Sea Ice News #33

I’ve held the normal Sunday Sea Ice news until NSIDC released their monthly report, which they did today. I’m repeating it here verbatim. The main issue with Arctic extent has to do with the persistent Arctic Oscillation induced high over eastern Canada, which has kept that area warm this past month, and kept Hudson Bay from freezing over like it normally does. Otherwise, inside the Arctic circle is mostly filled with ice and the areas not filled per normal for this period are mostly outside the Arctic Circle. Click this image for reference:

And if you’ll have a look at this image from NSIDC, you’ll see Hudson bay has started to freeze up as the AO changes.

There’s also some interesting news on the new Multisensor Analyzed Sea Ice Extent (MASIE) which we’ll examine at a future date.

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From NSIDC:

Repeat of a negative Arctic Oscillation leads to warm Arctic, low sea ice extent

Arctic sea ice extent for December 2010 was the lowest in the satellite record for that month. These low ice conditions are linked to a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, similar to the situation that dominated the winter of 2009-2010.

map from space showing sea ice extent, continents
Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent for December 2010 was 12.00 million square kilometers (4.63 million square miles). The magenta line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that month. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the data.
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center 

High-resolution image


Overview of conditions

Arctic sea ice extent averaged over December 2010 was 12.00 million square kilometers (4.63 million square miles). This is the lowest December ice extent recorded in satellite observations from 1979 to 2010, 270,000 square kilometers (104,000 square miles) below the previous record low of 12.27 million square kilometers (4.74 million square miles) set in 2006 and 1.35 million square kilometers (521,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average.

As in November, ice extent in December 2010 was unusually low in both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the Arctic, but particularly in Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait (between southern Baffin Island and Labrador), and in Davis Strait (between Baffin Island and Greenland). Normally, these areas are completely frozen over by late November. In the middle of December, ice extent stopped increasing for about a week, an unusual but not unique event.

graph with months on x axis and extent on y axis
Figure 2. The graph above shows daily Arctic sea ice extent as of January 2, 2011, along with daily ice extents for previous low-ice-extent years in the month of November. Light blue indicates 2010-2011, pink shows 2006-2007 (the record low for the month was in 2006), green shows 2007-2008, and dark gray shows the 1979 to 2000 average. The gray area around the average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. Sea Ice Index data.
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center 

High-resolution image

Conditions in context

The low ice conditions in December occurred in conjunction with above-average air temperatures in regions where ice would normally expand at this time of year. Air temperatures over eastern Siberia were 6 to 10 degrees Celsius (11 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal in December. Over the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Baffin Bay/Davis Strait and Hudson Bay, temperatures were at least 6 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average. Southern Baffin Island had the largest anomalies, with temperatures over 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than normal. By sharp contrast, temperatures were lower than average (4 to 7 degrees Celsius, 7 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit) over the Alaska-Yukon border, north-central Eurasia, and Scandinavia.

The warm temperatures in December came from two sources: unfrozen areas of the ocean continued to release heat to the atmosphere, and an unusual circulation pattern brought warm air into the Arctic from the south. Although the air temperatures were still below freezing on average, the additional ocean and atmospheric heat slowed ice growth.

monthly graph Figure 3. Monthly December ice extent for 1979 to 2010 shows a decline of 3.5% per decade.
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center 

High-resolution image

December 2010 compared to past yearsDecember 2010 had the lowest ice extent for the month since the beginning of satellite records. The linear rate of decline for the month is –3.5% per decade.

figure 4: air temperature map Figure 4. Air temperatures were higher than normal over Baffin Island, Hudson Bay, and eastern Siberia for the month of December, which was associated with low sea ice extent in those areas. The temperature pattern resulted from a negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation.
—Credit: NSIDC courtesy NOAA/ESRL PSD 

High-resolution image

Negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation

As in December 2009, a strongly negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation dominated the middle and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere in December 2010, bringing higher-than-normal pressures to the Arctic region, with lower-than-normal pressures in middle latitudes. However, unlike 2009, when higher-than normal pressures centered near the central Arctic , in December 2010 higher pressures centered near Iceland and the eastern tip of the Aleutians in the Pacific, and yielded a different pattern of winds. As a result, different areas experienced warm anomalies in 2010, and a different pattern of ice extent emerged.

Our January 5, 2010 post discussed the connection between very warm temperatures over much of the high Arctic in December 2009 and a strongly negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation.

figure 5: year long graph Figure 5. This full-year graph puts 2010 sea ice extent in context. The gray line shows the 1979 to 2000 climatology, thick blue-gray indicates the 1979 to 2008 (30-year) climatology, dashed green shows 2007, and 2009 is shown in sky blue. Sea Ice Index data.
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

High-resolution image

2010 year in review

Despite a late date of the maximum in winter sea ice extent, the minimum sea ice extent for September 2010 was third lowest in the 1979 to 2010 satellite record, above only 2007 (the record low) and 2008. The late summer of 2010 saw an open Northwest Passage: this year, the deep water channel (the northern route) from M’Clure Strait to Lancaster Sound was navigable. The Northern Sea Route along the Siberian coast also became briefly navigable.

2010 started out with a highly negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, an atmospheric pattern that in the past has favored the survival of old ice through the winter, and more ice at the end of this summer. But this tendency seems to be changing. A recent study led by Julienne Strove of NSIDC showed that while wind patterns linked with the strongly negative Arctic Oscillation winter of 2009-2010 transported much old ice into the southern Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, most of this ice later melted. It may be that with a warmer Arctic, old rules regarding links between the atmospheric pressure patterns and sea ice extent no longer hold. So far the winter of 2010-2011 has also had a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation, but it is not yet clear how this pattern will affect summer sea ice.

figure 6: antarctic sea ice Figure 6. The graph of Antarctic sea ice extent as of January 3, 2011. Light blue indicates 2010-2011, dark blue shows 2009-2010, and dark gray shows the 1979 to 2000 average. The gray area around the average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data
—Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

High-resolution image

A note on Antarctica

While sea ice is growing in the Arctic, it is early summer in the Antarctic and sea ice is melting. For the past four months, Antarctic sea ice extent has remained well above average. The high ice extent around Antarctica appears to relate to a persistently positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode—an Antarctic counterpart to the Arctic Oscillation—and to the mild La Niña conditions in the Pacific. In December 2010, the monthly mean Southern Annular Mode index was lower, and Antarctic sea ice extent had dropped back to within about standard deviation of the mean.

For more information about Antarctic sea ice, see the Frequently Asked Questions section. Antarctic sea ice data is available on the Sea Ice Index.

New sea ice data

NSIDC has recently released a new sea ice extent product, called the Multisensor Analyzed Sea Ice Extent (MASIE). The MASIE project is a collaborative effort with the U.S. National Ice Center to provide a daily high-resolution sea ice extent estimate based on the NOAA Interactive Mapping System (IMS) product. This new product is considered more accurate for tracking the current position of the ice edge; for climate studies, the passive microwave product (on which Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis is based) is preferred for a more consistent, long-term average. For more information, read an article about the product at the NSIDC Monthly Highlights Web site.

Further reading

Stammerjohn, S. E., D. G. Martinson, R. C. Smith, X. Yuan, and D. Rind, 2008. Trends in Antarctic annual sea ice retreat and advance and their relation to El Nino — Southern Oscillation and Southern Annular Mode variability. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, C03S90, doi: 10.1029/2007JC004269.

Stroeve, J.C., J. Maslanik, M. C. Serreze, I. Rigor, W. Meier, and C. Fowler. 2010. Sea ice response to an extreme negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation during winter 2009/2010. Geophysical Research Letters. In Press.

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As always, up to date info is available 24/7/365 on the WUWT Sea Ice Page

 

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99 Responses to Sea Ice News #33

  1. John McManus says:

    It’s warm in one plkace and cool in another.

    Brilliant climatological insight.

    REPLY: Uh no, you’re the one with the problem. It’s weather, not climate when we discuss the AO and the short term effects it has on regions.- Anthony

  2. Ale Gorney says:

    Tamino has shown that 2010 is the hottest year on record,

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/hottest-year/

    Looks like were about to be baked at 450 for decades and decades to come.

  3. Tenuc says:

    Be intersting to see the Cryosat-2 data when it comes on stream – anyone know when summary data will be available to the public?

  4. pkatt says:

    When I look at the current charts I see little or no Ice in the Sea of Okhotsk.. and yet there are ships caught in the ice there.. Watts up with that? http://news.uk.msn.com/articles.aspx?cp-documentid=155759835

  5. BillD says:

    Yes, the strong AO is doing a job on arctic “ice extent” which was the lowest for December in the satillite record. Anyway, the amount of ice in winter is not as important as ice during summer for arctic wildlife.

    Is there any evidence whether a late freeze during fall and winter carries over to faster melting during the following summer?

