Polar Ice Worries – North and South

Guest post by Steven Goddard

From The Washington Post :

Norway’s foreign minister, Jonas Gahr Stoere, painted a stark picture of the climate change in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. “The ice is melting,” Stoere said. “We should all be worried.”

According to the University of Illinois, Antarctic sea ice area is nearly 30% above normal and the anomaly has reached 1,000,000 km2.  You could almost fit Texas and California (or 250 Rhode Islands) inside Antarctica’s excess sea ice.


http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.south.jpg

According to NSIDC, over the last 30 years Antarctic sea ice extent has been growing at a rate of nearly 5% per decade, and set a record maximum last year.

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/s_plot.png

And as you can see in the NSIDC image below, some Emperor Penguins have an extra long walk to their nesting ground – due to excess ice in the Weddell Sea and around West Antarctica.
https://i0.wp.com/nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_daily_extent.png

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_daily_extent.png
https://i2.wp.com/imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/PTGPOD/OSTID-00001081-001%7EEmperor-Penguins-Walking-on-Sea-Ice-of-the-Weddell-Sea-Antarctica-Posters.jpg
Well fed polar explorers, dressed properly for the cold climate

Sadly though, biologists using computer models have forecast that some Penguins are headed for extinction due to loss of Antarctic sea ice.  Maybe that gives the males something to think about as they huddle in -70C weather all winter long, trying to keep from freezing to death or dropping their eggs.  I suggest a Catlin-like expedition to the South Pole for biologists.

Male Emperor Penguins huddling to stay warm

The 30% excess of ice has not been widely reported, but there has been lots of talk in the press the last couple of days about ice breaking off the Wilkins Ice Shelf – the broken area being about one pixel in the NSIDC image above.  Looking at the Wilkins picture below, I’m having a very tough time seeing any evidence of melting around the fractures, or any evidence of water pooling on the surface.  Normally, such fractures are caused by tensile or shear stress, likely due to a change in currents.  Ice melts from the edges towards the center, and that ice is very thick – up to 200 metres.  Blaming the clean fractures seen below on warming and melting seems highly questionable – at best.  I suggest bringing some actual structural and mechanical engineers into the discussion – how’s that for a novel idea in the AGW world?
https://i0.wp.com/www.wearesurvivalmachines.com/shared/images/antarctic_sheet_L.jpg
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WilkinsIceSheet/images/wilkins_aerial_photo_bas.jpg

Meanwhile in the Arctic, sea ice area is about 500,000 km2 below normal, which means that global sea ice area (Arctic + Antarctic) is about 500,000 km2 above normal.  You could fit Dr. Hansen’s home state of Pennsylvania plus Al Gore’s home state of Tennessee plus Gordon Brown’s Scotland plus Dorothy’s Kansas inside the excess global sea ice area.  Sounds like a real global meltdown, doesn’t it?
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg

Perhaps we should be worried – about those poor penguins struggling across an extra 200 miles of ice.

129 thoughts on “Polar Ice Worries – North and South

  1. Imagine how much larger the positive Antarctic sea ice extent would be if all of those “Texas-sized” slabs hadn’t calved-off over the past decade or so!

  2. Sadly though, biologists using computer models have forecast that some Penguins are headed for extinction due to loss of Antarctic sea ice. Maybe that gives the males something to think about as they huddle in -70C weather all winter long, trying to keep from freezing to death or dropping their eggs. I suggest a Catlin-like expedition to the South Pole for biologists.

    If you read the article you linked to you’d see that the data was collected by biologists on the ice in Adelie Land and that the concern was about that particular colony, which has shown population crashes in the past. It’s also part of the coast which doesn’t show an increase on the map you posted. A shame that the facts get in the way of a good rant!

  3. Wait for the next winter.
    It will be worse than this one and arctic ice will reach record levels.

  4. “Sounds like a real global meltdown, doesn’t it?”

    Damn when I think the models don’t predict such a global meltdown, I feel much conforted in ther validity.

    Why not mention the fact that this is exactly what is predicted?

  5. Here’s a question for ice watchers: what is the total area and mass of Antarctic ice shelves, and what percentage of these have been lost due to the recent cracks?

  6. Steven,
    Nice work. I especially like the “Well fed polar explorers, dressed properly for the cold climate”, and the comparisons of area to the various states, and the “ice breaking off the Wilkins Ice Shelf – the broken area being about one pixel in the NSIDC image.”
    I advocate globes for reference rather than printed maps in an atlas because – in the US at least – the countries of Europe generally get a full page map while other places such as the US or Canada or Africa or Middle America are shown at very different scales. Many folks grow up thinking France and Africa are the same size. Thus, your comparisons are greatly appreciated.
    Good charts, nice photos – well put together.

    If we could just get some of the politicians to read some of this information instead of spouting off as H. Clinton and C. Gregoire have done this week.

    Someone posted this the other day, and it fits these folks:
    “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick
    themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” Sir Winston Churchill
    John

  7. Steven,

    This analysis is somewhat misleading. Based on data from the NSIDC (which you can download yourself here: ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/), March 2009 had a global extent anomaly of 0.216 million km (relative to the 1979-2000 baseline that NSIDC uses), and February 2009 had a global extent anomaly of -0.728 million km. You can see the global sea ice trend over the past 30 years with the latest two months highlighted here:

    The decline in global sea ice area is statistically significant, as per Lucia’s analysis:

    While it is true that Antarctic sea ice is unusually high this month (and has generally, though not significantly, been growing), that really doesn’t have any bearing on what is happening to Arctic sea ice. Combining both into a global sea ice trend really isn’t that meaningful, since the two out-of-sync periodic datasets result in a lot of monthly noise. The folks at Cryosphere where you got your graphs explain this pretty well:

    “In the context of climate change, global sea ice area may not be the most relevant indicator. Almost all global climate models project a decrease in the Northern Hemisphere sea ice area over the next several decades under increasing greenhouse gas scenarios. But, the same model responses of the Southern Hemisphere sea ice are less certain. In fact, there have been some recent studies suggesting the amount of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere may initially increase as a response to atmospheric warming through increased evaporation and subsequent snowfall onto the sea ice.”

    If you are interested in the trend in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice separately, you can see them at:

    and

    respectively.

    Look at the trends in the data. Singling out individual months in noisy data sets makes it too easy to cherry-pick an anomaly to make a point.

  8. Norway’s Foreign Minister? Now there’s an unbiased scientific observer. These AGW folk seem to be so focused on staying on message that they’re missing what’s really been happening with polar ice. When will they awaken? When the ice sheets start to cover North America and Europe again?

    Meanwhile, one of President Obama’s science experts(?) is proposing, as reported in this AP story ( http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D97ECHLG1&show_article=1 ), that we consider geoengineering as a possible step to take in solving the problem of warming. {What problem? When did warm become a problem?} Perhaps John Holdren ought to get out of politics and go back to physics. Last time such silliness abounded was in the 70’s when a looney idea of spreading soot over the Arctic ice was being talked about as a means of preventing a new ice age.

  9. Actually, closely reading of the articles/studies on penguins does’nt refer to extinctions, but rater, “local extinction”, a process where they move their rooking locations southward or northward depending on climate change.
    There are areas that have been studied where some species gave up a loction thousands of years ago, but the species lives on.

    Gotta use these politically correct scientific terms that convey one meaning (extinction) while not telling lies.

  10. So, Anthony, I have a question:

    The graph of Sea Ice content you have posted on the side bar, is that arctic sea ice or total global sea ice? From what has been presented in this article, the arctic sea ice deficiency appears to be made up in the antarctic sea ice.

