Where's the ice for my drink?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I don’t know what to make of this one. I was wandering the web when I came across a Reuters article about a scientific study called “Global Floating Ice In “Constant Retreat”: Study“.

The Reuters article opens with this arresting text (emphasis mine):

LONDON

Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:38pm EDT

(Reuters) – The world’s floating ice is in “constant retreat,” showing an instability which will increase global sea levels, according to a report published in Geophysical Research Letters on Wednesday.

Floating ice had disappeared at a steady rate over the past 10 years, according to the first measurement of its kind.

“Hello,” sez I, “how can the sea ice be in constant retreat?” I knew from my previous research that the global ice was not in any kind of retreat at all.

I was also suspicious because of the next part of the quote:

“It’s a large number,” said Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, lead author of the paper, estimating the net loss of floating sea ice and ice shelves in the last decade at 7,420 cubic kilometers.

I went out to find a graphic to explain how that kind of huge ice loss might have happened, and the best explanation I could find was this one:

Figure 1. Oooops. How the floating ice shelves cracked off and lost 7,420 cubic kilometres.

Next, I went off to find the actual paper, and discovered a curious thing.

So what did I discover … and why is their quote suspicious?

Let me start with why their quote is suspicious. It is their claim that the earth has lost 7,420 cubic kilometres of ice. As I have mentioned elsewhere, when I see numbers I automatically do an “order of magnitude” calculation in my head to see if they are reasonable or not.

I knew from my previous research that there is about twenty million square kilometres (km^2) of floating ice on the planet. I also knew that much of it out towards the edges is only a metre or two thick.

So if the ice averaged say 1.5 metres thick out at the edges where the loss happens, a seven thousand cubic kilometer loss would mean a total loss of ice area of about five million km^2, or a quarter of the area of the world’s floating ice. I think someone would have noticed that before now …

Of course, that made me wonder if the problem was in the study, or in the Reuters quote. However, that same number (7,420 cubic kilometres lost) appeared in no less than 81 other online publications. So I went haring off to find the article.

One of publications reporting the story, NewScientist, 5 May, 2010, gave the “doi:” for the article. The DOI is the “Digital Object Identifier”, and it should link directly to the article, which was supposed to have been published by Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) on Wednesday, April 28th … but the curious thing I discovered was that the DOI didn’t work.

Someone had commented on that, saying “The DOI doesn’t work.” This was replied to by someone called Marshall, from newscientist.com, who said:

Hi Eric, it’s because the article hasn’t been published on GRL’s website yet. The DOI is taken directly from our press copy of the paper, so once the article is published it should work.

OK, fair enough … although the original Reuters article was allegedly published on April 28, and today is May 28, and the DOI still isn’t working. So I went to the GRL web site to see what I could find.

I first did a search for any articles by “Shepherd” in “GRL” for “2010”, and I got this:

Figure 2. Ooooops …

Thinking it might have been misfiled, I searched through all of the May articles for anything by Shepherd. Nil. I looked through the May articles for anything regarding “ice”. Nada. I repeated both searches for April. Once again, zip. Niente. Nothing.

I thought “Well, maybe it appeared in another journal”. So I took a look on Google, but I found nothing. Google did find 32,500 instances of “ice in constant retreat”, of which 7,550 also contained “GRL”.

Google also revealed that the report of the study has been picked up by ABC News, NewsDaily, Yahoo News, New Scientist, Arab News, and ScienceDaily. It was featured on Joe Romm’s global warming blog “ClimateProgress”. It has been referred to in blogs and news reports from India, Australia, Russia, and China. It shows up on TweetMeme, Huffington Post, and Facebook. Even Scientific American has an article on it.

So at this point, it has gone round and round the world. It has been illustrated with all kinds of pictures of melting ice, and of global ice extent, and (inevitably) of polar bears. It has been discussed and debated and dissected around the web.

And with all of that publicity, with all those news reports, with all that discussion and debate … as near as I can determine, despite Reuters saying it was published a month ago, the study has never been published anywhere.

Not only that, but nobody seems to have noticed that the study has never been published.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Scientific American must have noticed, because they quietly removed the page where they had published the report … but it is still in Google’s cache.

One last thing. In all of that, in the frenzy to get out tomorrow’s news today, in the rush to report the latest scientific rumour, people seem to have forgotten to ask … how is the global sea ice actually doing?

Glad you asked. Here’s today’s information, from Cryosphere Today:

Figure 3. Daily global sea ice anomaly (red line) compared to 1979-2008 average. Link contains full sized image.

As you can see, as of today, the global sea ice is exactly on the line representing the 1979-2008 average. So over the last ten years, instead of a loss of 7,420 cubic kilometres, the loss has been … somewhere around zero. Go figure.

You know, when I was a kid I liked stories with morals, you know, like “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched”, that kind of thing.

But what is the moral of this story?

Perhaps the moral is what my Grandma said, which was, “Kids, you can believe half of what you read, a quarter of what you hear … and an eighth of what you say.”

Of course, Grandma didn’t live to see the Internet. If she had, the percentage for believing what you read would have been much, much lower.

Oh, yeah, one final note … did I mention how much I dislike the current practice of “science by press release”? I suppose you gotta do it, it’ a competitive world, but my goodness …

So I guess the moral of this story is, “Never laugh at a climate science press release … you’ll have plenty of opportunity when (and if) the study is published.”

w.

[UPDATE] I just got a copy of the actual paper, see my initial comments on it here.
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164 thoughts on “Where's the ice for my drink?

  1. It must be that rotten ice again. It gets filled with holes and the scientists measured to see how big the holes were. Based on at least 3 or 4 tests they extrapolated the total loss of ice. 😉

  2. Oh the sweet irony. I guess Al should never have invented the internet. It is just too easy to debunk these con games. Well, too easy for brilliant people like Willis. Great job.

  3. I am surprised you did not pick up on, “which will increase global sea levels”

  4. Excellent detective work! You must have had fun seeing this unravel.
    The LAST time I bothered reading demonsblog (sp?) about two years ago they had a scary article about polar bears in which two of their cited references did NOT say what they said they said!
    But at least they were actually published. This case is that much worse.
    Question. I don’t suppose the IPCC used this impeccable imaginary reference in anything?

