"…this year, there was an exceptional amount of ice -"

Click for larger image – Polarstern am Eisrand vor Nordost-Grönland
Photo: Martin Graeve, Alfred-Wegener-Institut

August 7-08 press release on work done from MV Polarstern in the northern Greenland Sea (between Svalbard and NE Greenland):

from Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI): http://idw-online.de/pages/de/news273425

a few excerpts, my abbreviated translation:

“this year, there was an exceptional amount of ice – according to expedition leader Prof. Gerhard Kattner. The extent reached from the high North southward to 74 degrees latitude. The main objective of the research cruise was to check 17 moorings with instruments that monitor temperature, salinity and currents of the water masses. AWI has been carrying out these unique high-latitude investigations since 1999. Observed 2008 temperatures are slightly lower than 2006 measurements, and there are preliminary indications of a return of the pacific water mass signature, which has been absent since 2004″

h/t to: Ulrich Lobsiger for the link and translation

79 thoughts on “"…this year, there was an exceptional amount of ice -"

  1. Well, the ice is melting, the models show it and that’s all that should matter to anyone. Just because some guy says that there is increased ice, that doesn’t mean that its actually there, he’s probably suffering from brain fever or something. Observation does not trump modelling. Why if you were to believe this more ice hogwash, you might be tempted to drive a few more miles in your SUV.

  2. NSIDC has now updated their daily graphic display of sea ice extent.
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png
    They’re now showing that the rate of increase of open water is now lessening so that now, instead of this year’s line approaching last year’s record rate, it’s now running parallel to it. Just a bit more than a month to go for the melt season.
    Now let’s see how the rate and extent of refreeze looks over the winter.

  3. Caught the WWF ad about the end of polar bears and arctic ice last night.
    Some people will do anything for a dollar.

  4. This April, the Polarstern’s scientists were in the Antarctic and reporting that the deep ocean was getting colder there. This is what I like to hear about – people going out and making measurements and observations, then reporting what they find with a refreshing absence of any doom-laden postscript.

  5. In this excerpt he placed “credit” where its due – on ocean circulation patterns, the source of most of the earth’s warming and cooling. Unless we learn something new about the sun.
    Sooner or later the world will catch on.

  6. Anthony,
    Can we have the link to that translation, if it would be any good for laymen? I’d like to read more if possible, but I am not fluent in Danish.

  7. Oh, nevermind, I guess. I see you wrote the link (which is in Danish) and the translation, which I assume was done personally by Mr. Lobsiger.

  8. It seems that Mother Nature and the Sun God are coming in above in terms of ice and below in terms of sunspots. The LOW prediction for sunspots for July was 5.something. The actual was 1.something. The arctic was predicted to melt away like a summer popsicle. That ain’t happening either. It seems there are an exceptional amount of bad predictions floating about.

  9. The exerpt would profit, if the the breaks in the translation were indicated by “[…]”. The excerpts were done sentence by sentence. Some key passages are missing from the translation:

    The sea ice extended from the arctic almost down to 74 degrees latitude. Constant winds from the Northwest kept pushing the ice into the central part of the Fram straight since the beginning of summer.

    Secondly:

    The temperature of the water from the Atlantic dropped again slightly with regard to the higher temperatures in 2006. This constitutes year-to-year variability. Overall the scientists found, that the temperature in the Fram Straight has risen on average by 0.1°C per year since 1997.

    1997 is the year the ship started expeditions into that straight. As for the pacific water contribution, they are waiting for future years to see, whether this is variability or trend.

  10. @Bobby Lane
    The link is in German, you can try this automated translation by google. Be warned, there are some quirks in that program. “besonders viel Eis” is not translated as “exceptional/more than usual ice” as it should, but as “very little ice” instead. A bit of a howler. So if there is a paragraph that catches your attention, better have the translation verified.

  11. blue:
    thank you for adding more context to this.
    I posted this quick and subjective translation to an older thread on Arctic sea ice extent, not expecting that it would be elevated to a current topic.
    However, I welcome Anthony’s decision for doing just that. Apart from the content, this is an example of language bias still possible in our fully interconnected cyber world. A lot of valuable information is not immediately accessible to English-speaking audiences and some of it gets lost.
    Back to this specific case: blue’s points are valid but don’t describe the full story either. In case AWI won’t post a complete official translation, I promise do it myself by Monday. My qualifications include eight field seasons in the high Arctic starting in 1974, studying carbon fluxes with various methods.
    An interesting near-term issue is the question if MS Polarstern will be able to navigate the NW Passage during the next few weeks, as per planned cruise schedule.
    ulrich lobsiger

  12. Juts a note off topic real climate is down for a couple of hours now. wonder what is going on there.
    Bill Derryberry

  13. I am still waiting for Manhattan to flood.
    Don’t hold you breath. The SL could rise twenty feet and we wouldn’t lose one square inch of The City. (We’d just build a sea wall if it became necessary.)
    In fact over the years we’ve grown via landfill.