  6. Stephen Wilde says:

    The problem with attributing low Arctic sea ice to the negative AO is that the sea ice steadily declined throughout the previous period of positive AO.

    I think one needs to take into account the sea ice depleting effect of the long run of late 20th century El Ninos that fed increasingly warmer water into the Arctic Circle with eventually a peak melt around 2007.

    The effect of the negative AO is more likely to be of delaying the recovery rather than causing the decline because a more negative AO encourages warm air flows in and cold air flows out of the Arctic Circle so the polar regions warm up even whilst mid latitudes cool down.

    The effect of the positive AO was more likely to be of delaying the decline rather than causing it because a more positive AO isolates the poles from warm air flows in so the polar regions actually get colder even whilst the rest of the troposphere warms up.

  7. TomRude says:

    Top quote of the new year comes from this gem:

    “The warm temperatures in December came from two sources: unfrozen areas of the ocean continued to release heat to the atmosphere, and an unusual circulation pattern brought warm air into the Arctic from the south.”

    As if warm air advections in the Arctic were “unusual”… such willful ignorance of atmospheric circulation is amazing…

  8. TomRude says:

    “… and an unusual circulation pattern brought warm air into the Arctic from the south.”

    well and since the Arctic is warming so much, soon warm air will come from the North… and cold air will come from outer space brought by aliens who scared the birdies over Arkansas… but that will be a normal atmospheric circulation pattern! LOL

    As for Tamino, GIssGOss…

  9. Tom in Florida says:

    Why is Hudson Bay considered “arctic sea”? Can anyone go back, remove the Hudson Bay area from the base line and stop counting it, then show what the difference in real arctic ice anomalies would be?

  10. xyzlatin says:

    Since 30 December, Russian ships have been trapped by ice in the Sea of Okhotsk, part of the Gulf of Sakhalin, and rescue attempts have so far been frustrated. The drama, redolent of the 1983 ice crisis, apparently involves ten ships, including a research vessel and what are described as three “fishing boats”. With crews totalling 400, it is more likely that these are factory or processing ships.

    The BBC report, claiming to cite the Russian news agency TASS, refers to ice of 12-inch depth – which seems unlikely. Ice hardened ships, which would be needed in these waters, can usually handle up to three feet (1 metre) of ice. Sure enough, the TASS report talks of ice approaching two metres thick, with the icebreaker Magadan (pictured below) struggling to reach the trapped ships. Such is the density of the ice that it had to halt four miles away from the vessels.

    According to a second report by TASS, Magadan will be joined by the Admiral Makarov icebreaker, one of the largest in the far eastern icebreaker fleet. Rescue operations will then resume, scheduled for 4 January. No lives are said to be at risk. Currently, temperatures are reported down to -22°C and the extent of ice has clearly caught the Russian by surprise – and indeed the thickness, as the Magadan has been unable to cope.

    How does the above report at http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/ compare with the map above showing no ice in the Sea of Okhotsk?
    With Russian ships still trapped in the Sea of Okhotsk, in ice of two-metre thickness, Republican American blogger Steve Macoy recalls a 2006 symposium on global warming.

    Illustrated were findings that that a large warming area existed in the western part of the Sea of Okhotsk, and a warming trend widely extended toward the western North Pacific. It was thus “widely believed” that the global warming was recently proceeding and the East Siberia region just north of the Sea of Okhotsk was one of the most sensitive areas to the global warming in the Northern Hemisphere.

    The Sea of Okhotsk turns out to be quite an important area from the warmist perspective, this paper reporting that it plays a role as the pump of the North Pacific – thus having a significant effect on the climate of the region. It forms a significant ice factory for the whole region and there are said to be “clear indications of global warming” around the sea.

    This report in 2006 claimed a dramatic shrinkage of ice (illustrated), and a shortening ice season – with dire economic consequences. And it was this paper which reported on the area of the sea being “a sensitive area to the current global warming”, despite cyclical effects being reported elsewhere.

    With the region now experiencing thick – and evidently unexpected – ice, this is clearly of more importance than just the trapping of a number of ships. The ice in the whole region is something of a warmist poster child, and another one that has suddenly lost its appeal.

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/ Richard North has more news of the drama occurring as one of the icebreakers has got stuck as well.

  11. Andrew30 says:

    “North Pole ice ‘may disappear by September'”
    “The Centre [NSIDC] has been predicting that the Arctic Ocean could be virtually ice-free by 2012 but that point may be reached within months rather than years.

    That has been the widely published and supported prediction for the last 5 years.
    Everyone has heard it at least 30 times.

    By 2012, now mean This Year. The predition is that the Arctic Will Be Ice Free THIS YEAR, in September; no more waiting around for the ‘in five years’ lead time.

    Let us wait and see just how well they can predict the climate Five Years In Advance.

    Ice free, this year.

    “North Pole ice ‘may disappear by September'”
    By Paul Eccleston 2:45PM BST 27 Jun 2008
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3345666/North-Pole-ice-may-disappear-by-September.html

  12. Michael says:

    Global warming caused Brain Freeze. Fortunately, it only affects people who believe in man-made global warming.

  13. Just The Facts says:

    Tom in Florida says: January 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    “Can anyone go back, remove the Hudson Bay area from the base line and stop counting it, then show what the difference in real arctic ice anomalies would be?”

    Well here’s NSIDC’s plot for Hudson Bay;
    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/plots/r10_Hudson_Bay_ts.png

    and here’s the one from Cryosphere Today:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.13.html

    Here is NSIDC’s data broken out by region for the last 30 days:
    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/masie_extent_sqkm.csv

    Note how Sea Ice increased in Hudson Bay until December 15th (2010349) and then dropped, remaining below the Dec 15th high for 13 days until Dec 28th (2010362). A similar retrenchment also occurred in Baffin Bay/Gulf of St. Lawrence.

    Also, in addition to the negative Arctic Oscillation noted in the NSIDC press release, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) has been in an extended negative phase as is reflected in this NAO index chart;
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/pna/month_nao_index.shtml

    In fact the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index has been negative for last 15 months;
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/pna/norm.nao.monthly.b5001.current.ascii.table
    which is the longest stretch of negative monthly NAOs in the historical record.

    If you look at the 60 year trend of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index;
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/pna/JFM_season_nao_index.shtml
    it looks like the trend of more positive AAOs that began in the 70s has ceased, and the AAO may be trending towards more extended and strongly negative phases in the coming years.

    For those of you who would like to keep track Arctic Sea Ice by region, NSIDC’s monthly info is here;
    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/
    the plots are here;
    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/plots/
    and Cryoshpere Today’s data can be found under the banner “Latest regional sea ice coverage and anomalies” halfway down on this page:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

  14. pkatt re where’s the ice in Sea of Okhotsk

    looks like ice to me here:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.color.003.png

  15. Philip Mulholland says:

    pkatt says:
    January 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm
    When I look at the current charts I see little or no Ice in the Sea of Okhotsk

    Are you sure?
    Here is the NIC Snow & Ice Chart (Asia & Europe) for Wed 5 Jan 2011

  16. wobble says:

    Since the Arctic sea ice extent hasn’t declined 3.5% per decade, then certainly there must be one month out of the year that is showing a gain.

    Does anyone have the data to produce a graph for each of the months Jan-Nov?

  17. John McManus says:

    Tom in Florida:

    Hudson Bay has been known as a bay off the Arctic ocean for some time. Henry Huson had a hand in this recognition.

    Many people understand that Hudson Bay gets cold.

    If you have trouble with Henry Hudson, think of the Hudson River. He did a bit of exploring a long time ago.

  18. Tom in Florida re: what would anomalies be without Hudson’s Bay

    based on data from cryosphere today, Hudson’s Bay is off its mean by 500,o00 km2
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.13.html

    therefore if Arctic is less than its mean by 800,000 km2, Hudson’s Bay accounts for 5/8 of anomaly

  19. John McManus says:

    MSN says that two Russian ships have been freed from ice today.

  20. Kim Allen says:

    WUWT,

    DMI has a 2011 temperature graph at http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php that isn’t making it onto your pages for some reason. It continues to be hot, hot, hot, at least by comparison to the norm.

    REPLY: It is on our sea ice page 24/7/365 so your concern is unwarranted. – Anthony

  21. geo says:

    Being lower than Dec 2006 is certainly not pleasant. Otoh, the areas where it is lower are generally outside the central core that is going to determine next summer’s minimum.

    And, yes, “extent” still sucks, even tho it is what we have. C’mon Cryosat-2!

  22. coaldust says:

    “Repeat of a negative Arctic Oscillation leads to warm Arctic, low sea ice extent”

    As we all know, during NH winter the arctic is pointing away from the sun. It’s not warm, just less cold.

    If surface ice insulates the liquid water below it from losing energy, it follows that having less ice means more energy lost from the water, to the air, then to space. This is a signal of warmth now, but with cooling taking place.