  5. Science meme, meme . . . meme, meme . . . MSM meme, meme . . . meme, meme
    Say no more, say no more

  6. The loss of thickness over the whole Arctic is ~0.6m over the last 5 years (Sea Ice Cover, D. Perovich, R. Kwok, W. Meier, S. Nghiem, J. Richter-Menge). In the summer that would be 1,800 m^3 and in winter 9,000 m^3 which seems to match the figure Willis read. So the value looks right!

  7. Seeing that no facts ever seem to slow down the AGW crowd, why wait until an article is published to start crowing about yet another catastrophe?? And they wonder why they are loosing credibility all the time & public opinion is turning against them …. even if the article facts were spot on, they still have no credibility because of how all this came to light. They are their own worst enemy – we just need to point out the facts, sit back & watch them implode!

  8. Hmph …
    This business of science by press release is pushing me uncomfortably towards cynicism. How are these high priests — I mean scientists — arriving at their results? A careful study of the entrails of sacrificial animals?
    So, giving these — whatever they are — the benefit of the doubt, they send out a press release announcing that a study was submitted to a journal. How many months before it’s finally published? By then the press release will have passed into popular folklore as solid science and it will take months or even years before it might be critiqued and refuted. Just look at that shameful piece of work called the hockey stick.

  9. so has everyone heard how you catch a polar bear?
    1. You dig a hole in the ice.
    2. You put peas all around the outside of the hole.
    3. You let him sniff and grunt for a little bit.
    4. You wait for him to take a pea then Bang, quick as you please, you kick him in the ice hole.
    Now that’s some real science for ye!

  10. This has already been covered in WUWT.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/30/climate-craziness-of-the-week-msm-jumps-on-alarming-headline/
    The author also claimed that the difference in density and temperature of ice and sea water would cause and increase in sea level of “49 micrometers per year spread across the global oceans”.
    The link provided by Jeef to the University of Leeds web site also has a working link to the papers pending section of the GRL.

  11. Phil. says:
    May 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    The loss of thickness over the whole Arctic is ~0.6m over the last 5 years (Sea Ice Cover, D. Perovich, R. Kwok, W. Meier, S. Nghiem, J. Richter-Menge). In the summer that would be 1,800 m^3 and in winter 9,000 m^3 which seems to match the figure Willis read. So the value looks right!

    Phil, thanks for the link. You say “the value looks right!” as if that contradicted something I said. But remember that I got run off the road after I had said “Of course, that made me wonder if the problem was in the study, or in the Reuters quote. However, that same number (7,420 cubic kilometres lost) appeared in no less than 81 other online publications. So I went haring off to find the article.” I never could determine if their number made sense. (While they may be citing ice thickness as you claim, we don’t have ten years of ice thickness data, so that seems kinda doubtful … but hey, this is climate science, anything’s possible …)
    If the study actually were published, we could easily determine whether the numbers are right. But it’s not published … which was the point, not the numbers.
    However, back to your cited paper. If you note the error bars, which presumably are one standard error wide, you will see that there is no statistically significant trend shown at all. In fact, the “trend” is only slightly wider than one standard error.
    In addition, contrary to your calculations, the data does not cover the winter and the summer. It only covers the winter. But wait, as they say on TV, there’s more. It doesn’t cover the entire winter ice area. It only covers 38% of the Arctic Ocean.
    So what you have cited is a statistically non-significant study of 38% of the winter Arctic Ocean ice … color me unimpressed.
    That’s why it is important to see the actual study, because (as with your claims) many times what people say about a study may not be what the study actually says.

  12. On a more serious note.
    Well Maybe not.
    You can probably put this in the same category as Hannsen, Mann and Gore saying the floating ice is melting so it can’t hold up the land based ice any more so we’re losing thousands of sq. kilometers of ice more than before into the ocean.
    Ok I know I’m new to this game and all… but I’ve been scratching my head over this for weeks. Have you ever used your finger to poke an ice cube floating in your glass?
    It bobs up and down, goes under the water and bobs back up again. I’m sure there is some scientific principle there, at least one or two. So I’m trying to figure out how floating ice fields keep land ice from retreating? I’m pretty big 5’11 and about 280 lbs. You can put me in the water floating and throw a 12 ft by 12 foot brick wall at me that was standing up originally and I can guarantee you I aint gonna be holding it up.
    Is it just me or has anyone else scratched their heads over this whole issue as well?

  13. “Not only that, but nobody seems to have noticed that the study has never been published.”
    This is an excellent example of the Prester John Effect in action. For those weak in early history, Prester John was supposedly an eastern Christian king who was going to help the Europeans in the crusades. Letters were sent to him and belief in his existence persistecd for the following . Similarly with so many AGW stories, like the “vast majority” of scientists who supposedly support the AGW hypothesis (no one has ever taken a survey and the “majority” appears to be an invention of the warmists). No one ever checks the underlying story to verify that it is true. And so it is with so many AGW stories that we know are not true but which get repeated endlessly by enthusiasts, by the media, etc., etc.
    IanM

  14. The really sad thing about this is that most of the world will never even know what happened here like countless other scientific misprints. After all, climate gate was a non issue to many (most?) of those publishers. If this isn’t fraud and some sick league between the gate keepers of inner scienctific circles and global mass media, I don’t know what is.
    Good work Anthony, but somehow I don’t feel much better. This is going to be a long fight and I’m not sure it can be won.

  15. Well, there is such a person as Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, so that part is true. And according to the University of Leeds press office on Thursday 29th April 2010:
    http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/793/melting_icebergs_causing_sea_level_rise

    Melting icebergs causing sea level rise
    Scientists have discovered that changes in the amount of ice floating in the polar oceans are causing sea levels to rise.
    The research, published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, is the first assessment of how quickly floating ice is being lost today. …
    According to lead author Professor Andrew Shepherd, of the University of Leeds, … and his team … the overall signal amounts to a 742 cubic kilometres per year reduction in the volume of floating [ice].

