What NOAA Isn't Saying About Snow and Ice

By Steven Goddard

As reported on WUWT, NOAA is warning of “earlier snowmelt and extended ice-free seasons.”  But what NOAA isn’t saying is that snow is falling earlier and heavier in the Northern Hemisphere.  Rutgers University Global Snow Lab has reported that January was the sixth snowiest on record, and that six out of the last eight Januaries were above normal snowfall.

January, 2008 saw the second greatest snow extent ever recorded.  December was the third snowiest on record in the Northern Hemisphere and seventeen out of last twenty-one Decembers were above normal snowfall.  November was above normal snowfall and fifteen out of the last nineteen Novembers have had above average snowfall.  October was the sixth snowiest October on record and seven out of the last ten Octobers have had above average snowfall.

Source : Rutgers University Global Snow Lab



The data shows unequivocally that snow is coming earlier and heavier than it used to.  Perhaps the snow season is shifting, rather than shortening?  NOAA’s failure to mention this is negligent at best.

As far as their claim of “extended ice free seasons” goes, Roger Pielke Sr. has reported :

The finding in this data is that there is no clear evidence of a delay in the start of the later summer/early fall freeze up or [an earlier] start of the late winter/early spring melt despite the well below average areal sea ice coverage.

So why isn’t NOAA highlighting the other half of the story?  Do readers have any ideas?

What NOAA Isn’t Saying About Snow and Ice

As reported on WUWT, NOAA is warning of “earlier snowmelt and extended ice-free seasons.”  But what NOAA isn’t saying is that snow is falling earlier and heavier in the Northern Hemisphere.  Rutgers University Global Snow Lab has reported that January was the sixth snowiest on record, and that six out of the last eight Januaries were above normal snowfall.  January, 2008 saw the second greatest snow extent ever recorded.  December was the third snowiest on record in the Northern Hemisphere and seventeen out of last twenty-one Decembers were above normal snowfall.  November was above normal snowfall and fifteen out of the last nineteen Novembers have had above average snowfall.  October was the sixth snowiest October on record and seven out of the last ten Octobers have had above average snowfall.

Source : Rutgers University Global Snow Lab

The data shows unequivocally that snow is coming earlier and heavier than it used to.  Perhaps the snow season is shifting, rather than shortening?  NOAA’s failure to mention this is negligent at best.

As far as their claim of “extended ice free seasons” goes, Roger Pielke Sr. has reported :

The finding in this data is that there is no clear evidence of a delay in the start of the later summer/early fall freeze up or [an earlier] start of the late winter/early spring melt despite the well below average areal sea ice coverage.

So why isn’t NOAA highlighting the other half of the story?  Do readers have any ideas?

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February 9, 2010 4:04 am

but its all due to global warming,they say ….see here:

February 9, 2010 4:09 am

Interesting. I did an analysis a couple of years ago studying snow depths in Oslo, Norway since 1897 and found that while that there has been much less snow in April and May in recent decades, October snow has become more common. The earlier winter arrival does by no means fully counter the earlier spring, but there is a slight shift. I didn’t imagine that it could be the same for the rest of the hemisphere.

Graham Jay
February 9, 2010 4:10 am

OT – apologies. An almost unbelievable final paragraph in this article:
“Met Office blocked role of leading scientist in climate change row”

Ceri Phipps
February 9, 2010 4:25 am

The importance of ice melt for the AGW argument is that water absorbs more sun light than ice and consequently ice loss acts as a positive feedback.
Looking at the record sea ice loss in 2007 (since satellite records began), most of the above average loss was at latitude of around 80 degrees north. This is important as the albedo of water increases rapidly as the angle of incidence of sunlight decreases.
This got me thinking: How would the additional energy absorbed due to loss of sea ice in the worst month (September 2007) compare with the reduction in absorbed energy from the increased northern hemisphere snow cover in December 2009. Would they be of a similar magnitude?
I quickly realised that it is impossible to calculate this accurately so I had a stab at a rough estimate. In order to try to reduce my own bias, I have tried to ensure that all my estimates favour more energy being absorbed by ice loss.
I looked at data for September 2007 and calculated that the ice loss above average to be 1.1 million square kilometres as compared to the period 2002-2009
According to the Rutgers University Global snow lab, the snow cover for December 2009 was 2.66 million square kilometres above average (assumed to be from 1966 to present).
I estimate the ice loss to be mostly above 80 degrees north for September, but I will call it 80 degrees.
I estimate the additional snow cover to be at an average of around 40 degrees north.
The average day length for the Arctic in September I will say is 12 hours and that for 40 degrees north in December is 9 hours.
The angle of incidence for 80 degrees north in September is approximately 10 degrees; the albedo for water at this angle is about 0.35.
The maximum angle of incidence for 40 degrees north in December is about 26.5 degrees, however, the albedo of land does not increase at the same rate as for water so will be ignored.
Wikipedia gives the albedo of sea ice as 0.5 – 0.7. However we are looking at the high Arctic so it would probably normally be snow covered so lets increase this to .85
The albedo of fresh snow is about 0.8 and the albedo of the ground this snow is covering at 40 degrees north I estimate at 0.3
The difference in albedo for our two locations is therefore approximately the same.
The difference in day length is three hours. I am going to assume a linear comparison here.
As the albedo difference is the same for our two locations, we can ignore it. Therefore we are left with area and number of hours so the energy absorbed due to lack of ice is 1,100,00 units and the energy reflected due to extra snow is 1,995,000 units (2,660,000*9/12)
Now I realise that this is just one month and has no real meaning, but in doing this very simple exercise it highlights just how many unknowns and (with today’s technology) impossible to knows there are. For example I have ignored cloud cover which will obviously have a large impact: is it sunnier in the Arctic in September than at 40 degrees north in December? Sea Ice moves; how can you accurately calculate the albedo of the land that is covered in snow etc.
I could spend a lot of time and effort trying to make better estimates of all these things, but I doubt it would make a huge improvement to the outcome.
All this just goes to show how incredibly complex feedbacks are and yet somehow we are led to believe that these are all correctly accounted for in Global Climate Models. Either the modellers are incredibly clever, or they have made some very broad assumptions.

February 9, 2010 4:25 am

Um, It doesn’t fit in with their agenda?

Michael Bowler
February 9, 2010 4:32 am

NOAA is an arm of the federal govt. Their findings are colored by govt policy that global warming caused by man is a problem and that we can stop it. They will not issue any statement that directly proves otherwise or even hints at it. The progessive era is upon us. For further explanation read “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. The ends justify the means without regard for honesty or ethics.

February 9, 2010 4:43 am

The NOAA is just another propaganda mouthpiece for the Global Warmers. Otherwise they’d be reporting the facts rather than their belief system. Time to expose these people with the FACTS!
Thanks, Anthony! Keep up the good work!
A bit OT (and maybe it’s been discussed and I missed it), but why are practically ALL of the terrestrial temperature data sets in the world (Madagascar reported on recently is yet another in a long string of examples) adjusted to fit the AGW hockey stick mantra? Who is sending out the “adjustment memo”?

