Sea Ice News #31

I’ve watched the hubbub over the AccuWeather video by Joe Bastardi that called NSIDC’s Sea Ice data into question, because it “seemed” to show lower Arctic Sea Ice values than that of JAXA or DMI. Here they all are:


JAXA AMSR-E Sea Ice Extent -15% or greater – click to enlarge

ssmi1-ice-ext
NANSEN Artic ROOS- Sea ice extent 15% or greater – click for larger image


NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice Extent – 15% or greater – click to enlarge

As you can see above, NANSEN shows more ice than NSIDC, and JAXA seems to be a bit less than 2007, in line with NSIDC’s presentation. It all boils down to different algorithms and methodology giving different interpretations.

Like Mr. Bastardi, many people are comparing NSIDC graphs to other similar graphs on a daily basis and they will continue to do so. For some, it’s like a sport, and there’s even Vegas style betting done on sea ice minimums now, and in some cases real money is used.

But as we’ve seen, eyeballing can be an error prone activity, and a risky bet.

Mr. Bastardi erred due to eyeballing, of that there is no doubt. NSDIC was gracious enough to fill him in on his mistake and Mr. Bastardi corrected his mistake once he was made aware of it. He had to retract his original video and replace it with the update on Sunday (a day early). It has been my impression that he’s got a weekday shift at AccuWeather.com, and if so, good for him to come in and make a new video on a Sunday. Here is his correction:

click image to watch the video

A poor quality copy of the original video (with the mistake) is here

As Joe found out, eyeballing can get you in trouble. I’ve made similar eyeballing mistakes in the past. It gets compounded when you use that mistake as a basis to call out some organization like NSDIC. I’ll echo Joe Bastardi in saying that my contact at NSDIC, Dr. Walt Meier, has been “above board” with me and maintains an open line of communication. This is despite our differences of opinion on the sea ice. The fact that we can communicate in a friendly and cordial way despite our difference in opinion, is why you’ll find guest posts from Dr. Meier here on WUWT, such as this one wrapping up the 2010 melt season.

Like there have been good things coming from our collaboration with NSDIC, there can be a something good come from this eyeballing mistake and video retraction.

As I’ve said before in previous posts, a lot of eyeballing can be avoided by NSIDC publishing the daily data as other sea ice organizations do. I suggest again that NSIDC publish daily data, so that there’s no need for eyeballing when hard numbers can be compared.

As many know, NSIDC’s Dr. Mark Serreze has made the sea ice issue very high profile with his “death spiral” comments to major media, resulting in NSIDC being highly scrutinized in the current, ahem, “polarized” debate on sea ice.

While Dr. Serreze’s statements have the unfortunate side effect of raising their profile, I think the best choice for the public that they serve (after all, it is a U.S. government funded organization) is to rise to the scrutiny your organization has created for itself and publish the daily sea ice extent data. Everyone wins when such a thing occurs, and it could go a long way towards eliminating the perception (right or wrong) that NSIDC is the “odd man out” on sea ice if they would publish the hard data as other organizations do.

I’m hopeful to see NSDIC’s daily absolute values published regularly like JAXA does here, NANSEN does here, the University of Bremen does here, and UIUC (Cryosphere Today) does here. By doing so, there’s then no excuse for not using hard numbers in addition to graphs rather than simply eyeballing squiggly lines when comparing to NSIDC. If there’s a question on one of the plot lines, a simple look at the daily data will settle it immediately, assuming NSIDC publishes in a form that the public can easily use. Here’s to hoping that they do.

In other news, the temperature of 80N has hit a low about equal to the low of normal climatology, (the green line) but a bit early:

Danish Meteorological Institute – Mean Temperature above 80°N – click for more

The Antarctic Ice Extent remains well above normal:

NSIDC Antarctic Sea Ice Extent – 15% or greater – click to enlarge

The Antarctic long term trend remains up:

While the Arctic long term trend remains down:

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66 thoughts on “Sea Ice News #31

  1. I commented on this a bit a while back too! Odd how the NSIDC graph has caught up since some folk started talking about it, or rather, odd how the ice has caught up! Spooky!
    I’d still like to know why the Southern Hemisphere anomaly is so out of synch with the sea ice extent. Or is that just another mathematical quirk?

  2. Whatever happened to “global” sea ice? Or doesn’t that matter anymore?

    REPLY: on the sea ice page, 24/7 every day right here

  3. Here’s one from the peanut gallery. The downtrend in Arctic sea ice extent is caused by soot from China’s coal burning. Specifically, the soot falls on the ice and increases its albedo, making it melt a little faster. That’s why the downtrend in sea ice coincides with the uptrend in Chinese coal usage. The Antarctic is unaffected because the soot never makes it further south than about where the ICTZ is.

