green grass covered its shores. The Vikings named it Greenland.

    The Vikings soon settled there. They raised sheep and cattle. Grew vegetables. Traded sealskins and rope made from walrus hide to get timber and other things they needed. The colony thrived. By 1100, more than 3,000 people called Greenland home. They had 12 churches. Even had their own bishop.

    The Vikings, though they could not have known it, were beneficiaries of the Medieval Warming. For 400 years, the temperatures in Northern Europe were 2 degrees warmer than before. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the Little Ice Age soon followed this period of warming – and lasted for 500 years.

    As the Little Ice Age unfolded, ice formed a crust around Greenland’s shores. Supply ships soon struggled to make their way to Greenland’s coast. Winters grew longer. Summers grew shorter. Storms became more violent. The Vikings could no longer farm as they once did. In desperation, they ate their last milk cows. Inuit people came across the ice from the north. Struggles ensued over a smaller number of seals.

    In 1410, the last supply ship broke through the ice. Soon thereafter, the settlers perished. Denmark recolonized Greenland in 1721 – more than 300 years later – after the Little Ice Age loosened its grip on the island.

    The Viking experience shows how the temperature of the planet ebbed and flowed over the course of hundreds of years. In addition to the Vikings, we have evidence from other early civilizations. The Romans recorded a warming period between 200 B.C. and A.D. 600. They grew grapes in Great Britain and Northern Europe.

    Evidence mounts from many sources. Ice cores give us climate histories going back 900,000 years. Seabed sediments, stalagmites, tree rings, fossilized pollen – all point to a roughly 1,500-year cycle of warming and cooling stretching back nearly a million years.

    “The Earth continually warms and cools,” the authors note.

  85. Re: Lloyd Graves (19:13:20)
    Lloyd Graves refers to the IARC-JAXA Information System (IJIS) (http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm) as a data source. The IJIS provides satellite daily measurement of Arctic ice extent from June, 2002. Rather than comparing year-over-year measurements, it is interesting to compare the cumulative change in ice extent for the 2002:2008 interval. Coincidentally, I suppose, the IJIS data file actual begins on 06/22/02 which is approximately summer solstice in the NH. If you plot the cumulative change in ice extent, you will notice some interesting features, (I haven’t learned how to incorporate Excel graphs into WordPress!!)
    1. The cumulative maximum ice extent occurs around March 10 each year and the cumulative minimum occurs around September 21 each year
    2. The cumulative maximum ice extent decreased each year from 2003 until 2006 but increased in 2007 and 2008
    3. The cumulative minimum ice extent decreased from 2003 until 2006 but increased in 2006 and decreased again in 2007
    4. The changes in slope of the ascending and descending phases of the cumulative curve are quite interesting, e.g., the Jun:Sep 2007 slope is the steepest but the Jan: Mar slope changes too. I suppose this indicates that seasonal shifts are occurring in the Arctic but it appears to me that they are not anthropogenic-related.

  86. Pingback: Did you read this? Arctic Sea Ice - 9% Increase! « Random Ideas Thoughts err posts!

  87. Did it melt? Or was it pushed into a pile? I have been monitoring the color-coded thickness throughout the melt season. That purple color (before the web guy changed the colors on us), got bigger and bigger and darker and darker while the outside edge of the ice area crept closer towards the pole and the frozen side of Greenland. It is very plausible to state that the thin ice didn’t melt as much as it was pushed into and up against Greenland. Could it be said thus: It didn’t go away, it just moved.

  88. Pamela, the Norwegian blue has wonderful plumage :-) it didn’t go away, it was nailed up against Greenland; lovely plumage.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist the ultimate sketch about in-your-face denial.

  89. Bob,

    Its my own spot calculation. I determined what the composition and volume of the ice melted in 2007 ( mostly multi-year ice ) and that in 2008 ( almost all was first year ice ). if you grant that the first-year ice is half the thickness of multiyear ice and has the same heat of fusion, then you get about half the heat flow. A good first approximation.

    The data is out there to make a fine calculation. Someone needs to do it, but I am too busy until the end of the month.

    There should also be satellite data somewhere that captures the heat flow out of the earth caused by water condensation to water and to ice. I imagine these are specific wavelengths? Would this firmly prove the CRF/cloud nucleization argument?

  90. Craig D.,

    I have written about this “perverse situation” on before on here. My training is philosophical and theological, with a strong amateur talent for politics, so if nobody else consciously noticed it I did.

    There are two camps; this is obvious to everyone. There is the pro-AGW crowd, whom I shall call the Hot Heads. And there is the anti-AGW crowd, whom I shall call the Cooler Heads. This is of course in respect to where each camp believes the actual temperatures are leading the scientific data. This seems pretty straightforwards until politics enters the mix. Then very strange, I like to call it perverse (as in unnatural), things start happening.

    The run-away global warmists, the Hot Heads, desire to see a modest global cooling while giving us a constant stream of warnings of how AGW is going to destroy the planet. Meanwhile, the Cooler Heads, desire to see a modest global warming while leaning towards the idea that so far the data shows us we are heading into a period of cooler global climate. So each camp is wanting the opposite of what it believes is happening; yet if each somehow received what it wanted, its reason to exist would disappear. Because of the money involved in “fixing” man-made global warming, there is ample reason not to want to have that reason for existence taken away for the Hot Heads. Not so for the other side. Take a look.

    Let’s do some hypotheticals of our own. Imagine the unified scientific consensus was that it was not happening and that we were not significant contributors to it. What would people like Al Gore and James Hansen, companies like Lehman Brothers (the self styled future “primary broker for emissions permits”) and GE (makers of energy efficient bulbs) and action groups like Greenpeace do then? Their interests, their purpose, their monetary fortunes and popularity are all put at substantial risk. Point of fact, a large part of the reason for doing what they do is made void. Depending on the depth of their involvement in AGW, it might be a death sentence.

