Study: Melting sea ice major cause of warming in Arctic

No mention of missing “M’s” here in this press release from University of Melbourne

This data visualization from the AMSR-E instrument on the Aqua satellite show the maximum sea ice extent for 2008-09, which occurred on Feb. 28, 2009. Credit: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio

Melting sea ice has been shown to be a major cause of warming in the Arctic according to a University of Melbourne study.

Findings published in Nature today reveal the rapid melting of sea ice has dramatically increased the levels of warming in the region in the last two decades.

Lead author Dr James Screen of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne says the increased Arctic warming was due to a positive feedback between sea ice melting and atmospheric warming.

“The sea ice acts like a shiny lid on the Arctic Ocean. When it is heated, it reflects most of the incoming sunlight back into space. When the sea ice melts, more heat is absorbed by the water. The warmer water then heats the atmosphere above it.”

“What we found is this feedback system has warmed the atmosphere at a faster rate than it would otherwise,” he says.

Using the latest observational data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, Dr Screen was able to uncover a distinctive pattern of warming, highly consistent with the loss of sea ice.

“In the study, we investigated at what level in the atmosphere the warming was occurring. What stood out was how highly concentrated the warming was in the lower atmosphere than anywhere else. I was then able to make the link between the warming pattern and the melting of the sea ice.”

The findings question previous thought that warmer air transported from lower latitudes toward the pole, or changes in cloud cover, are the primary causes of enhanced Arctic warming.

Dr Screen says prior to this latest data set being available there was a lot of contrasting information and inconclusive data.

“This current data has provided a fuller picture of what is happening in the region,” he says.

Over the past 20 years the Arctic has experienced the fastest warming of any region on the planet. Researchers around the globe have been trying to find out why.

Researchers say warming has been partly caused by increasing human greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the Arctic sea ice has been declining dramatically. In summer 2007 the Arctic had the lowest sea ice cover on record. Since then levels have recovered a little but the long-term trend is still one of decreasing ice.

Professor Ian Simmonds, of the University’s School of Earth Sciences and coauthor on the paper says the findings are significant.

“It was previously thought that loss of sea ice could cause further warming. Now we have confirmation this is already happening.”

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216 thoughts on “Study: Melting sea ice major cause of warming in Arctic

  1. 20,000 years ago, Chicago and New York were a mile deep in ice. Then the Neanderthals invented the Hummer, and all that beautiful ice started melting – forming the Great Lakes. This proves that the long-term trend is downwards.
    55 million years ago, the Arctic was normally ice free. This proves that the long term trend is upwards.
    Both trends can be correctly blamed on ancient soccer moms.

  2. Ice needs an intake of calories to change from solid to liquid. With much ice floating around there isn’t going to be much atmospheric warming regardless of the source of those calories. If the ice melts or flushes out of the Arctic Ocean then the available calories can begin to change the temperature of the water and the overlying air.
    Other than this, the report seems to be about 3 years behind the data.

  3. So what caused the expansion of the ice sheet in the past? When it gets warmer ice melts. Ok. But that seems only half the story: what caused the ice to expand since 2007?

  4. Uh-oh, that means that the increasing sea ice will cause cooling! That may reduce crop output, as well as other problems. It’s worse than we thought!

  5. Could this help explain the repeated observation that the sea ice grows in the winter and shrinks in the summer?

  6. “In the study, we investigated at what level in the atmosphere the warming was occurring. What stood out was how highly concentrated the warming was in the lower atmosphere than anywhere else. I was then able to make the link between the warming pattern and the melting of the sea ice.”
    Woaw it was the melting ice that warmed the lower atmosphere… Of course.

  7. If soot is the major cause of ice melting, or A major cause, soot scrubbers on coal plants in China would be the quickest way to deal with this problem.

  8. Circular reasoning in the Arctic Circle comes full circle.
    The study is no more advanced in knowledge than similar efforts 50 years ago.
    Totally clueless about what the triggering event/conditions are.
    More ice makes more ice, less ice makes less ice.
    Congratulations: The black hole of climate has been modeled.
    Simply tip either way, and the result is either Pluto or Venus from here to eternity.

  9. Typical…what it shows is that the science is wrong and that the effect of GHG emissions was overstated…but the punchline, as always, is that our worst fears are being realized.
    So arctic warming is caused in large part due to black carbon (50% over the past 120 years according to the paper referenced here http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0405-hance_blackcarbon.html) and the melting due to the black carbon induced melting (which would correspondingly account to 50% of the feedback)…but no mention of black carbon.

  10. That is….this is….. …do they not understand………damn it …..we’re capsizing!!!!!!

  11. I do not believe a word of the conclusion. If true the Arctic would not exists. This is pure BS. Parsing minuscule information to make dramatic conclusions.

  12. Does the fact we have more ice now than before bother this finding? Or are we really tipping over and going to capsize???

  13. That’s an “extent” point, right? Volume makes no difference except to the degree it impacts extant.

  14. Can this be in the next IPCC report?? Does this concrete the belief we should all trust the scientist???

  15. Heh, I didn’t realize, but I was RIGHT!!!!! It is bad ice!!!!! Yes, we have more, but it is the bad kind!!!!!

  16. Did these “scientists” sleep through their middle school science classes? Melting ice absorbs heat, thus chilling the surrounding water and air.
    Sheesh!

  17. Steve: what happened to your “negative feedback” hypothesis? Oops.
    Steve Goddard says:
    March 31, 2010 at 10:54 pm
    Open water at the poles means more heat loss to the atmosphere – i.e. cooling. That is a negative feedback.

  18. Richard111 says:

    Ice melts at 0.01C and remains at that temperature untill ALL the ice has melted.

    I don’t know what fantasy world you live on, but Al Gore has already assured us that Arctic Ice will all gone in five (or was that seven) years. Since he invented the Internet, that’s good enough for me.

  19. I read this press release earlier today and dismissed it until I can see the full text. A bunch of selected quotes without seeing the full text and methodology leaves far to many unanswered questions. Perhaps they just have a different definition of the arctic.

  20. “Lead author Dr James Screen of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne says the increased Arctic warming was due to a positive feedback between sea ice melting and atmospheric warming.”
    I’m thinking anyone that had anything to do with James Screen being awarded any academic title should be publicly horse whipped. No way he got cause and effect wrong. Do they not bother checking reality anymore? Or are the models correct regardless of what reality is telling them?

  21. “Melting sea ice major cause of warming in Arctic”
    Every time I melt ice it causes cooling! 🙁 I must be doing something wrong…………….
    It’s a good thing that the arctic sea ice is back to normal as I’m getting confused by this educated BS ( bad science) declarations of fact.

  22. Since then levels have recovered a little but the long-term trend is still one of decreasing ice.
    Recovery is mpossible once the process starts, the trend irreversible.
    Once the warming starts the region cannot escape the GCMchild radius, where it will circle the Arctic Drain until ripped to pieces in a searing release of hidden heat. ConTRoL-Carbon dioxide will not abort the program.
    Oh, but that means that it will all be transported out to the South Polar Jet, where it will then accumulate until the Earth capsizes.
    Before that happens, CERN will be tranformered into GigaLaser, pulverizing unnecessary parts of the Moon, thereby creating a torus of heat-shielding dust. Thus plunging into the Next Ice Age, after having saved GAIA from the angry Venusian broilers. The chosen select will depart for Spitzbergen to their suspended animation cells, to reawaken in the next Garden of Eden 80,000 years hence.
    With all the AGW hot inspiration about, it’s so hard to resist the temptation to write PolySci Fi.

  23. At what part of the year were measurements made. I recall a ‘scientist’ observing the warming of the air above the Arctic during October and proclaiming this as evidence of a warming Arctic, even though this is the time and what happens when the ice forms. We have had some fairly strong Autumn freeze ups so could Dr James be measuring the heat given off when the water freezes? It would be interesting to see something more substantial than a press release.

  24. This paper was produced without actual observations of conditions in the Arctic by the researchers, courtesy of satellite data. I bet they never left their cosy Melbourne office. Its conclusions are likely as out of this world as the satellite itself. I notice that they do not provide any figures for the real, actual, measured, temperature of the ocean before or after the ice has melted, despite blaming higher water temps for creating a positive feedback. Methinks it probably changed by less than 1 deg C, & hovers near zero all year. The thickness of the layer of warmer water is likely 10 – 20 cm. Anyone know the facts?

  25. Please, folks, have a little compassion. We Melburnians have just come through a long, hot ─ and rather debilitating ─ summer.

  26. Light, heat, and energy. THEY DO NOT EQUATE!!!! Yes, they are (poor) substitutes for each other, but, they are not the same. Kelvins = almost, but not quite. I had more to say, but, I’m too damned full of beer. Is it if I had the time and lunacy to spew whatever that I too could be called, “Doctor”? I hear that term today and almost spit it from my mouth.

  27. I’m mystified by most of the other comments. Seems straightforward enough. The theory said that some of the atmospheric warming over the arctic was due to more mixing from lower latitudes, and some due to reduced albedo locally. The Melbourne researchers claim the distribution of the temperatures implies it’s (now) more of the second than had been thought. Why all the flak?

  28. I thought it used to be that warmth caused ice to melt. This paper now says melting ice causes warmth. In the 70s John Holdren linked the cooling to human activity. He now insists the warming is caused by human activity. He hasn’t weighed in regarding the recent cooling as far as I’ve heard, but I’d expect that to be human caused as well.
    Some one needs to compile the long history of circular logic used by these people in support of their political ideology.

  29. I went to look at the paper, but the first sentence, “The rise in Arctic near-surface air temperatures has been almost twice as large as the global average in recent decades”, indicates a paper by Mark “Death Spiral” Serreze as one of the sources. Not the best start…

  30. John F. Hultquist says: April 29, 2010 at 9:30 pm
    “Other than this, the report seems to be about 3 years behind the data.”
    Got a vested interest in an issue?
    Need something for ‘new’ for the ‘news’?
    Is your special interest group not getting enough interest?
    We can help. We have a stockpile more that 10,000 unpublished papers that can prove almost anything. Melting ice causes warming, no problem, whale excrement counters climate change, got it, CO2 causes algae bloom/kills algae, we got ’em both.
    Whatever you need just fill in what you want to be the cause and what you want to be the effect and we are sure to have something ‘new’ for you!
    http://www.NeedAnUppublishedReport.com
    Note: ‘new’ in this context means not previously published, Dead Sea scrolls require special release, not available in all states, some restrictions apply, limitation of liability may not be applicable in all jurisdictions, your mileage may vary, be kind rewind.

  31. George Turner says:
    April 29, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Could this help explain the repeated observation that the sea ice grows in the winter and shrinks in the summer?

    No, no, no. It is clearly indicating that the expansion of ice causes winter, and the melting of ice causes summer. We’ve just been getting it wrong all these years because we’ve been using non-post-normal science instead of the post-normal science that HGW has unearthed for us to benefit from.
    [/sarcasm mode off (I think)]

  32. condensing water wapour to water releases heat
    fusing water to ice releases heat
    So the inverse must also be true and no matter how much ice I put in the bucket my bottle of wine refuses to get warmer.

  33. Derek B says:
    April 29, 2010 at 10:50 pm
    “I’m mystified by most of the other comments…………….”
    Son, think it through, Yes, the reflection and absorption principles are correct. So, in a remedial way, the assertion is proper. But, this has been known for some time now. Apparently, paradoxically, in spite of what is known, the ice is growing. …………………how can this be if the assertion is correct?

  34. I’m not usually too picky about typos.
    But are you sure it is Dr. Screen, Anthony?
    Not Dr. Scream?

  35. The paper is pretty straight forward until the obligatory bowing to the AGW gods. Less ice allows arctic water to warm in summer. The connections to processes are conjecture, but that basic premise is reasonable. Of course not factoring in the expansion of ice since 2007 is problematic -Best to just ignore it then, right?

  36. I unfortunately share a city with these people…
    “Since then levels have recovered a little but the long-term trend is still one of decreasing ice” – interesting use of the word “little”.

  37. Derek B says: April 29, 2010 at 10:50 pm
    I’m mystified by most of the other comments. …………. Why all the flak?

    I think it’s because of a growing aversion to [snip]
    /dr.bill

  38. JERoME, loved your conclusion.
    But thinking further, we should now get engineers to think of a way to tap into this new perpetual energy source – well, until the ice runs out that is.

