Quote of the week – death of the Arctic “death spiral”?

We all cringed, then laughed when Dr. Mark Serreze of NSIDC first said it, then marveled about it as it got a life of its own, being the buzzphrase for every alarmist who wanted to shriek about declining Arctic sea ice.

In 2007 we heard him say:

“The Arctic is screaming,” said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government’s snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colorado.

So far, the “screaming” hasn’t kept anyone awake at night, and we have not returned to the low of 2007 in the last three melt seasons.

In 2008 Serreze made the  bold claim:

The ice is in a “death spiral” and may disappear in the summers within a couple of decades, according to Mark Serreze, an Arctic climate expert at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

And in 2008 we had the forecast from NSIDC’s Dr. Mark Serreze of an “ice free north pole”.  As we know, that didn’t even come close to being true. Summer 2008 had more arctic ice than summer 2007, and summer 2007 was not “ice free” by any measure.

serreze_2008_forecast

With those failed predictions behind him,  in an interview in The Age just a few weeks ago, Serreze pulled a Harold Camping, and changed his prediction date. Now he’s saying the new date for an ice free summer is 2030.

”There will be ups and downs, but we are on track to see an ice-free summer by 2030. It is an overall downward spiral.”

Now from a most surprising source, Andy Revkin at the NYT, a strong statement saying he’s not buying it anymore:

On Arctic Ice and Warmth, Past and Future

But even as I push for an energy quest that limits climate risk, I’m not worried about the resilience of Arctic ecosystems and not worried about the system tipping into an irreversibly slushy state on time scales relevant to today’s policy debates. This is one reason I don’t go for descriptions of the system being in a “death spiral.”

The main source of my Arctic comfort level — besides what I learned while camped with scientists on the North Pole sea ice — is the growing body of work on past variability of conditions in the Arctic. The latest evidence of substantial past ice variability comes in a study in the current issue of Science. The paper, combining evidence of driftwood accumulation and beach formation in northern Greenland with evidence of past sea-ice extent in parts of Canada, concludes that Arctic sea ice appears to have retreated far more in some spans since the end of the last ice age than it has in recent years.

Michael MacCracken, a veteran climate modeler and chief scientist at the Climate Institute, noted on the Google group on geo-engineering that this new paper adds credence to proposals for an Arctic focus for managing incoming sunlight as a way to limit greenhouse-driven impacts. (Personally, I don’t see this kind of effort going anywhere unless and until climate impacts trend toward worst-case outcomes.)

He’s referring of course to this paper we covered here on WUWT:

New study suggests Arctic ‘tipping point’ may not be reached

I wrote then:

This is interesting. While there’s much noise from alarmists that we are on an “Arctic death spiral” the team for this paper’s press release today found evidence that ice levels were about 50% lower 5,000 years ago. The paper references changes to wind systems which can slow down the rate of melting (something we’ve seen on the short term, even NASA points this out for recent historic ice retreats).  They also suggest that a tipping point under current scenarios is unlikely saying that even with a reduction to less than 50% of the current amount of sea ice the ice will not reach a point of no return (i.e. a tipping point).

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115 thoughts on “Quote of the week – death of the Arctic “death spiral”?

  1. But Revkin is a denier, and so is anyone who reads him.

    The truth only comes out of the mouths of Joe Romms.

    We all know that. (Oh wait wrong forum!)

  2. I am tired of all these so called scientists and so called journalists who write with such apparent certainty but with so little knowledge. So Revkin reads an article and suddeny he’s ‘not worried’. All he ever writes is knee jerk reaction ….. but without any basic knowledge. It annoys me that such basic concepts as geological scale climate variability seem to have eluded him till now. Anyone who had thought about the Holocene Optimum and what it might mean in todays context would have much greater informational base and analytical rationale on which to make commentary on todays observations. Maybe he should spend 3 years doing an undergraduate geology degree before he writes anything else.

  3. Wow, a seemingly rational about-face for Revkin.

    But “may disappear in the summers within a couple of decades” from 2008 to, “…new date for an ice free summer is 2030″, isn’t different at all.

  4. As per the ancient Chinese proverb …whenever a rabid warmist comes out with yet another dire prediction all one has to do is sit comfortably on the banks of that river called The Internet, and soon the corpse of that dire prediction will float by.

  5. Interestingly he mentions ‘alarmists’ in such a way that it clearly doesn’t include himself. Does that mean that Mr Revkin is now prepared to read science such as Spencer & Braswell 2011? Svensmark?? Friis-Christensen & Lassen??? If he accepts a low climate sensitivity (as the data strongly supports) then he maybe about to experience a Damascene climate event.

    Good luck Mr Revkin! If you are willing to look at the science objectively I hope it goes well for you and that your asbestos suit is in good repair.

  6. Ah, it was you Anthony who used ‘alarmists’, sorry I misunderstood. Still if Mr Revkin is edging himself away from the death spiral fraternity maybe there is still hope.

  7. An actual scientist should be VERY CAUTIOUS about proposing any sort of “tipping point” or “death spiral”. The fact that life continues to flourish on Earth after an uncountable number of shocks and perturbations is perfect evidence that the whole system has an uncountable number of negative feedback loops. There are small local positive loops (death spirals), but the remainder of the system always compensates.

    If it didn’t, we’d be just like the Moon by now.

  8. But the Arctic ice IS reducing. It will all be gone in 10 years, or 20 years, or ….
    Everybody knows that, and anybody who doubts it is an oil industry schill.

    This is like the ‘Hockey Stick’. It is divinely inspired truth that can never be refuted.
    Everybody knows that, and anybody who doubts it is an oil industry schill.

    [sarc off]

    Richard

  9. I would be very careful and not laugh too much, Anthony. You have already been more wrong about the Arctic than Serreze will ever be. When can we expect your next SIN? 2011 is trailing 2007 big time and the Antarctic mega-anomaly has subsided.

    REPLY: “SIN” ? Oh that’s right, it is about religion now that Gore has been officially declared a prophet. Thanks for the confirmation. – Anthony

  10. Somehow this part of the opening was missed;

    ‘There are big changes afoot, with more to come should greenhouse gases continue to build unabated in the atmosphere. There will be impacts on human affairs in the Arctic, for worse and better, as we explored extensively in 2005 and I’ve followed here since.”

  11. And

    “The main source of my Arctic comfort level — besides what I learned while camped with scientists on the North Pole sea ice — is the growing body of work on past variations*”

    * The original wording in the asterisked line above used the word “variability” in a way that could be interpreted as referring to natural internal variability of the Arctic climate and sea ice. In fact, my intent was simply to describe past natural variations that almost certainly were driven by an external force shaping climate — shifts in the Earth’s orbit and orientation toward the Sun, as described by Mike MacCracken in a comment that alerted me to the problem

    So in other words the changes we’re seeing now are from a different source that past variability.