  11. For the picture of the male Emperor Penguins huddling to stay warm, I think it is fake. If you look at it it looks like a map of the lower 48 US. Flip the picture, rotate it a bit and and strech and it looks like the USofA.

  12. Zeke Hausfather makes some cogent points, but those comments make it even more puzzling that the those promoting the global warming hypothesis continue with great gusto to release emotive news releases about the Antarctic’s shelves breaking off BECAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING.

    If they have confidence in their GCM (and it would appear they should not) they would surely find the phenomenon they trumpet rather a nuisance since it confounds their “increase in Antarctic ice through global warming” thesis

  13. If only those damn pinguins could hold on to some floating ice, that could give a prime picture to show the WORLD they are in grave danger. Wait! Darn, pinguins only have wings, they can’t cling!!! @#&^%^$#@%

  14. I suggest bringing some actual structural and mechanical engineers into the discussion – how’s that for a novel idea in the AGW world?

    The interesting thing is that ice has very little strength in tension, and is very weak if stressed in bending. If you have ever seen those dramatic Karate demonstrations where the martial arts master breaks a stack of ice blocks, it is a classic example of a stage illusion that exploits exactly that weakness in ice. Long blocks of ice as used in those demonstrations can barely support their own weight when supported at their ends, and all the martial arts master needs to do is shock the top block enough to initiate a crack in its lower surface. Once that is accomplished all the work is done by gravity and the ice itself.

    It is actually remarkable that large floating ice sheets are able to resist tidal flexing. The breakage of large slabs is to be expected.

    Larry

  15. To forestall the obvious question of “how could global sea ice be decreasing significantly when Antarctic sea ice is increasing”, it is useful to look at the trends in each. Over the past 30 years, Arctic sea ice has been declining at a rate of 0.516 million km per decade, while Antarctic sea ice has been increasing at a rate of 0.125 million km per decade. This means that global sea ice is decreasing at 0.391 million km per decade.

    You might object, saying that there has been a fundamental shift in the last few years, and using data from 1979 to present obscures this change. However, if we use data from 2001 to present, for example, the rate of decline in global sea ice is even greater: 0.765 million km per decade. Granted, its too soon to tell if the last decade was anomolous, just as its too soon to tell if the last few months were anomolous.

  16. “The ice is melting,” Stoere said. “We should all be worried.”
    The ice is melting every spring, Mr. minister.

  17. Wow, I owe Flanagan a huge debt of gratitude. I had never before realized that the warming models had predicted a steadily increasing ice sheet in the antarctic and a recovering ice sheet in the arctic. In fact, silly me, I mistakenly thought they had predicted just the opposite. My world view is turned upside down.

  18. Phil. (11:26:14) :
    If you read the article you linked to you’d see that the data was collected by biologists on the ice in Adelie Land and that the concern was about that particular colony, which has shown population crashes in the past. It’s also part of the coast which doesn’t show an increase on the map you posted. A shame that the facts get in the way of a good rant!

    Reading that article confuses me, as it says this:

    Certain predictions even suggested that the geographic range of Antarctic penguins may shrink following climate warming because the continent limits their movement south. Over the last 50 years, climate change has been most pronounced in the Antarctic Peninsula, where Terre Adelie is located. In the future, the Ross Sea-where sea ice actually has increased in recent years-may be the last sanctuary for penguins.

    But Terre Adelie is on the other side of the continent from the Antarctic Peninsula, an area with average or above average sea ice.

  19. Hey, Penguins in danger because of too much ice, Polar Bears in danger because of too little (at least that’s what we’re being told)?

    Obviously these animals find themselves at the wrong Pole!

    Solution: Noah Ark, 2009 style: ship Bears to Antarctica, and Penguins to the North Pole and Bob’s your uncle.

  20. As a laymen, I don’t understand why warmer temperatures would cause an ice shelf to break off. If I place a block of ice outside in the summer time, its sides will melt down until the center is exposed and eventually melts… but it won’t just collapse at some threshold.

    I realize that Antarctica is not just one uniform block of ice, but I have difficulty imagining that slowly rising temperatures can cause major breaks. Can someone explain how this mechanism works?

    Great site by the way, at least in this neophyte’s eyes!

  21. Phil,

    The Terre Adelie Colony referred to in the Penguin extinction article has normal sea ice in the NSIDC map.

    Zeke,

    This article starts with a quote from a government official about declining Antarctic ice, yet every UIUC and NSIDC graph shows increasing Antarctic Ice. March ice is the most interesting because that is near the minimum, and it also shows the fastest increase on NSIDC maps.

    So no, my article is not misleading – unlike most of the ice nonsense being propagated by the media.

  22. Well the Wilkins ice shelf is on the West side of the Antarctic Peninsula, at about 70 deg South, so it just out into the Southern Ocean, and that southern ocean just happens to go sloshing back and forth twice a day, through the Drake Passage soth of South America; which build up a large tidal bore as the Earth Rotates Westward underneath the tidal bulge. And the Wilkins shelf is floating, so that tidal bulge goes right underneath the ice shelf and lifts it twice a day. Is it any wonder it breaks. It broke again in the last two years, and I have a picture from Svend Hendriksen in Greenland that proves that the adjacent piece broke off about 50 years ago and is already grown back but thinner than the neighborhood (50 years less precipitation).

    Besides the total Antarctic floating ice shelves are negligible compared to the total area of Arctic sea ice that melts every single year; so ice berg calving in Antarctica is a non event.

  23. The graph of Sea Ice content you have posted on the side bar, is that arctic sea ice or total global sea ice? From what has been presented in this article, the arctic sea ice deficiency appears to be made up in the antarctic sea ice.

    the graph on the side is for the arctic. you can see that, as the maximum is around March and the minimum in September. it would be about the other way round for the antarctic and a pretty chaotic graph for global extent.

    the antarctic can NOT “make up” the loss in the arctic. it can t prevent local feed back loops in the arctic. and a rather random process can NOT counterbalance a clear TREND.

    imagine this:
    you have a monthly fixed income, and occasionally win a minor price in the lottery.

    now for the past 30 years, your fixed income has been nearly always decreasing, and the rate of this loss is accelerating. on the other hand, you won the lottery twice over the last 3 years, and currently have slightly more money in your briefcase, than you have on average. no need to worry? just hope for another lottery win?

  24. Cryosphere’s chart data shown in the post look reasonable, that is until they adjust it.

    Let’s just call that site Adjustosphere Today because they’re tampering with the data all the time.

    Let’s just see whether or not there’s a big Arctic meltdown this year.

  25. Your link to a forecast that some penguins are headed for extinction is based on the latest IPCC rates of sea ice melting. I think that means the 2007 report but it doesn’t say. French research began in the 1960s and they use anecdotal evidence from the 1970s.

    Here is a quote:
    “Over the last 50 years, climate change has been most pronounced in the Antarctic Peninsula, where Terre Adelie is located.”

    All this leads to some confusion. Did Terre Adelie get moved? Isn’t it in East Antarctica – nowhere near the Antarctic Peninsula? Closer to Australia than to Chile? The NSIDC map you provide shows ice along the area where I think they are writing about is at least at the median extent or better.

    Anyway this study seems to be more of a computer game played with rules made up by the IPCC and has nothing to do with reality. Well, in the following sense it does: If their IPCC inspired numbers ever do materialize then they, with some uncertainty, think they know what will happen.

    Meanwhile, they don’t seem to know where they are, that the ice isn’t going away, nor what might happen to the penguin population if the climate turns suddenly cooler. I can see a new request for funding!

  26. Its not the extent of ice, silly. Its not even the area of ice, its the AGE of ice thats now important. And when the age of ice approaches long term normals, then it’ll be the VOLUME of ice that is alarming. And when volume approaches normal, then the crisis will be because of catastrophic DENSITY declines and so on and so on until finally someone pulls the funding plug on the AGW creature.

