Polar Albedo Feedback

by Steven Goddard

Today is a day of note in Antarctic.  The sun has reached it’s highest point in the sky, and never sets.  The amount of incoming solar radiation is at it’s peak for the year, and the radiation balance is strongly affected by the reflectivity (albedo) of the surface.  Open ocean absorbs much of the the sunlight, whereas ice reflects it back out into space.

One of the most popular global warming feedbacks is considered to be changes in the extent of polar ice.  The story goes that as the ice melts, more heat gets absorbed in the ocean, leading to higher temperatures.  Today we test that theory.

According to NSIDC, Antarctic ice extent is nearly 20% above normal, as seen in the graph and map below.

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_timeseries.png
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_daily_extent.png

If the theory is correct, the large amount of excess ice should be cooling Antarctica – and that is exactly what we see happening.  Temperatures in Antarctica have been running persistently below normal, as seen in the maps below.

http://web1.cdc.noaa.gov/map/ANIM/sfctmpmer_01a.fnl.30.gif

There is just one problem with all this.  The effect is exactly opposite of what has been predicted by global warming modelers.  Antarctic ice is increasing and temperatures are cooling.

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157 thoughts on “Polar Albedo Feedback

  1. Its amazing to me how many people thing the Antarctic is melting on of my favorite ways of tweaking my pro AGW coworkers is to leave the Cryosphere 30 day video running on my computer. :)

    JG

  2. information for you..

    Snow in Vegas??

    Praise Al Gore!!!

    I’m so happy that most of the world has listened to him because we now see the end of global warming. All of Al Gore’s hard work has paid off. Why, things have gotten so good that global warming has completely reversed itself and it is now snowing in Las Vegas.

    And just so you don’t think it is only Sin City that has been wonderfully blessed by Al Gore’s pious efforts, it has snowed in Houston, New Orleans, and Mississippi. (OK, technically it was only sleet in Mississippi).

    The world has been told for the last few years that we are all going to be drowning under the antarctic ice melt, but this year is the coldest year in the last decade. Of course a look at the graph shows a scary comparison between the last 2 decades and the 1800’s. Well, there was this little thing called the “little ice age” that ended in the 1800’s, which caused lower than average temperatures.

  3. So the rising levels of CO2 have not caused a meltdown in the Antarctic. The albedo effects seem dominate. Looks like the models need tweaked… again.

  4. Is this what happened last year when the ice extent was so great? Could it be that the ocean cycles are contributing to the cold? — John M Reynolds

  5. The theory ‘the frog has wings’ is wrong again. I guess the CO2/GHG models are just ‘playstation’.

  6. The Antarctic ice won’t stay its pristine, high albedo white once hundreds of camera crews arrive and start stomping about on it as they strive to video a bit of ice melting.

    OT, but it does look from the NCEP anomaly map that the much discussed Siberian hot spot has turned into a thermal black hole. Over 20C below the 1985/1996 average. Brrr.

  7. So they are wrong-does it even matter? Believing is such hard thing to shake off.
    This is against the AGW Dogma.Trouble is, the their Karma just ran over their own Dogma….

  8. It’s just a local weather effect.

    If you want to see the true effect of global warming everyone knows you have to look at the arctic. –Duh!

  9. The story is that ice reflects solar energy back to space but the reflection isn’t 100%. With snow on the ice, the reflection is even less. Build a snow fort and see how much light comes through.
    A point that gets ignored is that when first year sea ice melts a lot of the thermal energy used to melt the ice actually comes from the sea water, not the air.
    What I find perplexing is the difference in all the different graphs that show sea temps and anomalies. They just don’t correlate.

    Minus 30 C this morning.

  10. I remember sometime ago that the warming models predicted the cooling of the antarctic while the rest of the world warmed. I cannot remeber the references now. Is it true, or am I mistaken?

  11. So Antarctic sea ice extent is above the average and arctic sea ice extent has been below the average. Anyone see a cause for panic?

  12. I’m afraid It took me a while (the fourth reading) to figure out the logic here: I take it you are saying that the albedo feedback effect could be true for the Antarctic, but that the global warming models are wrong, because they don’t predict it? For I while I thought you were trying to disprove the albedo feedback…

    Actually, although albedo feedback seems a reasonable idea to me, I don’t think this is enough to demonstrate it. The major effect is probably in the opposite direction – it’s colder, so there’s more ice!

    Have a Cool Yule.

  13. Global Warming Is Caused by Computers

    http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2008/12/global-warming-is-caused-by-computers.html

    “In particular, a few computers at NASA’s Goddard Institute seem to be having a disproportionate effect on global warming. Anthony Watt takes a cut at an analysis I have tried myself several times, comparing raw USHCN temperature data to the final adjusted values delivered from that data by the NASA computers. My attempt at this compared the USHCN adjusted to raw for the entire US:”

    “Many of the adjustments are quite necessary, such as time of observation adjustments, adjustments for changing equipment, and adjustments for changing site locations and/or urbanization. However, all of these adjustments are educated guesses. Some, like the time of observation adjustment, probably are decent guesses. Some, like site location adjustments, are terrible (as demonstrated at surfacestations.org).”

    “The point is that finding a temperature change signal over time with current technologies is a measurement subject to a lot of noise. We are looking for a signal on the order of magnitude of 0.5C where adjustments to individual raw instrument values might be 2-3C. It is a very low signal-noise environment, and one that is inherently subject to biases (researches who expect to find a lot of warming will, not surprisingly, adjust a lot of measurements higher).”

    “Warming has occurred in the 20th century. The exact number is unclear, but we have much better data via satellites now that have shown a warming trend since 1979, though that trend is lower than the one that results from surface temperature measurements with all these discretionary adjustments.”

  14. (OT) Is anybody nervous about President-Elect Obama’s choices of John Holden as Director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy and Jane Lubchenko as Director of NOAA?

    On the surface, it seems that they might not be willing to consider the opposing viewpoint that man’s influence on global climate might be overstated and/or minimal; especially John Holden. Perhaps some of the visitors to this website are more familiar with their academic credentials and personal philosophies than I am.

  15. Basil,

    Good question. Albedo is only an issue when the sun is up high in the sky – basically mid-October through mid-February. Recent NCEP maps have all been showing Antarctic temperatures well below normal.

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/fnl/sfctmpmer_01a.fnl.anim.html

    http://climate.uah.edu/nov2007.htm

    http://climate.uah.edu/dec2007.htm

    http://climate.uah.edu/jan2008.htm

    http://climate.uah.edu/feb2008.htm

    http://climate.uah.edu/oct2008.htm

    http://climate.uah.edu/nov2008.htm

    Paul,

    I was making several points. One was that the albedo feedback appears to be real, and the other was that Antarctica is not behaving as predicted by the models. Sorry I didn’t make that more clear.

  16. Of course when they say Global….. They just mean the little office where the climate scientists are.

    It’s a whole world in itself……. apparently.

  17. Arghh, this was today’s story on Obama’s science advisers –

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28325294/

    WASHINGTON – U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday named Harvard physicist John Holdren and marine biologist Jane Lubchenco to top science posts, signaling a change from Bush administration policies on global warming that were criticized for putting politics over science.

    Both Holdren and Lubchenco are leading experts on climate change who have advocated forceful government response. Holdren will become Obama’s science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Lubchenco will lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees ocean and atmospheric studies and does much of the government’s research on global warming.

  18. Once again I see the dastardly head of the dreaded “1979 – 2000″ base period.
    Let’s look at it this way. Arctic sea ice is below that base period, Antarctice sea ice is above. Perhaps the reality is that Arctic sea ice was above normal during the base period and Antarctic sea ice was below normal. Now it’s the other way aroung and perhaps this is normal. Or perhaps there is no normal and it just varies because that’s the way it has always been.
    Now, where did I leave that glass of fresh tangerine juice I just squeezed this morning?

  19. Hansen’s 1984 paper about expected warming of Antarctica (fig 2-4) predicted significant warming in the Antarctic, which was basically symmetrical with the Arctic.

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/effects/downloads/Challenge_chapter2.pdf

    The discussion below is fairly typical of how the press reports about Antarctica.

    Climate change has struck Antarctica particularly hard, and the continent has not lost any of its strange appeal to those stricken by wanderlust. Worryingly, Antarctica’s atmosphere is actually the fastest-warming place in the world: Although rapid warming at the surface of Antarctica has been well-documented, even more rapid increases in mean temperature have been recorded at altitudes much higher above the continent. What’s more, it is the largest warming of its kind found anywhere on Earth.

    http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/004763.html

  20. The Arctic is certainly acting as predicted by models, there has been a dramatic pause in freezing and the ice extent is now at the lowest level recorded for this time of year (so much for all the predictions of record freezing this winter!) http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm.
    The Antarctic though hasn’t been acting as predicted for sure. It must be remembered though that the models have consistently shown greater heating in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere than the southern. The Antarctic is also more susceptable to effects of changes in wind speed/direction due to it being surrounded by the oceans and also the high altitude of the continent due to deep ice sheets. This is an interesting paper on the Antarctic occilation http://www.phys.uu.nl/~broeke/home_files/MB_pubs_pdf/2004_vdB_AnnGlac.pdf.

    REPLY: “ice extent is now at the lowest level recorded for this time of year”

    On what basis? The graph only goes back to 2002. Do you have prior data that shows it is in fact “the lowest level recorded” or or you just embellishing? – Anthony

  21. OT: Using SESC sunspot numbers since June, we hit 500 spotless days.

    Further to my http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/09/13/this-is-what-passes-for-a-sunspot-these-days/#comment-40519 comment, I started with the, “Adding up every daily blank sun for the past three years, we find that the current solar minimum has had 362 spotless days (as of June 30, 2008).” quote from the http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/08/13/spotless-days-400-and-counting/ post. I found the SESC numbers as tracked by the NOAA in their http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/indices/old_indices/ directory. From the DSD.txt files, I get the following data:

    July gives 3/31 — That is there were only three days with sunspot numbers
    August gives 0/31
    September gives 3/30
    October gives 11/31
    November gives 14/30
    December gives 3/19 days so far

    That gives a total so far for this half of the year: 34/172

    362 + 172 – 34 = 500

    That gives us 500 spotless days in the past 3 years for the transition between solar cycle 23 and solar cycle 24. For 2008, their data has 235 spotless days so far for 2008. We are now only 34 days to the next milestone.

    John M Reynolds

  22. Re Ed Scott (09:59:11) :
    It has long seemed to me quite ludicrous to try to take an average of the earth’s temperature in the way that we do now that we have so much computing power, yet no matter how we do it there will always be biases and inaccuracies.

    Scientists currently take the average of data from geographically spread sites and plot it on a temporal axis, looking for trends. This necessitates many of the adjustments such as time of day etc.

    If instead we were to plot the data from each station on a temporal axis, making only site-specific adjustments and calculate the trends, then average only the geographically spread trends…. how much difference would this make. Quite a lot I suspect.

    Of course there will always be the problem with the actual number and spread of stations, such as the abundance across the inhabited world and the paucity in sparsely inhabited regions such as Siberia, and the Poles.

    How do GISS, HADCRUT etc. adjust for area? (i.e. 10 stations in a state vs 10 stations in a continent) and has anyone taken issue with it?

  23. Spencer Weart posted at RealClimate in February entitled “Antarctica is Cold? Yeah, We Knew That”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/02/antarctica-is-cold/

    The last sentence reads:
    “Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that.”

    Someone questioned their conclusions and I unsuccessfully attempted to post a followup to refute Gavin. SOP.

    Regardless, no matter what happens, the Team always has an out.

