# An error in the pole hole assumption

Analysis of the recent American Thinker Article

By Steven Goddard

The American Thinker ran an article by Randall Hoven that asked “Was the Arctic Ice Cap ‘Adjusted’? The conclusion is based on the chosen value of concentration of ice in the “pole hole” where the satellite can’t measure due to inclination. See the image below from Cryosphere Today for an example:

The statement from the article below is correct, but slightly misleading because March ice concentration near the pole is always close to 100%

If we add the “pole hole” back to the measured “area,” we would get a downward trend in area due to the change in pole hole size in 1987. If we assume that the pole hole is 100% ice, then the downward trend in March would be 2.2% per decade. But if we assume that the pole hole is only 15% ice (the low end of what is assumed), then the downward trend is only 0.1% per decade, which is not statistically significant. (The corresponding downward trend for “extent” was 2.6% per decade.) It is true that whatever downward trend there is for March is due only to these adjustments (assumed pole hole size and concentration). And whether that trend is statistically significant depends on ice concentration in the “pole hole,” an assumed value.

If you look at essentially any available March concentration maps, you see concentrations near the pole close to 100%.  15% is not a reasonable number to work with, or even 80%.

If we adjust the March area for 100% concentration at the pole hole (below) the area and extent trends agree with each other just as expected.

The title of the article is “Was the Arctic Ice Cap ‘Adjusted’?”  I believe the answer is yes.  The extent/area data is adjusted – but correctly.  Comparing this to “CRUgate shenanigans” doesn’t seem appropriate.

## 87 thoughts on “An error in the pole hole assumption”

1. DirkH says:

The entry into the hollow Earth! It is visible in the photo! Behold the Pole Hole! 😉

2. Doug in Seattle says:

The early 21st century loss of north polar ice was real, but the AGW cause has proven to be based on false assumptions. Unfortunately, as can be seen from Dr. Meier’s previous post today, this is not widely acknowledged.
Similarly the alarmists too often cling to trend calculations that are short term and, as is apparent here, erroneous long after the errors are shown.

3. Myron Mesecke says:

Wile E. Coyote lost one of his ACME instant holes!

4. Phillip Bratby says:

Looks like a black hole. We’re all going to die, including the polar bears.

5. Henry chance says:

The teenager fell into the anecdote hole at the pole. It was ice water.
Will the satellite launched yesterday have a slightly different orbit?

6. Mike Davis says:

Look for step changes in historical data due to changes in hardware and software used to record and evaluate this phenomena. With advances in technology the resolution gets finer which makes to errors in the historical data greater. I would like to be able to use their algorithm when balancing my check book if 15% = 100% I would just need to separate my funds into different accounts. Then set a sum equal to 100% and claim any sum greater than 15% is actually 100%.
The sea ice extent and area is an interesting issue to watch however I would not claim any historical significance on the results that are currently provided. Also with the AO controlling the amount of sea ice at the north pole the use of 20 or 30 years for a base period is questionable because you are only looking at a portion of an event. This would be like watching the first quarter of a game and declaring a winner for the entire season!

7. Steve Goddard says:

Doug in Seattle (09:38:46) :
This time, I believe the trend error is from the skeptic side.

8. John S. says:

Why can’t the ice extent of the ‘hole’ be interpolated from the ice extents all around it? If the areas just outside of the hole are all at 100% ice, presume the hole is also 100% ice.
Is that so tough?

9. Myron Mesecke (09:39:45) :
LOL very good!

10. geo says:

Look how (nearly) uniformly dark that purple is for 2010!

11. enneagram says:

Just take the Catlin’s expedition members and drop them down there!

12. Bill Marsh says:

Oh c’mon, everybody knows that that hole is where the aliens come from. I’ve known that since the 1950’s when that learned journal, The National Enquirer, ran an article exposing the issue.

13. James F. Evans says:

How come there seems to be always some statistical manipulation or assumption involved?
And I don’t care what side it favors — in climate “science” nothing is as it appears.
No wonder a lot of us folks don’t trust this stuff.
And they want to tax all of us based on this — no way!