    The U of Leeds press release goes on to say:

    … For more information
    To arrange an interview with Prof Andy Shepherd, contact Hannah Isom in the University of Leeds press office on [phone number and email]
    Notes to editors
    “Recent loss of floating ice and the consequent sea level contribution” by Andrew Shepherd, Duncan Wingham, David Wallis, Katharine Giles, Seymour Laxon, and Aud Venke Sundal is published this week in Geophysical Research Letters (doi:10.1029/2010GL042496). …
    This study was funded by the UK National Centre for Earth Observation and the Philip Leverhulme Trust.

    So, you might email Prof Shepard directly and ask him for the mysterious paper. You could also ask him:
    1. Why it has never appeared in GRL?
    2. How did he derive his questionable conclusions?
    3. Why is this particular study funded by the Lever Bros/Unilever soap fortune? Don’t they have better things to fund with their capitalist gleanings?
    That would not solve the worldwide Alarmist propaganda conspiracy issue, but it might get at the nuts and bolts of the allegedly disappearing floating ice issue.

  16. Floating ice had disappeared at a steady rate over the past 10 years, according to the first measurement of its kind…..estimating the net loss of floating sea ice and ice shelves in the last decade at 7,420 cubic kilometers.
    Did they say anything about the net gain over the last 10 years? Is it sort of like talking about net loss of snow in the summer time but not mentioning the net gain in the winter?

  17. Since I’m new to this game, Willis can you fill me in on something please?
    Haven’t I heard that when the Arctic Ice is declining the Antarctic ice in inclining or growing and typically when the West side of Anarctic ice is declining the East in inclining or growing and has done so for eons?
    The Arctic ice shelf has had some pretty large numbers of growth from what I’ve been seeing in several publications and stories. And the East side of Antarctic is also having some rather large ice growth and that the West is only receding on about 1/4 of it’s ice territory so where is all the “catastrophy” in ACGW?
    Can you help me wrap my braing around this???
    There was an article published by a senior Fish and Wildlife Biologist who works with Polar Bear herds. He said that of the 7 major herds in Canada the only two that are struggling are in the upper reaches of Hudson’s Bay where it’s been so cold and icey that the seals they eat are scarce because they don’t like it so cold.
    So where is all this melting ice and woe is the world stuff coming from anyway?

  18. Another nice little “trick”. So now it’s “standard practice” to call an unpublished study a published study.

  19. Willis, I’m a little concerned. If you keep buying copies of all the nonsense these guys shovel out, just to figure out it’s garbage, at nearly twenty bucks a pop, you could go broke, fast. Consider yourself lucky this paper turned out to not exist.

  20. From the post:
    ” The world’s floating ice is in “constant retreat,” ”
    ============
    The world– not just the arctic.
    constant retreat–sounds scary

  21. Current Artic/Antarctic (read Global) Sea Ice Anomaly is positive, according to Cyrosphere Today, to the tune of 0.058 km2.
    -1.005(A) + 1.063(An) = 0.058
    Statistical dead heat in the unihabitable Polar Regions.

  22. great post. I guess it could be near that we cannot already make ice ourselves. The Arctic ice is already melting faster than ever. The ice caps are already thinning and the sea level is rising through the years. I just hope there is still hope to save our planet’s ice.

  23. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 28, 2010 at 8:21 pm
    So what you have cited is a statistically non-significant study of 38% of the winter Arctic Ocean ice …
    How unbelievably lame of them!
    Oh, wait a second… I mean, that’s more standard practice. 😉

  24. LOL. I await a response from the warmers on this one, but I suppose I will never hear it.

  25. Willis, there you go again: using facts and logic to support your position. Don’t you realize that employing the scientific method is so yesterday when it comes to AGW and the potential money that it at stake?

  26. rbateman says:
    May 28, 2010 at 8:39 pm
    Current Artic/Antarctic (read Global) Sea Ice Anomaly is positive
    What is the starting point for that data?

  27. “The world’s floating ice is in “constant retreat,” showing an instability which will increase global sea levels,…..
    The floating ice is retreating to land? It’s melting? What??
    Neither of those will result in the sea level rising. Unless I’m using a Pasco ice cube in the glass experiment, maybe.

  28. Here’s the abstract…perhaps a fat finger problem with the decimal point?
    Abstract
    We combine new and published satellite observations (Comiso et al., 2008; Cook and Vaughan, 2009) and the results of a coupled ice-ocean model (Zhang, 2007) to provide the first estimate of changes in the quantity of ice floating in the global oceans and the consequent sea level contribution. Rapid losses of Arctic sea ice and small Antarctic ice shelves are partially offset by thickening of Antarctic sea ice and large Antarctic ice shelves. Altogether, 746±127 km3 yr-1 of floating ice was lost between 1994 and 2004, a value that exceeds considerably the reduction in grounded ice over the same period. Although the losses are equivalent to a small (49±8 μm yr-1) rise in mean sea level, there may be large regional variations in the degree of ocean freshening and mixing. Ice shelves at the Antarctic Peninsula and in the Amundsen Sea, for example, have lost 481±38 km3 yr-1

  29. Phil. says:
    May 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm
    The loss of thickness over the whole Arctic is ~0.6m over the last 5 years (Sea Ice Cover, D. Perovich, R. Kwok, W. Meier, S. Nghiem, J. Richter-Menge). In the summer that would be 1,800 m^3 and in winter 9,000 m^3 which seems to match the figure Willis read. So the value looks right!
    Willis discusses a paper that doesn’t yet exist, which appears to discuss global sea ice in cubic kilometers. You respond with a different paper discussing arctic ice in cubic meters. It seems to me if you’re going to go trolling, you need to get some part of your response right.

  30. Heres a link to the original press release. Perhaps the alarmist side of the media thought the amount quoted was too small and added the zero?
    http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/793/melting_icebergs_causing_sea_level_rise
    The following paragraph is relevant…
    “Professor Shepherd and his team used a combination of satellite observations and a computer model to make their assessment. They looked at changes in the area and thickness of sea ice and ice shelves, and found that the overall signal amounts to a 742 cubic kilometres per year reduction in the volume of floating. “

  31. “constant retreat”
    “disappeared at a steady rate”
    And they wonder why skeptics exist. We exist because statements like that just offend our sense of accuracy, that’s why.
    Then they tell us that multiple years in a row of contraindicating evidence don’t show anything. Well, they show that statements like that are horsefeathers.

