The Guardian’s ridiculous claim of 75% Arctic sea ice loss in 30 years – patently false

This time series, based on satellite data, sho...

This time series, based on satellite data, shows the annual Arctic sea ice minimum since 1979. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reposted from “Haunting the Library” (well worth a bookmark), another clueless journalist combined with an artist/activist makes The Guardian look pretty darned stupid. Five minutes or less of checking would have prevented this blunder.

Guardian Goes “Full Stupid” on Arctic Ice, Contradicts Itself.

The Guardian managed to outdo itself in it’s latest foray into global warming, claiming that Arctic sea ice has declined by three quarters in the last three decades. In a series of “factoids” following an interview with pop celebrity and latest Greenpeace spokesperson for the Arctic ice, Jarvis Cocker, Lucy Seigle, the Guardian’s environment reporter, informed readers that:

Of the Arctic sea ice, 75% has been lost over the past 30 years. Last year saw sea-ice levels plummet to the second-lowest since records began. It is estimated that the North Pole could be ice-free in the summer within the next 10-20 years.

The Guardian. Jarvis Cocker: The Iceman Cometh.

However, the problem with this was not just it’s total departure from both reality and common sense, but the fact that an article in the Guardian only a couple of weeks beforehand had pointed out that this simply isn’t the case.

Quoting the Met Office’s Chief Scientist, Julia Sligo, the article noted that such claims were simply “not credible” -

She also said that suggestions the volume of sea ice had already declined by 75% already were not credible. “We know there is something [happening on the thinning of sea ice] but it’s not as dramatic as those numbers suggest.”

The problem, she explained, was that researchers did not know the thickness of Arctic sea ice with any confidence.

The Guardian. Met Office: Arctic Sea Ice Loss Linked to Drier, Colder UK Winters.

In fact, as the NSIDC points out, the extent of Arctic sea ice is very close to the average for the last three decades, not down by 75% as The Guardian’s environment reporter seems to be confused about:

Overview of Conditions
Arctic sea ice extent in April 2012 averaged 14.73 million square kilometers (5.69 million square miles). Because of the very slow rate of ice loss through the last half of March and the first three weeks of April, ice extent averaged for April ranked close to average out of 34 years of satellite data.

NSIDC: Arctic Sea Ice Extent Reaches Near Average in April.

Someone should really help them out over at the Guardian’s environment section. Do you have an hour or two to spare, some basic common sense,  plenty of paper and some crayons?

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

Here’s the proof that Arctic Sea Ice has not declined 75% in 30 years, this graph of Arctic Sea Ice Extent from good buddy Dr. Peter Gleick using NSIDC data. Here is his original from his Huffington post article where he’s beating up Apollo 17 astronaut Dr. Harrison Schmidt for comparing 1989 and 2009 20 year differences.

I’ve extended that graph of Gleick’s down to the zero line, and annotated the 1980 and 2010 year values and the 75% loss of 1980 value line (3.125) for reference. As you can see, there’s a loooonnnng way to go from 12.5 million square kilometers in 1980 to 3.125 million square kilometers in 2010 to make a 75% loss in 30 years.

The Guardian is only off by 7.675 million square kilometers…close enough for journo work I suppose.

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127 Responses to The Guardian’s ridiculous claim of 75% Arctic sea ice loss in 30 years – patently false

  1. Merovign says:

    Sounds like a typical news day.

  2. I think the argument is about sea ice volume rather than area/extent. Although as Julia Sligo states, the 75% claim isn’t credible for volume either.

    As the satellite sent up to measure sea ice thickness doesn’t work apparently, estimates of changes to sea ice thickness/volume are little better than guesswork. But as we know, speculation in the absence of data passes as science in a large part of the CAGW camp.

    REPLY: The original article http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/jun/02/jarvis-cocker-arctic-oil-environment does not contain any discussion of ice volume. I double checked.

    The bullet point:

    ■ Of the Arctic sea ice, 75% has been lost over the past 30 years. Last year saw sea-ice levels plummet to the second-lowest since records began. It is estimated that the North Pole could be ice-free in the summer within the next 10-20 years.

    Doesn’t either. Only Slingo’s discussion does. And, I was addressing this:

    In fact, as the NSIDC points out, the extent of Arctic sea ice is very close to the average for the last three decades, not down by 75% as The Guardian’s environment reporter seems to be confused about

    -Anthony

  3. Rhys Jaggar says:

    You probably get a bigger number by comparing the extent at minimum, I guess.

    What’s more important is what the most relevant metric is for that Armageddon of ‘rising sea levels’.

    Clearly, to anyone with primary school physics at their fingertips, that is total global sea ice extent.

    If you look at how that changes annually, you’ll see the fluctuations are rather smaller.

    One thing people should get comfortable with is that newspapers are basically ‘factoid drug dealers’ serving up their addicts with a ‘daily fix’.

    Our generation were brought up to believe newspapers formed a valuable societal role in education.

    I now believe that they are comics. All of them. Playthings of rich proprietors. Tools of political influence and/or intimidation.

    Thing is: if you want a newspaper to really inform and educate, enough people need to buy them/pick them up (for free ones) and enough advertisers need to buy into the message. Newspapers, after all, are ultimately advertising plays.

    I only read them now to find out what the latest informational drug is. And to try and force journalists to tell some semblance of truth.

  4. The old Seadog. says:

    We have had 195 years of false reports of the Arctic melting…..

    “It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.

    (This) affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.”
    President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817 ( Royal Society Archives)

  5. Oakwood says:

    And today it’s: “…the seas are rising much faster now thanks to global warming.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/01/north-carolina-sea-level-rises?intcmp=122

  6. Glenn says:

    There must be some mistake, since:

    “The Guardian has built this unrivalled team in the belief that environmental issues, and in particular global warming, is the defining issue of our age, combining politics, economics and social justice,” said James Randerson, editor of EnvironmentGuardian.co.uk, in a release from Guardian News & Media.”

    http://blogs.journalism.co.uk/tag/lucy-siegle/

  7. FrankSW says:

    As part of the “Don’t destroy the Arctic” campaign Greenpace UK have a web form to tell Shell not to exploit the Artic. You can of course change both the subject and body of the email before sending….perhaps to let them know how much misinformation Greenpeace are pushing out.

    http://act.greenpeace.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=18&ea.campaign.id=13413

  8. KnR says:

    If you want good science reporting form the Guardian you will have to wait until they actual get a journalists that knows something about science. For despite them being chock full of people with a very privileged background and so good eduction , they have not one member of staff how actual did science for their degree . Or to be frank given that their editors made it clear they are fully and blindly supportive of the AGW scare, if you want accurate reporting over AGW your going to have to wait until ,ironically, hell freezes over.

  9. The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley says:

    You should know that here (in England) Cocker is known as a ‘twat’, and the Guardian as a leftist rag. I don’t know if you Americans know this either, but the Guardian is often referred to as the ‘Grauniad’ – since they once made so many spelling mistakes in thier (see what I did there?) articles.

  10. Martin says:

    If you go right to the bottom of the article it says ” Source: Greenpeace ” – says it all really !

  11. Glenn says:

    “Her work is underpinned by rigorous research and scientific debate”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jan/13/observer-ethical-awards-2012-judge-lucy-siegle

  12. The Guardian is held in contempt by those of us in the UK who aren’t socialists. Facts never get in the way of its leftist views, if the Guardian told me that grass was green and the sky was blue I would go outside to check! If anyone wants a job as a Diversity Co-ordinator or a Gay and Lesbian Outreach Officer for a Labour town or city council, the Guardian every Thursday is an essential read.
    If AGW is affecting the whole planet and ice in the Arctic is decreasing, why in the Antarctic, is it increasing?

  13. Byron says:

    Meanwhile , in the real world heavy sea ice looks likely to delay Shell Acrtic`s drilling

    http://phys.org/news/2012-05-heavy-ice-shell-alaska-arctic.html

  14. Silver Ralph says:

    .
    The Grauniad is not going to change the habits of a lifetime overnight. They were born as a Marxist pressure group, and following the predictable demise of Marxism in the Communist East they jumped on the next great Marxist crusade – Environmentalism. The Grauniad have been trying to subvert Western culture for over 100 years now, along with their anti-establishment cousins at the BBC, and they are not about to stop tomorrow.

    The interesting thing about the Grauniad is the way it jumps on bandwagons to champion any minority cause. Back in 1917 they were instrumental in the setting up of the state of Israel, because that was the celebrity minority cause of the early 20th century. But today, they and the liberal-left are so rabidly anti-Israel, one would have thought that they were being funded by Saudi Arabia. Today, the Grauniad (and the BBC) support Hamas as being the only bastion of liberal democracy in the Near East (!?) Such, are the absurd politics of the European left.

    But the underlying subversiveness of the Grauniad is slowly sinking in to the general public, and Grauniad sales are declining much faster than the sea-ice charts. Perhaps that was the problem here – Lucy Seigle mixed up the Arctic Sea Ice chart with the Grauniad circulation chart, and thus thought the ice had declined by 75% in 30 years….