  27. Phil. (11:26:14) :

    If you read the article you linked to you’d see that the data was collected by biologists on the ice in Adelie Land and that the concern was about that particular colony, which has shown population crashes in the past. It’s also part of the coast which doesn’t show an increase on the map you posted. A shame that the facts get in the way of a good rant!

    Actually, the article does not really make that distinction immediately clear, and only once do they mention Terre Adelei. Nowhere do they point out that it is not widespread nor that this particular population has been subject to crashes in the past nor that overall, Antarctica ice is way above average.

    I guess you are correct, it is a shame that the facts get in the way of a good rant, eh?

    Mark

  28. @ Zeke Hausfather (11:35:29) :

    When you link to images such as those graphs but don’t include the original posting from the blog or other website being referenced, it puts the data out of context.

    For all we know, Lucia posted the graphic as an example of junk data. I’ve seen people deliberately do this just to throw out disinformation. To avoid any possibility of this, please include more details, such as the actual article, before posting an image.

  29. the antarctic can NOT “make up” the loss in the arctic. it can t prevent local feed back loops in the arctic. and a rather random process can NOT counterbalance a clear TREND.

    Can’t or doesn’t? Sure it can. Suppose the Antarctic ice shelf grows so much that sea levels fall. Arctic ice floats, so if it melts there is no net change in sea level.

    But you’re probably talking about some sort of hypothetical climate tipping point, aren’t you? Is that what happened in the Holocene Climate Optimum, when temperatures were estimated to be much warmer than today? And how did the polar bears and penguins manage to survive it? Did I hear somebody mention Noah’s Ark?

  30. Dumb questions time:

    1 – If lots of snow falls on a large glacier, part of which is floating, don’t you get “accelerated glacial creep” (!) causing compressive presure on any bits of the floating shelf that happen to butt onto islands? – and thus an increase the the rate at which large chunks break off to float free?

    2- do the various press releases on the wilkins ice bridge and the decrease in 2nd year ice in the arctic look co-ordinated to anyone else?

  31. Re Zeke
    the “Lucia graph” is quite different to the official one

    which keeps unchanged trend until 2001.

  32. John Galt,

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/what-george-will-meant-why-its-wrong/ is the original context over at Lucia’s place. Judge for yourself.

    Steven,

    All Stoere said is that “the ice is melting”, which is correct when discussing trends in Arctic and global sea ice, but not Antarctic. It was the WaPo reporter who added “painted a stark picture of the climate change in the Arctic and Antarctic regions” which is incorrect. After the whole George Will thing, I’m really not that surprised that a WaPo article got the facts wrong on sea ice. I agree that implying that Antarctic sea ice is decreasing is patently false.

    However, it is somewhat misleading to imply that Antarctic sea ice this year is particularly unusual. Its well within two standard deviations of the long term trend, though last year was a bit on the high side. None of this changes the basic facts that Antarctic ice is slightly growing and Arctic sea ice is significantly shrinking over the past 30 years (or 20 years, or 10 years, or 5 years).

  33. David Madsen (11:38:59) :

    Cryosphere Today tracks NH & SH ice individually and global ice. Over the recent several weeks, the global has broken through the 30 year average. View this at:

    The more I study this, the more I realize that ice extent is valuable only for bragging rights. The real question is why is ice increasing of decreasing. If you want to see what’s bleeding ice out of the arctic basin, NSIDC posted a great animation covering some decades showing the huge impact of the transpolar drift stream pushing ice out into the path of the gulf stream:

    For more info, see this:

    http://nsidc.org/seaice/processes/circulation.html

  34. “Ed Zuiderwijk (12:34:40) :

    Hey, Penguins in danger because of too much ice, Polar Bears in danger because of too little (at least that’s what we’re being told)?

    Obviously these animals find themselves at the wrong Pole!

    Solution: Noah Ark, 2009 style: ship Bears to Antarctica, and Penguins to the North Pole and Bob’s your uncle.”

    And We Canadians will cull them along with the seals!!!

  35. Preston Speed (12:36:52) : ice sheets break
    Well, George (12:45:33) answered your question.
    I will only suggest you walk out to the end of a long floating dock and wait for high tide. Now if that dock was made of floating ice — If the sloshing water is a bit warmer the ice will thin and break loose sooner. If the ice is growing some part of it is still going to break loose at some point. In a world climate sense, as George said, in Antarctica this ought to be considered a non event.

  36. Forgive me if this is a little OT, but I’ve been looking for it for some days. New Scientist, January 14th:-
    ” …..scientists should also take a hard look at their techniques, but don’t expect anyone to rush back to reanalyse the data. Science is too competitive to spend time raking over old results.

    This is not the first time …scientists have been criticised for over-egging …results (New Scientist, 21 September 2002, p 38). It probably won’t be the last. But at least there are signs that the self-correcting nature of science will win the day.”

    The first two snips are “neuro”.

  37. Adelaide island is off the west coast of the Western Peninsula of Antarctica, Adelie Land is in East Antarctica south of Australia. At least on my globe.

  38. The Wilkins ice sheet is hundreds of feet thick. Given the low thermal conductivity of ice, it would take an extremely long time for a 1C change in temperature to propagate to the center of the ice sheet.

    The claim that the very thick ice is fracturing due to warming air above, or water below, seems to be grossly incorrect.

  39. Arctic sea ice well above 2007 and heading towards 1979-2000 mean – cant seeany signs of excessive melting there;

    On a lighter note all those penguins standing there for the map of Australia

  40. Jerry,

    Rotate the penguin cluster a half turn clockwise and its clearly a map of Australia. Penguins wouldn’t know how to do a USA impression, but they would be more familiar with Australia, given that its in the correct hemisphere.

    Rob R

  41. Zeke,
    Does you mean that we don’t need to worry about sea level rise for the next several decades?

    I mean, if you’re right and (floating) ice at the North Pole melting reduces sea levels and building ice levels at the (land bound) South Pole also reduces sea levels it sounds as if rising sea levels could be one less thing for the doomsayers to bang on about. Am I right?
    The people of the South Pacific will be so relieved.

    And Al Gore gets to put another correction to his film.

  42. If you want to construct a graph that shows a clear correlation and a positive cause and effect relationship I suggest a graph of the number of AGW propaganda pronouncements vs stories on the increasing resistance to cap and trade legislation.

  43. Steven,
    Surely the main contribution to science that we’ve had from Catlin so far is that it’s now very obvious that rising surface air temperatures are not the main cause of melting ice at the north pole.

    Given that they’ve documented what sounds like significant ice break up at -35degC I’m inclined to agree that a rise to -34degC won’t make that much difference.

  44. Couple of points seem clear?

    1) The Antartic has not really changed in one way or another for as long as living memory yes?
    2) Artic ice has dropped significantly from, say, 1960s & 70s yes? We can’t deny that?

    So…….the question is, does the Artic ice levels indicate an unusual change, something we should be worried about?

    Well…my problem with the ‘look at the artic’ situation is that we have photographs of the artic in the 30s that show it in a similar position to today, vast stretches of ice free areas in the artic summer. ‘Vanishing’ island appeared in the NYT I believe, as evidence of a global climate change, this was in the 1930s remember. And freight companies were talking about how great it would be to use the North West Passage. It all sounds rather familier. And of course it happened before too.

    So it seems that the artic ice depletion is nothing new, and we had this situation barely 70-80yrs ago, before any real CO2 increase due to us. Yet it recovered on its own. Seems the Artic is constantly changing, as one would expect considering the seasonal variables?

    So….we are told that ‘this time its different’ because its melting due to us……but the Antartic has stayed the same all through. Personally, I find the 1930s melting a bit of a awkward one to accept as ‘nothing to do with todays situation’?

