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.

83 thoughts on “Antarctica’s ice story has been put on ice

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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

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

  8. They’re probably working on “homogenizing” these results away. ;)
    After that the media coverage will come! :D

  9. “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?

  10. 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?

  11. 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…

  12. 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!

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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!”

  18. 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.

  19. 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)

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. ********************
    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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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”…(?).

  25. 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.

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.”

  29. “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

  30. 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?

  31. 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.

  32. 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

  33. 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.

  34. 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”.

  35. 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?

  36. 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.

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

  38. 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.

  39. 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…

  40. 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?

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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….

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. “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…”

    I can just imagine.

  47. Ice melt the lowest ever in the satellite record?? That’s not on the list of acceptable climate stories. The acceptable list clings to fear-based gloom and doom stories like a B-horror movie producer. The astonishing result is massive closure of newspapers and TV networks across the land.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/oct/06/television-pressandpublishing

    Meanwhile ratings for tiny news blog sites, and free speech outlets on the internet continue to soar.

    Who says the truth won’t sell?

  48. Craig Fram Belvidere:

    Wow! I did not realize that Parkinson’s Law applied to the physical envirnoment too.

  49. *******************
    Pascvaks (06:18:27) :
    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.
    *************
    Wait! You mean we are NOT supposed to burn witches?? Oh.

  50. I read the AGU abstract and it said the SNOW melt was the lowest ever. It didn’t say anything about ice. What am I missing here?

  51. Perhaps Marco Tedesco and Andrew Monaghan will be looking for a new job soon. Or perhaps they are about to retire or have already just retired.

    NOBODY but NOBODY in their right mind publishes anything like this without fear of losing their job, funding, friends and being completely ostracized by their peer group in professional circles and societies.

    If you recall the WUWT story about how the Polar Bear Expert (with over 30 years of field experience) was basicaly booted out – YOU ARE NOT WELCOME ANYMORE – said the new Head Honcho of the muli-nation Polar Bear Specialist Group…and why?

    All for daring to suggest that Polar Bears are not actually threatened by catestophic man-made climate change because, as far as he was concerned, the arctic climate (where this expert spent decades) has been behaving normally or naturally and, furthermore, none of the fluctuations were worse than what Polar Bears had endured historically and that, on the whole, there was NO impending climate induced disaster for the bears at all.

    THANK GOODNESS – they managed to stop the expert attending any conferences – keep his mouth shut and muzzled- after all the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) CANNOT accept this kind of talk….if the sheeple get the idea that Polar Bears are not actually on the brink of extinction then WHERE IS PBSG SELF INFLATED IMPORTANCE AS A RESEARCH GROUP AND GRAVY TRAIN FUNDING going to go? – down the tubes obviously!

    None of this has anything remotely related to science – it is purely and issue of POWER, IMPORTANCE, GREED and HUBRIS.

  52. NASA does have a story which attempts to explain away the Antarctic Sea Ice here:
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/antarctic_melting.html
    They list three possibilities: a) the increasing ozone hole cools the stratosphere which results in increased wind speeds and more ice freezing; b) warmer temperatures result in a more stratified ocean which results in less mixing of fresh water and hence more ice; and c) snow which weights down the existing ice and then sea water floods the ice which freezes.

    NASA goes to great lengths to explain away the Antarctic sea ice extent yet they immediately ascribe Arctic sea ice melt to global warming.

  53. Kudo’s to Ric Werme and others for answering P. Gosselin.
    You only ever here about ice versus water albedo in the arctic. It is absolutely true that water absorbs most direct sunlight/heat while ice reflects most sunlight/heat. This they say could lead to the runaway warming effect.

    I will add this list of things you rarely ever hear about summer sea ice melt in the Artic:
    1)The sun is only above the horizon for half the year. It’s still freakin freezin for most of the year.
    2) When the sun is above the horizon and the angle is large, say 80%, then the water can reflect nearly half the rays.
    3) Open water could produce more clouds and clouds are more reflective than water.
    4) When it is cloudy the clouds reflect almost as much as the ice would. So clouds reduce rays getting through to both ice and open water. So really you have to insure any model comparing ice against water does not just assume cloud free skies.
    5) More rays are reflected because the atmosphere is thinker (because of the strong angle) so less likely to get to earth as opposed to with direct overhead rays.
    6) Snow also is reflective similar to ice and with cold air blowing across open water you get a phenomenon often called ocean effect snow. For those living near Great lakes likely familiar with Lake-effect Snow. Ocean Effect Snow would also need to be factored into any model.
    7) Ocean Effect Snow and evaporation could lead to more snowfall over Greenland and surrounding areas compensating somewhat for potential warming due to waters. Fresh snow is more reflective than old snow and can blanket otherwise windblown exposed rock surfaces for example.
    8) Ice can also insulate less cold water underneath it where exposing it to air would lead to quicker cooling. The same way an Iglo works.