    .

  15. Pointman says:

    Last financial year end, the Guardian was running at a loss of £25 million pounds. With reporting like that, I look forward to next year’s numbers.

    Pointman

  16. Petrossa says:

    If you don’t have a proper baseline any claim you make can be ‘true’. For sure you can’t falsify it. But, indeed, good enough for what passes for journalism these days.

  17. sadbutmadlad says:

    Like all journalists and numbers are they getting it the wrong way round. Did she mean 75% of levels from 30 years ago. In other words sea ice is down 25%? Percentages is such a hard concept to understand you know for media types.

  18. Rick Bradford says:

    “The Guardian is only off by 7.675 million square kilometers…close enough for journo work I suppose.”

    No, but close enough for The Guardian, which has very little to do with journalism.

  19. ID deKlein says:

    Aren’t the “facts” supplied by “Greenpeace”? Isn’t that what “Source: Greenpeace” means?

  20. Jimbo says:

    It’s worthwhile reading some of the news reports going back to the 1940s up till the present. Claims of Arctic spiral meltdown are not new. Claims of ice-free North Pole are not new either.

    In 1972 an Arctic specialist by the name of Bernt Balchen claimed the Arctic ocean could be ice-free by the year 2000. ;-)
    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/polar-meltdown/

  21. cui bono says:

    From other press:

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a first-hand look Saturday at the way a warming climate is changing the Arctic, opening the region to competition for vast oil reserves.

    Returning from a tour of the Arctic coastline aboard a Norwegian research trawler with scientists and government officials, Clinton told reporters that she learned “many of the predictions about warming in the Arctic are being surpassed by the actual data.”

    Well, easier to pontificate on this than Syria….

  22. Bob says:

    The Arctic could become ice-free in 10-20 years? I thought it was 5 years, ending this year, next year, two years ago or sometime. There are so many claims of impending doom that I find it hard to track them. They should have a section in doom central for ice-free Arctic, so I’d know when and how much worry to schedule.

  23. George Tetley says:

    Only if. If I had the MONEY I would sue, there are volumes of lies and deceptive manipulation in this A/wipe!

  24. BJ says:

    Is comparing extent to volume the same thing? Not an expert and don’t even play one on TV, but coverage and volume seem to be comparing apples and oranges to me. Not that I think the arctic is screaming, just wondering how the two relate.

  25. I thought Jarvis Cocker was lead singer for Pulp. If this is the same Cocker then that says it all.

  26. Nick Stokes says:

    Yes, I think the Guardian is wrong. I think they are misinterpreting this calculation, which says that the minimum ice volume in Sep 2011 was 75% down on the maximum for 1979.

  27. Olavi says:

    There is lot of nonsense in climate related issues, like ocean surfface temperatures. How it is possible that ice covered sea area has temperature above normal? Example eastern Gereenland coast http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/arctic.seaice.color.000.png
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.gif
    One of theese pictures shows something wrong.

  28. Athelstan. says:

    The guardian has long ceased to be a serious newspaper, the organ of the left with its plethora of science illiterate and jejune journalists. Hacks, who are a mirror on the Marxist ethos which pervades the so called British chatterati. Unfortunately, though its readership is small and pedantic – its sway is great.
    In other words it is a comic of the left in Britain, this comic story of ridiculous guff, is typical copy.

    I would posit, that the starting point for Arctic sea ice in 1979 was to high and only now are we at the sea ice mean, if one looks further back into the past [and not so long ago] the ice has fluctuated much below the 80-2010 parameters [true - it has to be said anecdotal evidence] – so what’s the big deal? As Joe Bastardi likes to tell us, the sea ice mean is in equilibrium, imho Joe’s always right;)
    BTW, its Julia Slingo @ the Met Office -http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/our-scientists/senior-scientists/julia-slingo

  29. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    At last a graph that has zero and shows the true extent of the ice loss. It gives you an idea how an anomoly can mislead the uneducated.

  30. son of mulder says:

    I can get 69% by comparing the peak in Winter 1979 to the minimum in summer 2011 so the Grauniad must be even stupider than that.

  31. JohnB says:

    Maybe not so ridiculous…

    Depends on your measure for “sea ice”.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/09/07/313873/arctic-death-spiral-continues-sea-ice-volume-hits-record-low-for-second-straight-year/?mobile=nc

    Summer minimum volume has dropped from 16.9Km3 in 1979 to 4.3kM3 in 2011 (yes, there are error bars). That’s 75% loss, near as dammit. So all you can really fault them on is not being clear that “estimates of summer minimum sea ice volume” have dropped by 75% in 30 years.

    REPLY:Perhaps, but Four things. 1. PIOMAS is a model. 2. PIOMAS is not an actual measurement. 3. Saying a model predicts a 75% loss is no better than NASA’s Jay Zwally saying the Arctic could be nearly ice free by 2012. (See the sidebar and link above it) 4. Slingo said the 75% loss for volume isn’t supported.

    So, no matter how you look at it, extent or volume, it doesn’t work. – Anthony

  32. Is comparing extent to volume the same thing? Not an expert and don’t even play one on TV, but coverage and volume seem to be comparing apples and oranges to me. Not that I think the arctic is screaming, just wondering how the two relate.

    There are studies showing older thicker ice is melting faster than new ice in recent years. Of course, given that sea ice extent has been increasing over the last 5 years, the logical corollary of this fact is the new ice is melting slower than old ice.

    The likely reason is that old ice has more particulates embedded in it, and with increased solar insolation (which I believe to be the main cause of the post 1970s sea ice melt) these particulates become concentrated on the surface as the ice melts (and sublimates) from above, reducing the ice’s albedo.

    You can demonstrate this at home. On a below freezing day, put two ice cubes in the sun. Sprinkle something dark on one of them, and you will find it melts/sublimates a lot faster.

  33. John Peter says:

    “Pointman says:
    June 3, 2012 at 1:43 am
    Last financial year end, the Guardian was running at a loss of £25 million pounds. With reporting like that, I look forward to next year’s numbers.
    Pointman”.
    I seem to recollect that someone asserted some time ago that things would look grimmer for The Guardian was it not for the large number of papers taken by the BBC every day.

  34. Olavi says:

    JohnB says:

    June 3, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Maybe not so ridiculous…

    Depends on your measure for “sea ice”.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/09/07/313873/arctic-death-spiral-continues-sea-ice-volume-hits-record-low-for-second-straight-year/?mobile=nc

    Summer minimum volume has dropped from 16.9Km3 in 1979 to 4.3kM3 in 2011 (yes, there are error bars). That’s 75% loss, near as dammit. So all you can really fault them on is not being clear that “estimates of summer minimum sea ice volume” have dropped by 75% in 30 years.
    ————————————————————————————————————————

    That piomass model has nothing to do with reality and truth. Anybody can make that kind model with laptop, but has it any value?

  35. Alan the Brit says:

    The old Seadog. says:
    June 3, 2012 at 1:00 am

    I’d regularly check that site to make sure that particlular embarrassment stays posted on it, it’s likely to be misplaced permanently at the R S!

    As for the Grauniad, Lucy Siegle is as lefty greeny as they come, she never checks her facts especially when they don’t fit her view. Another favourite is Polly Toynbe, who was once humiliated by Peter Hitchins on BBC’s Question Time because she proceeded to lecture everyone on the dangers of Global Warming & we must all stop flying abroad or pay more taxes, when she was identified as a chief traveller toing & froing to her “pad” in Tuscony for the Summer, oh how lucky she is to be able to affrord such luxury!!! AND Greenpeace tells lies, they admitted as much two years ago.

  36. JohnB says:

    Olavi says:
    June 3, 2012 at 4:15 am

    That piomass model has nothing to do with reality and truth. Anybody can make that kind model with laptop, but has it any value?

    ————————–

    Translation: “I don’t like the numbers it produces”

  37. Ken Harvey says:

    The rapidly declining Graundiad is approaching its demise even faster than I am.

  38. Andrew says:

    WUWT? http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php its into 15 june already!

    REPLY: I’m waiting for an email response from DMI – Anthony

  39. Don Keiller says:

    Facts don’t matter to the Guardian, or its readers.
    It is the message that counts.
    On this basis the Guardian is bang on target.
    The “Useful Idiots”, who are now in places of power and influence will ensure the Guardian’s
    message is promoted and implemented.

    Someone needs to sue the paper for misrepresentation.