  12. Anthony – you are doing a great job, and if I was a US citizen you would get my vote for the next (since Eisenhower) “No B-S President”

    The money shot: “They also suggest that a tipping point under current scenarios is unlikely saying that even with a reduction to less than 50% of the current amount of sea ice the ice will not reach a point of no return (i.e. a tipping point).”

  13. It seems likely that there was a lot less ice in the arctic in ancient times. I think there is a lot of information in Dutch history that suggests that the sea farers in the 15th and 16th century knew or were led to believe from “their ancient history” that there was a northern passage (to the other side of the world) . Many, like Barents (the most famous) lost their lives trying to find that northern passage.

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/53182/Willem-Barents

  14. Not to worry, all of you true believers: the ‘precautionary principle’ is already being deployed as your final refuge “on time scales relevant to today’s debate”.

  15. It is curious that Revkin never asks the obvious question as to what caused the much larger fluctuations in the past – surely it was not increased level of greenhouse gases given the literature. The fact of the greater historical fluctuations does more than cast doubt on any forward looking “death spiral”. It casts huge doubt on the theory that climate changes in the Arctic are related to greenhouse gas levels. Some far larger driver must exist, and it is incumbent on him to explain why the current cycle differs from former larger ones. Revkin’s comments to the effect that “even as I push for an energy quest that limits climate risk” and “adds credence to proposals for an Arctic focus for managing incoming sunlight as a way to limit greenhouse-driven impacts” appear almost as sops to avoid being ostracized as a heretic. It is this latter aspect of his comments that is most enlightening.

  16. When you look at the satellite images of Arctic Sea Ice;

    http://www.arctic.io/observations/

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic.2011212.terra.367.4km

    the “death spiral” and impending sea ice free arctic seems quite farfetched. There are still several million square kilometers of Arctic sea ice, and, per this Naval Research Laboratory model, which deserves a healthy degree of skepticism;

    significant portions of Arctic sea ice are still several meters thick.

  17. New report just out:
    ScienceDaily:
    Titled: Large Variations in Arctic Sea Ice: Polar Ice Much Less Stable Than Previously Thought, Study Finds.
    For the last 10,000 years, summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been far from constant. For several thousand years, there was much less sea ice in The Arctic Ocean — probably less than half of current amounts. This is indicated by new findings by the Danish National Research Foundation for Geogenetics at the University of Copenhagen. The results of the study will be published in the journal Science.
    source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110804141706.htm

    So Serreze does have a chance of seeing an ice free arctic, if he rides a time machine and sets the time to minus 500,000 years. LOL

  18. Wow. Looks like some in the AGW camp are now looking at the facts. That’s the shocking part.

    The Arctic has had less ice. It’s had more ice.

    As I’ve asked several times, would it make it any difference at all if the whole Arctic ocean became ice free?

    The past tells me there was much less ice than today, perhaps ice free. For example during the Viking era. Yet all the ecosystems managed, and did so without any help from the EPA.

  19. The concept of a tipping point for arctic ice extent pre-supposes the existence of at least two stable configurations – our current one, with a lot of ice, and another one with no ice. The whole idea of a tipping point is that it’s a point where a system has been perturbed so far from one stable state that it proceeds into a different stable state.

    Does the peer-reviewed literature contain any evidence the such a ‘no-ice’ stable system is possible?

  20. If Andy Revkin can put his brain into gear and look more deeply at the science then I would call that an encouraging start. Welcome to Chez Sceptic, Andy. Come on in and make yourself at home. You might even find you like it. :D

  21. Warmists are coming to the harsh realizations one after another. Bill Maher even admitted on his show last week that it’s looking like Climate Change might actually be a hoax.

    MrC

  22. The first thing I look for in climate predictions are weasel-words like “might,”, “may,” “could,” etc.

  23. Serreze does more for the skeptical movement than most of us commentators here. He’s really a funny guy. The only thing I can say, is “Go Marky go! Amplify from the highest chunk of ice screaming about the death spiral!

  24. I’ve never understood this “death spiral” nonsense anyway. Are they saying that, if all the ice were to melt in the summer months, that the winter wouldn’t then go back below freezing and re-freeze the ice? Simplistic example, but if I empty my ice cube tray and refill it with water, it will still freeze. And that’s only at -5 degrees C. And, of course, we all know that the temperature is going to go way below freezing once the winter hits. So, what’s going to prevent it from re-freezing, even if the temperature/currents/whatever actually melt ALL of the ice in a given summer? Maybe one of our resident trolls can put away the snark and actually explain the logic on this, because it makes no sense to me at all.

  25. Sometimes I think way too many of the leading Warmista mouthpieces must have received their PhD’s by mistake or they got lucky with a box of Cracker Jacks.

    I mean really, they either think the rest of the world is stupid and will believe any silly story they make up or they actually believe the such crap and expect us to trust their word because they are know they are important people doing serious work.

  26. The general technique is usually to reschedule the date of impending doom, calim that there were a couple of “minor” errors in the sums that led to the wrong date being quoted, then sit back & wait, again, & again, & again, & again &……………………………………………………….!

  27. Good to see Andy moving a little closer to the sanity line. Wishing him well in his recovery.

  28. The great thing about making predictions for some future event nearly two decades away is there is no accountability for being wrong. That’s the brilliance of the climate models which make
    “projections” (notice projections, not predictions) for up to a century from now. Few will bother to verify the actual conditions and compare to the prediction or projections and if they do, various excuses will be made for the failure to match the real world.

  29. Mark Serreze’s prediction of an ice free arctic in 2008 is one of the earlier ones and reality has called time on that one. The earliest I have found is by Bernt Balchen who made a prediction in 1972 that the arctic would be ice free by the year 2000. Mr.Balchen was described as a leading specialist on the Arctic at that time. He also said that the Northern USA would be 20 to 25 degrees warmer than it is now. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=zmI0AAAAIBAJ&sjid=L5wEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5376,3200988&dq=ice+free+arctic&hl=en

    National geographic went for 2012, and so they are still in with a chance – but fast running out of time.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/12/071212-AP-arctic-melt.html

    ..and the good old BBC predicted an ice free arctic by 2013. In addition it said, “Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,” the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC. “So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7139797.stm …but I think the BBC may discover that predictions are rather tricky things, ‘especially those about the future’.

    But my favourite, although it doesn’t actually claim the arctic to be ice free, is the 1922 report from the US weather bureau that said “The arctic ocean is warming up, ice bergs are growing scarcer and the water is becoming too hot for the seals”.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=0bVaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=AlQDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5277,376085&dq=too+hot+for+seals&hl=en

    (Do these links work without me HREFing them?)

  30. Revkin was on record that human activity had produced never-before witnessed, disastrous, and accelerating melt in the Arctic, which he strove to bolster by alluding repeatedly (as he does again here) to his trip to the Arctic (with actual scientists!).

    This is a major climb-down, albeit without the man saying, “I was wrong.”

    But we know.

  31. Oh dear, the Promotion of Warmth will be jumping upon him something chronic. He’s verging upon being condemned as a heretic!

