Sea Ice News: Arctic sea ice “may” have turned the corner

UPDATES: New NSIDC data and a press release from them added below.

While some folks (Joe Romm in particular) are touting the recent University of Bremen press release suggesting a new record low has been met, declaring record minimum Arctic extent was reached on Sept 8 at 4.24 million km2, (See http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/minimum2011-en.pdf) five other sources of sea ice data, NSIDC and JAXA, DMI, Cryosphere Today, and NANSEN don’t agree with that new record claim (at least not yet). While still far from certain, as weather, wind, and ocean currents could still force a turn downwards, the NSIDC graph suggests we may have turned the corner this year.

NSIDC extent - 5 day average - click to enlarge

[UPDATE: This extent graph above (dated 9/12) was updated by NSIDC since posting this story ~ 6AM this morning, and it shows further deviation from 2007, compare to the NSIDC graph of 9/11 below.]

Below, I’ve added a vertical line to show the turning point for the 1979-2000 average (in red) and how it compares to the current NSIDC data.

red line shows the turn point for the 1979-2000 average - click to enlarge

The JAXA graph, which uses a different satellite sensor (AMSRE vs SSMI) also suggests that we didn’t yet reach a new record low and that we may have turned the corner.

JAXA Arctic Sea Ice Extent - daily data - click to enlarge

The Danish Meteorological Institute shows much the same:

Danish Meteorological Institute-Arctic Sea Ice extent daily data - click to enlarge

NANSEN’s Arctic ROOS plot shows a similar turn, and suggest that not only have we not reached a new record low, but the extent has not gotten lower than 2008:

NANSEN Arctic ROOS Sea Ice Extent - click to enlarge

Cryosphere Todayhas an anomaly plot that shows so far, 2011 has not exceeded the 2007 record minimum.

Cryosphere Today Arctic Sea Ice Anomaly - click to enlarge

CT does have an area graph, which you can see here, which seems to match the 2007 low, but unlike the other data providers they don’t provide year to year extent comparisons, only seasonals.

For extent, only the University of Bremen (shown below) shows this year to be lower, and has no turn. It uses the same SSMI sensor as NANSEN and NSIDC, it uses the same AMSRE sensor as JAXA, which doesn’t show a record low, so the difference must be in processing of the data:

University of Bremen sea ice extent - click to enlarge

Given that five other sources of sea ice data don’t show a new record low, and suggest that the corner may have been turned, I find it rather odd that the University of Bremen would stick their neck out and declare a new record low before the traditional end of the Arctic melt season.

The wording from their press release hardly seems scientific and more than a bit over the top:

Alerting message from the Arctic: The extent the the Arctic sea ice has reached on Sep. 8 with 4.240 million km2 a new historic minimum (Figure 1). Physicists of the University of Bremen now confirm the apprehension existing since July 2011 that the ice melt in the Arctic could further proceed and even exceed the previous historic minimum of 2007. It seems to be clear that this is a further consequence of the man-made global warming with global consequences. Directly, the livehood of small animals, algae, fishes and mammals like polar bears and seals is more and more reduced.

The answer to why such language might be used, perhaps prematurely in the face of other datasets which presently disagree, may be found in the proximity of the upcoming Climate Reality Project (aka the Gore-a-thon) on September 14-15. Al needs something to hold up as an example of gloom, since sea ice didn’t repeat the 2007 low in 2008, 2009, or 2010, and the Antarctic has not been cooperative with the melt meme at all, remaining boringly “normal” and even above normal last year.

We’ll know the answer when we see if this Bremen missive is included in Al’s upcoming presentation.

As for whether or not Arctic sea ice extent turned the corner this year, note below that in the prime ice areas, surface air temperature is well below freezing. So. it is up to the wind and ocean currents and other vagaries of weather to determine if we have in fact bottomed out, or if there’s still some loss to come.

If it has turned the corner, it will be about a full week earlier than usual. There could still be another downward blip, as happened in 2010 and in 2007, so I’m not ready to call a turn for certain yet, but it does look encouraging.

Stay updated with all of the latest plots and maps at the WUWT Sea Ice Reference page. Readers may also be interested in the WUWT forecast submission to ARCUS and the notes with it.

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

UPDATE2: NSIDC has posted an update in their Sea Ice News section, which I’m reposting below in entirety for WUWT readers:

Overview of conditions
On September 10, Arctic sea ice extent was 4.34 million square kilometers (1.68 million square miles). This was 110,000 square kilometers (42,500 square miles) above the 2007 value on the same date. The record minimum Arctic sea ice extent, recorded in 2007, was 4.17* million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles).

The rate of decline has flattened considerably the last few days: Arctic sea ice is likely near its minimum value for the year. However, weather patterns could still push the ice extent lower. NSIDC scientists will make an announcement when ice extent has stopped declining and has expanded for several days in a row, indicating that the Arctic sea ice has reached its lowest extent for the year and has begun freezing over. During the first week of October, after data are processed and analyzed for the month of September, NSIDC scientists will issue a more detailed analysis of this year’s melt season and the state of the sea ice.

NSIDC’s sea ice data come from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS) sensor on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F17 satellite. This data record, using the NASA Team algorithm developed by scientists at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, is the longest time series of sea ice extent data, extending back to 1979.

Other sea ice data are available from other data providers, using different satellite sensors and sea ice algorithms. For example, data from the University of Bremen indicate that sea ice extent from their algorithm fell below the 2007 minimum. They employ an algorithm that uses high resolution information from the JAXA AMSR-E sensor on the NASA Aqua satellite. This resolution allows small ice and open water features to be detected that are not observed by other products. This year the ice cover is more dispersed than 2007 with many of these small open water areas within the ice pack. While the University of Bremen and other data may show slightly different numbers, all of the data agree that Arctic sea ice is continuing its long-term decline.

For more information about the Arctic sea ice minimum, see the NSIDC Icelights article, Heading Towards the Summer Minimum Ice Extent.

*Near-real-time data initially recorded the 2007 record low as 4.13 million square kilometers 1.59 million square miles). The final data, reprocessed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center using slightly different processing and quality control procedures, record the number as 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles). NSIDC reports daily extent as a 5-day average. For more about the data, see the FAQ, Do your data undergo quality control?

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209 thoughts on “Sea Ice News: Arctic sea ice “may” have turned the corner

  1. You are misinterpreting the Cryosphere Today plot as it is an anomaly plot, not a plot of absolute area. It is possible to set a new record minimum area without having the largest anomaly, as the largest anomaly in 2007 does not occur at the time of minimum area.

    REPLY: No, I clearly say anomaly, I’m not confusing anything, Note that the anomaly has headed back up from it’s low so far this year. My point is that it hasn’t gotten anywhere close to 2007 low anomaly, and with the current conditions may not drop further. Don’t gripe about me using it unless you are prepared to also gripe at CT for not providing an extent graph like all other organizations. For some reason, they only provide area on their public presentation. – Anthony

  2. I’d be pretty reluctant to say the ice has “turned the corner” when recent lows have occurred a week or two later. OTOH, one thing that’s interesting in the NANSEN’s Arctic ROOS plot is the longterm average curve that has a minimum around September 6th.

  3. It’s a small difference indeed, 2007 and 2011; however, it is not interesting which year will be ‘winning’, it is the downward trend that is important;
    2007 was an extreme year whith an exceptional low sea ice extent, 2011 is catching up while changing the linearity of the downward trend of minimal sea ice extent into an exponential curve to a sea ice free summer within a few years; that is the real worrying thing;
    please check my website for more graphs;

    http://www.zeeburgnieuws.nl/nieuws/kv_noordpool_zeeijs_min_2011.html#dieptepunt

    there is also a page in English:

    http://www.zeeburgnieuws.nl/nieuws/mb_arctic_melt.html

    regards

  4. Is this years Arctic sea ice extent lower or higher than 2007?

    Was 1934 or 1998 the hottest year in the USA?

    How many angels fit on the head of a pin?

    All of the above questions are of about the same level of importance. The ice extent is very low and the minimum will be virtually indistinguishable from 2007 levels, whether or not it ends up higher or lower.

  5. Quick! Run a bunch of icebreakers around the Fram straits- we gotta get that ice down to at least 3 times the size o’ Texas, just so we can listen to the warmists howl.

  6. Martin van Etten says “2011 is catching up while changing the linearity of the downward trend of minimal sea ice extent into an exponential curve to a sea ice free summer within a few years;” How much you want to bet? Put your money where your mouth is hot shot and let’s place a wager about whether the Arctic is ice free in summer “within a few years”. We’ll let Anthony hold the money, just name your bet amount.

  7. Looking a Bremen’s graph, note the thickness of the red line – surely a lot of room for error there? Would an earlier turn indicate the possibility of some cooling actually happening?

  8. I am only going from memory and hearsay but I believe the NW passage was open in about 1890 and again in WW2. Seem to remember military using the passage in the war.

    If that is true there is more ice now

  9. Wait for it, R Gates will be along to represent the “lukewarmers” any minute now….

    Me? Since the “record” is since 1979 I think this whole focus is insane.

  10. Jacobson, M. Z. 2010. Short-term effects of controlling fossil-fuel soot, biofuel soot and gases, and methane on climate, Arctic ice, and air pollution health. Journal of Geophysical Research. VOL. 115, D14209, doi:10.1029/2009JD013795

    http://nsidc.org/icelights/2011/02/23/is-dirty-air-adding-to-climate-change-2/

    I would suggest that the recent minimum (or low value) for Sea Ice is in part due to the significant volcanic activity that we have seen in the last couple of years.

  11. We’ll know the answer when we see if this Bremen missive is included in Al’s upcoming presentation.

    If Al does include it, he’ll look like a cherry-picker later on. We won’t let him forget it.

  12. “As for whether or not Arctic sea ice extent turned the corner this year, note below that in the prime ice areas, surface air temperature is well below freezing. So. it is up to the wind and ocean currents and other vagaries of weather to determine if we have in fact bottomed out, or if there’s still some loss to come.”
    I think that is “spot on”. As can be seen here http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php the current temperature is exactly on the long term average and is unlikely to go substantially up again to provide surface smelting. Any deterioraton in extent would be down to wind and currents. In any event I don’t understand this obsession with Arctic ice extent. It has been shown so many times that wind and currents are the main factors and any smelting has no effect on ocean sea levels so will not help James Hansen achieve his five meters by 2100.

  13. Arctic sea ice minimum is (nearly) the lowest in 10 years. There, we can say it. The brackets define the dispute with Uni of B. Now we can interpret it. What does it mean to this debate? Not much. What does (the difference) mean to the debate. Not much. So why engage polemical on the data-sets, when it is the (hysterical) interpretation (“a new historic minimum” death to all creatures…) that matters?

  14. Personally, I don’t see a problem with a big arctic ice melt in summer. It is a good thing. It freezes again in winter.

  15. Martin van Etten says:
    September 13, 2011 at 5:32 am
    … to a sea ice free summer within a few years;
    ====================
    The Mean Temperature above 80°N as seen here:

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    has been almost entirely below normal temperatures during the entire melt season in that region (temps above 0°C) calculated from the period 1958-2002. The same phenomenon also took place last year. This seems to be a contradiction of an exponentially increasing sea ice melt. I do not see how the arctic will end up ice free at any time at all this century let alone any time soon.

  16. If one thinks Arctic sea-ice is “too low” in Sept, just wait a couple months — it’ll make a dramatic recovery.

    Besides, more Arctic Ocean free of sea-ice in the warm season means more light penetrating the water, more phytoplankton production & more food-chain feeders like whales.

  17. jason says: September 13, 2011 at 6:05 am
    Me? Since the “record” is since 1979 I think this whole focus is insane.

    I have to agree, the beginning of this record was probably a high point for ice area/extent after 30 years of cooling. We probably need a minimum of sixty years to catch most of the natural cycle to even determine what ‘normal’ is.

  18. The last time I commented on this topic at wuwt Steve Mosher jumped down my neck, saying that the drop in av.air temp above 80North below freezing was irrelevant as the higher heat capacity of the ocean would carry on melting the ice. Looking at the multi-year graphs, I note many years appear to have an up-tick about the time air temps drop below zero. Not saying anything much, just that it’s interesting.

  19. Martin van Etten says:
    September 13, 2011 at 5:32 am
    . . . 2011 is catching up while changing the linearity of the downward trend of minimal sea ice extent into an exponential curve to a sea ice free summer within a few years; that is the real worrying thing; . . .

    Why is that a “worrying thing” and not a welcoming thing? A warmer Arctic ocean means open sea lanes, and easier resource extraction. A warmer sub-Artic means more land for crops. A warmer temperate zone means more shirt-sleeve weather (which is about to disappear here in New England, as Winter looms). What’s not to like?

