The Sea Ice Monster: it’s a scaly thing

By Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts

If you zoom in far enough, most anything looks scary, like this picture of a human head louse.

http://img.metro.co.uk/i/pix/2009/05/BugDS_450x300.jpg

Electron micrograph of a human head louse. Photo credit: Last Refuge, via Metro.co.uk

But when you look at it in the scale of our normal experience, not so much.

http://www.cm.edu.gt/nurse/articles/LiceInfoSheet_files/image001.jpg

Actual size of the three lice forms compared to a penny Photo credit: CDC

Be it lice or ice, the scale of presentation matters.

There is often criticism of cherry picking when it comes to time scales of climate data. In the case of satellite sea ice data presentation, both time scale and vertical scale are magnified. There’s only about 30 years of satellite ice data, whereas Arctic sea ice has been around for millions of years. Vertical scale is magnified to show the smallest fluctuations. Willis Eschenbach made and excellent point about scale when he comparatively demonstrated the scale of ice melt in Greenland in his essay: On Being the Wrong Size. When compared to the bulk volume of ice, the current Greenland melt is statistically insignificant.

There has been a lot of talk about commercial shipping opportunities through the “soon to be ice free” Arctic. These are normally based on highly magnified graphs published by organisations like NSIDC, similar to the one below.

average monthly data from 1979-2009

A different view emerges when you take the raw data from NSIDC’s web site and plot it on graphs with a more appropriate vertical scale. Done that way, the downwards trend for April ice is 0.039 million km²/year.

The surprise of scale?

When you calculate the slope, it suggests that April sea ice extent won’t reach zero until the year 2385.

Oh, that can’t be right. How about May? May will be ice free in the year 2404, only 394 years from now. (The US is 234 years old. Copernicus was placed on the “Catholic Forbidden index” 394 years ago.)

June will be ice free in the year 2296.

July will be ice free by the year 2151.

August will be ice free by the year 2103

September will be ice free by the year 2065. (Note that September 2009 was right on the trend line.)

All of the data and plots are available here in this Google online spreadsheet.

September is the minimum and ice starts to freeze up again. No chance of an ice free Arctic in October. But something must be wrong. The experts said that the Arctic would be ice free by 2008, and that it would be ice free by 2013.

“Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,” the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC. “So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.” “In the end, it will just melt away quite suddenly”

NSIDC director, Dr. Mark Serreze also says this in this 5/20/10  Globe and Mail article:

“We are going to lose the summer sea-ice cover. We can’t go back.”

Dr. Serreze is still on the ‘death spiral’. He hasn’t changed his tune.

While skeptics see cycles, by saying “we can’t go back” Dr. Serreze apparently assumes the linear trend will continue to zero.

You can see from the graphs above how ridiculous those claims are. Even if the current trends continue, there is no reason to expect an ice free Arctic anytime in the next 50 years. And even more interesting to me is the fact that September, 2007 was really not that interesting. It was only 1.5 standard deviations off the trend line, i.e. almost following the 30 year trend.

All of the the main Arctic ice experts underpredicted the 2009 minimum, except for WUWT – which predicted it correctly and early.

http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/2009_outlook/summary_report/downloads/pan-arctic/figure-1.pdf

—————————————————————-

Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts
-Richard Feynman

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219 thoughts on “The Sea Ice Monster: it’s a scaly thing

  1. No doubt, predicing when the arctic will become ice-free in late summer is difficult and full of uncertainty. The main question for this post is whether the decline in ice will stay linear.

    My part of the US midwest is expecting highs in the mid 80s (°F) all week. Warm, but perhaps not too extreme for spring. However, I was really surprised by the posting of R. Gates (4:57 pm, May 23) in the previous post on arctic ice. Gates linked to the forecast for Venetie, Alaska, which above the arctic circle, where predicted highs for the next week range from 78-85 °F. Spring temps in the 80s in May must be a little unusual above the arctic circle. Vinetie is inland, so coastal areas will undoubtably be cooler. Still, I would not want to bet on such a steady, gradual and linear melting of ice.

    Here is the forecast for a town in central Alaska:

    http://www.weather.com/outlook/travel/businesstraveler/tenday/99781?par=Google&site=earth.google.com&promo=0&cm_ven=bd_select&cm_cat=Google&cm_pla=earth.google.com&cm_ite=map

  2. Isn’t this a moot point, I read on here that sea ice is recovering, so all these trendlines will eventually go flat and then slope upwards, no?

  3. I also predicted a smaller ice melt season for 08 and 09 ( the accuweather.com pro site has my archives). This year I have a major ice melt season forecasted though, even as global temps turn rapidly down. But dont fool yourself, this will be almost back to the 2007 min before its over this year. However a major recovery will occur in the coming two years so the min in 11 and 12 will be a greater extent than 09. NH ice is in a recovery, but in a herky jerk one step down , 2 steps up fashion. The real turn in this will come in 10-15 years when the AMO joins the PDO with cyclical cold in tandem.
    JB

  4. JB says:
    May 24, 2010 at 3:38 am

    “Isn’t this a moot point, I read on here that sea ice is recovering, so all these trendlines will eventually go flat and then slope upwards, no?”

    Yep, as like most things in nature, one can expect to see a sine wave eventually.

  5. Today's State Extremes	
    State Highs:
    Tanana	55°F
    Northway	55°F
    Fairbanks	54°F
    Nenana	54°F
    Haines	53°F	
    State Lows:
    Tin City	24°F
    Point Lay	24°F
    Shishmaref	26°F
    Savoonga	26°F
    Noatak	26°F
  6. I think a couple ice free or at least passable months along the Northwest Passage would be a good thing, saving saving many tons of bunker oil for our shipping companies.
    I’ve never been a fan of polar bears anyway.

  7. BillD…a couple things: the NWS forecast for that part of Alaska is about 10 degrees cooler than what you have linked on weather.com. I have noticed that weather.com comes up with interpolated data to produce their forecasts which in many cases are way off the mark. Furthermore, Venetie, Alaska is NOT representative of the entire arctic, where much lower 500 mb heights can be seen across areas north of Alaska this week, and even across western and southwestern Alaska (remember it’s a big, big state).

  8. Now before we get all blasé about these long, long projections of meltdown: won’t somebody think of our children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children? Also, we must remember that if previous (alarmist) trends are anything to go by, then we can safely assume that before too long it will be considered to be “worse than we thought” and that we’ll soon have to be worrying about our children’s children’s children’s children’s children. We must act NOW! And by “we” I mean “you” and by “act” I mean “pay.”

  9. I am very afraid. What if this “cyclical” downturn reverses and the cycle goes back to an upward climb?

    I live in the Canadian Shield. I don’t want to be under 3 km of ice (just too much pressure to bear…)

    Won’t somebody get hot for a warmer, kinder world?

    Won’t somebody think of the chilled wren?

    ;-)

  10. Joe Bastardi:
    “The real turn in this will come in 10-15 years when the AMO joins the PDO with cyclical cold in tandem.”

    So we’ll have to put up with alarmist bleatings for another 10-15 years? Groan!

  11. I can’t tell how much wind and currents shape extent of the ice. It sure looks like next winter will be cold. Last fall Edmonton Alberta had 46 below zero. It really shows us when they complained of balmy weather in Vancouver, it was not widespread.

  12. So the IPCC is correct expecting the Arctic to be Summer ice free some time after 2050.

  13. @Joe Bastardi says:
    May 24, 2010 at 3:48 am

    I too predicted the last two cold winters. There should be a lot of ice melt by this Autumn, I would expect global temps to rise this year. The AO is theoretically positive till 2035, exceptions like last winter though, are of a greater magnitude than the cycle itself. The next two winters coming, I don`t see getting particularly cold till February, so ice build up will not be so much. 2012/13 winter looks mild, but 2014/16/17/18/20 winters are looking hard.

  14. It´s the same with global temperatures, where the Y axis is always shown in 0.1 degrees increments, being really a straight line as in the present case, where any small increase in ice extent will straighten the curve.

  15. Meanwhile, in Central Ontario, we have been basking in an abnormal warm trend since February. Most of the low pressures systems and storms are forced lower and away to the coast. Low 30 degree celcius for the next 3 days.
    This is the same system that reaches to Greenland. Last week we had 2 nights of minus 6 degrees celcius which killed off some of the crops growing early.

    Seems to me that the oscillating trends are getting more wild and closer in fluctuations.

  16. I think 2007 was anomalous, and that’s why we are going to get an unprecedented (in the satellite age) 3 years in a row of minimum extent growth.

    I’m still sitting on 6.0-6.2M for minimum this year. The concentrations in the central core are still holding up very well compared to any previous year you look at since 1980 for this date (tho 2009 is not availabe at Cryosphere to look at because of an issue they had last spring/summer). It’s the central core that actually matters for minimum, because that’s the only place ice survives past minimum in any great quantity. There are large swaths of the core that are still north of 80% concentration that were below 80% in 2006-2008 (for instance).

  17. BillD says:
    May 24, 2010 at 3:35 am

    However, I was really surprised by the posting of R. Gates (4:57 pm, May 23) in the previous post on arctic ice. Gates linked to the forecast for Venetie, Alaska, which above the arctic circle, where predicted highs for the next week range from 78-85 °F.

    Your link was to the weather channel (click on the monthly data, their software can’t handle days without a sunrise – having written software to compute such info, their errors are amusing).

    The NWS says:

    Monday…Partly cloudy. Isolated afternoon thunderstorms west of beaver. Highs 70 to 75. Northeast winds 10 to 20 mph.

    Monday Night…Partly cloudy. Isolated evening thunderstorms west of beaver. Lows near 45. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph.

    Tuesday…Mostly sunny. Highs around 75. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph.

    Wednesday…Mostly sunny. Highs near 75.

    Thursday…Mostly sunny. Highs near 75.

    Friday…Mostly sunny. Highs near 80.

    Saturday…Mostly sunny. Highs near 75.

    http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?zoneid=AKZ220

    I don’t have time to hunt down records for the area this morning.

  18. Is Arctic “ice extent” a measure of the surface area covered by ice, regardless of the ice’s depth, and therefore not a measure of the total amount of ice ? If so, what the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School said seems reasonable:

    “In the end, it will just melt away quite suddenly”

    I would agree, since I have observed that a thin sheet of ice covering a pond can disappear quickly while a thick sheet takes a while to disappear.

    I would agree with the continued gradual melting implied in the above graphs (e.g., June will be ice free in the year 2296) if the “ice extent” measure accounts for the depth or thickness of Arctic ice. If it doesn’t, the ice could be gone much sooner than the graphs imply.

    While summers might see little or no Arctic ice in the future, I would expect the ice to be back in Winter , although thinner and possibly allowing navigation by ships during more months.

  19. As a parent who has suffered through the ongoing lice epidemic in eastern secondary schools, I can tell you that head lice are terrifying – at any scale.

  20. In the posting titled: “WUWT Arctic Sea Ice News #6″, there was an interesting comment from commieBob who said, “The ice melts from the bottom up. Very roughly, it takes a certain air temperature to maintain a certain thickness of ice”. He continued that from March to May the “ice went from more than six feet to around two feet but you couldn’t tell it from the top of the ice.”

    If his statements are correct, then I think that rather than the area of ice, the volume of the ice could be a better measurement of annual variation of temperature. However, I don’t see any data or discussion of measurements of the thickness of the ice over the entire area of the arctic.

  21. Why do scientists feel like they have to give these predictions in the first place?

    There is not one single person with one single active brain cell that would believe any of it.

    chance of rain tomorrow – 50%
    25 named hurricanes this year
    human population will be X by year X…………..

  22. “So the IPCC is correct expecting the Arctic to be Summer ice free some time after 2050.”

    The IPCC can “expect” whatever it wants to expect. But it won’t happen.

    IPCC expectations aren’t about facts or science, they are about fear-mongering and keeping their Gravy & Fame Train rolling. You see, the IPCC is really just people organized to take advantage of the Great Eco Scam, to get the next great Research Grant, to get one year closer to their pensions, too say whatever needs to be said to keep their jobs & the money rolling in and the flattering interviews on CNN, BBC & HufPo happening.

    The IPCC is an Eco-Grifting organization, the people in it are best described as eco-pimps living off the avails off lies, deceits, half-truths, innuendo and fear mongering.

    Their basic problem is Gaia, who they thought was on their side, refuses to cooperate with their greenie wannbe-ness & AGW theories & computer models.

    They are hooped, time is proving them wrong. You have a choice – you can believe them or you can believe what is happening. But you can’t believe both – well you can, but then cognitive dissonance would be a forte.

    History will not be kind to them, not kind at all.

  23. My in-laws bought a vacation home on the sound in NC in the 1980’s. Their house is built next to an ancient pile of oyster shells, built up over the past thousand years by natives who would canoe over to the island and have feasts until the colonists put a stop to that in the 1600’s. Between the house and the water’s edge is about 150 feet of marsh. My engineer father-in-law placed a white pole at the waters edge in 1985.

    Today the pole is off the shore’s edge and completely surrounded by water. Some family members worry that errosion is going to take the house. He and I measured the distance of the pole to the shore and estimated a monthly shoreline loss of over one eighth inch! Wow, that sounds like a lot….over one eighth inch of errosion per month! But my father-in-law laughs because at that rate it will take almost 1000 years for the shoreline to make it to the back porch (which is near the 1000 year old garbage pile of oyster shells and broken pottery). So not only is the erosion rate meaningless in our lifetime it’s probably meaningless on the timescale of at least 1000 years since for thousands of years the shoreline has not exceeded the garbage pile of oyster shells.

    Do you think it’s scarier to quote the erosion as one eighth inch per month, two inches per year, one millimeter per week, or one hundred and fifty feet in one thousand years?

  24. Now I happened back here again, but I clicked an (mermaids go figure)

    But is it true that Jerry Lewis the great comedian is not dead , but a member of congress reprising his role as the nutty Professor scoring hot and not so hot from what Isaw, shielas.

  25. and everyone knows warmers can’t swim or surf, they are scared of open water but like to talk about it.

    Gore can’t swim, he wears a plastic puddle duck.

  26. BillD says:
    May 24, 2010 at 3:35 am

    “Gates linked to the forecast for Venetie, Alaska, which above the arctic circle, where predicted highs for the next week range from 78-85 °F. Spring temps in the 80s in May must be a little unusual above the arctic circle.”

    Sunrise and Sunset for Venitie, Alaska
    Sunrise for May 24th – 3:08 AM
    Sunset for May 24th – 12:16 AM

    They have 21 hours of sun right now. On June 3rd it’ll be 24 hours.
    Having lived in Fairbanks there are only 2 seasons. Summer and Winter.
    Their onset of winter is usually first snow(August/Sept). Summer is last melt(May).
    Alaskan summers are absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately they don’t last long.

  27. If scientist cared to make a correlation between sea ice extent and the temperature of Greenland. And the coupled that with Greenland ice cores. I believe they would find the North pole has probably been ice free many times in the past.