  32. Credit Serreze with the ability to learn from his mistakes. If you’re pimping a bogus theory, don’t make predictions that can be falsified. 2030 is more like it. Sort of like commercially viable nuclear fusion, keep it about 20 years in the future.

  33. As far as history is concerned, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A complete lack, however, can be even worse. Glad he finally thought to ask the obvious question.

  34. Isn’t it time you started publishing the Arctic Ice Volume graphs on WUWT alongside all the other data? It’s a glaring omission in an otherwise excellent resource page.

  35. I don’t worry over when the sea ice will disappear, in fact, I’ll be happy when it is gone, then, in less then a couple of decades the same alarmists will worry over when the sea ice forms again, I’ll can LMAO for another decade or so. :p

  36. The Arctic sea ice is really the only change in the climate that we can definitely point to.

    Even accepting that, it is not that much of a change. The charts and graphs from the NSIDC are all exaggerated in that the Y-axis does not start at Zero (ie. no ice) it starts at 2 million or 7.5 million or what have you.

    Here is the NH daily sea ice going back to 1972. It is going to take a long time for the minimum each year to reach Zero on the graph. The September 10th anomaly has to go to -6.1 million while it is only at -1.1 million right now. That is a lot of change and only a small fraction of that has shown up to date.

  37. “The main source of my Arctic comfort level — besides what I learned while camped with scientists on the North Pole sea ice — is the growing body of work on past variability of conditions in the Arctic. The latest evidence of substantial past ice variability comes in a study in the current issue of Science.”

    So, what we see today is no more extreme than has been observed in the past. In other words, what we see today is within the expected range of climate variability. So therefore it cannot be distinguished from natural variation. So why do we need an AGW theory hypothesis conjecture fantasy?

  38. “So in other words the changes we’re seeing now are from a different source that past variability.”

    Variability is variability. It doesn’t matter what the cause, what matters is the effect. Dead is dead, no matter what killed you.

    The cause of natural variability is ASSUMED to be different, largely because it was ASSUMED that past natural variability was low. As more and more studies show that natural variability is HIGH then that means there is less and less reason to worry about current variability.

    The polar bears didn’t die out in the past when it was warmer for a period of 3000 years, so it is illogical and thus unscientific to suggest that they will die out as a result of warming today. Those scientists that continues to suggest otherwise are not practicing science, they are engaged in fear mongering to try and drum up continued grants at the public expense. In other words, fraudulent utterances to obtain money.

  39. Found this page on the BBC yesterday that WUWT reported previously:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14408930

    The title is:
    “Arctic ‘tipping point’ may not be reached”

    Related Stories by the BBC are listed as:
    New warning on Arctic ice melt 08 APRIL 2011, SCIENCE & ENVIRONMENT
    Arctic sea ice melt ‘even faster’ 19 JUNE 2008, SCI/TECH
    Arctic losing long-term ice cover 18 MARCH 2008, SCI/TECH

    Amazing how quickly opinion can change from “the worlds about to end” to “oh…maybe not “

  40. Climate science 101. The world is going to end in (present day + 20 years) due to (choose: human activity/carbon/co2/pollution) unless we get a grant to solve the problem. All signs point to things getting worse otherwise.

  41. “even with a reduction to less than 50% of the current amount of sea ice the ice will not reach a point of no return (i.e. a tipping point).”

    Yep, there’s always that seed ice that forms every winter when there’s no energy input FOR 6 MONTHS!

  42. “Here is the NH daily sea ice going back to 1972. It is going to take a long time for the minimum each year to reach Zero on the graph. ”

    Assuming that the curve isn’t a cyclical signal. The curve also looks like a curve of the tides just past high tide and could be simply cycling towards low tide, before heading back up. Given that SH sea ice is increasing a the same time, what we could be seeing is simply a long term cycling of warmth back and forth between one hemisphere and the other.

    Any assumption that the heat between the hemispheres is always balanced is only an assumption. Ocean currents and wind could carry heat from one hemisphere to the other in a cyclical, oscillating fashion. The idea that the heat balance of the hemispheres is constant seems unlikely given that the earth and cosmos is in motion.

  43. We are seeing the beginning of the end of the Warmista. It is coming in exactly the expected way. Climate scientists are reporting results of empirical research and it contradicts Warmista myth. I am so pleased to be able to think about and talk about some observations about driftwood collecting in the Arctic over the centuries. Warmista cared only for computer models and magical statistics. They were totally averse to facts of the environment, except for their outrageous lies in promotional photos of mythical polar bears and such.

    As someone else mentioned above, this change emphasizes that Anthony Watts has been the bedrock of rationality on the web throughout the debate over hysterical Warmista theses about climate change. Those students of climate science who have taken advantage of WUWT have received a genuine education in science, scientific method, professors, and how all three can become corrupted. The debates within climate science are just beginning because the genuine science of climate is just beginning. My hunch is that climate science will look very much like the work of Roger Pielke, Sr.

    People like Revkin are taking the opportunity to step down gracefully. Science provides that opportunity. New and original empirical research provides new topics and new takes on old topics. It moves the ball toward the goal. There will be endless opportunities to embrace it. Just about all the Warmista can be expected to take the opportunity to come in from the cold.

  44. Can anyone explain to me to me why on the Cryosphere images the purple colours (thicker ice) of 2007 disappears more quickly than the reds and greens (thinner ice) of 2011? I have been watching this with interest over the last couple of months and it is very definately the case the much thicker ice of 2007 melts more quickly than the much thinner ice of 2011. Or is this also to do with wind circulation or is the colour scheme just plain wrong?

  45. Hang on a minute. You note that Seereze said in 2008 that arctic ice may disappear in the summers within a couple of decades, and from the the link: With the climate feedbacks kicking in,” Serreze said by email, “we’ll lose the summer ice cover probably by the year 2030.”

    But then you write:

    “And in 2008 we had the forecast from NSIDC’s Dr. Mark Serreze of an “ice free north pole”. As we know, that didn’t even come close to being true. ”

    As we know, 2008 is not 2030.

    Meanwhile: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    August 3, 2011
    Arctic sea ice at record low for July
    Arctic sea ice extent averaged for July 2011 reached the lowest level for the month in the 1979 to 2011 satellite record, even though the pace of ice loss slowed substantially during the last two weeks of July. Shipping routes in the Arctic have less ice than usual for this time of year, and new data indicate that more of the Arctic’s store of its oldest ice disappeared.

  46. Bystander says:
    August 9, 2011 at 4:20 am

    So in other words the changes we’re seeing now are from a different source that past variability.

    Oh? And how do you get from here to there with that statement? And do not start off with evidence that CO2 is causing warming in the Arctic. I want you to come at it from the other end. First, you should show me the proof that ‘past variability’ (a strangely undefined term) is not the cause of current ice conditions.

