How have the scientists done on Arctic sea ice forecasts this year? – Maybe not so good.

Steve McIntyre on Climate Audit brings our attention to an interesting sea ice extent forecasting “contest” conducted by the Study of Environmental ARctic CHange (SEARCH). With the end of the Arctic melt season likely just a few days away, it appears that the experts have a lack of forecasting skill for the subject they are experts in.

SEARCH writes:

We received 13 responses for the September Outlook based on July data (Figure 1). Estimates for September sea ice extent are in a narrow range (4.2 to 5.0 million square kilometers), as were the Outlooks based on May and June data. As the submitted uncertainty standard deviations are about 0.4 million square kilometers, most of these Outlook expected value estimates overlap. All sea ice extent estimates for September 2009 are much lower than the past climatological extent of 6.7 million square kilometers.

Here’s the SEARCH graph (Figure1 PDF available here) showing forecasts from several well known Arctic experts and organizations. I’ve added the most recent available data, the September 6th ice extent from IARC-JAXA of 5,345,156 square kilometers in magenta for a current reference.

SEARCH_sea_ice_forecast

While we can’t be certain what nature will reveal as the final number, it is likely that the end number will end up somewhere between 5.1 and 5.25 million square kilometers. What is most interesting is that it appears that all of the Arctic experts overestimated the amount of melt back in August, using July data as a forecast basis.

McIntyre made his own prediction two weeks before this report was published saying:

2009 is now slightly behind 2008. My prediction is that 2009 will end up over 500,000 sq km behind 2008.

His wording is a bit confusing, but what he means is that the final number will likely be about 5.15 million square kilometers.

As Steve McIntyre writes:

That prediction didn’t look all that great a couple of weeks later, but right now it looks pretty much right on the money. As of today, 2009 is 470,000 sq km behind 2008 and the chances of 500,000 seem pretty realistic.

That my guess was so close was due more to good luck than acumen, but there were some reasons for it. Canada has some exposure to northern weather and it has been a cool summer here and very cool in northern Ontario. 2008 had not been as big a melt as 2007 and presumably there was presumably a bit more two-year ice in 2009 than in 2008. While 2008 and 2009 were about even at the time, the trajectories looked different and it seemed to me that 2009 might stabilize at a higher level than 2008.

And yet in early/mid August, these factors didn’t seem to be on the minds of the official agencies since, as noted above, EVERY official agency substantially over-estimated the melt.

Back in early March 2009, I asked WUWT readers what they thought the 2009 Arctic sea ice extent would be.

With 67% saying then that the 2009 extent would be greater than 2008, and with McIntyre’s forecast also, it appears that bloggers and laymen just might have have a better handle on sea ice extent than the majority of Arctic experts themselves.

The next few days will be very interesting.

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138 thoughts on “How have the scientists done on Arctic sea ice forecasts this year? – Maybe not so good.

  1. its worse than we thought….

    i guess when you are prompting AGW and arctic melting, i guess you will be high in your estimates.

  2. I have a lot of difficulty with the use of the word “normal” in this sort of thing just as I have difficulty with the use of the word “normal” in reports of temperature. The implication is that any small deviation is “abnormal”, when nothing could be further from the truth.

    I also have difficulty with using the word “anomolies” when showing what is quite obviously nothing but natural deviations.

  3. Anthony, are you saying they are estimating from July data- 5 or 6 weeks ago? I think this low-ball on extent might be a useful index of the over estimation of global warming. Hey, and they have the benefit of my two year forecast I made and emailed to them based on snow in South Africa and Argentina in summer 2007 as a forecast for the NH and the rapid freeze up after Sept 2007. I emailed them at NSIDC again in Sept 2008 after they reported a 10% increase in summer ice survival and told them to expect an added 15% for ice survival after the 2009 melt and more in the coming years. I was peed off by the “analysis of ice conditions” they gave at the time that was grossly slanted toward global warming.

  4. Really should be 90%, if you want to include the 23% who said it would be “normal”. IMHO, they took the safe bet (and I would have voted thusly).

    Anyway, this is apples and oranges, it would be interesting if your poll would allow your astute and erudite readers to make actual value predictions rather than just asking them to hedge their bets. With that data in hand, then you could make an educated comparison between the two. Maybe next year?

    In other words, it’s more difficult to guess the actual temperature tomorrow with any accuracy instead of saying if or not it will break a record.

  5. I don’t believe that the Arctic will be ice free in 2009, but it definitely will be in 2015. I know this because various scientists, journalists and newsreaders have said it will be. And everything you read in the papers and on TV is true isn’t it? Apparently it has something to do with the magical properties of a trace gas called CO2 which stops the planet from cooling down when its atmospeheric concentration is increased from 0.0285% to 0.0385%.

  6. The ‘Arctic warming faster than at any time for 2,000 years’ is doing really well over here in England. The BBC have run with it (of course) and ordinary folk have swallowed it whole because it has been on the radio too. Even my wife’s uncle (who isn’t a Warmist) thought that it was true because he heard it on BBC Radio 4. Oh dear! There’s still not a month goes by when someone here on TV doesn’t say, “The ice caps are melting”. Seriously. As a sceptic it actually makes me want to give up trying to tell people the truth. People don’t seem to want to know the truth. We have many nutters here who think 9/11 (actually here in England it’s 11/9) was one huge conspiracy. Sometimes I despair for the human race, I really do.

  7. I called it between 5.0 and 5.3m about 11 months ago – I mused to a skeptic as to whether scientist would put their reputations on the line as I did?

    Sure I don’t have a reputation to defend professionally, but if an expert’s opinion is worth anything, it’s because they are better at this sort of thing than the rest of us.

    If they aren’t, then isn’t there a question about just why we are funding their research?