  4. Yep, It got really cold, really fast up here in the “great white north”
    The melt will change next year for sure.
    The Poley bears are going to be very cold, methinks.
    {d}

  5. [snip - banned - you've been warned for abusive language, and "alcohol@soros.ca" isn't a valid email address, and one is required for posting here per the policy page - Anthony]

  6. Joe Romm is courting multiple strokes in his overblown, libelous attack on Bastardi and WUWT over this mistake. Cancun must not be living up to his expectations.

  7. The downtrend in Arctic sea ice extent is caused by…

    There is no down trend. Sea ice is dong the same thing it has done for thousands of years – it decreases in the Summer and increases in the Winter. The trend they chose was a completely random and meaningless choice, exactly like everything else about climate pseudo-science.

  8. Anonymous commenter guy says: December 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm
    “…….the downtrend in sea ice coincides with the uptrend in Chinese coal usage.”

    That has not come expressly to my mind so far (my bad….), but I’m now sure you’re spot on. Thanks.

  9. Oops Anthony, that was meant to be a bit snarky. We have been conditioned to accept only global warming as “global” thereby discounting regional cooling, such as the U.S. because it only covers ~2% of the earth’s surface, so why doesn’t that apply to global sea ice? The Arctic covers <3%, so what's all the hubbub about?

  10. I’m probably committing the same error of eyeballing, but the NSIDC Antarctic Sea Ice Extent graph appears to show that the current extent is around 1 million sq km above the long-term average. So why is the “Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly” only +0.268 (in the same units)?

    Is it because the anomaly chart (from Cryosphere Today) uses a baseline of 1979-2008 while the NSIDC average is 1979-2000?

  11. Anonymous commenter guy says:
    December 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm
    Here’s one from the peanut gallery. The downtrend in Arctic sea ice extent is caused by soot from China’s coal burning.
    ————
    Hi peanut here.

    Let me make a wild guess.
    You don’t know what the trend graph for Chinese partiiculate emissions looks like
    OR
    how much of those emissions ends up in the Arctic
    OR
    How much the abedo is affected and over what area
    OR
    How much of the melting, some or all, is attributable to black carbon

    I am going to guess that you read an article somewhere and decided to claim that all of the melting is due to black carbon, just to make consideration of CO2 go away.

    Am I right; that you just made a categorical statement which you don’t actually know is true.

  12. Over the last century and a half there has been many ideas to prevent ice melt and to help ice melt:

    In 1912 Carroll Livingston Riker, an engineer, inventor, and industrialist, proposed a scheme to change the climate of polar regions by tinkering with the ocean currents of the Atlantic. This was to be accomplished by preventing the cold Labrador Current from colliding with the Gulf Stream.

    In 1957 Soviet academician Borisov, alluding to the centuries-old quest of the Russian people to overcome the Northland cold, proposed building a dam across the Bering Strait to melt the Arctic sea ice. In numerous articles and then again in his book Can Man Change the Climate? (1973), Borisov detailed his vision of a dam 50 miles long and almost 200 feet high with shipping locks and pumping stations. To liquidate Arctic sea ice, Borisov wanted to pump cold seawater out of the Arctic Ocean, across the dam, and into the Bering Sea and the North Pacific. This displacement would allow the inflow of warmer water from the North Atlantic, eliminate fresh water in the surface layer in several years, and thus prevent the formation of ice in the Arctic Basin, creating warmer climate conditions. His goal was to remove a 200-foot layer of cold surface water, which would be replaced by warmer, saltier water that would not freeze.

    Other ocean-engineering schemes included installing giant turbines in the Strait of Florida to generate electricity and adding a thin film of alcohol to the northern branch of the Gulf Stream to decrease surface water evaporation and warm the water by several degrees, although the cod might become rather tipsy.
    Russian scientists warned of possible climate disruption from such mega-projects.
    No kidding! Even the phase climate disruption is not new

    http://m.gizmodo.com/5680669/thawing-the-arctic-+-soviet-russias-cold-war-war-on-cold

  13. “It has been my impression that he’s got a weekday shift at AccuWeather.com, and if so, good for him to come in and make a new video on a Sunday. ”

    As an Accuwx pro subscriber, I think Bastardi is actually on 24/7/365. I actually think he doesn’t sleep based on the timing of some of his posts – that may have been why he mis-eyeballed the #’s [lack of sleep ] ;))

    I have seen him post other mea culpas through the years. He has the ethics do so when he gets it wrong & I appreciate that.