  24. Basil (08:56:01) :

    Basil

    A Mercator projection widely distorts the relative area of the poles and gives a false perception of the amount of global change to the uninformed user. What is actually a spot (the North/South Pole) is stretched out to the circumference of the world. The often used Robinson projection (National Geographic Society) is a little better but perhaps something like the Waterman projection with a separate representation of the Antarctic would provide a more truthful overview.

    Regards

    Michael

  25. Mary,

    You might note that Arctic ice is about 10% below normal, while Antarctic ice is about 20% above normal. Both are close to 12Mkm2. How does that work out for the planet as a whole?

    Another important point is that for most of the important months of sunshine in the Arctic (mid-April through mid-August) ice extent was close to normal. There were only about three weeks during that period when ice loss had a significant effect on Arctic albedo.

    This is in sharp contrast to Antarctica, which is being strongly cooled by ice gain through their recent summers.

  26. As reported by Canadian public broadcaster CBC, a woman doctor earlier this week won a 100 km ski race in Antarctica. Well done…
    Unfortunately typical for the reporting were two back to back comments in the voice over: one the standard MSM mantra that Antarctica is warming and its ice melting due to AGW, and in the next sentence the casual observation that daily highs during this high summer race ranged from -20C to -10C….. Until further notice, ice doesn’t melt at those temperatures.

  27. Tropical ice will have a much greater impact on albedo than polar ice will. What has the ice been doing in the Andes the last couple of years?

  28. Folks , as we are approaching a particular holiday – Happy Christmas to all those adding comments on this forum .

    As someone who happens to agree with the accumulating evidence about MMGW/AGW I wish to remind the majority of those profering opinons here that you are repeatedly hearing a particular sceptical point of view on this forum . Very few comments here challange this view or express a view outside of that philosophy .

    I’ve spent the afternoon enjoying a few (alcoholic) beverages with a relative who has spent 20 plus years in the area of biological research and foresty. When I asked then about whether there were significant changes indicating the world was warming (in line with MMGW) his unequivocal answer was yes.

    I’m not saying everyone understands all details of what is going to happen .
    I’m not saying computer models should be believed as the truth .

    But the idea that on average the world isn’t going to change due to increasing the concentrations of CO2 has any impact is really taking a step too far…..

    Hopefully 2009 will be a better year for all .

  29. Steven,

    Are you saying that it wouldn’t matter if Arctic sea ice would disappear completely during summer, as long as Antarctica would gain the same amount of ice?

    I translated a documentary once called ‘Katabatic’ and it said that the Antarctic was so big and cold that it was a dominant factor in that part of the world, in that it pulled all the hot air on high altitudes surrounding Antarctica down. This hot air would cool off and flow down the Antarctic mountains towards the coast at enormous speeds (these winds ‘falling’ off mountains are called katabatic winds), making life impossible on the continent. Anyway, I gathered from it that Antarctica is so big and cold that global warming cannot affect it very much (for the time being), although I don’t know if that holds for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet as well. I haven’t read about that for a while and I have a terrible memory.

    So I reread RealClimate’s post DR just mentioned (thanks for that) and mention it again: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/02/antarctica-is-cold/

    I read this today about the Arctic, if true quite interesting: http://climateprogress.org/2008/12/15/nsidc-arctic-melt-passes-the-point-of-no-return-we-hate-to-say-we-told-you-so-but-we-did/

    And I think we will be hearing more about methane releases the coming months/years. It could be quite heavy stuff although it’s too soon to say anything definitive about it. I’m curious as to what the reactions will be from people who are not so sure about AGW.

  30. The cryosphere site shows a continuous increase in Arctic sea ice area while the ijis site showed a decline and is still below what it was two weeks ago. Cryosphere shows over 800,000 sq. Km during that time while IJIS shows a decline of about 100,000 sq. km..
    As for heat loss 15% sea ice coverage means 85% open water. Unless the sun is high then that open water is going to be radiating/conducting thermal energy into the atmosphere and into space.

  31. tetris: The woman who won that Antarctic race started out on skis, but the ice was melting so fast she changed to a kayak. That is how she won the race.

    AF

  32. Dear PeteM,

    I’ve spent 35 plus years in the area of biological research and forestry, and I can unequivocally assure you that there have been NO significant changes indicating the world was warming. I challenge the conclusions of your unnamed, ‘expert’ relative. Tell him or her that I am willing to debate them on that point in this forum or any other.

  33. To what extent is cooling in the Antarctic reflected in the Northern Hemisphere temperatures?

    It isn’t.

    If you meant to ask, ‘To what extent does cooling in the Antarctic affect the Northern Hemisphere temperatures?’, then the answer is,

    Over periods up to a decade to a few decades, the 2 hemispheres are separate climate systems with very little heat exchange between them, ie what happens in one hemisphere doesn’t affect temperatures in the other.

    Over longer time frames (centuries?) heat is exchanged between the hemispheres by the Great Ocean Conveyors.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermohaline_circulation

  34. Steven (or Anthony)
    There is an easy way to prove or disprove greenhouse warming
    Just compare temperature with OLR!
    Greenhouse warming works by trapping longwave energy, therefor OLR should decrease as temp increases and increase when temp decreases.
    The opposite occurs if warming is caused by shortwave (Cloud albedo) forcing.
    The OLR will increase as temp increases and decrease as temp decreases!
    If you haven’t checked the satellite record of clouds it shows a 2-3% decrease in clouds!
    cheers

  35. mccall (10:50:24) :

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_365a.rnl.html

    Note the red across Antartica.
    Jeez, Basil! A MERCATOR PROJECTION map for polar data? Do you even have a clue, when you’re being hosed? Back away from the edge!

    That’s not a Mercator projection, in fact, it’s not a projection at all, just a cartesian plot of latitude and longitude and is the most common sort of climate map we see. I see no reason to take Basil to task for referring to that sort of a map. A Mercator projection cannot cover the whole world, as the poles
    have to take up infinite area. In this cartesian map they just get stretched out into a line.

    See http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/mapproj/gif/unproj.gif
    vs http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/mapproj/gif/mercator.gif

    Personally, I think the “Sinusoidal Equal Area” map would make the most sense for us. http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/mapproj/gif/sinusoid.gif

    All links came from http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/mapproj/mapproj_f.html

  36. Oh my yes, I do remember my days in chem lab. Putting water into a test tube, warming it over a Bunsen burner, and watching the ice form within the test tube . . . but wait, that isn’t what happened at all, now is it?

    I am still waiting for when these forecasters can predict the temperature or weather 10 days hence, let along 30-50 years hence. The “global warming” models haven’t made a single prediction that was accurate in the least to date. Garbage program, garbage output.

    How many times does a fortune teller have to tell you a wrong fortune before you figure out that the fortune teller is a fraud?

  37. The Antarctic is not warming much because of an increase in the polar vortex. This is well known and reproduced by climate models. The impact on sea ice is to spread it further away from the continent – ie increase extent and decrease thickness due to enhanced Ekman drift. This is complex stuff, so I’m not surprised that non-experts wrongly believe that the Antarctic somehow refutes global warming.

    BTW the Arctic ice appears to be in serious trouble – http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png . There is no meaningful polar vortex or ozone hole to provide a short term buffering for this ice. If the situation doesn’t improve soon next summer is going to get very ugly.

  38. PeteM

    “I’ve spent the afternoon enjoying a few (alcoholic) beverages with a relative who has spent 20 plus years in the area of biological research and foresty. When I asked then about whether there were significant changes indicating the world was warming (in line with MMGW) his unequivocal answer was yes.”

    Just what evidence was offered during your imbibing that global warming is man-made other than exchanging anecdotes “over a few?” Global warming is only man-made in the sense that Algore/UN/IPCC/Pachauri have created it with bogus computer models and irrelevent anecdotes.

    “But the idea that on average the world isn’t going to change due to increasing the concentrations of CO2 has any impact is really taking a step too far…..”

    I have been searvhing for the data that shows that anthropogenic CO2 has any significant effect on the base temperature of the Earth, if there is such thing as a base temperature of the Earth other than averaging (guesstimating) the temperatures from regional and local climates. The CO2 concentration in parts per million is said to be increasing at a current rate of 2.18 ppm (Mauna Loa) and only 0.436 ppm is due to anjthropogenic sources (the DOE ratio of natural to man-made CO2 was 5.76 to 1 up to the year 2000). The idea that the total yearly increase in CO2 is due to man kind, certainly is a step to far.

  39. Guy,

    You are mistaken. Dr Svensmark’s GCR/cloud theory that predicts Antarctic cooling when the Arctic watms.

  40. Neven,

    I would make the argument that so far Antarctic ice gain has had a larger effect on the radiation budget of the earth, than has ice loss in the Arctic.

    The reasons for this are:

    1. Antarctic ice positive anomalies have occurred during times of year when the sun is high in the sky near the solstice (such as today) whereas Arctic negative anomalies peak near the equinox in September. Once the sun sets for the autumn in the Arctic, the absence of ice has no meaningful albedo effect. Thus the Arctic anomalies are less important to the radiation budget of the earth.

    2. Antarctic sea ice is at higher latitudes than Arctic ice, so the sun over the Antarctic ice is up higher in the sky. This compounds the effect from 1. The “missing” ice in the Arctic is at very higher latitudes and the sun is lower, so the amount of solar radiation which can be absorbed is also reduced. Once again, this causes Antarctic ice gain to have a more significant effect on the earth’s radiation budget than does Arctic ice loss.

    I’d like to point out again that Hansen predicted major albedo loss for Antarctica (Fig 2-4) and people who claim otherwise are perhaps misinformed.

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/effects/downloads/Challenge_chapter2.pdf

  41. Ellie in Belfast

    “… there will always be biases and inaccuracies.”

    This is one of the realities that angers me – paying for the biases and inaccuracies of the AGW cult’s unproven and bogus theory.

  42. PeteM (12:25:56) :

    “… you are repeatedly hearing a particular sceptical point of view on this forum . Very few comments here challange this view or express a view outside of that philosophy .”

    Very observant of you. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that challengers can’t support their views and either go away or stay quiet.

    “…a relative who has spent 20 plus years in the area of biological research and foresty. When I asked then about whether there were significant changes indicating the world was warming (in line with MMGW) his unequivocal answer was yes.”

    Did the biologist say “in line with MMGW” or was that you? Given that the earth has most certainly warmed a bit that would be in line with any theory that predicts warming. It would also be in line with a theory that says that the Earth warms because of Intra Planetary Friction Induced by Solar- Andromedan Teleconnection Wars (IPFIS-ATW).

  43. The only time Antartctica rates a mention in the MSM is to report an ice shelf about the size of France or something breaking off owing to global warming (see a couple of examples below). Nary a mention of sea ice in the Antarctic reaching highest recorded levels in 2007, or anything else that would be considered to be “off-message” and therefore not to be brought to the public’s attention.

    http://archives.cnn.com/2002/TECH/space/05/09/iceberg.satellite/index.html

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3621685.ece

  44. Patrick

    John P.’s address to the AAAS tells us who he is and for what he stands – social engineering. We have the prospect of seeing environmentalism up close and really personal as a primary policy of the incoming administration.

    Obama’s Science Advisor [Yuval Levin]
    “It looks like president-elect Obama will name John P. Holdren as his science advisor. Holdren is a professor of environmental policy at Harvard and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. As Ron Bailey points out, he has been an activist on the ecological left and no friend of free markets. Perhaps more striking is his activism well beyond his own academic specialty, arguing, for instance, that scientists have a responsibility to advance the cause of the elimination of all nuclear weapons and seeking controls on population growth.”

    PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS:
    Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being
    John P. Holdren*
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/319/5862/424 (This links to the transcript of a very long speech)

    “The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is not about the advancement of science just for science’s sake. Rather, as indicated by the Association’s motto, “Advancing Science, Serving Society,” it is about advancing science in the context of a desire to improve the human condition. This mission necessarily entails attention to the social as well as natural sciences; attention to the embodiment of science in technology through engineering; and attention to the processes by which understandings from the natural sciences, the social sciences, and engineering influence–or fail to influence–public policy. All of these long-standing preoccupations of the AAAS are integral to the theme of the 2007 Annual Meeting and of this essay, “Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being.”

  45. I forgot to mention one important point in my last post. The earth is closer to the sun during the Antarctic summer than during the Arctic summer. This further compounds the relative importance of a positive Antarctic ice anomaly to the earth’s radiation budget.

  46. The Arctic as a whole is not below average. Only certain areas that are within known warm currents are below average. Other areas are above average. To state that the Arctic ice is behaving as predicted by GW models is an unfounded leap from the model to observations without understanding the nature of Arctic currents, winds, and fresh water sources.

  47. gary gulrud:

    NH snowcover is slightly over the 1996-2005 average at the moment:

    http://moe.met.fsu.edu/snow/

    crosspatch0:

    Tropical ice has essentially zero effect on albedo, because there is so little of it (a couple of hundred square kilometers in all).

  48. Sorry, one more correction. I meant to say –
    2. Antarctic sea ice is at lowerlatitudes than Arctic ice,

  49. Neven:

    Re that methane release, why didn’t it happen during the last interglacial when temperatures in northern Siberia were about 10 degrees higher than now, and forest grew all the way to the arctic coast?

  50. Well, no wonder the media’s focus is on the Arctic sea ice. The Antarctic sea ice doesn’t present the same foreboding image. Remember, it’s not about science but image with which to promote the AGW political movement.

    Same way they play melting glacier stories. Focus on the fact they’re melting and the possible loss of the melt run-off but say little or nothing about the fact that the ground uncovered is littered with remnants of forests from several thousand years ago or man-made artifacts. All from a period well after the end of the last major ice age. To seriously consider such facts would suggest that current warming is not unusual but just another warm episode in a recurring cyle of such events.

  51. When do the models predict that the permafrost will melt? It hasn’t yet. Still as cold as ever. Maybe when Hell freezes over?

  52. By the way, NOAA has posted record low temperatures in Hell as of Dec. 16th. Records go back about 2000 years plus a few.

  53. Today is a day of note in Antarctic. The sun has reached it’s highest point in the sky, and never sets.

    You’re a day early, the solstice occurs at 12:04 on the 21st Dec (UTC). No matter. You also state (twice, three times if you include The Register) that Hansen predicted symmetrical warming of the poles, weeell he kinda did, but in a paper nearly a quarter-century old now and on a planet where atmospheric CO2 had doubled, which is a way off yet, Care to predict the Antarctic temperatures and ice extent two decades hence? Do you think its plausible that in the intervening years since 1984 the climate science community has refined its understanding and its models? Hansen certainly has, see

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/7/2287/2007/acp-7-2287-2007.pdf

    for a discussion of recent developments in the mainstream scientific understanding of the Antarctic temperature trends.

    Your article closes thus:The effect is exactly opposite of what has been predicted by global warming modelers. Antarctic ice is increasing and temperatures are cooling.

    What exactly is a global warming modeler? Have you met one? Please could you cite a single study that your analysis has discredited? Or is this just another huge Straw Man exercise?

    thanks

    JP

  54. Gary Gulrud and Anthony Watts, please email me your postal addresses as I would like to mail you a book I have just published. My email address is david.archibald @ westnet.com.au

  55. The Antarctic is not warming much because of an increase in the polar vortex. This is well known and reproduced by climate models. The impact on sea ice is to spread it further away from the continent – ie increase extent and decrease thickness due to enhanced Ekman drift.

    I’ll take your word for it that an increase the Polar Vortex produces an increase in sea ice extent in the computer models, but is there any evidence in the real world that the Polar Vortex is increasing and this is thinning and spreading the sea ice? (with or without Ekman Drift).

    BTW, you might care to read this study of satellite data which shows no significant link between the strength of the Antarctic Polar Vortex and temperatures.

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17380286

  56. Steven,

    Thanks for pointing out what what I should have caught the first time — that your emphasis is upon albedo.

    Thanks to Ric for coming to my defense on those who think I chose the projection, or was intentionally making a point about how widespread the red was.

    On this being a “model” run, that is (I think) just a reference to the fact that this is from a “reanalysis” dataset. On the point in question, I don’t see much difference using the operational dataset:

    I think Steven took my question better than some of you did. And he gave a good answer.

  57. “Open ocean absorbs much of the the sunlight, whereas ice reflects it back out into space”

    Does it make it to outer space, or does the teeny tiny amount of CO2 deflect it back to earth again?

  58. John Philip (18:13:22) :
    Today is a day of note in Antarctic. The sun has reached it’s highest point in the sky, and never sets.

    You’re a day early, the solstice occurs at 12:04 on the 21st Dec (UTC). No matter. You also state (twice, three times if you include The Register) that Hansen predicted symmetrical warming of the poles, weeell he kinda did, but in a paper nearly a quarter-century old now and on a planet where atmospheric CO2 had doubled, which is a way off yet, Care to predict the Antarctic temperatures and ice extent two decades hence? Do you think its plausible that in the intervening years since 1984 the climate science community has refined its understanding and its models? Hansen certainly has, see

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/7/2287/2007/acp-7-2287-2007.pdf

    for a discussion of recent developments in the mainstream scientific understanding of the Antarctic temperature trends.

    Not least ’84 was before the discovery of the ozone hole, a significant factor for the Antarctic!

  59. I am not a scientist and my understanding is that the AGW models are statistical. My simple question is, what is their degree of certainty? Can anyone point me to where this is stated or published?

  60. So a day is an issue but 20 years isnt? So are you saying that the current doom and gloom by the AGW crowd for 100 years in the future should be ignored because its too far out and highly unpredictable! – therefore we should not make policy decisions on it either! Oh and what model did predict the current cooling – none – even Hansens cover all bases attempt still was way off, as for most on here we trust natural cycles of the sun and earth as opposed to agenda driven hypothesis.

  61. Pamela Gray (15:35:33) :
    The Arctic as a whole is not below average. Only certain areas that are within known warm currents are below average. Other areas are above average. To state that the Arctic ice is behaving as predicted by GW models is an unfounded leap from the model to observations without understanding the nature of Arctic currents, winds, and fresh water sources.

    According to all the sources I’ve looked at the Arctic as a whole is below average, I don’t see any areas that are above average either. Care to elaborate?

  62. John Philip:
    Go to Reacclimate to talk with all the global climate modlers that you would want to. That is where I learned last year that they could pull out some GCMs that did not show antartic warming. If I recall properly in IPCC AR4 the average of the models showed warming at both poles. Of course MR Gavin advised the world at that time that the only accurate model was the one that showed what They wanted it to at any time all the others are wrong. I must say that you have been doing a very good job of twisting fact. Ring that bell!

  63. I thought everyone knew Global Warming causes global cooling?

    Thom Hartmann on Air America:

    “…What we are seeing in this cold, that has me trapped in my house here today, is that, what we are seeing is a symptom of global warming. But you wouldn’t know that from the crazies on the right….”

    Scroll down to “Lib Radio Host: Record Snows and Cold Caused By Global Warming”

    http://newsbusters.org/

  64. >Polar Vortex is increasing and this is thinning and spreading the sea ice?

    Thompson, Solomon and Gillet have published extensively on this. A science literature search will turn up many papers (try annular mode, antarctic oscillation), or alternatively read the IPCC reports. This work goes back nearly 10 years, and is explains why the MSU shows a broad cooling trend at high southern latitudes. It also explains the massive warming of the Antarctic Peninsula (which lies north of the polar trough).

    Given that this is not new, why is it not know to the sceptical experts here?

    BTW Arctic sea ice is important for albedo because it survives (or at least used to) through summer. The Antarctic ice melts almost entirely in summer.

  65. “” Justin Sane (20:11:45) :

    “Open ocean absorbs much of the the sunlight, whereas ice reflects it back out into space”

    Does it make it to outer space, or does the teeny tiny amount of CO2 deflect it back to earth again? “”

    Justin, you have to be a little careful here. See what you excerpted about sunlight being reflected by the ice.

    “Albedo” reflection is always solar spectrum energy, and at least air mass 1 spectrum (sunlight that has been through the atmosphere once. Now arctic or antarctic ice reflection is much worse that air mass 1, becaue of the oblique passage of the sunlight through the atmosphere; so it has travelled through much more than one atmosphere of gases, and is going to go back out through much more than one air mass, but not as much as coming in. why not? Well the incoming sinlight is a nearly colimated beam, with about 0.5 dgeree angular divergence, because that is the angular diameter of the sun.
    But the refelcted light is highly scattered, and a seat of the pants guess would be that the reflected light is roughly Lambertian about the specular direction, which is a fancy way of saying the intensity likely falls off as the cosine of the angle from the path it would take off a lfat mirror (the specular direction.
    In any case bottom line is that it is the sunlight spectrum that is being reflected back into space, and CO2 has very little interraction with more than 99% of the incoming solar spectrum.

    The capture action of CO2 is a mix of the weak near IR tail of the solar spectrum (,1% of the total energy) plus the 14.77 region of the earth emitted IR spectrum. Since the polar temperatures are a lot cooler than the global mean, the peak of the IR spectrum emitted from the polar ice regions is somewhat longer than the 10.1 microns appropriate for the global mean temperature. On the other hand, because the polar atmospheric temperatures are much lower than the global mean, the Doppler broadening of the CO2 absorpition spectrum is less.

    So you need to keep separated the albedo reflection, which is solar spectrum energy, and the IR greenhouse absorption, which is in the 5-50 micron wavelenght range.

    The reflection coeffiient of snow and ice are not as high as people seem to think. Water has a refractive index of about 1.33 so the Brewster angle is 53 dgrees, which means that the reflection coefficient off water is nearly constant from zero degrees incident angle (normal to surface( out to 53 degrees, and beyond that (towards grazing incidence) it climbs rapidly up to unity.

    So any surface melting of ice in the Antarctic sumer, is going to make the surface glassy, and very low reflectance.

    Fresh snow, is full of voids, that sunlight can penetrate into and get captured as in an anechoic chamber, and snow that is only a few hours old, has even lower refelctance. The reflectance of snow gets down to the 40% range quite quickly. There’s a lot of backscatter off snow as well, which is one of the things that contibutes to teh snow “white-out” that skiiers are familiar with.

    One of the things that I don’t think (from what I’ve been reading and hearing) is correctly handle is the “lake effect” snow that will occur near open ocean water (warm) in cold air.

    We are told that when sea ice is replaced with oppen ocean due to melting, that it will absorb the sunlight and create a positive feedback melting.
    But once that warmer sea water is freed from its ice coat, the abilty to evaporate lots of moisture (comparatively) should lead to plenty of snow available to dump on nearby land.
    Just where do you imagine all those miles deep ice sheets on Antarctica came from, if it wasn’t lake effect snow.

    The evaporation of all that water vapor puts a bunch of latent heat out of the oceans up into the atmosphere with the water (around 550 calories per gram) and when that vapor turns to snow, that latent heat is dumped out inot the atmosphere ( which is why the snow forms and of course you have to toss in anopther 80 calories per gram latent heat of freezing, so the formation of lake effect snow to be dumped on Antarctica or the north polar ice, transfers a huge amount of energy into the upper atmosphere, and once devoid of water vapor, and sometimes CO2 as well, the heat loss to space can be considerable.