  8. ALL professional model’s didn’t include NAO, what most likely is the main driver, while man people on this website did.

    new knowledge can’t pass peer review, if science settled – i.e. disfunctional

  9. This is merely a weather event. Should the ice cap go back to shrinking next year, then we’ll be back to climate change.

  10. “…appears that bloggers and laymen just might have have a better handle on sea ice extent than the majority of Arctic experts themselves.”
    Yeah, but our predictions don’t make for sensational headlines. Science is so boring.

  11. I think they were all using Catlin Arctic Survey data for inputs That’s the most likely explanation for all 13 of them coming up short ;o)

  12. Pierre Gosselin (12:50:12) :

    I sincerely doubt it. One look at that spotless record for 2009 and I have to say it’s not going there. The DMI, as Frederick notes above, is the telling story.

  13. Gee.

    These “scientists” are so accurate – less than 1/2 year in the future – that they not only could not even guess whether 2009 sea ice level would be greater or less than 2007 that they missed hether it would be greater or less than 2008. Much less (now) almost 30% greater than 2007’s minimum.

    This same graph – of wrong predictions by “sea ice experts” – was up for a while at the http://global-warming.accuweather.com/ blog earlier this summer. Then it was quietly superceded by other stories. Today, they too are running a similar version of the Arctic icecap changes.

    /sarchasm – the gaping whole between a liberal ecotheist and the real world.

    But they can project even more accurately the next four hundred years.

  14. Do not let anyone forget Al Gore’s prediction for 2013 is zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch. No ice nowhere, no-how. No Christmas, no Santa, no presents, no reindeer and most of all no ice.

    Oh yeah, and no polar bears either.

    REPLY: I’ve already written my post for September 30th, 2013 – A

  15. Go Toddler Ice, Go.

    I lucked out and got on the public record in the Spring of ’08 predicting that sea ice extent at minimum would not break the record of ’07. I’m also on the record early this melt season predicting that this year’s minimum would be more extensive than last year’s. I based these guesses on the temperature peak around 2004-2005, the movement of the PDO to its cooling phase and the fact that there is a lag as the heat engine that is the earth pumps heat poleward. Now, I consider myself lucky, because I know that the vagaries of wind can affect minimum ice extent dramatically, but still, there it is. Right X 2. I’ll predict right now that next year’s minimum will have even greater extent than this year’s.

    Sure, I may be wrong, but if the Arctic alternately freezes up and melts again on a 60 year cycle, then we’ll soon start seeing minimums above the 1979-2000 average.
    =============================================

  16. Is this the minimum extent for September or the average extent for September?

    Are the predictions based on the JAXA numbers or someother estimate?

  17. Everyone knows it is getting colder. In south Florida the pool water is way colder this September than last. It’s not magic.

  18. Arctic Sea Ice has to be related to Arctic temperature.

    There is an excellent set of Arctic temperature records from right round the Arctic Ocean, many going back to 1900 or considerably earlier (the best in the world IMO), mainly UHI-free. Funny thing is, they show scarcely any change at all longterm though short-and-medium-term there are huge variations in some of the records. I’ve put the best of the late John Daly’s temperatures all together here. Especially for Joel who likes to claim the evidence against AGW is cherrypicked. Now reading thermometers is the most basic evidence you can get; moreover it is courtesy of NASA GISS and CRU.

  19. [SNIP - sorry Flanagan, you don't get to steer this thread in OT your desired direction, its about 2009 and July/Aug/Sep]

  20. “Phil M (13:21:53) :
    Is this the minimum extent for September or the average extent for September?”

    This

    http://www.damocles-eu.org/artman2/uploads/1/Sea_ice_outlook_2009_AWI_FastOpt_OASys_contribution.pdf

    seems to be the best forecast. And the way I read it: They prognosticate the MEAN September ice extent. Which means that their number is higher than the extent on the day of the minimum. Which means that for those who prognosticated the absolute minimum, their estimate is even worse than thought.

  21. Quite so, no ice at the North pole.

    But as I understand it our satellites can’t actually see the North pole itself.

    Sounds like a safe be to me, can’t be proved wrong unless there is somebody there to observe it.

    I notice Dr. Serreze got into the act.

    Kindest Regards

  22. Prediction for 2008 by The National Snow and Ice Data Center; “Could the North Pole be ice free this melt season? Given that this region is currently covered with first-year ice, that seems quite possible.” http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2008/050508.html

    Looks like they missed the boat. That’s why I don’t make forecasts, only aft-casts. So my prediction for minimum sea ice extent this summer is … ask me in a few weeks. And I bet I’ll be quite accurate too.

  23. I still feel that area is a better indication of temperature than extent.

    For example: say there is a given area of solid ice. A storm comes up, breaks some of it up and the winds disperse it some. Extent will increase, area will stay the same. So while extent increased, it didn’t get any colder and there wasn’t any more ice. Now say the winds change and compacts the ice. Now extent decreases again and area still stays the same. So you had extent increase and then decrease but there was no change in the overall amount of the ice.

  24. Lucy Skywalker(13:30:25) :
    Arctic Sea Ice has to be related to Arctic temperature.

    Couldn’t agree more. I checked John’s website for data from Eureka (where i worked in 79-80). I have collected data from Environment Canada’s website for it as it has a special place in my heart, and checked my data (means’) againsts John’s and concur. very little change in temps since 1948.

    sunrise/set is now taking place all over Ellesmere Is. and temps are at or near the zero C mark and will start dropping fast. Final sunset at Eureka will be around Oct 26, however, the ice will form fast in the next week or so. It covered the fjord around mid sept, and by the spring was 8 feet thick.

  25. The purpose of having a number of different experts make a prediction is to get a range it is unlikely you’ll exceed at the top or the bottom –that reality will be bracketed by those guesses. Of course, here it wasn’t.

    I wonder what one would have said the “reliability” of the range of the original predictions was at the time? 95%?