  14. Sorry, I’m confused. The ice is all melting but there is more ice???
    How can this be??
    It is summer in the Northern hemisphere. therefore ice is melting (c. 2/3 or more melts every year).
    The “more ice” comment is in regard to the anomaly, i.e., whether there is more or less ice for the average August.
    If slower than average melting occurs, the area of ice decreases, but at the same time the “ice anomaly” increases.
    There is also the case of it’s being winter in the Antarctic (5/6 of Antarctic sea ice melts every year), so it is quite possible that overall ice is increasing even though the North is in its annual melt phase.

  15. Because his expedition doesn’t start until August 27th. He at least is trying it during around the annual period of minimum extent.

  16. Here’s a video of a 15 min. GW discussion among Nobel Prize laurates in Lindau (scroll down – it’s in English):
    http://klimakatastrophe.wordpress.com/
    Schellnhuber says the next Ice Age will not arrive for at least another 40,000 years. Where does he come up with that number?

  17. Richard Elliot,
    Good question! Let’s not let the BBC or the kayaker forget this one.
    Evan,
    Why wait? It’s happened even before GW back in 1821.
    http://chincoteaguechamber.com/history/map-rew6.html
    Blue,
    The translation softwares can handle sentences 3 to 4 worlds long. After that, forget it. If these translations software were better, I’d be out of business.
    Rasmin,
    I thought you were looking at old data, but indeed there appears to have been an uptick.

  18. Lets’s be fair, and ACCURATE here.
    Ulrich left out the reason why the ice has reached the 74th parallel.
    Translation of the text below:
    <>
    So, as you can see, the reason is because of the WIND PATTERNS, and not the temperatures. Not that readers get the wrong impression here.
    ——————
    Original German text:
    “Das Meereis zog sich von der Arktis bis fast zum 74. Breitengrad nach Sueden. Staendige Winde aus Nordwesten haben schon seit Sommerbeginn das Eis in den zentralen Bereich der Framstraße geschoben.

  19. Lets’s be fair, and ACCURATE here.
    Ulrich left out the reason why the ice has reached the 74th parallel.
    Translation of the text below:
    “The sea ice extended southward from the Arctic almost to the 74th latitude. Since early summer, constant winds from the northwest have been pushing the ice to the central regions of the Fram Strait.”

  20. Well done Anthony!
    That article in the Australian mentions your Surfacestations project, so its good to hear you getting some recognition down here!

  21. Man! What a mess I’ve created. SORRY!
    The REASON for the ice almost reaching the 74th latitude:
    In German:
    “Das Meereis zog sich von der Arktis bis fast zum 74. Breitengrad nach Sueden. Staendige Winde aus Nordwesten haben schon seit Sommerbeginn das Eis in den zentralen Bereich der Framstraße geschoben.”
    In English:
    “The sea ice extended southward from the Arctic almost to the 74th latitude. Since early summer, constant winds from the northwest have been pushing the ice to the central regions of the Fram Strait.”
    Summary: because of WIND PATTERNS – not temps.

  22. @Evan
    I remember the 1993 flood in Manhattan. The financial district was a mess from the storm surge in December of that year. I vividly remember the Christmas tree from the South Street Seaport floating down Water Street.

  23. Translation – exclusively for this website.
    Successful measurement series in the Arctic ice – the Polarstern completes its work in the Fram Strait and heads back to Reykjavik.
    Bremerhaven, 7 August 2008. The German ice-breaking research ship Polarstern was really put to the test in the Arctic waters to gather data for 2 longterm research series. After completeing works in the regions up to 82° north latitude, the Polarstern of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Sea Research (AWI), belonging to the Helmholtz Association, will arrive in Reykjavik (Island) 10 August. “This year there was especailly a lot of ice to contend with,” says trip leader Prof. Gerhard Kattner. The sea ice extended southwards from the Arctic almost to the 74th latitude. Since early summer, constant winds from the northwest have been pushing the ice to the central regions of the Fram Strait. The main focus of the expedition in this region was: to set probes along 78°50′ north and the so-called “AWI-garden.” The measurements from the now completed Polarstern-Expedition are part of regular ongoing studies. Using such observation series, statements on longterm climate system developments can be drawn. This research work is however only possible using an ice-breaking ship like the Polarstern. With other research ships, setting probes in the ice covered areas is just not possible.
    Exchanging probes in thick ice cover
    Alfred-Wegener-Institute has been conducting longterm studies on water mass transport in the Fram Strait since 1997. The Fram Strait is located between Spitzbergen and Greenland. It is the most important region for water exchange between the Atlantic and polar masses. Here warm Atlantic water with high salinity flows northwards, while cold low-salinity water from the arctic flows southwards. This oceanic area is the only deepwater connection between the North Atlantic and the Central Arctic Ocean, thus making it a region that is especially senstive to systematic changes. To be able to observe and assess changes, 17 probes have been anchored to the sea floor over the entire region. These measure the temperature, salinity and currents all the way up to the sea surface. “We are very pleased that we have been able to recover and exchange all the probes in these extreme ice conditions,” says Dr. Agnieszka Beszczynska-Möller, oceanographer at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute. The temperature of the Atlantic water compared to the elevated temperature of 2006 has decreased somewhat. This is due to annual variability. Overall, the scientists have determined that the temperature in the Fram Strait has increased since 1997 on average about 0.1 °C annually .

  24. In general, the Polarstern encountered thick ice, which happened to have been blown into the region.
    Personally, I see no sign of a cooling climate in this story.