  28. Joe Bastardi says: (May 24, 2010 at 3:48 am)
    “… The real turn in this will come in 10-15 years when the AMO joins the PDO with cyclical cold in tandem.”

    They way I see it you have two choices:

    1. Check the sea ice graphs daily and worry. Continue to look for proof that you are right and “they” are wrong (doesn’t matter which side your are on). Then look back in 10 – 15 years and ask yourself “where did my life go?”

    2. Realize you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry, be happy, take care of what really matters. Then look back in 10- 15 years and tell yourself “that was great, let’s keep going”.

  29. Joe Bastardi wrote, “The real turn in this will come in 10-15 years when the AMO joins the PDO with cyclical cold in tandem.”

    A question: Through what mechanism would the PDO impact Arctic sea ice? The PDO does not represent SST anomalies in the North Pacific, North of 20N. It represents the leading Principal Component of monthly SST anomalies in the North Pacific Ocean,
    poleward of 20N. And before you say it impacts ENSO, the PDO lags ENSO. The PDO is, in effect, an aftereffect of ENSO, but it’s also impacted by Sea Level Pressure (and possibly volcanic eruptions), which is why it appears to have longer-term variability. Refer to:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/misunderstandings-about-pdo-revised.html

    And:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/05/revisiting-misunderstandings-about-pdo.html

    And:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/04/is-difference-between-nino34-sst.html

    Second, the AMO may have peaked around 2005, which would mean the SST anomalies of detrended North Atlantic SST anomalies are dropping. And if we look at North Atlantic SST anomalies…

    …we can see that they had been dropping for a few years, contributing less to Global Surface Temperature anomalies directly, and indirectly through teleconnections.

    Second question: Isn’t it the fact that the variations of the SST anomalies of the North Atlantic are greater than global SST anomalies on a multidecadal basis that causes its contribution (or lack thereof) to global temperature, and not its sign?

  30. Hey guys,

    thanks for the post. The presentation of data is often rife with problems stemming from the story the researchers want to tell. It’s not just an issue in climate science, but thanks for bringing it into context here.

    The statement,

    ‘Note that September 2009 was right on the trend line.’

    is meaningless, however. One cannot look at both the trend and a single point. That’s a point that just about every contributor has made in context to claims of ‘alarmists’ about single warm months or years in records or reconstructions.

    Why do you guys you a double standard here?

    Either it is acceptable to look at a single point in the context of a trend or it’s not, in general.

  31. Nothing in nature is linear, so forget those linear trends. I’m believing Joe Bastardi, but wondering if he factors in the solar cycle. The current sunspot count is way below last year’s prediction, the solar wind is a gentle zephyr, and the NASA guys are hiding out on an update.

  32. Even if the Northwest Passage were to become ice-free, it would not be evidence of man-made global warming. It could just as easily — and more scientifically — be explained by natural warming caused by the sun and ocean oscillations.

    As Joe Bastardi points out, we won’t have to worry about an ice-free arctic. We’re now in a cool PDO (and moving towards a La Nina), the sun remains quiet, and there is a very real chance of a major volcanic eruption (Katla) in Iceland. In any event, we’re not looking at warmer temperatures over the next 20 or 30 years. In my humble opinion, we’re headed for a Dalton-like minimum.

    You can read my recent story (link below) describing the climate events that may lead to the “The Triple Crown of Global Cooling.” Both Joe Bastardi and Joe D’Aleo contributed to the article.

    http://www.examiner.com/x-32936-Seminole-County-Environmental-News-Examiner~y2010m5d19-Triple-Crown-of-global-cooling-could-pose-serious-threat-to-humanity

  33. Most of you are talking about weather, not climate. Both impact artic sea ice extrent but only climate truly impacts long term trends as discussed in this article. And with only a 30 year data base, any cyclical trends of more than 20 years won’t be detectable by the human eye.

    The Earth’s atmosphere is a huge ocean of gas that has many eddy currents that impact weather. Try an experiment. Fill your bath tub with water and wait an hour for most of the perturbations to die down. Then gently pore three small glasses of water color (red, green and blue) equal distance from each other (end, middle, end). Now gently stir the water surface and see how long it takes to get any end color to the other end. The color patterns will give you a glimpse of what is happening in the Earth’s atmosphere on a far grander scale. Suggest you don’t let your kids see you do this and definitely don’t let them take a bath in this water. :)

  34. One thing for sure, the current interglacial will end, and the whole mess will be covered with several km of ice(lice?). And then what will we all do?

    It’s been quite cold in Florida, the water has barely warmed in our pool. By this time it would normally be mid-80 degrees.

    Scales need to be uniform, not designed to give the most fright per inch.

  35. I thought the sea ice recovered last month. Back to normal was the message from WUWT. I see that all indicators show the sea ice extent has dropped below average and is now near 2007 levels for this time of year.

    Can we get an update on whether it has recovered or not?

    I note that the projection above for an ice-free summer in the Arctic (2065), is sooner than projected in the IPCC AR4. The maximum earliest date projected by the IPCC, at the bottom edge of the fastest melt scenario, is 2070. The mid-range projection for the fastest melt scenario, is an ice-free summer by the early 22nd century. Has the IPCC been too conservative in their estimates?

  36. I originally posted this at Arctic Sea Ice news #6 but it actually belongs here since it looks at the bogus use of statistics with relation to Arctic Sea Ice.

    There are natural cycles of about 60 yrs (ocean) and 200 yrs (sun), but we only have data for about 30 yrs so there is no way in heck we have a good handle on the natural variability or what the “true average is”.

    The graph uses data from 1979 to 2006 to compute the average. This is less than the thirty years that cover 1/2 an ocean cycle (In my numerous statistics classes I was taught to always use a minimum sample size of 30.) SO what part of the relevant ocean cycles does the average cover?

    This Wiki graph – PDO (1650 – 1991) shows the PDO was mainly in a warm phase for 1979 to 2006. A more recent graph from NOAA shows there were only three years with a strongly negative PDO included in the infamous “average”.

    This article shows both the arctic oscillation and the atmospheric pressure over the north pole were mainly positive.

    And again the North Atlantic Oscillation was also strongly positive through the period. Wiki NAO graph

    The AMO went from negative to positive during the time period. Wiki AMO graph

    The sun has also been in a more active phase during that time period sunspots as proxy Here is a more complete look at the subject of the sun’s activity and TSI over time.

    Not only is the “average” used for comparison a poor proxy for the “true mean” given it does not include a sampling of all the natural variability, but the gray area signifying “normal” is only one standard deviation from the average. Only 68% of data are within one standard deviation of the mean. So that is meant to cause alarm and mislead too.
    The gray area should be 2.5 STD or at least 2 STD since 95% of individuals will have values within 2 standard deviations of the mean. I am sure those constructing the graph know this and that is why they chose to use only one standard deviation.

    The “system” has been accumulating “heat” for thirty years. We are at the top of the sine curves starting on the downward slope. However just like you can not stop and turn an ocean liner like you can a quarter horse, you can not expect the “system” to change directions in a couple of years. I have no idea what the lag time is but given the changes we saw in the weather patterns last winter, I think the weather will be different (and become colder and colder) in the next thirty years than the last thirty. The whole darn subject and the graphs are very misleading and designed to cause alarm.

    To be complete the cosmic ray count during the period. Note how 2009 has the highest cosmic ray count during the time period shown (1965 to 2009).

  37. Maybe it’s just me, but I am more afraid of head lice than summers being ice-free in the Arctic.
    Straight line extrapolation is a mug’s game.
    If summers become ice-free, it still won’t be easy for shipping, there are bound to be lots of icebergs, and some years will have late break-up and early freeze-up.
    In the Cenozoic, an interesting flora and fauna thrived in the then much warmer Canadian arctic archipelago.
    PS – The sentence should read “Willis Eschenbach made an excellent point…”

  38. Very interesting, but the assumption is the trend will be linear, rather than look something like this: (very unsophisticated graph, but gets the point across)

    http://www2.norwalk-city.k12.oh.us/wordpressmu/precalc/files/2008/12/math.bmp

    And taking a look at this graph, (even with the modest recovery of Sept. 2008-09 added in), we see that the trend is not linear at all:

    An ice free Arctic in September of 2065 would be unprecedented in human recorded history, and would have lots of other implications.

    Finally, even if we all agree that the Arctic will be ice free sometime this century, two other entirely different issues are:

    1)Will that be an overall good or bad thing for humans and all the other creatures that we share this planet with.

    2) What the cause of the melt is? Is it AGW, or natural cycles?

  39. jcrabb

    We know from the historical record that climate trends are infinitely linear. That is why the glacial ice keeps getting deeper and deeper in Chicago, as the last ice age proceeds forwards.

  40. Meanwhile, skeptical science tells us that the Greenland land mass is showing accelerated elevation because of the decreasing weight of overlying ice mass. I wonder if anyone has looked at their claims – it’s getting difficult to know who to believe these days.

  41. If the scientists should take care and caution in trusting their models, people would do well to take the same care and caution WRT simple linear models. That’s what fitting a straight line to the decline does. It creates a “model” of the ice that is strictly a function of prior ice extent and time. Nevertheless, you might want to throw some error bars on that “forecast”

  42. Gail,

    There are natural cycles of about 60 yrs (ocean) and 200 yrs (sun), but we only have data for about 30 yrs so there is no way in heck we have a good handle on the natural variability or what the “true average is”.

    If we only have 30 years data, how can you possibly assert there are 60 or 200 year cycles?

  43. This statement is incorrect: “When compared to the bulk volume of ice, the current Greenland melt is statistically insignificant.” This normally means the uncertainty in the measurement is larger than the measurement. That was not the case here, or at least you did not establish that in your previous post on this. You really mean that it is misleading to report the ice melt rate without mentioning the total ice mass, which is a fair point.

    I disagree that the “Average Monthly Arctic Sea Ice Extent, April 1979 to 2010” graph from NSIDC is misleading. The scale is clearly given and is appropriate for the question the graph is addressing: is arctic sea ice extent declining? Yes it is. If such graph were accompanied by alarming statement like: “All Arctic sea ice is going to melt away soon!”, then they would be misleading.

    Your linear projections of when Arctic sea ice might are not valid because there is no basis for assuming linearity. (You did not claim they were valid.) The concern of mainstream researchers is that positive feedbacks may accelerate the decline, while skeptics place more stock in natural cycles as you state later.

    The first two news stories you cite did not claim the Arctic would be “ice free,” only that the North Pole region might be ice free in the summer. Neither story represented a consensus view; the first was from a rather obscure source.

    Dr. Serreze is not claiming Arctic sea ice will be totally gone and he did not give a date. His statement – “We can’t go back” – is about positive feedback, not linear extrapolation.

    You and your readers might find this article of interest. It concluded: “The projected ice-free summer Arctic Ocean may occur as early as in the late 2030s using a criterion of 80% SIA loss…”

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123301802/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

    This is still not a consensus view. I do not think there is a consensus assessment at this time.

  44. I would love to see an article up on WUWT about the importance of correcting alpha levels for multiple tests of statistical significance as well.

  45. The following Q&A from the FAQ section of NSIDC answers my question about whether the Arctic sea ice extent measures the the thickness of the ice as well as it’s surface area. It does not.

    “What is sea ice extent, and why do you monitor that particular aspect of sea ice?

    Sea ice extent is a measurement of the area of ocean where there is at least some sea ice. Usually, scientists define a threshold of minimum concentration to mark where the ice ends; the most common cutoff is at 15 percent. Scientists use the 15 percent cutoff because it provides the most consistent agreement between satellite and ground observations.
    Scientists tend to focus on Arctic sea ice extent more closely than other aspects of sea ice because satellites measure extent more accurately than they do other measurements, such as thickness.”

    http://nsidc.org/news/press/2007_seaiceminimum/20070810_faq.html

  46. stevengoddard says:
    May 24, 2010 at 7:59 am

    barry

    You must have missed this post from yesterday.

    No, I read it. No mention of whether the sea ice is recovered or not. I see that the four sea ice products I know of show current sea ice extent below average and near the 2007 line for this time of year. Three of four show sea ice extent below 2007.

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

    Last month you posted that Arctic sea ice extent had recovered. Do you hold to that view at this time?

  47. Steven Goddard, be careful you don’t dig too deep a hole for yourself. You’re reaching levels of arrogance I only see climate scientists being accused of.

    If this summer’s circumstances in cloudiness and wind etc. are anywhere near those of summer 2007 the minimum sea ice extent record will be shattered.

    As you (or anybody else) cannot be certain this won’t happen, I really don’t see why you are being so incredibly cocky. You’re recklessly gambling with your and WUWT’s credibility, or what’s left of it.

    REPLY: Oh Neven, puhleeze. I read what you say elsewhere about me, WUWT, and its contributors. Your “concern” is bullcaca. – Anthony

  48. @barry: “Can we get an update on whether it has recovered or not?”

    No it has not. “In April, the centre published data showing that sea ice had almost recovered to the 20-year average. That ignited a flurry of interest on climate change skeptic blogs. [Who could they be talking about?] But much of that ice was thin and new. The warmest April on record in the Arctic made short work of it. Ice cover has already fallen back to where it was in 2007 at this time of year and is disappearing at a faster pace than it did then.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/arctic-sea-ice-heading-for-new-record-low/article1575212/

  49. When an alarmist blog calling itself ‘skeptical science’ tells you what to think, it’s always a good idea to check it out first.

    Here’s a good starting point regarding sea level changes. Also, see here.

  50. Most of the current Arctic sea ice “loss” is in the eastern Arctic. How much of that “loss” is due to the wind blowing ice out of the catchment area?

  51. My thoughts are that air temperature has little effect on changes in the amount of Arctic ice, and it is mainly sea temperatures and the strength of currents which cause the oscillations to the quantity of sea ice. Wind direction/strength also play a major role in determining the outcome of this deterministically chaotic system.

    Linear trends have no meaning and it is easy to ‘cherry pick’ a period showing sea ice reduction or growth. The biggest nits are the scientists who promote the idea of Arctic ice being in a ‘death spiral’. They clearly don’t have a clue about the complexity of our polar systems!

  52. OK, so if a linear trend is not to be expected, why so much stress on it in the post?

    And if it’s not going to be linear, then what will it be? Logic would seem to suggest that the loss of sea ice will accelerate, for several reasons, but particularly increased water vapor (#1 GHG) with increased open water in the Arctic (water vapor feedback), and increased absorption of shortwave radiation by that open water (albedo feedback.)

  53. R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 8:06 am
    Very interesting, but the assumption is the trend will be linear, rather than look something like this: (very unsophisticated graph, but gets the point across)

    http://www2.norwalk-city.k12.oh.us/wordpressmu/precalc/files/2008/12/math.bmp

    ————————-
    I just want to comment on the above quoted first paragraph of your post, rather than your entire post.