    I haven’t thought too much in detail about the problem posed here, or the claims that Hansen has made here and there, so I won’t comment.

    But overall, I would still say we shouldn’t be looking at either pole to figur out how much global cooling is going on; I would go to the noonday deserts of Arabia, and North Africa to see where the heat is really streaming off the earth. Which just point sout the absurdity ofeven computing a mean global temperature. Not much of interest is going on at any place that is 59 deg F.

    Of course thats just my opinion; I haven’t doen any observations to verify that; but I’m sure there is plenty of data available to look at (well it’s not available to you or me.

  66. “” david (23:55:17) :

    >Polar Vortex is increasing and this is thinning and spreading the sea ice?

    Thompson, Solomon and Gillet have published extensively on this. A science literature search will turn up many papers (try annular mode, antarctic oscillation), or alternatively read the IPCC reports. This work goes back nearly 10 years, and is explains why the MSU shows a broad cooling trend at high southern latitudes. It also explains the massive warming of the Antarctic Peninsula (which lies north of the polar trough). “”

    David,

    I can’t say that I understand any of what you just said, since I haven’t read anything about the Antarctic, since the Scott expedition.

    But surely there must be some less esoteric way to explain the warming of the Antarctic peninsula.

    For example, on all the maps I’ve seen, most of the Antarctic Peninsula where the Larsen B ice shelf was before it broke up, lies north of the Antarctic circle, which means that part never sees 24 hour darkness, so there is available sunshine every day.
    Also , just to the north of the Antarctic Peninsula lies a big land mass called South America, and every day, the south Pacific and Atlantic oceans slosh back and forth through that narrow gap, including a lot of fairly tropica surface waters that propagate down there from the equatorial regions. Indeed that westward flow out of the Atlantic, bores straight in on the Larsen B ice shelf; ansd since those waters are exceedingly rough by anybody’s standards, you get a lot of water driven under those ice shelves by wave action which constantly stresses the ifloating ice sheets.

    So to me it is a miracle that they don’t break up all the time.

    All that noise about the more recent wilkin Ice shelf that broke off a piece, never said word one about the adjacent piece of that ice shelf, that borke up around 50 years ago, and has grown back again like they always do.

    To me, there’s no mystery about Antarctic peninsula warming; other than the mystery of why it is as cold as it is, sticking right up there above the Antarctic circle into the warmish (relatively) southern ocean..

    But I’m not a skeptic expert (either one of those things) so I can’t answer yourt question on why those folks don’t know about all this.

  67. REPLY: “ice extent is now at the lowest level recorded for this time of year”

    On what basis? The graph only goes back to 2002. Do you have prior data that shows it is in fact “the lowest level recorded” or or you just embellishing? – Anthony

    I know the graph only goes back to 2002 which is why I said ‘lowest recorded’. The fact the graph goes back to 2002 didn’t stop you and other posters commenting on ‘fastest recorded freeze’ earlier this year did it.

  68. Pamela Gray (15:35:33) :

    The Arctic as a whole is not below average.

    Sorry Pamela you are totally wrong, even one of the posters above acknowledges it is 10% lower than average, it is also much thinner so this summers melt could certainly be well above average.

  69. Ric Werme (13:58:29) :
    “…
    That’s not a Mercator projection, in fact, it’s not a projection at all, just a cartesian plot of latitude and longitude and is the most common sort of climate map we see. I see no reason to take Basil to task for referring to that sort of a map.”

    OOPS, thanks — mistake acknowledged, is neither MERCATOR nor a projection. But not taking Basil’s furthering of propaganda to task is as much BS as Basil’s pretentious, “Note the red across Antartica.” We’ve been through this before, most recently with the giant Northern Russia hot spot, when GISS blew their “October is … highest anomaly” call some weeks ago.

    As you mentioned, climate study institutions commonly use such (area-distorting) maps; however, such practices should not be excused in this propaganda filled debate, just because it’s a “COMMON” practice! Use of the “Sinusoidal Equal Area” as you suggested, or perhaps Mollweide (my preference), or some of the Asimuthal projections have preference arguments.

    Given the sparce station coverage at the poles (and the real potential for bad siting/relocation of stations in times of tight budgets), the continued display and perpetuation of such area-distorting icons by AGW-invested institutions and their followers should be discouraged. At the very least an “area-distorted” DISCLAIMER should be used to balance the propaganda.

  70. Steven, thanks for answering my question.

    I would make the argument that so far Antarctic ice gain has had a larger effect on the radiation budget of the earth, than has ice loss in the Arctic.

    Fair enough, but does that mean that it wouldn’t really matter much if the Arctic would be free in summer? I’m not saying you are implying this, but I think that’s what most people would interpret from your article.

    BTW, the 2008 Arctic Sea Ice Extent looked to go beyond all previous years when suddenly it a made right turn (literally): http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png

    And NSIDC: http://www.nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

    Could there be something were wrong with the data and if not, what could cause this? Maybe it’s not so interesting as we will just have to wait and see what the Arctic sea ice will do next summer (no point in saying anything about it now unless you’re involved in some form of betting), but I still thinks it looks kind of weird.

    I’d like to point out again that Hansen predicted major albedo loss for Antarctica (Fig 2-4) and people who claim otherwise are perhaps misinformed.

    If I understand correctly he said this in 1984, almost 25 years ago. Hasn’t he changed his view after that because of all the improved science and accumulation of knowledge?

  71. mccall,

    What’s with the judgmental animosity here? It was a simple question, in good faith. Steven’s map was a one day map, with the dominant hue in the Antarctic being blue. I went to the same web site Steven used, saw that I could run a 365 day map, and the dominant hue was now red. I wasn’t accusing Steven of cherry picking, I was asking how he’d answer a charge (which you know a warmer would make) that he was. And he understood my point, and gave a good answer.

    End of story. Nothing more to see here.

    Chill, baby, chill.

  72. I haven’t been following “artic ice thickness” measurements but I have been studying the satellite photos, graphs and artic ice extent measurements on both the IJIS and UIUC sites for several months. It seems to me, as a layman observer, that the current Artic ice expansion is 1) not that different from satellite photos for the same time period back in 1980 (which is the usual timeframe for side by side comparison on the UIUC site) and 2) that the expansion is being held back by warm ocean currents.

    I reach that conclusion based on a couple of observations. First, the refreezing of areas where those currents aren’t dominent such as between the islands north of Canada and Hudson Bay was pretty close to the 1979-2000 mean. Second, the areas where ice has lagged are in areas that are influenced by those currents such as east of Greenland. I think it’s worth noting that the ice expansion on the western side of Greenland (e.g. Baffin Bay) is actually greater now than in 1980.

  73. Correction, Baffin Sea. I apologize to any Baffin’s I may have insulted by not editing my post before I posted it.

  74. I did a quick calculation on the Arctic Ice by Sea: http://www.bnhclub.org/JimP/jp/A_ice1208.JPG
    As far as I can see ice areas are 100% normal. The Seas that have less than normal ice area are the ones affected by the AMO.

    Does anyone know anything about the Okhotsk Sea? I would have expected it to be gaining more ice with a positive PDO and the extremely cold temperatures in Russia.

  75. Nevin,

    I think it is safe to say that an ice free North Pole in September would have little impact on the earth’s SW radiation balance, because there is essentially no incoming SW radiation. The sun is only a few degrees above the horizon, and well below the critical angle of air over water.

    No doubt climate modelers have backfitted their theories to match observational evidence. yet we still hear an astonishing myriad of contradictory information from official sources. Antarctica is warming, Antarctica is cooling, ocean currents are warming Antarctica, ocean currents are cooling Antarctica, the WAIS is going to collapse, etc.

    BTW – NASA “disappeared” their Antarctic cooling map sometime during the last couple of weeks.

    This is what the page used to show.

    No matter how they try to package it, no one was forecasting an increase in Antarctic ice, and few people in the press are even aware that this is happening.

    BTW – I know several climate modelers, and have conversed with a few more electronically. Wonderful and smart people, but perhaps lacking a bit in objectivity or willingness to correlate with empirical evidence at this point.

  76. Received by e-mail from Dr. Walt Meiers at NSIDC

    “Hi Steven,

    Thanks. A couple thoughts.

    The albedo of course does have an effect on the solar radiation. However, the relative impact is smaller in Antarctica than in the Arctic. There are two reasons. First, the sea ice is mostly first-year, or seasonal, ice – ice that grows and melts each summer. So while the albedo may speed up or slow down the melt, ultimately, you end up with a relatively small ice pack by the end of summer. Second, the sea ice edge is governed substantially by the location of the polar front – where the col Antarctic regime meets the warmer mid-latitude ocean waters and atmosphere. The location of this front really dominates how far the ice edge grows or retreats. There is also the effect of ocean heat, which is more important in the Antarctic. The cooler temperatures may be related somewhat to the presence of sea ice, but it’s a complex system. It’s probably more likely, due to the issues above, that the cause and effect are reversed: the cooler temperatures are helping to keep the ice around.

    On another note in regards to temperatures. First, there has been warming in parts of the Antarctic, most notably the Peninsula region. I just saw a talk yesterday at the AGU meeting that indicated that all of West Antarctica has warmed over the past several decades and even East Antarctica may have warmed a bit. Now, it may be cooler at the moment, but it’s really the long-term trends that count. Long-term trends are generally fairly small in Antarctica (with the exception of the Peninsula’s large warming trend) and there is cooling in at least some of the higher elevation areas of East Antarctica. These trends are not inconsistent with climate model projections which show a delayed and slower warming trend than much of the rest of the globe due to the unique geography of Antarctica. Some of the early climate models did indicate there should be greater warming than is seen in Antarctica, but as models have improved, that is no longer the case.

    walt”

  77. Patrick (10:39:57) and Ed Scott (15:10:34))

    1. When I look at the credentials of John P. Holdren (BS/MS M.I.T in aeronautics/astronautics Ph.D. from Stanford University in aeronautics/astronautics and theoretical plasma physics), I find it hard to believe that his private technical view would not be that CO2 can’t be more than a bit player.

    2. That his public views are that CO2 is a major boogey man doesn’t jive with his technical background unless:

    a) He has made the great trade off that the ends (save the Planet/stop industrialization, etc)) justify the means. The means being a “little” white lie about CO2.

    b) He has not really delved into the GCMs/Climate physics since there was not much going on (with GCMs at least) when he was in school in the 1960’s, so maybe he never touched on it and is really just trusting the modelers, whose results agree with his probable hippie (not meant as an insult) transition to Ecology.

    c) Cognitive dissonance? After all most of his time since 1970 seems to be with Ecologists and Nuclear Arms Control folks)

    3. If (a) is true, then he will probably be better prepared to adjust his recommendations to Obama so both are not embarassed when (if?) the truth comes out about the little CO2 white lie. In a sense this might be the best “option”.

    4. If (b) or (c) are true, then we could see some interesting political wranglings as they will likely fight the truth to the bitter end and may be more likely to enact economy devastating policies. If you like soap operas, it might be more fun to watch the fallout from these ‘options’.

    5. BTW did anyone notice that MSNBC identified him as a physicist and Yuval Levin by his current active position as a professor of environmental policy?

  78. BTW – NASA “disappeared” their Antarctic cooling map sometime during the last couple of weeks.

    404!

  79. No matter how they try to package it, no one was forecasting an increase in Antarctic ice, and few people in the press are even aware that this is happening.

    What increase?

  80. David says:

    BTW Arctic sea ice is important for albedo because it survives (or at least used to) through summer. The Antarctic ice melts almost entirely in summer.

