Thinning Arctic Ice; More Al Gore Aided and Abetted Misinformation?

Guest post by Dr.Tim Ball

Al Gore did more to bring melting Arctic ice to global attention and concern than anyone. Polar bears became victims and poster animals for destructive human production of CO2. He’s done more than most in creating false ideas and images for his political and economic agenda.

When asked what’s wrong with global warming people usually hesitate for some time, then say glaciers will melt and sea level will rise. That’s probably why Gore made it a major part of his movie. To add emotion to fear the demise of polar bears was threatened. People were easily fooled because few know anything about the Arctic Ocean and the ice conditions.

The Arctic Ocean, a thin line across the top of most world maps is over 14 million km2 (compare US 9.8 million km2). Every year an area equal to the US melts and refreezes and based on a record that began in 1980 (satellite launch 1978 but useable data took 2 years) we presumably can determine the true amount and variations. Gore likely knew people wouldn’t grasp the size of areas involved so added polar bears and the threat of thinning – “thin ice” is a well known danger sign.

clip_image002

Now alarmists use summer 2012 melt to bolster their failed anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis. As usual information is selective, limited and mostly wrong. Only the lowest area estimate was reported when the range from different agencies was over 1 million km2 or 25 percent. Again thinning was added for increased emphasis.

They claimed air temperatures were higher, but it depends on what sector; Alaska and the Bering Sea had record winds, ice and cold. Even the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), the primary source of information for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said a four sector approach was necessary.

But which ice is thinner this year and why? Is it the 10 million km2 of new ice formed every year or the old or semi-permanent pack ice? What determines ice thickness?

The entire pack slowly rotates round the Pole driven by the polar easterlies, but location and break up are affected by wind patterns, which some already knew, but NASA finally acknowledged caused the changes in 2007 and again in 2012. This resulted in greater variation of ice amounts from 2007 on as the anomaly diagram shows, although the rate of loss leveled.

clip_image004

Source: (After) http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png

The original claim of thinner ice was determined by comparing two Sets of submarine derived measures. The first Set was from USS Nautilus in August 1958 to HMS Sovereign in 1976. Then in 1992, as the global warming scare was growing, more under-ice runs were obtained. It was done to provide further evidence of the AGW hypothesis. However, in both Sets they weren’t measuring thickness. The scientists had no say in the data and how it was recorded. They had to take what the submariners were recording and like pilots need to know the height of the land they need to know how far down the ice extended.

clip_image006

Source: http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-stories/under-arctic-ice

The photo of the bottom of Arctic ice shows it’s not level as most expect. In the study downward extending ice was called a keel. “To qualify as a keel, an ice draft must be at least twice as deep as the local minimum draft measured from an the undeformed (sic) ice, it must be the deepest draft among all local drafts, and it must be deeper than 5.0 m.” They concluded, “Several errors can occur because of the limitations of the data, collection hardware, and methods selected to do the processing. Studies of the magnitude of errors in data gathered by upward-looking sonar systems indicate a 5% cumulative error and an absolute error of 0.3 to 0.5m.”

These are only part of the problem;

A substantial effort was spent filtering and attempting to recover useful information from these data sets. The data had frequent ‘dropouts’ or sections of missing data. Additionally, the speed information which was critical for determining distance was often corrupted. Obvious errors were removed but questionable data remained which could effect the results.”

But what do they conclude?

“In summary, ice draft in the 1990s is over a meter thinner than two to four decades earlier. The mean draft has decreased from over 3 meters to under 2 meters”. It’s approximately a 1 meter change, but the error is 0.5 meter.

However, they’re not measuring ice thickness but ice draft, the amount of ice below the water line. This varies with snow load, which is reportedly higher because of the warmer open water area in 2012. Other problems include that the first Set was done in the cold period from 1940 to 1975 the second in the warmer period of the 1990s. Measurements were taken in different months, in different areas, with different equipment, one with narrow and the other wide beam sonar. But how did they get the second Set of data when, because of Cold War activities, especially Soviet submarines tracking under the ice, data gathered by US submarines was top secret and inaccessible?

The key was Senator Al Gore, a powerful politician totally committed to the global warming scam since he arranged NASA GISS director James Hansen’s appearance before Congress in 1988. By 1992 he was Chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology responsible for NASA and apparently with authority to create another deceptive piece in the global warming puzzle.

In 1992 the US Navy (USN) approved the boundaries of an area within which environmental data from Arctic submarine exercises could be released. It was called the “Gore Box” by the USN, so there is little doubt of the origin.

clip_image008

The Gore Box

Water temperature is more important than air temperature in determining ice formation and thickness, but it’s also a factor in determining the overlying air temperature. Arctic air receives heat energy passing through the ice from the water that never drops below -1.6°C, as illustrated in the approximate energy budget schematic.

clip_image010

Source: Oliver and Hidore, Climatology: An Introduction (1984).

Melt on the underside of the ice mostly determines thickness and varies with water temperature. This is transported into the Arctic Basin primarily by the North Atlantic Drift with an estimated 8 Sverdrups (8 million m3 per second).

clip_image012

Source: SEARCH Science Steering Committee, Draft SEARCH Science Plan, Polar Science Center, University of Washington, Seattle, 2000.