  39. It is very interesting to speculate on the reasons for melting but we should not believe that this is a unique event. Whatever the causes this time round, it must be stressed yet again that the arctic ice melts with surprising regularity. The Ipiatuk 2000 years ago and the Vikings 1000 years ago both had substantially greater ice free seas than at present.
    In what can be described as the modern era we can trace two periods of considerable melt. The authors own study demonstrated a surprisingly warm period recorded in the arctic around 1815-1860
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/#more-8688
    There is further evidence of substantial 1920-1940 warming in the Arctic –many of whose records remain unsurpassed even today. This period is very well documented as expeditions there to view the melting ice became the equivalent of todays celebrity jaunts to the area. The most famous were those mounted by Bob Bartlett on the Morrissey. One memorable diary extract describes his observations of the mile wide face of a glacier falling in to the sea.
    http://boothbayharborshipyard.blogspot.com/2008/08/arctic-explorer-on-ways.html
    “Wednesday, 10th August 1932
    The ship rolled heavily all night and continues to do so….
    The glacier continues its disturbances. No real bergs break off but great sheets of ice slide down into the water and cause heavy seas. About noon, the entire face of the glacier, almost a mile in length and six or eight feet deep slid off with a roar and a rumble that must have been heard at some distance. We were on deck at the time for a preliminary report like a pistol shot had warned us what was coming. The Morrissey rolled until her boats at the davits almost scooped up the water and everything on board that was not firmly anchored in place crashed loose. But this was nothing to the pandemonium on shore. I watched it all through the glasses. The water receded leaving yards of beach bare and then returned with a terrific rush, bringing great chunks of ice with it. Up the beach it raced further and further, with the Eskimos fleeing before it. It covered all the carefully cherished piles of walrus meat, flowed across two of the tents with their contents, put out the fire over which the noonday meal for the sled drivers was being prepared, and stopped a matter of inches before it reached the pile of cement waiting to be taken up the mountain. Fortunately, in spite of heavy sea, which was running, the Captain had managed to be set shore this morning so he was there with them to help straighten out things and calm them down.”
    There are pathe news reels of his voyages which your grandparents may have watched at the cinema in the 1930’s, and books on the subject.
    Here is a bibliography of material relating to him.
    http://www.nlpubliclibraries.ca/nlcollection/pdf/guides/NL_Collection_Guide_11.pdf
    These are two technical examinations of the 1920 arctic
    ftp://ftp.whoi.edu/pub/users/mtimmermans/ArcticSymposiumTalks/Smolyanitsky.pdf
    http://meteo.lcd.lu/globalwarming/Chylek/greenland_warming.html
    This free online book by Dr Arnd Bernaerts examines the last great warming -prior to the modern one- in great detail.
    Article: Arctic warming 1919-1939. Author: Dr Arnd Bernaerts
    http://www.arctic-heats-up.com/chapter_1.html
    The Monthly Weather Review for November 1922 contained a fascinating record of this warming arctic early on in the melting. It sounds uncannily like the appeal from the Whalers to the Royal Society in 1817 to find out why the arctic was melting as mentioned in my article linked to previously.
    * http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/050/mwr-050-11-0589a.pdf
    Tonyb

  40. So the Arctic is warming due to positive feedback effects yet the ice is increasing at the same time. Well done, Alarmist Class 101.

  41. You know, if I were the paranoid, tin-foil hat wearing type, I might be thinking thoughts such as “Hrm, perhaps there is now a concerted effort to feed lots of AGW-supporting peer-reviewed papers into the system, so that the next IPCC report can cite them all”.
    Fortunately, I’m not that type of person. I mean, this couldn’t possibly be the case, could it? No one group of people could be that sneaky, could they?
    Oh, wait…

  42. “Findings published in Nature today reveal the rapid melting of sea ice has dramatically increased the levels of warming in the region in the last two decades.”
    Okay, so the rapid buildup of ice since 2007 now should dramatically increase the level of cooling then?
    Or?
    That must mean the “increased the levels of warming in the region” nowadays is from “The hidden ‘M’.
    Or maybe its “The Dark Heat” they are talking about.

  43. [quote Martin Brumby says:]
    But are you sure it is Dr. Screen, Anthony?
    [/quote]

    Yes, it’s Dr. Screen. I’m familiar with his work. He invented a type of door for a submarine that is named after him.

  44. ICCP measurements show that low cloud cover has decreased in the Arctic. This causes more sunlight reaching the surface and more melting of ice in the Arctic summer. With less ice cover, the increased amount of sunlight can warm even more ocean water. The water then warms the lower atmosphere. There is no need to introduce any increased greenhouse effect to explain what has happened in the Arctic the last decades. The decrease in low cloud cover started it all and is the only explanation needed.

  45. This makes some kind of sense as an ongoing process, but poses a bunch of questions, including:
    1) precisely what started it? Could changing cloud cover patterns have been the crucial factor?
    2) if the trend has started to reverse – which is possible – then what, precisely, has happened to cause the change of direction?
    3) If significant warming has been occurring in the Arctic in the last nine years when global temperatures as a whole have been stable, does that mean that there has actually been global cooling in the non-Arctic area of the globe?

  46. So what caused the 1.5-2 deg arctic warming between 1910-1940. According to GISS the magnitude of the 1910-40 warming is almost identical to the warming over the last 30 years.
    I have no reason to doubt the GISS record.

  47. I think young Dr Screen who graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of East Anglia has been well trained from a region that seems to specialise in proving theories given a set agenda.
    But from the accent and the video clip:
    http://newsroom.melbourne.edu/studio/ep-72
    I believe he should have stuck to poems like Pam Ayres such as “Oh I wish I’d looked after me teeth” rather than getting involved in climatology:

  48. Let’s not condemn this study too quickly. If melting causes arctic warming, and soot causes melting, then soot causes arctic warming — not CO2.

  49. “What we found is this feedback system has warmed the atmosphere at a faster rate than it would otherwise,”
    Otherwise? This is a comparison, no? So, where is the comparitor, the control located? Or is it, as is becoming a wearying familiarity, another ‘sophisticated’ computer model?
    I see the BBC has decided to run with this, although merely reprinting a summary statement is a poor return on the license fee. Sadly, contrary to popular fantasy the BBC has never been a fearless or well informed interlocutor or investigator.

  50. I read about this in my local Paper of Stupid this morning, the Sydney Morning Herald. The SMH is totally in the bag as far as global warming is concerned, so they beat the story up even further.
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/melting-ice-makes-the-arctic-a-vicious-circle-20100429-tssb.html
    I almost spat my coffee out with laughter when I read the final paragraphs:
    The amount of Arctic sea ice was at a record low in the summer of 2007, down about 40 per cent.
    Although it has recovered slightly since, the long-term trend is down, he said. “We’re heading towards a situation where the Arctic Sea will be ice-free in summer.”/

  51. Last week, we found out a change of winds caused the recent melting of ice (or rather, the pushing of ice into warmer waters south, thus effectively melting them)…. (“A” causes “B”)
    Today, we learn that melting ice causes warmer temperatures… (“B” causes “C”). (I’m not disputing whether it’s true.)
    So… if A causes B, and B causes C…
    The conclusion: The change in winds is driving up temperatures in the Arctic. No?
    So why did the winds change recently? Any guesses?
    Surely there’s a tree-ring thawing in a bog somewhere which will show (via statistical magic) how my EasyJet flight to the south of France directly caused the winds to change in the Arctic.

  52. …I put a few icecubes in my mug to keep the coffee warm but it didn’t work, the coffee was cold.
    Any idea what went wrong probably?

  53. I gave a few icecubes into my mug to keep the coffee warm, but the coffee was cold.
    Any idea what probably went wrong?

  54. stevengoddard says: April 29, 2010 at 9:24 pm
    “20,000 years ago, Chicago and New York were a mile deep in ice. Then the Neanderthals invented the Hummer”
    A neat trick considering that the Neanderthals became extinct at least 30,000 years ago!

  55. James H says:
    April 29, 2010 at 9:31 pm
    “Uh-oh, that means that the increasing sea ice will cause cooling! That may reduce crop output, as well as other problems. It’s worse than we thought!”
    So more ice means more reflectance which means more cooling which means MORE ice which means more cooling ……………………. We’re doomed!

  56. This article was featured on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s [ ABC ] science site last night.
    http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2010/04/29/2884900.htm
    The taxpayer funded ABC is one of the leading alarmist [ and left wing ] sites in Australia and recently two of their senior executives were revealed as having decided that the ABC would not publish any evidence that contradicted the AGW theory.
    And guess who screams loudest if “censorship” of any type is even remotely suggested for the media.
    The ABC article referred to the study using satellite data from 1989 to 2008 so the press release above apparently studiously avoids admitting that the data is not up to date and is extremely short term by even climatology standards and could be classified as cherry picked data.
    And in fact the whole study has been negated by the rise in Arctic ice areas and volumes in the 2008 / 2009 and 2009 / 2010 northern winters.
    The quoted reasons for the supposed decline in Arctic ice are also negated by the latest developments in the Arctic and one of the discarded theories on the forces driving Arctic ice formation and melts seems a far more likely proposition than this “modelled” study by just another government rent seeker.

  57. Why have we become so in awe of people with “Dr” or”Prof” before their names. No disrespect honestly, I have every respct for people who have earned such titles, but Einstien was right on some things, and wrong on others, yet there were people going around saying that he was the most brilliant guy on the planet! He was indeed extremely clever, but not right on every occasion. I recall he thought atomic energy would never be “realised” in around 1931. Then Ernest Rutherford split the atom a year later yet also claimed no energy could be gained from it. How many “Drs” & “Profs” have made immense claims about one thing or another, only to be proven completely wrong within a few months or few years. Dr Screen maybe right, but he may also be wrong. Me thinks a little context & circumspection is needed with a pinch of sodium chloride!

  58. “mark.r says:
    April 29, 2010 at 10:59 pm
    “but the long-term trend is still one of decreasing ice” HOW DO THY KNOW THIS?.”
    Its one of those trivial things that’s always true and hardly worth mentioning. Any trend calculation is always weighted by prior history. If a new data point is above/below the trend the “Long Term” is still in the same direction until the new condition persists long enough to effect the historical weight in the trend calculation.
    e.g If your trend measure is 5 year moving average and it currently shows an unhidden decline: If you observe annual increases of the same magnitude as your last decline. they will have to persist for 2 or 3 years to flatten the trend line and longer than that to change its direction.
    So yes, its always possible to argue that any small number of values haven’t changed the long term trend, right up until they persist long enough to become inconveniently true. After that you have to appeal to the length of time the observations have trended in one direction and comment on the short duration of the current “Blip”

  59. …we investigated at what level in the atmosphere the warming was occurring… Which dataset it that then? GISS? CRU? We know the data is garbage. Besides that, if you start with a warming atmosphere you will automatically attribute any reduction of ice to it. Conversely, if you start with warmer ocean currents you would attribute the warmer atmosphere to the reduction in ice. What’s cause and effect here? Not a great paper.
    And talk about the obvious. Ice is the great big switch in the Earth’s climate. Its presence causes albedo to jump AND evaporation to fall leading to less water vapor in the atmosphere. The southern hemisphere has been in a permanent ice age for millions of years. Anyone looking at the Arctic now would conclude that the northern hemisphere is dangerously close to the next ice age.

  60. I think this is interesting analysis that has drawn the wrong conclusion. The greatest rate of warming is at 90N in the autumn and winter, with a smaller rate of warming as you move south. Surely if the surface temperature amplification is due to diminished sea ice cover, the amplification should be greatest closest to the diminished cover, i.e. at the edge of the ice not at the pole.
    I think their conclusion that recent arctic temperature amplification is due to diminishing sea ice cover could equally be interpreted as diminishing sea ice cover is due to recent arctic temperature amplification. However, this would still raise the question of why the amplification is greatest furthest from the melting ice.
    The paper: http://sciences.blogs.liberation.fr/files/arctique-ann%C3%A9es-2000-tures.pdf

  61. OT but I see that WUWT has changed to big baby letters. Has Anthony bought a new full HD monitor perhaps? Anyone running Firefox will probably find everything too small at 1902 x 1080 or higher. You can change the overall magnification of everything in Firefox including all web sites, the menu bar and the icons on the bookmarks toolbar. Do the following:
    1. Enter about:config in the address bar
    2. Ignore the ‘Here be Dragons warning. Just click on the ‘I’ll be careful, I promise!’ button
    3. Scroll down to the line layout.css.devPixelsPerPx (the names are in alphabetical order.)
    4. Double click the line and change the value to something like 1.3. The bigger the number, the more the magnification.
    It’s magic. Promise!

  62. “..Over the past 20 years the Arctic has experienced the fastest warming of any region on the planet. Researchers around the globe have been trying to find out why.”
    Fixing that for you….
    “Over the past 20 years the Arctic has experienced the fastest warming of any region on the planet. Researchers around the globe have been mounting extensive expeditions burning tons of fuel oil and installing scientific camps with heated acomodation across the region, as well as local airfields with a steady stream of turbo-prop aircraft movements, in an effort to find out why.
    So far the cause has eluded them, but they all agree that it must be Global Warming…”

  63. Most people forget that winds play an important role in Ice formations as well. Precipitation as well in the type of Ice being formed. Currents and different depths is a factor as well. Many a snowmobile Driver has found this out the HARD way.
    Observationally speaking of course.

  64. As has been noted here before, it seems they don’t know much about phase transitions, melting points and latent heat. That slight oversight has been done before by other climate scientists. Did they skip that class?

  65. mark.r says:
    April 29, 2010 at 10:59 pm
    “but the long-term trend is still one of decreasing ice” HOW DO THY KNOW THIS?.
    It’s all in how you define long term. For current Arctic studies this means 30 years. So please ignore any little ice ages and warm periods of the past….

  66. Oh, so the melting causes warming! And I always thought it was the other way round. God, I’m thick!

  67. Then, according to the logic of these researchers, the last three years of building ice could only be caused by less warming of the atmosphere, which in turn would be caused by less CO2 in the atmosphere.
    Hmmmm… Sounds like a false conclusion to me, or they’ve disproven any link between Arctic sea ice and CO2. (Maybe they believe CO2 was being captured by Arctic ice and, being fizzy, it WAS the flavor of the ice after all!)

  68. “Using the latest observational data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting,”
    This must be the latest 20 year old data.