  23. latitude says:

    and dark gray shows the 1979 to 2000 average
    ==========================================
    I have a real problem with this.

    There was cooling to the point of predicting the next ice age, from 1945 to the mid 1970’s.

    That was a 30 year bounce down and a 3o year bounce back to the year 2000.

    The 1979-2000 average has entirely too much of that bounce back in it for it to be “average”.

    Since it’s obvious that last few years sea ice extent has been trending much closer together than the “average”/”normal”……

    …isn’t it about time someone sat down and established a new/real average/normal

  24. Perry says:

    Could there also be increased activity on the Gakkel ridge? Is anyone looking?

    http://volcanism.wordpress.com/?s=Gakkel+ridge&searchbutton=go!

    OTOH, Tom Moriarty doesn’t think there would be enough heat.

    http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/volcanos-in-gakkel-ridge-not-responsible-melting-the-arctic-ice/

  25. RoyFOMR says:

    Let me stake my claim! If Global Warming gives rise to record breaking low temperatures then I hypothesise that Global Cooling gives rise to record breaking, and unprecedented, high temperatures.
    Both conjectures are unfalsifiable, each is based upon belief but only one is fiscally profitable.
    By standing upon the shoulders of the “Ice Age Commeth” prophets of earlier decades, I can cite CO2 as the main driver of CC, as easily, as the proponents of fiery death can. The task being made easier, of course, as many of the proponents have switched sides and are now lapsed prophets.

    To whom do I send my funding application?

  26. RH says:

    I mentioned a couple of years ago that I thought the ocean current velocities appeared to be increasing. It still looks like that is occurring. The waters between Canada and Greenland are warmer and that seems to be releasing a lot of energy to the air there and causing the development of a strong low pressure. If the ocean currents are moving faster, I would expect stronger currents to be found near the Canadian coast instead of along the Eastern shores of Greenland. It would explain why the ice is slow to develop in the Arctic when the temperatures there are quite cold. It was -59C in Siberia today and it has been very cold before today. These cold temperatures are periodically moderated up to the -30’sC as low pressures pass near by because of the open water so far North. It looks to me like these low pressures are forming near both poles on a regular basis and I think it is due to faster moving ocean currents releasing heat energy from the equator.

    If true, a blocking pattern should stay in place making Europe cold for the next few years. The increased release of heat and water vapor to the polar regions should continue to cause increased snow at high latitudes and continued cooling of the equatorial oceans. There should be more snow persisting into the Summer months. The combination of cooling poles, reduced solar output, and open water in the Arctic could be the perfect recipe for continental glaciers to begin to form.

  27. Travis S. says:

    RE: wobble
    January 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Yes, there is monthly data from NSIDC available going back to 1979 (for both Arctic and Antarctic). Here’s the link:

    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/

    Arctic ice has a negative 30-year trend in all 12 months, and is most pronounced in July, August, September, and October (least so in the late winter/early spring months).

  28. John McManus says:

    The map above shows some ice in the Sea of Okhotsk but way below the mean.

    The fishing boat probably took a chance and got caught. Not a new ice age but greed and stupidity.

  29. Myrrh says:

    Is there any information of the ice extent changes around the coast of Antarctica during the last few thousands of years in more visual form than Vostok graph?

  30. Pamela Gray says:

    I have been thinking about this Arctic Oscillation pressure phenomenon and have been considering the possibility that in order to experience a little or a big ice age, cold air from the Arctic must invade latitudes further South. In order to do that, the AO must flip to a negative mode and stay there for quite a while. Else the high pressure vortex of Arctic air stays circulating around the Arctic creating a shield as it were to what would otherwise be a pretty cold Northern Hemisphere.

    I say this as an alternative to the argument presented by many AGWers that a negative AO is a signal of a warmer world. I think it is just the opposite. Cold Arctic air must invade in order to create an ice age. Therefore the AO must be negative and persistently so. A warming world would show signs of a persistent neutral to positive AO.

    The above is offered to allow me to present the idea that this ice extent could possibly be the lull before the storm. Is it probable? I don’t know. But I do think it is possible that we could be on the edge of a colder world for quite some time. Even though, ice extent seems weak and contrary to a colder world.

  31. R. Gates says:

    What is important about sea ice is the long-term trend. 2010 (and now early 2011) continue to support the long-term downtrend in Arctic ice extent. There will always be some specific “reason” given for one low season to the next, from warmer water pushing in from the Atlantic or Pacific and melting the ice from the bottom, a negative AO, wind pushing the ice out of the Fram strait, etc., but what is important to note is that all of these events involve energy, and specifically the motions of large masses of warmer air and warmer water into the Arctic. As a warmist, I am one who think that the GCM’s are probably have it right, and that by the end of this century at the very latest (and probably much sooner) we’ll have an ice free Arctic in the summer. Finally, to those who think that this long term decline in Arctic ice is simply the motion of wind etc. and does not involve higher than normal amounts of energy remaining in and around the Arctic, consider the simple fact that permafrost is melting as well. We don’t get much wind 12 feet underground where we’re seeing the permafrost melt. All this is exactly the kinds of early signs that GCM’s have for a long time modelled as sign of AGW. But it’s entertaining to see how AGW skeptics try to explain all this through any other means available…

    REPLY: 30 years of satellite data, with the last 15 showing a decline is not a “long term trend” in the scheme of our planetary cycles. That’s where alarmists fail. You should read this article. – Anthony

  32. Tom in Florida says:

    Just The Facts says:(January 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm)
    Dave in Canmore says:(January 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm)

    Thanks for taking the time to respond and post links.

    R. Gates says: (January 5, 2011 at 7:38 pm)
    “As a warmist, I am one who think that the GCM’s are probably have it right, and that by the end of this century at the very latest (and probably much sooner) we’ll have an ice free Arctic in the summer”

    If, as the links posted by those mentioned above seem to show, that this year’s lower anomaly is mainly due to Hudson Bay, why do you still claim that the Arctic sea ice, the sea ice actually within the Arctic Circle, is in such free fall? Isn’t the inclusion of Hudson Bay in these calculations simply a man made boundary decision? Does that really reflect the conditions around the north pole?

  33. GARY KRAUSE says:

    And the total mass of ice is ___________, and last years mass is ____________.

    Thicker ice that is not as wide spread may linger longer than thinner ice during warmer periods , right?

  34. John F. Hultquist says:

    The warm temperatures in December came from two sources: unfrozen areas of the ocean continued to release heat to the atmosphere, and an unusual circulation pattern brought warm air into the Arctic from the south.

    Is not the area now short of ice the same area that a few weeks ago was under an intense High Pressure? Is High Pressure not a compressive movement of descending and adiabatically warming air? Would we not expect air to be moving away from this region, not into it?

    Maybe my time-line if wrong. When and where from did the “warm air” originate that is mentioned in the above quote?

  35. John F. Hultquist says:

    . . .<b<is wrong

  36. John F. Hultquist says:

    latitude,
    …isn’t it about time someone sat down and established . . .

    Fine, but there is no data!

    When folks from Main St. to Wall St. do such, they go to jail. You must contact your government agencies for this to be done.

  37. TomRude says:

    The Petoukhov paper (realclimate) supposes that warmed ocean releases heat in the Barents Sea and that would prevent freezing and create cold winters in Europe. Yet if he looked at the NSIDC map for december 2010, he’d see that the Barents sea sea ice is right within the median 1979-2000. Therefore quoting Petoukhov to explain harsh winter in Europe as Rhamstorf and the Team do is ill founded.

    True the arctic sea ice extent in November/December was very low; But where? Eastern Hudson Bay, Labrador and south Greenland. Well at the front of the high pressure anticyclones that brought cold and froze lemontrees in Florida the strong temperature gradient will force the advection of a huge amount of warm and moist air northward, that very same air that dumped snowmaggedon on the NE USA recently. Therefore the lack of sea ice in the above mention areas is a direct consequence, not the cause of the dynamics of circulation. There is nothing unusual about it, contrary to the alarmist BS from Mark Serreze at NSIDC.

    Therefore using arctic sea ice as a clear indicator of GHG global warming is BS. In fact all arctic sea ice parameters can be explained through dynamical circulation conditions that are in transition toward a cooling since high pressure systems are stronger and occuring more often. Ignoring meteorology as many warmers and others who are taking their cue from biased scientist/activists such as Overland and Team, make them an easy target to debunk.

  38. xyzlatin says:

    Reply to ” John McManus says: January 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm
    The map above shows some ice in the Sea of Okhotsk but way below the mean.

    The fishing boat probably took a chance and got caught. Not a new ice age but greed and stupidity.” unquote
    which was a comment to my earlier post “xyzlatin says: January 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm ”
    John I did not mention “the fishing boat”. The first paragraph clearly says 10 ships.