    The linked graph implies a rapid disappearance of Arctic sea ice , as measured by its extent, once it becomes thin. That makes sense because the difference between, for example, 10 and 1 is greater than the difference between 1 and 0.

    Since extent measures only the ice’s surface area, what do we know about changes in its thickness or volume that might suggest when it will become thin enough to disappear for part of the year?

  54. Steve, for you to believe the sea ice decline is going to be linear makes me wonder what else you don’t understand about how climate works. And you also seem to conflate ice free summers with ice free Arctic. No one expects the Arctic Ocean to be ice free in winters. It is the summer ice cover that is going to disappear, resulting in a sea ice climate more like Antarctica.

    I would love to see you address your recovery statements you made earlier in the sea ice posts. Seems you were wrong, yet you don’t want to admit it. Sea ice is not behaving as you had hoped, making your previous posts on assumptions about this summer incorrect. Makes me wonder more and more what else you are wrong about…

  55. Kevin McKinney says:
    May 24, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Kevin, indeed the ice loss has accelerated. Doing a trend analysis on the September ice extent (in the Arctic Basin, which excludes the East Greenland Sea and the Canadian Archipelago) from 1979-1998 gives a trend line of -0.032+/- 0.017 million sq-km/yr. Compare this with a trend line of -0.165 +/- 0.044 million sq-km/yr from 1999-2009. These slopes are statistically different from each other at a 95% confidence level.

    Steve doesn’t seem to want anyone to know this…

  56. jcrabb says:
    May 24, 2010 at 5:12 am

    So the IPCC is correct expecting the Arctic to be Summer ice free some time after 2050.
    _________________________________________________________________________
    NO, Climate runs in cycles. We just went through a time with all the cycles set to positive (warm). We are now due for thirty years of COLD. That means 2040’s could be like the 1970’s. It all depends on what other cycles kick in and when. If the sun continues in a funk (the source of all energy) then we could be looking at a little ice age especially if the volcanoes like Katla kick in too.

    Climate science is a very new science and the subject is complicated. What we are currently seeing is the political Spinmiesters taking advantage of this to pass laws that funnel money out of your pocket and into theirs. The fact is that most funding is for papers that have the global warming catch phrase.

    <i”….A 12-year low in solar “irradiance”: Careful measurements by several NASA spacecraft show that the sun’s brightness has dropped by 0.02% at visible wavelengths and 6% at extreme UV wavelengths since the solar minimum of 1996. The changes so far are not enough to reverse the course of global warming,…” NASA

    “….At least 10 to 30 percent of global warming measured during the past two decades may be due to increased solar output rather than factors such as increased heat-absorbing carbon dioxide gas released by various human activities, two Duke University physicists report…. However, they emphasized that their findings do not argue against the basic theory that significant global warming is occurring because of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases ….” Duke Physicists Report

    Here is a study where the false finding reported make me very angry.
    “….Americans are likely to suffer from kidney stones in the coming years as a result of global warming, according to researchers at the University of Texas.

    Kidney stones, which are formed from dissolved minerals in the urine and can be extremely painful, are often caused by caused by dehydration, either by not drinking enough liquid or losing too much due to high heat conditions.

    If global warming trends continue as projected by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, the United States can expect as much as a 30 percent growth in kidney stone disease in some of its driest areas, said the findings published in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. …” Global warming may increase kidney stones

    This is very misleading. The real cause especially in the ” “kidney stone belt” of the southeastern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. “ is ICED TEA and other caffeine laden beverages. Drinking lots of WATER, not soda and ice tea is the correct method of prevention and this minor detail is completely missing from the article. GRRRrrrrr

    There are plenty of other examples. Pamela Grey mentioned at the beginning of the year how the “global warming” phrase was the necessary “get out of jail free card” needed to get her papers published and she hoped climategate would mean it would be no longer necessary.

  57. barry says:
    May 24, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Gail,

    There are natural cycles of about 60 yrs (ocean) and 200 yrs (sun), but we only have data for about 30 yrs so there is no way in heck we have a good handle on the natural variability or what the “true average is”.

    If we only have 30 years data, how can you possibly assert there are 60 or 200 year cycles?

    She meant to say, “satellite data” on arctic ice extent. We have other data on the PDO.

  58. R. Gates

    Great link thanks. It shows exactly why scientists shouldn’t jump to conclusions about non-linearity based on a one-year blip. I’ll bet the authors regret having written it now.

  59. The reason that Serreze forecast an ice free pole in 2008 was because it started out with first year ice that summer. The lesson to be learned is perhaps that even first year ice won’t disappear that far north.

  60. I hereby post the predictor of predictors for any required prediction, forecast, or seer:

    Multiply the average PDO year times the mean square root square of ENSO moment plus the 2nd derivative of the AMO temperature minus natural log of the distance between any two planets at midnight zulu divided by three Solar Flare units plus the standard deviation regression rate of Greenland’s Ice pack squared plus last weeks sun spot number (choose wisely) times todays solar flux minus the first deviation of Antarctica ice pack times the low cloud on a clear day times the datum curve derivative of the first integration of the specific gravity of Guinness Stout plus linear motion of the total volcanic output times the time it took to post all the above remarks.

  61. Steve, I’m a little puzzled by one of your earlier statements:- “”” There’s only about 30 years of satellite ice data, whereas Arctic sea ice has been around for millions of years. “””

    Assuming that those thirty years are the most recent 30 years (maybe that’s not true), then that would take us back to the time around 1979-80 as the beginning of satellite icea data.

    Now I recently got jumped all over for making that same allegation; well I put is slightly differently, in saying that the first polar orbit satellites went up around 1979. So Phil and barefootgirl jumped all over that and said it was 1961 (Tiros-1 or somesuch).

    OK; maybe pedantically correct; but when I made my (erroneous) statement; the discussion was about satellite sea ice observations in the arctic. So to me it was obvious that I was referring to the first satellites that started making these satellite sea ice observations. So the Russians showed in 1957 that you could toss an inert lump of metal up there, to fly around the earth; but it couldn’t take arctic sea ice pictures in any frequency range; so who cares if they did it in 1957.

    So what is the real skinny; could Tiros-1 take arctic sea ice pictures or not; and if so why doesn’t the satellite data go back to 1961 ?

    Seems like one has to spell everything out here in words of one syllable, or peop-le just don’t seem to catch on. No wonder it takes so many thousands of “scientists” to ferret out a few simple physical facts.

    And I specifically asked why the period from 1979-2000 was taken as the baseline for what is normal arctic sea ice; and I drew responses that some people were using data back to 1972 (as I recall).

    So does the peer reviewed widely accepted satellite arctic sea ice data start in 1979 or doesn’t it ?

  62. Steve writes: A different view emerges when you take the raw data from NSIDC’s web site and plot it on graphs with a more appropriate vertical scale. Done that way, the downwards trend for April ice is 0.039 million km²/year.
    ———————

    Can you please tell me how the trend changes when you plot the extent from 0 to 20 million sq-km? It shouldn’t so your sentence above is very misleading. And why is this a more appropriate vertical scale? If you want to highlight interannual differences, plotting it on an appropriate scale is the right thing to do.

    You seem to avoid mentioning the fact that the slopes are statistically significant in all calendar months, that not much change is expected in the winter ice cover (and thus the April trend being small is what is expected), or that no one expects the trends to remain linear, and in fact the data shows the changes are not linear.

  63. George E. Smith says:
    May 24, 2010 at 9:51 am

    The real skinny is that indeed, there are earlier satellite observations and have been used in data sets such as the Had1SST data set. Basically observations from 1953 onwards are the most reliable. NSIDC only shows the modern satellite data record (i.e. based on multichannel passive microwave sensors with similar frequencies). But one can blend that record with earlier data. Of course, what would likely happen is that skeptics would complain about how the data were blended together to make a longer time-series.

  64. stevengoddard says:
    May 24, 2010 at 9:20 am

    The reason that Serreze forecast an ice free pole in 2008 was because it started out with first year ice that summer. The lesson to be learned is perhaps that even first year ice won’t disappear that far north.

    —————————–
    Correct. And Serreze didn’t forecast an ice free summer, but simply thought there was possibility of open water at the pole in summer of 2008 because it was covered by first-year ice. So there is a lesson to be learned there…but I would expect as temperatures in the atmosphere and ocean rise further, that even first-year ice at the pole may not survive…

  65. skye

    If the April slope is statistically insignificant, why did NSIDC include it in their sea ice news?

    You should take that up with them – because if it weren’t for that graph, I wouldn’t have had any reason to write this article.

  66. wildred,

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/08/15/arctic-ice-extent-discrepancy-nsidc-versus-cryosphere-today/#comment-32714

    Mark C. Serreze says:
    August 20, 2008 at 8:14 am
    Looking back at earlier posts, a few things caught my eye which I might be able to clarify:

    1) The north pole issue: Back in June, there was some coverage about the possibility of the North Pole being ice free by the end of this summer. This was based on recognition that the area around the north pole was covered by firstyear ice that tends to be rather thin. Thin ice is the most vulnerable to melting our in summer. I gave it a 50/50 chance. Looks like I’ll lose my own bet and Santa Claus will be safe for another year.

  67. stevengoddard says:
    May 24, 2010 at 9:11 am

    R. Gates

    Great link thanks. It shows exactly why scientists shouldn’t jump to conclusions about non-linearity based on a one-year blip. I’ll bet the authors regret having written it now.
    ———————————————
    I’m not sure I follow you Steve. That presentation doesn’t disprove non-linearity in the sea ice system. Perhaps you are thinking that 2009 proved the presentation was in error. But looking at the presentation the authors clearly state that natural variability remains important. Which I believe is what the scientists have been saying all along. But what I think is interesting is that you can have a weather pattern that favors ice retention, and while it may help keep the ice from setting a new record low, it certainly does not bring the ice back up to conditions seen 20-30 years ago. Last summer is a perfect example of that, and this year is showing that to be true again since your much-touted negative AO this winter didn’t help the ice pack out like you thought it would.

    I read that powerpoint and didn’t walk away with an assumption being made about a single year but rather that processes seem to be working together to allow for large ice losses to occur in summer. The key behind it appears to be thin ice, and continuance of anomalously warm air and ocean temperatures.

    I also didn’t see any mention of CO2 being responsible for the observed ice loss. Why ignore real science analysis of the declining sea ice?

  68. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1050990/The-North-Pole-island-time-history-ice-melts.html

    2nd September 2008
    The North Pole has become an island for the first time in human history. Startling satellite pictures taken three days ago show that melting ice has opened up the fabled North-West and North-East Passages – making it possible to sail around the Arctic ice cap. The opening of the passages has been eagerly awaited by shipping companies which hope they will be able to cut thousands of miles off their routes. But to climate change scientists it is yet another sign of the damage global warming is inflicting on the planet. Mark Serreze, a sea ice specialist, described the images as an ‘historic event’ – but warned they added to fears that the Arctic icecap has entered a ‘death spiral’. The pictures, produced by Nasa, mark the first time in at least 125,000 years that the two shortcuts linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans have been ice-free at the same time.

  69. Anthony, it’s not a concern, it’s a prediction. If your and Steven’s gamble turns out wrong, this thing will haunt you more than any other screw-up so far.

    REPLY: No pain, no gain, and unlike you and your cowardly shoot from behind the rocks friends, we have the courage to put our name on it.

    I’m sure you’ll do everything in your cowardly power to make sure everyone knows if we miss the mark, and ignore it if we do. Like you ignored our correct prediction last year.

    Such a negative person you are, safe in your cocoon of anonymity, shooting from behind the rocks. I see what you write elsewhere, and your MO is that of a coward unable to stand up for his own words. – Anthony

  70. stevengoddard says:
    May 24, 2010 at 10:02 am

    skye

    If the April slope is statistically insignificant, why did NSIDC include it in their sea ice news?

    You should take that up with them – because if it weren’t for that graph, I wouldn’t have had any reason to write this article.

    ——————————————–
    It is statistically significant. When did I say it wasn’t? Just because it’s small, doesn’t mean it’s not statistically significant. Antarctic sea ice trends are small, but have recently become statistically significant and you point to them on a regular basis as evidence for no global warming.

    BTW..NSIDC shows the monthly trends for every end-of-the-month post, regardless of how large they are. If they were not statistically significant, they would have stated so.

  71. rogerkni
    May 24, 2010 at 9:10 am

    If we only have 30 years data, how can you possibly assert there are 60 or 200 year cycles?

    She meant to say, “satellite data” on arctic ice extent. We have other data on the PDO.

    There is data on Arctic sea ice before the satellite era (as we know, the further back in time we go, the more porous the instrumental record). But if that’s what Gail meant, it applies to other data.

    It’s difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile various contributions at this site. The data is deeply flawed, we are told, but then people use the data to say all sorts of things with great confidence. Solar data is good in the satellite era, but before satellites we had to use our eyes (with some telescopic assist). Yet Gail asserts with confidence that there are 200-year solar cycles – something I’ve never heard of, and assume comes from, at best, some obscure paper. The PDO is a recently discovered climate phenomenon (1997), so we rely on proxy measurements to assess it’s variability through time. How confident should we be that we have that down, let alone correlation to the instrumental temperature record?

    It seems to me that people pick and choose what data supports their position. Whatever uncertainties are inherent are completely ignored when the message suits the predilection. This is so for casual conversation in blogs. In the vast majority of science papers, uncertainties feature prominently. Acknowledging uncertainties lends credence to analysis. I wish we’d see more of that in discussions of the science in the comments section. We’re too quick to judge, too slow to reflect. Not always, but too often, IMO.

  72. stevengoddard says:
    May 24, 2010 at 9:17 am
    Wren,

    I didn’t realize that plotting NSIDC data was arrogant. Perhaps it would be more reasonable to forecast an ice-free Arctic by 2013?
    =====
    I didn’t say it is arrogant, and I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out what I said that may have implied arrogance.

    My money would be on the Arctic being ice-free closer to August 2013 than to your projection of August 2103.

  73. barry says:
    May 24, 2010 at 7:30 am

    “I thought the sea ice recovered last month. Back to normal was the message from WUWT. I see that all indicators show the sea ice extent has dropped below average and is now near 2007 levels for this time of year.

    Can we get an update on whether it has recovered or not?….”
    ______________________________________________________________________
    Barry it is a complex subject with a lot of factors. Air temperature (minor) ocean temperature (major) and most of all WIND. The wind blows the ice out of the arctic circle into the warmer seas where it melts.

    Juraj V. presented some very nice pictures showing the ice extent in May 2007 (the year of the greatest ice melt) and May 2010. The color on the pictures shows the percentage open water vs ice in each area. Notice that the 2010 ice is all deep purple (100% ice) while the 2007 ice had lighter purple areas throughout. This indicates 80% ice/20% open water and the fact the ice was already breaking up. This means the wind could push it out of the arctic circle more easily.

