Arctic Ice Thickness Measured From Buoys

Guest Post by Steven Goddard

The Catlin Arctic Survey has generated quite a bit of discussion, more because of the difficulties they have faced than because of the scientific merit of their expedition.  Their home page is covered with testimonials about the importance of measuring “ice decline” and raising “climate change awareness.”

Normally a scientific experiment will start out with a neutral approach, where the conclusions are derived from the data, rather than arriving at conclusions prior to attempting to collect data.  The appearance of presumption presented on their web site that they are measuring “ice decline,” could easily be interpreted to be putting the cart before the horse.
It is also difficult to understand how they could be measuring “ice decline” from a single set of data points taken at minus 40C, measured over an eight week period.

Are they going to come back next year and measure again?  Not likely, and even if they did the ice would not be in the same place next year – as it is blown around by the wind.  There is little question that the ice will continue to thicken over the next few weeks, as it normally does not start to melt near the pole until late June or early July. Fortunately we do have an objective and consistently reliable data source to work with, from that same region.

The US Army keeps a set of buoys on the ice which continuously monitor ice thickness, temperature and location year round.  These buoys maintain themselves with a minimum of trauma, twittering, publicity, rescue expeditions and frostbite – and are normally able to provide more than one year of data.

The Google Earth map below shows the attempted Catlin route in green markers, and the Army buoys in yellow.  The buoys are marked with approximate thickness of the ice, which I estimated based on the water depth where the temperature rapidly drops below the freezing point of seawater (minus 2C.)

As an example, I estimated the thickness at buoy 2007J as 3.5 metres, based on the graph below.  Above -350 cm, the water temperature drops off quickly below -2C, which means that it is frozen.

http://imb.crrel.usace.army.mil/buoy_plots/2007J.gif

All five buoys show water temperatures indicating ice thickness in the range of 3-4 metres.  Catlin is attempting to take another 10,000 or so measurements on the shifting, moving ice they are trying to travel across.  While that data may be useful in understanding the local behaviour of the ice, it likely will provide little information about long-term ice trends, unless the same measurements are taken on a consistent basis over many years. You can also see in the 2007J graph above that the ice has thickened at least half a metre since March, 2008.

In most fields of science, that is considered an increase rather than a “decline.”

From the Army web site:

Data policy: We encourage the use of all data on this web site. Please reference any data use as:
Perovich, D.K., J.A. Richter-Menge, B. Elder, K. Claffey, and C. Polashenski, Observing and understanding climate change: Monitoring the mass balance, motion, and thickness of Arctic sea ice,
http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/

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130 thoughts on “Arctic Ice Thickness Measured From Buoys

  1. So do these folks skating on the ice not know about these buoys? Shouldn’t a kind soul leave a post on their web site telling them that they can come home now?

  2. Of course reporting the Catlin ‘survey’,responsible journalists and their editors would balance their article with “however, US Army Ice buoys using longer term data have reported………”.
    Wouldn’t they?

  3. Let’s wish the people well and hope they don’t get hurt from this stunt. Imagine new martyrs in search of their grail while they had but to ask what the buoys had to say. Obviously they are in it more for the misadventure. Pity.

  4. jorge,

    Thanks for the WAIS link. The “collapse” of the WAIS is an AGW favorite.

    From Wikipedia –
    The West Antarctic ice sheet has warmed by more than 0.1 C/decade in the last 50 years, and is strongest in winter and spring.

    So if winter temperatures increase from -30 to -29 degrees, how exactly is that going to cause collapse?

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

    Also, the weight of the ice causes the ground underneath to depress into a bowl shape, which stabilizes the ice.

    James Hansen, a senior NASA scientist who is a leading climate adviser to the US government, said the results were deeply worrying. “Once a sheet starts to disintegrate, it can reach a tipping point beyond which break-up is explosively rapid,” he said. [7]

    And monkeys may fly …..

  5. Go the the Catlin survey site and you will find this post:http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/Difficult_decisions_

    They describe things like “open water” and year old ice, thickness 1m. What utter rubbish. Look at the Land Surface Temperature images from the Aqua satellite and you will see that the the “cracks” are well below -17 degrees Celsius. That is not open water. Look at this image and the temperature legend:

    HOw could it be 1m thick when the average buoy measurement is greater than 3.5m? They haven’t transmitted an iota of data yet, but they must have done some surveying of the landing strip and come up with the 1m thickness. Does that mean ALL their readings will be X/3.5? THey have just got a plane finally landed for resupply. They would be wise to ask for a lift home.

  6. hengav,

    It is very likely that they are seeing some open water and thin ice, as the winds move ice around and cause stresses that crack the ice. That happens every winter.

    I don’t think there is any reason to believe that the data they are reporting is incorrect. I’m just questioning the value of the data wrt understanding long term trends in thickness.

  7. This is all about perception and headlines: in its weekly agit prop science section the Globe and Mail the Canadian AGW mainstream mouthpiece -the only Canadian newspaper linked from desmogblog, and that is quite an endorsement- is now quoting a Reuters report -Thomson-Reuters owns CTV Globemedia parent company of the Globe- about another 2 studies published in -you guessed it- Nature, claiming a small increase in GHGs will finish off the West antarctica ice…

  8. Steven

    Actually I disagree. I have been watching the LST measurements (and commenting on them) around Alert and the high arctic for over 2 weeks. Ir was my first introduction to studying the flow patterns and the relative temperatures of different fissures. When I looked at the passage between Alert and Greenland I noticed a discrete temperature change associated with ice “flow”. There is none of that going on in the high arctic at the moment. The fissures that surround the team’s position have been there for well over 2 weeks now. There is no apparent displacement of ice from the arctic basin, rather it is collecting. The evidence comes directly from the movement of the Catlin team itself, it is heading SOUTH. The only way you would get open water is if the ice shifted and moved north, displacing ice faster into the ocean east of Greenland than the movement of the main ice mass is traveling. The images don’t lie, fly around the globe a bit with Aqua and you will see for yourself. My interpretation may be off as the days get warmer, but they picked a mighty dangerous spot to start the journey, and it is not going to get any easier for them any time soon.

  9. “Normally a scientific experiment will start out with a neutral approach, where the conclusions are derived from the data, rather than arriving at conclusions prior to attempting to collect data.”

    In my opinion the real scientific approach should be: “We have a theory that the artic ice thickness is declining in the last decennia. This expedition is set up to falsifying this theory. Only then the expedition members (and we!) will know at forehand what they will measure and how.

  10. It does seem that the adventure is the goal and the “science” is thing being used to be paid for the adventure.

    No doubt if the science involved sitting in a portacabin in Slough taking temperature measurements for a year they wouldn’t be bothered doing it.

    So, the science is just an excuse for a jolly.

    Regards

    Andy

  11. Well, “jolly” I don’t think it is. It doesn’t seem to be going well in any aspect. They are hardly going fast enough to stay in place. It is well they got re-supplied. They will have a few more days to consider the really hard decision of closing this folly down and going home. There was never anything scientific they were going to accomplish — as the buoys may — so they can go finish off the publicity in London, get 15 minutes of fame, have a pint, and call it good.