    “Since 30 December, Russian ships have been trapped by ice in the Sea of Okhotsk, part of the Gulf of Sakhalin, and rescue attempts have so far been frustrated. The drama, redolent of the 1983 ice crisis, apparently involves ten ships, including a research vessel and what are described as three “fishing boats”. With crews totalling 400, it is more likely that these are factory or processing ships.”

    Now why would you make your statement denigrating Russian fishermen? If you want to find out more, go to the link I provided to Richard North’s EU Referendum blog, which has photos.
    There is clearly a lot more ice in those areas than is being shown in official maps.

  39. savethesharks says:

    Pamela Gray says:
    January 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm
    Else the high pressure vortex of Arctic air stays circulating around the Arctic creating a shield as it were to what would otherwise be a pretty cold Northern Hemisphere.

    ============================

    As always, well said, Pamela. Except no such thing as a “high pressure vortex.”

    Maybe “high-pressure anti-vortex”. Semantics really and I get what you are saying but still.

    Cyclone = Low Pressure = Vortex

    Anticyclone = High Pressure = Anti-vortex

    Regards,

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  40. savethesharks says:

    R. Gates says:

    But it’s entertaining to see how AGW skeptics try to explain all this through any other means available…

    =========================

    Talk about “entertaining”!!

    It has been splendidly entertaining to watch you continue to talk out of your arse over these many months.

    At least, through the spin, lies, and half-truths….you finally identify yourself as a “warmist.”

    Congratulations. [Though not really].

    We pegged that one a long LONG time ago.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  41. ES says:

    The sea ice where those boats got stuck is at least 50% of its normal thickness.You can see thickness here:

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/analysis/350_100.gif

    The icebreaker Admiral Makarov can be followed here:

    http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shiplocations.phtml?lat=54.717902674587&lon=141.20917447982&radius=498

  42. RH says:

    I don’t see continental glaciers forming under a persistent Arctic air mass which is generally very dry air. Instead, I see glaciers forming with the alternating Positive and Negative AO conditions that are occurring now, and that provide an abundance of moisture over large areas of North America, Europe and Asia. Glaciers need more snow accumulating than melting. I think we might be surprised when it is only a couple of degrees cooler than it is now, and the oceans keep transporting the heat and moisture to higher latitudes from the equatorial regions. The rate of heat transport in the oceans is responsible for these Arctic Oscillations in my opinion.

    What about the increased UV solar radiation? Is this continuing at the same time that the sun spot cycle is waning? What ramifications will this have?

  43. Surely, Arctic solid ice thickness is more relevant than the extent of 15% of free-floating, surface ice? And why include sea ice that is not within the Artic Circle?

  44. onion says:

    So the arctic ice continues it’s decline.

    Now the excuse is that a negative AO is causing it. But wasn’t the old excuse that a positive AO had caused the melt?

    So I guess we just have a situation where the arctic ice is in some kind of death spiral. That’s all we know.

  45. Stephen Wilde says:

    Pamela Gray said:

    “Therefore the AO must be negative and persistently so. A warming world would show signs of a persistent neutral to positive AO.”

    Exactly and that is consistent with all previous AGW contentions whereby the warming from more CO2 was pushing the jets poleward (more positive AO).

    Now they are spinning in the opposite direction.

  46. Demesure says:

    So the Artic unusually high air temperatures is due to heat released into the atmosphere when there is less ice, but also when there is … more ice. Climate science can explain anything.

    NSIDC , January 5, 2011:
    unfrozen areas of the ocean continued to release heat to the atmosphere

    NSIDC November 10, 2008 :
    The process of ice formation also releases heat to the atmosphere. Part of the anomalous temperature pattern seen in Figure 3 is an expression of this process, which is generally called the latent heat of fusion.

  47. Stephen Wilde says:

    Onino said:

    “Now the excuse is that a negative AO is causing it. But wasn’t the old excuse that a positive AO had caused the melt?”

    It was warmists who said the positive AO was causing the melt and that the positive AO had been caused by human emissions.

    Sceptics mostly took the view that it was the ingress of warm water to the Arctic Circle after 30 years of strongly positive El Nino events, low global cloudiness and low global albedo.

    Now all that is in reverse yet CO2 in the air has kept rising. The Arctic ice will recover soon enough.

  48. RR Kampen says:

    “…kept Hudson Bay from freezing over like it normally does.”

    For the first time in known history, probably even written history.

  49. John McManus says:

    xyzlatin:
    MSN says 5 caught, 2 released the others out today.

    Fishermen from all countries follow fish. These two boats obviously sailed from open water into ice. The lack of ice may have led them to believe they could scoop up a catch and then get out quick. If that was the case, they were wrong.

    This topic and the attached maps brings up a Canadian topic. Our neo-con prime minister thinks that the navigation of open arctic waters will benefit Canada. He has been prancing about bragging about militarization of Nunavit, super icebreakers and other compensatory bluster. The maps mentioned show the passage will open along Russia’s north coast long before it does on Canada`s. Just more silly libertarian magical thinking.

  50. erlhapp says:

    Why is it currently warm in Hudsons Bay/Greenland?
    Its a question that has exercised my mind and in this thread I have had the opportunity to re-examine the issue and hopefully to learn. As I see it now there are four factors contributing
    1. Warm air descending from the straotosphere. As soon as the AO goes negative we see a geopotential height anomaly appear at latitudes higher than 60°north representing ozone rich air that absorbs long wave radiation from the Earth. There is no UV to be had in the polar night. The only way this air can warm is by absorbing OLR. So the source air in the descending polar circulation is warmer. It represents air slipping down through the ozone profile with more above and less below.
    2 The warmed source air is further warmed as it descends via compression.
    3 As Tom Rude points out:Well at the front of the high pressure anticyclones that brought cold and froze lemontrees in Florida the strong temperature gradient will force the advection of a huge amount of warm and moist air northward, that very same air that dumped snowmaggedon on the NE USA recently.
    4. And all forms of precipitation release latent heat.

    But all this is temporary because continued low AO will suck the guts out of the westerlies and promote the polar easterlies as it did between 1940 and 1978 and the Arctic will freeze over again. So, what you are getting at the moment is a taste of an old fashioned ice and snow promoting winter. The warm moist air will still come up from the tropics but it will be fighting cold Arctic Air all the way. Its a winter circulation pattern in the northern hemisphere rather than an all year circulation pattern as it is in the southern hemisphere.

    The interesting contradiction about low AO is that Arctic pressure is higher while the centre of the vortex of descending air represents a low pressure zone. As the circulation intensifies the whole thing descends to the surface (its usual habitat in the Arctic is in the stratosphere) and starts to do what you see happening in the Antarctic all year round.

    And which hemisphere is the icy one? And soon there will be two. But only in winter.

    I hope that makes sense.

  51. Jimbo says:

    As for what the December extent means for September is anybody’s guess. Take a look at 2006 extent at the end of January then look at 2006 extent in mid September.
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent_L.png

  52. Jimbo says:

    Sea ice concentration 2008 compared to 2011.
    http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/cryo_compare.jpg

  53. David A. Evans says:

    Interesting that the smaller icebreaker Magadan is having to stay on the periphery of the ice, having been stuck in it once already. They’re sending another larger breaker to help out the Admiral Makarov. That breaker is its sister ship the Krasin.

    Breaking news is the trawler Nimb apparently stuck in the Barents sea.

    DaveE.

  54. David A. Evans says:

    Incidentally the ice in Okhotsk is at least 2m thick. There’s a 32,000 tonne factory ship stuck there too. Even if they send the 50 Let Pobedy I think they’ll have problems getting that out. The Krasin won’t get there until Sunday.

    DaveE.

  55. beng says:

    Ack, the tundra in northern Quebec is dying from lack of cold! Animals & plants are falling over, melted by the extreme heat. Fish are dying from unfrozen water. Polar bears are down to their last Coca Cola.

  56. latitude says:

    Smokey says:
    January 6, 2011 at 5:27 am
    beng,
    You’re right!
    =====================================================

    “Dr. Slander recounted a recent incident in which a polar bear attacked a local homeless man, and had devoured only a small part of the man’s body before collapsing from exhaustion. “Because of global warming, the bears’ normal way of life is changing rapidly..it’s tragic.””

  57. Pamela Gray says:

    Thanks for the clarification savetheshark. I’ll take some time to study that word.

  58. MartinGAtkins says:

    John McManus says:
    January 6, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Our neo-con prime minister thinks that the navigation of open arctic waters will benefit Canada.

    It would but isn’t this the danger? All this talk of global warming and an ice free arctic could lead to foolish decisions.

    Can you imagine what the result would be if oil rigs where deployed in the arctic circle and the climate/weather became extremely hostile.

    Never mind what your “neo-con” prime minister thinks, aren’t you’re Marxist pseudo-scientists playing a dangerous game?

    Stick with the tar sands. :)

  59. Paul McCulloch says:

    I recall a post on WUWT (could have been a response) sometime during the past 6-18 months documenting ice free conditions in the Arctic during the 1920s-30s(?). Does anyone remember this article?

