Poll and Polar Ice Trends

Guest post by Steve Goddard

Yesterday, Dr. Walt Meier from NSIDC again graciously updated us about the NSIDC sensor problem, and also about his current thinking with respect to polar ice trends.  The key concepts being that Arctic ice continues to decline, and that Arctic and Antarctic ice are separate entities – so the current near normal global sea ice areahas no meaning in terms of climate change.” This article examines both of those concepts.
NSIDC is still having sensor problems on their satellite, as seen below on 2/28/09.  Note the speckled white areas, and the large dark gray sliver in the Sea of Okhotsk near the top.

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_daily_extent_hires.png

Fortunately there is another ice extent data source, AMSR-E which has not suffered sensor problems and their data is unaffected.  NSIDC also explains on their web site that “AMSR-E has a lower absolute error” than the NSIDC sensors, even when functioning properly.  AMSR-E (below) has been recording sea ice since 2002.  The maximum ice extent for 2009 (red) and 2008 (orange) are both in the top three on the AMSR-E record, at more than 14M km2.  The only year which had greater ice extent than the last two years was 2003.  So clearly we are on a recent trend of higher Arctic ice maximums, which is a fact that is rarely if ever reported by the main stream media.  Also note in the NSIDC map above, all of the ice basins are close to the 1979-2000 normal.

If there is a dramatic downwards trend in maximum Arctic extent, it certainly isn’t visible in either the map or the graph.
https://i2.wp.com/www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.pnghttp://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png

The NSIDC graph below also shows Arctic ice extent nearly back to the 1979-2000 mean.
https://i0.wp.com/nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

Turning our attention to Antarctica.  Dr, Hansen predicted in 1980 that ice loss in Antarctica would be symmetrical to the Arctic. But the current thinking, as expressed by Dr. Meier, indicates that view is no longer valid.  In fact, NSIDC data shows that Antarctic ice extent has actually increased substantially, as seen below.
Southern Hemisphere sea ice trends in extent
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/effects/downloads/Challenge_chapter2.pdf

It was reported last week that the IPY (International Polar Year) released a study claiming that both polar ice caps are melting “faster than expected.”  Given that NSIDC shows Antarctica gaining ice at a rapid pace, I find myself surprised that IPY would release a study saying exactly the opposite.  But then again, an IPY official reportedly forecast that last summer (2008) might have an “ice free Arctic.”
Columnist George Will reported that overall global sea ice area is normal, and was correct.  Dr. Meier confirmed that on January 1 global sea ice levels were normal.

Walt Meier (16:04:59)

1. He (George Will) was factually incorrect on the date that he reported his “daily
global ice” number. However, he was merely out-of-date with his facts
(it was true on Jan 1, but wasn’t 6 weeks later).

The UIUC graph shows global ice levels well within one standard deviation of the 1979-2000 mean.  Dr. Hansen was correct that according to global warming theory, both poles should be losing ice – though we know now it theoretically should be happening more slowly in the Antarctic.  Yet 20 years later we actually see the Antarctic gaining ice, which is contrary to Dr. Hansen’s theory, contrary to IPY claims, and probably contrary to Steig’s questionable temperature analysis .

The main trend I see in polar ice is an increasing disconnect between hype and reality.  Given that the AO (Arctic Oscillation) has been neutral this winter and polar drift has been less than last year, I forecast that the summer Arctic ice minimum in 2009 will show more ice than either of the last two years.  What do you think?

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262 thoughts on “Poll and Polar Ice Trends

  1. A small correction, Steve. In your text you say 2008 is shown with a red line, and 2009 with an orange one. This should, of course, be the other way round – as is shown in the key of the graphic.

  2. The essence of the post was expressed in the short 4th paragraph: “If there is a dramatic downwards trend in maximum Arctic extent, it certainly isn’t visible . . .”

    It draws attention to the unbridled use of hyperbole in the climate debate. Dr. Meier wrote recently here, while emphasizing his #1 of two major points, “The ice extent is declining significantly . . .”

    Charged words like “significantly,” “dramatic,” “fastest in history,” and so on, as well as inappropriate ad hominem arguments have supplanted the necessary exercise of comparing data and rigorous studies.

  3. Turning our attention to Antarctica. Dr, Hansen predicted in 1980 that ice loss in Antarctica would be symmetrical to the Arctic

    No he did not, that paper is a discussion of distribution of climate sensitivity, and the temperature change (not ice) distribution is after a doubling of CO2, which we are some way off. I’ve pointed this out to you before.

    The Arctic is almost totally surrounded by land, which constrains how much the maximum extent can change – simplistically put the whole thing basically freezes over each winter, so the smaller trend in maxima is unsurprising and insignificant. I am sure Dr Hansen is as aware as Dr Meier that a long term ice loss in the land-locked Arctic coupled with modest ice gain in the ocean-surrounded Antarctic are exactly consistent with GHG-forced global warming.

  4. Thanks for the review.

    Can you add a “Don’t know” option?

    Golly these things are so hard to forecast and lay folks like me would be guessing. I think it will be more than the low of 2007.

    Clive
    Alberta Canada
    The once frozen great plains of Alberta where it will be about 10C° warmer than DC today. ☺

  5. I think you should be a little more careful in your statements. Yes, the Arctic ice is above it’s lows but I don’t see any clear trend to the upside. I see ice levels moving in a narrow range. Talk to me when it gets above the 1979-2000 average. Here’s hoping it gets there.

  6. Thanks for this update. Wouldn’t it be nice if more of this discussion were conducted in the manner adopted by Dr. Meier and yourself?

    I was amazed by the response in what I consider the ‘liberal’ blogosphere–Brad DeLong, Mark Kleiman, etc. (I’m a flaming liberal myself who just happens not to be convinced by the IPCC political summaries of their documents.) I offer some thoughts on my own weblog here: http://newsfan.typepad.co.uk/pestle/2009/03/george-will-and-the-madness-of-bloggers.html

    I guess the key quote from my post would be: “And because of all this froth, we put off to yet another distant day the serious discussion about global climate change, green technology and Obama’s energy plan that we so sorely need to have. Much in the style of Karl Rove, the news cycle got hijacked in the service of jihad. We are all poorer as a result.”

  7. If Dr. Meier is basing his predictions of the future for the Arctic ice based on Hansen’s data, he’s in for a surprise.

  8. What interested me in Dr. Meier’s reply was his comment on ice thickness. I was wondering how, exactly, satellites can measure the thickness of the ice.

    I expect this year’s ice to be something like 2006’s but there is still a dearth of “old” ice so that might not come to pass. What ice survived last year was probably thin. It will be in better shape to survive next winter, though, as this year’s summer sun works even more salt out of it.

  9. Quote: “What do you think?”

    Does it matter what we think? The 2009 Arctic Sea Ice Extent will be what it will be.

    Unfortunately, there are no incentives for being right, nor disincentives for being wrong in the climate game. The only positive incentives seem to involve research funding, ease of publication and academic collegiality which result only when forecasts are for gloom and doom.

    I wonder if the experts’ forecasts for melting Arctic ice would change if a ten million dollar prize was offered for the forecast that came closest to the actual result.

  10. As we stated in our post last week, we are accounting for missing data when we produce our daily total extent plot. So it will be consistent with AMSR-E and more consistent with pre-2002 data than AMSR-E is.

    The reason why the maximum extent doesn’t get as much as attention is because it doesn’t deserve as much. The maximum is not expected to decline like the minimum and does not have the impacts on climate, people, and wildlife like summer sea ice. Regardless, while 2008 is relatively high compared to recent years, it is still 500,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers below the long-term average.

    What is of interest in winter is the ice thickness – how much is thick old ice vs. how much is thinner first-year ice. And that has been decreasing substantially in recent years.

    walt

  11. You would need to define normal.

    In the Summer of 1944 Henry Larsen took the St. Roch from Nova Scotia to Vancouver, B.C. through the Northern Route of the NW Passage. A few years later he tried and was unable to enter the Northern route of the NW Passage. It had froze up solid and a US icebreaker also tried and could not proceed any farther than Resolute. History is just repeating. I always find it interesting that the scientists so easily dismiss the past evidence.

  12. I work as a quality engineer, one of the many methodologies that are used in the field is Measurement System Analysis (MSA). When you are measuring various features of a product or process, it is important to understand the variability and accuracy of the measurement system being used as they can have a profound effect on the conclusions that can be drawn from the data gathered.

    There are a variety of “classic” errors that a measurement methodology can suffer from. Examples can include “Bias” errors, this can be thought of as an instrument that is not properly zeroed, if a set of calipers reads .001 mm when closed, every measurement will be off by that amount. Another example is “lineararity” errors, 1.000 mm reads 1.001, 2.000 mm reads 2.002, and so on. These types of errors are “calibration” errors. There are other types of errors that are related to the methodology itself that give rise to repeatability and reproducability issues.

    I cannot help but wonder about statements coming from NSIDC concerning their desire to continue using the less accurate method of measurement because they are interested in long term trends. In general, the many types errors either give you wrong results, or the results have more variability. I could understand the desire, if the error was known to be of the calibration type, as trend information would be consistant, even if the absolute measurements themselves weren’t accurate. The problem is they are obviously working with calibrations due to the sensor drift. In other words, given the nature of the problem, no faith can be put in the long term trends at this point anyway. If the AMSR-E measurements are more accurate due to the other concerns, then there is no reason not to switch to the better method.

    I sometimes wonder if the PhDs that work in climate science understand some of the basic tools that we mere BS types take for granted.

  13. Walt,

    Thanks for the input. What is a good source for real time ice thickness data? Do you have a prediction for the summer you can share with us?

    John Philip,

    Figure 2-4 in Dr. Hansen’s 1980 paper shows symmetrical albedo changes at both poles. It certainly does not predict increasing ice in Antarctica.

  14. Paulus,

    I did get the red/orange swapped, thanks. But it doesn’t change the point I was making about recent increases in maximum extent.

  15. I saw the IPY statement in the paper a few days ago and was amazed-outraged that they could state that the polar melt is accelerating. Maybe that was true a few years ago and then only in the Arctic (Yet they make a stink about Will’s statement being incorrect because he was a few weeks off???)

    The argument used to be that the Antarctic was not warming like the Arctic because there a relatively greater extent of ocean that was supposedly absorbing the heat. But that just doesn’t square with increased trend for Antarctic ice. If the ocean’s were absorbing heat how do we get more sea ice?

    So now the push that Antarctica has really been warming? And even if Steig’s questionable statistics show a slight warming in Antarctica that trend only holds when cherry picking the start date. The more relevant time period is the last 25 years and even Steig’s data shows Antarctica has been cooling. Yet still Nature hyped the story. It is a sad time for science when hype overwhelms even the simplest evidence.

    There needs to be a discussion on what is the appropriate time period to use trend data. And also the dangers and fallacies of using trends to predict the future.

  16. Thanks again to Walt Meier.

    My recollection is that the Arctic ice thickness was about 2/3 of its former value as of sometime last year. This IS a “significant” decrease. I’m not aware of more recent measurements. But I won’t get excited about it until the polar bears start punching holes through it, and maybe not even then. I’ve already promised my kayak to someone on another site. I might even let him have the paddle.

  17. John Philip (09:44:36) : “The Arctic is almost totally surrounded by land, which constrains how much the maximum extent can change – simplistically put the whole thing basically freezes over each winter, so the smaller trend in maxima is unsurprising and insignificant.”

    Good point John. Measuring maximum Arctic ice extent will be underestimated and thus biased. So perhaps we should focus on the increase of Antarctic sea ice.

  18. What is of interest in winter is the ice thickness – how much is thick old ice vs. how much is thinner first-year ice. And that has been decreasing substantially in recent years.

    Is there a public dataset available that shows this? I’d like to be able to see the data like I can with extent or area.

    Thanks,
    tim

  19. I know nothing about Arctic ice except what I observe regularly on all links shown in this post. Observing the erratic increase for late 2008 and early 2009 my guess is that compaction will contribute to a slight reduction of ice melt this year.
    I will watch events with interest. Especially the current “ice thickness expedition”.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7917266.stm

  20. Ever since I coloured a policeman purple in Grade 2 I have found colours to be quite frustrating! The AMSR graph is informative but as relating to which years are which, I do get the red-green-yellow ones mixed up. I do get the point that not much of this data is as alarming as the AGW’s think. It looks quite stable and I would be alarmed if it was the same every year.
    Would anyone know how much ice there was during the many Northwest passages that have occured?

  21. In response to Dr. Meier, the reason maximum is of interest to me, is that I feel it must be correlated with the next year’s minimum. I agree that ice thickness is a vital factor. Ice thickness, particularly for annual ice, must be highly correlated with winter temperatures. My instinct tells me that maximum ice area is also correlated with winter temperatures. Therefore, I believe maximum sea ice area is a proxy for ice thickness; particularly for annual ice. And so maximum ice area tells us a little about what may happen at next year’s minimum. Obviously, what happens to temperature over the next 6 months or so will have a larger effect. But winter temperatures, and therefore maximum ice area, cannot, IMHO, have no effect.

  22. Walt (09:59:52) :

    “What is of interest in winter is the ice thickness – how much is thick old ice vs. how much is thinner first-year ice. And that has been decreasing substantially in recent years.”

    According to Davis et al, the overall trend in East and West Antarctic ice is thickening at the rate of 1.4 ± 0.3 cm/year. (1) And according to Van de Berg et al, SMB integrated over the grounded ice sheet (GIS) exceeds previous estimates by as much as 15%. Specifically, they say that “the calibrated SMB equals a total mass input to Antarctica of 2.08 ± 0.03 x 1015 kg yr-1 for the GIS and 2.52 ± 0.03 x 1015 kg yr-1 for the whole of Antarctica including ice shelves.” (2)

    Would you comment on the benefit/liability of “first year ice?” If the overall mass increases, how does age of added ice affect an overall view that icecaps are growing, not receding?

    (1) Davis, C.H., Li, Y., McConnell, J.R., Frey, M.M. and Hanna, E. 2005. Snowfall-driven growth in East Antarctic Ice Sheet mitigates recent sea-level rise.

    (2) Van de Berg, W.J., van den Broeke, M.R., Reijmer, C.H. and van Meijgaard, E. 2006. Reassessment of the Antarctic surface mass balance using calibrated output of a regional atmospheric climate model. Journal of Geophysical Research 111: 10.1029/2005JD006495.

  23. “The reason why the maximum extent doesn’t get as much as attention is because it doesn’t deserve as much. The maximum is not expected to decline like the minimum and does not have the impacts on climate, people, and wildlife like summer sea ice.”

    Sorry Dr. Meier, I just don’t buy that. That sounds like someone just simply made that up to rationalize why maximum extents are not dropping off.

  24. Question:

    How can they argue that ‘global warming’ affects sea ice but then say well that Arctic and Antarctic sea ice are just such different animals that you can’t and shouldn’t count them together? I’m all for proper breakdown of stats, but they can’t have it both ways. Either the Earth is one system with many different parts, similar to the human body, or it’s not. Either climate change, however one chooses to define it, is global in effect or it is not. It simply is not valid to argue ‘global warming’ is global in effect but sea ice is not. Which is it?

  25. The key concepts being that Arctic ice continues to decline, and that Arctic and Antarctic ice are separate entities – so the current near normal global sea ice area “has no meaning in terms of climate change.”

    Hmmm, but wait a minute. Aren’t we told that global average temperatures have meaning in terms of climate change.

    I think the Cheshire Cat has been talking to these people.

  26. Addendum:

    (1) Davis et al, published by Sciencexpress/www.sciencexpress.org/science.1110662

  27. I am so glad the poll was put in place. The results will settle once and for all whether the ice is coming or going. Skeptics have been hard pressed to counter the AGW crowd’s religious beliefs with only facts in their arsenal. The poll results will prove the AGW crowd wrong, using their own methods.

    One must take care not to be seen in public waving the poll about. Save it as your super weapon for brandishing in private discussions only.

  28. Walt Meier 9:59:52
    If there is a concern about preserving Polar Bears why not just stop hunting them? I’ll wager that there were a whole lot more Polar Bears who died died last year of gunshot wounds than died because the ice they were diving off of was 2 feet thick instead of 4 feet thick.

  29. Anthony
    As I view the NSIDC graphic as filtered though the eyes of a vintage electronic design type, I see the telltale signs of a dynamic loop on its way toward instability. Regarding the relatively small humps riding upon the major form of the ice accumulation curve, note the quasi periodic nature of the hump peaks. Additionally, note that the peak period appears to decrease with time. In my world decreasing period = increasing frequency. In dynamic systems when such characteristics persist, the frequency of the excursions accelerates until the response exceeds the ability of the affected medium to respond. At that point the loop LOCKS UP, often but not always, at the UP limit sustainable by the constituent medium. My best guess would be that the loop system/s involved are the prevailing oceanic current thermal content vs. ice-melt thermal feedback. What ever the feedback source is, it is a positive variable. Should I make a appointment with my Optometrist?

    REPLY: I saw and reported the very same thing, using the same electronics analogy to Walt Meier. He dismissed it.

    Anthony

  30. Can you have an ice age in one hemisphere but not the other? Anybody ever looked at that possibility. We are headed into an ice age in the southern hemisphere with a moderate cooling in the north. Interesting thought.

  31. Even if it’s true that ice thicknes has been “decreasing substantially in recent years,” is CO2 at fault or is the decrease due to numerous natural factors? An increase in human CO2 emissions coinciding with a decrease in ice doesn’t automatically prove that CO2 is melting ice. Anyway, I’m convinced CO2 can’t catastrophically warm the planet. Physicists R.W. Wood and Neils Bohr conducted experiments in the early 20th Century demonstrating that CO2, and other “greenhouse gases,” by nature, have a minimal warming potential. The warming potential of CO2 is logarithmic, not linear or exponential. A runaway “greenhouse effect” due to increasing CO2 levels is pure fantasy. Our paltry CO2 emissions are a drop in the bucket. I will continue to burn fossil fuels with no guilt whatsoever, enjoying the warmth and convenience they offer me.

  32. From the National Post this morning:

    “I had been fully prepared for the alarmists to take credit for the cooling once it became undeniable. What I had not predicted was the hubris and intellectual dishonesty that permitted the warmers to insist they knew all along of facts contrary to their theories, but believed those facts reinforced, rather than undermined, the validity of their earlier claims.”

    “Now, a similarly Orwellian doublethink is happening over Arctic sea ice. Since last fall, Arctic ice has been expanding faster than at any time since satellite records became available in 1979. The ice cap is now only a fraction smaller than in 1980 — when it was at its largest.”

    “Not only has this news not received much reporting, but the fact that ice sensors in the North have been malfunctioning, which has very likely led to a further underestimating of the amount of ice around the pole, has set off another we-never-claimed-it-was-an-emergency moment among greenies.”

  33. Steve said, “The key concepts being that Arctic ice continues to decline, ”
    This should always say “The key concepts being that Arctic ice continues to decline since 1979”. Before that it was increasing and in the 1930’s is was also declining. However, some will not accept the possible existence of a cycle.

  34. Walt Meier
    Thanks for your posts. You commented:

    “What is of interest in winter is the ice thickness – how much is thick old ice vs. how much is thinner first-year ice. And that has been decreasing substantially in recent years.”

    I found:
    NSIDC BIST: Compare data: Sea Ice Index: Extent and Concentration Trends?”
    This shows extent trends individually for the Arctic and Antarctic.
    However, it gives no concentration trends.
    The main page shows Artic ice extent declining while the Antarctic is increasing.

    I did find Global Sea Ice Area”

    This appears to show the global extent anomaly in 2009 to be within 1% of the long term average.

    May I encourage you to:
    1) Add an option to see the trend line for TOTAL extent;
    2) Provide a default page show in all three of Artic, Antartic and Global trend lines.
    3) Provide a trend line for TOTAL ice – with extent weighted by “concentration” or specific ice of tons ice/km2.

    We would welcome a followup post addressing your comment. e.g.,
    4) Please address “concentration”, Old ice vs new ice, and Total ice.
    5) Please provide graphs online of TOTAL ice, not just extent and concentration.
    6) Graphs of total Precipitation in Arctic and Antarctic would be very useful to see the actual trends. e.g., glaciers in Alaska are now expanding after contracting for many years.

    It would be useful to develop graphs that continually update and compare these parameters with temperature, current, wind, Total Solar Insolation, Solar Cycle parameters (sunspot counts, magnetic field etc.), and Galactic Cosmic Rays compared to atmospheric CO2 and H2O.

    This would help educate on how significant which parameters are.

    Thanks for your efforts to provide data to assist in understanding our climate and to provide objective evidence on which to address policy issues.

  35. Does open water at the North Pole in summer allow more energy to be lost to space than is reflected to space when the water is ice covered ?

    It seems to me that very little energy would be absorbed by the Arctic Ocean in summer due to the low position of the sun in the sky but a good deal of energy could be lost from the open water because it is essentially the final resting place of warmed water originally flowing from the Pacific and other warmer ocean areas.

    On the basis that open water in the Arctic accelerates global energy loss then a period of increased open water in the Arctic in summer could be a self limiting process by virtue of that acceleration of energy loss to space.

    Combine that with a negative PDO and a weak solar input to the oceans and the results should be both interesting and contrary to AGW theory.

    I would be interested in Dr. Meier’s view on that specific point.

  36. Dr. Meir says that the long term trend is for decreasing Arctic ice. Could he, or someone else, point me to a graph that shows winter max and summer min ice extent vs. time from 1979 on? I looked through the NSIDC site but couldn’t come up with the like. I’m not doubting his statement, but like most scientists I like to see the data for myself.

  37. Same comment I had in the previous Dr. Meier piece:
    I still want to know why…and if confounds me…why the NSIDC uses the 1979-2000 as the numerical average (mean) in their trend lines. They basically throw out 30% of their 30 years worth of data as if 1979-2000 is some sort of holy grail “normal” period of time. At least Artic ROOS uses 1979-2007. This is a small point, but showing the full 30 year average doesn’t make 2007 look like such a radical departure from the best “normal” of which we have very limited data. Remember, most news reporters are not well paid, nor are they good at science and graphs and charts, when they say “OMG! 2007 was really bad compared to normal years!”

  38. Has Dr Meier provided and explanation as to why land masses surrounding the Arctic Ocean have been increased recently in his agency’s portrayals of ice extent?