    Wow, did I miss something? I could have sworn that there was still ice in the arctic last summer and that the Antarctic ice did not almost all melt over summer.

  81. Basil (05:21:32) :
    “…
    What’s with the judgmental animosity here? It was a simple question, in good faith…

    Fair enough, you have my apology. And I will add to the cherry-picking (without distortion), citing Paul Ward’s:

    http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/science/global_warming.htm

    Note: these graphics are also pre-“disappeared” copies (referring to):
    Steven Goddard (08:14:57) :
    “…
    BTW – NASA “disappeared” their Antarctic cooling map sometime during the last couple of weeks.”

    We’ll see if the primary source agencies continue to disappear good graphics, while continuing (or worse, increasing) the use of high distortion graphics…

  82. BTW – NASA “disappeared” their Antarctic cooling map sometime during the last couple of weeks.”

    We’ll see if the primary source agencies continue to disappear good graphics, while continuing (or worse, increasing) the use of high distortion graphics…
    NASA didn’t ‘disappear’ that graphic:

    http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_detail.php?id=17529

    REPLY: Thanks for pointing out that link, which finally resolves to this URL:

    The point is that this graphic was removed from that server in my original URL.

    Which is part of the NASA “Newsroom”

    The one you cite is a completely different server, perhaps even at a different NASA facility.

    The antarctic graphic has come under attack recently by those that disagree with it. So why then should it be removed rather than either updated or with a caveat attached? As we’ve seen with the NANSEN sea ice graph recently, changing things with no notice is not conducive to building trust, nor is it good practice. – Anthony

  83. Mary Hinge

    From Cryosphere Today

    Bering Sea – average
    Chukchi Sea – average
    Arctic Basin – average
    E Siberian Sea – average
    Laptev Sea – average
    Kara Sea – below average
    Barents Sea – below average
    Greenland Sea area – below Average
    Baffin/Newfoundland – slightly below average
    Hudson Bay – above average
    Beaufont Sea – average

    All of the areas that are below average sit in the warm oceanic incoming current. Jet stream patterns also push this soft edge around, sometimes compacting it towards the pole and sometimes pushing it out of the Arctic area. It stands to reason that one may make an educated guess that warm currents and jet stream patterns are keeping these few areas below average. If the entire Arctic area was warm, there would be signs of slower ice in areas that sit in the cold oceanic current. But there isn’t any evidence of this. The Arctic ice area is not one homogeneous area and to think of it as such is simplistic thinking, not scientific thinking.

    Even if these other areas that are average or above average show variability from one month to the next, after the ice buildup season is well on its way, sea ice responds to oceanic current temperatures and jet stream patterns far quicker than they do to atmospheric temperature changes. A relative air temperature heat wave just softens the ice along with the warm current the ice sits in, enough so that it can be pushed and shoved into warmer waters or compacted into the cold ice edge. After the ice begins to melt in the Spring, its shape and extent is also much more sensitive to ocean termps and jet stream patterns than it is to day to day atmospheric temps. Many times, the ice doesn’t melt in the Arctic, it is pushed out and melted away from the Arctic. This past melt season experienced strong outward current flow and jet stream forces that sent the ice packing into a tropical vacation, relatively speaking, where it melting away like Frosty the Snowman.

  84. It is far better to understand Arctic graphs by looking at each sea separately. There are lots of similar events in every year where the data (taken from each sea ice area and there are 11 altogether), takes a dip. Arctic sea ice data is noisy. Nothing to worry about.

  85. Steven,

    Thanks again for replying and thanks for copying Walt Meier’s mail here (I thoroughly enjoyed the sets of questions he answered here previously).

    Sorry if I ask silly questions, I really am a nitwit when it comes to climate science. FYI I consider myself alarmed (not only because of AGW) rather than alarmist.

    I think it is safe to say that an ice free North Pole in September would have little impact on the earth’s SW radiation balance, because there is essentially no incoming SW radiation. The sun is only a few degrees above the horizon, and well below the critical angle of air over water.

    Would the impact on the climate also be small though? My gut says this Arctic amplification-thing could be stirring things up quite considerably if kept up. Especially if even only 10% of the whole permafrost-methane-clathrate story is true.

    No doubt climate modelers have backfitted their theories to match observational evidence. yet we still hear an astonishing myriad of contradictory information from official sources. Antarctica is warming, Antarctica is cooling, ocean currents are warming Antarctica, ocean currents are cooling Antarctica, the WAIS is going to collapse, etc.

    I’ll take your word on that, don’t know too much about Antarctica or WAIS (except for the ‘Katabatic’ documentary I mentioned). My interest at the moment goes out to the Arctic.

    Does the spectacular swing to the right this past week mean anything? Like another data mistake or something else? I’m not reading anything about it at RC or here or Tamino. One would think both ‘alarmists’ and ‘delayers’ (I don’t like to think in groups) would be on to this thing?

  86. Leon Brozyna (16:34:46) :

    Well, no wonder the media’s focus is on the Arctic sea ice. The Antarctic sea ice doesn’t present the same foreboding image. Remember, it’s not about science but image with which to promote the AGW political movement.

    Sorry Leon – I disagree – I find it more plausable that the MSM is ‘Selling Advertising Space’ to generate revenue for the shareholders. The Scare message attracts attention and assists with the sale of advertising time. However, some individuals within the MSM are, no doubt, AGW True Believers and will slant stories in that direction in any event and discount contrary data.

    Journalists, like politicians, have a public ego and once invested in an idea – can’t stand to see it refuted because it will damage their credibility and hence their livelihoods.

  87. Does anyone have any idea what’s going on here? JAXA seems to show the Arctic freeze as completely stopped for the last week!

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    “Does the spectacular swing to the right this past week mean anything? Like another data mistake or something else? I’m not reading anything about it at RC or here or Tamino”

    At last! Another person who’s noticed it! I’ve been asking questions for a day or so now – it really is quite an anomaly. Surely someone has an idea what’s happenig?

  88. Neven (13:11:46) :

    Does the spectacular swing to the right this past week mean anything? Like another data mistake or something else? I’m not reading anything about it at RC or here or Tamino. One would think both ‘alarmists’ and ‘delayers’ (I don’t like to think in groups) would be on to this thing?

    Hi Neven, Check out Pamela Gray’s posts on the following thread.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/12/18/the-deadliest-us-natural-hazard-extreme-cold/

    Pamela Gray (08:33:14) :
    Pamela Gray (08:36:23) :

    I think that she has addressed your questions there.

  89. Cheers Graeme (and Pamela) for the info.

    No big deal then and not a mistake either. I’m very curious as to what next summer’s melting season will look like. I hope it’s all a natural cycle, though I’m not convinced yet. I think the coming years in the Arctic, more than anything else, could be quite decisive on the general perception of AGW.

  90. Neven,

    Actually your questions are among the most thoughtful. I have no idea what the overall future of Polar climate feedbacks will be. This particular feedback (ice albedo) is relatively simple to evaluate in a semi-quantitative fashion, and that is why I chose to write about it.

    The WAIS is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. As far as the dogleg right on the ice graph, it is about to be followed by a dogleg left. The Sea of Okhotsk is a few days late this year, but is currently experiencing extremely cold air temperatures.

    http://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/?lat=55.17887&lon=142.47070&zoom=5&type=hyb&units=english&rad=1&rad.num=1&rad.spd=25&rad.opa=70&rad.stm=0&wxsn=1&wxsn.mode=tw&svr=0&cams=0&sat=0&riv=0&mm=0&hur=0&fire=0&tor=0&ndfd=0&pix=0

  91. Arctic Sea Ice: An Engineer’s Question

    Why is a ice-free Arctic Ocean a bad thing? No answer for that one, but let me ask another: Which surface reflects the most solar energy, open sea or pack ice?

    Before you answer, remember that the sun is NEVER more than 23.5-degrees above the horizon. Solar radiation is going to hit whatever surface exists in the Arctic at an acute (grazing) angle; therefore, 1) the radiation is far from vertical incidence (less heat per unit of surface area); and 2) hitting water at an acute angle means the reflection back into space is much higher than it would be for a near-vertical incidence.

    The point is that solar radiation cannot cause polar heating. The heat has to come from somewhere else. Atmospheric and marine currents are the only transport mechanisms available to cause heating or cooling at the poles. The expansion of ice in the Antarctic (where there is no ocean under the ice) would lead to the deduction that marine circulation is the main cause of Arctic ice coverage variations. Why can’t the “experts” figure that out?

  92. Andy (20:18:41) :
    I am not a scientist and my understanding is that the AGW models are statistical. My simple question is, what is their degree of certainty? Can anyone point me to where this is stated or published?

    The error bands are rather speculative. The best analysis I’ve seen of why the models are not very useful is this one:

    A wonderful example (proof?) of the fact that we can’t know is here:

    http://www.sciencebits.com/CO2orSolar

    where he used IPCC data and shows that even it is is accepted as true, the error band on the aerosols swamps the CO2 impact. You can’t even know the sign of the net human impact, never mind the magnitude.

    Never have your precision exceed your accuracy…

  93. George E. Smith (00:22:03) :
    Justin, you have to be a little careful here. See what you excerpted about sunlight being reflected by the ice.

    George, did you see the link I posted that showed O3 as being down 40% at the poles and it being a significant part of the GHG profile ( 1/3 ). Have you considered what it would mean to heat loss to have 40% less ozone? 13.3% less total GHG effect ought to do something! How does the absorption spectrum of O3 relate to that of water and CO2? You’re much better at figuring this out than I am…

    I’d expect that 13% more heat loss at both poles might have something to do with our present frigid weather coming from the poles…

  94. Bill Brown:
    The expansion of ice in the Antarctic (where there is no ocean under the ice) would lead to the deduction that marine circulation is the main cause of Arctic ice coverage variations. Why can’t the “experts” figure that out?
    Because the ‘experts’ know that the Antarctic sea ice which grows and melts every year is indeed over the ocean!

  95. Pamela Gray (12:49:52) :
    Hi Pamela,
    I take your point about regional variations in the Arctic but to get a holistic picture you have to use values instead of a basic description. The warm ocean current point is valid, you have to remember these are anomolous variations so the immediate inference is that the ocean currents are warmer than usual. I would also agree to get a better understanding you need to look at areas in isolation, this is just common sense, but you can’t use that as an excuse to ignore the fact that the Arctic ice sheet is now at its lowest extent recorded for this time of year and all indications are for low ice extent next summer.
    Do you remember the earlier posts about the ‘unprecedented freezing’, Anthony mentioned it at least four times using this as the reference http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png.
    He obviously thinks it is very important (it is now a permanent link on the right)

  96. Does anyone knows a good site for Arctic ice thickness? A couple of days ago it was in the newspaper that the arctic has never been that thin. I searched to find measurements on that, but i don’t find it.

  97. Mary, once again I have to restate that the Arctic ice sheet is not one thing. It is several. The extent of the sheet is average, above average, or below average depending on the area. It currently is all three. So you cannot say accurately that, “…the ice sheet is now at its lowest extent recorded for this time of year”. The overall extent graph is not an accurate measure of ice extent because this kind of graph consistently hides the fact that the Arctic sheet behaves differently depending on specific areas. You would be just as wrong if you decided to average Washington, Oregon, and California into one averaged temperature data set. It is misleading to say the least, and meant to drive an agenda at worst.