  25. I wonder what happened to this guy who was going to kayak to the north pole? From this article: Explorer bids to kayak to ‘melting’ North Pole
    “Pugh is due to paddle out from Norway’s Svalbard islands on August 29, heading 1,200km north across the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole, kayaking up cracks in the ice.
    The journey should take a minimum of two weeks.
    “I’m going to try and get all the way to the North Pole to show the world what is happening,” the 38-year-old said after launching his Polar Defence Project expedition on the River Thames in London.
    “It shouldn’t be possible. But this might be the year that it could be. I hope I can’t go all the way.””
    Yeah, I’ll bet. Of course he’d have to say that, but that’s just spin. What he really, really wants, and wishes fervently for is to be able to make it all the way to the NP, and be able to plant those 192 flags up there. What a story that would be, and a much-needed kick in the pants for AGW propaganda.
    I hope he gets eaten by a polar bear.

  26. “Caught the WWF ad about the end of polar bears and arctic ice last night.
    Some people will do anything for a dollar.”
    No doubt. The problem is science is no longer important to these people. Blaming man, and ESPECIALLY blaming the USA is Modus Operandi for these tools. We should follow Crichton’s advice involving funding for these projects so that the statements made by these “scientists” isn’t made to further fund their research.
    All scientific studies should be funded in a double blind way, where the funder never know which project their research is funding, and the scientist doesn’t know (or care) where his funding is coming from.
    That won’t stop these politicians and media tools from making outrageous statements, but it will fix the science from being politicized.

  27. Some further perspective on this post: My original comment to an older thread on polar ice simply aimed at pointing out the surprise of researchers in the field about encountering much more ice than expected.
    Since some discussion ensued, I did make the effort of translating the complete AWI press release, more from the point of view of a practical oceanographer with arctic experience, rather than as a professional translator.
    Pierre Gosselin beat me to it, doing an admirable job with the first two paragraphs. And thank you for the important link on the Lindau conference – here it is again: http://klimakatastrophe.wordpress.com/
    For those who would like to read the complete AWI story, I will post the remaining paragraphs in a separate post, if accepted – it contains other important information.
    For now, some general and somewhat heretic points: Long-term measurements of many parameters of polar ocean climate- and ecosystems are very important to further the understanding of global heat budgets. Expensive multi-year studies such as the Polarstern expeditions compete for funding with many other research projects. Therefore, research grant proposals have to appear responsive to the prevailing policy climate. This taints the search for objective truth even in peer-review establishment science – sometimes subtle wishes take over to prove the arguments that fund the research…
    The cyber world with blogs like this one offers a new watchdog mechanism – concerned and informed citizens from outside institutional science drive respectful discussions. Laudably, more and more of the active participants are retired scientists with tremendous insights and credentials. All this may be the beginning of a new renaissance.
    My champion for a profound philosophical framework is Freeman Dyson, who has been quoted here before. Compare with http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dysonf07/dysonf07_index.html

  28. as promised, the conclusion of my subjective translation of the AWI press release:
    “Successful time-series measurements under Arctic sea ice
    Polarstern completes work in the Fram Straight and sails toward Reykjavik
    Bremerhaven, August 7, 2008

    A first for the Alfred Wegener Institute was the use of a “Seaglider” deployed from Polarstern. This is an autonomous vehicle, which dives repeatedly from the water surface to depths of 1000 metres while recording temperature, salinity, Oxygen, water turbidity and pressure. Upon resurfacing, it transmits its data via satellite to Bremerhaven. If required by mission objectives or other constraints, Seaglider can be re-programmed remotely. Seaglider will continue data collection to mid September. At that time it will report its co-ordinates to be retrieved by research vessel KV Svalbard, operated by Norwegian Collaborators.
    Return of Pacific waters to Greenland?
    The polar waters in front of East Greenland, which flow along the Greenland coast into the Atlantic, consist of water masses of variable origins. A part comes from the Pacific after a long passage from the Bering Straight across the Arctic Ocean. “We have documented this water mass ahead of Greenland for many years” says Prof. Gerhard Kattner. “However, it was hardly traceable there since 2004”. This indicates a noticeable change in the Arctic current system. The current investigations again show a small contribution from pacific waters. Further measurements during coming years are required to verify this trend.
    The ‘AWI Garden’ is reserved for another year
    AWI carries out the only long-term study in Polar Regions that addresses deep-sea ecology, and its evolution under constant climate change. The ‘AWI Garden’ encompasses an area of 8000 square km in front of the Svalbard Westcoast. In this region with water depths ranging from 1000 to 5500 m, research aims at understanding the function and structure of marine life on the ocean floor of the Arctic deep sea.
    These environmental monitoring efforts include investigations of changes in the physical environment and of nutrient fluxes to the sea floor. “To achieve this, we had to move the sea floor instruments farther North last year, to follow the retreating sea ice, so that they were at least partially under the influence of the ice edge” reports Ingo Schewe, biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute. The results of past years have already indicated that changes in the ice cover cause reductions in certain animal populations that live on the deep-sea floor. The ice edge is a very active biological zone; algae grow rapidly, die off and sink to the sea floor where they serve as nutrients. Movements of the ice edge lead to changes in the nutrient availability in the ‘AWI Garden’. The consequences of this year’s strong ice cover on the small and larger animals of the deep sea will be evaluated in Bremerhaven as well as through further expeditions during coming years.
    Polarstern will sail from Reykjavik on August 12 with the goal of reaching the East Siberian Sea. Ice conditions permitting, Polarstern will steam through the Northwest Passage to reach its area of work. The focus of researchers will shift to geophysical investigations. They will conduct seismic reflection data acquisition toward better understanding of tectonic origins of the Mendelejew Ridge and the East Siberian Shelf. At the same time, US and Canadian researchers will conduct similar research programs and share results with the AWI team”.
    My assessment: the Polarstern is a great vessel and these quasi ‘play-by-play’ reports posted by AWI are very welcome.
    I wonder if the researchers are familiar with the many reports from the ’20s and ’30s about much more extensive retreats of sea ice, especially in the Svalbard region? (as documented before by Anthony).
    The bottom line is that Arctic ecosystems, both in the water column and on the sea floor (benthos) are highly variable and constantly adapt to massive productivity changes caused by strongly fluctuating ice conditions. While we’re starting to get an inlling of understanding, it’s important to consider all available evidence.
    And, a quick aside to the first two paragraphs: rather than simply discussion temperature trends in the 0.1 degree range, I hope that the publications will offer an assessment of actual heat content of these water masses – 17 moorings giving time-series measurements of the relevant parameters is an excellent starting point to yield a significant data base.