February 9, 2010 4:46 am

Well, yeah.
Whatever fits with the relevant paradigm gets publicized.
Earlier snowfall, heavier snowfall, and more extended snow cover do not fit the paradigm (AGW). Therefore these subjects will not be mentioned. To do otherwise would set grant money at risk.
Fear not. There will be a new Federal Department for Global Warming. This Department will set us all straight.
Meanwhile…waiting for the next shoe to fall concerning the IPCC is like living downstairs from a centipede. The stunning tergiversations [you could look it up] in the IPCC 4 report have already choked a horse. The more one looks, the more unsubstantiated claims from amateurs and the WWF are found.
FACT: significant point-to-point variations in climate swamp any attempt to look for long-term variations. Error bars, anyone? Pinpointing a global average is not possible, given the extant distribution of instrumentation.
And the best correlation of CO2 and temperature remains that from the ice cores: CO2 lags behind temperature by about 800 years.

Stephen Wilde
February 9, 2010 4:52 am

Interesting to note that the switch in snowfall from below average to above average appears to have commenced a little before 2000 for the January chart.
For several years past I have been asserting that I first noticed the mid latitude jets starting to move back equatorward in 2000.
Snowcover statistics would be more a reflection of the position of the interface between polar and sub tropical air masses rather than absolute temperature and the more equatorward that interface the more continental land masses would fall under the influence of polar air and thus be available to receive more snowfall.
It seems likely that ice caps would start to build when heavy snowfall is induced from a combination of warmer equatorial ocean surfaces combined with a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation. In that scenario the jets would be more equatorward than warm tropical oceans would normally allow so that the temperature differential across the mid latitude jets would increase leading to more precipitation in the form of snow on the northern continents especially. Just as has happened this past winter but for many thousands of years at a time.
All fitting nicely with my suggestion that a weak sun reduces the rate of energy loss to space thus encouraging a more negative Arctic Oscillation so if the phasing of long periods of a weak sun changes to more often coincide with warmer ocean surfaces then the result may be a warming of the troposphere as a whole (as witness this past January) at the same time as one gets a huge snow dump year after year in continental interiors.
Only when the phasing changes again with a strong sun coinciding with warmer ocean surfaces will the jets move poleward again allowing less snowfall as energy is allowed to leave for space faster once more and the Arctic Oscillation reverts to a longer term more positive mode.
In contrast cooler ocean surfaces with a strong sun would result in fast tropospheric cooling but cooler ocean surfaces with a weak sun would result in only a slow rate of tropospheric cooling. In both ocean surface cooling scenarios there would be less precipitation than during ocean surface warming spells.
So for fast cooling one needs cool ocean surfaces and a more active sun.
For slow cooling one needs a cool ocean surface and a less active sun.
For a fast warming of the troposphere and greatly enhanced snowfall one needs warm ocean surfaces and a less active sun.
For slow warming one needs warmer ocean surfaces and an active sun.

C Shannon
February 9, 2010 4:57 am

“Do readers have any ideas?”
I think the obvious answer is advocacy winning out over science. Perhaps it is a bit cynical to jump right in and point to that but if we’re just making a list of possibilities it certainly should be on the list.

John Hooper
February 9, 2010 4:58 am

Yes, the following organizations at the very least are implicated in a massive conspiracy:
It’s like Watergate, except this time the water is frozen.

Rhys Jaggar
February 9, 2010 5:01 am

Well to be fair, we’d better say that Arctic Sea Ice is tracking a bit lower this year. It’s not clear to me whether that is smaller area of high density ice (i.e. 100% not 30%) or merely a reflection of warmer oceans within normal amplitudes of extremes. NSIDC’s February statement reflects all that. Probably fair to say that they point out declining January sea ice the past 30 years. Again, in my opinion, that’s not long enough to say it’s a progression which will continue or something which will spring back due to a 70 year oceanic modulation…..
I suspect early snow, particularly October, is more dependent on air oscillation patterns, since you’ll need the precipitation to either hit cold air or, more likely emanate from northern latitudes and pass straight south to drop the snow. In the european Alps, that’s happened the past 3 years – northerly/northeasterly blizzard in October. It happened once in July in 1981!!
In December/January, I suspect warmer oceans begets stronger depressions which, when they hit land, produce more snow. The question arising is: does the solar reflection by snow balance out the greater oceanic absorption due to less sea ice?? Upon that calculation will, I suspect, a spring-like return to normality or a self-perpetuating warm cycle be decided upon.

February 9, 2010 5:07 am

When looking at NOAA’s standing, it reminds me of a poor cousin to the IPCC, looking to make a step up the UN social ladder.
If they had any foresight, they would see the impending doom and start reporting how science should report.
Accurately without agenda.

February 9, 2010 5:07 am

What exactly are those graphs graphing? The y-axis doesn’t make any sense. How can you have a negative number for “land area covered?”

February 9, 2010 5:09 am

The Guardian media group controls the majority of local newspapers in UK,
Not any more, might get more balanced reporting in locals now.
Guardian Media Group (GMG) this morning sold its regional newspaper division, including the flagship Manchester Evening News, to Trinity Mirror for £45 million, ending an 85-year relationship.
The group, which publishes The Guardian and The Observer, will receive £7.4 million in cash for the regional division’s 32 newspapers and associated websites.
GMG will also be released from a long term printing contract with Trinity Mirror worth £37.4 million. The sale will be completed on 28 March, Trinity Mirror said.
The sale comes with Guardian News and Media, GMG’s national newspaper company, losing £100,000 a day.

February 9, 2010 5:09 am

>> So why isn’t NOAA highlighting the other half of the story? Do readers have any ideas?
Who pays for NOAA? Follow the money perchance?

Pamela Gray
February 9, 2010 5:20 am

I kept trying to type what I thought might be the reason. And I kept deleting what I typed. I was left with this:
The only thing I can think of is that the current administration truly believes that creating jobs by encouraging and subsidizing green inventive and entrepreneurial business will pull us out of the economic slump we are in, for all time, and we will be so grateful that we will keep them in power for decades to come. So I think that it is possible that internal memos have been sent to these agencies to continue to beat the warming drum, for the good of the nation. FOI it and see if this theory holds true.
This is the same mistake made by Bush in his lead up to the Iraq invasion. These people in power get wrapped up in their blind to anything else vision of how things should be, and want to be a savior to their beloved country. Trouble is we get sent down the prime rose path with them.
Bush didn’t listen. Now Obama isn’t listening. Great. Just great.

February 9, 2010 5:22 am

Its so sad!
Last summer i went trough all my old toys.I especially appriciatet my old Apollo shuttle and moonlander.Nasa for me was the symbol of the best and most fantastic example of the human capacity science freedom and adventure.Now its occupied and infiltrated by asctivist and has changed its symbolicy of man kind to be the hart of misantrophic propaganda. I never expected that among choices between nuclear veapons,biological warfare,laser,military forces,dictatorship,kommunism,faschism and all the possible potential tools to take power, the control and manipulation of temperaturdata could turned out to be the most powerful one.
According to which political systems and ideaologies is gouvernmental institutions allowed to spread propaganda?
Whats happening to America? The land of the …….what?? Im a surpressed Swede living in a country that built its konstitution influensed by DDR 1973.

rob m.
February 9, 2010 5:25 am

“and that six out of the last eight Januaries were above normal snowfall.”
What is ‘normal’ in climate or weather?