    /Mr Lynn

  20. On the Sea Ice page, look at the
    Arctic Sea Ice Concentration – Same Date Compared With 2007 [Sept 9]
    Compare Alaska Brooks Range and Eastern Siberia. There is much more ice and snow in 2011. Is that an early snowfall?

  21. Luther Wu … “icebreakers” …

    Ya know .. I’ve always wondered what effect they have had on arctic ice. I mean …. kitchen table experiment … I always notice that crushed ice melts faster than a solid block. Maybe the low arctic ice extent and area have nothing to do with Global Warming .. but with Ice Breaker Ships carving the ice up into crushed slush.

    I say .. we ban icebreakers from the arctic for awhile and see what happens!

    ….. hmmmmmmmmmmm

  22. How convenient it is to exploit minor disagreement between extent datasets as evidence of large uncertainty to distract attention from the record in sea ice AREA and VOLUME.
    And to distract attention from the fact that you and your readers have ‘predicted’ this year’s minimum extent would bottom out at 5,5, sorry 5,1, oops 4,5 million square kilometers. That’s a mere 30% off. I’ve got no problem with that…

  23. Luther Wu says:
    September 13, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Quick! Run a bunch of icebreakers around the Fram straits- we gotta get that ice down to at least 3 times the size o’ Texas, just so we can listen to the warmists howl.
    ===============================================================
    Indeed, the Russians have a fleet of nuclear powered ice-breakers, they’ve been very active in the arctic this year.

  24. Certainly looks like this year will be “near” 2007. All the CO2 added to the atmosphere since 2007 has increased ice melt by… not much.

    I’d be a lot more “alarmed” if ice extent were increasing!

    North Pole cam shows we’re near a “tipping point”. If all that ice slides off the edge of the earth, it will prove the earth is flat, eh? :)

    Best,
    Frank

  25. At high longitudes the ice edge was very stable for weeks / months. And now, there is accumulation there.

  26. Two points:

    1. I believe the Cryosphere Today record low anomaly in 2007 occurred in October, not at the time of minimum area. Indications that I’ve seen show that this year is very close and perhaps lower than 2007 in terms of minimum area.

    2. The minimum extent has an average date of Sept. 12. So if we are at a minimum, it’s about average (maybe a couple days early), not a week early.

    NSIDC will be posting an update in a couple of hours and we’ll be watching our data closely and will announce the minimum for our data when we are confident there won’t be further decline. We’ll also probably comment on the Bremen data and the reasons for it’s difference with other measures.

    Walt Meier
    NSIDC

    REPLY: Thanks for commenting Walt.

    1. That may be true, I don’t know for sure.
    2. This shows just one more reason for NSIDC to post daily value data as JAXA does (as you’ve promised to do) Your graph x and y axis is too coarse to make an accurate numerical determination. Mostly though I was referring to JAXA, which gives us a better handle on minimums due to JAXA providing such data and has a shorter year span than NSIDC.

    - Anthony

  27. Martin van Etten says:
    September 13, 2011 at 5:32 am

    It’s a small difference indeed, 2007 and 2011; however, it is not interesting which year will be ‘winning’, it is the downward trend that is important;
    2007 was an extreme year whith an exceptional low sea ice extent, 2011 is catching up while changing the linearity of the downward trend of minimal sea ice extent into an exponential curve to a sea ice free summer within a few years; that is the real worrying thing;
    ===============================================================

    lol, depends on how you graph it. I think what you’re seeing is the bottom of a sine wave. I’m waiting until the end of Sep. but if you graph Sep 2007 -Sep 2011, you won’t see anything worrying. But even if we’re exponentially curving downward, it isn’t particularly worrying. I’m just hopeful some companies in the U.S. are prepared to exploit the additional shipping lanes available, if it were to come to be. But, the MYI improvement over last year seems to indicate its not gonna happen. http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20110405_Figure5.png …… we’ll see after all of the hyperbole settles down.

  28. Three days of increase now according to Jaxa.

    On average, today (day 255) is the last day of declining sea ice extent. From now on, the sea ice increases, on average. The earliest minimum was August 25 in 1980 and the latest was September 24 in 2007. There is no real trend over time of when the minimum happens (perhaps a few days later).

    This chart compares the change in sea ice by day in 2011 versus the average change since 1972, as noted, 3 days in a row of increase now. While 2011 started the year with less ice, it more-or-less followed the average daily melt rate very closely. (I think the beginning sea ice extent in late March is the real determinant of how much ice there will be throughout the year – the average seasonal melt rate from the March Max to the Sept Min is very consistent increasing at just 0.1% per year since 1972).

  29. Again, a “thank you” to Walt Meier for interacting with the public. As society becomes more connected and open it is essential to have the experts explain and work with those that are interested in their work. Scientists who refuse to do so and work to keep their work secret only breed skepticism of their integrity and further conspiracy theories. I do enjoy a good conspiracy theory though. : )

  30. Deanster says:
    September 13, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Luther Wu … “icebreakers” …

    Ya know .. I’ve always wondered what effect they have had on arctic ice
    ===============================================================
    Dean, it’s not the slush part……it’s breaking a huge seam all the way through it.

    Just like when a floating end of a glacier, or any other floating sheet of ice breaks off.
    That crack separates it and lets it drift away………….

  31. a new record low has been met, declaring record minimum Arctic extent was reached on Sept 8 at 4.24 million km2
    ==========================================================
    This whole “science” is based on “average” “normal” “records” etc

    …and the very people that claim it’s not normal, are allowed to define what is normal.

    Different time frames, different measurements………all picked and chosen by the very people claiming it’s not normal.

    Take that away from them, and whole science falls apart.

  32. The less ice there is at the autumnal equinox, the less insulation there is on the Arctic Ocean when the long polar night falls, and the more the black ocean heat radiates into space. That sets the stage for more ice and colder polar currents next year.

  33. Why do they continue to use a 1979 to 2000 Average?
    Should we not be using a 1979-2010 Average on the graphs?
    I am sure a 30 year aveage is more accurate and relevant than a 10 year old , 20 year average.

    Basically, this all means nothing in the end. So we have a good 30 year account, but in the scheme of things it is still not enough to make any solid conclusions.

  34. The scientific methods of the U. of Bremen in determining the “record” low extent may be perfectly legitimate. So why the compulsion to sully it with such an execrable and unscientific press release? Have they no shame?

  35. Strange how the deviation has increased since 2007 in the Cryosphere anomaly plot. It looks like the instability has increase compared to previous years.

  36. Even if (a big if) this seasons extent minimum barely avoids breaking `07s minimum, it`s still been a disastrous melt season for the Arctic. And if there was any old ice left at the beginning of the melt, it`s surely gone by now,,,or very close to being gone. I dread what next summer will do to the ice cap.

  37. The Cryosphere graphs is the most telling. Whatever was happening post 1996 stopped in 2008 and we have been vacillating or hovering, awaiting a renewal or reversal since then. The analysis of what is likely to happen depends on understanding the slow drop to 1996 and then the sudden and sustained drop of ’96 – 2008.

    Was the sudden drop the result of a thinning prior to ’96, with the thin ice suddenly breaking up or disappearing ’96 to 2008? If so, then are we seeing a consistent thinning of additional ice 2008 to 2011 that will suddenly disappear/break up and disappear now? I suspect the first and don’t suspect the second.

    We will probably see a thickening of the main ice before we see an increase in extent: the first new ice will be thin and breakup easily, while extensions from thicker, more stable ice will take a year or two to show up, during which time the remaining ice will become thicker.

    Prediction: thickening noted first, increase extent, later. Thickness in established, remaining areas is the key to watch.

  38. “It seems to be clear that this is a further consequence of the man-made global warming with global consequences.”

    I am not following the logic here. According to Lubos:

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/09/rss-amsu-jan-aug-2011-second-coldest-in.html

    “According to RSS AMSU, the first 8 months were the 2nd coldest January-August period in this century so far (second among 11 candidate years).”

    Then how can the lowest or second lowest ice extent this year be blamed on global warming? As others have pointed out, there are other things that are more important than global warming here.

  39. Richard says:
    September 13, 2011 at 8:39 am

    How do you manage to sleep at night? – with all that dread? I’d suggest saving some electricity by turning your computer off, etc… /sarc :)

    As others have noted, a meagre 30 year set of records is hardly representative of the arctic climate and its variability – even less so, when we consider pre, post and interglacial conditions known to have existed previously.

    I suppose, if you want to really really believe that AGW is the cause, thats a matter of personal opinion – but the only ‘dread’ I have is the one where all the warmists become like lemmings and throw themselves off cliffs as they cannot stand the guilt from their irresponsible earth damaging lives! (do I or should I really need to put /sarc here? :- )

  40. Cryosphere Today do keep a record of daily sea ice area values, which can be found here (although not in very user-friendly form) :

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/timeseries.anom.1979-2008

    Strictly in the interests of scientific accuracy, the all-time lowest value was set yesterday at 2, 904, 739 sq km, compared with the previous lowest value of 2, 917, 439 sq. km, set on September 7th. 2007.

    The lowest ever anomaly figure, which is what Cryosphere Today chooses to display graphically, is – 2,634, 739 sq km, set on 19th October 2007.

  41. Richard says:
    September 13, 2011 at 8:39 am

    “Even if (a big if) this seasons extent minimum barely avoids breaking `07s minimum, it`s still been a disastrous melt season for the Arctic. And if there was any old ice left at the beginning of the melt, it`s surely gone by now,,,or very close to being gone. I dread what next summer will do to the ice cap.”

    Check out the post on Real-Science regarding the “old ice”, growing not retreating buddy. : )

    http://www.Real-Science.com/uncategorized/september-myi-forecast#more-42941

  42. The original Alarmist idea was that open water would reduce albedo and create a positive feedback loop, due to sunshine warming the waters more. It has since been learned that most of the water’s warming was trasported north by currents. Also that by this time of year the albedo of open water is the same as ice, as the sun is so low it bounces off the surface. Once the sun goes down open water loses heat more readily to clear skies than ice-covered water.

    In other words, the positive feedback loop isn’t happening. The only reason for alarm, when ice melts a lot up north, is due to the fact it gives Alarmists something to toot their horns about.

    Far more interesting to me is the fact the cold air is not locked up in the arctic, which would increase ice cover, but instead comes charging much further south, which reduces the size of both ice cover and crops, due to late and early frosts.

    Frost coming to Iowa this weekend. Focus there, and not on the north pole.

  43. Remind me why we care about melting sea ice, other than its effect on sea levels? Fortunately sea level rise is decelerating…

  44. I think reports of a new low in the short term sea ice record is actually bad news for AGW supporters because as the sea ice gradually returns like the longer sea ice records suggests it will, it will be seen by the scientific community complete unscientific alarmist tripe that it actually is, and therefore be discredited as being caused by Anthropogenic Climate change.

  45. If, (big if), all arctic sea ice melted in summer, wouldn’t this result in more water vapour in the arctic regions resulting in more precipitation to build up the glaciers?

  46. Jay Neumark says: “Again, a “thank you” to Walt Meier for interacting with the public. As society becomes more connected and open it is essential to have the experts explain and work with those that are interested in their work. Scientists who refuse to do so and work to keep their work secret only breed skepticism of their integrity and further conspiracy theories….”

    Right, Jay!

  47. September 12 plots from nsidc is showing continued uptick. I think they average their timeseries so we’ll probably see the curve up level off during the next couple of days. As mentioned, whether it turns down again is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t have much time.

  48. For some reason, when Joe Romm makes any sort of “in recorded history” claim, it reminds me of this clip from my favourite Irish sit-com.

  49. fp you write “Remind me why we care about melting sea ice, other than its effect on sea levels? Fortunately sea level rise is decelerating…”

    The ONLY reason that Arctic sea ice is important is because the warmaholics SAID it was important; no other reason whatsoever. What we are hoping is that, as Sparks points out, when (and not if) the Arctic sea ice returns to more normal levels, the warmaholics will, once again, have been proved to be wrong.

  50. fp says:
    September 13, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Remind me why we care about melting sea ice, other than its effect on sea levels? Fortunately sea level rise is decelerating…

    Sea ice is floating. It has no effect on sea level when it melts. Try it at home with a glass, warm water, and some ice.

  51. We may have turned the corner. Or maybe not. The temp chart is for 80 degrees latitude. Barrow, AK, at 71 degrees is going to have a high in the upper 40s F tomorrow. If further loss occurs, it will be at the extremities, not the center.

  52. This disucssion seems to have fallen back into the old assumption that temperature is the only factor affecting arctic ice. We’ve seen before that Arctic winds can push ice past Greenland and into the North Atlantic. What is happening with winds this year?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/22/wind-sea-ice-loss-arctic

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/22/the-guardian-sees-the-light-on-wind-driven-arctic-ice-loss/

    There was a great animation showing winds apparently from the Bering Sea ripping apart the ice north of Alaska and driving it past Greenland. Are there similar movies showing ice behavior this year?