14. Grumpy Old man says:

Why are you focussed on one signal? We don’t even have a good explanation of why Artic ice retreats and expands. Sure, currents and wind have a great influence but there are probaly other factors like the warming periods in the 20thC. Don’t stress out on this. The Artic won’t melt or even if it does, does it matter? It won’t prove AGW. Just write/email your MP or Congressman – CO2 is not a pollutant – we need it and it has nothing to do with the warming.

15. pat says:

John, No. i believe that is Mr Goddard’s thesis.

16. John S.,
Its not tough at all. That’s what they do when calculating sea ice extent.

17. Hope that 15 year old kid doesn’t fall into it

18. Richard Sharpe says:

Bill Marsh (10:11:29) said:

Oh c’mon, everybody knows that that hole is where the aliens come from. I’ve known that since the 1950’s when that learned journal, The National Enquirer, ran an article exposing the issue.

Yeah, I know. The National Enquirer has been wrong about pretty much everything. Who could ever believe that such a nice guy like John Edwards would do what they claimed.
I guess the aliens gave it away.

19. “I like the pole AND the hole!”
(see special features from “Strangers With Candy” for full context)

20. Anu says:

Better late than never – in the article’s Update section, he finally figures out that the NSIDC not plotting the area for which they had no data actually makes it look like the Arctic ice is not declining in March. The blindspot (pole hole) changed from 1.19 million sq km to .31 million sq km in 1987 – in effect, shifting all the March sea ice area data from 1988 onward up by 0.88 million sq km.
Randall Hoven was pretty excited about the sea ice area data, until he realized that. He probably wouldn’t have written the article at all if he understood, before he wrote it, what others pointed out to him:
It is true that whatever downward trend there is for March is due only to these adjustments (assumed pole hole size and concentration)
Yes, the bold assumption that the tiny circle around 90° N is frozen solid at the peak of the Winter freeze underlies the downward trend seen for March.
assumed pole hole size??? – does he doubt orbital dynamics, too ?
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/polar.orbit.example.gif

21. Actually, “pole hole” would make a pretty good nickname for certain members of the alarmist community! Sorry, couldn’t resist, snip away!

22. Morgan says:

This is more than slightly OT, but one thing that puzzles me about the 1980-1995 versus 2010 comparison is how much more sharply defined the ice edges are in 2010. In 1980-1995 pictures, there is much more light purple, red, and yellow (as opposed to the deep purple which indicates 100% ice on the water).
Does anyone know why the difference, whether it’s real or instrumental artifact, and (if artifact) how it’s accounted for?

23. ShrNfr says:

I am glad this has all been explained to me. After listening to Congressional testimony, I had thought it might have come about because the Catlin expedition and the kid on skis had all gotten to the north pole and capsized the ice there. I mean they have been telling me its been flippy and rotten now for a while. Quite the relief that there will still be Darwin award candidates available in the future.

24. Vincent says:

I don’t understand the idea that the more ice that fills the hole the greater the downward trend in ice extent. Surely it should be the other way round. How can more ice equate to a downward trend?

25. H.R. says:

This “Hole in the Pole” reminds me of an old Vaudeville routine. Those of you that don’t know this routine please stick with it to the end and you’ll see that it’s not OT in the least.
(Henry, a country bumpkin, and his wife, Liza, sing to each other.)
(Henry sings)
There’s a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza,
there’s a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear Liza, a hole.
(Liza sings)
Well fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
well fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry, well fix it.
(Henry sings)
With what shall I fix it dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what shall I fix it dear Liza, dear Liza, with what?
(Liza sings)
With straw dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
with straw dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry, with straw.
(Henry sings)
With what shall I cut it dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what shall I cut it dear Liza, dear Liza, with what?
(Liza sings)
With an axe dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
with an axe dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry, an axe.
(Henry sings)
The axe is too dull dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza,
the axe is too dull dear Liza, dear Liza, too dull.
(Liza sings)
Well sharpen it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
well sharpen it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry, well sharpen it.
(Henry sings)
With what shall I sharpen it dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what shall I sharpen it dear Liza, dear Liza, with what?
(Liza sings, annoyed)
With a stone dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
with a stone dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry, a stone.
(Henry sings)
The stone is too dry dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza,
the stone is too dry dear Liza, dear Liza, too dry.
(Liza sings, exasperated)
Well wet it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
well wet it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry, well wet it.
(Henry sings)
With what shall I wet it dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what shall I wet it dear Liza, dear Liza, with what?
(Liza sings, very exasperated)
With water dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
with water dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry, with water.
(Henry sings)
With what shall I fetch it dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what shall I fetch it dear Liza, dear Liza, with what?
(Liza sings, getting angry)
With a bucket dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
with a bucket dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry, a bucket.
(Henry sings)
There’s a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza,
there’s a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear Liza, a hole.
(Enraged, Liza chases Henry off the stage.)
So….
Since there’s a round “Hole at the Pole,” circular arguments are acceptable. ;o)