  12. The longer they stay out there, the greater the chance they will be hit by a big storm. I hope they stay safe and warm, even though I think they are performing a stupid stunt for the wrong reasons.

  13. hengav (22:12:32) :

    You say that the tem is heading SOUTH??? Do you have any notion as to why they are heading south when heir objective is to each the north pole?

  14. See, according to the AGW hypothesis, the increasing thickness if arctic ice is a direct indication of global warming, same with thickening ice in Greenland and Antarctica. And the warmer it gets, the thicker the ice will get until it is all gone and the polar bears disappear.

  15. “You can also see in the 2007J graph above that the ice has thickened at least half a metre since March, 2008.

    In most fields of science, that is considered an increase rather than a “decline.”

    The multiyear ice is thickening. Wow, the things you learn! I thought that it was the decline of the age and percentage of the multiyear ice that was causing the declining thickness of the Arctic ice cap, now I find it is actualy the multiyear ice that is meant to be thinning.

    I stand corrected said the man in the orthopedic shoes.

  16. The figure with the data doesn’t seem to have the 14th March 2009 circles on it – the big round red ones, that is.

    Any chance of putting those on?

  17. “Sledgehammer (21:03:27) :

    Too bad Al Gore isn’t with them.”

    What bear could pass up THAT tasty treat?

    JimB

  18. “C Colenaty (23:58:27) :

    hengav (22:12:32) :

    You say that the tem is heading SOUTH??? Do you have any notion as to why they are heading south when heir objective is to each the north pole?”

    Actually, they are not “heading South”. They are making negative progress heading North. They keep walking North, but the ice flow they are on is moving South. They’re just not walking fast enough.

    JimB

  19. The first 100 cm shows a very constant temp. Doesn’t that mean that the first meter is above the ice giving a thickness of 350-100 cm (roughly avg)?

  20. Dorlomin
    decline of the age and percentage of the multiyear ice…

    ??How does multiyear ice decline in age??

    I’m looking forward to this autumn’s ice extent minimum figures to help shut up some of the nonsense talked about arctic ice.

  21. Looks like they’ve resupplied

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/7952165.stm

    The two from Devon are nearish neighbours of mine.

    Pen Hadows departure was greted by this headline in the local paper

    ‘Local Dad heads for Arctic’

    Quite what the scientific point is though I don’t know. Pens motives are no doubt honourable but one of them will be that he loves going to the Arctic.

    TonyB

  22. From Bloomberg. com March 18:

    “Polar Explorers Run Short of Food; Weather Stops Supply Flights

    By Alex Morales

    Three U.K. explorers bound for the North Pole on a scientific expedition to study global warming said they are close to running out of food after “brutal” weather conditions halted three attempts to fly in supplies.

    The support team hopes to decide within hours on when it can send an airplane to land on nearby ice with provisions, Tori Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Catlin Arctic Survey in London, said in an interview today.

    “We’re hungry, the cold is relentless, our sleeping bags are full of ice,” expedition leader Pen Hadow said in a statement e-mailed yesterday by his team.”

    Gee, it’s March, it’s the high Arctic and it is bloody cold. Who knew?

  23. Dorlomin (00:45:41)
    The multiyear ice is thickening. Wow, the things you learn! I thought that it was the decline of the age and percentage of the multiyear ice that was causing the declining thickness of the Arctic ice cap, now I find it is actualy the multiyear ice that is meant to be thinning.

    Wow, an overall decline in ice extent for a number of years, along with a large decline in 2007 mainly due to ocean currents and winds, and the age and percentage of multiyear ice is STILL recovering less than two years later? That is truly alarming, Dorlomin. Thank you for bringing that stunning bit of science to our attention.

    We were blind, but now can see. Praise be to Gore.

  24. What’s happening at Cryosphere Today ?? Anyone know ?? No Arctic sea ice extent update since March 14th. Just when it looked like Greenland was going to be joined to Iceland. When did that last happen ??

  25. From a science standpoint, they are wasting millions of dollars for nothing, as Anthony explains in the post. It’s too bad the money could not have been used on something better. Another sad part of “climate science.”

  26. Does anyone know how they’re planning to analyse their data once they’ve collected it?

    Perhaps if they published their algorithm whilst they’re still collecting their data it could be debugged by the time they need to use it.

    Such an approach might even give them some credibility back.

  27. These Catlin guys remind me of the time members of the “Christian Peace-keeper Teams” entered Iraq on their own on about 2003-2004 when the post invasion violence was at its near peak. They were there to find and collect evidence of war atrocities and human rights violations they were sure were being conducted by the United States military. It just had to be happening.

    Sure enough, the team found powerful and undeniable evidence that both war atrocities and human rights violations were indeed taking place.

    At least one of them had been beheaded, and another had to be rescued in an armed raid.

    If you are out there wondering who did the beheading, it’s probably a fair bet you are also convinced AGW is real.

  28. I know nothing about the intracies of measuring ice thickness. However, as a scientist, I do know that, on occasions, it is highly desirable to measure the same phemenon with different techniques at the same time. Yes, there are all sorts of high tech ways of measuring ice thickness. But what the Catlin scientists are doing, (which is, I believe, unique,) is to measure the ice thickness by radar, and then measure the same ice thickness by taking a wacking great auger, drilling an actual hole in the ice, and then directly measuring how thick it is. Does this combination of techniques add significantly to our scientific knowledge? I have absolutely no idea whatsoever. But the three people who are out there on the ice clearly think it does. And I believe they are absolutely correct.

  29. philincalifornia (04:39:32) :

    What’s happening at Cryosphere Today ?? Anyone know ?? No Arctic sea ice extent update since March 14th. Just when it looked like Greenland was going to be joined to Iceland. When did that last happen ??

    They’re updating images in the archive, the 3/17 image looks decent, but other recent images are awful. The 3/18 image shows Hudson’s Bay completely open.
    The images are formed from combining swaths of image data that are tangent to some high latitude. This means the data furthest from the poles has the least redundancy and that’s where the bogus open water shows up.

    Perhaps the images are so bad they aren’t putting them up on the home page.

    Images for dates mentioned above:

    All the images show Greenland is connected to Iceland by ice, exactly what are you looking for?

  30. OT, but please have a look at this: <a href=”http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/5015003/Sacked-executive-discriminated-against-due-to-belief-in-climate-change.html”. Many earlier threads/posts have discussed AGW in terms of religious belief. Looks like the great and good are showing their slips at last!

  31. Whoops, bad HTML.

    OT, but please have a look at this: <a href=”http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/5015003/Sacked-executive-discriminated-against-due-to-belief-in-climate-change.html”. Many earlier threads/posts have discussed AGW in terms of religious belief. Looks like the great and good are showing their slips at last!

  32. Whoops, bad HTML.

    OT, but please have a look at this: Many earlier threads/posts have discussed AGW in terms of religious belief. Looks like the great and good are showing their slips at last!

  33. Dorlomin,

    The large decline in multiyear ice which occurred during the winter of 2007-2008, was due to winds which pushed much of the ice out into the North Atlantic, where it melted. At the end of the 2007 summer, there was ice covering the North Pole – yet after another winter in March, 2008 the North Pole had only first year ice.

