Antarctica's ice story has been put on ice

From World Climate Report: Antarctic Ice Melt at Lowest Levels in Satellite Era

Where are the headlines? Where are the press releases? Where is all the attention?

The ice melt across during the Antarctic summer (October-January) of 2008-2009 was the lowest ever recorded in the satellite history.

Such was the finding reported last week by Marco Tedesco and Andrew Monaghan in the journal Geophysical Research Letters:

A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record occurred during austral summer 2008–2009 according to spaceborne microwave observations for 1980–2009. Strong positive phases of both the El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM) were recorded during the months leading up to and including the 2008–2009 melt season.

Figure 1. Standardized values of the Antarctic snow melt index (October-January) from 1980-2009 (adapted from Tedesco and Monaghan, 2009).

The silence surrounding this publication was deafening.

It would seem that with oft-stoked fears of a disastrous sea level rise coming this century any news that perhaps some signs may not be pointing to its imminent arrival would be greeted by a huge sigh of relief from all inhabitants of earth (not only the low-lying ones, but also the high-living ones, respectively under threat from rising seas or rising energy costs).

But not a peep.

But such is not always the case—or rather, such is not ever the case when ice melt is pushing the other end of the record scale.

For instance, below is a collection of NASA stories highlighting record high amounts of melting (or in most cases, simply higher than normal amounts in some regions) across Greenland in each of the past 3 years, as ascertained by Marco Tedesco (the lead author of the latest report on Antarctica):

NASA Researcher Finds Days of Snow Melting on the Rise in Greenland

“In 2006, Greenland experienced more days of melting snow and at higher altitudes than average over the past 18 years, according to a new NASA-funded project using satellite observations….”

NASA Finds Greenland Snow Melting Hit Record High in High Places

“A new NASA-supported study reports that 2007 marked an overall rise in the melting trend over the entire Greenland ice sheet and, remarkably, melting in high-altitude areas was greater than ever at 150 percent more than average. In fact, the amount of snow that has melted this year over Greenland is the equivalent of more than twice the surface size of the U.S…”

Melting on the Greenland Ice Cap, 2008

“The northern fringes of Greenland’s ice sheet experienced extreme melting in 2008, according to NASA scientist Marco Tedesco and his colleagues.”

And lest you think that perhaps NASA hasn’t had any data on ice melt across Antarctica in past years, we give you this one:

NASA Researchers Find Snowmelt in Antarctica Creeping Inland

“On the world’s coldest continent of Antarctica, the landscape is so vast and varied that only satellites can fully capture the extent of changes in the snow melting across its valleys, mountains, glaciers and ice shelves. In a new NASA study, researchers [including Marco Tedesco] using 20 years of data from space-based sensors have confirmed that Antarctic snow is melting farther inland from the coast over time, melting at higher altitudes than ever and increasingly melting on Antarctica’s largest ice shelf.”

But this time around, nothing, nada, zippo from NASA when their ice melt go-to guy Marco Tedesco reports that Antarctica has set a record for the lack of surface ice melt (even more interestingly coming on the heels of a near-record low ice-melt year last summer).

So, seriously, NASA, what gives? If ice melt is an important enough topic to warrant annual updates of the goings-on across Greenland, it is not important enough to elucidate the history and recent behavior across Antarctica?

(These are not meant as rhetorical questions)

Reference

Tedesco M., and A. J. Monaghan, 2009. An updated Antarctic melt record through 2009 and its linkages to high-latitude and tropical climate variability. Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L18502, doi:10.1029/2009GL039186.

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3x2

Is that the sound of Crickets chirping? Is anyone surprised?
Only catastrophe sells, “Antarctic Ice Normal”… meanwhile in other news Terry the Terrier saved his owner by dialling 911 ….
I’m sure that somebody somewhere is going through the usual contortions to link more Ice to global warming and will be along soon.
Having said that, only in the AGW era could we consider more Ice better. To most life on this Planet Ice means death.

Mike M.

Good grief, go to bed! How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Do you leave auto-posts like Instapundit, or what? 🙂

Telboy

Mike M.
Not all readers of WUWT live in your time zone, so not all of us are insomniacs! Seriously, though, it looks like another case of the dog not barking in the night.

meemoe_uk

most here already knew NASA had been captured to be used as an AGW soapbox. Under the command of the Internation Money Changer Cartel, NASA’s James Hansen started AGW rhetoric back in 1988, seemingly a result of the 1987 4th World Wilderness Congress where Rothschild announced the World Conservation Bank and plans to cut back on CO2.