  60. jason says:

    R Gates “comes out” as a warmist shock.

    Goes from “70 percent” to 100 percent warmist in three months.

    Wow.

  61. David A. Evans says:

    Paul McCulloch says:
    January 6, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Could it be this one…

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/12/12/today-in-climate-history-dec-12th-1938-getting-warmer/

    From 2008. I know time flies. :-)

    DaveE.

  62. RH says:

    R.Gates says, “higher than normal amounts of energy remaining in and around the Arctic”. The solar energy doesn’t remain. It returns to space. CO2 and water vapor help it return to space more quickly. The fact that it is passing through the poles more quickly now is evidenced in the cooling of the Tropical oceans. Even the next five years should be quite exciting for weather and climate buffs.

  63. R. Gates says:

    jason says:
    January 6, 2011 at 7:20 am
    R Gates “comes out” as a warmist shock.

    Goes from “70 percent” to 100 percent warmist in three months.

    Wow.
    _____
    I’ve made my position clear here on WUWT from the very beginning. Even if I am only 75% convinced that AGW is likely occurring, then that still makes me a warmist. You put the “100%” label on me for your own convenience.

    But also, to those AGW skeptics who downplay the significance of the warming Arctic as seen in a the downward trend in year-to-year sea ice, higher temps, and melting permafrost, it seems a big stretch to assume that it is just a “coincidence” that this exact series of events has LONG been forecast by GCM’s when considering the effects of AGW. I have no problem remaing partially skeptical about AGW, as it keeps me open (honestly open) to other possibilities such as solar & ocean influences, but until I see a reason to suppose that some other of these influences more accurately desribe and predict the same series of effects expected (and currently being seen) from AGW, then I’ll remain 75% convinced that AGW is basically correct and 25% skeptical.

  64. R. Gates says:

    RH says:
    January 6, 2011 at 8:42 am
    R.Gates says, “higher than normal amounts of energy remaining in and around the Arctic”. The solar energy doesn’t remain. It returns to space. CO2 and water vapor help it return to space more quickly. The fact that it is passing through the poles more quickly now is evidenced in the cooling of the Tropical oceans. Even the next five years should be quite exciting for weather and climate buffs.
    ____
    Obviously I 100% disagree with you. CO2 and water vaper do not help solar energy “return to space more quickly”. I’m not sure what science manuals you’re reading, but you might want to throw them out.

  65. RH says:

    By the way, Summit Greenland is -46C today and this is definitely not the first time this Fall and Winter that it has been that cold there. Ojmjakon and Verhojansk, Russia are -54C and -46C respectively. All of these locations have had extremely cold periods earlier this Fall. It was -40C in Ojmjakon on November 8, 2010.

  66. Enneagram says:

    R. Gates says:
    January 6, 2011 at 8:56 am
    You are half right, geographically, about Arctic temperatures, but not due to CO2 (Remember? No CO2, No You): See the last graph from Vukcevic
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm

  67. Paul McCulloch says:

    David A. Evans says:
    January 6, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Could it be this one…

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/12/12/today-in-climate-history-dec-12th-1938-getting-warmer/

    From 2008. I know time flies. :-)

    This may be the post, although I do seem to recall that the article was a current discussion on historical records from the period.

    Thanks for the help… time does indeed fly!

  68. Pamela Gray says:

    Gates, I must ask you, are you saying that the ice is melting in spite of natural atmospheric/oceanic conditions or because of them? And if it is because of them, tell us again how CO2 drives these natural conditions to extremes, changes them, makes them unique, or forces them to act different, that then affects the ice. In particular I am talking about the AO, the invasion of El Nino warmed waters into the Arctic (I refer to the Pacific Warm Pool and its slow migration North), and the warm phase of the Atlantic and its slow migration North.

  69. savethesharks says:

    Pamela Gray says:
    January 6, 2011 at 7:01 pm
    Gates, I must ask you, are you saying that the ice is melting in spite of natural atmospheric/oceanic conditions or because of them? And if it is because of them, tell us again how CO2 drives these natural conditions to extremes, changes them, makes them unique, or forces them to act different, that then affects the ice.

    ============================

    He won’t be able to produce it for you, because he can’t, Pamela.

    I have recommended that he consider applying to do support work for the IPCC or maybe even NASA.

    They would welcome him there.

    [Not a compliment].

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  70. R. Gates says:

    Pamela Gray says:
    January 6, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Gates, I must ask you, are you saying that the ice is melting in spite of natural atmospheric/oceanic conditions or because of them? And if it is because of them, tell us again how CO2 drives these natural conditions to extremes, changes them, makes them unique, or forces them to act different, that then affects the ice. In particular I am talking about the AO, the invasion of El Nino warmed waters into the Arctic (I refer to the Pacific Warm Pool and its slow migration North), and the warm phase of the Atlantic and its slow migration North.
    _______
    I look at it from the broadest perspective. Do the shorter term signals, such as the PDO, ENSO, and NAO (relative to the longer term CO2 forcing) cause changes in the Arctic sea ice? Undoubtedly. And sometimes, (if AGW is occurring) these natural cycles may reinforce the warming caused by GHG’s, and sometimes they might work against it. I would also not discount the possibility that AGW could change the very nature of these natural ocean cycles. To assume that a 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 will have no affect on ocean heat transport seems foolish at best. In the long run though, if AGW is occurring, on a decade by decade basis we will see more energy from various atmospheric and ocean sources in the Arctic and thus we will see all the signs of long-term warming in Arctic…lower seasonal sea ice, warmer air and water temps, melting permafrost, etc. Also, there must necessarily be positive feed backs as the energy balance changes in such a system on the edge of chaos, much like the collapse of a sandpile turns into mini landslide with the addition of just one single grain of sand. Rapid changes and alterations in atmospheric circulation patterns would not be surprising, and these may well affect things like the AO and the so-called Dipole Anomaly, (which hasn’t been so anomalous these past few years…)

  71. Pamela Gray says:

    Thought so. You have no idea what the mechanism might be or how much energy is potentially available from the additional amount of anthropogenic CO2 we have experienced in the last 30 years compared to the amount of energy needed to affect these incredibly large, powerful systems.

  72. R. Gates says:

    Oh, and by the way, it really gets tiring to hear some skeptics very incorrectly keep suggesting that climate scientists have only recently “made up” the excuse that lower Arctic sea ice could affect things like the AO or NAO. Here one research paper (from very reputable source) that looks at this subject, and it was published in 2003… 4 years before the dramatic decline we saw in 2007 to Arctic sea ice:

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/1520-0442%282004%29017%3C0890%3ATARTRA%3E2.0.CO%3B2?prevSearch=&searchHistoryKey=

    A quote from the study says:

    “Thus, unlike in the Atlantic, the Pacific ice anomalies could have a positive feedback on the atmospheric circulation. However, the wave train response was less pronounced and the AO/NAO-like response more prominent in the Win96c compared to the Win96e experiment, which suggests that the enhanced surface heat flux anomalies in the concentration simulations may preferentially excite internal modes of atmospheric variability.”

    This is worth a read for those of you who would really like to see what climate scientists have been saying for quite some time about the effects of lower Arctic sea ice on atmospheric circulation patterns.

  73. R. Gates says:

    Pamela Gray says:
    January 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm
    Thought so. You have no idea what the mechanism might be or how much energy is potentially available from the additional amount of anthropogenic CO2 we have experienced in the last 30 years compared to the amount of energy needed to affect these incredibly large, powerful systems.
    ________
    The mechanism is simple…more energy in the atmosphere and oceans caused from the 40% increase in CO2 over the past 250+ years of steadily increasing fossil fuel buring. Each additional ppm added year to year ensure a bit more energy is kept in the system as opposed to being re-transimtted into space. This energy will of necessity be primarily trapped in the oceans, as it has the highest capacity for storage. A question for you though…why did you use the past 30 years of CO2 build-up in your statement as any effects from CO2 would be cummulative with decided tipping points along the way as would be the case for any energy related system on the edge of chaos?

  74. An Inquirer says:

    Just wondering. “The planet’s northern magnetic pole is drifting slowly but steadily towards Russia.” reference: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/01/06/magnetic-north-pole-shifts-forces-closure-florida-airport/?test=latestnews
    Can drifts in the magnetic pole affect climate / weather patterns / ice ?

  75. Will Crump says:

    WHAT THE RECORD SETTING LOW ICE EXTENT FOR DECEMBER 2010 PORTENDS FOR THE 2011 MINIMUM

    ANS: NOTHING

  76. Will Crump says:

    The December 31 record low of 11,914,688 km2 (per IJIS/JAXA) was due to reduced ice conditions primarily in Hudson Bay and Baffin Bay, and to a lesser extent, Okhotsk, East Greenland and the Barents Sea. The average amount of ice in these areas at the September minimum is either zero or not much above .1 million km2, so these areas are not material to the SIE at the September minimum.