  32. This sounds like a positive-expectation, rumor avalanche event. I assume these reports spread like a virus outbreak because many in the elite press have been conditioned to expect just such reports confirming their fear that we are now in imminent danger of a great polar meltdown and lowland flooding disaster as depicted in “An Inconvenient Truth.”

  33. Ron Manley says:
    May 28, 2010 at 8:19 pm (Edit)

    This has already been covered in WUWT.
    The author also claimed that the difference in density and temperature of ice and sea water would cause and increase in sea level of “49 micrometers per year spread across the global oceans”.
    The link provided by Jeef to the University of Leeds web site also has a working link to the papers pending section of the GRL.

    Thanks, Ron, I had missed that one entirely. I note that they say:

    Professor Shepherd and his team used a combination of satellite observations and a computer model to make their assessment.

    Yeah, that makes me feel better …
    Also:

    They looked at changes in the area and thickness of sea ice and ice shelves, and found that the overall signal amounts to a 742 cubic kilometres per year reduction in the volume of floating ice.

    Well, if that number is correct, it would make much more sense than the 7,420 cubic km reported in the popular press. Which re-emphasizes my point about the web – on the web, a falsehood goes around the world three times while the truth is still getting its boots laced up.
    In any case, let’s use that number, 742 km^3, and see what it means using the method I explain here. That is to compare it to the total sea ice volume.
    The total volume of sea ice is hard to find, but it seems to be about 50,000 km^3. The annual variation is about 16,000 km3. Any pointers to better estimates appreciated.
    So an annual loss of 742 km^3 is on the order of 1% of the total volume, and is on the order of 5% of the annual swing. Is that a meaningful number?
    Well, it depends on how long it goes on. They claim that it has been going on at that rate for ten years … but then, that’s just what their model says. Me, I don’t buy ice volume model results. See Steve Goddard’s post here for information on ice volumes, and how they are being misrepresented by models and modelers.
    So once again, we’re going to have to wait until the article is published to see how much of their results is data and how much is just smoke ‘n models …

  34. 1personofdifference says:
    May 28, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Since I’m new to this game, Willis can you fill me in on something please?
    Haven’t I heard that when the Arctic Ice is declining the Antarctic ice in inclining or growing and typically when the West side of Anarctic ice is declining the East in inclining or growing and has done so for eons?
    The Arctic ice shelf has had some pretty large numbers of growth from what I’ve been seeing in several publications and stories. And the East side of Antarctic is also having some rather large ice growth and that the West is only receding on about 1/4 of it’s ice territory so where is all the “catastrophy” in ACGW?

    The short answer is that there has been little change in the global sea ice extent. See here for more information.
    w.

  35. Having definitively debunked this pending asininity, it’s unfortunate that no automated fly-swatter is available to beat back the inevitable swarm of hysteric references to such a baseless, fatuous, even mendacious pseudo-academic pronunciamento. No doubt Warmists’ “dying Arctic” myth will propagate indefinitely… but in due time, reality will win the day.

  36. Hi Willis,
    While I have no clue as to the veracity of Shepherd’s paper (gotta love pay-walls) it appears to state that they found an average of 742 cu. km /year and as the period of time referred to is ten years, then the total would indeed be 7420 cu. km., between the years 1994 and 2004.
    I am curious about the intervening years since 2004 – since this report is only submitted for publication now (2010) surely a few more years of data would have been available to include in the report to either support or falsify the implied data slope?
    Why did they stop at 2004?
    Sign me as Curious…

  37. MarcH says:
    May 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm
    Here’s the abstract…perhaps a fat finger problem with the decimal point?
    No, worse than we thought: “between 1994 and 2004”
    The 10 years are from 1994 to 2004, if I am reading that correctly. No wonder they don’t want people to see the actual study! It uses data ending 5 1/2 years ago.

  38. Willis, the paper says the 7420 cubic km’s was lost in 10 (ten) years, not each year.

  39. MarcH says:
    May 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Here’s the abstract…perhaps a fat finger problem with the decimal point?
    Abstract

    We combine new and published satellite observations (Comiso et al., 2008; Cook and Vaughan, 2009) and the results of a coupled ice-ocean model (Zhang, 2007) to provide the first estimate of changes in the quantity of ice floating in the global oceans and the consequent sea level contribution. Rapid losses of Arctic sea ice and small Antarctic ice shelves are partially offset by thickening of Antarctic sea ice and large Antarctic ice shelves. Altogether, 746±127 km3 yr-1 of floating ice was lost between 1994 and 2004, a value that exceeds considerably the reduction in grounded ice over the same period. Although the losses are equivalent to a small (49±8 μm yr-1) rise in mean sea level, there may be large regional variations in the degree of ocean freshening and mixing. Ice shelves at the Antarctic Peninsula and in the Amundsen Sea, for example, have lost 481±38 km3 yr-1

    Much appreciated, Marc. Thank goodness, finally some real information. From this, my comments would be:
    1. The period of study, curiously, was 1994-2004. Given the changes in sea ice in the years since then, this seems very curious. Once again, we see an AGW-supporting study using data that is way past its use-by date.
    2. They say that the “Ice shelves at the Antarctic Peninsula and in the Amundsen Sea, for example, have lost 481±38 km3 yr-1”. This means that those two areas have accounted for about 2/3 of the total loss. Likely this relates to a couple of large break-offs of the glacier-fed Antarctic ice shelves. Unlike the Arctic, these land-fed shelves seem to build out over a number of years, and then break off in large chunks. If that is the case, I don’t see that as very significant.
    3. If we assume that the remaining 1/3 of the loss is equally divided between the Arctic and the Antarctic, the Arctic loss is about 0.4% per year.
    4. I’m still quite chary of their figures. Given the use of models, you can get any number you want. Even a tiny adjustment in the parameters can make a huge change in the outputs.
    5. Regarding satellites, the reference (Comiso 2008) is not about ice volume. It is about ice extent and area. My guess? They used satellite ice extent and area figures, and modelled the volume. Remember that the ICESAT laser-measured ice thickness data only started in 2004 … which again makes it odd that they didn’t include the period from then until 2008, soon after which ICESAT died. Since we actually have some real data for that time period, their avoidance of that time is … well … let me call it “in need of explanation” and let it go at that.
    However, all of this is provisional, we still await the mystery paper.