    About the Norwegians…..
    Its moot to remember the recent trip by the worlds enviroment ministers to Antartica was organised by the Norwegian government (I had this confirmed by our UK ministers office) and by a strange quirk of fate they all arrived there just after Steigs ‘Antartic is warming after all’ report had done the rounds. One wonders about the time frame to organise such a jaunt…well….you are talking best part of a year I’d guess. Wonder how long Steigs time frame was…? Ah well, never know.

    And its the Norwegian politico’s that gave Al Gore & the IPCC thier gong.

    The Norwegians do tend to like thier AGW.

    A cynic might say that they, like the British, sitting upon rapidly emptying oil reserves in the North Sea might actually find AGW quite useful politicaly. Becoming energy dependant on Mr Putin and the ‘One’s’ King is prob a bit unnerving. The Brits play this card to turn around the public opposition to nuclear power – we have a carbon bogeyman, better get those 11 nuclear power stations built quickly (..oh…and we will build a load of windfarms while we are at it because we know the public will soon wise up and realise they just don’t perform well enough and we need those nuke stations even more).

    But only a cynic would say that of course. There is no conspiracy. Ignore the man behind the curtain. Move along.

    In truth its rather sad to see scientists who obviously believe in AGW get used by politics. The truth is in the eating of the pudding I think. The politicians TALK about AGW but they don’t DO anything – except use it for revenue and in the case of the Europeans, nuclear power infrastructure. The term ‘useful something’ comes to mind?

  45. “IN the context of climate change, global sea ice area may not be the most relevant indicator. Almost all global climate models project a decrease in the Northern Hemisphere sea ice area over the next several decades under increasing greenhouse gas scenarios. But, the same model responses of the Southern Hemisphere sea ice are less certain. In fact, there have been some recent studies suggesting the amount of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere may initially increase as a response to atmospheric warming through increased evaporation and subsequent snowfall onto the sea ice.”

    Zeke, you used the preceding paragraph in your argument that pretty much sums up my feelings towards the AGW Believers: First, when the Science proves otherwise, then the previously used AGW examples were not ” a relevant indicator.” Secondly, the whole argument for AGW, like the quoted paragraph, is based solely on conjecture, forecasts, scenarios, etc. – Not on Solid, unbiased Science.

  46. Is global (Antarctic + Arctic) sea ice extent (or area) durable ? Or does it decrease, globally ? Or Perhaps increase ?

  47. Mikef,
    “Greens stooges to Nuclear lobby”? Interesting concept.

    I’ve always felt that the most bizarre paradox of the AGW movement was the substitution of an imaginary problem (CO2) for a real one (nuclear waste).

    Interesting times, nonetheless.

  48. So your analysis is “exactly what is predicted” (Flanagan 11:32:42), and “somewhat misleading” (Zeke Hausfather 11:35:29) at the same time! :)

  49. 2 more thoughts about ice melt.

    1) If we accept (as Catlin seem determined to prove) that it’s water temp, not air temp, that melts North Pole ice then surely the only thing that’s important is how much will increasing CO2 raise sea temps?

    I can’t help but think that it’s going to need an awful lot more retained energy (via CO2 natch) to warm the water than to warm the air.

    2) Given that there’s no discernible difference in sea levels (or at the very least we’ve managed to cope OK so far without even trying) following the annual 10m Km2 North Pole melt how can anyone get excited about another 2m – 4m Km2, even if they believe it to be possible?

  50. Isn’t it a bit misleading to compare total area losses when the two areas in question are of a considerable difference? As Climate Change Fraud writes:

    Sea ice at Antarctica is up over 43% since 1980 and we hear nothing in the news, yet Arctic ice is down less than 7% and they’re all over it!

    No idea whether these percentages are right but the post goes on to explain what exactly the IPCC models forecast would happen – an increase of interior ice not sea ice as happening:

    Remember that some of the “models” predicted increased antarctic ice, but they predicted increased “interior ice” due to increased snow fall. None of the models predicted increased sea ice around the antarctic.

    and it also explains how, according to IPCC models, an increase in interior ice could happen as a result of global warming:

    When it gets very cold the air become drier and it snows less, as the temperature warms towards freezing it actually snows more. Since the antarctic rarely even gets close to freezing its understandable that warming would cause more snow fall. Over time compacted snow would lead to more ice.

    (I have not checked the figures myself, but maybe somebody here will check them out; too late in the day for me!)

  51. I love the AGW rules.

    It is OK to claim that both polar ice caps are disappearing, but not OK to present undisputed data which shows that total polar ice area is above normal.

  52. Sorry to hog but there’s a cracking story on the BBC website at
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7977263.stm
    Apparently, amongst other things, a 1m sea level rise will cause problems for Ecuador’s shrimp and fishing industries. Other than fishermen needing another 1m of rope (hardly insurmountable – I’ve got some in my garage that I could Fedex) I can’t think what the problem might be.

    Unless the next headline will be something along the lines of
    “Global Warming Shrimp Drown Horror”. And you thought polar bears had problems.

    If only we’d taught them to swim.

  53. BrianMcL (14:14:30)

    Actually, most sea level rise is supposed to come from thermostatic expansion (warm water takes up more space) not ice melt.

  54. timetochooseagain,
    Do we know how well the models cope with the offset between possible thermostatic expansion vs actual net land based ice build and the measured reduction in floating ice?

    I’d imagine that in a system as complex as the oceans it’s going to be very difficult to determine what the average sea temp is / was / will be.

    Let’s face it, we’ve no idea what the average land temp is and we’ve had thousands of stations measuring it for almost 200 years.

  55. Ed Zuiderwijk (12:34:40) :

    Hey, Penguins in danger because of too much ice, Polar Bears in danger because of too little (at least that’s what we’re being told)?

    Obviously these animals find themselves at the wrong Pole!

    Solution: Noah Ark, 2009 style: ship Bears to Antarctica, and Penguins to the North Pole and Bob’s your uncle.

    I suggest that you use two Arks and run the trips in parallel, – otherwise you will end up with both populations at the same pole at the same time. Which could be quite catastrophic for the Penguins, but, on the other hand, quite satisfying for the Bears.

  56. It’s melting, it’s freezing, it’s melting, it’s freezing… hey, isn’t that what water and ice do when subjected to varying temperatures? Am I missing something? Or is it what happened in “this is not Kansas anymore”?

    How does the energy required for ice to melt and for water to freeze come into account in the scientific papers?

    how could we melt enough ice for a 20ft rise in sea levels

  57. “”” Zeke Hausfather (12:05:25) :

    To forestall the obvious question of “how could global sea ice be decreasing significantly when Antarctic sea ice is increasing”, it is useful to look at the trends in each. Over the past 30 years, Arctic sea ice has been declining at a rate of 0.516 million km per decade, while Antarctic sea ice has been increasing at a rate of 0.125 million km per decade. This means that global sea ice is decreasing at 0.391 million km per decade.

    You might object, saying that there has been a fundamental shift in the last few years, and using data from 1979 to present obscures this change. However, if we use data from 2001 to present, for example, the rate of decline in global sea ice is even greater: 0.765 million km per decade. Granted, its too soon to tell if the last decade was anomolous, just as its too soon to tell if the last few months were anomolous. “””

    Well not so fast Zeke,
    You gave the decline rate of Arctic Sea ice over the “last 30 years” a period which we ALL know has posted some of the highest temperatures of the last 100 years. Remember, some of the highest altitudes on earth are to be found up in the mountains; so not surprisingly some of the warmest years in the last centruy are clustered around the recent global temperature maximum whcih some say was as early as 1995, but certainly by 2000; and now the globals temperature anomaly is heading downwards; and not surprisingly the arctic ice is also now heading upwards, as we all witnessed in Gorey detail last fall and winter, and as shown on the graph you cited.