    Is this another example of data tampering ala GISS?

  39. Why can’t Dr Meier comment on the IPY statement?

    I urge Dr. Meier to clarify that the IPY statement contradicts his position.

    “so the current near normal global sea ice area “has no meaning in terms of climate change.”

  40. Arctic Sea Ice
    Re. your comments about closeness to 1979-2000 normal. It is better than this – I have copies of the old NAVAIR US climate voumes from the mid 70s. The Arctic Sea Ice this year is almost identical to the ice cover depicted in that volume – I can’t see a period mentioned in them that ice data is gatherered over so it is either late 40s to mid 70s or all possible observations up to mid 70s!

  41. Tim G.
    What exactly is first year ice ?You make it sound as if this is the first time this ice has ever existed .And another thing if ice is 15 in thick it’s thick would you not say .Why would it matter if it had been ther for 5 months vs 5 years.Try this at home .The fact is ice is extending and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it .Check out daily artic sea ice maps for comparison .

  42. I think a careful reading of Dr. Meier’s comments will reveal a shift in semantics. He refers to declines in “sea ice” rather than “sea ice extent” and then begins to focus on “ice thickness”, a less documented and document(able) parameter.

    My mind, having been driven into a paranoid state by the award of a certain Nobel Prize, suspects Dr. Meier may be obfuscating in the tradition of “Manmade Global Warming” versus “Manmade Climate Change”.

  43. MattN (10:42:26) : and many others.
    “The reason why the maximum extent doesn’t get as much as attention is because it doesn’t deserve as much… ”
    Sorry Dr. Meier, I just don’t buy that. That sounds like someone just simply made that up to rationalize why maximum extents are not dropping off

    If the North pole were surrounded completely by land at say 83deg North then this smaller ocean would freeze 100% every year so the maximum sea ice area would flatline. Do you agree?

    Also assume that air temperature required to freeze JUST this sea is -25C at the periphery (It will of course be even colder at the centre). Presumably this tempreature is therefore low enough to keep the ICE-SEA interface at a temperature where melting=refreezing.

    Now assume the normal periphery temperature is -30C in mid winter. Should the temperature rise to -25C at midwinter through “warming” (man made or otherwise) obviously the sea ice area will not change.

    No look at the north polar map the arctic sea is surrounded on 3 “sides” by Russia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Finland etc. Once this area is full of ice (especiall the enclosed bays – hudson etc) it can only grow by freezing the other side of landmass (alaska side) or between Greenland and Norway.
    However, between Greenland and Norway is the end of the “gulf stream” which makes it difficult to form ice.

    Taking this lot into account makes the maximum ice extent variation less than the minimum extent.
    Mike

  44. Jack Green (11:02:15) :

    Can you have an ice age in one hemisphere but not the other? Anybody ever looked at that possibility.

    Yes.

    Strong asymmetry of hemispheric climates during MIS-13 inferred
    from correlating China loess and Antarctica ice records
    Z. T. Guo, A. Berger, Q. Z. Yin, and L. Qin1,

    Abstract. We correlate the China loess and Antarctica ice records to address the inter-hemispheric climate link over the past 800 ka. The results show a broad coupling between Asian and Antarctic climates at the glacial-interglacial scale. However, a number of decoupled aspects are revealed, among which marine isotope stage (MIS) 13 exhibits a strong anomaly compared with the other interglacials. It is characterized by unusually positive benthic oxygen (18O) and carbon isotope (13C) values in the world oceans, cooler Antarctic temperature, lower summer sea surface temperature in the South Atlantic, lower CO2 and CH4 concentrations, but by extremely strong Asian, Indian and African summer monsoons, weakest Asian winter monsoon, and lowest Asian dust and iron fluxes. Pervasive warm conditions were also evidenced by the records from northern high-latitude regions. These consistently indicate a warmer Northern Hemisphere and a cooler Southern Hemisphere, and hence a strong asymmetry of hemispheric climates during MIS-13. Similar anomalies of lesser extents also occurred during MIS-11 and MIS-5e. Thus, MIS-13 provides a case that the Northern Hemisphere experienced a substantial warming under relatively low concentrations of greenhouse gases. It suggests that the global climate system possesses a natural variability that is not predictable from the simple response of northern summer insolation and atmospheric CO2 changes. During MIS-13, both hemispheres responded in different ways leading to anomalous continental, marine and atmospheric conditions at the global scale. The correlations also suggest that the marine 18O record is not always a reliable indicator of the northern ice-volume changes, and that the asymmetry of hemispheric climates is one of the prominent factors control-ling the strength of Asian, Indian and African monsoon circulations, most likely through modulating the position of the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) and land-sea thermal contrasts.

    The correlation reveals a number of decoupled aspects between the loess and ice records. Among them, a strong anomaly is observed for MIS-13 compared with the other interglacials. Comprehensive examination of the relevant geological records consistently suggests a significantly cooler Southern Hemisphere, but an unusually warmer Northern Hemisphere with reduced northern ice volume, and hence, an enhanced asymmetry of hemispheric climates. During this interglacial, both hemispheres responded in different ways to the northern summer insolation and atmospheric CO2 changes.

    MIS-13 is therefore a real case of a substantial northern hemispheric warming under relatively low concentrations of greenhouse gases. Smaller northern ice-sheets would have also occurred during MIS-11 and MIS-5e, with apparently a lesser hemispheric asymmetry than for MIS-13. These also suggest that the coupling of hemispheric climates at the glacial-interglacial scales was significantly unstable in the Mid-Pleistocene and that marine 18O records may not be always reliable indicators of northern ice-volume. These findings may also have implications for the evolution of the climate system during other periods of the Quaternary.

    http://www.clim-past.net/5/21/2009/cp-5-21-2009.pdf

  45. When I study the ASMR-E graphs, it seems that the anomalies occur primarily at the max and min extents. With the exception of the last 2 years, the min seems to have less range than the max. It would also seem that the dates of the max and min are pretty consistant over time, the melt isn’t beginning earlier or lasting longer. Interesting observations, but what really catches my attention is the remarkable consistantcy of extent in the Apr-Aug time frame. No doubt the fact that the Arctic is a confined basin results in a consistant meltback, since the melt starts about 2 weeks before the Spring equinox every year.

    Polar bears wouldn’t really care about Max extent, they are sleeping then. Nor would the min extent be of particular interest, by the time anomolies in min extent manifest themselves, the ice is already well offshore throughout most of the basin. I am having trouble understanding the dire threat to the bears, It would seem that the time of the ice breaking up at any given location along the shore (where a given bear may live) is remarkably predictable from year to year regardless of annual variation in the max and min.

    It also strikes me that, due to the high latitude, albedo changes from year to year would not have much significance unless they occured around the time of the summer solstice. There is almost no annual variation in extent during that period.

  46. Walt Meier (09:59:52) :

    “What is of interest in winter is the ice thickness – how much is thick old ice vs. how much is thinner first-year ice. And that has been decreasing substantially in recent years.

    walt”

    Walt, thanks once again for your insightful contributions. I would be quite keen to learn however, what exactly constitutes multi year ice. Clearly, more than 1 year of thickness is the obvious answer, but let’s ay for the sake of arguement that summer 2009 again shows less reduction than summer 2008. By my reckoning, this would constitute 2 successive years of additional ice since the low point in 2007. I do realise that it’s probably not quite that simple. Clearly there were gains in total area in 2008 in some parts, while there were losses elsewhere over 2007, but the net result was greater area. However, in those areas where there might end up being some overlap, there may be 2 years of successive survival in 2009 in the same areas, surely this must begin to constitute “multi year” ice?

    Also, given the early recovery of ice pack in Fall 2008, this ice although only one season’s worth has already been there for a longer period this winter and would therefore be comparitively thick by comparison with the normal one might expect of single season growth.

    Personally, I would prefer to see more balanced reporting. For example, the headline NSIDC was keen to force home at the end of last summer was that despite net gain in sea ice extent over 2007, “this did not constitute a recovery”. While I understand your concern over ice volume, surely the reporting should be less emotive. This WAS after all a recovery in sea ice area over 2007. This is fact and it should be expressed as such. Your concerns over loss of volume etc, while valid, should remain as conjecture until there is a reliable way of measuring it when it may also be reported as a fact, should it prove to be the case.

    Ben

  47. I must say the sharp upward tick in NSIDC data this late in the freeze season does give the appearance of either the result of a manual “catch-up correction”, continuing instability in data collection or algo, or both.

  48. “If there is a concern about preserving Polar Bears why not just stop hunting them? I’ll wager that there were a whole lot more Polar Bears who died died last year of gunshot wounds than died because the ice they were diving off of was 2 feet thick instead of 4 feet thick.”

    I have played with the numbers and the ONLY significant population that is in decline is the West Hudson population, and that happens to be the only one that gets significantly hunted by natives. This is not a coincidence. I’ve run the numbers and determined that had there been zero hunting, that population would have increased by ~17%. Very simply, more bears are being hunted than are born each year. This has absolutely nothing to do with ice.

    IIRC, all of the Alaska populations are in fine shape, and their ice disappears every summer for months. Always has, always will. No summer ice, they’re fine.

    Why is that?

    They’re not hunted…

  49. I downloaded the monthly sea ice extent and area data from the NSIDC.

    I’ll have more to say about this later, but there is a decline in the Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent, (not unlike the sea ice “area” numbers from the Cryosphere today). The Southern Hemisphere is increasing.

    Seasonally-adjusted NH sea ice extent.

    Anomaly from the 1978-2008 average.

    It did not take very long for me to do this, so I have no idea why it is so hard for the NSDIC to provide the data.

  50. Regarding maximum ice extent, let me preface what I’m about to say by admitting my level of ignorance of things Arctic compared to many in this thread.

    Having said that, I must say that often when looking at Cryosphere Today comparitive ice maps, I’ve noticed that it appeared to me that much of the ice loss I’ve noticed in those comparisons seems to be concentrated around the shore lines of various land masses.

    Has anyone considered whether some type of local developments might be having a marginal impact here? Sort of “UHI as applied to Arctic sea ice”? I understand much of the arctic is sparsely, if at all, habitated, but not all of it, and presumably such populations as do exist are using more energy and creating more heat output than they did 30 (or 50 or whatever) years ago. Could this be having an impact?

  51. Anyone know what’s going on with extent and mass of NH continental ice? That’s the thing to track. Especially any trends toward positive mass balance year over year.

  52. Walt Meier (09:59:52) said “What is of interest in winter is the ice thickness – how much is thick old ice vs. how much is thinner first-year ice. And that has been decreasing substantially in recent years.”

    This seems to be moving the goalposts as facts change. I don’t know if Dr. Meier has always held this position or not, but the ice area has been one of the things that is always pointed too when discussing this issue. If Dr. Meier did not agree with that position did he ever dispute it?

    So now that we are not talking about ice area or extant or any other surface measurement and instead talking about ice thickness (when we should be discussing total volume), where is the data for ice thickness (including instruments and methodologies used)?

    Dr. Meier? Anybody?

  53. maksimovich: Nice paper. Did I read it correctly that a warmer northern hemisphere translates into an increased Biomass and corresponding decrease in CO2?

    Nice paper and I think it might be happening before our very eyes. i.e. warming in the NH and cooling in the SH.

    I wonder if the geographic pole can wobble away from it’s current spot surrounded by ocean fast enough and cause it to move to a terrestrial one? Even more then continental drift? Anybody seen this in the literature? It seems plausible given the uneven mass of the continents in drift theory.

  54. What Walt Meir is hypothesising that decreasing NH summer sea ice extent is a climate proxy for Global Warming, as defined by Climate Models.

    His hypothesis is also that increasing SH sea ice extent is a Climate Proxy for Global Warming as shown by Steig et al 2008, and the Climate Models “counter intuitive” causal mechanism as referenced is stated here.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050630064726.htm

    So the Hypothesis, if correct, shows that even “good” recent measurable climate proxies are not reliable.

  55. “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. To some degree, ice extent gets the popular attention because it is the hammer we have. Ice volume is pretty well unknowable and undeterminable on anything like a real/near-term basis, let alone in a continuously measurable and historically comparable manner.

    Isn’t it?

  56. Dr Meier

    “The maximum is not expected to decline like the minimum and does not have the impacts on climate, people, and wildlife like summer sea ice.”

    So The ice is melting, but not at the maximum only at the minimum? Strange effect if one can pull it off considering the arguments surrounding multi-year ice extent and thickness is a direct factor of maximums. If ice extent hits the land the only choice to increase mass is to grow thicker.

    Please explain the second portion, quantify the effects for me. There is no accurate census of species degradation, there has been some range adjustments for migratory species such as Caribou, the Polar Bear argument is a canard when viewed over the entire habitat range and population.

    I think there are many false starts in this debate over ice-loss effects, especially because there is no detailed data to support the assertions as not enough data exists. I understand anecdotal reports form indigenous populations, but consider that these populations have changed their society as well, they are not as nomadic, following food sources, as they were and much more reliant on technology that impacts inter-species interactions.

    I think we can all agree this is something that should be examined but to start with a false premise, do not do the real legwork required and look at one short term indicator is simply a diversion.

  57. Several people here have asked about the thickness of the Arctic ice

    My relatively near neigbour Pen Hadow is walking to the North Pole on a rather dangerous expedition to determine that very question. He started yesterday and is dragging a device that will measure thickness.

    http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/

    Perhaps Anthony might like to do a post on his progress?

    As far as I understand the thickness will be gauged over a line 700 miles or so long but in a relatively narrow band, so it will be by no means necessarily representative of the whole arctic. Also it demonstrates the thickness now but we can’t know the relative thickness of the ice in past years.

    From my own research the period from around 1910 (the iceberg that sank the Titanic in 1912 was caused by unusual ice melt) through to the late thirties or perhaps later, was a time of very warm temperatures, limited ice extent and presumably limited thickness as well.

    The Arctic Adventures of Bob Bartlett on board his ship the Morrisey was well documented on Pathe Newsreel in the 20’s and 30’s and it would appear that conditions were similar then to now.

    TonyB

  58. “The maximum is not expected to decline like the minimum and does not have the impacts on climate, people, and wildlife like summer sea ice.” (Walt Meier (09:59:52)

    With all respect, I disagree. Who cares, how far is the summer ice extent behind Novaya Zemlya. But many will care if Baltic, Thames or northern Adriatic gets frozen during the winter, as happened during the mini-ice age.
    I believe captain Edward J. Smith would also prefer less icebergs any day, especially on that April 14th, 1912.

  59. Speaking of the frozen north and polar regions, I think we have an answer to why 1880 is the cutoff for data in GIStemp:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/picking-cherries-in-sweden/

    (with a h/t to tty for pointing me at it)

    Shows a very long temperature record from Sweden… with 1880 being just about the dead bottom of the Little Ice Age impact on that particular station.

    It would be very interesting to see a similar graph for arctic ice, if one can be made from the available data…

  60. e doda (10:35:04) :

    Ever since I coloured a policeman purple in Grade 2 I have found colours to be quite frustrating! The AMSR graph is informative but as relating to which years are which, I do get the red-green-yellow ones mixed up. I do get the point that not much of this data is as alarming as the AGW’s think. It looks quite stable and I would be alarmed if it was the same every year.
    Would anyone know how much ice there was during the many Northwest passages that have occured?

    About 10% of the readers of any blog are red green colorblind like you and I are. The providers of charts like this should be aware that colors like red,brown,and orange, or dark green and dark brown are difficult for us to distinguish as are colors like yellow and light yellow-green, or pairs like blue and purple. They should provide secondary coding to the color traces such as broken lines dotted lines, line thickness etc. to allow the traces to be distinguished by all users including those that have atypical color vision.

    There are tools that help the red/green colorblind with this dilemma but they are not always as helpful as they should be because of how the charts are constructed.

    Two tools that I use are the colorzilla plugin for firefox that allows you to identify the actual color triplet of a graph trace. It how ever is problematic if the originator of the graph does not make sure the trace on the graph is exactly the same color as the key. This happens when they pick colors off of a color map rather than replicating the exact color triplet used in the key.

    For example the 2007 trace on the JAXA ice extent graph key is color triplet R:210, G:254 B:0, but if you place the cursor on the trace on the graph, depending where it is placed, you get a slightly different color triplet of R:215, G:255 B:0, or R:228, G:255 B:77. There is usually enough similarity to allow the user to figure out which trace is which, but on some charts this can be a challenge if two traces use very similar color triplets they can actually be the same color in some places.

    Another very helpful tool is “WhatColor”, its current download is wcol472e.exe, and I have used it and it appears to be a safe executable file. It is a share ware product by http://www.hikarun.com/e/

    To the developers of blogs and web pages, please be colorblind friendly with your color picks. It is very frustrating to find a graph that is useless because several overlapping traces are indistinguishable from each other. Sometimes even with these tools they cannot be unambiguously resolved.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_blindness

    Larry

  61. Dr. Meier,

    Is there a reason that in the visual of ice extent you use the 1979-2000 median as a comparison and in the graph you use the 1979-2000 average?

  62. Sorry to get off topic.. just wondering if anyone has heard anything about the Hansen coal protest in Washington today?

  63. Walt Meier (09:59:52) :

    As we stated in our post last week, we are accounting for missing data when we produce our daily total extent plot. So it will be consistent with AMSR-E and more consistent with pre-2002 data than AMSR-E is.

    The reason why the maximum extent doesn’t get as much as attention is because it doesn’t deserve as much. The maximum is not expected to decline like the minimum and does not have the impacts on climate, people, and wildlife like summer sea ice. Regardless, while 2008 is relatively high compared to recent years, it is still 500,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers below the long-term average.

    Wally, that is nonsense – and you know it as wellas I do.

  64. “”” Stephen Wilde (11:17:07) :

    Does open water at the North Pole in summer allow more energy to be lost to space than is reflected to space when the water is ice covered ?

    Combine that with a negative PDO and a weak solar input to the oceans and the results should be both interesting and contrary to AGW theory.

    I would be interested in Dr. Meier’s view on that specific point. “””

    Stephen,

    I tend to agree with you on your query about the open water condition; I think it connects to the albedo question as well.

    Open water in the arctic tends to be warmer than the ice packs or the air over the ice packs; so I would expect to see accelerated evaporation in the arcic if there waslare areas of open water. This would result in a significant increase in the snow precipitation over the arctic lands.

    Contrary to popular mythology there is actually more land in the Arctic (>60 N) than there is in the Antarctic (<-60S).

    As for the albedo change due to polar ice; there’s a very good reason why all that ice is there in the first place; there isn’t very much solar energy arriving there anyway, because of the cosine effect. Albedo measures the global total solar spectrum reflectance of the entire planet, not the local reflection coefficient. If there was a lot of solar energy arriving at the poles tor eflect, well then there wouldn’t be so much ice there to reflect it, so I don’t think polar ice is a big contibutor to earth’s cooling processes; nowhere near as efficient at cooling as the tropical mid-day deserts are.

    George

  65. “Unfortunately, there are no incentives for being right, nor disincentives for being wrong in the climate game. The only positive incentives seem to involve research funding, ease of publication and academic collegiality which result only when forecasts are for gloom and doom.

    “I wonder if the experts’ forecasts for melting Arctic ice would change if a ten million dollar prize was offered for the forecast that came closest to the actual result.”

    What I suggested a couple of weeks ago was that someone formulate a set of mutually agreeable (to leading warmers) questions on easily adjudicated benchmarks for warming (e.g., Arctic & Antarctic ice extent, glaciers advancing/retreating, global temperatures (by one or more methods), sea level, etc.) and get them listed as betting items on the Intrade.com website. Here’s what I posted:
    ===============

    I think it would be an excellent idea for the partisans of both sides to be able to bet against the other side. But arranging such bets on an ad hoc, one-to-one basis imposes a high overhead (making bets that are under $1000 (say) impractical), a high risk of non-payment, a great potential for foot-dragging “denial” in the event of a loss, a great potential for inter-personal nastiness during the negotiation and afterwards, etc.

    What’s needed instead is a neutral venue where betting can be done impersonally, in small amounts, at a low overhead, with assurance of being paid (or at least getting ones money back in the event of a “draw” or “inconclusive”), etc.

    Such a venue already exists. Bettors “bid” for bets at odds that sellers offer, in terms of any number of small-amount “contracts.” This has the effect of causing the odds offered to adjust quickly to reflect the money placed on each side of the bet. One of the additional advantages of this site’s method is that a person can cash-out or reduce his bet if he changes his mind, or has an emergency for which he temporarily needs money. (Of course, the “house” takes a cut as its commission when this occurs.)

    The site already has a category for climate-related bets (click “Climate and Weather” in the menu on the left side of the screen). Its current bets relate only to whether laws regulating CO2 emissions will be passed in five countries. It also has bets relating to numbers-of-hurricanes and snowfall-levels in various cities, here:
    http://www.intrade.net/market/listing/showEventGroup.faces?eg=508

    It deals mostly with political and economic events, like the price of gold in the future, etc. That sort of question is easier to settle, because of its sharp Yes/No boundary, than questions like whether arctic sea ice has retreated, sea levels have risen, global temperature has risen, glaciers have retreated, etc. It would be very desirable if Intrade could be persuaded to add these fuzzier sorts of bets. It would do so only if the bet could be settled by reference to a data point from an agreed-upon “authority.” It wouldn’t want to have to serve as an arbitrator or interpreter of the fine points of the question.

    There are downsides (and disagreements) to every authority, and downsides to every indicator of global warming (arctic ice, sea level, etc.), and to every data point regarding that indicator. But that problem can be easily finessed if Intrade were to provide a dozen (say) separate questions relating to the matter. That would allow bettors who don’t trust the indicator or an authority cited in certain questions to bet on the other questions where they believe those are more reliable. And it would allow the question of overall global warming to be distributed over several data points, reducing the risk that an anomalous reading in one indicator or data point would improperly answer the question. By employing a majority vote among indicators, a bettor could compensate for the weakness of each of them.