    Now, flip it around. If AGW is true, what do people like Anthony, like you and I, or even like Lord Monckton lose? We were wrong about the phenomena, but that’s it. Whether we could then actually do anything to affect global temperature in the opposing direction (i.e., cool the Earth) is a whole other argument. But even if we could you and I still lose relatively little. Sure we might wonder how we were so dead wrong, and yes it might cost us a lot economically, but we’d have the certainty that this was the right step for us and our childeren and grandchildren, etc., to have a future here on the Earth. And that is something that the AGWers will never have in the same sense. Regular folks who have been fooled to buying into it will have that, sure, but the committed, the faithful, they will never have that sense of a future back if they are wrong. They have staked too much on it.

    Why do you think Al Gore no longer allows the press into his AGW stump speech meetings? It is because he wants to peddle the same old broken down so-called science without criticism of his efforts. He has a movie, a book, and numerous economic ventures as well as personal reputation riding on this. He has put himself so far into this that he cannot afford to be wrong. Nobody would ever listen to him and most would not want to even associate with him. He might live but in a very real sense he would be destroyed, if AGW were scientifically debunked.

    A lot of companies, similar to Lehman Brothers, are in the sway of the Hot Head leadership, such as James Hansen and Al Gore. They are betting future economic enterprises such as carbon emissions certificates markets set up by cap-and-trade government mandated policies (which BOTH presidential candidates endorse by the way – betcha didn’t know that! See the link at the bottom). They stand to make a pile of money with very little risk to their investments. Energy companies will feel the pinch, particulary electricity generators, as they are forced to “clean up or shut down” their power plants, which will raise consumer prices of course. Other companies whose CO2 footprint is smaller, according to proposed guidelines, can sell their leftover certificates at enormous profits. Imagine, you get paid to do literally nothing, and you make a huge PURE profit. Sign me up for that!

    Only the trick to this scheme separates the interests of business, which are supposed to be focused on the customer, from the customers interests. The customers’ interests are, of course, receiving said service at the best price available. When your “carbon footprint” increases the cost of business because you may have to buy ECs (emissions certificates), you just pass that on to the customer. If customers leave you because of your pricing, you can shut down your places of business (factories, stores, etc) and make profit off of selling your unneeded ECs because of your now smaller footprint. Again, pure profit for doing nothing.

    Now you see why I call this perverse. This is the opposite of what businesses should want. Customer interests and loyalty are supposed to reward shareholders. Not with cap-and-trade. You can make more money by actually working less. The European economy is actually largely based on cap-and-trade policies which have made some companies billions of dollars by selling them to companies in need of them. Allocation of the ECs is determined by the government contingent on what industry you are in. But if you need more you need more. A company will get fined for going over its allotment without buying more ECs.

    So now maybe you can see why so much of the establishment, so many otherwise seemingly normal people, are so invested in AGW being true. And why debate must be stifled! And the really perverse thing is that it will all be legal, so rewards and punishments will be backed up by the law. And guess what? It’s already happening. We already have government mandates to “green” up our fuel by adding ethanol and other biomass-derived fuels. So this is not without precedent in our nation.

    It is the politics of AGW that make AGW so dangerous, and it is the psuedo-science that gives credibility to it. And that more than anything is why it must be stopped. Let us hope and pray Cooler Heads prevail.

  91. “How does it feel to go through life being functionally illiterate when it comes to math and science?”

    I’ve got used to it, but will struggle on regardless.

  92. Wondering Aloud (10:04:08) : But Mark… the Antarctic is less than last year but wasn’t last year a “all time” high in the antarctic? And doesn’t a loss of 1million square km barely bring that back into the normal range

    What you say is correct; the Antarctic anomaly is very close to zero. The slightly “scary” graph is the overall (Arctic+Antarctic) ice anomaly. At least during the (NH) winter, the Arctic negative anomaly was more or less canceled by the Antarctic positive anomaly, but there is no cancellation at the moment.

  93. it the NH is in a cool phase due to the La Nina, then this means that when the next El Nino comes along it’s get even less, right?

    Not necessarily. It’s not always the temperatures.

    Bear in mind that last year’s melt was largely due to errant winds blowing the ice into currents which carried it out of the arctic into warmer water where it melted. This is according to NASA which is definitely pro-AGW theory.

    The trend may continue down, but that also may be because of “dirty snow”, which is anthropogenic, but not a CO2-warming effect (also according to NASA). When China and India become sufficiently affluent and clean up their air (MUCH cheaper than getting rid of CO2), this problem will abate without extreme Kyoto-like measures. (Give it two or three decades.)

  94. Think plate tectonics. There can be compression and extension. There may be times dominated by each regime. Phase changes are only one aspect of this.

  95. If this is correct then it is good news AND it doesn’t mean we should turn away from conserving energy or living more economically. That personal trend should continue.

  96. I’m left with the simple understanding.

    The recent predictions, (sorry “projections”) of an ice free North Pole were WRONG.

    The situation is a lot more complicated than merely Man made CO2 emissions,
    these incidentally do not correlate at all well, if at all, with ice “amounts”….

    For example,
    New or multi year ice.
    Volcanic activity.
    Ocean current phases / regimes.
    Wind patterns.
    Solar activity.
    etc, etc, etc..
    The list of natural factors is quite exhausting…..

  97. Michael (01:54:07) :
    “How does the WWF report this and not get taken to task?”

    So you deny that this summers melt has not been the largest melt recorded? If you don’t deny this what’s your problem?

    Warning:
    Please remember what Anthony mentioned to you about playing nice in the sand box just two days ago in this post. – Anne

  98. “Warning: Please remember what Anthony mentioned to you about playing nice in the sand box just two days ago in this post. – Anne”
    Sorry Anne, just asking what I thought was a reasonable question. The article is about the highest recorded ice melt recorded in the Arctic, denying this fact makes his statement valid to him, accepting the fact means his ‘taken to task’ context is totally wrong and an attempt to mislead.
    If you can explain why a warning is merited, fine, I will take it on board.