In recent years increasing meridional flow caused more north/south flow. As a result there was a greater influx of warmer water, especially in 2012 in the sector affected by the North Atlantic drift. The heavy ice blocking the Bering Straits would also have kept more of the warmer water within the Arctic Basin.

The so-called permanent pack ice for late summer 2012 shows how it is protected by the Greenland and the Canadian archipelago. The amount of thinning showed the effect of influx of warmer water.

clip_image014clip_image016

The pattern and extent of ice and thinning reflects the warm water influx.

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

There are similar, albeit more extreme, examples in the historic record. On November 20th, 1817 the President of the Royal Society, London,wrote to the Admiralty:

“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 remark was made two years after the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora and in the middle of the Dalton Minimum (1790-1830). In 1992 we organized a conference titled, The Year Without a Summer? World Climate in 1816 at the National Museum of Natural Sciences, Ottawa to examine the eruption, its impact on circulation and resulting weather patterns. Global temperatures were reduced, but not uniformly because an extreme meridional north/south wind pattern developed. It explains the ice conditions reported by the Royal Society that parallel those from 2007 but more dramatically in 2012. There is little doubt the ice would have been thinner because it’s primarily a function of wind and the influx of warm water, not the temperature. Maybe Al Gore, whose credibility is on very thin ice, can explain how polar bears survived the 1817 conditions or any of the other variations of weather and ice in the historic record.

 

About these ads

57 thoughts on “Thinning Arctic Ice; More Al Gore Aided and Abetted Misinformation?

  1. “The heavy ice blocking the Bering Straits would also have kept more of the warmer water within the Arctic Basin.”

    You nailed it…

  2. Tim

    Thanks for the very interesting article. I was carrying out research at the archives of the Scott Polar institute in Cambridge last week for my next article on historic variations in Arctic ice.

    I noted this;

    ‘Observational data of the drifting station 1950-51-by M Somov
    Volume 1 of 3 of this Russian north pole station on an ice floe

    Middle of june onwards ‘the melting of the snow and ice took place very quickly although the air temperature remained close to freezing’

    ‘the sun shone…could walk about without a coat…some even tried to get a sun tan.’

    ‘because of the thaw an enormous amount of water accumulated on the ice’

    ‘walking was only possible if one wore high rubber boots reaching above the knees’ (because of the water sitting on the ice.”

    ‘many problems because of the thawing.’

    The account described how later in the season some high spots became dry and these were little hillocks in a sea of icy water sitting on solid ice.

    Reading through the archives it is clear that the Arctic ice extent is obviously greatly affected by how sunny it is, by storms, rip tides, winds. Much of the water is actually sitting on ice.

    How on earth do Satellites reliably determine what is ice, what is water and what is water sitting on ice? Are they seeing merely the ‘high spots that become dry?’

    tonyb

  3. I’m sorry, but this article is full of errors! e.g. “Arctic air receives heat energy passing through the ice from the water that never drops below -1.6°C” … where did that temp come from? The freezing temp of sea water depends on it’s salinity which is not uniform across the Arctic!

    REPLY: You’ve only pointed out what you believe to be one, where’s the rest? -A

  4. Another error is the claim that the satellite record isn’t available pre-1980. The data provided by NSIDC (and shown in the graph in this article) start on October 26th, 1978.

  5. Zeke Tim didn’t say the data wasn’t available he said it took two years to get usable data.

  6. Thanks Dr. Ball.
    I shall have to take quite some time to digest all of your information, but as always it looks good and the “nit pickers” are busy – that is always a good sign telling me there is not much wrong with your article.

  7. Zeke Hausfather says:
    October 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Try actually reading the article next time.

    “Every year an area equal to the US melts and refreezes and based on a record that began in 1980 (satellite launch 1978 but useable data took 2 years) ”

    It says nothing about there being no data, it says instead that there is no useable data prior to 1980.

  8. 1. Thanks Tony B. I recall later on in the Cold War a Russian ice station drifted into American and then Canadian waters. It raised a question about intrusion into foreign territory because of the sector division boundaries that simply extended land based borders to the Pole. As I recall the ruling was that the station was Russian because it was built when the ice was in their water.

    I agree with you totally about the nature of arctic ice and overlying melt water sometimes called freshets and spoke to the problem here:

    http://drtimball.com/2012/2012-arctic-ice-melt-claims-distorted-and-inaccurate-its-the-wind-stupid/

    2. I am well aware of the issue about Arctic water temperature and salinity because in tracking Soviet submarines we used to drop devices (bathythermographs) to determine water temperature with depth. This was necessary to determine the layering in which acoustics provided the best opportunity for detection.

    I am aware the Arctic is the least salty of the oceans because of low evaporation rates and the influx of freshwater from the Russian rivers and the Mackenzie. I chose to simply say that the water must be at least warmer than -1.6°C, the temperature at which average ocean salinity water freezes.

  9. No matter what anyone says water is the climate “controller” – it is the only substance capable of transferring significant amounts of energy because it is the only substance which flows around as ocean currents and it is the only significant substance undergoing phase change associated with significant amounts of energy.

    How gasses at 1/1000 th of the density of water or soils are supposed to transfer any significant energy remains an unanswered question.

    Claiming radiation doesn’t care about its propogation and radiation from cold objects can (somehow) warm warmer objects does not meet any obligation to demonstrate the energy transfer disparity.