    The following regions have generally reached their maximum possiblie extent as of the end of December per the MASIE Time Series Plots :

    Beaufort Sea
    Chukchi Sea
    East Siberian Sea
    Laptev Sea
    Kara Sea
    Canadian Archipelago
    Central Arctic Basin – appears to have reached the maximum extent of 3.25 million km2 earlier than in prior years

    http://nsidc.org/data/masie/masie_plots.html

    The Central Arctic Basin makes up approximately 80% of the SIE number at the minimum so this is the primary region to watch.

    Weather and wind conditions will determine if 2011 drops below 4.1 million km2 and sets a new record low or continues to stay below the record low of 5.3 million km2 set in 2005. (Numbers are per NSIDC). Ice in the Laptev Sea, Kara Sea and to a lesser extent, the East Siberian Sea will exit these regions and flow into the central Arctic Basin in 2011, as they have in prior years. The influx of ice from these seas into the central Arctic Basin will be offset by the outflow of ice from the central Arctic Basin through the Fram Strait and to a lesser extent the Nares Strait. The balance between these inflows and the outflows for the central Arctic Basin as well as the degree of ice compaction and of course, melting, are the factors which will determining the SIE at the minimum. Regardless of whichever way things go, you can confidently predict that an ice free central Arctic Basin will not occur in 2011 and the September minimum will be significantly below the 1979 to 2009 average minimum.

    MISSED AGAIN

    The low end of my December 31, 2010 guess (based on the IJIS/JAXA data) made at the end of October (Sea Ice News #28) of 12.2 million km2 was not reached until January 4, 2011 and the upper end of 12.4 million km2 was exceeded on January 6, 2011, so my projection missed again by a few days. I attribute the miss to the unusual ice conditions in mid December in Hudson Bay, when the negative extent anomaly unexpectedly increased by .2 million km2 over a few days – see the graph at:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.13.html

    THE NEXT GUESS

    SIE numbers bounce around too much for the next several months to narrow down the range for a meaningful end of the month guess. At this point, I will hazard a guess that the SIE will drop below 11.5 million km2 by May 31, 2011 but will likely be above 10.8 million km2 at May 31, 2011 (as determined by IJIS/JAXA) as this is the approximate range observed for the period 2004 through 2010. however, I dropped the low end a bit since the previous guesses have been too high and Hudson Bay continues to show a large negative anomaly which indicates it may be more susceptible to early melting in 2011.

    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02186/plots/r10_Hudson_Bay_ts.png

    2011 MINIMUM GUESS

    It is still too early to produce a precise prediction for the 2011 minimum SIE, so I will guess that there is a 75% chance it will be in a range of 4.1 million km2 to 5.1 million km2 for the minimum (2010 was 4.6 million km2) as determined by the NSIDC. For reference the JAXA September 2010 minimum was 4,813,594 km2. For the minimum based on the JAXA number I would guess 4.3 million km2 to 5.3 million km2 (approximately the record low amounts set in 2007 and 2005 repectively).

    Mr. Watts:

    Will you be posting a prediction for the 2011 minimum before the maximum SIE is reached in March?

  77. Tom in Florida says:

    R. Gates says: (January 6, 2011 at 9:46 pm)
    ” To assume that a 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 will have no affect on ocean heat transport seems foolish at best.”

    To assume an additional 1.12 molecule of CO2 increase per 10,000 molecules of atmosphere will have any affect on ocean heat transport at all is foolish period.

    Once again you fall back and trot out your “40% increase” phrase as if it has meaning. Try using the real world numbers, but then your whole campaign of fear melts away.

  78. Kev-in-UK says:

    Tom in Florida says:
    January 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    correctimundo Tom. It’s funny really, when warmists whine on about 40% increases in atmospheric CO2. Firstly, it is somewhat disputed what pre-industrial CO2 levels were, but it is not disputed that geologically historical CO2 was much much higher. But the biggest crappola is the fact they forget that 40% of very little is still very little!
    I bet if everyone of them had their savings in a bank account getting 0.003% they’d be real happy to get 0.004% and wouldn’t be at all complaining about the banks advertising that the interest rate was 40% better!
    Still, of course, temps have risen by a comparable 40% as well haven’t they! /sarc off

  79. Will Crump says:

    Tom in Florida:

    While CO2 is a trace gas in the atmosphere, it is not true that this trace gas has no impact on the Earth’s climate or life on the Earth.

    Without 2.8 molecules of CO2 per 10,000 the earth would be significantly cooler. There is no support for a position that the Earth would be no different than it is today if all the CO2 was somehow removed from the atmosphere. We need that CO2 in the atmosphere, even though it only constitues a small part of the atmosphere.

    While you can certainly confirm this on your own, the following may help explain the impact this very small amount of trace gas has:

    “[C]arbon dioxide accounts for about 20 percent of the greenhouse effect, water vapor and clouds together account for 75 percent, and minor gases and aerosols make up the remaining five percent. However, it is the 25 percent non-condensing greenhouse gas component, which includes carbon dioxide, that is the key factor in sustaining Earth’s greenhouse effect. By this accounting, carbon dioxide is responsible for 80 percent of the radiative forcing that sustains the Earth’s greenhouse effect.

    The climate forcing experiment described in Science was simple in design and concept — all of the non-condensing greenhouse gases and aerosols were zeroed out, and the global climate model was run forward in time to see what would happen to the greenhouse effect.

    Without the sustaining support by the non-condensing greenhouse gases, Earth’s greenhouse effect collapsed as water vapor quickly precipitated from the atmosphere, plunging the model Earth into an icebound state — a clear demonstration that water vapor, although contributing 50 percent of the total greenhouse warming, acts as a feedback process, and as such, cannot by itself uphold the Earth’s greenhouse effect.”

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-10-carbon-dioxide-earths-temperature.html

    Why if 2.8 molecules have an impact, would you not believe that 3.9 molecules or a doubling to 5.6 molecules would not have a bigger impact, even if it does not have a proportionally bigger impact? The debate is about how much bigger of an impact that 40% increase is having, not whether CO2 has an impact.

  80. Smokey says:

    Will Crump says:

    Without the sustaining support by the non-condensing greenhouse gases, Earth’s greenhouse effect collapsed as water vapor quickly precipitated from the atmosphere, plunging the model Earth into an icebound state — a clear demonstration that…

    Oh, I see: “…plunging the model Earth…”. And that is supposed to be “a clear demonstration”??

    Will, you’re describing a model. There is no real world “demonstration,” there is only the model’s programmed output.

    Show me a GCM that can make an accurate prediction of the climate two or three years ahead, and I’ll sit up straight and pay attention. But so far, no such model exists.

    CO2 is a harmless and beneficial trace gas. More is better. If not, then show us actual, verifiable, global harm caused specifically by the increase in CO2. Not speculation from models, but real, quantifiable damage done to the planet by CO2 — and not “CO2 plus other factors.” Show us any planetary harm caused by CO2.

    The whole AGW scare is based on the belief that CO2 is bad. With a ≈40% increase in CO2, there certainly must be plenty of verifiable harm done to the planet already — if CO2 is bad.

    Show us the damage.

  81. Tom in Florida says:

    Will Crump says:{January 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm}
    ” Why if 2.8 molecules have an impact, would you not believe that 3.9 molecules or a doubling to 5.6 molecules would not have a bigger impact, even if it does not have a proportionally bigger impact? ”

    Because the impact is not linear and there are saturation points. But that is not the bone I pick with R Gates. It’s the use of the scary sounding “40% increase”. R Gates uses it to make it sound like it is a big deal. It is not. 40% of $1 is not the same as 40% of $100,000.

    “The debate is about how much bigger of an impact that 40% increase is having, not whether CO2 has an impact.”

    Perhaps if you rephrase that to say ” The debate is about how much bigger of an impact that 1.12 molecule of CO2 per 10,000 molecules of atmosphere increase is having, not whether CO2 has an impact.”
    See how it changes the impact of the statement? Not so threatening now is it? So the only conclusion is that the use of “40% increase” is to sell fear. Unfounded fear at that.

  82. izen says:

    @- Tom-
    “Perhaps if you rephrase that to say ” The debate is about how much bigger of an impact that 1.12 molecule of CO2 per 10,000 molecules of atmosphere increase is having, not whether CO2 has an impact.”
    See how it changes the impact of the statement? Not so threatening now is it?”
    ——————–

    You are correct that Framing the issue as an extra 1.12 molecules of CO2 per 10,000 molecules of atmosphere is much less alarmist than describing it as a 40% increase in CO2.

    But whatever description you use the underlying physical process is the same. A CO2 molecule rapidly transfers any LWR energy it absorb into thermal energy of the other 10,000 molecules.
    A century ago there were approx 2.8 CO2 molecules per 10,000 atmosphere molecules performing this transfer of photon energy to thermal energy. Now there are about 3.9 CO2 molecules.
    Think of it like a postal service, if you increase the number of postmen delivering per 10,000 households by 40% you will be able to deliver more letters (heat).