    If they didn’t take it down, my guess posted at RC a few weeks back was 5.1M, and as far back as last fall I was looking for roughly ballpark of 2005, but perhaps a bit below.

  26. It is remarkable that in the Ensemble 1 team are people from the Alfred Wegener Institute. Remember: They measured Eisdeckendicken in Spring with their airplane Polar 5, and Radio Bremen published a short notice that they got thicker ice than expected.
    I have not heard from them since. Why?
    1) They have to wait until after “Kopenhagen” ?
    2) They did not want their competitors to have the information ?
    3) They work very slowly ?
    4) I simply missed it ?

  27. Funny, I emailed SEARCH about this yesteday. Email below. Of course given the rather heavy sarcasm. no reply received, or expected.

    Dear Professor Schlosser.
    May I congratulate you on a absolutely spot-in prediction.

    “Although the majority of the responses indicate either persistent conditions or a slight increase over the 2008 sea ice extent, there appears to be about a 20% chance of reaching a new minimum in 2009. The September 2009 extent, as we track it for the rest of the summer, will depend on several factors, including the dynamics of the relatively high levels of thin, first year ice; temperature and wind conditions; and sea level pressure.”

    What genius.

    Kon Dealer

  28. So much for “experts” and computer modeling! If I do an eyeball estimate of the average minimum of the “expert” ensemble, it’s about 4.6 km^2. That’s likely to end up more than 10% below the actual. Wouldn’t this render the “expert” results as insignificant? And remember, there forecasts were less than 2 months before the event!

    Dr. Lubchenko of NOAA says the computer models for 50 years out will be more accurate than short term forecasts. What a hoot!

  29. It is amazing how poorly experts are at evaluating their own biases and producing useful ranges for any uncertain quantity.

    In a 1989 article in Am. J. Physics, Henrion and Fishoff ( v. 54, p. 791, 1989) examined the evolution of measurements of physical constants such as speed of light (back in the days when the meter was defined separately from the speed of light), electronic charge, etc. What they found is that the estimated uncertainty bounds were almost always too small–so small in fact that when the true value was measured again more accurately, the old measurement was so far away that it was completely improbable. In one case the “new” revised value was 42 standard deviations away! How improbable is that?

    What Henrion and Fishoff proposed was that researchers tend to bias their results in the direction of what current consensus dictates, or they are unduly influenced by work they view as “definitive”, or whatever. They all get on a bandwagon. They are incapable of thinking of reasons why they should deviate from consensus or why their knowledge is less certain than it actually is, or why they might be biased in some way.

    Certainly that is what has happened here. The experts have clustered all around values close to one another, hoping to be within a ball-park of the correct value (after all one of their colleagues must know what he/she is doing and have produced a good estimate, right?). If the estimates were not biased in some way, then the central value of expert estimates ought to be within one or two standard deviations of the actual value. Instead they are many standard deviations away in the “alarmist” direction.

    This is a demonstrated trouble with global warming science over and over and over again, but few people posting outside these [stop that now. I don't care which side of the debate you are on. ~ ctm] sites seem able to learn so.

  30. Mildwarmer 13:44:00

    Heh, I was really going out on a limb 18 months ago. Andy Revkin didn’t believe me because of the sort of stuff he was getting from his experts like Mark Serreze, who made a spectacularly wrong guess just a few months later, I think in June of ’08. Please excuse a little triumphalism, and, by the way, have you ever seen me wrong? Double heh, heh.
    ===================================

  31. You all need to remember, all these “ice-free arctic” pundits use “prediction-neutral” words to make their predictions. Words like “could”…”might”…”possibility”…

    to wit:
    I think there is a possibility that our planet might be covered by ice and snow in as few as 20 years from now. It could happen, based on the rate of arctic ice increase from 2007 until now. We are possibly witnessing the start of a global “summer death spiral” where many regions may no longer experience warm summer temps or be able to grow food crops.

    It COULD happen…it MIGHT!!!

  32. [I understand that was your intent, but I am taking a harder line as time goes on ~ charles the moderator]
    Kevin The Skeptic.

  33. I believe Kaufman et al. will make a reconstruction of Arctic ice extent based on sediment proxies, which will beyond doubt show that 2008 WAS ice free and 2009 had even less ice than that.
    I admit that I voted for ice-free Arctic – just could not help myself :-o

  34. Ron de Haan (13:31:21) :
    “Science and religion is not a very good combination.”

    Throw in a twist of bent politicians into that mix, and what have you got? – A steaming pile of polar bear poo.

    The truth will out eventually.

  35. “How have the scientists done on Arctic sea ice forecasts this year? – Maybe not so good.”

    Maybe even not so well!

    /Mr Lynn

  36. I have begun work on my GW machine.

    I believe as this global cooling progresses and the Arctic freezes over Algore will be hawking CO2 machines to warm the Earth. I will be in on the ground floor.

  37. 2007, the year the Northwest Passage opened up. And subsequently closed.
    The previous time it got warm in the Arctic it drew the quests to find the NW passage and got them all jumping up & down. Tragedy struck as many as got stuck in the ice.
    2009, the warning signs were up with the news of rescues, lucky to be alive.
    Where are those stories?
    Just one, our best buddies the Caitlin crew. Science 4 sale, inquire within.
    It was just a little bit too obvious, due to unusally cold Northern winter & spring that foretold where the summer melt was headed. South.
    The DMI for 2009 should be preserved in acryllic.

  38. Klimate Kip (14:34:27) :

    “I think there is a possibility that our planet might be covered by ice and snow in as few as 20 years from now…..It COULD happen…it MIGHT!!!”

    Certainly it could. It WOULD happen if there was either a very large volcanic eruption (Lake Toba-sized) or if a large (say 1 km diameter) asteroid or comet hit the Earth.
    Both these things have happened repeatedly in the past, and will happen again in the future. The probability that either will happen in a given year are very low (probably < 1/100,000), but it is not zero.