  98. Dave, to date, the only thickness measurements are done by an old satellite (Envisat) that leaves a fairly large hole near the pole. Those measurements demonstrated that the Arctic area thinned between 2002-2008 but not in all areas (see above comments on Arctic areas). A new satellite is being prepared that will do a better job:

    CryoSat-2 is the first radar satellite specifically designed to measure ice thickness. It will do this with greater resolution than is possible with Envisat and so will give scientists a much more detailed picture of what is happening to ice in the Arctic. CryoSat-2 is being prepared for launch at the end of 2009.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027200309.htm

    Other studies in the Antarctic demonstrate thinning in some areas and thickening in other areas. The theory was that snow fall would increase thickness. But that didn’t happen in the thinned areas in spite of snow fall. I am beginning to see more scientists talking about currents and wind patterns influencing ice extent, thickness, etc. and less talk about temperature or soot.

  99. Bill Brown,

    You might want to consider that Antarctica currently has sea ice at close to 60 degrees latitude. The sun is actually at an angle in excess of 50 degrees above the horizon right now at those locations, so the albedo is quite important in calculating the SW energy balance.

  100. Pamela Gray (08:18:53) :
    It is misleading to say the least, and meant to drive an agenda at worst.

    So if you think it is such a bad idea to use a mean of the arctic ice extent why didn’t you express this opinion during one of the many posts that Anthony used the mean ice extent chart I am refering to? This post is when Anthony started using it as a permanent side bar link http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/10/13/arctic-sea-ice-continues-to-rebound-quick-link-graphic-added/#comments and this is your post from the thread For long range planning (a must for farmers who grow just about anything), the Arctic is a pretty good marker. The trend, regardless of any kind of average, is that temps are cooling through each season. You don’t say anything about using a mean being ….It is misleading to say the least, and meant to drive an agenda at worst. NONE of the posters said using this graph was misleading.
    Why do you think it is now misleading/ agenda driving now when it wasn’t then? As I said before Anthony used this fastest freezing line using the same graphic FOUR times, do you think he is misleading or driving an agenda?

  101. Pamela,

    I agree with you that the overall extent graph doesn’t tell the whole story, but does that mean it’s meaningless? I think the analogy you mention about averaging temperatures in Washington, Oregon and California is flawed in the sense that the Arctic regions are interconnected and together form a huge ice mass at the height of winter. Besides it’s not about an average, but an accumulation of the ice extent of all Arctic regions. Your analogy would seem to pertain more to the averaging of Arctic and Antarctic ice (ie saying that it’s alright for the Arctic to lose more and more ice every year because the same amount of ice is growing on Antarctica) , which in my view is pretty useless.

    Anyway, the whole science surrounding the Arctic ice extent and why there’s a downward trend etc. is way above my head, so all I have is a few of those graphs to look at, and the JAXA one looks prettiest. ;-)

    I found the swing to the right rather peculiar when compared to previous years and thought it might be a glitch of some sort. It wasn’t and the swing isn’t that peculiar either, or else people would be all over it. Whether ice extent is at an all-time (recorded) low yesterday or today is iirelevant and doesn’t mean a thing. It’s what happens in summer that counts. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  102. Pamela Gray (08:18:53) :
    Mary, once again I have to restate that the Arctic ice sheet is not one thing. It is several. The extent of the sheet is average, above average, or below average depending on the area. It currently is all three.

    As I’ve stated before there is currently no region showing extent above average and several regions showing below average.

    So you cannot say accurately that, “…the ice sheet is now at its lowest extent recorded for this time of year”. The overall extent graph is not an accurate measure of ice extent because this kind of graph consistently hides the fact that the Arctic sheet behaves differently depending on specific areas.

    Of course you can, sure different parts of the ice sheet can behave differently, I prefer area for the very reason that winds and currents can change the extent. Many who post here are quite happy with the overall statistic when it suits their agenda. In the present case it’s even more relevant because most of the regions have maxed out their extent and have no more possible growth, we’re left with the position of the ice sheet as it interacts with the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

  103. A week or two ago the ASMR-E sea ice extent was equal to or greater than any of the past 6 years. Now it is less than all of the past 6 years. This is the result of the 2008 line going horizontal for that period of time. In other words there has been no change in sea ice extent during that time? Watts up with that?

  104. David Segesta (12:10:23) :
    A week or two ago the ASMR-E sea ice extent was equal to or greater than any of the past 6 years. Now it is less than all of the past 6 years. This is the result of the 2008 line going horizontal for that period of time. In other words there has been no change in sea ice extent during that time? Watts up with that?

    All the easy ice froze as it usually does at this time of year which is why there’s not much spread in extent between the various year’s data. It doesn’t take much of a swing to go from greatest to least extent, a faster growth in one part of the basin at this time of year will reach it’s limits and eventually all the year’s data will be close. The next phase of growth to a maximum in Feb/Mar depends of growth into the Atlantic and Pacific and that is rather slow at present.
    Here’s the last 10 days data, it hasn’t been horizontal as you put it:

    12,11,2008,11678594
    12,12,2008,11681563
    12,13,2008,11662813
    12,14,2008,11640625
    12,15,2008,11682813
    12,16,2008,11731563
    12,17,2008,11703594
    12,18,2008,11687969
    12,19,2008,11706719
    12,20,2008,11727188
    12,21,2008,11775938

    Here’s previous data for today’s date:
    12,21,2007,11824219
    12,21,2006,11857031
    12,21,2005,11827031
    12,21,2004,12153438
    12,21,2003,12316406
    12,21,2002,12151094

  105. So you cannot say accurately that, “…the ice sheet is now at its lowest extent recorded for this time of year”… It is misleading to say the least, and meant to drive an agenda at worst
    Pamela Gray

    It’s a reasonable statement to make about that graph. It may be that the graph is an inappropriate measure, but the sudden drop between ‘highest’ and ‘lowest’ is clear enough….

    All the easy ice froze as it usually does at this time of year which is why there’s not much spread in extent between the various year’s data…Here’s the last 10 days data, it hasn’t been horizontal as you put it….
    Phil

    The numbers you provide do show a fairly flat period – and you can easily see from the graph that nothing like this has happened at this point before (or, indeed, at any other position on the graph. So I think we are looking for an unusual cause for the graph to flatten…

    It’s been exceptionally warm across the north Atlantic and north Pacific. This is where ice is failing to form…The Arctic Ice is in big trouble – nearly all old ice gone and new ice struggling to form.
    David

    Your first point seems reasonable – new ocean currents are limiting ice growth. But your last one does not make sense to me – the new ice has formed at a record rate during Oct/Nov. So it does not look as if the whole arctic is suffering a melt-back…

  106. All of the perennial ice basins are already saturated with ice.

    The amount of multi-year ice next summer will be a function of winds and polar drift through this winter, but so far it appears that there will be a significant increase in the amount of multi-year ice in 2009 compared to 2008.

  107. Steven – second worst areal extent on record and lowest volume on record. You can’t seriously believe the Arctic ice is recovering…

  108. Mary, I was clearly referring to temperature and shorter term trends. Farmers look at temperature trends in relation to how long it will take, and how expensive it will be, to prepare a field to grow something else that can survive and even thrive in an upturn or downturn trend. Farmers have to be flexible and react rapidly since many of the things we grow are very sensitive to small temperature differences. If we don’t have a diverse bag of products and a willingness to adjust to the ups and downs of temperature changes, we rapidly go out of business.

    As to your contention that Anthony’s graph was okay with me back then but not now, I can only say that I am willing to learn more about what makes that graph go up and down. And in detail. So I began a study on the Arctic and found out lots of things I didn’t know. I have a curiosity that always drives me to say, “why”. Are you willing to do the same study or do you just want to stick to your one tune?

  109. david,

    2008 Arctic ice has been ahead of 2007 ice for the entire year, mostly by a large margin. One source shows it dip below 2007 for a few hours at the narrowest neck on the graph, and some “end of the worlders” are jumping with joy. Besides being irrelevant, it isn’t true. The graph has turned back upwards, and is just about where it is supposed to be this time of year.

  110. Steven Goddard (21:52:55) :
    david,

    2008 Arctic ice has been ahead of 2007 ice for the entire year, mostly by a large margin. One source shows it dip below 2007 for a few hours at the narrowest neck on the graph, and some “end of the worlders” are jumping with joy.

    Actually it’s those who are questioning the validity of the data who’ve kept bringing it up. Where’s the jumping for joy?

  111. Dodgy Geezer (14:50:17) :

    Phil

    The numbers you provide do show a fairly flat period – and you can easily see from the graph that nothing like this has happened at this point before (or, indeed, at any other position on the graph. So I think we are looking for an unusual cause for the graph to flatten…

    Then what do you think happened from 11,16,2006 to 11,25,2006 or 12,22,2007 to 12,28,2007 or 01,04,2006 to 01,21,2006? Particularly the last, a 17 day hiatus.

  112. Steven Goddard (14:54:18) :
    The amount of multi-year ice next summer will be a function of winds and polar drift through this winter, but so far it appears that there will be a significant increase in the amount of multi-year ice in 2009 compared to 2008.

    Not by the usual definition of ‘multi-year ice’, also there appears to be a good flow out of the Fram strait and the Beaufort sea will start off with much less multi-year ice than last year with much of it fragmented.

  113. OK, go to cryosphere http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    and look at the individual maps . A lot of the stasis is coming from heating in the Greenland sea.

    Go to

    We see there, between greenland and iceland , not a transport of heat, but a hot spot in the anomaly . Do you think the sun has shone so hard there, next to the longest night? Knowing that there is geothermal activity in the area, seeing how local the spot is, it looks suspiciously as if there is geothermal heating coming up there.

    It is a hypothesis, but unfortunately the volcanic people are on a different frequency than people worrying about AGW and delusions , so it cannot be tested . When the new satellite ( UCU? ) which will be able to see gases down to sea surface is launched we will have online data that could prove or disprove such hypotheses ( AIRS it seems can only talk from 5000 meters up).

  114. anna v, the anomaly you point out is also smack in the path of the warm ingoing current. These currents arise from oscillating large ocean currents. If these flip from cold to warm and then back again every few decades, it would make sense that a warming trend would show up right where you have pointed it out. When the current flips to cold (and especially when all such Arctic outgoing and ingoing currents occasionally flip at the same time to cold) we will see a cooling trend in this same area and normal to above normal extent and area of Arctic Ice. The large currents are a lot like the windshield wipers on a school bus, mostly out of sync but cycle eventually together. That larger in-sync cycle could help explain these longer planetary cycles of warm/cold decades that break all expectations and cause people to say that the sky is falling (blaming either cold or warm pet causes, take your pick).

    The more interesting question is where do these currents get their heat from? Is it from heavy water sinking to the bottom where ocean volcanic vents heat it up, while the surface cools, and then the conveyor belt of water eventually carries that heat up to the surface, forcing the cold water down? Do these vents have a cycle of their own, much like land-based vents do? Is it the Sun? Is it some kind of cycle to the Jet Stream? Is it due to some kind of Arctic ice melt cycle? Is it due to an ocean cloud cycle? Is it a combination of these factors? Okay, I am going to stop. My brain hurts.

  115. “Then what do you think happened from 11,16,2006 to 11,25,2006 or 12,22,2007 to 12,28,2007 or 01,04,2006 to 01,21,2006? Particularly the last, a 17 day hiatus…”
    Phil

    I see what you mean, though I had discounted those as not being exactly comparable. Of course I was quite wrong to have said ‘anywhere on the graph’ – ALL the curves show a flat and then declining curve as they pass their peak! The Nov 2006 pause just looks to me like a slow-down in growth. The other two are more comparable, particularly Jan 2006, which is nearer to 27 days if you include small growth in the hiatus. The Dec 2007 pause is not as long, but there are two of them!