  83. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Think of it like a postal service, if you increase the number of postmen delivering per 10,000 households by 40% you will be able to deliver more letters (heat).”

    No.

    Think of it like a postal service with the number of letters per postman delivered in a given time representing the heat. More letters delivered in the same time with the same number of postmen equals more heat UNLESS one increases the number of postmen (the speed of the water cycle) so that once again the same number is delivered per postman in the same time.

    So more CO2 does not result in a higher equilibrium temperature if the water cycle runs faster.

  84. izen says:

    @-Stephen Wilde –
    “So more CO2 does not result in a higher equilibrium temperature if the water cycle runs faster.”

    I am wary of pushing the ‘postman’ analogy to far, but the number of letters delivered per postman would be related to pressure, and CO2-postman are outnumbered around 9 to 1 by water vapour postmen. There is probably a joke about ‘junk mail’ in there somewhere…

    I do not understand what you mean by the water cycle running faster, or how this would impact on the equilibrium temperature.
    AFAIK the prediction from models and measurement from satellites indicate that water vapour increases with temperature, the number of ‘postmen’ increases as part of a positive feedback.
    Perhaps you could explain why you see a faster water cycle as stabilising the equilibrium temperature, wouldn’t the partitioning of H2O between ice, liquid and vapour be of more significance ?

  85. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Perhaps you could explain why you see a faster water cycle as stabilising the equilibrium temperature, wouldn’t the partitioning of H2O between ice, liquid and vapour be of more significance ?”

    The variable partitioning between ice, liquid and vapour is part of the water cycle. Perhaps I should have said hydrological cycle.

    More evaporation results in more convection, condensation and rainfall thus a faster upward transport of energy for an entirely negative feedback.

    The issue as to whether the negative feedback entirely negates the warming effect of more CO2 is the important aspect.

    Since the CO2 warming effect is in the infra red only and so cannot penetrate the oceans then due to evaporation having a net cooling effect the extra CO2 cannot heat the ocean bulk and so it is likely that because the ocean temperature controls the air temperature the warming effect of more CO2 is indeed negated completely by a faster water cycle.

    So far no one has been able to demonstrate otherwise. There is a nice discussion of the point ongoing here:

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2011/01/06/does-back-radiation-%e2%80%9cheat%e2%80%9d-the-ocean-%e2%80%93-part-four/

  86. Will Crump says:

    Tom:

    Sorry if I misunderstood your statement as saying that CO2 has no impact on the Earth’s temperature.

    I am not that picky about how you phrase the debate and your way is just fine by me. But let’s not limit the debate to just CO2, please include a broader list of anthropogenic impacts to climate.

    Smokey:

    My guess is that the Earth has not maintained a constant CO2 level of 2.8 per 10,000 molecules throughout its history.

    If you want to disprove the model created by these scientists, provide an example of when the Earth was as warm as it is today and the CO2 was at or below 1.8 per 10,000.

    Alternatively, you could cite a peer reviewed study that says if the level of non-condensing greenhouse gasses goes to 0.00 molecules per 10,000 that the Earth can maintain its current temperature level.

    While climate is more complex than just looking at CO2 levels, I would be most interested in having you provide the above information or a physics paper that shows that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas.

    By the way, where did I say CO2 was bad? I thought the analysis I provided and the paper I cited showed that it was beneficial to have CO2 in the atmosphere since it was essential in maintaining Earth’s temperature at levels that we find comfortable.

    As for your request for a showing of damages, are you looking to sue some one? From your statement, you do not appear to understand that the full impact of having CO2 at 390 PPM in the atmosphere can not be determined by looking at a single year at this level. Even if you were to alter human activities so that they would not increase CO2 beyond this level, the climate will continue to warm.

    Since you do not trust models, lets run the experiment by not allowing any increase in CO2 beyond the current level for the next 100 years and see what happens. I do not think supporters of AGW would mind if you did this.

    As a practical matter, I suspect that we will run the experiment of continuing to increase CO2 levels and leave future generations to deal with the consequences.

  87. izen says:

    @- Stephen Wilde
    Interesting discussion at SoD (as so often!)
    I can see an argument that the bulk oceans gain no direct energy from the down-welling long-wave radiation because all the extra energy involves an isothermal change of state in the surface Knudsen layer.
    But the 1st Law of Thermodynamics as always kicks in. In politics its follow the money, in Nature, follow the energy. If you have transfered the energy from the extra CO2 DLR into water vapour then it can be stored and transported for a short time until it condenses and releases that latent heat. The residence time of water molecules in the atmosphere is measured in days, that latent heat of evaporation is going to get re-thermalized when it gets somewhere colder and condenses into rain or snow, raising the ambient temperature of the air, land and sea in that locale. The surface evaporation from the DLR has just been a mechanism for distributing the energy from the ocean surface to colder regions.

    Meanwhile, in water vapour form it adds to the number of GHG molecules that can convert IR photons to thermal energy in the atmosphere.

    But I suspect the fine-scale details of the Knudsen layer are rather more dynamically complex than is assumed in all this. At the free path scale it is probably a surface with a fractal dimension and the absorption of sufficient DLR to break the inter-molecular bonds to ‘evaporate’ an H2O molecule will be a dynamic process in which many of those that break free will rapidly return to the surface, the net flux of water vapour carrying away latent heat, extra scattering of IR from the surface and the influence of ambient temperature and humidity in that 200nm surface volume are I suspect part of the underlying complexity that makes this a difficult problem in detail. Luckily at larger scales and over time its is an ergodic problem like most thermodynamic/energy process so the overall result can be established without detailed knowledge of the chaotic individual events involved. In the same way that Boyle’s law and the Clausius–Clapeyron equation.

    The idea that the extra energy from the extra CO2 will not warm the oceans because it only evaporates the surface is paralleled by the behaviour of snow and ice surfaces. The lack of conduction and convection means the surfaces of solid H”) can sublime, transiting straight from ice to vapour in some circumstances. But that additional water vapour is going to have a further effect in thermalizing IR emitted from the surface/surroundings. And less ice tends to be a positive feedback…

    You suggest that -“More evaporation results in more convection, condensation and rainfall thus a faster upward transport of energy for an entirely negative feedback.”
    This seems highly implausible, most of the hydrological cycle in the atmosphere is within the troposphere and WELL below the thermopause. Water phase changes transport energy horizontally far more than vertically. They are a key component of the movement of thermal energy from the equator to the poles. Increase the rate of this and you get increased melting of ice…. seen the Dec figures for the N pole ?!
    Perhaps you have other ideas on how this may still provide a negative feedback, a means of increasing the energy lost from the surface that will offset the extra retained from the CO2, and the increased H2O, reducing the surface rate of heat loss.

  88. Stephen Wilde says:

    izen asked:

    “Perhaps you have other ideas on how this may still provide a negative feedback, a means of increasing the energy lost from the surface that will offset the extra retained from the CO2, and the increased H2O, reducing the surface rate of heat loss.”

    The higher water vapour goes before condensing the higher the additional energy is when it is released by condensation.

    From a higher level the energy is more quickly radiated to space.

    Furthermore any increase in cloudiness will increase global albedo for a net cooling effect. Energy lost in that way never even enters the system.

    The rethermalisation never occurs at the surface. Once the rethermalisation has occurred the energy exits quickly to space and a cold rain falls cooling the surface further.

    Dr. Roy Spencer seems to be finding that such processes are heavily negative in thermodynamic terms.

  89. izen says:

    @-Stephen Wilde
    “The higher water vapour goes before condensing the higher the additional energy is when it is released by condensation.
    From a higher level the energy is more quickly radiated to space.”

    You seem to be arguing for a pronounced tropospheric hot-spot because of the adiabatic lapse rate….

    From whatever level the latent energy is converted back into thermal energy it will be radiated equally in all directions, half will still head back down… and warmer air at altitude reduces convection rates that you are relying on to get this energy higher.

    I suspect that an effective negative feedback from evaporation effects can only be credible if it could be shown that for equal total energy, but different spectra the total amount of evaporation was significantly different.
    Over the total history of a volume of liquid is more water evaporated with 1Joule of IR than 1Joule of visible light ?

  90. David A. Evans says:

    In multiple glazing systems, marginal efficiency increases are obtained by blocking a much wider IR spectrum than CO2 is capable of. However, huge increases can be gained by adding another layer of air & glass. You need two air layers because above about 20mm, (0.78″), you get convection effects which cause additional losses.

    Air is an excellent insulator! I suspect surface radiative losses have been grossly oversold at the expense of evaporative/convection losses! Yes, ultimately, radiation is the only way we know of that energy can leave but I don’t think surface radiation is that big a player.