  53. I am confident that the ice will freeze again like it always has until it achieves a maximum around March. There may even be a new record maximum next year. Stay tuned.

  54. I went out on the limb yesterday on this with Sept 9 as the min day.

    http://www.runnersworld.com/community/forums/general-discussion/rants-raves

    Wind? About a month ago I started eyeballing jet stream forecast at http://www.stormsurf.com/ with the other eye on the dips on Arctic ROOS and DMI COI and when ever there was a jet stream push into the arctic there was a quick dip in the ice. … no big pushes of jet stream into the arctic in the forecast!

  55. “Physicists of the University of Bremen now confirm the apprehension”

    They are NOT reporting on the weather in the arctic, they are reporting on their emotional apprehension. It’s an emotion report and NOT a scientific report of the objective facts.

  56. “…I am confident that the ice will freeze again…” Meant to say “melted ice will freeze again…”

    By the way…near record low temperatures forecast for Thursday night here in NH…

  57. Sea Ice is boring stuff. The Sun is about to set up there, and winter will howl for the next 6 months.
    All that appears to be happening is that Arctic Sea Ice levels are running in a different track than 1979-2000. They will probably continue in this 2001-2011 track for the next 20 years, and one year may go lower than 2007.
    I imagine there are those who sit on the edge of thier Lazy Boy chairs while waiting for breakup to see if they have won the jackpot. There are also those who simply tear up their ticket upon losing, and walk away.

  58. 1. I would have waited until Oct. 1st to say anything about Arctic sea ice minimums;
    2. Regardless of which ice extent one prefers, 2011 is near an “historic” minimum (for 32 years anyway);
    3. The comments from University of Bremem are outrageously stupid. Whatever happened to the days when scientists reported on the science and politicians make outrageous and misleading claims from there?
    4. Why can’t we say that 1979 was an “historic” maximum for sea ice and that we’re back to more “normal” levels – despite increasing CO2 levels?
    5. I wish Al Gore luck. He’ll need it. And he’s not getting my $10.00. Driving a green agenda into a possible recession is a fool’s errand.

  59. I wonder if the University of Bremen will end up revising or retracting their claim of a record low. If Gore cites this claim and it’s also retracted, his run of “bad luck” could have a real signal moment.

  60. Martin van Etten says:
    September 13, 2011 at 5:32 am

    It’s a small difference indeed, 2007 and 2011; however, it is not interesting which year will be ‘winning’, it is the downward trend that is important;
    2007 was an extreme year whith an exceptional low sea ice extent, 2011 is catching up while changing the linearity of the downward trend of minimal sea ice extent into an exponential curve to a sea ice free summer within a few years; that is the real worrying thing;

    Martin, I’m willing to bet you $500 that your “worrying thing”, a “sea ice free [Arctic] summer”, will NOT occur within the next five years. Anthony can hold the stakes.

    I’m tired of whiners making apocalyptic predictions and telling us how concerned and worried they are. Talk is cheap. You willing to back your claim by putting your money where your mouth is?

    Time to put up or shut up.

    w.

    PS – My prediction? Martin will come back to tell us how he’s not a betting man, but if he were, by golly, I’d be in deep trouble …

  61. Some pedantry: the average date of the minima for the years 2002 to 2010 is Sept 14th (actually 14.56) which is later than Anthony’s date of the minimum of the averages. So we need to wait until tomorrow.

  62. One of the most important things to realize from this year, isn’t whether it beat out 2007 in extents (though it certainly has in volume), but rather, it proves that:

    1) There is no on-going Arctic Sea ice recovery

    2) 2007 was not a freak “outlier” event. Even though 2007 and 2011 both had very different melt dynamics, based on how energy was flowing into and moving around the Arctic, 2011 has proven that 2007 was not a “freak” event, but rather, a new downward low mark, which this year proves as the future direction of Arctic sea ice.

    The point is, when looking at the Arctic, measure simply water or air temps is not enough to see how the melt dynamics might progress for season. Wind, waves, water vapor levels, ocean currents are all part of the total energy of ocean and atmopshere, and so, even though the total energy profile mix of 2007 and 2011 were different…the results were similar as the total energy was similar.

    Expect 2007 and 2011 low sea ice area, extent, and volume marks to be beat in the coming years. The downward spiral continues…

  63. rbateman says:
    September 13, 2011 at 10:40 am
    Sea Ice is boring stuff.
    ____
    You obviously have no idea how important sea ice is to weather and ecosystems.

  64. Hoser says:
    September 13, 2011 at 10:08 am
    This disucssion seems to have fallen back into the old assumption that temperature is the only factor affecting arctic ice.
    ____
    Temperature is only one component of the total energy content of the atmosphere and oceans. A large part of the energy reaching earth is converted to many other forms of energy besides sensible heat.

  65. I have seen much peer-reviewed work discussed here on WUWT showing how much of the Arctic warming is attributable to soot (aka black carbon), up to perhaps half of it. Given the vagaries in the temperature record such as GISS basically guesstimating the Arctic temps from a single station, soot could conceivably account for ALL of the warming.

    There is also the famous WUWT “zombie ice” post highlighting peer-reviewed work saying a “sea ice free summer” is nothing to worry about, it just means a longer period during which the Arctic Ocean will dump lots more heat to space until the insulating layer of ice is reformed. The negative feedback mechanism is revealed, more heat melting more ice simply means more heat gets removed from the oceans.

    Now for the interesting part. The soot is causing an artificial Arctic warming, one not related to the normal expected effects of sea and air temperatures. The extra warmth would be leading to increased ice loss. Less ice means more heat dumped to space. Therefore the soot is causing an extra loss of Total Ocean Heat Content.

    Is the net effect of the soot, in the Northern Hemisphere affecting the Arctic area, leading to global cooling, or just a reduction in the rate of global warming, which is primarily noticed in the temperature record in the NH? Could increasing soot from China and India (and others) be why global warming has essentially ceased, by the proposed mechanism (as opposed to “aerosol effect” solar shielding)?

  66. Richard111 says:
    September 13, 2011 at 9:50 am
    If, (big if), all arctic sea ice melted in summer, wouldn’t this result in more water vapour in the arctic regions resulting in more precipitation to build up the glaciers?

    ____
    Glacial growth requires very cold summer of little melt. Higher water vapor levels are normally associated with greater snowfall event, but ironically, the warmer temps of the summer associated with higher water vapor levels don’t allow that snowfall to stay around until the next winter.

  67. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:44 am
    “Given the vagaries in the temperature record such as GISS basically guesstimating the Arctic temps from a single station, soot could conceivably account for ALL of the warming.”
    ____
    Some yes, but not all. Higher water temperatures have been measured entering the Arctic from both the Pacific and Atlantic sides. Nothing to do with soot, but simply a higher ocean heat content that we’ve seen over the past 30+ years…

  68. Unless somebody knows with any certainty what the ice extent should be, I’m going to be content to accept that it should be what it is. In fact if it should be anything else than what it is then we need a new definition of “should”.

    History is sufficiently full of melting ice cap stories that you’d think we would all accept it as a given that the volume of ice at the poles is what it is because that is what all the contributing conditions produce. That nobody knows what all the contributing conditions are is another given.

    So what is the evidence to support what I’m suggesting? Look at the wide range of guestimates on the the extent maxima and minima will be from year to year. Look at the 1979 – 2008 average and notice it is rarely what any year as actually been.

    Queue the ukulele. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DEoOdcYKbc

  69. As I understand it, satellite observations of Arctic ice extent began in 1979. Prior to that time data is for the most part anecdotal. 32 years worth of data is insufficient to determine either what is average or normal beyond that time frame. Why is so much time spent discussing what amounts to a barely noticeable instant during the several billion years of Earth’s existence? As Sargent Schultz would say: “we know nothing”.

  70. Dirty snow and ice melt in the sunshine… no surprise there… just glad this has finally been scientifically proven (think the article on that airborne soot research was here on W.U.W.T. recently). China, India, and S.E. Asia’s truly sooty industrial rise + lower stratosphere + the Hadley cell cycle is why polar ice has decreased around the edges at 75-85 north latitude where it is brought down to be dumped and snowed out just to increase melting the next summer.

    Wonder when ol’ Al Gore will work on forcing these countries to clean up their act and get off the West’s back?

  71. R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Glacial growth requires very cold summer of little melt.

    Not true at all. The necessary and sufficient condition for glacial growth is that accretion be greater than loss. It is immaterial how that occurs, whether by increased accretion or decreased loss. Depending on the location and the local climatic conditions, glacial growth can be due to either one.

    w.

  72. Steve from Rockwood says:
    September 13, 2011 at 10:42 am

    4. Why can’t we say that 1979 was an “historic” maximum for sea ice and that we’re back to more “normal” levels – despite increasing CO2 levels?

    Mostly because the data don’t support an interpretation like that. From 1979 through the late 1990′s, the amount of ice held relatively close to steady (and 1979 was definitely not the maximum). So for two decades we have relatively stable data.

    This past decade, the data show a clear declining trend arctic ice. I supposed you could say that since ~ 2006 there has been no more decline, and that perhaps we are leveling out. But there is no indication that the trend is stopping or reversing.

    To say it your way, you would have to interpret 20 years of data as “historically unusual” and 5 years of data as “normal”. (Now it is certainly possible that this is the correct interpretation, but Occam’s razor would suggest the simpler conclusion that the majority of the data represents the natural situation and that the smaller set of data are the unusual points.)

  73. I have noticed that certain skeptics have not seemed interested to comment about the overall Global Sea Ice Extent, which, when considering the southern hemisphere’s current negative anomaly in sea ice extent is pushing the Global Sea Ice extent very close, if not at a record low extent for any date, any time of year.

  74. R Gates said
    1) There is no on-going Arctic Sea ice recovery

    Of ourse there is not, it will take time,probably the same amount of time it took for the ice pack to reach the state it is now..ie 30years, do really think it will reach record extent,area,volume etc in a couple of years. you warmist really crack me up,”no recovery because the ice pack has not jumped back to a record level”lol lol lolyou read the same thing on so many climate blogs it makes me smile

  75. The trends in the sea ice extent indicate that there will still be 1.0M km2 of sea ice remaining even in the year 2100.

    Not enough attention has been paid to how much ice starts out the year during the March Maximum and then how much Melts throughout the season (which is not changing by very much).

    Using the average day of the Maximum sea ice on Day 67 (March 8th) and the Minimum sea ice on the average Day 255 (September 12th) – we find these trends …

    - The Max has been declining by 32,261 km2 per year (or 0.2% from the average 14.77M km2).
    - The Melt throughout the season has been increasing at 14,147 km2 per year (or 0.2% from the average 8.71M km2); and
    - the Minimum has been declining by 46,408 km2 per year (or 0.8% from the average 6.06M km2).

    Extending these (linear) trends out to the year 2100, results in about 1.0M km2 of ice still remaining in September, 2100.

    Maybe the trends are not linear (some have noted that the Minimum might be a polynomial) but the Max and the Melt certainly appear to be just a simple linear trend (and the residual of two linear trends is also linear).

  76. Willis Eschenbach says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:58 am
    R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Glacial growth requires very cold summer of little melt.

    Not true at all. The necessary and sufficient condition for glacial growth is that accretion be greater than loss. It is immaterial how that occurs, whether by increased accretion or decreased loss. Depending on the location and the local climatic conditions, glacial growth can be due to either one.

    w.

    _____
    The ice core records would disagree with you Willis. The periods of greatest glacial growth were during cold periods on earth, that had lower humidity and colder summers. See:

  77. Brian says:
    September 13, 2011 at 7:05 am
    “It’s so close that it really doesn’t matter if it does or doesn’t set a new low.”

    I love your brand of dissembling! Try this:
    ‘It’s so close to a lie that it really doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t a new lie.’

    The U of Bremen pushed this largely unsupported assertion out into the media to take advantage of the “primacy effect”. When learning things or hearing a list of items, people are more likely to remember the first item mentioned. Thus, even a falsehood can become secured as ‘fact’ in human memory, if the assertion is made boldly before any less memorable dissent or refutation can be brought forth. After that, ‘it really doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t the truth’, does it? At least, as experienced in The Life Of Brian….