February 9, 2010 5:27 am

Good example of climate change, Steven! Increased temperatures mean increased moisture in the air, hence more snowfall.
At the same time, snow forms at altitude, where the temperature drops. Right now we see global warming of about 0.5C, but in the atmosphere, you only have to go up 50 meters to see an equivalent drop in temperature, so when it comes to things being warm or cold enough to form snow, global warming isn’t going to have a lot of influence.
The difference is, of course, that an October or November without snow would have had dry air. Ones with snow had wet air… and that is being fed by global warming, and so it’s on the increase.
Decreased temperatures would have decreased snowfall, but temperatures aren’t dropping, they’re rising. This is a good example of how rising temperatures will change the climate in surprising, counter-intuitive ways.
Of course, forty years from now, when temperatures have risen another degree, we will see the snow line shifting northward, but those above the snowline will could still see record snow, or much less due to persistent drought that robs nearby areas of moisture year round. It’s hard to say. But the 0.5C warming we see right now is absolutely nothing compared to what we’re in for, so jumping up and down about a change in snowfall one way or the other right now is rather silly.
Thanks for another good example of climate change (except for those who will be so simple minded that the thought process will be “snow = cold = global cooling”, but there’s no way to argue with ignorance).

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 5:28 am

I did an analysis of polar albedo changes last year which concluded something that might surprise you. Polar ice changes are actually cooling the earth, when considering both poles.
You can’t infer much about summer Arctic ice from looking at February extent. Note that 2006 was lower in February but had the second highest minimum in the AMSRE record.
Thickness is more important than extent at this time of year. The current “missing” ice is in areas that don’t ever retain ice in the summer.

February 9, 2010 5:31 am

I would think this is another example of the latest Orwellian logic: “There is snow? What snow? it is warming though. Cold is hot!” Or maybe an example of an elaborated cargo cult: “We are the supreme masters of our little landing strip and we expect John Frum, oh sorry James Hansen deliver all the profitable heatwaves, drought, famine, hurricanes and plagues, for finally save the planet from the indeed evil man, so what snow, there is no snow dumbass!…or maybe just a little bit, never mind…”

February 9, 2010 5:34 am

Off topic – sorry.
Bishop Hill has good report of contributor comment regarding teh executiv3 summary of IPCC AR4 Chapter 9.
Colleague of James Hansen:
“There is no scientific merit to be found in the Executive Summary. The presentation sounds like something put together by Greenpeace activists and their legal department.”
Chaper authors response:
“Rejected. [Executive Summary] summarizes Ch 9, which is based on the peer reviewed literature.”
I’d laugh if it wasn’t so serious….

February 9, 2010 5:34 am
Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 5:43 am

The increase in snowcover is due to increased snow on the ground at lower latitudes. This is definitely not something that has been predicted by climate models, and is an indication of cold temperatures.

Henry chance
February 9, 2010 5:53 am

From The Independent on 20 March 2000 we got the headline: “Snowfalls are
now just a thing of the past”. According to Dr David Viner, a senior
research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of
East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and
exciting event”.
Both lying and wrong.
We are required to discard models that are so wrong.

It's always Marcia, Marcia
February 9, 2010 5:57 am

They are the government. After seeing people yelling at politicians at the Town Hall meetings how they didn’t want Obamacare and then seeing the election results in Massachusetts where the man who won ran on how he would be the vote that stopped Obamacare, yet seeing some politicians still saying they will pass Obamacare, it’s more of the same type of thing to have the NOAA say we are going to all die from global warming even though the real world doesn’t agree with them.

February 9, 2010 5:58 am

John Hooper (04:58:05),
You gave your list of alarmist scientists [including the wacked out John Holdren] who are living on public taxpayers’ grant money, so I will give you just one list of scientists totaling triple your number; the signers of the OISM Petition, which states:

The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

Nice try there, John. Thanx for playing, and Vanna has some wonderful parting gifts for you on your way out.

A C Osborn
February 9, 2010 6:04 am

Steve Goddard, I don’t know whether you have seen it, there is a post on Tips & Notes where someone was trying to get in touch with you.
Richard Woolley (09:07:34) :
I am trying to get in touch with Steve Goddard.
Trying to find out more information about the CRU normals data set that COLA is using the their maps.
We here at Weather Trends run a worldwide MOS using actual observed data and gridded NCEP reanalysis data combined with the 00Z GFS forecast.
Seems most of our trends follow the COLA site very well except for Africa and S. America. Looks like the normal we use is lower than the CRU normals. Hence the lack of significant cold anomalies in those regions, The footprint looks right so I think the forecast is similar so it must be in the normals.
Does CRU interpolate daily normals and so forth and roll it up into a week?
Anyway feel free to contact me, you guys and Anthony do a wonderful job keeping the other hacks honest…

Claude Harvey
February 9, 2010 6:07 am

Q: “So why isn’t NOAA highlighting the other half of the story?”
A: “Funding.”

A C Osborn
February 9, 2010 6:14 am

ThinkingBeing (05:27:50) :
So the 59.9″ in Chicago in 1929/30 and the 66.4″ in 1951/52 were also evidence of AGW were they?
What about before 1928?

February 9, 2010 6:15 am

Stereo Behind EUVI 195
2010-02-09 13:46:19
Confused Sun ?

February 9, 2010 6:16 am

John Hooper (04:58:05) :
Yes, the following organizations at the very least are implicated in a massive conspiracy:
It’s like Watergate, except this time the water is frozen.
I’d say you’re right, John. All that has to happen is for the hockey stick adjustment be applied to all the terrestrial data sets (for which we have example after example after example) and people (yes, even “scientists”) will go running around screaming like chickens with their heads cut off that the earth is about to die from a fever.
Utter nonsense.
The earth is warming gradually after the Little Ice Age and i’m glad it is, although this may just be the precursor to the next Ice Age (which they’ll blame on anthropogenic CO2 too when it comes around; just wait and see!)
And when that happens, we are in such deep doo doo you can’t begin to imagine. THAT will be truly catastrophic!

February 9, 2010 6:30 am

it’s worse than I thought … looking at climatewatch.noaa.gov.
This doesn’t look at all like a gov-Website but like greenpeace or any other propaganda site, a bad one.
The good news, it’s not my tax money wasted there.

February 9, 2010 6:35 am

@Rob (05:09:32) :
“The Guardian media group controls the majority of local newspapers in UK,
Not any more, might get more balanced reporting in locals now.”
Not so sure Rob, as Trinity Mirror is the owner of the Daily and Sunday Mirrors, both of which are staunch Labour supporters. It’s hard to believe they will diverge seriously from NuLab policy on AGW, which is rabidly anti-sceptic and anti-science. A scatologically (and fundament-ally) profane phrase comes to mind, which uses the adjectives “same” and “different”. 🙂

keith in hastings UK
February 9, 2010 6:44 am

Did I read somewhere that albedo in the far IR, where CO2 “works”, is different from that in visible spectrum and much closer to Blackbody?
This was in the context of calculating from 1st principles what the Earth’s temp would be with no atmosphere ie if a blackbody in radiation equilibrium to incoming solar radiation… the result was – 35C or so , which I was concerned about because of emissivity prob less than 1 and internal heat source (it’s hot down there!) which I haven’t researched tho’.
Just mention it because of the calculations higher up the thread using assumed albedo numbers…. sceptics need to be ultra careful, unlike alarmists?

February 9, 2010 6:46 am

Note the running mean in this Rutgers snow anomaly graph. It includes snow cover for all four seasons. It is predominantly negative since about 1986.

February 9, 2010 6:48 am

This will surely melt the glaciers.

Buck Smith
February 9, 2010 6:48 am

Doesn’t all this increased snowfall ( & increased precipitation in general) itself act as a negative feedback? Heat energy moves from the ocean to the atmosphere in water vapor , is released in the atmosphere as snow or rain falls back down.