    This winter, the winds are different, as indicated by the buoy drift maps and the fact that the Catlin explorers are being blown the other direction (which is obviously not what they were expecting.)

    BTW – NASA has excellent technology for measuring ice thickness from satellites across the entire Arctic.

    Anothe rway to measure ice thickness is

  34. There seems to be a campaign of mindless negativism on this web site, to say the least, and this blogpost by Steven Goddard is a good example of it.
    Goddard says that measurement of ice thickness along the path of the expedition cannot provide data that would track the time dependence of the ice thickness and buoys are better for that. This is a kind of straw man argument, because the expedition obviously was not intended to get the time dependence of the ice thickness from the measurements that will be made. This type of argument is used to make it seem as if the scientists who are working on this problem are fools and blockheads.

    It is known that the satellite data from which we get ice extent data has interpretation problems, and that the algorithms to calculate the ice statistics have needed revision over the years.

    Skeptics on this web site often talk of the need for real world data. From my reading of the news article, the purpose of this expedition is to provide real world data with which to calibrate satellite measurements.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7917266.stm

    “…It is intended to give scientists the very latest “ground truth”, to better constrain their models and their interpretation of the observations coming from satellites. ..”

    The data from buoys comes only from multi year ice blocks which drift around in the ocean and cannot provide the kind of cross sectional data that the expedition can supply, to calibrate the satellite measurements.

  35. I’m sorry, EJ (23:34:31) :, but you understand neither sociology nor science. I’m not changing your grade.

  36. mr.goddard:
    i’m 64 years old, spanish speaking and for me the internet is a wild country! the link i added was about the diference betwen the report of andy rivkin about the melting of antarctic ice (1000+ years!!) and reuters (the we are near the tipping point!!).
    the new study posted says the “melting” will take hundreds of years or thousands.

  37. “Does this combination of techniques add significantly to our scientific knowledge? I have absolutely no idea whatsoever. But the three people who are out there on the ice clearly think it does. And I believe they are absolutely correct.”

    HUH?

  38. I would have great confidence in those numbers since the army needs to know the exact thickness of the ice before they puncture a hole with the tower of a submarine.

  39. It is interesting that the buoys show 3-4 metres in thickness. I seem to recall that the Catlin group was indicating not more than 2 metres of ice and 1-2 metres of snow above. The mistake this bunch made was not starting from the north pole. Then they would not have the ice movement against them in that direction. At this rate I doubt they will make it half way.

  40. Jim Cripwell

    1 year ago it was the Ice extent.
    Then as it grew, it was the Ice thikness.
    As changes in wind aparantly have somehow compacted Ice, it has to be something else.
    — The team is going to the ground to “prove” that top ice layer is not as thick as bottom ice layer, althought ICE extent will keep on increasing as it is right now. this computed in some model will global warming something!
    wanna bet?
    Ice extent was a enough for AGW argument. Not by a log shot enough to anyother argument. Some years ago, it was the one making the unbeliable claims that had to have amazing prove… now it the other way around. How did that happen?!

  41. Bruce Cobb (04:32:57) :

    Dorlomin (00:45:41)
    The multiyear ice is thickening. Wow, the things you learn! I thought that it was the decline of the age and percentage of the multiyear ice that was causing the declining thickness of the Arctic ice cap, now I find it is actualy the multiyear ice that is meant to be thinning.

    Wow, an overall decline in ice extent for a number of years, along with a large decline in 2007 mainly due to ocean currents and winds, and the age and percentage of multiyear ice is STILL recovering less than two years later?

    Recent “Low Periods” since the Little Ice Age ended about 1850.
    – Use in comparison with winters 2007-2008-2009.

    Last time I know of that Iceland was surrounded by substantially-solid ice was 1968. (The Little Ice Age, Brian Fagan.) Before that, 1888. Before that, 1855. (Does anyone see a thirty year cycle here? 1915-1920’s were cold, but I have no Iceland coastal ice reports.)

    Remember that 20th century “dip” between the very warm 1935-1942, and 1985-1998 warm periods? That 10 year “drop” in temperatures occurred while CO2 was steadily rising. It is “conveniently ignored” by Al Gore and Hansen because it doesn’t fit their template of CO2-induced warmth. Instead, their minions steadily increase (er, “adjust”) low recorded temperatures during this period, and reduce (er, “correct”) high temperatures between 1930 and 1942. All for the sake of “accuracy” of course.)

    1971-1972. Tigris River froze over. Record colds in Turkey and eastern Europe. This year 2008-2009, it snowed in Iraq.

    1962-1963. Extreme colds in SW England, skating on rivers outside London. Called the coldest winter in the 20th century. Same (or worse!) in 2008-2009.

  42. From the AMSR-E graph above, notice that sea ice extent in mid-March, 2009, is now third highest EVER recorded for this date, and sea ice extent is nearing the second-highest level.

    Funny, isn’t it?

    The second-highest sea ice extent for March ever recorded is 2008. Third highest is March 2009. Thought we were melting ice up there at -37 degrees C.

    All that “open water” in September 2007 that was supposed to be “feeding back” and “never re-freezing” because “open water absorbs heat like a black plate” and contributes to further global warming that melts more sea ice and absorbs more heat ……

    Guess Hansen-Gore-Obama are wrong.

    Again.

  43. Jim Cripwell,

    If the ice was relatively static, having a lot of very precise measurements in close proximity might be interesting. However, the ice is constantly moving, shifting, melting, freezing. etc. and varies tremendously from week to week and month to month. Even if they were moving and collecting data rather than spending almost of their time trying to stay alive, I would doubt the value of the data towards their stated purpose of raising awareness of climate change. All that most people will see is a group of people who are surprised by how cold it is in the Arctic, and struggling to treat frostbite and stay warm in -42C weather.

  44. Eric:
    “…It is intended to give scientists the very latest “ground truth”, to better constrain their models and their interpretation of the observations coming from satellites. ..”

    The data from buoys comes only from multi year ice blocks which drift around in the ocean and cannot provide the kind of cross sectional data that the expedition can supply, to calibrate the satellite measurements.

    I wasn’t aware the satellites attempted to measure ice thickness. How would they do that?. The metrics they supply tell us about area and extent. How then will the thickness data be used to ‘calibrate satellite measurements’?

    I’m all for constraining models, and alarmist handwaving though.

  45. Steven Goddard (21:03:56) :
    “Thanks for the WAIS link. The “collapse” of the WAIS is an AGW favorite.

    From Wikipedia –
    The West Antarctic ice sheet has warmed by more than 0.1 C/decade in the last 50 years, and is strongest in winter and spring.”

    Which raises the nagging question of why it is our culture has so quickly accepted the contributory “encyclopedia Wikipedia” as an authority? On anything. It’s obvious flaws were recently demonstrated on the TV show “30 Rock” – when staff writer Frank tampers with Wikipedia’s Janis Joplin bio and Jenna, cast to play Janis, believes her character eats cats and is afraid of toilets. Hilarious. And kinda sad.

  46. I would have great confidence in those numbers since the army needs to know the exact thickness of the ice before they puncture a hole with the tower of a submarine.