    I’d appreciate it if anyone else knew of a thorough paper on just the angle and atmosphere effects of the arctic circle alone.

  54. Maybe when a scientific concept gets too much big budget/big science behind it, the concept becomes “too big to fail” just like AIG or Citigroup. You can’t expect a whole institution to support propositions which will likely lead to the institution’s extinction. If the Nazis fund enough archeological research into finding evidence of a genetically superior Aryan race of supermen, the archeologists will find the evidence. Stalin’s scientists proved that Mendelian genetics was wrong, and anyone who objected went to the Gulag.

    Me, I don’t know whether it will get warmer or cooler, but I don’t think CO2 has much to do with it, and neither does anything else humans control.

  55. Ripper (05:33:23)

    Thanks for the link to the ABC story. Note the use of the obligatory footage of polar bear on melting ice. Australia’s defence chiefs seem to have actually looked at the data unlike the idiot defence analysts who just want people to look to the IPCC. All in all though just another example of ABC bias. I bet people didn’t even notice the last few words saying the PM had signed off on the defence report. So much for his belief in imminent dangerous climate change. By pushing the time line out to 2030 I’d say the defence guys are sending a strong signal that they don’t believe any of this rubbish.

  56. Chris Schoneveld (05:19:32) :

    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.

    Hi Chris – Looks like you missed my ironic tone…

    I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you!

  57. Mike Borgelt (14:46:16) :

    Ripper (05:33:23)

    Thanks for the link to the ABC story. Note the use of the obligatory footage of polar bear on melting ice. Australia’s defence chiefs seem to have actually looked at the data unlike the idiot defence analysts who just want people to look to the IPCC. All in all though just another example of ABC bias. I bet people didn’t even notice the last few words saying the PM had signed off on the defence report. So much for his belief in imminent dangerous climate change. By pushing the time line out to 2030 I’d say the defence guys are sending a strong signal that they don’t believe any of this rubbish.

    I wouldn’t assume that the PM read the report before signing it – after all he is a Very Important Person, saving the planet from Global Catastrophy, and Flying to Important cities, and hob nobbing with World Leaders…

  58. @ Alan the Brit (02:13:23) :

    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.

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Unfortunately, it goes well beyond just the sensationalize problem, and this article is a prime example.

    If it WERE just newsies (and unethically, some scientists) going for maximum sensational value, from this article we’d promptly be seeing stories reporting it with headlines like the following – and including similar terminology throughout the articles too of course.

    Unprecedented Ice Accumulation In Antarctic – Are We Heading Into The Next Ice Age?

    Antarctic Hording Water – Failing Crops and Worsening Worldwide Droughts Possible

    Scientists Shocked [Shocked I Tell You! -g-] At Unprecedented Antarctic Snow And Ice Increase Over Bulk Of Pole; Falling Sea Level May Kill Coral Reefs

    Is Man-Caused Global Warming Saving Us From The Next Ice Age? Largest Ice Accumulation Over Antarctic Ever Recorded

    heck, even:

    Massive Polar Ice Accumulation Questions Man-Caused Global Warming!

    I mean, at this point what would be more sensational than the idea that the entire AGW movement, all those scientists who swore its happening, all the $$$$ sunk into it, all the countries that fell for Kyoto, etc., etc., etc…. all of it may be utterly wrong!

    ——————

    I’m sure folks here can likely imagine far better headlines, but you get the point. If the problem were just sensationalism, they would have lept on this information and spun it to the hilt. Its directly contradictory to the vast majority of stories out there – what’s more sensational than that? That they haven’t tells us clearly that its a very one sided and biased agenda in the general media out there – and for many years now its all been aimed at pushing the whole AGW spiel.

    Over time I’ve slowly and reluctantly come to believe that some percentage of the most powerful pushing this have got to be doing so not because they actually believe science supports it, but because of the huge amount of control and power (and that pesky money) it would give those in power over their citizenry – and the potential for massive wealth redistribution, massive taxation (new revenues, oh boy! they gleefully think while rubbing their hands together). All whether they understand the science or not. All of it relatively short term gain for a very few, regardless of the long term harm to pretty literally everyone in terms of standards of living, productivity, and so on.

  59. P Gosselin (02:20:39) :

    “[…] By the way, why would the south pole behave differently from the north pole?
    Comments anyone?”

    Well, if you hover directly over each pole you’ll find they rotate in opposite directions ;o)

    Then there’s always the small matter of the current arrangement of the continental plates and the resulting ocean currents due to the plate locations.