26. Morgan (11:06:10) :
“[…] one thing that puzzles me about the 1980-1995 versus 2010 comparison is how much more sharply defined the ice edges are in 2010. In 1980-1995 pictures, there is much more light purple, red, and yellow […]”
The pictures possibly come from here. I cannot comment about image sharpness, but the snow extent — I suppose it’s the white stuff — is only available for recent years.
The abundance of colors in earlier graphs, if I can read the graph correctly, means that ice concentration (color scale) is much higher lately. If I’m wrong I please correct me.
I hope I answered, but I’m not sure.

27. nandheeswaran jothi says:

steve,
the trend that arctic ice extent (15%, 30% ) and the ice area have been on a decline till 2007.
Most probably the ice extent is a 60 year cycle, and it is possible 2007 is the end of the down side of the cycle. and the upswing might have started in 2008. all this very new, and 30 year data does not mean squat in the natural cycles of the earth. we have have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, the AGW crowd has to get the politicians to do the stupid thing rightaway. the time to get all their cap-and-xxxx window is shutting down

28. Ray says:

This is where the earth break winds and that could explain why the GISS maps are all red and hot at the North Pole… or is it just Santa’s potty?

29. O/T, sort of
And talking about renewables, birds and UFOs, it seem windmills are bad for UFOs too: videos here. Or UFOs bad for windmills.

My, such very large images used in the post, scaled way down to fit the width of the post, taking so very long to load all that fine detail on dial-up…
How soon until the conversion to fast-loading “click for larger image” format?

31. Steve,
Thanks for pointing this out at WUWT. I get a little tired of people trying to turn everything into a CRUgate, erodes the brand. And its good to see skeptics call other skeptics out. I wish the warmists had such courage

32. maz2 says:

The UN/IPCC hole.
But, not to worry; it’s O’s vision: cliches abounding.
“The United States on Friday praised the document as the springboard to the future.”
The Cliche Meisters also contributed: One Mao’ day, Gaia, please.
“”At the end of the day, it is about survival,” said Bangladesh’s negotiator,”.
“”We already have a very good basis for work,” Chinese delegate Su Wei said,”.
…-
“UN rifts exposed after Copenhagen setback”
“Others downplayed the status of the accord or made no reference to it, while left-led countries in the Caribbean and Latin America battered the deal with verbal broadsides.
They said its emissions pledges were only voluntary and far from the mark needed to reach the 2C (3.6 F) target and denounced the closed-doors deal as an abuse of transparency and democracy.
“The total failure of the meeting in Copenhagen… was simply because the principles of the United Nations were not respected, nor were international rules,” said Venezuelan delegate Claudia Salerno.
The “neo-colonialist exercise” seemed set to be revived, she warned.”
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100409/sc_afp/unclimatewarming

33. Oh for gosh sakes, you people think this is news? I have a an old globe, one of those spinning ones mounted in an arc of plastic with degrees latitude marked on it. I took the globe out of the mount and sure enough, there is a hole right on the north pole and an identical one at the south pole. So these polar holes have been known for at at least 60 years.

34. bubbagyro says:

We all know that 1998 was a high in warm years going back 70 years or so. So that should be the staring point for a trend line. What happens if you start the trend line in 1996 or 1999? Too short a time frame? I thought so…and so is 1980 then.
Starting and stopping points determine trends. It is a statistical art when to start or stop depending on ones bias. The only way to make this scientific is to do trend line analysis, or analysis of trends. This has to be set ahead of the fact to set the rules. For example, one sets a trend period using a random rule, say arriving at 17 or 27 years. Then you analyze, say, 7 periods of 17 or 27 years, each time the confidence grows and odds of chance are minimized.
Say what? We only have one 30 year period? That’s my point.

