There’s an information war on the recent Antarctic sea ice records
Guest essay by Frank Lansner
Today Cryosphere reports 2,112 million km2 more sea ice around Antarctica than normal.
Reality is that we right now have an area matching the size of Greenland of extra sea ice floating around Antarctica. The nightmare for the global warming believers is if the growing ice around Antarctica should be linked to cooling, and so:
1) Some Re-analysis papers and more have been made showing that the ocean around Antarctica is not cooling (as original data suggests) but is in stead warming fast.
2) Several mechanisms have been suggested to argue how come ice can grow so much faster when in fact the water is supposed to have warmed up.
Therefore in the following I will first (part 1) go through some data sources to evaluate if it’s cooling or not in the area of ice-formation around Antarctica, and then (part 2) I will go through the most frequent attempts to explain faster ice formation in supposedly warmer waters.
PART 1: ARE THE OCEANS AROUND ANTARCTICA WARMING OR COOLING?
The red box: I have inserted the red box 73S-63S 220W-50E because this area will be used in the following to evaluate the situation in the ice forming waters around Antarctica.
NOAA use a base period approx. 1983-1995 and they report that the waters around Antarctica today are colder than normal. In fact this is the case most of the time in the last decade in NOAAs graphics, especially in the zone where extra winter ice is being formed.
CMC Canada use base period 1995-2009, but still we see temperatures of the ice forming waters near Antarctica are lower than normal.
NCDC ERSST v3b2
I use the KNMI online climate explorer to get data from the “red box” area 73S-63S 220W-50E, see fig 2.
Fine agreement with NSDC.
TAO buoys surface air temperature:
[figure 6 was in error, and the error originated at KNMI, as you can see below and also in comments (h/t to Bob Tisdale for his interaction with KNMI to get to the root of the problem):
Bob Tisdale writes in email to me:
The problem was that Frank uncovered a problem with the KNMI Climate Explorer when he tried (and was successful) to extract what he thought was “TAO Air Temp” data for the Southern Ocean, from a dataset that only includes data for the tropical Pacific.The data in Frank’s Figure 6 wasn’t data for the Southern Ocean, it was tropical Pacific data. That was the glitch at KNMI. I notified KNMI. They corrected the problem and we can only get data from that dataset at KNMI when the correct tropical Pacific coordinates are used…thus the error message you just got.
We hope to add a corrected graph from KNMI soon – Anthony]
The SST´s and to some degree surface air suggest a drop in temperatures especially around 2008
TLT, Air temperature lower troposphere from RSS:
Data suggest some cooling, certainly not warming.
Thus it seems that recent years for the area of ice formation around Antarctica show:
A: Decrease in Sea surface temperatures
B: Decrease in Air temperatures
C: Growth in Sea ice
These observations are in compliance, I´d say generally in science you can hardly demand more solid evidence to support any conclusion.
* * * It’s getting colder around Antarctica and so the ice is growing * * *
PART 2: MORE ICE CREATION IN STILL WARMER WATERS?
None the less alarmist sites like “Skeptical science” in stead seem to disregard the above conventional data sources and use exclusively projects that somehow ends up showing warming around Antarctica.
Left: Zhangs Re-analysis ending in 2004. Right: NASA´s Earth Obs, ending in 2007.
Zhang achieves a stunning 4-5 K/century warm trend around Antarctica, and NASA perhaps a little less. Notice the “Horse shoe” shape on Zhangs illustration, left. This is the area that I have used for all graphs above. Right: NASA is using infared measurement of the very surface meaning that their data represents the extremely thin top layer ( 1 mm ? ) of the land or ocean surface. The so called “skin layer”.
Such an extremely thin skin layer is much more vulnarable to changes in precipitation or winds than any of the more conventional datasets I have shown in this writing, and the skin layer represents much less mass. More wind in an area of below freezing air temperature is likely to yield warmer skin layer due to mix with warmer water. Here are some attempts to explain matters as I have seen them in debates and on alarmist sites like “Skeptical Science”.
Since rain is ice- enemy number one, we will have to assume that this increased precipitation comes as (cold) snow?
In the Antarctic winter air temperatures are low. Snow landing on sea ice will opbviously insulate the ice from cold air temperatures. So how come more snow (precipitation) should increase sea ice areas?
The addition of fresh water should lower salinity and increase the freezing temperature of the water and thus create more ice. But can precipitation really change salinity notably in the deep ocean hundreds or thousands kilometers from the shore?
The thing is, I don’t see many actual graphs of the salinity that is supposed to be decreasing fast in order to increase freezing temperatures notably.
If Salinity is really the key argument in explaining more ice growth combined with more heat, then why don’t we see several climate institutions focus on Salinity graphs?
From the KNMI online service it is actually possible to retrieve a salinity graph, “EN3”.
SSS = Sea Surface Salinity
The freezing point of water increase approx. 0,7 K per 1% fall in salinity.
From the Salinity data we learn that:
1) Variation is small: From 3,385 % to 3,399 %, that is 0,014 mass % over the years.
Not too surprising since we are in the middle of the deep ocean. Varitaion corresponds to a 0,01 K change in freezing point.
2) To explain MORE ice formation over the years we needed to see LESS salinity.
Problem is, the waters around Antarctica show increased salinity.
In other words:
Variations in salinity are TOO SMALL to even be considered in the first place.
And on top of this, waters are actually getting slightly more salty, thus lowering the freeze point a tiny bit. This would explain a tiny reduction in ice formation, not the opposite.
“The Ozone concentraion has declined”
Ozone concentrations has stagnated since the early 1990´ies.
But in recent years something changed.
KNMI MSR Ozone:
Since 2011 the ozone concentration has increased fast. The extra ice formations are sometimes explained with the drop in ozone concentration, but in recent years the development has reversed.
So in order to maintain ozone as an explanation for more ice around Antarctica you will have to claim that this effect of Ozone works whenever ozone concentrations make any change at all.
“The winds did it”
The supposed role of ozone is to trigger winds and the winds are supposed to be much stronger now when the ice area is growing faster.
So the explanation goes that even though we have a strong warming, and thus supposedly warmer waters around the Antarctic, then winds blow out ice from the Antarctic main land so that this ice will end up in waters that are quite warm. And then this ice is not melting fast as one might expect? I’m not sure if I got that explanation right…
Anyway if this was true we would see that and the ice was pushed out into warmer waters, and there would be no ice formation near the edge of the ice. In fact there should be at least some melting.
The illustration from NRL show actual temperatures and the question is: Are huge ice masses pushed out from the mainland Antarctica to be surrounded by warmer waters?
This color is zero degrees Celsius, so the ice is today clearly surrounded by waters well below zero degrees.
So at least at first glance the suggestion that ice is not formed on the edge but in stead being pushed out from land to warmer waters appears not supported, but what really we need is an investiagation that actually proofs or disproofs this idea and show a well supported estimate of how much ice is being formed this way.
The conventional data sources like SST, MAT suggest that the bulk of the ocean surface mass is cooling in recent years accompanied by faster ice growth. Arguments based on Ozone or Salinity or precipitation appears not to be linked to the record levels of sea ice formation around Antarctica.
It is therefore fair to say the obvious:
* * * It’s getting colder around Antarctica and so the ice is growing * * *