    Here is Juraj V. ‘s pictures: http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html

  74. stevengoddard says:
    May 24, 2010 at 9:11 am
    R. Gates

    Great link thanks. It shows exactly why scientists shouldn’t jump to conclusions about non-linearity based on a one-year blip. I’ll bet the authors regret having written it now.

    _______

    Steve, the very real potential of a non-linearity of Arctic Sea ice loss didn’t change because of the so-called “recovery” of 2008-09 summer sea ice minimum. Arctic Sea Ice volume has shown no such recovery. I’m wondering how you will characterize the summer sea ice minimum if it fails to meet your expectations of a continued recovery above the 2008-09 levels, and in fact, falls back toward the very non-linear level of 2007? You have put a lot of expectations for recovery based simply on more multi-year ice, when your perception of that multi-year ice might be different if you would look at its volume and realize that it is not the “solid core” of ice that it might have been in decades past.

    Finally, I don’t think that Dr. Mark Serreze nor Julienne Stroeve or Don Perovich regret any of their predictions for a non-linear arctic sea ice melt. They may regret not having a precise enough model to predict the exact ups and downs (i.e. 2008-2009 summer melt) within that non-linear and accelerating melt, but I would bet they are still quite confident in the overall downward spiral of arctic sea ice.

  75. @ Bob Tisdale says:
    May 24, 2010 at 7:10 am

    As this is the Arctic, I think it would be safer to go by the AO;

    http://jisao.washington.edu/ao/

    Its positive phase till 2035 will frequently bring low ice extent, except where there are colder winters. I have 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 mapped as hard winters, 2025 till 2038 will be overall very warm. So my long term outlook is completely the opposite to Joe Bastardi`s.

  76. barry says:
    May 24, 2010 at 7:30 am

    “I thought the sea ice recovered last month. Back to normal was the message from WUWT. I see that all indicators show the sea ice extent has dropped below average and is now near 2007 levels for this time of year.

    ____________

    Barry, Arctic sea ice EXTENT almost (but not quite) returned to the 30-year normal line in April, but that gain was almost entirely driven by a persistent low pressure system over the Bering Sea that created a great deal of new and very thin ice. Almost all of that March-April “bump up” in Arctic Sea ice was from this thin ice that formed, and now is just as quickly gone, and we are back once more to the very negative anomaly situation we’ve seen in the past few years (over 1,000,000 sq. km as of today). Also, those grand statements of a “recovery” were only looking at extent, and not volume, which is far more indicative and important to the long term condition of the Arctic sea ice. Bottom line…any insinuation that the Arctic sea ice had returned to some normal conditions would be misleading at best. (with normal being based of the last 30+ plus years of reliable data, and not pictures of submarines coming up) somewhere in the Arctic in the 1950’s)

  77. R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 8:06 am

    “……An ice free Arctic in September of 2065 would be unprecedented in human recorded history, and would have lots of other implications. ….”

    As a disgruntled Icelander mentioned a few weeks ago. Scientist keep ignoring Icelandic history in their claims of “unprecedented warmth.” You just did it again. The Norse history is recorded in their sagas and proof that the sagas were historic has been found.

    Here is the Norse history:
    The Norse in the North Atlantic

    online features
    The Fate of Greenland’s Vikings

    Here are the Greenland temperatures:
    Greenland Ice Core Data

    Your are twisting the facts again.

  78. Gail Combs says:
    May 24, 2010 at 11:21 am
    R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 8:06 am

    “……An ice free Arctic in September of 2065 would be unprecedented in human recorded history, and would have lots of other implications. ….”

    As a disgruntled Icelander mentioned a few weeks ago. Scientist keep ignoring Icelandic history in their claims of “unprecedented warmth.” You just did it again. The Norse history is recorded in their sagas and proof that the sagas were historic has been found.

    Here is the Norse history:
    The Norse in the North Atlantic

    online features
    The Fate of Greenland’s Vikings

    Here are the Greenland temperatures:
    http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/“>Greenland Ice Core Data

    Your are twisting the facts again.

    ____________

    Gail, I really resent being accused of “twisting facts”, but I do appreciate you providing links to fables and stories of the past. There is nothing in any of what you gave me that proves or refutes the scientific claim that an Ice Free Arctic would be a unique event in recorded human history.

  79. jeff brown says:
    May 24, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Probably you are just being willfully obtuse but I think most readers understand that Steven Goddard is just pointing out the absurdity of magnifying the y axis for dramatic purposes and extrapolating trend lines to reach ridiculous or unfounded conclusions. Nowhere in the article do I read that Steven actually thinks these extrapolations are any kind of forecast. Indeed, the article simply reinforces the fact that 30 years of data are insufficient to forecast Arctic ice coverage in the future.

  80. barry says:
    May 24, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Gail,

    There are natural cycles of about 60 yrs (ocean) and 200 yrs (sun), but we only have data for about 30 yrs so there is no way in heck we have a good handle on the natural variability or what the “true average is”.

    If we only have 30 years data, how can you possibly assert there are 60 or 200 year cycles?
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Super easy. The GRAPHS are for the scientific measurement of sea Ice in the Arctic they only go back to the mid 20th century, so THAT data is only available for about 30 years. Other information from proxy, not direct measurement goes back a lot further.

    If you want to pick nits (or lice) how about this graph from Greenland that shows we are in a gradual cooling phase and the last thirty years is just a minor uptick? Greenland GISP2 Ice Core – Interglacial temperature

  81. R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Well, if pre-satellite anecdotal evidence is to be inadmissible, I think it is logical to proscribe the use of the word “normal” as defined by R. Gates (“with normal being based of the last 30+ plus years of reliable data, and not pictures of submarines coming up”). There is no scientific basis for deciding that the observed period is “normal”.

  82. For gosh sakes folks this is just geometry.

    Think of the ice as a wedge. During ice formation, the wedge extends outward at the thin end, but it gets thicker at the thick end. The faster the ice grows over a given period, the more the thin part extends.

    When conditions reverse, the thin part retreats. The faster it grew, the greater the stretch of the thin part of the wedge, so the faster it retreats. The thick part gets thinner too, but we’re not measuring that with extent. However, since it is a wedge, as the thin part retreats it starts to get to a thicker part of the wedge, so the retreat has to slow down.

    We just saw a very sharp advance in extent, meaning an out of proportion increases in the length of the tin edge of the wedge, so we should see a very sharp fall back now. Don’t forget however that the thick part got thicker, so as the retreat runs into that, the retreat will slow.

  83. I believe that the arctic ice extent will hold up better than people think here. the ao is still going negative at the moment as it has been doing all spring.Every year we are told that the ice extent will crash ,this year is no different then.I will wait until September and see what happens.

  84. barry says:
    May 24, 2010 at 10:46 am

    “……Yet Gail asserts with confidence that there are 200-year solar cycles – something I’ve never heard of, and assume comes from, at best, some obscure paper…..”
    ___________________________________________________________________________
    I am amazed! You really were not aware of the 200 year solar cycles?!? It is called the the Wolf-Gleissberg cycle.
    ABSTRACT (from Nature International weekly Journal of Science)
    “Many palaeoclimate records from the North Atlantic region show a pattern of rapid climate oscillations, the so-called Dansgaard–Oeschger events, with a quasi-periodicity of ~1,470 years for the late glacial period. Various hypotheses have been suggested to explain these rapid temperature shifts, including internal oscillations in the climate system and external forcing, possibly from the Sun. But whereas pronounced solar cycles of ~87 and ~210 years are well known, a ~1,470-year solar cycle has not been detected. Here we show that an intermediate-complexity climate model with glacial climate conditions simulates rapid climate shifts similar to the Dansgaard–Oeschger events with a spacing of 1,470 years when forced by periodic freshwater input into the North Atlantic Ocean in cycles of ~87 and ~210 years. We attribute the robust 1,470-year response time to the superposition of the two shorter cycles, together with strongly nonlinear dynamics and the long characteristic timescale of the thermohaline circulation. For Holocene conditions, similar events do not occur. We conclude that the glacial 1,470-year climate cycles could have been triggered by solar forcing despite the absence of a 1,470-year solar cycle.”

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7065/full/nature04121.html

    180 to 200 year cycles (Burroughs 1992) http://virtualacademia.com/pdf/cli267_293.pdf

    Shahinaz M. Yousef of Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, forecast, in 1995 and 1996, that cycles 23 and the following two to three solar cycles are expected to be weak cycles similar to those cycles that occurred around 1800 and 1900. http://www.solen.info/solar/cyclcomp.html
    Implications of Gleissberg cycle http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/COSPAR02/01487/COSPAR02-A-01487.pdf

  85. On the subject of choosing appropriate scales for data display we generally select a scale that most clearly displays the range of the data we are working with. Certainly some climate data are displayed on scales that are purposely meant to exaggerate the effects which can be misleading if not properly explained. We seldom use scales that encompass the total possible range of data as this would often squash the results we are tying to display. A good example is our regular thermometer. We do not use a scale of absolute zero (0K) to say 500K as this would not give us a very good display of our normal daily experienced temperatures.

    Whether the variations in a plot are significant depends on the situation. For the NSIDC data is a 1% or 5% or 10% change significant, I don’t know, I am not an ice expert. But just because a variation is small compared to the absolute range certainly does not imply that it is insignificant. A 4 degree temperature variation on a scale of 0K to 500K may not seem significant most of the time. However, it may be extremely critical at other times. Ask any gardener or fruit grower how important a temperature difference between +2C or -2C is.

  86. I see what you write elsewhere

    Good, I’m glad to see you’ve noticed. There will be more, as your MO is pretty transparent as well. And while you wait to see if this year’s Arctic sea ice gamble will be as lucky as last year’s, I will wait for all of your papers that support the extraordinary conclusions that were pre-released many, many moons ago.

    REPLY: Yes the paper is coming, and in the meantime, you’ve accomplished nothing. You simply hurl insults while hiding behind anonymity, which makes you and your opinion of little value. Be a man, if you believe in what you write, step up there in Passau, Neven and put your name to it like I do. – Anthony

  87. lichanos said on May 24, 2010 at 6:02 am:

    As a parent who has suffered through the ongoing lice epidemic in eastern secondary schools, I can tell you that head lice are terrifying – at any scale.

    In ancient times it was an accepted practice to anoint the head with oil. While this has been given religious significance by biblical references, oil is actually quite effective at blocking the respiration passages along the sides of these tiny critters, like lice and fleas. A few drops of olive oil is an effective treatment of ear mites with cats, for example. Thus oily hair, although preferably regularly combed, is better at keeping lice infestations away than regularly washed clean hair. Our obsession with bodily cleanliness to avert disease is inviting this head lice epidemic.

    Then there is the hair shirt, an uncomfortable itchy garment made from coarse animal hair worn next to the skin. Likewise dating from ancient times, it has been characterized as an instrument of penance, of self-induced suffering for religious purposes like fasting or even self-flagellation. Yet back then, people had to cope with body lice, fleas, ticks and the like, besides dirty and dusty living and working conditions. A hair shirt would seem to be a good counter-irritant that keeps one from noticing the sensation of all those wee beasties crawling on your skin, thus its possible historical use as such deserves consideration.

    The ability of “educated experts” to miss The Big Picture by using our current conditions as a reference frame has many examples and seemingly no upper limit. Speaking about Arctic sea ice…

  88. Joe Bastardi says:
    May 24, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Nature abhors straight lines, and there’s no extra charge for the noise embedded on the resultant sine wave.

  89. “There has been a lot of talk about commercial shipping opportunities through the “soon to be ice free” Arctic.”

    This same sort of talk was around about, oh, 160 years ago.
    Dashing off in anticipation of the Northwest Passage being open at last and all the great benefits of that.

  90. stevengoddard says:
    May 24, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Mark Serreze has apparently placed his bet for 2010

    May 24, 2010 Mark Serreze of the center forecast the ice decline this year would even break 2007’s record.

    Except there is no direct quote, no link – where did they source it?

  91. Anthony, I am surprised at your downgrading comments towards Neven. Why resort to such tactics? Can’t we just discuss the observations? And what those observations imply? The reality is that Steve was wrong in his earlier posts about this “grand” recovery. The negative AO did not bring about the recovery he had hoped for. Obviously we would all hope for a recovery, but that is not the direction the Arctic sea ice has taken in recent years, nor is it true for most climate state variables in the Arctic. The continued evidence of warming in the Arctic is clear, you see it in all the major climate variables. Why not focus on what is causing this warming instead of putting each other down.

    REPLY: Neven is part of a small group of people who “play nice” here, then say the most horrible things about me elsewhere. Troll doesn’t do his MO justice as a description. Like many of his ilk, he does so anonymously, spewing his poisonous opinions without fear of being held accountable. Thus, he gets the label of “coward” and I make no apologies for doing so. He libels me elsewhere, but wants respect for his opinions here. This is the distorted self important view that he carries. I refuse to give him any respect until he debates on the same plane that I operate on, with the same risk of putting your name to your words. If you’ll read my policy page, you’ll see that I describe this as “my home on the Internet”. He’s not the sort of person I would invite into my home again because he has no honor and acts boorishly. – Anthony

  92. rbateman said on May 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm:

    “There has been a lot of talk about commercial shipping opportunities through the “soon to be ice free” Arctic.”

    This same sort of talk was around about, oh, 160 years ago.
    Dashing off in anticipation of the Northwest Passage being open at last and all the great benefits of that.

    Eh, that’s history. There are many willing to risk repeating the mistakes of the past, since obviously they are vastly smarter than those before them thus they are clearly incapable of making those same mistakes. ;-)

  93. R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 11:31 am
    “Gail, I really resent being accused of “twisting facts”, but I do appreciate you providing links to fables and stories of the past. There is nothing in any of what you gave me that proves or refutes the scientific claim that an Ice Free Arctic would be a unique event in recorded human history.”

    Gail is correct, you are twisting the facts by omission.

    It is ridiculous to deny the evidence from many sources that the North Pole has been free of ice on occasion in the past, and to assert that only the modern satellite record has any worth. Next you’ll be claiming that the Medieval Climate Optimum and the Little Ice Age did not exist in your efforts to support your failing beliefs.

    There are no linear trends regarding climate metrics which are the output of processes driven by deterministic chaos. The amount of Arctic sea ice will continue to oscillate up and down in the future as it has in the past, despite your CAGW inspired prophecies of doom.

    The quasi-cyclical nature of Earth’s climate is well illustrated here:-

    1410-1500 cold – Low Solar Activity(LSA?)-(Sporer minimum)
    1510-1600 warm – High Solar Activity(HSA?)
    1610-1700 cold – (LSA) (Maunder minimum)
    1710-1800 warm – (HSA)
    1810-1900 cold – (LSA) (Dalton minimum)
    1910-2000 warm – (HSA)
    2010-2100 (cold???) – (LSA???)

  94. stevengoddard said on May 24, 2010 at 11:37 am:

    Wren,

    Sorry – I was responding to Neven and accidentally put your name at the top.