  78. R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm
    I have noticed that certain skeptics have not seemed interested to comment about the overall Global Sea Ice Extent, which, when considering the southern hemisphere’s current negative anomaly in sea ice extent is pushing the Global Sea Ice extent very close, if not at a record low extent for any date, any time of year.

    yes and when the southern ice extent reached record levels a couple of years ago, the shrill
    of warmists doom mogering was ever so conspicuous by its absence wasn’t it old chap

  79. Here we go again-we have the same panic every year-good job there are cool heads like Anthony.

    Claims of unprecedented warmth and abnormal melting of melting arctic ice are unfounded if we look at history;

    1 The following link describes the ancient cultures of the warmer arctic 5000 to 1000 years ago

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Lithoderm/Inuit_culture

    2 This relates to an Arctic culture thriving in warmer times 2000 years ago
    From the Eskimo Times Monday, Mar. 17, 1941

    “The corner of Alaska nearest Siberia was probably man’s first threshold to the Western Hemisphere. So for years archeologists have dug there for a clue to America’s prehistoric past. Until last year, all the finds were obviously Eskimo. Then Anthropologists Froelich G. Rainey of the University of Alaska and two collaborators struck the remains of a town, of inciedible size and mysterious culture. Last week in Natural History Professor Rainey, still somewhat amazed, described this lost Arctic city.

    It lies at Ipiutak on Point Hope, a bleak sandspit in the Arctic Ocean, where no trees and little grass survive endless gales at 30° below zero. But where houses lay more than 2,000 years ago, underlying refuse makes grass and moss grow greener. The scientists could easily discern traces of long avenues and hundreds of dwelling sites. A mile long, a quarter-mile wide, this ruined city was perhaps as big as any in Alaska today (biggest: Juneau, pop. 5,700).
    On the Arctic coast today an Eskimo village of even 250 folk can catch scarcely enough seals, whales, caribou to live on. What these ancient Alaskans ate is all the more puzzling because they seem to have lacked such Arctic weapons as the Eskimo harpoon.
    Yet they had enough leisure to make many purely artistic objects, some of no recognizable use. Their carvings are vaguely akin to Eskimo work but so sophisticated and elaborate as to indicate a relation with some centre of advanced culture — perhaps Japan or southern Siberia —certainly older than the Aztec or Mayan”.

    3 This link leads to the Academy of science report of the same year regarding the Ipiutak culture described above

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1078291

    4 This interesting book refers to the Vikings living in a warmer arctic culture 1000 years ago
    It is called ‘The Viking world’. It is a very scholarly and highly referenced book running to some 700 pages and deals with all aspects of the Vikings. It is good because it does not have an axe to grind, but deals matter of factly with all aspects of Viking culture and exploration.

    There is a large section on their initial exploration of Greenland, the subsequent establishment of their farms there, everyday life, how they gradually lost access to the outside world as the sea lanes closed through ice, a record of the last wedding held In Greenland and how trade dried up. It also deals with Vinland/Newfoundland and it seems that it was wild grapes that helped give the area its name, it being somewhat warmer than today.

    This is one of a number of similar books that record our warmer and cooler past throughout the Northern Hermisphere. Al Gore wrote a good book in 1992 called ‘Earth in the Balance’ in which he explored the changing climate that devastated the civilisations in the Southern Hemishpere.

    The book ‘The Viking World’ is Edited by Stefan Brink with Neil Price Published by Routledge ISBN 978 0 415 33315-3
    I suggest you borrow it from the local library as it costs $250!

    5 I wrote about the The Great Arctic warming in the 19th Century a couple of years ago-it examines the period 1815-60 when the Arctic ice melted and the Royal Society mounted an expedition to investigate the causes.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/#more-8688

    6) This refers to a warmer arctic 75 years ago recorded on Pathe newsreel by Bob Bartlett on the Morrisey during his journeys there in the 1920’s and 1930’s and reported in all the media.

    http://boothbayharborshipyard.blogspot.com/2008/08/arctic-explorer-on-ways.html

    “Diary- Wednesday, 10th August 1932
    The ship rolled heavily all night and continues to do so….
    The glacier continues its disturbances. No real bergs break off but great sheets of ice slide down into the water and cause heavy seas. About noon, the entire face of the glacier, almost a mile in length and six or eight feet deep slid off with a roar and a rumble that must have been heard at some distance. We were on deck at the time for a preliminary report like a pistol shot had warned us what was coming. The Morrissey rolled until her boats at the davits almost scooped up the water and everything on board that was not firmly anchored in place crashed loose. But this was nothing to the pandemonium on shore. I watched it all through the glasses. The water receded leaving yards of beach bare and then returned with a terrific rush, bringing great chunks of ice with it. Up the beach it raced further and further, with the Eskimos fleeing before it. It covered all the carefully cherished piles of walrus meat, flowed across two of the tents with their contents, put out the fire over which the noonday meal for the sled drivers was being prepared, and stopped a matter of inches before it reached the pile of cement waiting to be taken up the mountain. Fortunately, in spite of heavy sea, which was running, the Captain had managed to be set shore this morning so he was there with them to help straighten out things and calm them down.”

    7) This period was also recorded in a more scientific fashion in this free online book on the Arctic warming 1919-1939 written by my colleague Dr Arnd Bernaerts who examined the last great warming -prior to the modern one- in great detail.

    http://www.arctic-heats-up.com/chapter_1.html

    The arctic has periodically warmed to greater amounts than today. A reduction in ice extent in that brief moment in time since 1979 is of no consequence if you look at the historical record of this region.

    tonyb

  80. Willis Eschenbach says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:58 am
    R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Glacial growth requires very cold summer of little melt.

    Not true at all. The necessary and sufficient condition for glacial growth is that accretion be greater than loss. It is immaterial how that occurs, whether by increased accretion or decreased loss. Depending on the location and the local climatic conditions, glacial growth can be due to either one.

    w.

    Exactly see here

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&sqi=2&ved=0CCMQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailymail.co.uk%2Fsciencetech%2Farticle-1350994%2FGreenland-glaciers-flow-slower-hot-summers-adapting-climate-change.html&ei=iqpvTtHPD4KZhQeH7sDVCQ&usg=AFQjCNEHYVGpaiFntc5by84HFurevX_bOw

    and here

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=6&sqi=2&ved=0CDwQFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sciencedaily.com%2Freleases%2F2011%2F07%2F110714141333.htm&ei=iqpvTtHPD4KZhQeH7sDVCQ&usg=AFQjCNH7rA38RkbESXPMZyOe3aHsCfdufQ

    and here

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=7&sqi=2&ved=0CEIQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Finspiringnews.wordpress.com%2F2011%2F04%2F02%2Fglaciers-growing-on-mount-shasta%2F&ei=iqpvTtHPD4KZhQeH7sDVCQ&usg=AFQjCNFoyCBvsFa2q42LblE2hmgyoUQecA

    and all in warming world,who’d ever of thunk it!!!

  81. Werner Brozek says:
    September 13, 2011 at 9:00 am
    According to Lubos:

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/09/rss-amsu-jan-aug-2011-second-coldest-in.html

    “According to RSS AMSU, the first 8 months were the 2nd coldest January-August period in this century so far (second among 11 candidate years).”

    Then how can the lowest or second lowest ice extent this year be blamed on global warming? As others have pointed out, there are other things that are more important than global warming here.

    Apart from Lubos not being the most reliable source, RSS doesn’t measure in the Arctic north of 82.5º, it also isn’t a surface measure.

  82. Mycroft says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm
    R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm
    I have noticed that certain skeptics have not seemed interested to comment about the overall Global Sea Ice Extent, which, when considering the southern hemisphere’s current negative anomaly in sea ice extent is pushing the Global Sea Ice extent very close, if not at a record low extent for any date, any time of year.

    yes and when the southern ice extent reached record levels a couple of years ago, the shrill
    of warmists doom mogering was ever so conspicuous by its absence wasn’t it old chap…
    ___
    Don’t know about other so-called “warmists” but as most here on WUWT painfully know, I never tire of talking about sea ice or glaciers, no matter what hemisphere they are part of…

  83. Strange sort of Death Spiral, I thought spirals would go lower not stop at the same low as before. Maybe on a Flat Earth spirals are flat as well.

    Looks like we are at a turning point in a long natural cylce and within the next decade we’d all be wishing that global warming was true and not just a wealth re-distribution scam brouhgt to us by the loony fringes.

  84. Arguing over what modifier/intensifier ought to be in front of “bad year for Arctic sea ice” is really pretty pointless. It was a bad year.

  85. This whole thing highlights the importance of proper perspective. Many skeptics (e.g. Lindzen) agree that global warming continues (as it has since the end of the little ice age) but that it isn’t accelerating and will not be a catastrophe. The Arctic sea ice is a perfect example of data that supports this point of view. The year-over-year fall in extent is linear. The dang thing is alarmingly unalarming.

    People who scream about tipping points are slowly being proved wrong. People who scream that the warming has halted are slowly being proved wrong.

    Expect slow, harmless, boring warming to continue for the rest of our lives. If we insist on staking out the position that the warming has ended, the warmists will win the public debate. If we stake out the position that the warming isn’t accelerating, we win.

  86. “R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:49 am
    Some yes, but not all. Higher water temperatures have been measured entering the Arctic from both the Pacific and Atlantic sides. Nothing to do with soot, but simply a higher ocean heat content that we’ve seen over the past 30+ years…”
    So maybe we are not seeing an increased Arctic summer ice melt from 2007 onwards because global ocean heat content stabilised around the same time http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/
    But no doubt R Gates is putting his money on a resumption of increased ocean heat content in the near future.

  87. R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm
    Willis Eschenbach says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:58 am
    R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Glacial growth requires very cold summer of little melt.

    Not true at all. The necessary and sufficient condition for glacial growth is that accretion be greater than loss. It is immaterial how that occurs, whether by increased accretion or decreased loss. Depending on the location and the local climatic conditions, glacial growth can be due to either one.

    w.

    _____
    The ice core records would disagree with you Willis. The periods of greatest glacial growth were during cold periods on earth, that had lower humidity and colder summers. See:

    http://rabbithole2.com/presentation/images2/ice_core/alley2000.gif

    Uh, R. Gates –

    You said “Glacial growth requires very cold summer of little melt.”

    Please show where the ice core records never show any glacial growth during a year when the summers were not “very cold” and there was not “little melt”.

  88. Summer ice – What’s it good for? It can neither be eaten nor drunk. Ice must first melt to be biologically useful. GK

    “Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering ice sheet; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”

    Captain Ahab

  89. Record low Arctic ice levels = Global Warming

    Record high Antarctic ice levels = Global Warming.

    Thus, the scam is sold, the gravy train rolls again and all is well in Goreland.

  90. Mod – please correct my above to read:

    “…when the summers were not “very cold” and there was not “little melt”.

    Thanks.

    [REPLY: Fixed. REP, mod]

  91. “R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm
    I have noticed that certain skeptics have not seemed interested to comment about the overall Global Sea Ice Extent, which, when considering the southern hemisphere’s current negative anomaly in sea ice extent is pushing the Global Sea Ice extent very close, if not at a record low extent for any date, any time of year.”
    So R Gates is into judging the effect of CO2 in within a timespan of a couple of years when even “soul mates” such as Santer is now stating with great certainty that 17 years are needed to establish the effect of man made CO2 (or not). It is just silly to pick on such short time scales.
    So I could say that the CO2 theory is definitely “sunk” because 1998 was the hottest year to date and we have had 13 years with lower temperatures than 1998 and (there is more) the ocean heat content has stabilised since 2003 http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/ and (not finished) global sea levels also stabilised around 2003. We have reached a tipping point and we are moving towards colder times. I could say that using the R Gates arguments. I would say that we are at a point where nobody can predict with any certainty what is going to happen over the next 10-20 years. We are approaching interesting times and the next 5 to 10 years could sink or confirm the AGW theory. If Trenberth finds his hidden heat and finds the release valve R Gates may feel vindicated. Problem is that the heat is neither in the atmosphere nor in the ocean if the NOAA measurements are to be believed.

  92. Since the Arctic was as “warm” in 40ties as today, current ice anomaly vs 79-00 is hardly exceptional. Remember that in 1942-44, NW Passage was open as well. Satellite data are available just for the rising tail at the end of the record. Like someone inventing thermometer at 8AM and claiming highest daily temperature measured evah at 2PM.

    Even more important things from the record above: winter temperatures should be the first rising under increased “greenhouse effect”. However, they are exactly the same as in 40ties, effectively debunking the whole AGW theory. The whole record shows no correlation with CO2.
    Now, see the Arctic playstation models:

    They do not model the reality at all even backwards. They are tuned to fit the warm phase of PDO/AMO since 1975 and do not fit the reality neither before nor after.

    So either the whole radiative forcing pseudophysics is all wrong, or CO2 does not matter. Models are all trash based on unphysical and hypothetical painted arrows in K-T cartoons.

  93. R. Gates, could you please propose some mechanism by which steadily increasing CO2 levels (and by steadily I mean nearly linear, and not chaotic like the climate) are causing all of “Wind, waves, water vapor levels,” and “ocean currents” to alter in such a way as to cause the arctic ice to head on a downward death spiral, all-the-while, Antarctic sea ice refuses to budge from “normal”. After all, it is “Global” warming is it not?

    Heck, forget the Antarctic ice, and just propose a mechanism by which CO2 is altering wind, waves, water vapour levels and ocean currents.