    I therefore suggest that a new thread be set up here (or somewhere else on the Internet–or in many sites) where a preliminary set of betting-questions can be proposed and their wording thrashed out. Once these have been debugged sufficiently that lots of folks on both sides have said, “I’d bet on that question,” then Intrade could be approached by e-mail and asked to start taking bets on one or more of those questions. I think it would be a good idea to start small, with only a couple of questions, and to approach Intrade with a statement endorsed by leading names on both sides of the debate that they are prepared to abide by the settling of the bet in the manner described. One can suggest a contract to Intrade by e-mail here:
    markets@intrade.com
    Here’s another link, this one giving access to a pageful of contact information (by mail, fax, etc.):
    http://www.intrade.net/faq/contactUs.faces

    Intrade desires more respectability, visibility, and trading volume. By adding bets on the impact of the highly contentious matter of climate change, it would be performing a great social service. It would also thereby get lots of visibility, as its site would surely be regularly alluded to during online exchanges whenever a disputant is tempted to say, “Put your money where your mouth is.” Finally, once people register with the site, some will no doubt be tempted to place bets on the hundred or so other propositions on offer there. So Intrade will do well by doing good.

    Intrade has been in business since 1999, and the predictions of the odds set by its markets in choosing winners of elections have been more accurate than those of pollsters. It’s been widely cited by political pundits as having a high accuracy rate.

    Intrade is located in Dublin, Ireland and can’t accept payment from US credit cards. One has to set up an account online (there is a real-time online assistant to help step one through the process), then mail them a check, and then wait ten days for it to clear. In the interim, you should “learn the ropes” by making play-money bets in its training-wheels section, on its “Labs” tab.

    Here are links to the sections of Intrade’s site where the details of participating are discussed.

    About Intrade: https://www.intrade.com/jsp/intrade/help/general.html

    Rules: https://www.intrade.com/jsp/intrade/help/index.jsp?page=rules.html

    Safety & Security: https://www.intrade.com/jsp/intrade/home/safety_and_security.jsp

    Help & FAQs: https://www.intrade.com/jsp/intrade/help/index.jsp?page=general.html

    Rates & Fees: https://www.intrade.com/jsp/intrade/help/index.jsp?page=general.html%23fees

    Forum (where bettors can argue for their positions: it’s pretty spicy): https://www.intrade.com/forum/

    ++++++++++

    There’s a site where “play money” bets can be made on a variety of topics, including the environment. (I’ve turned $2,000 to $700,000 in a little over a year, mostly by betting heavily at long odds on the stock market crash.) See here for the home page, where you can register to participate:
    http://www.hubdub.com/

    Here’s the page on the environment topic, which has other bets relating to AGW. (I just bet $1000 (in play money), at 10-to-1 odds, that the Wilkins Ice Shelf will hang on until 2010.):
    http://www.hubdub.com/science/environment

    Here’s a bet that was proposed to Gore. Here’s a link to this bet:
    http://www.hubdub.com/m30611/Who_will_win_the_Climate_Bet__Al_Gore_or_Wharton_Professor_Scott_Armstrong

    Who will win the “Climate Bet” – Al Gore or Wharton Professor Scott Armstrong?
    Current forecast: J. Scott Armstrong (68% chance)
    Combining all predictions, the current most likely outcome is J. Scott Armstrong with a probability of 68% (up 7% in last 1 day)

    In June 2007, Wharton Professor Scott Armstrong offered Al Gore a bet of $10,000 on who could best predict global mean temperature over the next ten years. Al Gore declined the bet, citing the reason that he does not bet money (the full story can be reviewed at http://theclimatebet.com).

    Now, assume that Armstrong and Gore had made a gentleman’s bet (no money) and that the ten years of the bet started on January 1, 2008.

    • Armstrong’s forecast was that there would be no change in global mean temperature over the next ten years.

    • Gore did not specify a method or a forecast. Nor did searches of his book or on the Internet reveal any quantitative forecasts or any methodology he relies on. He did, however, imply that the global mean temperature would increase at a rapid rate – presumably at least as great as the IPCC’s 1992 projection of 0.03°C-per-year; thus. The IPCC’s 1992 projection is to be taken as Gore’s forecast.

    Settlement details: The criterion will be the mean absolute errors of Armstrong’s and Gore’s annual forecasts for the ten year period, with the errors to be measured against the UAH global temperature record (http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu). The win goes to the smallest mean absolute error.

    PS: Individual Hubdubbers can post questions on the site themselves, without moderation. This could be a good way for both Warm-mongers and Cooler Heads to put forward their first versions of bets that could later be submitted to Intrade, for Real Money wagering.

  66. I’ll put it to Dr. Meier that we’ve only been measuring the Arctic ice extent since 1979 and that is far too short a time period to draw any conclusions.

    We just don’t know how much the ice cap varied during other warm periods. What happened during the Younger Dryas, the Roman Warm Period or the WMP? Do we even have any data to show what happened during the 1930’s?

    We had a cooling trend in the middle of the 20th century that last until — 1979! We started measurement at the end of a cool climate. Is it not possible, even likely that the ice extent at that time was at the high end of normal variation?

  67. Ryan C (13:49:24) :

    Sorry to get off topic.. just wondering if anyone has heard anything about the Hansen coal protest in Washington today?

    CNN just aired a very very short piece on it and were very vague. I suspect that they did not get the turn out they had hoped (go figure), and it is also likely to be overshadowed by the 300 point nosedive of the DOW today. I suspect we won’t hear much about it for a couple of days, enough time for the MSM to spin up a good yarn about it, as it may take a bit of time to develop something sensational about an otherwise non-sensational event.

  68. Mike Strong (11:23:48) : You asked:

    “…why the NSIDC uses the 1979-2000 as the numerical average (mean) in their trend lines.”

    I don’t know why they do this but the weather service always uses a 30 year time frame ending in “00” for normal temps and so on. Thus, when your local weather reporter claims the temp is X degrees higher than normal, “current normal” is the mean of a 30 year period from 1971 to 2000. I suppose this made sense when they started calculating means without modern computers. Seems less defensible today.

  69. As the discussion of Arctic and Antarctic ice proceeds on this scientific forum, Dr. Tim Ball warns us of the consensus politics of cap and trade, which leads to government control over energy and the use of energy.

    You can have all the liberty and freedom you want as long as you conform to government rules and regulations.
    ————————————————————-
    Massive funding to promote ‘green energy’ ignores the science and demonstrates lack of understanding climate and renewable energy

    Cap and Trade and Alternative energy: The real danger in Obama’s policies.

    http://canadafreepress.com/printpage.php

    Dishonesty is also evident because they have moved the goalposts again. First it was carbon credits, then it was carbon tax and now it is cap and trade. They are all the same idea falsely presented as methods of reducing CO2. In fact, they don’t reduce it at all but they do give government control and put more money in government hands. They are an environmental form of sin tax like those on tobacco and alcohol. The new name eliminates reference to CO2 (carbon) and taxes. A Cap, determined by the government, will limit the amount of CO2 you can produce. Details were expanded in Obama’s first budget proposal. He estimates a return of $625 billion from the cap and trade. It allows him to punish certain industries, as Obama indicated he would with the coal industry. The word Trade incorrectly implies some sort of business like approach. It is really an unnecessary transfer of wealth, just as carbon credits were in the Kyoto Protocol. As House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican said. “We’ve got real concerns about his plan on cap and trade,” “Let’s just be honest and call it a carbon tax that will increase taxes on all Americans who drive a car, who have a job, who turn on a light switch, pure and simple.”

  70. Climate Heretic (12:47:03) :

    While it is true that if the ice hits land the only option to increase mass is to grow thicker, that is no guarantee that it will happen. It’s going to depend on the temp above and below the ice, windspeed, under-ice ocean current speed, etc… You could theoretically get no/limited thickening even though you’ve reached the land mass edge, e.g. a large thin ice sheet. So, theoretically, once you reach that maximum thickness current conditions allow, no more ice volume growth, which is why at the high end, ice extent is a very poor proxy for measuring ice volume changes (the best measure of ice health?) On the other hand, at the low end, it will correlate much better. Thinner ice becomes open water more quickly under melt conditions as it cracks and breaks into chunks the melt accelerates due to more ice surface area exposed to air and water, the main heat transfer media. So minimum ice extent is a more reliable measure of “ice health” than maximum extent.

    Barring a massive program to put sonar measurement units at fixed locations along the arctic sea bottom, I don’t see how we will have an accurate ongoing measurement of ice thickness, however, a medium term trend (3-5 years) of minimum extent can probably give us a good idea/proxy on the direction of the trend in ice thickness. Using this logic, minimum trend has been bouncing up and down the last few years with a clear trend towards lower, which matches up with sonar measurements from submarines. This could all change with another year or two or three of consecutive rebound, after all nothing is final until it is.

    Cheers,

    L. Bowser

  71. Bobby Lane (10:45:48) : Either climate change, however one chooses to define it, is global in effect or it is not. It simply is not valid to argue ‘global warming’ is global in effect but sea ice is not. Which is it?

    Ouch! You cut right to the center of it, don’t you? Nicely done!

  72. SSSailor (10:58:04)

    Anthony
    As I view …
    ——————————————
    and reply from Anthony: I reported the very…

    I agree, same to me. From someone with some expirience with control systems,
    Anthony and SSSailor, you are right.

  73. Edward (10:56:11) : If there is a concern about preserving Polar Bears why not just stop hunting them?

    Perhaps because they are an apex predator that likes to hunt people? Unless, of course, you would like to eradicate all the people living in the arctic… Though your point is well taken.

    (There was a very spooky film on Nat. Geo IIRC showing a gaggle of polar bears trying to get to the cameraman inside a steel cage. You could just see them thinking “Nice Snack… how do I get it out of this darned box?”. You will never find me in Polar Bear Country without some serious protection. To do otherwise it to be called “lunch meat”.)

  74. Jack Green (12:35:40) :

    maksimovich: Nice paper. Did I read it correctly that a warmer northern hemisphere translates into an increased Biomass and corresponding decrease in CO2?

    Essentially yes.The “waxing and waning” of the interglacials and glaciials are associated with evolutionary acceleration and deacceleration across different Taxa. ie a biological arms race is a more colorful description.

    eg Olsen, P. E. 1993 The terrestrial plant and herbivore arms race: a major control of Phanerozoic atmospheric CO2? Geol. Soc. Am. (Abstract) 25, 71.

    The overall effect of life has been to cool our planet from long-term increase
    in solar radiation (the faint sun paradox)

    Schwartzmann, D. 1999 Life, temperature and the Earth.

    However all strategies must include trade offs ( a limiting quality)

    eg http://www.physorg.com/news155011574.html

  75. Is there numeric data available from NSIDC for plotting their daily graphs? I’m thinking along the lines of what IARC/JAXA has at http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/plot.csv I find the IARC/JAXA plot rather small. I prefer to take their data as a spreadsheet and plot a honking *BIG* graph that fills my 1920×1200 24 inch LCD monitor.

  76. E M SMith 13 35 32

    I think I have said this before, but I always treat the end of the LIA as being 1880 not 1850. You can see why on my Hadley CET graph.

    http://cadenzapress.co.uk/download/mencken_hobgoblin.xls

    Of major interest are the substantial periods of climate almost as warm as todays, back to 1660. That we are only fractionally anbove the temperatures experienced during the middle of the LIA should give the warmists food for thought as our recovery from that epoch is very weak indeed. However I would expect the very gentle recovery to continue. I guess most of this Chart is way outside the range of Gistemp (unfortunately)

    tonyb

  77. I admit that I read too many blogs and websites without a notepad in front of me (and maybe too many Mojitos floating in my brain), but I swear I saw somewhere that we have sea ice data going back to 1974. If so, why don’t we use all of the data?

  78. Waht’s happening with the ice in de Beaufort Sea and Chuckchi Sea? It seems like the ice concentration there is getting lower each day, and it is melting last days?
    Maybe ice will break there in the following days and open spaces will form?

    Or has this something to do with the satellite problems?

  79. Re: ice “volume”

    I never heard of this metric until last summer when the ice extent and area failed to fall below the 2007 minimum. The AGWers fell back to a position of “well, the ive volume level is still falling and that’s what matters.”

    Oh really? Then how come no one tracks it? Where’s the graph? Sea ice area is tracked. Sea ice extent is tracked. Where is this longterm plot of sea ice volume?? I really think that argument was simply made up last summer to salvage some sort of victory after the failure of the north pole ice to melt out.

    If I’m wrong, please point me to the long-term data showing sea-ice volume…

  80. By definition, multi-year ice is ice older than 1 year.

    From NERSC data, ice area on 11 September 2008 was 5.0 * 10^6 km2; ice area on 28 February 2009 was 13.0 * 10^6 km2. Multi-year in the Arctic therefore currently measures 5.0 *10^6 km2 – 38% of the current ice area as defined by NERSC

  81. geo (12:28:10) : I’ve noticed in those comparisons seems to be concentrated around the shore lines of various land masses.

    Has anyone considered whether some type of local developments might be having a marginal impact here?

    Or maybe all the intercoastal icebreakers ploughing back and forth to the inhabited / winter cruise area?

    I have no doubt that there is a human made reduction in persistent ice in the Arctic… due to ice breakers. The only question is how much.

  82. TonyB (12:48:41) : From my own research the period from around 1910 (the iceberg that sank the Titanic in 1912 was caused by unusual ice melt) through to the late thirties or perhaps later, was a time of very warm temperatures, limited ice extent and presumably limited thickness as well.

    Hmmm… Shipping has tracked iceberg number and range for a very long time. Any charts of iceberg trends (as a proxy for arctic ice) over the very long haul? Like back to 1700? IF so it would likely highlight the ‘cherry pick‘ that is cutting of any data series before 1880.

  83. While I respect Dr. Meier greatly, 30 years is not long term. We’re still discovering and trying to understand the relevant cycles involved in global weather, to come to any conclusions based on a split second in geological time is not smart.

  84. Bob Illis:

    Thanks! That’s exactly the data I was looking for. I also agree that the Center should have that up front as Dr. Meier keeps coming back to this as his primary argument.

    Assuming the data is valid, I can understand Meier’s statement now. However, given the data I don’t know if I would characterize the decline as a major problem. First of all, we don’t really know what the pre-1979 data looks like, so it’s hard to get a big picture. Second, doing an eye-ball averaging, it seems to me the last few years MAY show a bottoming out of the downward trend. I’ll have to wait and see if I’m right about that.

  85. “It will be less than 2007 1% (8 votes)”

    How many people work at NSIDC?
    Just wondering.

  86. My reading of the sea ice tea leaves is that wastage of arctic sea ice mass began or accelerated with the 1998 el nino and warming of the N Pacific surface water flowing in through Bering Straights. This has more to do with subduction rates of surface waters and SST. The cool PDO now in charge will reverse this trend – IMO.

    I’m a little suspicious about the space toys breaking down at this time – when government officials / minsters have been shunted off to Antarctica to observe the annual sea ice minimum.

    Snow forecast for Scotland tomorrow.

  87. This article contains several errors that need to be corrected:

    1. The graph clearly shows that arctic sea ice extent is well below the 1979 – 2000 average, yet the article states that it’s near the average.

    2. Antarctica is losing more than 100 gigatonnes of ice each year, measured by gravity satellites (GRACE), satellite altimeters and GPS measurements on the ground. In fact, one of the critical glaciers (Pine Island Glacier) has accelerated by 40% since the 1990s and is now not in balance, the loss will continue. Antarctica is currently losing enough ice to raise sea levels by 0.5 mm/year. Yet the article claims: “It was reported last week that the IPY (International Polar Year) released a study claiming that both polar ice caps are melting “faster than expected.” Given that NSIDC shows Antarctica gaining ice at a rapid pace, I find myself surprised that IPY would release a study saying exactly the opposite.” It appears that the author of this article doesn’t understand the difference between sea ice and land ice.

    3. The article also claims: “Dr. Hansen was correct that according to global warming theory, both poles should be losing ice – though we know now it theoretically should be happening more slowly in the Antarctic. Yet 20 years later we actually see the Antarctic gaining ice, which is contrary to Dr. Hansen’s theory, contrary to IPY claims” As explained above, Antarctica is losing ice. Greenland is also losing ice, at about the same rate:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/view.php?old=2008012326052

    “Antarctic Ice Loss Speeds Up, Nearly Matches Greenland Loss
    January 23, 2008

    Ice loss in Antarctica increased by 75 percent in the last 10 years due to a speed-up in the flow of its glaciers and is now nearly as great as that observed in Greenland, according to a new, comprehensive study by NASA and university scientists.

    In a first-of-its-kind study, an international team led by Eric Rignot of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and the University of California, Irvine, estimated changes in Antarctica’s ice mass between 1996 and 2006 and mapped patterns of ice loss on a glacier-by-glacier basis. They detected a sharp jump in Antarctica’s ice loss, from enough ice to raise global sea level by 0.3 millimeters (.01 inches) a year in 1996, to 0.5 millimeters (.02 inches) a year in 2006.

    Rignot said the losses, which were primarily concentrated in West Antarctica’s Pine Island Bay sector and the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, are caused by ongoing and past acceleration of glaciers into the sea. This is mostly a result of warmer ocean waters, which bathe the buttressing floating sections of glaciers, causing them to thin or collapse. “Changes in Antarctic glacier flow are having a significant, if not dominant, impact on the mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet,” he said.

    To infer the ice sheet’s mass, the team measured ice flowing out of Antarctica’s drainage basins over 85 percent of its coastline. They used 15 years of satellite radar data from the European Earth Remote Sensing-1 and -2, Canada’s Radarsat-1 and Japan’s Advanced Land Observing satellites to reveal the pattern of ice sheet motion toward the sea. These results were compared with estimates of snowfall accumulation in Antarctica’s interior derived from a regional atmospheric climate model spanning the past quarter century.

    The team found that the net loss of ice mass from Antarctica increased from 112 (plus or minus 91) gigatonnes a year in 1996 to 196 (plus or minus 92) gigatonnes a year in 2006. A gigatonne is one billion metric tons, or more than 2.2 trillion pounds. These new results are about 20 percent higher over a comparable time frame than those of a NASA study of Antarctic mass balance last March that used data from the NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment. This is within the margin of error for both techniques, each of which has its strengths and limitations.

    Rignot says the increased contribution of Antarctica to global sea level rise indicated by the study warrants closer monitoring.

    “Our new results emphasize the vital importance of continuing to monitor Antarctica using a variety of remote sensing techniques to determine how this trend will continue and, in particular, of conducting more frequent and systematic surveys of changes in glacier flow using satellite radar interferometry,” Rignot said. “Large uncertainties remain in predicting Antarctica’s future contribution to sea level rise. Ice sheets are responding faster to climate warming than anticipated.”

    Rignot said scientists are now observing these climate-driven changes over a significant fraction of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and the extent of the glacier ice losses is expected to keep rising in the years to come. “Even in East Antarctica, where we find ice mass to be in near balance, ice loss is detected in its potentially unstable marine sectors, warranting closer study,” he said.”

  88. @TonyB (15:38:24) :

    “This study refers to ice thickness since 1953. In essence it says that the ice was unusually thick in the run up to the first satellite records in 1979. Not surprising as it covered a long cool period. ”

    http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0485/9/3/pdf/i1520-0485-9-3-580.pdf

    very intersting.
    however data from cryosphere is completely different. why ?

    e.g. cryosphere has a decline in this period (what appears strange during this globalcooling period) and also completely different minimum values

  89. Dr Meier,

    1. Where is the data on ice thickness over time in the Arctic ?

    2. You imply that there is no correlation between sea ice extent and ice thickness. That’s counterintuitive. What is your reference ?

  90. I was at the Capitol Hill powerplant demonstration today, one of 20 or so counter demonstrators. There were perhaps 700 anti coal demonstrators who had pleanty of signs, were chanting, wearing green hardhats and were marching along peacefully around the plants perimeter. Some of their signs were pretty creative and also humourous, one had a large windmill attached with the words free energy. Hey, who isnt for free energy! Lots of press, and the counter demonstrators had many opportunities to talk to the press and have their photos taken. It was quite cold and snowy, and I did see James Hansen though perhaps he was there.

  91. Ken Feldman,

    Please tell me exactly where you think the missing ice is in the Arctic?

    You say that Antarctic melt now matches Greenland. Good thing Greenland isn’t melting.

    Greenland’s Ice Armageddon on Hold

    Richard Kerr of Science magazine reports on a presentation at the recent fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in a News Focus article entitled: ‘Galloping Glaciers of Greenland Have Reined Themselves In’

    Ice loss in Greenland has had some climatologists speculating that global warming might have brought on a scary new regime of wildly heightened ice loss and an ever-faster rise in sea level. But glaciologists reported at the American Geophysical Union meeting that Greenland ice’s Armageddon has come to an end.

    http://climateresearchnews.com/2009/01/greenlands-ice-armageddon-on-hold/

  92. Something seems a bit strange about this discussion. It is as if thinning Arctic ice or lesser extent of the ice is a bad thing. Yes, humans, animals, plants all would have to adjust — just like they always have adjusted in the past during climate change. Today we have ways to assist in that adjustment.

    The bottom line is that warmer is better, healthier, and provides more living space on this earth. We sceptics can seem a bit defensive in responses to Dr. Meier’s conclusions that the ice is thinning (less multidecadal ice) or that there can be greater melting (fragility?) of one-year ice. Bring it on. This would be a good thing and it has happened before in the 1930s and 1940s and before that. Dr. Meier simply has not included an expectation of natual cycles in his projections — and I think he should. Thirty years does tell us anything important about climate changes.

    Given the warm PDO and the warm AMO at the same time with Pacific warm water flowing through the Bering Straits and Atlantic warm water coursing through the Barents Sea (and under the ice to the Arctic coast off Siberia), if the Arctic ice is not thinner, then ice is not acting like ice. But the climate regime appears to have changed, at least the PDO. Will there be more cooling? Only time will tell.

    I thank Dr. Meier for helping us understand the purposes and methods of the NSIDC and for generously giving of his time to WUWT. I hope he can include the natural cycles (and therefore expected changes) in the agencies reporting in the future. And we can keep CO2 in mind — but not cap-and-trade.

  93. Lake Superior is completely frozen over as of today. Anyone here know when this last occurred? Maybe 2003? Just another by-product of our coal fired power plants, I’m sure.

  94. Looking at the current graph of the last few days the steep increase in Arctic ice area must look suspicious to a true skeptics, is the instrument faulty? is it now reading too high? is anyone at WUWT looking into it?

  95. Manfred

    Just a guess, but the chart you posted showed Nortrhern Hemisphere ice. Mine was of the Arctic. Presumably ice extends out of the Arctic, particularly in winter, so this would be picked up as NH data.