35. Doug in Seattle says:

Steve Goddard (09:55:08) :
Thanks for setting me straight.

36. 1DandyTroll says:

@Morgan
‘Does anyone know why the difference, whether it’s real or instrumental artifact, and (if artifact) how it’s accounted for?’
It’s more a difference in the code that paints the pictures, rather than either “real or instrumental”.
So think like visual comparison artifact only, or interpretation artifacts. That’s why most people want to use the the pure numbers from the same instrumentals after all.

37. Tim Clark says:

There is nothing alarming about the loss of ice. There is nothing alarming about how the hole is measured. What should concern all of us immensely is similar to what terrified Rep. Hank Johnson concerning the island of Guam tipping over. If one more group of alarmists join the Catlin crew where they are on the icecap, it will tip over on Canada.
http://hankjohnson.house.gov/

38. Peter Miller says:

This from the ‘Band of Despots’ seeking handouts, which our politicians seem so desperately keen to give them. Urgent – they need your money now – their Swiss bankers are insisting on immediate payment.
Another scare story – if Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez supports it, you just know it has got to be right.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8611811.stm

39. Steve Goddard says:

steven mosher (11:47:23) :
Thanks. I don’t care which side is correct. My interest is in good science, which often seems difficult to come by.
My take on NSIDC is that they are very good at data collection and processing, but am less confident in their interpretations – which usually seem to assume that the last 30 years are typical of the Arctic.
Looking at GISS Greenland temperature data, my sense is that satellites came on line at a most unfortunate time.
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=431042500000&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

40. enneagram says:

That’s the 19th Tiger Woods SIN hole

41. David S says:

Philip T. Downman (12:28:45) : Doesn’t seem to be compatible with the very small loss of ice over the last month: average loss from 8 March to 8 April in 2003-2009 was just over 600,000 km2, this year it is only 190,000 km2. I could understand that wind and currents might make the difference if temperatures were average, but surely not if they are way above average??

42. Eric Flesch says:

Steven, those Cryosphere pics are huge in size, over 2Mb each. Lots of work for the servers and transmission time. They pics need to be no more than 10K large. Could you reduce them in future. cheers.
REPLY: Agreed, CT for some odd reason uses PNG format for these, and they don’t compress well due to the complex imagery. I converted them to JPG and they are now 1/10th the size. Faster load now. – Anthony

43. You will have to forgive my non scientific terms.
I have read that the worlds magnetic field is in a state of flux at the moment and has been for a while.
I imagine the magnetic field around the earth as being like a ring dough nut with a marble(the earth) sitting in the hole.
If the dough nut is puffed up(Strong magnetic field) less of the earths poles ar exposed and if the dough nut is slimmed down(weak magnetic field) more of the earths poles are exposed.
Exposed to what? is the question I am asking.
And does it have have any bearing on temps at the poles and any effect on the Ozone layer at those points as well?
Many thanks,
Dave UK.

44. Morgan says:

1DandyTroll (12:22:55) :
“It’s more a difference in the code that paints the pictures, rather than either “real or instrumental”.”
I’m not sure I follow this. Are you saying that the code that was used way back when interpreted a specific piece of data as 60% concentration, but the code used today would interpret it as 100% concentration?

45. Neo says:

Isn’t that the internet portal ?

46. [quote Morgan (14:12:26) :
1DandyTroll (12:22:55) :
“It’s more a difference in the code that paints the pictures, rather than either “real or instrumental”.”
I’m not sure I follow this. Are you saying that the code that was used way back when interpreted a specific piece of data as 60% concentration, but the code used today would interpret it as 100% concentration?
[/quote]

Well, the satellites don’t actually measure ice. They measure light. The detection of ice is done by software looking at the light data. This is basically “pattern recognition”.
Change the software and the pattern will change even on the same light data.
Whether or not that’s what happened with the University of Illinois pictures used with this article, I don’t know. I’m not familiar with the history of that software. But most climate software has changed in the period covered by those pictures.

47. Clayton Hollowell says:

Why in the name of all that’s even quasi-intelligent do we have satellites in orbit to measure POLAR ice, that aren’t in a true POLAR orbit (90deg inclination)?