    1. The ice thickness can vary greatly in a short distance, particularly at pressure ridges.
    2. There are not many buoys thus not much information for navigational use.
    3. Don’t surface under a buoy.
    4. I think the Army needs to know surface conditions more than it needs navigational tools for the fleet of Army submarines.

  47. Which raises the nagging question of why it is our culture has so quickly accepted the contributory “encyclopedia Wikipedia” as an authority?

    Especially because liberals have more time to protest and update Wikipedia, and for AGW topics they have the fox guarding the hen house.

  48. The other day the Catlin site was showing forward progress at over 1.5 km/day; now it’s at 1.44 km/day. At this rate they’ll be showing negative values in a about three weeks. Perhaps when they end up in Canada they’ll be able to declare their mission a resounding success.

  49. Can anyone detail the physics of ice thickness measurement using the device on this expedition? I thought radar normally needs a reflective surface to measure the return delta. Does this radar distinguish ice from liquid H2O?

  50. Eric writes “There seems to be a campaign of mindless negativism on this web site, to say the least, and this blogpost by Steven Goddard is a good example of it.”
    Precisely. Thank you, Eric.

  51. Jim,

    Please excuse my apparent negativity. Something about this bothers me:

    Obama climate plan could cost $2 trillion
    President Obama’s climate plan could cost industry close to $2 trillion, nearly three times the White House’s initial estimate of the so-called “cap-and-trade” legislation, according to Senate staffers who were briefed by the White House.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/18/obama-climate-plan-could-cost-2-trillion/

  52. Installing ice-fixed small sonar sations at the pole and measuring at regular time intervals as it drifts with the ice would produce a much more interesting set of data as to the dynamics of the ice movements up there.

  53. Jim and Eric:
    There are far easier and less dangerous ways to calibrate satellite estimates of ice thickness than this particular effort. It was apparently designed to increase awareness of climate change. Scientifically it appears to have extremely limited merit, while endangering the lives of those who have to keep these folks alive.
    I don’t see the negativity of the original post nor most of the comments – just surprise at how “dumb” this enterprise is. Are you suggesting that this was an intelligent thing to do and warrants the risks and resources?

  54. Back in 1989, then Sen. Al Gore was under the ice with the USS Seahorse and proposed similar random ice measurements (from the subs). Given the wind related ice drift and the current in the arctic (most ice piles up on top of Greenland where the ice can reach thicknesses of up to 40 feet). Obviously a submarine would be a better platform for measuring ice thickness in adverse conditions but one is still left with the problem of relating the data from one year to the next. We could not convince him of the basic problems of such measurements.

    Evidently the true point of the current expedition is more political than scientific.

  55. I know that sonar can distinguish the difference between the water/ice interface and the ice/air interface. Assuming that the energy emitted from the radar was placed on the surface of the ice, it would likely pick up the reflection as well since both sonar and radar operate in the RF spectrum.

  56. Mindless negativism? Nay. Thoughtful skepticism — the hallmark of real science.

    Frankly, from the description of this data collection attempt, I have no idea whether the results will have any meaning at all. It seems the data will be way too spotty and narrow to have any meaning in the larger scheme of things. Unless there is systematic measurement at regular intervals over long periods of time, how can one draw any useful conclusions? I don’t get it. That’s not mindless negativism. That’s just sensible, realistic questioning of the design of the experiment.

    This is a different Eric — just to be clear. I don’t think the other Eric has changed positions. :)

  57. Jim Cripwell said

    “Eric writes “There seems to be a campaign of mindless negativism on this web site, to say the least, and this blogpost by Steven Goddard is a good example of it.”

    To which jim replied

    “Precisely. Thank you, Eric.”

    I have made a number of posts on this and other threads pointing out these are serious minded people-Pen Hadow is a nearish number of mine and is a highly experienced explorer who loves the arctic- and the comments that he doesnt know what he is doing are clearly misinformed.

    Having said that I do question the scientifc hypotheses behind this.

    They will have properly surveyed-by augur and radar- a narrow line 900 kms long. Whilst we must certainly welcome real world science for a change it proves nothing, other than at a precise date, along a precise line 900kms long, they found certain readings. Unless repeated annually for many years, the data is interesting but not scientific, and even then only covers a tiny fraction of the ice which may or may not be representative.

    I am also concerned that data will be take out of context- witness arctic ice measurements since 1978. That measurement started from a high base due to the cold preceding years, but any reduction is constantly cited as ‘unprecedented’ but does not take into acount the fact that the ice cap seems to partially melt on a regular basis as has been posted here numerous times.

    So we are not all negative, it is just that this does not appear to pass the test of being a genuine scientific endeavour that will have any relevance unless put into a proper context.

    Tonyb

  58. Ric Werme (05:26:06) :

    Thanks Ric. They posted March 17th now on the home page. I am still missing something though – the Denmark Strait (you learn something new every day on Google) looked, from the green-type presentation method, that it was close to freezing over on the 14th. It looks like there is less ice there now (even on the links you so kindly posted). I realize that the satellite sensor has major problems.

    I was wondering when was the last time the Denmark Strait froze over – 5, 10, 20 years ago (or does it freeze over every year) ?? If it froze over this year, and this was the first time in a long while, I think it would be a nice sound-byte for the unwashed masses, although I doubt that the Guardian would have it as a headline.

  59. Drew (09:08:33) :

    “Assuming that the energy emitted from the radar was placed on the surface of the ice, it would likely pick up the reflection as well since both sonar and radar operate in the RF spectrum.”

    No. Sonar operates in the audible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum – but not in the RF. My question is, does the radar reflection return from the ocean floor or the water directly beneath the ice?

  60. I also agree with an earlier post about varying ice thickness from one location to the next. Looking at the underside of the ice one sees a huge variation in ice thickness – I can only liken this to small mountains, hills, peaks that all project down into the water. The only spots that are flat is the new ice that forms following a break in the ice flows – these rivers that form re-freeze within 24 hours. Any ice greater than about 2 meters in thickness typically exhibit these properties but it becomes more pronounced the closer one gets to northern Greenland.

  61. My apologies – sonar can vary over a wide range of frequencies – but usually down in the kHz range. Same points still apply

  62. Pragmatic (07:42:07) :

    Steven Goddard (21:03:56) :

    From Wikipedia –
    The West Antarctic ice sheet has warmed by more than 0.1 C/decade in the last 50 years, and is strongest in winter and spring.”

    This statements illustrates the value of Wikipedia. I wasn’t aware that the ice sheet could warm O.1 C/decade without melting? Someone correct that to “ambient temperature above the ice sheet has…”.

  63. Steven Goddard (08:23:08) :

    I heard that story and did a little math…assuming 110 million households (from census.gov), the per household cost of the plan is around $18,200. wow….kind of hard to fathom! of course, all of this assumes the $2 trillion price tag is even close to correct…

  64. I wasn’t aware the satellites attempted to measure ice thickness. How would they do that?. The metrics they supply tell us about area and extent. How then will the thickness data be used to ‘calibrate satellite measurements’?

    There are multiple techniques to infer the sea ice thickness.