    Tonyb

  96. @TonyB
    and these are 3 month averages…


    however, cryosphere looks pretty much like a fabrication out of the hockey stick laboratory. no increase when the global temperatures decreased till approx. 1980, almost no variation until approx. 1950 in contrast to reportrted history.

  97. As an environmental scientist (landscape and salinity issues) and a keen observer of sustainability in particular climate change, where I must admit I have received government greenhouse mitigation funding for a research project. Despite the funding which furthered my salinity project and as a byproduct provided carbon sequestration benefits (although the sequestration was the main priority to receive the funding) I have always been sceptical of pro-warmist claims and selective use of data, however I am now starting to wonder whether my scepticism has lead me to selectively seek out information to support my beliefs. The information I read on this blog and many others seems overwhelming in refuting global warming or as it is now called climate change.

    Why are we not getting more coverage in the MSM or why are not more recognised scientists debunking the myth.

    I think that mankind has always tried to conquer nature and it is awfully big-headed of us as a species to think that we have had any impact on the climate and secondly that we can control it.

  98. The reason why the maximum extent doesn’t get as much as attention is because it doesn’t deserve as much. The maximum is not expected to decline like the minimum and does not have the impacts on climate, people, and wildlife like summer sea ice.

    Why does this remind me of media trumpeting any hot spot on the globe, like for instance a Southern Australia hotspot, and the media stiff arm treatment to record cold in the US, Canada, Scandinavia, China, Iraq, India, Vietnam, Russia, Israel, Saudia Arabia, ect. ?

  99. re. Ken Feldman

    Sea ice in the Antarctic reached a record high extent in
    October 2007. The average winter temperature in the interior, by the way, is -60C, and in summer a balmy -17C. Not much reason to believe your data about melting land ice.

    Paleoclimate studies from the Law Dome ice core and Ace Lake (Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre) have shown that the summer climate from these locations has been remarkably constant over the last 700 years.

    Globally, sea-ice extent shows little trend in 30 years.

    Over the same period land ice in Antarctica (90% of the world’s total) and in Greenland (5%) has been
    accumulating (Doran et al., 2002; Johannesen et al., 2005)

  100. Walt Meier,

    Looking over the comments can you see how blogger-review is stricter than peer-review? No one gets any breaks from bloggers–no one. There is no inside track to publication. There is no favoritism.

    This is good. This is as it should be.

  101. “jeez (17:30:03) :

    I’m not sure stricter is the correct word.”

    What is a better word?

  102. This is a repost: Dr. Meier, many have found the NSIDC explanation for not using the 30 years average record normally accepted in the climatology field, quite unconvincing at best. Considering government agencies computational means, how come the NSIDC is unwilling to do change its average from 1979-2000 to 1979-2008 and recalibrate the database? It is obvious that the 1979-2000 average maintains artificially a higher average than would the accepted 30 years baseline, although as one figure pointed out on the NSIDC site by not much. Still this goes to methodoly: what makes the NSIDC decide arctic sea ice measurements should compare to a 21 year average? What’s next? Another field will prefer 15 y average perhaps? Sure it doesn’t reverse the trend but it enhances it and perhaps one day it may mask the trend’s reversal.
    Thank you for your answer.

  103. @PeterT (16:36:14) :

    is it now reading too high? is anyone at WUWT looking into it?

    Did you read the entire article? Mr. Goddard pointed out that the new sensor is producing faulty data.

  104. TonyB (15:38:24) :

    Thank you for posting a link to the paper “An Analysis of Arctic Sea Ice Fluctuations 1953-1977 (http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0485/9/3/pdf/i1520-0485-9-3-580.pdf)

    But the paper says that their data sources are listed in Table 1. Unfortunately Table 1 is not included in the paper, so evaluating their data is not possible. It seems like climate scientists have had problems revealing their data ever since 1978!

    Just want truth… (17:34:07) : I think the phrase you are looking for is “more rigorous” instead of stricter.

  105. >If there is a dramatic downwards trend in maximum Arctic extent, it certainly isn’t visible in either the map or the graph.

    It seems you do not bother to read posts or chose to ignore them and recycle the same silly strawmen. Maximum sea ice extent is constrained by geography and is not anticipated to change much in the early stages of global warming. What matters is the minimum extent which is going down and fast.

  106. Awhile ago, I had downloaded the NH sea ice extent data back to 1972.

    I’ve put this into the (recently rediscovered) monthly NH sea ice extent data and it seems to match right up.

    So here is the monthly NH sea ice extent back to 1972.

    Here is the anomaly by month compared to the average over the period.

    An arctic sea ice researcher Martin W. Miles and, one of the weatherchannel and icecap founders, Joe D’Aleo have proposed that the Arctic sea ice is governed by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) so I have charted this up versus the NH sea ice anomaly. I have to say, the relationship is certainly suggestive. The AMO has recently gone negative again for the first time since, well, 1994 in terms of the actual trend.

    [Steve McIntyre actually produced the NH sea ice extent anomaly chart to 1978 a few years ago and still to this day, the NSIDC won’t provide it. It only took me a few hours to put this together and they apparently have dozens of dedicated sea ice researchers. Why wouldn’t they use the daily data which goes back to 1972? Any discontinuity between the 1972-on and the 1978-on data is too small to notice in my opinion, maybe 0.1M or 0.2M km^2. ]

  107. DJ writes:
    “Maximum sea ice extent is constrained by geography”
    Please clarify because it makes very little sense as is.

  108. “You say that Antarctic melt now matches Greenland. Good thing Greenland isn’t melting”

    Steve,

    You need to look at actual data, not just repeat some misinterpreted quotes from suspect sources. Greenland is still melting away.

    “Isolating the PGR signal in the GRACE data: impact on mass balance estimates in Antarctica and Greenland
    Authors: Barletta, V. R.1; Sabadini, R.1; Bordoni, A.2

    Source: Geophysical Journal International, Volume 172, Number 1, January 2008 , pp. 18-30(13)
    Abstract:

    SUMMARY

    Redistribution of mass over the Earth and within the mantle changes the gravity field whose variations are monitored at high spatial resolution by the presently flying GRACE space gravity mission from NASA or, at longer wavelengths, by the Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) constellation. In principle, GRACE data allow one to study the time evolution of various Earth phenomena through their gravitational effects. The correct identification of the gravitational spatial and temporal fingerprints of the individual hydrologic, atmospheric, oceanographic and solid Earth phenomena is thus extremely important, but also not trivial. In particular, it has been widely recognized that the gravitational estimates of present-day ice mass loss in Greenland and Antarctica, and the related effect on sea level changes, depend on an accurate determination of the Postglacial Rebound (PGR) after Pleistocene deglaciation, which in turn depends on the assumed solid Earth parameters and deglaciation model. Here we investigate the effect of the uncertainty of the solid Earth parameters (viscosity, litospheric thickness) and of different deglaciation processes on PGR in Greenland and Antarctica. We find that realistic constraints to the trend in ice mass loss derived from GRACE data determine a range of variation substantially wider than commonly stated, ranging from an important ice loss of −209 Gt yr−1 to an accumulation of +88 Gt yr−1 in Antarctica, and Greenland ablation at a rate between −122 and −50 Gt yr−1. However, if we adopt the set of most probable Earth parameters, we infer a substantial mass loss in both regions, −171 ± 39 and −101 ± 22 Gt yr−1 for Antarctica and Greenland, respectively. “

  109. Walt Meier is no doubt a well intentioned scientist, and he is of course more than welcome to post his views and responses here.

    However, I think that he might find a downside in coming here, and then just sort of ‘giving up’ responding to the many sincere and serious questions raised by interested persons here. If he does that, he will appear to have conceded the game, yielding the argument to the questioners, and further accelerating the loss of credibility of climate scientists.

    It is looking to me that Walt will, if not careful, join the merry band of climate scientists – James Hansen, Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, and now it appears Eric Steig (see CA for comprehensive detail on the latter 3) – and their political colleague Al Gore – who are keen to make emotive pronouncements by press-release, but then refuse to engage in discussion on the substance. Unfortunately for them, it is not a good look if they make these press-releases, but then cannot substantiate their statements when the data finally is published – if it is. The Hockey Stick, Mann 08, Steig 09 are good examples.

    No wonder the climate scientists are losing credibility. Sorry to say this Dr Meier. You seem to be a good bloke. However, I seriously suggest that you and your colleagues engage some independent PR advice on how to handle this dialogue.

  110. Ken Feldman,

    Perhaps you should look a little deeper before firing off. The quote was straight out of the AGU publication.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/323/5913/458a

    FALL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION:
    Galloping Glaciers of Greenland Have Reined Themselves In
    Richard A. Kerr

    Ice loss in Greenland has had some climatologists speculating that global warming might have brought on a scary new regime of wildly heightened ice loss and an ever-faster rise in sea level. But glaciologists reported at the American Geophysical Union meeting that Greenland ice’s Armageddon has come to an end.

    You realize of course that a gigaton of ice is not very much on a continent the size of Antarctica. One meter thickness of ice on 1km2 is a megaton. A gigaton would only be 1000km2 (30kmx30km.) It sounds very scary, but is less than the measurement error.

  111. To: Ken Feldman (18:26:38) :

    Please explain exactly how a 1/2 of one degree change in average temperature has “melted” that 100 G Tons of ice (+/- 100 G ton) your paper reference claims.

    When the radar images show ice depths over most of both Antarctica and Greenland show depths increasing. And when ocean levels are NOT rising as AGW theory requires. (I grant the 3 mm/year change discovered so far.)

  112. So what you are saying is that the ocean temperature correlates well with ice melt. Let me wrap my brain around this. Let’s see. Water heats up……..ice melts. Water cools down……ice melt not so much. Are you kidding????? These two things are related???? Whoda guessed.

  113. If the Arctic and the Antarctic are “unique and separated environments that
    respond differently”, then is there any climate change that can be accurately labeled as “global”

    Or is all climate change, like politics, local?

    If that is the case, then can the words “global warming” or “global climate change” have any meaning?

    My role here is just to ask stupid questions.

  114. To: Antonio San (18:18:42) :

    DJ writes:
    “Maximum sea ice extent is constrained by geography”
    Please clarify because it makes very little sense as is.

    The Arctic Sea is bounded by land (Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Siberia primarily) so that only a few channels are entrances and exits. (This has made submarine work in the Arctic more difficult as well: you only have to look at a couple of places to find out if a sub has gone by.) So, when the Arctic freezes over each winter, it pretty much freezes over the entire available surface area. Then the water just freezes “deeper” (thicker) since the ice coverage can’t go “wider”.

    Variants then from year to year changes more in the summer – when wider (or narrower) areas can melt.

  115. Does anyone know if the suspect satellite data are used to compute the “Reynolds” analysis product used by GIStemp (that some folks like to call “satellite data”.) ?

    In chasing down an issue that popped up under the Japanese Scientists thread, I ran into the fact that the Reynolds data are partly produced from simulations based on ice extent…

    I’m going to reproduce that posting here, since it seems germaine to this thread, especially in the context of “which ice data” it uses:

    As an addendum to earlier response, here a bit more detail on the “satellite” component of the GISS stew. First, notice that this all talks about SST for Sea Surface Temperature. It’s not about satellite data coverage for land. From:

    http://www.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/research/cmb/sst_analysis/

    Analysis Description and Recent Reanalysis

    The optimum interpolation (OI) sea surface temperature (SST) analysis is produced weekly on a one-degree grid. The analysis uses in situ and satellite SSTs plus SSTs simulated by sea ice cover.

    So here are your first clues. It’s an “analysis” not a reporting of satellite data. It uses “in situ”, that is surface reports from ships, buoys, etc.; along with satellite Sea Surface Temperatures and, my favorite, SSTs simulated by sea ice cover. Given the recent “issues” with sea ice reporting it kinda makes you wonder…

    So, ok, a stew of ships, buoys, whatever, a dash of satellite data, and some simulations (based on a broken ice cover satellite?) are used to create this analysis product (that some folks want to call “satellite data”…)

    Before the analysis is computed, the satellite data is adjusted for biases using the method of Reynolds (1988) and Reynolds and Marsico (1993). A description of the OI analysis can be found in Reynolds and Smith (1994). The bias correction improves the large scale accuracy of the OI.

    Oh, and the satellite data are adjusted based on an optimal interpolation method. We’re getting even further away from “data” and into the land of processed data food product…

    In November 2001, the OI fields were recomputed for late 1981 onward. The new version will be referred to as OI.v2.
    The most significant change for the OI.v2 is the improved simulation of SST obs from sea ice data following a technique developed at the UK Met Office. This change has reduced biases in the OI SST at higher latitudes. Also, the update and extension of COADS has provided us with improved ship data coverage through 1997, reducing the residual satellite biases in otherwise data sparse regions. For more details, see Reynolds, et al (2002).

    And they have had a change of method lately with “improved simulation”. Frankly, I’m not real fond of having my data be a simulation… especially when based on the sea ice data that are, er, questionable. Even if they do say they think it may have reduced the “biases in” the optimal interpolation at higher latitudes (which I presume means in the arctic where the ice was, er is, er, ought to be…)

    But these “data” are just fine for calling “satellite data”… at least as long as you don’t mind your data simulated, interpolated, averaged, homogenized, etc. etc. etc. Me? I like my data to be from instruments, natural, whole, and minimally processed. Certainly not synthetic, er, simulated…

  116. To: DJ (18:01:20) :

    >If there is a dramatic downwards trend in maximum Arctic extent, it certainly isn’t visible in either the map or the graph.

    … What matters is the minimum extent which is going down and fast.

    —-

    Er, uhm, ahm. No. You are wrong.

    Summer 2007 sea ice extent was low. If Hansen’s extremist religion (er, AGW predictions) were correct about sea ice and reflectivity of radiation, we should not have ever been able to recover – since “everybody knows” global warming is getting worse and “everybody knows” that 2000-2009 is the “hottest ten years ever.”

    But 2008 rebounded right smartly. And now 2009 and 2008 are two of the three highest areas ever recorded for sea ice at this time of year: February and early March.

    What will happen this summer?

    I can’t tell. But I do predict that Hansen will be wrong. Again.
    (Because he has never been right.)

  117. Ken Feldman (18:26:38) : We find that realistic constraints to the trend in ice mass loss derived from GRACE data determine a range of variation substantially wider than commonly stated, ranging from an important ice loss of −209 Gt yr−1 to an accumulation of +88 Gt yr−1 in Antarctica, and Greenland ablation at a rate between −122 and −50 Gt yr−1. However, if we adopt the set of most probable Earth parameters, we infer a substantial mass loss in both regions, −171 ± 39 and −101 ± 22 Gt yr−1 for Antarctica and Greenland, respectively. “

    Their instrument shows somewhere between -209 and + 88 Gt/yr of ice loss/accumulation in Antarctica. But when they adjust the data with their “best guess” (which they call “most probable”) they get −171 ± 39 Gt/yr of ice loss in Antarctica. This is three times the simple average of the data.

    Sorry, but this level in uncertainty in the raw data does not make for a compelling argument.

  118. ” Rocket Man (17:58:05) : I think the phrase you are looking for is “more rigorous” instead of stricter.”

    You’re right, that is more perfect. But I usually have the layman in mind when I am making comments. So I use a more common vocabulary.

    “Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.”
    ~Einstein (at least it’s attributed to him)

  119. Just want truth… (17:29:00) :
    ===========================
    Looking over the comments can you see how
    blogger-review is stricter than peer-review?
    ===========================

    “more thorough” might be convey the situation better. This reminds me of two sayings. One is from Open Source programming (Eric Raymond?)… “With many eyes, all bugs are shallow”. And there was an old Russian proverb that Ronald Reagan latched onto during nuclear arms reduction talks… “Trust; but verify”.

  120. I can understand that for consistency sake, that NSIDC might wish to maintain the current baseline average from 1979, but I would think it would simple to add a couple lines of code to simultaneously also compute the standard 30 year meteorological average of available data (for consistency with other meteorological system data), and also to compute a long term average since satellite data began (for future use, as it grows to 50-100 year length).

    If the long term average matches up well with both the 1979-2000 data, and the standard meteorological 30 year average, than we lose nothing and it would strengthen the value of the shorter terms and diminish the significance of long period cyclical variation. A 30 year running average might also be useful for comparison.

    If on the other hand, the long running average at 40, 50 , 60 durations departs significantly from the standard 30 year average, then that would tell us we have a long period cycle to account for and the shorter averages would be of much less significance.

    It was useful to standardize on a fixed interval of 30 years in days gone by when much of this sort of data was processed on relatively slow computers or even manually, but with today’s computer resources, processing a couple more equations in a spread sheet/data base is essentially zero effort once the code is added. It would help defuse some of the questions in the climate community, and watching those other averages and comparing their behavior to the current methods would provide some interesting validity tests to our current data and assumptions regarding arctic climate stability.

    Larry

  121. So what melts sea ice more? Air or water. Ice thickness can be reduced by currents while at the same time cooling the sea water. Sea ice thickness is not the marker some think it is. Sea ice does not form the way fresh water ice does.
    When looking at sea ice area I Keep asking what is happening where the sea water is open to the air? We seem to forget that Sea ice insulates the water below it slowing down it’s winter cooling while open sea water radiates 10 – 100 times the energy that sea ice does in the winter. 85% sea ice still gives 15% of open water.
    When we talk about sea ice lets think about the amount of sea ice that melts and refreezes every year and what effect it has on the cooling of the worlds oceans.

  122. Regarding 30, 40, or 50, etc. year ice and Arctic current cycles, I think there are several cycles that periodically coincide in the Arctic. Sometimes they coincide perfectly and wipe the windshield together for several swipes. But that perfect coincidence happens only every other cycle, or every third, or forth, etc. If different cycles only occasionally work together to create the perfect ice storm (or the reverse, the perfect meltdown), there will be times when we might think we are heading for warming, or cooling, but it doesn’t quite happen. We are not in perfect sync. Some people call that weather. When the trend becomes steeper (in either direction) and we enter the perfect storm, we suddenly change our thinking and say that this is something different, it is climate change. I think this creates in us ideas (because we whites have not kept oral records that go back many, many generations, and scientists still poopoo oral records and ship logs anyway) that WE are causing global [fill in the blank].

    But here is the bottom line. The Earth tilts away from the Sun up there (and down under), resulting in witch-teat cold conditions. Ice will form. It will continue to form every time the area tilts away from the Sun. The ocean temperature may work against those cold temperatures and limit ice creation, or make it grow even more. But the continents can move, and ocean temperature vary, yet we will still see ice cold poles. The CLIMATE of frozen poles will not change as long as the periodic tilt remains. But weather patterns will change. Oceans have very large affects on weather pattern variations. I think we are seeing a natural oceanic sourced weather pattern variation in the Arctic CLIMATE that has nothing whatsoever to do with AGW caused by human emitted CO2. Especially since CO2 just doesn’t like it up there or down under in the cold latitude circles we refer to as the poles. Besides, when the Sun is just glancing off the pole surface anyway, CO2 will not make a tinkers damn bit of difference in how much heat is reflected away or kept in the atmosphere.

    So Mr. Meiers, please help us understand your stance (that I admittedly see reading between the lines) that CO2 is causing ice caps to melt.

  123. Robert E Cook,

    Maximum Arctic extent has increased substantially over the last three years. Given the geographical constraints near the pole, the implication sis that there has been colder winter weather at lower latitudes in recent years, and that sea surface temperatures have declined.

  124. Just Want the Truth says:

    Walt Meier,

    Looking over the comments can you see how blogger-review is stricter than peer-review? No one gets any breaks from bloggers–no one. There is no inside track to publication. There is no favoritism.

    Don’t kid yourself. For example, about a year ago, Roy Spencer wrote a piece on this blog with a very blatant error ( http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/a-bag-of-hammers/ ) and, not only was it not caught here, but, as of a week or so ago, people have continued to bring up his piece as if it was actually correct…and I imagine will continue to do so.

    I’m not saying that the blogosphere can’t be useful in some regards. Certainly, it has been good in finding some data errors like NASA GISS’s Y2K bug or the error in the October 2008 data or the problem with that one automated data site in Antarctica.

    However, there are also some dramatic downsides, one being that very little ever gets decided because a lot of folks don’t have the necessary background to agree on basic points of science. (As an example, so many here don’t even seem to accept the basic forcing of CO2 or the anthropogenic nature of the CO2 rise…which puts them so far outside of the scientific mainstream.) And another being that the “skepticism” displayed tends to run primarily in one direction (as the issue with Roy Spencer’s post illustrates).

  125. Joel Shore,

    Dr. Hansen says that we “only have four years to save the planet.” Is that within the “scientific mainstream?”

  126. If you are rowing in a ship towards a known destination using a known map, and one person is feverishly rowing in the opposite direction, the prudent captain ascertains the reason for the rower’s insistence on going another way. In a world of group-think habits, the single dissenting opinion often is closer to the truth than the consensus.

  127. Joel Shore (19:34:54)

    “And another being that the “skepticism” displayed tends to run primarily in one direction.”

    Err….. Had you noticed Joel that nearly all of the ‘corrections’ and ‘adjustments’ to the temperature record by James Hansen and Phil Jones all “tend to run primarily in one direction”. And do you think, given his recent statements, that James Hansen is a dispassionate, objective, scientist?

    Really??

    And also you comment: “As an example, so many here don’t even seem to accept the basic forcing of CO2 or the anthropogenic nature of the CO2 rise…which puts them so far outside of the scientific mainstream. ”

    Actually, I have never seen a serious skeptic doubt the “basic forcing of CO2” which so far as I can see is generally regarded to be between 0.6 deg C and 1 deg C for a doubling of CO2 in atmosphere. Where the issue of contention lies is in feedback loops. James Hansen asserts that the feedbacks are “tipping point” positive, likely to result in a 3 Deg C increase in Global Mean Temperature for a doubling of CO2, whereas others argue that the feedbacks are essentially neutral or even negative, which would mean a 1 deg C or less increase in GMT for a doubling of CO2.

  128. To: E M Smith (and TonyB)

    http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic38-2-121.pdf

    Hope this helps ..

    Gee. (Robt makes a quick, very biased) check to see if there is a 25- 35 (average of 30) year pattern of ice extent in the Hudson Bay records….