  29. Pierre
    because of WIND PATTERNS – not temps.
    And was’nt that exactly the same reason for the ‘unprecedented’ melting of Arctic ice in 2007?
    So how well are wind patterns parameterised in the models? Just asking.

  30. Let’s see…
    Wind patterns, temperatures (air and water), currents, some vulcanism, soot from mankind’s industry; looks as if the arctic region does not lend itself to generalizations does it?
    Perhaps it is silly to sit around and watch the daily ice cover and draw conclusions one way or the other about what is going on there.
    Maybe what we have to do is take some time and really try to learn some of the details about what is going on before we offer any observations on long term trends.
    It is funny in a way to see someone wanting to kayak up to the North Pole.
    I do know there were reports of kayakers back during the little ice age making there way to the waters off of Scotland. These were not the extreme sports addicts of our time, but rather Eskimos hunting for a living.
    Here’s the journal for the attempt later this month:
    http://polardefenseproject.org/blog/?p=90

  31. I would hate to see the kayaker eaten by polar bears, but I’m sure the polar bear cubs would appreciate any contribution he could make.
    If there’s less ice, it’s due to global warming. If there’s more ice, it’s due to winds. Got it! Al Gore told me I’d need to keep a notebook full of these little rationales, for occasions like this.

  32. Pamela Gray:
    Actually, there have been no “predictions” that arctic ice will melt away, either like or unlike a popsicle; only an assertion that chances are better than 50/50 that the arctic ice may indeed completely melt at some point in the summer, as early as 2013, but very likely by 2030. We have a few more years yet, and even then it’s just an estimate of the probability being greater than 50%. Most scientists know that predictions about climate cannot be made with any certainty… it is the public, and the reporters whose paychecks they make possible, who continue to insist that predictions can, or ought to, have all uncertainty eliminated, where it’s clearly inappropriate to the scientist.
    Robert:
    That’s easy. Overall, the trend is that more and more ice is melting; while in any given year the ice may be smaller or larger than the year previous; and two years does not make a ‘trend’. Furthermore, unusually large amounts of ice can be found in one area, while unusually small amounts may be found elsewhere. Actually, that is kind of obvious.
    Regarding the ‘uptick’ in the melt data from NSIDC – I think what is meant is a reduction in the slope of the down-tick; it’s still down, not up at all; just a little less down. In any event, I noticed that almost every day in June/July; in fact some days it really DID look like an actual UP tick, ot at least flat; but then the next day it would be smoothed to a downward position again, no reduction in downslope at all. I’ve always wondered about that – is their ‘smoothing algorithm’ published anywhere?
    Incidentally, the date of minimum ice has apparently been moving later and later in the year; last year it was September 21, I believe; we really don’t know what it will be this year until it happens – so it’s hard to say how many weeks of melt season are actually left.
    The Bremen AMSRE charts show a huge area of ‘almost ice-free’ area so we could have yet one more downward drop this year; then again, sometimes the AMSRE record seems to darken and lighten (darker=closer to completely melted) so I’ve found I can’t really predict what the next day will look like, until it appears.
    Check out the Northwest Passage, though – Amundsen’s route in the south is totally ice-free apparently, right now; but the main channel looks like it may last as long as it did last year, around 8/21.
    Time will tell.

  33. Dave Andrews,
    Wind Patterns – That’s the defence us skeptics used last year, which was a different situation I think. Last year unusual southerly winds, correct me if I’m mistaken, melted ice well into later summer.
    But in this AWI story here, persistent northwesterly winds since early summer have shifted the ice from one place to another.
    Sorry, but I think Anthony’s use of this anecdote mislead the readers, leading them to surmise that cold temperatures led to ice being so far south. That’s not the case.
    To be sure. Anthony didn’t say anything false. He just left out the all important reason why they ran into ice so far south. He also left out the data that the ocean temperature in this region indeed has gone up 1°C over the last decade. Why?
    Personally I was surprised by this, and found it quite unllike him.