Alan the Brit

No kidding? How many journos do you know who actually believe the crap they write? News travels fast, bad news travels faster still! It’s not about the “news” story, it’s about how they can sensationalise it for maximum effect. The way round this sort of “negative” news (AGW-wise) is to resort to that classic Greenie methodology, re-cycling. So they will re-cycle old “positive” news stories instead, watch this space & I will be proven right!
OT, but interesting IMHO, BBC tv weather presenter the other day told us about the “mish-mash” of weather the UK would be getting over the next few days, sort of you name we get it kind of thing. He finished by saying that this was “typical” of our October climate!!!!!!!! If things are changing “faster than experts expected”, then how can this be “typical” climate? Surely this unpredictability must be a direct effect of Climate Change? Me thinks the cat may just be pushing its nose out of the bag!

TC

No, someone screwed up and forgot to inverse the graph 😉

Patrick Davis

Because the politics is settled. It’s spring here in Aus, and it’s quite a bit cooler than average.

P Gosselin

Send this report to Copenhagen.
By the way, why would the south pole behave differently from the north pole?
Comments anyone?

Patrik

They’re probably working on “homogenizing” these results away. 😉
After that the media coverage will come! 😀

Bob Shapiro

“NASA Finds Greenland Snow Melting Hit Record High in High Places
… the amount of snow that has melted this year over Greenland is the equivalent of more than twice the surface size of the U.S…”
So, the scientists at NASA think that volume is interchangeable with surface area?

Espen

Hmm, last time I saw any news on snow & ice in Antarctica in the last few weeks, it was BBC running a story on Pine Island Glacier (and others) getting thinner: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8272357.stm
I think we need a large volcanic eruption near the Pine Island Glacier before they stop using that as evidence of seal level rise to come… Or maybe we have to wait for Antarctic sea ice to close the sea passage around Cape Horn?

MattN

Once again, not surprising.
Other facts you won’t hear: 5 of the 6 highest ice extent ever in Antartica have occured in the last 10 years…

Graeme Rodaughan

I don’t believe it – how could this be – Steig et al 2009 said it was getting warmer…
I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you!

rbateman

So, how much has this extra accumulation dropped the sea levels?
You know, the very condition no one has ever stopped for a single moment to consider the effects of?
All this effort spent on cherry-picking whatever catastrophic melting than can be dragged out of no-man’s land, and all the while the Polar Opposite has been going down.
All you number crunchers out there: Tell me how much the sea level can possibly drop if you have the all-time record accumulations & retentions of snow & ice going on in both poles simultaneously?

Rhys Jaggar

What is required with this is the ‘Adlai Stevenson’ moment.
The brutal confrontation of the warmist guru with AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. In front of the world’s media. And with global headlines the intent.
Who is the best person to do that? Which media organs will write the copy and broadcast it top of the evening news??
And when and where should it take place??
Scientists all (by that I mean those who value dispassionate data analysis, not those who are called ‘Chief Scientific Advisors’ (some CSAs are scientists, others are lying mouthpieces)) should be considering this crucial piece of drama as key to restoring scientific enquiry to its rightful place.
A guide to effective political decision-making.
Not a PR machine to peddle South Sea bubbles.

Craig Fram Belvidere

The amount of ice melted should be directly proportional to the amount of ice available to melt. If the total ice was at record high levels (and record distances north of the pole) and there was record low melt it would mean one thing but if the total ice level was at record low levels before the melt it would mean another. This seems to give an incomplete picture of the situation in the Antarctic.
On the other hand, if you are just using the article to point out the stilted view of the MSM and ruling political class this works.

Engiiner

I hate to be a groupie, especially when the party line is this blatant.
I listen to both sides of the AGW issue, searching for the truth. The fact that the ocean surface is anomalousy WARM in many areas (http://earth.rice.edu/mtpe/hydro/hydrosphere/latest/avhrr_sst/avhrr_ssta.html) would lead one to expect more evaporation, and thus more snow and ice deposition.
I believe the PDO is in the cool phase, but a whole lot more correlation with AMO, PDO, ENSO SOI etc versus snow deposition is needed to explain why there is not net ice increase worldwide… (http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg)
Get Real!