  40. OK, from the Leeds release and doi:
    According to Archimedes’ principle, any floating object displaces its own weight of fluid. For example, an ice cube in a glass of water does not cause the glass to overflow as it melts.
    But because sea water is warmer and more salty than floating ice, changes in the amount of this ice are having an effect on global sea levels.
    The loss of floating ice is equivalent to 1.5 million Titanic-sized icebergs each year. However, the study shows that spread across the global oceans, recent losses of floating ice amount to a sea level rise of just 49 micrometers per year – about a hair’s breadth.

    doi goes to http://www.agu.org/contents/journals/ViewPapersInPress.do?journalCode=GL
    Shepherd, A., D. Wingham, D. Wallis, K. Giles, S. Laxon, and A. V. Sundal (2010),
    Recent loss of floating ice and the consequent sea level contribution,
    Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2010GL042496, in press.
    [PDF] (accepted 16 April 2010)

    purchase option not available, though I would not pay for Archimedes principle and 49 microns per year, particularly in view of the cryosphere plot you showed above.

  41. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    May 28, 2010 at 8:55 pm
    rbateman says:
    May 28, 2010 at 8:39 pm
    Current Artic/Antarctic (read Global) Sea Ice Anomaly is positive
    What is the starting point for that data?

    1979. And I should correct that to 0.058M km2 Positive Anomaly….Globally.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png
    Add them together and you get the Global Sea Ice Area Anomaly as Willis posts:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg
    The constant loss of Sea Ice frenzy is 100% pure concentrated Cherry Pick.
    Not going to shock any new converts with drivel like this, as most folks are already highly suspicious of the strange men behind the curtain of deception.

  42. @ Richard M May 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm:

    It must be that rotten ice again. It gets filled with holes and the scientists measured to see how big the holes were. Based on at least 3 or 4 tests they extrapolated the total loss of ice. 😉

    This made me laugh, because it made me imagine the ice all breaking off because of all the ice cores taken by warmologists, kind of a “tear on the dotted line” kind of thing.
    So, Willis, with all your “order of magnitude” exercises you love so well, how many ice cores does it take to break off an ice sheet? Or more specifically 7,240 cubic miles of ice sheets?

  43. This story was discussed back here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/30/climate-craziness-of-the-week-msm-jumps-on-alarming-headline/#comments
    – where I explained that I have done the experiment with pure ice floating in salt water and as expected, the salt water level rises when the ice melts.
    Please will people stop arguing about that.
    However Shepherd says that if the ice melts that “would add to sea level rise by the width of a few human hairs”. So all of this is unnecessary scaremongering. The ice is going to freeze again each year anyway.
    Have a look at Scientific American’s deleted but cached page before it disappears:
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:DfYyyjflLXAJ:www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm%3Fid%3Dglobal-floating-ice-in-co+%22Geophysical+Research+Letters+on+Wednesday%22+scientific+american

  44. I bet this is the reasoning behind the paper: “We have no idea of how much volume of ice was lost, but from satellites we know the area (well, more or less). This has changed very little, but our newmegafastcomputermodel says that a much bigger area should have been lost. Given that this has not happened, let’s guess that, anyway, the model is overall right, but the problem is that the ice that the model supposed that would be lost at the borders has had a shared disapperarance along all the floating ice surface, making it thinner. Because the model cannot be wrong, can it? Tada!

  45. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 28, 2010 at 10:02 pm
    MarcH says:
    May 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm
    1994-2004……. using data that is way past its use-by date.
    Ah hah! It is as I suspected. They selected a questionable time frame.
    (I would have said cherry picked as cherry picked would fit, but it seems cherry picked, as a term, is overused, cherry picked can have a hackneyed feel to it, it might be beating a dead horse to say cherry picked, but I just might want to say cherry picked, because it is cherry picking, and I feel a little emotional when I see cherry picked data, so I should go for a walk until the emotion to use the words ‘cherry picked’ subsides, then come back here and not use the words cherry picked to describe this cherry picked set of data, but maybe I already did take care of not using the words cherry picked since I did say ‘selected’, and not cherry picked, but then again, using cherry picked, well, “cherry picked”, global warming adherents may take offense to the words cherry picked, so with being cordial in mind I should find words other than cherry picked, such as, just ‘picked’ instead of cherry picked, or, ‘marked’ instead of cherry picked, or, ‘handpicked’…no wait, that looks like cherry picked too, um, or, ‘chose’ instead of cherry picked, or, ‘cull’ instead of cherry picked, …. but really, we shouldn’t use words like cherry picked since we don’t know the intent of the people that cherry picked they data, maybe they didn’t intend to cherry pick data, maybe cherry picking was not in their mind at all when they cherry picked it, so we shouldn’t assume they cherry picked data, we should view cherry picking as standard practice and put all cases of cherry picking behind us and move on….so to conclude, cherry picking, cherry picking, cherry picking, cherry picking, cherry picking…….did I mention this data is cherry picked?)

  46. Not so much ‘rotten ice’ as ‘rotten reporting’! Let us hope the good Professor corrects the press misrepresentations of the data . I suppose it’s too much to hope that he also bring his 1994/2004 data up to date.

  47. rbateman says:
    May 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm
    1979
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    I thought it was.
    Say, did you see their starting point? Just in case you didn’t it’s 1994.
    psssst, don’t tell anyone just yet, let’s just keep the words ‘cherry picked’ between us.

  48. Willis,
    I suppose it’s the humorist in me, but did you use the words “Cherry” (picked) and “Cordial” in the same sentence on purpose?
    Why my my Mr. Willis, you could almost imagine a cool refreshing mint julip out on the Veranda, with the shade from a mighty Georgian Peach Tree, eating a Cherry cordial.
    Full of love and peace and harmony and a cooling gulf breeze.

  49. Wood for Trees Sea ice index shows a total loss of sea ice coverage of around 1.2 million square kilometers over the last thirty years.