  14. Lazy Teenager:
    Go back to your mom’s basement and come back when you pay to heat the WHOLE house.
    [d]

  15. Melt the Arctic! Year round open transit would be great. The PBs will survive just like they always have.

  16. HaroldW says:
    December 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm
    I’m probably committing the same error of eyeballing, but the NSIDC Antarctic Sea Ice Extent graph appears to show that the current extent is around 1 million sq km above the long-term average. So why is the “Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly” only +0.268 (in the same units)?

    Is it because the anomaly chart (from Cryosphere Today) uses a baseline of 1979-2008 while the NSIDC average is 1979-2000?

    The CT plot is of area not extent (another of Bastardi’s errors).

  17. From LazyTeenager on December 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm:

    I am going to guess that you read an article somewhere and decided to claim that all of the melting is due to black carbon, just to make consideration of CO2 go away.

    Good job, peanut. That is not what he said, and you expressly quoted what it was:

    Anonymous commenter guy says:
    December 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm
    Here’s one from the peanut gallery. The downtrend in Arctic sea ice extent is caused by soot from China’s coal burning.

    What was said is a good possible scenario. Heck, even Wikipedia provides supporting evidence. From the Black carbon entry:

    (…) In addition, black carbon forcing is two to three times as effective in raising temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere and the Arctic than equivalent forcing values of CO2.[35]

    Also:

    According to Dr. Charles Zender of the University of California, Irvine, black carbon is a significant contributor to Arctic ice-melt, and reducing such emissions may be “the most efficient way to mitigate Arctic warming that we know of”.[45] The “climate forcing due to snow/ice albedo change is of the order of 1.0 W/m2 at middle- and high-latitude land areas in the Northern Hemisphere and over the Arctic Ocean.”[46] The “soot effect on snow albedo may be responsible for a quarter of observed global warming.”[47] “Soot deposition increases surface melt on ice masses, and the meltwater spurs multiple radiative and dynamical feedback processes that accelerate ice disintegration,” according to NASA scientists Dr. James Hansen and Dr. Larissa Nazarenko.[48] As a result of this feedback process, “BC on snow warms the planet about three times more than an equal forcing of CO2.”[49] When black carbon concentrations in the Arctic increase during the winter and spring due to Arctic Haze, surface temperatures increase by 0.5 °C.[50] Black carbon emissions also significantly contribute to Arctic ice-melt, which is critical because “nothing in climate is more aptly described as a ‘tipping point’ than the 0 °C boundary that separates frozen from liquid water—the bright, reflective snow and ice from the dark, heat-absorbing ocean.”[51]

    Got that? On the worldwide front, with the forcing from CO2… Well, the esteemed Dr. Phil Jones of UEA-CRU agreed in February 2010 that there had been no statistically-significant global warming from 1995 to the present. So the CO2 ain’t doing much. Meanwhile black carbon (soot) is implicated in dramatically increasing Arctic sea ice melt.

    And China is building many new coal plants and burning lots of coal.

    China and India together account for 25-35% of global black carbon emissions[66] Black carbon emissions from China doubled from 2000 to 2006.[67]

    Now, when you examine the Arctic “tipping point,” while considering global temperature trends, you should be able to figure out that it is highly possible that soot is responsible for the downward trend in Arctic sea ice extent. Indeed, it is at least more likely than not. And China is generating a lot of soot, and will generate lots more.

    It becomes an argument as to whether it was specifically China’s soot emissions, and specifically from their coal burning, that lead to the downward trend, and the sea ice would be growing or holding in extent without them. After about five years or more of complex computer modeling, dueling papers, maybe some real field research, and a few billion or so dollars, Climate Science™ may have a definitive answer. Until they do that and it disproves Anonymous commenter guy’s statement, it seems very plausible.

    You know, the esteemed Dr. James Hansen of NASA-GISS has done impressive work highlighting the disastrous warming contributions of soot. Read that Wikipedia entry, work through the references, study his research. Maybe you’ll understand why the esteemed Hansen so loudly protests against those “death trains” hauling coal!
    ;-)

  18. Comments above that bring to mind the increasing industrialisation of China
    reminded me of a TV program not long ago that was showing dramitic pictures
    of melting ice in the Arctic. Leaving aside the fact that it must have been high
    summer in the Arctic, the light was brilliant, the ice was dirty!
    I was shocked to see the layers and streaks of dark grey through the ice. You
    don’t see this “dirty ice effect” in videos from Antarctica. Melting yes, but otherwise
    all shades of pretty blue.