    I had rather discounted the Jan 2006 halt, which, you are correct, is unquestionably longer, because I saw it as associated with reaching the peak extent, and hence being more a flattening of the curve. Does this pause in Dec 2008 mean that we won’t get much more than another 10k km2 of ice? I was hoping for a record, or, at least. over 14k km2.

    Before anyone starts flinging brickbats, I should point out that I am not a warmist, and I am a fervent disbeliever in CO2 driven warming, but I do want to make hypotheses in accordance with data. I found it worrying that, with such a strong icing rate earlier in the year, we should have a sudden halt for a week or so (though I am heartened to see that the rise has resumed). And I think it is very important for us to appreciate why these pauses may be happening, before we get told that it is all because of Global Warming. Who knows, maybe one day the warmists might actually have a real piece of evidence supporting their cause…..

  116. PeteM: “But the idea that on average the world isn’t going to change due to increasing the concentrations of CO2 has any impact is really taking a step too far…..”

    The question is, is the increase in CO2 concentration a cause, or an effect? Historical records generally show increasing CO2 following a warming inflection, so how do we know that the recorded increase in atmospheric CO2 is not due to natural causes? Is our small (< 3%) additional contribution to annual CO2 production really responsible for a dramatic rise in atmospheric CO2? If so, that would indicate positive feedback, which likely would have led to a runaway greenhouse eons ago. In a negative feedback dominated system, a 3% rise in production of CO2 should lead to… a 3% increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

  117. Bart (12:08:43) :
    The question is, is the increase in CO2 concentration a cause, or an effect? Historical records generally show increasing CO2 following a warming inflection, so how do we know that the recorded increase in atmospheric CO2 is not due to natural causes? Is our small (< 3%) additional contribution to annual CO2 production really responsible for a dramatic rise in atmospheric CO2?

    We know from isotope analysis that the source is not biological and that the increase is consistent with fossil fuel.

  118. david,

    Arguing with you is pointless. Sea ice extent is just about where it always is this time of year. A few days ago it was at the high end of the very narrow recent range, and today it is near the low end of the range. In a few days it will probably swing back the other way. None have any statistical significance.

    The map you linked shows this quite clearly. Please stop the FUD.

  119. Steven,

    One source shows it dip below 2007 for a few hours at the narrowest neck on the graph, and some “end of the worlders” are jumping with joy.

    Actually, I was surprised that it wasn’t discussed at all in the blogs that favor the AGW-hypothesis. As for myself, like I said I’m alarmed rather than alarmist, so you won’t actually see me jumping for joy when it turns out Arctic Ice is melting faster than predicted. At the same time it might speed up action on mitigating strategies. I know most people here dread all those wasted trillions on climate issues, but the only trillions I see going anywhere at the moment are the Iraq war and banks, credit card companies and auto makers.

    Anyway, I’m experiencing contradictory feelings when it comes to the Arctic Sea Ice, although all in all I hope of course it is a natural cycle and mankind doesn’t/cannot have a significant impact on climate.

    Who knows, maybe one day the warmists might actually have a real piece of evidence supporting their cause…..

    I was wondering about this. Purely hypotethically speaking: If the 2009 minimum extent would break the 2007 record, what would this do to the opinion of people who believe GW is not A? Do you, Steven or Pamela, consider the possibility that AGW is having an impact on the Arctic? And if not, would you start considering it (and enter the discussion about possible implications and effects) if the 2007 minimal extent record would be broken? Or would that still be too soon for you to mean anything?

    On the other hand if the 2009 minimum extent would be above vice-champion 2008 I’m sure even more people would be compelled to believe the jury is still out on AGW (most people I know believe this already, so much for MSM). From a PR point of view this wouldn’t be good news for people who want to see drastic measures taken to keep CO2 levels below ??? ppm. Which is only logical.

  120. “” E.M.Smith (21:06:09) :

    George E. Smith (00:22:03) :
    Justin, you have to be a little careful here. See what you excerpted about sunlight being reflected by the ice.

    George, did you see the link I posted that showed O3 as being down 40% at the poles and it being a significant part of the GHG profile ( 1/3 ). Have you considered what it would mean to heat loss to have 40% less ozone? 13.3% less total GHG effect ought to do something! How does the absorption spectrum of O3 relate to that of water and CO2? You’re much better at figuring this out than I am…

    I’d expect that 13% more heat loss at both poles might have something to do with our present frigid weather coming from the poles… “”

    E.M. ;

    Without going back and refreshing, I roughly recall you raising the issue.

    It seems to me that Ozone (O3) affects warming in tw different ways.

    First of all, the single biggest cause of difference between the Air mass zero solar spectrum and the air mass one spectrum, is the absorption due to Ozone.. AM0 is the spectrum outside the atmosphere; AM1 is the equatorial noonday spectrum at ground level as a result of traversing one atmosphere of air.

    Now at the poles and particularly over Antarctica, you never get an AM1 spectrum, because the solar path is always oblique, so the short wavelength loss from ozone is even more severe at the poles, or the polar egions in general.

    Since short wavelength UV is largely respponsible for the Atomic Oxygen that forms Ozone, then you would expect lack of Ozone production during the winter midnight, and ozone holes.

    One can find papers and reports from the 50s and 60s that hint at Ozone holes long before they were actually observed as such.

    In the immediate post WW-II ear, the Airforce, and NASA’s forerunner, were quite concerned with radiation hazards of high altitude flying (military); and people such as Thekaekara et al did a lot of high altitude studies of solar spectra and atmosphere for that reason. In 1969 they published what to that time was the most respected value of the solar constant before satellite measurments, at 1351 W/m^2 ( 1969 I believI graduated in 1957, and we used the value 1353 when I was in school.

    But what those early papers reveal, is that the color temperature of the sun, was known to have aseasonal variation, and on top of that an eratic variation (unexplained) ; but it was believed that the cause was cseasonal and other changes in the short wavelength end of the ground level solar spectrum. I’m not aware of any specific attribution to Ozone, but in light of modern knowledge one can ifer thaqt the cause was ozone variation, and probably Ozone holes which have always been with us. No I am not going to claim the CFC thesis is bogus; butt I do think it is somewhat argumentative, but there clearly were ozone holes long before their were CFCs (but not necessarily as severe).

    I can tell you as a kid growing up in New zealand, I got the worst damn sunburns at the beach or ski slopes, than I have ever experienced in california, of fishing down in Baja, Sea of Cortez.

    Now that ozone absorption would lead to upper atmosphere warming by direct absorption of solar energy near the peak (out to maybe 600 nm).

    Then Ozone has a well known IR absorption band from about 9-10 microns’ which is pretty near the peak of the BB spectrum,. for 15 deg C, the so-called mean global temperature. The Ozone IR band is much sharper than the CO2 band for several reasons. Ozone is a thin high altitude layer, whereas the effective CO2 is a ground level thick layer, so the4 realm of the ozone is lower density, and lower temperature, so the Doppler, and collision broadening of the intrinsic Ozone absorption line is much smaller than the CO2 band at 14.77 microns, which broadens to about 13.5-16.5 microns.

    The ozone band exhibits another explainable phenomenon..

    The depth of the CO2 absorption band is not much dependent on the incidence angle oof observation (form outer space), sinnce it is very nearly saturated, and supposedly has a logarithmic absorption versus CO2.

    On the other hand, the depth of the Ozone dip is very dependent on angle of obliquity of obsevation, and this can readlily be understood by imagining a thin laminate of ozone in a shell around the earth, and just look geometrically, how the total layer thickness varies significantly with oblique viewing from outer space (up to 80 degrees from normal incidence.

    Now with modern polar orbit satellites there is no need to make ozone measurements form oblique angles since the satellite is going to go right overhead sometime. The data I mentioned is from a quite old textbook, “The Infra-Red Handbook” which predates polar orbit satellites by many years. It is largely a military handbook for weapons designers who need to understand optical signal propagation and noise sources, for guided weaponry (side-winders and such). (no I never worked on such things; but that book if you can find it, is a gold mine of infromation valuable for climate discussions, since it has the reflectance curves for darn near any kind of terrain you want to know., and atmsopheric transmission data for any range of wavelenghts of possible military significance. it was basically developed under US Navy sponsorship by a group at U of Michigan (I believe)

    But long and short of it is that I would expect Ozone to exhibit lots of effects maybe good and bad related to polar climate, and specially Antarctic. I actually returned to NZ in March of 2004, which is going into their Spring, and while out fishing in Bay of Islands (north end), I once again got a nice sunburn; so it isn’t that I just have gnarled leather skin that California doesn’t bother. Next time I’ll remember the SunBlock.

  121. Pamela Gray (19:21:21) :
    Farmers look at temperature trends in relation to how long it will take, and how expensive it will be, to prepare a field to grow something else that can survive and even thrive in an upturn or downturn trend. Farmers have to be flexible and react rapidly since many of the things we grow are very sensitive to small temperature differences

    Here Here! As a specific example: I’ve had trouble the last couple of years getting tomatoes to produce. Why? Pollen grain growth to fertilization is very temperature dependent and variable by variety. This year the temperature dip dropped below the ~80F needed and my brandywine gave me nothing. I did pick up a Siberian to trial (expecting cold) and it STILL has a tomato on it now! They set fruit as low as 45F or so. In between were my Arkansas Travelers and Prudens Purple that did OK in summer but were finished months before the Siberian. All from a few degrees variation.

    Next year I will be growing a lot of Siberian and trying to make Siberian x brandywine. (I REALLY like brandywine…but it just won’t produce much here near the coast unless temps are abnormally high.)

  122. Phil. (13:42:35) :
    We know from isotope analysis that the source is not biological and that the increase is consistent with fossil fuel.

    You ought to look at the “CO2 – Temperature link” thread… I’ve lifted a bit from there to post here, please forgive the duplication:

    From an article by ALEXANDER COCKBURN, with questions…

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070611/cockburn

    As for the alleged irrefutable evidence that people caused the last century’s CO2 increase, the “smoking gun” invoked by one of my critics, Dr. Michael Mann, and his fellow fearmongers at realclimate.com, the claim is based on the idea that the normal ratio of heavy to light carbon–that is, the carbon-13 isotope to the lighter carbon-12 isotope, is roughly 1 to 90 in the atmosphere, but in plants there’s a 2 percent lower C13/C12 ratio. So, observing that C13 in the atmosphere has been declining steadily though very slightly since 1850, they claim that this is due to man’s burning of fossil fuels, which are generally believed to be derived from fossilized plant matter.

    OK, so both C12 and C13 are stable and they are looking for a ‘plant’ signature in burned fuel, not a decay signature. One Small Problem… C4 metabolism plants absorb more C13 than do C3 metabolism plants. Over the last 100 years we’ve planted one heck of a lot more grasses world wide than ever before. Grasses are C4 metabolism…

    Have they allowed for this? If so, how? I’m not sure how one would figure out the C4 vs C3 plant population ratio of the world, and certainly don’t see how you would figure out what it was 10,000,000 years ago.

    On the naïve and scientifically silly assumption that the only way that plant-based carbon can get into the atmosphere is by people burning fuels, they exult that here indeed is the smoking gun: Decreases of C13 in the atmosphere mean that our sinful combustions are clearly identifiable as major contributors to the 100 ppm increase in CO2 since 1850.
    This is misguided, simply because less than a thousandth of the plant-based carbon on earth is bound up in fossil fuel. The rest of the huge remaining tonnages of plant-based carbon are diffused through the oceans, the forests, the grasslands and the soil. In other words, everywhere. Obviously, lots of this C13-deficient carbon has the chance to oxidize into CO2 by paths other than people burning fuel, i.e., the huge amount of plant material that’s naturally eaten or decayed by the biosphere.