  39. At this rate, with their predictions missing the mark, in a few years the “experts” will be able to say, “Whoops, I did it again!” All this weather keeps messing up the climate. Who knows, with the increase in multi-year ice, the extent in 2010 just might stay above 5.5 mil km².

  40. alaskabill (13:15:42) :

    Do not let anyone forget Al Gore’s prediction for 2013 is zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch. No ice nowhere, no-how. No Christmas, no Santa, no presents, no reindeer and most of all no ice.

    Oh yeah, and no polar bears either.

    REPLY: I’ve already written my post for September 30th, 2013 – A

    It seems they are lowering their predictions. Ban Ki-moon warns that the Arctic may be ice-free in 2030
    i wonder if Anthony has written his post for Sep 30th 2030.

    Geo (14:01:39) :

    The purpose of having a number of different experts make a prediction is to get a range it is unlikely you’ll exceed at the top or the bottom –that reality will be bracketed by those guesses. Of course, here it wasn’t.

    I wonder what one would have said the “reliability” of the range of the original predictions was at the time? 95%?

    That reminds me of the 23 climate models presented at the IPCC AR4, all of them estimating climate sensitivities towards CO2 doubling in the range of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius, and all of them giving two (2) significant figures after the decimal point, (oh, the horror!!). Some people think that the estimates should be right because all the models are showing similar figures. Well, this is an example of all predictions consistently going wrong in the same direction.

  41. The basic problem is that the fundamental “narrative” was incorrect. It was “assumed” that 2007’s low ice extent was caused by “warming” when it wasn’t. 1958 was warmer in the Arctic than 2007 was. 2007 was caused by wind though it was a year in a generally declining trend that probably WAS caused by a warm PDO phase. The assumption being that the Arctic would experience monotonic warming year on year and that there was so little multi-year ice after 2007 that the cap could not recover. 2008 showed that it did recover. We are now in a cool PDO phase. I would expect ice cover to return to the “average” since 1979 … or possibly higher over the next several years.

    Higher because we have possibly changed state from where were were post 1976 and there are no satellite data from before 1979. If we are in a pre-1976 pattern, ice levels may well recover to well above what the 1979 to 2000 average was.

  42. Les Johnston wrote: “Interesting. The same group, using June data, mostly predicted MORE ice, than the predictions using July data.”

    The melt predictions seemed to parallel the “Ditto” curve.

    I did a quick inspection of the IARC-JAXA screen. Collectively the prediction was that July would behave like June (low melt). It didn’t.

    The next month prediction, August would behave like July (high melt). It didn’t.

    The Ditto prediction is a slightly above average melt for September. And unless there is a plunge downward after Sept 6 that will be wrong too.

    Anyone know where the model predictions for September based upon August data can be found?

  43. Quoting thoughtful comment of Rob Spooner from CA September ice thread:

    When I was young, it seemed that the distinguishing feature of science was its ability to do better than a couple farmers leaning over the back fence. Here we have the greatest minds of Arctic climate science, expending untold petas of calculations and with an initial go-round and two chances to make corrections this summer based on actual data, not one is going to successfully reflect the size of the extent at minimum.

    Whereas the two farmers, looking at the graph, conclude that

    (a) 2007 and 2008 broke out of the pack during the summer in an anomalous fashion, despite having been in the crowd on June 1, and

    (b) anomalies being anomalous, and 2009 starting much like other years, then 2009 would end much like other years, and not like 2007 or 2008.

    With those two stunning insights, the two farmers (and a good many followers of this blog) will have trumped the climate scientists with their PhD’s.

    Now if the climate scientists were not following a herd instinct, one would have expected there to be a range of results centering around the obvious one. Instead, there was a range of results centering around the preferred headline.

  44. Xperts predict Polar Ice melting faster than we had previously thought.
    Sheesh, wish I had that salary. Could’ve had some nice buckaroos in my wallet and gotten on the Nightly News for a slam dunk.
    I’d like to apply for the job that predicts where the Sun will be next year.

  45. “Anyone know where the model predictions for September based upon August data can be found?”

    You can’t predict ice extent in anything but general terms because extent is so closely tied to the weather. A significant storm system or weather pattern change can completely change ice extent in only two days this time of year.

  46. Well said, Crosspatch. My thoughts almost exactly. The way I have expressed it, is that Arctic sea ice is slowly returning to pre-2007 levels. Slowly, because one cannot make 7 year ice in 2 years. Whether when this has happened, the ice then starts reverting to pre-1979 levels is another issue, but it is by no means impossible with the PDO reversing.

  47. I spotted this graph earlier on Crazy Steve’s site and got instantly annoyed. On that version, the 2009 current August sea ice extent is NOT shown and I had to open up a link to the IJIS site to see what it is and compare. I’m guessing that it was left of the original version as some sort of face saving ploy. Fail.

  48. Anna/Lance: I think its the other way around. Arctic temperature is related to arctic ice. A number of researchers suggest that ice levels are more affected by winds and currents. Once that blanket of ice is removed, the temperature goes up.

    Comparatively, there is a lot of heat in near-freezing water. When the water is exposed to air by ice loss due to currents/wind, the air temperature goes up. Or, at the very least, is moderated.

  49. I know that this sounds a bit crass, but if our wise scientists were to place money on their predictions and make this public and if our esteemed journalists were to publish the results of those predictions and the amount won/lost, then there may be less idle speculation that quickly is forgotten.
    Scientific predictions today like economic predictions seem to be ‘revised’ with no loss of face. A wager on their predictions may sharpen their focus.
    Betting on election results is surprisingly accurate, let’s apply the same system to AGW predictions.
    Now that that would make the game more interesting !

  50. Remember all their predictions there would be less ice because the ice was thinner. Well, the ice is thicker than this time last year, one reason it is not melting as quickly.