Claude Harvey

If NASA does get around to reporting this, the headline will read something like this:
“NASA reports Antarctic snow melt is 30th highest in 30 years!”

tallbloke

So, snow has been falling in Australia and NZ where winter is late ending. And snow is falling in America where winter seems to be arriving early.
I hear it’s been warm in Khazakstan though.
SST’s are high and have been for several months.
Lots of wet snow this winter by the look of it.
Lovely.

Tom in Florida

Hey, give the U.N. a little credit. At least they didn’t confuse the ice caps on Earth with those on Mars. (as far as I know)

Tom in Florida

Sorry folks, posted the above on the wrong thread.

P Gosselin (02:20:39) :

By the way, why would the south pole behave differently from the north pole?
Comments anyone?

You’ve been around here to know some answers to that, though I don’t think I can find a good link to a WUWT article. Certainly worth a mention in this thread.
Various reasons:
The Antarctic ice is grounded on the continent and, except at the margins, isn’t pushed around by wind and currents.
Being surrounded by ocean and having a high average elevation, there are fewer opportunities for marine and atmospheric incursions into Antarctica. Wind circulation around the continent make a bit of a wall that also helps keep things out.
The larger area of ice and snow make for a higher regional albedo. Cloud cover over most of the planet (and Artic summer) increases albedo, cloud cover over Antarctica decreases albedo.
I don’t know if there’s an impact, but there’s also the Earth’s orbital eccentricity, meaning that the Antarctic summer has greater insolation than the Arctic summer.
And, of course, more people live near the Arctic and are affected by weather there so even, if it people couldn’t wring hands over the increasingly hard to find melt news, people would be more perturbed by it.

Vincent

Engiiner,
I think you are missing the point of this article. There has long been evidence of something called “ratchet reporting” in the MSM. This is a technique in which only news stories supportive of your point of view are published.
Ratchet reporting would lead to a state where although there are observations of increasing ice, this would go unreported. And this is exactly a case in point.
Ratchet reporting is real, it is happening now and it is worse that we thought.
Get real yourself!

Jim

********************
Engiiner (04:28:40) :
I hate to be a groupie, especially when the party line is this blatant.
I listen to both sides of the AGW issue, searching for the truth. The fact that the ocean surface is anomalousy WARM in many areas (http://earth.rice.edu/mtpe/hydro/hydrosphere/latest/avhrr_sst/avhrr_ssta.html) would lead one to expect more evaporation, and thus more snow and ice deposition.
I believe the PDO is in the cool phase, but a whole lot more correlation with AMO, PDO, ENSO SOI etc versus snow deposition is needed to explain why there is not net ice increase worldwide… (http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg)
Get Real!
***************
You get real! Your sea temp chart is from August!

Chris Schoneveld

Graeme Rodaughan (03:53:33) :
“I don’t believe it – how could this be – Steig et al 2009 said it was getting warmer…”
That’s not exactly what they said as they commented on a 50 year period whereas the above graph “only” (which is long enough in my view) covers the last 30 years. They conveniently included the period of low temperatures from 1957-1969 to obtain a warming trend. Had they plotted or commented on the trend from 1970-recent they would not have been able to claim any discernible warming, irrespective of their questionable use of and much criticized interpolation of stations.

Midwest Mark

Engiiner (04:28:40) :
“The fact that the ocean surface is anomalousy WARM in many areas…would lead one to expect more evaporation, and thus more snow and ice deposition.”
Just a moment, please. It seems that many have used this argument (anomalousy warm ocean waters) to explain why Antarctic ice is diminishing. Now, conveniently, it is being used to explain why Antarctic ice is increasing. Let me guess: You’re a firm believer that the “debate is over”…(?).

Peter Plail

I am seriously worried that the media will not be able to report on the collapsing Wilkins ice shelf and the infamous ice bridge again next year. Could it be that these have recovered during the winter and are more robust than before?
Does anyone have any links that show the Wilkins shelf as it now is. All the links I can find relate back to April 2009. Following links on NSDIC for the “latest news” predictably stop then too. Perhaps they should change “latest news” to “latest bad news”; as other commentators have observed, good news is no news.

Ripper

Lateline in Australia just reported that the recent defence white paper doesn’t think the science is conclusive.
http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/
Program should be up in a few hours.
Interesting that our PM who is frantically trying to get an ETS passed before Copenhagen signed off on the report

Pops

Everyone should send a link to this page to their favourite news-outlet or science-publication. I’ve sent it to two different NASA ‘contact’ address. Okay, I haven’t had a response yet, but you never know.