  40. Steve from Rockwood says:

    JohnB says:
    June 3, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Maybe not so ridiculous…
    Depends on your measure for “sea ice”.
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/09/07/313873/arctic-death-spiral-continues-sea-ice-volume-hits-record-low-for-second-straight-year/?mobile=nc

    Summer minimum volume has dropped from 16.9Km3 in 1979 to 4.3kM3 in 2011 (yes, there are error bars). That’s 75% loss, near as dammit. So all you can really fault them on is not being clear that “estimates of summer minimum sea ice volume” have dropped by 75% in 30 years.
    ———————————————————————————-
    From the NANSEN database:
    Aug-2011 Arctic sea-ice minimum: 3.819 km2
    Sep-1979 Arctic sea-ice minimum: 6.339 km2

    3.819/6.339 = 0.60. So roughly 40% less minimum ice “extent” compared to 1979.

    In discussing ice volume, how do they reliably estimate volume from the satellite data? Also let’s not forget that from a winter high of 14.6 km2 to a summer low of 6.34 km2 (1979), almost 60% of Arctic ice is “new” ice every year.

  41. Chuck L says:

    JohnB says:
    June 3, 2012 at 3:54 am
    Maybe not so ridiculous…

    Depends on your measure for “sea ice”.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/09/07/313873/arctic-death-spiral-continues-sea-ice-volume-hits-record-low-for-second-straight-year/?mobile=nc

    Summer minimum volume has dropped from 16.9Km3 in 1979 to 4.3kM3 in 2011 (yes, there are error bars). That’s 75% loss, near as dammit. So all you can really fault them on is not being clear that “estimates of summer minimum sea ice volume” have dropped by 75% in 30 years.

    Think Progress? That’s about as reliable and objective a source as the Grauniad, I mean Guardian, is. Romm should work for the Guardian, it would be a perfect fit. Wait, maybe Lucy Siegle is a nom de plume of Joe Romm!

  42. James says:

    Is this not great news??

    If we have already lost 75% of the ice, then we have suffered 75% of the consequences. 75% of the albedo change, and not much warming. 75% of the ocean rise and no perceptible acceleration in sea level rise.

    All praise to Gaia folks! We are through most of it, and it has been a non event, phew!

    We can stop worrying now and get back to using cheap energy…

    James

  43. Jimbo says:

    There is one death spiral I am aware of and that’s the Guardian’s circulation figures. Heh, heh.

  44. Bill Tuttle says:

    Glenn says:
    June 3, 2012 at 1:07 am
    There must be some mistake, since: “The Guardian has built this unrivalled team in the belief that environmental issues, and in particular global warming, is the defining issue of our age, combining politics, economics and social justice,” said James Randerson…

    Saying they’re an “unrivalled team” would be appropriate enough — after all, Curly, Larry and Moe are three decades a-gone…

  45. Ed Barbar says:

    In fairness, that sea ice area has not dropped 75% is not proof the volume has dropped 75%. Yes, Julia Sligo also noted that it’s highly unlikely volume has dropped 75%, good. However, saying the sea ice area is proof is over the top, in my view. I would rather see a statement like “Perhaps they are talking about area, then, Nope, not that either.”

    REPLY:
    The original article http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/jun/02/jarvis-cocker-arctic-oil-environment does not contain any discussion of ice volume. I double checked.

    The bullet point:

    ■ Of the Arctic sea ice, 75% has been lost over the past 30 years. Last year saw sea-ice levels plummet to the second-lowest since records began. It is estimated that the North Pole could be ice-free in the summer within the next 10-20 years.

    Doesn’t either. Only Slingo’s discussion does. And, I was addressing this:

    In fact, as the NSIDC points out, the extent of Arctic sea ice is very close to the average for the last three decades, not down by 75% as The Guardian’s environment reporter seems to be confused about

    -Anthony

  46. C.M. Carmichael says:

    If everyone who reads WUWT took just one alarmist for a tour of the Sea Ice Reference page at WUWT, there would be a lot of confused or ex-alarmists around. If anyone can consider the informatiom on that one page and find a sea ice “death spiral”, I would love to know how. Help an alarmist out, but be gentle, the first time they get “facts” in the head it may hurt a little. Some reddening around the ears may occur.

  47. beesaman says:

    The Guardian, read by idiots, written by fools….

  48. jones says:

    Alan the Brit.

    Apologies for correcting you but that was Richard Littlejohn…He did an excellent job of it too.

    Polly didn’t really give a sh*t anyway….do as I say and all that…

  49. MattN says:

    Gonna take a lot more than just an hour or two to get those guys straight….

  50. I followed the reference to http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/polar-meltdown/ and found (among many other interesting items):
    *****
    Russian report from 1940

    The Norwegian, Captain Wiktor Arnesen, who has just returned from the Arctic, clains to have discovered an island 12 miles in circumference near the Franz Joseph Island, in latitude 80.40. He says that the island previously was hidden by an iceberg between 70 and 80 feet high, which has melted, showing the exceptional nature of the recent thawing in the Arctic.
    ******

    Just this morning I heard a broadcast from (probably) BBC about an island that had been left behind by the retreat of a glacier. Maybe Norway – I’m not sure because I woke up partway through the program and didn’t hear it all. What goes around comes around. I’d like to be able to send the item from Steven Goddard’s website to the program for their edification.

    IanM

  51. Bill Illis says:

    Here is the annual cycle of the NH sea ice extent going back to 1972. Right now we are about 500,000 km2 below the average but there is clearly not anywhere near the change that some people like to point to. It goes up and it goes down.

    http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/3967/dailyseaiceextentjune11.png

    Here is the typical chart we are used to looking at. 2012 is lower than average but pretty typical. For the Arctic to melt out in September, huge changes are required such as the March Maximum has to start out the year 30% lower (which no year has come close to yet) and the melt throughout the year has to be 20% higher than normal (which never seems to happen).

    http://img825.imageshack.us/img825/2573/nhsiejune112.png

    The total melt from the Maximum has been exactly “average” so far in 2012 at 2.9M km2. 1996 and 2007 are the two outliers in the series (1996 was a really unusual year – anyone have an explanation for that).

    http://img855.imageshack.us/img855/6356/totalmeltday69june112.png

  52. Michael D Smith says:

    Tomorrow we’ll do shapes and colors.

  53. Chris B says:

    Rhys Jaggar says:
    June 3, 2012 at 12:59 am
    ……
    I now believe that they are comics. All of them. Playthings of rich proprietors. Tools of political influence and/or intimidation…….
    ————–

    They were that when you were growing up, they just had to hide it better because the readership had more common sense. Or, are you talking pre-“Citizen Kane”?

  54. Mike Hebb says:

    So the ice is only melting in the middle and under water, not on the edges which is where the Extent is measured. Sorry, but over any extended period of time extent is a good indicator of volume and one will never contradict the other for any period. There can’t be significant ice loss without extent loss.
    The Guardian is only interested in money (which equates to survival). Truth doesn’t enter into it. They would tell us martians have landed in Arizona if it would sell another paper.

  55. @Silver Ralph says: June 3, 2012 at 1:23 am
    .
    “The Grauniad is not going to change the habits of a lifetime overnight. They were born as a Marxist pressure group,”

    Twaddle. The Manchester Guardian was a “Liberal” newspaper, Liberal in that it loosely represented
    the views of the old Liberal party. It’s downfall was being moved to London, and then taken over by Lefties, notably the arse Rusbridger.

    Happily its circulation is collapsing, and it only survives as a result of using financial devices continually
    bashed by the Guardian – tax havens and hedge funds. They are the very essence of rank hypocrisy. Once the Guardian was a very fine newspaper, with superb journalists. Now I wouldn’t wipe my arse with it.

  56. jimv says:

    Shell is delaying the start of an Arctic drilling project due to heavier than normal sea ice.
    from the AP:
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/26/2819327/heavy-ice-could-delay-start-of.html

  57. A fan of *MORE* discourse says:

    The Guardian and WUWT alike would serve their readers better by reviewing the literature on the uncertainty in estimates of Arctic sea-ice volume. In a recent issue of the Journal of Geophysical Reseach, Schweiger et al. conducted such an analysis. Here is a summary of their findings:

    Uncertainty in modeled Arctic sea ice volume
    Schweiger et al., J. Geophys. Res, September 2011

    Uncertainty in the Pan-Arctic Ice-Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) Arctic sea ice volume record is characterized. … A conservative estimate of the trend over this period is −2.8 × 10^3 km^3/decade. …However we have good reason to believe that actual downward trends are larger. …There is a negligible probability that a trend of the observed magnitude occurs without anthropogenic forcing. …The September 2010 ice volume anomaly did in fact exceed the previous 2007 minimum by a large enough margin to establish a statistically significant new record.

    Many folks just want to know “By what year will the summer Arctic ice be 85% gone?” Per figure 13 of the Schweiger et al. analysis, a conservative answer is 2030-45 (sooner if the melt-rate accelerates).

    Needless to say, if it happens that the Greenland and Antarctic ice melts similarly (albeit more slowly) to the Arctic ice, then the Earth’s geography and ecology will be hugely altered.

    Summary The Schweiger et al. PIOMAS analysis affirms the Hanson-style view that AGW is real, serious, and accelerating. Both The Guardian and WUWT would serve their readers better by candid disclosure and discussion of this finding.