    I predict a rapid refreeze this Fall. These lunatics will eventually run out reasons why there wasnt less ice, but of course, this is wishful thinking.

  51. I would like to go on record as predicting next years minimum will be 5.65-5.8 mil km^2. I have a lot of different reasons why I think this (especially that sturdy new multi-year ice!!), but mostly because that would put it over the linear trend, and I am curious to see if Flanagan’s head explodes when he (or she) no longer has this argument for why the ice isn’t REALLY recovering….

  52. REPLY: I’ve already written my post for September 30th, 2013 – A

    Excellent! Now mail it to yourself by registered post (making sure the post office puts a legible date stamp on it) and keep it safe.

  53. Now there’s an idea. Lets see the sea ice Xperts put money down in Vegas on this winter’s Ice Extent.

  54. I suggest we fire all those AGW Arctic scientists for poor performance and unethical scaremongering reports about the premature death of the Arctic and instead we employ someone to look after and observe a gopher – it would be much cheaper for taxpayers and just as reliable!!!

  55. To my humble knowledge, the “1997-2007 average” on the right hand side of Figure should be “1979-2000 average”, or?

  56. Jean Bosseler (12:42:38) :

    On the graph, 4th from the right, it says Stern,
    Please tell me it is NOT the economist!
    Thanks

    I wouldn’t bank on that ;-)

    DaveE.

  57. Obviously, the scientists should just discard their models of sea ice extent.

    2009 will be about 550,000 km^2 above 2008 and about 1.0M km^2 (23%) above 2007.

    If the theories about first year ice etc. were accurate, 2009 would be less than 2008 and 2008 would have been less than 2007 and so on.

    The good thing is we can check the sea ice forecasts more quickly than the overall global temperature climate model forecasts which can only be checked on 20 to 100 year timescales.

    I guess one could always argue the sea ice extent decreases are hiding in the deep ocean again. (except the deep ocean temperatures are determined to a great extent by the polar ocean temperatures).

    Reply: Negative Ice? ~ ctm

  58. “The UK Climate Projections published last month show that if we don’t take action by 2080 the temperature for the hottest day of the year in the West Midlands could increase by a scorching 100 C by 2080 … ”

    http://nds.coi.gov.uk/clientmicrosite/Content/Detail.aspx?ClientId=416&NewsAreaId=2&ReleaseID=404755&SubjectId=36

    A bit of boiling water will dent the ice extent somewhat!

    There should be a law against alarmist nonsense like this. Maybe the UK shoud donate a kidney!!

  59. Lucy Skywalker (13:30:25) :

    But Lucy, you have cherry picked!

    You’ve picked stations with long records, that haven’t moved & don’t suffer from UHI ;-)

    DaveE.

  60. crosspatch (13:46:49) :

    I still feel that area is a better indication of temperature than extent.

    For example: say there is a given area of solid ice. A storm comes up, breaks some of it up and the winds disperse it some. Extent will increase, area will stay the same. So while extent increased, it didn’t get any colder and there wasn’t any more ice. Now say the winds change and compacts the ice. Now extent decreases again and area still stays the same. So you had extent increase and then decrease but there was no change in the overall amount of the ice.

    Actually this is not quite so.

    If ice breaks up & splits apart to increase extent, although the real area doesn’t change, the measured area decreases because, in the same way that extent is measured by concentration, so is area.

    DaveE.

  61. Well I just went over to another forum I was having a sea ice extent debate on 6 months ago, where I predicted the ice extent low would exceed both 2007 and 2008, and found that low and behold, someone had posted this item to it today.

    Can’t miss a chance to spread the fear ;)
    Lets distract everyone from the unfortunate fact that the sea ice did not melt as much as they expected it to, and get everyone in a buzz about a new greenhouse gas just in time for Copenhagen.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/691868

    Larry

    Larry

  62. I’m with LarryOldtimer on the use of the word ‘normal’ when in fact they mean ‘average’.

    And I’d add the word ‘normal’ should (only) be used when within some standard deviation (2?) of the average of a normal distribution.

    If the distribution isn’t normal then no value is normal including the average.

    The average person has one breast and one testicle. However, the distribution of breasts and testicles in the population isn’t a normal distribution.

  63. “The UK Climate Projections published last month show that if we don’t take action by 2080 the temperature for the hottest day of the year in the West Midlands could increase by a scorching 100 C by 2080 … ”

    mmm there’s that word again “COULD”. Well, if we don’t take action against near earth asteroids impacting our planet, the hottest day of the year in the West Midlands could decrease by a frigid -100C by 2080…”

  64. An example of how inapropriate use of the word ‘normal’ distorts people’s perceptions and feeds the AGW agenda is here in Perth we are constantly told this year’s rainfall to date is ‘below normal’. Incidentally justifying pointless water restrictions, like preventing people from watering their gardens using bore water.

    However, Perth’s summer rainfall is heavily skewed towards a small number of years when we get a summer (Jan/Feb) ex-tropical cyclone. So most calendar years (at least 9 out of 10) our summer rainfall is below average and this rainfall deficit, relative to the average, carries through the year.

    Hence it is completely normal that our rainfall is almost always ‘below normal’. In fact it is a statistical certainty.

  65. As polar bears were mentioned earlier, I just thought I would relay this recent conversation with my 8 year old son who is in Year 3 of primary school here in Adelaide, Australia. His class had an excursion to the local wetland where they were going to be planting trees. When I asked him why they were planting trees he replied “To save the endangered polar bears”. I kid you not. This is the sort of alarmist drivel that is being rammed down our kids throats by our education system here in Australia. Very sad.

  66. Mr. Arbetter needs to change his name or let someone else be lead author the next time Mr. Arbetter wants to predict something. Cuz he are not.

  67. By the way, if you really want to predict ice melt, you really need to be a meteorologist. Ice melt is a weather event best understood by the middle of the road weather person. Climate scientists can’t see the forest for the trees. KISS.