  47. Philip Shehan said:
    “And in 2008 we had the forecast from NSIDC’s Dr. Mark Serreze of an “ice free north pole”. As we know, that didn’t even come close to being true. ”

    As we know, 2008 is not 2030.

    Philip, I’d click on the image at the top of this article to take you to the ABC news article and read it if I were you; you’ll find the original quote to which Anthony’s paragraph relates…

    Cheers

    Mark

  48. Philip Shehan says:
    August 9, 2011 at 8:32 am

    “As we know, 2008 is not 2030.”
    —————————————————————————-
    The quote that the Arctic might be ice-free in 2008 can be attributed to the ABC news article:

    “There is this thin first-year ice even at the North Pole at the moment,” says Serreze. “This raises the spectre – the possibility that you could become ice free at the North Pole this year.”

  49. After Spencer’s and Braswell’s paper it will be shown that probably ALL excess heat from whatever source is lost so that even DA is now wrong, This Earth is probably self regulating and that’s why we are still here.

  50. well, the world is getting warmer, and that heat transports to the arctic and so over the long run you can expect the average minimum ice to diminish. It’s a big old slush puppy now.
    will it ever be ice free? really not the right question. an ice free Npole some september?
    really not the right question. For the most part some climate scientists have been search for some iconic way of demonstrating the problem. Some simple statement or image that sells: like….
    Ice all gone: polar bears dead. That’s a media agenda. On the science side we can confidently say that in a warming world the arctic ice will see lower minimums on average. We would not expect the ice to grow if arctic SST drop by 5C. If you stick to the core science, rather than the science that tries to find headlines, you’ll do much better. The right question

    will a long term retreat in minimums have measurable effects or feedbacks.

    There are not a lot of headlines and pictures for that

    The worlds getting warmer ( for a host of reasons) in a warmer world we fully expect more heat to be transported northward. More heat northward in general will result in lower minimums. It would be pretty silly to argue against that. Will that decrease happen year in and year out? no, nobody makes that argument. more is at play than simply the temperature, but temperature obviously matters.

  51. mycroft says: “Revkin no least!! perhaps the jumping of ships is about to start??”

    In the past, Revkin has, on rare occasions, rejected some Warmist notions, so this isn’t new behaviour. He’s been subsequently threatened with “the big cutoff,” otherwise he might be a little more of a sceptic. His sincerity is not in doubt.

    Regarding tipping points, the albedo of water overlaps that of ice at the zenith angles involved at the poles. The T^4 radiation law will ensure refreezing every winter as the Arctic Sea is exposed 24 hours a day to the 4°K blackbody temperature of the night sky.

  52. “ThinkingScientist says:
    August 9, 2011 at 7:48 am (Edit)
    “The main source of my Arctic comfort level — besides what I learned while camped with scientists on the North Pole sea ice — is the growing body of work on past variability of conditions in the Arctic. The latest evidence of substantial past ice variability comes in a study in the current issue of Science.”

    So, what we see today is no more extreme than has been observed in the past. In other words, what we see today is within the expected range of climate variability. So therefore it cannot be distinguished from natural variation. So why do we need an AGW theory hypothesis conjecture fantasy?

    #####

    Lets see how that approach to science plays out. If you look at a history of temperatures you will see plenty of ups and downs. for example you will see a dip in 1992. there is nothing out of the ordinary about that dip. Its well within the range of dips and peaks in the past. “natural variability!”

    But we generally are more curious than that. Looking at the data we see that there was a volcano. Does the volcano explain the dip? well yes, when we apply our understanding of how radiation propagates through the atmosphere we can predict that particles and gases from a volcano interfere with the transmission of shortwave radiation to the surface. We have tested physics models that tell us how EM interacts with particles of various sizes. We use these physics to build systems that defend our country ( for example the physics of radar chaff) . So what do we have here. we have two “explanations” for the dip

    1. The “dip” is natural. The dip is not outside the range of past dips. There is nothing out of the ordinary that requires an explanation. TRUE.
    2. The dip is explained by the volcano and radiation physics: TRUE.

    The problem with #1 is that it assumes that all science operates by noticing something ut of the ordinary as a prior condition of investigation. That is, if there is nothing out of the ordinary then there is no need for an explanation. The problem of course is that “ordinary” is not well defined.
    In the course of the history of earth the range of states for the arctic goes from ice free to full of ice. Nothing will ever be surprising or out of the ordinary. But that’s not how all science works. If you want to understand or explain the current decline, then appealing to “natural variation” is no explanation whatsoever. Its an explanation without any predictive power. Its an explanation that can’t be falsified. Its the absence of explanation, it’s anti science.

  53. Sagt Günther Kirschbaum an August 9, 2011 4:12 am

    I would be very careful and not laugh too much, Anthony. You have already been more wrong about the Arctic than Serreze will ever be.

    Not aware of where Anthony Watts predicted “ice-free summers” by 2011^H3^H6. Citation(s) please?

  54. Steven Mosher says:
    August 9, 2011 at 9:25 am

    “The worlds getting warmer ( for a host of reasons) in a warmer world we fully expect more heat to be transported northward. More heat northward in general will result in lower minimums. It would be pretty silly to argue against that.”

    No mention of manmade CO2, computer models, magical statistics, or anything Warmista. Great!

  55. This issue has come up numerous times before and despite all efforts to clarify it, it still continues.
    Discussion in 2008 was that there may be open water at the North Pole in summer – i.e., the ice edge could potentially retreat past the North Pole. There was never any discussion whatsoever among scientists that the Arctic might be ice-free in 2008. Unfortunately, some news organizations mischaracterized it as such, and even when written correctly (as in the ABC article) many people (including commenters here) misunderstood the “North Pole” to mean the entire Arctic Ocean.

    In addition, the possibility of the event was discussed because for the first time during the satellite record, the North Pole was not covered by the thick, 3-4 meter multiyear ice, but rather by first-year ice that was 2 m or less thick. Such ice could have potentially melted, though it was unlikely given the high latitude and perhaps that unlikelihood should have been conveyed more forcefully.

    Walt Meier
    NSIDC

  56. Walt,
    I appreciate your attempt to clarify the issue. My best advice is for Dr. Serreze to go on record and say that his statements were more emotional soundbites than scientific, apologize for using them, then provide a quality essay using the best science available, minus such emotional talking points.

    I’ll give Dr. Serreze full unfettered access to WUWT should he wish to do so, with only one caveat: he can’t call people that frequent here “deniers” nor denigrate them as he has done in the past.

    Respectful discourse is welcomed. – Anthony

  57. waltmeier says:
    August 9, 2011 at 10:02 am

    “There was never any discussion whatsoever among scientists that the Arctic might be ice-free in 2008. Unfortunately, some news organizations mischaracterized it as such, and even when written correctly (as in the ABC article) many people (including commenters here) misunderstood the “North Pole” to mean the entire Arctic Ocean.”

    With all due respect, Dr. Meier, what do you make of this NOAA press release?