    Right church, wrong pew.
    :-)

  95. Steve, thank you so much for showing a view of this data as it actually is. Just keep putting it up in articles like this, intellegent people will draw the correct interpretation.

  96. Interesting to see that the most anomalously warm temperatures for the month of May (7oC) are actually in the Laptev and E. Siberian seas whereas most of the “rotten” ice seems to be in the Kara and Barents Seas. Yet there is a large polynya forming in the Laptev Sea right now. Given that temperatures in this region are approaching 0C, I think the melt season is going to start to advance even quicker…

  97. A good cherry pick is this one:

    “It has been cooling since 2002!”

    Considering that, of the last four decades, each one has been warmer than the previous.

  98. stevengoddard says:
    May 24, 2010 at 4:45 am

    Ric Werme says:
    May 24, 2010 at 5:49 am

    it’s warmer in alaska than it is in california, where we just got 6-8″ of global warming.

    yes, we are in the mountains, but that forecast is ~30F below normal. all of april and may have been a steady 20F below normal with clouds and wind, with the occasional day near normal. the local lakes were persistently frozen a full 4 weeks more the usual, and we have another 6-12″ of snow in the forecast. it’s nearly june.

    but nasa reassures me that it was the warmest april and may on record… after they took my local temps, and than ran them through their algorithm matching them to a station on the tarmac in san jose, no doubt.

  99. wayne says:
    May 24, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Steve, thank you so much for showing a view of this data as it actually is. Just keep putting it up in articles like this, intellegent people will draw the correct interpretation.

    ————————————
    It’s good to show the data as it actually is, but too bad Steve drew the wrong conclusions from it. BTW Steve, there is actually less multiyear ice in the Beaufort Sea this year than in 2007…so it’s not likely that the Beaufort Sea will be seeing any recovery. Perhaps the Chukchi Sea might…but then again, having old ice that far south is probably not a good thing.

  100. @Gail Combs says:
    May 24, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Gleissberg is more like 89.8yrs, but like the 179yr cycle, it has a slip, so it only runs typically a few steps before it fades, and pops up later on a longer cycle. 1475yrs is bogus, c.1150yrs fits observed warm and cold periods over the complete Holocene far better, and is 1 quarter of the time between Heinrich events, at 4627.33yrs astronomically. There a large number of papers on 204yr or 206yr solar cycles, 204yrs is more relevant astronically, and also is in tune with the 17yr coronal hole cycle {12x17yrs} ;

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1998SoPh..183..201J

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/2003ESASP.517..275G

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/p00955r885255112/

  101. I can see some people have their “satellite era” blinders on. It is a meme that is consistent among pro-AGW posters. Focusing on a minute section of a sine wave will not help you see what the sine wave looks like.

  102. Tenuc says:
    May 24, 2010 at 1:22 pm
    R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 11:31 am
    “Gail, I really resent being accused of “twisting facts”, but I do appreciate you providing links to fables and stories of the past. There is nothing in any of what you gave me that proves or refutes the scientific claim that an Ice Free Arctic would be a unique event in recorded human history.”

    Gail is correct, you are twisting the facts by omission.

    It is ridiculous to deny the evidence from many sources that the North Pole has been free of ice on occasion in the past….

    _______________

    First of all, nope, I’m not “twisting” anything by any errors of omission. Secondly, an ice free North Pole, is an entirely different circumstance than an ice free Arctic, and there is not one shred of scientific evidence to show that the ENTIRE ARCTIC was ice free in recorded human history, as there would be no way of knowing that until the modern satellite era.

    Thirdly, I think it will be most interesting to see how the AGW skeptics spin the story if the 2010 sea ice continues on its current trajectory…and goes back down towards the low set in 2007. What will they come up with this time?

  103. davidmhoffer says:
    May 24, 2010 at 11:58 am
    For gosh sakes folks this is just geometry.

    Think of the ice as a wedge. During ice formation, the wedge extends outward at the thin end, but it gets thicker at the thick end. The faster the ice grows over a given period, the more the thin part extends.

    When conditions reverse, the thin part retreats. The faster it grew, the greater the stretch of the thin part of the wedge, so the faster it retreats. The thick part gets thinner too, but we’re not measuring that with extent. However, since it is a wedge, as the thin part retreats it starts to get to a thicker part of the wedge, so the retreat has to slow down.

    We just saw a very sharp advance in extent, meaning an out of proportion increases in the length of the tin edge of the wedge, so we should see a very sharp fall back now. Don’t forget however that the thick part got thicker, so as the retreat runs into that, the retreat will slow.

    _____________

    David, there is great usefulness in measuring the total volume of this “wedge” as you refer to it. If the total volume of the wedge is lower, then both the thin and the thick parts will melt faster. Also, your assumption that the “thick parts got thicker” has no basis to it, especially this past winter of a negative AO index when the arctic was so warm as the cold air was pushed south. The best model we currently have for arctic sea ice volume says just the opposite, that the thick parts of your wedge (i.e. multi-year ice) did not thicken up as much as they have in years past.

  104. jeff brown,

    You have described a chicken and egg problem, suggesting that you can’t get multi-year ice unless you already have multi-year ice.

  105. Wren says:
    May 24, 2010 at 8:48 am

    “Since extent measures only the ice’s surface area, what do we know about changes in its thickness or volume that might suggest when it will become thin enough to disappear for part of the year?”

    ___________

    I would refer you to:

    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/zhang/IDAO/multi.html

    Go to the bottom of the page where several different volume based models are presented.

    Volume based models are showing the Arctic ice free for the first time anywhere from 2020 to 2070.

  106. I did a quick “google” for Beaufort Sea and Ice breakers.

    Amazing how many ice breakers have been there in the past few years. Every thing from studying polar bears, to oil and gas, military, to even studying the Beaufort Gyre.

    Wonder if that many ice breakers, breaking up that much ice, with the prevailing winds………

    ……..could have had any effect

  107. Steve, you can get MYI either by not melting out the FYI during summer, or by transporting MYI into a region that previously didn’t have any MYI. The reality is the Arctic remains MYI poor…and some of what was there, was exported into the Chukchi where it can melt this summer.

    Time to start paying attention to what is actually happening to the Arctic sea ice cover rather than trying to spin your belief system that it’s recovered and everything is fine.

  108. R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 11:31 am
    “Gail, I really resent being accused of “twisting facts”, but I do appreciate you providing links to fables and stories of the past. There is nothing in any of what you gave me that proves or refutes the scientific claim that an Ice Free Arctic would be a unique event in recorded human history.”
    ___________________________________________________________________

    First Norse is a written language similar to Icelandic and therefore can still be read. Second there were Catholic priests in Greenland and a church starting with Eric the Red the founder. “Erik’s farm, Brattahlid .. revealed the remains of a church…” That is why it can be stated “…24 boatloads of land-hungry settlers who set out from Iceland in the summer of 986 to colonize new territory explored several years earlier by the vagabond and outlaw, Erik the Red…” This could be stated because of the catholic calender and a WRITTEN language.

    Here is the actual comment I orginally referred to.
    L says:
    October 26, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Back in the ’60′s when I studied Scandinavian literature, the whole first semester was spent on Icelandic sagas, not just Snorri Sturluson’s masterful “Njal’s Saga,” but on others like the sagas of “Eric the Red” and “Leif the Lucky.” It is in these that we find Vikings visiting North America proper and meeting with a hostile reception from the “Skraelings,” surely Amerinds. These are great ‘reads.’

    Lest anyone think these are mere myths, recall that in the year 1000, Iceland was, by far, the most literate and democratic country in the world, hardly fertile ground for growing fairy tales. The Icelandic “Althing” (935?) is the oldest parliament on Earth.

    Anyway, back then there was no question about the loss of Greenland. Very simply, climate change. As the colder climate crept southward, agriculture had to be abandoned. At the same time, increased sea ice cut off contact with Iceland and the project was finished. Whether most of the Greenlanders fled back to Iceland in time is an open question, but those who didn’t were thought to have been overwhelmed by Inuit, also fleeing the advancing cold.

    Some of the Norse may have been absorbed by the incoming natives, some simply massacred. Back in the ’60′s the end was thought to have come in the late 15th Century, ironically just about the time Europeans were ‘discovering’ the Americas for what, they thought, was the first time.

    What’s of value is that the entire Greenland saga illustrates the undeniable fact of natural climate change of a major amplitude well within historic times and well before CO2 had even been invented. Nothing new under the Sun.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/26/on-the-vikings-and-greenland/#comment-212035

    Don E says:
    October 26, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Also in the sagas are the routes taken to North America during a 300-year period to harvest lumber. They sailed north along the coast, crossed over in calmer waters and then headed south along the coast. The longer route was safer than the direct route with loaded cargo ships. That route would be very difficult today because of the ice. They could estimate latitude fairly well. Their description of the flora and fauna does not match estimated latitude in today’s terms. It was greener farther north 1,000 years ago.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/26/on-the-vikings-and-greenland/#comment-212368

    This shows we still have copies of church entries from that area in the 1100’s

    http://sacredtexts.gang.pk/neu/nda/nda09.htm

    You might then like to look at the Dorset people. It is thought the remnants of the Greenland Norse fleeing the re-glaciation of Greenland crossbred with the Dorset people to produce the unique Thule people, ancestors of the modern Eskimo.

    The Dorset were wiped out because of the loss of sea ice. They hunted using holes in the ice and could not adapt to the warmer climate.

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Dorset_culture

    So recorded history – CHECK
    major loss of sea ice – CHECK
    2010-986=1024 or
    2010-1121=889 Against the year 1121 we find the entry: “Bishop Eric of Greenland went in search of Wineland

    Looking at the graph we find during that time span the temperature in Greenland is a full 2C warmer than today.

    You are saying we are about to have an ice free arctic summer eminently because of global warming, so how can you say a 2C warmer Greenland in 889 – 1121 did not have an ice free arctic for at least a few summers or more likely most of the time???

    Therefore during recorded history, of which we have at least some remnants, the probability of at least one ice free arctic summer approaches certainty.

  109. R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    It’s the model, the whole model, and nothing but the model.
    Rice paper, balsam wood and glue.
    Models that cannot show anything but warming amplifications and feedbacks are less than useless.
    Just look at the blown forecasts from NOAA and the MET.
    In a computerized dream world, all roads lead to warming.
    Surely you realize how surreal that is.

  110. skye says:
    May 24, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    “Anthony, I am surprised at your downgrading comments towards Neven. Why resort to such tactics? Can’t we just discuss the observations? And what those observations imply? The reality is that Steve was wrong in his earlier posts about this “grand” recovery. The negative AO did not bring about the recovery he had hoped for. Obviously we would all hope for a recovery, but that is not the direction the Arctic sea ice has taken in recent years, nor is it true for most climate state variables in the Arctic. The continued evidence of warming in the Arctic is clear, you see it in all the major climate variables. Why not focus on what is causing this warming instead of putting each other down.”
    ________________________________________________________________________
    It took twenty to thirty years to get to the “decline in sea ice” we see today. You expect a complete recovery in a year or two? I would expect it to take several years for the multi-year ice to build back up to the levels seen in the sixties and seventies. On the other hand I am not looking forward to frostbite again.

    Anthony has info on the identity of people who post that we do not. Given the nasty trick played on him by so called reputable scientists who stole his data and published it, I am not surprised he might “resort to such tactics” Anthony at least publishes their comments instead of using censorship like others we know of do.

    By “resorting to such tactics” Anthony gives us a clue to the ID of Neven. He is a “global warming…” I do not want to insult my less fortunate sisters who are forced to sell their bodies by comparison. My sisters at least are not knowingly trying to wreck the economies of several countries to line their pockets.

  111. Steve Goddard: September will be ice free by the year 2065

    Steve Goddard: (Note that September 2009 was right on the trend line.)

    Steve Goddard: And even more interesting to me is the fact that September, 2007 was really not that interesting. It was only 1.5 standard deviations off the trend line, i.e. almost following the 30 year trend.

    That is interesting. September 2009 was not interesting. Neither was September 2007. Both were within 2sd of a decreasing 30 year trend. Decreasing ice extent is the new normal

    You heard it right here on WUWT.

  112. “”” skye says:
    May 24, 2010 at 9:56 am
    George E. Smith says:
    May 24, 2010 at 9:51 am

    The real skinny is that indeed, there are earlier satellite observations and have been used in data sets such as the Had1SST data set. Basically observations from 1953 onwards are the most reliable. “””

    I would hope so; specially since Sputnik only went up around 1957; so those 1953 satellite observations must have been ETs. I was actually around in time to make an orbit prediction; excuse me; projection for Sputnik; on about its third day in orbit; all based on nothing but timed radio observations of its beep signals. That was good enough to turn out half the population of Auckland that evening to watch it go straight overhead right on cue. I went out myself the next night and saw it; I was hedging my bets perhaps.
    That’s why I don’t make predictions; excus4e me; projections about the future any more.

  113. R. Gates;
    Also, your assumption that the “thick parts got thicker” has no basis to it, especially this past winter of a negative AO index when the arctic was so warm as the cold air was pushed south>>

    If its cold enough to make ice, then the thick parts got thicker. I’m talking close to the edge of the ice extent. Since sea water must fall to the freezing point right to the bottom before ice can form on top (unlike fresh water) the formation of ice on the surface implies that the water beneath and the air above were both at low enough temperature to support thickening. My point however stands. Rapidly increasing ice extent implies large grow of thin ice, and so we should expect that when the melt season begins we see rapid retreat that will slow as thicker ice is encountered. That’s why the JAXA graphs all seem to converge about this time of year. The real story won’t be told until months from now when we see how the combination of AO and falling OHC affect early winter ice formation.

  114. IPCC4 AR4 WG1 Summary for Policymakers

    Sea ice is projected to shrink in both the Arctic and
    Antarctic under all SRES scenarios. In some projections,
    arctic late-summer sea ice disappears almost entirely
    by the latter part of the 21st century.
    {10.3}

    Interesting times when the skeptics and the alarmists are whistling the same tune.

  115. rbateman says:
    May 24, 2010 at 4:10 pm
    R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    It’s the model, the whole model, and nothing but the model.
    Rice paper, balsam wood and glue.
    Models that cannot show anything but warming amplifications and feedbacks are less than useless.
    Just look at the blown forecasts from NOAA and the MET.
    In a computerized dream world, all roads lead to warming.
    Surely you realize how surreal that is.

    ___________________

    I fully realize the limitations of models, especially when they are dealing with chaotic elements, but being at 75% “warmist” I also realize that the basic physics behind the GH forcing of CO2 is also sound, though I know many skeptics would even doubt this.
    I don’t expect models to predict little wiggles due to general climate variability, but they sure ought to predict general trends. AGW show a slow spiraling down of Arctic Sea ice, and even show years similar to 2008 and 2009 when the minimum goes up, but they just can’t tell you the specific years that we’ll see “bumps up” in the general trend down. Again, models are all about trends, not specifics, and these trends cover decades, not a few year stretch here and there. One of the most telling things for me is that AGW skeptics jumped all over the fact that 2008 and 2009 showed modest recovery of sorts in sea ice extent, as though it invalidated the models. The models were never meant to predict the sea ice extent in any specific season.