    Now according to an ex Navy submariner; ex Scripps Institute Oceanographer, ex oil company arctic Prospector, who has spent a lot of (classified) time under that ice, the average thickness of arctic ocean ice is no more than one metre; and that comes and goes each year from ocean water freezing.

    On the other hand, Antarctic coastal ice (shelves) are very thick and don’t grow in area much each winter, because the perimeter of the Antarctic ice is about twice as far from the south pole, as is the perimeter of the Arctic ocean, and it isn’t land locked like the Arctic ocean, so it has all that southern ocean sloshing around the whole continent twice a day; simply breaking off new sea ice growth as fast as it can form.
    So antarctic ice growth is largely from precipitation on top of those already existing ice sheets and shelves; and that certainly does not all melt each summer.

    So if you are talking about annual ice acreage change, that is one thing, and yes the arctic was losing out there; but in terms of total global ice tonnage, it isn’t nearly as bleak.

    And as I said; the Arctic acreage certainly seems to have done a turnaround. Well we won’t know much more till next september; but don’t bet your house on that all clear in five years prediction from the best bunch of climate models that computer geeks have been able to dream up.

    Why are ther so many climate models, if the science is settled and they all are supposed to be models of the same planet; and in particular are supposed to be models of this palnet; which they ain’t; because this planet has clouds, as well as oceans, that together regulate the temperature through phase change from vapor to liquid/solid in the atmosphere.

    Vapor =warming; liquid/solid =cooling; so how neat is that.

    George

  58. With regard to Zeke Hausfather (11:35:29) :

    Zeke, if you look at the Cryosphere Today web site you will see clearly that the Antarctic sea ice extent is currently well above the 1979-2000 average (which for all we know may be an artificially high average since the years preceding 1979 were cold). Peak Antarctic ice extent increased each of the last four years, showing a definite trend toward increasing coverage. Looking at Arctic ice on the same web site, the total coverage is below the 1979-2000 average but when you look at the regional measurements, something like 11 of 14 regions are at or above the average. Only two are well below the average. In any field of science data like this make it hard to argue for a generalized phenomenon weighted toward the outlier data. If there is a generalized phenomenon the weight of the data suggest either “nothing happening” or “getting a bit colder”.

    With respect to the Antarctic, for years every time a patch of ice broke off it made the news and we heard the shrieks of “global warming! global warming!”. Now that it’s clearly going in the opposite direction, all of a sudden the models predicted it and it doesn’t mean much anyway. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, just look at this model over here! That is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order.

  59. “”” pwl (15:52:46) :

    It’s melting, it’s freezing, it’s melting, it’s freezing… hey, isn’t that what water and ice do when subjected to varying temperatures? Am I missing something? Or is it what happened in “this is not Kansas anymore”?

    How does the energy required for ice to melt and for water to freeze come into account in the scientific papers?

    how could we melt enough ice for a 20ft rise in sea levels “””

    Well pwl, when the arctic floating sea ice melts, it absorbs 80 calories per gram from the warmer sea water it is floating on. That’s enough energy to heat to the boiing point,l 0.8 grams of ice water, or it can cool 80 grams of water one deg C, or 40 grams of water 2 deg C and so forth.
    So an astronomical amount of sea water is cooled when all that arctic ice melts; and since sea water always has a positive temperature coefficient of expansion; the arctic ocean sea level falls while all that ioce is melting; and it was measured in 2006 to be falling 2 mm per year; for at least the previous 10 years of the satellite study.

    And all that cooled sea water sinks to the bottom, and eventually falls of the cliff at the bottom of the Chukchi sea/Bering sea where it is only about 30 meteres deep anyway, and sinks to the bottom of the north Pacific, and heads towards the equator to replace the warm water coming up fromt eh Western Pacific.
    So if the ice didn’t melt, the Pacific ocean would do all kinds of bad climate things.

  60. BrianMcL (15:40:15)

    My answer would be, I don’t think they handle the issue spectacularly well. Even the AGW advocates that usually have such faith in models, are forced to appeal to the problems with them to get big, scary sounding amounts of SLR. Of course, they use their own models (of ice sheet dynamics) to make such arguments.

  61. John Galt

    “Is that what happened in the Holocene Climate Optimum, when temperatures were estimated to be much warmer than today? And how did the polar bears and penguins manage to survive it? Did I hear somebody mention Noah’s Ark?”

    Contrary to what AGW proponents tell us, the polar bears and penguins loved it. The seals had to swim ashore where the polar bears were waiting – what a feast! Fortunately, things began to freeze up again or the seal would be all gone. (probably that is how we got seals down in california etc – they fled there). Now for the penguins. They loved it because they get their food from the sea – not the sea ice and they didn’t have to walk as far. Also, with the warmer weather, there was a bigger survival rate for the eggs and for the returning mates (both ways). Antarctica was crawling with penguins!

  62. George E. Smith (16:43:24) :


    My answer would be, I don’t think they handle the issue spectacularly well. Even the AGW advocates that usually have such faith in models, are forced to appeal to the problems with them to get big, scary sounding amounts of SLR. Of course, they use their own models (of ice sheet dynamics) to make such arguments.

    Looking at some charts of the Thermohaline Circulation, the warm pool in the Southern Pacific appears to be fed primarily by cool water that upwells in the northcentral Pacific:

    http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/polar/icemelt_oceancirc.html&nl=11l

    Wikipedia says max age of this water would be about 1600 years, so I wonder if one of the driving factors for El Nino events and their intensity would be the temperature of this deep water as it up wells.

    If that were true, then El Nino events would not only be driven by heating conditions in the central pacific (solar isolation, cloud cover and winds) but in a way, would be biased by an echo of the sea temperatures some 800-1600 years earlier when the water sank.

    Suppose the upwelling current feeding that central Pacific area was warmer that normal by a degree or so? If that happened, it could over whelm solar heating conditions that would other wise cause a slight cooling? Higher starting point, less heat needed to get to strong El Nino conditions.

    I am not aware of any system that monitors the temperature of these deep parts of the Thermohaline currents that eventually feed into the south central Pacific.
    Is anyone aware of a reference that gives data on how uniform those deep currents are over time? Do they fluctuate by any significant degree? If so is there a correlation between El Nino events and temperatures in the upwelling current some time delay ahead of the El Nino?

    The thermohaline system would/could in effect, preserve a thermal history of both ice melting and solar heating where the water descended during its cycle if it did not fully equalize to the deep ocean temperatures as it made its loop.

    Larry

  63. Two questions.

    If the Antarctic ice keeps increasing at the current rate, how long will it be before the whole world is covered in ice?

    Why is it ok for Al Gore to take a short term trend and extrapolate it ad absurdum but hen I do it it just sounds silly?

  64. This is probably a stupid question, but it is based on the definition of “sea ice”. For instance, this shelf that people are talking about breaking off –is it still “sea ice” before it breaks off? Is it “sea ice” only after it breaks off? I’m just wondering if “Anarctic sea ice” increases when a shelf breaks off the continent and goes on walk about?

  65. Whenever I hear Algore or one of his acolytes doing their best Cassandra imitation on the impending disappearance of ice in the Arctic, I’m always left with the same question. So what? From a quick scan of the graphs it appears to me that, between the Arctic and Antarctic, the planet has been losing and recreating an area of sea ice about 3 times the size of the continental United States every year and probably has been since long before we were paying any attention to it. Since this is occurring in a climate that the AGW crowd seem convinced is the best of all possible worlds, what exactly is the nature of the tragedy that will befall us in the unlikely chance that that range expands by another 10%. I know the polar bears might be forced to amend their dietary preferences, but if that’s the only problem, we could organize daily airdrops of those Wagyu steaks Obama’s so fond of, to tide them over until the refreeze, for a microscopic fraction of what they’re proposing to spend to forcibly ween us off the evil demon carbon.