  69. OT I know, but how do I get to paste quotes as per Jerome @ 11:17 with the indented italic or other format. Is this a WP plug-in I can get somewhere.
    “JER0ME says:
    April 29, 2010 at 11:17 pm
    George Turner says:
    April 29, 2010 at 9:44 pm
    Could this help explain the repeated observation that the sea ice grows in the winter and shrinks in the summer?”
    Cheers and thanks

  70. As a practical matter open water has a lower albedo than sea ice. So yes, less ice means less radiation reflected back into space. But since the sea ice has been expanding for the last 3 years, the reverse of this will also hold. More sea ice will increase arctic cooling. A fact that these people will find very inconvenient indeed.

  71. I’m generally one to hate these sorts of things, but conceptually I can’t call BS on this one even if poorly phrased. Point out to me where I’ve got it wrong?
    1) The ice acts as a partial mirror, reflecting energy back into the atmosphere/space in some ratio. Some gets absorbed into the ice, causing some melt. No energy reaches the water underneath the ice as it’s an insulator.
    2) As the ice melts, the mirror shrinks, reducing the quantity of reflected energy. The excess energy hits the ocean waters, warming it (however slightly)
    3) Warmer ocean water cools the atmosphere less than the same surface area of ice, leading to the air closer to water being warmer than the air near the ice. (or higher in the atmosphere, further away from the water vertically)
    4) Warmer air and water circulates, will brush against the ice, and cause melting in that fashion as well.
    Nothing particularly groundbreaking here that I can tell… just “duh”. That said, it doesn’t do anything to talk about the big picture because it looks at an isolated mechanism and attempts to use that to point fingers at an eventuality that that have limited insights into… the system in totality, not just melting ice.

  72. stevengoddard says:
    20,000 years ago, Chicago and New York were a mile deep in ice. Then the Neanderthals invented the Hummer, and all that beautiful ice started melting – forming the Great Lakes. This proves that the long-term trend is downwards.
    55 million years ago, the Arctic was normally ice free. This proves that the long term trend is upwards.
    Both trends can be correctly blamed on ancient soccer moms.

    What exactly was the point of this comment? Long-term trends in climate are due to long-term forcings, e.g. the Milankovitch cycles. Now we have introduced anthropogenic forcings and they are causing long-term climate change too. Is there anything controversial about that? People here like to discuss the type and magnitude of anthropogenic changes, which is perfectly valid, but no-one sensible argues that we’re not having any effect at all on climate.

  73. But even in summer the sun in the Arctic is low in the sky so the extra energy entering the water is a fraction of what enters the oceans at the equator.
    It is much more likely that the energy flow from the newly exposed water surface to the cool air above is far greater than any increase in water energy content from increased insolation.
    I’ve long considered open water at the North Pole to be an efficent energy conduit to the sky at all times of the year.
    The Arctic Ocean is maintained as a liquid by warmer water flowing into the Arctic Ocean past Spitzbergen not by solar insolation.
    If the Arctic Ocean becomes free of sea ice for longer then the whole process of energy transport from equator to poles to space is accelerated with a negative effect on global temperature.
    A bald head on a cold sunny day loses heat faster than the sunshine replaces it.
    I think we are now seeing the collapse of the western scientific method as a result of poor teaching of our children at every level.

  74. Shouldn’t an Australian University be studying their OWN icecap? Stick to your own backyard! Ha ha ha!

  75. Hmm, so I pull the Kool-Aid from the fridge, and drop in ice cubes to warm it? No, that can’t be right, but it sure sounds like it from the headline.
    I suppose they are just hyping reduced albedo. Seems to me they need to go back to freshman physics lab.

  76. Gary Turner says:
    Did these “scientists” sleep through their middle school science classes? Melting ice absorbs heat, thus chilling the surrounding water and air.
    Ice reflects about 80% of the visible light that falls on it. Water absorbs about 80%. The paper argues that this difference is significant; less ice = more warming.

  77. The technical paper ARCTIC AIR TEMPERATURE CHANGE AMPLIFICATION AND THE ATALANTIC MULTIDECADAL OSCILLATION published by various technical journals including the GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTER outlines the real cause of Arctic warming .
    Here is what their abstract said
    Understanding Arctic temperature variability is essential for assessing possible future melting of the Greenland ice sheet, Arctic sea ice and Arctic permafrost. Temperature trend reversals in 1940 and 1970 separate two Arctic warming periods (1910–1940 and 1970–2008) by a significant 1940–1970 cooling period. Analyzing temperature records of the Arctic meteorological stations we find that (a) the Arctic amplification (ratio of the Arctic to global temperature trends) is not a constant but varies in time on a multi-decadal time scale, (b) the Arctic warming from 1910–1940 proceeded at a significantly faster rate than the current 1970–2008 warming, and (c) the Arctic temperature changes are highly correlated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) suggesting the Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation is linked to the Arctic temperature variability on a multi-decadal time scale.
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL038777.shtml
    Also see
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/RS_Arctic.htm

  78. Well, it would appear, that after repeated studies it can be generally realized that Summer is warmer than Winter.
    This science stuff is real easy;-)

  79. P.F. says:
    I thought it used to be that warmth caused ice to melt. This paper now says melting ice causes warmth.
    No, it doesn’t say that. It says that the reduction of ice cover causes warmth, due to lower albedo. Nothing controversial there at all.

  80. So this positive feedback of ice melting causes warming and more ice melting. So exactly why is there more ice now than any time in the past 9 years on this date? Must have missed something in that analysis.

  81. “jim hogg says:
    April 30, 2010 at 1:22 am
    ……..
    3) If significant warming has been occurring in the Arctic in the last nine years when global temperatures as a whole have been stable, does that mean that there has actually been global cooling in the non-Arctic area of the globe?”
    Actually this is an intersting point. If huge areas of the world have high temperature increases [allegedly] and the ‘average’ is only .5 or so then other areas must have gone down or least stayed the same. I’d be fascinated to look at reports of climate change effects in areas with no change.
    cheers David

  82. The only thing I find wrong with the snowball effect is that for it to work in our reality there has to be an effect that reverse it which would also be a snowball effect, what with the million years of ice ages interjected by warm periods without so much ice.
    So what climatic or bunch of weather effects reverses this:
    “The sea ice acts like a shiny lid on the Arctic Ocean. When it is heated, it reflects most of the incoming sunlight back into space. When the sea ice melts, more heat is absorbed by the water. The warmer water then heats the atmosphere above it.”

  83. mark.r says:
    “but the long-term trend is still one of decreasing ice” HOW DO THY KNOW THIS?.
    No doubt there is a more mathematical way to answer your question but does it look like there is any change to the long term declining trend, here?

  84. pat says:
    April 29, 2010 at 11:42 pm
    Thank God the ice cubes in my very light beer do the opposite.
    **************************************************
    Ice cubes in light beer??? There is no more point in that than blogging on this topic!
    (Light Beer is an oxymoron. Gi’me a pint o’ Guinness or a good IPA any day!)
    Full Disclosure:
    I’ve started my own politically oriented blog on WordPress and that’s why I have suddenly transformed from “Jon Jewett” into “Precinct 201”. I know Anthony would rather have us use our real name, so I will put it here:
    Regards,
    Jon Jewett and
    Steamboat Jack (His evil twin.)

  85. Dr James Screen of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne is the spitting image of the Dr James Screen at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia

  86. The next time you feel cold, go open your refrigerator and warm up in the radiant cold.
    Just remember, science has been pliticized, which means that politicians can write the science any way they want it to be.
    With sea ice at perfectly normal, it is obvious thhat warming is melting it faster than ever.
    D

  87. The next time you feel cold, open your frig and warm up.
    Remember that science has been polIticized, which means that the politicians can write the science to be any way they want it to be.
    The Arctic Sea ice is perfectly normal, WHICH means that it is melting faster than ever.
    DON’T ME THE FACTS, I’LL GIVE YOU MY OPINIONS WHEN I WANT THEM.

  88. Icarus,
    In my never ending quest to stamp out cherrypicking, here is my response to your link above: click
    The basic question concerns global warming. Doesn’t it? So why is the Antarctic exempt?
    Could it be that the Arctic ice fluctuations are simply regional, and part of a natural cycle? Or does the Antarctic have its fingers crossed behind its back, just waiting for that hidden heat in the pipeline to warm it up, and send the planet into catastrophic runaway global warming?
    Look at what is really happening, not at what you are frightened about. Otherwise, the monster under your bed will control your thoughts and make your decisions for you.

  89. But the AGW position has been, until now, that warming caused the melting.
    If the melting causes the warming, that means the theory AGW promoters have relied on is 180° wrong.
    If the mechanism of Arctic ice melt is not AGW, then its recovery is not depending on CO2, either.
    That strongly implies that Arctic ice pack is not a great barometer of global climate irt CO2.
    IOW, yet another AGW tenet bites the dust.

  90. Icarus
    The albedo claim is more controversial than you recognize. The Arctic minimum occurs in September when the sun is very low in the sky, so it has almost no effect on the radiation balance.

  91. This is a truly significant finding. Now that this process has been discovered many more modern and post-modern scientists will be able to see the connection between global warming and ice melting. Let us only hope that this trend continues and that soon they will put all these pieces together and have a better understanding of where we have been and where we are. What an amazing era we live in. We owe all this to Teacher’s Unions everywhere.

  92. Well this sure is a suprise. NOT They had to come out with something since the ice is highest in ten years at this point .And it always the same line every time .It our fault and they wan t us to feel bad ane responsilbe for it.Also the record low sea ice back in 2007 . The records only go back to 1979 but they somehow always forget to tell that part.

  93. Anthony,
    On every map an science paper that has come out, they ALL display the angle of sunlight as STRAIGHT ONTO THE PLANET.
    They angles of sunlight travel MUCH farther through the atmosphere as the planets angle changes to the surface point.
    Deflecting MUCH energy!

  94. Icarus
    I don’t see any evidence that recent ice trends are unusual. We have satellite data for 30 years, starting during a period of unusually high ice cover. In 1895, Nansen took a boat north of 84N – much further than Pugh got his kayak during a “record low extent” summer.

  95. Since the 2 appear to be linked, did he stop to consider maybe a portion of the warming is driven by decreasing sea ice & not the other way around – it will be interesting to see how increasing sea ice is now explained – especially since temps are poised to fall with the fading el nino & strengthening cold phase of the pdo. I think he might have made linkage observation OK, but has it backwards between cause & effect.
    “Using the latest observational data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting” ….. is this a surface based dataset? We have seen multiple article about problems in the far north on surface data sets, especially with under sampling & sampling bias. If the dataset is suspect, then even the linkage observation is suspect.

  96. Michael Ozanne says:
    So yes, its always possible to argue that any small number of values haven’t changed the long term trend, right up until they persist long enough to become inconveniently true.

    “The trend is your friend until the bend in the end.”

  97. There is no positive feedback in the process of melting and thawing of Arctic sea ice. Warm water melts ice, not melting ice warms water. That warm water originated near the equator and has cooled as it traveled north. Even in summer. because of the low sun angle, the arctic ocean absorbs much less energy than it is constantly radiating to space. In winter, the ocean absorbs no energy from the sun and sea ice freezes as heat is lost to space. Rising levels of CO2 have not slowed the rate of OLR in the Artic (http://www.kidswincom.net/CO2OLR.pdf). OLR increases as SST increases.

  98. starzmom says:
    April 30, 2010 at 4:45 am
    So this positive feedback of ice melting causes warming and more ice melting. So exactly why is there more ice now than any time in the past 9 years on this date? Must have missed something in that analysis.

    You didn’t miss anything. There is no feedback, otherwise recovery is impossible. They are mistaking the heat sink caused by ice for something that it is not. When the ice is gone, it’s back to blackbody behavior, nothing more.

  99. Why publish this? If we are currently experiencing increasing Artic sea ice then their theory must be incorrect, right? There is no way they can use a straw dog like “this is climate not weather dummy.” If the theory is that the melting of the ice is causing increased temperatures in the Artic, then Artic ice could not expand.

  100. stevengoddard says:
    April 29, 2010 at 9:24 pm
    20,000 years ago, Chicago and New York were a mile deep in ice. Then the Neanderthals invented the Hummer
    LOL!!
    You are right!, too many “Hummers”…
    So, now, the thing is: I put a glass of liquid water in my freezer and it will melt all the ice in it? Wow!, just couldn´t believe it!
    All these post normal scientists should be subjected to the mayeutic Socratic method of questioning, to find the “primum mobile” of climate (not theirs, of course, we already know it is money). That is why we all must ask ourselves what the heck is that round ball of fire hanging up above?, what is it that “sunny breeze”, “solar wind” or that f#* current that connects that gigantic light bulb with the earth?, which is the most common meteorological event on earth?, is it the millions of lightnings?,etc.,etc.
    What does it cause Climate?

  101. It’s a death spiral. It’s a tipping point. NO, it’s Positive-Feedback-Man.
    This is what passes for scientific observation in the 21 century. Good grief.

  102. stevengoddard says:
    20,000 years ago, Chicago and New York were a mile deep in ice. Then the Neanderthals invented the Hummer, and all that beautiful ice started melting – forming the Great Lakes. This proves that the long-term trend is downwards. 55 million years ago, the Arctic was normally ice free. This proves that the long term trend is upwards. Both trends can be correctly blamed on ancient soccer moms.