Pops

Make that, addresses….

Gary

Journalists these days are pikers (said the old ink-stained geezer). Why in my day we would have spun this into an immanent disaster: “Is Southern Hemisphere on the Brink of a Devastating Ice Age?” “Ice Advancing Toward Australia!” “Satellites Say Freezing Getting Worse.”

Frank K.

“Where are the headlines? Where are the press releases? Where is all the attention?”
Anthony – the answer here is simple. The AGW crowd is very good at issuing press releases, even going so far as to have special press access phone numbers and e-mail, so they can make sure their propaganda is correctly reported in the media.
Here is a prime example:
http://nsidc.org/news/
Note the special press contact info on the right hand side.
And, as I’ve stated in a previous thread, these press releases are really just a cry for more funding. Budgets for 2010 are being developed within these government agencies this time of year, and so some hysterical press releases are a good safety measure to ensure the funding keeps flowing in. By the way NSIDC alone costs the taxpayers nearly $10 million, with most of this money coming from NASA. See their 2007 annual report for more information…
http://nsidc.org/pubs/annual/NSIDC_Annual_Report_2007.pdf

Ed Fix

I’ve never seen this graph before, so I can’t be sure, but do I see an overall downward trend? That would be good, right?

Pascvaks

There is nothing new under the Sun. A little while ago the world was flat, all the lights in the heavens orbited the Earth, we burned witches in New England, etc. There is no getting away from the ignorance, fear, and superstition of mankind. We are no different –no better, no worse– than our parents, grandparents, ancestors back to the beginning of our species. This being true, it does cause one to wonder what virus is infecting our minds? Is it the absence of a great external threat like the Evil Empire, that causes us to go crazy, ripping each other to shreds over the weather of the 21st Century? The fact of more Hot Ages and more Ice Ages is not the issue, these will certainly occur in the next orbit of the galaxy as they have in the past. The timeframe we’re speaking of is 100 years, not hundreds of millions. The crazies want to stop time itself, at the expense of the treasure of the species. There has to be something in the water, or some virus that rode in on a speck of rock from across the universe or the absence of an external military threat, that causes us to disintegrate and destroy ourselves.

Pamela Gray

Wilkin’s Ice Shelf. The bridge is still broken but as you can see from the latest pic, sea ice was forming in the open water. It would make sense to me that this shelf would collapse on a cyclical basis. I see nothing abnormal about the process which can be reasonably explained using purely natural events.
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMYBBSTGOF_index_0.html

Engiiner

P Gosselin (02:20:39) :
I’ve been following the UIUC link (http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/) for quite some time. I remember 1989 when the PDO tried to flip to negative (cool) and didn’t make it. The climate dynamics, although possibly not totally chaotic, are certainly hard to predict. Yet this data set, day by day, seems to reflect about 2/3 the time, an increase in NH ice matches a decrease in SH ice. The net result has been not real world total sea ice change since satellite measurements started. When you consider the strong solar influence (low cosmic ray flux) and a definite warm Pacific Decadal Oscillation for 1974 to late 1998 (http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/PDO.latest) the Global Warmers have had there change. It’s going to get cold. Real cold.

william

Sure looks like Antartic ice melt rate operates on some sort of cycle. Expect it to begin accelerating again in the next year or two so you’ll see the newspaper headlines right about the time ice melt in Greenland slows down.
Let’s stop being naive. With near universal 24 hours news coverage, there is a constant opportunity to attribute the negative to “global warming”.
“Child drowns in Indiana pond, Global warming blamed”, “Tsunami in Samoa, worse because of AGW”.

3x2

Mike M. (01:19:44) :
Good grief, go to bed! How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Do you leave auto-posts like Instapundit, or what? 🙂

Telboy (01:48:29) :
Mike M.
Not all readers of WUWT live in your time zone, so not all of us are insomniacs! Seriously, though, it looks like another case of the dog not barking in the night.

I assumed that the Mike M. comment was aimed in Anthony’s direction, it was about 9am on a lovely English Autumn morning when I posted.

Tom in Florida (05:00:59) :
Sorry folks, posted the above on the wrong thread.

Tabbed browsing huh?

