Claim: winds blamed for Antarctic sea ice approaching record high

Stronger winds explain puzzling growth of sea ice in Antarctica

From University of Washington press room by

Antarctica map

Antarctic sea ice concentration changes from 1981 to 2011. Image: U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center

Much attention is paid to melting sea ice in the Arctic. But less clear is the situation on the other side of the planet. Despite warmer air and oceans, there’s more sea ice in Antarctica now than in the 1970s – a fact often pounced on by global warming skeptics. The latest numbers suggest the Antarctic sea ice may be heading toward a record high this year.

While changes in weather may play a big role in short-term changes in sea ice seen in the past couple of months, changes in winds have apparently led to the more general upward sea ice trend during the past few decades, according to University of Washington research. A new modeling study to be published in the Journal of Climate shows that stronger polar winds lead to an increase in Antarctic sea ice, even in a warming climate.

“The overwhelming evidence is that the Southern Ocean is warming,” said author Jinlun Zhang, an oceanographer at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. “Why would sea ice be increasing? Although the rate of increase is small, it is a puzzle to scientists.”
This mixture of different types of Antarctic sea ice was photographed Oct. 13, 2012, by a NASA aircraft flying over the Bellingshausen Sea.

His new study shows that stronger westerly winds swirling around the South Pole can explain 80 percent of the increase in Antarctic sea ice volume in the past three decades.

The polar vortex that swirls around the South Pole is not just stronger than it was when satellite records began in the 1970s, it has more convergence, meaning it shoves the sea ice together to cause ridging. Stronger winds also drive ice faster, which leads to still more deformation and ridging. This creates thicker, longer-lasting ice, while exposing surrounding water and thin ice to the blistering cold winds that cause more ice growth.

In a computer simulation that includes detailed interactions between wind and sea, thick ice — more than 6 feet deep — increased by about 1 percent per year from 1979 to 2010, while the amount of thin ice stayed fairly constant. The end result is a thicker, slightly larger ice pack that lasts longer into the summer.

“You’ve got more thick ice, more ridged ice, and at the same time you will get more ice extent because the ice just survives longer,” Zhang said.

When the model held the polar winds at a constant level, the sea ice increased only 20 percent as much. A previous study by Zhang showed that changes in water density could explain the remaining increase.

“People have been talking about the possible link between winds and Antarctic sea ice expansion before, but I think this is the first study that confirms this link through a model experiment,” commented Axel Schweiger, a polar scientist at the UW Applied Physics Lab. “This is another process by which dynamic changes in the atmosphere can make changes in sea ice that are not necessarily expected.”

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Still unknown is why the southern winds have been getting stronger. Some scientists have theorized that it could be related to global warming, or to the ozone depletion in the Southern Hemisphere, or just to natural cycles of variability.

Differences between the two poles could explain why they are not behaving in the same way. Surface air warming in the Arctic appears to be greater and more uniform, Zhang said. Another difference is that northern water is in a fairly protected basin, while the Antarctic sea ice floats in open oceans where it expands freely in winter and melts almost completely in summer.

The sea ice uptick in Antarctica is small compared with the amount being lost in the Arctic, meaning there is an overall decrease in sea ice worldwide.

Many of the global climate models have been unable to explain the observed increase in Antarctic sea ice. Researchers have been working to improve models to better reproduce the observed increase in sea ice there and predict what the future may bring.

Eventually, Zhang anticipates that if warmer temperatures come to dominate they will resolve the apparent contradiction.

“If the warming continues, at some point the trend will reverse,” Zhang said.

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

The polar vortex that swirls around the South Pole is not just stronger than it was when satellite records began in the 1970s, it has more convergence, meaning it shoves the sea ice together to cause ridging.

This makes me wonder if this isn’t one of the reasons that the “ozone hole” continues, despite CFC reduction schemes. Of course the study is all model based, so it may not represent reality.

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126 thoughts on “Claim: winds blamed for Antarctic sea ice approaching record high

  1. First, the oceans around Antarctica are not warming. All the datasets show no warming going back more than 100 years and there is clearly recent cooling given the sea ice conditions.

    Secondly, the Antarctic sea ice extent reached a record high level on September 14th, 2013 according to NSIDC.

    (although I have some data showing it was higher in the early 1970s and the Cryosphere Today sea ice “area” is not showing a record).

    The inconvenient truth is the Antarctic sea ice at (close to) record levels has to be explained by the warmers and there is no physically-logical reason why more wind would make the sea ice grow to a record.

    Only “cold” water can make water freeze.

  2. Dang, in all the online discussions I am repeatedly assured by warmists that the increased Antarctic sea ice is caused by the melting Antarctic ice cap. They are always very, very sure that is a fact, even though I explain it is simply one hypothesis, and that we can’t even be that sure the ice cap is losing mass, and there is little proof of acceleration.
    Now they have a new theory fact idea.

  3. “model experiment” is an oxymoron. Why do they think their model comes anywhere near to reality? How does one calibrate such a model before doing an “experiment” with it. Totally bogus “science”.

  4. The Antarctic is decoupled from the rest of the planet by the Coriolis currents, which are broken up and scattered by land in the Northern Hemisphere. If there was no land the planet would be separated into bands like Jupiter’s atmosphere (and probably wouldn’t have an ocean or be liquid anyway).

    This is the reason it was difficult to even GET to Antarctica for earlier sailors. There is a boundary that is not easy to cross, either for ships or moisture or warm or cold.

    This makes it difficult to draw any conclusions that have anything to do with climate from observing the Antarctic. Although, as usual, that doesn’t stop people from trying.

    So here’s my question: what kind of mind set does it take to conclude that just because something is different than before, that:
    a) it will continue being different
    b) the difference will be harmful or hazardous or otherwise undesirable,
    c) something “we” did must be causing it
    ?

  5. “Why would sea ice be increasing? Although the rate of increase is small, it is a puzzle to scientists.”

    That’s what you get when you are trying to make the data fit the theory-model instead of the other way around.

  6. So:
    Air is warmer. Sea is warmer.
    But:
    while exposing surrounding water and thin ice to the blistering cold winds that cause more ice growth.

    I sense an oxy-moron. And I’m not talking about the words. (specifically)

  7. These folks are getting desperate; even hysterical.

    Wait till they get a load of the bad winter that is coming for the Norther Hemisphere.
    And with the ice build up in the Beaufort Gyre they are going to be really disappointed next year.

  8. Every other climate related chart that I’ve seen shows reds for warmer and blues for colder. I wonder why this one uses the opposite. It wouldn’t be to make it look more “scary” would it?

  9. ‘small’ rate? Reduced, slow, even, what does it matter: it confirms a guess.
    Thank you, Surfer Dave
    “… the first study that confirms this link through a model experiment,” commented Axel Schweiger, …” A posited ‘link,’ confirmed by a ‘model experiment!’

  10. When a theory blows more hot air than the winds do, is it still a theory?

    To paraphrase two statements attributed to President Harry Truman (though I do have some doubts if he actually said the originals about economists) “If you lined up all the Climate Scientists in the world, they would still point in every direction.” and “If you lined up all the Climate Scientists in the world, they still would not reach a conclusion.” Good Ol’ Harry was a Democrat before the lefties made “Democrat” a dirty word.

  11. And a modelling study just released indicates that warm tropical winds are responsible for the melting of sea ice in the Arctic since 1970 despite much cooler temperatures in the region. According to Professor Able Zarkoff of the Arctic Modelling Research Facility “dis is sumthink vee nefer expeckted”.

  12. So then why the big flap about 2007 which was subject to intense winds pushing ice out of the Arctic. Winds make ice lessor and greater, just like the rest of the CAGW proof, add wind to the warmer/colder/rain/drought/sea rising etc.

  13. Hmmmmm. I’ve been talking about this on another thread. There are lots of longish term oscillations that are part and parcel of the Antarctic. One of them could be wind. Wind moves, shoves, and builds ice boundary extent closer to or further out from the continent and into the ocean and if thick enough (6 ft is thick!), can possibly shove oceanic surface currents out of their normal path boundaries.

    And so I speculate: If the wind is creating a different boundary position near Drake’s passage, could it be that more of the circumpolar current gets diverted into the Pacific than usual? Is this a self-correcting somewhat irregular oscillation leading to a colder Pacific?