    Ice-Free Arctic Summers Likely Sooner Than Expected

    April 2, 2009

    Summers in the Arctic may be ice-free in as few as 30 years, not at the end of the century as previously expected. The updated forecast is the result of a new analysis of computer models coupled with the most recent summer ice measurements.

    By “ice free” my assumption upon reading the title is that there is NO ICE! No qualifications were used like “mostly ice-free,” “ice edge has retreated beyond …” etc.

    And by “summer” I would think they are referring to the entire time between June to September. So – no ice in the arctic between June and September, correct?

    From your comments above, I would assume that you would strongly disapprove of this kind of misleading press release from NOAA – am I correct? Remember these press release are meant for public consumption – not for other scientists (who probably know better).

    (If you’re wondering why ordinary citizens are so distrusting of climate science, it only takes are few misleading, over-hyped press releases like this from government organizations like NOAA for people to start tuning you out…)

  58. In regards to Andy Revkin: I agree, his sincerity is not in doubt — and one should correctly remember that the ClimateGate Gang unsuccessfully attempted to bully him into toeing the line in 2009 –> “Shame on you for this gutter reportage. This is the second time this week I have written you thereon, the first about giving space in your blog to the Pielkes.

    “The vibe that I am getting from here, there and everywhere is that your reportage is very worrisome to most climate scientists. … I sense that you are about to experience the ‘Big Cutoff’ from those of us who believe we can no longer trust you, me included. … What are you doing and why?” — email from Michael Schlesinger, University of Illinois professor, to Revkin

    Andy Revkin, I feel, believes the world is warming, and that mankind’s CO2 emissions are responsible, but generally is one of the pragmatists, calling for mitigation and a huge push on new cleaner energy sources. Not always entirely/at-all impartial, but not a bad guy. I have him on my ‘read daily’ list, for good reason.

  59. Andy Revkin’s written work has incrementally moved away from enthusiasm
    for the concept of “one warm world” with “settled science”.

    The shift began shortly after the Climategate e-mails demonstrated how
    the “Team” members, especially Mike Mann considered him a puppet
    on a string. Even then, Mann was afraid Revkin might try to think for
    himself.

    Think, Andy. Think !

  60. “If you lie, lie big. For a little of even the most outrageous lie will stick, if you press hard enough. Never hesitate, never qualify, never concede a shred of validity or even DECENCY to the other side. Attack, attack, attack!

    Hitler circa 1920 quoted page 38 in “The Third Reich At War”

  61. Steven Mosher,

    Well said.

    Walt Meier,

    Well Clarified.

    ____
    I applaud Revkin’s well reasoned article. As discussed in the post about the latest Holocene Climate Optimum sea ice study, it is interesting to see that the sea ice was diminished in the past, and obviously made a “recovery”. But this is really not earth shattering news as other studies have indicated this as well. But to me, what is more interesting is noting the conditions under which this happened. The CO2 levels were about what we had previous to our modern run up, i.e. they were about 270-280 ppm, but we know that was not the cause of the low sea ice, but rather, it was a slightly greater NH summer insolation from the Milankovtich cycles. So our modern era low sea ice must have some similarly strong forcing, and of course, the greater CO2 levels versus then fits the bill quite nicely.

    But more interesting questions to ask would be:

    How quickly did sea ice decline during that Holocene Optimum as compared to how quickly it is declining now. This might give some indication of how quickly we might get to an ice free summer condition as well as being able to compare the forcing from anthropogenic GH emissions versus the Holocene Milankovitch summer insolation.

    Also, I note with interest than many people seem to think that just because something happened in the past and it’s happening now that they must have the same cause. Obviouisly not true, nor logically must be true under any conditions. A similar effect need not have the saem cause nor would one expect it to have the same kinds of feedbacks.

  62. Alex the skeptic says:
    August 9, 2011 at 4:22 am
    “How many blunders must an ‘expert’ make before he is declared inept? at best?”

    Ask Hansen, he has racked up quite a few! Then again, as a blunder draws near they move the goal post…The gift that keeps on giving?

  63. Maurizio Morabito says:
    August 9, 2011 at 3:23 am
    As per the ancient Chinese proverb …whenever a rabid warmist comes out with yet another dire prediction all one has to do is sit comfortably on the banks of that river called The Internet, and soon the corpse of that dire prediction will float by.

    Beautiful, I love it!

  64. R. Gates says:
    August 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm
    … Also, I note with interest than many people seem to think that just because something happened in the past and it’s happening now that they must have the same cause. Obviouisly not true, nor logically must be true under any conditions. A similar effect need not have the saem cause nor would one expect it to have the same kinds of feedbacks.

    I think you’re missing the point.

    You are technically correct, however, in your assertion that a recurrance of past climate events does not necessarily mean they have the same cause. However, good scientific practice means we do need to understand what caused these past events and then determine if those same processes are at work now.

    Do you understand the null hypothesis?

  65. It appears that the US Navy takes the possibility of a largely ice-free arctic quite seriously:

    http://www.navy.mil/navydata/documents/CCR.pdf

    They’re the folks who will have to sail those waters eventually. No matter the cause, it appears that we are losing ice up there, and this is bound to lead to more shipping (Iceland is planning to become the new Hong Kong!), fishing and, eventually, clashes over resources. I seem to recall a Russian flag planted on the Arctic ocean floor close to the North Pole.

  66. Latest North Pole cam shot depicts an iced over lens and what looks to be a decent recent dump of snow. Overcast sky,

  67. Nuke says:
    August 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm
    R. Gates says:
    August 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Do you understand the null hypothesis?
    ============================================

    Yes he does, but like Trenberth, he has his own personal one.

  68. Amazing what happens when you actually start reading scientific papers and putting things in historical perspective….not such a big deal after all.

  69. Took a look at Cryospheres Arctic Basin chart. Current ice area in the basin is almost at last years mid-September level.

  70. Nuke says:

    “…a recurrance of past climate events does not necessarily mean they have the same cause.”

    As Nuke points out, the null hypothesis assumes that a recurrence of the same events has the same cause, barring evidence to the contrary. Gates, on the other hand, assumes that the same repeating pattern has a new cause. And Trenberth knows the null hypothesis debunks his hidden heat in the pipeline conjecture, so he demands a new null hypothesis!

    If any of these guys followed the scientific method, they would have to produce solid evidence showing “this time it’s different.” Since there isn’t any evidence that this time it’s different, they want to turn the scientific method on its head, and change the null hypothesis.

    What they should be doing is to honestly admit that it is becoming clear that CO2 does not have the claimed AGW effect, and causes only minuscule warming at best – leaving natural variability as the best explanation for the very mild 0.7° rise over the past century and a half, as the planet continues its emergence from the LIA.

    But that would require them to admit that they were mistaken, and they will never do that.

  71. R. Gates says:
    August 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    “Also, I note with interest than many people seem to think that just because something happened in the past and it’s happening now that they must have the same cause. Obviouisly not true, nor logically must be true under any conditions. A similar effect need not have the saem cause nor would one expect it to have the same kinds of feedbacks.”