    I currently think the models certainly can use more and more refinement, as additional positive and negative feedback factors need to be discovered and incorporated into them, but at least currently, I don’t think they are just a computerized dream world, as I think their general predictive value for long term trends seems valid. However, being a 25% skeptic, if we don’t see a new summer arctic sea minimum by 2015 at the latest, I’ll begin to doubt the basic validity of the AGW models, and my skepticism may go back up. I don’t currently believe that’s going to happen, as we could see a new summer minimum as early as this year, though my current projection calls for the minimum to hit just slightly more than 2007’s low at abouit 4.5 million sq. km based on JAXA data…but if the current early rapid melt continues, I may have to revise that projection downward…

  116. Gail Combs said:

    “What’s of value is that the entire Greenland saga illustrates the undeniable fact of natural climate change of a major amplitude well within historic times and well before CO2 had even been invented. Nothing new under the Sun.”

    ________

    I certainly don’t dispute the fact of natural climate change of a major amplitude within historic times…i.e. the MWP. My original comment only referred to an ice free arctic. There is no solid evidence to support the notion that the MWP got warm enough to cause the whole of the arctic to be ice free. It would take a satellite image to prove that, as even Eric the Red, or Leif Ericson, or whomever, would have no way of knowing the condition of the ice across the whole of arctic. My point- that an ice free arctic would be unique in human recorded history is valid, and would be disputed by very very few experts, “warmist” or “skeptic”.

  117. Steve, it is simply that you spent so much time in previous posts talking about recovery (that wasn’t based on an honest assessment of the conditions in the Arctic) that I am ‘frantic’ as you say. I don’t like biases and mis-information on either side of the debate.

  118. Gail Combs, May 24, 2010 at 3:58 pm,

    That was a fine post, and it ended with that great Jo Nova sine wave chart. Since all this has happened before, it reinforces the theory that what we see today is fully explained by natural climate variability. There is no need to add extraneous entities like CO2 trace gases to explain what we observe.

    And re: the Neven comment. WUWT does not censor, but I would fully support banning those few commenters who say the vilest things about Anthony and WUWT on their own blogs, then come here all kissy-face to spread their globaloney. Being someone who wears his heart on his sleeve, I don’t think much of sycophants who smile ingratiatingly at you when you’re around, then slander you behind your back.

  119. R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Show me the model that can account for ‘cooling’ without killing all Life on Earth.
    i.e. – stripping the planet of all forms of Carbon, or lowering C02 to the point where photosynthesis collapses.
    Second, run the volume models backward to 1800 or even 1700 and let’s see how much Artic Ice there is.
    Third, account for the current increase of Antarctic Ice. Is Antartic ice growing due to lack of C02?
    It’s hard to back up a vehicle that only has a forward gear.
    Last, are you familiar with the natural law of diminishing returns?

    You see, R. Gates, when writing software, all contingencies must be accounted for. Models are software.
    I see Climate as Event Based, just like Windows. You have to be able to handle all events that a user is apt to do, else the program crashes. I also see Weather as an instance of the Class of Climate with a vast collection of input variables: It can bore you to tears or knock you on your duff.
    I don’t see Climate Models as being anything near the reality of Climate, and just barely Weather.

  120. If an Arctic free scenario depends on increased longwave re-radiation happening somewhere, then for the Arctic to melt, you have three choices, one being in situ, the other 2 being externally sourced. 1) More re-radiation sourced IN THE ARCTIC itself from greater concentrations of CO2 THERE causing increasing atmospheric temperatures in situ thus melting the ice, 2) warmer ocean currents carrying warmer waters heated up by re-radiation from OTHER locations on the globe (IE stored heat) thus melting the ice, or 3) CO2 heated air circulating into the Arctic from OTHER locations thus melting the ice.

    What is the mechanism for each of these and are the mechanisms plausible under Arctic conditions?

  121. wildred

    I’m pretty sure the Arctic has recovered from the “death spiral” “ice free” conditions forecast by experts between 2008 and 2013.

  122. Please discuss only the mechanisms that would be more powerful than natural variations, such as natural changes in the PDO, AMO, and AO.

  123. Gail Combs says:
    May 24, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Can we get an update on whether it has recovered or not?….”

    Barry it is a complex subject with a lot of factors.

    The whole ‘recovery’ nonsense is based on a few months data. As a blog committed to questioning (if not outright rubbishing) climate change science, implicit in the meme of ‘sea-ice recovery‘ is the notion that global warming is overwrought, and the sea ice is following a cyclical pattern. In terms of climate, there has been no ‘recovery’ – that would take years to establish. Indeed, Arctic sea ice ‘recovers’ every winter. We expect variability to sometimes bring us a few days or weeks of sea ice cover close to or even above the baseline. That is weather, and that is what you talk about in the rest of your reply.

    Arctic sea ice will start to ‘recover’ in March next year. It may touch baseline values through the season. But that will tell us absolutely nothing about climatic trends. I put my above questions to Steve hoping he would acknowledge that. Almost every time he posts about recovery or ‘normal’ conditions, he fails to distinguish between weather and climate, and this, unfortunately, misleads uncritical readers, as evidenced fulsomely in the comments sections beneath each of those posts. The message, witfully or otherwise, is – “back to normal – so much for global warming.” That echoes down the comments, never corrected, except by occasional posters, whose useful observations are usually met with a hail of red-herrings.

  124. George E. Smith says:
    May 24, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Now I recently got jumped all over for making that same allegation; well I put is slightly differently, in saying that the first polar orbit satellites went up around 1979. So Phil and barefootgirl jumped all over that and said it was 1961 (Tiros-1 or somesuch).

    So what is the real skinny; could Tiros-1 take arctic sea ice pictures or not; and if so why doesn’t the satellite data go back to 1961 ?

    So does the peer reviewed widely accepted satellite arctic sea ice data start in 1979 or doesn’t it ?

    I don’t have authoritative answers for you, but I do have some notes that might help other Googlers.

    Tiros was a polar orbiter with an IR camera and video tape. Images were printed on paper at ground stations. 450 miles altitude. So 16 orbits per day (half looking at night view), 32 passes per day, it would need to see a 750 mile wide band to image the whole planet over the course of a day. Plausible. Launched April 1, 1960. Worked for 78 days. 3 wavelengths, in 1970 satellites had 5 wavelengths to sense.

    http://www.space.com/news/spacehistory/tiros_anniversary_000330.html

    Ah, good info at http://science.nasa.gov/missions/tiros/

    TIROS-5: “TIROS-5 pictures were the best to date, including the observation of ice break-up at northern latitudes.

    TIROS-6: “conducted the first satellite experiments to detect snow cover from space.” (1962)

    TIROS-9: “The first photomosaic of the entire world’s cloud-cover was achieved via a composite of 450 photos taken on February 13, 1965.”

    TIROS-N/NOAA Program — 1978-1986
    “The TIROS-N/NOAA Program (Television InfraRed Operational Satellite – Next-generation) was NASA’s next step in improving the operational capability of the TIROS system first tried in the 1960’s and the ITOS/NOAA system of the 1970’s”

    “TIROS-N was an experimental satellite which carried an Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) to provide day and night cloud top and sea surface temperatures, as well as ice and snow conditions; an atmospheric sounding system (TOVS – TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder) to provide vertical profiles of temperature and water vapor from the Earth’s surface to the top of the atmosphere….”

    So, I’m still not sure if the pre TIROS-N satellites could image ice cover, and if they could, if anyone measured it. (Or transferred the data to digital files to be manipulated into something easy to work with.)

    Given the amount and type of old data NASA has lost (e.g. good movie film
    recordings of astronauts on the Moon), I would be very surprised if much of
    the early TIROS images exist today.

  125. Pamela Gray says:
    May 24, 2010 at 7:32 pm
    If an Arctic free scenario depends on increased longwave re-radiation happening somewhere, then for the Arctic to melt, you have three choices, one being in situ, the other 2 being externally sourced. 1) More re-radiation sourced IN THE ARCTIC itself from greater concentrations of CO2 THERE causing increasing atmospheric temperatures in situ thus melting the ice, 2) warmer ocean currents carrying warmer waters heated up by re-radiation from OTHER locations on the globe (IE stored heat) thus melting the ice, or 3) CO2 heated air circulating into the Arctic from OTHER locations thus melting the ice.

    What is the mechanism for each of these and are the mechanisms plausible under Arctic conditions?

    Measured downwelling longwave radiation in the vicinity of the N Pole from April to September is ~300W/m^2.

  126. Sorry about the formatting last post.

    Gail Combs says:
    May 24, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I am amazed! You really were not aware of the 200 year solar cycles?!? It is called the the Wolf-Gleissberg cycle.

    The Wolf-Gleissberg cycle I’m familiar with is usually described as an 80 – 100 year cycle. Half the references you cited concur with that (~80 year cycle). For example:

    There are evidences for the modulation of the amplitude of the 11 year solar cycle in a period of about 80 years known as Wolf-Gleissberg cycle.

    http://virtualacademia.com/pdf/cli267_293.pdf (this is the full online version)

    While the Nature paper you cited posits a well-known ~200-year cycle, there aren’t many references for it – but I did read up some on this (called the De Vries, or Suess cycle). Thanks for the references.

    [edit while composing post]

    I was a bit confused by your description of the PDO as a 60-year cycle. It’s normally described as a 30-year cycle, in line with the phase shifts.

    As for the Wolf-Gleissberg cycle, the last minimum was around 1997 – in antiphase with 20 years of global warming – most of that confirmed by satellite data. It would appear to have a very weak influence on climate. I note that your references (two by the same author) posit a climatic influence at the point of phase shift. I can see no correlation to global temperatures. Wolf-Gleissberg is described as a ‘weak’ cycle. The ~11-year (or ~22-year) sun spot cycle is described as a ‘strong’ cycle.

  127. It’s looking like the sea ice extent that was so high this past winter could end up the lowest in 10+ years come September.

  128. This is the most important part of Anthony’s reply to skye regarding NEVEN’s behavior: “because he has no honor. “

  129. Ron Broberg

    Yes, if the NSIDC 30 year linear trend continues, the Arctic will have brief periods free of sea ice by the end of the century.

    However, I don’t that is realistic. In 2008, the North Pole started out with first year ice, and it never melted. It will be very difficult to make the ice north of 85 degrees completely melt.

  130. stevengoddard says:
    May 24, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    wildred

    I’m pretty sure the Arctic has recovered from the “death spiral” “ice free” conditions forecast by experts between 2008 and 2013.
    ———————————
    what on Earth are you talking about? No one said ice-free conditions in 2008 and there is only 1 out of many Arctic scientists who talk about ice-free in summers by 2013. Please try to keep your comments based in truth and reality.

  131. #
    stevengoddard says:
    May 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Ron Broberg

    Yes, if the NSIDC 30 year linear trend continues, the Arctic will have brief periods free of sea ice by the end of the century.

    However, I don’t that is realistic. In 2008, the North Pole started out with first year ice, and it never melted. It will be very difficult to make the ice north of 85 degrees completely melt.
    ————————–
    Not unless SSTs continue to warm together with air temperatures. Also remember thinner ice is more easily moved around the Arctic, so it could also be transported away from the pole by strong winds, transported to more southerly locations where it could melt out. To assume that the North Pole will never melt out, would imply that you don’t think the North Pole has ever been ice free. Is that what you believe?

  132. skye says:
    May 24, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I kinda agree – people usually think confidential info isn’t going to be exposed, and that’s what’s being used with either their IP or e-mail address… I guess Anthony feels people who disagree are the enemy and deserve it? I recall it happening once before too, and it bothered me then.

    REPLY: There’s no confidential info here, he’s not even using a real name. – A

  133. nedhead,

    You might try actually reading the article before you rant about it. The link is right in the text.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-03/01/content_7696460.htm

    Expert: Arctic polar cap may disappear this summer
    http://www.chinaview.cn 2008-03-01 13:48:06   Print
    OSLO, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) — The polar cap in the Arctic may well disappear this summer due to the global warming, Dr. Olav Orheim, head of the Norwegian International Polar Year Secretariat, said on Friday.

  134. slightly OT but I was looking at cryosphere where they have sea ice extent graphed by season since 1900:

    I expected the major NH temperature rise from 1920 to 1950 to show up as a decline in sea ice extent. Much to my surprise, fall and winter are both flat but sea ice from spring and summer appeared to have INCREASED year over year. Now I’d be really curious to know what processes made THAT happen!

  135. Vincent says:
    May 24, 2010 at 5:00 am
    …. So we’ll have to put up with alarmist bleatings for another 10-15 years? Groan!

    We’ve been hearing “alarmist bleatings” since before civilization really got rolling. The “END OF THE WORLD” is a perennially popular motif in fiction and in forecasts and was since before writing was invented: Christian myth, Norse myth, Mahabharata, Mayan myth, Aztec myth, the clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists… Humanity has a naturally apocalyptic bent. Maybe it allows people to adapt to change more readily when they are imagining how much worse it will be in a little while.

  136. #
    Ulric Lyons says:
    May 24, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    @Gail Combs says:
    May 24, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Gleissberg is more like 89.8yrs, but like the 179yr cycle, it has a slip, so it only runs typically a few steps before it fades, and pops up later on a longer cycle…..
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Ulric, Thanks. I used the “200” yr cycle since it includes the oscillation in the ” 90 “yr cycle and many authors lump them together. I was really surprised he did not have at least a passing acquaintance with the longer solar cycles given we maybe staring down the throat of a grand minimum.

  137. latitude says:
    May 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I did a quick “google” for Beaufort Sea and Ice breakers.

    Amazing how many ice breakers have been there in the past few years. Every thing from studying polar bears, to oil and gas, military, to even studying the Beaufort Gyre.

    Wonder if that many ice breakers, breaking up that much ice, with the prevailing winds………

    ……..could have had any effect
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Just what I was thinking. Sort of like the difference between crushed ice and ice cubes in a drink.

    I actually did a thesis on a similar subject. The amount of surface area exposed to the water was the biggest factor according to my repeated lab experiments.

    Juraj V. ‘s pictures show the ice is more intact this year than it was in 2007. It will be interesting to see if that makes any difference this year.

  138. Best pray that we do not keep the entire arctic ice cap all summer. That is the necessary precursor for a plunge into the next glaciation of our present ice age. As soon as the ice does not melt in summer, we enter the only ‘tipping point’ we’ve got; and that’s the tip to cold.

  139. R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 5:06 pm
    “….I certainly don’t dispute the fact of natural climate change of a major amplitude within historic times…i.e. the MWP. My original comment only referred to an ice free arctic. There is no solid evidence to support the notion that the MWP got warm enough to cause the whole of the arctic to be ice free. It would take a satellite image to prove that, as even Eric the Red, or Leif Ericson, or whomever, would have no way of knowing the condition of the ice across the whole of arctic. My point- that an ice free arctic would be unique in human recorded history is valid, and would be disputed by very very few experts, “warmist” or “skeptic”.”
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Gates, these were seafarers and they hunted on the seas, of course they were aware of the sea ice.