    Q = m X Cp X deltaT still applies – we KNOW it does no matter what radiation theory may claim – and with the atmosphere at such a low density the piddling energy transfer from atmosphere to surface becomes negligible especially when the bulk of the atmosphere is almost always cooler than the surface even at the poles.

  10. The satellite visuals are clear: since 1979 the ice covers less area now than it did prior to 2006, and since 2006 it has see-sawed with larger variations than before between 1979 and 2006. If it weren’t for the larger variation, without doubt due to the loss of multiyear ice, we would be saying that Arctic ice loss has halted since ’06.

    Spin it or not, there is a substantial and obvious ice loss. But what does this mean? Is it “unprecedented” when there are clear signs that the Arctic has lost much of its ice at various times over the last few thousand years without A-CO2? No. But you cannot argue away the loss of nearshore ice: it’s real.

    The INCREASE of Antarctic ice is a real stumbling block for a global warming theory that says the changes are global. If the Arctic is a taken to reflect a global, not regional change, then you should be able to say that the Antarctic could equally be taken to reflect a global, not regional change. Like the two men in Hyde Park claiming to be Jesus, AT LEAST one of these positions must be wrong, and probably both are (as simplistic examples of both the nature and the extent of global changes, that is).

    Al Gore reminds me of the polar bears I encountered in Churchill: in videos they are cute, cuddly posterchildren of sweetness and altruism, but on the ground they are scary animals with their own agendas prepared to eat not just your lunch but you, should you stand in their way. But that doesn’t mean we can whine away the Arctic ice melt. Our skeptical theories do indicate a reversal of (temperature) fortunes for Big Al around 2015, however, so what we have to do is point to the Antarctic, ask why the oceans aren’t rising as they were forecast (which means Greenland isn’t melting much as well as Antarctica) and hang tough. And steer clear of Al’s investment advice.

  11. “In recent years increasing meridional flow caused more north/south flow. As a result there was a greater influx of warmer water, especially in 2012 in the sector affected by the North Atlantic drift.”

    The first sentence in this statement is not clear to me. I don’t understand what flowed differently, and how that caused the “result” (greater influx of warmer water).

    Gerry Parker

  12. This article is full of misinformation and for the most part avoids giving any data on the present situation.
    For example:
    As usual information is selective, limited and mostly wrong. Only the lowest area estimate was reported when the range from different agencies was over 1 million km2 or 25 percent. Again thinning was added for increased emphasis.

    Yes the different agencies show somewhat different numbers because they measure different quantities, for example some measure area and some measure extent. However they all show record lows for 2012, something Ball implies they don’t.
    You can check that out here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

    In recent years increasing meridional flow caused more north/south flow. As a result there was a greater influx of warmer water, especially in 2012 in the sector affected by the North Atlantic drift. The heavy ice blocking the Bering Straits would also have kept more of the warmer water within the Arctic Basin.

    So there is an influx of warm water which is thinning the ice, so it is thinning after all? But what is this ‘heavy ice blocking the Bering Straits’, are we supposed to believe that the Bering Straits were blocked by ice this year? It certainly wasn’t.
    The US Navy shows no more than a couple of meters thick last winter.

    Also he distorts the historical record, for example:
    There are similar, albeit more extreme, examples in the historic record. On November 20th, 1817 the President of the Royal Society, London,wrote to the Admiralty:

    “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.”

    Yes, the “impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated”, relative to what it had formerly be but the implication is that it abated to levels like today’s. However, the Royal Navy acted on that advice and sent a two ship expedition to sail between Greenland and Spitsbergen towards the North Pole. The expedition was unable to reach beyond 80º 34’N, the Dorothea was so severely damaged that they were forced to return to England. Unfortunately the RN found west of Spitsbergen “The ships were here hemmed in, in almost the same position where Baffin, Hudson, Poole, Captain Phipps, and all the early voyagers to this quarter had been stopped.” So much for the abatement!

  13. The problem with attributing Arctic sea ice melt to ocean currents is these should affect sea ice all year round, whereas the melt is clearly a summer effect from 2007 onwards.

    In 4 out of the 5 winters since 2007, the winter sea ice has almost reached the satellite era average. Which means amongst other things that we are seeing record winter ice formation.

    It’s hard to see how there could be any other cause than increased solar insolation (combined with BC albedo changes).

  14. Does anyone know when we can expect an update/resolution to the Mann v. Ball case?

    I am looking forward to cruelly mocking Mann, as he well deserves.

  15. Darn that history thing. If only we could somehow do away with all that old information. Seems to me that both sides of this debate like their historical information. What I really like is that this data is in historical context.

  16. Phil. says:

    “…the different agencies show somewhat different numbers because they measure different quantities, for example some measure area and some measure extent. However they all show record lows for 2012… The US Navy shows no more than a couple of meters thick last winter.”

    Question: So what?

    If the Northwest Passage was permanently ice free it would be an unmitigated benefit. The only unhappy folks would be the wild-eyed climate alarmist contingent.

  17. You know, they could solve this whole thing by simply drilling an Arctic ice core, and seeing what the ice there was like over the past million years.

    Or not.

  18. Dr Ball:

    The “assumption” about ice albedo (65 in the graphic above that tries to display the Arctic heat balance) is correct only if that “Arctic ice” is on the equator. In today’s real world, it is dead wrong; but worse, leads to an opposite effect of additional global cooling.

    Your source was: Oliver and Hidore, Climatology: An Introduction (1984).