  68. it appears that bloggers and laymen just might have have a better handle on sea ice extent than the majority of Arctic experts themselves.

    Yes, the truth sets us free!!

    p.s. where is that ‘death spiral’?

  69. REPLY: I’ve already written my post for September 30th, 2013 – A

    Can us readers of WattsUpWithThat? get an exclusive viewing?

  70. Ron de Haan (13:31:21) : Science and religion is not a very good combination.

    I get your meaning. But ideally they should be dove tailing.

  71. Bill Illis (17:45:07) :

    A rather curious phenomenon was discovered by the Gold Rush miners in Alaska:
    Cold water was far more effective in removing ice than was hot water or steam. When they used hot water or steam, the ice would flow and refreeze as soon as the cutting stream passed on. This didn’t happen when they used cold water, and they were able to remove ice & frozen dirt to get at the pay gravels.

  72. Barry Foster wrote:

    “There’s still not a month goes by when someone here on TV doesn’t say, “The ice caps are melting”. Seriously. As a sceptic it actually makes me want to give up trying to tell people the truth. People don’t seem to want to know the truth. … Sometimes I despair for the human race, I really do.”

    A popular magazine about meteorology should be founded whose editors understand the difference between Science and $cience.

  73. Wind! It blows the ice into heaps, stacks, lumps whatever. From overhead you see more water and less ice. You can’t measure it by walking over it either.

  74. My Arctic Sea Ice extent predicted minimum for 2010:

    Between 6.0 and 6.3 million km2.

    No professional reputation to protect, no multi-million dollar computers, no staff and not concerned about government grant money.

    Time will tell.

  75. [pick another analogy ~ charles the moderator]

    I don’t think I’ll bother, Charles. I thought the point I made was a pertinent and polite response to what I felt were objectionable views by another commentator. That you found my well-chosen words so far out of bounds that you had to delete them while leaving the original comment unchallenged tells me there’s no point in pursing it further. The job you just pulled on my comment would have made Tamino and the Real Climate guys proud. But I know how hard it is to keep blog comments focused and stop the trolls from taking over, so no hard feelings on this end.

  76. With 2 year ice and low solar output the 2010 minimum ice extent will exceed the 97 – 07 mean.
    sorry the extra post, failed to give the year of forcast.

  77. “Philip_B (18:37:55) :
    I’m with LarryOldtimer on the use of the word ‘normal’ when in fact they mean ‘average’.
    And I’d add the word ‘normal’ should (only) be used when within some standard deviation (2?) of the average of a normal distribution.”

    Two thirds of all people have “normal” intelligence; 1/6 are smart (IQ above 115), 1/6 are dumb (IQ below 85). If this sounds OK to you, then define “normal” as (+-) 1 SD.

    “Normal” is not the only irritating word meteorologists use. When they adjust air pressure, they “reduce” it to sea level (means an increase).

  78. IF the ice extent is not as low as forecast, it is because of the solar minimum. And if it isn’t the solar minimum then without AGW the extent would have been even greater.

    I’ve just figured it. AGW is the constant in the equation Y = MX + C. However low Y becomes, it would have been lower without C.

  79. Well, the NW passage opened up nevertheless (southern route), except for the Parry channel which might take one more week or so before it’s navigable. The NE passage is completely clear.

  80. “The next few days will be very interesting.”

    This is of course always the case.
    Thank you for this deep thought. :-)

  81. Been on vacation and haven’t read up yet, but what is the largest year-to-year increase in minimum Arctic extent? I suspect this year will be in the running….

  82. Someone has to give this data to Michael Mann. I’m sure he can statistically prove that the Arctic is ice free.

  83. What irks me about the sea ice researchers is that while they provide their “scientifically-based” guesses to their colleagues (as embodied in the ARCUS paper), they turn around and give this kind of rubbish to public (please note the date)…

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/08/09/tech/main5228298.shtml

    Vast Expanses of Arctic Ice Melt in Summer
    Scientists Watch for Possible Record Low of Polar Ice Cap

    Aug. 9, 2009

    (AP) The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles of ice on Sunday in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap.

    .
    .
    .

    The rate of melt was similar to that of July 2007, the year when the ice cap dwindled to a record low minimum extent of 1.7 million square miles in September.

    In its latest analysis, the Colorado-based NSIDC said Arctic atmospheric conditions this summer have been similar to those of the summer of 2007, including a high-pressure ridge that produced clear skies and strong melt in the Beaufort Sea, the arm of the Arctic Ocean off northern Alaska and northwestern Canada.

    In July, “we saw acceleration in loss of ice,” the U.S. center’s Walt Meier told The Associated Press. In recent days the pace has slowed, making a record-breaking final minimum “less likely but still possible,” he said.

    So as late as August 9th, the NSIDC was saying (to the public) that a “record-breaking” minimum was ** “still possible” ** – contrast this with their estimate in the ARCUS report!

  84. “it appears that bloggers and laymen just might have have a better handle on sea ice extent than the majority of Arctic experts themselves.”

    This may be because we don’t have an agenda and are not paid for putting our predictions on the table.

  85. Just a quick note of support for the moderators. I saw a comment above noting a “moderation problem”.

    We have similar issues at my site, traders-talk. It is very hard to do this job. You try to use a very light hand, but sometimes you worry that folks are gaming you or your good will. Furthermore, sometimes, you just misunderstand the intent or the meaning of the posting. Sometimes, there are things going on in the background that make you want to be especially careful, too–but folks can’t see that part.

    This site is very well done and maintains a high degree of civility. I know how hard it is and thus I’m impressed.

    Regards,
    Mark

  86. Maybe someone should tell the guys on “Deadliest Catch” that the ice is melting away because they keep getting their boats stuck in of all things, ICE! This requires the coast guard to come out and survey so they can find an opeing in the ICE!