    Reply: 1) Your tone in your wording was highly confrontational, boarding on insulting and quite unnecessary. I have observed that this is a near continuous problem with your comments while most others only make the occasional gaff. 2) Two wrongs don’t make a right. If you observe a trend in the behavior of a fellow participant on this blog that is less than acceptable and which the moderators seem to have missed, feel free to post a comment to us. We will take the necessary steps to correct the problem. In the mean time, don’t let every challenge to your opinions/comments be taken as a personal insult. Treat people as you wish them to treat you. – Anne

  99. @Bobby Lane
    Thank you for the extensive summery of the mess we are in. The frustration comes from knowing that, if what would be best for the world happens, then those invested in AGW take us right over a cliff economically. As India and China are not even close to being that crazy, a new world order is highly probable. In short, we lose.

    Unfortunately, I am very much aware of the stands of both presidential candidates…I believe I mentioned to Pamala that I am an independant…and I have spent several months swearing I would vote for neither one of them. Whatever they did to screw things up even worse, I refused to be held responcible. Beyond that…well, this is not a political blog, so let’s concentrate on seeing if we can get the environmental part of our mess sorted out. If the politicians don’t make too much of a mess of the economy [and, ghad knows they are trying], maybe our grandkids will have a better world to grow up in…
    Now, back to watching ice melt…..
    cdl

  100. Anne,
    Can I just give the meaning of ‘Taking to Task':

    take someone to task
    to criticize someone angrily for something that they have done.

    My point was that the WWF (who are actually very close to my heart and one of my chosen charities) was being heavily criticised by Michael for responding to the facts as they are. The only thing I can find that you might deem ‘insulting’ is the word ‘deny’. I can understand why you might be so sensitive to the Noun form ‘Denier’ with the historical connetations, however to deem that using the word as a verb is insulting is perhaps a little extreme. However if that is what you mean then I shall not use deny, let alone denier.
    If I am wrong in this assessment then let me know, otherwise I will take it as is.

    Reply: But you are not the WWF and therefore the comment ‘taken to task’ was not directed at you and negates any justification on your part for your confrontational attitude. If the WWF wants to rebut that comment officially, they are as welcome here as anyone else. FYI, my understanding is that ‘taken to task’ implies to censure severely or angrily someone’s actions when they have done something perceived to be wrong (ie. Sally was taken to task for fighting in the schoolyard during recess by her teacher). – Anne

  101. Mary Hinge (03:40:25) :

    Michael (01:54:07) :
    “How does the WWF report this and not get taken to task?”

    So you deny that this summer’s melt has not been the largest melt recorded?

    Oh, largest in area, I thought you were talking about volume. Well, a lot of people were pointing to the thin first year ice expecting it to melt quickly, and apparently some of it did, but it still left more ice extent than a year ago.

    I haven’t gone looking for the numbers, but if we went from lowest extent on record last year to sufficiently great extent in the spring to have the biggest melt area this year and still be ahead, then – let me start a new sentence.

    Last winter’s ice formation must have been much greater than average. Given that we have more potential freezing area than average (but about 9% less than last fall) and that cold weather seems assured, I’d expect another good winter for freezing. All that thin one year ice will still let a lot of heat out, so that may set up the Arctic for good ice preservation next year.

    Seems to me that the next 30 years of cold PDO will freeze a lot of water. There won’t be 9.4% growth in each of those years, nor may there be record cover, but we ought to get back to near-average conditions pretty quickly.

  102. I am impressed with level of science and explanation in this blog. It is definitely heartening to know that more ice is forming when the media is giving the opposite story. That said, the whole thing is obviously very vulnerable and needs a lot of urgent action to maintain/improve the situation.

    Melting ice and rising sea levels have caused many problems, especially for many small islands where people have nowhere to go. They are therefore petitioning the UN Security Council to take serious action on Climate Change. Can I ask you take a minute to check this out and maybe support it:

    http://blog.advancedsilversolution.com/2008/09/18/rising-sea-levels-action-needed-now/

    Thank you

  103. Ric Werme (09:59:32) :
    “Oh, largest in area, I thought you were talking about volume.”
    Where did you get that from, I said ‘Melt’ which can be either volume or area. However the area melt from maxima to minima was the greatest recorded.

    “Last winter’s ice formation must have been much greater than average.”

    It was less than average but the most since 2003

    Seems to me that the next 30 years of cold PDO will freeze a lot of water.

    Maybe, but considering the La Nina and the -PDO were there last winter there was no great freeze so your forecast doesn’t look very sound.

  104. @charliedw

    Most of those small islands are sinking, actually. Either they are at the edge of a subducting oceanic plate and the entire island is slowly sinking it the sea or they have pumped out all the fresh ground water and the island’s surface is subsiding.

    This is all pretty well documented and I am surprised you have not come across it before.

  105. Hmm, another great idea!

    I haven’t found any English references to this story. Extract from an article that appeared in a Dutch newspaper today:

    “The Dutch researcher Rolf Schuttenhelm suggests a plan to protect the North Pole by building a 300 kilometer long dam in the Bering Sea.”

    This dam would connect mainland Siberia to Alaska, via St. Lawrence Island. It would stop warm currents and it would allow more sweet water from Yukon river to flow around the pole.

    http://www.telegraaf.nl/buitenland/1957422/__Noordpool_indammen_helpt_tegen_smelten__.html

    Amazing…

  106. Warning to Polar Bears: Do not swim to Iceland. This poor guy probably wouldn’t have survived global warming/climate change. The distance the Polar Bear swam shows his desperation, The bear could not wait until the end of the Arctic Sea Ice Melt Season.

    Polar bear shot dead after 200-mile swim: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jun/05/animalwelfare.animalbehaviour

    A polar bear that swam more than 200 miles in near-freezing waters to reach Iceland was shot on arrival in case it posed a threat to humans.

    The bear, thought to be the first to reach the country in at least 15 years, was killed after local police claimed it was a danger to humans, triggering an outcry from animal lovers. Police claimed it was not possible to sedate the bear.

  107. I have noticed a curiosity. When cooling happens and it is brought up, the AGW folks want to downplay it because it is a gradual decrease in upward rate, a flattening, or downslope. Yet the gradual increase in temps that occurred over the last half of this century does not have to measure up to the same request.