    Ice is transparent to radar if it has little liquid water in it so the towed radar sled used by that team should be measuring the reflection off the lower layer of the ice/water interface. Since there might be a slushy water saturated lower layer their physical measurements might help in determining a typical layer thickness for that for later use in calculations.

    One is to get high precision measures of the top of the sea ice, (free board ie the amount the top surface is above the water) and compute how much it is above the open ocean level in areas of open water. Then using the ratio between how much ice sticks up above water, you can compute the average thickness of the ice below the local sea level and then the total average sea ice thickness.

    http://www.isprs.org/commission3/annapolis/pdf/Forsberg.pdf

    http://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/arcgice_venice.pdf

    Here are some other methods under investigation.

    http://www.techbriefs.com/component/content/57?task=view

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V86-4V75YMP-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=b854a267d8daeea77dd4178347f01f61

    I am sure there are other ways to infer the ice thickness as well. The oldest direct measurements were based on submarine sonar measurements from under the ice pack going back to the cold war days when the subs needed to determine if the ice was thin enough they could breach it to surface, and to avoid collisions with pressure ridges which can extend well below the average bottom surface of the ice pack.

    Larry

  65. Aggie,

    Thanks for doing the math. BTW – here is how cap and trade will be financed, from the President’s personal web site. Good to know that the budget will be balanced, even with many trillions in new costs.

    http://www.barackobama.com/issues/fiscal/

    Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s Plan
    Restore Fiscal Discipline to Washington

    * Reinstate PAYGO Rules: Obama and Biden believe that a critical step in restoring fiscal discipline is enforcing pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budgeting rules which require new spending commitments or tax changes to be paid for by cuts to other programs or new revenue.

    * Against Raising the Federal Debt Limit: In 2006, Obama voted against misguided Republican efforts to raise the statutory debt limit

  66. TonyB (09:17:40) :

    I can understand your empathy with people you know but unfortunately to me they give the impression of being incredible naive or their believe in global warming is verging on the religious.

  67. hotrod (10:51:40) : …

    They can measure ice burried underground on Mars from thousands of km above but can’t measure accurately floating ice here on earth??? Please explain!

  68. Does anybody know if the U.S. navy have any published data dirived from submarine measurements of the Artic ice thickness? It would seem to me that submarine measurement would be more practical.

  69. Bernie writes ” Are you suggesting that this was an intelligent thing to do and warrants the risks and resources?” Not at all. The answer to that question will not be obvious until we have the results of the effort. I noted at the very beginning; my expertize on this isssue is very limited. Three dedicated people, who know far more about it than I do, seem to believe that the results they will be getting, will be worth the effort and risk. There seems to be a difference opinion as to whether all these three will get are brownie points in the AGW debate, or genuine scientific results. I believe, for no particular reason, that the scientific results will be worth the effort. Whether I will turn out to be right is another question altogether.

  70. Does Anthony know that he has “single handedly” destroyed the “Media Myth” of the last 6 months of declining ice coverage AND declining ice thickness?

    I think this is wonderful.

    However, I fear that Goobbles is alive and well, and the MSM (Mainstream Media) is repeating, often enough, long enough and LOUD enough…

    I guess we need to take heart in the fact that by the time the Soviet Union fell less than 20% of the population believed ANYTHING their “official” media told them.

    Maybe we can hope for the same here.

  71. Artic ice extent update.

    Note there was a major SSH event in the Arctic Jan/Feb 2009. That probably tripped the weather change in Europe from the very cold to normal.

  72. Question: When the Catliners measure distance traveled is it relative to the Pole or is it their distance on ice, for example as measured by a pedometer ?
    If the latter then they could publish positive headway but on a net basis it could be negative due to drifting ice.

    Observation: Their website claims: The Catlin Arctic Survey is an international collaboration between polar explorers and some of the world’s foremost scientific bodies” There is no mention of these scientific bodies. If there is indeed a collaboration why is there no list? Maybe just BS?

  73. David Porter (11:21:15) : said to me

    “TonyB (09:17:40) :

    I can understand your empathy with people you know but unfortunately to me they give the impression of being incredible naive or their believe in global warming is verging on the religious.”

    First and foremost Pen Hadow loves the Arctic Environment and is without doubt an expert who knew what he was getting into. He will be grateful he can indulge his love of the ice without having to struggle hard to find the funding.

    Secondly I am sure he believes he is doing something useful.
    Thirdly he gives motivational speaking courses and this gives him a good profile and good material as he is doing something his audience will find genuinely inspirational.

    The first two I think are the biggest motivations. As for the AGW religious aspect, I am sure he is concerned the environment he loves may be under threat and feels he may be able to help. I do not think he is a historian and knows the regular ice melt in 80 year cycles or so.

    He is a strong minded man and if what he finds is different to what he is being told I suspect he will say so.

    I hold no brief for him or what I consider an experiment of dubious value whose results will no doubt become misused, but I think his motives are honourable.

    TonyB

  74. I’m not familiar with the SPRITE ground penetrating radar system they have, but GPR is very useful for measuring ice thickness. Ice is in general invisible to radar, so the radar waves will pass through the ice with no trouble and reflect very nicely off the ice-seawater interface. Assuming they know the propagation speed in ice (close to that of air as I recall) the depth from surface to seawater should be pretty darn precise. The GPR might have trouble distinguishing the snow-ice interface though. That seems like one that would be pretty easy to verify with a slender probe though.

  75. I, for one, find the sst anomaly in the vicinity of Tonga to be, at the very least, suggestive.

    Along the same lines, I find the anomalous warmth northeast of Svalgaard to be suggestive of underwater vulcanism. While I’m at it, I find the pool of warmth (at the center of the cold horseshoe of the negative PDO), centered roughly on the Hawaiian islands, to be suggestive of vulcanism as well.

    We can make calculations to our hearts’ content about whether eruptions warm the ocean. In so doing, we risk making ourselves into human GCMs, though, I fear.

    We simply don’t know, and we probably won’t for a while.

  76. Earlier today, a commenter here posted a link to my piece at CEJournal on wildly varying news coverage of the Nature paper on possible collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Since then, I’ve updated it with additional comparisons of coverage by different news outlets. So if you’re interested in the journalism angle on these questions, have a look at http://www.cejournal.net/?p=1428

    Many thanks to those of you who came over this morning and participated in the discussion!

  77. Now the US Army buoys would show increasing ice depth wouldn’t they? After all, the US Army is a reactionary organisation devoted to President George W Bush and dedicated to oppressing freedom fighters, truthers and enviro-warriors wherever they might be found.

    There’s just no way the likes of our intrepid and progressive seekers of truth could trust Climate Change denying data deviously propagated by the Buoys of the Bourgeoisie.

  78. When are we ever going to drop this total scam visited upon us by Fat Albert Gore and his bold lies and whining voice? Will we ever be rid of this odius man?