  66. Geo, I think “sea ice” is just that- ice that forms at sea. Just because it’s physically connected to nearby land doesn’t keep it from being sea ice. If you look at the satellite data it’s pretty clear. However, I defer to others with more detailed knowledge of the topic.

  67. There is a lot of disharmony between those evidently more informed about AGW who post on this site – and the media reports. One of the things that sceptics fail to understand is why those more knowledgable in AGW don’t set the media types straight when they release all these AP stories and such that make it sound like the ice is almost gone NOW. Reminds me of when muslims will try to tell you that we have a misunderstanding of their religion and they don’t want to see the Western world destroyed. Well, okay then, don’t tell me – TELL YOUR MULLAHS THAT!!

  68. 1. The Arctic Ocean is surrounded mostly by land. The Antarctic continent is surrounded entirely by water. 2. The Arctic receives some warmth from ocean currents. The Antarctic is protected from them by the circumpolar Westerly winds. 3. Global Warming is expected to be greater in the northern hemisphere, due to its greater land mass. 4. Global temperatures continue to rise, despite the continuing cold in East Antarctica. And with continuing worries about the ice breaking up on the Antarctic Peninsula, and maybe in West Antarctica.

  69. Either we have less ice or more and either it is getting cooler or warmer what are the facts?

  70. Although the March anomaly was very high last year the actual maximum area turned out to be lower than average come September

    So we went from a below average maximum in 2008 to an average minima in 2009, following the high anomaly last March. So I am not sure expressions such as “Antartic putting on ice” in this context actually means that much. Once again it seems to boil down to whether you put more weighting on maxima/minima or the average over the year.

    An interesting topic though.

    Regards

    Andy

  71. hotrod (18:09:38) :

    Your thermo haline circulation questions make me wonder about tides.

    Tides are not just surface phenomena. Does anybody have links of how much tides stir waters? They move water at the rate of over x km a minute all the way, from the bottom to the top twice a day. When obstacles are encounter there is turbulance and outflow and changes of height from 40cm to over 10 meters. The ocean floors are full of obstacles that do not come up to land but could mix the waters by the turbulance created by the tides. What happens when the tides hit the thermohaline streams?

    One more differential equation for synchronized chaos.

  72. Looks very much like the only thing that is melting fast is the AGW believers credibility?
    The media giants like CNN & the BBC will never reveal this information to the masses, thank heavens for the new media eh? opperating on a shoestring with few insider contacts the new media exposes the lies and propaganda, can you imagine if the MSM/dead tree press had the field all to themselves?
    “the lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the population from the consequences of that lie” The person who said this was an expert in the art of propaganda, it seems his expertise has not gone unoticed by those who wish to control our destiny.

  73. To Matti Virtanen :

    Sea Ice cracks are perfectly normal and have been going on ever since Sea Ice first formed on the Earth. Due to wind pressure, water movement, including currents and tides, and collisions of one section of sea ice with another. It would be highly unusual and something to worry about if cracks were to stop. Polar studies and the study of Paleoclimatology is very interesting.

  74. Just a thougth on the first chart. It clearly shows the Antartic ice starting to increase in the 3rd week of February. Isn’t this very early? If I think of terms of the cycle in the Northern Hemisphere, that would be the equivalent of ice beginning to form in August.

  75. Question for Francis…
    1) Why did the arctic ice melt in the 1930s?
    2) Why are the Argo buoys showing ocean heat content trending down while the Arctic is melting… (see Pielke comments on Josh Willis observations and Hansons ocean heat content predictions)
    ???

  76. I am Swiss. My parents used to ski on the glacier from the Jungfrau Joch down to the Rhone valley train station.

    Now take a train from Geneva down the Rhone valley and see the debris left of the glacier that the tourist guide will tell you about.

  77. George E. Smith (16:30:31) :

    Why are ther so many climate models, if the science is settled and they all are supposed to be models of the same planet; and in particular are supposed to be models of this palnet; which they ain’t; because this planet has clouds, as well as oceans, that together regulate the temperature through phase change from vapor to liquid/solid in the atmosphere.

    To which I might add,

    If the science is settled, we should stop funding the research.

    After all, the science of Kepler is settled, is it not? We don’t have to fund research into that question. Same for Newton’s stuff. Einstein’s.

    So, we should cut off the funding for computer models of the climate because the science is settled. Let’s fund something else.

  78. Zeke Hausfather: February, the month of the castastrophic sensor failure, which was led up to by the sensor degrading onboard the satellite.

    The 3rd week of February, after the failed sensor was discovered and the correction made. Was the data corrected, or did they just stop collecting the failed data?

  79. The odd thing is that sea ice extent has been increasing at the same time that Antarctic temperatures have been increasing. Totally counter-intuitive! (The Antarctic sea is apparently increasing in temperature by 0.17ºC per decade compared to a global average of 0.1ºC per decade.).

    This interesting article provides an explanation of how this can be so.

    I guess that the phenomonon described will, to some degree, via albedo increase, be a negative feedback on air coastal Antarctic air temperature. This means that it will be reducing the degree of warming compared to that which the Antarctic that would otherwise be occurring.

    Obviously, the proposed mechanism would reach a limit at some threshold temperature, and sea-ice would begin to trend down.

    It will be interesting to see what further research reveals that threshold temperature to be.

  80. Here’s an animation of the shelf’s edge breaking. Most of the shelf is off to the right and still solidly attached to the continent.
    The narrow “bridge is between the main shelf and the island in the upper left.

    And a map of the peninsula where Wilkins is

  81. Climate models are failing. The alarming climate predictions are not coming true. It’s all about to blow up in the AGW’s faces soon…….that’s why they are grasping at thin air with news articles like this one.

    Hanson’s 1988 predictions are linked below, look how BAD he did.

    Global temperatures are below all three of his scenarios. You don’t have to be very smart to see Hanson can’t model the global climate. So why are any other ‘newer’ models any more accurate??

  82. Gerard (21:31:51) :

    Either we have less ice or more and either it is getting cooler or warmer what are the facts?

    The answer is, “Yes”. It’s called natural variability, and there’s zero evidence that we’re seeing anything but that.

  83. Francis,

    Does it look to you like the ice is “breaking up in West Antarctica?”

  84. quoting:

    “In the context of climate change, global sea ice area may not be the most relevant indicator”

    commenting:
    That’s odd, I heard it was the “canary in the coal mine”, the undeniable, in-your-face evidence that global warming is real and dangerous… (yadda, yadda)
    ;-)

  85. geophys: the canari in the mine is the arctic, and the disintegration of antarctic peninsula ice shelves, as was predicted already more than 30 years ago…

    But considering the “increase” of sea ice extent in March. What’s exactly the point in saying there is an increase of 4.7% with an error of 4.4% ? Especially if you compare with the error in the arctic.

  86. Steven: yes it really looks like it’s breaking up. Wilkins ice sheld, 10 000 years old, on april 2

    on April 5

    and April 8

    While the exact causes of this breakdown must still be found, I would be really surprised if the increase of temperatures in the peninsula didn’t play a role. Please remember the following quote:

    “One warning sign that a dangerous warming is beginning in Antarctica, will be a breakup of ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula just south of the January 0C isotherm; the ice shelf in the Prince Gustav Channel, and the Wordie Ice Shelf; the ice shelf in George VI Sound, and the ice shelf in Wilkins Sound.”
    Mercer, Nature, 1978, v271 pp.321-325

    Guess what happened to all the mentioned shelves?