  58. Lance Wallace says:

    Nick Stokes’ link tells us that the Piomas folks’ latest model of ice loss is -2.8 thousand cubic kilometers per decade. Using their numbers for the maximum and minimum of the 30-year base period (28,700 and 12,300) the 30-year mean was on the order of 21 thousand km^3. Thus the Arctic would be ice-free in 7.5 decades (2087). However, if the 2.8 km^3 per decade figure applies to the full seasonal curve itself, the minimum would drop to zero in less than 2 decades. At last! A testable prediction that we don’t have to wait a century to disprove.

  59. Pamela Gray says:

    Nick said,

    “Yes, I think the Guardian is wrong. I think they are misinterpreting this calculation, which says that the minimum ice volume in Sep 2011 was 75% down on the maximum for 1979.”

    Now that is funny! Am SOOOOO glad you cleared up their misinterpretation with a piece of spin that should win an Emmy. I certainly hope the folks who created that statistic have jobs as political spin makers now. They would be brilliant at it! Heck, they could easily make Obama smell like a bed of roses while standing in a cesspool.

  60. Phil Clarke says:

    The 75% refers to the reduction in ice volume at the annual minimum in September, in round numbers from 16 cubic km in September 1979 to 4 in September 2011. Data provided by the Polar Science Centre at the University of Washington. You can download it here:

    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/

    The Guardian’s facts are from Greenpeace and their derivation of the number is explained thus

    n 1979, at its lowest point, there were 16,855 cubic kilometres of Arctic sea ice. In 2011 that had dropped to 4,017 – a little over a quarter of that original figure.

    http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/30-years-weve-lost-75-arctic-sea-ice-20120210

    Hope this helps.

    REPLY: Perhaps, but Four things. 1. PIOMAS is a model. 2. PIOMAS is not an actual measurement. 3. Saying a model predicts a 75% loss is no better than NASA’s Jay Zwally saying the Arctic could be nearly ice free by 2012. (See the sidebar and link above it) 4. Slingo said the 75% loss for volume isn’t supported.

    So, no matter how you look at it, extent or volume, it doesn’t work. – Anthony

  61. Dave says:

    “Of the Arctic sea ice, 75% has been lost over the past 30 years.”

    I’m just wondering, is it pure coincidence that in fact it appears to have dropped by roughly 25%, and therefore _to_ 75% of maximum, rather than ‘by’ 75% of maximum? It’s an easy enough mistake to make, if one is a moron.

  62. A fan of *MORE* discourse says:

    Lance Wallace posts: At last! A testable prediction that we don’t have to wait a century to disprove.Lance, WUWT readers can readily verify that James Hansen and colleagues went irrevocably on-record in September 2, 2011 in with a decadal prediction: “acceleration of the rate of sea level rise this decade” (arXiv:1105.1140v2).

    Hansen’s prediction required an appreciable measure of scientific courage, as satellite observations at the time were showing a marked deceleration.

    Summary:  we will all know, relatively soon, whether Hansen’s rise-prediction and the PIOMAS melt-prediction are correct. If confirmed, this scientific understanding will pose considerable challenges to political, economic, and religious ideologies of every variety.

  63. Pamela Gray says:

    OMG we have been privvy to the best spin I have read. Nick, I thought yours was worthy till I read *MORE*’s offering. Sorry. Give the award back. I’ve changed my mind. And the winner is A fan of *MORE* discourse. The nuance is exquisite. The serious tone unmatched. The slide from discourse to done deal imperceptible. A win on all counts.

  64. Phil Clarke says:

    Uncertainty in the Pan-arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) Arctic sea ice volume record is characterized. A range of observations and approaches, including in-situ ice thickness measurements, ICESat retrieved ice thickness, and model sensitivity studies, yields a conservative estimate for October Arctic ice volume uncertainty of +/- 1.35×103 km3 and an uncertainty of the ice volume trend over the 1979-2010 period of +/-1.0×103 km3/decade. A conservative estimate of the trend over this period is -2.8 103 km3/decade. PIOMAS ice thickness estimates agree well with ICESat ice thickness retrievals (<0.1 m mean difference) for the area for which submarine data are available, while difference outside this area are larger. PIOMAS spatial thickness patterns agree well with ICESat thickness estimates with pattern correlations of above 0.8.

    Schweiger et al. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 116, C00D06, 21 PP., 2011
    doi:10.1029/2011JC007084

    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/schweiger/pubs/IceVolume-2011-06-02-accepted-with-figures.pdf

    Cambridge Professor of Ocean Physics Peter Wadhams takes issue with Julia Slingo …

    Prof Slingo placed her faith in model predictions and in future data to come from satellites on thickness (presumably Cryosat-2, which has not yet produced any usable data on ice thickness). Yet since the 1950s US and British submarines have been regularly sailing to the Arctic (I have been doing it since 1976) and accurately measuring ice thickness in transects across that ocean. Her statement that “we do not know the ice thickness in the Arctic” is false. In 1990 I published the first evidence of ice thinning in the Arctic in Nature (Wadhams, 1990). At that stage it was a 15% thinning over the Eurasian Basin. Incorporating later data my group was able to demonstrate a 43% thinning by the late 1990s (Wadhams and Davis, 2000, 2001), and this was in exact agreement with observations made by Dr Drew Rothrock of the University of Washington, who has had the main responsibility for analyzing data from US submarines (Rothrock et al., 1999, 2003; Kwok and Rothrock, 2009) and who examined all the other sectors of the Arctic Ocean. [...] Even if we only consider a 43% loss of mean thickness (which was documented as occurring up to 1999), the accompanying loss of area (30-40%) gives a volume loss of some 75%.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmenvaud/writev/1739/arc26.htm

    So a guy who has actually been there, collected and published data says the 75% figure is correct …..

  65. johanna says:

    Jarvis Cocker, hasbeen pop singer, says something, and the Guradian swoons?

    Can someone from the UK please explain why a paper with around 230 000 (and falling) circulation in a population of 60 odd million attracts so much attention?

    Trivia note – Jarvis’ old man, expatriate ‘Mac’ Cocker, was a presenter on 2JJJ, the Australian alternative music radio station in the 1970s and 80s. He had a velvet voice, a lovely Sheffield accent, and great taste in music. Sadly, Mac was a slave to booze who ended his days in one of the Last Chance Cafes in the Northern Territory.

  66. Galvanize says:

    I notice that some heavy and one sided moddng has started on that Grauniad thread. [SNIP . . . That was fun! ~ Evan]

  67. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    This is the coldest June the 3rd this century in Central England. (Dosen’t mean much but sounds good.)

  68. Robert of Texas says:

    Just wondering… If all the Arctic ice did disappear, would anyone care? Would anyone even notice? I mean, besides Santa Claus and his elves… It isn’t like the sea levels will rise due to the melting of floating ice.

    If the frozen north warms a bit, we get more forests on what is now tundra. (Never mind if the warming is natural or not, I am just saying “if”). In other words, Alaska would be returning to a natural state that existed in the past.

  69. Wildfire says:

    I suspect that the Admiralty was bemused by the President of the Royal Society’s report of November 1817, claiming that the Arctic was warming drastically. Wasn’t there some nonsense just the previous year of 1816, with the explosion Tambora and the Year Without a Summer? Throw another log on the fire, Jeeves.

  70. Stuck-Record says:

    They’re wrong about the Arctic being sea ice free in 10-20 years. Everyone who reads the Guardian knows that a few years ago they predicted the Arctic to be sea ice free by 2012.

    Ooops.

  71. Steve Fox says:

    Some comment on the Guardian circulation figures, so low they’re virtually underground. Turns out the only thing that keeps it going is, its owners fund it from other publications. Which include Autotrader. Blokes buying and selling motors.
    Scuse me while I larf….

  72. Scott says:

    For those defending the 75% number by claiming it is volume…how can you argue that they’re using volume when you consider the sentences after it:

    Of the Arctic sea ice, 75% has been lost over the past 30 years. Last year saw sea-ice levels plummet to the second-lowest since records began. It is estimated that the North Pole could be ice-free in the summer within the next 10-20 years.

    If they were talking about volume, then last year was the LOWEST, not second lowest. Thus, if they’re talking about modeled volume (at the summer minimum), then the second sentence is wrong. If they’re talking about extent, then the first sentence is massively wrong. And if they’re talking about area, then I’d say both of the first two sentences are wrong. If they’re talking about times other than the minimum, then they’re wrong regardless of the metric. If they’re comparing maxima to minima, that’s just disingenuous.

    And the observant reader might notice I included the third sentence in the quote too. Why? Because it shows their bias. If they’re mentioning the ice being gone at the north pole in 10-20 years, why didn’t they also say that it was predicted to be gone at the north pole in 2008? That’s like saying Harold Camping is making an end-of-world prediction for 2020 while failing to mention is past.