    Followed by:
    Icarus says:
    April 30, 2010 at 4:14 am
    What exactly was the point of this comment? Long-term trends in climate are due to long-term forcings, e.g. the Milankovitch cycles. Now we have introduced anthropogenic forcings and they are causing long-term climate change too. Is there anything controversial about that? People here like to discuss the type and magnitude of anthropogenic changes, which is perfectly valid, but no-one sensible argues that we’re not having any effect at all on climate.

    The Arctic temperature records determine that temperatures were greater in the 30’s and 40’s than now while human co2 emissions were 1/10 the current rate. (peer -reviewed, sources included)
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/RS_Arctic.htm
    Please show the correlation between co2 and arctic temperature. Only then can you make the statement ” causing long-term climate change”. Otherwise, you’re just trolling.

  103. Isn’t it rather painfully obvious there’s a positive feedback in this situation? Duh!

  104. In today’s world, it doesn’t matter whether these scientists are, or this paper is, wrong or right. The trouble with all these competing theories is that there is no incentive to get it right among the people publishing this stuff, even the ones that are getting it right. Their money they use at the grocery store depends on government sources. Once a topic falls out of favor or a theory is found to be wrong, no harm no foul, they just study something else.
    Meanwhile small business mainstreet suffers under such fowl winds of change. If it isn’t big business/wallstreet/stock holders/unions strangling our greatest source of employment, its green freaks telling us we can’t make or ship our measly little produce and products anywhere without harming sea levels.
    Under this “user, used” system, eventually something is going to break and it won’t be pretty.

  105. Does anyone know if stable high pressure cells develop over the Arctic in the summer, perhaps near the North Pole? I was thinking that descending air, warmed by adiabatic compression, at the very center of such cells might naturally cause a Chinook (ice-eater) effect that could, when combined with 24 Hr daily sunshine, cause localized melted zones to develop deep inside regions of thick multiyear ice.
    As for the University of Melbourne study, I imagine the world will give a collective yawn and then ask “So, what else is new?”

  106. re; black carbon (soot)
    The interesting thing about that is that it accumulates on the surface of multi-year ice. The stuff floats so any partial surface melt just concentrates it on the snow or ice surface. If the ice melts completely then it vanishes never to be seen again.
    This is probably a negative feedback where as more multi-year ice disappears the less black carbon there is to accelerate additional melting. New ice won’t have the build-up on it and thus will be more likely to become multi-year ice once again only this time with a more reflective surface.
    This mechanism works the same way on any multi-year ice where there is a partial surface melting including glaciers at lower latitudes which are much more subject to partial surface melts during the warmer months of the year.
    Black carbon can only travel, at best, a few thousand kilometers from the source before it settles out on the surface. This handily explains why the northern hemisphere is experiencing much greater multi-year ice melt. The southern hemisphere has nowhere near the same amount of black carbon sources and most of Antarctica is well out of the range of any of them whereas the Arctic is well within range of the biggest sources on the planet.

  107. starzmom says:
    So this positive feedback of ice melting causes warming and more ice melting. So exactly why is there more ice now than any time in the past 9 years on this date? Must have missed something in that analysis.
    There will always be interannual variability – that’s the nature of the climate system. NSIDC say:

    Early in March, Arctic sea ice appeared to reach a maximum extent. However, after a short decline, the ice continued to grow. By the end of March, total extent approached 1979 to 2000 average levels for this time of year. The late-season growth was driven mainly by cold weather and winds from the north over the Bering and Barents Seas.

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

  108. AlanG says:
    April 30, 2010 at 3:14 am

    OT but I see that WUWT has changed to big baby letters. Has Anthony bought a new full HD monitor perhaps?

    The cheque from Big Oil finally came through 😉

    Anyone running Firefox will probably find everything too small at 1902 x 1080 or higher. You can change the overall magnification of everything in Firefox including all web sites, the menu bar and the icons on the bookmarks toolbar. Do the following:
    1. Enter about:config in the address bar
    2. Ignore the ‘Here be Dragons warning. Just click on the ‘I’ll be careful, I promise!’ button
    3. Scroll down to the line layout.css.devPixelsPerPx (the names are in alphabetical order.)
    4. Double click the line and change the value to something like 1.3. The bigger the number, the more the magnification.
    It’s magic. Promise!

    OR just press the Control (CTRL) button and spin the mouse wheel, for those of us in the 21st century…..

  109. Terry says:
    April 30, 2010 at 4:09 am

    OT I know, but how do I get to paste quotes as per Jerome @ 11:17 with the indented italic or other format. Is this a WP plug-in I can get somewhere.

    probably answered already but….
    Check out the page source. You can add lt blockquote gt (lt=less than ) and an end-tag (with a / before the word). i in there does italics, u underline, etc. Remember to do the / in the closing tag.
    It’s just HTML, see the page source. It’s a pain, but I’m a developer so I’m happy to mess with such stuff. I’m also getting it wrong 25% of the time (like all good developers – that’s why software has bugs. No other engineering profession is so fault-tolerant, I love it!)

  110. Beyond the ’cause-effect’ thing (melting causes warming?) – no mention of subsequent clouds and refreezing?
    Study your OWN icecap, you Aussies ! Ha ha ha!

  111. What a load of old cobblers this report is! Seems these guys have forgotten their basic physics about the enthalpy of fusion. Ice melt is endothermic, meaning that the system absorbs energy on going from solid to liquid at 334j/g.
    This means that the air temperature above melting ice is always close to zero. The atmosphere transfers little energy to the ice and only has impact on sea ice melt. The sun and ocean are the main providers of the huge amount of energy needed for the melt, with the sea providing by far the largest proportion.
    The effect of the sun is less than would seem reasonable because the angle of it’s rays is low in the Arctic and is mostly reflected, of both ice and water.
    The final pieces of the puzzle are provided by atmospheric and ocean current strength and direction, which effect the rate the melting sea ice is swept out the Arctic basin to melt in the warmer southerly seas.
    It is also interesting that these people don’t mention the dramatic sea ice recovery since the 2007 minimum – although this hardly supports their shaky hypothesis!

  112. Study: Melting sea ice major cause of warming in Arctic

    Two effects in search for a cause?
    And this is made by an University? OMG… worst that we thought.

  113. Tim Clark says:

    The Arctic temperature records determine that temperatures were greater in the 30′s and 40′s than now while human co2 emissions were 1/10 the current rate. (peer -reviewed, sources included)
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/RS_Arctic.htm
    Please show the correlation between co2 and arctic temperature. Only then can you make the statement ” causing long-term climate change”. Otherwise, you’re just trolling.

    My understanding is that the warming of the first few decades of the 20th Century was associated with increased solar irradiance. At that time the anthropogenic greenhouse effect was too small to be distinguishable from natural forcings – it only rose out of the ‘noise’ in the last few decades.

  114. “OR just press the Control (CTRL) button and spin the mouse wheel, for those of us in the 21st century…..”
    JER0ME !!!!! Ta! Even t nearly 60 I just joined the 21st century!

  115. RockyRoad says:
    April 30, 2010 at 3:50 am
    (Maybe they believe CO2 was being captured by Arctic ice and, being fizzy, it WAS the flavor of the ice after all!)
    Woo hoo! I was right, it was all about the flavo(u)r!!! 🙂

  116. I guess it depends on where you look. Is this is the area they decided to label “Rotten” because it doesn’t fit their trend?
    Trends in thickness and extent of seasonal pack ice, Canadian Beaufort Sea
    http://imb.crrel.usace.army.mil/pdfs/Change_in_Beaufort_SeaIce_1990s.pdf
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. xx, Lxxxxx, doi:10.1029/2005GLxxxxx, 2005
    Discussion
    [14] Surface air temperature increased by about 2.5ºC over a wide continental area south of Site 1 during the last quarter of the 20th century (IPCC 2001). Because decrease in sea ice is a common supposition in a warming climate, the lack of unequivocal change in Beaufort seasonal ice is surprising.
    Conclusions
    [22] Moored sub-sea sonar has revealed a small thinning trend (0.07 m/decade) in seasonal pack ice in the eastern Beaufort Sea 1991-2003, and a larger trend (0.12 per decade) to greater ice concentration, meaning more ice in summer.
    [23] The net change in draft does not exceed the accuracy of measurement (±0.1 m). The trend has low significance since seasonal and inter-annual variability are large.
    [24] Data from conventional ice reconnaissance over the last 36 years suggest little net change in ice conditions over the Beaufort shelves, despite dramatic decrease in summertime ice over the south-western Canada Basin.
    [25] Measurements of surface air temperature at a nearby coastal site reveal warming by 1.6±0.4°C since 1974. The estimated impact of warming since 1991 is reduced ice growth by 0.04 m. Impact on ablation is difficult to quantify.
    [26] Definitive evidence for climate-change impact on seasonal ice will require time series much longer than those presently available.
    [27] Mechanisms other than air temperature – snow cover, ice circulation and ridging – are plausible contributors to variability and trend in the thickness and extent of seasonal ice.

  117. If only there were warm water currents coming from the equatorial regions. If only they released an increased amount of heat from the oceans to cool the planet in the arctic regions, and if only this effect would increase when warming causes ice to melt, increasing the area that the warm water could radiate to, thus cooling the planet. If only the melting ice turned into cold water that then got carried by those same ocean currents to equatorial regions, cooling them off. If only the amount of heat that got moved around this way was hundreds or thousands of times the change from albedo from the fluctuating ice. If only this were true then the ice cover and temperature would just fluctuate between some upper and lower limits. Less ice, more cooling, more ice less cooling. If only that were true, and if only we knew if the cycles were 60 years or so in length like the ones observed in the historical record. But, since we can’t rely on the historical record, all we are left with is the hysterical record.
    Too bad about that. Hmmm… is the hysterical record cyclical too?

  118. OT News: 30,000 Anti-Global Warming Scientists Can’t Be Wrong
    Nature Magazine, the academic journal that introduced the world to X-rays, DNA double helix, wave nature of particles, pulsars, and more recently the human genome, is set to publish a paper in June that shows atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is responsible for only 5-10% of observed warming on Earth.
    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/22624

  119. Icarus says: April 30, 2010 at 6:41 am “There will always be interannual variability – that’s the nature of the climate system.”
    And then you go on to quote NSIDC on why there was a late Arctic ice spurt this year. However, you seem to be missing a key point: It is not just the late spurt this year. It is the continued high level. In fact, for today’s date, the largest ice extents measured by ASMR-E (which started in 2002) occurred in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Ice recovery has not just been a one year freakish event.
    Likely, 99% of the commentators on this blog understand the albedo concept, but from the abstract and press release, it appears that this study oversells Arctic albedo. The angle and the increased travel through the atmosphere reduce the effect in the Arctic.

  120. Richard111 says:
    April 29, 2010 at 9:56 pm
    Ice melts at 0.01C and remains at that temperature untill ALL the ice has melted.
    Maybe it’s just semantics, but this is not quite true when dealing with sea water (brine).
    Melting or freezing of water is simply a shift of equilibrium: in your example, more water molecules are entering the liquid state than the solid state, 0 C for ice in fresh water. However, in brine, the colligative properties of water prevent water molecules from entering the solid state at 0 C, resulting in more water molecules entering the liquid state at temperatures BELOW 0 C (that temperature being dependent on the salt concentration of the water).
    Yeah, I know, it doesn’t make a big picture difference, but we don’t want warmistas dismissing valid arguments by claiming we lack basic scientific understanding.

  121. “Could this help explain the repeated observation that the sea ice grows in the winter and shrinks in the summer?”
    That’s just Crazy Talk, man. Crazy Talk!!!

  122. Mark Serreze writes: “April 6, 2010
    Cold snap causes late-season growth spurt
    Arctic sea ice reached its maximum extent for the year on March 31 at 15.25 million square kilometers (5.89 million square miles). This was the latest date for the maximum Arctic sea ice extent since the start of the satellite record in 1979.
    Early in March, Arctic sea ice appeared to reach a maximum extent. However, after a short decline, the ice continued to grow. By the end of March, total extent approached 1979 to 2000 average levels for this time of year. The late-season growth was driven mainly by cold weather and winds from the north over the Bering and Barents Seas. Meanwhile, temperatures over the central Arctic Ocean remained above normal and the winter ice cover remained young and thin compared to earlier years. ”
    A cold snap? From where? How come Mark, this is ‘GLOBAL WARMING”, and since the Arctic is getting warmer of all, where the heck is this “cold snap” coming from?