    Nice try, but it remains up to the Warmista to show that present conditions are not just more of the same.

  72. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:
    August 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    OMG, the military has contingency plans for everything. I am sure they have a recently updated plan for fighting their way out of Annapolis.

  73. “New report just out:
    ScienceDaily:
    Titled: Large Variations in Arctic Sea Ice: Polar Ice Much Less Stable Than Previously Thought, Study Finds.”

    Very interesting,,,but we know the warmists will rip the study to shreds, just as they did with Spencers latest study.

  74. All I see out of the Arctic Sea Ice Area and Extent data is that, since 2006, a step down to a new normal occured. How long will it stay there? How big is the next step? Which direction will it step next: Up or Down?
    Have fun watching and making bets/predictions, but don’t spend too long at the racetrack.

  75. RE: Steve Mosher at 9.44 am

    Thanks for your comments on my post. I accept your comments as being entirely valid, but that does not turn my statements into anti-science. As you say, as I scientist, if I see a dip in global temps coincident with a volcanic eruption I can postulate a mechanism, by science/physics as to how the temperature has been affected by the volcanic eruption. This is my natural curiosity as a scientist to explain the world around me and I entriely agree with your sentiments on this point.

    But if I observe changes in nature which are well within the bounds of other historical events then it surely behoves me to search for common, plausible physcial mechanisms of a general physical form before I create special pleading and special circumstances that the latter part of the 20th Century is somehow special and requires a special theory and set of physiscs whereby man (and AGW) becomes the root cause of the phenomenom.

    To formulate a physcial theory that the latter part of the 20th century requires the invoking of physics specifically involving mans actions when the changes observed appear to be no different in magnitude or form than previous, naturally associated events strikes me as possibly hubris and little different to the beliefs held by the population during less enlightened times.

    As an example, I believe Phil Jones is on record as pointing out that the putative global temperature rise of the late 20th century is statistically identical to the rise in the early part of the same century and as two previous periods within the temperature record for Central England. Why therefore does the latter half of the 2oth century require a special theory all of its own to explain it? A simple glance at the last 10,000 years of the GISP2 ice core temprature proxy should be enough to demonstrate that the recent warming is hardly unusual.

  76. The whole premise of tipping point warming upon which AGW was balanced got taken to political arena. There, while under watchful eyes, the economy turned far more sour than the planet warmed, so much so, that the real threat turned out economic, not climate warming.
    It was then that the GOP made hay of the point, and AGW was forthwith tossed under the Bus as a bargaining chit. An expensive chit what with all the years and treasury expended. Deals are deals. Nobody wanted a baked potato gone cold and moldy. Nobody in politics is about to dig it out of the trash can, let alone try to warm & serve it. It’s dead, Jim.

  77. ThinkingScientist,

    Exactly. The climate alarmist crowd is trying to make the current climate something sinister, when in fact it is a “Goldilocks” climate: not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

    There has been about a 40% increase in CO2, but the global temperature has only gone up a minuscule 0.7°C. And there is zero evidence that the rise in CO2 caused that 0.7° rise. It may well be a coincidental correlation. Without testable evidence linking the ΔT with CO2, Occam’s Razor says that CO2 – an extraneous variable – should be disregarded, because it is most likely not the cause of the mild rise in temperature.

  78. Re: Smokey at 3.47 pm

    “There has been about a 40% increase in CO2, and global temperature has only gone up a minuscule 0.7°C”

    Actually, if “corrected” GHCN is being used as the basis for the estimate of temperature rise in the 20th century you can probably subtract 0.25 degC from that temperature rise as this is the systematic “error” correction trend applied to that data since 1910. Not clear to me why the temperature correction across thousands of mercury thermometers over many decades of the 20 th century should be a systematic function of time.

  79. Yes, the USHCN adjusts everything. Look at this basket of snakes: click
    They adjust earlier readings lower so the resulting graph looks like temperatures are rapidly rising.

    And here we see how they got away from simply reporting raw mercury thermometer readings on their B-91′s: click

  80. Mark Fawcett, Thank you and Walt Meier for the clarification.
    It is clear that no one suggested that the arctic would be ice free in 2008.

    There is always discussion on the details of where when and how much with regard to the effects of AGW. Debate about precisely how many decades it may take for the arctic to become ice free misses the point.

    Cherry picking years like 2007 in noisy data and saying 2008 wasn’t so bad is cr**p science. The long term trends for ice cover is shown in fig 1 of this paper:

    http://www.ualberta.ca/~eec/Stroeve2007.pdf

  81. “There has been about a 40% increase in CO2, but the global temperature has only gone up a minuscule 0.7°C. And there is zero evidence that the rise in CO2 caused that 0.7° rise. It may well be a coincidental correlation. Without testable evidence linking the ΔT with CO2, Occam’s Razor says that CO2 – an extraneous variable – should be disregarded, because it is most likely not the cause of the mild rise in temperature.”

    The unfortunate thing is this smokey. Occams razor has nothing to do with this. There is known tested science that explains how C02 and other GHGs ( like water vapor) raise the effective radiating height of the atmosphere. That means that the earth will cool less rapidly. You have an effect, less rapid cooling that is predicted by science over 100 years old. Science so secure that we used it to design star wars and fighter aircraft. Science that has become engineering for people like me and jeffId and Ryan Odonnell. To be sure there are other factors that contribute both to warming and to cooling. But C02 or other GHGs added to the atmosphere will cause the temperature to be higher than it would be otherwise. No occams razor required.

  82. Steven Mosher,

    The evidence [or lack thereof] shows that the effect of CO2 is minuscule. Not non-existent. But minuscule. Joe Bastardi makes the case better than me: click

  83. Frank K.,

    That press release says ice free in 30 years, not in 2008 or in 2013 or whatever else people here think Mark Serreze said. I have not followed everything that Serreze has claimed, but I have found his predictions to be consistent: the Arctic may be ice free in the summer by 2030. I even checked some articles from Anthony’s recent “short research project,” and I read the same prediction from him each time he was mentioned. Even in relation to his “death spiral” quote, he mentions the year 2030: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/09/080917-sea-ice.html .
    I’m sorry, but I find Serreze’s predictions to be much more consistent than people’s interpretations of what he said that are presented here. I don’t think it’s that hard to comprehend what Serreze has said.

  84. Alex the skeptic says:
    August 9, 2011 at 4:22 am
    “How many blunders must an ‘expert’ make before he is declared inept? at best?”

    In the imminent doomsday racket being consistently wrong is not a liability.

    Paul Ehrlich has been consistently wrong in his doomsday predictions for over four decades and is still frequently quoted as a supposed expert.