    Nah. Ice is steady every year before CO2 induced global warming became popular funding source in the 1980’s and 1990’s …

    (Robt must ignore peaks in sea ice extent at 1760 – 1785 – 1816 – 1838 – 1860 ….)

  129. Joel Shore,

    Dr. Hansen says that we “only have four years to save the planet.” Is that within the “scientific mainstream?”

    What Hansen said is being widely misinterpreted and, at any rate, involves much more than purely scientific questions. For one thing, what he was talking about is getting started on a task where there is a huge amount of societal inertia in addition to the inertia in the climate system. So, there are all sorts of political and economic questions involved about how fast we will be willing to reduce our emissions and so forth that are coming into play.

    As a second point, the “save the planet” part is a vague statement that encompasses what he sees as points where things change enough that the planet is no longer in his view very much like the one that we have grown accustomed to, which again involves a lot of value judgements that can certainly be informed by science but are ultimately not entirely scientific in nature.

    Steve, since you wrote that primer on the greenhouse effect, let me ask you: Do you think it is helpful (even to the “skeptic cause”) that there are so many people around who do not accept the basic settled science regarding the anthropogenic nature of the CO2 rise and the basic physics of the greenhouse effect? Couldn’t these people be investing their energy more wisely if they were asking about legitimate scientific issues such as cloud feedbacks instead?

    (To be honest, in my more cynical moments, I am tempted to tell people here that I think it is great that they are questioning all of these things and if they communicate with scientists or policymakers on this issue, I think they should put these things in the forefront of their communications so that those people can quickly ascertain how seriously to take their opinions. However, in a less cynical sense, I really do think it would be better if people spent their time on somewhat more legitimately-uncertain and interesting scientific questions.)

  130. @Joel Shore (19:34:54) :

    I would not regard taminos blog as helpful in discussing science.
    If his own “findings” contain errors, you would not be able to correct them, as this type of comment is generally deleted.

  131. Ken Fieldman: estimates of snowfall accumulation in Antarctica’s interior derived from a regional atmospheric climate model spanning the past quarter century.

    OK, we have estimates and models again. You had me going up to that line. So now I have to ask: Is the “ice loss” number the gross falling off the end of the glaciers or the net of: that minus the gain in the interior? “Loss” by itself is ambiguous and if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that ambiguity will be exploited.

    So: Is there more, or less, TOTAL REAL ICE in ALL of Antarctica NOW than in the last few years? That’s NET of everything.

    Sheesh, this climate data stuff is like trying to audit a lawyer…

  132. Robert Cook I really appreciate your candid answer… to my not so candid question. My point was that for the same latitude there is still plenty of ocean space to be frozen should temperatures decide to dip seriously: along the Northern Europe’s coast toward Norway, surrounding Iceland from the eastern coast of Greenland… but one limitation to sea ice extension growth has also to do with warm air advection paths as pointed out by Marcel Leroux and Alexis Pommier.

  133. Joel Shore,
    Has Tamino ever been wrong? Can you name one time? What makes you sure he is right this time?

    Also, how many do cloud feedback research? Andrew Dessler doesn’t mention it one time in his paper, yet his paper is allowed to pass “peer review” with the statement:
    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/Dessler2008b.pdf
    “The existence of a strong and positive water-vapor feedback means that projected business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions over the next century are virtually guaranteed to produce warming of several degrees Celsius. The only way that will not happen is if a strong, negative, and currently unknown feedback is discovered somewhere in our climate system.”

    Business-as-usual (where have we heard that before)? Virtually guaranteed? He doesn’t even address cloud feedback and yet makes such unsupported statements of authority? He didn’t even perform one significant test. How did it get published in a journal with such drivel?

  134. Joel,

    As I said in that article, there is a huge amount of misinformation on both sides. However, the misinformation from the AGW camp is far more disturbing, because they are completely in control of the US and UK governments, as well as nearly every press outlet in the world. Having said that, people who don’t believe in the greenhouse effect, damage the ability of skeptical scientists to get their point across.

    Obama is now tying his diminished tax cut to cap and trade. Did he say that during the campaign? I don’t remember it from the debates. At the time of the debates he was still pretending to be someone who cared about the middle class.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/323/5913/458a

  135. Stephen Goddard,
    Something that appears to be missing is any reference to AMSRE.visual.png – diagrams.
    I have been downloading Polar View for the Arctic and Antarctic since 22/12/2008 (our Summer soltice) from the University of Bremen, to view, and every 3 – 4 days, printing them out. Very informative, as you can see the changes in cover, density and even see the effects of the Gulf Stream as it flows around the British Isles and on toward Scandinavia.

    In Antarctica, the summer melt was obvious in Dec ’08, but since mid Feb ’09 signs of the sea ice cover returning is shown in the Weddell Sea and today (your 02/3/09) the gap in the Weddell Sea is now closed.

    Sir Ernest Shackleton’s “Endurance” Expedition’s loss of the ship Endurance Jan 18 1915, were the ship was trapped and crushed occurred in the Weddell Sea.
    See the map and record here:
    http://main.wgbh.org/imax/shackleton/sirernest-three.html

    AMSRE has the facility to down load the previous 10 year animations of the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice cover, which as it plays can be stopped, stepped forward or back to see changes in cover.

  136. “The existence of a strong and positive water-vapor feedback”

    If there is a positive water vapor feedback, why hasn’t it kicked in at some point in the last 3 billion years and turned the earth into a low rent Venus, and once that happened why would it ever cool off?

    Like I said, my role here is to ask the stupid questions.

  137. OT, but I took a look at the ozone map again today. Same pattern of very high ozone at the N. pole while we get cold and wet down here (with low ozone over the tropics) and low ozone over the S. pole. Same “two eyes” that looks like an ETF hitting the N. Pole with a charge of particles (speculation, yes, rampant…)

    For something that is supposed to be UV created, it sure doesn’t seem to be following the sunshine to the South Pole… so WUWT?

  138. I read somewhere a long time ago that an ice free Arctic ocean was the only likely source for all the water necessary to build the massive ice shields of the Big Ice Ages.

  139. Just want truth… (17:34:07) :
    “jeez (17:30:03) :

    I’m not sure stricter is the correct word.”

    What is a better word?

    If you want something more pleasing to modern ears, you could use “more strict” yet:

    OED, page 1120:

    “1597 Hooker Excel. Pol. v. lviii 2. Definition, whether they be framed larger to augment, or stricter to abridge the number of sacraments, ”

    And several others…

    So “stricter” is a legitimate use, even if it sounds more English than American…

  140. OH MY GOD!! Whoever would think one word could get so much attention from so many bloggers!.

    But thanks for the “more strict”. I will be stricter on myself in the future.

    The blogger-review process still works. Look out Dan Rathers of the world! You too James, Michael, Naomi, and Al!

    Do I get the word published now? Which journal will it be in? ;)

  141. Fat Man (18:59:34) : If that is the case, then can the words “global warming” or “global climate change” have any meaning?

    My role here is just to ask stupid questions.

    That actually is a very insightful question. There “are issues” with the concept of “global warming”. Can it be “fixed” if Antarctica gets 10C colder but nothing else changes? Can it get worse if the Antarctic MINIMUMS get 10C warmer (from -50C or so to -40C ) but nothing else changes?

    Well, that’s what the concept of “global” average temperature says. (Though the exact digits I used are fabrications, the concept is correct).

    If we do want to use the “global temperature”, who sets it? How? What if I want warmer? How will the temperature be adjusted? When? Using what thermometer?

    I once had two employees sitting 2 cubes away from each other. They both complained: One too hot, the other too cold. Each demanded that I change the AC setting. I finally hung a recording thermometer (min / max) on the cube between them. It showed 72 +/- 1 F for days on end and the complaints stopped… Now we’re going to do the same thing on a global level, with broken thermometers? Riiiight…

    BTW, since the thermometer readings are just averaged, you could “fix” global warming by putting a few extra thermometers in key cool places and do nothing else … The anomaly calculations are based on an 8000 cell map of the world. That’s about 250 km on a side if you use the whole globe. So just look 250 km in all directions. See any high spots or other cool places? If so, go put a thermometer on top. That will recored more cold and presto that box will be cooler. Do that enough and we can fix global warming for a few thousand bucks a station. Call it a couple of million, tops!

    But wait, there’s more. Since GIStemp uses up to 1200 km for adjusting anomalies, you can go find a snow covered mountain top several hundred miles away and still have anomaly boxes drop their temps far removed from the mountain in all directions.

    Think that’s absurd? Yup. But no more absurd than how we came up with the “global warming” number in the first place…

    Anyone want to start funding AWS installations on mountain tops? I’ll manage the team that does the installations…

  142. ” DR (20:26:59) : “…a strong, negative, and currently unknown feedback is discovered somewhere in our climate system.”

    Discovered, Lindzens’s Iris, like you said DR, clouds :

    Why the IPCC models are wrong – Part 1

    Why The IPCC models are wrong pt 2

    “Andrew Dessler doesn’t mention it one time in his paper, yet his paper is allowed to pass “peer review” with the statement: “The only way that will not happen is if a strong, negative, and currently unknown feedback is discovered somewhere in our climate system.””

    It gets past peer-review but not us.

  143. >Sounds like you are voting for less ice this summer than 2007.

    Steve there is about a 50% chance that this year will have more than last year. You can calculate the conditional probability very simply looking at the first differences.

    What would it prove if this year has less ice than last year when the massive step down in 2007 was not sufficient to sway opinion here?

  144. Fat Man (20:46:49) :

    ““The existence of a strong and positive water-vapor feedback”

    If there is a positive water vapor feedback, why hasn’t it kicked in at some point in the last 3 billion years and turned the earth into a low rent Venus, and once that happened why would it ever cool off?”

    I am having trouble with that question as well. Good luck.

  145. At what point will NSIDC start to revise their ‘corporate beliefs’, how far does the polar ice sea ice levels have to increase both in summer and winter before the NSIDC will review their commitment to the idea of drastic melting and warming at the poles?
    I wonder if the good Dr Meier will tell us what the ideal sea ice levels are both for winter and summer, I note that this information was lacking in his post but its essential for a greater understanding of the issues.
    The question is simple and yet will have far reaching consequences I think, when(if) these parameters are reached does this mean that the global warming theory is wrong?
    It seems that when sea ice extent reached near normal levels the goalposts were moved to include sea ice thickness, then summer minimums, then what next? If the experts at the NSIDC can be pinned down to give us a set series of figures for the ideal levels at the poles it should be easier to determine whether the AGW/MMCC theory is valid.

  146. It’s rather amusing that George Wills badly misinterpreted NH ice levels between 1979 and now, but in the same vein I will equate SH levels :-

    cherry picking my data points I can say that in the antarctic 2008/2009 actually does match 1979/1980 ! So in effect you can’t say SH sea ice has been increasing, at least compared to the data I pick :p Actually the cycles in that series is quite interesting, we seem to have hit one of the regular lows, wonder what causes that .. Dr Meier?

    Taking Steve Goddards original points

    “The maximum ice extent for 2009 (red) and 2008 (orange) are both in the top three on the AMSR-E record, at more than 14M km2. The only year which had greater ice extent than the last two years was 2003. So clearly we are on a recent trend of higher Arctic ice maximums, which is a fact that is rarely if ever reported by the main stream media.”

    There’s only 7 years and 2008/9 is joint 3rd so it’s about average, I think you have applied spin here. As Walt Meiers says though it is summer that is important

    sping and summer have bigger drops than autumn and winter and the trend is more pronounced.

    As it looks likely that like we will start the melting season somewhere near 2008 start I am going to predict a summer minima just slightly higher than the amount reached in 2008. I seriously doubt it will be amongst the blues and purples on the JAXA graph.

    It will be fun watching though.

    Regards

    Andy

  147. Dr. Hansen’s 1980 paper shows symmetrical albedo changes at both poles. It certainly does not predict increasing ice in Antarctica.

    Steve – you miss my point, the paper you refer to is a discussion of the predicted effects of 2xCO2, so far the increase is just over one third. Amongst other things, it predicts a 6C temperature increase in the Arctic – we haven’t seen that yet either.

    The Antarctic sits in the middle of the largest heat sink on the planet; for that and other reasons it is unsurprising that its rate of warming lags the Arctic. The ultimate source of the sea ice is precipitation – snow falling over the continent, some warming, and associated changes in atmospheric moisture and wind patterns actually increases precipitation, which may counteract the effect on the sea ice of the Antarctic warming found by Steig et al. For these reasons and others global sea ice is not that useful an indicator, as noted by Dr Meier.

    When we reach 560ppm, then we can evaluate whether the warming in the poles is symmetrical and of the order of 6C as projected by Hansen. At any point before then the statement that he predicted symmetrical warming at both poles is misleading.

  148. Joel Shore
    Glade to see that you are still trying to understand, but understanding is about reading and having a thorough technical acquaintance with the subject you propose, I suggest you read.

  149. To Jim Hebbard,

    Watch this (well amazing) 1-year, every hour, cloud animation produced by NCAR and you can see how an Alberta Clipper can affect the whole arctic.

    Basically it shows just how rapidly heat build-up at the equator (east to west weather) is transported pole-ward and how fast the jet stream moves the weather systems (now east to west).

    (one or two months will give you a flavour, you don’t have watch the whole thing although the summer patterns are a little different than the winter).

    You will have a different view of the climate after watching this.

    https://www.ucar.edu/publications/nsf_review/animations/ccm3.512×256.mpg

  150. Manfred says:

    I would not regard taminos blog as helpful in discussing science.
    If his own “findings” contain errors, you would not be able to correct them, as this type of comment is generally deleted.

    DR says:

    Joel Shore,
    Has Tamino ever been wrong? Can you name one time? What makes you sure he is right this time?

    These two posts illustrate my point: “However, there are also some dramatic downsides, one being that very little ever gets decided because a lot of folks don’t have the necessary background to agree on basic points of science.”

    I don’t have to BELIEVE that Tamino is right. I can see that he is right. It’s just basic mathematics. But even before doing the calculation that Tamino has done, one can just look at Spencer’s result and say, “He gets the EXACT same slope to like 4 significant figures and the exact same R^2…What are the odds of that?” (The fact that Spencer didn’t ask himself that question when he did the calculation is a little bit scary.)

  151. rcrejects says:

    Actually, I have never seen a serious skeptic doubt the “basic forcing of CO2″ which so far as I can see is generally regarded to be between 0.6 deg C and 1 deg C for a doubling of CO2 in atmosphere. Where the issue of contention lies is in feedback loops.

    Well, I would agree with your first point only by tautology because I would not define anyone as being a “serious skeptic” if they didn’t accept that (modulo what I note below). However, by your standards, a not-insignificant fraction of those posting here (and those posting other things throughout the web) don’t qualify.

    I also don’t know how you get 0.6 to 1 deg C as the “bare” (no feedbacks) result. I think the accepted range is about 1.0 to 1.2 deg C…maybe at the outside you can argue it down to 0.9 C.

  152. AndyW,

    Roger Pielke Sr. Did a study of melt season start/end dates in the Arctic, and found that they have not changed at all during the satellite record.

    John Philip,

    I am aware that Hansen’s study is for a doubling of CO2. My point is that the polarity of of the southern albedo trend is flipped from what he predicted. That can not be explained by buffering in the ocean.

  153. Jim Hebard,

    I’m not sure about your correlation with Arctic Clippers, but when cold air comes south from the Arctic, it has to be replaced by warmer air from the south.

  154. Richard111 says:

    Fat Man (20:46:49) :

    ““The existence of a strong and positive water-vapor feedback”

    If there is a positive water vapor feedback, why hasn’t it kicked in at some point in the last 3 billion years and turned the earth into a low rent Venus, and once that happened why would it ever cool off?”

    I am having trouble with that question as well. Good luck.

    It’s not that difficult to answer actually. The water vapor feedback is positive enough to magnify the warming. However, it is not of sufficient magnitude to create an instability. The distinction basically is the distinction between a diverging geometric series like 1 + (3/2) + (3/2)^2 + … and a converging one like 1 + (1/2) + (1/2)^2 + … (which converges to 2 and hence leads to a doubling of the original effect).

    The more difficult question to answer is this: If our climate system is dominated by negative feedbacks, how can we explain the significant climate changes that we have seen in the past in response to forcings on the climate that we estimate to be rather modest? (See, for example, this paper: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;306/5697/821 )

  155. Is the summer ice extent for the poll the “actual” summer ice extent or the “reported” summer ice extent from satellites with drifting sensors?

  156. E M Smith

    This may help you in your overall project

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2005JD006494.shtml

    It is a paid for article but abstact is interesting (just buy it and charge it to the vast budgets of Chiefio)

    “We develop a continentality proxy (1600–1930) based on amplitudes of the annual signal in oxygen isotopes in an ice core. We show via modeling that by using 5 and 15 year average amplitudes the effects of diffusion and varying layer thickness can be minimized, such that amplitudes then reflect real seasonal changes in δ18O under the influence of melt. A model of chemical fractionation in ice based on differing elution rates for pairs of ions is developed as a proxy for summer melt (1130–1990). The best pairs are sodium with magnesium and potassium with chloride. The continentality and melt proxies are validated against twentieth-century instrumental records and longer historical climate proxies. In addition to summer temperature, the melt proxy also appears to reflect sea ice extent, likely as a result of sodium chloride fractionation in the oceanic sea ice margin source area that is dependent on winter temperatures. We show that the climate history they depict is consistent with what we see from isotopic paleothermometry. Continentality was greatest during the Little Ice Age but decreased around 1870, 20–30 years before the rise in temperatures indicated by the δ18O profile. The degree of summer melt was significantly larger during the period 1130–1300 than in the 1990s.”

    By the way I posted Hadley CET 1660 for your attention earlier-did you see it??I am curious as to how well it correlates with the Upsalla temperatures

    TonyB

  157. Characterization and thickness of Arctic Ice

    Recent posts on Arctic ice sent be back searching for things I had read earlier. Here are bits and pieces of information with some links, if others want to do their own searches.

    Unlike glaciers and Antarctic ice sheets, the ice thickness in the Arctic (even “old” ice) averages about 2 to 3 m thick, with only a small fraction thicker than 6 m. These values are the ‘draft’ results, which means the ice thickness below the water line as would be measured by a submarine measuring up toward the floating ice. Draft ice is reported as 89% of the total ice thickness.

    This reference summarizes submarine data going back to 1975, with a histogram showing thickness frequency observed for Spring and Autumn surveys.
    New Arctic Sea Ice Draft Data From Submarines (January 2007)
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/pscweb2002/pubs/Wensnahan%20etal.(2007)EOS-SubData.pdf

    Other references tell us that the ice is a complex mix of different forms, which means determining ice thickness requires analysis of the extent of each form to determine the overall average thickness. Which is why we probably won’t see a real-time ‘thickness’ plot any time soon.

    Some terms:
    Lead – open water (surrounded by ice)
    First Year ice (FY): smooth texture, generally featureless
    Multi Year ice (MY): rough surface which includes hummocks and depressions.

    Apparently, the action of wind and waves pushes the ice around, which accounts for some of that Multi-Year ice complexity.

    Raft – a slab of ice pushed up over another section of ice (presumably doubling the nominal thickness)
    Ridges and Keels – ice pushed together in a way that some ice sticks up above water level (Ridges) and sticks down below (Keels). (my mental picture is ice slabs crushed together including some that get wedged sideways, sticking up above and down below the nominal surrounding thickness). Apparently the Ridges can extend for many kilometers. And as you might imagine, the Keels received the full attention of submarine crews navigating below them.

    ———————
    Reading about the advances in instrumentation suggests some of the limitations in older techniques. For example, older submarine scans used a wide angle sonar that didn’t differentiate between thick ice versus a keel (it would see the tip of the keel, but not pick up spaces between keels). Narrow band sonar now exists which could look up through the keels to get a more defined picture, and there are now fixed point sea floor mounted sensors which can monitor both thickness and movement of the ice. Similarly, down looking measures (some types of satellite and air craft instrumentation) apparently have had difficulty differentiating between an open water Lead versus melt water on top of the ice.

    The newer instruments and techniques seem to have been developed in the last 5 to 10 years. That suggests to me that there is not a lot of data yet using the newer tools, and that comparisons going back over 30 years may not yield an ‘apples to apples’ trend in the data.

    Some links that I found interesting:

    Top Down measurements
    http://www.awi.de/en/research/research_divisions/climate_science/sea_ice_physics/subjects/ice_thickness_measurements/

    Bottom up Ice Profiler
    http://www.aslenv.com/reports/ice/IPS-OI-UK2002PosterPaper.pdf

    Paper on sorting out sonar data to determine the Arctic ice types (First Year, Multi Year, Deformed, Ridges)
    First Order Statistics Classification of Sidescan Sonar Images from the Arctic Sea Ice
    http://ima.ac.uk/papers/Rueda2003.pdf

    And last but not least, our friends at NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Center) have complied and analyzed the submarine data here
    Submarine Upward Looking Sonar Ice Draft Profile Data and Statistics
    http://nsidc.org/data/docs/noaa/g01360_upward_looking_sonar/index.html

  158. Bill Illis,
    The cloud animation is amazing. I’d like to see the computer animation within the GCMs. Oh yeah… they don’t have that available, or is it? I have an idea that the GCM animation would represent reality about as well as the “Steamboat Willie” animation does.

    Too bad they don’t have layers representing ocean currents, sea ice, temperatures, humidity, cosmic rays, CO2, ozone, etc. Just choose your layers and run it. But I guess that would elucidate nothing since all the science is settled, right?

    Mike

  159. Just want truth… says

    Discovered, Lindzens’s Iris, like you said DR, clouds :

    Why the IPCC models are wrong – Part 1

    Why The IPCC models are wrong pt 2

    You are always going to be able to play this game of, at any given time, pointing to some given piece of research that is new enough…or whatever… that it has not yet been proven to be wrong and, by elevating it above all the other research that goes the other way, arguing that your position is correct.

    Let me put it to you this way: Either Roy Spencer is the smartest climate scientist of his generation OR he is fooling himself. And given his past track record ( http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/a-bag-of-hammers/ , http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=080805I , and all the problems over the years with the UAH temperature record satellite analysis), I think the second possibility is considerably more likely.

    I should also mention that there was already a posting from Tamino that explained the way in which he believed that Spencer is fooling himself in this particular instance. While the folks here on WUWT seem to believe that Spencer’s two sentence response was some sort of definitive counterargument ( https://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/10/08/dr-roy-spencer-evaporates-taminos-critique/ ), I think that Tamino’s basic notion of what might be wrong with Spencer’s analysis is still very much alive albeit not rigorously proven.