  79. …BERING SEA ICE OUTLOOK FOR EXTREME ICE CONDITIONS…

    WEATHER MODELS ARE CONTINUING THE PATTERN OF COLD NORTHERLY WINDS
    THROUGH 10 DAYS. WATER TEMPERATURES IN THE BERING SEA OVER THE BERING
    SHELF ARE RUNNING -1 TO PLUS 2 DEGREES CELSIUS. THE COLD NORTHERLY
    AIR WILL CAUSE WATER TEMPERATURES TO DROP AND ICE TO FORM IN THESE
    AREAS. WITH THESE CONDITIONS MARINERS CAN EXPECT SEA ICE TO DEVELOP
    TO THE EDGE OF THE BERING SHELF BY THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK. BRISTOL
    BAY WILL CLOSED OFF AT PORT MOLLER AND ICE WILL DEVELOP ALONG THE
    ALASKAN PENINSULA BEYOND FALSE PASS. ICE WILL MOVE SOUTH OF SAINT
    GEORGE BY MONDAY OR TUESDAY.

    FORECAST THROUGH MONDAY…WEST OF 179W…VARIABLE WINDS UNDER THE
    HIGH WILL TURN COLD NORTHERLY OVER THE WEEKEND. THE ICE EDGE WILL
    MOVE TO THE SOUTHWEST 15 TO 25 NM WITH MOST OF THE MOVEMENT TAKING
    PLACE SUNDAY AND MONDAY.

    FORECAST FOR WATERS BETWEEN 179W AND 167W…COLD NORTHERLY FLOW WILL
    CONTINUE THROUGH SATURDAY. SUNDAY AND MONDAY WILL SEE INCREASING
    NORTHEAST WINDS WITH VERY COLD TEMPERATURES. ICE WILL DEVELOP OR MOVE
    35 TO 50 NM TO THE SOUTH OR SOUTHWEST THROUGH MONDAY. SIGNIFICANT ICE
    WILL SURROUND SAINT PAUL ISLAND LATE FRIDAY OR EARLY SATURDAY. SLUSH
    ICE WILL DEVELOP AROUND SAINT GEORGE ISLAND FRIDAY. SIGNIFICANT ICE
    WILL MOVE TO SAINT GEORGE SUNDAY. ICE WILL MOVE SOUTH OF SAINT GEORGE
    MONDAY OR TUESDAY.

    FORECAST FOR WATERS EAST OF 167W…INCLUDING BRISTOL BAY…STRONG AND
    COLD NORTHERLY FLOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH MONDAY. ICE WILL CLOSE
    BRISTOL BAY TO PORT MOLLER BY MONDAY. ICE WILL DEVELOP ALONG THE BAYS
    OF THE ALASKAN PENINSULA ON THE BERING SIDE AND PROTECTED WATERS OF
    THE PACIFIC SIDE.

    I seem to remember sea ice in the Bering last year as being one of the worst on record. Now we have this going on this year.

    I also seem to recall back in 2007, when Antarctica was setting the maximum area on record in September, only 3 days later various teams of AGW supporters rigorously combed through the Antarctic sea ice dataset and found a processing error which led to sea ice area being slightly overestimated and not a record (at the time, because sea ice continued to increase to a record maximum extent in the satellite era later in the month). When the record was first broken and reported in various skeptic blogs (never in the MSM) is when the AGW crowd set out to disprove this record. Once the processing error was found and the record wasn’t quite broken is when the MSM picked up on the story, using cliches such as “Close but no cigar” etc. Then, as Antarctic sea ice put on a remarkable period of growth in the last couple weeks of September (a period when antarctic sea ice begins its decline normally) and finally broke the satellite era record, once again silence from the MSM (they were talking about arctic sea ice at the time). However, it took nearly 6 weeks to discover the problem in the microwave sounding unit which was causing sea ice to be underestimated this past winter. This normally wouldn’t have been an issue until the George Will article was published in the Washington Times about sea ice extent now compared to 1980 being nearly identical which drew swift criticism from the pro-AGW crowd and the statement about checking ones facts on the cryosphere today web site. There was also a blog entry here about the odd decline in sea ice to which the response was that the error ‘wasn’t newsworthy’ as I seem to recall.

    Let’s see if we get any reporting from the MSM about the extreme sea ice year in the Bering in the coming days or if the only mention of the sea ice being unusually expansive from the next season of ‘Deadliest Catch’.

  80. I hope they brought a rifle. March is really bad for polar bears. The bears can find meat from dozens of miles away and they will converge. Trappers have encountered 2-12 on their traplines.

  81. Working from one of the “Possibly Related Posts”, I made one more link click and came up with this little jewel from CNN:

    “Polar bears resort to cannibalism as Arctic ice shrinks”, Marsha Walton, CNN

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/09/23/arctic.ice/index.html

    …“The Arctic sea ice melt is a disaster for the polar bears,” according to Kassie Siegel, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. “They are dependent on the Arctic sea ice for all of their essential behaviors, and as the ice melts and global warming transforms the Arctic, polar bears are starving, drowning, even resorting to cannibalism because they don’t have access to their usual food sources.”…

    Later… “In one documented 2004 incident in northern Alaska, a male bear broke into a female’s den and killed her.”

    I can see the next headline: “Global Warming causes Domestic Violence among Polar Bears says top scientist”

    Any wonder we’re skeptical of environmental journalists? Sounds like Marsha has been drinking too much Kool-Aid.

  82. They should have used a ship. Lots warmer and has indoor plumbing. I would like to see one of the guys explain post on that website how he gets his willy out of all the layers FAR enough to write in the snow instead of dribble down his woolies. I would imagine shrinkage is a significant problem, but not for the ice.

    http://people.su.se/~mjako/PDF/Darbyetal_2005EO520001.pdf

  83. So, this team is taking radar readings of snow/ice thickness, and then they are drilling holes also to check the snow/ice thickness. Do I understand this right?

    If it is so, then maybe their satelite radar callibration claim makes some sense, assuming that their on-the-ground radar would give the same reading as a satelite radar reading. The bore hole presumably would be “more correct” than a radar reading. So, the bore hole could indicate that the radar readings are systematically understated, overstated, or are dead on. Correcting for any systematic differences observed could constitute callibration.

    Also, while getting to the north pole would be a plus, it probably is not absolutely necessary for the callibration data to be valuable.

    Oh, another assumption: The bore hole thickness readings need to be done correctly and in an unbiased manner…. Any bias likely?

  84. tallbloke (07:30:45) wrote :
    “I wasn’t aware the satellites attempted to measure ice thickness. How would they do that?. The metrics they supply tell us about area and extent. How then will the thickness data be used to ‘calibrate satellite measurements’?

    I’m all for constraining models, and alarmist handwaving though.”

    Remote sensing from satellites air craft, and submarines has been used to estimate ice thickness. Here is a paper on that subject.

    http://epic.awi.de/Publications/Haa2008b.pdf

    Sea Ice Thickness: Hidden Key To Understanding
    Arctic Change
    By Christian Haas, posted on March 27th, 2008 in Articles, Climate, Earth Observation, Water

    “…The lack of systematic, large-scale ice thickness information has led the European and American Space Agencies to the launch of the ICESat and CryoSat satellite missions. These satellites carry laser and radar altimeters, respectively,
    with which the height of the ice surface above the water level can be retrieved. This freeboard height can then be converted into ice thickness using the same density assumptions as with upward-looking sonar profiling. However,
    uncertainties due to the generally unknown snow thickness can lead to large errors of the estimated ice thickness, although the accuracy of the freeboard measurement can be as good as a few centimeters. ICESat was successfully launched in 2003.
    CryoSat was first launched in 2005, but failed just minutes later. A replacement satellite is scheduled to be launched in 2009.