    Sorry, but there doesn’t seem to be a way out of it…a pretty poor report no matter how you slice it.

    -Scott

  73. Keith Pearson, formerly bikermailman, Anonymous no longer says:

    The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley says:June 3, 2012 at 1:12 am
    You should know that here (in England) Cocker is known as a ‘twat’, and the Guardian as a leftist rag. I don’t know if you Americans know this either, but the Guardian is often referred to as the ‘Grauniad’ – since they once made so many spelling mistakes in thier (see what I did there?) articles.

    That particular term has perhaps a different meaning here in America than in England. Many of these Limousine Liberals such as Cocker are called ‘twits’ here. And does anyone actually expect consistency and truth from the MFM (the second M is media, fill in the blanks)? The J schools long ago quit teaching reporting, and began teaching agenda driven politics. IMO, the influence of Cronkite, and Woodward and Burnstein’s unwravelling of the Watergate scandal (remember politicians, it’s the cover up that gets you, not the scandal itself) that turned that corner for them. Though of course, Walter Duranty and his help in covering for the Soviets in the 30s would indicate it goes much farther back. Also, I’ve seen the Grauniad referred to as ‘Al Gaurdian’ many times, since they act as a functional English branch of Al Jazeera.

  74. Some European says:

    Seems pretty clear: the 75% number is obviously supported by the PIOMAS numbers. The journalist should have stated that clearly.
    Yes, PIOMAS is a model, so are the satellite temperature datasets*. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    There are definitely some issues like the possibility of many years of a very thin layer of sea ice with a near zero volume but still high albedo, the sloppy mingling of different measures in the article, …
    The fact that some scientists may have their reservations with regard to the PIOMAS model. I say, let the scientists behind PIOMAS explain how their model works, along with its strengths and weaknesses, before we throw their data out.
    But to say the 75% is taken out of thin air is not fair.
    Also, any skeptic who thinks the volume numbers are bogus is free to make an alternative estimate (and publish it). Who knows? The real reduction might be 55%… or 85%…

    *I heard Stephen Schneider assert that, somewhere on YouTube. I don’t know if it’s true.

    REPLY: Uh, sorry, but no. See the comment from Scott two up from this one – Anthony

  75. clipe says:

    John Peter says:
    June 3, 2012 at 4:05 am

    I seem to recollect that someone asserted some time ago that things would look grimmer for The Guardian was it not for the large number of papers taken by the BBC every day.

    Didn’t Delingpole blog about this?

    There are signs that 2010 could be even worse than 2009. A change in Government after next year’s general election is likely to be disastrous for the Guardian’s revenue from public sector job adverts, on which it has long depended, as the Conservatives have strongly hinted they will save money by moving much of the advertising online.

    http://thinkinginriddles.wordpress.com/tag/hypocrisy/

  76. Sean says:

    Has anyone from the UK filed a complaint with the press commission yet?

  77. DDP says:

    ‘Facts’ supplied by Greenpeace. They could tell me my name, DOB, blood group an Army serial number and I would double check every one. Twice.

    The statement about all of the ‘summer ice will all be gone in X years’ is about as believable and almost as clichéd as ‘97% of scientists agree’. I’m still waiting for the monkeys to type me one work of William Shakespeare, I guess that will happen first.

  78. Bruce Cobb says:

    This should be good news for any group(s) planning to swim and/or paddle their way to the non-North Pole to “show” how much the ice has melted, and take random measurements of whatever ice they encounter, water temps, number of polar bears they spot, etc.
    Funny, I haven’t heard of any yet so far this year.

  79. Dave says:

    The thing that bothers me about this fault is we can fault the Guardian for reporting that is on the face of it very shoddy and IMHO deliberately misleading.

    However, I would have liked to see WUWT take the higher ground and not present the rebuttal in a method designed to minimise the impression of what is occurring to the extent during the summer melt.

    This to me creates a bad impression to someone who is seeking to understand the implications of CAGW for any of us on the sceptics side of the fence.

    Lets say someone uninformed read the Guardian article and suddenly gets all het up about how global warming is destroying the Arctic. They then find there way here and see this story. If they have any semblance of intelligence they will then dig further and find the current reality lies somewhere in between.

    This response to the Guardian article has underplayed what is happening to the summer minimum extent (perhaps not quite as badly as the Guardian has overplayed it).

    Both have mislead by omission. Both could lead to a degree of mistrust. WUWT has been and is a valuable source of information against the CAGW disinformation campaign. Its important that it continues to have the strongest credibility for thos who find their way here. Please consider this when drafting such responses.

  80. Mr.D.Imwit says:

    Phil Clarke says:
    “So a guy who has actually been there, collected and published data says the 75% figure is correct” …..
    Well if you are relying on this may I suggest you read,
    http://globalclimatefacts.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/peter-wadhams-contradicts-arctic-ice-extent-facts/
    We can all ‘Cherry Pick’ so called scientific papers and it amazes me that so many people believe them.
    An old quote from somewhere said something like this:-
    “Definition of an Expert”-Someone who admits that they know so little about the subject that so many of us profess they know so much about.
    Well if that’s true then where are the ‘Experts’ today.

  81. jorgekafkazar says:

    “…an article in the Guardian only a couple of weeks beforehand had pointed out that this simply isn’t the case.”

    Surely you don’t think Grauniad reporters are stupid enough to waste their time actually reading the thing, do you?

    DDP says: “‘Facts’ supplied by Greenpeace. They could tell me my name, DOB, blood group an Army serial number and I would double check every one. Twice.”

    Check your address, too. They know where you live, remember?

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/greenpeace-to-global-warming-skeptics-we-know-where-you-live.html

  82. Roy says:

    Some physicists believe in a theory of multiple universes and that anything that could possibly happen does happen somewhere. There may be a universe in which Hitler won the Second World War. There may even be a universe in which the Guardian’s predictions for the polar ice caps come true!

  83. Martin C says:

    TO ALL WHO MENTIONED THE 75% REDUCTION was calculated from the 1979 (or thereabouts) max to the 2011 September minimum:

    Do think it would have been ‘fair’ to see a report even just one month ago at the beginning of May, that stated the sea had currently more than TRIPLED in just 4 1/2 years since he minimum ice of 2007?
    ( . . minimum per IARC-JAXA graph in Sept 2007 around 4.2M km2 , at the beginning of May this year it was around 13M km2 . .).

    Do you think that the ‘alarmists’ wouldn’t have jumped all over that, claiming it’s totally false’, and the ‘skeptics’ are spreading likes? OR at the very least comment that it’s so WRONG to be so misleading because of the timeframes taken . . .

    So, how is this interpretation you are making about the 75 % loss any different?

    To me, that is being DISINGENIOUS BEYOND BELIEF . . .

  84. “…Last year saw sea-ice levels plummet to the second-lowest since records began…”

    And yet, failing to state that the LOWEST sea-ice levels were in 2007. We were supposed to see ever decreasing levels since then, yet 2008 through 2011 had not exceeded that minimum point.

  85. manicbeancounter says:

    The pre-eminent analyzer of Arctic sea-ice is the blogger Tamino. He says

    I’ve often discussed Arctic sea ice, and specifically mentioned that it’s one of the strongest evidences of global warming. All by itself it’s not absolute proof, but as evidence goes it’s strong. Very strong. It’s also an excellent litmus test to separate real skeptics from fake ones.

    Maybe, in the interests of objectivity and balance, he might invent a term of intolerance for those who exaggerate the melting of sea ice.

  86. pat says:

    Just came from a party with lots of libs. Everyone over the age of 30 thinks Obama, Hilary, EPA, etc. are climate nutcases. Delusional fools.I was shocked. They are not buying it anymore/ the more the alarmism, the more these idiots are disbelieved.

  87. Gail Combs says:

    Pointman says: @ June 3, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Last financial year end, the Guardian was running at a loss of £25 million pounds. With reporting like that, I look forward to next year’s numbers.
    ___________________________________
    Sounds like it is time to put a garlic coated silver stake through its heart and kill it for good.

  88. Bill Illis says:

    Cryosat2 measured the average sea thickness across the Arctic basin at 2.5 metres at the end of March 2012.

    http://i1-news.softpedia-static.com/images/news2/CryoSat-Releases-First-Sea-Ice-Thickness-Map-2.jpg

    The Icebridge radar overflights of the Arctic in late March 2012 measured the average sea ice thickness of the Western Arctic at 3.13 metres. and 3.57 metres above 80N.

    http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/312/warc2sithickicebridge20.png

    PIOMAS’ sea ice thickness is an average of 1.5 metres in March, 2012 so we should view PIOMAS as an unphysical model (which is really just a joke given that people are putting financial resources into it – talk about wasting public resources).

  89. Brian H says:

    pat;
    Do they resent being suckered?

  90. Myrrh says:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7139797.stm

    Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013′

    Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice.

    Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.

    Professor Wieslaw Maslowski told an American Geophysical Union meeting that previous projections had underestimated the processes now driving ice loss.