RR Kampen
February 9, 2010 6:49 am

How about February, March, April? Bad news there?
Anyway, warming should imply more precipitation.
If warming goes from -10° C to -1° C, that means more snow.

February 9, 2010 6:50 am

“Of course, forty years from now, when temperatures have risen another degree. . .”
Here, allow me to correct a typo for you:
Of course, forty years from now, if temperatures have risen another degree. . .

February 9, 2010 6:59 am

RockyRoad (06:16:09) :
The earth is warming gradually after the Little Ice Age and i’m glad it is……”
Recorded UK temperatures have oscillated, during last 300 years with a period of about 50+ years. While in the long term winters’ temps have risen (0.4C/century), summers’ have hardly moved (0.05C/century).
The bottom half of the graph shows de-trended temp changes (upward trend removed from the data). It is obvious that both summer and winter temperatures show similar natural oscillations (sometime in phase and sometime out of phase – that is another story) plus linear (but different) upward trends, which I think are due to a slow recovery from the Little Ice Age.
This corresponds well with plenty of the anecdotal evidence of the very cold winters (frozen Thames etc), but very little about unusually cool summers.
More temps graphs at: http://www.vukcevic.co.uk/GandF.htm

Herman L
February 9, 2010 7:04 am

NOAA devotes a large amount of material — available to the public — on snow and ice trends: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ussc/index.jsp
Did you read this and consider including it in your post? Why or why not?

Roger Knights
February 9, 2010 7:14 am

Pamela Gray (05:20:40) :
I kept trying to type what I thought might be the reason. And I kept deleting what I typed. I was left with this:
The only thing I can think of is that the current administration truly believes that creating jobs by encouraging and subsidizing green inventive and entrepreneurial business will pull us out of the economic slump we are in, for all time, and we will be so grateful that we will keep them in power for decades to come. ……..
Bush didn’t listen. Now Obama isn’t listening. Great. Just great.

Bear in mind what FDR said, “Nothing in politics happens by accident. If something happens, it was planned that way.” From a “political” perspective, Obama is not making a mistake. He has more to lose by changing his course.
It’s very simple. Obama is trapped. He promised the greens they’d get what they wanted if they backed him. If he backs off, they’ll turn on him, or at least turn away from him, and the Dems will lose monetary, foot-soldier, and editorial support in 2010 and 2012. The greens might even run a competing presidential candidate and sink the Dems in 2012, the way Nader did before. Obama can’t dismount this tiger until well into his second term.

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 7:14 am

John Freeland,
The graph you referenced includes summer snow extent. This article is discussing the increase in autumn/winter snow. Note the blue lines in the graph (winter) are showing strong positive anomalies.

February 9, 2010 7:16 am

Are there any reports that all of these abnormal conditions are affecting NH specific parameters at all? Are there sites tracking hemisphere specific temperatures and data? Specifically hemispheric albedo.

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 7:21 am

Henry chance,
I don’t think anyone was lying about that prediction. Winters in the UK were very warm 10 years ago and it was easy for people to trust Hansen and believe that it was just going to get warmer.

Bart Nielsen
February 9, 2010 7:26 am

Why don’t they report the earlier onset of snow, you ask?
Well, that would fall under the rubric of “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Sorry, I know it’s pretty old, but I couldn’t resist.

February 9, 2010 7:28 am

National Opptrunistic Oral Abnormities?

February 9, 2010 7:30 am

National Organized Abnormal Adjustifications

View from the Solent
February 9, 2010 7:30 am

The Times (UK) yesterday http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article7018438.ece carried an article by the Principal of Jesus College(Oxford). One of the claims he made is –
“Nevertheless, over time, science is self-correcting because someone will have the courage to challenge the prevailing view and win the argument, provided he or she has sufficient evidence. ”
He took a bit of a hammering in the comments.
Today there was a response from someone slightly closer to the ground http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article7019709.ece in the Times’ letters page. I don’t think that that would have appeared even a month ago.

Tom T
February 9, 2010 7:40 am

Why didn’t they mention the other half of the story? I can answer that in one character: $

John Diffenthal
February 9, 2010 7:41 am

The y axis isn’t measuring absolute area. It is showing the annual deviations from the average area (for an extended period) which is why some of the numbers are negative.

February 9, 2010 7:43 am

RR Kampen (06:49:39) :
“…warming should imply more precipitation.”
Then how do you explain the increasing droughts and expanding deserts that are routinely claimed to be the result of AGW?

February 9, 2010 7:48 am

From my very unscientific observations I can tell you it’s getting colder sooner, at least here in SW Missouri. I participate in the MS Bike Ride every September here. What used to be a warm Summer-feeling ride, with occasional Summer rain showers, has become a very wet and cold Fall ride. 2005-2007 rides all have had me starting in 50-60 F weather. 2008 was just about the most miserable year I’ve ever ridden, with a start temperature of 48 F, then rain with temps never getting past 58 F. Smaller riders were quitting with hypothermia symptoms setting in. Like a fool I gutted out the 100 mile day, rest stops were kept to a minimum though so my core and muscles would keep warm. The next day’s rides have been equally wet and cold, with many getting canceled. I decided to skip last year’s ride. The report from friends who did ride was that it was a carbon copy of the previous five years, wet and cold.

A C Osborn
February 9, 2010 7:58 am

Herman L (07:04:01) :
I love the Snowfall chart, top of the list for daily snowfall 1913.

Bart Nielsen
February 9, 2010 7:59 am

ThinkingBeing (05:27:50) : Thanks for the linkies. I noticed in your sciencedaily link the sidebar had the stories about the decadal decline in water levels on the Great Lakes being used as exhibits of global warming effects. I’m just curious whether the recent rebound in water levels to within inches of the long term mean (see: http://www.lre.usace.army.mil/hh/GreatLakesWaterLevels/GLWL-CurrentMonth-Feet.pdf ) is an exhibit which discredits the earlier exhibits.
Maybe, just maybe, the Great Lakes undergo cycles of rising water levels and declining water levels due to climate, or even the hydrostatic rebounding of southern Lake Huron, offset to some extent by the dredging of the Huron Cut and the Seaway Channel at the south end of the St. Clair River.
But it’s just easier to blame the CO2, isn’t it?

February 9, 2010 8:00 am

To “ThinkingBeing”
Firstly, “thinkingbeing” is an arrogant name, as in ‘I am, and you are not, a thinking being…”
But secondly, your thinking has stopped short of full analysis. For example, you imply that the great snowfalls recently in the mid-atlantic states is an example of the counterintuitive effects of global warming (you use the weasal words “climate change”, but you clearly mean global warming, not global cooling), with the sno due to increased moisture in the air from warmer oceans, turning into snow because of high altitudes are cooler. However, the midatlantic states are flat, for the most part, and hence at low altitudes. The snow is due to shifts in the jet stream, ocean currents and oscillations, etc. There is no scientific basis for invoking global warming to explain this snow. Your comments reflect mindless religiosity, not a being who thinks.

steven livingston
February 9, 2010 8:03 am

This website sucks as usual.
REPLY: OK that makes three of these identical comments. Since you have nothing of relevance to contribute, into the troll box you go.

stephen richards
February 9, 2010 8:14 am

Stephen Wilde (04:52:58) :
What you have outlined here appears to be a climate control mechanism !! a complete set of feedback balances.