    It is a common error – deliberately spread perhaps as a very, very important part of the CAGW “fear” of the Arctic ice melt drama. Specifically, the CAGW myth holds that melting Arctic sea ice exposes the roughened, “dark” water to the sunlight – often also with the caveat or remark about “24 hours of sunshine in the Arctic summer.” The “dark” polar water absorbs the sun’s energy, heats the water (and ice and atmosphere) and thus causes more warming and more ice melt. The Arctic sea ice, on the other hand, is believed to reflect the sunlight back into space, thus cooling the planet/preventing global warming.

    Now, the above is true if the sun is directly overhead – as I mentioned as if the polar ice were on the equator.

    It is not.

    However, this “part” of the CAGW myth IS correct for the latitudes where the Antarctic sea ice edge IS present. (The Antarctic sea ice is a “crown” whose furthest edge is very nearly a circle between 61 south latitude and 62 south latitude). At this latitude , at the equinox, the sun is between 20 and 28 degrees above the horizon almost the whole day, and at this latitde, the air mass is only 2 to 3.)

    Thus, the CAGW polar ice amplification theory IS correct: ANY INCREASE in Antarctic sea ice from today’s “average” level DOES reflect additional solar energy into space, and DOES cool the planet. Further, the sun is closest to the earth in mid-September when the Antarctic sea ice is at its maximum each year, and thus even using an “average” yearly solar insolation value is wrong: there is more energy being reflected by the new, increasing Antarctic sea ice at its maximum than at any other time of the year.

    But up north, in the Arctic? Wrong assumption. The arctic sun at time of minimum sea ice does not rise above 8 degrees above the horizon, and must penetrate between 30 air mass and 12 air mass – depending on time of day during the 12 hours the sun is actually above the horizon. At these low solar angles, the reflectivity even of rough water is at most only 25%, and rapidly rises towards 95% reflection of solar energy in most of the daylight hours. However, the exposed arctic water continuously lose approximately 117 watts per m^2 every minute of every hour that they are exposed. So melted sea ice exposes more area to evaporate water (loose energy) and does not absorb solar energy.

    The result, of course when both record Arctic ice loss (a net cooling effect when sea ice melts) and Antarctic sea ice record high values (a net cooling effect when sea ice expands) are combined is even more global cooling.

  19. The article states

    “The key was Senator Al Gore, a powerful politician totally committed to the global warming scam since he arranged NASA GISS director James Hansen’s appearance before Congress in 1988. By 1992 he was Chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology responsible for NASA and apparently with authority to create another deceptive piece in the global warming puzzle.”

    Al Gore was a member of the House Committee on Science and Technology when he was in the House from 1977 to 1984. In 1984, he was elected to the US Senate where he served until becoming Vice President in 1993. The author knows this in that he calls him “Senator Al Gore.” Gore was clearly not Chair of the “House” Committee on Science and Technology in 1992 nor was he chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (from 1981 to 1984, he was Chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee).

    I point this out not to “nitpick”. Nor is it an effort to invalidate the science of the posting on which I am remarkably unqualified to validate or invalidate. I point out this error because errors of basic facts are red flags to lurkers like me trying to figure out what is really happening to the earth’s climate.

    The “settled science” arguments of the proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming have done much to push the lurkers of these blogs into what I guess is called the skeptics’ camp. I am sure it is tiresome for those of you deeply immersed in the science but it is important to get the simple non-science facts right. This is particularly true if the efforts of WUWT and Mr. Watts are to continue to build the credence it enjoys and needs to maintain its role as a voice that can reach out to the nontechnical of us on the sidelines trying to figure out what we and our governments should do.

  20. D Böehm says:
    October 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm
    Phil. says:

    “…the different agencies show somewhat different numbers because they measure different quantities, for example some measure area and some measure extent. However they all show record lows for 2012… The US Navy shows no more than a couple of meters thick last winter.”

    Question: So what?

    The same question again to a different post, comprehension not your strong point! The Bering Strait is between 30 and 50m deep, how could a mere 2m thick ice block water flow through it?

  21. RACookPE1978 says:
    October 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm
    But up north, in the Arctic? Wrong assumption. The arctic sun at time of minimum sea ice does not rise above 8 degrees above the horizon, and must penetrate between 30 air mass and 12 air mass – depending on time of day during the 12 hours the sun is actually above the horizon. At these low solar angles, the reflectivity even of rough water is at most only 25%, and rapidly rises towards 95% reflection of solar energy in most of the daylight hours.

    Rather misleading, the time of minimum sea ice is when it has stopped melting and has started to refreeze! The time to be concerned about the change in albedo is when the sea ice area is decreasing at its maximum rate, which just happens to be near the solstice when the sun is at its highest. This year the anomaly dropped rapidly to ~2Mm^2 below the recent average at day 168. At that date the solar angle is significantly greater than the numbers you quote and the albedo correspondingly so.

  22. Phil:

    Comprehension not your strong point. I asked “So what?” referring to declining Arctic ice:

    “If the Northwest Passage was permanently ice free it would be an unmitigated benefit. The only unhappy folks would be the wild-eyed climate alarmist contingent.”

    If I have to hand hold and spell it out for you, I’ll rephrase my question: what’s the problem if Arctic ice melts? It would be a net benefit to mankind.