  123. So… warming causes sea ice to melt, and melting causes warming? Why haven’t we exploded yet?

  124. Oh My God!
    Well Ive been unnecessarily polite regarding my self as a layman. Now I realized that im equipped with an ability that appears to be in shortage whithin climate science…LOGIC!!! Lets congratulate the Professors to find an explanation why ice melt! Fantastic!!! Good Work!! Ice needs warmth to melt!! WOW!!!
    Then you only have to describe why ICE grow!!! Only 50% left to find the answer to the question to icingbehavior. Im gonna give you a cheat start…it needs to get coooler!!!! You`ll get that for free!! No strings attached !
    You also havent even started on the second question how come Antarctic ice is growing during the same period? And is there NO I mean NO ? Natural explanations to even the slightest changes in polar icecaps? A forbiddeen thought?? For herectics only??
    But please please withdraw the stupid claim that you know that icecover will decrease in the future. You just hoping it will so it fits your religion.If your honest you have no explanation to why its grown since 2007 and you havent the faintest idea what will happen whith future icecover. Because you have made a huge misstake from the beginning. If you think the icecap history started in 1979 you better think again!! and again!! and again!!1
    You are equipped with a single needle “co2” and you claim you know its position in the climate haystack you are trying to build around it!! You dont semm to be able tyo get even the first traws in the right order.And with a severe dyslexia on statistics its gonna take you forever!!!
    The great global warming blunder. I m so angry I think ill become an climate scientist myself! What do I have to do? Dig into the bottom Corn Flake box and find myself an IPPC “your in!” certificate?? Whith a disclosure ” If you question climate sensetivity to CO2 you`ll need a real certificate”

  125. I would say less ice is a secondary effect of warmer sea (and air), but I doubt it is such a big positive feedback.
    Warming, cooling, warming and again about to cooling pattern in Arctic ocean is obvious:
    http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/ihadsst2_0-360E_60-90N_na.png
    Alas, there is no correlation with CO2 rising, except 1980-2005 warming trend which just obviously finished.
    If we agree that colder sea (and air as a secondary effect) means more ice, how NSIDC can claim the 20th century Arctic ice history like this
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.1900-2007.jpg
    if combined record of SST and met stations is like this?
    http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/icrutem3_hadsst2_0-360E_66-90N_na.png

  126. LearDog says:
    April 30, 2010 at 6:51 am Study your OWN icecap, you Aussies ! Ha ha ha!

    BTW the magnetic south pole is travelling to Australia….they got to study if this will affect how high the Kangaroos jump above the ground or how deep politicians thoughts are…

  127. The next step for these “atmospheric scientists” (they live up above, at the “Topus Uranus”) is to make a cooking range with four hairdryers as heating sources…that will be more environmentally friendly.

  128. Phil Jones and the CRU are not the only loony tunes at East Anglia:
    Wildlife documentaries invade animal privacy rights, claims leading academic
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7653305/Wildlife-documentaries-invade-animal-privacy-rights-claims-leading-academic.html
    Gosh. I never knew bears had privacy rights under the Constitution. But of course this is loony land where they can have a cam on every street corner and dog shit and its ok. Just don’t invade the animal’s privacy.

  129. “In the study, we investigated at what level in the atmosphere the warming was occurring. What stood out was how highly concentrated the warming was in the lower atmosphere than anywhere else. I was then able to make the link between the warming pattern and the melting of the sea ice.”
    According to the IPPC, the signature of AGW is heating in the mid upper atmosphere. What gives?

  130. This young man comes from East Anglia, it is very flat, very rural, little to do.
    Inbreeding!

  131. I’ve noticed that many recent alarmist ice studies prefer using old data… data ending in 2007. The same thing happened with global temperature studies after the 1998 El Nino… the studies after that for at least five years preferred to end on that point or extend the averaging to show a continuous upward trend. Apparently any cooling trends are inconvenient blips that must be hidden, not just by CRU, but by many researchers who want more of that lovely global warming grant money. If a study shows that AGW doesn’t amount to much, are the authors likely to get more grants to study what isn’t worth worrying about?

  132. “…the rapid melting of sea ice has dramatically increased the levels of warming in the region…”
    …the melting sea ice has increased warming in the region…
    …melting sea ice has warmed the region…
    So many wasted words. I’ve given up on truth, I just want clarity.

  133. Icarus says:
    April 30, 2010 at 7:13 am
    My understanding is that the warming of the first few decades of the 20th Century was associated with increased solar irradiance. At that time the anthropogenic greenhouse effect was too small to be distinguishable from natural forcings – it only rose out of the ‘noise’ in the last few decades.
    I wouldn’t call that an “understanding”; it’s more of a belief system.

  134. stevengoddard says:
    April 30, 2010 at 5:20 am
    “The albedo claim is more controversial than you recognize. ”
    Thanks, Steven, this helps. When I first read this report, I couldn’t understand its significance as it just seemed to support the albedo effect that I naively thought was well established. Makes more sense now rereading it in that context.
    Thanks for all your posts. When I’m in a hurry and skimming, I always look for your contributions.

  135. If less ice causes more warming because of positive feedback doesn’t it follow that more ice [like we have experienced in 2008, 2009, and so far 2010] will cause more cooling ?
    So 2010 should have more ice than 2009.
    Positive feedback doesn’t just operate one way.
    There are studies which show that wind patterns have a strong effect on ice buildup.
    Then there is the fact that our records begin in 1976 and don’t mean much yet.

  136. I have a few theories that might surprise many with their originality.
    The Pope is a catholic and that bears s**t in the woods and that it gets dark at night.
    I feel my theories are just as original and groundbreaking as the work by the university of Melbourne.
    The only difference is that I took 10 secs to think up mine and I offer them freely whereas the U of M costs probably ran into the tens of thousands of dollars. I wonder what these boffins are going to do when the easy free money tap is turned off, they are going to have a really hard time actually doing some real research.

  137. So . . . . melting arctic sea ice is both the cause AND result of global warming . . . . ? . . . . ?? . . . . .???
    Well, at least in that respect they’re consistent with what we collectively know about CO2; it is both caused by and causes global warming.
    (Follow me here)
    Therefor, logically, CO2 IS Arctic Sea Ice and therefor . . . . (wait for it) . . . A WITCH . . . A WITCH, BURN HER, BURN HER . . .
    (Witch); This is not my sea ice, it’s false sea ice, and they dressed me up like this.
    (Local Magistrate); Did you dress her up like this?
    (Peasant); Well, we did do the nose
    (LM); The nose?
    (P); And the sea ice, but she is a witch.
    (Crowd): Burn her, Burn her anyway.
    But I digress.
    What are the qualifications to be a scientist again? Did they stumble onto this by accident, or sheer will of investigative, deductive and epistemic might?
    I think we need to put these guys onto the whole chicken vs. egg controversy, they just may be qualified to give us an answer.
    Back to our story;
    This new learning fascinates me, tell me again how sheep’s bladder’s may be employed to prevent earth quakes?

  138. More proof that we need to look once again at the freezing temperature of water. The atmospheric CO2 increase has almost certainly increased the freezing temperature of water because ice continues to build and there is celarly alot of hot air in the arctic. Either that or there’s some really bad data in this analysis somewhere.

  139. OK, the soot from last year’s melt is in the ocean. New ice starts off with no soot, so soot primarily melts older ice.
    If this is a POSITIVE feedback that can overpower the creation of new ice, why did the ice form faster in the fall of 2007 than any other year listed?
    Looks like a NEGATIVE feedback to me. Probably why Arctic Ice doesn’t dissapear every 3 years.

  140. If CO2 is a problem, it is a problem with a 38/100000 probability of occurance.
    In other words, the chances of a CO2 atom taking part in warming, above and beyond other atoms in the atmospere, are astronomically poor.

  141. This article by Screen and Simmonds is total bullshit. I looked up their supplementary on-line information and it turns out the data they used was not their own. It was taken from the European ECMWF site. It goes back only as far as 1979 and is labeled as “reanalysis.” I guess the Screen and Simmonds papers should then be labeled as “reanalysis of a reanalysis.” They have no idea that arctic warming is more than a century old, having started at the turn of the twentieth century. Its cause was rearrangement of the North Atlantic current system that put the warm water of the Gulf Stream on its present northerly course. The melting has been uneven, with a break in mid-century, but it has nothing to do with global warming, the greenhouse effect, or the imaginary “arctic acceleration” their paper babbles about.

  142. In summer 2007 the Arctic had the lowest sea ice cover on record. Since then levels have recovered a little but the long-term trend is still one of decreasing ice.
    And just how far back does the record go??
    Seems like this guy ought to be on the Caitlin team. Incidentally, are they still out there?

  143. I just thank God for the extended solar minimum to prove the AGW movement to be a complete fraud.

  144. Increased sea ice major cause of cooling in Arctic
    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
    Scientists have dicovered that the…………

  145. Increased sea ice major cause of cooling in Arctic
    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
    Researchers have dicovered that the…………

  146. davidmhoffer says:
    April 30, 2010 at 7:22 am
    If only there were warm water currents coming from the equatorial regions. If only they released an increased amount of heat from the oceans to cool the planet in the arctic regions, and if only this effect would increase when warming causes ice to melt, increasing the area that the warm water could radiate to, thus cooling the planet. If only the melting ice turned into cold water that then got carried by those same ocean currents to equatorial regions, cooling them off. If only the amount of heat that got moved around this way was hundreds or thousands of times the change from albedo from the fluctuating ice. If only this were true then the ice cover and temperature would just fluctuate between some upper and lower limits. Less ice, more cooling, more ice less cooling. If only that were true, and if only we knew if the cycles were 60 years or so in length like the ones observed in the historical record. But, since we can’t rely on the historical record, all we are left with is the hysterical record.
    Too bad about that. Hmmm… is the hysterical record cyclical too?

    Why you almost have the basis of some kind of planetary temperature regulation there with water and its many and various strange properties at the core of it all.
    All one might need is some kind of thermostat at the equator controlling energy in and variable insulation at the poles controlling energy out. You could add a deep slow conveyor (liquid lets say) and a bit of rapid airborne transit (a gas or something would probably do) between the two and there you have it – some kind of weird optimised self regulating system. Crazy idea I know but it could just work.
    In circumstances where water is all frozen up and unavailable you could use some other medium (some other kind of gas perhaps?) in a vein attempt to optimise use of the amount of energy available. But that is ice age talk and I won’t have it.
    Failing that, there is always self-flagellation.
    whack! ow! whack! ow! …

  147. Tim Clark says:
    April 30, 2010 at 6:23 am
    Thanks, that’s the best link I’ve seen related to Arctic Sea Ice.

  148. Arno Arrak says:
    April 30, 2010 at 9:41 am
    Arno, you seem to be missing the point. First off, reanalysis data based on 1979 to present is the most accurate data because it incorporates satellite observations. Renalaysis uses observational data in combination with modeling (to fill in missing data) to provide atmospheric information. What they are looking at is recent warming trends in the Arctic, which show a clear autumn warming signal linked to the loss of the summer ice cover. The physics work like this: earlier development of open water in spring and more extensive open water areas throughout summer allow the ocean to absorb the incoming solar radiation that would have normally been reflected back out to space by the ice cover (remember the summer Arctic sea ice trends from 1979 to today?–that conversely means more open water which conversely means the ocean is absorbing heat during summer in its mixed layer).
    So, in autumn when the sun dips below the horizon again and temperatures drop, the ocean must first release the heat gained in the ocean mixed layer before the ice can once again reform. It does this by releasing the heat back to the atmosphere. Serreze et al., 2009 show this better in terms of anomalies from the last 5 years versus the long-term mean. Large heat fluxes from the ocean to the atmosphere characterize the last few years of the most extreme summer ice losses. You can see this not only in the temperature anomalies, but also in the latent and sensible heat fluxes.
    For a very long time now, climate models have been predicting that arctic amplification would occur because of the ice/snow-albedo feedback affect. Today the observations are supporting what the models long ago predicted. And it makes complete physical sense. The paper is not really a new result except to update the Graverson et al. paper which made a number of mistakes. The concept of Arctic amplification has been known for a long time, observations are now showing it to be true.

  149. Jeff says:
    April 30, 2010 at 8:51 am
    Jeff…they are looking at amplified warming from a surface feedback affect. That is different from a supposed GHG affect.
    You can see examples of surface feedback affects all the time. Take a city for example, tends to be warmer than the surrounding countryside right?
    Changes in the surface can affect the heat in that region. So if you lose sea ice in the summer and you expose the dark ocean to the sun’s energy, the ocean will absorb that heat and warm up. Some of that heat may stay in the ocean, but observations suggest most of it is released back to the atmosphere when autumn comes. That is all the study is saying.
    If folks can slow down for a second and think about the physics they probably wouldn’t be so reactionary.

  150. Dr James Screen of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne has found NCAR scientist Kevin Tenberth’s “missing heat”. The answer is as plain as day: The missing heat is hidden in the Arctic Ice! As the ice melts, it releases the heat to the atmosphere over the Arctic. This is a positive feedback loop that will continue until the Arctic is ice free, probably in the year 2013 or even sooner.

  151. skye says: April 30, 2010 at 10:59 am
    For a very long time now, climate models have been predicting that arctic amplification would occur because of the ice/snow-albedo feedback affect. Today the observations are supporting what the models long ago predicted. And it makes complete physical sense. The paper is not really a new result except to update the Graverson et al. paper which made a number of mistakes. The concept of Arctic amplification has been known for a long time, observations are now showing it to be true.
    So, I guess you didn’t read the previous comments. I hate to repeat myself, but;
    The Arctic temperature records determine that temperatures were greater in the 30′s and 40′s (high point 1939) than now while human co2 emissions were 1/10 the current rate. (peer -reviewed, sources included)
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/RS_Arctic.htm

    Please show the correlation between co2 and arctic temperature. Otherwise it’s just climate as usual on earth. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. And Icarus, try to get your assertion that “the sun did it” past Leif Svalgaard.