48. RE: Steve Goddard (13:07:05) :
Steve I agree. There is a tendency by some to base conclusions on a small snippet of time. The 30 years of satellite data is great for science but that 30 year window is not large enough to permit clear separation of natural cycles from any potentially anomalous and unnatural event.
When I see data reflect something like this I tend to ask myself… okay, what known potentially relevant natural cycle would go full circuit in an approximate 80 year span? I also note an apparent step increase around the early 1920s. Then I have to wonder if the effects of Mt. St Helens and Pinatubo are removed would the dynamics of the Arctic over the last 80 – 90 years and specifically the last 30 years seem quite stable / mundane?
http://leekington.com/images/GLUpernavik1.png
others …
http://www.leekington.com/images/GLTassilaq1.jpg
http://www.leekington.com/images/GLIllulisat1.jpg
http://www.leekington.com/images/RuKandalaksa.png
http://www.leekington.com/images/RuOstrov.png
The NUUK data you provided (giss) in the same scaling format as those above
http://www.leekington.com/images/GLNuuk1.jpg

49. Anu says:

bubbagyro (12:14:25) :
Starting and stopping points determine trends. It is a statistical art when to start or stop depending on ones bias. The only way to make this scientific is to do trend line analysis, or analysis of trends. This has to be set ahead of the fact to set the rules. For example, one sets a trend period using a random rule, say arriving at 17 or 27 years. Then you analyze, say, 7 periods of 17 or 27 years, each time the confidence grows and odds of chance are minimized.
Say what? We only have one 30 year period? That’s my point.

Sure, let’s predict if the climate will irrevocably changed in 2100, after 189 years of data collecting. Brilliant.
How about your doctor come up with diagnosis of lung cancer a few decades after you’re buried ? You know, after he’s sure. No hurry.

50. Al Gored says:

Anu – Goofy analogy. If you think about it for just a moment, you will recognize that, and why – unless you don’t want to.
Does remind us of the ‘tobacco scientists’ who stuck to their story no matter what the data showed.
Which side of this debate is most like them?

51. Anu (11:26:38) :

For the latest useful info on aliens, the best paper is Weekly World News (The Worlds’ Only Reliable News):

Sadly, all that’s left of WWN is an ill-maintained web site.
However, a pleasant find was http://english.pravda.ru I was under the impression it was all propaganda, but today they have stories like Girl Sleeps in Siberian Town for Nine Years Non-Stop, NASA Probe Finds Trees on Mars, and Yes! Aliens Land in Russia.
I need an iPad so I can read it while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store.

52. Eric Flesch says:

Clayton Hollowell (15:07:35) : “Why in the name of all that’s even quasi-intelligent do we have satellites in orbit to measure POLAR ice, that aren’t in a true POLAR orbit (90deg inclination)?”
Two reasons, (1) a polar orbit means the satellite can observe the polar area for only a fraction of its orbit (as it swings around the Earth from North to South), and (2) the satellite needs to transmit its data to ground receivers, there is a network in place across the world for that, but only for equatorial-type orbits. A polar orbit means it will frequently transit N to S over ground which has no receiver.

53. pft says:

So much effort to deny the obvious, it is warmer than 30 years ago (even though we don’t really know how much), and Ice extent has dropped since the 70’s. Yet it was warm in the 30’s, the MWP and the previous interglacial maximum was much warmer. Ice extent in the Arctic was low in the 30’s from anecdotal records. The warming has been a good thing, crop yields are up, forests are regrowing in much of the developed NH.
Of course, in order to counter exaggerations of the warming, seasonal weather patterns, and ice extents demise, much energy must be wasted.
The only question of interest really is what proof is there that mans CO2 (4% of annual emissions) contributes to climate change (warming, cooling, whatever). I have not seen any convincing evidence that man has caused the small amount of warming and is responsible for all the CO2 increase (perhaps natural warming caused CO2 atmospheric equilibrium to change, and it lags temperature), other than the invalid correlation is causation argument.
Less evidence is available for the runaway greenhouse effect.
B efore adopting any expensive measures to combat what may be a myth, all papers which are sited as evidence for the AGW- CO2 hypothesis whould be made available to the public for free, instead of hidden behind subscription paywalls (much of the research was probably paid by the public, or perhaps I should say borrowed to pay for).
Instead of all papers, maybe the top 100 would be better.