  23. In 1992 the US Navy (USN) approved the boundaries of an area within which environmental data from Arctic submarine exercises could be released. It was called the “Gore Box” by the USN, so there is little doubt of the origin.

    A slight mix up of dates here, the data from a ’92 submarine cruise was released in 1998 by the USN as a result of an initiative by vice president Al Gore. See a NSF press release announcing it here:

    http://scienceblog.com/community/older/archives/C/archsf728.html

  24. D Böehm says:
    October 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm
    Phil:

    Comprehension not your strong point. I asked “So what?” referring to declining Arctic ice:

    No you didn’t, you asked “So what” following this statement of mine:
    “So there is an influx of warm water which is thinning the ice, so it is thinning after all? But what is this ‘heavy ice blocking the Bering Straits’, are we supposed to believe that the Bering Straits were blocked by ice this year? It certainly wasn’t.
    The US Navy shows no more than a couple of meters thick last winter.”

    “If the Northwest Passage was permanently ice free it would be an unmitigated benefit. The only unhappy folks would be the wild-eyed climate alarmist contingent.”

    If I have to hand hold and spell it out for you, I’ll rephrase my question: what’s the problem if Arctic ice melts? It would be a net benefit to mankind.

    That is an entirely different question. I’m sorry but I’m not prepared to accept your assurance that it would be a net benefit to mankind, I’d like to know more about your qualification and the scientific basis for your opinion. Loss of the ice pack could quite possibly change weather patterns/jet stream, a open sea at higher surface temperature could likely have a significant impact on the Greenland ice sheet melt and hence sea level, considerable erosion of unprotected shores around Alaska, Canada and Greenland would occur (already observed). I’m sure there are other possible impacts that I haven’t thought of which would need to be considered before your proclamation of a ‘net benefit’ can be accepted.

  25. “Meridonal flows” are not an explanation for the overall trend. Are meridonal flows becoming more common, or stronger, year after year? Then we have to ask why that change has happened.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2012/10/poles-apart-a-record-breaking-summer-and-winter/

    The charts presented in the article above, and the video in

    http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/article/2012/arctic-sea-ice-getting-thinner-younger

    need no help from Al Gore. Arctic sea ice area and thickness have gone down dramatically. That is a trend of over 30 years that “meridonal flows” do not explain.

  26. Phil,

    Try some common sense instead of engaging in baseless speculation/scares. And erosion is a minor issue; it is routinely dealt with. Besides, who cares about erosion in Greenland, besides the Danes? I doubt they care any more than Americans or Canadians care about it. It’s de minimus.

    But with an open Northwest Passage year-round, fuel costs for shipping would be drastically reduced. That’s a good thing, and damned hard to argue against without contorting your argument into a pretzel.

    The only downside would be that with reduced fuel needs, less harmless, beneficial CO2 would be emitted. Can’t have everything, I guess. But we can make it up by burning more inexpensive natural gas — while China burns the coal we sell them. Because more CO2 is desirable, it’s a win-win.

  27. D Böehm says:
    October 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm
    Phil,

    Try some common sense instead of engaging in baseless speculation/scares. And erosion is a minor issue; it is routinely dealt with. Besides, who cares about erosion in Greenland, besides the Danes? I doubt they care any more than Americans or Canadians care about it. It’s de minimus.

    Really?

    Up to 45’/year

    http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20091114235951data_trunc_sys.shtml

    90’/year

    http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/1588

    8m/year

    http://www.vancouverobserver.com/blogs/earthmatters/2011/04/17/study-finds-canadas-arctic-coastline-eroding-faster-anywhere-else

    Video link

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/25/video-alaskas-eroding-arctic-coast/

  28. Sorry, Phil. On balance, the drastically reduced fuel costs more than make up for that minor scare. And you will understand if I look at anything from those media sources with a jaundiced eye. Might be true. But far more likely: cherry-picked.

  29. “As usual information is selective, limited and mostly wrong.” Let’s explore that.

    Only the lowest area estimate was reported when the range from different agencies was over 1 million km2 or 25 percent.

    1) The NSIDC extent is the most common value reported in the US, so there is nothing odd about it being used (especially in the US media).
    2) Different agencies use different techniques, so it is not surprising that they have different numbers.
    3) ALL the agencies reported record lows that shattered their onw respective lows, so it hardly matters which agency’s report was used.

    They claimed air temperatures were higher, but it depends on what sector …

    Sort of. The overall Arctic temperatures were INDEED higher than average, so the basic claim is correct. Yes, some area like the Bering Sea were cooler than average, but that does not invalidate the claim.

    The entire pack slowly rotates round the Pole driven by the polar easterlies, but location and break up are affected by wind patterns, which some already knew, but NASA finally acknowledged caused the changes in 2007 and again in 2012.

    Once again — misleading. NASA acknowledged a few thing in that article, most specifically “Nghiem said the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years [2005-2007] was caused by unusual winds.” So clearly wind is ONE factor contributing to the especially rapid decline. But warmer water and air had been diminishing the ice and continued to diminish the ice. No one acknowledge that wind patterns alone “caused the changes”.

    The original claim of thinner ice was ….

    But there are more claims of thinning ice that just the few submarine trips you discuss. That might have been the original, but others have come to the same conclusions from various means. So the limitations of the submarine technique don’t really matter since there other confirming techniques.