  50. Amino Acids in Meteorites says: “1994 to 2004, this is fish in a barrel”
    something certainly stinks.

  51. Once again I know I’m new in this battle against Darth Gore, and Darth Mann, and the forces of the dark side…. but how can you get any scientific correlation or empirical evidence of something that occurred between 6 and 16 years ago? And not use any data from 2004 till now, or pre 1996?
    There have been grow-backs in both east and west Antarctica and then some more mild losses in the West, meanwhile the Arctic is seeing some astounding grow-back and extended cold temperatures. How can you make a bold statement that there is evidence of drastic changes in sea ice levels when the study you’re using is at least 6 years old, and is only within a 10 year period.
    I can show a bar graph with time during 4 time periods in a 24 hour day where I had activity in the can, but, all other days for 15 years I’ve only got data for 2 time periods within a 24 hour period. If you extrapolate that out over a 15 year period where there is no change in activity, am I going to run to the doctor and tell him that I need a colonoscopy, because I have a spike in bowel movements?
    No he’d look at the data for the last 15 years and say this is an anomaly and you haven’t had anything like this ever and unless you see a long trend in the future, there is nothing to worry about, you are fine – go home.
    Then he would go into his office and tell his nurses and call his buddies and have the best spasm of laughs he has ever had, at your expense.

  52. Willis,
    I read that article that you pointed me to, very informative thank you.
    I remember when Al gore used your figure 8 and one a little farther down to tell a National news Anchor during an interview that he and others predicted the heavy rains in Oregon and Washington earlier this year.
    Since I live in the Pacific Northwest, and know the typical amounts of rainfall, I promptly screamed at my television and told Gore that this has nothing to do with Global Warming… It rains, rains, and rains and then rains some more in the Pacific Northwest. Apparently my screaming Pacific Northwest weather history at my TV didn’t help the warmists any.

  53. Phil. says:
    May 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm
    The loss of thickness over the whole Arctic is ~0.6m over the last 5 years (Sea Ice Cover, D. Perovich, R. Kwok, W. Meier, S. Nghiem, J. Richter-Menge). In the summer that would be 1,800 m^3 and in winter 9,000 m^3 which seems to match the figure Willis read. So the value looks right!

    1000 m^3 does not equal 1 km^3.
    Winter 9,000 cubic meters = 9,000 x meters x meters x meters = 9,000 x (km/1,000) x (km/1,000) x (km/1,000) = 0.000009 km^3
    Summer 1,800 cubic meters = 0.0000018 km^3
    So summer+winter = 0.0000108 km^3. How does that match 7,420 km^3?

  54. I find it a rather strange anomaly that the 1930’s to 1940’s had some of the highest temperatures on record. My father was born in 1919 and he tells stories and has pictures of driving a Model A over the Columbia River and I’ve seen pictures of others doing it circa 1930-1940.
    Now before one says so they drove across a bridge, let me add that my dad drove a Model A (a rather heavy vehicle), across the Columbia River on the river itself, not over it.
    You have to think about the astounding fact about the Columbian freezing over so thick that you could drive a Model A over it. Back in the 30’s there weren’t the amount of Dams controlling the flow like we do now, so that means the flow levels were higher and much faster. Yet despite that fact, The Columbian, and Willamette Rivers froze solid at least twice during these two decades.
    To bring us back to the future, as it were, today the Portland, Oregon area had a record low today. Oh but that’s regional the warmist’s would say… My they like having their cake and eating it too, don’t they?

  55. Ugh, formatting is off. In response to Phil…
    1000 m^3 does not equal 1 km^3.
    Winter 9,000 cubic meters = 9,000 x meters x meters x meters = 9,000 x (km/1,000) x (km/1,000) x (km/1,000) = 0.000009 km^3
    Summer 1,800 cubic meters = 0.0000018 km^3
    So summer+winter = 0.0000108 km^3. How does that match 7,420 km^3?

  56. The oceans of the world will rise a hairs breadth.
    Oh my gosh.
    call the marines
    call the army
    call my mother
    call my lawyer
    nahhh screw the lawyer, let him swim.
    Who is going to cough up the money to call Gore and tell him to sell that new $30million mansion he just bought on the coast of Southern California and tell him to move it back a hairs breadth from the beach?
    Any takers?
    Going once
    Going twice….

  57. 1personofdifference; just to clarify, glacial flow is restrained by ice shelves, when the shelves collapse glaciers are no longer restrained and flow faster. Since it is landborne ice it does not need to melt first, it’s volume (9tenths of it) immediately displace an equal volume of water, therefor sea level rises.

  58. Well, according to IJIS/JAXA data. 2010 is now the lowest Arctic Sea Ice in the past 8 years for this date, May 28:
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
    Now, I expect this to bounce a bit, perhaps revised, and may not officially be lower until May 29, and it may not stay the lowest, but it certainly had the steepest April-May decline in this time period, and next month, the real melt begins. Also, it is most important to point out that the first four months of 2010 have been the warmest on record:
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100517_globalstats.html
    http://www.climate.gov/#climateWatch
    And note, regions in the Arctic has seen above average temps for some time:
    http://iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu/maproom/.Global/.Atm_Temp/Persistence.html
    And our old friend PIOMAS tells us the story of Sea Ice volume:
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/ArcticSeaiceVolume/images/BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomalyCurrent.png
    Now I know, a whole plethera of reasons have been given not to trust nearly every data source that I’ve just posted, but it’s really hard for me to be too skeptical of AGWT (at least more than 25% ) 🙂 with such a stream of cross-confirming data that are consistently saying the same thing. Warm temps, quick ice decline (yes, some was shearing, no doubt), lower volume, etc. And despite the amazingly good efforts of skeptics to shoot it all down, my instinct still tells me that AGW is essentially correct. note however, I never put a “C” in front of the AGW, for that is an entirely different matter…

  59. Amino Acids, you know you are making us all hungry, so let’s get our minds off of it.
    Wild Cherry Pie Recipe
    Pick cherries
    Add sweeteners, homogenizers, emulsifiers, powdered data, cherry flavored ice, cherry colored graph dyes, cherry sodium laureth sulfates for undesirable non-cherry results, Heinz-Kerry brandied cherries, dehydrated miserable global warmed cherries, tiny expensive organic cherries with some wormholes for an extra charge, unripe cherries that did not mature because of extreme climate change cold snaps, cherries which blossomed 3 days too soon due to AGW, Fair Trade grown in the shade cherries, and finally, ultracarbonated cherries taken from tree YAD061, with a twist of offset paperwork credits to taste.