54. Clayton Hollowell (15:07:35) :
Why in the name of all that’s even quasi-intelligent do we have satellites in orbit to measure POLAR ice, that aren’t in a true POLAR orbit (90deg inclination)?

Remote sensing satellites in polar orbit commonly use a sun-synchronous orbit: so that each successive orbital pass occurs at the same local time of day. Since a typical orbit is ~1000km you get an orbital period of ~100mins giving a local time variation on each half orbit of less than an hour.
To maintain a sun-synchronous orbit as the earth revolves around the sun, the orbit of the satellite must precess at the same rate. This can’t happen if the satellite passes exactly over the pole. Given the earth’s non-spherical shape, an orbit inclined at a slight angle is subject to a torque which causes precession; an angle of about 8 degrees from the pole produces the desired precession in a 100 minute orbit, but it leaves a small hole at the poles.

55. Al Gored (16:01:07) :
Anu – Goofy analogy. If you think about it for just a moment, you will recognize that, and why – unless you don’t want to.
Does remind us of the ‘tobacco scientists’ who stuck to their story no matter what the data showed.

Seitz and Singer come to mind
Which side of this debate are they on?

56. Smokey says:

Phil. (17:59:40)
Well, we know which side you are on: the side of climate panic.

57. Eric Flesch says:

Phil. (17:49:09) : “… Given the earth’s non-spherical shape, an orbit inclined at a slight angle is subject to a torque which causes precession; an angle of about 8 degrees from the pole produces the desired precession in a 100 minute orbit, but it leaves a small hole at the poles.”
Great explanation, leaves my prior explanation in the dust. Thanks, Phil.

58. Nah, that hole is where god sharpens his pencils… Saint Elmo’s fire is the bits burning off in the atmosphere…

59. rbateman says:

Here’s a picture worth a 1000 emails:
http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/TempGr/YearlySeaIceAv.GIF
And here’s the data I computed the lines from:
http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/TempGr/SHEET1.XLS
And here’s the webpage where you can see the text with it:
http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/WhatGlobalWarming.htm
The Northern Hem Sea Ice Extent is down, but the Southern Hem Sea Ice Extent rose to compensate for it.
Almost the same thing happened for Sea Ice Area.
Looking at the Global Sea Ice Yearly Averages for both Extent and Area, nothing remarkable has happened. Both measures are very close to thier 1979-2009 average.
This is about as mundane and unexciting as a Soap Opera rerun.
In fact, it’s another AGW rerun. They just pick the stat with the most slope to prop up the theory, and jump on the PA system.
The only data points I had to interpolate were Dec 1987 and Jan 1988, so the real data for them is 11/12, or 91.6%. Blame it on El Nino.
I also did montly stats for N, S and Global Area & Extent, but the results still add up to the same thing: It all evens out. Who cares?
If the persons who portrayed the Sea Ice crisis had bothered to paint the whole picture, we wouldn’t be discussing this.
Good grief.

60. David Smith says:

The story I hope to read one day will be about the changes in technology and algorithms over the years. Both the data and the methods of converting data have changed, and the way ice is estimated today is not the same as in 1980, or 1990 or 2000.
How did they graft the changes together to produce one time series?
If one used just the 1980 method throughout, how has ice extent changed?

61. Vincent says:

Anu,
“Sure, let’s predict if the climate will irrevocably changed in 2100, after 189 years of data collecting. Brilliant.”
Climate science is an immature science. We only have 30 years of satellite temperature and ice extent gathering. Other satellites for measuring water vapour and energy budgets are even more recent. There are yet other satellites that are still on the drawing board, and more still that have not even been conceived. The fact is it will take a lot of time to build the datasets we need to understand climate. It makes no sense for you to get irate at other people for pointing this out.

62. Spector says:

I wonder if there has been any thought of putting up a weather satellite in a 12-hour synchronous polar orbit. Such a satellite would cross each pole and the same two opposite points on the equator twice each day.

63. Spector says:

RE: Spector (05:36:53) : “I wonder if there has been any thought of putting up a weather satellite in a 12-hour synchronous polar orbit. Such a satellite would cross each pole and the same two opposite points on the equator twice each day.”
Correction: As the earth will have rotated 90 degrees east by the next equatorial crossing, every six hours with a 12-hour orbit, I believe each equatorial crossing would be 90 degrees east of the previous crossing point. Thus it would appear that the same point on the equator would only be seen once a day.