    Who knew that a trace gas can actually push ocean currents around, cause wind, and waves, etc…

  94. Directly, the livehood of small animals, algae, fishes and mammals like polar bears and seals is more and more reduced.

    livehood?

    Can these alarmists not run a spell checker over their press release before releasing it?

  95. Well, my WAG was 5.1-5.3m sq km for this year, but hey, what’s a million between friends? ;-)

    These last two Northern winters have been pretty severe, with a Snowball America in 2009-10 and Snowball Europe last winter, extreme cold that would normally stay up in the Arctic making ice.

    Looking at the way that it melted, it strikes me that maybe the Gulf Stream shifted Westwards and instead of warming our coastline (Ireland had one of its coldest summers this summer), it passed unimpeded between Iceland and Norway straight into the Arctic, melting the ice away from the Russian coastline and exposing more edges.

    Looking at the Sea Ice page and the Oceanic Oscillation Page (did I mention what a wonderful resource those pages are?), the sea ice extent went down pretty much in lock step with the rising North Atlantic temps, but that dog looks like it only has a couple of more years left in it.

  96. jason says:
    September 13, 2011 at 6:05 am (Edit)

    Wait for it, R Gates will be along to represent the “lukewarmers” any minute now….

    Me? Since the “record” is since 1979 I think this whole focus is insane.
    #########
    I’m not sure where R Gates will come down on this. But as far as Lukewarmers go I will say that this represents our position.

    In a warming world, whatever causes that warming, we would expect and predict a decline in arctic ice. The shape of that decline will be irregular. it will be irregular for various reasons.
    1. global warming itself is not monotonic
    2. Ice melts for many reasons, not the least of which is the exact weather that occurs during the
    season.
    3. That decline may lag the actual temperature increases.
    4. we will see ups and downs about the trendline.

    But the trendline will be downward in a warming world. REGARDLESS of the cause of the warming. If the sun doubled its power, we’d expect the ice to melt.

    The observed decline of ice since the advent of accurate measurements (1979) is entirely
    inline with the theory. A warmer world will tend to have less arctic ice than a cooler world. there is
    nothing surprising about this whatsoever.

    The past: the “historic” value of today’s ice is a debate that doesnt make much sense in the context of the theory. It may very well be that there was less ice in the 40s or less ice 1000 years ago or 10K years ago. That fact has no bearing on the theory that a warmer world will have
    generally speaking… less ice than a cooler world. It also says nothing about the physics that
    explains, IN PART, why we are warming. We are warming, in part, because of changes to the
    atmosphere. This explanation does not rule out other causes and the existence of other causes does not change radiative physics.

    The future: If we continue in a warming regime, ice will diminish. It will not diminish in a straight line. it will not diminish monotonically. There will be up years ( thank you weather) and dramatic
    plummets (thank you weather). during the up years some people will focus on the uptick. They will claim recovery. During the plummets, other will cry death spiral. Go figure. In any case, as the world continues to warm and warmer warmers cycle northward, summer ice will decline. When will summer ice reach zero? More specifically, when will the sept extent slip below 1M sq km?
    Good question. Lukewarmers think this is an iconic question. It’s largely a distraction to focus on iconic issues. 5 years? 10? 30? 70? It’s not really a big issue for us. Its an issue that warmista and contras argue about.

  97. @Frederick Michael, you ar correct. The only scary thing is if the warming stops and it starts to get colder, now thats scary. The climate is always changeing and has never been static !!!

  98. Tim Folkerts says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Tim, your argument seems logical. From 1979 until the 1990s the summer ice extent minimum was fairly stable. Then it progressively dropped and stabilized at a new “low” in 2006. From this I conclude that:
    a) 20 years is not a long enough time period to establish a background value for Arctic sea ice extent and it is likely meaningless over a “climate” period of time – say 100 years or longer, and
    b) invoking Occams razor, the fact that Arctic sea ice was stable until the 1990s and once again stabilized in 2006 to present, the relative low sea ice during 2007 has nothing to do with CO2 concentrations which have been linearly increasing every year since the 1950s so that CO2 is not warming the Arctic, and finally
    c) scientists cannot seem to think in time periods that are longer than their career (with the exception of geologists and geochronologists), so that everything has to be explained within a 30 year time line.

  99. Mosh said

    “The past: the “historic” value of today’s ice is a debate that doesnt make much sense in the context of the theory.”

    In theory you are right-the debate should be all about the changes (allegedly) wrought by man since around the 1970′s.

    The fact that so many people continually reach into history-for example Dr Mann-suggests that the proponents of AGW are unsure of their ground and need to belittle past episodes of substantial climatic variation in order to be able to claim that todays conditions are unusual.
    tonyb

  100. Steven Mosher says:
    September 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Lukewarmers think this is an iconic question. It’s largely a distraction to focus on iconic issues. 5 years? 10? 30? 70? It’s not really a big issue for us. Its an issue that warmista and contras argue about.
    ==========================================================
    Well, I don’t consider myself a “lukewarmer”, but I do agree. Its not a big issue. and is largely a distraction. I’m actually anticipating a day when we can say: “See! I told ya so! The poley bears are still thriving, the world didn’t spontaneously combust, the melted ice created a vehicle to cool the oceans, and MYI is once again forming because the equilibrium is swinging the other way.”

    That said, I’m not sure we’re going to get there. Warming has abated for a decade. I think the MYI will continue to increase. I’m not sure we’re not beginning to see the pendulum already start swinging the other way. We’re this (| | fingers that far apart) close to being able to empirically disprove many postulates that accompany the CAGW lunacy!

  101. Keith says:
    September 12, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Looking at all the chartsengrafs today, I’m calling the minimum. Anyone want to join me?

    It would seem so then ;-)

    So Arctic ice was pretty stable in extent until about 1995, then began a more pronounced downward trend that pretty much continues but may be levelling off in recent years.

    Could somebody please remind me when the AMO went positive? 1995 seems to be ringing bells, with the start of a pronounced upward trend that pretty much continues but may be levelling off (though still positive) in recent years.

  102. DEATH SPIRAL.
    That was the the description the warmists gave in 2007. That was the nonsense we were fed and which poor Prince Charles ill advisedly regurgitated at the time, predicting an ice free arctic next summer.
    This is the nonsense still being spouted by R.Gates in this very thread.
    There is no spiral and there is no death. Period.
    Get over it. The projection was totally wrong, and Chuck needs to chose his friends much more carefully if he wishes to be king in the future.

  103. Suyts says:
    I’m not sure we’re not beginning to see the pendulum already start swinging the other way.

    Garethman says:
    I’m still trying to make sense of that one. Is it like my grandmother used to say, “I see no reason why young ladies should not wear liberty bodices if they do not feel the cold as I do.” ?
    Archaic English is a bigger challenge than predicting ice levels.

  104. Steven Mosher says:
    September 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    “When will summer ice reach zero? More specifically, when will the sept extent slip below 1M sq km?”

    Looking at all the graphs and the general rate of melting, there doesn’t appear to be enough time to get to 1M sq km let alone ice free. The ice would have to melt precipitously and continue on down through the months when the melting slows. Quite a few of the graphs have a base line of 2 m sq k, which gives the impression that ‘ice free’ is closer than it is.
    Separately, the arctic is said to be an important driver of global weather, or words to that effect. And yet minimum ice in the arctic happens when lower latitudes are already dropping in temperature. Conversely, maximum ice is reached when lower latitudes are moving towards warmer temps. I would say that the arctic is a follower rather than a leader and especially considering it’s completely surrounded by somewhere else that is warmer. Max and minimum ice is always about 3 months behind the longest and shortest days respectively.

  105. @Richard says:
    September 13, 2011 at 8:39 am
    Even if (a big if) this seasons extent minimum barely avoids breaking `07s minimum, it`s still been a disastrous melt season for the Arctic. And if there was any old ice left at the beginning of the melt, it`s surely gone by now,,,or very close to being gone. I dread what next summer will do to the ice cap.

    Wasn’t everybody dreading what next summer was going to do with the ice back in 2007? This season proves nothing if it doesn’t prove there is no more decline going on? What we have, based on the current data, is whatever decline there was has now stopped for four years running.

  106. Steven Mosher says:
    September 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Steve, I would concur – in a generic sense. However, I would also add that one should remember that the arctic is only a ‘region’, and, like any other region will experience climatic variation for any number of direct and indirect reasons. No amount of bulldust will excuse the fact that 30 years of actual measurement data (accurate or otherwise) will displace the fact that a real climate based TREND of any value cannot be established in a meagre 30 years, we would need many decades, perhaps centuries, to distinguish a real signal from the climatic variablility noise.
    Indeed, IMO, the skeptical view is to largely consider that the downward trend is by no means enough! – if, as claimed, CAGW is such a major issue, – because, logically, if the so called CAGW effects are so bad and so drastic (e.g. as per various past ‘predictions’) – our ice free arctic summers would already be here! Based on the simple fact that they are not, the predictions and likely the basic theory are plainly in error! It matters not why they are in error, but they clearly are – so the modelers and all the climate boys need to reassess. The AGW theory is weakened as each passing year of data shows flat line or no significant trend – CO2 emissions are still rising – where is the direct link to the temp data? – it simply isn’t there!
    It is so funny to observe the warmists discounting climate variability in some aspects when it suits their argument and then claiming the same climate variability is actually present at other times! (vis-a-vis, the last warming period til the late 90′s was NOT climate variability, but the subsequent flatline/cooling IS down to climate variability!)
    No one can get away from the fact that we still do not have enough robust data, robust observation and certainly, no robust UNDERSTANDING of a the ‘chaotic’ climate system and all the interacting earths processes – but yet the constant pushing of AGW continues……..
    I am at the stage where I will not really read or ‘listen’ to anymore BS on AGW without clear indication of error bars and uncertainties by the protagonists – it’s pointless……..realistically, when their models are of the equivalent efficiency of being able to predict even half of the lottery numbers – then I will take notice! Until then – chaos rules! LOL

  107. why are people so concerned by this one measure…what about all the others out there that no one ever reports…Antarctic ice, Himalayan ice, UK rainfall, UK temps….this ice-watching stuff is just infantile

  108. Martin van Etten says:
    September 13, 2011 at 5:32 am
    >…while changing the linearity of the downward trend of minimal sea ice extent into an exponential curve to a sea ice free summer within a few years; that is the real worrying thing;

    +++++

    Worrying? What on earth for? The Arctic has been ice free in summer many times and it was far more habitable when it was. Did you read the article about the DNA of an Inuit man whose remains were found on the northern tip of Greenland? He died about 1000 years ago and that (now completely frozen) area was ice free at that time in summer.

    There is simply no reason to think that the melting of floating sea ice is a bad thing. None. It amazes me that so much effort it put into generating faux horror about the stupid, completely stupid story about ‘drowning polar bears’.

    The Canadian CBC slavishly reported today the ‘record melting’ of Arctic sea ice and its ‘new record’ and reiterated their worries about an ice-free summer Arctic, as if it was a bad thing. Only the desperate have to lie.

    Happy Gorefest.

  109. From the July survey page

    Dermot O’Logical says:
    June 27, 2011 at 1:55 am
    Why no ‘precise’ options for below 4.5? I want to vote 4.3.

    Well, I’m gratified.

    My methodology was…. hold up…. peer review isn’t really in fashion anymore is it? Just take my word for it from now on.

  110. Another Chicken Little moment just passed us by….

    Just waiting for another idiot to bring us another one, he’ll be along any moment…

  111. @Richard says:
    September 13, 2011 at 8:39 am
    “Even if (a big if) this seasons extent minimum barely avoids breaking `07s minimum, it`s still been a disastrous melt season for the Arctic. And if there was any old ice left at the beginning of the melt, it`s surely gone by now,”

    What is the oldest ice in the arctic? What should it be? Apart form there being significantly less ice than in recent history what is there that indicates it is disastrous? In every year the difference between max and min ice is greater than minimum, and that includes the ones with more summer ice. Currently the min ice extent still covers a vast area that is about twice the area of Greenland.

  112. The poles are another part of the earths thermostat system, ice melt is a lag from previous heat input into the oceans. The heat from the last three rampant sun cycles pumped into the oceans is being dissipated rather quickly at the moment. Heat loss from the melting of ice is only a part of the system.

    Ice acts as a blanket to keep the heat in, when it is lost the heat loss from the polar waters to space is huge. The lag time of heat in to heat out is a figure I do not know but appears to be less than a decade as the oceans are cooling with the quite sun cycle.

    If the sun does not awaken soon a new setting on our thermostat will see a recovery of polar ice to keep the heat in.

  113. “Where is Vinland”

    “The summer climate in the North Atlantic about the year 1000″

    “Roots of plants and deep Viking graves found in South Greenland in soil that is now tjaele (permafrost or permanently frozen ground) indicate that the annual mean temperature must have been 2-4°C warmer than now.”