  60. 7000km3 looks right to me Willis, see the PIOMASS ice volume graph in the WUWT post http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/28/does-piomass-verify/
    look a bit more like ~9000km3 over the last decade, but that’s for the northern hemisphere, don’t know about the southern hemisphere though, but your approximation of converting ice volume to extent seem a bit simplistic to me, not sure you can infer 3D ice loss volume from 2D ice loss extent…

  61. How journalists make it all up
    “You can’t make this stuff up.”
    Well, somebody did.
    I can’t believe the level of idiocy these days in the journalism profession. Have they not noticed that this year’s Arctic ice is greater than last year’s; or that last year’s is greater than the year before?
    What total fools. I will tell you how this stuff gets reported like this. I will share a secret. What happens is that the reporter receives a “press package” with the story already written for them. It is done by a professional PR agency, often an agency that specializes on “progressive” causes like Fenton Communications in the US.
    They might be given a list of individuals who would be available for interview or if there is an event or “protest”, they are given a press liaison contact. If they attend the event and make contact with the liaison, they will be given a “press packet” there that gives the “correct” background information. They will be briefed and explained to them what the importance of various things are and guided to the best locations for photographs and possibly be directed to key individuals for comments.
    It is the difference between a photograph and a painting. Journalist means you write things down. It is different than being a reporter and digging for facts. The truth is many “journalists” are lazy and more interested in hanging out with the “cool people” so they can count themselves among them.
    In laying out what “scientists will warn of” next week, he had to have been given access to the press packet. He is likely re-stating what was dropped on his desk.
    “Maybe the Earth is trying to tell us something”. A fine piece of emotionalizing there. Earth is a rock. A really big rock. If rocks are taking to you, maybe you need to up your dosage.
    I am sick of this nonsense.
    ====================================
    Rupert Murdoch (and the late Kerry Packer) are the architects of their own demise.
    Between them they raided a fair proportion of the news media in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States (in alphabetical order). They employed a manufacturing model to centralize the “production” of the news in “hubs”, thus getting rid of a large number of specialized journalists, and practically all journalists working at the grassroots level for small-town newspapers.
    There is no time for investigative journalism any more – journalists now rely on Press Releases, delivered by “spokespersons” to give them “leads” for their news items.
    The print media is now is all about advertising revenue – hence the increase in sensationalism and the decrease in impartial analysis. This trend has since been extended to New Scientist, Scientific American, National Geographic, et al.
    The blogosphere (and private sector intelligence organizations) are now following the laws of biology, by moving into an environmental niche that has been vacated by its previous occupants.
    If you want an in-depth analysis, see “Flat Earth News”, by Nick Davis, published by Vintage Books, and endorsed by the Financial Times.

  62. The chosen 1994 to 2004 is an interesting time period. It scared the xxxx out of polar bear researchers cause it looked like the end was near for Hudson Bay Polar Bears as the ice pretty much disappeared from Hudson Bay at the end of June, 1998 and did the same for several years following including 2007 …. but then recovered. But of course Hudson Bay melts off most years. Then it completely refreezes. 1,230,000 square kilometres that thaws and refreezes every year in closed bay, affected by the AO, winds, river run off, high and low pressure systems. Until one reads the actual study, we have no idea what a 742 km^3 ice loss per year means other than it seems a rather small amount.

  63. Amino Acids in Meteorites: May 28, 2010 at 10:42 pm
    this is fish in a barrel

    Did you ever actually try that? One Summer during a period of teenage idleness, my buddies and I caught some trout, put them in a barrel, and had at them with our 22’s. Ran out of bullets without touching a single one. After Mom finished berating us, Dad told us about drag and terminal velocity. ☺
    /dr.bill

  64. Oh, you made the classic mistake that denialismistics always make. Don’t you see? Lack of ice melt is a direct result of Anthropogenicalismistic Biospherical Warming? Gaiya is warming, and her seas are bubbling and evaporating (which also neatly explains lack of sea level rise) and falling as snow, which is being compressed into more ice, counterbalancing the massive loss from melt. I predict even more catastrophic ice level stability. If it remains stable for much longer, we’re going to pass the tipping point.
    Oh, it’s true, the model said so. Hey, JH? Jimmy-boy? Little help? I’m sinking here…
    [Please use a screen name that is not the name of a living person. ~dbs, mod.]

  65. Thanks Willis, for uncovering this CAGW alarmist drivel. It is another good example of the scientific method used by climatologists! Would make a great case study for science students of how not to do science.
    Here’s another good chart of actual global sea ice cover from 2000 to 2010 which I found. No surprise it shows no downwards trend (unless you’re a CAGW believer).
    http://www.climate4you.com/images/NSIDC%20GlobalSeaIceAreaSince2000.gif

  66. Reuters:
    “according to a report published in Geophysical Research Letters on Wednesday.”
    FAIL. (not published)
    “The world’s floating ice is in “constant retreat,” showing an instability […]
    Floating ice had disappeared at a steady rate over the past 10 years, ”
    FAIL. (past 10 years are not 1994-2004)
    I could write a study now that measures the ratio of false statements in Reuters writeups and i guess it’s close to 100% from my preliminary results.
    “Reuters Group Limited, Reuters Group PLC (2008), now merged into Thomson Reuters (2008) (pronounced /ˈrɔɪtərz/) is a United Kingdom-based news service […]”
    About Reuters’ relationship with the truth (which doesn’t exist according to Dr. Ravetz) see also
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adnan_Hajj_photographs_controversy

  67. I’ve said it before and I will say again, we need to have some award to highlight the scientific “blooper” paper of the week/month, or maybe categories, most errors, least supporting data, scariest non event paper, and at the end of the year award, say a Frankie award – endless possibilities – i.e. something for the universities and their sponsors for waste of funds. Nice to put our vote forward in picking the most worthy of the unworthy as the year progresses.
    At least I would feel I had a part in helping science back on track.