  60. Espen’s reference (03:11:34) 8 Oct:
    “Normally, they’re heavy things and they rest on the sea bed and friction slows them down. But as you start to thin glaciers, they start to float off the sea-bed more and more; there’s less friction and the glaciers can speed up.”
    The swiftness with which some of the glaciers now move towards the sea far outstrips the rate at which ice can be restored to the land through precipitation.
    As a consequence, these glaciers are shown in the Icesat data to be falling in height – some dramatically so.
    For example, the giant Pine Island thd Thwaites Glaciers in the West Antarctic are thinning by up to nine metres per year…
    BBC, 24 September, 2009

    ‘Antarctic snow melt’ seems a curious statistic, in a land of ice. The areas that might get up to melting temperatures will be mostly in West Antarctica and on the Antarctic Peninsula. Inland East Antarctica is too cold.

    The graph shows that it has been generally declining in the post 1980 global warming era. And, that it has been steeply declining since 2005, the warmest year (without a record El Nino event) globally.

    I’ve no idea how the two might be related. But obviously a declining Antarctic snow melt has not been slowing the Pine Island glacier in its march to the sea.

  61. I wonder if the contrast in sea ice trends between the two hemispheres is a counter-balancing or dampening effect? Vostok vs Gisp2 is below to show the two largest ice cores to represent each hemisphere. They always seem to have opposing trends. Why? Is is that warming trends from solar forcing (or whatever source) are driven from the NH and the departing heat leaves the cold in the SH? Whatever it is, it seems to hold regardless of time period.

    Any theories?

  62. Rational Debate,

    I think that while any of the headlines you posted above are obviously sensationalistic (and creative ;) enough to merit front page news, they just don’t fit or make sense within the prevailing cultural fears. They probably would have been perfect in the 70s when the big concern was a looming Ice Age, but we have been consistently been sold the story of melting ice and sea level rise.. I imagine the emotional response to these kinds of headlines in today’s world would be primarily a neutral one- they would work as a diffuser of global warming fears but probably wouldn’t carry enough strength on their own to create a fear response.

    The global warming story presented in the media, while ever confused in the details, is still coherent enough in making sure that people are getting the primary message – ‘global warming is bad, the polar bears are dying, it’s our fault and we need to turn things around’.

    Which makes the lowest melt recorded in the Antarctic completely off message and therefore extremely un-newsworthy.

  63. Rational Debate (17:31:00) :

    All of it relatively short term gain for a very few, regardless of the long term harm to pretty literally everyone in terms of standards of living, productivity, and so on.
    ———————————-

    Litigation around manipulation of the stock market could be lots of fun when the markets in question crash.

    Revenge is a meal best eaten cold.

  64. Don’t worry about the silence. Give the politicians and their pets 10 years, and the panic will be all about global cooling and the coming ice age. Due, undoubtedly, to human activities, which must be controlled and regulated.

  65. Ed (20:17:21) “[…] contrast in […] trends between the two hemispheres is a counter-balancing or dampening effect? […] They always seem to have opposing trends. Why? Is is that warming trends from solar forcing (or whatever source) are driven from the NH and the departing heat leaves the cold in the SH? Whatever it is, it seems to hold regardless of time period. […] Any theories?”

    See the works of Russian scientists Yu.V. Barkin and N.S. Sidorenkov. Particularly for anyone who knows cross-wavelet methods, this could be among the very best climate-literature-reading investments possible.

    I have been preparing for the backlash; true environmentalists may find themselves mired in the battle-of-a-lifetime correcting the climate-alarmist movement. This task must be pursued with appropriate restraint, but also with due severity; public confidence must not be undermined. There is not a moment to waste in planning to catch all that will fall; with careful & strategic planning, this is an opportunity to harness the accumulated charge and coax the momentum in a positive direction. There is little time to prepare the public for what will come, so this is a call to the very brightest amongst amongst us to be vigilantly on-their-game in preparing, starting now. Stability can be maintained during the transition if we are prepared in-advance to gather each loose thread as it unravels; there is no need for alarmism tomorrow, just as there wasn’t yesterday …and this isn’t a time for “I told you so” – we have serious work to do and under the circumstances the most sensible course might be one of austerity.

  66. Graeme Rodaughan (03:53:33) :

    “Hi Chris – Looks like you missed my ironic tone…”

    No, I didn’t miss the irony but I thought it was a cheap shot and the irony misplaced.

  67. Fascinating stuff Paul. “The physics of the Earth’s rotation instabilities”.

    Couldn’t find this other paper though. “The Effect of El-Niño Oscillation on the Exitation of the Chandler Motion of the Earth Pole” Do you have a link by chance?

    Thanks, d

  68. ET (12:44:03) “Fascinating stuff […] Do you have a link by chance?”

    I know of no free/public link to that Sidorenkov paper, but the paper you’ve found is an excellent overview of his work.