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 8:18 am

I spend a lot of time in Colorado and am a soccer player. Starting in 2007, the fall soccer season started getting slammed with cold, rain and snow, and last year was almost a complete white out. Remember the Rockies playoff game which got snowed out in early October? Soccer is fast becoming an indoor sport in Colorado because both spring and fall have become too cold.

From: Kevin Trenberth
To: Michael Mann
Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 08:57:37 -0600
Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer
Hi all
Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather (see the Rockies
baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather).

February 9, 2010 8:20 am

One more:
Buck Smith, unlike ThinkingBeing, is a thinking being.
I too have wondered why there is not more discussion about the process of evaporating ocean water rising into the troposphere and condensing acting as a conveyor of heat energy into the atmsphere, from where the heat energy (in rising thermals) can be conveyed into the upper troposphere, from where a substantial portion can be radiated into space, being now above most of the GHG’s (which of course are water vapor far more than CO2). This would seem to be a powerful negative feedback mechanism for the temperature of the ocean/atmosphere system. Which global climate models include terms for this process and on what scientific basis do they quantify it?

Wondering Aloud
February 9, 2010 8:21 am

RR Kampen and ThinkingBeing just show that if your bias is strong enough you can find a justification for anything. This is not unusual but the calm way they present WAGs as if they were established fact is what sets me off. I could almost accept RR Kampens WAG on precipitation; warming should increse precipitation and plant water use efficiency. That would mean howeve,r rapidly shrinking deserts. If you want to use this argument in the future, please present it with evidence of shrinking deserts. The routine claims of increasing droughts and floods along with the warming causes cooling rubbish has crossed the line from proposing hypothesis into agenda promotion.

Phil Jourdan
February 9, 2010 8:25 am

Claude Harvey (06:07:54) :
Claude, you came closest to the answer of the question of why. But you stopped short. The answer is money, but also competition. Obama has retasked NASA to advocate AGW, and NOAA competes with NASA for funds. So they have to “one up” NASA in the eyes of the Obama administration to maintain their funding levels.

February 9, 2010 8:29 am

Kwinkertkorn (08:20:23) —
You have part of it, but not all of it. Yes, warming will bring more water up into the upper troposphere, and heat with it. But water is a GHG itself, so the net effect is far more cooling than from CO2 alone (the amplifying effect, i.e. positive feedback, of water vapor). At the same time, the heat is radiated back down (as well as up, that’s basically the GHG effect), rewarming the surface. But most of the water vapor doesn’t rise all that high, so as a means of getting the air out into space… not so much.

February 9, 2010 8:33 am

Wondering Aloud (08:21:37) —
Why would warming universally produce increased precipitation? And why would you expect to see obviously detect such far reaching changes in a matter of decades?
The fact is, warming will cause droughts in some places (the already water starved southeast region of North America being one, and the dangerously-susceptible-to-drought Amazon being another). It may also cause increased precipitation in areas like the Sahara. But even then, the precipitation may not be year round. Many regions, like Southeast Asia, may see greatly increased monsoon seasons and a net increase in precipitation, but long drought-like conditions in other seasons which have a net desertification effect.
It’s all very hard to predict, but arguing that it hasn’t happened yet so it’s not true is foolish.

February 9, 2010 8:38 am

Wondering Aloud,
“I could almost accept RR Kampens WAG on precipitation; warming should increse precipitation and plant water use efficiency. That would mean howeve,r rapidly shrinking deserts.”
Stop wondering. Man made climate change causes reduced precipitation where precipitation is most needed, and increased precipitation where none is wanted.

February 9, 2010 8:39 am

Blaming droughts on global warming is typical cherry-picking alarmism. Droughts come and go no matter what the global temperatures are, and no matter what the CO2 levels are.

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 8:48 am

There have been claims that global warming would increase snowfall at higher elevations of Greenland and Antarctica, but the pattern seen here is increased snow cover at lower latitudes (i.e. further south.)
I doubt you will find a serious scientist anywhere who will attempt to blame that on global warming.

February 9, 2010 8:56 am

Pamela Gray (05:20:40) :
“Bush didn’t listen. Now Obama isn’t listening. Great. Just great.”
Pamela, I’d advise you to finally rid yourself of the Bush Derangement Pacifier, at least in regard to the War On Terror. The only thing Obama really had going for him coming in was the successful Bush policy in the WOT, and if he had any relevant practical brain power he would have known it.
But he doesn’t and is now undoing the Bush WOT policy, actually partly by using your argument: “Bush didn’t know what he was doing [in any way whatsoever].” Yes he did, as well proven compared to the previous policy on terrorism, which Obama is objectively and quickly regressing toward.
The main difference is that Obama lives totally in a narcissistic Fantasyland. He doesn’t listen to anything other than its “Maxisant”, latte’ Commie Dictates, including its oso “enlightened” tactics, supplemented, of course, by his own self-annointed ability to channel the Ideal, which makes him always perfect even when he is objectively failing. But I didn’t know he, along with his upper level Administration “Progressives”, was that uncynically stupid and instead thought he’d recognize a cynical propagandistic tactic for what it was, just that, only a tactic. But, no, he actually believes all that junk.
Speaking of which, Nasa, Noaa, and the EPA have gone off the rails so I just can’t wait for the CDC to start issuing AGW Disease Alerts.

Stephen Wilde
February 9, 2010 9:03 am

A warming troposphere pushes the air circulation systems poleward and so allows a widening of the subtropical desert regions.
The additional convection in the tropics has to descend somewhere and it does so in the high pressure cells over the subtropical regions.
No need to worry though. The air circulation systems have been moving equatorward for the past ten years so the sub tropical deserts have narrowed and moved back equatorward to the positions adopted in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Adverse drought effects occur in regions near the margins of the natural latitudinal range of movement of the subtropical high pressure cells.
Droughts can also occur in the northern mid latitudes when the air circulation systems move equatorward because at such times the polar high pressure cells move equatorward over northern mid latitudes. If anything that is the scenario to look to in coming years if the present latitudinal positions persist.

February 9, 2010 9:10 am

ThinkingBeing (08:33:16) :, Vincent (08:38:06) : ,
It’s time to stop handwaving and start looking for verifiable predictions. For example, precipitation in the southwest is strongly affected by El Nino / La Nina conditions. El Nino is associated with a more southerly storm track, such as what we’re seeing this winter. AGW is supposedly associated with an increase in the number and magnitude of El Nino events. So shouldn’t AGW be associated with a decrease in drought conditions in the SW United States? Hasn’t the Sahara been shrinking in recent decades?
Throwaway lines such as “Man made climate change causes reduced precipitation where precipitation is most needed, and increased precipitation where none is wanted.” are great for politicians who are aiming for impact not truth, but are useless in a discussion such as this. Unfortunately, it makes you look like a troll or paid commercial advocate, not a seriously concerned citizen.

February 9, 2010 9:14 am

From Drudge:

NOAA: Blizzard Rearranges Climate Change Announcement
By Louise Radnofsky
As D.C. continued to dig out from Snowmageddon and is keeping an eye on another storm system, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was busy making a climate change announcement.
NOAA, part of the Department of Commerce, is going to be providing information to individuals and decision-makers through a new NOAA Climate Service office. “More and more, Americans are witnessing the impacts of climate change in their own backyards, including sea-level rise, longer growing seasons, changes in river flows, increases in heavy downpours, earlier snowmelt and extended ice-free seasons in our waters. People are searching for relevant and timely information about these changes to inform decision-making about virtually all aspects of their lives,” the release says. . .