    However, they’re not measuring ice thickness but ice draft, the amount of ice below the water line. This varies with snow load, which is reportedly higher because of the warmer open water area in 2012.

    But the linked article is claiming “Since the level of Arctic sea ice set a new record low in 2007, significantly above-normal winter snow cover has been seen in large parts of the northern United States, northwestern and central Europe, and northern and central China.
    I can’t see how snow in the US is going to affect Arctic ice draft.

    While you have some good point, overall I find your rebuttal to be at least as limited and selective as anything you are trying to rebut.

    … with authority to create another deceptive piece in the global warming puzzle….
    … alarmists …
    … global warming scam …

    Throwing in politics or personal opinion does nothing to strengthen your scientific position.

  30. RE: RACookPE1978 says:
    October 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Interesting ideas. I’ve recently been noting that the Arctic sea-ice extent maxes out at only 13-14 million square Km. while Antarctica sea ice maxes out at 18-19 million square Km. So right there you have a rough 4 million square Km Albedo-advantage to the south.

    Then add to that the simple fact much Arctic ice floats north of 75 degrees, while in the south there is a vast ice-covered continent south of 75 degrees. This suggests that the 18-19 million square Kms of Antarctic sea-ice is positioned further from the pole than the 13-14 million square Km of Arctic ice, allowing Antarctic ice to reflect a higher sun than the Arctic ice, and the Antarctic Albedo-advantage increases.

    Therefore, if we are all so concerned about Albedo, we should be far more concerned about an increase to the south than a decrease to the north. This is what I stress, when I’m in the mood to whip up worry and alarm.

    However on other occasions I’m in the mood to upset everyone by being politically incorrect. All I need to do is say, “Actually, I think the effect of Albedo is greatly overrated.” If you get your timing right, this often has the desired effect at certain snobby cocktail parties: People wail, clutch their chests, and fall over and go “clunk.” Great fun!

    RE Phil: Always glad to hear your input. That was a very interesting link, at the end of a prior thread, concerning the berg with granite boulders in it. However I think the ice-area that stopped the Dutch Royal Gulf drilling was too large, (roughly 10 by 15 miles,) to be from such a source.

    The old history concerning the 1817 comment about low arctic ice has always fascinated me, as it follows so closely on the heels of the summer of eighteen-hundred-and-froze-to-death. The eruption of Tamboro obviously caused major actions and reactions.

    On the Weatherbelle Site the two Joes have had some interesting discussions about the differences between a Zonal Flow, where the jet forms a tidy circle around the arctic and traps the cold up there, and Blocking Patterns, where the jet loops far to the south and then back up far to the north, allowing arctic outbreaks into sub-arctic regions, and also sub-arctic warmth up into the arctic.

    With the PDO turning cold as the AMO remains warm, we are in a pattern more conducive to Blocking Patterns. It would not surprise me at all if such a pattern influenced the amount of Arctic Sea Ice.

  31. RE: D Böehm says:
    October 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm:
    “….And you will understand if I look at anything from those media sources with a jaundiced eye…”

    Sadly I must nod. Phil’s second link holds this beaut: “Newtok is located on the Ninglick River in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region. It is north of Nelson Island and 94 miles northwest of Bethel. Indigenous populations have inhabited Newtok for at least 2,000 years…”

    That quote makes it sound like the same culture has lived at the same site. In actual fact the stresses northern cultures undergo has led to culture after culture coming and going.

    However I really like the way Phil researches and supplies links. He isn’t shallow.

  32. Another beaut, from Phil’s third link: “While they can’t yet prove it, scientists suspect that gradual washing-away along thousands of kilometres of gravelly northern shoreline is speeding up….”

    Just suppose I tried to get away with that. Suppose I said, “While I can’t prove it, I suspect the the Blocking Patterns of the past few years have led to the reduced Arctic Sea Ice.”

    Phil would slice and dice me.

    However Phil’s link continues, “…And that steady erosion is already having profound effects on northerners, the majority of whom live along the coast.

    “Every single element of the North is going to be affected, right from the engineering side to how the Inuit interact with their environment,” said Wayne Pollard, a McGill University geomorphologist who contributed to the massive, 10-country study that was released Sunday…”

    Whew! He can say all that? But he can’t prove it.

    The sad thing is that I fear that, with our economy in the tank, funding will be slashed. Then what the heck will geomorphologists do?

  33. Philip Bradley says:
    October 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm
    The problem with attributing Arctic sea ice melt to ocean currents is these should affect sea ice all year round, whereas the melt is clearly a summer effect from 2007 onwards.

    In 4 out of the 5 winters since 2007, the winter sea ice has almost reached the satellite era average. Which means amongst other things that we are seeing record winter ice formation.

    It’s hard to see how there could be any other cause than increased solar insolation (combined with BC albedo changes).