64. Pascvaks says:

Every pole has a hole. It they didn’t they wouldn’t be upright. Now the picture I see in the picture above is the top of the pole and not the hole without the pole. The pole must be changing, getting thicker and thinner, and that’s why we see what we see. I just can’t believe that the pole hole is getting bigger and smaller without a change in the size of the pole. That doesn’t make any sense. You know how cold it is up there. If the pole weren’t in the hole the hole would soon disappear and freeze over. Ergo, the pole is in the hole and the pole and the hole that the pole is in get bigger and smaller year to year. this is because of unrecycled plastics in the polar gyre. The more the plastics circle and rub up against the pole in the hole the smaller the pole and its hole get, but.. and this is the missing piece of data… every December Santa Claus waves his hand and everything goes back to normal –for a little while. Need I say more:-)
PS: Sorry;-)

65. Mike Maxwell says:

Looks to me like the alleged hole is about the right size for Santa’s workshop, given the global population of children.

66. bubbagyro says:

Response to Anus comment:
A fellow is breaking into my home. I don’t take the time to identify him, I shoot – it is my wife. That is Anus position.
Sure, let’s proceed on a drastic course without any facts. That is my point [sarcasm]. Let’s go, embracing the new faith and killing a billion or so people with Draconian measures. The odds now are clearly on the side of the skeptic, BTW. What if we had accepted the 1976 conclusion (“scientific” consensus, even!) that we were entering an impending ice age and we should spread soot on the north pole to soak up more rays??
Anus fulmination is an absurd point, one that reeks of the foul smell of the belief system promulgated by the Algorian sect. Let’s kill people to save the polar bears, which, BTW, have reached unprecedented numbers, displaying another invalid reasoning of the Algorians. It is just a blast of fetid air from the warmists.
Anus outburst also reminds me of the birdman sect that led to the demise of the Easter Island civilization. Instead of finding more ways to produce and find food, they sacrificed people and made stone monuments to gods that that were to protect them in the future. Sort of like cap-and-tax & carbon credit trading, no?

67. John Q. Galt says:

So, no politically-inspired murder?

68. rbateman says:

Bud Moon (07:02:46) :
You don’t suppose that the 3 Icekateers have all thier oars in the water, do you?
While they are looking for ‘likely’ effects of increasing C02 in the Arctic, they themselves are just as likely to disappear due to Arctic effects.

69. John from CA says:

Steve Goddard (17:25:04) :
I’ve been following the sea ice articles with great interest. The premise, as I understand it, the Arctic is very sensitive to climate change and will be the first to record observable impacts.
The interesting aspect of what I’ve seen so far is, recorded temperature anomalies during the period from 1979 to the present are occurring below zero degrees C.
Warm air near the ground is lighter than the overlying air it displaces which results in unstable conditions and storms. Polar oceans are salinity-stratified, the salinity is slightly lower on top in the Arctic and fresh water flowing into the Arctic will stay on the surface and slowly mix because its lighter.
Since the warmer air temperature anomalies are occurring below the freezing point, it seems logical to conclude an increased instance of storms which would add snow and ice but would also effect sea ice extent due to fractured ice at the edges of the forming polar cap.
Ocean water with a typical salinity of 35 parts per thousand freezes only at about −1.8°C (28.9°F) but the action is interesting. Apparently, the colder surface layer becomes heavier and sinks. This action continues until an ocean column cools to approximately -1.8C allowing the surface to form ice.
As sea water freezes, salt is excluded but the faster it freezes the greater the salt content in the formed ice. The greater the salt content, the faster it will melt when the temperature rises.
Clearly, the temperature of Arctic currents, the salt concentration of the ice, the amount of fresh water entering the cycle, and the effect of surface winds all play a role in ice formation and extent.
I read a comment in one of the earlier sea ice articles that pointed out — Russia has build dams that capture fresh water from the Arctic but I can’t tell if this will increase or decrease available fresh water run-off into the Arctic ice cycle.
Another interesting point is that if the Greenland ice sheet is melting into the Greenland currents, wouldn’t this add to sea ice formation?
The concentration of Arctic ice this year seems to indicate a slower then normal freeze (less salt) and thus accounts for the late growth/decreased melt this year?
Isn’t it logical to also conclude less loss in multi-year Arctic ice this year due to the El Nino winding down?