  19. Anthony,

    Thanks for the NANSEN link, that’s a new dataset/source of monthly values for me to look into. :)

    As to your Bremen link, AFAIK that link does not post a daily/monthly time series, but than again I may have missed it, but I’ve looked throughout that link several times before. Maybe you or someone else can be more specific as to the location of their time series tabulation?

    Finally, you have a small typo in your post, UUIC should be UIUC.

    As to NSIDC, I’ve consistantly agreed with you about NSIDC publishing digital/tabulated daily values.

    I’ve been digitizing their daily sea ice extent graphs for the past 3 month, and am just waiting for them to publish their December monthly update (hopefully on Monday), to see what their November monthly mean sea ice extent numerical value is, my September monthly agreed with there’s (-0.03E6 km^2), but my October monthly was way off for some reason (-0.75E6 km^2), if November’s mean monthly extent is reported by NSIDC as way above my digitized mean, than I’ll be emailing NSIDC, with tabulated numbers and a PDF graph, to try to understand where I’m misunderstanding what’s plotted versus what’s reported by NSIDC, they say “Sea ice extent averaged over was …” and that’s what I’m calculating AFAIK.

  20. HaroldW says:
    December 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm
    I’m probably committing the same error of eyeballing, but the NSIDC Antarctic Sea Ice Extent graph appears to show that the current extent is around 1 million sq km above the long-term average. So why is the “Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly” only +0.268 (in the same units)?

    Is it because the anomaly chart (from Cryosphere Today) uses a baseline of 1979-2008 while the NSIDC average is 1979-2000?

    _____________________________________________________________

    UIUC publishes area (100% sea ice area) versus NSIDC’s sea ice extent (15% sea ice concentration bounded area). Which is the ~1E6 km^2 difference you are seeing between those two numbers.

  21. Slightly OT, but for anyone who doubts the speed of China’s current industrial revolution, newspaper reports in the past couple of days show photographs of the new Chinese high-speed train that has recently set new world speed records for such vehicles. Anybody still thinking ‘rickshaws’ when ‘China’ appears before them in print?

  22. In the end it wont matter, because as long as all the involved parties use the same method, we will be able to see what is right and what is wrong. Its when there are
    “readjustments” made to methodology that problems occur ( ie with the temperatures). In the end, so long as we can watch OBJECTIVE satellite data on the temps the next 20-30 years, and the way each of the sites measures ice remains consistent, we will have our answer, which is what I am all about. Some of my fears though are that policies are being set on conclusions that are not yet in, or put it this way, still up for debate. And of course I would be in favor of continuing this debate on ice and global temp until these big natural drivers have reversed and we see what 15-30 years of the OPPOSITE natural signal to warm does.

    I have always advocated, and have gone out of my way, to ask the rational person to not trust me, but look at all the data, and as such I present the data and comment on it.

    That NSIDC took the time out to make sure I understood what they were up too impressed me to no end and made sure this was cleared up. For the record, I work 7 days a week, as those that read my blog know ( along with my private clients) but was out of town over the weekend. I got into the office to make sure this was corrected as soon as I got into town, even at the expense of missing a large part of the PSU open wrestling tournament. Talk about commitment! ( some of you may think I should be committed) Be of good cheer and keep an eye on the ice.. right here on wuwt!

  23. Well done Joe,at least you can make apologie[s] when you get things wrong it takes a big man to admit mistakes and own up….unlike the Team and its sycophants.

  24. What did Joe Bastardi do wrong exactly? I’m missing an explanation, both here and in his new vid.

  25. I was working off NE Greenland (80°N +) this summer and took some pictures of sea ice and icebergs covered in a layer of dirt (ash?) … presumably from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. Anyone know how this would affect the melt rate in this area?

    Jon

  26. The reason for the Arctic melt and ice build up being different from the Antarctic is easily and readily explained by SST and associated drivers, and these drivers are easily and readily explained by ENSO parameters. Basically, large scale weather pattern variations. The climate in either location has not changed one iota. They are still considered to be arctic climate zones and nothing scary or unprecedented has happened. Historic and archeological evidence strongly suggests this has happened before. The hysteria over such tiny, insignificant wriggles being this or that, or slightly different from each other, is much ado about nothing.