    It takes a while to thaw a turkey. It takes a while to freeze it. So it goes with our planet and its atmosphere. Whatever is affecting its temperature, it will likely respond with slow upward and downward behavior. If a slow rise in temp is significant, so is a slow fall.

    The ice recovery this past winter was huge. A record setter since satellite records began. The melt that occurred this summer in the Arctic was a record setter from that high maximum to the current minimum. However, this melt left more ice than last year’s melt at this time.

    I think either camp can legitimately lay claim to this event. It can belong to both camps without either side needing to resort to nose thumbing. There are soft signs that an ice recovery might have begun. And there are soft signs that summers are still hot enough to melt ice. I think we can share this highway.

  108. Pamela Gray (18:58:29) :
    The ice recovery this past winter was huge. A record setter since satellite records began.

    It didn’t even make it back to the ’79-2000 average, not much of a record setter.

    The melt that occurred this summer in the Arctic was a record setter from that high maximum to the current minimum. However, this melt left more ice than last year’s melt at this time.

    A couple of percent, not significantly more, given the way it’s spread out this year then it will be more vulnerable next year.

    I think either camp can legitimately lay claim to this event. It can belong to both camps without either side needing to resort to nose thumbing. There are soft signs that an ice recovery might have begun.

    Really, what are they?

  109. Mary Hinge (15:54:39) :

    Ric Werme (09:59:32) :

    Seems to me that the next 30 years of cold PDO will freeze a lot of water.

    Maybe, but considering the La Nina and the -PDO were there last winter there was no great freeze so your forecast doesn’t look very sound.

    a) give it 30 years. The last PDO flip had both a step up in temperature and then a gradual warming. So I figure a step down and gradual cooling makes sense.

    b) Are you denying that last winter featured a major freeze? I took the May and September data at ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135, plopped them in a spreadsheet and came up with melt for 2007 and 2008 of 8.61 and 8.65 M*mi^2. The next greatest was 7.62 in 1999.

    The new extent through freezing between Sep 2007 and May 2008 was 8.89. The next greatest was 7.27 in 1990. Therefore I conclude that the freeze last winter was not just a great freeze, but the greatest on record. All 31 years worth, so no big deal.

    Relax, the next few years will be too interesting on many fronts to get completely wrapped up in just one. Especially one where I don’t see a crisis.

  110. Phil. (19:35:18) :

    Pamela Gray (18:58:29) :
    The ice recovery this past winter was huge. A record setter since satellite records began.

    It didn’t even make it back to the ‘79-2000 average, not much of a record setter.

    My spreadsheet says the average freeze was 6.68 M mi^2 and that the 07/08 freeze was 8.89. What is your data? (Caveat – my data comes from May and Sep data, I don’t know where values for Annual max and min are. Pointer welcome.)

    The melt that occurred this summer in the Arctic was a record setter from that high maximum to the current minimum. However, this melt left more ice than last year’s melt at this time.

    A couple of percent, not significantly more, given the way it’s spread out this year then it will be more vulnerable next year.

    9.4% isn’t “a couple” in my book. What is your data?

    I think either camp can legitimately lay claim to this event. It can belong to both camps without either side needing to resort to nose thumbing. There are soft signs that an ice recovery might have begun.

    Really, what are they?

    I see one sign – the NSIDC reports that minimum was reached. Given how much they were rooting for a record minimum, I’m surprised they declared it.

    Clearly we are looking at very different data. After the 11PM news I might try to post my table, I have something I want to try to format it okay.

  111. 9% is really quite a lot. At least if they are trying to argue that global warming is causing the melting ice. If the global temperature dropped by 9% in one year that would be dramatic cooling.

  112. Once again I bring your attention to the very same graph you use to harald the huge melt. Look at the extent of ice recovery from minimum to maximum this past winter and compare that to any other winter season. It was COLD last winter and for a very long time. Thus the rather large amount of ice that formed. There have been other years where the extent ended further up the graph scale, but the ice freeze didn’t have as far to go from minimum either. The only way that much ice could have reformed is that at least for last winter, whatever forcings were active, they allowed the Arctic to be colder than in recent years.

    If you want to talk about the significance of the current huge melt and hypothesize about why it occurred, and I agree that it did occur, I get to talk about the huge recovery this past winter on the same graph and hypothesize about why it occurred. I noticed that the length of the rise was greater than all the others on the graph. Did you notice that? Of course it may just be an odd cold year. But if, and I do mean “if”, this winter is just as bitter cold as last year, and then the next summer season is just as hot as it was this summer, there will be slightly more ice left at the end of the next melt season, just like this time there was more ice left than in 2007. If the ice recovers again, I hypothesize that the recovery to average will be slow, just like the trend of loss of ice from year to year was slow. If my version happens, I will be thinking about possible reasons for it, just as you would if it continues to warm and melt.

    Scientific observation isn’t about who is right. It is about describing what one sees and then developing open-minded hypotheses about the event. That is all I have done. I don’t know yet if my view will be the correct one. Scientific conversation should never jump to early conclusions about right and wrong. Out of respect for opposing hypotheses and in the interest of science, I believe both sides should continue the conversation with open minds. So if your mind is open here is what I could say: Last winter’s long freeze could be an early sign of recovery. It could also be a sign of just a pause along the road to continued warming and an ice free Arctic. I will not begrudge you if you lean towards the ice-free Arctic version.

  113. Okay, if this formats well (and even if it doesn’t) this is the NSIDC ice extent for its full record. First column is the year, then extent in May and then September. Then extent change during melting that summer (May to Sep) and freezing (Sept to May).