  34. Dave Andrews,
    “So how well are wind patterns parameterised in the models? Just asking.”
    I have no idea. But knowing what we know about climate modfels thus far, I’d say quite poorly, if I had to guess.
    deepslope,
    Thank you so much for completing the work – an excellent job. I hope other readers will take time to read it.
    You wrote:
    “I wonder if the researchers are familiar with the many reports from the ’20s and ’30s about much more extensive retreats of sea ice, especially in the Svalbard region? (as documented before by Anthony).”
    I for one would welcome the resurfacing of such reports. Any links?
    You wrote:
    “The bottom line is that Arctic ecosystems, both in the water column and on the sea floor (benthos) are highly variable and constantly adapt to massive productivity changes caused by strongly fluctuating ice conditions. While we’re starting to get an inlling of understanding, it’s important to consider all available evidence.”
    Exactly, And I wish the alarmists would understand that variability is natural, and that we are not going to be able to hold the planet at its current conditions.

  35. Pierre Gosselin (03:28:42)
    ‘Anthony didn’t say anything false. He just left out the all important reason why they ran into ice so far south. He also left out the data that the ocean temperature in this region indeed has gone up 1°C over the last decade. Why?
    Personally I was surprised by this, and found it quite unllike him.’
    Anthony didn’t write the article. Nor did he add to it. As you stated Ulrich left out the reason why the ice has reached the 74th parallel.

  36. I am sorry, I still have serious issues with deepslope’s translation of two key phrases. I am a native speaker of German and cannot help but notice that the emphasis put on in the translation is exaggerated. In the following I’ll blockquote the original and deepslope’s translations and add my comments below to show, why I think so.

    “In diesem Jahr hatten wir es mit besonders viel Eis zu tun,”
    this year, there was an exceptional amount of ice

    “besonders” translates to “more than usual”, or as Pierre Gosselin put it “This year there was especailly a lot of ice to contend with”, which is fine with me. To go beyond “besonders”, you would choose “ungewöhnlich” (extraordinary), to go even stronger you would choose “aussergewöhnlich” (exceptional). So deepslope’s translations puts on an emphasis at least two orders too strong. What makes it worse, the phrase sets the tone for this post and was even chosen as the title of the post. Yes, later on in the article the report how difficult it was to retrieve the equipment under the “extreme conditions” but it is still “extreme” as any strong ice will be, not “exceptional”.

    Die jetzigen Untersuchungen zeigen wieder einen geringen Anteil von pazifischem Wasser. Ob sich dieser Trend fortsetzt, müssen Messungen in den nächsten Jahren zeigen.
    The current investigations again show a small contribution from pacific waters. Further measurements during coming years are required to verify this trend.

    It should read “Further measurements during coming years need to show, if this trend holds up.” So in the original it is uncertain, whether there is a trend at all, whereas in the translation it is there and just needs to be verified. A subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless.

    And, a quick aside to the first two paragraphs: rather than simply discussion temperature trends in the 0.1 degree range, I hope that the publications will offer an assessment of actual heat content of these water masses – 17 moorings giving time-series measurements of the relevant parameters is an excellent starting point to yield a significant data base.

    The temperature trend is 0.1°C per year or 1°C per decade over the observational period since 1997. As for assessing the heat content, of course they do, e.g. here:
    Variation of Measured Heat Flow Through the Fram Strait Between 1997 and 2006
    U. Schauer, A. Beszczynska-Möller, W. Walczowski, E. Fahrbach, J. Piechura and Edmond Hansen

    in Arctic–Subarctic Ocean Fluxes – Defining the Role of the Northern Seas in Climate
    or this abstract from a meeting:
    Variability of heat flux toward the Arctic Ocean from nearly decadal measurements by an array of moorings in Fram Strait.
    Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 8, 04051, 2006
    I’m sorry that all of the above may sound harsh and I am new here, after all, but I think this is something the non-German-speaking readers ought to know about.
    P.S.: Thank you Pierre, I mistranslated “Straight” instead of “Strait”.

  37. ““It shouldn’t be possible. But this might be the year that it could be. I hope I can’t go all the way.”””
    I wonder how much it’s going to cost when somebodies govt has to helicopter out and retrieve him?

  38. Al Fin: Come on, you have to be smarter than that.
    Last year there was much less ice than recent decades, which is posited to be due to global warming. This year there is slightly more ice coverage, overall, then last year, but still well below the average… and the estimate is that there is actually less ice (even though the coverage is not yet a record low), because the ice this year is thinner, single-year ice.
    The report about “much more ice” was addressing one particular area, and due to winds… it only makes sense, then, that other areas have much less ice, which they do.
    AGWers have often been accused of viewing the data and reports through a filter, where they pick out only what they want to see. Let’s not do that here.