  87. Rog (10:18:44) :
    Maybe someone should tell the guys on “Deadliest Catch” that the ice is melting away because they keep getting their boats stuck in of all things, ICE! This requires the coast guard to come out and survey so they can find an opeing in the ICE!

    Wow ice in the arctic in winter, who’d have thought it!

  88. Flanagan (04:46:17) :

    Well, the NW passage opened up nevertheless (southern route), except for the Parry channel which might take one more week or so before it’s navigable. The NE passage is completely clear.

    Planning a voyage? Have you put in a request for your preferred
    method of rescue?

  89. Harold Blue Tooth (21:33:34) :

    Ron de Haan (13:31:21) : Science and religion is not a very good combination.

    “I get your meaning. But ideally they should be dove tailing”.

    Unless your are not religious!

  90. That the NE and the NW passage is open is nothing new, both were used by rather large ships in 1944 and 1945(Withouth help from icebreakers), btw as far as I know the NW southern route can not be used by anything but smaller ships like sailing boats and I quess it has been possible to sail there from time to time in the past if someone would be studpid enough to try.

    The development in the Arctic these past 2-3 weeks is a disaster for the Alarmists, Artic is their main “evidence” and look at it, the ice just refuses to cooperate.

  91. Morgan in Sweden (14:41:01) :
    That the NE and the NW passage is open is nothing new, both were used by rather large ships in 1944 and 1945(Withouth help from icebreakers), btw as far as I know the NW southern route can not be used by anything but smaller ships like sailing boats and I quess it has been possible to sail there from time to time in the past if someone would be studpid enough to try.

    The crossing of the NW Passage in ’44 was by the ~100 ft St Roch. The St. Roch was made primarily of thick Douglas-fir, with very hard Australian “ironbark” eucalyptus on the outside, and an interior hull reinforced with heavy beams to withstand ice pressure during her Arctic duties. She had previously sailed the southern route.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Roch

    This ice breaker is assigned to the southern route during the summer, it’s rather bigger than the St Roch and a lot bigger than a yacht.

    http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/Fleet/Vessels?id=1114&info=4

    The communities on the southern route get all their supplies by an annual barge (it arrived in GH last week I think).
    “Starting in 2009, Northern Transportation Company Limited is offering two cargo services to our Northern customers.
    The new service starts at Richmond, B.C., near Vancouver, where cargo will be loaded on a 12,000 ton ocean-capable barge and, with a large tug,
    towed to the Arctic going north along the West Coast, around Point Barrow and then east along the Canadian Arctic coast.”

    http://www.ntcl.com/

    According to Ice Canada the open water route to Taloyoak was open by the end of August this year.

  92. The icebreakers break the routes open.(that is what icebreakers do and why they call them icebreakers) There are many commercial boats busting through the Southern route of the NW Passage.

    You have cruise ships, commercial shipping and the icebreakers all beating a path through the ice.

  93. September 8 data has been added to the AMSRE’s sea ice extent plot: If not actually at a minimum right now (Sept, week 2), the 2009 sea ice is certainly near asymtotic at 5.33 million km^2.

    This would be about:
    +14.1% larger than Sept 2008 minimum extent, and
    +25.4% larger than Sept 2007 minimum extent.

    Gee: And the “sea ice experts’ – as recently as August 2009, were STILL predicting declines well below 2008 levels! Arctic temperatures now well below -3 C (270 K), and continuing to decline rapidly = Vanishingly small chances for any additional melting from “high” temperatures.

    A comment, and two questions though:
    1) The first graph should be “1979 – 2007 average” – The digits in the label are transposed and now say “1997 – 2007 average.”

    2) How can AGW theory support a 1996 sea ice extent of 7.87 (17% above the 1979-2007 “average” if only two years later El Nino’s 1998 was the highest temperature ever recorded? If Arctic temperatures had been increasing “through the past 1000 years as recently claimed, then 1996 could not have been the highest sea ice extent ever recorded. (Or is there some “natural variability” invovled someplace up there that the Arctic scientists deny in their release-to-the-press propaganda? /sarcasm )

    3) By inspection, the graphed sea ice extents between 2002 – 2009 (excluding 2007!) clearly have a closely-defined minimum of 5.8 million km^2.

    What changed in the sea ice instruments, their calibration, or sea ice extents satellites between 1979 – 2001 and 2002 – 2009? Now, after eight years of consistent 5.8 million km^2 years – compared to only twenty two years of “high” levels between 1979 – 2001 with a significantly larger standard deviation, is the “original (baseline ??) “labelled 1979-2009″ unchanged? Should we not issue a 2002 – 2009 “average” and compared THAT value to the original (hand-plotted” ?? average?

  94. Right before darkness was to fall, we saw on our AIS and radar three ships on their way towards us. Via VHF radio, we could gladly verify that it was our friend Captain Dimitry, who onboard his icebreaker was escorting two cargo ships west through the ice. Fun to see Dimitry again, who we met in Saint Petersburg during our sailing training as well as in Murmansk during the actual trip. Dimitry’s ship, Fifty Years of Victory, is the world’s largest icebreaker and runs on two nuclear reactors that together put out 75,000 horsepower.

    For a moment, he left the convoy and set off in full speed to meet us. Very impressive to see this almost silent ship pass only several hundred metres from us. With a great foghorn, he saluted us, while we saluted back as best we could with our little air horn that we bought from Watski. I can’t say whether Dimitry heard this or not, but we saw how he gladly waved from the bridge about 30 metres above the water. All were happy and elated from his visit, but the happiest was Victor, who with tears in his eyes explained how got to show us the pride of Russia!

    http://www.skinnarmo.com/

    This what icebreakers do in the Arctic. (break ice)
    Some of course will not believe this.