    Summer melting this year reduced the ice cover to 4.13 million sq km, the smallest ever extent in modern times.
    Remarkably, this stunning low point was not even incorporated into the model runs of Professor Maslowski and his team, which used data sets from 1979 to 2004 to constrain their future projections.

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

    ==========

    And when will it be warm enough for a skinny dip?

  91. manicbeancounter said (June 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm)

    “…The pre-eminent analyzer of Arctic sea-ice is the blogger Tamino…”

    Every time the name “Tamino” is mentioned, I think of several things:

    1. He has to hide who he really is, that way people won’t research him, and find out he’s really not a “climate scientist”.

    2. Compare the number of blog hits. OpenMind, unknown. WUWT, 116,717,186 views. And I’m sure that some of OpenMind’s regulars pop in here, just to see what’s up (and to gather material for his blog). It seems that more of his articles are “rebuttals” to what’s been posted here, than anything else. More people would see his response if he posted here.

    3. Look how he has to get his donations. “…You can help support this blog with a donation. Any amount is welcome, just click the button below. Note: it’ll say “Peaseblossom’s Closet” and the donation is for “Mistletoe” — that’s the right place…” Talk about Heartland hiding who their donors are.

    So I think I’ll believe what I see here, instead of listening to the residents of “Peaseblossom’s Closet”.

    BTW, come on here to refute or explain any of the above, Mistletoe. We sure can’t get heard over there…

  92. Duster says:

    henrythethird says:
    June 3, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    manicbeancounter said (June 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm)

    “…The pre-eminent analyzer of Arctic sea-ice is the blogger Tamino…”

    Every time the name “Tamino” is mentioned, I think of several things:

    1. He has to hide who he really is, that way people won’t research him, and find out he’s really not a “climate scientist”. …

    Just search the original climategate emails. Tamino is outed there.

  93. Ted says:

    The Guardian morally bankrupt and a financial cliff dangler. Just the way it would like the UK to be.

  94. Peter Miller says:

    It never fails to amaze me that almost nobody ever considers the effects of ocean salinity and man made soot on the Arctic ice pack.

    Salinity in the upper levels of the Arctic is the lowest of all the oceans, which simply means it freezes at higher temperatures than it would in other oceans. Tiny changes in salinity can have a major effect on the extent of the Arctic ice cap.

    Man made soot emissions, when landing on sea ice, or glaciers, obviously absorb more of the sun’s energy and are an aid to melting.

    Neither salinity, nor soot, are significant factors in the Antarctic, hence little or no change there in ice extent when compared to the Arctic.

    The Antarctic tells climate the way it is, the Arctic is manipulated by salinity and soot.

  95. ID deKlein says:

    Jarvis Cocker is best known for jumping on stage and simulating breaking wind during Michael Jackson’s performance of “Earth Song” at a major British music awards ceremony in 1996.

    For a more complete explanation:

  96. Some European says:

    For the record, I largely agree with Scott. I did write “the sloppy mingling of different measures in the article”. I just wouldn’t call the 75% number patently false. I say sloppy. Misleading at most.

  97. Phil Clarke says:

    TO ALL WHO MENTIONED THE 75% REDUCTION was calculated from the 1979 (or thereabouts) max to the 2011 September minimum:

    That is not the case. September 1979 to September 2011 shows a reduction in volume of 75%, the data is in the link I posted above. The minimum daily volume in 1979 was 16870 cubic km (maximum 33002), in 2011 it had declined to 4090.

  98. Jonathan Smith says:

    jones says:
    June 3, 2012 at 6:30 am In response to Alan the Brit

    Gentlemen,

    Thank you both for reminding me of one of the sweetest moments on television in recent history. Toynbee looked like she had been fed a sh*t sandwich as Richard Littlejohn (who I don’t normally like either) made public her hypocrisy. Even time that nasty little Marxist opens her mouth that clip should be played in the background.
    Also, the Guardian and BBC environment ‘journalists’ have even more in common than I thought as none of them have a science degree between them.

    JS

    PS For our American cousins, have a read of the comments posted against stories in the environment section of the Guardian to see what we in Europe are up against.

  99. Olaf Koenders says:

    .. Aaaaaaand.. we need sea ice for wot, exactly – sinking another Titanic mayhaps? Oh.. right! We need a vast expanse of uninhabitable death-zone for Greenies to cry over if it vanishes and, in the meantime, to cry about in case it does. Notably, no greenies live there and I don’t believe polar bears like living there either, but seals and fish can only be caught at the water’s edge, which is why there are no polar bears at the pole, or greenies for that matter..

    REPLY: Without getting into a long discussion, it provides an important part of Earth’s temperature regulation – Anthony

  100. Jonathan Smith says:

    Phil Clarke says:
    June 4, 2012 at 1:34 am
    This is a quote from the link you provided:

    ‘The data that Prof. Slingo rejected are part of PIOMAS, which is held in high regard, not only by me, but also by many experts in the field.’

    PIOMAS stands for Pan-Arctic Ice-Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System so the question is: what does it output, data or the results of modelling?

    Regards,

    JS

  101. ID deKlein says:

    Thanks Alan the Brit / Jonathan Smith.
    I found a clip of Littlejohn vs. Toynbee on youtube:

    It’s got 111 dislikes. Obviously Guardian readers don’t like the hypocrisy of its wealthier journalists pointed out to them.

  102. Egan Energy says:

    Thanks to all the comments I am now more enlightened about the FACT!

  103. Mat L says:

    C’mon Anthony, you lose credibility when you start comparing sea ice extent with a volume metric and saying they don’t match. Fair enough if you missed this when writing the article, but now it has been pointed out to you, it’s disingenuous not to update your post/ graph.

    REPLY: Two things

    1. I’m not convinced that the 75% loss number cited by Guardian reflected volume. I read it as extent from the beginning. Commenter Scott points out:

    For those defending the 75% number by claiming it is volume…how can you argue that they’re using volume when you consider the sentences after it:

    Of the Arctic sea ice, 75% has been lost over the past 30 years. Last year saw sea-ice levels plummet to the second-lowest since records began. It is estimated that the North Pole could be ice-free in the summer within the next 10-20 years.

    If they were talking about volume, then last year was the LOWEST, not second lowest. Thus, if they’re talking about modeled volume (at the summer minimum), then the second sentence is wrong. If they’re talking about extent, then the first sentence is massively wrong. And if they’re talking about area, then I’d say both of the first two sentences are wrong. If they’re talking about times other than the minimum, then they’re wrong regardless of the metric. If they’re comparing maxima to minima, that’s just disingenuous.

    And the observant reader might notice I included the third sentence in the quote too. Why? Because it shows their bias. If they’re mentioning the ice being gone at the north pole in 10-20 years, why didn’t they also say that it was predicted to be gone at the north pole in 2008? That’s like saying Harold Camping is making an end-of-world prediction for 2020 while failing to mention is past.

    Sorry, but there doesn’t seem to be a way out of it…a pretty poor report no matter how you slice it.

    2. Even if it did reflect volume via PIOMASS, Bill Illis points out:

    Cryosat2 measured the average sea thickness across the Arctic basin at 2.5 metres at the end of March 2012.

    http://i1-news.softpedia-static.com/images/news2/CryoSat-Releases-First-Sea-Ice-Thickness-Map-2.jpg

    The Icebridge radar overflights of the Arctic in late March 2012 measured the average sea ice thickness of the Western Arctic at 3.13 metres. and 3.57 metres above 80N.

    http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/312/warc2sithickicebridge20.png

    PIOMAS’ sea ice thickness is an average of 1.5 metres in March, 2012 so we should view PIOMAS as an unphysical model (which is really just a joke given that people are putting financial resources into it – talk about wasting public resources).

  104. Scott says:

    Some European says:
    June 4, 2012 at 1:28 am

    For the record, I largely agree with Scott. I did write “the sloppy mingling of different measures in the article”. I just wouldn’t call the 75% number patently false. I say sloppy. Misleading at most.

    For the record, I largely agree with Some European. The reason for this is that I prefer to take the most conservative and forgiving approach when arguing against the unreasonables–that way they can say nothing against our high ground and are forced to defend their position rather than attack ours. There is enough stuff wrong with the Guardian article that there’s no reason to try to bolster our argument by only looking at extent/area.

    -Scott

  105. Scott says:

    Mat L says:
    June 4, 2012 at 6:14 am

    C’mon Anthony, you lose credibility when you start comparing sea ice extent with a volume metric and saying they don’t match. Fair enough if you missed this when writing the article, but now it has been pointed out to you, it’s disingenuous not to update your post/ graph.

    And did you miss that the very next sentence in the Guardian article says that last year was the 2nd-lowest on record? Given that next sentence, it is clear that (a) they were talking about extent, or (b) they had no idea what they were talking about.