    These novel altimetric satellite missions require careful validation of their results. An ideal technique for the validation of satellite thickness measurements is airborne electromagnetic (EM) sounding. With this classical geophysical method it is possible to determine the electrical conductivity structure of the underlying surface. In the case of sea ice, the method is sensitive to the distance to the ice underside, which is the boundary between the resistive ice and the conductive sea water. EM sounding can be performed from helicopters while flying over the ice, and thus provides
    regional-scale ice thickness measurements within the range of helicopters, which can be extended by means of fuel caches on the ice. EM sounding will be extensively used for the validation of CryoSat thickness retrievals, by means of
    coincident underflights of the satellite. In addition, a systematic ice mass balance monitoring program has been initiated by Canadian, American and German scientists in the region between the coasts of Canada, Alaska, and the
    North Pole. This will provide accurate biannual thickness observations to better understand seasonal and interannual ice variability as a result of changes in the atmosphere-ocean system.

  85. Ray (11:53:24) :

    hotrod (10:51:40) : …

    They can measure ice burried underground on Mars from thousands of km above but can’t measure accurately floating ice here on earth??? Please explain!

    They detect water and get a ball park estimate of its quantity, they do not “measure” ice thickness on Mars from the Odyssey satellite Gamma Ray Spectrometer.

    http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/odyssey/technology/grs.html

    They are just calculating the amount of water present in the top layers of soil, (as ice due to temperatures) not measuring an ice layer sitting on a pool of water. Two totally different problems.

    Larry

  86. philincalifornia,

    The Denmark straight has been nowhere near freezing over this year, for better resolution go here :-

    Regards

    Andy

  87. Eric,
    Thanks for the very informative post. You learn something new every day, after removing your blinkers. ;-)

  88. Arn Riewe (18:24:44) :

    …“The Arctic sea ice melt is a disaster for the polar bears,” according to Kassie Siegel, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. “They are dependent on the Arctic sea ice for all of their essential behaviors, and as the ice melts and global warming transforms the Arctic, polar bears are starving, drowning, even resorting to cannibalism because they don’t have access to their usual food sources.”…

    Over the course of fifty or so years, i’ve lost count of the number of documentries I have seen about polar bears. They all mention the vulnerability of the mother bear and her cubs to predation by male polar bears. Female bears and their cubs are, and always have been, a “normal food source” for male polar bears. I think brown bears also exibit the same behavior.

  89. Eric and Tallbloke

    If the ice measurements are as good as you suggest, (great post) surely we wouldnt currently have three people risking their lives in -40C temperatures, trudging through dangerous terrain pulling a sled with a radar on it, and taking physical measurments by drilling through the ice with an Augur. Are they being duped or is the science not as settled as is being suggested :)

    Tonyb

  90. Arn Riewe (18:24:44) :
    “Polar bears resort to cannibalism as Arctic ice shrinks”, Marsha Walton, CNN.
    and as the ice melts and global warming transforms the Arctic, polar bears are starving, drowning, even resorting to cannibalism because they don’t have access to their usual food sources.”…
    Later… “In one documented 2004 incident in northern Alaska, a male bear broke into a female’s den and killed her.”

    That has got to be one of the most ignorant AGW claims to date. Male bears (griz, black, brown, teddy, etc.) are known to kill females and young all the time. Heck, even male humans do! It has nothing to do with ice or warming. Did Marsha mention that the “den” was an icehole? I can’t stomach CNN.

  91. Steve Schapel,
    Meaning of what? That when the ocean warms several degrees it will release enough CO2 to bring the concentration in the atmosphere to 400 ppm?
    I thought that was very old knowledge.

  92. From the “Kiwis solve global warming riddle” link Steve Schapel gave:
    “The drill team, led by Victoria University Antarctic research centre director Tim Naish, found seas were warm enough to melt a large chunk of Antarctica’s ice when atmospheric CO2 was only slightly higher than it is today.

    The findings from the $30 million Antarctic Geological Drilling (Andrill) project were published in the journal Nature yesterday and may be used to help the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) update its predictions of sea level rise.”

    Wow. We could have told them that, and saved them the $30 mil. The warming comes first, then C02 goes up. Thus, the warming caused the C02 to rise, (mostly from off-gassing of the oceans), not the other way round.

    Nice to hear the IPCC may be “updating” (increasing the alarmism level of) their “predictions”. Since getting the science right is obviously such a big concern for them.

  93. Airdrop
    Friday, 20 Mar 09, climate
    From http://www.seablogger.com/?p=13098

    On Wednesday a relief flight set out from Ottawa, Canada to air-drop supplies for three foolish trekkers who reached the North Pole a bit early. The trio meant to document and publicize the supposed calamity of climate change in the Arctic. They set an early schedule because they believed the disappearing ice would make travel impossible as the season advanced. Now they are hunkered in their tent amid blizzards and minus forty temperatures. They will be lucky to survive, and even luckier if they escape with all their fingers and toes.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ikCGhKLMGDwCv15YPvnDOBGoFizw

  94. TonyB (04:22:24) :

    “Eric and Tallbloke

    If the ice measurements are as good as you suggest, (great post) surely we wouldnt currently have three people risking their lives in -40C temperatures, trudging through dangerous terrain pulling a sled with a radar on it, and taking physical measurments by drilling through the ice with an Augur. Are they being duped or is the science not as settled as is being suggested :)”

    I don’t really know what internal motivation the explorers have to risk their lives. I am only pointing out that the remote sensing measurements could do with some calibration, and the purpose of the expedition as described in the news article was not to measure the ice thickness as a function of time as Goddard implied with his argument, but rather to provide some calibration for the measurements. Whether it will fulfill its purpose remains to be seen.

    I don’t pretend to have the competence and knowledge to understand whether the current expedition is the best way to do that. I only wanted to clarify that the grounds for criticism used by Steven Goddard, and the comparision with buoys is a false argument.

  95. hotrod (22:47:54) :

    What Are you talking about?

    I am talking about the MARSIS radar on the Mars Express.

    “The MARSIS radar is an instrument on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter. The thickness of the layered deposits was determined by measuring the time delay between radar echoes from the surface and those from the lower boundary, or “bed”, of the deposits. The radar data indicate that the deposit, larger than Texas in area, is more than 3.7 kilometers (2.3 miles) thick in places, and that the material consists of nearly pure water ice with only a small component of dust.”

  96. In one documented 2004 incident in northern Alaska, a male bear broke into a female’s den and killed her.”

    Did she have the door locked?… too bad she didn’t have an alarm system installed… the Mounties always get their bear…

  97. Many years ago growing up on a farm, it was common knowledge that tomcats would kill a newborn litter of kittens. Since the queen cat usually nested or denned up in the hay mow, no break- in was required. And that was before the days that AGW had been identified.