  152. David Jones: Now that you mention 2007, that warming was not on the Gulf Stream side of the Arctic but on the Bering Strait side. The Bering Strait is another source of warm water reaching the Arctic, although a lot less than what the Gulf Stream brings to the Russian Arctic. Normally it is enough to keep the Chuckchi Sea, just north of the strait, open, but it may extend to the Beaufort Sea just north of Alaska. Apparently thanks to a pattern of winds unusual amounts of warm water entered the Arctic through the Bering Strait that year and opened up a large bubble of open water that included the Beaufort Sea while the Gulf Stream side at the same time hardly changed. It’s the vagaries of these warm currents that control Arctic warming, not carbon dioxide as you have been propagandized to believe.

  153. “In the study, we investigated what would happen if we amputated all of a frogs legs. What stood out was after repeatedly yelling at the frog to jump the frog just sat there. I was then able to make the link that frogs with no legs were deaf.”
    My conclusion is just as valid as his.

  154. Tim Clark says:
    April 30, 2010 at 11:40 am
    Tim, GHG induced warming is different from a surface albedo feedback affect. These are not the same things, so until you can understand the difference between a surface feedback affect and that from changes in atmospheric GHGs or changes in atmospheric circulation, you will not be able to understand the paper. Perhaps a crash course on physics and energy balance will help.

  155. “”” Study: Melting sea ice major cause of warming in ArcticPosted on April 29, 2010 by Anthony Watts “””
    Well my cut and paste doesn’t preserve the formatting; but it preserves the erroneous word order; so herewith, the hand done correction:-
    Study: Warming in Arctic major cause of melting sea ice Posted on April 29, 2010 by Anthony Watts.
    There now, isn’t that much better ?
    There’s an actual reason why they have all that sea ice up there in the first place; it’s cold up there; and it’s cold up there because they don’t get much solar irradiance up there. And that ice is also cold, so it doesn’t radiate thermal LWIR at the same rate as the tropical oceans do, so it doesn’t warm the atmosphere via GHG as much as happens in the tropics.
    Also because of those lower water and ice temperatures, and air temperatures; the humidity tends to be lower and the total atmospheric water vapor content tends to be lower, so the atmospheric GHG warming is also lower than in the tropics.
    But then you have these ocean currents from the tropics; that bring warmer surface waters up into the arctic ocean; where we are told they cool, and sink so the water can return to the equatorial regions along the cold bottom. One of the reasons for that cooling up there is that you have all that ice floating in the surface water, and most of the ice volume is actually under the water; and the total ice surface area in contact with the water, is greater than the ice area in contact with the air. Air is a much better thermal insulator than water is, so the conduction of “heat” from water to ice is vastly greater than from air to ice, so the warmer surface waters can melt ice better than the air can; and all that latent heat comes out of the ocean; not the air. Hey not all of it, but most of it.
    Well then there’s the sun. Hey you can’t have it both ways. No fair crediting the ice for the earth albedo; while at the same time blaming it for melting the ice. Either it bounces off to albedo purgatory, or it is absorbed to melt ice.
    One effect you don’t hear much about results from the obliquity of the solar input in the arctic.
    My IR Handbook gives a proposed standard Solar Spectral Irradiance with a peak of 2074 W/m^2/micron for air mass zero (extraterrestrial). I should caution this is for an older TSI value of 1353 W/m^2; which is the value I grew up with in high school. Ac ouple of graphs in the handbook place the air mass one peak at 75% of the AM-0 value; but I don’t have tabulated values. For AM-2. Now for an atmospheric height (H), and a sun altitude angle (A), corresponding to a surface incidence angle (90-A), the slant range is H/Sin(A); so Air mass two corresponds to a sun altitude of 30 degrees.
    My Mercator maps generously put the perimeter of the arctic ocean at 70 deg north, which skirts the top of Alaska, but most of greenland and a lot of Canada, and Siberia protrude even north of that. So at the Equinox in September; when the refreeze starts, (A) is zero at the pole; so it would be 20 degrees at the perimeter of my ocean. At the Summer Solstice we would get another 23 1/2 deg or 43.5 deg solar Altitude, which presumably is the maximum. That would give us a minimum of AM 1.45 at the edge of the Arctic ocean, versus 2.92 at the Equinox.
    the Handbook gives a peak of 1215 W/m^2/micron, for the AM-2 spectral Irradiance; but for some unexplained reason this value is for a TSI of 1322 W/m^2; so that presumably was some sort of Neanderthal observation, peeking out of a cave somewhere.
    So bear in mind these are spectral peak values not integrated totals, and they need to be factored by the current TSI value of 1366 W/m^2; but you get the point; the ground level insolation in the arctic ocean is greatly reduced by Air mass absorption, and then by the ground obliquity factor; that’s why they have ice up there. Note that the AM factor results in an increase in the direct solar atmospheric heating; because of the increased slant path length. To some extent the outgoing (albedo) reflection also undergoes an increased outgoing pathlength so even on the outgoing, the solar heating of the atmosphere is increased. it’s nearly impossible to compute, because the outgoing albedo component is going to be highly scattered since the surface is not a flat optical surface with the ice there; but can be moreso, with the open water.
    But in the end; all that solar warming of the atmosphere, results in a reduction of the surface level insolation which is what would be available to melt surface ice.
    For some reason; the solar heated atmosphere, wants to expand, and thereby transport itself via the process of convection, to higher altitudes, where it tends to get lost to space. So don’t count on the solar heated atmosphere being responsible for very much conduction heating of the ice surface. It will of course give an LWIR component of radiative heating; but that will be very much a “skin effect” heating due to the huge absorption coefficient of either ice or water at those wavelengths. And no I don’t believe either the ice or the water has an actual “Skin”; just the IR heating is confined to the top few microns of the surface; which tends to promote either evaporation or ablation as the case may be; so not much in the way of melting.
    Now I agree that with less sea ice, and more open water, you get more evaporation into the air; which transports a whole lot of heat to the atmosphere; something like 540-590 calories per gram. I really have to convert those numbers to Joules; and commit them to memory; since htese daya a calorie is a quantity of food.
    But I am much more ready to believe that it is the melting ice in the arctic that is leading to the warming up there, than I am to believe the opposite.
    I’ve flown over the Arctic Ocean in daylight precisely once, going from SFO to London, and it was choc-a-bloc wall to wall ice. That would have been round about this time or a bit earlier in 1979-80 (when is the Pentecostal Weekend in Europe). So that would have been about the time when the Arctic ice reached its all time, never exceeded, maximum extent, that yielded those great pictures that Nobellist AlGore took back then, to show how bad it was going to look in 2007.
    I don’t know enough about what is going on up there or how it all works; and I certainly have no prediction for this September’s minimum ice extent; but I am currently not alarmed by what I keep reading and seeing in photos.
    When Svend Hendriksen decides to leave Greenland for a safer place; then I might get alarmed.
    Well this ended up getting shaggy dog like; but maybe I got my points across.

  156. “”” FerdinandAkin says:
    April 30, 2010 at 11:13 am
    Dr James Screen of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne has found NCAR scientist Kevin Tenberth’s “missing heat”. The answer is as plain as day: The missing heat is hidden in the Arctic Ice! As the ice melts, it releases the heat to the atmosphere over the Arctic. This is a positive feedback loop that will continue until the Arctic is ice free, probably in the year 2013 or even sooner. “””
    Not so, I’m afraid; the vast majority of that latent heat comes OUT OF the ocean water. Where on earth did you get the idea that ice gives up “heat” when it melts ? Do you put ice cubes in your Coke/Pepsi or maybe Scotch in order to WARM your drink, or to COOL it ?
    Just for laughs have your kids do this in the kithcen. Take two equal amounts of water. Freeze one to make ice cubes; let them stabilize in the refrig. at about zero deg C. Then heat the second equal mass of water to +80 deg C; using the family Centigrade thermometer to check the temperature.
    Add the ice cubes to the +80 deg C water, and record the temperature as the ice warms up the water with all that heat it gives up.
    Don’t worry if some of the ice melts during this process; that is sort of inevitable. If at the time the ice all disappears, your thermometer reads zero deg C; do not panic ! Take two Aspirin, and then post a report here at WUWT.
    The notion that the melting ice warms the air is becoming increasingly difficult to observe as real scientists start making observations in the Arctic.

  157. skye says:
    April 30, 2010 at 11:58 am
    Tim, GHG induced warming is different from a surface albedo feedback affect. These are not the same things, or changes in atmospheric circulation, you will not be able to understand the paper. Perhaps a crash course on physics and energy balance will help.

    Oh wow, what a smackdown.
    From the paper:
    Increased concentrations of atsmospheric greenhouse gases have driven Arctic and global average warming…. … The Arctic region has long been expected to warm strongly as a result of anthropogenic climate change…………In the Arctic, this greenhouse effect dominates during autumn, winter, and spring.
    I’m not really interested in your labile physics knowledge. The assertion in the paper is that increasing greenhouse gases initiate the amplification affect. If the original assumptions used to make ther argument are invalid, the paper is useless. In the modern record, the 30’s and 40’s centered on 1939 are the hottest in the Arctic record, citation above. Explain to me how the Arctic in the 60’s and 70’s cooled,/b> while [CO2] exploded. Where was this alledged amplification then. If this amplification existed as a result of [CO2], then the Arctic ice would be gone, zip, nada, post 1939. I suggest that “understanding the difference between a surface feedback affect and that from changes in atmospheric GHGs” doesn’t mean squat until you can correlate [CO2] with Arctic temperature, or else it’s just weather, move along.

  158. J. Newman says:
    April 30, 2010 at 9:31 am
    The atmospheric CO2 increase has almost certainly increased the freezing temperature of water because ice continues to build and there is celarly alot of hot air in the arctic.
    Global Warming increases the melting point of water, yes, that’s publishable. Go for it.

  159. Well I wouldn’t put much stock in anything coming out of Melbin; those Ausies are nutz. Hell I just saw a news Bulletin that one of my colleagues received from down there. Seems like the Ausies aren’t happy with the number of holidays they get to drink Fosters; which they will tell you in their own words, is Australian for beer.
    So the crazy buggers decided to invade their southern nieghbor to establish a new victory holiday date that they could drink to.
    Wow what a mess that turned into; you ever seen an Abo Canoe; well we Kiwis know canoes; just ask our Maori
    Cobbers about canoeing; and damn good sailors they are too; so the Aussie Navy was totally outclassed. So then they resorted to their Air Force; hey; earth to Oz, Kiwis don’t fly; Moas don’t fly; Wekas don’t fly; what the hell was it you expected to run into in the air over there; well of course there is always Aotearoa; land of the long white cloud. Well that cloud of course hides a lot of Cumulo-Granite; some of it high enough to have ice on it. Height is not a concept that is understood in the land of Oz where it is all at about sea level; so there was a lot of bent aeroplanes, and not much bang from the AAF.
    Fionally it got down to the hand to hand ground fighting, and the outclassed diggers, all got tossed into a big tank of Stein Lager. Well, poor chaps couldn’t drink fast enough to keep their heads above water; and they all drowned.
    Hey Earth to Australasia; both of you blokes don’t know anything about Beer. Lager is a Ladies drink, and real men don’t drink lager. We have the same problem here in Colorado; where they make a lot of lager; comes naturally, because evidently nobody ever warned them about eating yellow snow.
    So the two of you oughta just kiss and make up; and take a trip to Bavaria, where they also have snow and ice; but they know something about Beer.
    Talk about mayhem over there on the other side of the pizza; both of you lot oughta be ashamed of yourselves.
    Besides when was the last time you actually waited for a beer to cool down before you drank it , anyway.
    I don’t think your arctic thesis is gonna work out for you; try studying poisonous snakes, and spiders; that’s more up your alley !

  160. Tim Clark says:
    April 30, 2010 at 1:33 pm
    Sorry Tim, but that is not what the paper is saying.
    If you want to assume that the decline in the summer sea ice cover is linked to rising GHGs, then you could indirectly say that GHGs are responsible for the amplified Arctic warming observed in autumn.
    I am surprised that you don’t understand that open water absorbs more of the sun’s energy than sea ice. Do you understand the differences in the reflective properties of ice versus water? You can look at the graph of September ice extent and that reduction you see in the ice cover must correspond to an increase in the amount of open water. Water absorbs more solar energy (albedo near 0.1) than ice (albedo for snow-covered ice is 0.8 and for bare ice is 0.6). If the oceans are not warming because of the absorbed solar energy, it has to release it back to the atmosphere. It is basic energy balance physics. Something that most high-schoolers understand.
    What the paper shows is that heat is being released from expanding open water areas in autumn when the ice cover reforms. It has to, the heat has to someplace. If you want to go further and make GHGs responsible for the decline in the summer ice cover, then you can link GHGs to amplified warming (which is what climate models do). The planet is warming right now…what is not quantified is how much of the warming is a result of natural variability and how much is a result of human activity.
    This paper is an example of a feedback affect in motion. that is all.