  14. It snowed in Santiago, Chile yesterday. Same latitude as San Diego, CA, but inland & a 1700 feet above sea level. Unusual but may become more common in September.

  15. OK.

    “The polar vortex that swirls around the South Pole is not just stronger than it was when satellite records began in the 1970s, it has more convergence, meaning it shoves the sea ice together to cause ridging. Stronger winds also drive ice faster, which leads to still more deformation and ridging. This creates thicker, longer-lasting ice, while exposing surrounding water and thin ice to the blistering cold winds that cause more ice growth.

    So, the south polar winds are higher, so the ice is packed together MORE tightly, so the AREA is less unless the volume becomes larger (right?), so the final AREA is greater because the ice is thicker. However, the southern ice MELTS AWAY over their summer period (down to a slowly rising but miniscule 10% fraction of the winter extent peak of now 19,500,000 km’s. So, the ice remaining over the summer melt period cannot affect the extents of the following winter. But the winds DO carry from season to season?

    OK. Yeah. Right. Sure. Whatever. (If two lefts make a right, and two negatives multiply to make a positive, don’t four rights make a climate model more correct?)

    Zhang was wrong up north. He is now trying to be even more wrong down south. Now, winds spreading OUT the ice mass might explain a larger area, but then he’d have to explain why the ice exposed between the newly spread regions is freezing, when (up north) exposed ocean water is supposed to be melting faster!

  16. They cannot let the increase in ice stand. They have to come up with some cock and bull study to make us believe that it is still worse than we thought. Will the insanity ever end..

  17. Looks like a thermostat to me, to dump the heat coming in from the temperate zone oceans that was pumped in by the last few rampant solar cycles.

  18. Antarctic ice may also be a proxy for the extent of the fabrication of the climate record by the climate liars.

  19. A new modeling study to be published in the Journal of Climate shows that stronger polar winds lead to an increase in Antarctic sea ice, even in a warming climate.

    I guess he didn’t get the memo – the climate is not warming.

  20. The Wack-a-Mole game survives in climate science. This time, winds that computer models inherently cannot model on a regional scale give an explanation for a badly wrong prediction about fundamental polar amplification in the Antarctic.
    Another young Ph.D about to be sacrificed by the climate change high priests ( who even named themselves as such via satellite simulations back to 1860….on a highly visible PNAS platform) as another offering to their financing Gods.
    Pardon the Inca and Mayan priests who did similarly. At least at that previous time, they did not know better. But now we do. There can be no pardon.

  21. Truly settled science – no doubt. These guys should be de-funded. Immediately. Since the science was settled years ago there is no need for anymore work. Especially if it’s this quality. This must be embarassing for the scientists who follow the scientific method and make models that history match the facts.

  22. Bob Tisdale says:
    September 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm
    Modeling study? Are the current batch of climate scientists incapable of studying data?
    Oh, for the good old days before fatally flawed climate models.
    _________________________________________________________________________
    But data are so messy and sometimes don’t easily lead to the results you want. Models are much cleaner and don’t have the tendency to give the results you don’t expect.

    The increase in Antarctic ice has been treated as a distraction when we had the ice-free Arctic to look forward to. When that began to look unlikely we were treated to ice-shelf melting and now wind modeling to explain it away. Seems like there may be some real science in there, but it is outweighed by political science.

  23. I wonder if Zhang has ever been to Antarctica. i wonder if he has ever spent time working on the sea ice or on a ship sailing through it. No matter how strong or cold the wind, if the sea surface water is not cold enough it will not freeze and once it does freeze the wind has no effect on the thickening of the ice. That occurs by radiation of heat through the ice from the water underneath. Sea ice thickens by water freezing from underneath. But then you would think a scientist studying sea ice would know that wouldn’t you. Perhaps that is the difference between the armchair theorists and practical scientists.
    By the way, is there any actual data on the circumpolar wind strength from sub Antarctic islands or is this just guess work on Zhang’s part.

  24. ‘ “People have been talking about the possible link between winds and Antarctic sea ice expansion before, but I think this is the first study that confirms this link through a model experiment,” commented Axel Schweiger, a polar scientist at the UW Applied Physics Lab.’

    Model runs, simulations, are not experiments. Model runs are scenarios. They amount to nothing more than a substitution of new values for familiar parameters or maybe a change in some differential equations prior to running the model. One learns nothing more than how those changes impact the outcome of the model run. Note that reality is missing from all this talk of model runs and simulations. Because there is no contact with reality there is no experiment. Experiments require real world results that can surprise one.

    What Axel calls “a model experiment” is really wishful simulation.

    • Theo Goodwin + “… wishful simulation …”
      Climate pscience researchers’ wish: father to the thought.
      from Shakespeare – King Henry IV Part 2 (1597):
      Prince Henry (Harry): I never thought to hear you speak again.
      King Henry IV:
      Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought:
      I stay too long by thee, I weary thee.

  25. Perhaps sequester could result in NSF wasting less money on worthless “computer games” like this one. Why can not they just say, don’t have a clue, but need more money so as not to continue to be clueless.

  26. They dont know why the sea ice is growing. Wind patterns is just as much a guess as the theory that it is due to the melting ice shelves cooling the adjacent waters.

    A Professor currently working on the Ross Ice shelf wrote to me stating that the increased sea ice was due the the ozone hole allowing cold air from high above to descend on the Arctic ocean.

    This increase is difficult to explain away in a warming world and I dont think they have found the answer yet.

  27. Not sure if anything has changed of late, but here is an “Old sailor’s saying”:

    “Below forty degrees south there is no law;
    below fifty degrees south there is no God”

  28. You can simulate an actual experiment. There might be no reason to do so because you have the actual experiment. If the simulation is wrong you can discover that fact by investigating the actual experiment.

    But can you simulate what Axel calls “a model experiment?” Wouldn’t that be just another run of Axel’s model? Like buying a second copy of your newspaper to confirm what you read in your newspaper. There is no independent reality there in Axel’s “model experiment.”

  29. Besides the false claim that ice is growing where it is warming, the model actually offers a good explanation for the change in Arctic sea ice. Most of the Antarctic sea ice is driven by the katabaitc winds blowing equator-ward from the continental interior. Unconstrained by other continents, most of the Antarctcc sea ice expands unimpeded with much less ridging than witnessed in the Arctic. For that reason most of Antarctic’s sea ice is thin first year ice with very little ridging that is claimed by the model. Each winter the Antarctic sea ice extent is much greater than observed in the Arctic, but Antarctic sea ice also melts more rapidly each summer precisely because there is so little ridging .

    In contrast, the Arctic Oscillation causes cycles that change the direction of the winds and indeed causes more ridging and thicker ice as the winds compress Arctic sea ice against the coastlines, and building thick multiyear ice that resists melting. When the AO switches phases the winds which blow that thick ice into the Atlantic The replacement ice is first year ice that behaves like the Antarctic melting quickly each summer. This model explain why there has been a cycle of rapid summer melt in the Arctic

    http://landscapesandcycles.net/antarctic-sea-ice–climate-change-indicator.html

  30. Of course, changes in arctic ice couldn’t be due to changes in wind, clouds , storms, PDO, AMO, etc – it must be CAGW, but the in the antarctic, it must just be winds – it couldn’t be that CAGW is wrong
    /sarc off

    These guys are so blind to the obvious , it’s really kind of amusing. What do you say to this , really? When data works the way you want , it’s CAGW, when it doesn’t it is “weather”. Truly delusional !

  31. The sea ice uptick in Antarctica is small compared with the amount being lost in the Arctic, meaning there is an overall decrease in sea ice worldwide.

    Really ?

  32. Tez says:
    September 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm
    They dont know why the sea ice is growing.
    ———————————————————

    That’s because “they” are a collection of frauds, idiots and liars.

  33. Theo Goodwin says:

    But can you simulate what Axel calls “a model experiment?” Wouldn’t that be just another run of Axel’s model? Like buying a second copy of your newspaper to confirm what you read in your newspaper.

    Close, but no.

    What Axel calls a “model experiment” is not like buying a second copy of your newspaper to confirm what you read in your newspaper. It is like buying a second copy of your newspaper to confirm what you wrote in your newspaper.

    Models are not experiments, they are hypotheses.

    Models do not produce data, they regurgitate assertions.