  85. I find it amazing that as the main predictions that convinced non-scientists and scientists alike
    of CAGW fail, they roll with the punches but remain steadfast. Would they remain so if all the predictions fail? Would R Gates still remain 75% convinced? Would Mosher just continue to grow more annoyed? Right now they are responding by stretching forecasts into the future, kicking up dust (aerosols?), changing the name of the perceived CO2 Armageddon to even remove the word warming….. As predictions fail. Having been given a 30-50 year respite and the halving or two thirds reduction in the expected temps, let’s at least take off the ‘C’ from CAGW (I don’t accept the desperate substitutes of c.c. Or c. Disruption). We live in interesting psychological times.

  86. On the good development side, the NSIDC has started reporting the daily sea ice extent numbers (as Jaxa does) and the individual regions are also reported. The data only starts on July 8th, but hopefully someone will go back and reconstruct the historical numbers (so there might be less arguing and more discussion about what caused Y and what caused X). if not, at least we can start using the data in the future.

    HomePage here. Data can be located on the right and through an FTP site in csv format.

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

  87. Steven Mosher says:
    August 9, 2011 at 9:44 am

    If you want to understand or explain the current decline, then appealing to “natural variation” is no explanation whatsoever. Its an explanation without any predictive power. Its an explanation that can’t be falsified. Its the absence of explanation, it’s anti science.

    Let me explain what is wrong with this train of thought. Terming unexplainable differences as ‘natural variation’ is the only way to describe them unless you prefer to ignore the fact that we don’t know everything. If a tree falls in the woods, you can see it on the ground. You may not be able to tell what fell that tree, but you don’t need to know what chopped it down to see it on the ground. What is anti-science is saying that just because none of the known factors can explain it, it must all be attributable to CO2. I have never seen a calculation that says, “If CO2 increases by [X], the effect on Arctic ice is [Y].” There are a lot of processes you’d have to follow to prove that out. Do you know of one? Otherwise, we are really just having a little argument about what the effect of CO2 on Arctic ice is. And that doesn’t really seem to be settled. In fact, to say that pointing out that it is not settled is ‘anti-science’ is disingenuous.

  88. “So far, the “screaming” hasn’t kept anyone awake at night, and we have not returned to the low of 2007 in the last three melt seasons.”
    Does that mean that 2007 ice which was “new ice” is now “old ice” or is it still classified “new ice”? LOL

  89. NJ says:
    August 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    OK. Do you believe that the arctic will be “ice free” – that is NO ICE IN THE ARCTIC?? For the entire summer??

    My observation really wasn’t about Mark “The Arctic is Screaming” Serreze’s predictive powers (such as they are)…it was about the veracity of the NOAA press release headlines, and how they are designed for maximum alarmism. You can’t deny that. I was simply asking if Dr. Meier agreed with the headline, or if he (like me) thought it was way over-the-top.

    Again, the public is tuning out the climate scientists precisely because the people in charge of government press releases are, to put it charitably, out of control! If you have a cogent counterargument, please provide it. Thanks.

  90. Mosh, the ” media agenda ” you say is spread only by scientists and with deliberate intent. And it is done by scientists on the pro-AGW side of the camp and it is relayed in big words worldwide. The statements about artic ice have been done by scientists from NSIDC and NOAA. How about you ask them to shut up and follow the scientific method, study natural variations, past history and report facts truthfully? Don’t come here defending that crap. It is pro-AGW scientists who are spreading false statements and alarmism in the name of science. When their predictions or projections or whatever soothsaying crap they name it with don’t turn true they don’t even have the decency to put up their hands and say that they were wrong. Instead, they change the goalposts to some unverifiable future date and keep spouting the same bullshit. It is exactly the scenario that is being repeated again and again. That’s exactly what is being discussed here.

    So please get the gist of what the post says and what the comments are about. We know that the world is going through a warming phase after the little ice age. There’s nothing that has shown that this warming is anomalous to what has happened in the past and nothing that has shown that what is happening now is out of the ordinary. Natural variation is the null hypothesis that needs to be falsified if current situation is to be shown as anomalous. The artic has also shown to be ice free in the past.

    The GHG theory is well known and understood. One of the presumptions is that the earth acts like a perfect greenhouse and traps everything. Off late some work has been done which seems to show that this is not the case and a lot of heat seems to be radiated back into space. Dr.Spencer’s paper explores this theory. Dr.Salby’s forthcoming paper seems to say that CO2 lags warming and not the other way round. These papers my either prove true or may be debunked later. Time will tell.

    So best way is to keep an open mind and see all the evidence. That’s what science really is about.

  91. Steve Mosher says (condensed down):

    “There is known tested science that explains how C02 and other GHGs ( like water vapor) raise the effective radiating height of the atmosphere….Science so secure that we used it to design star wars and fighter aircraft….But C02 or other GHGs added to the atmosphere will cause the temperature to be higher than it would be otherwise.”

    You appear to be juxtaposing CO2/AGW theory with aeronautical engineering. I cannot accept that the theory of AGW via CO2 is “science so secure that we used it to design star wars and fighter aircraft”.

    As for the “effective radiating height”, well as I understand it physical models of the atmosphere have made predictions that the atmosphere should show a tropospheric “hot spot”. That prediction appears to have failed. In fact, I am not aware of any unique predictions made be AGW theory-driven GCM’s that have been clearly demonstrated against any data. And “hindcasting” doesn’t count, not when there are so many free parameters.

    Regarding the idea that CO2 causes some warming, I accept the views of any number of atmospheric physicists that this is true. Howeve, I notice that Spencer, Lindzen and (not forgetting he is a distinguished atmospheric physicist) Singer all agree CO2 will cause some warming but they all consider the effect to be much smaller than given by more alarmist scientists informing the IPCC reporting.

    As for water vapour, well its a strong GHG on paper, but it also forms clouds. As far as I can see the jury is still out on whether the feedback from water vapour is even positive or negative. Just from very simple “back of the envelope” common sense reasoning I find it very difficult to see how it could be anything other than negative – on the higher temperature bound the climate of the planet has been pretty stable for the last few million years, and has plataued consistently for the last 10,000 years post Younger Dryas. As I said above in an earlier post responding to your “anti-science” comments, a quick glance at the last 10,000 years of the GISP2 ice core data will show very clearly that MWP, LIA, Roman warming, Minoan warming, Bronze age warming etc are all comparable too or in some cases likely warmer than the latter half of the 20th century.

  92. Typhoon says:
    August 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Alex the skeptic says:
    August 9, 2011 at 4:22 am
    “How many blunders must an ‘expert’ make before he is declared inept? at best?”

    In the imminent doomsday racket being consistently wrong is not a liability.

    Paul Ehrlich has been consistently wrong in his doomsday predictions for over four decades and is still frequently quoted as a supposed expert
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The difference between yesteryears prophets of doom (names forgotten in the dustbin of history) and modern ones such as Erlich and Serreze is that those of yesteryears were taken down to the town square and pilloried with rotten cabbages, while the modern ones are taken to the townhouse, given a modern office full of expensive computers and awarded 5 to six figure salaries so that they would be able to continue feeding us eotw (end of the world) and other bs.

