Quote of the week #33: What, no death spiral?


I was reminded by Richard North via email today of this grouchy wordplay from NSIDC when Joe Romm wrote up a piece last year on this subject:

Exclusive: New NSIDC director Serreze explains the “death spiral” of Arctic ice, brushes off the “breathtaking ignorance” of blogs like WattsUpWithThat

Climate Progress, June 5th, 2009

Okay, let’s compare that to what Dr. Serreze said this week in an interview with The Sunday Times:

“In retrospect, the reactions to the 2007 melt were overstated. The lesson is that we must be more careful in not reading too much into one event,” Serreze said.

Source: The Sunday Times – Arctic ice recovers from the great melt

A timeline for the “breathtakingly ignorant” follows.

2007: record Arctic ice minimum in 2007 – big news, unprecedented, shocking,  Navy postgraduate school scientist says Arctic summers to be ice-free ‘by 2013′

2008: ditto, this year’s ice recovery is just a blip, it’s really caught in a “death spiral”

2009: ditto, this recovery for a second year means nothing – Arctic continues death spiral, you people are breathtakingly ignorant

2010:  Arctic sea ice approaches normal for this time of year, first time since 2001 – “…reactions to the 2007 melt were overstated…we must be more careful in not reading too much into one event”


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I almost wish we’d slip into another mini Ice Age just so these idiots will finally shut the [snip] up!!!

Antonio San

Funny Serreze replaced Meier who was obviously too conservative and knew too well Greenland was warmer 70 years ago… and now Serreze has to preside to the Arctic sea ice recovery…


I wonder if Dr. Serreze would like a little salt and pepper with that crow, as well as a glass of water to wash it down.

Rhoda R

DoctorJJ, the warmenistas will claim that the onset of a little ice age (or even a great ice age) is the result of global warming. AGW is non-verifiable: it’s never wrong.

Steve Oregon

“I almost wish we’d slip into another mini Ice Age just so these idiots will finally shut the [snip] up!!!”
An ice age would be climate chaos and consistent with climate model predictions.


People like Dr. Serreze that equate WattsUpWithThat with “breathtaking ignorance” yet still believe anthropogenic global warming have their logic caps on backwards. Pure and simple. No wonder they’re losing market share in public opinion.

Nice to see you’ve cattle-prodded the NSIDC into submission, Anthony.

Dr. Serreze should be more careful in choosing his friends, too. In retrospect he didn’t do himself any favors by cozying up to Joe “Climate Regress” Romm. The lesson is that when government employees shoot flames out of their mouths, they damage their agency and their careers.

John Egan

People like Dr. Mark Serreze and Dr. James Hansen have every right to make the most outlandish statements possible. But they should do so outside of their professional context. If they wish to advocate, there are plenty of think tanks – including liberal ones. But when people charged with the responsibility of collecting and maintaining national climate databases advocate strongly for certain positions – whether they are right or wrong – they allow questions to be raised about the validity and impartiality of the data collection process itself.
That is the real lesson of Climategate.

Pieter F

I wish they’d stop referring to the 2007 event as a “melt.” It’s well established now that it was a blow, a switch in the wind direction that broke up the ice and flushed it south east of Greenland.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is almost as bad as NASA when it comes to sensational and biased press releases:
December 7, 2002 – Arctic Sea Ice Shrinking, Greenland ice sheet melting, according to study
8 December 2003 – Arctic Sea Ice Low, Second Year in a Row
4 October 2004 – Arctic Sea Ice Decline Continues
18 March 2005 – Arctic Ice Decline in Summer and Winter
28 September 2005 – Sea Ice Decline Intensifies
5 April 2006 – Winter Sea Ice Fails to Recover, Down to Record Low
3 October 2006 – Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks as Temperatures Rise
4 April 2007 – Arctic Sea Ice Narrowly Misses Wintertime Record Low
1 October 2007 – Arctic Sea Ice Shatters All Previous Record Lows
April 7, 2008 – Arctic sea ice extent at maximum below average, thin
2 October 2008 – Arctic Sea Ice Down to Second-Lowest Extent; Likely Record-Low Volume
March 30, 2009 – Annual maximum ice extent confirmed – This year’s maximum was the fifth lowest in the satellite record.
6 October 2009 – Arctic sea ice extent remains low; 2009 sees third-lowest mark
NSIDC has about a week to spin this;
into some form of catastrophic decline…