  161. Skye: Let’s keep the eye on the ball. If Screen and Simmonds don’t even know that arctic warming is more than a century old why bother with irrelevant details they bring up. The warming is best documented by Kaufman et al. in Science 325:1236-1239. Their field work uncovered a two thousand year old cooling trend that ended abruptly when the twentieth century began. From that point on their curve turns up and looks very much like a hockey stick only this time it is real. The warming itself has lasted, with an interruption in mid-century, to this day. The interruption was from 1940 to 1960 and brought some cooling. The warmest period in the twentieth century was in the thirties and this level of Arctic warmth was not reached again until 2003. So what do the authors themselves think of it? Just what you would expect a real warmist to say: “This shift correlates with the rise in global average temperature which coincided with the onset of global anthropogenic changes in global atmospheric composition….warming in the Arctic was enhanced relative to global average, likely reflecting a combination of natural variability and positive feedbacks that amplified the radiative forcing.” A wonderful concatenation of global warming mantras, all wrong. First, global average temperature did not increase at the start of the twentieth century but decreased according to temperature graphs from NOAA and the Met Office. Second, at the start of the twentieth century the greenhouse effect from all sources was only twenty percent of what it is today. In addition, published curves of carbon dioxide abundance in air show that it took no notice of the passing of the century. This fact alone tells us that it is impossible for carbon dioxide to have had anything to do with that warming. And that is because laws of physics demand that its partial pressure should have simultaneously taken a jump, and this did not happen. Which leaves us looking for a cause that can act suddenly and massively and be capable of affecting Arctic temperatures over a wide geographic area. And be flexible enough to retract temporarily as it did in mid-century and then resume its influence. Eliminating the sun, carbon dioxide, and volcanoes leaves just one possibility: it must be ocean currents. We know that the Gulf Stream today delivers huge amounts of warm water to the Russian Arctic. But what do we know of its history? If a rearrangement of North Atlantic Ocean currents directed the Gulf Stream to its present northerly course at the turn of the twentieth century this would explain the sudden start and the present course of Arctic warming. Together with additional currents entering through the Bering Strait this can account for all the observations of Arctic warming now and in the past. Neither the greenhouse effect nor a hypothetical “Arctic acceleration” can do that and must be rejected as causes of warming.

  162. The Albedo of open ocean water increases exponentially as the incidence angle of the Sun increases.
    Once the Sun is at 10 degrees, (September 21st at 80N), the Albedo of open ocean water is not much different than sea ice (open ocean 0.350 reflected: average sea ice conditions on September 21st 0.450).
    Now factor in the average 65% cloud cover (with an average Albedo of 0.5) and there is actually not much difference during the height of the melt season between open ocean and ice cover in the Arctic. There is more difference in early to mid-August.
    So the ice-melt-Albedo-feedback issue (in the Arctic) has been way over-blown versus reality. The Albedo-feedback does not start to become important until we are talking about lower latitudes like 60NS and 50NS.

  163. Bob Kutz says:
    April 30, 2010 at 9:25 am

    This new learning fascinates me, tell me again how sheep’s bladder’s may be employed to prevent earth quakes?

    Allow me to explain the real situation.
    You see, what we need to do is create a new tax. That tax will be on everything. This is because it will mainly target energy use and that is pretty much tied to everything we produce.
    That tax will, in and of itself, prevent all these nasty earthquakes and even volcanoes, along with the HGW (Hidden Global Warming) that causes every one of these nasty things to disturb our otherwise perfect and completely stable environment.
    Nothing to do with sheep’s bladders, you see?
    [/sarc off (again)]

  164. Bill Illis says:
    April 30, 2010 at 4:25 pm
    Now, I’ve been reading such things for a while. There is also the strong possibility that reduced ice cover allows heat to be lost from the warmer water, thus cooling it and providing a negative feedback.
    Are there any studies (peer reviewed, preferably, to gag abusive AGW chicken littles) that have examined either of these situations?
    If not, is there any way we could justify spending any money on daft research like thus until those two basic questions have been laid to rest?

  165. Hey everbody.
    Please calm down.
    This paper was not just from Melbourne,
    It was printed by NATURE
    so it must have been PEER REVIEWEd
    by real EXPERTS in their field.
    So wot’s this Latent Heat of thinagdy,
    What’s he kow aboit it anyway.
    It must be right.
    It’s in Nature,
    and so on and on and on.
    (some of the spelling errors in this post were intential,
    some were mine).

  166. Bill Illis says:
    April 30, 2010 at 4:25 pm
    Bill do you have a reference for your albedo values? Because those are not what have been measured in the field. Not only does water reflectance increase with solar zenith angle, so does snow and ice reflectance. New snow has an albedo of nearly 0.9, and by September it is likely snow is falling on the ice again. The ice albedo feedback is real. I have measured it myself in Greenland. I have measured the reflectance of snow-covered ice, bare ice, and melt ponds. I’m sorry but your values are not correct.

  167. Arno Arrak says:
    April 30, 2010 at 3:06 pm
    Arno, I think you are confusing annual temperature variations with seasonal temperature changes. BTW…look at Steve’s other post where he shows UAH temperature trends. Notice first off warming in all seasons (this was not the case in the 1930s-1940s warming). Nor was the 1930s-1940s warming widespread in the Arctic, it was on the Eurasian side. Unfortunately there are not Arctic wide observations of sea ice from that time-period, so the link between any autumn warming during that time and sea ice cannot be examined. But it can be examined today using 30+ years of satellite observations.
    Again, it seems that the basic energy balance of surfaces is not being understood by many of the posts I see. The amount of energy absorbed by the surface depends on the surface albedo. If you have a surface with a lower albedo (such as water), you will absorb nearly 90% of the incoming solar radiation. This will cause a warming of the ocean. Air temperatures in autumn are much colder than the ocean, thus there is a heat transfer from the ocean back to the atmosphere. That is all this paper is saying. It is not necessarily anything groundbreaking, it is exactly what one would expect given the ice extent trends. You all are making a much bigger deal out of this paper than it merits.

  168. BTW…many seem to be missing the fact that the authors state in their paper that the winter warming (not the autumn which is a result of the ice-albedo feedback), appears to have a atmospheric circulation signal (i.e. transport of warm air into the Arctic).
    Also note all trends in air temperatures in the Arctic are positive (for all months, all seasons). But different processing are responsible in different seasons.

  169. Platitudes. Is this all that is left of mainstream climate science? What a bunch of boring mush. I’m picking up a Jack Russell tomorrow and the biggest concern I have is cold tolerance so I can walk with him in the other 6 months of the year up here. That means a rough coat. Let’s see what happens in Greenland over the next 30 years.

  170. JER0ME: OR just press the Control (CTRL) button and spin the mouse wheel, for those of us in the 21st century…
    You can write but you cannot make them read… Your sarcastic comment is wrong. That only changes the web site you are looking at. If you change the about:config parameter layout.css.devPixelsPerPx as I said it changes the size of ALL websites AND the menu and icon bar. It magnifies everything. Not the same thing as you are saying.

  171. I can only see one thing thats common with the sea ice (and all ice). That is the sun . When you get up to 6 months of light the ice melts and when you get up to 6 months no sun light you get more ice growth .So in 2007 was there more sun shine hours recorded than normal in the Artic?.

  172. Ref – UK John says:
    April 30, 2010 at 8:51 am
    “This young man comes from East Anglia, it is very flat, very rural, little to do.
    Inbreeding!”
    ___________________________
    You know in all my time (too short) in East Anglia I never picked up on that phenom. What brand/type of folkmeter are you using? Do you use the Cambridge Sliding Scale or the Lakenheath Fixed Point Metric. I prefer a quite new, though untested, version (3.01.1a) of the Ipswich Wetbulb Sliding Fixed Point Fahrenheit Scale.
    PS: I’ve noted to my chagrin that people are the same everywhere, only more or less so in most places due to local culture. The measured differences on a continental scale amount to miniscule fluctuations of +/- .00003%. It’s a lot like global monthly temperature variation put out by UAH. Detecting something so small on a daily basis can give one a headache;-)

  173. skye:
    Melt ponds and the melt-back of the snow means that the Albedo of sea ice falls quite a bit during the melt season (when open ocean water starts to appear). In normal conditions, there is not much difference in the Albedo between frozen sea ice and open ocean at this time of the year.
    Here is the annual cycle of Albedos for different areas/regions in the Arctic from 1982 to 1999. Note that Greenland has a fairly high number throughout the year but the sea ice has quite a drop-out during the melt season.
    http://journals.ametsoc.org/action/showFullPopup?doi=10.1175%2FJCLI3438.1&id=_e8
    From Lindsay and Rothrock: Our friends at the Polar Science Cetnre at the University of Washington.
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/lindsay/pdf_files/albedo_from_avhrr_jclim_1994.pdf
    From 1980 before anyone was concerned about Arctic ice melting. The average surface albedo at 80N (where the ice does not really melt out yet) is 0.508 in August. The only way that number can occur is for sea ice albedo to be relatively low at the height of the melt season.
    http://climate.rutgers.edu/stateclim_v1/robinson_pubs/refereed/Kukla_and_Robinson_1980.pdf
    Even our own Judith Curry has written two papers about it here.
    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Curry_JC5.pdf
    http://lightning.sbs.ohio-state.edu/geo622/paper_ice_Curry1995.pdf

  174. Bill, if the albedo of open water is the same as that of ice, then tell me, what are the dark areas in MODIS images from the Arctic Ocean (http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic.2010121.terra.4km).
    Sea ice albedo does drop off strongly during the melt season, see the many publications by Don Perovich at CRREL. This is related to melting the snow off the ice and the development of melt ponds. So if you take a satellite pixel say from AVHRR (like you Lindsay and Rothrock linked paper), you are averaging over at least 1.1 square km, so for August, you will be averaging melt ponds and bare ice into that 0.47 value quoted in their abstract. Also, the Lindsay and Rothrock 1994 paper was one of the earlier attempts at deriving sea ice albedo from AVHRR, and the BRDF correction they apply to the AVHRR data (remember, ice does not reflect equally in all directions), is very inaccurate, so the absolute magnitude of the albedo is a bit in error. Field measurements by Perovich would be a better reference to use.
    Note also your Kukla and Robinson reference shows the albedo value for mixed pixels (again, ice and melt ponds are mixed together to give the 0.508 albedo you quote for August). And they are not using actual data, but assuming values from literature and applying them to latitudinal bands.
    And your first link is also for mixed pixels.
    But again, I will let the visible satellite imagery speak for itself. If water had the same reflectance as ice, you wouldn’t be able to see the difference between the two in the imagery. But, you do.

  175. From AlanG on April 30, 2010 at 11:07 pm:
    JER0ME: OR just press the Control (CTRL) button and spin the mouse wheel, for those of us in the 21st century…
    You can write but you cannot make them read… Your sarcastic comment is wrong. That only changes the web site you are looking at. (…)

    Errrrrr! (annoying buzzer sound)
    AlanG, as mentioned here, you are giving Firefox advice. What versions are you giving advice for? With the pointer in the area displaying the site, the advice given by JEROME works on the latest versions, with the caveat that you shouldn’t spin the scroll wheel but slowly turn it a click at a time. I tried a big turn when I read that advice on the “New Theme” thread and my P4 machine w/ on-board graphics hung for a bit processing all the view changes. The ctrl-dash(minus sign) and ctrl-plus sign (or = without shift if using the key next to the backspace) combos also work to go smaller/larger.

  176. And here is the whole Arctic (covering about 55/60-90N);
    On September 10th, 2009 (the peak of the ice melt last year).
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic.2009253.terra.4km.jpg
    Versus yesterday:
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic.2010120.terra.4km.jpg
    There isn’t a lot of difference from 75-90N between the two.
    And here is the box covering approximately 80-90N on September 10th, 2009.
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r04c03.2009253.terra.2km

  177. From skye on May 1, 2010 at 8:27 am:
    (…) (http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic.2010121.terra.4km).
    (…)
    But again, I will let the visible satellite imagery speak for itself. If water had the same reflectance as ice, you wouldn’t be able to see the difference between the two in the imagery. But, you do.

    Such wonderful imagery looking straight down!
    Now post some pics showing what it looks like at the small angles, let us see what the reflectance looks like as incoming light from the Sun would actually “see” it.
    After all, people on this site are likely aware that a body of water can appear dark looking straight down into it, but as you look out over the water it doesn’t look so dark, and as you look further out it isn’t “dark” at all since you’re seeing reflections. At the small angles is there really a great difference between still water, smooth shiny ice, and a mirror?
    So let’s see the pics (and measurements) based on the actual “solar view” of the Arctic, rather that comparisons in ways that don’t matter since those conditions don’t happen.

  178. PS to my previous post:
    Don’t forget, the ice floats above the water. You can clearly see the assorted spaces (leads etc) from that straight down view. But as the angles get less than 90deg (perpendicular to ground), that shiny ice starts blocking out the view of that dark water. From the “solar view” there is lots less dark water visible, thus calculations based off a simple area ratio of open water to ice would overestimate how much solar radiation can be absorbed.
    You can see this effect for yourself, just lay some dominoes or Lego’s on your desk while sitting down, then look at them from the side as you rotate your head while lowering it to desk, until you’re resting the side of your head on the top of the desk, then close your eyes and think of the significance of your new observations…

  179. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    May 1, 2010 at 9:40 am
    From skye on May 1, 2010 at 8:27 am:
    (…) (http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic.2010121.terra.4km).
    (…)
    But again, I will let the visible satellite imagery speak for itself. If water had the same reflectance as ice, you wouldn’t be able to see the difference between the two in the imagery. But, you do.
    Such wonderful imagery looking straight down!
    Now post some pics showing what it looks like at the small angles, let us see what the reflectance looks like as incoming light from the Sun would actually “see” it.

    What the MODIS is showing is reflected sunlight!