    Personally I have for a long time considered changes in circulation patterns the most likely villain in this ongoing drama of declining Arctic Sea Ice. My tilt in that direction began after I came upon Rigor & Wallace 2004 http://iabp.apl.washington.edu/research_seaiceageextent.html
    The paper includes a couple of animations for which they provide the following commentary

    “This animation of the age of sea ice shows:
    1.) A large Beaufort Gyre which covers most of the Arctic Ocean during the 1980s, and a transpolar drift stream shifted towards the Eurasian Arctic. Older, thicker sea ice (white ice) covers about 80% of the Arctic Ocean up to 1988. The date is shown in the upper left corner.
    2.) With the step to high-AO conditions in 1989, the Beaufort Gyre shrinks and is confined to the corner between Alaska and Canada. The Transpolar Drift Stream now sweeps across most of the Arctic Ocean, carrying most of the older, thicker sea ice out of the Arctic Ocean through Fram Strait (lower right). By 1990, only about 30% of the Arctic Ocean is covered by older thicker sea ice.
    3.) During the high-AO years that follow (1991 and on), this younger thinner sea ice is shown to recirculated back to the Alaskan coast where extensive open water has been observed during summer.
    The age of sea ice drifting towards the coast explains over 50% of the variance in summer sea ice extent (compared to less than 15% of the variance explained by the seasonal redistribution of sea ice, and advection of heat by summer winds).”

    The animations with the paper are updated thru 2007, but in 2009 Dr. Rigor produced another update

    The frame gaps on this cover a month or more, so it goes by quite quickly, but if you pause at Sept of ’88, ’89, ’90, and ’91(roughly @9,10,11, and 12 seconds) the “catastrophic” decline in old thick ice described in points 1.) and 2.) above is readily apparent. The rest of the vid shows the ongoing decline proceeding so that by 2009 the old white ice, which in the 80s covered an area greater than the Lower 48, was reduced to barely a Rhode Island sized remnant.

    The AMAP graphic of Arctic Surface currents Tim uses in the post shows the BG and TPD as they were after the paradigm shift at the end of the 80s, this map is more representative of what the previous state was

    On my personal list of most culpable suspects for the recent, ie 25 yr, decline in Arctic Sea Ice the shift in the pattern of the BG and TPG ranks first, followed by a tie for second between winds that more frequently aligned to accelerate the eastward flow of the ice and Atlantic inflows, represented by the red lines on the map Tim uses, which several papers have reported as warmer and more voluminous in recent years. Surface temps are probably, well may be, a contributing factor but if there had been no change or even a decline in temps I doubt we would be seeing a significantly different result

  34. RACookPE1978 says:
    October 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm
    The arctic sun at time of minimum sea ice does not rise above 8 degrees above the horizon, and must penetrate between 30 air mass and 12 air mass – depending on time of day

    And this is the reason for the sensitivity of ice melt to cloud changes, especially low level clouds.

  35. Phil, the fourth link is just Revkin making a buck, from the hard work of the guy in the second link. Not that it isn’t a cool time lapse, but if you’ve lived by the sea like I have you have seen it before. The outer part of Cape Cod is eaten away every year, as sand bars grow on the Cape’s elbow and up in Provincetown.

    Check out maps of Sable Island for the past several hundred years. I think the west point is now where the east point was located, back when the first map was made.

    Don’t tell any environmentalists, but I greatly altered the shoreline ecology of the clam-flats of South Freeport harbor, back in 1974.

    I got tired of pushing my rowboat over the mud at low tide, and, as a sort of experiment, blocked up an opening in a mussel bar a hundred feet out with waterlogged wood, and hacked an opening in the same mussel bar close to shore. A new tidal stream appeared over the mudflats, right by my dock. It only meant I could then row to my dock fifteen extra minutes, as the tide went out, before I had to get out and push, but I got a chuckle out of it, and felt like an engineer. However when I revisited the area in 1994 I was somewhat astonished how deep my in-shore tidal stream had become.

    Shorelines are constantly changing. The shorelines at the end of the last ice age are now under three to five hundred feet of water. For the most part man is but a mote, and is washed away.

    However on a single mudflat on Maine, I altered the course of geological history. I nudged a pebble, and created an avalanche. Long after I am dead and gone and forgotten, geologists may study that tidal stream, and never dream it was made by a lazy clam digger, digging his heel in the mud.

    And then glaciers will return, scour that harbor, and deposit that mud on Cape Cod.

    As Hendrix stated, “Castles made of sand fall into the sea, eventually.”

  36. ,Dave Wendt says:
    October 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    What I got from the animation was the gyre pushes the multiyear ice toward the Russian side of the Arctic and progressively more melts and it melts further from the Russian shore. Which is consistent with my view that reduced aerosol pollution (seeding clouds) from the former Soviet Union after 1991 and then 1998 is the main factor in Arctic ice melt, thru increased insolation.

    What I see is progressively less and less multi-year ice being exported thru the Fram Strait, especially after 2000.

    I come back to the large increase in winter ice formation post 2007 as measured by extent. Decreased clouds would cause both increased ice melt and increased ice formation.

    The anomaly chart shows increasing winter ice formation to 1997, then decreased winter ice formation for 10 years, then a return to increase winter ice formation from 2007. So there are at least 2 effects at work here. One over the last 20 so years and one for that 10 year period.

  37. May be instead of asking where is the global warming we should be asking where is the EVIDENCE of Catastrophy and the run away warming.

    Arguing about sea ice cover this year and/or decadal cover is like arguing whether a 1minute average or a 10 minute average graph better predicts the Dow Jones Index.

    Short term data is so noisy its like trying to read cloud pattern, some sees a monkey, some sees a flower, I see shades of grey.

  38. Can any correlation be determined between Arctic and Antarctic ice increase/decrease (during interglacials)?
    Or is it more accurate to regard Arctic and Antarctic ice as independent phenomena?