    -Scott

  106. Alex Heyworth says:

    I blame the universities for the appalling standards of modern journalism. Some very witty person recently remarked that universities first became post-modern. Then they became post-numerate. Then post-literate. They are now rapidly becoming post-sentient.

    The current batch of journalists seem mostly to have been at university in the period spanning the post-numerate and post-literate stages. I shudder at the prospect of journalists of the post-sentient variety.

  107. Phil Clarke says:

    PIOMAS stands for Pan-Arctic Ice-Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System so the question is: what does it output, data or the results of modelling?

    I think ‘processed data’ is the best description. There’s an excellent description of PIOMAS, with links to the literature, discussion of uncertainties, validation, calibration etc at Realclimate ..

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/04/arctic-sea-ice-volume-piomas-prediction-and-the-perils-of-extrapolation/

    Exerpt :- We have also compared PIOMAS estimates with measurements from ICESat and conducted a number of model sensitivity studies. As a result of this evaluation our conservative estimates of the uncertainty of the linear ice volume trend from 1979-present is about 30%. While there is lots to do in improving both measurements and models to reduce the uncertainty in modeled ice volume, we can also say with great confidence that the decline in observed ice thickness is not just an effect of measurement sampling and that the total sea ice volume has been declining over the past 32 years at astonishing rates (for instance a 75% reduction in September volume from 1979 to 2011).

    Now I don’t totally agree with the Greenpeace/Guardian choice of presenting just 75% as this is taken from the month showing the greatest loss (the mean is around 66%), though one could argue that for albedo changes this is the important number. However it is also clear that it makes no sense to try and rebut that number, which is a three-dimensional quantity, with figures for the change in extent, ignoring the changes in thickness. That really is ‘patently false’.

    REPLY: Sorry Phil, wrong again. They were clearly talking about extent in the article, not volume, and PIOMASS as a model is not in line with measured Cryosat and overfly data. I’m still convinced that you are being paid to write this stuff by some NGO. – Anthony

  108. Phil Clarke says:

    Bill Illis Cryosat2 measured the average sea thickness across the Arctic basin at 2.5 metres at the end of March 2012.

    Bill – your link is to a January/February map, and I am not sure one can do a good estimate of the average by eyeballing pixels. Do you have a link to the actual March data?

  109. Phil Clarke says:

    They were clearly talking about extent in the article, not volume,

    Well, here is my reasoning …

    The relevant quote is Of the Arctic sea ice, 75% has been lost over the past 30 years. Last year saw sea-ice levels plummet to the second-lowest since records began. It is estimated that the North Pole could be ice-free in the summer within the next 10-20 years.

    plus <Source: Greenpeace

    Nothing about whether the 75% refers to extent or volume. However, what do Greenpeace say?

    In 30 years we’ve lost 75% of the Arctic sea ice [...] In 1979, at its lowest point, there were 16,855 cubic kilometres of Arctic sea ice. In 2011 that had dropped to 4,017 – a little over a quarter of that original figure.

    http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/30-years-weve-lost-75-arctic-sea-ice-20120210

    So fairly clearly, Greenpeace’s 75% figure refers to volume, measured in cubic km. Follow the link from that source and it takes you to the PIOMAS page where they write

    Monthly averaged ice volume for September 2011 was 4,200 km3. This value is 66% lower than the mean over this period, 75% lower than the maximum in 1979, and 2.0 standard deviations below the 1979-2011 trend.

    If you don’t like modelled results, Professor Peter Wadhams, who has resarched and published widely on the Arctic ice, testified to the UK parliament that observed ice thickness showed the same rate as the model

    On a previous occasion (21 February) I testified to the Committee and showed them the results of submarine measurements of ice thickness combined with satellite observations of ice retreat. When these two datasets are combined , they demonstrate beyond doubt that the volume of sea ice in the Arctic has seriously diminished over the past 40 years, by about 75% in the case of the late summer volume.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmenvaud/writev/1739/arc26.htm

  110. Anthony Watts says:

    Phil, while Wadham’s claim is possibly representative, it contrasts with the US Navy PIPS model

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/29/arctic-ice-volume-has-increased-25-since-may-2008/

    The Navy has to get things right, or people die, so I’m inclined to trust them more than some academic who can be wrong without consequence, or a money hungry NGO like Greenpeace, that uses alarm and panic to generate revenue.

    Wadham makes no citation of submarine data, other than an appeal to authority:

    From my position of somebody who has studied the Arctic for many years and has been actively participating in submarine measurements of the Arctic ice thickness since 1976, it seems extraordinary to me that for Prof. Slingo can effectively rule out these PIOMAS data

    You, Wadham, and your co-horts love PIOMAS because it fits with your meme. Met Office director Julia Slingo, a warmer herself, doesn’t think much of it and neither do I. The article remains as is, and is valid in its criticism because:

    1. Guardian made no mention of volume. The entire article is sloppy.
    2. PIOMAS isn’t definitive. It is a “no consequence if wrong” model
    3. Extent doesn’t support 75% loss, neither does Navy PIPS.

    Stop wasting my and everyone else’s valuable time with your diversions. The Guardian did a crappy job, they were wrong, and if you want to cite Greenpeace as a source, then I think that fits in line with what I have long suspected – you are a paid shill for them or for some related NGO, making your points no better than The Guardian’s citation.

  111. Jace F says:

    pulp fiction

  112. Phil Clarke says:

    AW : Wadham (sic) makes no citation of submarine data, other than an appeal to authority:

    No, that is not the case. Read to the end of Wadhams’ testimony, he gives references, here they are:-

    References

    Kwok, R., and D. A. Rothrock ( 2009 ), Decline in Arctic sea ice thickness from submarine and ICESat records: 1958- 2008, Geophys. Res. Lett ., 36, L15501.

    Maslowsky, W., J. Haynes, R. Osinski, W Shaw (2011). The importance of oceanic forcing on Arctic sea ice melting. European Geophysical Union congress paper XY556. See also Proceedings, State of the Arctic 2010, NSIDC.

    Perovich, D.K., J.A. Richter-Menge, K.F. Jones, and B. Light (2008). Sunlight, water, ice: Extreme Arctic sea ice melt during the summer of 2007. Geophysical Research Letters 35: L11501. doi: 10.1029/2008GL034007 .

    Rothrock, D.A., Y. Yu, and G.A. Maykut. (1999). Thinning of the Arctic sea-ice cover . Geophysical Research Letters 26: 3469–3472.

    Rothrock, D.A., J. Zhang, and Y. Yu. (2003). The arctic ice thickness anomaly of the 1990s: A consistent view from observations and models. Journal of Geophysical Research 108: 3083. doi: 10.1029/2001JC001208 .

    Shakhova, N. and I. Semiletov (2012). Methane release from the East-Siberian Arctic Shelf and its connection with permafrost and hydrate destabilization: First results and potential future development. Geophys. Res., Vol. 14, EGU2012-3877-1.

    Wadhams, P. (1990). Evidence for thinning of the Arctic ice cover north of Greenland. Nature 345: 795–797.

    Wadhams, P., and N.R. Davis. (2000). Further evidence of ice thinning in the Arctic Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters 27: 3973–3975.

    Wadhams, P., and N.R. Davis (2001). Arctic sea-ice morphological characteristics in summer 1996. Annals of Glaciology 33: 165–170.

    Wadhams, P., N Hughes and J Rodrigues (2011). Arctic sea ice thickness characteristics in winter 2004 and 2007 from submarine sonar transects. J. Geophys. Res., 116, C00E02.

    Dr Walt Meir discussed the differences between PIOMAS and PIPS 2.0 in a guest post, in which he pointed out that it had never actually been validated for thickness … http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/13/nsidcs-dr-walt-meier-on-pips-vs-piomas/

    REPLY: Citing papers is not data. He made no mention of data values in his testimony, simply citing percentages and model estimates, trying to link them with other papers, that’s what I’m referring to. I didn’t find it convincing. And yes I’m well aware of Walt’s guest post, but again, I trust the military operational model over the academic models for the reason I cited.

    I will put a note in my system though for this prediction he made:

    “…it can be easily seen that the summer sea ice will disappear by about 2016 (plus or minus about 3 years).”

    Zwally’s ice free prediction is up in less than 3 months. I suspect he’ll fail.

    Added: Wadhams really is quite the alarmist, saying (bold mine):

    It is accepted science that global warming will increase the intensity of extreme weather events, so more heavy winds and more intense storms can be expected to increasingly break up the remaining ice, both mechanically and by enhancing ocean heat transfer to the under-ice surface.

    It is NOT accepted science. It is fabricated alarmism. I call bullshit on the man, and his testimony. That goes for you too Mr. Clarke.

    -Anthony

  113. Glenn says:

    Phil Clarke says:
    June 4, 2012 at 7:36 am

    “However, what do Greenpeace say?
    “In 30 years we’ve lost 75% of the Arctic sea ice [...] In 1979, at its lowest point, there were 16,855 cubic kilometres of Arctic sea ice. In 2011 that had dropped to 4,017 – a little over a quarter of that original figure.”