    And as C4 plants have been sought out (they are more efficient, so more food per growth unit) we get more C13 in the plants. There are even efforts to transplant the C4 genes into C3 plants to get better yield. This would argue for more C13 being sequestered in soils over time as C4 plants have expanded. Have they examined the C12 vs C13 ratio changes in soils over time?

    Perhaps even more significant, cold ocean waters absorb lightweight C12 preferentially, resulting in lots of C13-deficient carbon in the oceans. This low-C13 carbon most certainly would have been released massively into the atmosphere over the course of the world’s warming trend since 1850, when the Little Ice Age ended.

    And would also argue that volcanic emissions from subduction zone volcanoes ought to be C13 deficient to the degree that ocean bottom ooze is being recycled. Has this been considered?

    All of these larger natural pathways for emitting low-C13 carbon into the atmosphere have been considerably accelerated by this same warming trend. So once again, the greenhousers have got it ass-backward. The 100 ppm increase in CO2 can’t be uniquely attributed to humans because at least as plausibly it could be the effect, not the cause, of the warming that started after the Little Ice Age denied by Dr. Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann.

    It looks to me like there are very significant issues in trying to assert that C13:C12 ratio changes in the air can tell you anything about CO2 origin in fuel burning…

    From: http://www.springerlink.com/content/f5272856220314nk/

    We get that the C12:C13 ratio is different in oils than in coals and varies in the source lipids from which oil is made.

    Lipid fractions of organisms have consistently lower C13/C12 ratios than do the whole organisms. The average difference between nonlipid and lipid materials for all organisms studied is about 0.5% and ranges in individual species from as little as several hundredths to more than 1.5%. This suggests that petroleums and other noncoaly organic matter in ancient sediments are derived from lipids, or at least from certain components of the lipid fraction. In contrast, coal deposits apparently are derived from whole plants or from the cellulosic fraction of land plants, which is the major nonlipid constituent, of plant tissues.

    Has the petroleum from around the world been tested for differences in C12:C13 ratio? I’d expect significant variation based on the above. Is this allowed for in the attribution of atmospheric CO2 to fuel burning?

    From:

    http://www.isgs.illinois.edu/pttc/Illinois%20petroleum/IP111%20Isotopic%20Identification%20of%20Leakage%20Gas%20from%20Underground%20Storage%20Reservoirs–A%20Progress%20Report.pdf

    Bacteriogenic methane from Illinois generally has a C13 values in the range of -64 to -90% relative to the Peedee Belemnite ( PDB ) standard. The 11 samples from pipelines and storage reservoirs that have been analyzed have all had C13 values in the range of -40 to -46%.

    Which seems to show that biological source methane can vary widely in C13 content and that pipeline gas is not the same signature as biological, coal, or petroleum. Has this be allowed for? If so, how? (Frankly, given the biological origin variance I don’t see how it’s possible…)

    (I hand typed the above quote and there was what looked like maybe a sigma in front of the C13’s… could not get a cut/paste to work fast…)

    It looks to me like there are more holes here than bucket… I don’t see how C12:C13 ratio can be reasonably used to make any clear assertion about where the CO2 in the air comes from. How much Clathrate out gasses each year on the ocean bottoms? With what C12:C13 ratio? How much natural gas leaks from the ground? What are the ratios for bacteria produced methane from various ecosystems including ocean bottom? Are they all the same? How do you know? Since bacteria have been shown to eat oil and natural gas, how do you distinguish their CO2 from those eating wood?

  123. George E. Smith (18:02:45) :

    Thanks for the info. I’ll try to absorb it and integrate it into my (still forming) hypothesis that the solar dimness is causing the 9-10 micron O3 window shade to be lifted via O3 reduction and letting all the heat out. Globally we are down on O3, at the poles by as much as 40%. Makes a few tenths of CO2 look like chump change… IMHO…

  124. E.M.Smith (21:03:58) :
    Phil. (13:42:35) :
    “We know from isotope analysis that the source is not biological and that the increase is consistent with fossil fuel.”

    You ought to look at the “CO2 – Temperature link” thread… I’ve lifted a bit from there to post here, please forgive the duplication:

    I don’t get my science from an English Lit major, you’d be well advised to do likewise.
    Try reading: Modeling Terrestrial Ecosystems in the Global Carbon Cycle With Shifts in Carbon Storage Capacity by Land-Use Change,
    W. R. Emanuel & G. G. Killough, Ecology, Vol. 65, No. 3. (Jun., 1984), pp. 970-983.

  125. E.M.Smith (21:21:04) :
    Thanks for the info. I’ll try to absorb it and integrate it into my (still forming) hypothesis that the solar dimness is causing the 9-10 micron O3 window shade to be lifted via O3 reduction and letting all the heat out. Globally we are down on O3, at the poles by as much as 40%. Makes a few tenths of CO2 look like chump change… IMHO…

    Yes but there’s less of it so the total heat lost is less than that via CO2.
    Check out the Modtran spectrum for the earth’s atmosphere below, the notch at 667 cm-1 is CO2 and that at ~1000cm-1 is O3.

  126. Neven,

    There is no question that human activity is having an impact on Arctic ice. Hansen and others have published papers in the last few years attributing a significant part of Arctic warming to soot (as much as 94%) and the Arctic yellow ozone cloud (from pollution) is also known to be causing significant warming.

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2004/2004_Hansen_Nazarenko.pdf

    http://www.physorg.com/news100354399.html

    The point is that there is no substantive link to CO2 and Arctic ice, and people who claim so are basing their beliefs on the idea “the models predicted it.” However, the models were wrong about the other pole, so they are really no more valuable than a coin toss.

  127. The point is that there is no substantive link to CO2 and Arctic ice,

    Both the references you cite state that GHGs are the major source of warming, strange you should forget to mention that!

    “The substantial role inferred for soot in global climate does not
    alter the fact that greenhouse gases are the primary cause of global
    warming in the past century and are expected to be the largest
    climate forcing the rest of this century.”

    “Greenhouse gases, which trap outgoing energy, are primarily responsible for the remaining temperature increase and are considered the Earth’s most important overall climate changing mechanism.”

    However, the models were wrong about the other pole, so they are really no more valuable than a coin toss.

    Care to justify this statement, references from this century preferred!

  128. Phil:

    Care to justify this statement, references from this century preferred!

    Phil, here’s how it works: Steven Goddard need not justify anything about your putative AGW, or the always-inaccurate computer models that are its only real support. It is those who put forth the relatively new hypothesis of AGW / runaway global warming / climate catastrophe, who must justify their statements.

    It’s called the Scientific Method: someone puts forth a new hypothesis – like AGW/runaway global warming – and if it withstands falsification, fine.

    The problem is that AGW has been repeatedly falsified. Note also that as carbon dioxide levels rise, the globe continues to cool.

    I understand that the latest convoluted meme is that global warming causes global cooling. But… please. Enough.

  129. Smokey (17:27:03) :
    Phil:
    “Care to justify this statement, references from this century preferred!”
    Phil, here’s how it works: Steven Goddard need not justify anything about your putative AGW, or the always-inaccurate computer models that are its only real support.

    I’m asking him to justify his statement, with recent references, if he’s sure of his position that shouldn’t be difficult. Of course if he continues to refer to a paper published in 1984 that won’t cut it.

    It is those who put forth the relatively new hypothesis of AGW / runaway global warming / climate catastrophe, who must justify their statements.

    It’s called the Scientific Method: someone puts forth a new hypothesis – like AGW/runaway global warming – and if it withstands falsification, fine.

    Hardly new and it has withstood falsification.

    REPLY:
    Alright you two. I’m declaring a Christmas moratorium on this argument, knock it off. Stop being naughty, be nice.- Anthony

  130. “” E.M.Smith (21:03:58) :

    As for the alleged irrefutable evidence that people caused the last century’s CO2 increase, the “smoking gun” invoked by one of my critics, Dr. Michael Mann, and his fellow fearmongers at realclimate.com, the claim is based on the idea that the normal ratio of heavy to light carbon–that is, the carbon-13 isotope to the lighter carbon-12 isotope, is roughly 1 to 90 in the atmosphere, but in plants there’s a 2 percent lower C13/C12 ratio. So, observing that C13 in the atmosphere has been declining steadily though very slightly since 1850, they claim that this is due to man’s burning of fossil fuels, which are generally believed to be derived from fossilized plant matter.

    OK, so both C12 and C13 are stable and they are looking for a ‘plant’ signature in burned fuel, not a decay signature. One Small Problem… C4 metabolism plants absorb more C13 than do C3 metabolism plants. Over the last 100 years we’ve planted one heck of a lot more grasses world wide than ever before. Grasses are C4 metabolism…

    Have they allowed for this? If so, how? I’m not sure how one would figure out the C4 vs C3 plant population ratio of the world, and certainly don’t see how you would figure out what it was 10,000,000 years ago. “”

    So E.M. ,I’m not sure I deciphered who said what in this discussion i’ve excerpted; but it does lead me to as if you are expert in this C13/C12 isotopic business; which I gather is a biological science phenomenon. Somewhere else I saw the C3-C4 metabolism thing referenced and I confess it went in one ear and out the other and hit nothing living in between. I understand the C14 thing from my days as a nuclear/atomic physicist, and sometime student of cosmetic rays. But this bio thing is all alien to me.

    But if I understand the concept, bio materials (at least some) are deficient in c13; ergo decline inC13 in the atmosphere suggests fossil fuel burning.

    But that raises some probably ignorant questions in me.

    Are not living plants deficient in C13; so doesn’t burning of forests and or grasslands also lead to C13 deficiency. Doesn’t biodegradation of plant materials 9rotting dead trees) also lead to C13 depletion. If in this recent period of warming, and for other reasons the total green biomass of the planet has increased (as is claimed); then doesn’t that increase in total plant matter and subsequent decay, lead to C13 depletion.

    If C13 deficiency as well as C14 absence in coal deposits denotes biologiccal origins for coal deposits (no brainer and of course C13 only); is there data on isotopic abundance in petroleum deposits; that would indicate that petroleum is also a biological fossil fuel; rather than simply a liquid mineral of non-biological origin?

    Now who is going to argue that increasing numbers of humans have not burnt up large quantities of biological or fossil materials that are deficient in C13; How does non-depleted carbon participate in the atmospheric carbon cycle; what is its origin, and what puts it in the atmosphere.

    Then; suppose we discovered a large source of usable fossil fuel, say peroleum, and it happened to also contain a sizeable amount of Argon, which the petroleum industry decided to not extract; so as we start burning the stuff, we start enriching the argon in the atmosphere . The fact that the atmospheric argon concentration is increasing, can certaiinly be regarded as proof that we are burning some of this argon enriched petroleum; But that is a far cry from asserting, that that particular source of argon enriched carbon is selectively remaining in the atmosphere.

    In other words, if primordial atmospheres contained a certain C13/C12 ratio, and then we start burnigng fuels depleted of C13, the Carbon in the atmosphere DOES NOT have to increase, in order for C13 depletion to occur; it merely points out that we have two sources (at least) of atmospheric CO2 and they have different C13 content, and our continued use of the depleted one, will continue to deplete the atsmospheric C13, even if it does not increase the total atmospheric CO2.

    My carbon dioxide expert at Scripps could probably tell me, but I figure you probably can too..

    I don’t see C13 or C14 depletion as being evidence of human increase in atmospheric CO2; just that we use a lot of Carbon that is deficient in both those heavy isotopes.

    I also do not understand the O18/O16 temperature proxy either.

    I don’t see how temperature can transmute one into the other

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