  27. Carbon soot causing increased artic ice melting makes a whole lof of sense to me. Every year I witness giant 2-story icebanks form on the shores of Lake Superior, and those wave-formed ice banks are jam-packed with sand. When the icebanks start melting the sand accumulates on the surfaces causing more melting.

    Sometimes in a matter of a few warm days, the massive icebanks are gone. Its sort of eerie, one day they are there, and one day they are not.

  28. Well done Joe,at least you can make apologie[s]

    Did Joe apologize? I must have missed that. I don’t believe he said he apologized and he didn’t say he had made a (very silly) mistake. He just said that NSIDC contacted him, explained things and that he now believed NSIDC was ‘above board’. Judge Bastardi has ruled.

    But I have to hand it to him, he did repeat many times over that NSIDC didn’t cook the books. I think that at least was very good of him.

  29. One possibility I see regarding the dirty ice in the arctic is the fact that there are actively erupting volcanoes on the Kamchatka peninsula and the Aleutian islands. This is also true for the antarctic peninsula. These volcanoes are closer to the arctic and antarctic ice than China. As far as China’s pollution is concerned, how many times have we seen satellite shots showing its pollution blowing across the Pacific to California, Oregon, and Washington?

    Kudo’s to Joe Bastardi for demonstrating true professionalism. When I was a resident of the Houston, TX area, you and Dr. Niel Frank were my “go to” men for hurricane forecasts.

  30. I am reading a book called Frozen Oceans. It says, “When ice is formed in coastal regions and shallow waters it is possible for large concentrations of sediments from the sea floor to become incorporated into the new ice. This is especially true of the Arctic coasts where in a year large rivers transport thousands of tonnes of particles from the land to the ocean. A whole range of particle types and sizes, from clay to larger soil pieces, can be incorporated into the ice and even tree trunks have been found in Arctic sea ice.

    The most obvious effect of sediment in the ice is to discolour the ice. Where lots of sediment is trapped in the ice it can look black rather than white. Albedo is significantly reduced and rates of ice melt increased.

    “Sediment-laden ice is a feature of sea ice in many regions of the Arctic Ocean, but it is seldom encountered in the Southern Ocean. This is because there are very few shallow coastal waters where sediments from the sea floor can be suspended into new ice and, of course, there are no rivers of significance on the Antarctic continent to introduce sediment to the surface.”

  31. Particulates from coal are virtually all removed in modern (and refitted) North American and European plants (it wasn’t so a few decades ago). China’s old plants and India’s are the main culprits, but new plants are incorporating particulate capture technology. When the older plants are replaced – driven by the economics of energy efficiency- this problem will largely disappear. To bad the Catlin Exp. didn’t keep their few ice cores and have them analyzed for carbon- at least something useful would have come from from this silliness.

  32. I’m glad to see that some commenters identified the possibility of volcanic responsibility for the “dirty” ice. Too often, in our hubris, we assume that there has to be a human role in anything that we are examining. This is a natural outcome of our egocentric natures.

    China’s coal plants will end up doing a whole lot more harm to their immediate environment than they will to the global system. Check out a breakdown of the emissions from a volcanic eruption and compare it to human sources: It will be a good lesson in humility.

    Kudos to Joe for his obvious integrity. If only we could all follow his example…

  33. Re John-in-CA on Eastern Greenland ice, and the overall Arctic ice picture.

    It would be fun to see an ice bridge, wouldn’t it? I suspect though that closure of such is difficult with strong currents through the gap (until blocked by a massive iceberg?).

    The point I really wanted to make, though, is that cold Eastern Greenland, Norway, UK, etc. is largely due to an anticyclone roughly centred on Greenland. The consequence is that Western Greenland is warm, relatively, and the ice anomaly in that region is quite negative.

    Rich.

  34. Look at the arctic long term graph. 2007, it shifted into a different behavior. Larger seasonal swing than in the 10 years before. Did the method of observation change, or is this change real? (No, i don’t think it shifted into the death spiral mode; since 2007, it does these large swings but the average over a year doesn’t go up or down much.)

  35. “”””” Anonymous commenter guy says:
    December 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm
    Here’s one from the peanut gallery. The downtrend in Arctic sea ice extent is caused by soot from China’s coal burning. Specifically, the soot falls on the ice and increases its albedo, making it melt a little faster. “””””

    Best to remain anonymous methinks. Soot (carbon dust) would not be one’s first choice for a surface to increase the earth’s albedo; probably wouldn’t even make David Letterman’s Top Ten list either. But that is just my opinion.