    “A cautious guess would be that the summer temperature would have been about 16°C on the average (almost as in Denmark) but with the significant difference that the summer there was shorter and that the spring was cold. The winter was probably a couple of degrees warmer than now.”

    Read it all, there is lots there:-

    http://www.canadianmysteries.ca/sites/vinland/othermysteries/climate/4157en.html

  114. For extent, only the University of Bremen (shown below) shows this year to be lower, and has no turn. It uses the sameSSMI sensor as NANSEN and NSIDC, it uses the same AMSRE sensor as JAXA, which doesn’t show a record low, so the difference must be in processing of the data:

    Bremen uses a higher resolution, 6.25×6.25 rather than the 12.5×12.5 that JAXA uses.

  115. Record. Record for the past 30 years. Wow!

    During a warming cycle, until it turns around and becomes a cooling /freezing trend, would one not expect a record level in many, if not most , of the years during that cycle?

    Notably, since the referenced cycle does not include the cooling/freezing cycle which preceded.

  116. I always find the seriousness of the arguments that arise in any of these Arctic sea ice threads fairly amusing. For those of you who may find that statement insulting I suggest a small research project. Go to what ever search engine is your favorite, of perhaps several. Enter search inquiries for the area of several well known landmasses, Australia, Antarctica, the lower 48 or any others that you prefer. Check enough of the resulting links to get three estimates that are independently derived. After you have done this for 3-4 separate landmasses, review what you have discovered and ask yourself this question. If I can’t find uncontroversial estimates for the areas of something as invariate as these locations, why should I have any faith in estimates of something as amorphous as sea ice which are quoted with much higher precision?

  117. rednose says:
    September 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm
    @Paul_ 6.00am
    Amundsen’s voyage through the NW Passage in 1905 in a wooden sail boat.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice-tony-b/

    Well in fact it took 3 years, June 1903 to August 1906! Also it was built to withstand ice and relied on a motor rather than sail.

    The Candian patrol vessel St Roch made the passage in 1942 and 1944

    http://hnsa.org/ships/stroch.htm

    The first journey by the St Roch took 28 months, from 1940-42.

  118. Kev-in-Uk says:
    September 13, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I suppose, if you want to really really believe that AGW is the cause, thats a matter of personal opinion – but the only ‘dread’ I have is the one where all the warmists become like lemmings and throw themselves off cliffs as they cannot stand the guilt from their irresponsible earth damaging lives! (do I or should I really need to put /sarc here? :- )

    I hope this does not occur, if only for the innocents walking on the beach below.

  119. I read this on another site.
    “I’ll predict that any numbers greater than the 2007 extent or area will be certain to be called a recovery at WUWT and if the numbers are worse they will be put down to a “natural cycle”.
    Someone’s got you guy’s number.
    Summer ice volume has declined from 16.8 cubic kilometers in 1979 to 4.3 cubic kilometers today – a new record – it bet last year’s record.

  120. Kev-in-Uk says:
    September 13, 2011 at 9:14 am
    —————————————————
    I am not a believer in AGW. But the ice cap plays a big roll in stabilizing the climate for agriculture in North America. Too much disruption of the ice cap will play havoc with farming and food production. We import everything else we need,,,perhaps we can import all or most of our food, also?

  121. Gareth Phillips says:
    September 13, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Suyts says:
    I’m not sure we’re not beginning to see the pendulum already start swinging the other way.

    Garethman says:
    I’m still trying to make sense of that one. Is it like my grandmother used to say, “I see no reason why young ladies should not wear liberty bodices if they do not feel the cold as I do.” ?
    Archaic English is a bigger challenge than predicting ice levels.
    =============================================================
    Sorry….double negatives……. let me rephrase…….. We could be witnessing the pendulum swing the other way, but I’m not sure.

  122. R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Uh, I think that was what I said. Implicitly. And your contribution to the discussion is….

  123. Richard says:
    September 13, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    “I am not a believer in AGW. But the ice cap plays a big roll in stabilizing the climate for agriculture in North America. Too much disruption of the ice cap will play havoc with farming and food production. ……….”
    ================================================
    Richard, I’d really love to see the evidence of such an assertion. From the comment directly above yours…… “Summer ice volume has declined from 16.8 cubic kilometers in 1979 to 4.3 cubic kilometers today…………(and then more blathering about a new record) ”

    Crop production, especially in North America has significantly increased during that time period. Richard, save your dread for something real and something significant. Worrying about an ice cube in the ocean is as about as useful as worrying about 1/2 degree rise in temps over an arbitrary period of time.

  124. Mycroft says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm
    R Gates said
    1) There is no on-going Arctic Sea ice recovery

    Of ourse there is not, it will take time,probably the same amount of time it took for the ice pack to reach the state it is now..ie 30years, do really think it will reach record extent,area,volume etc in a couple of years. you warmist really crack me up,”no recovery because the ice pack has not jumped back to a record level”lol lol lolyou read the same thing on so many climate blogs it makes me smile.
    _____
    I know, skeptics keep holding on to “there’s a recovery right around the corner” notion, but the paleoclimate record wouldn’t support it. The last time we had this much CO2 in the atmosphere, (i.e. the mid-Pliocene) we had ice-free Arctic ocean summers. Don’t see how this downward trend can be reversed.

  125. Dave Wendt says:
    September 13, 2011 at 3:52 pm
    I always find the seriousness of the arguments that arise in any of these Arctic sea ice threads fairly amusing. For those of you who may find that statement insulting I suggest a small research project. Go to what ever search engine is your favorite, of perhaps several. Enter search inquiries for the area of several well known landmasses, Australia, Antarctica, the lower 48 or any others that you prefer. Check enough of the resulting links to get three estimates that are independently derived. After you have done this for 3-4 separate landmasses, review what you have discovered and ask yourself this question. If I can’t find uncontroversial estimates for the areas of something as invariate as these locations, why should I have any faith in estimates of something as amorphous as sea ice which are quoted with much higher precision?
    ____
    It’s not the exact precision that matters but the trend. Errors would be consistent across measurements, but that would not affect the trend. Simple visual observation of satellite pictures from one year to the next and ground reports from those who’ve actually lived along the shores of the Arctic confirm the trends. Exact numbers to the nearest 1000 sq. km. are not important.

  126. Latitude says:
    September 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Dave Wendt says:
    September 13, 2011 at 3:52 pm
    ================================
    LOL…good one…and true
    ———————————————————————-

    Seconded, but then Dave, your statement leads us to some other questions that may actually have some bearing on the greater discussion.

    I was involved in mapping the area my company covers to quit a bit of detail. Our mapping kept getting off a bit from what we knew was real. We bought high quality GPS machines and I double and triple checked the plotting. It drove me nuts! I asked an expert about why this was happening. He asked what data set I was using. ………. :-| Huh? A GPS location is a GPS location! Nope. Holy crap! There are so many data sets one doesn’t know which one to choose. Well, we choose one and stuck with it. The maps are great and functional. Precise? To a point. I thought on this for a while. We share many satellites. How are the satellites calibrated to send information specific to the data set we chose? I really doubt they are programed with NAD27. I wonder how many others? In a county in Kansas, it doesn’t make that much difference, but some of our GPS locations put us on the wrong side of the road. But, we’re not talking about a county in Kansas when we’re talking ice caps. BTW, we ended up using NAD83.

    Satellites…… they aren’t quite as advertised.

  127. R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I have noticed that certain skeptics have not seemed interested to comment about the overall Global Sea Ice Extent, which, when considering the southern hemisphere’s current negative anomaly in sea ice extent is pushing the Global Sea Ice extent very close, if not at a record low extent for any date, any time of year.

    OK, I’ll comment. Contrary to your claim, global sea ice is not close to a record low extent for “any date, any time”, that’s just the usual exaggeration so beloved by AGW folks. If there were to be a record, it could only be just for the last 30 years, which is less than half my lifetime and is a mere sneeze in geological time …

    w.

  128. Not that it matters but it is interesting that a lot of snow in the Rocky Mountains and the Coast Mountains up towards Alaska didn’t melt this year and it is already snowing again. It may be that arctic ice is near a 30 year low but the snow in the mountains is looking the opposite. And that makes more difference to me. Frost warnings are out in our area of Alberta now, it could be mixed rain and snow this weekend in the foothills of the Rockies and we haven’t even reached the equinox yet.

  129. @R Gates,

    Please tell us how much time you’ve actually spent on the firn area of glaciers.

    On the Glacier du Géant on Mont Blanc on 19 August last year I was walking around in 50cm of new snow. This is not atypical.

    Did it all melt before winter? I don’t know; do you?

  130. R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Errors would be consistent across measurements

    Care to explain why?

    Or is this analogous to those “it’s too difficult to quantify this factor so we’ll mark it down as playing no role over the long term” assumptions that crop up from time to time in the orthodoxy?

    Agreed that the short-term trend is downwards, but this doesn’t tell us a great deal about long-term changes or whether a cycle is at work.

  131. How much warmer was it in Viking times? The seawater was “at least 4 degrees C warmer”

    “It is possible to estimate the summer temperature on the basis of the story in Landnámabók (985-1000) about Thorkel Farserk, who swam out to Hvalsey (in Hvalseyfiord) in order to fetch a sheep to make a feast for his cousin, Erik the Red. By way of comparison, Dr. Pugh from The Medical Research Laboratories in England has established on the basis of studies of Channel swimmers and the like, that 10°C would be the lowest temperature that a man who had not been in special training would be able to endure, even if he was fat. The average August temperature of the water in the fiords along this coast now rarely exceeds 6°C. The water in Thorkel’s time must therefore have been at least 4° warmer and probably more than that.”

    From: http://www.canadianmysteries.ca/sites/vinland/othermysteries/climate/4157en.html

    If the water was that much warmer, air temperatures at the coast would have been warmer as well. We’ve got a ways to go before it is as warm as it was then.

  132. I agree with those earlier commenters who stated that polar ice acts as an insulator, and keeps the ocean’s heat in. I haven’t yet found any scientific studies on this, with properly obtained data and sound data analysis.

    However, the warmists maintain that a shrinking ice cap is strong evidence that the Arctic area is warming, and that warming is due to the heat rays beamed down by CO2 in the atmosphere. In reality, ice acts as an insulator and prevents heat from being released from the ocean into the night sky via thermal radiation. Ice acts in a similar way on lakes, as it keeps the lake from freezing solid unless the lake is very shallow. The growing and retreating Arctic ice acts as a negative feedback on the ocean’s heat content. When the oceans are warm, the ice begins to melt at the edges. There is thus more open water that loses heat due to radiation. The ice extent is at a minimum usually around mid-September, which allows great amounts of heat loss in the long polar nights. The oceans then cool, which eventually cools the air, and allows more ice to form in future years. The ocean and ice system oscillates then between more ice and less ice, with the ocean’s temperature and heat content also oscillating but slightly out of phase.

  133. R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm
    The last time we had this much CO2 in the atmosphere, (i.e. the mid-Pliocene) we had ice-free Arctic ocean summers. Don’t see how this downward trend can be reversed.

    Shouldn’t that read: “The last time we had this much CO2 in the atmosphere, global temperatures were warmer than present for an extended period of time due to natural variation. In response to the warmer temperatures, the oceans outgassed more CO2. This downward trend will continue as long as temperatures increase and/or oceanic cycles ‘behave’ similarly to the way they did then.”

  134. Billy Liar says:
    September 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm
    @R Gates,

    Please tell us how much time you’ve actually spent on the firn area of glaciers.

    On the Glacier du Géant on Mont Blanc on 19 August last year I was walking around in 50cm of new snow. This is not atypical.

    Did it all melt before winter? I don’t know; do you?

    _____
    I’ve got no idea on yearly status of this very famous glacier. All my hikes on glaciers have been here in Colorado– primarily Rocky Mountain National Park. In high school a group of us even stupidly pitched our tents on a glacier in the park, and then in the middle of the night it started raining…very messy, slippery, and as there was a cliff down the hill from where we’d pitched the tent…a bit nerve racking for a few moments.

    In general of course glaciers of all varieties are declining worldwide. Best to see one now.

  135. R. Gates, in the mid-Pliocene N. America was not yet attached to S. America which probably had an effect on Arctic ice. Of course you would blame the CO2 instead, that’s what you always do.

  136. Josh Grella says:
    September 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm
    R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm
    The last time we had this much CO2 in the atmosphere, (i.e. the mid-Pliocene) we had ice-free Arctic ocean summers. Don’t see how this downward trend can be reversed.

    Shouldn’t that read: “The last time we had this much CO2 in the atmosphere, global temperatures were warmer than present for an extended period of time due to natural variation. In response to the warmer temperatures, the oceans outgassed more CO2. This downward trend will continue as long as temperatures increase and/or oceanic cycles ‘behave’ similarly to the way they did then.”