    Year     May    Sep     Melt  Freeze
    1979    14.06   7.2     6.86    6.84
    1980    14.04   7.85    6.19    6.05
    1981    13.9    7.25    6.65    6.92
    1982    14.17   7.45    6.72    6.09
    1983    13.54   7.52    6.02    6.16
    1984    13.68   7.17    6.51    7.06
    1985    14.23   6.93    7.3     6.59
    1986    13.52   7.54    5.98    6.27
    1987    13.81   7.48    6.33    6.21
    1988    13.69   7.49    6.2     5.49
    1989    12.98   7.04    5.94    6.26
    1990    13.3    6.24    7.06    7.27
    1991    13.51   6.55    6.96    6.7
    1992    13.25   7.55    5.7     5.99
    1993    13.54   6.5     7.04    7.23
    1994    13.73   7.18    6.55    5.86
    1995    13.04   6.13    6.91    6.93
    1996    13.06   7.88    5.18    5.44
    1997    13.32   6.74    6.58    7.06
    1998    13.8    6.56    7.24    7.3
    1999    13.86   6.24    7.62    6.94
    2000    13.18   6.32    6.86    7.4
    2001    13.72   6.75    6.97    6.37
    2002    13.12   5.96    7.16    7.04
    2003    13      6.15    6.85    6.43
    2004    12.58   6.05    6.53    6.94
    2005    12.99   5.57    7.42    7.05
    2006    12.62   5.89    6.73    7
    2007    12.89   4.28    8.61    8.89
    2008    13.17   4.52    8.65

    The table is formatted with <code> commands and with spaces replaced with %amp;nbsp;. (And will this sentence format right?)

  114. Oops, typo in list line. Percent is wrong, ampersand is right.

    The table is formatted with <code> commands and with spaces replaced with &nbsp;. (And will this sentence format right?)

  115. Anne: “1) Your tone in your wording was highly confrontational, boarding on insulting and quite unnecessary… Treat people as you wish them to treat you.”

    Thanks for this ruling, Anne. I have seen too many blogs go sour when posters begin laying into each other. Mind you, I don’t think Mary is at particular fault in this regard, and it’s a moot point whether her postings are any more confrontational than others. But you are the moderator, so it’s your call. And the golden rule is a valuable guide to the way posters should behave.

    That said, your ruling raises a more general issue about poster behaviour, which I will illustrate with some examples below.

    “It’s propaganda, political, partisan, partial…the audacity, the arrogance, the narcissism…deception…hysteria…slippery, double-dealing group…idiotic vacuous pronouncements…have lost their minds…corrupt…about as impartial as an alcoholic bartender…biggest global fraud…lunatic cries…discussing their next scam…”

    If said to other posters, these comments would probably, and rightly, be snipped. But they are comments about third parties, and there appears to be a more relaxed standard for these sorts of comments.

    My question is: are third parties fair game for comment, or are there limits to what can be said about them?

    Reply: While Anthony has the final say on this, my take is that ‘Them thar be fightin’ words’ have no place here. The same standards should apply to all parties, present or otherwise, with the following exceptions as noted below –

    There should be some leeway for the ocissional gaff from an otherwise good party. Habitual offenders get warned much faster.

    There is also a difference between an attack on an opinion held and an attack on the person holding the opinion. The former gets more leeway and latter is never acceptable.

    Finally, the US rules for libel and slander apply as well, public figures, because they chose to be public, they also choose to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. So it might be OK to call Hansen a liar or a kook in regard to a public action he has taken, but it would not be OK to call you a kook for agreeing with him.

    The debate over AGW is hotly contested and should be decided not by a battle of strength of personalities, but on the merits of the data. If we remember to keep principles over personalities, we will get along just fine while we debate the issue.

    I hope this helps. – Anne

  116. To respond to some points above:

    The simplest way to figure out a trend is to run a linear regression (Excel has this function). The result is significantly affected by the number of data points (years), particularly for small samples (30 years in this case). Thus, for example, although 1998 had a much higher global temperature than 2000, if you calculate the linear trend from 1998 to present you get a warming trend, whereas if you run the trend from 2000, a colder year, you get a flat or slightly cooling trend. Statistics often defy intuition. The trend in sea ice decline over the satellite period has increased from this year’s minimum (I think the melt is over). that’s a statistical fact – a function of looking at all the years and weighing them comparatively. If you select a two point sample – comparing two consecutive years – you are not talking about a trend.

    Keeping the baseline constant makes it easier to compare anomalies. Changing it greatly complicates comparative study. It doesn’t really matter which baseline you choose as long as you keep it constant (it must have statistical significance – a baseline established of two data points is not useful). There needs to be a good reason to change it.

    Like Arctic variability, weather plays a dominant role over smaller time scales. It’s not certain that the ice growth season is over yet. If it is, the Antarctic sea ice has shrunk more than the Arctic has gained and currently sits below the baseline.

    This is a good graph for combined hemispheric ice area (different to extent vis NSIDC) over the satellite period.

    Sea ice has been in decline globally for a number of years, and has recently accelerated. The large increase of Antarctic sea ice area in 2007 would appear to have been wiped out in 2008 (but we should wait a couple of weeks to be sure). This will not much effect the overall trend for Antarctic sea ice area, which has been very slightly positive over the satellite period.

    In previous passage crossings, small boats made it through because they could steer around the ice, and large boats would sit in the flow until they emerged again into open water. This year large boats could comfortably make it through, and it marks the first time both the east and northwest passages were navigable without getting stuck in ice for a day or two. The previous circumnavigation of the Arctic took 4 years, while the ship waited for favourable conditions and for the ice surrounding it to move it forward.

    If one WAS to make a year-to-year comparison between 2007 and 2008 (and 2005) Arctic sea ice extent, I’d do it like this.

    March sea ice extent maximum for the Arctic was greater in 2008 than for 2007 owing to a very cold winter in the NH, most likely a consequence of a very strong la Nina. Despite this, 2008 sea ice minimum fell to the second lowest on record, which was previously 2005. 2005 was the equal hottest year in the instrumental record and 2008 has so far been significantly colder. Also, there was slightly more sea ice extent melted in 2008 than 2007: although 2008 finished with more sea ice at minimum, it began with even more sea ice at maximum. It also had a shorter melt season than 2007. The relatively greater melt in a colder year is probably a result of there being more first year ice, which melts more quickly.