    16,855 square kilometers pretty much fills the Arctic. Forgive my lack of math skills, but doesn’t 16,855 cubic kilometers mean an average of a kilometer thick icecover? I find that hard to believe.

  114. Ed Barbar says:

    Anthony, the post I made is one of a number of instances I seem to recall in which apples and oranges are being mixed. The sea ice area is not proof in and of itself the Guardian junk article is incorrect, since they could be talking about sea ice volume. So in my view, “Proof” is too strong a word for sea ice area. I’m glad to see Julia Sligo’s comment regarding sea ice volume, and taken together provides very strong evidence the Guardian article is bogus (I think it is).

    In reading through some of the articles, I’ve seen comparisons that aren’t always apples to apples, and while the points tend to be clear, they leave a bit of wiggle room I, as a skeptic to the point I doubt catastrophic global warming, makes me feel uncomfortable. I personally would prefer equally strong worded points that don’t reach too far.

    Meanwhile, having read this blog for years now, I’m really appreciative of all the work that goes into trying to understand the holes in the “consensus” thinking. Needless to say, if catastrophic global warming is a reality, it would change the world in unimaginably bad ways. However, I personally would rather see very strong arguments that stand on their own.

  115. Brian H says:

    Ed Barbar says:
    June 5, 2012 at 4:07 am

    Needless to say, if catastrophic global warming is a reality, it would change the world in unimaginably bad ways.

    That’s the kind of verbal tail-chasing on which the whole Scario Scenario is based. “If warming is catastrophic, it will be a catastrophe!” Well, yeah. Say what?

    There is zero historical evidence for harm from warming, and much evidence of benefit. The egregious extrapolations that underlie CAGW are spun out of whole cloth, and are patently targeted at highjacking the world’s economic and political power centers.

  116. Bill Tuttle says:

    Ed Barbar says:
    June 5, 2012 at 4:07 am
    Needless to say, if catastrophic global warming is a reality, it would change the world in unimaginably bad ways.

    Catastrophic global *cooling* — i.e., a return to full-blown glaciation — would change the world in even worse ways. A “catastrophic” rise of 0.1⁰C per decade should put us about where the Holocene Optimum was in another three hundred years…

  117. Phil Clarke says:

    Ed Barbar:- The sea ice area is not proof in and of itself the Guardian junk article is incorrect, since they could be talking about sea ice volume.

    Given that the Guardian fact of a 75% decrease over 30 years is sourced to Greenpeace and that organisation talk of a 75% decrease in minimum summer volume over 30 years, either the Guardian meant ice volume – or this is the coincidence to end all coincidences!

    Incidentally those who favour the Navy PIPS forecasting model over PIOMAS may be interested in this paper by Pamela Posey et al from the Oeanography Division of the Navy Research Lab.

    http://www.nrl.navy.mil/content_images/09_Ocean_Posey.pdf

    It only covers 2000-2008 however it details a steady decline in ice volume totalling 35% in the central Arctic and a ‘similar decreasing pattern’ in the Eastern and Western regions. Seems to me a 35% decrease over 8 years is not inconsistent with a 75% decline in 30.

    So whether you use PIOMAS, PIPS or observational data the ice volume certainly has declined substantially in recent decades.

  118. Turboblocke says:

    Glenn says:
    June 4, 2012 at 6:12 pm”…16,855 square kilometers pretty much fills the Arctic. Forgive my lack of math skills, but doesn’t 16,855 cubic kilometers mean an average of a kilometer thick icecover? I find that hard to believe.”

    So you should: it’s about 16 million square kilometers at maximum extent

  119. PaulB says:

    I’ve read this thread with some care. And it seems that the Guardian’s “ridiculous” and “patently false” claim that 75% of the Arctic sea ice has been lost over 30 years is in fact true, if you take as your measure the well-regarded PIOMASS estimate of the annual minimum volume. The report is therefore neither “ridiculous” nor “patently false” – you may prefer a different estimate, but that doesn’t permit you this level of disdain. I ask Anthony Watts to correct his error at the top of this article.

  120. Carrick says:

    What I said on Nick’s blog applies here too:

    The uncertainties [in volume] are large. The interannual variation in the minimum is large. Saying “75%” in a news report without qualification is misleading and should have been avoided by better vetting of the article

    Bad journalism shouldn’t be defended by defending statements that remain only technically true but are still bad journalism as they remain grossly misleading. (Still why are we spending so much time on something that appeared in the MUSIC section of the Guardian?)

  121. Scott says:

    Phil Clarke says:
    June 5, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Given that the Guardian fact of a 75% decrease over 30 years is sourced to Greenpeace and that organisation talk of a 75% decrease in minimum summer volume over 30 years, either the Guardian meant ice volume – or this is the coincidence to end all coincidences!

    Yet their very next sentence says last year was the second lowest on record. PIOMAS modeled volume last year was the lowest on record, whereas extent was indeed the second lowest on record. So I could just as easily state that the Guardian meant ice extent or it was the “coincidence to end all coincidences!” In reality, I’m of the opinion that the Guardian had absolutely no idea what they were talking about and just restated what they read from a variety of sources, some PIOMAS and some extent, having no idea what the differences between the various metrics are. And while I don’t agree the approach chosen at WUWT to call out this poorly written Guardian article, it’s no less silly than people defending the Guardian’s claim by saying it’s referring to volume when the very next sentence in the article clearly contradicts a volume-based number.

    And…

    PaulB says:
    June 5, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I’ve read this thread with some care. And it seems that the Guardian’s “ridiculous” and “patently false” claim that 75% of the Arctic sea ice has been lost over 30 years is in fact true, if you take as your measure the well-regarded PIOMASS estimate of the annual minimum volume. The report is therefore neither “ridiculous” nor “patently false” – you may prefer a different estimate, but that doesn’t permit you this level of disdain. I ask Anthony Watts to correct his error at the top of this article.

    Paul, while I agree that WUWT’s level of “disdain” is inappropriate, I serious doubt your claim about reading the thread wish “some care”. If you’d had, you wouldn’t think it was silly that Anthony preferred “a different estimate”, when clearly the Guardian itself prefers the extent measure as given by the very next sentence in its article! Apparently your reading with “some care” missed that the article HAS to be wrong, because it can only be correct if sentence 1 was talking about volume estimates while sentence 2 was talking about extent measurements. As far as the volume estimates being “well-regarded”, that may be true, but it appears you don’t even regard it well enough to get the acronym correct. So my guess is that you aren’t as knowledgable on the subject as most of the people here and you were just trolling.

    Regards,

    -Scott

  122. PaulB says:

    Scott, we all make mistakes. Naturally I apologise for my typo, and I’m relieved that you weren’t misled. Meanwhile, you seem to have imagined my saying that it would be silly to prefer a different estimate.

    I do not say that the Guardian in this case has been exemplary in the precision of its reporting. I say that it’s claim is not “ridiculous”, it’s not “patently false”, and it’s not a “blunder”.

    Since you are concerned with precision in these matters, you might like to note that Anthony Watts has not only got all these things wrong, he’s also misreported the name of his chief witness, Julia Slingo . And Slingo did not say that the 75% reduction is “not credible”, she said that it’s “inconsistent with our estimates”.

    Whereas the Guardian has been characteristically sloppy, this article is plain wrong. If Anthony Watts is more concerned with truth than polemic, he should correct it.

  123. Scott says:

    PaulB says:
    June 5, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Whereas the Guardian has been characteristically sloppy, this article is plain wrong. If Anthony Watts is more concerned with truth than polemic, he should correct it

    This article is no more wrong than the Guardian one. I’d actually say it’s been less so. I guess that’s just the differences in our respective biases.

    In reality, anyone interested in the “truth” wouldn’t take the Guardian’s or WUWT’s statements on these matters as fact and instead would look at the available data and models themselves.

    -Scott

  124. Brian H says:

    Scott says:
    June 6, 2012 at 5:02 am

    In reality, anyone interested in the “truth” wouldn’t take the Guardian’s or WUWT’s statements on these matters as fact and instead would look at the available data and models themselves.

    But as a first approximation, or if you don’t have time to do the independent research, your odds of being right by taking WUWT’s word vs. the Grauniad’s are about 50:1.

  125. scepticalwombat says:

    There has been very little change in maximum ice cover in the Arctic. This means that when the sun isn’t shining the ice is there to slow down the rate at which the Ocean loses heat to space. There has however been significant reduction of ice in the Summer and Autumn when the sun is shining so that the Ocean is able to absorb radiation which would otherwise be reflected out to space by the ice.

    If instead of graphing average ice extent over the year Gleick had graphed minimum extent (or better still minimum area, which is more relevant for albedo) then Anthony would not have had to use up nearly so much screen space at the bottom of the graph.

  126. John Brookes says:

    Hmm. If someone spoke to me about amount of ice, I’d think volume first, and other measures later.

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