    Models cannot prove. They can only be proven. Or not. By data.

  34. Is there an animated year by year satellite graphic of the Antarctic sea ice, like there is for the Arctic?

    Scanned sea ice page quickly and couldn’t see one.

    Tom

  35. I am coming to the conclusion that the CAGW cartel (“warmist” is a term too benigh) is the perfect example of a codependent mob which can rationalize any scenario for the sake of the cause.

  36. Funny. When storm winds contributed to the record low ice in the Arctic (was that last year?) it was ignored. Now winds are the excuse for record high ice in the Antarctic?

  37. “model experiment” is an oxymoron. Why do they think their model comes anywhere near to reality? How does one calibrate such a model before doing an “experiment” with it. Totally bogus “science”.

    Models have their place. This model is being used to answer the reasonably simple question “can stronger winds lead to more ice”. The situation is non-chaotic and amenable to simplification. There are only a small number of parameters and these can be measured or checked, the equations are not bizarrely sensitive to initial conditions. I have absolutely no issue with this kind of model. It is the standard kind of thing that applied mathematicians do every day. Models are just a tool. Models don’t kill people. People kill people … whatever.

  38. Zhang’s statement that
    “The overwhelming evidence is that the Southern Ocean is warming” is contradicted by this recent paper :

    http://www.hindawi.com/isrn/oceanography/2013/392632/ref/

    by Maheshwari etal (2013) where the authors conclude
    “From the time series analysis of the variation of Southern Ocean surface temperature anomalies, (1982-2011) a slightly negative (i.e., cooling) trend in average temperature anomaly over the entire region is obtained.”
    If the very strong eastern southern ocean/Indian ocean positive anomaly is removed the decline would be quite significant. Rapid cooling in the Ross and Weddel seas is particularly strong.

  39. The bottom line is this: global warming reduces sea ice in the Arctic, but global warming increases sea ice in the Antarctic. Is there anything that global warming can not do? The models say…. NO!

  40. JJ says:
    September 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm (replying to)

    Theo Goodwin says:

    But can you simulate what Axel calls “a model experiment?” Wouldn’t that be just another run of Axel’s model? Like buying a second copy of your newspaper to confirm what you read in your newspaper.

    Close, but no.

    What Axel calls a “model experiment” is not like buying a second copy of your newspaper to confirm what you read in your newspaper. It is like buying a second copy of your newspaper to confirm what you wrote in your newspaper.

    Models are not experiments, they are hypotheses.

    Models do not produce data, they regurgitate assertions.

    I would extend that analogy a little further.

    IF you bought a different newspaper, and then looked for the same event as “verification”, you’d have a little better “test” of the conclusion you got from your own “model” right? Not really, if you have deliberately selected what you are looking for, and have not done an independent check against biases. (During WWII, you would have found and read another Allied paper, and did not look for German or Japanese sources. You did not read the Communist internal party memo to find out what they wanted you to know.)

    But, if that second newspaper used the same reporter as the first, does reading a story from AP twice actually “verify” any information? If you do not go read it also from AP, UPI, and the Christian Science Monitor and the Wall Street Journal, you have not checked your result. (And, even then, you’ve only read the CAGW-tinged data anyway!) If the six different writers all have only repeated identical words from the same speaker from the same press conference, you have not checked your data.

    Worse, because you have been involved in “testing” the script of each equation at each stage of your model “experiment” you CANNOT verify your own model. Ever.

    Remember always the courage of Rutherford’s decision to accept the experimental results showing a cannon shell had been fired at tissue paper, and had bounced off! he KNEW that the result was impossible. He KNEW his “model” of the atom prevented any such thing from happening – and his peers knew that result as well as he did But he continued to investigate the “impossible” result.

  41. RACookPE1978 says:
    September 18, 2013 at 6:28 pm
    OK. Yeah. Right. Sure. Whatever. (If two lefts make a right, and two negatives multiply to make a positive, don’t four rights make a climate model more correct?)
    ———————————————————————————
    I read somewhere that it was 3 lefts and one bi-polar right, or something like that. Can’t remember where I read that, though.

  42. Wow. History. I read Bob Illis’ comment that the Southern Oceans had not warmed for 100 years, and that seemed wrong. I did a little digging, and discovered a remarkable WUWT thread from about three years ago, “Dr. Curry warms the Southern Ocean”, in which this issue was discussed at length. And I was reminded that I participated in that thread, and offered SEVERAL references indicating the Southern Ocean was warming. My references were only mildly considered, and they were dismissed with quite inadequate effort, because the principal in that thread was hunting bigger game than I, a small fish to fry. Nonetheless, the references remain, and they are quite compelling that the Southern Ocean is warming. I note that one key paper, which I provide the citation and link to below, was not addressed at all in that somewhat forgotten thread. So I’ll also provide the abstract for that one.

    Gille, Sarah T., 2008: Decadal-Scale Temperature Trends in the Southern Hemisphere Ocean. J. Climate, 21, 4749–4765. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2008JCLI2131.1

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2008JCLI2131.1

    Long-term trends in the heat content of the Southern Hemisphere ocean are evaluated by comparing temperature profiles collected during the 1990s with profiles collected starting in the 1930s. Data are drawn both from ship-based hydrographic surveys and from autonomous floats. Results show that the upper 1000 m of the Southern Hemisphere ocean has warmed substantially during this time period at all depths. Warming is concentrated within the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). On a global scale, this warming trend implies that the ocean has gained heat from the atmosphere over the last 50 to 70 years. Although the data do not preclude the possibility that the Southern Ocean has warmed as a result of increased heat fluxes, either into the ocean or within the ocean, in general the strong trend in the Southern Ocean appears regionally consistent with a poleward migration of the ACC, possibly driven by long-term poleward shifts in the winds of the region, as represented by the southern annular mode.

    So I think it’s fairly clear that the Southern Ocean has been and is warming, and efforts to understand the slight increase in Antarctic sea ice extent need to incorporate that.

  43. If you took all of these desperate studies, this one and Ben Santer’s amazing satellites-over-Stonewall-Jackson paper and so on, and put their authors up in front of a group of taxpayers to justify their existence, you’d get a lot of bafflegab that when played backward would sound a lot like ‘We know what we’re doing now JUST GIVE US THE BLOODY MONEY’.

  44. Theo Goodwin says:
    September 18, 2013 at 7:19 pm
    What Axel calls “a model experiment” is really wishful simulation.
    ————————————————————————————
    “wishful simulation” is a great phrase. I will remember to use that when talking elsewhere.

    Over the last several weeks, I have steadily used the Arctic summer record combined with the Antarctic sea ice record to befuddle many a warmist. They do not know how to counter, so they mostly end up saying “what difference does 1 year make?”, or “that doesn’t matter”. The solar changes, on top of the polar data, is another great talking point to make a warmist choke up a bit.

  45. Oakden Wolf says: September 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm
    Wow…
    ———————————————-

    Your timeframe 1930-1990 does not match the satellite records timeframe 1979-today. Therefore your logic is false.

    Cooling surface air temperatures since 1979 correlate well with increasing sea ice.
    [url]http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/study-finds-antarctic-sea-ice-increases-when-it-gets-colder/[/url]

    Also, all of Antarctica have been cooling since 1980.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/28/steigs-antarctic-heartburn/

  46. The Roaring Forties have had some really intense storms
    this winter (it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere) with
    pressures down around 930 hp to 940hp. I can’t remember seeing
    them quite that low that often before. The isobars are also very crowded
    indicating strong winds.

    If this is what it was like for the sailing ships from Europe during
    the middle of the 19th century, it’s little wonder so many were lost.

    If you want to watch for yourself see http://metservice.com and look
    for the surface pressure maps. The Southern Ocean runs under
    New Zealand. Anything higher than 960hp is just a squall for the
    Southern Ocean.

  47. sophocles says:
    September 18, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    If you want to watch for yourself see http://metservice.com and look
    for the surface pressure maps. The Southern Ocean runs under
    New Zealand. Anything higher than 960hp is just a squall for the
    Southern Ocean.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    All that wind has taught us Kiwis how to sail flying catamarans fast. :)

  48. The University of Washington ‘lives’ by the climate and other models, and so thus, it will perish … and NOT soon enough !

  49. Still on topic. Tim Flannery the head of the now defunct Climate Commission here in Oz has just lost his $AUD180,000 year job and our new government is rapidly dismantling his old department.