  180. Phil. says: May 1, 2010 at 11:26 am
    What the MODIS is showing is reflected sunlight!

    Modis is showing reflected sunlight that reaches the satellite overhead – mainly that will be sunlight reflected off irregular surfaces such as ice crystals. It is not showing sunlight reflected off surface water which will leave the surface at the 10 or 20 degree opposite angle to that which the sunlight is received .
    http://www.shunya.net/Pictures/NorthPole/Yamal-reflection.jpg
    http://twistedsifter.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/north-pole-sunset.jpg
    http://www.jodcast.net/archive/200802Extra/iss_view.jpg

  181. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    May 1, 2010 at 9:40 am
    The sun angles are still rather low right now in the Arctic especially at the most northern latitudes. But go ahead and look at September imagery and you will see the same thing (dark=water, bright=ice or clouds).
    And so that you understand, MODIS is measuring the reflected solar energy. And it scans up to angles as oblique as +/- 55 degrees. I’m not sure what you mean by “incoming light from the Sun would actually see it”.
    Snow and ice do not reflect the incoming solar radiation equally in all directions. In the forward direction (i.e. if your sensor is in the same position as the sun), snow is very forward scattering (i.e. you are receiving more energy in that direction than if you were opposite the sun). You can google snow BRDF and water BRDF to see for yourself the distribution of reflectance at different angles and how viewing the surface in the forward or backward direction and at nadir or oblique viewing angles looks like. You will notice that both water and snow show strong forward scattering, so you can still discriminate between the two.
    Also, the albedo is the integral of the albedo over all angles.

  182. Bill, what you are seeing in this link: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?subset=Arctic_r04c03.2009253.terra.2km
    is new ice formation (very thin ice) at the edges of the consolidated ice pack, and a lot of cloud cover not just over the consolidated ice pack, but also over the open water areas. If you zoom into the 250 m version you can see this more easily for yourself. But of course you do still notice where the cracks (leads) in the ice are and the ice edge by the differences in color (i.e. albedo) between ice and open water.
    MODIS data is so useful for looking at the ice cover, it’s too bad it’s cloudy most of the time in the Arctic.

  183. TomRude, Reur April 29, 2010 at 9:48 pm
    Thanks for your:

    The full paper is here;
    http://sciences.blogs.liberation.fr/files/arctique-ann%C3%A9es-2000-tures.pdf
    An alarmist delight!

    That link is worth repeating again!
    BTW, I’m thinking of changing my ID to “Embarrassed of Melbourne’
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Bill Illis, Icarus, Skye, Phil, et al: Did you see that link above?
    At a quick first look I did a search for the word albedo, and found a handful of hits in the text, but guess what: no mention of any values, probably because it is a very complicated topic, that is fraught with naïve contradictions or ambiguity in some of the literature.
    To check-out what Bill has been saying about water reflection when the sun is low in the sky, look out over open water whilst the sun is setting towards the normal horizon on a clear day. (this cannot be seen from a satellite). As for the claim that snow and ice albedo changes similarly, well, that is even more complicated depending on grain size and age etc. And anyway, any increase from a nominally high normal (90 degree vertical) value has less significance. It is probably less confusing to talk of reflection and incident angles of light.
    I’m not totally sure about this, but I believe the very real optical difference with water is in its surface tension layer.
    Anyhow, see my next post which will show graphically that the solar energy input does NOT correlate with the seasonal regimes of freezing and melting. (which in turn means that albedo arguments are not significant in effect)

  184. From skye on May 1, 2010 at 1:25 pm:
    The sun angles are still rather low right now in the Arctic especially at the most northern latitudes. But go ahead and look at September imagery and you will see the same thing (dark=water, bright=ice or clouds).
    And so that you understand, MODIS is measuring the reflected solar energy. And it scans up to angles as oblique as +/- 55 degrees. I’m not sure what you mean by “incoming light from the Sun would actually see it”.

    Thus I wonder if you are being deliberately obtuse. You realize the “sun angles” are low (small), yet you do not realize I am talking about those angles? Granted it may be hard to tell if all one reads is your horribly mis-selected partial quote, but still…
    MODIS can scan up to 55deg from vertical. So what? The sunlight comes in at very low angles. At small angles from horizontal the sunlight will reflect, not be absorbed. As I previously mentioned, a certain amount of the sunlight will get blocked from hitting the water by the ice itself. Thus going by MODIS pics yields a false image of what happens to the incoming light as by those small angles there will be a lot less open water “visible” to the incoming light thus less energy absorbed than what one would infer from the MODIS view.
    Is that really so hard for you to comprehend?

  185. Bill Illis, Icarus, Skye, Phil, et al: Did you see that link above?
    and Kadaka.
    The points about the albedo feedback affect seem to be missing from these posts. The issue is that during summer the ocean absorbs solar energy from the sun and this is released back to the atmosphere during autumn with the sun dips below the horizon again and air temperatures fall. There is no way the ocean can refreeze w/out the ocean first releasing that heat back to the atmosphere. The ice-albedo affect comes into play as the ocean loses it’s highly reflective sea ice cover during summer, thereby allowing the ocean to absorb more of this energy during the summer. The argument about September low sun angles is completely mute.
    But Kadaka, both snow/ice and water show strong forward scattering at low sun angles (or high solar zenith angles however you want to define it), and this is even stronger at low sensor viewing angles (or high sensor zenith angles). All satellite visible instruments observe the surface at 1 combination of viewing/solar angles. But in the Arctic there are many of these observations per day, thereby allowing some characterization of the surface BRDF to be achieved. This is what the MOD43 (MODIS albedo and BRDF data product) achieve on an 8-day time interval.
    Kadaka, if you don’t want to believe in the ice-albedo feedback that Skye has tried to explain to you, there are several recent journal articles that discuss this in depth. Papers by Perovich do a good job explaining this in relatively easy to understand language. You can also plot anomalies and trends in total absorbed solar radiation from NCEP, JRA-25 or ERA-40 Interim analysis and see for yourself how the amount of solar radiation absorbed in the Arctic has been changing as the sea ice has been declining during summer.

  186. Bill Illis, Icarus, Skye, et al:
    There is a discussion on the low levels of arctic solar energy and albedo on a recent thread starting here. It utilizes much information, even webcams, available at Longyearbyen in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago. The location is at 78:13 north and it is seemingly right on the typical sea-ice boundary. This particular Longyearbyen website enables selection of many parameters daily/monthly, and has enabled me to construct this graph, showing the midday sun elevation versus sea-ice cover. The inference is that the low solar energy and the albedo considerations do not adequately correlate with the sea-ice cycle, and that therefore there must be other far more powerful causations.
    Or, in other words, the popular albedo feedback alarmism is grossly exaggerated.

  187. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    May 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm
    MODIS can scan up to 55deg from vertical. So what? The sunlight comes in at very low angles. At small angles from horizontal the sunlight will reflect, not be absorbed.

    The reflected light will be the horizontally polarized light, vertically polarized light will be absorbed.

  188. Bob_FJ says:
    May 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm
    Bill Illis, Icarus, Skye, et al:
    There is a discussion on the low levels of arctic solar energy and albedo on a recent thread starting here. It utilizes much information, even webcams, available at Longyearbyen in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago. The location is at 78:13 north and it is seemingly right on the typical sea-ice boundary. This particular Longyearbyen website enables selection of many parameters daily/monthly, and has enabled me to construct this graph, showing the midday sun elevation versus sea-ice cover. The inference is that the low solar energy and the albedo considerations do not adequately correlate with the sea-ice cycle, and that therefore there must be other far more powerful causations.
    Or, in other words, the popular albedo feedback alarmism is grossly exaggerated.

    It might be more illuminating to plot vs rate of change of sea cover!

  189. Wildred wrote in part May 2, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    The points about the albedo feedback affect seem to be missing from these posts. The issue is that during summer the ocean absorbs solar energy from the sun and this is released back to the atmosphere during autumn with the sun dips below the horizon again and air temperatures fall. There is no way the ocean can refreeze w/out the ocean first releasing that heat back to the atmosphere. The ice-albedo affect comes into play as the ocean loses it’s highly reflective sea ice cover during summer, thereby allowing the ocean to absorb more of this energy during the summer.

    Wildred, further to my May 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm which crossed yours:
    It is a matter of scale that you need to consider; YES, there is arguably an albedo feedback but it is evidently small compared with many other processes. A fundamental thing that you seem to overlook is that the nominal solar energy per unit area is greatly reduced in the region where sea-ice prevails. (nominally zero at the “solar poles“). Also, its path length through the atmosphere is greatly increased. (although there is some scattering) Another fundamental oversight is that you seem to imply that the sun is the primary heating source in the region. However more importantly heat is transferred from lower latitudes via various air and sea circulations, and, erratically via various oceanic oscillation highs.
    There has been mention that the newly exposed ocean, (a fraction of the winter ice area), absorbs solar energy all summer, and that this is then only released to the atmosphere in autumn. (when thermo’ law 2 then permits that). Well for a start, the “early heat”, when comes autumn, is no longer in the region or at the ocean surface , because of ocean dynamics.
    I’ve highlighted some text in yellow in the composite graph that I showed earlier. Wildred, please study that text, and if there is anything you disagree with, or don’t understand, please let me know.
    Incidentally, sea-ice as usually defined may have significant areas of exposed water. (up to 85%?). So how does that albedo thing work again?
    And, don’t forget wind-packing variations, and wind-drift into warmer waters. And……. And submarines in open water at/near the poles, out of relevant satellite sight.

  190. I’ve built a global Albedo model for another project and actually crunched through the numbers awhile ago. While sea ice melt in the high Arctic may have local impacts, the overall area is such a small component of the total Earth surface area and it receives such a small percentage of the total Earth solar radiation budget, that ice melting early in the season or late in the season has very, very little impact on global temperatures.
    It is not until sea ice, snow and glaciers become permanent throughout the summer at lower latitudes, 70N and lower, that the feedback cycle starts to become important enough to take note of. I guess that has to start with permanent sea ice in the Arctic ocean first, but it makes little difference when there is a seasonal melt cycle as occurs nows.
    If the sea ice melted out completely 2 months earlier than it semi-melts now (and followed the seasonal pattern of declining Albedo 2 months earlier) , the global Albedo would only decline from 0.2982 to 0.2973 and global temperature would increase by 0.09C.

  191. Phil. said on May 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm:
    The reflected light will be the horizontally polarized light, vertically polarized light will be absorbed.
    Only fully true at Brewster’s angle, which is about 53 deg from the normal (from vertical) air to water. At greater angles, as would be seen in the Arctic, the reflection coefficient for the vertically polarized light rises quickly to total reflection (per the Fresnel equations) Yes, the vertically polarized light will also be reflected, by differing amounts on both sides of Brewster’s angle.

  192. “”” kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    May 3, 2010 at 9:53 am
    Phil. said on May 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm:
    The reflected light will be the horizontally polarized light, vertically polarized light will be absorbed.
    Only fully true at Brewster’s angle, which is about 53 deg from the normal (from vertical) air to water. At greater angles, as would be seen in the Arctic, the reflection coefficient for the vertically polarized light rises quickly to total reflection (per the Fresnel equations) Yes, the vertically polarized light will also be reflected, by differing amounts on both sides of Brewster’s angle. “””
    Well I’m pretty sure that Phil knows alla bout fresnel Reflection and polarisation of light. My only quibble with his statement:- “”” The reflected light will be the horizontally polarized light, vertically polarized light will be absorbed. “”” would be that it would be more correct to say that the vertically polarised light is TRANSMITTED rather than ABSORBED; but I’m also sure that Phil meant “aborbed by the ocean” and after transmission that too is a pretty safe bet.
    I would also prefer to put it slightly differently; in that the “vertical polarisation” is almost certainly not vertical since it must be perpendicular to the ray direction; so I would say that polarisation in the plane of incidence is transmitted (and then absorbed) while the polarisation perpendicular to the plane of incidence it reflected. And of course that is for the Electric Vector, and once again true only for the Brewster angle or at least near that.
    As a practical matter, at the Brewster angle, the reflection coefficient for the perpendicular polarisation component is about double what it is at normal incidence; so the loss of the transmitted component, is almost made up by the enhanced reflectance of the perpendicular polarisation.
    And finally; I’ll be gobsmacked if all of that is not perfectly well known to Phil.
    One can’t write a PhD thesis on every little thing that comes up.

  193. And to close the loop on the above; for incidence on water at the Brewster angle the reflection coefficient of the polarisation perpendicular to the plane of incidence; is about 4-5%; so the rest of that polarisation is also transmitted into the water, and subsequently absorbed.
    So at the Brewster angle the reflected light is indeed plane polarised; but the transmitted light is only elliptically polarised; and quite weakly at that.

  194. Phil, you wrote May 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    It might be more illuminating to plot vs rate of change of sea cover!

    I don’t think it would be worth the effort.
    The important thing is that the existing plot shows that whilst solar input in the spring correlates expectantly with reducing sea-ice; in the Autumn, it does not. That is to say that counter-intuitively, from about mid August, (depending on year), sea-ice levels start levelling-off and then rise, despite being exposed to a somewhat similar level of solar input to that of spring. (which seemingly results in the opposite effect of melting). Oh, and Autumn is the time when the ocean releases the “summer-stored-heat” back to the atmosphere right?
    Anyhow, if you want to get an idea of rate of change of sea cover, then it can be visualized in a unit-less way in the varying slope steepness.

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