  160. I read at a nature museum that Florida was not in deep freeze during the last ice age. Does anyone think that the general area would still be okay in the event of continued warming or a sudden reactive shift to deep freeze?

  161. Joel Shore said:

    You are always going to be able to play this game of, at any given time, pointing to some given piece of research that is new enough…or whatever… that it has not yet been proven to be wrong and, by elevating it above all the other research that goes the other way, arguing that your position is correct.

    To paraphrase: during the limited window of time between citing research, and having it inevitably proven wrong by smart folks like yourself, skeptics get to play the ‘game’ of temporarily, and incorrectly, claiming they’re right. Isn’t that about the gist of it?

    This fallacious argument, as usual, turns the Scientific Method completely on its head. So let’s go back to square one: the burden is on the promoters of the AGW/CO2 hypothesis to show by convincing evidence that their new hypothesis explains reality better than the theory of natural climate variability. They have failed.

    The plain fact — that the believers in the AGW/CO2 hypothesis have failed to falsify the long-accepted theory of natural climate change — leads to arguments begging the question like the one above.

    For the umpteenth time, the Scientific Method states that the entire burden is on the AGW promoters to show how their hypothesis explains reality better than the natural ebb and flow of the climate.

    Skeptics do not have to prove anything. If it were not that way, then every conjecture or hypothesis that comes along, no matter how silly or outlandish, would force the existing theory — whether of natural climate variability, the law of gravity, or the theory of evolution — to prove itself again and again. This is plainly nonsensical.

    Rather than always trying to re-frame the argument by demanding that the accepted paradigm must be constantly shown to be correct over and over again, try arguing according to the Scientific Method. Show conclusively that the AGW/CO2 hypothesis explains reality better than natural climate change. If you can, you’ll be the first one to do so, and on the short list for the Nobel Prize.

  162. Hi Joel 7 413 01

    I went over to Taminos following your link-its no wonder you like to hang around here so much :)

    This is an extract;

    “We’ve put huge quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere from fossil-fuel burning, and atmospheric CO2 has increased. In fact the atmospheric increase has only been about half the anthropogenic output, so not only are our emissions responsible for atmospheric increase, they’re increasing some other carbon reservoir as well. The evidence is pretty strong that most of the rest of the fossil-fuel CO2 is going into the oceans. As a result, not only is the atmospheric 13C fraction decreasing, so is the ocean 13C fraction. If atmospheric CO2 increase is coming from the oceans as Spencer claims, the how is it possible for both the atmosphere and the ocean to show declining 13C?”

    Theres nothing I’d particularly disagree with here, but the overall notion that an increase in a trace gas that isn’t even the main greenhouse gas will cause all sorts of computer modelled feedbacks that will push a theoretical 0.6C logarithmic increase up to 4.8C or more, does nothing for me.

    Can I ask you a direct question-Do you believe our current temperatures and current ice melt is unprecedented in mans recorded time on earth? I will assume you know enough about history to say no (but if you believe otherwise please say so).

    So can you explain how past temperature episodes managed to reach or exceed current temperature levels when co2 -supposed to be the major driver- remained a constant 280 ppm according to the ice cores? What were the drivers for all the numerous warming and cooling episodes back to say the bronze age?

    As a secondary question, do you believe the global temperature record to 1850 has any scientific basis as a concept, or fulfils any practical method of measuring temperatures consistently and reliably when they are derived from an ever shifting pattern of surface stations?

    Thanks

    TonyB

  163. 1. The times of the datasets are too short to be engaging in meaningful arguments. We can lay bets, vote in polls and have hunches, but we’re 500 years shy of the data sets needed to start being serious in our predictions.

    2. We’re still way short of concensus on what an appropriate set of measuring stations for temperature globally is. Until that is sorted out, any debates about ‘global warming’, ‘climate change’ etc are fairly stupid.

    3. There are, in my humble opinion, serious questions to be raised about whether tree rings etc actually measure temperature or whether they measure rapid tree growth. As several eminent tree experts have predicted excellent tree growth in the UK this year due to A COLD WINTER KILLING PESTS and A DAMP WINTER LEADING TO HEAVY SEEPAGE OF MOISTURE INTO THE GROUND, I don’t think growth in the UK equates to temperature. It equates, all else being equal, to temperature. The only problem is, all things aren’t equal…..and moisture is far more important….

    4. At least this site promotes vigorous debate about all these issues. Oh but Govts and weathermen were similar…..

    5. I await the official stats for the Swiss winter this year – much colder, much snowier and the albedo effect may influence the summer as well…is that what you call ‘positive feedback’?

  164. Wy cant we have someone report the facts that the sea ice has increased or decresed without a lopside view about global warming. This seems like people are afraid to report that it has increased without some BS explain and or if it declines the sky is falling nuts.

  165. Joel Shore (20:04:46) :

    Steve, since you wrote that primer on the greenhouse effect, let me ask you: Do you think it is helpful (even to the “skeptic cause”) that there are so many people around who do not accept the basic settled science regarding the anthropogenic nature of the CO2 rise and the basic physics of the greenhouse effect? Couldn’t these people be investing their energy more wisely if they were asking about legitimate scientific issues such as cloud feedbacks instead?

    Joel, I have to admit that I have not seen the skepticism to which you allude. What impresses me, as someone who has gone from being a “true believer” in AGW theory, to one who now is agnostic on the subject, is how little credence the warming advocates pay to all kinds of documentable data about natural climate variation that may well be responsible for some part (or even all) of the observed temp. increases since 1979. I am also shocked, I must say, by the brazen thuggery of some advocates of the orthodoxy (not you, and not most of those who speak up to join the conversation here), who often seem to feel that the ends justify the means and do not hesititate to degrade the debate into a mudfest.

    It seems to me that most skeptics understand full well the science behind the greenhouse warming model. I first studied it in 1981 as a undergraduate. To understand it is neither to accept that it is valid science (there are reasons to believe that the alleged forcings are not nearly so great as are claimed) nor that there are not other natural forces that ultimately could dwarf its impact.

  166. P Folkens (09:32:55) :
    The essence of the post was expressed in the short 4th paragraph: “If there is a dramatic downwards trend in maximum Arctic extent, it certainly isn’t visible . . .”

    It draws attention to the unbridled use of hyperbole in the climate debate. Dr. Meier wrote recently here, while emphasizing his #1 of two major points, “The ice extent is declining significantly . . .”

    Charged words like “significantly,” “dramatic,” “fastest in history,” and so on, as well as inappropriate ad hominem arguments have supplanted the necessary exercise of comparing data and rigorous studies.

    Here’s another example for you:
    “NSIDC data shows that Antarctic ice extent has actually increased substantially, as seen below.”
    when referring to a slope of 2.8±4.7%/decade!

  167. Joel Shore (06:01:59) :
    The more difficult question to answer is this: If our climate system is dominated by negative feedbacks…

    The climate system is not dominated by negative feedbacks. It’s not dominated by positive feedbacks either. If either one were dominant, then our fair planet would either be a snowball or a flaming inferno. The planets climate is overall a stable environment which is where we get natural variability from. There is chaos within this variability that is so very difficult for models to reproduce. The climate models that are the basis for the IPCC’s catastrophic predictions cannot be accurate because of this. Papers that use these models are therefore fundamentally flawed.

    Furthermore, rolling out Tamino as a basis for your arguments is also fundamentally flawed. Tamino defends against his scientific(!) findings by ignoring those who question him. On that basis, his conclusions mean diddly squat until he is scientific enough to allow feedback and scrutiny for his own work.

  168. Smokey says:

    This fallacious argument, as usual, turns the Scientific Method completely on its head. So let’s go back to square one: the burden is on the promoters of the AGW/CO2 hypothesis to show by convincing evidence that their new hypothesis explains reality better than the theory of natural climate variability. They have failed.

    There are two main errors in what you say here. First, of all “natural climate variability” is not a theory. If you let go of an apple and I tell you that the accepted theory is that it falls because of “natural forces”, I haven’t really explained very much. When you say “natural climate variability”, are you talking about solar forcing, changes in cosmic rays, spontaneous changes in global forcings (due to some mechanism that needs to be specified) from oscillations such as PDO? Which explanation is it this week?

    Second of all, you are confused about the current status of AGW/CO2. It is not a “hypothesis”. It is a part of the currently accepted theory that we have for climate. (I think it is more accurate to refer to it as part of a theory than as a separate theory itself.) And, that accepted theory encompasses both natural and anthropogenic forcings on the climate system (as well as the concept of some unforced internal variability in the climate system).

    Skeptics do not have to prove anything. If it were not that way, then every conjecture or hypothesis that comes along, no matter how silly or outlandish, would force the existing theory — whether of natural climate variability, the law of gravity, or the theory of evolution — to prove itself again and again. This is plainly nonsensical.

    Rather than always trying to re-frame the argument by demanding that the accepted paradigm must be constantly shown to be correct over and over again, try arguing according to the Scientific Method. Show conclusively that the AGW/CO2 hypothesis explains reality better than natural climate change.

    Again, you have it backwards. Your analogy with evolution and gravity goes the other way. AGW/CO2 is a part of the accepted paradigm of climate. And, the reason for this is that there are multiple lines of evidence that support this paradigm (which is why I pointed out, for example, how Spencer’s ideas about the cloud feedback would require not only a change in our understanding of that one aspect of how clouds respond to a change in climate but also a sea-change in our entire understanding of the paleoclimate record, the climate response to the eruption of Mt Pinatubo, etc., etc.) To displace this, you have to come up with a new paradigm and show that it fits the evidence better. To understand how it become part of the accepted paradigm, you would probably want to read this: http://aip.org/history/climate/

    In summary, it is alas not you who gets to decide what the current dominant theory or paradigm is in science. It is decided by the scientific community themselves. And, in fact, it is not even so much consciously decided by them but rather evolves from the accumulation of evidence and the attempts to explain this evidence in various ways.

    Finally, “natural variability” is not a theory…It is simply a meaningless mantra.

  169. Paul S says:

    The climate system is not dominated by negative feedbacks. It’s not dominated by positive feedbacks either. If either one were dominant, then our fair planet would either be a snowball or a flaming inferno.

    First of all, you’re statement implies a misunderstanding of the terminology “positve feedbacks” and “negative feedbacks”. “Positive feedbacks” are those that act in the same direction as some change (whether toward warming or cooling) whereas “negative feedbacks” are those that act in the opposite direction. An instability in EITHER the cold or the warm direction would thus be due to positive feedbacks.

    Second of all, as I have already explained, positive feedbacks only lead to instabilities if they are sufficiently strong. If they are weaker, they just produce magnification of the original perturbation without instability. (Even in the case where positive feedbacks lead to instability, it is not clear how far the climate will change until it finds a point that is again stable.)

    Third of all, the history of the climate system in fact gives a fair bit of evidence for a “snowball earth” in the past ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_earth ), as well as some considerably warmer climate states.

    There is chaos within this variability that is so very difficult for models to reproduce. The climate models that are the basis for the IPCC’s catastrophic predictions cannot be accurate because of this. Papers that use these models are therefore fundamentally flawed.

    The models in fact do show the same sensitivity to initial conditions (which is the hallmark of “chaos”) that seems to be present in the real climate system. It is true that, because of this, it is very difficult to predict the individual jiggles up and down in the future climate (e.g., due to ENSO). However, that does not mean that it is not possible to predict the general trend in the climate in response to a forcing such as an increase in greenhouse gases. To put this another way, if you take a climate model and run it several times with slightly different initial conditions each time, the pattern of the up-and-down jiggles will be different every time but the general response to a forcing such as an increase in CO2 levels will be basically the same once you look over a long enough period of time.

    To put it still another way, the chaos in the climate system makes it impossible for me to predict the weather here in Rochester on, say, July 3rd of this year. It also makes it quite difficult (although not necessarily impossible) to predict if this summer will be unusually warm or cold relative to the average. However, it does not make it difficult for me to say with confidence that the average temperature this July is extremely likely to be at least 20 C warmer than it was in January. Hence, the climate system still has a certain amount of predictability in response to the seasonal forcing even though it is chaotic.

    Furthermore, rolling out Tamino as a basis for your arguments is also fundamentally flawed. Tamino defends against his scientific(!) findings by ignoring those who question him. On that basis, his conclusions mean diddly squat until he is scientific enough to allow feedback and scrutiny for his own work.

    Tamino answers plenty of questions. You may not like his answers or the fact that he gets impatient after a while when people just repeat the same wrong things over and over again, but that is a different matter. Nobody is perfect in their response to scrutiny. For example, I think that Roy Spencer should clearly come clean on the fact that his post of approximately a year ago regarding the natural origin of the rise in CO2 (which people here seem to continue to refer to approvingly) indeed suffered from a serious error that renders the results meaningless rather than simply posting up new arguments in favor of this same hypothesis (which seem to have their own flaws…but that is another story).

  170. Joel Shore (11:13:39) :
    First of all, you’re statement implies a misunderstanding of the terminology

    I don’t think so. My conclusion of a stable overall environment sufficiently covers this.

    Third of all, the history of the climate system in fact gives a fair bit of evidence for a “snowball earth” in the past ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_earth ), as well as some considerably warmer climate states.

    Yes, but it wasn’t a permanent state which if there is a dominant would have resulted. Once again, this leads me to believe it is a stable environment.

    To put this another way, if you take a climate model and run it several times with slightly different initial conditions each time

    And that’s the crux of climate models. They are not able to accurately predict. They have to be tweaked. There are thousands of modelled outputs, but how do we decide which one is correct? By comparing it to the past? Rubbish! The chaos within the variability rules out making a model correct to history guarantees it is correct in the future.

    For example, I think that Roy Spencer should clearly come clean

    I agree. I believe Steig et al should come clean over the Antartic warming paper too, but will it happen? Only time will tell!

    Tamino answers plenty of questions. You may not like his answers or the fact that he gets impatient after a while when people just repeat the same wrong things over and over again

    You’re right. I don’t always like his answers. But his failure to answer questions based on repeating himself is a non starter. There are new people looking into this debate on a daily basis. Repetition is part of the course in the blogosphere. However, it is his failure to debate new studies that go against the agw hypothesis that is the basis for my dismissal of him as a credible source. You may not like that idea, but that’s life.

  171. E M Smith

    These Hudson bay records compiled by John Daly stretch back several hundred years and may be of help to your project.


    Hudson bay-sporadic temperatures bacjk to 1769

    TonyB

  172. Joel Shore still doesn’t get it, and probably never will. “Natural climate variability” indicates the climate parameters prior to modern industrial society. The climate today is well within those same natural parameters, and the burden is on the AGW promoters to show that it isn’t.

    But if there’s anyone else who didn’t understand what is meant by natural climate variability, this will help: click

    Contrary to what plenty of AGW proponents assert, CO2 was never in a steady state of 280 ppmv prior to the SUV age. In fact, it naturally fluctuated all over the place: click

    Finally, the failed attempt to promote the AGW hypothesis to the status of a theory would be laughable if it weren’t so desperate. Everything I said in my post above has been taken by Joel, turned around, and psychologically projected back by him. The only thing he left off was a “neener, neener.”

    AGW may exist in a minor way, but there is no empirical proof that can be shown. Whatever minor effect that CO2 may have on the climate is clearly overwhelmed by many other effects.

    The AGW hypothesis only exists in computer models and on paper. It may in fact exist, but if so it’s such a minor player that as CO2 rises, the temperature continues to fall. So who are we gonna believe, Joel Shore? Or our lyin’ eyes: click

    Everyone else seems to understand what’s happening to the AGW doom ‘n’ gloom hypothesis: click

    It’s a mystery why someone would argue incessantly and contrary to most everyone else — and then cite “consensus” as an argument. But some folks have wired around their on/off switch, and there’s no convincing them of the facts right in front of their face: click

  173. First of all, you’re statement implies a misunderstanding of the terminology “positve feedbacks” and “negative feedbacks”. “Positive feedbacks” are those that act in the same direction as some change (whether toward warming or cooling) whereas “negative feedbacks” are those that act in the opposite direction. An instability in EITHER the cold or the warm direction would thus be due to positive feedbacks.
    Actually, you misunderstand the term “feedback,” as do most AGW proponents (most people in general), and the alarmist terminology does NOT support the idea of any instability. Pauls S is 100% correct in this assessment. The only way there can be TRUE instability is if there is a pole in the right half of the complex plane, which implies a feedback term of greater than unity. Unfortunately for your hypothesis, this situation cannot physically exist without adding energy, i.e., energy cannot be created, so it must be coming from somewhere else. The overall gain of any stable system is fixed, or decreasing, by definition.

    Alarmists would do well to study two fundamental topics that address these concepts: system theory and control theory.

    R. E. Ziemer, W. H. Tranter, D. R. Fannin, Signals and Systems: Continuous and Discrete, Macmillan, NY, 1983.

    G. H. Hostetter, C. J. Savant, Jr., R. T. Stefani, Design of Feedback Control Systems, 2nd edition, Saunders College Publishing, FL, 1989.

    Mark

  174. Paul S says climate models cannot accurately predict. This is clearly shown in Lucia’s chart of computer model results: click [for abbreviations: click]

    Yet it is primarily these same computer models and inaccurate surface station readings that form the basis of the [repeatedly falsified] AGW/CO2-tipping point-runaway global warming-climate catastrophe hypothesis that climate alarmism is based on.

  175. Smokey writes: “When models show previous decades to be much cooler than the present, then the change in temperature going forward will be an alarming increase, no matter what the planet’s temperature does.”

    Wasn’t this the entire idea behind the infamous hockey stick?

  176. With Lake Superior frozen over in 2003 and 2009, that puts this rare event (every 20 years or so) occurring more frequently even with our alleged AGW.

    Google Lake Superior Ice Cover and almost all the hits have to do with the warming of the lake and the lack of ice. These hits are clearly MSM and AGW alarmist driven.

    I have no doubt the MSM will ignore this rare freeze over now.

    The massive ice cover this winter is a good thing in that it decreases evaporative losses from the lakes and should further stabilize lake levels throughtout the entire lake system.

    The link below is a nice picture of yesterday’s ice cover. What with temperatures over most of the lake being -20 F last night, undoubtedly any little bit of open water has frozen over now.

    http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mqt/?n=lake_superior_ice

  177. Mark T says:

    Pauls S is 100% correct in this assessment.

    Really? So you agree with the part where he says, “If either one [positive or negative feedbacks] were dominant, then our fair planet would either be a snowball or a flaming inferno”?

    The only way there can be TRUE instability is if there is a pole in the right half of the complex plane, which implies a feedback term of greater than unity.

    Darn! Why didn’t I think of that?!? Like when I said, “as I have already explained, positive feedbacks only lead to instabilities if they are sufficiently strong. If they are weaker, they just produce magnification of the original perturbation without instability” or in the previous post that I was refering to when I said, “The distinction basically is the distinction between a diverging geometric series like 1 + (3/2) + (3/2)^2 + … and a converging one like 1 + (1/2) + (1/2)^2 + … (which converges to 2 and hence leads to a doubling of the original effect).”

    Unfortunately for your hypothesis, this situation cannot physically exist without adding energy, i.e., energy cannot be created, so it must be coming from somewhere else.

    Hmmm…Well, that is certainly a problem as I can’t think of any possible external source of energy for our climate system! [Pauses to look at the window on one of our few sunny winter days here…] Oh, wait a minute!

    Of course, why you are even calling an instability a part of my hypothesis when I am the one explaining how a positive feedback does not necessarily lead to instability, I am not exactly sure. My actual hypothesis (which happens to coincide with the currently-accepted theory) is that the feedbacks are positive enough to result in a magnification of the “bare” effect by about a factor of 2 to 4 but are not strong enough to cause an actual instability.

  178. Paul S:

    I don’t think so. My conclusion of a stable overall environment sufficiently covers this.

    Yes, but it wasn’t a permanent state which if there is a dominant would have resulted. Once again, this leads me to believe it is a stable environment.

    I have no idea what you are saying here. I suggest that when you are in hole, stop digging. (You could just say, “Thank you for the clarification on how this terminology of positive and negative feedbacks is used.”)

    And that’s the crux of climate models. They are not able to accurately predict. They have to be tweaked. There are thousands of modelled outputs, but how do we decide which one is correct? By comparing it to the past? Rubbish! The chaos within the variability rules out making a model correct to history guarantees it is correct in the future

    I suggest that rather than just honing in on one phrase, you concentrate on the entire sentences and paragraphs that I wrote. I explained this to you in three ways: First, by explaining the theoretical difference between what you can and can’t predict. Second, by explaining how this applies to climate model projections of future warming due to GHGs in particular. And, third, with an analogy, explaining how it applies to something that I think is a little less controversial, which is the notion of seasonal cycles in our climate.

    You’re right. I don’t always like his answers. But his failure to answer questions based on repeating himself is a non starter. There are new people looking into this debate on a daily basis. Repetition is part of the course in the blogosphere. However, it is his failure to debate new studies that go against the agw hypothesis that is the basis for my dismissal of him as a credible source.

    Now that I have seen how you responded to the substance of my post, I can well understand why Tamino would not have very much patience with you! People want to get the feeling that they are communicating with someone who is willing to read carefully enough and digest what they write thoroughly enough to actually learn from it. You certainly have not given me that feeling.

    REPLY: heh’ that’s funny! You assume much. Tamino has patience with nobody, except perhaps, his cat. – Anthony

  179. Hmmm…Well, that is certainly a problem as I can’t think of any possible external source of energy for our climate system! [Pauses to look at the window on one of our few sunny winter days here…] Oh, wait a minute!
    That’s the INPUT, and the point I made is that you cannot have any more energy than is input to the system. There’s no physical way for this to happen.

    Yes, btw, I understand the geometric progression of a feedback system, and my specific comment was that Paul S is 100% correct in the assessment of stability, which was apparently obvious given the previous sentence (but not to you I guess).

    Your statement:
    An instability in EITHER the cold or the warm direction would thus be due to positive feedbacks.
    Is extremely misleading. Neither positive nor negative feedbacks are unstable by themselves. They are only so if their feedback coefficients are greater than unity, which requires additional energy to “amplify” the CO2 contribution (or whatever contribution is being considered). For low frequencies, positive feedback is a gain and negative feedback is an attenuation. For frequencies with periods twice the “lag” (the delay in the feedback path), it is the reverse. As long as their feedbacks are unity (which is necessary for conservation of energy), there is NO SUCH THING AS A TIPPING POINT!