    DaveE.

  91. Stephen Wilde says:

    “You seem to be arguing for a pronounced tropospheric hot-spot because of the adiabatic lapse rate….”

    No, just a faster loss to space.
    A faster water cycle does not require ‘backing up’ of energy in any particular location.

  92. Smokey says:

    Will Crump says:

    “Smokey:

    As for your request for a showing of damages, are you looking to sue some one?”

    No. I don’t sue people. What I am demonstrating is the plain fact that no global harm has resulted from the ≈40% increase in that harmless, beneficial trace gas.

    That fact is central to the entire CAGW debate: if no harm results from more CO2, and if it can be shown that more CO2 is beneficial, then the demands that everyone must reduce their “carbon” [by which they mean CO2] footprint are baseless, as are “carbon credits”, and any other “carbon”-related nonsense.

    The whole CO2=CAGW conjecture has been repeatedly falsified. Now we see that not only is there no harm from more CO2, but that more CO2 is beneficial.

    If and when you can definitively show that the increase in CO2 has caused global harm, wake me. Until then, blaming CO2 is disingenuous, crafty and deceptive. Give us verifiable evidence of harm, or admit that your contention has been falsified by the planet itself.

    Finally, there is no correlation between ice core observations of temperature and CO2 levels, nor is there correlation during shorter or longer time spans. The planet is currently starved of CO2.

  93. Will Crump says:

    Smokey:

    The full consequences of the 40% increase have not yet occurred. It will be several decades before the full impact of CO2 at 390 PPM will be observed even if we put in place measures to stabalize CO2 at this level (which is extremely unlikely). Even if this were done, I suspect that people would disagree on whether the observed changes fifty years from now are due to the CO2 increase or some other cause. Producing a “proof” of damage that people can agree on for a system as complex as the climate may not be possible. And yet, some level of damage will occur.

    The negative consequences from a 40% increase in CO2 may be acceptable. The “solutions” crafted to deal with AGW sometimes use this level as a target for managing future CO2 levels. As we opt for the “do nothing approach”, CO2 levels are going to increase. By the time the damage from increased levels of CO2 become apparent, it will be too late to stop even greater damage from occurring.

  94. Will Crump says:

    Smokey:

    The charts and information you have provided are done on a basis as if CO2 is the only item that affects global temperature. Not surprisingly, the charts prove that climate is more complex than just looking at CO2 levels alone and the climate scientists that you disagree with would agree that CO2 is not the only factor.

    However, you have failed to show in the historical record a period of 150 years when CO2 levels double from 2.8 per 10,000 to 5.6 per 10,000 and there is no impact on the climate.

    Nothing you have provided shows that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas.

    Nothing you have provided contradicts the model from the paper I cited of an earth with a CO2 level of 0.00 molecules per 10,000 being much colder than it is today.

    There is considerable debate about the sensitivity of the climate to the increases in CO2 forcing from human activities and other human impacts on the climate. The climate scientists agree that a 40% increase in CO2 does not translate into 40% higher temperatures (whatever that means) . While we should be wary of the extreme claims, such as the Arctic will be “ice free” at the minimum by 2013, the claim that the current CO2 increase will have zero impact is false.

    The inability to demonstrate a level of damages from increasing CO2 levels sufficient to obtain your consent to limit the rate of increase may have more to do with the limitations of human science than it does with whether the rapidly increasing CO2 levels will cause harm in the future. For many people, even a showing that harm will occur in 150 years if the “do nothing” scenario is continued will not be sufficient to generate a consent to meaningful limitation on CO2 if it imposes a high cost on them today and the benefit goes to a generation that will not be born for another 100 years. There are other problems which have a shorter time horizon and we willingly choose to ignore these problems, why would anyone expect the that the same approach will not be followed for CO2 and climate?

  95. Smokey says:

    Will Crump says:

    “The full consequences of the 40% increase have not yet occurred.”

    Full consequences?? Will, there is no verifiable global harm at all due to the increase in CO2.

    A ≈40% rise is not insignificant. If CO2 caused any global harm, certainly by now there would be some evidence showing the damage. But there is none.

    The only definitive result of the CO2 rise is increased agricultural production. That proves that CO2 is beneficial, as I showed in numerous links above. So we have a situation where no global harm can be shown — but a rise in global food production is verifiable.

    In a world where a billion people subsist on less than a dollar a day, the increased food production due to increased CO2 is essential. But you still try to demonize the one factor that makes a difference to those people. In many cases, it means the difference between life and death. Yet you demonize CO2 without being able to show any damage resulting from it.

    Your entire argument is based on “What if…” Try sticking with the scientific method. That way you will arrive at the correct conclusion: CO2 is a harmless and beneficial trace gas. More is better. Warmer is better. Cold and starvation kills.

  96. Will Crump says:

    Smokey:

    I never said CO2 was 100% bad. I cited a paper on how CO2 was necessary, otherwise the planet would be too cold.

    I will concede that soybeans and corn and some other types of plants can grow better using the FACE technology system in the advertisment you cited. Other studies have reached similar conclusions and you may want to look into this:

    http://www.co2science.org/subject/g/summaries/temp+co2ag.php

    Although there also appear to be studies that show harm:

    http://www.caes.ucdavis.edu/NewsEvents/spotlight/rising-co2-levels-threaten-crops-and-food-quality

    http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/co2plant.htm

    While the science on the impact on agriculture does not appear to have reached a consensus opinion for CO2 and the information you cite does not evaluate the totality of the impacts on agriculture from global warming, I do not mind conceding the possibility that there are positive effects to CO2 and warming, particularly for farmers in Greenland. You can also add to your list of positives that the melting of the Arctic due to CO2 warming will result in transportation savings, but then you would have to admit that the CO2 and other anthropogenic influences are contributing to the melt in the Arctic.

    How much does it cost to implement the FACE technology, will the third world be able to afford it?

    I am curious why you do not believe in the probelm of global warming since the very people listed in the ad for FACE Technology do believe in global warming and view CO2 as a problem.

    I saw that BASF logo on the ad. Are you aware that they see CO2 as a problem and have been working to reduce their carbon footprint. Per their scientist:

    “Climate change is one of the main challenges faced by society,” said Dr. Ulrich von Deessen, Climate Protection Officer of BASF SE. “We are facing up to this challenge and offering a wide range of solutions that help to protect the climate.”

    In the long term the factor of three ought to be maintained or even improved. A positive ratio of the corporate carbon footprint is only possible if you reduce your own carbon emissions and if you help your clients to save CO2. Dr. Ulrich von Deessen: “In areas such as construction, automobiles and industrial production, our products help our customers to save more than 287 million metric tons of CO2 worldwide.”

    http://www.basf.com/group/corporate/en/sustainability/environment/climate-protection/carbon-balance

    How about the International Arid Lands Consortium who also have their logo attached. Per their web site:

    “Global warming may cause dry regions like Israel to become even more arid, resulting in a lack of water that may affect plants to the point of extinction. This project seeks to promote water conservation strategies, avert some of the least desirable effects of global change, and manage natural resources and crops to promote improvement of arid land agriculture.”

    http://ialcworld.org/news-releases/pr1.html

    The other logo is for The Fulbright Commission. Per their web site, they are not climatologists: “The US-UK Fulbright Commission promotes peace and cultural understanding through educational exchange.” This Commission appears to be more concerned about Global Warming than you are since they are assisting scholars to help meet the gloabal challenge of global warming.

    “From a record number of applications, Fulbright selected an outstanding cohort of men and women representing a broad range of geographic regions, institutions in the US and UK, fields of study and backgrounds. The diversity of scholars demonstrates Fulbright’s commitment to providing bright, passionate and talented citizens from both countries the opportunity to further the Fulbright mission of promoting mutual cultural understanding through educational exchange. This dynamic group of participants will make vital contributions to today’s global challenges, such as the economic crisis, HIV/AIDS and global warming.”

    http://www.fulbright.co.uk/news-events/news/real-life-good-will-hunting-amongst-recipients-of-the-prestigious-2010-11-fulbright-awards

    Some of the effects of global warming will be good, some will be bad. If the good outweighed the bad, then the participants in FACE technology would not be so concerned about CO2 and global warming.

    So Smokey, if the very people you use to support you discussion believe CO2 and global warming climate impacts are a problem, why don’t you?

  97. Will Crump says:

    Smokey:

    P.S. Thanks for the chart showing that all the money that has been put into enhanced agriculature techniques in the US have improved farm production.

  98. Smokey says:

    Will, delude yourself all you want, but empirical observations show that CO2 is the primary reason for increased agricultural productivity:

    click1
    click2
    click3
    click4
    click5
    click6
    click7

    When a man makes up his mind without evidence, no evidence disproving his opinion will change his mind.

    Robert A. Heinlein, 1978

    Feel free to have the last comment. This thread is too old to bother with. I’m moving to the new home page articles.

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