Francis

The bulk of the Antarctic has experienced little change in surface temperature over the past 50 years, although a slight cooling has been evident around the coast of East Antarctica since about 1980, and recent research has pointed to a warming across West Antarctica. The exception is the Antarctic Peninsula, where there has been a winter (summer) season warming on the western (eastern) side. Many of the different changes observed between the two polar regions can be attributed to topographic factors and land/sea distribution. The location of the Arctic Ocean at high latitude, with the consequently high level of solar radiation received in summer, allows the ice-albedo feedback mechanism to operate effectively. The Antarctic ozone hole has had a profound effect on the circulations of the high latitude ocean and atmosphere, isolating the continent and increasing the westerly winds over the Southern Ocean especially during the summer and winter.
From Turner & Overland (online July 2009) abstract.

Tony Hansen

I know what it looks like – but I wonder just what Josh Halpern and Grant Foster might try to make it appear?

Henry chance

Every time we see bad news for the integrity of warming information, Climate Progress responds with more fear mongering. Yesterday they posted the highest powerpoint picture of 2099 warming Evah.
Early frost comes to kansas and they repeat 120 days over 90 degrees in Kansas meme. My favorite from the carbon crisis crowd ( some popular aussie named it that) is the bears standing on ice chunks. In True Darwinian fashion, it will take only a few years for bears to adapt and grow brown pelts.

P Gosselin (02:20:39) :
Send this report to Copenhagen.
By the way, why would the south pole behave differently from the north pole?
Comments anyone?

Umm, let’s see. One has a huge land mass under the ice, and is surrounded mostly by ocean. The other has no land mass under the ice and is surrounded by major continents…

Stephen Skinner

I think the melt info on Greenlan is intersting. The question is what is the reference point. Is the suprising melt compared to data covering:
1 billion years?
1 million years?
1 thousand years?
100 years?
18 years?
And on the question of sea level rise: If the ice melts at ‘unprecedented’ rates in the Arctic, while the Antartctic ice extent is greater than ever (should also be unprecedented) then sea level will do what exactly?

tallbloke (04:41:59) :
I hear it’s been warm in Khazakstan though.

However, it’s been cooler than “normal” in Afghanistan (where I am). Never broke the magic 37.7°C barrier in Kabul this summer.
We had our first snow in the mountains just west of Kabul on 16 September. The snow had disappeared from those peaks around 27 August. Things did warm up a bit above “normal” the last couple of weeks of September, but they’ve rapidly cooled now.

James F. Evans

The report doesn’t fit the “narrative” that the science is “settled”.

Ray

This story leaves me cold. 😉

Retired Engineer

Ice isn’t melting as fast? That’s just weather. Nothing to worry about.
As die hard Cubs fans say: “Wait ’till next year!”
(sooner or later it will melt faster)
If the Arctic has less ice and the SP has more, what does that do to the Earth’s rotation? Couch potato bulge ? Just getting older?
Southern Colorado had a mild summer. Fall hit rather hard, highs in the 50’s and even 40’s. More weather.

Jeremy

The skeptics needs a “press package”. WUWT or other privately funded organizations need to write the article for the journalists (who do not write anything anymore except to cross the t’s and dot the i’s and add their name), just as NASA, Hadley and all the other Global Warming proponents do. The only drawback is all these other organizations have billions of our tax dollars available to pay for this work….

kent

All this talk about se ice melt ignores sea ice movement. It assumes that losses in sea ice area and sea ice extent are due to melting and nothing else. The 2007 minimum was due to sea ice movement caused by a shift in the wind.
It also ignores the importance of how the numbers are arrived at. Colorado cuts off at 15%, if there is not 15% ice coverage in an area then the number is zero. Compress it to 15% and it counts, blow it around by the wind and it drops to 14% and it does not count. In 2007 close to 2 million sq Km of multi-year sea ice was removed from the count by moving into the north Atlantic, which is outside the catchment area of the Arctic sea ice count.

How did the ice freeze so much so fast? Only last Sept, 24, 2009 the headline was “Ice sheets in ‘runaway melt mode’” See http://news.ninemsn.com.au/technology/867315/ice-sheets-in-runaway-melt-mode.
Scientists were stunned, stunned I say.
Last year I searched Google’s news archives and found that Ted Scambos had reported the unprecedented break up of the Wilkins Ice Shelve five times in the past ten years. It must be an effective story because it keeps being repeated.