    Despite 2008 seeing slightly more sea ice extent at minimum than last year, the overall trend of decline has accelerated.

    finally, a few people commented that this year’s ice extent indicates a new trwend of flobal cooling. There is no way to establish any kind of statistically signficant climate trend with just two, or even five or ten years. Interannual variability dominates climate trends in the short term. Any trend extrapolated from 208 data can only be assessed with any validity in relation to the long term, just as weekly or monthly record melts say little about the long-term trend. That is a discussion of weather, not climate.

  117. Oops, I’m unfamiliar with the formatting on this site. My post is missing a bunch of cites from upthread. Hopefully regulars can make sense of it. Apologies.

  118. If you do Individuals control charts with the above data, control limits for each column come out as:

    May ice 12.5 to 14.4
    Sep Ice 5.2 to 8.1
    Melt 5.0 to 8.5
    Freeze 4.7 to 8.7

    For May: flags are raised for 2004-2006 data as being outside two standard deviations from the mean.
    For Sep 2002-2006 data demonstrates a low trend and 2007-2008 are outside of the control limits.
    For Melt: 2007 and 2008 are outside the upper control limit.
    For Freeze: 2007 is outside the upper control limit.

    So, the May / Sep data show a statistical downward trend since approximately 2000. You could draw a decent regression line with a negative slope (-0.037/year, R2(adj=51.4%) back to the start of the data. Melt rates were within statistical control (varying within their apparent natural range) until 2007. Freeze data has also been within statistical control, with the exception of 2007, which demonstrated a higher than expected value.

    The amount of ice in May doesn’t show a correlation with Sep, Melt, or Freeze. Sep shows a negative correlation with Melt and Freeze. (Lower Sep higher Melt – makes sense. But also lower Sep higher Freeze.) Melt and Freeze have a positive correlation. (higher Melts, higher Freezes)

    Mike86

  119. What’s the reasoning behind selecting May stats? Maxima usually occur in March. There is a fair bit of variability during the melt/growth seasons, particularly the melt, so I imagine you could find idiosyncratic trends depending on which month you trended, and playing around with different periods.

    I think using the whole series is simplest and sticking with maxima and minima. WMO puts a statistically significant climate period at 30 years (though some climate scientists reckon 20 and even 15 years is can be a valid period). I assume NSIDC ran a trend for the whole satellite period, showing an increased melt rate 1979 – 2007 to 1979 – 2008. In any case, I was replying to the intuitive notion that a less of a melt in the final year (2008) should produce a decreased trend. You clearly know more about statistical analysis than I do. I bet you could come up with a clearer, more succinct explanation of why trends don’t jibe with intuition WRT this specific example. I’d appreciate it if you would. I don’t think my attempt was clear enough.

  120. Previous post by Ric said this was as far back as the NSIDC ice data went, therefore it’s what I used for the analysis. 25-30 points isn’t bad for establishing control limits with an Individual’s control chart.

    The control limits just give an idea of the possible data range based on the observed variability. This assumes the data is normal, which this set is. You can watch how the data moves over time to determine if the data are not behaving randomly (eg there’s a trend or something’s changed). There are some basic tests / checks for this that are easily Googled.

    Based on this data, the historic melt rate doesn’t really have a trend. It randomly fluctuates around a mean. The 2007 and 2008 melt data are outside of the control limts, meaning they appear to be outside the anticipated data range. With two years in a row reporting outside of the upper control limit, the conclusion would be that something controling this parameter changed.

    Don’t ask me what changed, but, based on the above data alone, the effect happended to the melt rate in 2007.

  121. Re. Ric Werme (20:04:05) :
    Pamela Gray (18:58:29) :
    The ice recovery this past winter was huge. A record setter since satellite records began.

    “It didn’t even make it back to the ‘79-2000 average, not much of a record” setter.

    “My spreadsheet says the average freeze was 6.68 M mi^2 and that the 07/08 freeze was 8.89. What is your data? (Caveat – my data comes from May and Sep data, I don’t know where values for Annual max and min are. Pointer welcome.)”

    2007 ice area minimum 2.92 Mm^2
    2008 ice area maximum 13.9 Mm^2 (average max. ~14.3 Mm^2)
    2008 ice area minimum 3.004 Mm^2 (average min. ~5.0 Mm^2)

    “9.4% isn’t “a couple” in my book. What is your data?”

    3.004/2.92 = 1.027

    For a graphical representation see here:

  122. Anne: “The same standards should apply to all parties, present or otherwise, with the following exceptions as noted below…”

    Thanks for taking the time to offer your views, Anne. I think you have presented some valuable guidelines, especially the distinction between attacking views and attacking persons. That said, may I seek further clarification? Below is a list of statements that I think summarise this situation and your views.

    1. Watts Up With That subscribes to a ‘civility principle’.

    2. Your comments relate to your role as moderator on this forum, but are not necessarily forum policy.

    3. Attack the opinion, not the person.

    4. Poster-to-poster personal insults are unacceptable.

    5. Occasional gaffes are forgiveable.

    6. Insults about the publicly expressed views of third-party public figures are OK.

    If this list fairly summarises your views, I’m fine with that. However, I would like to clarify the status of another class of comments: those that are directed towards third-party categories/groups of people rather than specific individuals.

    For example, if I were to claim that ‘AGW sceptics are nut-jobs’, that would not be a direct insult against any particular poster, yet some individuals might take umbrage because they consider themselves to be part of the category of AGW sceptics.

    What would your ruling be on this class of comments? Is it OK to make insulting comments about categories/groups of persons, or do you think they should also be subject to the civility principle?

    Reply: I think that each moderator should rely on their own judgment in this sort of situation upon receipt of a complaint from a member of the ‘offended’ group, taking into account the context of the comment within the discussion, as well as the past behavior of the poster and the complainer. Remember, this is Anthony’s blog and he gets the final say. – Anne

    [FURTHER REPLY - Aye, aye! Arrr. ~ E]

  123. barry (09:31:46) :

    What’s the reasoning behind selecting May stats? Maxima usually occur in March.