    “…..When the Norsemen arrived in Greenland, they had the island and its waters to themselves. Now they had to contend with the Inuit, who were competing with them for animal resources. This was especially true in the Nordseta, the Greenlanders’ traditional summer hunting grounds 240 miles north of the Eastern Settlement. For years the Norsemen had been traveling to the area; they killed the walruses, narwahls, and polar bears they needed for trade with Europe and for payment of Church tithes and royal taxes. They also boiled seal blubber, filled skin bags with the oil, and gathered valuable driftwood……Upright stones divided the cow stalls; a whale shoulder blade (white partition on right) also served as a divider…” http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/

    “…The settlers found that the area to the north of the Western Settlement, called the Nordseta, was good for hunting, fishing and gathering driftwood. A stone inscribed with runes has been found telling that in 1333, three Greenlanders wintered on the island of Kingigtorssuaq just below 73 degrees north. There is also evidence of voyages to the Canadian arctic. Two cairns have been discovered in Jones Sound above 76 degrees North and two more have been found on Washington Irving Island at 79 degrees north….” http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/vikings/Greenland.html

    For you information Washington Irving Island is at the entrance to Dobbin Bay, eastern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada See themap and notice this area is well within the arctic circle and not that far from the north pole and certainly within the Beaufort Sea Gyro.

  140. barry says:
    May 24, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Gail Combs says:
    May 24, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Can we get an update on whether it has recovered or not?….”

    Barry it is a complex subject with a lot of factors.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Barry, I do think the arctic ice will eventually recover. However right now it is a crap shoot for this year. I do not think you are going to see a real fast recovery because there is a heck of a lot of water on this planet.

    The one thing I will say is the weather patterns have definitely changed. Normally I see snow once every five years, this year it snowed five times. April is normally very wet. This year April was a drought, I think it rained once. Normally May is hot. In 2004 twenty days were over 90F and at least three were 98F. This year we had a temp as low as 35F and the high so far is 91, yesterday the high for the day was 73F. This type of change from the norm is reported from all over. You are looking at a change in not only temperature patterns but also precipitation patterns. From what I have read a glacial age has wet, not particularly cold winters and cool summers. A change in precipitation is just as important as a change in temperature and that goes for arctic sea ice too.

    Joe Bastardi has a better record than the Met so I suggest you look at what he says.

  141. davidmhoffer says:
    May 24, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    slightly OT but I was looking at cryosphere where they have sea ice extent graphed by season since 1900:

    I expected the major NH temperature rise from 1920 to 1950 to show up as a decline in sea ice extent. Much to my surprise, fall and winter are both flat but sea ice from spring and summer appeared to have INCREASED year over year. Now I’d be really curious to know what processes made THAT happen!
    ___________________________________________________________________________

    That graph does looks a bit weird. You might want to look at the temperatures from this http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Scientific/Arctic.htm

  142. Gail Combs,

    Glacial ages are dryer, not wetter. This is because much more moisture is tied up in ice sheets and glaciers. It is the hotter periods that are wetter. This is why higher precipitation is predicted (for the globe in general; local effects will obviously vary) as the globe warms.

  143. (Although as the earth moves into a glacial period, there is more precipitation at northern latitudes and at high altitude – this is what builds the glaciers and ice sheets, I guess.)

  144. @Gail Combs says:
    May 25, 2010 at 12:51 am
    “the longer solar cycles given we maybe staring down the throat of a grand minimum.”

    Don`t panic! The return of a Stuiver type minimum is from around 2120AD, and a stronger cluster of LIA type minmums from around 2450AD. This century will have some notable cold episodes, such as the 2014-2020/3 period aproaching, but some very warm episodes too. Using the periodicity of a Heinrich event look back (4627yrs), we are at the equivalent of the end of Maximum12:

    http://www.geo.arizona.edu/palynology/geos462/holobib.html

    it would then follow on this basis, that there are some very warm times happening over the next few hundred years. I can confirm any of this at monthly detail in any given year by the heliocentric planetary configurations which drive the solar variations, the look back method will give a general picture though.

  145. David Gould

    Glacial periods don’t have a huge impact on the surface area of the oceans. The fact that there is more water “tied up in glaciers” shouldn’t make a lot of difference to the amount of water in the atmosphere. However, lower temperatures will reduce humidity.

  146. David Gould says:
    May 25, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Gail Combs,

    Glacial ages are dryer, not wetter. This is because much more moisture is tied up in ice sheets and glaciers. It is the hotter periods that are wetter. This is why higher precipitation is predicted (for the globe in general; local effects will obviously vary) as the globe warms.
    __________________________________________________________________________
    Your are correct during full glaciation the water gets tied up and it is dryer. I am sorry I was not clear, I was only talking about the transition into a period of glaciation and not the time of full glaciation. http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/usgsnps/glacier/glform1.html

  147. Ulric Lyons says:
    May 25, 2010 at 5:15 am

    @Gail Combs says:
    May 25, 2010 at 12:51 am
    “the longer solar cycles given we maybe staring down the throat of a grand minimum.”

    Don`t panic! The return of a Stuiver type minimum is from around 2120AD, and a stronger cluster of LIA type minmums from around 2450AD. ….
    __________________________________________________________________________
    I’m not I bought insurance, a farm in the south with a good water supply. (snicker) Actually after winters in upstate NY and NH, I just got sick of shoveling snow.

    This by the way is a pretty good write up on the periods of NA glaciation and the climate for laymen NORTH AMERICA DURING THE LAST 150,000
    YEARS

    My farm was in a mixed forest area during glaciation 28,000-25,000 years ago.

    Here is a really interesting find in Mexico they found ancient pollen inside the selenite crystals. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/crystal-giants/shea-text

  148. Gail Combs says:
    May 25, 2010 at 1:46 am
    R. Gates says:
    May 24, 2010 at 5:06 pm
    “….I certainly don’t dispute the fact of natural climate change of a major amplitude within historic times…i.e. the MWP. My original comment only referred to an ice free arctic. There is no solid evidence to support the notion that the MWP got warm enough to cause the whole of the arctic to be ice free. It would take a satellite image to prove that, as even Eric the Red, or Leif Ericson, or whomever, would have no way of knowing the condition of the ice across the whole of arctic. My point- that an ice free arctic would be unique in human recorded history is valid, and would be disputed by very very few experts, “warmist” or “skeptic”.”
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Gates, these were seafarers and they hunted on the seas, of course they were aware of the sea ice.

    ____________

    Gail, yes, I agree, they were aware of sea ice, but certainly had no way of knowing what the conditions were over the whole of the Arctic.

  149. Few have responded to my proposed questions so here is one source to talk about ideas related to in situ causes of the oft heralded death spiral. Given this information, which variable(s) in the equation provided have changed in the last 100 years? And what was the source of that change?

    http://nsidc.org/arcticmet/factors/radiation.html

  150. There is a lot of talk about massive albedo changes if Arctic ice melts away. But just this last winter, as we saw on WUWT many times, most of the northern hemisphere was covered with snow and ice for extended periods, yet there was no dramatic climate shift as a result. Indeed, the albedo change was a RESULT of a climate shift to a colder regime, not a cause of said shift. And since Arctic ice is not in direct sunlight for very long at all, any albedo benefits/banes would be very small.

    To me, the fact of not much change due to the massive albedo change this last winter means the climate is not very sensitive to changes within, but is very sensitive to external changes (distance to and output from the sun.)

  151. Pamela Gray says:
    May 25, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Few have responded to my proposed questions so here is one source to talk about ideas related to in situ causes of the oft heralded death spiral. Given this information, which variable(s) in the equation provided have changed in the last 100 years? And what was the source of that change?
    __________________________________________________________________________

    Sun=> clouds, Sun=> ocean

  152. The Arctic minimum comes too late in the year to have a significant impact on the earth’s radiation budget. The sun sets in September at the north pole.

  153. This is a very entertaining post as it has brought many “warmests” out to comment. Hard for this hyper denialist to see the point. It seems there is a strain of northern hemispheric bigotry in this inceeasant line of argumentation, pro or con, about arctic sea ice extent. What of the south pole? A think an ET visitor might scratch his head a bit in wondering why there is such focus on one end of the earth.

    How does 30 years of data have any meaning at all…to anyone? It seems much “science” can be done without logic or context interfering.

    Above all, what does this have to do with AGW? Give me 500 years worth of similar data and maybe then I’d consider such scrutiny to have merit.

  154. Pamela Gray says:
    May 25, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Rn = So (inverse square law) 1-((interstellar medium dimming)(*GCR-induced aerosols + clouds))
    +(Ld (*GCR-induced aerosols + clouds)+ Lu (UHI / Inversion inducing topography))

    Everyone if familiar with the Svensmark GCR theory and the upcoming results anticipated from CERN.
    Not everyone is aware of Lu (UHI / Inversion inducing topography)) that results from C02 locally forming air inversion.
    There are stations that defy UHI effect, and the apparent reason is that local C02 is not the only source of inversion. Topography can act to form a near-permanent inversion, as well as seasonally induced inversion.
    This is where the alarmists go off the deep end, assuming that C02 is linear. Direct evidence in Redding and Red Bluff, CA say that it is not. Co2 induced UHI, as well as inversion, has an upper limit. So, once you have an inversion underway, naturally or anthropogenically, adding more gets you nowhere. Pegged out.

  155. Phil. says:
    May 24, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Measured downwelling longwave radiation in the vicinity of the N Pole from April to September is ~300W/m^2.

    Do you have a reference for that data? It sounds quite interesting.

  156. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 8:44 am
    The Arctic minimum comes too late in the year to have a significant impact on the earth’s radiation budget. The sun sets in September at the north pole.

    ___________________
    Steve, there are more effects that insolation on open arctic ocean to consider. There is the outgoing LW radiation from the open arctic water that can have effects on the temperatures of the surrounding land. I posted this link yesterday related to how loss of Arctic Sea ice can cause an amplification in warming on land:

    http://www.the-cryosphere.net/3/11/2009/tc-3-11-2009.pdf

    I’m a bit confused about your position on this. It seems from the post yesterday that you agree that the Arctic will be ice free in the summer this century. Is that your position?

  157. R. Gates

    The net radiation budget from the Arctic is negative. It loses more LW than it absorbs SW.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page3.php

    The differences in reflectivness (albedo) and solar illumination at different latitudes lead to net heating imbalances throughout the Earth system. At any place on Earth, the net heating is the difference between the amount of incoming sunlight and the amount heat radiated by the Earth back to space (for more on this energy exchange see Page 4). In the tropics there is a net energy surplus because the amount of sunlight absorbed is larger than the amount of heat radiated. In the polar regions, however, there is an annual energy deficit because the amount of heat radiated to space is larger than the amount of absorbed sunlight.

  158. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 8:44 am

    At 85 degrees north, the sun does not go fully below the horizon at all till September the 14th. At the equinox, there are 12hrs day, and 12hrs night, like every where else on the planet. It is not until Oct 5th at this lattitude, that the Sun remains below the horizon all day.

  159. Ulric Lyons

    The critical angle of a water/air boundary is 48 degrees. Because the surface of the ocean is not completely smooth, you still get some absorption down to lower angles. By September, there is almost no solar energy being absorbed in the Arctic ocean.

  160. @stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    We are talking ice, not water. The Sun stops shining on it early October, which is when it stops it melt, and starts to expand again. It should be at its minimum in September. You try leaving some ice out in front of the Sun when it is 5 degrees above the horizon, I think you will find it still melts.

  161. “”” stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    Ulric Lyons

    The critical angle of a water/air boundary is 48 degrees. “””

    Steve; “critical angle” is a consequence of Snell’s law of refraction; nemely:-
    n1.sin(I1) = n2.sin (I2) where n is the refractive index of the medium, and (I) is the angle of incidence of the ray (measured relative to the normal to the surface.)
    For the air/water interface, n1 is 1.000 (essentially) and n2 is 1.333
    So for light incident on the water at 90 degrees (grazing incidence) we would have:-
    1.000 sin (90) = 1.333 sin(I) ; yielding I = 48.6 deg

    So even for incidence angles up to 90 degrees there still is refraction of light into the water; but as the above shows, it never enters the water at any angle greater than 48.6 degrees; which happens to be the magnitude of the critical angle.
    For a fish or a scuba diver under the (flat) surface; looking up; he would see the entire hemisphere of the sky contained within a circel having an agular radius of 48.6 degrees.

    By the principle of reversibility (of the rays) we can then say that for light rays proceeding from the water out into the air; there is no solution for I2 (in air) for any value of I1 (in water) greater than 48.6 degrees; which is the critical angle concept. For any ray, in the water striking the surface at an incidence angle greater that Ic (48.6), the surface behaves as a perfect mirror, giving 100% reflectance in accordance with the laws of reflection (which can also be handled as a special case of refraction by simply setting the refractive index in the first medium (water) be n1, and the index following “refraction” to be -n1, which yields:-
    I2 = -I1

    The point is that the critical angle effect only occurs for refraction out of the higher index medium; in this case water.

    The Brewster angle is given by Tan(B) = (n2/n1) whereas the critical angle is given by Sin (Ic) = (n2/n1); which has no solution for n2>n1

    At the Brewster angle the reflected and refracted rays are perpendicular to each other, and the light component polarised with the electric vector in the plane of incidence being suppressed; so only the polarisation component perpendicular to the plane of incidence gets reflected. The plane of incidence contains the incident, refracted, and reflected rays, as well as the normal to the surface.

    At the Brewster angle; which is 53.1 degrees for light incident from the air side or 36.9 degrees for light incident from water into air, the reflection coefficient of the surviving polarisation component is roughly doubled from its normal incidence value.

    At normal incidence; from either side, the reflection coefficient is ((n1-n2)/(n1+n2))^2 which for water works out to 0.02 (2%)

    As the angle of incidence increases from zero up to (B), the reflection coefficient of the in plane component falls to zero, while the perpendicular component rises to about double. So the total reflectance remains almost constant at it normal value, up to the Brewster angle, and beyond there it rises rapidly towards unity. The reflected light beyond the Brewster angle is significantly linear polarised with the bulk of the energy in the perpendicular component.

    It is the effect of the rapidly increasing reflectance at grazing incidence, that limits how much sunlight can enter the water surface in th earctic; not the Critical angle which only acts from water into air.

    For full pedantic accuracy for those who need a PhD thesis for every little exercise in thinking; you have to use the full Fresnel Polarised reflection and transmission equations; which I am not even going to type out here; because if you are that fussy, then you also have to drag out the full complex index data for the media; and that gets less than instructive.

    Steve; Critical angle does not restrict sunlight from entering the Arctic ocean surface; but increased reflectance does; at near grazing angles.