    It is now so mixed up that I am aware of one dairy herd that had a cow that would kill every newborn calf that she had access to. If the calf was unfortunate enough to get out of the calving pen and into the freestall, where all cows had access, this mother cow would “stomp” on the baby calves and kill them.

    “Infanticide has been found in many species, including humans, primates, felines, canids, cetaceans, rodents, insects and fish.”

    http://www.ratbehavior.org/infanticide.htm

  98. hotrod (22:47:54) :

    What Are you talking about?

    I am talking about the MARSIS radar on the Mars Express.

    It would have been helpful if you had stated which specific method you were asking for a commenting on. As I mentioned in my post, I was talking about the Odyssey satellite Gamma Ray Spectrometer. The MARSIS ground penetrating radar cannot probe for water through an active ionosphere like we have on earth, since its signals would be reflected off the ionized layers.

    One of the links I posted above discusses a similar chirped radar system but it operates at VHF frequencies not in the very low end of the VLF band.

    http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/marsis_radar_030430.html

    Because the radio frequencies are so low — between 1.3 and 5.5 megahertz — researchers plan to make the most of their subsurface observations at night to prevent interference by the Martian atmosphere during the day, when free electrons in Mars’ ionosphere will reflect much of MARSIS’ radar signals.

    As I mentioned above, totally different problem and situation on Mars, than trying to accurately measure a very thin ice and snow layer floating on ice here on Earth.

    I am just an observer and have no relationship with these programs, so I can only go by what I can glean from a Google search on the topic, just like you. I am sure the designers are far better qualified than I to “explain” why they are using the systems that they are. The most likely is cost and availability.

    Larry

  99. Lee Kington (19:04:45) :

    It seems that the ice season this year does not want to end…..

    The really telling measure of when the ice finally starts to decline this year. If the peak is delayed that would to my mind be a strong indicator that cooling is taking a foot hold in the arctic. Based on the 1979-2000 average on that graph we are just now passing the point that on average sea ice extent graph slope starts to go negative.

    The next couple weeks will be very interesting to watch.

    Larry

  100. I know this thread is reaching its interest limit, but I couldn’t help making a few observations: (Appologies in advance if I’ve violated posting protocol, Snip away)

    Ric Werme and philincalifornia
    The island connected to Greenland by ice is Svalbard, not Iceland. Iceland is between the southern tip of Greenland and southern Scandinavia.

    Eric (1st Eric)
    You ar right of course. In the present age, the purpose of science IS to prove, by any means necessary, the hypotheses of those who FUND the effort. When you know you are right, there is no reason to waste funds on efforts that may make you look foolish. There is no hypocrisy here. If denialists want to control scientific conclusions, let them first control speech, thought, and political discourse as you, so skillfully, have.

    Aggie, Aggie, Aggie,
    On the fiscal discipline of the Obama administration. Yes, and one day pigs will fly without the support of the Air Force Equivalent of a Gulf Stream G5. Bernie Madoff should have been so smart to think up ‘Cap & Trade”. If you were to take all of the rich people’s money, where would your salary come from next year when there are no longer any rich people (I assume you are a government worker).

    TonyB
    Your nearby neighbor is a moron. As for his 900km trek, given Currious’s report of progress between 1.44 and 1.5km/day, the team should reach their goal (North Pole) sometime in late September, 2011… posthumously, of course, in the form of Polar Bear Scat.

    This has been a very fun Saturday afternoon reading the discussions of the scientific validity if the Catlin epic, particularly the links to the Monty Python clips, which proved to be among the more lucid. Thank you Anthony, as usual, for making climate science fun as well as informative.

  101. tallbloke (02:33:34) :
    Dorlomin
    “decline of the age and percentage of the multiyear ice…”

    ??How does multiyear ice decline in age??

    The oldest ice melts and is replaced by younger ice.

    I’m looking forward to this autumn’s ice extent minimum figures to help shut up some of the nonsense talked about arctic ice.

    So am I.

    Note to ModeratorWhy was my last post on this subject censored?

  102. More drivel from CNN:

    ” As the ice thins, more sunlight passes through, further warming the ocean and accelerating the effects of climate change.

    This feedback loop could have catastrophic consequences for people living in coastal areas and many animal species, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations governing body on climate change. ”

    So, measuring ice thickness at it’s annual maximum will give us new reason to fear. What’s that? The ice we measured last week shifted 50 km South. Oh well, we can get Steig to infill the data.

  103. Here is a curious news item regarding ice on the Great Lakes that seems to fly in the face of recent events.

    http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2009Mar23/0,4670,SCIGreatLakesLessIce,00.html

    Does this make sense to any one when just a few days ago we were discussing the fact that lake ice was much higher than recently and Lake Michigan was nearly frozen over?

    You’d think that the near freeze over would at least be mentioned in a story like this if the reporter had a clue or was remotely interested in giving a straight forward analysis of the current ice conditions on the lakes.

    Larry

  104. I work for a government agency. We are about to get a pile of money to study carbon neutral fuels that will reduce the AGW, so of course all the scientists “support” AGW on a professional level, yet we all doubt AGW is real, why, the claims of are unreal. The variations in the measurement coupled with the uncertainty make no sense. As a scientist whose job it is to measure things I can not believe the degree of accuracy that the AGW advocates are claiming for the measurements preformed. I will ask some simple questions. When is the last time all of the thousands of thermometers have had their ice points checked much less a calibration. What happens to the data after an expensive expedition and you find flaws in you collecting techniques? Do you mine the junk data for gems or do tell the sponsor, oops, sorry I just wasted 50 million dollars? When citing a soucre, have you really examed the data or do you just assume the conclusion are true? This type of citing has lead to an inbred circular proof. Take for example the acidification of the oceans, you will see thousands of articles citing the “fact” that the ocean is increasing in pH. There will be a reference to the 1751 levels. The 1751 level is a calculation preformed Mark Z. Jacobson from Stanford as found in JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 110 D07302 on an assumed CO2 level to validate his models. I can hear them now “Heck I have two points that agree for the historical data, hence the future predictions must be true, now fund my research….”

    I do have to say I feel a little sorry for the guys freezing on the Ice. They actually believed that an artic warming meant that it was warm. They should have read about Franklin’s expeditions in the 1800’s.

  105. Allan 22 40 11

    I also work for a govt agency and am equally aghast at the precision given to sea level rises. There is little real world evidence of any noticeable increase let alone one on the scale imagined by the IPCC.

    I frequently complain in this forum of the reliance we place on the concept of global temperatures, let alone our believing we have enough objective evidence to parse it to fractions of a degree back to 1850.

    Tonyb

  106. There is this from the National Geographic: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/090406-sea-ice-younger.html

    =============
    Arctic ice continued its decline this winter, with hearty old ice increasingly being replaced with quick-to-melt young ice, according to a new report by NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

    This winter’s maximum Arctic sea ice extent was 5.85 million square miles (15,150,000 square kilometers)—about 278,000 square miles (720,000 square kilometers) less than the Arctic average between 1979 and 2000.

    “That’s a loss about the size of the state of Texas,” said Walter Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.
    ===============

    How does the layman make sense of all the conflicting claims?

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