I’ve been following the Arctic summer melt since 2007 (not that long, but the satellite record ain’t that long either)- every year so far has seen an increase. This summer is also shaping up to be another very interesting year. It won’t be long (perhaps it is already partly obvious) before we will be able to tell just who is breathtakingly ignorant and who isn’t.
I sort of wonder, if only the alarmists had been a bit more polite…

Yeah, but it’s a “rotten” overreaction to the 2007 melt overstatement…

I believe the Greeks called it “hubris”.
Bad for alarmists.
Bad for skeptics too, though.
Let’s just remind everyone to let the facts speak for themselves. Wild forecasts are basically guesses prompted by wishful thinking and agendas.
I am from the JP Morgan school of forecasting of chaotic systems…”It will fluctuate.”


Talk about agenda…
So, is NSIDC publicly funded? Is it supposed to generally inform facts? Why the political comment to slur WUWT? So there is no agenda , right?

I would call it “average” instead of “normal” there is no such thing as “normal”, and “average” is a matter of our extremely limited perspective.

Steve Goddard

Just The Facts (22:07:10) :
NSIDC is largely funded by NASA.


And By the Way,
I am proud to be breathtakingly ignorant!
What is it Pachourie said about Indian scientists discrediting the claim that the Himalayan Glaciers would melt by 2035, “voodoo science”?
That too.


Fire Serreze. He is funded by the taxpayer.
Sack him to last week.
Norfolk, VA, USA

W. Richards

But don’t you people remember? When the Arctic ice was in its death spiral, the polar bears got dizzy, fell into the water, and drowned.
I’m sure I saw it documented somewhere in a Catlin report. Of course, they were pretty dizzy too.


we may have to speak a bit louder, the greenies have their fingers in their ears.LALADUMDEDUM cant hear you!

Big Al

Don’t we need some volunteers to go on the Pluto mission?
Are Hansen, Serreze, and Mann (Judy?) healthy enough, we really need to encourage these folks to do some real important science – they seem stuck on stupid, maybe they still can think?

Amino Acids in Meteorites

Besides this admission I also can’t find the video of Al Gore saying Arctic Ice could be gone in 5 years on YouTube anymore.
Are they taking the focus off North Pole Ice??


How do we know it isn’t “rotten” ice ?

Steve Goddard (22:13:05) :
“NSIDC is largely funded by NASA.”
Certainly seems like it might be enough dough to influence their press releases…
According to the NSIDC Sponsors page:
“NASA, NOAA and NSF, as well as additional sources of funding, support NSIDC scientists and outreach activities through competitive grants and contracts”
“Our supporters fund data management and scientific research at the project level. For example, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) supports the NSIDC Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) and funds the production and distribution of remote-sensing data sets. The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides data management for scientists doing polar research. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides support for management of NOAA data sets at NSIDC and has funded many of the center’s data-rescue activities. ”
Was there a concerted effort within NASA to influence the reporting of the temperature, solar and sea ice data in order to support the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming narrative?

UK Sceptic

That’s sooooo precious!
Maybe we should get this guy to make a statement to the Climategate Whitewash Squad.


Would not be surprised if arctic.roos.org has been pulled. indefinitely. its too important for AGW to show this ice extent (they are the ones to have a normal average graph which has been “crossed” excuse the pun

Steve Goddard

JAXA nows shows ice extent highest on record for the date.

Amino Acids in Meteorites (23:20:52) :
Are they taking the focus off North Pole Ice??
Only until August, when they’ll point to the decrease in ice cover compared to March as proof that the death spiral is worse than we thought.
Why is it that every time i see “death spiral” I picture a planet-killing pinwheel?