Your tax dollars at work. Vote Republican in November. Maybe we can stop these idiots in their tracks. Take away their funding!
/Mr Lynn

February 9, 2010 9:15 am

Droughts? Never fear AGWers, half of the CO2 driven GCM Models predicted the greening Saraha:
The other half didn’t.

Steve Keohane
February 9, 2010 9:24 am

Pamela Gray (05:20:40) :(I think you meant: primrose, not “prime rose”.)
Roger Knights (07:14:11) : To further both of your thoughts; I am probably more cynical, but it seems to me that those who would ‘save’ us from the surely catastrophic consequences of our actions, whatever they may be, tend to make us as miserable as possible first, that we might more easily succumb to their design.
I am not trying to be obtuse, rather more inclusive of the issues at hand. For example, creating a financial crisis to ‘save’ us from, allowing restructuring/eliminating the free market system, the financial system by gov’t takeover. The effort to get energy costs as high as possible is the only way to make ‘green’ solutions look viable, when there is no need for energy costs to be higher. The government has never handled/solved anything efficiently, why should one expect that now? If there is a real need, and money to be made, other than taxes and lobbyist incentives, a private individual will make it happen.

February 9, 2010 9:24 am

It looks to me that there are clear patterns emerging in the last twenty years — more snow cover during October-January, then markedly less than normal February/March (from earlier spring thaws?). Whatever the mechanisms (and it seems like a worthy area of research — I’ll have to look at the published Rutgers papers), climate change seems to be involved. Eyeballing it (which is rarely a good idea, I’ll admit) I would expect that the positive feedback of less snow cover in February/March, when days are longer and the sunlight in the NH is more direct, will be substantially greater than the negative feedback of more snow cover in the other months, when days are short and the angle of incidence of the sun is so low anyway.
Still, the trends are intriguing. Understanding exactly how/why would be nice.

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 9:32 am

Snow cover has been decreasing from March through summer. February is pretty much of a wash, and clearly is going to be well above average this year.
The meteorological winter is December through February.

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 9:40 am

All of the graphs and discussion in this article are for the Northern Hemisphere, not North America. Please don’t try to claim otherwise.

February 9, 2010 9:45 am

Of course this wouldn’t anything to do with which phase of the PDO we are in?? Would it? Naturally.

February 9, 2010 9:56 am

Steve Goddard:
I understand your article deals with fall and winter ice and I have no argument with your argument, as far as it goes.
However, consider the radiation budget significance of northern hemisphere ice, including “permanent” and seasonal snow cover, throughout the year. Most of the reflectance occurs during summer, when the sun’s rays are most direct. Now, with the sun so low in the sky, or even below the horizon, additional snow cover doesn’t reflect much more light, compared to bright summer sun reflected off of ice and snow.
I’m suggesting there is a greater negative impact on the albedo caused by less summer ice than a corresponding positive impact caused by an equal area of additional snow cover.

February 9, 2010 10:06 am

Sorry, I didn’t mean at all to imply that your post focuses on NA. But people, particularly Americans, do tend to do so. I just wanted to make sure that people didn’t just look at/focus on our continent.
I would argue with the statement that “February is a wash,” however. 3 of the past 8 years show more snow cover (a lot more), but it’s those same 3 out of the last 23. 3 out of 23 hardly points to much of a trend.
The big picture also looks very different (and this excludes February/March):

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 10:18 am

John Freeland,
The Arctic ice minimum occurs in September when there is almost no solar insolation in the Arctic.
During the bright months of May, June, and July – Arctic ice extent has changed very little during the last 30 years.

February 9, 2010 10:19 am

Your many entries are all respectful, so I will stop the as hominems, (but you really ought to pick a pseudonym that does not imply that you think more or better than others at this site—-most entries at this site are thoughtful and exhibit an attempt to stay in the realm of science.)
My point on the water vapor as heat conveyor from ocean to upper troposhpere is that I do not believe there is either substantive empirical evidence or evidence grounded theory to put numbers on the relative value of increased GHG-effect from increased H2O in the atmosphere versus changed reflection of solar energy from increased clouds (from increased H2O in the atmosphere) versus increase rate of radiation into space from the H2O conveyor of heat from ocean to troposphere (leaving out the difficult calculation of the effect on Earth’s albedo from changes in snow cover at various seasons.) Weather is understood as a chaotic system because so many important variables are unknowable (at least with present science, maybe not in the future.) So how can any GCM be given serious credibility for predicting the future climate of the earth in the next centuries. And how can anyone have respect for those who claim that the science is settled, or that global warming is not only imminant, but will on the net be bad for us and life on Earth in general.

February 9, 2010 10:36 am

ThinkingBeing (09:24:44) :
“It looks to me that there are clear patterns emerging in the last twenty years”
The Egyptian Sphinx may have originally stood in lush grassland, now it stands in desert. Evidence suggests that the Sahara is shrinking again, so maybe climate change in 2000 years will mean it stands in lush grass once more.
Thats the sort of pattern I recognise in relation to a planet over 4 billion years old.

Brian D
February 9, 2010 10:42 am

Looking at the Rutgers site, the graph for annual extent(click “see timeseries”) for the N Hemisphere shows what amounts to a step change to lower extents overall in the mid 80’s. These step changes are curious. Definitely show a change in weather patterns/climate.
Speaking of step changes, wonder when the Geomagnetic A-index is going to respond to the increase in Sun activity. It still remains low.

February 9, 2010 10:46 am

It’s hard to be a global-warming-skeptic when other skeptics behave this bad. What’s wrong here should be self-evident: you are cherry picking start dates to make improperly magnify a trend. It’s wrong when Al Gore did it in his movie, it’s wrong when you do it now.
– six out of the last eight Januaries were above normal snowfall
– seventeen out of last twenty-one Decembers were above normal snowfall.
– fifteen out of the last nineteen Novembers have had above average snowfall.
– seven out of the last ten Octobers have had above average snowfall.
If you use “21 months” for December, you have to use 21 months for all of them. On balance, it does seem it’s getting snowier, but the trend is less pronounced.

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 11:05 am

All of the months show contiguous upwards trends leading to the present, and all are statistically significant.
Cherry picking would require choosing both a start date and an end date, which is not being done here. The upwards trend is just longer for some months than for others.