    _____
    Natural variation isn’t a factor in climate change. You must be thinking of weather. Definite and specific causes create the large differences between climate periods, not “natural variation.” Discovering what these specific causes are for climate differences is what climate science is all about. If it was all just natural variation (i.e. a random walk?) there’d be no reason to study the climate.

    As opposed to the CO2 levels of the Pliocene, our current levels above what the Milankovitch forcing and related feedbacks would cause, are caused by the specific activity of humans. As this human activity continues, we will need to look further and further back in time to what happens to the planet. Currently, the mid-Pliocene is probably about right for where we’re headed in the short-term (100-200 years, 560 ppm CO2, 3C warming?). Depending on what other feedbacks may kick in, we may then have to look to the Miocene for evidence.

    But of course, perhaps we’ll tackle the fusion energy genie, and then we can afford to geoengineer this planet into whatever we want, putting CO2 and other greenhouse gas levels exactly where they need to be to forestall the next glacial period, creating unlimited food supplies, keeping the oceans healthy, and life will be good.

  137. R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    “It’s not the exact precision that matters but the trend. Errors would be consistent across measurements, but that would not affect the trend. Simple visual observation of satellite pictures from one year to the next and ground reports from those who’ve actually lived along the shores of the Arctic confirm the trends.”

    If the sea ice data record were composed of long term measurements from single instruments riding on single satellites we might be justified in assuming the observed trends were as indicated, but as you are probably aware the reality is far removed from that case. Most of the info on the Sea Ice Reference page is not photos, it’s maps which are the product of extensive manipulation of the raw data.

    ” Exact numbers to the nearest 1000 sq. km. are not important.”

    From the bullet points on the IJIS SIE page

    “In principle, SIC data could have errors of 10% at most, particularly for the area of thin sea ice seen around the edge of sea-ice cover and melted sea ice seen in summer. Also, SIC along coastal lines could also have errors due to sub-pixel contamination of land cover in an instantaneous field of view of AMSR-E data.”

    It seems to me that assuming that they’re good for +/- 1000km2 is still a large leap of faith

  138. R. Gates: “putting CO2 and other greenhouse gas levels exactly where they need to be to forestall the next glacial period…”

    You really think the sun is that predictable? What about GCR? Are you keeping track of the solar system’s position in the Milky Way?

  139. R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Natural variation isn’t a factor in climate change. You must be thinking of weather.
    =================================================================

    Forget Arctic ice, we definitely have a new low in R. Gates’ pseudo-profound pronouncements.

  140. RE: Anything is possible
    September 13, 2011 at 9:19 am

    The low anomaly in October 2007 was a result of the abnormally late freeze-up that year. The years since then have also seen a similar but smaller drop in anomaly after the date of minimum area as the re-freeze proceeded slower than the typical 1979-2008 rate.

  141. >> criminogenicjamesc says:
    September 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm
    So seeing as much was made of the wind conditions in 2007 and no such conditions exist now, I take it WUWT will now admit Global warming is destroying the Arctic.<<

    Current warming is improving the Arctic. Hopefully it will continue to do so. An ice-free Arctic would be a boon to shipping, fishing, and oil exploration.

  142. If the University of Bremen is using “high resolution information from the JAXA AMSR-E sensor on the NASA Aqua satellite,” how can they compare the 2011 extent against an average 1972–2008? Doesn’t that bias the average toward more ice, since the Aqua satellite was launched only May 2002? Data from 1972 to at least 2001 (30 years) had insufficient resolution to detect small ice and open water features. Isn’t that a splicing together of nonuniform data sources, like Mike’s Nature trick?

  143. criminogenicjamesc says:
    September 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    “So seeing as much was made of the wind conditions in 2007 and no such conditions exist now, I take it WUWT will now admit Global warming is destroying the Arctic.”

    Sometimes I just shake my head in wonder.

  144. suyts says:
    September 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    “Satellites…… they aren’t quite as advertised.”

    Perhaps we could get Anthony to include that quote somewhere in his header or maybe prominently on the sidebar. Even among the mostly skeptical crowd around here there is a strong tendency to grant any data derived from satellites much more deference than is really justified. Admittedly in most situations the sat data does constitute the BAG(Best Available Guess) no matter what variable is being portrayed. But just because it’s the best we have doesn’t mean it’s the best that’s possible or even that, in the big picture, it’s really all that good. Most of what gets published as sat data is far removed from what the actual instrument on the actual satellite was measuring. If you go to the supporting documentation for these data sets you’ll usually discover that the chain of construction between what was measured and what eventually was published is quite extensive. The authors of this documentation always make rather extravagant claims for the accuracy of what they put out but, if you really examine their logic with a critical eye, their claims rely on the assumption that the multitude of uncertainties that arise at each step of the process tend to be mutually cancelling so that the final error is always much less than the sum of the included errors. This actually seems to be the prevailing view among number crunchers everywhere so it probably is defensible, but my experience of life suggests that errors are much likely to stack than to cancel (Murphy is always in the building)

  145. In general of course glaciers of all varieties are declining worldwide.

    False, Gates, and you lie. I can see Glaciers re-forming here in the Wallowa Mountains, the true thermometer of the world, from right outside my window.

    Gates, tell me please, do you really think the Teletubbies, and hence the Prophet, alGore, really do constitute a model for reasoned thinking?

  146. “Phil. says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm
    Apart from Lubos not being the most reliable source, RSS doesn’t measure in the Arctic north of 82.5º, it also isn’t a surface measure.”

    Thank you for your reply. I would like to comment on each point raised above.
    First: “Apart from Lubos not being the most reliable source,”
    Keep in mind that Lubos was quoting facts and was not interpreting facts. It is one thing to disagree with someone’s interpretation, but how can straight facts be not reliable? You may or may not agree with how RSS comes up with their numbers and that would be fair enough, but it seems as you are criticizing Lubos who is just quoting RSS. In that article I referenced by Lubos, he had 2011 as the 12th warmest. Interestingly enough, the HADCRUT3 data at the following has the average (to the end of July only though) also at 12th place in the sense that 11 other yearly 12 month averages were above the 0.342 which was the average to the end of July.

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/09/rss-amsu-jan-aug-2011-second-coldest-in.html

    So I had no reason to believe that Lubos was not in the ball park with his analysis.
    Second: “RSS doesn’t measure in the Arctic north of 82.5º,”
    True, and the area north of 82.5 degrees is 1/230 of the total area of Earth, so just because this small area is missing does not mean that you cannot draw the proper conclusions as to whether or not global warming is occurring or not. And the referenced article did talk of ‘global warming’ and not just warming in the northern Arctic.
    Third: “it also isn’t a surface measure.”
    True, but as I said above, HADCRUT3 had very similar results and HADCRUT3 IS a surface measure. So I do not see this as being a huge issue.

  147. Dave Wendt says:
    September 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm
    (Exactly correct!)
    ====================================
    Dave, I’m working on it. At some point, I’ll be able to point and say “Here! Here is where is wrong!” But, I’m not even close, yet. But, while I’m far away from that point, I’m getting closer to the point where I can say, “Here is where the satellites lied to us.”

    In the end, we all base everything on assumptions. The greatest assumption is, someone told us the truth.

    James “suyts” Sexton

  148. Anthony you absolutley WERE disingenuous about the CT Anomaly plot. Not just because you didn’t report that the ~3M sqkm anomaly happened in October but also because the 2007 anomaly was measured against 1997 – 2005 and the 2011 Anomaly will be measured against the 1997 – 2008. Which means that even IF 2011 only equalled the 2007 Anomaly, it would have significantly beaten it.

    Other misnomers on here.

    The Parry Channel of the NW passage was discovered by Dog Sled and has not been open water in modern human history before 2007.

    Amundsen navigated the shallow inshore NW passage from *1903 to 1906*. He had to overwinter twice during the attempt when his ship was caught in solid ice as he was jumping form lead to lead in *summer*

    Ice breakers (even the nuclear one’s) can only navigate through about 1-2M of solid ice. In the 1950′s and 1960′s icebreakers had to navigate leads or the shallow inland passages because of the thickness of the ice. Just read any book that talks about icebreakers from the 50′s or 60′s. They talk about icebreakers virtually smashing themselves to pieces when having to urgently force their way through the ice. Today they cruise all over the arctic with impugnity even if they are only 1m capable.

    This site reminds me of the guy who threw himself off the office block and could be seen talking to himself. When someone opened a window to hear what he was saying, he could be heard saying “So far So good”.

    This site will go down in history with the flat earthers. Very little in this life is more certain.

    Time to wake up and stop finding excuses to ntipick. It’s like sitting in a buiolding which is being demolished all around you and finding comfort in the fact that less flakes of paint fell off the walls today than yesterday.

    Not very clever.

  149. Hmmm uptick in arctic ice with the 24 hours of Climate Reality about to start. I got it, its the Gore Effect due to the Gore-a-thon.

  150. philincalifornia says:
    September 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm
    R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Natural variation isn’t a factor in climate change. You must be thinking of weather.
    =================================================================

    Forget Arctic ice, we definitely have a new low in R. Gates’ pseudo-profound pronouncements.

    Oh, c’mon. Give R. Gates a do-over. It’s easy to let a couple of glaciations and interglacials slip your mind, not to mention the odd Roman Optimum or LIA here and there. Happens all the time.

  151. Mycroft says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm
    yes and when the southern ice extent reached record levels a couple of years ago, the shrill
    of warmists doom mogering was ever so conspicuous by its absence wasn’t it old chap

    ———

    The global sea ice area anomaly has been largly negative since 2001… I think that’s what you would have been directed too when you tried to “chreey pick” a few years of high antartic sea ice.

  152. They are ecstatic about this summers melt and the breakoff of a glacier in Greenland at Realclimate. (gives them more ammunition to use) The only thing that would make them happier is if ALL the ice in the Arctic melted. They would be dancing in the streets if that happened. Good grief.

  153. SteveE says:
    September 14, 2011 at 4:34 am
    ———

    The global sea ice area anomaly has been largly negative since 2001… I think that’s what you would have been directed too when you tried to “chreey pick” a few years of high antartic sea ice.

    And sometimes it has been positive. While you can’t cherry pick a measurement to prove a theory, you certainly can to disprove a theory. One measurement of something moving faster than the speed of light would disprove relativity.

    Of course religions cannot be disproved. Whatever facts appear are always ‘consistent’ with the dogma.

  154. Richard says:
    They are ecstatic about this summers melt and the breakoff of a glacier in Greenland at Realclimate. (gives them more ammunition to use) The only thing that would make them happier is if ALL the ice in the Arctic melted. They would be dancing in the streets if that happened. Good grief.

    If all the ice in the Arctic melted, that would mean more arable land further north and longer growing seasons, right? In which case, I’d celebrate, too. =)

  155. philincalifornia says:
    September 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm
    R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Natural variation isn’t a factor in climate change. You must be thinking of weather.
    =================================================================

    Forget Arctic ice, we definitely have a new low in R. Gates’ pseudo-profound pronouncements.

    _____
    Define what “natural variation” means in terms of the climate and then we can have an intelligent conversation about it. Specific forcings and related feedbacks alter the climate on short-term and long-term scales. If by “natural variation” you mean randomness, why study climate if those variations are random? Figuring out what specific combinations of forcings are causing the overall climate at any given time is the science of studying the climate.

  156. Eric (skeptic) says:
    September 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm
    R. Gates: “putting CO2 and other greenhouse gas levels exactly where they need to be to forestall the next glacial period…”

    You really think the sun is that predictable? What about GCR? Are you keeping track of the solar system’s position in the Milky Way
    ______
    Over the last several million years, it appears the Milankovitch cycles with related feedbacks can explain the overall pulse of the climate. If these other factors are there, they are small ripples riding on a much larger astronomically driven signal.

  157. @Phil Sept 13 3.58pm

    Phil replies:
    Well in fact it took 3 years, June 1903 to August 1906! Also it was built to withstand ice and relied on a motor rather than sail.

    The Candian patrol vessel St Roch made the passage in 1942 and 1944

    http://hnsa.org/ships/stroch.htm

    The first journey by the St Roch took 28 months, from 1940-42.

    The second journey by the St Roch via the more Northerly route of the NW Passage took 86 days.

    So what.
    Both expeditions inconveniently suggest that in the early 1900s and in the 1940s the Arctic sea ice was at a low point from which it recovered, before satellite observations began in the 70s

    Some nice piccies from a 2009 post showing the N Pole under different conditions.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/26/ice-at-the-north-pole-in-1958-not-so-thick/

  158. Unfortunately for R Gates and his AGW colleagues the NSIDC N/S ice extent series are moving further away for any record minimum so much predicted sometime in the future because of our emissions of CO2
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png Arctic is moving further away from the minimum to date and http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_timeseries.png Antarctic extent is moving away up from the 1979-2000 average.
    Fortunately they can now claim that these up/down movements are all predicted by AGW and is a further sign that the theory is validated. I would still say that no predictions are possible at this time but the next five years will show if Santer needs to extend his 17 years to say 20 or maybe more to still be on message that the globe is warming because of AGW. If I recal correctly, Gavin Smith was talking about 15 years without warming to undermine AGW. It will go the same way as the prediction that the Arctic would be ice free in 2014. It then went out and out and is now 2100 or so or sometime in the future.