Mike McMillan

Ice recovers! Polar bears, penguins, and Santa breathe a sigh of relief.
Scientists emphasise that the regrowth of ice in the Arctic and the fierce US blizzards are natural variations in weather which have little relevance for long-term climate change.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain meaningless ice data. Look instead at our calamitous computer game model projections.


Maybe OT but this might make Dr Serreze feel a little better (I’m unusually charitable this evening, must be the wine).
Was browsing through Frazer’s “The Golden Bough” today, first published in 1890…
“The slow, the never-ending approach to truth consists in perpetually forming and testing hypotheses,accepting those which at the time seem to fit the facts and rejecting the others. The views of natural causation embraced by the savage magician no doubt appear to us manifestly false and absurd; yet in their day they were legitimate hypotheses, though they have not stood the test of experience. Ridicule and blame are the just meed, not of those who devised these crude theories, but of those who obstinately adhered to them after better had been propounded.”
Like I said, I’m feeling charitable… 🙂


Whats wrong with this graph?
Here they do the opposite to the temp “adjustments (ie GISSTEMP) they make the past “higher” so the present looks “lower” LOL You see up to1979 to 1995 ALL years above then after ALL below.

A C Osborn

Is it possible that with this statement
2010: Arctic sea ice approaches normal for this time of year, first time since 2001 – “…reactions to the 2007 melt were overstated…we must be more careful in not reading too much into one event”
That the good DR has learnt a painfull lesson about AGW?


This reminds me of the famous titles in “Le Moniteur” after Napoleon’s escape from Elba, starting with:
“The beast has escaped its lair” (March 10)
and ending with:
“His Imperial Majesty is to enter the city today”
timeline is here:
The whole amusing series is here:


Am I going to trust Jonathon Leake to accurately quote Dr. Serreze? Nope. I’ll wait and see what comes up on the NSIDC website tomorrow.

Douglas DC

Noted that The Profit, AlGore did not allow the media to cover his speech at
Duke University. He’s beginning to realize he is ah, naked?.
Or simply afraid…

Gosport Mike.

In spite of all these arguments only one Member of Parliament had enough guts and common sense to vote against the white wash. We are told that this is a Democracy and by using our votes wisely we can change things. When practically all the candidates appear to be brain dead what the Hell are we supposed to do?

Craig Loehle

Really unfair the way you quote their own words back at them. It so spoils the hyperbole.

Steve Allen

Very funny. Maybe just a micro-ice age, of duration 3-5 years, and Wikipedia would be forced to declare “climatology as-we-know-it” amongst the dead languages.
I think Anne Cross unknowingly has drawn a historic parallel in American pop-science, albeit in it’s advanced stage, that we skeptics may use as a model to confidently predict the future of AGW-ology.
The Flexibility of Scientific Rhetoric: A Case Study of UFO Researchers
Abstract by Anne Cross, Department of Social Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Stout, 334G Harvey Hall, Menomonie, WI, 54751-0790
“The case of ufology demonstrates that cultural packaging—a sort of once-removed indication of scientific authority—can be key in creating knowledge accepted as scientific. This adds a new dimension to the argument that scientific legitimacy is constructed, not just from scientific methodologies and institutional location, but also of language, culture, rhetoric, and symbols. Fringe researchers can make their cases for legitimacy using a variety of strategies—few of which involve actual research. Outside of the scientific community, scientific-sounding explanations and proclamations of expert statuses hold sway. Ambiguities about what constitutes science can be capitalized upon by groups like the UFO research community that assembles shards of legitimacy using science as a cultural template.”
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Journal: Qualitative Sociology
Date: Nov. 3, 2004
ISSN: 0162-0436 (Print) 1573-7837 (Online)

Daniel H

I’ve been to Joe Romm’s site a few times and one thing that has always struck me as being very annoying is that every article he links to goes directly to another article in his blog. It’s like he’s such a control freak that he refuses to link to an off-site article unless it has been thoroughly vetted by his minions. Contrast that with the WUWT policy of regularly linking to external off-site resources (from all sides of the climate change debate) and it becomes increasingly clear which site is more open and honest.