    What I can share is a result I found with ease not long after discovering the works of Barkin:

    You will note one discrepancy. It relates to Earth nutation and I will be endeavoring to identify the source of the asymmetry; I already have a short-list of potential conditioning factors.

    Barkin gives a series of clues that liberate investigators of terrestrial oscillations from the oppression of misguided conventional paradigms that have rammed head-on (at full speed) into impenetrable barriers.

    For anyone who hasn’t clued in yet: This is serious business.

  69. Speaking of plate tectonics and going off on a tangent here but hoping someone could enlighten me… I’d always assumed that all planets had plate tectonics just as the Earth does. A few days ago read that one of the other planets doesn’t (mercury maybe? don’t recall). Why would some planets have plate tectonics but not others? To be very simplistic, I’d thought we basically had them because of the molten core?

    Thanks in advance!

    @ Stu (20:26:39) – good point. I was trying to say that if the headlines were only driven by sensationalism, they’d’ve jumped on this contrary seeming news… but I imagine you’re right, the sheer weight of AGW media would drown out anything contrary at this point. Just think, tho – the intrepid editor and journalist who dared it might not get much at first, but they’d be opening up a whole new area for all journalists! ;0)

    @ philincalifornia (20:54:49) – yes, I’m sure you’re right. I’ve wondered a number of times just how much AGW market manip. has been occurring as it is.

  70. yesterday in Christchurch n.z we had a record coldest air day max temp 6c( STILL TO BE COMFIRMED) .The last coldest october day was in 1987 6.3c as fas as i can tell.

  71. Just a thought … or TWO!
    1. Is not the glacier on Pine Island sitting over the “ring of fire” volcanic ridge which extends from Sth America??????
    2. Are not BOTH the USA and Russia keeping an eye on each other over the North Pole with ‘over the horizon radar’??
    AND … just a question …. How do you defrost a frozen steak for a BBQ without leaving it sit out in the air or on a shelf in the fridge? .. pop into microwave for a while on low setting????
    And what do the ‘over the horizon radars ‘ do to the ice they play over [notice that the ice is melting in Greenland .. at high altitude……]
    Just trying to get my head around this, as there is very little radar activity ovet the Antarctica!
    And remember that we have a Wong in charge of our policy on these matters .. wonder when she will make it wite..
    Jorge

  72. Graeme… I didn’t think it was a cheap shot at all… you were altogether too easy on Steig, et al… And the irony was placed perfectly…
    Mike

  73. An updated Antarctic melt record through 2009 and its linkages to high-latitude and tropical climate variability

    Marco Tedesco
    Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, City College of New York, New York, New York, USA

    Andrew J. Monaghan
    National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    Abstract:

    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. The 30-year record confirms that significant negative correlations exist at regional and continental scales between austral summer melting and both the ENSO and SAM indices for October–January. In particular, the strongest negative melting anomalies (such as those in 2008 and 2009) are related to amplified large-scale atmospheric forcing when both the SAM and ENSO are in positive phases. Our results suggest that enhanced snowmelt is likely to occur if recent positive summer SAM trends subside in conjunction with the projected recovery of stratospheric ozone levels, with subsequent impacts on ice sheet mass balance and sea level trends.

    Received 13 May 2009; accepted 12 August 2009; published 24 September 2009.

    Citation: Tedesco, M., and A. J. Monaghan (2009), An updated Antarctic melt record through 2009 and its linkages to high-latitude and tropical climate variability, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L18502,

  74. “Where are the headlines? Where are the press releases? Where is all the attention?”

    Where is the context?

    The two authors of the study have an explanation of the context of their findings at RC (guest post): http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/putting-the-recent-antarctic-snowmelt-minimum-into-context/

    Grumbine also has an informative post, and rightly highlights that
    “there is more than one way for the Antarctic to lose mass.” (http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/10/antarctic-snow-and-ice.html) Note that Tedesco (one of the study’s authors) responded as follows (presumably via email) on Grumbine’s blog (2nd comment):

    “Let me also catch the opportunity to mention that the results of our work have been extremely simplified and not all results have been reported on many blogs. In the paper we do report the lowest melt in the 30-year satellite record this past austral summer but we also examine the causality of the low melt and find that it is related to the belt of westerly winds that encircles Antarctica. These winds are expected to weaken as the ozone hole is projected to recover significantly during the next 25 years and, as a consequence, we expect that temperature increases over Antarctica will become stronger and more widespread.

    We also note that our results do not contradict recently published results on surface temperature trends over Antarctica: the time period used for those studies extends back to the 1950’s, well beyond 1980, and the largest temperature increases are found during winter and spring rather than summer, and are generally limited to West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula.”

    It’s an art to stir up conflict where there is none. But what good does it do?

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