  36. Günther Kirschbaum says:
    December 6, 2010 at 4:47 am
    What did Joe Bastardi do wrong exactly? I’m missing an explanation, both here and in his new vid.

    He compared NSIDC 2010 data with their 2007 data and with inter aliaJAXA 2010 data compared with their 2006 data by mistake and made innuendos about the NSIDC results being out of line with the other non-US data.
    He also compared CT area anomaly data with extent data as if they were the same parameter.

  37. NSIDC has just updated. Lots of interesting stuff that Anthony Watts won’t cover. His analysis consists of copypasting a few graphs and reporting ‘recovery’ when the trend line is over the others a bit.

    REPLY: Sir, you are a disingenuous cad. How am I supposed to even know about it if it “has just updated”? My goodness, am I all seeing? This is the first I’ve heard of it. Since you didn’t include the full link, here it is:

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2010/120610.html

    This will be good for the next Sea Ice news on WUWT, unless of course you have objections? Oh, wait, you ALWAYS have objections. Being objectionable is what you do.

    And by the way, when are you going to answer my question (posed three times now but unanswered) asking if you are really just notorious banned troll “Neven” repackaged? – Anthony

  38. Arctic Death Spiral 2010: Navy’s oceanographer tells Congress, “the volume of ice as of last September has never been lower…in the last several thousand years”
    Romm blasts WUWT….again.

    Disinformers get it very wrong and Inaccuweather’s Bastardi absurdly asserts sea ice trend is “leveling off and will turn the other way”

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/12/06/arctic-death-spiral-2010-navys-oceanographer-volume-of-ice-never-been-lower/

  39. Re LazyTeenager says:
    December 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm
    Anonymous commenter guy says:
    December 5, 2010 at 6:59 pm
    Here’s one from the peanut gallery. The downtrend in Arctic sea ice extent is caused by soot from China’s coal burning.
    ————
    Hi peanut here.

    Let me make a wild guess.
    You don’t know what the trend graph for Chinese partiiculate emissions looks like
    OR
    how much of those emissions ends up in the Arctic
    OR
    How much the abedo is affected and over what area
    OR
    How much of the melting, some or all, is attributable to black carbon

    lazy teenager, your handle fits your snootty nosed kid comments, why are you asking when you KNOW all this? Learn to respect others and you may gain some for yourself.

  40. OT (a little) I notice that the open water between Iceland and Greenland continues to narrow steadily. What are the chances the ice will actually close that gap and one could, if one so desired, walk from Iceland to Greenland? Also, when/if has such a closure occurred in the past? Just wondering.

  41. ES … I live in Newfoundland and and very familiar with sediments in ice. The ice I saw off NE Greenland had fresh deposits on the top … it was washing off the sides of the large icebergs.

  42. Mr. Watts:

    Why should any importance be attributed to the estimate of temperature above latitude 80 degrees north made by the DMI model in assesing Arctic ice extent at this time of year since this area appears to have been ice covered at the end of October and the temperature appears to be below the freezing point of sea ice even when it is above the average?

    According to the NSIDC report, local weather and higher temperatures in areas south of 80 degrees north caused the average ice extent in November 2010 to be lower than prior years.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2010/120610.html

    P.S. There is no basis for why Günther Kirschbaum, whoever he is, would think that you would not cover the December NSIDC report when you have posted such information in the past. You are, of course, going to put your interpretation on the events they report.

  43. This will be good for the next Sea Ice news on WUWT, unless of course you have objections?

    On the contrary, I look forward to your informed view on the multi-year ice segment. Joe Romm has a very interesting graphic on top of his latest Arctic sea ice post.

    REPLY: And once again you duck the “Neven” question. Actions speaking loudly. So until you answer, I’m going to assume you are “Neven”, trying to circumvent. – Anthony

  44. Good for Joe. The thing I like best about the leaders of the skeptic community is that they are about an order of magnitude more willing to hear an adverse critique and adjust accordingly when there is merit. The other side, alas, has to be dragged kicking and screaming to the most milque-toast corrections.

    It used to be that science was about dialogue, and getting it right in the end. It still is that way in the skeptic community even when a few black crow feathers have to be wiped off the chin.