  39. Pierre says:
    “…variability is natural, and that we are not going to be able to hold the planet at its current conditions…”
    Indeed! And why ever would we desire or expect Earth to stay the way we discovered it at our birth? There must be name for this fear of change.
    Cy Quick at mydigest.wordpress.com

  40. Metathesiophobia- Fear of changes.
    Too bad it doesn’t roll off the lips a little easier…
    Mike Bryant

  41. blue:
    “I’m sorry that all of the above may sound harsh and I am new here, after all, but I think this is something the non-German-speaking readers ought to know about”
    I accept your clarifications and corrections regarding the use of “exceptional” and will be more careful in the future (I first studied sciences at a German-language university, but that’s more than thirty years ago). The context of my initial translation (again, as a short remark to an older post) was in part a response to the tone used in describing the decrease toward the 2007 sea ice minimum. Accepting it as a linear trend toward complete disappearance of ice led to numerous alarmist and sensationalist extrapolations – including in research and media reports, in English and in German.
    AWI tries very hard to communicate carefully – it uses engineers and scientists to conduct interviews and formulate press releases. Even then, if you read the current original carefully, there are ambiguities.
    Thanks for the reference on heat flux; I look forward to the discussion of the current data and will make an effort to put it into context of much longer data series than the quoted linear trend since 1997. My own first-hand experience starts in September 1976 at 80 degrees N. Will do some digging to assess the larger picture of variability. There is a lot of information available that is never referenced in these newer post-Rio/Kyoto studies. Example: reports from Fletcher’s Ice Island T-3, AIDJEX, the reports of exceptional (yes!) warming in the ’20s and ’30s and much more, including a great deal of Russian Arctic Ocean work.
    My initial argument was that it makes sense to study non-English reports carefully.
    Blue, thank you for underscoring that point.
    There are many other nuances in my discussion; e.g. the high variability of particulate organic carbon fluxes as a function of constantly shifting ice edges.
    The Arctic ocean is the bell weather for the Northern Hemisphere – it deserves very careful scrutiny.
    I will bow out of this exchange for now. Will do my homework with data from the fifties to the eighties, to weigh in again when we know how the melt season 2008 proceeded and how easily the NW Passage was negotiated by the impressive research ice breaker Polarstern (I enjoyed a quick visit in Reykjavik, in August 2006).

  42. one more thing, beyond translation issues:
    It’s well worth remembering that we are in the second half of the current IPY – International Polar Year.
    from its home page: http://www.ipy.org/index.php?/ipy/about/
    “The International Polar Year is a large scientific programme focused on the Arctic and the Antarctic from March 2007 to March 2009. IPY, organized through the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), is actually the fourth polar year, following those in 1882-3, 1932-3, and 1957-8. In order to have full and equal coverage of both the Arctic and the Antarctic, IPY 2007-8 covers two full annual cycles from March 2007 to March 2009 and will involve over 200 projects, with thousands of scientists from over 60 nations examining a wide range of physical, biological and social research topics. It is also an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate, follow, and get involved with, cutting edge science in real-time.”
    A detailed assessment of “Arctic Sea Ice in summer 2008 – an outlook” is given here – the discussion includes previous studies starting in 1988, not earlier:
    http://www.damocles-eu.org/artman/uploads/outlook_2008_june_damoclesupdate__2_.pdf
    Schedules of several important research cruises can also be found on the IPY site.
    It might be worthwhile to review preliminary results from these studies once the September minimum is reached.
    To compensate for exaggerating the Fram Straight extent (both spellings are used), I will try summarizing findings from IPYs of 1882-3, 1932-3, and 1957-8.

  43. deepslope,
    Thanks for the additional info.
    I for one am looking forward to your summary of the 1882-3 and 1957-8 findings. That could be very interesting.
    About when, and where, should we expect them?

  44. And to be honest, looking at the characters behind the IPY, I’d advise caution with any results they put out. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have someone like Steve McIntyre audit them.
    It’ll very likely go like other major reports of this kind. It’ll hype up AGW, the media will have a field day, later the report will be found to have major biases and flaws, but no one will care to report that. A good example was the Stern Reoprt.

  45. Paul Merek- Pierre Gosselin: There may be no “cooling” in this story … but neither is there “warming”, in this story:
    From what I’ve read above Pierre Gosselin has kept to the facts without the religous fervour of some, such as Paul. Pierre didn’t say the story (this thread with the, as we now know, very misleading headline) proved warming but that there was a 1 degree Centigrade increase in ocean temperatures in the region in the last ten years.
    This blog should have more people like Pierre, not the religous hot heads who could do with a bit of global cooling around the head!!

  46. I should also point out before being blasted that Pierre also said that temperature etc is a naturally variable system and that would include the 1 degree rise in temperatures, in case you think I,or Pierre was using this to state AGW was happening. I, like him, suggest we all stick to the fact!

  47. Pierre,
    I have started to review older IPY reports (which had completely different agendas, an interesting trend in itself…), but will wait until i have time to compile my own experiences and unpublished data, which will be after the September ice melt minimum.

  48. deepslope,
    you are perfectly right that 10 years don’t make a climate trend and must not be simply extrapolated; sorry, if I unintentionally made it sound like that. I’m looking forward to your further reports and hope to be able to profit from your expertise.