  95. Shawn Whelan (08:15:48) :

    “The icebreakers break the routes open.(that is what icebreakers do and why they call them icebreakers) There are many commercial boats busting through the Southern route of the NW Passage.

    Names, please. The only commercial shipping that’s going on is through the NE passage.

    Also, if the three commercial ships utilizing the NE passage (all from Germany’s Beluga shipping co.) need icebreakers to get through, that means that the warmists’ prediction that the passage would be open for shipping (i.e., ice-free) has not come true. The only reason the Beluga ships used that passage was to deliver heavy equipment to a Russian site on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. They aren’t using the passage as a passage from east to west, and hence what they’ve done is not a portent of future commercial shipping using that route. The “passage” was used only because they had to travel to a site along its route, and they couldn’t delay a year in Vladivostok with their cargo in their hold.

  96. “This what icebreakers do in the Arctic. (break ice)
    Some of course will not believe this.”

    Ridiculous.

  97. RACookPE (08:17:49) :

    A comment, and two questions though:
    1) The first graph should be “1979 – 2007 average” – The digits in the label are transposed and now say “1997 – 2007 average.”

    No, it’s 1997-2007. That’s why it’s lower than 1996. They’re not showing a very long term here.

  98. Roger,

    What do you think icebreakers do?

    And how do you think they supply all the towns in the Arctic?
    Of course they ship the goods in in the Summer.

  99. From 1937. nothing new.

    “Across the Pole is the Northeast Passage to China along the top of Norway & Russia. Sebastian Cabot initiated its search in 1553. Henry Hudson twice attempted a passage but it was not until 1879 that the route was navigated. Now Russia currently operates 160 freighters on summer schedules in the Northeast Passage’s more open but colder waters.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,770864-2,00.html

  100. I like this figure. It puts the graphic back to with 1979-2000 (including 1996).

    Also this graphic: http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20090908_Figure3.png
    I shows that 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 are the lowest since 1979.
    So this is a longer trend.
    Looking at the graph, the blue line points to the top of 2009 (highest in the last three years) and top of 2005 (also a high point). Does not seem like overblowing it. In my view, I would have placed the blue line through 2008 because 2009 seems like a peak.

    We are back to the usual 10% sea ice lost per decade (8.7%). So summer ice free by 2100 still makes sense.

    Would be interesting to see another growth next year. It would be the first time since 1979 that we would have three years of growth.
    I want to see the results next year.
    With El Nino kicking in, if we can have growth again, it would be extraordinary.

    Can anyone see a growing trend in there?

  101. Ron de Haan (12:54:05)

    Thanks for the link to the Piers Corbyn interview.
    For me very much a “But of course!” moment.

  102. shocking manipulation of data here: go the the publicly available data from the temperature stations at Svalbard, Resolute, Barrow, Eureka and Talkeetna. There is an irrefutable and steep rise in Arctic temperatures recorded at each of them, whether you take five, ten or twenty year timeframes. Denialists have to deal with this.

    REPLY: Oh we are, and you should too, such as questioning “what caused it”?

  103. “Valentinus (05:43:56) :
    shocking manipulation of data here: go the the publicly available data from the temperature stations at Svalbard, Resolute, Barrow, Eureka and Talkeetna. There is an irrefutable and steep rise in Arctic temperatures recorded at each of them, whether you take five, ten or twenty year timeframes. Denialists have to deal with this.”

    Why don’t post a link instead of bloviating, but take a look at the DMI-site first (on the right of this blog).

  104. I have it all figured out; the problem with the disappearing Arctic ice that is.

    The US, and Canada, and the Russkies all have a bunch ov vandals running artound up there in steels hips, breaking up the ice sheets so the wind and tides can blow it all out of there.

    I think Green piece and the Sierra Club should sue to get these destructive vehicles out of the Arctic ocean.

    Here we are complaining about ice sheets in Antarctica breaking up from natural causes, and we have hoodlums busting up the arctic ice willy nilly; shameful !

    George

  105. Alexej Buergin (07:26:09) :

    Why don’t post a link instead of bloviating, but take a look at the DMI-site first (on the right of this blog).

    Which is completely irrelevant to the subject of ‘Arctic warming’, hint: would you measure the temperature of a room by putting the thermometer in an iced drink?

  106. Shawn Whelan (18:48:29) wrote:

    “Roger, What do you think icebreakers do?”

    I wasn’t denying that they break ice when I said “ridiculous.” I was characterizing your ridiculous claim that people don’t believe that icebreakers break ice. Here’s what you said:

    “This what icebreakers do in the Arctic. (break ice)
    Some of course will not believe this.”

    Name one person who disputes that fact.

    While you’re at it, name one commercial ship that is “busting through the Southern route of the NW Passage.

  107. PS: Of course commercial ships, usually preceded by icebreakers, are and have been delivering goods to towns on the Arctic Ocean. But that isn’t the same thing as the warmists’ prediction that the passages would soon be open in the summer to ordinary shipping as shortcut shipping routes from one side of the globe to the other. That’s what’s ordinarily the “message” when news about arctic shipping is ballyhooed.

  108. Pam:

    “Would be interesting to see another growth next year. It would be the first time since 1979 that we would have three years of growth.
    I want to see the results next year.”

    Winter extents: 2007, 2008, and 2009 all were greater than 2006.

    Summer melt:
    2006 was greater than 2005;
    2008 greater than 2007,
    2009 greater than 2007 (by 25%) and 2008 (by 14%).

  109. I think you have some things confused.

    The 2006 summer melt was less than the 2005 melt, and the 2007 “melt” was by far the greatest since 1979; 2008 was a lot less, and 2009 is going to be less yet.

    So where did you get your data; the graphs are up ther on the right hand side, and the JAXA website can give your the actual areas remaining ?

    George

  110. Did we finally hit the minimum on 9/13 at 5.25 million square kilometers? That’s slightly under the 5.32 million square kilometers back in 2005.

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