  45. From DCA engineer on December 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm:

    Arctic Death Spiral 2010: Navy’s oceanographer tells Congress, “the volume of ice as of last September has never been lower…in the last several thousand years”

    The Navy’s oceanographer? This looks like what’s referred to:

    http://democrats.science.house.gov/Media/file/Commdocs/hearings/2010/Energy/17nov/Titley_Testimony.pdf

    (this looks better centered)

    STATEMENT OF
    REAR ADMIRAL DAVID TITLEY
    OCEANOGRAPHER OF THE NAVY
    DIRECTOR, TASK FORCE CLIMATE CHANGE
    BEFORE THE
    HOUSE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
    SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
    ON
    THE NAVY’S CLIMATE CHANGE INTERESTS
    NOVEMBER 17, 2010

    The relevant part is on pg 3:

    (…) September 2007 saw a record low in sea ice extent and the declining trend has continued — September 2010 was third lowest extent on record and the overall trend has shown an 11.2 percent decline per decade in seasonal ice coverage since satellites were first used to measure the Arctic ice in 1979. Perhaps more significantly, estimates from the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Lab show that the amount of sea ice continues to decrease dramatically. September ice volume was the lowest recorded in 2010 at 78 percent below its 1979 maximum and 70 percent below the mean for the 1979-2009 period. Regardless of changes to sea ice, the Arctic will remain ice covered in the winter through this century and remains a very difficult operating environment. (…)

    The mention of the “University of Washington’s Applied Physics Lab” basically refers to the esteemed Dr. J. Zhang, and the PIOMAS computer model, from which the famed “Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly” chart is generated. See this site. From there we find this interesting bit (note this is from the currently-showing version, could get updated):

    Monthly average Arctic Ice Volume for Sept 2010 was 4,000 km^3, the lowest over the 1979-2010 period, 78% below the 1979 maximum and 9,400 km^3 or 70% below its mean for the 1979-2009 period.

    Note the wording, especially at the end. Going by the standards by which the Wegman report was recently criticized, I think the Navy has committed plagiarism.

    The statement is short and a quick read. Basically, it is many airy words, which summarize as the Navy saying they are in agreement with, and in no way in opposition to, the stated views and policies of the current administration (i.e. the Commander in Chief), as is expected of, technically demanded of, the US military. It possesses the fragrant bouquet of something researched and written by his staff, as the “borrowing” of the sea ice volume info suggests to me.

    I cannot find the “last several thousand years” wording in it, and as I am loathe to give ClimacticProgression a hit, leading to seeing Joe Romm triumphantly explode all over his photoshopped image of WUWT while declaring total domination, I will assume that was tossed out in subsequent questioning by the CongressCritters. And that said reply will join the very long list of things that management has said under pressure which staff and knowledgeable people subsequently groaned about as it was outrageous exaggeration that cannot possibly be substantiated.

    Curious Side Note: Formerly the famed PIOMAS Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly chart was officially to be updated every three to five days “depending on data availability” as it said on the Polar Science Center main page. And it wouldn’t be updated for weeks. Now the schedule is “approximately two week intervals”, and the latest chart is dated Nov 7, exactly one month old. Is someone having funding problems, trouble getting computer time? WUWT?

  46. See – owe to Rich says:
    December 6, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Re John-in-CA on Eastern Greenland ice, and the overall Arctic ice picture.

    It would be fun to see an ice bridge, wouldn’t it? I suspect though that closure of such is difficult with strong currents through the gap (until blocked by a massive iceberg?).

    The point I really wanted to make, though, is that cold Eastern Greenland, Norway, UK, etc. is largely due to an anticyclone roughly centred on Greenland. The consequence is that Western Greenland is warm, relatively, and the ice anomaly in that region is quite negative.

    Rich.

    ========
    I’ve been watching the SW Greenland coast which is one of the few locations running behind on ice formation this year. Wind direction appears to be causing the coastal ice anomaly; http://sailwx.info/wxobs/winddirection.phtml?lat=69.338926923605&lon=-20.750857274738&radius=500

    The overall Arctic sea ice trend fails to account for normal or accelerated regional ice formation. Cryosphere Today and Environment Canada are better sources for regional patterns unless I’m missing the section on NSIDC.

    “It would be fun to see an ice bridge, wouldn’t it? I suspect though that closure of such is difficult with strong currents through the gap (until blocked by a massive iceberg?).”

    : ) yes, it would be fun and, as far as I can tell so far, unusual. Arctic Ice migrates down the Eastern coast so its possible but, as you point out, subject to currents and wind.

  47. Phil. and EFS Jr.,
    Thanks for correcting my misunderstanding about the graphs.
    [I know it's late but I hadn't been able to check back earlier.]