    This should be answered before any conclusions can be drawn whether the current pattern of decreasing Arctic ice and steady slightly growing Antarctic ice is a significant anomaly worthy of so much attention.

  39. How about some simple logic?

    A warmer Arctic (as evidenced by lower Arctic ice extent) is NOT a sign of a warming planet, or at least not a runaway warming. The simple fact is that for half of the year the sunlight that hits the Arctic is at a low angle and basically bounces away, and for the other half of the year there is NO insolation.

    Thus the polar regions are always net radiators of heat. That heat is transported to the poles by ocean currents. If there is more warming farther from the poles, then more heat is transported to the poles and radiates away into space. Low ice extent, and warmer polar seas, contrary to the assumptions I seem to be hearing from alarmists, would allow even more heat to be radiated directly to space. Once the waters have cooled enough to freeze, less heat radiates through the ice.

    Speaking to the efficiency of radiating heat directly into space, consider that the ancient Egyptians were able to make ice in the desert. Warmer starting temperatures result in MORE energy radiated to space… and if anyone wants to claim that the tiny increases of CO2 in the atmosphere are somehow going to reduce this, prove it mathematically or experimentally.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196890403002954

    This is why I have always said, high or low, Arctic ice extent DOES NOT MATTER, except as a curiosity. It is most likely an indicator of the Earth’s temperature regulation system, not some wacky variable that is throwing everything out of sync. No reason to panic. No reason to point fingers at a year (or group of years) with below-average OR above average Arctic ice extents and claim victory for either side.

  40. RACookPE1978 says: [snip]Thus, the CAGW polar ice amplification theory IS correct: ANY INCREASE in Antarctic sea ice from today’s “average” level DOES reflect additional solar energy into space, and DOES cool the planet. Further, the sun is closest to the earth in mid-September when the Antarctic sea ice is at its maximum each year, and thus even using an “average” yearly solar insolation value is wrong: there is more energy being reflected by the new, increasing Antarctic sea ice at its maximum than at any other time of the year.

    Hmm. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I thought aphelion occurred in early July, so the equinox here would have the Earth a bit further away from the sun than the exquinox in March, since perihelion occurs in early January. Let me see if I can get some numbers. Hmm looks like I can’t find any numbers, but the fact of the elliptical orbit suggests that the September equinox would occur before we reach the mean Earth-Sun distance from the aphelion (be further away from the Sun) and that the March equinox would occur before we reach the mean Earth-Sun distance from the perihelion (be closer to the Sun).

  41. ****
    D Böehm says:
    October 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Phil:

    Comprehension not your strong point. I asked “So what?” referring to declining Arctic ice:
    ****

    I’ve never gotten a reasonable answer to this seemingly simple but vital question. Phil.’s examples are predictably unimpressive.

  42. Thank you Tim for the informative article.
    A very minor (real) error has sneaked itself in. One Sverdrup equals one cubic kilometer per second. In other words 8 Sverdrups is 10 to the 9th m3 per second, not 8 million m3 per second.

  43. Carter,

    So you found one author of an article, who wrote a different number than another article writer. What’s next on your agenda? An ad hominem attack on Lord Monckton?

    Your alarmist clique has been attacking Dr. Ball incessantly because he is a legitimate climatologist — unlike 99% of climate alarmists. A recent attack was the false claim that Dr. Ball did not have a doctorate in Climatology. That false claim made it into every alarmist blog, and is still believed by those who parrot that misinformation within their alarmist echo chambers.

    You don’t have facts supporting your “carbon” beliefs, so you attack the individual. Despicable. You should man up and admit that you have no scientific evidence supporting your CAGW beliefs. But that is more than can be expected from the likes of you, isn’t it?

  44. So to say (paraphrase actually) that “it’s not global warming that is causing the sea ice to melt in the Arctic, it’s the unusual wind patterns and warm water that are causing it to melt” is pretty much the same as Dan Quayle remarking that “…it is not pollution that is harming our environment, it is the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.” Don’t be Dan Quayle.

  45. Carter,

    I’m not going to waste any time on another whiny crybaby YouTube propaganda piece doing an ad hominem hit on Monckton — who has, on occasion, admitted to making a mistake.

    Contrast that very human admission with bombastic climate charlatans like Michael Mann, who is routinely falsified and shown to be flat wrong, in addition to being disingenuous, but who never admits to being wrong.

    The climate alarmist clique, led by the mendacious Michael Mann, is lying through its collective teeth. They know that global warming is natural, and that it is not accelerating, and that CO2 has no measurable effect on global temperatures. But they lie for money and status. Those are your heroes, fanboi. You’re carrying water for deceptive con artists who are scared of any fair debate. Because when they do debate, Lord Monckton publicly rubs their noses in the playground dirt.

  46. “In the Arctic, the amount of sea ice is governed by the temperature of the sea and air around it.

    But in the Antarctic, what matters is the wind. Changes in the strength and directions of the wind over the last few decades appear to be pushing the ice further out to sea.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2216238/Now-theres-ice-South-Pole-So-global-warming-thawing-Antarctica.html#ixzz2969W5Ba2

    Not sure who this is attributed to, but they obviously missed this

    http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=152489941

  47. Carter,

    Michael Mann, Phil Jones, and the rest of the climate charlatan crew all make MUCH more egregious mistakes than Lord Monckton. The difference is that they all refuse to admit it when they are proven wrong — which happens routinely.

Comments are closed.