  87. But NASA says all this new ice is thin and will melt and all be gone……Who is leading NASA now anyway? How long before NASA cannot even launch a bottle rocket?

    I have lost total confidence in NASA

  88. Phil. (11:26:14) :

    Sadly though, biologists using computer models have forecast that some Penguins are headed for extinction due to loss of Antarctic sea ice. Maybe that gives the males something to think about as they huddle in -70C weather all winter long, trying to keep from freezing to death or dropping their eggs. I suggest a Catlin-like expedition to the South Pole for biologists.

    If you read the article you linked to you’d see that the data was collected by biologists on the ice in Adelie Land and that the concern was about that particular colony, which has shown population crashes in the past. It’s also part of the coast which doesn’t show an increase on the map you posted. A shame that the facts get in the way of a good rant!

    From the paper: “…emperor penguins could be headed toward extinction in at least part of their range before the end of the century…”

    Two paragraphs later: “the median population size of a large emperor penguin colony in Terre Adelie, Antarctica, likely will shrink from its present size of 3,000 to only 400 breeding pairs by the end of the century.”

    Five paragraphs later: “One fluctuation and subsequent sea ice reduction in Terre Adelie during the 1970s led to a population decline in emperor penguins of about 50 percent.”

    Six paragraphs later: “One is what the march of this population toward extinction tells us about the prospects for the emperor penguin throughout its range.”

    I could keep going, but I think you get my point, and maybe you can grasp Steven’s.

    So we have a paper by biologists who don’t know the definition of “extinction.”

    I agree with you on one point, however, and think it’s a shame that the facts get in the way of a good rant.

  89. Zeke Hausfather (11:35:29) :

    Steven,

    This analysis is somewhat misleading. …

    While it is true that Antarctic sea ice is unusually high this month (and has generally, though not significantly, been growing), that really doesn’t have any bearing on what is happening to Arctic sea ice. Combining both into a global sea ice trend really isn’t that meaningful, since the two out-of-sync periodic datasets result in a lot of monthly noise. The folks at Cryosphere where you got your graphs explain this pretty well:

    “In the context of climate change, global sea ice area may not be the most relevant indicator. Almost all global climate models project a decrease in the Northern Hemisphere sea ice area over the next several decades under increasing greenhouse gas scenarios. But, the same model responses of the Southern Hemisphere sea ice are less certain. In fact, there have been some recent studies suggesting the amount of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere may initially increase as a response to atmospheric warming through increased evaporation and subsequent snowfall onto the sea ice.”

    Look at the trends in the data. Singling out individual months in noisy data sets makes it too easy to cherry-pick an anomaly to make a point.

    Zeke Hausfather (12:05:25) :

    To forestall the obvious question of “how could global sea ice be decreasing significantly when Antarctic sea ice is increasing”, it is useful to look at the trends in each. Over the past 30 years, Arctic sea ice has been declining at a rate of 0.516 million km per decade, while Antarctic sea ice has been increasing at a rate of 0.125 million km per decade. This means that global sea ice is decreasing at 0.391 million km per decade.

    You might object, saying that there has been a fundamental shift in the last few years, and using data from 1979 to present obscures this change. However, if we use data from 2001 to present, for example, the rate of decline in global sea ice is even greater: 0.765 million km per decade. Granted, its too soon to tell if the last decade was anomolous, just as its too soon to tell if the last few months were anomolous.

    I agree about the cherry picking. If you want to claim that the “melting Arctic” will catastrophically raise sea levels, a growing Antarctic is an inconvenient truth. Far better to cherry pick the Arctic data and dismiss the Antarctic.

  90. George E. Smith (16:43:24) :

    ”’ when the arctic floating sea ice melts, it absorbs 80 calories per gram from the warmer sea water it is floating on.”

    I have no disagreement with your analysis, but it assumes a static ice pack vision, i.e., the ice sits there and is melted by warmer waters. I hope some people will start taking a serious look at the currents that are the biggest impact on ice loss. Google “transpolar drift stream” and take a look at some of the info. Here’s a visual link that really shows the rapid streaming of ice out of the arctic basin and into the gulf stream where it melts:

  91. Flanagan,

    Wilkins is not in West Antarctica, and from the photos the breakup appears to be mechanical rather than due to melt.

  92. Barry Foster (11:29:23) :

    So Norway has its share of idiots too?

    Indeed we have. The sad thing is that Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre is actually an intelligent person with a lot of wise things to say about many things (although I have never voted for his party). This has not always been the case for his predecessors.

    I suspect he is too busy to invest in what the science says and trusts the climate scientists too much. I thought he was more clever than that. Apparently not.

  93. mikef (14:19:07) :

    About the Norwegians…..
    Its moot to remember the recent trip by the worlds enviroment ministers to Antartica was organised by the Norwegian government (I had this confirmed by our UK ministers office) and by a strange quirk of fate they all arrived there just after Steigs ‘Antartic is warming after all’ report had done the rounds. One wonders about the time frame to organise such a jaunt…well….you are talking best part of a year I’d guess. Wonder how long Steigs time frame was…? Ah well, never know.

    This was the work of Environment Minister Erik Solheim. He also “sponsored” the trip to the Antarctic for several ministers from other countries, apparently to gather support in anticipation of Copenhagen. I also suspect, but this is not confirmed (so be skeptic), that the BBC, the NRK (=the norwegian equivalent to the BBC) and “climate journalists” from the newspaper Aftenposten also were “sponsored” to participate. They all reported back.

    And its the Norwegian politico’s that gave Al Gore & the IPCC thier gong.

    What do you mean? I didn’t think we were that important.

    The Norwegians do tend to like thier AGW.

    That is true for the politicians. But I think reality creeps in nowadays. At least I hope so.

  94. “”” Arn Riewe (07:22:14) :

    George E. Smith (16:43:24) :

    ”’ when the arctic floating sea ice melts, it absorbs 80 calories per gram from the warmer sea water it is floating on.”

    I have no disagreement with your analysis, but it assumes a static ice pack vision, i.e., the ice sits there and is melted by warmer waters. I hope some people will start taking a serious look at the currents that are the biggest impact on ice loss. Google “transpolar drift stream” and take a look at some of the info. Here’s a visual link that really shows the rapid streaming of ice out of the arctic basin and into the gulf stream where it melts: “””

    Sorry arn, I made no such assumptions. I simply recalled the simple fact that any 8th grade high school student learns in science; that the latent heat of freezing of the water-ice phase transition is about 80 Calories per gram.
    Where abouts in the ocean that ice decides to melt is irrelevent; the water it is sitting in will give up a total of 80 calories, and being salt water it will contract to a smaller volume and the sea level will go down. It doesn’t matter much whether a cube of water roughly 4.3 cm on a side cools 1 deg C or whether 1000 times that much water cools 0.001 deg C, the total volume contraction is the same (assuming the Tc is constant over the temp range). So why are you raising a red herring? I don’t care WHY the ce melts, just the fact that it does.

    Unless of course you imagine the energy does not come mostly from the water. For anyone who believes something else is the source of the latent heat energy; I have a wonderful wintertime experiment for you to perform at your favorite iced over lake.

  95. To Hotrod,

    Now I’m intrigued. Wikipedia; the people’s “encyclopedia” says some water is 1600 years old !

    So how do they know that; what was it before it was water; and how did it get here.

    Did it crash into the earth as a comet 1600 years ago?.

    As for the “thermohaline circulation”, don’t look for it to stop anytime soon; well it might in 2012 when some folks say the earth is going to stop and start rotating in the opposite direction. Something to do with Coriolis affect or some such thing. Get rid of all the salt i the ocean and it will still continue to circulate in the exact same direction.