February 9, 2010 11:09 am

I won’t argue that there are many, many variables, and the climate is a system which makes experimentation and empirical evidence difficult. As to each of your specific points, though:
(1) “substantive empirical evidence or evidence grounded in theory…”
Empirical evidence, no, not yet, partly because it is “early in the game”, but also because of this:
but also see here:
Evidence grounded in theory is another story. The GHG effect of water vapor can’t be argued. I do remember one plausible argument that the increase in water vapor in the atmosphere is founded on the premise that the overall relative humidity will stay constant, which could be a point of debate (it might not). But unless there is a strong negative feedback from increased albedo from clouds, then the GHG effect is real and will kick in.
(2) “changed reflection of solar energy from increased clouds”
The argument about clouds is also viable, although neither Lindzen nor Spencer nor anyone else, in 15-20 years of trying, have been able to produce empirical evidence that clouds do provide a negative feedback, nor do they even provide a specific physics based mechanism to make it seem likely. Their arguments often sound (to me) like wishful thinking. Anyone who claims to be a “skeptic” on other issues (saying they are “uncertain” or “unproven”), but then clings to a negative could feedback as an argument is, to me, trying to have it both ways.
Given this, while it might be possible that eventually we will see a negative could feedback, it seems more likely (again, to me) that we will instead see a stronger positive GHG feedback. Either way, I’m not willing to bet my daughter’s future on the planet on a wish and a hope for clouds to save her. It will kill me if she is not able to enjoy the pampered modern lifestyle that I’ve enjoyed, and I’d rather cut back a little now and simply modernize our energy infrastructure than see the entire economy and my way of life destroyed for her 25 years from now (because I was too selfish to make small sacrifices as an investment).
(3) “Weather is understood as a chaotic system”
As far as weather being chaotic… weather is, but climate is much less so. I like to equate it to flipping a coin. If you want to bet that the next six flips will come up H-T-H-T-H-T, you have a one in 64 chance of winning. But if you want to bet that between 45 and 55 of the next 100 flips will come up heads, the odds are very much in your favor. The first is weather, and the second climate, and equating the two is a mistake.
I’ll certainly never accept the argument that it’s too complicated to understand, so it can’t be understood. It may take a while, but science will get there, and is already pretty far along right now (and we’d be further along if the Bush White House hadn’t canceled and sidelined climate science projects). To me, within my own understanding of the science, I believe that while it is possible that nature has prepared some magical negative feedbacks to save us from ourselves, the long history of climate on the planet instead hints at something less pleasant, and I’m not willing to gamble my daughter’s future on it.
(4) “but you really ought to pick a pseudonym…”
As far as the choice of moniker…. it isn’t meant to imply that anyone else is unintelligent or less intelligent, and I’m not sure why anyone would react that way. It is meant to imply that man distinguishes himself from the rest of the animal kingdom through his ability to reason, and to reason thoroughly and completely, not merely as far as it is convenient to do, or until the next meal time. My only wish is that people would study more, and more, and more, and make up their own minds, instead of reading something that appeals to them and then repeating it over and over without thinking for themselves.
And this does not mean that the people that disagree with me don’t think! It just means that many people don’t think, and that applies to many things other than climate, and to people on both sides of any argument. I don’t care what people decide, as long as they make an effort to decide for themselves, and don’t give up on the process the moment they hear something that merely confirms their initial beliefs.

James Chamberlain
February 9, 2010 11:30 am

This could end up being a much better lay-indicator of climate than temperature is. White/not white is a much easier distinction than hundredths of a degree in temperature.

February 9, 2010 11:41 am

Steve Goddard: Arctic Sea ice has declined steadily. Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Illionois.
I’m skeptical of both of your statements. What are your sources?

February 9, 2010 11:53 am

John Freeland (11:41:53),
Why is the emphasis exclusively on the Arctic? Because the Arctic is losing ice.
But the Antarctic is gaining ice: click
Show us that CO2 is the cause, rather than natural variability.
Take your time. You’ll need it.

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 11:54 am

You sent me a link to a graph showing that January extent has decreased through the 30 year satellite record. I was discussing May-July. Look at the current NSIDC ice deficit. Does it look like anything to worry about?
The sun sets at the north pole on September 21 and stays below the horizon until March 21. At 80N, the sun is only 10 degrees above the horizon on Sept 21.

Phil Jourdan
February 9, 2010 11:57 am

JohnFreeland – NSIDC is not the University of Illinois. -http://nsidc.org/about/expertise/overview.html
It is sponsored by the University of Colorado. While I am sure both have great football teams, no one would mistake Buffalos with the Fighting Illini.

February 9, 2010 1:20 pm

20 years? So what? Climate cycles are longer than 20 years. Extrapolating from a 20 year trend is a meaningless, futile endeavor.
Once we have satellite data for an entire climate cycle, then we will have statistically useful information.
Determining exactly what duration a climate cycle has will be left as an exercise for the reader.

February 9, 2010 1:21 pm

Much as they keep extending the range of the running average to keep the 98 el-nino in the data set I would suspect that they are holding off on adding new data until we get a good melt year. Of course with teh NAO going negative they will have to wait for another 40 years.

February 9, 2010 1:22 pm

Back at Steve Goddard:
The north pole is a single point on the surface of the earth. Here is a NASA table of insolation for 2009, according to latitude. I believe the Arctic Circle is about 67 degrees north.
The insolation at 70 degrees north (inside the Arctic Circle) is listed at 179 and I assume the units are W/m2. The average annual insolation at that same latitude, according to the table, is 197.8. September insolation is over 90 percent of the annual average. The September insolation at 70 degrees north is higher than insolation at 45 degrees north in November. Last I checked, the sun still rises and sets in Petoskey, Michigan in November.
Back at Smokey:
The Arctic sea ice “deficit” is much larger than the Antarctic Sea ice “surplus.” The current global sea ice anomaly is abut 1 million square kilometers below the 1979-2008 mean.
Back at Phil Jourdan:
You’re right! I was thinking of UIC’s Polar Research Group. Also worth a look.

Wondering Aloud
February 9, 2010 2:03 pm

Sorry ThinkingBeing
Your saying it doesn’t make it that way!
We know that increased CO2 causes plants to be more drought resistant and it is a large effect. If water vapor in the atmosphere is not significantly increasing than the whole positive feedback high sensitivity thing is totally dead. Higher water vapor is fundamental to the idea of
CAGW and higher temperature and humidity means at least the likelihood of it rising higher. This can in no way be rationally assumed to mean increased drought in continental interiors. Certainly not in the American West where the height of the mountains to the west is partly responsible for the low rainfall. (By the way there is good evidence that increased CO2 is significantly greening the American West)
You may not see rapidly shrinking deserts with warming, but thinking they will grow is in direct contradiction with the claimed underlying mechanism in your theory. Deserts may not shrink but if they don’t that is very strong evidence that the positive water vapor feedback idea is totally wrong. you can’t have it both wasy no matter how much you want to.

Wondering Aloud
February 9, 2010 2:05 pm

By the way I assumed you meant the American Southwest, as the Southeast is not particularly “water starved”.

February 9, 2010 2:38 pm

Wondering Aloud —
Your model is overly simplistic. You seem to be treating water like something that has to be evenly spread everywhere.
The water that will cause the increased GHG effect is water vapor, which will be fairly evenly distributed through the atmosphere and has little to do with precipitation.
The water (or lack there of) that will cause droughts is part of the weather, and can come from altered wind and ocean circulation patterns, altered water sources (such as the loss of glaciers or dried up lakes and rivers, due to cumulative excessive local evaporation) or any number of other effects.
What is most important here is that while the distribution of increase in water vapor through the atmosphere and its global effect will probably be pretty uniform, the distribution of temperatures around the globe will not. Some areas will see little change, some (like the poles) extreme warmth, some warmer winters but cooler, drier summers, etc. It’s not nearly as simple or one dimensional as “everything gets warmer and drier (or wetter).”
So yes, it can be both ways. An overall increase in global temperature will cause a proportional overall increase in water vapor content in the atmosphere as a whole, with the corresponding temperature increase. At the same time, the Amazon could well begin to suffer more frequent and severe droughts, as will the Southwest US, while the Northeast US will see more rainfall. Southeast Asia may well see increased spring rainfall, but drier summers and winters, which could in turn lead to major crop failures. I believe that I read that the Sahara would see more precipitation, and some day it could again be a lush area, but something that will take thousands of years. Topsoil isn’t created overnight, but it can be lost pretty quickly.
[Yes, I did mean the Southwest in the previous post. Thanks.]