  162. “”” Phil. says:
    May 24, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Measured downwelling longwave radiation in the vicinity of the N Pole from April to September is ~300W/m^2. “””

    Phil,
    Is that a clear sky value of down IR or is that with cloud cover ?

    George

  163. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    Ulric Lyons

    The critical angle of a water/air boundary is 48 degrees. Because the surface of the ocean is not completely smooth, you still get some absorption down to lower angles. By September, there is almost no solar energy being absorbed in the Arctic ocean.

    But for an air/water interface there is no ‘critical’ angle, so your statement is not accurate.

  164. Re: stevengoddard on May 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Steve, you’re suffering the same bit of confusion I had a short while ago until I brushed up on my optics knowledge. The critical angle applies when considering a light ray going from a medium with a higher index of refraction to one with a lower index, in this case a light ray from the water to air. At greater than about 48 degrees from the normal you would get total internal reflection, the ray couldn’t leave the water. For light going air to water it doesn’t apply.

    We’re used to seeing light bounced off of water at small angles, but part of what we’re seeing is polarized light, one component tends to get reflected (strongly polarized) while the other is transmitted (weakly polarized). Here’s a relevant article on Brewster’s angle.

    This in several ways is a nitpick as very little light is going to get transmitted in any case at those angles, nearly all of it gets reflected. But it’s a scientifically accurate nitpick. Of course I fully expect you to correct me if I am in error about the optics or what you were actually saying. Actually I hope you do, as I wanted to kick myself for forgetting such details even if those university optics courses were a few decades in the past. ;-)

  165. Re: kadaka (KD Knoebel) on May 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm
    (currently awaiting moderation)

    Ah heck, while I was writing a reply, George E. Smith wrote a rebuttal article.

    Oh well, so it goes. At least mine is a faster read. :-)

  166. kadaka

    You are correct. This graph shows the effect I was describing. When the sun is five degrees above the horizon, 60% of the light is reflected. That light is already greatly diminished by the low angle spread out across the surface sin(5) = 0.087 and further diminished by taking a long path through the atmosphere. i.e almost no light enters the water.

  167. So, which one of these parameters has changed folks? And changed in a trended way? And in a way significant enough to produce the increased melt? Is there more CO2 up there? Are there more clouds up there? Less clouds? Did we get warmer ocean currents from somewhere? Is the change in the perimeter to open water changing the net imbalance? Sounds like we are still in net negative imbalance so I ask again, what has measurably and significantly changed in the equation to cause the melt trend?

    If you think it is CO2 related, you have to show increased re-radiation in the air or oceans (either in situ or brought there) that increased air or ocean temps above and/or below the ice. Has that happened? As far as the Arctic data is showing, ocean temps are not outside the normal range and air temps are not outside the normal range and match well with weather pattern variations. And we are still in a negative balance up there.

    What has changed folks, what has changed. Don’t tell me albedo unless you have data.

  168. schweinsgruber says:
    May 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    A good cherry pick is this one:

    “It has been cooling since 2002!”

    Considering that, of the last four decades, each one has been warmer than the previous.

    So what? If it’s been cooling since 2002, we’ve past or are cresting the peak (maybe). And maybe there’s something wrong with the models, which didn’t predict this deviation from the CO2 “forcing.”

  169. schweinsgruber

    It was a lot warmer in the Triassic, so I think it is safe to say that we are on a long term cooling trend. Of course it was a lot cooler 20,000 years ago, so it is also safe to say that we are on a long term warming trend.

  170. stevengoddard says:
    May 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    The net radiation budget from the Arctic is negative. It loses more LW than it absorbs SW.

    Then tallbloke was correct when he envisioned that transport of heat energy to the Arctic is going to result in heat/energy loss for the Planet. Now we are right back to the Meridonial Flows of the last 3 years. The Climate is blowing heat out the hole in the roof. It would be far better for this not to occur, as the heat isn’t going to where it will do the most good: The Temperate Zones. Doesn’t mean a thing for the Arctic, as it can refreeze with the greatest of ease… once the supply is exhausted or stops.
    The Antarctic is doing quite well these days, being .6M km^2 above normal, while the Arctic is 1.0M km^2 below normal ice extent.

  171. Pamela Gray,

    I did provide data. However, if you missed it, here is a relevant quote from it:

    “Arctic amplification is a clear feature of the warming over the 1989–2008 period based on the ERA-Interim reanalysis (Fig. 1). We diverge considerably from ref. 8 in finding that the maximum Arctic warming is at the surface and that warming lessens with height in all seasons except summer. This vertical structure suggests that changes at the surface, such as decreases in sea ice and snow cover, are the primary causes of recent Arctic amplification. The trends at the near-surface (herein the atmospheric levels at 950–1,000 hPa) are 1.6, 0.9, 0.5 and 1.6 °C per decade, averaged over the Arctic (herein latitudes 70–90° N) during winter, spring, summer and autumn, respectively.”

    from: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v464/n7293/full/nature09051.html

    This seems to suggest, based on the expected profile of temperature changes from various causes, that albedo changes are driving the increased warming in the Arctic, and hence the increased melt.

    This is why I think that the phrase ‘death spiral’ is indeed an appropriate one: as albedo decreases, the temperature increases, decreasing albedo …

    You get the picture. :)

    However, it should be noted that other papers, such as ones referenced by the above paper, come to different conclusions.

  172. The abstract isn’t data. Give me a graph from a public source. Show me the data. I want a measured albedo change over the time period under consideration that mathematically is significant enough to cause the trend, and is greater than oceanic current changes and weather pattern variations that are known to cause similar ice melt and flush. If they amplify together (natural and manmade) which amplifies which? And if they don’t amplify, one has to have greater influence than the other, meaning that one of them doesn’t matter as the other will bury its influence.

    You also need to explain how the ice melted in the first place in order to create the change in albedo. Did increasing CO2 cause it? How? In situ? Who’s pumping CO2 up there? Did it end up there? And did that cause (through greenhouse gas mechanism) an increase in temps enough to cause the initial melt that created the change in albedo? It seems to me that albedo changed because ice melted. So what caused the ice to melt before the albedo changed?

  173. Pamela Gray,

    It is not an abstract; it is the full paper.

    I have not been able to find measures of albedo changes over time. However, the paper that I have referred to you uses a proxy measure – the temperature profile – to infer that it is albedo changes and not other things, such as the ones that you mention, causing the amplification of warming in the arctic.

    As to what caused the warming that is being amplified in the first place, the global temperature is increasing due to human CO2 emissions. Normal heat transportation mechanisms, both atmospheric and oceanic, have transported this increased energy proportionately to arctic regions. I understand that that is not a popular theory around here, however. ;)

  174. So you are saying that CO2 isn’t the cause in situ. It is heated air and water from greenhouse gasses elsewhere that is heating things up here and sending warmer water and air up there. Again David, what do the SST’s show? Data? What does the air temp data show for Arctic air? Data? I found only an abstract of the paper you mentioned and could not even see the references unless I gave coinage.

    There are many public sources of information on SST’s and I don’t see anything unusual going on. I tend to see SST’s as less influenced by UHI affects, disregarding of course the larger oceanic floor heat vents, while land temp sensors are all fouled up around the Arctic. If SST’s aren’t showing anything unusual, why would I expect air temps to up there?

    I follow SST data fairly closely and so far, SST’s increase or decrease in concert with known changes and mechanisms related to natural oscillations in upper Pacific currents, ENSO and AMO parameters. I also follow weather pattern reports in and around the Arctic. Arctic air temperature changes are in concert with changes in weather patterns.

    How can you say that AGW is causing the temps to rise when by every account, the known parameters of natural variation in ocean and weather patterns are currently explaining temps? Are the oceans hotter than what would be expected under current ENSO and AMO conditons? No. Is the air hotter than what would be expected under current weather pattern systems? No. So it appears to me that there is no room for AGW to explain any part of what we currently are seeing. Is there a switch? Can its influence be turned on and off?

  175. @George E. Smith says:
    May 25, 2010 at 2:28 pm
    “Steve; Critical angle does not restrict sunlight from entering the Arctic ocean surface; but increased reflectance does; at near grazing angles.”

    Given that the water is flat as a mill pond, where there are waves, the angle is on the move.
    Reflection will increase the light hitting the ice edges.

  176. Pamela Gray,

    I have to say that I cannot see how the increase in temperature can be explained by anything other than increasing atmospheric CO2, so we differ. I suspect your set of ‘every accounts’ differ from mine. ;)

    It is odd that you can only see an abstract while I can see the full thing. Maybe my work provides a subscription that I do not know about.

    Can you provide the SST data that you refer to in your post? If you follow it fairly closely and know that it increases or decreases in concert with known mechanisms, I assume that you have a source for it. Arctic air temperatures are, according to the paper that I referenced, increasing faster than global temperatures. This is what amplification is all about.

    I will look for further information on arctic temperature change over time also.

  177. http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt

    Okay, here is some data for north pole ocean and land temperature trends during the satellite era.

    The trend on land is .43 degrees per decade; the trend at sea is .52 degrees per decade.

    The r^2 values are .25 and .22 respectively (using monthly data). It would appear that something is going on in the arctic to make the temperature trends there 50 per cent more than and double of the global trends respectively. Albedo , according to the pay-walled article, seems to be the driver of this.

    Re CO2: I am sure that CO2 has also been transported to the skies above the arctic. So it is both, really.

  178. Gail,

    Barry, I do think the arctic ice will eventually recover.

    I don’t see why. Increased CO2 must cause warming – whether much or little may be a controversial point, but no informed participant in these discussions can say there will be no warming. Lindzen, Pielke, McIntyre and Spencer all agree on this (they take issue with the degree of future warming).

    Weather cycles are overlaid on top of the long-term warming from GHG increase, so we’ll always see patterns, but they will oscillate around a rising trend.

    Unless CO2 emissions are considerably reduced, we’re going to see an ice-free Arctic at some point in the future. No weather cycle can stop that.

    To return to my original question, when how soon are you willing to posit a significant cooling trend in Arctic sea-ice? Say we take 2007 as a start point ( a deliberately extreme anomaly).

    If we see a measurable increase in sea-ice over over the next fifteen years (that’s the shortest interval I’m willing to posit), I’d consider that strong evidence that the mainstream view is wrong. If we break the 2007 record within the next 5 years, and the declining trend continues for the next 10, I don’t see how anyone could support the notion that, at this time, the climate system is moving into a cool phase.

    Are you willing to make some kind of estimate, for interest’s sake? That would yield a testable function to your postulation that natural cycles dominating the climate system in the long term.

  179. @ David Gould

    It would appear that something is going on in the arctic to make the temperature trends there 50 per cent more than and double of the global trends respectively.

    Greater warming at the Arctic is a result of a warming planet, regardless of the cause. It’s to do with heat transport polewards, as well as a cluster of large land masses nearby (different dynamics for the Antarctic). Same thing happens when the Earth heats up out of an ice age to interglacial. The polar/Greenland ice cores show more warming than proxies from low latitudes (more than twice as much). It’s nothing (or very little to do) with local CO2 accumulation, although, the CO2 effect is more pronounced simply because it’s not very humid over the North Pole. But this is a function of the horizontal structure of the atmosphere, not a function of localised accumulation. CO2 is not perfectly evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere, but the clustering is fluid. for all intents and purposes, CO2 is ‘well-mixed’.

    Here’s a video representation of concentration dynamics.

  180. barry,

    Thanks for that. I understand that it is due to a warming planet. But arctic *amplification* (not simply arctic warming) is not explained, apparently, by heat transport. The main player, according to my unfortunately pay-walled source, is albedo change – although heat transport does play a part. However, I accept that there are different views in the literature – my source was the most recent that I could find, and perhaps its recency is not a good thing.

  181. @David Gould says:
    May 25, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt

    I had just dug that out to have a look at it again. Typically the stronger +ve anomalies in the Arctic are at the colder N.H. winter months, and usually the opposite anomaly shows at the S.Pole at the soltices. Conversely, a very warm January such as 1989 or 1990 yields -ve Arctic anomalies. Stronger +ve anomalies in the Arctic also occur at the vernal equinox, in unison with N.H temperature rises.

  182. stevengoddard said on May 25, 2010 at 7:53 pm:

    schweinsgruber

    It was a lot warmer in the Triassic, so I think it is safe to say that we are on a long term cooling trend. Of course it was a lot cooler 20,000 years ago, so it is also safe to say that we are on a long term warming trend.

    The Sun is expected to expand into a red giant phase during which it may engulf the Earth. This will be followed by it becoming a dwarf star. Therefore the correct forecast is warming in the short term with cooling in the long term (provided the Earth still exists).

  183. @David Gould says:
    May 25, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Erl Happ has done some nice graphs on N+S polar temperatures at summer and winter separately, summer at the Arctic is much less spikey and shows no particular rise compared to winter and the equinoxes. I prefer to break it down to monthly rather than seasonal periods, so you can see the winter warming spurts away from the equinox warming spurts. CET shows similar patterns to the Arctic but at a smaller scale, such that the months with the strongest warming trends are Nov/Dec/Jan, and also around the equinoxes, the vernal being dominant. The months of Feb and May show no warming trend on CET for the last century, and summer warming is minor. work by Wilson Flood shows summer CET temp`s higher in previous centuries.

  184. @ “PJB says:
    May 24, 2010 at 4:59 am

    I am very afraid. What if this “cyclical” downturn reverses and the cycle goes back to an upward climb?

    I live in the Canadian Shield. I don’t want to be under 3 km of ice (just too much pressure to bear…)

    Won’t somebody get hot for a warmer, kinder world?

    Won’t somebody think of the chilled wren?

    ;-)”

    You may want to read what Dr. Lindzen says – I think he said we are headed to a major cooling – but it will take quite a long while to set in.

    But, one must add the Greens attempts at Cooling us down?

  185. Still not worried about Arctic Ice. A few years ago, much research was done on wind vectors and yes, even modeling of climate variability in the Arctic. Once again, the past two years of weather pattern variations within each climate zone in the Arctic are telling me that ice concentrations are good, basin ice will be pretty darn thick, and ice in general will not easily be driven and mushed into a death spiral out of Fram Strait. I believe that what you are seeing is predominantly ice edge melting in place and not spreading out by wind as it has in the past, falsely giving the impression of greater ice coverage than we currently have.

    http://www.oc.nps.edu/~pips3/ModelingRecentClimateVariability.pdf

  186. David Gould says:
    May 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    This seems to suggest, based on the expected profile of temperature changes from various causes, that albedo changes are driving the increased warming in the Arctic, and hence the increased melt.

    This is why I think that the phrase ‘death spiral’ is indeed an appropriate one: as albedo decreases, the temperature increases, decreasing albedo …

    You get the picture. :)

    Soot.

    David Gould says:
    May 25, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Whoops:

    Congratulations. That’s a word everyone should have in his vocabulary.

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