  50. Increasing sea ice, increasing Antarctic ice mass and melting of the floating ice sheets are all explained by a cooling Antarctica causing increased katabatic winds. And it does seem most of Antarctica is cooling.

    Also, most of the new sea ice is around the Antarctic Peninsula, indicating the warming found there in the late 20th century was natural variation.

  51. The opinion of a non-scientist.

    The questions seems simple to me. How does sea water turns into ice? How does it melt?

    Is it the atmosphere above the sea water that lowers surface water temperature and causes the surface water to freeze or, carried by currents, does colder water from below (released from the conditions greater depth creates) freeze upon reaching the surface? (Or does water with less salt content arrive at the surface and freeze more readily?)

    How does sea ice thicken? It can’t thicken from the top since there is no sea water above the ice — so it must thicken from the bottom. Is it that the sea ice itself is colder than the water below it and thus thickens by converting that sea water below it into ice — or is much colder lower water (or less salty water) rising out of the depths (when released from deeper conditions) turn into ice as it approaches the surface?

    Interestingly, we might ask the opposite question. How does sea ice turn into sea water? Does it melt from the top down or from the bottom up? Again is it air temperature above or warmer water temperature below that melts ice? Or is it black soot accumulation on the surface that causes greater absorbing of sunlight that causes ice to melt?

    The thing that causes sea ice to form might NOT be the same thing that causes sea ice to melt.

    Growing up in New Jersey (alright don’t mock me) I noticed that in cold winters ice formed on pier supports above the water level. The splash from waves froze if the air was cold enough. A bay (rarely) would freeze over if the air was cold enough (very little water circulation in a bay).

    This is getting long winded.

    If you were to asked me I would say that sea water freezes from the top down and melts from the bottom up. Soot on the surface ain’t that big a deal.

    What freezing is going on in the Antarctic is caused by lower air temperatures and what “de-icing” is occurring is caused by a change in ocean currents (screw the volcano).

    What freezing is going on in the Arctic is caused by lower air temperatures and the melting that was going on was caused by a shift in ocean currents bringing in warmer water.

    The earth is big and small shifts in things (CO2, volcanoes, soot, etc.) are largely irrelevant.

    Air temperature changes (for whatever reason) can cause cosmetic changes in the earth surface but the oceans stabilize the earth.

    In the long long term the force that overrides all others is the varying input of the sun.

    Anyway, that is what I conclude after reading WUWT for a number of years and doing my own thinking. Those are the opinions that I, a non-scientist, hold.

    Of course, who cares? But hearing from the peanut gallery every once in a while won’t kill you.

    (Trivia question — where does “peanut gallery” come from? What made it a popular term once upon a time? You will date yourself if you know the answer.)

    Eugene WR Gallun

  52. All I know is today is the day that Tim Flannerry got fired. “climate change is real” . “blub blub blub”. Go tell someone who cares Tim. A sad day for idiots.

  53. So the 2012 Arctic sea ice minimum was a result of dangerous global warming, but the 2013 record Antarctic sea ice extent is “wind”?! I call BS on that.

    The strong katabatic winds blowing offshore in Antarctica are because its so bloody cold there, for the same reason that trade winds are strengthened at the Equatorial Pacific during a La Nina due to the upwelling cold water off Peru.

  54. Bill Inis says: The inconvenient truth is the Antarctic sea ice at (close to) record levels has to be explained by the warmers and there is no physically-logical reason why more wind would make the sea ice grow to a record.

    Only “cold” water can make water freeze.
    =====

    Radiative heat loss and evaporative heat loss can contribute to such cooling. Compacting of ice by stronger winds will leave more area exposed, evaporation IIRC is proportional of square of wind speed.

    I think this is what Zhang’s model experiment demonstrates.

    Both these effects run counter to much cited ‘albedo feedback’. The trivial idea that less snow reflects less sunlight is only half the story.

    Positive feedbacks are not much in evidence in the Arctic.

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/09/16/inter-decadal-variation-in-northern-hemisphere-sea-ice/

  55. phlogiston, well done. Don’t forget the undersea volcanic vents, and how there was a large break in sea ice some years ago, not from global warming, but another rogue sea ice chunk, knocked it off. No global warming, no danger to shipping, but the alarmists grabbed it to prove their climate change theories. BS X 1000.

  56. So more wind = more ice now ??? More wind at the North Pole will cause it to have record extents ??? I thought high winds in the Arctic in 2012 caused minimum extent ??? Guessing ?? Propagrandizing ??? Picking at straws ?? Blowing more hot air ?? Probably. These guys today that call themselves “scientists”, brother!

  57. @markx
    “the increased Antarctic sea ice is caused by the melting Antarctic ice cap.”

    That’s what I’ve been told as well. Somehow the air above the land is warm enough to melt the ice cap, but the more Northerly air (closer to the tropics) above the sea is cold enough to freeze the sea. I don’t understand how that works, but I’m not a climate scientist.

  58. James Fosser says:
    September 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Still on topic. Tim Flannery the head of the now defunct Climate Commission here in Oz has just lost his $AUD180,000 year job and our new government is rapidly dismantling his old department.
    _________________________
    Worth repeating…

  59. Colder temperature –> Stronger katabatic winds –> increased sea ice extent
    Shorter : increased sea ice extent <– Colder temperature
    QED ;)

  60. It is darkly amusing that the same steig-fueled stuff was said with the opposite spin about the Arctic… that winds had nothing to do with the sea ice extent reduction… it was just the temp as measured by the stations 1800 km away.

    Funny how the same mechanism is capable of doing different things at different ends of the earth. What surprises will the old earth bring us next?

  61. Reminds me of the experiment where a glass of warm water and a glass of cold water are placed in a fridge freezer. Which one do you think freezes first ?

  62. And we’ve been studying the hole in the ozone layer for how long? Which makes us real experts on it right? So we can blame winds on the presumably growing hole? Right.

  63. “You’ve got more thick ice, more ridged ice, and at the same time you will get more ice extent because the ice just survives longer,” Zhang said.

    So you get more ice because you get more ice. The same kind of circular reasoning involved in using a computer simulation to verify a model.

  64. Greg says:
    September 18, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Both these effects run counter to much cited ‘albedo feedback’. The trivial idea that less snow reflects less sunlight is only half the story.

    Remember that in the Antarctic albedo and cloud work opposite to everywhere else; Antarctic snow is so Daz automatic whiter than white that its albedo is greater than that of cloud. So in Antarctica, reduced cloud cover means more albedo, not less.

  65. From University of Washington press room by Hannah Hickey

    Despite warmer air and oceans, there’s more sea ice in Antarctica now than in the 1970s – a fact often pounced on by global warming skeptics.

    I wonder why?

    IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
    Current models suggest that the Antarctic Ice Sheet will remain too cold for widespread melting and may gain mass in future through increased snowfall, acting to reduce sea level rise…..

    ….Antarctic sea ice extent is also projected to DECREASE in the 21st century. {8.6, 10.3, Box 10.1}….

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/tssts-5-2.html

    [My capitalization]

    What is one to make of these multiple projections? We can never find them wrong. We can never falsify their dire projections / predictions or whatever. No wonder people yawn and laugh, this is becoming a cat and mouse game of a joke.

  66. I have a much simpler explanation:

    When the Arctic ice was at an “all time” low it was blamed on wind. Now we know where the wind has blown all that ice to.

    Obvious really.

  67. And all produced from the safety of their warm offices in front of a computer. Well done for a brilliant fairy story.NOW GO SOUTH AND DO SOME MEASUREMENTS IN REALITY. (shouting off)

  68. These sort of papers are not serious studies or scientific work. They are little better than fairy stories created to mollify the Warmist audience seeking reassurance that it has not been wasting its time of pure fantasies.

  69. Simon:

    Your post at September 19, 2013 at 2:58 am says in total

    Paul Homewood Just to confirm, NSIDC show the Antarctic sea ice extent hit an all time high this week.
    Not according to this.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/antarctic.sea.ice.interactive.html

    According to your link, you and Paul Homewood are both right.

    Definitions, dear boy, definitions.

    Your link (which I have copied) shows the Antarctic sea ice extent hit an all time high for day 236 of 2013 which is in “this week”.