  49. Deepslope,
    As someone who leans towards the AGW side, I would like to add my agreement to you that any such reports that suggest the entire arctic could become ice-free this year, in either English or German (or any other language) publications, is alarmist or mistaken beyond any rational extrapolation.
    Keep in mind that I have seen only one such report; doubtless there are others, but the majority I have read only give an estimate of a ‘good chance’ of total arctic sea ice disappearance by 2013 at the *earliest* (although earlier than previous estimates of 2050), and only the possibility of an ice-free North Pole this year, which is not all that significant (even if it were to happen, which I doubt).
    It does look like we’ll have an ice-free NWP this year, though, perhaps even earlier than last year (time will tell, of course).

  50. I doubt any NWP (there’s more than one) will be clear enough for a cruise ship to risk the price of insurance. Maybe research ships will be able to handle it if it is made for that purpose.
    The other thing I want to mention is that outliers like the temp spike in 98 and ice loss in 07 are rare events. Usually gradual trends predominate in ice records. So if things start going up, the next year will follow, and the same is for downward trends. Last winter the amount of ice that formed went up, not down. This could be a single event. But odds would be on a trend. My hunch is that this winter, we will get something similar, meaning a lot of ice. That would also mean that it will build on a higher minimum than 2007, resulting in more ice than last winter at maximum.

  51. Mary Hinge: My point was that while Pierre is correct in suggesting that this story does not Global or Arctic cooling prove; neither does arctic ice depletion prove global warming. I’m not trained in science. My interest is the politics of the AGW debate. As such, while I can’t determine scientific facts, I certainly can determine political facts.
    Fact 1: An overwhelming number of IPCC supporting individuals, pundits, and institutions, point to arctic ice reduction as proof of Anthropogenic Global Warming.
    Fact 2: Research by NASA suggests that arctic ice reductions are not caused by AGW or even GW (or G.W. BUSH for that matter)
    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/nasa-sees-arctic-ocean-circulation-do-an-about-face/
    Fact 3: AGW proponents consistently ignore the fact that arctic ice reductions are likely a natural occurrence, as suggested by NASA research, Instead, they use arctic ice reductions as one of the foremost propaganda tools in the IPCC bag of tricks.

  52. Paul Merek- “…..I can’t determine scientific facts………… I certainly can determine political facts”.
    Here we have the anti AGW argument in a nutshell!

  53. JP Rourke
    doing further research through IPY links (International Polar Year – http://www.ipy.org), I came across many more alarmist projections, often in interviews with senior scientists.
    You may also be interested in this Op-Ed from Greenland by a noted columnist: “Friedman: Learning to speak climate”
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/08/06/opinion/edfriedman.php
    sensationalist words from a VIP cruise!
    as one who has experienced tremendous variability first-hand in SW and NW Greenland, the NW Passage and the Beaufort Sea over more than three decades, I can only shake my head…
    Will archive Mr. Friedman’s epistle for future assessment.
    I am currently in personal communication with active researchers in the field and agree that there are unusually large areas of open water, including in several NW Passage bottle necks. For perspective – we made it easily into Thule – 76 degrees N, through slushy and sparse pancake ice in August 1976. At that time, we were talking about a looming ice age.
    Again, will reserve assessment of summer 2008 Arctic ice until after September minimum is reached, aiming at summarizing as many contributing factors as possible (observed and anecdotal, as opposed to extrapolations based on models – we’ve got more than enough of that!)

  54. Mary Hinge: I gather from your comment, that you have nothing to say concerning my central point. You’ve dodged it, and quite nicely demonstrated the IPCC scientific method. I think in fact, that a movie was made about this … what was it called? Somthing about Dodging … and Balls.

  55. Paul Marek: “Fact 2: Research by NASA suggests that arctic ice reductions are not caused by AGW or even GW…
    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/nasa-sees-arctic-ocean-circulation-do-an-about-face/”
    Well, no. The original article says “not all” recent changes in the Arctic are the result of global warming. Further, the lead researcher is quoted as saying :
    “The events of the 1990s may well be a preview of how the Arctic will respond over longer periods of time in a warming world…”
    In other words, the results of this research are consistent with global warming, and certainly do not contradict it, as you imply.

  56. Brenda H: You quoted: “The events of the 1990s may well be a preview of how the Arctic will respond over longer periods of time in a warming world…”
    Absolutely nothing in the released NASA summary attributed ice loss to AGW. The quote you give, for example, does no such thing. Please explain, how the above attributes ice loss to AGW. It’s clearly only a suppositional statement and offers no proof. It takes an incredible stetch to say that this statement attributed ice loss to AGW.
    Sure, it leaves the “door open” to AGW attributed ice loss, but that is a far cry from finding that the ice loss we see is caused by AGW. The ice loss is caused by upper Arctic Ocean circulation which is decadal in nature according to this study. There were no other conclusions offered.
    This: “Our study confirms many changes seen in upper Arctic Ocean circulation in the 1990s were mostly decadal in nature, rather than trends caused by global warming,” said Morison. … is about as clear as it gets.
    Did NASA prove that AGW is not decaying arctic ice? NO.
    Did NASA find that significant natural cycles are at play? YES
    The rational conclusion: At this point the relationship between AGW and ice loss is unknown and no understood.