  159. R. Gates says:
    September 14, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Define what “natural variation” means in terms of the climate and then we can have an intelligent conversation about it. Specific forcings and related feedbacks alter the climate on short-term and long-term scales. If by “natural variation” you mean randomness, why study climate if those variations are random? Figuring out what specific combinations of forcings are causing the overall climate at any given time is the science of studying the climate.
    ====================================

    Even if you were to translate that from gobbledygook to English, I doubt that I’d be inclined to waste my time.

  160. NeilT says:
    September 14, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Other misnomers on here.

    Amundsen navigated the shallow inshore NW passage from *1903 to 1906*. He had to overwinter twice during the attempt when his ship was caught in solid ice as he was jumping form lead to lead in *summer*
    ============================================
    Uhmm, Neil, you need to do a bit more research before you start taking people to task about “misnomers”. Amundsen’s wintering was intentional. Part of the purpose of the expedition was to prove that the magnetic north pole does indeed move.(Amundsen’s pet posit.) That’s why Amundsen wintered at King William Island.

    Why do you people believe the ice should remain static? Can you tell me how the rye harvest went in Greenland this year?

  161. >> R. Gates says:
    September 14, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Define what “natural variation” means in terms of the climate and then we can have an intelligent conversation about it. <<

    Natural variation is anything not caused by humans. I thought that was obvious in the context of cAGW.

  162. >> R. Gates says:
    September 14, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Over the last several million years, it appears the Milankovitch cycles with related feedbacks can explain the overall pulse of the climate. If these other factors are there, they are small ripples riding on a much larger astronomically driven signal. <<

    Are you saying that the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Climate Optimum were 'small ripples'? What does that make the current warming, a 'tiny ripple'?

  163. James Sexton says:
    September 14, 2011 at 8:42 am
    NeilT says:
    September 14, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Other misnomers on here.

    Amundsen navigated the shallow inshore NW passage from *1903 to 1906*. He had to overwinter twice during the attempt when his ship was caught in solid ice as he was jumping form lead to lead in *summer*
    ============================================
    Uhmm, Neil, you need to do a bit more research before you start taking people to task about “misnomers”. Amundsen’s wintering was intentional. Part of the purpose of the expedition was to prove that the magnetic north pole does indeed move.(Amundsen’s pet posit.) That’s why Amundsen wintered at King William Island.

    As should you, Amundsen stopped at Gjoahavn, because the winter weather closed in, the next summer he couldn’t have left there by ship. Likewise the next year after clearing the passage he again was stopped by the ice, so he sledded to a telegraph station to send the announcement then returned to the Gjoa to continue the journey. Over the last four years unreinforced yachts have been able to sail through in a single season without encountering the difficulties that Amundsen did. To suggest any equivalency between the state of the seaice now and at the same time of year in 1903-06 is nonsense.

  164. R.Gates writes: “The ice core records would disagree with you Willis. The periods of greatest glacial growth were during cold periods on earth, that had lower humidity and colder summers.”

    LOL how lower humidity can creat more precipitation into ice? You truly are clueless about processes!

  165. R.Gates writes: “The ice core records would disagree with you Willis. The periods of greatest glacial growth were during cold periods on earth, that had lower humidity and colder summers.”

    And since the great scientists of our era are telling us that Global warming brings cold winters as witnessed in the past two years, I would surmise that in fact it is during warm periods that glacial growth is at its strongest. Sarc/off

  166. fp says:
    September 13, 2011 at 9:36 am
    Remind me why we care about melting sea ice, other than its effect on sea levels? Fortunately sea level rise is decelerating…

    Because melting sea ice is the third horseman of the ‘pocolypse!

    Actually, melting sea ice has little affect on sea levels. Melting glacial ice should have an impact. And as everyone knows it’s melting (How do we know? Because CO2 is rising) it’s obviously worse than we thought.

    The primary cause? Unnatural variation.

  167. R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:58 am

    R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Glacial growth requires very cold summer of little melt.

    Not true at all. The necessary and sufficient condition for glacial growth is that accretion be greater than loss. It is immaterial how that occurs, whether by increased accretion or decreased loss. Depending on the location and the local climatic conditions, glacial growth can be due to either one.

    w.

    _____
    The ice core records would disagree with you Willis. The periods of greatest glacial growth were during cold periods on earth, that had lower humidity and colder summers. See:

    http://rabbithole2.com/presentation/images2/ice_core/alley2000.gif

    Gosh, you mean glaciers grow when it is cold? Who could possibly have guessed that?

    R. Gates, what I have stated above is called a “truism”. The truism is that glaciers increase growth either by increased accretion or decreased loss … duh.

    As such, the ice core records do not, and cannot, disagree with me.They show exactly what I said. I’ll go over it real slow.

    Either … increased gain or … decreased loss … can affect … glacier growth.

    w.

    PS – on another matter I agree with you, which is that saying climate changes are due to “natural variations” explains nothing. It just gives a name to something, without explaining why it is happening. And as you point out, if it’s all just random, why study it?

    For me, the claim of “natural variations” is just a measure of our lack of understanding of the climate. It is like saying “which people get a particular disease is just natural variation.” It explains nothing, it just names something. However, it avoids the underlying question … what natural variation caused some people to get ill and not others?

  168. http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/plot.csv now has 4 days of increase, and the latest is +47K. At 63K above the minimum I don’t think it will double dip enough to cause a new minimum, so September 9th looks like it.

    09,04,2011,4655156
    09,05,2011,4617188
    09,06,2011,4587969
    09,07,2011,4561719
    09,08,2011,4545000
    09,09,2011,4526875
    09,10,2011,4527813
    09,11,2011,4537188
    09,12,2011,4542656
    09,13,2011,4589844

    Rich.

  169. roger says:
    September 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm
    DEATH SPIRAL.
    That was the the description the warmists gave in 2007. That was the nonsense we were fed and which poor Prince Charles ill advisedly regurgitated at the time, predicting an ice free arctic next summer.
    This is the nonsense still being spouted by R.Gates in this very thread.
    There is no spiral and there is no death. Period.
    Get over it. The projection was totally wrong, and Chuck needs to chose his friends much more carefully if he wishes to be king in the future.

    _____
    Assuming you live another 20 years, I strongly suspect you’ll see how wrong your words were.

  170. Willis Eschenbach:

    Your analysis is not flawed from a logical and mathematical perspective, and as usual, I respect your sharp intellect, but it simply doesn’t match up with what the ice cores tell us. Colder periods…specifcally when summers are colder, are the periods when glaciers grow. Warmer periods see higher snowfall events due to greater water vapor levels, but it doesn’t survive (on average) the warmer summer months.

  171. R. Gates says:
    September 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm
    “The last time we had this much CO2 in the atmosphere, (i.e. the mid-Pliocene) we had ice-free Arctic ocean summers.”

    And your reason for having that much CO2 in the atmosphere then is what?

    Perhaps it is that the Pliocene epoch followed the warmer Miocene epoch?

    But what caused the changes from warmer to colder? “Global circulation patterns changed as Antarctica became isolated and the circum-polar ocean circulation became established. This reduced significantly the mixing or warmer tropical water and cold polar water, and permitted the buildup of the Antarctic polar cap. Likewise, the African-Arabian plate joined to Asia, closing the seaway which had previously separated Africa from Asia…”

    And further about the Pliocene ” the Panamanian land-bridge between North and South America appeared during the Pliocene, allowing migrations of plants and animals into new habitats. Of even greater impact was the accumulation of ice at the poles, which would lead to the extinction of most species living there, as well as the advance of glaciers and ice ages of the Late Pliocene and the following Pleistocene. ”

    So it was ocean circulations that were different then, but you already knew that. You just didn’t happen to mention it.

    I will add your quote from above to the Gatesism list.

    For new readers a Gatesism is a statement by R. Gates that standing alone is most likely true. However, he uses these statements without regard to magnitude, relevance or context and creates straw man arguments with hopes of hijacking threads.

    Time to cloak him for this thread.

  172. The edge is now advancing in many areas. You can see many small lobes of growth. It’s clearly visible even on the seriously understated NSIDC image.

  173. R Gates says:

    “Colder periods…specifcally when summers are colder, are the periods when glaciers grow.”

    So? Glaciers grow during warm periods, too. Glacier advance and retreat is a function of precipitation at higher altitudes, among other factors. CO2 is not one of those factors. Otherwise the planet’s advancing glaciers wouldn’t exist, since CO2 is well mixed throughout the atmosphere.

    Most glaciers on the planet are receding, and have been since the LIA. And there were times toward the beginning of the Holocene when the planet was essentially glacier-free, and the North Pole was ice-free year round. So there is much more ice now than in the past… when CO2 levels remained steady at 300 ppmv or less.

    If CO2 has any effect on glacier growth or loss, it is so insignificant that it can be entirely disregarded for all practical purposes. Other factors, such as the planet’s emergence from the LIA are the real reasons for glacier retreat. Not that the Believers in the CO2 demon will ever admit it, because their religion requires a demon, and that demon has been designated: “carbon”.

  174. R. Gates says:
    September 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    The last time I checked the conventional estimate for the number of glaciers on the planet was 100,000. Of that number a little over 1000 have been subject to any kind of human monitoring. Of that number a relatively small subset have ever had a mass balance survey performed on them and of that subset and even smaller subset (you wouldn’t have to take off your second shoe to count them) have had more than one. For the other 98,000+ not much in the way of real data about their status exists. Of the glaciers that have been monitored the majority have indeed receded but some are little changed and a not insignificant number have actually expanded. Given the dismal state of human knowledge about the matter sweeping generalities about what is happening to “glaciers” globally are hardly justified and amount to idle speculation.
    I would also point out that in most locales glaciers are hardly benign influences for human inhabitants. At best in some areas their melt waters provide a significant source of fresh water but, in the almost infinitesimal probability that proposed reductions in human CO2 emissions could affect the climate enough to cause a reversal of glacial decline, that one glacial positive would likely be diminished.

  175. Several comments about CO2 levels in the Pliocene (when it was 1C to 2C warmer and the ice ages hadn’t started yet).

    CO2 levels during the Pliocene?

    Average 244 ppm, highest 363 ppm, lowest 159 ppm, 90% of the estimates below 285 ppm

    There is no correlation between temperatures and CO2 levels in this period or any other period (unless you cherry pick one or two CO2 estimates out of 100s which is what climate science papers do).

  176. I would have not wanted to live in the Pliocene, nor would I want to live in any future time having levels that low. Some of those CO2 levels were frighteningly low. If they went too low at some future point, an extinction would be the result. The 350ers are death worshipers.

  177. Ice cores are fraught with issues related to interpretation. That R. Gates comments that ice cores tell us this or that with such conviction is a real red flag. The authors of such studies are not nearly so steeped in their results.

  178. This could also be the earliest minimum ice extent in recent history.Sept 9 vs 12-18 in other years of the recent decade.

  179. MattN says:
    September 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Very positive uptick in the extent and area graphs the last day or so. No way 2011 beats 2007 now…

    JAXA’s daily minimum of 4526875 km^2 this year (assuming it holds, which is very likely) is well above the September monthly average for 2007 of 4380521 km^2 in JAXA. I haven’t checked NSIDC, but I’m guessing its minimum value will also be above the 2007 average.

    For the first 15 days of Sept, JAXA actually averaged just slightly closer to 2008 than 2007. Considering that both 2007 and 2008 drop or are flat for another week or more while 2011 is trending stronlgy upwards, there’s a chance of seeing 2011′s monthly average even pass 2008′s. I’m expecting the daily values to cross with today’s value (Sept 16), putting 2011 ahead of 2008. It wouldn’t surprise me if 2011′s daily value topped even 2010′s in 3-5 days either, though topping the monthly average for 2010 would be a daunting task.

    Given the lack of strong melt this Sept, see lots of pointing to Bremen’s extent, various area metrics, and the July values (which were record low). It’s funny how much crap Goddard got last year for his late-August guesses being so off, while the same people that gave him so much crap last year did just as bad or worse this year. I’ll run the numbers on their estimates once the end of the month rolls around to see who was closer.

    -Scott

  180. Regarding my post yesterday, I was wrong about passing 2008 on Sept 16. JAXA actually posted a decrease for yesterday, leaving us 46k km^2 below 2008. Clearly, my guess was incorrect.

    -Scott

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