    No good reason, just several bad ones. Mainly I saw a graph started in June, so I picked May. I didn’t even compare adjacent months. Lazy and late. I’ll take another
    look tonight, I’m still at work (EDT, pizza night, so I’ve had dinner).

    You clearly know more about statistical analysis than I do.

    Was that directed toward me? I’m a software engineer, not a statistician! I was thinking about figuring out how to do a linear regression in my spreadsheet, and that requires little more than knowing how to spell it!

    Getting matlib and scipy running is high on my list of things I don’t have time to do. that will let me make pretty graphs and pretty graphs bring an air of authority. Don’t they?

    Phil. (13:25:38) :

    2007 ice area minimum 2.92 Mm^2
    2008 ice area maximum 13.9 Mm^2 (average max. ~14.3 Mm^2)
    2008 ice area minimum 3.004 Mm^2 (average min. ~5.0 Mm^2)

    Oh, ice area. We were talking about ice extent. Maybe I’ll look at area tonight too.

  124. Hi Ric.

    I was talking to Mike86. I hadn’t read to the bottom of the thread when I first posted, and then replied to posts that came after mine. I’ve seen your post now – appreciate the stats. Would you mind posting the link to them?

    I’m no statistician either. I just know the right buttons to press in Excel. I learned some basic stuff to discuss global temperature trends elsewhere.

    I ran a simple regression for September minima from 1979 – 2007, and then another from 1979 – 2008. Sure enough, the trend at peak melt seems to have ‘accelerated’ when you include this year’s data point. The opposite is true using the May figures.

    I suppose another way of doing it would be to take the Jan – Dec average rather than picking months, but the minima seems like the most vital because of potential tipping points.

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  126. I guess saying “nutjobs” is ok since it wasn’t snipped.

    Reply: It was a vague reference with no defined target at a specific person or entity. – Anne

  127. There’s always the option of holding oneself to a higher standard than the bottom line.

    On the forum I’ve been managing I spell out some posting guidelines and a few hard rules. Some contributors are always asking how low they are permitted to go and find inventive ways of pillorying each other while staying within the letter of the ‘law’. I’m a fair-minded person, so rather than clamp down on artful language that perpetuates acrimony and beggars a progressive discussion without precisely breaking the rules, I’ve decided to hand the forum over to somebody else. I figure if I want to preside over that kind of squabble I’ll have kids or become Speaker of the House in Australian Parliament.

    I don’t bother long with blogs and such that have the same sort of action. I want to learn stuff and have people genuinely test my ideas, but the pace is always slow on that where broadsides accompany reason.

    “Ignorance can be cured by curiosity. I don’t know if there is a cure for a lack of curiosity.”

  128. OK Brendan it’s a case by case basis… Thanks Anne

    Reply: Pretty much. As I suspect that the Mayan-calendar subscribing members of the Internet don’t frequent WUWT, the comment stands. – Anne

  129. Ric Werme (16:39:02) :

    Oh, ice area. We were talking about ice extent. Maybe I’ll look at area tonight too.

    How can you talk about ‘melt’ and ‘freeze’ when you’re referring to ‘extent’, you’re observing ‘melting and dispersion’ and ‘freezing and compaction’? Most of this year’s increase in extent over last year is due to dispersion.

  130. Found monthly data sets for the satellite series at NSIDC (Arctic sea ice), with figures for area and extent side by side.

    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/

    Maximum (March) is here.

    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/Mar/N_03_area.txt

    Minimum is here.

    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/Sep/N_09_area.txt

    Listed under ‘area’ (top file each month listing). September 2008 hasn’t been included yet. As I’m a rube with the formatting here, I’ll leave it to others to post tables. Hope this is useful.

    I ran a linear regression for maxima over the series and the declining trend has decelerated as a result of maximum last March, emphasising in a different way the remarkable melt season this year.

  131. Ric Werme,

    When you’re plugging all of this into your spreadsheet, could you do a sorted list of ‘delta ice’ (area or extent)? From the year-over-year growth standpoint?

    Because there aren’t a lot of increases in the most recent years – the current increase may be particularly poignant.

  132. Phil. (13:25:38) :

    2007 ice area minimum 2.92 Mm^2
    2008 ice area maximum 13.9 Mm^2 (average max. ~14.3 Mm^2)
    2008 ice area minimum 3.004 Mm^2 (average min. ~5.0 Mm^2)

    “9.4% isn’t “a couple” in my book. What is your data?”

    3.004/2.92 = 1.027

    Sorry, it took me a bit longer to stick data together than it might have. Barry reported the same data source as I found, and indeed I should’ve used March data for starting extent. Their September file doesn’t have September 2008 data yet, so I used yours. Their 9/2007 ice area data point is only 2.77, whereas yours is 2.92, all M Km^2, Millions of square Km, or Tm^2, trillions of square meters.

    3.00 / 2.77 = 1.083, or 8.3% more ice area.

    Here’s a table of Year, Melt and Freeze areas, and March and September areas. Hope I get the magic HTML right.

    Year    Melt    Freeze  Mar     Sep
    1979    8.60    8.39    13.13   4.53
    1980    8.09    7.79    12.92   4.83
    1981    8.24    8.61    12.62   4.38
    1982    8.61    8.46    12.99   4.38
    1983    8.20    7.84    12.84   4.64
    1984    8.43    8.61    12.48   4.05
    1985    8.49    8.48    12.66   4.17
    1986    7.99    8.09    12.65   4.66
    1987    7.15    8.24    12.75   5.60
    1988    8.53    7.83    13.84   5.31
    1989    8.33    8.63    13.14   4.81
    1990    8.94    8.85    13.44   4.50
    1991    8.89    8.95    13.35   4.46
    1992    8.04    8.34    13.41   5.37
    1993    9.19    8.95    13.71   4.52
    1994    8.39    8.19    13.47   5.08
    1995    8.89    8.45    13.27   4.38
    1996    7.25    7.66    12.83   5.58
    1997    8.40    8.66    13.24   4.84
    1998    9.26    9.23    13.50   4.24
    1999    9.25    8.88    13.47   4.22
    2000    8.79    9.26    13.10   4.31
    2001    9.02    8.81    13.57   4.55
    2002    9.38    9.38    13.36   3.98
    2003    9.35    8.92    13.36   4.01
    2004    8.58    8.32    12.93   4.35
    2005    8.64    8.41    12.67   4.03
    2006    8.48    8.53    12.44   3.96
    2007    9.72   10.39    12.49   2.77
    2008   10.16            13.16   3.00

  133. Here’s the extent data much like the area data. I didn’t see the “waiting for moderation” message, so it may be spam. It may also be misformatted, in which case this will be also.