February 9, 2010 3:17 pm

John Freeland (13:22:23),
You addressed neither of my points. Instead, you went off on this tangent, as if there are not natural cycles in sea ice as in everything else:
“The Arctic sea ice ‘deficit’ is much larger than the Antarctic Sea ice ‘surplus.’ The current global sea ice anomaly is abut 1 million square kilometers below the 1979-2008 mean.”
However, just last winter the S.H. anomaly was ≈2 million sq km. Here’s the trend line: click. Global warming of a fraction of a degree could not have caused that large of a drop in global sea ice. Winds, perhaps?
So, I ask once again: why all the emphasis on the Arctic, while ignoring the opposite condition in the Antarctic? And, is CO2 the main cause of the Arctic ice loss?

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 3:17 pm

John Freeland,
The Arctic Circle may be at 67N, but the “normal” boundary of sea ice is much further north than that in September. Much of the Arctic Sea is constrained by land closer to 80N.

February 9, 2010 3:44 pm

Also, with the $billions being spread around, never discount the possibility of fudging the numbers: click [blink gif – takes a few seconds to load]
You can believe the “adjusted” Nansen chart. Or, you can believe the University of Bremen: click
Show us the millions of square kilometers of supposedly declining Arctic ice over those three years… if you can see it. I can’t; it looks to me like the ice cover is increasing.

February 9, 2010 5:43 pm

@Steve Goddard: Yes, the boundary of sea ice may be farther north in September and it has been progressively farther north over the last 29 years. Note the differences in sea ice shown in this side-by-side image of September data from 1980 and 2009.
@Smokey: Is CO2 the cause? I don’t know. I don’t know all the complexities of the global climate and how we interact with it through our human activities. I don’t think you do either. Given the stakes, though, I’m glad scientists are studying it.

February 9, 2010 7:45 pm

Clearly there is only one “correct” interpretation to all that record snow fall:
“Record Snow Melt in Spring!” 😉
See, it’s just a matter of a tiny bit of spin…

February 9, 2010 8:35 pm

Water stays hot longer. As we cool, the air over land cools first. Now the giant ‘lava lamp’ that is the earth has hot wet air rising poleward for a few years until the oceans cool. The heat dumps out the poles to space, the cold air heads south. Along the way the hot and cold currents run into each other and we get LOADS of snow (also dumping lots of heat at altitude and out into space). Repeat for a decade or three before your ‘cold is less snow’ can have a chance to start. The whole ocean has to cool first, and that takes a loooong time.
BTW, we’re not warming. Take the unadjusted temperature data and then find the dT/dt and it’s barely enough to cover UHI in populated areas. Mostly empty areas are flat.
ThinkingBeing (09:24:44) : It looks to me that there are clear patterns emerging in the last twenty years
Well, that’s about 2/3 of a PDO 1/2 cycle or 1/3 of the whole thing. Now just factor in the 176-8 range solar oscillations and season with the 1500 year Bond Event cycle and maybe an observation or two of the 400-800 year range cycle and you can begin to allow for the known natural and cyclical variability that we are immersed in.
But building phantasy CO2 systems based on 20 years data? You are just asking to get creamed when one of those natural cycles turns…. Like, oh, when 1998 was a TOP and we’ve been down hill ever since. That PDO thingy… Made for a cold ’60s. Hot 90’s. Now cold until about 2030…
If you have not got that known cycle worked into your thinking, you are just making up stuff to feel good about yourself.

February 9, 2010 9:04 pm

E.M. Smith — Your understanding of the science and the mechanisms is so week that it doesn’t even warrant a reply. Hit the books. Stop making stuff up that sounds good.
Oh, and if you don’t trust the ground stations, go visit Dr. Spencer’s satellite temperature observations here: http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps+002
That’s 14,000 ft, which is Dr. Spencer’s recommended altitude for gauging global temperature anomalies.
The pretty green line is 2010. If you want, check all the boxes for all of the years, including 20 year record highs, hit redraw, and tell me what you see.
What are you guys going to do when the “temperatures are flat or falling” lie turns out to be indefensible?

February 9, 2010 9:08 pm

E.M. Smith — And by the way, these record highs are happening during a solar minimum (“it’s the sun, of course”) and during a *weak* El Nino.

Steve Goddard
February 9, 2010 9:47 pm

Walt Meier at NSIDC has warned me about comparisons vs. the early 1980s, when Arctic ice was unusually extensive.

February 10, 2010 5:53 am

Fair enough. NSIDC uses median sea ice extent from 1979-2000 data as a baseline when comparing current measurements. Today, the anomoly is more than 2 standard deviations below that median.
I don’t know who Walt Meier is but here’s something else they say at the NSIDC:
“Arctic sea ice reflects sunlight, keeping the polar regions cool and moderating global climate. According to scientific measurements, Arctic sea ice has declined dramatically over at least the past thirty years, with the most extreme decline seen in the summer melt season. ”

Steve Goddard
February 10, 2010 7:33 am

NSIDC records go back 30 years. This is what the US Weather Bureau Reported in 1922.

The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen [an island 12 degrees south of the North Pole – ed.] and the eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard-of high temperatures. In fact, so little ice has never before been noted. The warmth of the waters makes it probable that the favorable ice conditions will continue for some time.
Many old landmarks are so changed as to be unrecognizable. Where formerly great masses of ice were found, there are now often accumulations of earth and stones. At many points where glaciers formerly extended far into the sea they have entirely disappeared. The change in temperature has also brought about great change in the flora and fauna of the Arctic. There were few [white fish and] seal in Spitzbergen waters this year, and last winter the ocean did not freeze over even on the north coast. With the disappearance of white fish and seal has come other life in these waters. This year herring in great shoals were found along the west coast. Shoals of smelt were also met with.

Ron de Haan
February 10, 2010 8:58 am

Crippled by a blizard DC announced a new Global Warming Agency by phone!

Wondering Aloud
February 10, 2010 10:38 am

ThinkingBeing (21:04:04) :
“E.M. Smith — Your understanding of the science and the mechanisms is so week that it doesn’t even warrant a reply”
TB go to the blogroll go to E.M. Smiths blog and find out about him. Many if not most of the commentators here are professionals in the physical sciences.
We don’t always get it right but you aren’t going to convince us by parroting positions that change every 5 minutes and have already been disproven. Yes the original AGW theory predicts dramatic warming at the poles. This means dramatic decrease in available storm energy. Not to worry there is no evidence for dramatic, or even any warming, at the poles.

Steve Goddard
February 10, 2010 10:46 am

Baltimore’s three snowiest winters have all been since 1995.
That does not sound like declining snowfall.

February 10, 2010 10:53 am

@Steve Goddard:
Pretty amazing, considering a negative temperature anomaly in 1922. Wonder what was going on in Antarctica.

Brian Dodge
February 10, 2010 4:47 pm

I downloaded the North American Rutgers data of monthly snow cover from 1967 to 2009, and normalized the data to the monthly averages and then calculated the deviations. (Normalizing the data supresses noise caused by small relative changes in larger absolute snowfall cover numbers – e.g, if I lose 8 kg, its only 10 percent of my body weight, but if a sick 32 kg child loses 8 kg, that’s a serious change). A plot is at http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/sno_cover_anomaly-gZZqa.jpg

Steve Goddard
February 10, 2010 5:31 pm

John Freeland,
Temperatures in Greenland (and most of the Arctic) were were warmer in the 1920s than they are today.

Steve Goddard
February 10, 2010 5:50 pm

Brian Dodge,
I’m guessing that you aren’t located in Washington D.C.

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