    Since then the Antarctic sea ice extent has been slightly below 2007 levels and seems unlikely to be greater during 2013 than it was at maximum extent in 2007.

    What your link actually and undeniably shows is
    (a) Antarctic sea ice extent has large day-to-day variability
    and
    (b) there is no indication of a trend of reducing Antarctic sea ice extent over the years for any time of year.

    Richard

  70. I am now more convinced than ever that AGW ‘science’ in whichever branding it appears is completely and utterly and unfalsifiable. Just like the God of the gap’s. AGW’s missing heat or extra cold keeps on moving into areas of little understanding or lack of opservational data. Unfalsifiable

  71. “If the warming continues, at some point the trend will reverse,” Zhang said.

    But the trend is during warming, so it would take a cooling globally to reverse the trend, e.g. like at the 8.2Kyr event when temperatures rose in the Antarctic.

  72. “The overwhelming evidence is that the Southern Ocean is warming,” said author Jinlun Zhang, an oceanographer at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. “Why would sea ice be increasing? Although the rate of increase is small, it is a puzzle to scientists.”

    Interesting statement, most people don’t argue with this part: “The overwhelming evidence is that the Southern Ocean is warming,” even when it is not true because they concentrate on arguing with the theory of stronger winds increasing ice area. To the non-technical the southern ocean must be warming. Therefore it is easier to get more research money and the oceans warming sea-level rising story continues.

  73. Haven’t these guys ever heard of epicycles? The model doesn’t work (geocentric universe) so let’s invent epicycles to make up for the lack of fit. It will be interesting to see if the current theory of climate science becomes known as Ptolemaic climate science.

  74. Pure nonsense. Almost all sea ice in Antarctica is thin and melts every summer. The only area with thick semi-permanent ice is in the Weddell sea, which is also almost the only area where the ice cover hasn’t expanded (the red area at the upper left in the map above).

  75. Here are the official Sea Surface Temperature anomalies around Antarctica (starting at 55S about the tip of South America a good distance from where the sea ice starts) from 1854 to Aug 2013.

    Let’s not have any more musing about the oceans around Antarctica warming.

  76. It is appalling that this paper even passed pal, I mean peer review, and the same can be said about the recent study, “Human and natural influences on the changing thermal structure of the atmosphere” by Santer and Painter, et al.

  77. Sea water freezes at -2C. It will not freeze at any temperature higher than that. Wind chill or speed is not a factor in making water freeze. If wind is pushing the ice up to be thicker then that suggests that without the wind the Antarctic Ice Extent would or should be greater than it is. Considering Antarctica was only discovered just under 200 hundred years ago and the precision and amount of measurement has increased exponentially, then the increase in wind speed could be a factor or more people doing more measurements. Anyway, I understand the winds to be Katabatic and caused be cold air sinking and falling off the Antarctic land mass. This falling air coming off Antarctica will be turned to the right by the earth’s rotation producing the famous winds that the seas around Antarctica are famous for. Therefore, if the winds are increasing then there must be more cold air falling of that continent. And this is produced by warming?

  78. Here are the official Sea Surface Temperature anomalies around Antarctica (starting at 55S about the tip of South America a good distance from where the sea ice starts) from 1854 to Aug 2013.

    Wow, that is really interesting. Antarctic temperatures follow the general warming trend of the mid-20th century right up to the 1998 ENSO that pulsed the GAST and LTT up, overall, but have distinctly fallen since and lack the uptick seen elsewhere! It would be once again interesting to see this curve with error bars, of course, because the earlier temperatures in the series have to come from seriously inadequate sampling and inconsistent and poor measurement technique — Antarctica was real terra incognita until the mid-20th century, and Antarctic waters were and remain among the world’s most dangerous.

    Taken at face value, though the pattern actually rather strongly suggests — to me — that heat was indeed steadily accumulating in the southern oceans in the latter half of the 20th century, but the nonlinear chaotic system of ocean currents and air currents hit a tipping point, dumped a huge bolus of that heat into the atmosphere all at once (in the super-ENSO event), and in the process self-organized into a new pattern of currents that cooled more efficiently — evidence of large scale negative feedback in the climate system. Since then, in the new pattern, the Antarctic and southern ocean has been neutral to cooling in the polar regions, heat has been concentrated more in the tropics, which is overall neutral to cooling as higher high/tropical temperatures cool much more efficiently over a much larger area than higher polar temperatures.

    The arctic circulation is lagging in this same pattern — when the PDO shifted, it started a cooling trend in the northern pacific, but the NAO has yet to shift phase. If the Arctic Oscillation tightens up and decreases warm air/water mixing from the tropics, the arctic will also cool quickly and with it northern Europe, Siberia, Canada, and higher north latitudes. Or, perhaps the pattern won’t shift.

    What many people do not realize is that the Earth can warm or cool significantly due to NOTHING BUT alterations in global transport of heat. Heat transport that leads to more tropical/polar mixing is globally warming. Heat transport that reduces the mixing is globally cooling. Shift the Gulf Stream a few hundred miles to the south in the global thermohaline circulation and both the NE US and Canada and Western Europe go into the deep freeze.

    All of the major decadal oscillations have warming vs cooling effects depending on their (different) phases. Major warming can occur simply due to a coincidence in phase such that warming/mixing trends heterodyne. So can major cooling trends. We do not really know how to predict the behavior of these oscillations (especially e.g. ENSO, with its comparatively short and erratic period). Chalk it all up to yet another thing that we do not understand or have good long term data on.

    rgb

  79. Stephen Skinner says:
    September 19, 2013 at 6:11 am
    “….. This falling air coming off Antarctica will be turned to the right by the earth’s rotation producing the famous winds that the seas around Antarctica are famous for…..”
    OK. Thats not correct is it? Should have known I was in the southern hemisphere. Looks like the cold air falling off Antarctic is pushed to the right by the prevailing Westerlies and if they are increasing that will be driven by weather systems to the north.

  80. Surfer Dave says:
    September 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm
    “model experiment” is an oxymoron. Why do they think their model comes anywhere near to reality? How does one calibrate such a model before doing an “experiment” with it. Totally bogus “science”.

    Other_Andy says:
    September 18, 2013 at 5:56 pm
    “Why would sea ice be increasing? Although the rate of increase is small, it is a puzzle to scientists.”

    That’s what you get when you are trying to make the data fit the theory-model instead of the other way around.

    Climate scientists don’t understand the differences between experiments, the physical climate and models. How can we believe anybody who lacks a fundamental understanding of science?

  81. Perhaps the addition of 49 gt/yr of ice on the continent over the last decade is causing more to be pushed out to sea as well?

  82. The NSIDC Arctic and Antarctic graphs are misleading. The Arctic is scaled from 2-12 and the Antarctic is scaled at 0-20. This gives the impression that the Antarctic gains are puny relative to the Arctic losses. In reality, the current aggregate of both extents is roughly half a million km shy of the 30 year mean. The current aggregate extent is 19.351 million sq km. using a quick and dirty rough estimate; 1 million sq km is equal to the 5% of the total extent. Essentially, the current global extent is 2.6-2.7% below the 30-year mean.

    The truth of the matter is things are not nearly as dire as the individual graphs would lead you to believe. The aggregate NSIDC sea ice extent provides a clearer picture of what is, and most importantly, what isn’t happening.

  83. Will people give over with these ‘modelling studies’!

    Do they think people are stupid?

    Computers aren’t like the ones on Star Trek, you can’t just ask them a question and get an answer. Computers know jack..!

    If you want an answer, you have to tell it what the answer is in the first place!

    These herberts took two observed things… one that Antarctic ice has increased and two that winds have increased a bit in that area. They then TOLD the computer that the second was causing the first and also in-putted the parameters for how much. They might as well have told it that the increased ice was causing the increased wind.

    Brilliant!

    That is proof of nothing, other than the stupidity of the ‘modellers’. Two things that happen at the same time are automatically correlated in their idiotic La La land.

    Don’t anybody tell them that pirates have also increased during the period of increasing ice and increasing winds or we will have another computer ‘study’, proving something or other, coming round the corner soon!