70. John from CA says:

Steve Goddard (13:07:05) :
I guess what I’m trying to say in a round about way, “good science” should fist agree on the Physics prior to applying effect to observed change.
Does the scientific community agree on the Physics related to the “normal” formation of sea ice in the Arctic?
If not, isn’t that the “smoking gun”?

71. M White says:

Shifting ice in the arctic
http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/News.aspx?newsid=54
“This is just another example of the ‘chaotic’ ice conditions the team has faced since the start of the expedition. But they are determined to continue their journey North, collecting the seawater samples vital to scientists’ understanding of the impact increasing atmospheric CO2 may be having on our oceans.”
Marooned 11/04/2010
http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/
“Following their narrow escape from the crack in the sea ice that threatened to swallow up them and the tent, they now find themselves effectively marooned on an island of ice, unable to travel in any direction due to surrounding ice that’s too thin to walk across but too thick to swim through.”

72. Pamela Gray says:

H.R.!!! I taught that song ditty to my kids when they were little. And they still remember it now that they are in the mid to very late 20’s. It was one of our all time favorite songs (we were quite the singing family group of “mom and three kids” plus a measure of neighborhood kids that liked to hang at our farm house inside the city limits).
That little farm house (which was at one time a one room school house) was the coolest little house. It was built with a dirt floor basement so the school room would be up above the flood stage of a creek that used to run right by it (before it was “channel changed” through another part of town). Digging around in the soil and re-discovering the “school desk marked” wood floor was such an adventure.

73. Pamela Gray says:

Isn’t it interesting that scientists pour over pictorial and written documents to get a sense of ancient history and then report it as such and such, but when it comes to our own history, we cannot rely on such oral story and written story elements. Most AGW scientists would never think of asking an old farmer what the dust bowl was like. And it is quite possible that most of these scientists do not have a direct and closely known family member who engaged in weather sensitive work (like farming) since the turn of the last century. So they have a twisted sense of climate history and seek to bland it down to nothing exciting in order for the recent trend to pop out with such alarm.
And so we continue to listen to tree rings and ice cores while ignoring fishing vessel logs, historical farming experiences and practices, and the vast historical data of the last 100 plus years on climate and weather kept by explorers, mountain men, mining companies, and other such sources of recorded and oral near-time history.
One more point, the idea that measuring devices are more accurate than the vagaries of written or oral history falls apart in the presence of adjusted data practices. Which is more accurate? Adjusted memories or adjusted data? The alarming conclusion is that we can’t discern that.

74. John from CA says:

Steve Goddard (16:52:04) :
Note that the NOAA chart you listed seems to have smoothed the current EL Nino into a normal SST.
http://www.elnino.noaa.gov/

75. H.R. says:

Pamela Gray (08:47:22) :
H.R.!!! I taught that song ditty to my kids when they were little. And they still remember it now that they are in the mid to very late 20’s. […]”
It IS memorable. I heard it performed once when I was 8 years old. “There’s a hole in the pole, dear Liza….” jumped into my head when Anthony posted this. Bonus! I finally got the true meaning of a circular argument ;o)
[…] That little farm house (which was at one time a one room school house) was the coolest little house. It was built with a dirt floor basement […]”
A two-fer coincidence! We lived in an old converted 2-room brick schoolhouse when I was young. The floor of the basement had been poured in the 50’s but the earth walls in the basement were 3 feet thick to support the foundation of the 18″-thick brick walls. We shot .22 caliber pistols and rifles in the basement at a target in a bullet trap and if we missed… no harm!
Also,
Pamela Gray (09:04:54) :
“[…] One more point, the idea that measuring devices are more accurate than the vagaries of written or oral history falls apart in the presence of adjusted data practices. Which is more accurate? Adjusted memories or adjusted data? The alarming conclusion is that we can’t discern that.”
I’m glad I came back to check on this thread. That is a very good point. Four decimals of precision to a made-up number isn’t much to hang a trillion dollars of spending on.

76. Ken Brown says:

Would there be any correlation-albeit at a much slower rate-and, maybe, precesion, than that of the precession of the spinning ball described by Pamela Gray while at the Universtiy of Illinois in the 1960’s while doing research for XXXx?