  93. Alex the skeptic says:
    August 10, 2011 at 2:16 am

    “In the imminent doomsday racket being consistently wrong is not a liability.”

    To add to this statement, doomsday headlines by NOAA, NASA/GISS, IPCC and their ilk serves primarily to increase and protect their government funding levels. Again, it’s all about money and fame with these people…

  94. Well, I’m late to the party again, and as usual no one’s taken a critical look at the source material.

    2007 – The “ice screaming” quote from Serreze comes with no prediction at all.

    2008 – The ‘death spiral quote’. Serreze suggests the ice could be gone “within a couple of decades”. A bit lower down the article he says, “we’ll lose the summer ice cover probably by the year 2030.”

    Yep, that’s roughly a couple of decades from 2008.

    At this point Anthony says:

    “And in 2008 we had the forecast from NSIDC’s Dr. Mark Serreze of an “ice free north pole”.

    Serreze wasn’t talking about total ice cover. He was talking about a hole possibly opening up at the North pole based on the conditions that were being observed. This is quite different from total ice cover, which extends far beyond the ‘North Pole’. The difference is even explained at NSIDC, where Serreze is director.

    Sometimes in everyday use, people associate “the North Pole” with the entire Arctic region. However, when scientists discuss the North Pole, they mean the geographic North Pole

    You can verify that here.

    2011 – Serreze says, “”There will be ups and downs, but we are on track to see an ice-free summer by 2030. It is an overall downward spiral.”

    …which Anthony describes as a “new date” from Serreze. But it’s the same projection he made in 2008 for total summer sea ice cover. He even gave the year (2030) as a rough estimate in the 2008 article – but Anthony appears to have missed that part.

    Serreze has been consistent.

    But in case I’m wrong, you have Serreze’s ear, Anthony. Perhaps you could ask him to clarify?

  95. Steve Mosher, I don’t think fighter aircraft are designed strictly inside of computer models. The designs are still tested in wind tunnels. The earths climate system is vastly more complicated than air resistance and turbulence that can’t even be computer modeled properly today. Your analogy fails.

  96. Chris Long says: August 9, 2011 at 5:05 am
    The concept of a tipping point for arctic ice extent pre-supposes the existence of at least two stable configurations – our current one, with a lot of ice, and another one with no ice. Does the peer-reviewed literature contain any evidence the such a ‘no-ice’ stable system is possible?

    Hi Chris. Between a lot of ice and none is the absence of ice in summer only. Tietsche, Notz, Jungclaus, Marotzke (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2010GL045698.shtml) have used model studies to suggest that if summer ice completely vanished today the resultant escape of warmth from the Arctic would lead to a return to much the same summer ice within two years or so. It must be noted that this “recovery” would be to a systemically falling level of summer ice coverage. Ice free Arctic summers are on the way.

  97. Another random observation. The NWS Anchrorage ice page depicts actual new ice formation in the Barents over the next week. Looks like temperatures are cooling earlier this year than they did last year.

  98. R Gates commented a week or two ago that the abrupt shallowing of the Arctic ice extent curve was merely “convergence” – the wind blowing the ice floes together, and predicted that this would be followed by a steep fall in extent as this convergence dissipated.

    This has not happened. The extent curve continues to follow a normal gradient and according to some metrics, such as the IMS (Interactive multisensor) this year’s extent has “joined the pack” of other recent years.

    Cryosphere Today’s colour map has shown for much of the summer alarmingly red and thin ice, predictive of rapid decline, but the rate of decline has been if anything below normal, and for July the decline rate was a record low.

    As others have commented there is something strange and different about the Cryophere images this year. Have the folks at Cryosphere Today received the knock on the door that has been long overdue?

    Hard to know how to interpret much official climate data when the instrumentation and databases are in the hands of warmista activists. Rather like interpreting official data on production of tractors in the Soviet Union during the 50′S and 60′s.

  99. Correction: Sorry – RGates described “divergence” – wind spreading out ice extent, not “convergence” as stated incorrectly in the previous post. My logic got inverted somehow. (Senior moment.)

  100. Summertime minimum ice extents in the Arctic are now ranging from 5.5 million to just over 4 million km2 of ice. And, over the last 30-odd years, have been measured by satellites as declining from their earliest values of about 6 – 6.5 million km2.

    The ice only can melt during the summer – the rest of the year averageg winter temperatures hover near -25 degrees.

    But during this same period of declining sea ice minimums, actual summertime temperatures at 80 north (the southern edge of the Arctic ice above Greenland, and an arc across the middle of the ice near longitude 180) have been measured since 1959 as declining. No measured temperatures – other than NASA-GISS’s 1200 km extrapolations across the tundra! – can show demonstrable Arctic temperatures increases.

    1) My question to Hansen, Mosher, RGates, Mieirs, and others who have used these “tipping points” to destroy the world’s economies and force billions into early deaths mired in poverty and disease by their government-funded CAGW death-spiral threats, is to show by their calculations how an assumed 1/2 of one degree average world temperature increase (an increase only “measured” further south in temperate latitudes) can “melt” 1.5 million km2 of of Arctic ice, when the Arctic temperatures near the ice itself are declining during the only period of the year when the ice can be melting?

    2) Hundreds of sources claim an Arctic albedo “positive feedback” but none can show how the sun can warm Arctic waters under the actual illumination angles present during the September minimums.

    4 million km2 corresponds to an ice-covered “cap” covering the entire area between latitude 79.2 and 90 north. (Not a perfect match, but close enough. The real summertime minimum ice extent varies from year-to-year, but tends to be a near-circle centered about latitude 85, longitude 180.)

    Assume all of this ice melts for some reason one year: There is a completely ice-free Arctic in September.

    The result? My calc’s using the actual reflectivity of ice and water show that there will be no change in received energy to the earth regardless of how much ice has melted.

    That is, both ice and ocean water reflect the same percent of solar energy at the actual solar incident angles found above latitude 80 north. Albedo (color of the ice or of free ocean water) itself is irrelevant at these low angles. In fact, one can show that the insulating effect of ice-covered water prevents additional cooling due to evaporation, while both ice-covered surfaces and open water sources radiate the same amount of energy through the same skies and clouds to space. Received radiation from the sun during that very short period that the sun is visible stays the same, while losses (radiation and evaporation) increase over the entire 24 hours per day.

    Thus, an ice-free Arctic contributes to additional cooling, and the feedback of an ice-free Arctic is actually towards colder summers worldwide.

  101. And in 2008 we had the forecast from NSIDC’s Dr. Mark Serreze of an “ice free north pole”

    where he said:

    “There is this thin first-year ice even at the North Pole at the moment,” says Serreze. “This raises the spectre – the possibility that you could become ice free at the North Pole this year”

    Indeed, if the weather bureau says there is the possibility of rain tomorrow and it doesn’t rain then they should lose their jobs.

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