    Alan

  84. RobRicket says:
    September 19, 2013 at 8:44 am

    The NSIDC Arctic and Antarctic graphs are misleading. The Arctic is scaled from 2-12 and the Antarctic is scaled at 0-20. This gives the impression that the Antarctic gains are puny relative to the Arctic losses. In reality, the current aggregate of both extents is roughly half a million km shy of the 30 year mean. The current aggregate extent is 19.351 million sq km. using a quick and dirty rough estimate; 1 million sq km is equal to the 5% of the total extent. Essentially, the current global extent is 2.6-2.7% below the 30-year mean.

    The truth of the matter is things are not nearly as dire as the individual graphs would lead you to believe. The aggregate NSIDC sea ice extent provides a clearer picture of what is, and most importantly, what isn’t happening.

    No, it’s actually worse than you think!

    See, the recent “losses” of Arctic sea ice extent are trending towards “zero.” (And, in fact, they can never go below “zero” so there is a finite bound to the “loss of Arctic sea ice problem”. It can never get worse than zero (effective zero, since “sea ice extents” includes areas of as little as 15% sea ice cover.)

    Regardless, sea ice minimums could continue to decline – and that decline (from 4,000 Kmm^2 to 3,000 Kkm^2 to 2,000 Kkm^2 to 1, 000 Kkm^2 to “ZERO!”) will get ever larger and larger “percent losses!”

    Can’t you see the CAGW headlines in Nature, Scientific America, and National Geographic” each year?
    “25% of Sea Ice Now Threatened by Global Warming”
    “Arctic Loses 33% of Sea Ice!”
    “Scientists Predict 50% Sea Ice Loss!”
    “Global Warming to Cause 100% of Sea Ice Loss”

    But these very real (potential) sea ice losses are ALL at 81, 83, and 85 degree latitude! They occur when the sun is at most between 4 and 8 degrees above the horizon – and that for only 4 hours a day. The rest of the time, the sun is either even lower (near sunrise or sunset) or completely below the horizon. Not only is the albedo of open water 4 to 8 times higher than at temperate latitudes of most areas of the earth, but the atmospheric attenuation at 80 and 85 degrees north is 4 to 12 times higher than at more normal latitudes. There simply is no solar radiation to be absorbed by the “exposed Arctic Ocean” when sea ice is at low levels in mid-September.

    And, the make it even worse than you think: the Arctic ice that is melting is increasingly “dirty” and is itself absorbing more heat energy. Thus, the “dirty” and pond-covered Arctic sea ice that is melting in August and September has a much lower albedo than the pristine new snow-covered sea ice in October, January, or early May. Net? The sea ice albedo in September is even closer to the albedo of the open ocean in September. When September or August sea ice does melt, there is little difference in direct radiation albedo.

    Now, diffuse albedos are significantly different (for diffuse radiation, open ocean absorbs much more energy than even dirty sea ice). But – since the Arctic clouds CAUSE the diffuse radiation, if there is diffuse radiation to be absorbed, more than 70% of the potential diffuse radiation has already been reflected from the ocean by the clouds that caused the diffuse radiation. Net? Even under clouds, the open Arctic Ocean at times of minimum sea ice extents lose more heat than they gain from either direct or diffuse radiation.

    Essentially no radiation gets through to “heat” the Arctic ocean when the sea ice melts up there from today’s minimum extent levels. If all of the sea ice did vanish one year, there is a ever-larger increase in heat losses from the ocean waters, and little heat gain in the Arctic, and thus the planet cools.

    Not so in the Antarctic. There, the increasing levels of sea ice reflect much more light energy at ALL times of the year – at sea ice minimum (2,000 to 3,000 Kkm^2) and at all times up to sea ice maximum (19,000 Kkm^2 to today’s records of 19,600 Kkm62. But notice the propaganda “gain”! That is, that a “gain” of only 500 Kkm^2 is “only” 500/19,000.

    With this CAGW logic, even a gain of 1,000 Kkm^2 in the Antarctic can be dismissed as “only” a 5% change! But remember, the Arctic “lost” 50% of its sea ice!

    Yet that 500,000 km^2 “gain” (because the 19,500,000 “record Antarctic extent” is at latitudes far closer to the equator than the 85-86 north latitude of minimum Arctic sea ice extents: at minimum Antarctic sea extent, the sea ice is at latitude 70 south: closer to the equator than Arctic sea ice is at its MAXIMUM extents. (Hudson Bay, Bering Straits, the Baltic are exceptions to this 70 degree latitude “rule” – but those are “arctic waters” that melt every year anyway. Pretending that they do not already melt, or that they change the earth’s heat balance when they melt is incorrect.) At today’s 19,500,000 Antarctic sea ice extents, the reflecting edge – the new sea ice – is at latitude 60 degrees south. Closer to the equator than the south tip of Greenland, than southern Alaska. At those latitudes, every sq km of new sea ice IS reflecting significant amounts of solar energy – thus cooling the planet even more.

    Looking at ” total sea ice” as you did hides the gain even more effectively because it assumes that Arctic sea ice is reflecting as much solar energy as Antarctic sea.

    And, if you are tricked into “adding” a 500,000 km^2 “gain” of sea ice to a 1,100,000 “loss” of sea, you merely confuse the reader into conceding that there is still a “loss” of sea ice – which is the intent after all of the whole conversation. But the “balance” is wrong – dead wrong. The “loss” is at high latitudes where solar energy cannot be gained, and the gain is at significantly lower latitudes where there is solar energy to be reflected.

  85. RACookPE1978 says:
    September 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Excellent, simple analysis.

    Why do CACA advocates supposedly worry about sea ice? Polar bears thrive even in the absence of Arctic sea ice, so no worries there. That leaves albedo, unless you know of some other alleged concern.

    And as you correctly show, expanding Antarctic sea ice produces far more allegedly beneficial reflectivity than could possibly be lost by retreating Arctic ice.

    Less Arctic sea ice in summer would be a blessing to humans & other living things, but sadly its extent is probably going to start waxing again.

  86. RACookPE1978,

    Good information to chew on. Clearly, there must be enough energy reaching the Arctic ice to cause summer melting. Since the albedo of dirty ice is superior to water, I don’t see the logic in saying: ” Even under clouds, the open Arctic Ocean at times of minimum sea ice extents lose more heat than they gain.” What of periods of less cloud cover…if ice is melting, we can hardly say there is a net heat loss.

    Having said that, the info regarding the relative differences in ice extent lattitudes is appreciated.

  87. So the growth in Antarctica has at various times been placed on ozone hole more winds, then snow, then melting ice, then lighter winds and now stronger winds. Plus this post now says they don’t know what is causing the “southern winds have been getting stronger”. Could it be they just don’t know?

  88. Jimbo says:
    September 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Also has been blamed on fresh melt water from the EAIS, which isn’t melting.

  89. Western Antarctic ice sheet is back up again to date. I wonder why it was down in the last couple of years. Ahhhhhh less wind. :-)

  90. milodonharlani says:
    September 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Jimbo says:
    September 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Also has been blamed on fresh melt water from the EAIS, which isn’t melting.

    Not only that but Dronning Maud Land, in the Atlantic sector of East Antarctica, has experienced some extreme snowfalls (as predicted by the IPCC) but the extent is up (not predicted by the IPCC but the opposite for the 21 century). Warmists are desperate to see the total meltdown of Antarctica. All we sceptics can do is wait, observe and point out issues.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50559/full

  91. Jimbo says:
    September 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    And from the WAIS, where there might be some water-lubricated glaciers, the supposed cold freshwater hasn’t caused sea ice growth as great as from the much more extensive EAIS.

    Dilemmas & conundra multiply for CACA WAGs on all continents, oceans & in the air. Mother Nature likes to slap down liars, frauds, rogues & charlatans.

  92. Jimbo says:
    September 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Abstract from your cited study:

    “Enhanced snowfall on the East Antarctic ice sheet is projected to significantly mitigate 21st century global sea level rise. In recent years (2009 and 2011), regionally extreme snowfall anomalies in Dronning Maud Land, in the Atlantic sector of East Antarctica, have been observed. It has been unclear, however, whether these anomalies can be ascribed to natural decadal variability, or whether they could signal the beginning of a long-term increase of snowfall. Here we use output of a regional atmospheric climate model, evaluated with available firn core records and gravimetry observations, and show that such episodes had not been seen previously in the satellite climate data era (1979). Comparisons with historical data that originate from firn cores, one with records extending back to the 18th century, confirm that accumulation anomalies of this scale have not occurred in the past ~60 years, although comparable anomalies are found further back in time. We examined several regional climate model projections, describing various warming scenarios into the 21st century. Anomalies with magnitudes similar to the recently observed ones were not present in the model output for the current climate, but were found increasingly probable toward the end of the 21st century.”