One of the conclusions made by APL Univ. Washington is that the 2007 event and Arctic sea ice in general is driven by wind patterns. They conclude that those patterns have not been favorable for the growth of sea ice in the Arctic since the 1980s.
I quote:
“The thinner ice is more easily compacted and is flushed out of the basin more quickly. In addition, winds favorable for sequestering multiyear ice within the basin have been rare since the 1980s.”
So, we pull the thread and find out that yes it is the wind but no we don’t know why… So we just don’t know…yes?
Lindsay, R.W., J. Zhang, A. Schweiger, M.A. Steele and H. Stern,’ Arctic Sea Ice Retreat in 2007 Follows Thinning Trend’, J. Clim., 22, 165-176, doi: 10.1175/2008JCLI2521., 2009.

Henry chance

JOE romm is a control freak. He of course deletes comments that include truth and quote his defective claims. Seems like the ignorance of the warmists has been breathtaking. Like he says, they need to ramp up their narrative. We used to call that spin.
Romm was the one that blamed an air disaster on global warming and lied when he said droughts in the Southwest are permanent.

I love the internet! It makes comments by public figures permanent. Just do a little searching and you can catch them making a fool of themselves so easily.

David Smith

Cryosphere Today and others present a history (time series) of Arctic ice extent. An important topic is, how did they create their reconstruction?
Technology has changed dramatically over the decades. The ways of interpreting data have also changed. These are true even during the satellite era.
So, somehow the ice scientists have combined ice estimates based on varying technology and algorithms. That can be a daunting task, even for statistically-trained people.
How did they do that? it’s an important question.
I suspect that the time series for the last ten years are so are OK. Prior to about 2000 the grafting and shifts in methods become important, such that I imagine the error ranges for the 30-year time series are quite wide.
The story of ice reconstructions may be as interesting as the story of global temperature reconstructions.
For those interested in exploring a part of the mystery, look at the step change in ice extent in the late 1970s, as satellite data replaced aircraft and ships. What that real or was it the result of a change in technology?

Re: Amino Acids in Meteorites (Apr 3 23:20),
The link to Al Gore speaking in Germany in December 2008 used to be

Now we get
“This video has been removed due to terms of use violation. “
In the video, he said: “The *entire* north polar ice cap may well be *completely* gone in 5 years”


Hey buddies: Have you noticed that, instead, your economy has been steadily melting away, and all your factories now work in the third world and your money is in less pockets, save in fiscal paradises, while you are worried about the polar bears´ice?.

Richard M

Skepshasa (05:36:42), the wind change was pointed out by Pamela Gray last fall. I made a mental note because that seemed to me like a reasonable reason the ice would become more concentrated and thicker.
Now I’m starting to believe it is even more important than small changes in ocean temperature that I previously thought was the main contributor to the Arctic sea ice volume. Although, I still think both are relevant.


The problem with statements such as “death spiral” is that time will either show you to be right or wrong. So far it has shown the fear mongers to be wrong. Futhermore, according to NASA, the so called melt of 2007 was mostly due to wind and currents with aerosols having played a part since 1979.
Now here’s deliberate ingnorance for you! IF AGW is false then time and the weather are on the side of the sceptics.
Wind and currents
Soot influence since 1979
Normal sea ice extent April 2009

Carsten Arnholm, Norway (06:31:31) :
Re: Amino Acids in Meteorites (Apr 3 23:20)
The link to Al Gore speaking in Germany in December 2008 used to be

Now we get
“This video has been removed due to terms of use violation. “
In the video, he said: “The *entire* north polar ice cap may well be *completely* gone in 5 years”

It looks like the only site that hasn’t taken the video down is TED’s — a collection of video seminats.
You can catch Uncle Albert in all his glory at
The video was shot in March 2008 — after the obligatory exhortation to strive to live carbon-free, the relevant “The ice cap will be gone in five years” spiel begins at 05:17 into the tape.
Comment from the only other occupant in the hootch (who couldn’t see my screen from behind his interior blast wall) was, “Who’s that idiot? He sounds exactly like Al Gore…”