    And also:
    My actual hypothesis (which happens to coincide with the currently-accepted theory) is that the feedbacks are positive enough to result in a magnification of the “bare” effect by about a factor of 2 to 4 but are not strong enough to cause an actual instability.
    Is complete nonsense. There needs to be some way to get the amplification of 2 or 4 increase (which results in an increase in energy) above and beyond the simple insulation, or “greenhouse effect,” (which is nothing more than an accumulation of energy due to an imbalance between incoming and outgoing, with consideration for the work done within the system).

    Mark

  180. “As long as their feedbacks are unity (which is necessary for conservation of energy), there is NO SUCH THING AS A TIPPING POINT!”
    Should read “…feedbacks are less than unity…”

    Mark

  181. With my (08:42:41) I said

    “Hi Joel 7 413 01

    I went over to Taminos following your link-its no wonder you like to hang around here so much :) ”

    I hope you find the time to answer the questions I posed to you about climate variability in the past. Thanks

    TonyB

  182. The AGW hypothesis only exists in computer models and on paper. It may in fact exist, but if so it’s such a minor player that as CO2 rises, the temperature continues to fall. So who are we gonna believe, Joel Shore? Or our lyin’ eyes:

    Who indeed? Click. for a less cherry-flavoured plot.

  183. John Philip

    Perhaps you’d like to remind me how many weather stations the 1850 figure is based on and also explain to me the validity of a global temperature where the goalposts are being continually moved, changed or removed.

    TonyB

  184. Steve,

    Thanks for bringing my attention to this article:

    “Richard Kerr of Science magazine reports on a presentation at the recent fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in a News Focus article entitled: ‘Galloping Glaciers of Greenland Have Reined Themselves In’”

    I’m guessing you didn’t read it, just looked at the headlines, because the artilce doesn’t state that melt in Greenland has stopped and it goes on to state that there are real problems in Antarctica. Here are two of the more interesting paragraphs from the article:

    ‘A short-lived speed-up makes sense if something had given the glacers some sort of jolt at their lower ends, says glaciologist Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University is State College. Two possiblities for a disturbance are the warmer air over southern Greenland in recent years and warmer coastal seawater. Either could have eaten away, weakened, and begun to break up the floating seaward ends of outlet glaciers, he says. That would have weakend the glacier’s grip on its bounding rock and sent a wave of glacier thinning and acceleration inland. But given time, a glacier would regain its footing-like a fighter rolling with a punch-thicken again, and slow down to its original speed he says.

    Not that Greenland’s ice is safe, says Alley. “If you turn the thermostat too high, it will melt,” he notes. And the glaciers of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), some of which have already picked up speed, don’t have the shallow rocky underpinnings that allow Greenland’s glaciers to regain their equilibrium. “With nothing to hold on to,” he syas, “we think [WAIS] will run away.”‘

  185. Joel Shore (14:18:39) :
    I have no idea what you are saying here.

    So I gathered.

    I suggest that when you are in hole, stop digging. (You could just say, “Thank you for the clarification on how this terminology of positive and negative feedbacks is used.”)

    You’re funny! I’m not in a hole my friend, I know what I’m saying. Honestly, I find your comment to be very condescending and frankly, I see no reason to thank you for it.

    I suggest that rather than just honing in on one phrase, you concentrate on the entire sentences and paragraphs that I wrote. I explained this to you in three ways: First, by explaining the theoretical difference between what you can and can’t predict. Second, by explaining how this applies to climate model projections of future warming due to GHGs in particular. And, third, with an analogy, explaining how it applies to something that I think is a little less controversial, which is the notion of seasonal cycles in our climate.

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at with the first sentence here. I did concentrate on the entire sentences and paragraphs as you suggest. I don’t see you point.

    First: Theoretically, you can predict an outcome using climate models. There are thousands of predicted outcomes dependent on the tweaking of the parameters. As I said, what outcome do you take to be an accurate model?

    Second: relates to First.

    Third: Is a lame comparison as we are dealing with the tilt of the planet retaining varying daylight hours depending on the time of the year vs greenhouse gases. Come on Joel, I expected better than that.

    I can well understand why Tamino would not have very much patience with you!

    I don’t have much patience with Tamino either, so I’m not concerned. People want to believe that they can put new studies forwards to people like Tamino and not just get plain ignored. They want his input, to validate what is being proposed, to further their understanding. This is how science works, Joel. Maybe Tamino doesn’t want to talk to people like me because I’m inconvenient to cause, because I might challenge his beliefs. But lets just agree to disagree on this, mainly because I’m bored talking about him.

  186. “So: Is there more, or less, TOTAL REAL ICE in ALL of Antarctica NOW than in the last few years? That’s NET of everything.”

    Mass balance = accumulation – melt. So there is now less total real ice in all of Antarctica, around 100 billion tons each year, enough to raise sea levels by 0.5 mm per year.

    And the melt is accelerating. Keep your eyes on the Admunsun sea area. That’s where the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers drain.

  187. John Philip (14:34:45) :
    Who indeed? Click. for a less cherry-flavoured plot.

    Come on John, don’t insult our intelligence. A plot from the LIA to now is the worst kind of cherry picking! Do you have a plot from the MWP or the Roman Optimum? That would be more credible.

  188. Joel Shore (11:13:39) :
    However, it does not make it difficult for me to say with confidence that the average temperature this July is extremely likely to be at least 20 C warmer than it was in January.

    Just a nit pick here, true in the NH, False in the SH, False around the equator.

  189. I wonder when the sea level rises will start?-Mike

    Frank Lansner (15:26:11) :
    OT (sorry, its just so interesting…!)
    No change in ocean level around Denmark in 115 years…

    I wonder how this squares with the satellite data?-Mike

  190. One of the more interesting attributes of the weather atmospheric forecasting community is its evolutionary skill. As we have previously seen the “idea”of increased computer power and model integration is seen as the solution of the open problem of forecast, or predictive capabilities.

    At first glance this would be seen as logically correct, however the atmosphere (weather –climate system) is a complex system not in thermodynamic equilibrium(often far from TDE) and in a perpetual state of reorganization .Here the rules of the game, where idealistic assumptions for the instantaneous state of the atmosphere are not valid when the equations of motion(transformation) to a future state are presently applied.

    This is evident when seen in the evolution of the weather forecast model ability of the ECMWF.A widely used model producing forecasts in the range for a few days to a number of weeks. The preparation base is a n-day forecast with n= 10 days of the global atmospheric state.

    In any forecast there is an error dependent on initial conditions (due to arbitrary assumptions/estimates of unknown qualities) with the ECMWF model over the last 20 or so years in a paradox the model error has increased.

    In 1982 in a seminal paper in which ECMWF data was first used ,to measure predictive ability. Edward Lorenz found the mean error evolution (doubling time of initial error) was two days, presently has dropped to 1.2 days.

    This suggest that there is a limiting of predictive capabilities for long range weather forecasting with models of increasing sophistication ,owing to interconnected complexity in the atmospheric dynamics.

    Sensitivity to the initial conditions-the principle signature of deterministic chaos-is thus not an artifact arising from when lower order models are used but is, rather, deeply rooted in the physics of the atmosphere.

    Nicolis and Nicolis Foundations of complex systems page 223.

  191. Paul S:

    You’re funny! I’m not in a hole my friend, I know what I’m saying. Honestly, I find your comment to be very condescending and frankly, I see no reason to thank you for it.

    It was not condescending. It was a fact that someone who writes “The climate system is not dominated by negative feedbacks. It’s not dominated by positive feedbacks either. If either one were dominant, then our fair planet would either be a snowball or a flaming inferno” must be confused about the terminology among other things. So, I politely pointed this out and explained it to you.

    First: Theoretically, you can predict an outcome using climate models. There are thousands of predicted outcomes dependent on the tweaking of the parameters. As I said, what outcome do you take to be an accurate model?

    Yes…which might prevent us from predicting all the up-and-down jiggles in the climate. But, that is not what we are interested in. What we are interested in is the trend in the climate that is produced over a long enough period by a forcing such an an increase in GHG levels.

    Third: Is a lame comparison as we are dealing with the tilt of the planet retaining varying daylight hours depending on the time of the year vs greenhouse gases. Come on Joel, I expected better than that.

    See, that’s the thing about analogies: they are about similar but not exactly the same thing. The tilt of the planet produces local variations in the solar forcing throughout the year and these have climatic effects. Just like it is possible to predict that the summer climate will be warmer than the winter climate by modeling this even though predicting the exact weather (or even whether the season will be unusually hot or cold) is more difficult because it is more strongly dependent on the initial conditions, so it is that it is possible to predict the general climatic response to greenhouse gas forcings even though it is more difficult to predict all of the exact jiggles up-and-down in the climate due, e.g., to ENSO.

  192. Just a nit pick here, true in the NH, False in the SH, False around the equator.

    Do I have to put “in Rochester” in every single sentence or can it be understood that since it was in the first sentence of the paragraph, I was continuing to use Rochester as an example throughout the paragraph?

  193. Joel, I disagree with your summations, we are going round in circles and I bored with your constant misrepresentations of the science and how I’m perceived to understand said science.

    Rochester, Australia

    REPLY: Don’t be too hard on Joel, since he’s here almost 24/7 it appears WUWT is all he has. – Anthony

  194. “Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge. ”
    –Lao Tzu, 6th Century BC Chinese Poet
    “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”
    –Nils Bohr, Nobel laureate in Physics
    “An unsophisticated forecaster uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts – for support rather than for illumination. ”
    –After Andrew Lang
    “An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today. ”
    –Evan Esar
    “If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me. ”
    –William Shakespeare
    “Forecasting is the art of saying what will happen, and then explaining why it didn’t! ”
    –Anonymous (communicated by Balaji Rajagopalan)
    “If you have to forecast, forecast often. ”
    –Edgar R. Fiedler in The Three Rs of Economic Forecasting-Irrational, Irrelevant and Irreverent , June 1977.
    “Forecasting future events is often like searching for a black cat in an unlit room, that may not even be there. ”
    –Steve Davidson in The Crystal Ball.
    ” I never think of the future, it comes soon enough. ”
    — Albert Einstein

    I believe that the above quoted gentlemen have a much better grasp of the trustworthiness of predictions, whatever they are based upon, than global climate modelers do…

  195. Tony B says:

    Theres nothing I’d particularly disagree with here, but the overall notion that an increase in a trace gas that isn’t even the main greenhouse gas will cause all sorts of computer modelled feedbacks that will push a theoretical 0.6C logarithmic increase up to 4.8C or more, does nothing for me.

    First of all, the no-feedbacks value is around 1.0 to 1.2 C. I haven’t seen the 0.6 C anywhere. Second of all, the IPCC estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity is that it is likely between 2 to 4.5 C. (Hansen has mentioned 6 C over the longer term due to land ice melt and the resulting albedo feedback…but I am not sure that such a value is generally accepted.) Finally, I don’t think intuition is a good guide here unless the intuition is grounded in experience or other knowledge…and since the feedbacks are independent of what actually causes the initial forcing, I don’t see what the issue about CO2 being a trace gas that is not the main greenhouse gas comes into it. In fact, one of the major feedbacks involves water vapor, which is the main greenhouse gas.

    Can I ask you a direct question-Do you believe our current temperatures and current ice melt is unprecedented in mans recorded time on earth? I will assume you know enough about history to say no (but if you believe otherwise please say so).

    To be honest, everyone has their areas they like to read up more or less on and this is an area that I haven’t really kept up with in detail as it has not been one of the more compelling questions in my view. As I understand it, the current view based on proxy data is that the Northern Hemisphere temperatures are likely the warmest that they have been in at least the past 1300 years. Obviously, there are issues with proxy data…but that is the way it is interpretted currently. (Note that this does not mean that certain regions, especially the North Atlantic, have not had periods of greater warmth during this time. However, the evidence is that the periods of warmth in various different places was not that well synchronized so that the total hemispheric warmth at any one time was less pronounced.) Data for the Southern Hemisphere is more scarce.

    Going back further, it is believed that several thousand years ago, there was some greater warmth…at least in some regions…although it seems like we will likely overtake this in a matter of a few decades. (Again…This is based on my minimal reading of the literature in this area.)

    So can you explain how past temperature episodes managed to reach or exceed current temperature levels when co2 -supposed to be the major driver- remained a constant 280 ppm according to the ice cores? What were the drivers for all the numerous warming and cooling episodes back to say the bronze age?

    Going back to the Bronze Age is far enough back for there to be a difference in the orbital parameters (see Milankovitch forcing). The more recent episodes such as the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were likely due to variations in solar forcing, in the frequency of major volcanic eruptions, and perhaps a small degree of internal variability. Unfortunately, we are still struggling to determine the various forcings (such as solar) over time accurately enough to nail this down.

    Note that CO2 is not the only forcing around. It just happens to now have become the dominant one because of the very rapid (on a geological timescale for sure) rise in its level in the atmosphere.

    As a secondary question, do you believe the global temperature record to 1850 has any scientific basis as a concept, or fulfils any practical method of measuring temperatures consistently and reliably when they are derived from an ever shifting pattern of surface stations?

    Yes. The data aren’t perfect but scientists have been able to able to obtain a fairly accurate and consistent picture. It is not quite as bad as you might imagine since the temperature anomaly field has much nicer properties than the temperature field itself and maintains a significant positive correlation over fairly significant distances. (See “Anomalies and Absolute Temperatures” here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/ ) We also have verification of the temperature record by other means…e.g., from the history of glaciers, from borehole analysis, and since 1979 from satellite data.

  196. Paul S says:

    Joel, I disagree with your summations, we are going round in circles and I bored with your constant misrepresentations of the science and how I’m perceived to understand said science.

    Whatever. I now definitely understand why you feel about Tamino the way you do. He is probably less patient than I am (being as smart as he is, he tolerates foolishness less well than I do)…And you are definitely very trying on a very patient person.

    Rochester, Australia

    Well, if you were honestly confused about which Rochester I was talking about when I said “here in Rochester”, would have it not been easier to ask or note the need for the clarification rather than post a snarky comment?

  197. Smokey, since I seem to be wearing out my welcome here, I will restrict my comments to your last post to just a few things. First of all, I am sad to see that no amount of explanation can keep you from continuing to link to deceptive graphs whose issue have been explained to you many times. Second of all, it might interest you to know that AGW proponents do not assert that CO2 was steady at 280ppm over timescales of hundreds of millions of years.

    It’s a mystery why someone would argue incessantly and contrary to most everyone else — and then cite “consensus” as an argument.

    Since you gave me similar advice, I might point out to you the WUWT is a small and very self-selected part of the blogosphere and even a smaller part of the whole universe. I think if you actually tried posting at a site that wasn’t filled with people already sympathetic to your point-of-view (let alone one that was actually filled with people that had quite a bit of animosity toward your point-of-view), you might find it an enlightening and somewhat humbling experience. Believe me, the sort of arguments that you use here won’t give you a lot of credibility out there!

  198. Cryosphere Today posted a PDF on the main page titled,
    Statement related to Daily Tech article of January 1, 2009

    Those guys must be dizzy from all the spinning…

    Also, still no images from 2009 on the Comparison Product.
    How embarrassing…

  199. Phil,

    Look carefully at the map, and tell me where you think the missing ice is? Remember, never trust your own eyes when you can instead trust the three day old graph you linked to.

    If the current trend continues, Arctic ice will be at the 1979-2000 mean in about a week, and George Will will have a field day with his clueless detractors.

  200. I might point out to you the WUWT is a small and very self-selected part of the blogosphere…

    Yes. But even so it is immensely bigger and more credible, in addition to being far more fair, even-handed and honest, than the George Soros-bankrolled RealClimate, Tamino, etc.

    And like numerous other posters here, I have tried to post facts contrary to the AGW/CO2 hypothesis at those sites — and I’ve been deleted without explanation by the insecure owners of those wannabe-Best Science sites. But you get to post here non-stop 24/7. See the difference?

    Finally, it’s amusing to see you claim the charts and graphs I’ve posted are “deceptive” — when you didn’t utter a peep about John Philip’s chart @14:34:45. [Try changing the units in that chart from tenths of a degree to degrees, or start the ppm of CO2 at zero on the y-axis, and you’ll see what I mean.]

    Joel, when you can demonstrate through solid, real world, empirical evidence that the climate is acting differently now than it has for the past couple of millenniums, I will certainly sit up straight and listen. But “what if” scenarios don’t cut it. To mix metaphors, show me the money, because I’m a doubting Thomas. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Put up or shut up. I’m from Missouri, etc.

    Where’s the runaway global warming? Where’s the tipping point? Where’s the warming??

    Show me.

  201. Did a quick plot on the NSIDC charts today. Looks like the Antarctic is up by .2 and Arctic down by 0.5. So we are down at this point 0.3 M sq. km. net, within the range of variance. So much for major sea level rises.

  202. Forgot one more item. The NATICE.NOAA Great Lakes section noted today that Lake Superior is no longer “ice free”. There is a thin sliver of open water (~5% ice), on the eastern end of the lake. The rest is solid ice (90-100%). For those who know Lake Superior, this does not happen often.

  203. To support Smokey, the “what if’s” really are stale. I am reminded of the crude saying, “If my aunt had testicles, she’d be my uncle.”

    Maybe it is crude and trite, but it says a lot about that hackneyed state of the myriad of unsupported climate “what ifs.”

    [Mods you can nuke this if it’s off base. ☺]

  204. @Joel Shore (06:01:59) : “It’s not that difficult to answer actually. The water vapor feedback is positive enough to magnify the warming. However, it is not of sufficient magnitude to create an instability. The distinction basically is the distinction between a diverging geometric series like … and a converging one.”

    That is not my understanding of positive feedback. A simple example of positive feedback would be population growth. The growth rate will depend on the characteristics of the critters involved — mice have multiple births every few weeks; elephants have a single birth once every few years. But, the curve of the population size always has an increasing slope, because it is exponential. Population growth is always stopped by a negative feed back, such as predation or food scarcity.

    If water vapor in the atmosphere is the most abundant, and important greenhouse gas, (see the figure in Steve Goddard’s post of a few days ago), and if warmth causes the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere to increase, which it does, what provides negative feedback to limit that effect? If nothing does, why doesn’t the effect of the water vapor go exponential and autoclave the whole planet?

    Like I said, my role here is just asking stupid questions.

  205. Sgteven Goddard wrote

    If the current trend continues, Arctic ice will be at the 1979-2000 mean in about a week, and George Will will have a field day with his clueless detractors.

    And I say no chance !

    £5 bet to the charity of your choice or mine?

    Regards

    Andy

  206. Joel

    As far as I am concerned you haven’t worn out your welcome here-if there is to be a scientific debate it is important to haver someone you can debate with! That is not possible when mostly everyone else here agrees with my own point of view. The more rational bloggers such as yourself and Mary Hinge are very welcome as far as I am concerned.

    I said in part earlier;

    “Can I ask you a direct question-Do you believe our current temperatures and current ice melt is unprecedented in mans recorded time on earth? I will assume you know enough about history to say no (but if you believe otherwise please say so).”

    You replied (in part);

    “To be honest, everyone has their areas they like to read up more or less on and this is an area that I haven’t really kept up with in detail as it has not been one of the more compelling questions in my view.”

    As a historian, this is my main area (apart from sea levels) and surely the question”Have we been this way before” is at the very heart of the AGW debate? Closely tied in to this belief that everything these days is ‘unprecedented’ when it’s not, is the notion that we can parse fractions of a degree back to 1850 to demonstrate that temperatures are rising (marginally)

    Can I again ask you some direct questions?

    1) If you were to be presented with evidence that demonstrated that we have been this way before throughout our recorded history, would that give you pause for serious thought?
    2) If you were to become convinced that the 1850 records-based on a tiny number of unreliable and ever changing surface records- were not a scientific basis on which to ‘prove’ a warming hypotheses, would that give you pause for serious thought?

    Incidentally, I don’t know if you caught my post on the other thread thanking you for one of your links which appears to show that Charles Keeling believed the 1800 year tide cycle was of more consequence than co2 in forcing our climate?

    Thanks for your time here

    TonyB

  207. Fat Man says:

    If water vapor in the atmosphere is the most abundant, and important greenhouse gas, (see the figure in Steve Goddard’s post of a few days ago), and if warmth causes the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere to increase, which it does, what provides negative feedback to limit that effect? If nothing does, why doesn’t the effect of the water vapor go exponential and autoclave the whole planet?

    The answer is because the feedback is not strong enough. Let me expand in more detail on my statement about the distinction between a diverging and converging geometric series: Let’s assume that the first-order effect for the water vapor feedback on a 1 degree rise in temperature is to produce an additional 1/2 degree rise in temperature (which is an approximately realistic figure). This means that if the temperature of the atmosphere rises by 1 C due to an increase in CO2 levels, solar irradiance, or whatever, then this 1 C rise will cause enough of an increase in water vapor to produce an additional rise of 1/2 C.

    However, you will now say, “But, wait! It doesn’t stop there because now this 1/2 C rise in temperature will cause an additional increase in water vapor.” And, indeed you are correct…The increase in water vapor due to the 1/2 C rise will cause an additional 1/4 C rise. And, then the increase in water vapor due to this 1/4 C rise will cause 1/8 C rise. And, you could continue this ad infinitum.

    However, what is important to realize is that the sum of the infinite series 1 + (1/2) + (1/4) + (1/8) + (1/16) + … is not itself infinite. In fact, it is equal to 2. So, at the end of the day, the initial 1 C rise is magnified by a factor of 2 by the water vapor feedback. There is no negative feedback needed to stop the water vapor feedback…It is simply not strong enough to do anything more than double the effect of the initial perturbation.

    Of course, if we had assumed instead that the first order effect of the water vapor feedback on a 1 degree rise in temperature is to produce an additional rise of greater than 1 deg, say 1.5 degrees, then we would instead have a diverging series [1 + 3/2 + (3/2)^2 + …]. This would be a true instability and lead to the sort of exponential divergence that you were worrying about that could only be stopped by some negative feedback (or the positive feedback weakening to the point where it no longer produced a first-order effect greater than the original cause). This is the situation that presumably occurred on Venus but is, fortunately, not the situation that we face here on earth (modulo some recent claims from James Hansen in regards to positive feedbacks in the carbon cycle itself if we really go-to-town with our burning fossil fuels…But at this point, I don’t think many people can say with certainty exactly what Hansen is talking about).