  57. Paul Marek- “Mary Hinge: I gather from your comment, that you have nothing to say concerning my central point. You’ve dodged it, and quite nicely demonstrated the IPCC scientific method.”
    I haven’t ‘dodged’ your centralpoint because your ‘central point’ is not valid,but since you ask….
    Your ‘Fact 1’ is a blatant untruth, the vast majority of IPCC individuals do NOT see the Arctic ice reduction as ‘PROOF’ of AGW, they do however see that it supports models/predictions made from AGW proponents thus strenghening the theory.
    ‘Fact 2’- NASA does not say that the Arctic ice reduction anomolies are NOT caused by GW but “The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.”
    So Paul, do you see the difference between ‘NOT’ and ‘NOT ALL’!! Your misuse of absolutes in your posts is very telling of your political agenda!
    Oh, and while we’re at it let’s look at ‘Fact 3’…
    You state that the entire reason for the ice melt anomolies is natural and that NASDA agrees with this. As stated above NASA does not attribute it entirely to natural occurence but suggests that natural variability is part of the cause.
    So Paul I hope you are now satisfied, so stop misquoting and taking out of context anything that goes against your religion.

  58. Paul Marek: “Absolutely nothing in the released NASA summary attributed ice loss to AGW.”
    The first para of the article in question includes this comment: “The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.”
    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2007-131
    So if “not all” recent changes in the Arctic can be attributed to AGW, then by implication some of those changes can be attributed to AGW.
    Further, my claim was that the results of the NASA research into Arctic Ocean circulation are consistent with AGW, and this claim is supported by the lead researcher’s comments:
    “Morison cautioned that while the recent decadal-scale changes in the circulation of the Arctic Ocean may not appear to be directly tied to global warming, most climate models predict the Arctic Oscillation will become even more strongly counterclockwise in the future.”
    In other words, the research is consistent with what AGW models say about Arctic Ocean circulation.
    The fact that natural events may have contributed to Arctic ice loss in the 1990s does not rule out an AGW effect. Note that the lead researcher also refers to “longer periods of time”. AGW is a long-term trend, and this study is about decadal patterns. It is possible to have natural, shorter-term events occurring within a long-term AGW trend.

  59. “Morison cautioned that while the recent decadal-scale changes in the circulation of the Arctic Ocean may not appear to be directly tied to global warming, most climate models predict the Arctic Oscillation will become even more strongly counterclockwise in the future.”
    I get it now. Model forecasts are considered facts. How silly of me.

  60. Paul Marek- “Model forecasts are considered facts”
    Where do you get these ridiculous statements from, where does it say that the models are considered ‘facts’!
    “How silly of me.”
    How right and the only worthwhile contribution to this thread you’ve made!!

  61. Paul Marek: “I get it now. Model forecasts are considered facts. How silly of me.”
    No need to get snarky. Remember that we are discussing science, which is a mix of theory and fact, or more to the point, evidence. You may have an animus against theory, but theories are indispensable to the practice of science.

  62. Epilogue:
    Science Daily offers the Polarstern story today, in a comprehensive translation. Our detailed discussion was started here almost a week ago:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811092458.htm
    Again, the best way to monitor Arctic Sea Ice conditions day by day is the excellent overview offered here, as posted by several contributors in the past – one can enter any two dates for comparison:
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=08&fd=14&fy=2005&sm=08&sd=14&sy=2008
    Right now, the obvious anomaly is a great deal of open water in the Beaufort Sea (creating sufficient fetch for wave build-up, making current oceanographic and seismic research more difficult). Three years ago, the open water was in the Chukchi and Laptev Seas – this illustrates circulation and wind patterns…
    It will be interesting to observe what the next three weeks will bring.
    For perspective, please check this outrageously flippant column by Thomas Friedman in the International Herald Tribune (I posted it before):
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/08/06/opinion/edfriedman.php
    his words: “Remember: Climate change means ‘global weirding,’ not just global warming.”
    we’ll see – Mr. Celebrity Columnist.
    If I had time, I would research Traditional Ecological Knowledge, talking to Inuit Elders about the warm spells in the 20s and 30s, among others – anybody knows about oral history accounts?
    ulrich lobsiger

  63. Epilogue:
    Science Daily offers the Polarstern story today, in a comprehensive translation. Our detailed discussion was started here almost a week ago:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811092458.htm
    Again, the best way to monitor Arctic Sea Ice conditions day by day is the excellent overview offered here, as posted by several contributors in the past – one can enter any two dates for comparison:
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=08&fd=14&fy=2005&sm=08&sd=14&sy=2008
    Right now, the obvious anomaly is a great deal of open water in the Beaufort Sea (creating sufficient fetch for wave build-up, making current oceanographic and seismic research more difficult). Three years ago, the open water was in the Chukchi and Laptev Seas – this illustrates circulation and wind patterns…
    It will be interesting to observe what the next three weeks will bring.
    For perspective, please check this outrageously flippant column by Thomas Friedman in the International Herald Tribune (I posted it before):
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/08/06/opinion/edfriedman.php
    his words: “Remember: Climate change means ‘global weirding,’ not just global warming.”
    we’ll see – Mr. Celebrity Columnist.
    If I had time, I would research Traditional Ecological Knowledge, talking to Inuit Elders about the warm spells in the 20s and 30s, among others – anybody knows of any oral history accounts?
    ulrich lobsiger

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