    Maybe the authors should have considered running a cooling scenario.

    But to their credit they appear to recognize that climate didn’t suddenly start changing without precedent in 1979, having been static for the prior four billion years.

  93. Jim Steele: Sept 18 @7:33
    That is an informative essay on Antarctic vs Artic sea ice formation you posted on your blog

  94. RobRicket on September 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm
    RACookPE1978,Good information to chew on. Clearly, there must be enough energy reaching the Arctic ice to cause summer melting. Since the albedo of dirty ice is superior to water, I don’t see the logic in saying: ” Even under clouds, the open Arctic Ocean at times of minimum sea ice extents lose more heat than they gain.” What of periods of less cloud cover…if ice is melting, we can hardly say there is a net heat loss.Having said that, the info regarding the relative differences in ice extent lattitudes is appreciated.

    The factor missing in your reasoning is water temperature and heat. If Arctic melt is at least partly from warm water input, then there can be heat loss even during melting.

    It is considered that ENSO heat especially from el Ninos is transported to the poles taking a decade or more to get there. Thus ocean heat is continually delivered to the Arctic, at a varying rate depending on ocean oscillation cycles such as PDO and AMO.

    Ice loss begins before air temperature increases above zero in summer and continues in September after it goes below zero. When air temperature is below zero at the sea surface there must always be heat loss from the water.

    If poleward transport of heat is considered, then the poles must be continually shedding heat from the oceans.

  95. RGB


    What many people do not realize is that the Earth can warm or cool significantly due to NOTHING BUT alterations in global transport of heat.

    Amen brother! An important fact missed entirely by those who seek some distinct atmospheric driver (CO2, soot, volcanoes, ozone etc..) for every inflection and wiggle in the temperature record.

    But this fact is well understood by the ocean circulation modelling community, but fails to be communicated beyond it. This parochialism and territoriality is a major failure of the scientific community and process.

  96. milodonharlani says:
    September 19, 2013 at 11:14 am (replying to)

    RACookPE1978 says:
    September 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

    (and)
    phlogiston says:
    September 19, 2013 at 9:10 pm (replying to)

    RobRicket on September 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    The factor missing in your reasoning is water temperature and heat. If Arctic melt is at least partly from warm water input, then there can be heat loss even during melting.

    It is considered that ENSO heat especially from el Ninos is transported to the poles taking a decade or more to get there. Thus ocean heat is continually delivered to the Arctic, at a varying rate depending on ocean oscillation cycles such as PDO and AMO.

    Ice loss begins before air temperature increases above zero in summer and continues in September after it goes below zero. When air temperature is below zero at the sea surface there must always be heat loss from the water.

    There are several simultaneous, but not mutually contradictory, heat flows going on at the same time up there (or down under in Antarctica) that oppose each each other. And, heat transfer being an instantaneous event, the opposing heat fluxes can actually reverse each other at different times of the same day, or, at the same time at the same day, oppose each other at different latitudes.

    The top of the surface water will be slightly above freezing all the time: But it changes as currents flow under the ice (the water getting colder the longer it is under the colder ice), and getting warmer (up to 4 or 5 degrees C several hundred km ‘s away from the edge of the ice fields. The AVERAGE surface air will vary from -20 C to -25 C (mid-November to mid-March) but will oscillate greatly down around that level. Look at the DMI 80 north latitude air temperatures: Over the summer months, the average air temperature will go up to +3 degrees C – NEVER HIGHER! Over 50 years, the average summer air temperatures have never varied, but are slowly decreasing as ice extents have decreased. Regardless of “why” or how long this trend may continue, the average air temperature over the Arctic Ocean has NOT been increasing, and has very, very small standard deviation. (Winter standard deviations are very, very large. Annual “arctic air temperatures” ONLY have been increasing if the winter (non-solar radiation temperatures!) are used.

    Now, over each 24 hour period, the actual air temperature will vary +/- 6 to 10 degrees around this slowly changing daily average air temperature. So the actual air temperature right above the ocean (or the ice) will vary over a 8 to 12 degree range: Sometimes each day ( in summer) the air temperature is higher than the water temperature, sometimes it will be lower over each sq km at each latitude. In the winter, the air temperature is always lower than the water temperature, but there is seldom very much open water in the Arctic each winter. Sensible Heat Transfer is always from water to air in winter, but the amount varies each day and each hour. In summer, sometimes heat transfer is one way, sometimes it is the other. Latent heat transfer (change of phase) is the same differences.

    Now, over ice, the top of the ice will be “almost” the same as the air temperature. But down under that 1 or 2 meters of ice, the water will be always be warmer than the ice. So, again, the heat will flow in different directions each hour of each day: Sometimes freezing more water into ice at the bottom, sometimes melting ice into water at the bottom of the ice. Through all of this phase changes and salinity changes right in the same little band where the ice and water are mixed. But there is nothing contradictory about the changes: What is hotter at this given minute? How saline is the water at this minute at this given sq meter of under ice surface?

    Is the sun shining above through clouds this minute? What about the previous minute? Energy absorbed can – and does – change minute-to-minute as the sun comes in and out of clouds, as clouds change the diffuse radiation levels, and as the solar elevation angle of the sun changes each hour. Clouds cover the arctic about 83% of the time in the summer, but only about 40% in March, April, and May. So direct radiation is more likely in early spring, less likely in late summer when the “melt season” is high gear. But the almost continuous cloud cover reflects 30-70% of the inbound radiation. Still a lot: it is enough to melt some of the ice from above. Not all. Slits and opening in the ice will re-freeze at night, and the sun does NOT stay continuously high in the sky at all locations up north. As it gets later in the July and august and September, even the far north sees less and less solar radiation.

    BUT – the long wave radiation heat transfer depends on the surface temperature of the radiating surface (to the 4th power actually) if the two emissivities are the same, right? . (And water and ice do have nearly the same emissivities.) So, where the open ocean is present, more long wave radiation is emitted to space (remember than open ocean is ALWAYS warmer than ice-covered surfaces), more evaporation losses are present when the open ocean is present (no evaporation losses at all if it is ice-covered actually), and sensible heat transfer through convective is higher when the open ocean water is present. And, in contrast to the ever-diminishing solar exposure, the open ocean areas in the Arctic are always evaporating, always radiating long wave radiation, and always convecting more heat away into the cold arctic air.

    So, over any 24 hour period, any open ocean in the Arctic above 80 degrees north always loses more energy from mid-August through late September than ice-covered waters do.

  97. There are other winds to take into account. Strong “katabatic” winds blow down from the Antarctic continental interior to the coast, bringing a load of snow and tending to drive the sea ice away from shore, producing open water.

  98. Gil Dewart says:
    September 20, 2013 at 11:58 am

    And, if open water is produced by such kakabatic winds, the openings are right around the continent edge at about 70-71 latitude. The actual antarctic sea ice edge is 10 degrees further north at between 61 to 60 south latitude.
    You would be claiming that sea ice in east Texas is moved by winds blowing in Denver, if katabatic winds were the only explanation. .

  99. RACookPE1978 says:
    September 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Many thanks for the useful explanation of Arctic sea ice surface heat dynamics. Open water in the Arctic in late summer = heat loss, as you conclude. However increased open water is there due to heat input to the Arctic. Therefore the inescapable conclusion is negative feedback. Some folks don’t like to hear this.

    Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine the Arctic ocean / sea is static and stagnant, no water movement at all at any depth. (Assume also no undersea volcanoes.) What is the average air temperature over the whole year at the Arctic? From your data, it must be somewhere in the -10C – -20C range. Well below zero. So our imaginary static Arctic ocean would be frozen solid from surface to sea floor. Only at latitudes where the annual average temperature increases above zero, would liquid water be found.

    Therefore the presence of liquid water in parts of the Arctic where annual average temperatures are less than zero is simple proof that there is continuous import of heat into the Arctic in ocean currents.

    Where does this heat go?

  100. The ice mass is accreting that is a fact that the wind is doing it is a sidebar. Is the wind not a part of the climate ?