  208. Of course, you still have yet to invent a method that increases the energy, i.e., where the “gain” due to feedback comes from, to keep from violating the law conservation of energy. It is all nonsense, Joel. The only thing that can happen is an imbalance between incoming and outgoing energy (to the earth) plus work.

    Basic physics indeed.

    Mark

  209. Of course, if we had assumed instead that the first order effect of the water vapor feedback on a 1 degree rise in temperature is to produce an additional rise of greater than 1 deg, say 1.5 degrees, then we would instead have a diverging series [1 + 3/2 + (3/2)^2 + …]. This would be a true instability and lead to the sort of exponential divergence that you were worrying about that could only be stopped by some negative feedback (or the positive feedback weakening to the point where it no longer produced a first-order effect greater than the original cause).
    This is impossible in a passive system, Joel. You do understand that, right?

    Mark

  210. Smokey says:

    Yes. But even so it is immensely bigger and more credible, in addition to being far more fair, even-handed and honest, than the George Soros-bankrolled RealClimate, Tamino, etc.

    Well, I guess that depends on where you sit. I doubt you would find more than a handful of climate scientists actively working in the field who would agree with this.

    And like numerous other posters here, I have tried to post facts contrary to the AGW/CO2 hypothesis at those sites — and I’ve been deleted without explanation by the insecure owners of those wannabe-Best Science sites. But you get to post here non-stop 24/7. See the difference?

    Well, I do give Anthony credit for having a relatively open posting policy. However, without knowing the details of what has been deleted on the sites that you speak of, I can’t comment on their policy. I have certainly seen quite a few “skeptical” comments on those sites. And, I also might note that even here, those of us espousing our point of view have to put up with a considerable amount of name-calling such as use of the term “alarmists” whereas we have to be very careful of the terms that we can use.

    Finally, it’s amusing to see you claim the charts and graphs I’ve posted are “deceptive” — when you didn’t utter a peep about John Philip’s chart @14:34:45. [Try changing the units in that chart from tenths of a degree to degrees, or start the ppm of CO2 at zero on the y-axis, and you’ll see what I mean.]

    You are just inventing silly arbitrary reasons why you think that chart is deceptive. Those are distinguishable from REAL scientifically-justifiable reasons. In fact, that chart is quite informative…It plots temperatures over the full range of the available global temperature record (which is also most of the range over which CO2 has been rising significantly) and it uses a relative temperature and CO2 scale that would correspond to a transient climate response of about 2.4 C / doubling, which is a realistic number if not even a little on the high side of the best estimate.

  211. Mark T says:

    Of course, you still have yet to invent a method that increases the energy, i.e., where the “gain” due to feedback comes from, to keep from violating the law conservation of energy.

    There is a source of energy, Mark. It is a star that we commonly refer to as “the sun”.

    It is all nonsense, Joel. The only thing that can happen is an imbalance between incoming and outgoing energy (to the earth) plus work.

    Yes…The greenhouse effect indeed causes an imbalance between incoming and outgoing energy, which cause the earth to warm until such a point as the balance is again restored (by the Stefan-Boltzmann T^4 law).

  212. There is a source of energy, Mark. It is a star that we commonly refer to as “the sun”.
    Alright, I made this clear TWICE now but you clearly do not understand. The sun is the source of the INPUT to the system, you need to provide a mechanism to “amplify” the energy supplied by the sun. Get it? Try to think rationally and read what I have said, it is basic physics: the sun supplies X amount of energy, the earth (system) can retain that energy (a mechanism similar to an RC circuit), or expel that energy. In any case, the most that energy can increase is represented by the gain of a STABLE feedback system. In order to increase that energy above and beyond what is simply stored, there needs to be another source of power, i.e., something other than the sun.

    Yes…The greenhouse effect indeed causes an imbalance between incoming and outgoing energy, which cause the earth to warm until such a point as the balance is again restored (by the Stefan-Boltzmann T^4 law).
    BINGO! That’s a first order system with a feedback constant of less than unity – a basic physical concept, devoid of any divergence. Now, again, what is the source that allows the divergent behavior you explained in your quote above?

    Mark

  213. The point you don’t get Joel, is that there needs to be some other source of power besides the sun to do this:

    Of course, if we had assumed instead that the first order effect of the water vapor feedback on a 1 degree rise in temperature is to produce an additional rise of greater than 1 deg, say 1.5 degrees.

    I dare you to find that source. Keep in mind, you cannot void the laws of thermodynamics. Really, I dare you.

    Mark

    • Mark T, while I’m not a fan of Joel, in the case in the case of a hypothetical positive water vapor feedback, Joel is right and you are wrong. Think of the added water vapor as simply decreasing the Earth’s albedo. No additional source of energy necessary.

  214. jeez says:

    Mark T, while I’m not a fan of Joel, in the case in the case of a hypothetical positive water vapor feedback, Joel is right and you are wrong. Think of the added water vapor as simply decreasing the Earth’s albedo. No additional source of energy necessary.

    However, a hypothetical does not a reality make, and the devil is always in the details.

    I think that there is a race between the additional outgoing LWR absorption by H2O in the atmosphere and the increase in albedo that clouds produce along with the increased transport of energy to higher places in the atmosphere where some (perhaps a great deal) can be radiated upwards when that H2O undergoes a phase change.

    • I don’t agree that the hypothetical positive feedback exists. I was merely correcting incorrect understandings of such.

  215. Mark: Of course, in the real world, the divergence doesn’t continue forever. Have I or anyone else ever claimed that Venus is at infinite temperature? (In fact, in a previous thread I had to explain to someone why it was incorrect to believe that if Venus has had a greenhouse effect instability, we should see its temperature continuing to rise today.)

    Think of a rigid-rod pendulum. If you turn it upside-down and try to balance it there, you will find this very hard because that is a point of unstable equilibrium. However, once it starts swinging, it won’t run off to infinity and, in fact, in any realistic system with friction, it will eventually settle down to the stable equilibrium point at the bottom.

    You are arguing points that the scientific community (including myself) understands. At best you have some quibbles over pedagogy which you are amplifying to try to make it appear that the scientists don’t know what they are talking about. They / we may not be thinking about it in exactly the narrow confines of your system theory / control theory point-of-view but they / we have the science right.

  216. Mark T, while I’m not a fan of Joel, in the case in the case of a hypothetical positive water vapor feedback, Joel is right and you are wrong. Think of the added water vapor as simply decreasing the Earth’s albedo. No additional source of energy necessary.

    Sorry, but you are both wrong and I’ll explain. First, both of you are missing my point, and simply decreasing the albedo merely serves to increase the imbalance between input and output. No amplification, just a simple change in the flux. Here’s a technical explanation of what I’m referring to:

    Given an input X and output Y, for a first order system indexed at time n the relevant input/output relationship for a first order, single pole system can be expressed as

    Y(n) = X(n) + a*Y(n-1)

    The transfer function, i.e., the function that relates the input X to the output Y is found as:

    Y(n) – a*Y(n-1) = X(n)

    then taking the z-transform we have

    Y(z) – a*z^-1*Y(z) = X(z)
    Y(z) * (1 – a*z^-1) = X(z)
    H(z) = Y(z)/X(z) = 1/(1 – a*z^-1)

    where z is a delay element (immaterial how large for this point). You can clearly see the 1/(1-a) magnitude component that I’ll admit Joel understands.

    This is intentionally simple, but exactly what is being described. The feedback term a is positive always, so questions of “positive” or “negative” feedback revolve solely around whether there is a + or – in the above equation(s). Now, this equation simply says that at time n, the input X is added to the output Y from time n-1, after it is multiplied by constant a.

    If a is less than unity the system is unconditionally stable. This is the same as saying that all of the energy stored at time n-1 fed back into the system at time n, but there is some loss along the way (due to work, for example). If a is unity the system is conditionally stable, i.e., it is stable only at certain frequencies, then this equation says that all of the energy stored in the system at time n-1 is fed back into the system at time n. Simple enough. If a is greater than unity, then the system is unstable. Joel seems to understand this, too. 2 for 2 so far.

    However, this is where both Joel and you go wrong, jeez. In last example, this is the same as saying that all the energy in the system at time n-1 is added back into the system at time n, but increased by a factor of a-1, i.e., there’s a-1 additional units of energy that were created above and beyond what was added by the input. Say for example that a = 2, and at time n=0 s there are 100 units of energy in the system (Joules, actually) and the input is 100 Joules every second (Watts). Plugging and chugging for time n-1 you get:

    Y(1) = X(1) + 2*Y(n-1) = 100 + 2*100 = 300

    Now, we just added 100 J to the system, yet somehow there are 200 extra J in the system. We just created energy in violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. This is what I mean when a MUST be less than unity.

    Joel and you are wrong simply because this is not possible, at least, not without an additional energy source. Feedback is not an energy “source,” it merely operates on existing energy.

    This is a simple concept, twice I’ve tried to explain. If you cannot be bothered to research the physical implications of your statements, then I’m sorry, but you aren’t interested in the truth.

    Mark

  217. That last equation should have had a 0 instead of n-1, i.e.:

    Y(1) = X(1) + 2*Y(0) = 100 + 2*100 = 300

    Mark

  218. Oh, also, first law of thermodynamics. That’s what happens when you don’t review before submitting.

    Mark

  219. Yes the hypothetical feedback simply modifies the flux and the radiative equilibrium.

    Exactly. Oh, and jeez, I was not referring to you when I mentioned not wanting to learn the truth…

    Mark

  220. Mark,

    There is something that is getting messed up in the translation between the world of the climate system and your world of control theory that is causing some miscommunication. I can’t right now figure out why your translation into the control theory lingo is yielding something that you say is impossible within that framework. And, part of it may have to do with the way the term “feedback” is being used to mean subtley different things in the two fields.

    Could you be clearer on what you think physically cannot happen in the climate system world? For example, are you saying that a greenhouse effect instability such as is believed to have happened on Venus cannot occur and therefore that the current theory of what happened on Venus is incorrect? Or, are you just saying that the temperature won’t continue rising forever (which I think we will all agree on)?

    Richard Sharpe:

    However, a hypothetical does not a reality make, and the devil is always in the details.

    Well, I think we all basically agree that an instability involving the water vapor feedback is not in the cards for the Earth. So, the question is necessarily a hypothetical one…although it can be made more concrete by talking about the case of Venus where in fact such an instability is believed to have occurred in the past.

  221. Joel

    I understand that you appear much more comfortable with theoretical science than historical facts, but bearing in mind that I’m generally pretty nice to you I would appreciate an answer to my earlier post repeated for your convenience

    “I said in part earlier;

    “Can I ask you a direct question-Do you believe our current temperatures and current ice melt is unprecedented in mans recorded time on earth? I will assume you know enough about history to say no (but if you believe otherwise please say so).”

    You replied (in part);

    “To be honest, everyone has their areas they like to read up more or less on and this is an area that I haven’t really kept up with in detail as it has not been one of the more compelling questions in my view.”

    As a historian, this is my main area (apart from sea levels) and surely the question”Have we been this way before?” is at the very heart of the AGW debate? Closely tied in to the AGW belief where everything these days is ‘unprecedented’ when it’s not, is the notion that we can parse fractions of a degree back to 1850 to demonstrate that temperatures are rising (marginally)

    Can I again ask you some direct questions?

    1) If you were to be presented with evidence that demonstrated that we have been this way before throughout our recorded history, would that give you pause for serious thought?
    2) If you were to become convinced that the 1850 records onwards-based on a tiny number of unreliable and ever changing surface records- were not a scientific basis on which to ‘prove’ a warming hypotheses, would that give you pause for serious thought?

    Incidentally, I don’t know if you caught my post on the other thread thanking you for one of your links which appears to show that Charles Keeling believed the 1800 year tide cycle was of more consequence than co2 in forcing our climate?

    Thanks for your time here

    TonyB

  222. Mark T says:

    Joel and you are wrong simply because this is not possible, at least, not without an additional energy source. Feedback is not an energy “source,” it merely operates on existing energy.

    I suspect that the AGW crowd thinks that the gain is so close to 1 that CO2 can push it over the edge into instability.

  223. Since the atmospheric pole temperatures remain cold enough to freeze alcohol (don’t go there, I am just trying to make a point), melt is likely caused by wind and sea temperature sources. Has the wind pattern been unusual in the Arctic? Yes. Strong patterns pushed a LOT of old multi-year ice out to warmer temperatures, leading to a fresh and more abundant supply of thinner less aged multi-year ice. Has the Atlantic source Arctic Oscillation been in its warm phase? Yep again. That should, by itself, predict thinner ice. Why is this such a puzzle? There are well understood natural processes at work that have great affects and that can be modeled. It isn’t as glamorous as CO2 and it would be hard to convince people to tax the Earth Goddess, whatever her name is (Gia? Gaia?).

  224. Back to the topic of Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent, I done a few more charts and (understanding that the Southern Hemisphere sea ice is increasing and seems to have already reached the peak melt-back this year, one month ahead of schedule) …

    Here is the monthly NH sea ice extent data back to 1972.

    I imagine someone could produce a model which shows there will be no sea ice at the pole on September 10th, 30 years from now, but I wouldn’t believe it.

    Here is the seasonally-adjusted NH sea ice extent.

    Here is the anomaly chart.

    Here is the average seasonality in the NH sea ice extent. One might want to print this chart out and keep track of where we are each month when the NSIDC puts out the monthly data a few days after month end.

    Here are a number of selected years. Note we are now at a slightly higher sea ice extent than 1974 for example. 1979 was the highest sea ice extent year although 1996 beats it out for the lowest melt-back.

    There are a number of recent papers which propose the NH sea ice extent is driven by the AMO and there is certainly a suggestive (although not clear enough) relationship between the two. The AMO has recently gone negative for the first time on a sustained basis since 1994.

  225. TonyB:

    As a historian, this is my main area (apart from sea levels) and surely the question”Have we been this way before?” is at the very heart of the AGW debate?

    As a physicist, I haven’t found this the most interesting question. It is certainly of some interest…but ultimately it doesn’t tell us that much. For one thing, as evidence in favor of AGW, it is pretty circumstantial (i.e., one could argue that the fact that it is warmer now than it has been in 1300 years is a coincidence). For evidence in understanding climate variability, there seems to be enough uncertainty in the natural forcing variations (such as solar) to tell us that much. You learn more from, say, the ice age – interglacial transitions where forcings and temperature changes can actually be better estimated (because they are larger).

    I’m not saying that I am not in favor of its being studied…It just doesn’t tend to be the area that I am attracted to reading a whole lot about.

    1) If you were to be presented with evidence that demonstrated that we have been this way before throughout our recorded history, would that give you pause for serious thought?

    As answered in my post above, I don’t think this tells you that much without also having better knowledge of the forcings during that time. Of course, we are better able to measure today how the solar irradiance is changing…so we have more confidence in saying whether or not we believe it to be a factor now than we can say about back then when we only have some proxy data for solar variations.

    2) If you were to become convinced that the 1850 records onwards-based on a tiny number of unreliable and ever changing surface records- were not a scientific basis on which to ‘prove’ a warming hypotheses, would that give you pause for serious thought?

    I think there is a reason why the IPCC concluded that the warming since 1850 is “unequivocal” and that is because it is seen from such a diversity of different pieces of data, not just the instrumental temperature record.

    Incidentally, I don’t know if you caught my post on the other thread thanking you for one of your links which appears to show that Charles Keeling believed the 1800 year tide cycle was of more consequence than co2 in forcing our climate?

    I’m not sure which link of mine that was in. [I linked to a few different things…including a Newsbuster article, which is not usually my favorite source of info, but was useful because it actually contained a less cherry-picked list of popular media articles than was in the IBC(?) report.] I did go to google and glance at the Keeling paper from around ~2000 that you seem to be talking about and it didn’t really look like he was claiming it to be that much of an either-or thing, i.e., he was suggesting that there might be some cycles on top of the general warming trend due to CO2 but I didn’t have the time to read it in much detail.

    Thanks for your time here

    Thank you for your supportive words. And, just as an FYI, I am going to be mainly away from my computer for the next several days, so please don’t take it personally if I am not able to respond.

  226. Richard Sharpe:

    I suspect that the AGW crowd thinks that the gain is so close to 1 that CO2 can push it over the edge into instability.

    I haven’t heard that argument made, have you? It certainly is not what the IPCC is basing their projections on. (It could have something to do with Hansen’s thinking when he talks about the possibility of some sort of runaway, but my impression is that he was more concerned about large carbon cycle feedbacks…which I suppose you can lump together with this in a way, but I would tend to think of them as somewhat distinct.)

    Mark T: I haven’t found the time to think much more about the issues that you raised with your control theory statement of the problem. One thing that did occur to me that could be a source of confusion though: The use of the term “feedbacks” in climate science is sort of at a meta-level that is a level removed from actual energy in – energy out considerations. I.e., the question being asked is the feedback on the change to the EQUILIBRIUM temperature…The fact that such an equilibrium temperature does exist at each stage is due to the Stefan-Boltzmann Eqn., which can probably be thought of as a strong negative feedback down at the energy in – energy out level. So, there are sort of two different levels of discussion here from a control theory point-of-view…and hence the potential for confusion.

    At any rate, I am quite confident that once you iron it all out, you will find that the standard understanding of the feedback effects, including ones strong enough to lead to a runaway instability on Venus, do not violate the Laws of Thermodynamics. I think if such a violation did occur, it would have been already obvious before any translation into the control theory lingo…I think instead any problem is in the translation.

  227. Mark T you need to rethink your analysis.
    Consider the following:

    You have a black surface and shine a visible light on it (100 units), the temperature of the surface will rise until it emits 100 units to achieve balance.
    Now put a dichroic mirror (transmits 100% visible, reflects 50% IR) between the light source and the surface. The surface temperature will rise until the IR leaving the mirror balances the incoming, at that point 200 units are leaving the surface, 100 units are being reflected, and 200 are incident on the surface (100 vis, 100 IR).

  228. “including ones strong enough to lead to a runaway instability on Venus, do not violate the Laws of Thermodynamics.”

    Yeah, riight, the laws of Thermodynamics are different on other planets, pfft.

    The laws have got us thus far in our understanding of TD/physics , please unlighted us(me) on your bizarro world of physics( if it’s fourth law… just don’t go there) .
    And when will the perpetual motion machine be on sale? More energy out then you put in? WoW, even better then a perpetual motion machine. A CO2 reactor that gives out more then it takes in and all this in a open system, who’da thunk?

    Closed system transfers energy to and from its surroundings, the earth is not a closed system and radiates the heat out into the cold, cold space. Hot to cold and not the other way around.
    I’ve worked in the heating field (and water management and back flow testing) for many years and had to study physics laws(among others) to understand transfer and circulation of heat to air/water in a closed system.
    Cloud cover is the only mechanism that will slow down the heat transfer from escaping out of our atmosphere AND at the same time block out energy coming in from the sun, that’s about as close to a greenhouse scenario as it gets. The rest of your speculations on Venus are absurd and needing of real scientific proof, not some cockamamie run away CO2 Hansonism comparison with Earth and Venus.
    The atmosphere is denser on Venus and so are the gas concentrations(CO2, from the sun), and of course the closer proximity to the sun don’t hurt.

    Abstract-I do have a hunch that when we were centrifugally spun out from our sun. We(earth) were connected or formed at the sometime as Venus, spun out and separated. One spinning one way and the other going the other. Like a molten eddy that can spin in two different directions coming from the mouth of a river, counter spinning, one left(away from the sun) and one right(closer to the sun), the moon being a piece of the slag left over from this event and still faces the sun religiously.
    Venus was never a planet meant to have life, the sun has been cooling since the dawn of it’s birth in the galaxy, not heating, so it never had the chance, it’s been too hot. Earth is right in that sweet spot to form water(H2O)/CO2/salts/minerals/amino acids, to mention a few, that our sun bless’s on us.

  229. Lance says:

    Yeah, riight, the laws of Thermodynamics are different on other planets, pfft.

    And yet, that is not what I said, is it? Try reading the sentence please.

    Closed system transfers energy to and from its surroundings, the earth is not a closed system and radiates the heat out into the cold, cold space. Hot to cold and not the other way around.

    Cloud cover is the only mechanism that will slow down the heat transfer from escaping out of our atmosphere AND at the same time block out energy coming in from the sun, that’s about as close to a greenhouse scenario as it gets.

    You know not of what you speak. Try looking in the thread on the greenhouse primer for posts about “Gerlich” to find out why their claim that the greenhouse effect somehow violates the Laws of Thermodynamics are totally bogus. The fact that heat flows from hot to cold does not rule out the possibility that the presence of an IR-absorbing atmosphere can cause that to earth to lose heat at a slower rate than in its absence. All the flows are still from hot to cold.

  230. Too old a blog for many to see this

    Peak ice date on filtered data are: –

    12th Mar 2003
    05th Mar 2004
    04th Mar 2005
    07th Mar 2006
    05th Mar 2006
    11th Mar 2008

    Looking at the graph, 13th/14th seems about right for 2009

  231. Since I have the data, twiddle,

    Here is a mimic of the parallel year graph shown by the data providers but with the wobbles removed.

    I think it makes the situation clearer. Ice extent now seems to be following 2004

  232. Well it’s about a week later and the ice is not, unsurprisingly, anywhere near the average, in fact it lost a huge chunk yesterday with the preliminary JAXA result.

    I wonder if Michael Asher has posted anything about this at his blog on Dailytech?

    Regards

    Andy

  233. Ice extent continues to decline, now approaching the 2006-2007 level. In fact it’s running away so fast from the 1979-2000 average it makes you think even it is trying to show how Mr Will is wrong :D

    Regards

    Andy

  234. What is the relevance of this expedition that is measuring the ice along some route? Is this route arbitrary? If not, what was the criteria for picking it? What will this data be compared against? Is there prior data from the same location? Does anyone know what the thickness should be? Will this be a yearly event now? Is the data the team is sending back daily being reported somewhere? If not, what’s the secret? Any answers? I won’t hold my breath so take your time.

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