    Year    Melt    Freeze  Mar     Sep
    1979    9.24    8.93    16.44   7.20
    1980    8.28    7.76    16.13   7.85
    1981    8.36    8.90    15.61   7.25
    1982    8.70    8.65    16.15   7.45
    1983    8.58    8.10    16.10   7.52
    1984    8.45    8.89    15.62   7.17
    1985    9.13    9.15    16.06   6.93
    1986    8.54    8.41    16.08   7.54
    1987    8.47    8.65    15.95   7.48
    1988    8.64    8.03    16.13   7.49
    1989    8.48    8.84    15.52   7.04
    1990    9.64    9.26    15.88   6.24
    1991    8.95    8.92    15.50   6.55
    1992    7.92    8.33    15.47   7.55
    1993    9.38    9.08    15.88   6.50
    1994    8.40    8.14    15.58   7.18
    1995    9.19    8.99    15.32   6.13
    1996    7.24    7.70    15.12   7.88
    1997    8.84    8.92    15.58   6.74
    1998    9.10    8.84    15.66   6.56
    1999    9.16    9.03    15.40   6.24
    2000    8.95    9.29    15.27   6.32
    2001    8.86    8.69    15.61   6.75
    2002    9.48    9.53    15.44   5.96
    2003    9.34    8.90    15.49   6.15
    2004    9.00    8.69    15.05   6.05
    2005    9.17    8.86    14.74   5.57
    2006    8.54    8.78    14.43   5.89
    2007   10.39   10.93    14.67   4.28
    2008   10.69            15.21   4.52

  134. Alan S. Blue (10:22:14) :

    When you’re plugging all of this into your spreadsheet, could you do a sorted list of ‘delta ice’ (area or extent)? From the year-over-year growth standpoint?

    Because there aren’t a lot of increases in the most recent years – the current increase may be particularly poignant.

    Poignant?

    Here’s the extent table sorted by extent increase during the winter. I’m not sure if it’s very useful, though it does show the relationship between start and end levels. The years with the biggest freezes are the ones with the least ice to start with and the most area available to freeze. I added a column – the amount of ice in March after the winter. That way you don’t have to searching for that amount.

    Year      Melt    Freeze  Mar     Sep     Next
    1996    7.24    7.70    15.12   7.88    15.58
    1980    8.28    7.76    16.13   7.85    15.61
    1988    8.64    8.03    16.13   7.49    15.52
    1983    8.58    8.10    16.10   7.52    15.62
    1994    8.40    8.14    15.58   7.18    15.32
    1992    7.92    8.33    15.47   7.55    15.88
    1986    8.54    8.41    16.08   7.54    15.95
    1982    8.70    8.65    16.15   7.45    16.10
    1987    8.47    8.65    15.95   7.48    16.13
    2001    8.86    8.69    15.61   6.75    15.44
    2004    9.00    8.69    15.05   6.05    14.74
    2006    8.54    8.78    14.43   5.89    14.67
    1989    8.48    8.84    15.52   7.04    15.88
    1998    9.10    8.84    15.66   6.56    15.40
    2005    9.17    8.86    14.74   5.57    14.43
    1984    8.45    8.89    15.62   7.17    16.06
    1981    8.36    8.90    15.61   7.25    16.15
    2003    9.34    8.90    15.49   6.15    15.05
    1991    8.95    8.92    15.50   6.55    15.47
    1997    8.84    8.92    15.58   6.74    15.66
    1979    9.24    8.93    16.44   7.20    16.13
    1995    9.19    8.99    15.32   6.13    15.12
    1999    9.16    9.03    15.40   6.24    15.27
    1993    9.38    9.08    15.88   6.50    15.58
    1985    9.13    9.15    16.06   6.93    16.08
    1990    9.64    9.26    15.88   6.24    15.50
    2000    8.95    9.29    15.27   6.32    15.61
    2002    9.48    9.53    15.44   5.96    15.49
    2007   10.39   10.93    14.67   4.28    15.21
    2008   10.69            15.21   4.52

  135. Nice work, Ric.

    Someone said a few posts ago that a trend wasn’t discernible. I still don’t understand why. The minima extent swing year to year is within 500 000 sq kms, and the linear trend from start to finish is over 2 mil sq kms, four times the variability. If 30 years is long enough to establish a climate trend, then it seems there is one.

  136. Including this year, it’s closer to -2.5 mil sq kms linear trend, five times the variability of minimum year to year.

  137. If people are worried about the ice cap melting, wouldn’t there be a better perspective if the area graphics didn’t suppress the zero?

    Or are we interested in “measurement noise”?

  138. It means that a trend is only a trend. It does not follow that the trend will continue until there is no sea ice.

  139. Well sure, it’s only an indicator. You don’t mean to suggest that projections of diminishing sea ice is otherwise a grope in the dark, or that global cooling is upon us?

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  141. More than an indicator it is a record. It is a record only. The predictions of 2008 sea ice extent now seem to have been a “grope in the dark”. The recent records do show global cooling. Is that an indicator? Who knows?

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  146. When the sun kicks in again, all of the ice on the planet will melt and costal cities will be under water for 10,000 years.
    I have no idea what you people are thinking. Bush told NSIDC to fudge that graph before the election so Obama can get the real graph in November and the Feds can spend trillions to replace all of our Coal generation plants.
    We can borrow the money from China to pull this off. Once China owns the US, they use us for mining more coal.

    yes, that’s it…..

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