  48. According to the Cryosphere Today picture from the U of Illinois, there is no ice on southern half of Hudson Bay. However, the residents of Churchill tell us that the polar bears have been out on the ice for weeks. There is no thought in my mind that anybody is playing games with the images, but I do wonder: if the satellites cannot pick up miles of ice, can I rely on them to measure the height of the ocean — with waves, wind, tides, . . . — to the width of a human hair?

  49. Brian H, I am not finding the original passage that I read about the polar bears already being out on the ice from Churchill — I think it was in the comments on a WUWT post. However, here is this quote from Churchill’s Steve Seldon on November 24: “the ice platform extended into the bay as far as the eye could see.” He discusses in his blog how the polar bears have left land and have gone onto the ice in Hudson Bear.

    http://churchillpolarbears.org/2010/11/report-from-churchill-november-24-2010/

  50. An Inquirer says:
    December 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm
    According to the Cryosphere Today picture from the U of Illinois, there is no ice on southern half of Hudson Bay. However, the residents of Churchill tell us that the polar bears have been out on the ice for weeks. There is no thought in my mind that anybody is playing games with the images, but I do wonder: if the satellites cannot pick up miles of ice, can I rely on them to measure the height of the ocean — with waves, wind, tides, . . . — to the width of a human hair?

    I’m not sure which map you’re looking at but CT shows ice along the S shoreline and plenty near Churchill (do you know where Churchill is?)

  51. Phil,
    I understand this to be the latest U of I Cryosphere Today image: http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/cryo_latest.jpg
    Images are directly available from http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    NSIDC does show ice along the southern edge of Hudson Bay. To be accurate, Cryosphere states that the images referenced above does not include areas where ice is less than 30%, so a difference between NSIDC & Crysophere can be understandable. But the reports from Churchill are more than 30% ice.

  52. Any data that you get from NSIDC is unreliable. Check their MODIS snow cover Google Earth product. It shows that there hasn’t been any snow in the Northern Hemisphere this year.

  53. An Inquirer says:
    December 10, 2010 at 9:26 am
    Phil,
    I understand this to be the latest U of I Cryosphere Today image: http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/cryo_latest.jpg
    Images are directly available from http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    NSIDC does show ice along the southern edge of Hudson Bay. To be accurate, Cryosphere states that the images referenced above does not include areas where ice is less than 30%, so a difference between NSIDC & Crysophere can be understandable. But the reports from Churchill are more than 30% ice.

    And the CT map shows 95%+ ice off Churchill so I’m not sure why you’re suggesting there’s a discrepancy?

  54. Phil, do you look at the image in my post? I do look at yours. Yes, I see the ice reported on your image which matches the ice on the image from NSIDC. But the image in my post is the U of I Cryosphere image which is the 14th (and repeated in the 15th) image in the WUWT sea ice reference page. In the last couple of days, the ice in this image has gotten close to Churchill, but this image had the Hudson Bay ice free long after the polar bears had left Churchill for the ice.
    Again, I see where your Cryosphere image matches the NSIDC image for ice, but I do not know why there is not that level of ice on the Cryosphere image on the Sea Ice reference page.

  55. An Inquirer says:
    December 10, 2010 at 8:32 pm
    Phil, do you look at the image in my post? I do look at yours. Yes, I see the ice reported on your image which matches the ice on the image from NSIDC. But the image in my post is the U of I Cryosphere image which is the 14th (and repeated in the 15th) image in the WUWT sea ice reference page. In the last couple of days, the ice in this image has gotten close to Churchill, but this image had the Hudson Bay ice free long after the polar bears had left Churchill for the ice.
    Again, I see where your Cryosphere image matches the NSIDC image for ice, but I do not know why there is not that level of ice on the Cryosphere image on the Sea Ice reference page.

    The images I showed are the CT high resolution images that they present on their website, in particular the one I showed is the view from over Hudson Bay. The ones you showed are some low resolution images from a non optimal angle for showing Hudson Bay Ice. Why WUWT continues to show those images rather than the High resolution ones I don’t know but they’re a waste of time if you want see the sea ice in the vicinity of Churchill. For that go here:

  56. Note the recent decrease in Arctic sea ice extent, mostly consistent across the various graphs at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

    While this is unusual so late in the season, I see that Steve Bloom anticipated it in a recent post: “This year’s polar vortex breakdown may give us another late melt month (by moving warm air masses across the ice sheet)…” The current blip might owe more to winds than warmth (i.e., compression of the ice pack rather than outright melting). Yet the temperature distribution will retard ice formation for at least a little longer.
    I predict that 2010 will end with a record low Arctic sea ice km2 reading.

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