  96. In reality, each pixel in the cryosphere graph represents 1/20 of 1.000.000 Km2, which is 50.000 Km2. Being the case, the Wilkins platform is about 1/4 of a pixel in the first graph.
    Ecotretas

  97. Now I’m intrigued. Wikipedia; the people’s “encyclopedia” says some water is 1600 years old !

    Not sure how far your tongue is in your cheek on that :)

    That is an estimate of the maximum time a parcel of water takes to make its deep water transit in the thermohaline circulation since it descended. I have seen other estimates of various legs of the journey. I think the transit time for the surface loop from the Indian ocean area to the north atlantic is about 50 years. The water now near the UK up welled near India, or passed southwest out of the Pacific during the Korean war period. Likewise the oldest water in the loop which sunk near the UK about the time the Roman Empire fell in about 410 BCE is just now upwelling in the Central Pacific.

    The point I was trying to make was the ocean might have a thermal memory in that long loop current, that periodically brings to the surface water that sank decades or centuries earlier. If it does not fully equalize in temperature during its travel, there should be a small bias imposed on the solar heating by the starting point of the heating as this water up wells.

    I have no clue if or how big this bias might be, but since the thermal anomalies AGW is so concerned about, (total range from hot to cold anomaly being about 4.5 deg C, with most of the sea surface anomaly much smaller) even a very small bias in absolute terms for the upwelling water temp would/could be a significant fraction of the total anomaly.

    Larry

  98. “A shame that the facts get in the way of a good rant!”

    And what facts were those? It’s a model not a fact.

  99. When are you people at WUWT going to learn that you can’t trust data? You have to rely upon feelings! Sure, data tells us that the ice pack is growing, but who can forget those poor destitute polar bears struggling to survive on that melting iceberg? It’s not worth it, friends, it’s not worth it.

    (how do I turn sarcasm off on this blog? I hope someone can tell me soon, because I’ve got a hunk of polar bear on the grill and it won’t flip itself!)

  100. Err, Steven, to me it really looks like wilkins is on the west part of Antarctica

    and I don’t quite understand what you mean by “mechanical” collapse, as opposed to “melting”. The melting of ice shelves always results in rifts and subsequently in collapses, they do not slowly become liquid, do they?

  101. “I don’t quite understand what you mean by “mechanical” collapse, as opposed to “melting”. ”

    Sorry, but it beggars belief that an Ozzie from somewhere near Melbourne would pose as an authority on glaciers, or ice, or snow, or even fresh water!

    While I’ve never stood astride a glacier I at least can watch the progress of ice out on a lake every spring. I have a half-dozen adjectives for snow, like scraffle or powder, that I use most winters.

    High comedy.

  102. Flanagan,
    Perhaps you could get 2 large tubs of water, take them to a commercial freezer, keep watch on them til about 2″ of ice forms on top of the water. Now carefully remove the tubs to a warmer area. In one of the tubs you might slosh the water around, while the other will remain completely still. I have not done this but I have a feeling it just might illustrate the difference between mechanical collapse and melting. Please report the results of the experiment here.
    Thanks,
    Mike

  103. Flanagan (22:34:05) :

    …and I don’t quite understand what you mean by “mechanical” collapse, as opposed to “melting”. The melting of ice shelves always results in rifts and subsequently in collapses, they do not slowly become liquid, do they?

    As the ice sheet advances from land to water, only part of the mass of the ice is supported by water. The rest is “cantilevered” over the water. This creates a bending moment, which induces tensile stress across the top of the sheet. When the tensile stress exceeds the yield stress of the ice, it fails. The physical process is an initial failure in tension, which acts as the fracture initiator. The fracture propagates down across shear planes in the ice sheet, relieving the stress.

    If you look at this – http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/research/projects/larseniceshelf/photos/AP-tabular-iceberg.jpg – you can see the roughness at the top of the sheet typical of tensile failure, while below it’s smooth, the characteristic of shear failure.

    This is a mechanical collapse.

    I assume that the reference to “melting” refers to a process where melting at top or bottom of the sheet lowering the mechanical strength of the sheet. However, even in that case, the process will still occur as I’ve described – unless someone want to make a silly assertion about ice sheets magically “melting” through across arbitrary planes away from the surface in fashion bearing an uncanny and mysterious resemblance to shear failure.

    Hope this answers your question.

  104. In my post above, “away from the surface” should be “at an arbitrary distance away from the face.” Sorry.

  105. There is something important that needs to be remembered. When ice is supported by water, it will displace an amount of water equal to it’s weight. (Archimedes Principal) If you place a piece of ice in a glass of water and mark the level of the water, when the ice melts, the level will be the same. The ice on the Arctic Ocean that is supported by water has already displaced it’s weight and caused water to flow out from the Arctic Ocean. There is probably no net change in Ocean levels because the water in the form of snow came primarily from the other Oceans. When any ice not supported by land melts, there will be no change in the level of the Ocean. The important ice pack levels of those of Greenland and the portions of Anarctic supported by solid land. The Anarctic ice over land changes sea levels.

  106. “Steven Goddard (07:29:44) :

    Flanagan,
    Wilkins is not in West Antarctica, and from the photos the breakup appears to be mechanical rather than due to melt.”

    I agree with Steven. Perhaps the winds are driving what you are seeing?

    http://squall.sfsu.edu/scripts/shemjet_archloop.html

    Thats the antartic jet stream animation builder. Put in your dates and watch how the wind patterns go.. looks like the area you are showing is gettin slammed.

  107. Retired Engineer John (17:44:08) :

    There is something important that needs to be remembered. When ice is supported by water, it will displace an amount of water equal to it’s weight. (Archimedes Principal) If you place a piece of ice in a glass of water and mark the level of the water, when the ice melts, the level will be the same.

    Agreed.

    The ice on the Arctic Ocean that is supported by water has already displaced it’s weight and caused water to flow out from the Arctic Ocean. (Emphasis added.)

    Disagree. You’re overlooking the mechanical properties of the ice. The sheet ice ice only displacing part of it’s weight. The remainder is cantilevered. See my post regarding what happens when the mass of ice not supported by water exerts enough force to exceed the yield strength of ice. After the ice fractures off of the main body, it is just as you say.

  108. John W. (4:49:02) Disagree. You’re overlooking the mechanical properties of the ice. The sheet ice only displaces part of its weight.

    I agree that ice cantilevered off land does not displace its full weight. It is spectacular to watch the glaciers at Glacier Bay fall into the water.
    Ice has another property that you can demonstrate with an ice cube. If you place pressure on ice , it melts. There will be some stress relief that will reduce the cantilever area due to melting and refreezing in areas of high stress.
    When we talk of the ice that flows from the land into the ocean, that is only part of the story. The major part is due to the water of the ocean freezing. Then snow can build on the frozen ice. The Ocean around Antarctic freezes at the rate of several mile per day during winter. With the thawing and refreezing of the Artic Ocean on the Canadian coastline, I would expect that very little of it is cantilevered.

  109. pkatt (20:33:04) :
    “Steven Goddard (07:29:44) :

    Flanagan,
    Wilkins is not in West Antarctica, and from the photos the breakup appears to be mechanical rather than due to melt.”

    I agree with Steven. Perhaps the winds are driving what you are seeing?

    http://squall.sfsu.edu/scripts/shemjet_archloop.html

    Thats the antartic jet stream animation builder. Put in your dates and watch how the wind patterns go.. looks like the area you are showing is gettin slammed.

    Agreed, the perennial seaice that used to lie off that shore is no longer protecting the ice sheet from the weather, waves and tides etc. hence the mechanical stresses on the ice sheet.

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