  101. phlogiston says:
    September 21, 2013 at 10:49 am

    RACookPE1978 says:
    September 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Many thanks for the useful explanation of Arctic sea ice surface heat dynamics. Open water in the Arctic in late summer = heat loss, as you conclude. However increased open water is there due to heat input to the Arctic. Therefore the inescapable conclusion is negative feedback. Some folks don’t like to hear this.

    Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine the Arctic ocean / sea is static and stagnant, no water movement at all at any depth. (Assume also no undersea volcanoes.) What is the average air temperature over the whole year at the Arctic? From your data, it must be somewhere in the -10C – -20C range. Well below zero. So our imaginary static Arctic ocean would be frozen solid from surface to sea floor. Only at latitudes where the annual average temperature increases above zero, would liquid water be found.

    I’d rather not use a ‘flat plate” thought experiment, since the heat transfer changes across the Arctic from March 20 through September 20 are due to rotation and inclination: The math is not trivial, but it is simple if you use a globe instead of the CAGW’s prefered Hansen-NASA-GISS Mercator-projected flat plate insulated-ice-cube-in-space.

    To begin with, they use a very simplified – but equally inaccurate – albedo summary chart like that in the Wickedpediafiles, then compare their assumed ocean albedo to the “classic” laboratory Fresnel equations for reflection of a laboratory perfect, pure water, pure atmosphere pure light wave reflecting off of a perfectly stable perfectly flat pool of water. Obviously, such a perfection is ridiculed as false (“oceans have waves” for example, as I have read here many times) but then the approximations and simplifying assumptions on their side multiply ad infinitum.

    So, with your permission, can I expand on those albedos?
    Most assume “pure ice”,
    but the real world has “dirty” Arctic ice with many melt ponds that is actually much darker June-July-August-September than under fresh snow in January,
    Most assume “pure water” under direct single-wave radiation as a incorrect albedo for water,
    but the real world has “open ocean” with wind and turbidity, and that “real world water” reflects diffuse light and direct light very, very differently. Real world, measured albedos must be used.

    You’ll want to look up these papers on the web:
    Richard Payne, 1972: “Albedo of the Sea Surface”.
    Use Figure 4 for direct radiation (clear skies.)
    Use Figure 5 for diffuse radiation (cloudy skies); those two are the best.
    Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.

    Now, Payne measured his albedos from Buzzards Bay, Mass over a 4 month period.

    Charles Rutledge, P5.17 Multi-Year Observations of Ocean Albedo From A Rigid Marine Ocean Platform, 2006 did a longer study over a greater range of solar elevation angles.
    Use his Figure 4 in this web page for both clear skies (red, direct radiation) and cloudy skies(blue dots, diffuse radiation) to see the very striking difference between the two forms of solar radiation hitting sea water.

    Scott Pegau, 2001, Albedo of Arctic Leads In Summer, doesn’t find strikingly different results from Payne or Briegleb, but his plots confirm their experimental values for the Arctic Ocean in “real world” melting Arctic waters up in and around the sea ice. Most importantly, Pegau expands on Briegleb’s equation for open ocean albedos at varying solar elevation angles by adding a wind speed correction term. So, add Pegau’s Figure 3 (albedo of direct beam radiation vs solar elevation angles at various wind speeds from 0 to 20 meters/sec.) Essentially, that replaces the “theoretical lab values” of the Fresnel equation – while confirming their ultimate form! – with actual field-measured albedos from the Arctic Ocean.
    Briegleb’s paper is 1986, Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology – it is harder to use compared to either Payne or Pegau’s papers and had fewer easy-to-use figures since he prefers to plot albedos vs the cosine of the solar zenith angle. Skip it unless you really, really want to feel utter pain for several hours.

    So, what will you find when you replace these open ocean experiment values into the CAGW’s assumed Wickedpediafiles figures?

    1. Up in the Arctic Ocean above 80 north latitude, the sun will be at high angles for long period of time only during June and July. By August, it will be very low in the sky, and be above the horizon fro increasingly shorter amounts of time each day. Because it’s solar elevation angle is much lower in the sky, two things happen: The first is that the sun’s light must penetrate increasingly larger amounts of atmosphere to get to the surface of the Arctic ice. The second thing is that, once that much-weakened beam of direct solar energy does get down to the Arctic’s ice surface, it hits the ice (or the open arctic ocean water) at increasingly smaller and smaller solar elevation angles. There, it hits with a much higher albedo, and more energy is reflected from the open water. Use the NOAA’s solar elevation calculator to see the impact of a 8 or 10 air mass value on penetration coefficients!

    2. On the other hand, if that direct beam of sunlight does get through the ever-thickening atmosphere and if does hits the arctic ice in mid July, August or September, the ice it hits is “dirtier” and has a much lower albedo than what is drawn above. (Instead of “clean ice” of albedo of 0.83 to 0.85, July and August sea ice is only 0.55 to 0.60 albedo. ) Thus, what little direct sunlight that does get through is absorbed into the sea ice only slightly less than it is absorbed into the open ocean in July and August! (June and very late May are different stories: more radiation does get through at longer durations each day at higher solar elevation angles in June than in early May or late July. then again, that is why those are the melt seasons.)

    3. But, direct solar radiation is only 1/2 the story: and, to tell the truth, actually about 1/7 the story. The skies in July and August are very cloudy, with only 1 in 7 days being clear with near-theoretical amounts of direct radiation getting through the clouds to strike the surface. Under those 6 out of 7 days when conditions of clouds and diffuse radiation dominate the Arctic, the albedoes change.

    4. Sea ice albedo under diffuse radiation remains about the same: 65% reflected, 35% absorbed.

    5. Open water albedo under cloudy skies in lower: 6.6% is reflected, 93.4% is absorbed are the usually an accepted values, and these values do not vary much as solar elevation angle changes. However, those same clouds that lower albedo also reflect so much radiation from above that the satellites measuring outbound energy cannot distinguish easily between cloud reflections and ice reflections. In total, only about 33% of the potential solar radiation gets through the clouds (the rest is reflected into space) and is available to be absorbed into the water.

    So, if the energy does get through the atmosphere, just about equal amounts are reflected as absorbed; and it it diffused through the atmosphere, only 1/3 gets through to be potentially absorbed into the Arctic Ocean.

    Net – as your thought experiment shows for a “flat plate, solid water” Arctic, the total outbound radiation will always – over the year – cool the Arctic.

  102. RACookPE1978 says:
    September 21, 2013 at 11:44 pm
    phlogiston says:
    September 21, 2013 at 10:49 am

    So correct analysis of albedo with real world values of actual Arctic surface conditions comes to the same conclusion from the other side – an in an impressive and cool way. Surface radiation heat flux at the Arctic goes just one way – “to infinity and beyond”.

    It seems that the modelling of all this should be done in true explicit 3D. In the Arctic every component such as diffuse as opposed to direct insolation has completely different geometry.

  103. Oh no. It’s still worse than you think. 8<)

    See, the real world, 3D model of the inbound (heating) solar radiation shows that the solar radiation always has to fight its way through a ever-thicker atmosphere and an ever-lower solar elevation angle to get to the surface. Thus, in the early morning and late afternoon hours of each day, every day of the year, the inbound solar energy will be attenuated to get through 2, 3, 4 up to 11 or higher atmospheric "thickness". Then, as above, when that light energy does get to the earth's surface, the surviving light energy is reflected off of the surface (water or ice) by ever-increasing albedos. (It is only at that one minute, during those few fleeting seconds around local apparent noon that both atmospheric attenuation and albedo are both minimum for that one day. And, every day further from June 22's solar maximum, the daily radiation decreases as well. So, 364 days of the year, inbound radiation is less than the maximum.

    Outbound radiation? Well, outbound long waver radiation is perpendicular to the earth's surface every minute of every hour of every day of the year. Outbound (cooling) long wave radiation always needs only penetrate 1.0 atmosphere thickness .. And, once out of the atmosphere, the outbound radiation immediately hits the infinitely cold temperature of space. (Inbound longwave radiative flux will vary based on atmospheric temperatures and relative cloud cover.)

    Evaporation heat losses from theopen ocean? 24 hours per day, increasing as wind speed increases.

    Convective heat losses? 24 hours per day. Increasing as wind energy increases.
    Increasing as air temperature decreases.

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