  68. Does anyone else think that someone is deliberately orchestrating this kind of marketing for AGW? So many organisation have their snouts in the very large trough that a PR department could easily be affordable to support the collective delusion.
    Or am I becoming paranoid?

  69. Thanks to subterranean channels underneath the ice, I have just received delivery of a pre-publication copy of the paper, by way of folks I cannot mention.
    The paper is both better and worse that I had thought. Let me give you some quotations:

    Using the data of (Cook and Vaughan, 2009), we delimited the area of five Antarctic ice shelves (Table 1), each on four separate occasions. Their combined area reduced from 33,416 km2 in the mid 1980’s to 14,098 km2 in the late 2000’s. We estimated the thickness of the lost ice using a collection of airborne ice penetrating radar measurements (Lythe and Vaughan, 2001) and satellite altimeter elevation observations (Bamber and Bindschadler, 1997) (coupled with an assumption of hydrostatic balance (Vaughan et al., 1995)) which provided between 100 and 693 independent estimates of ice thickness for each shelf. These data show that, between 1988 and 2008, the volume of Antarctic ice shelves decreased by 210 ± 27 km3 each year through episodic retreat (Table 1).

    OK, so that’s the good news, I was wrong, they used satellites to do the measurements. I hadn’t thought about how they could use the ENVISAT to measure the fixed ice shelves.
    So then I went to went to Table 1, and I found the bad news … which is that they can’t add. And their numbers are unbelievable. And they didn’t check the table, there’s a decimal point error in one of the figures. The last one is immaterial, but frustrating.
    I’ll run through the highlights, I’ve put Table 1 and my spreadsheet here for people to check my work.
    First, they give the area and the volume loss for each of 14 different individual Antarctic ice shelves. But they don’t give the thickness changes for the ice shelves. So I calculated the changes in thickness, and the thickness change error, for the fourteen ice shelves. Here are those results, in units of total change over the period of measurement:
    Units_______________________________metres/15 yrs___metres/15 yrs
    Item_______________________________Thickness Chg.__Thickness Err.
    Filchner-Ronne ice shelf (FIL)________________8.1_____________0.1
    Ross ice shelf (ROS)__________________________2.3_____________0.1
    Amery ice shelf (AME)________________________13.8_____________1.5
    Brunt ice shelf (BRU)_________________________8.6_____________0.9
    Bach ice shelf (BAC)________________________131.3____________37.5
    Moscow University ice shelf (MOS)____________81.0____________27.0
    George VI ice shelf (GEO)___________________-12.1_____________3.9
    Fimbul ice shelf (FIM)_______________________-7.6_____________2.7
    Thwaites Glacier ice shelf (TWG)___________-123.8_____________3.8
    Pine Island Glacier ice shelf (PIG)_________-90.0____________10.0
    Getz ice shelf (GET)________________________-27.5_____________1.9
    Venable ice shelf (VEN)____________________-240.0___________110.0
    Larsen C ice shelf (LAC)____________________-12.7_____________0.8
    Crosson/Dotson ice shelf (CRO)_____________-129.4_____________9.4

    Now, I’m willing to believe that in fifteen years, the thickness of the Ross Ice Shelf has changed by 2.3 metres (7.5′). I’m less willing to believe that the error in that is only 10 centimetres (4″).
    However, I strongly doubt that the thickness of the Venable Ice Shelf has dropped by a quarter of a kilometre. Maybe I just don’t understand ice shelf dynamics, but that seems extreme. However, I can believe the associated error …
    Next, here’s their calculations for the Arctic Sea Ice.

    We estimated the trend in volume of Arctic sea ice by considering the effects of changes in both area and thickness. According to ERS and Envisat satellite altimeter observations, the 1993-2001 (average wintertime) thickness of Arctic sea ice was estimated to be 273 cm (Laxon et al., 2003), the thickness decreased by 6.7 ± 1.9 cm yr-1 between 1992 and 2001 (Laxon et al., 2003), and the thickness decreased by 4.8 ± 0.5 cm yr-1 between 2003 and 2008 (Giles et al., 2009). We combined these datasets to produce a new estimate of the 1994-2008 thickness change. Published satellite microwave imager observations (Comiso et al., 2008) show that the 1996-2007 Arctic sea ice area trend was -111 ± 8 x 10^3 km2 yr-1 and, based upon our own analysis of these data, we estimate that the 1990-1999 average wintertime area of Arctic sea was 11.9 x 10^6 km2. The combined reductions in Arctic sea ice area and thickness amount to a decrease in volume of 851 ± 110 km3 yr-1 during the period 1994 to 2007, with changes in thickness and area accounting for 65 % and 35 % of the overall loss, respectively.

    The problem with this is quite simple. They are using the average thickness of winter ice (2.75 metres, or about 9 feet) for their area loss calculations. But the Arctic is not losing winter ice. It’s losing summer ice, which in general is much thinner. And in particular, it’s losing area around the edges of the summer ice, which is the thinnest ice of all. So their calculations of the areal loss are overstated, likely by a factor of about 4 or more.
    In addition, they are using the wintertime area for their thickness calculations. But the wintertime area is about three times the summertime area, so their calculations for the thickness loss are overstated, likely by a factor of about 1.5 or so.
    These two combined mean that their total Arctic loss is overstated, and the real answer is likely about 65%/1.5 + 35%/4 = 50% of their answer, or less. If that is the case, it would reduce their loss of 746 km^3/yr down to 350 km^3/year.
    Of course, this is the problem with this kind of analysis. It is very sensitive to the many assumptions made in lieu of having real data …
    In that regard, I am surprised by the crudity of their Arctic assumptions. We have good data, month by month, for the area of Arctic ice. We know when the decreases in area are happening. Presumably, that is also when the decreases in thickness are happening. Given that, why just use the winter area for the calculation?
    And why use the base period of 1994-2004? They say in the paper:

    The full period of the observations spans 1986 to 2009; the overlap between the various datasets spans 1994 to 2004.

    In the event, they use the period up to 2004 for the Antarctic sea ice, up to 2008 for the Antarctic shelf ice, and they use the period up to 2007 for the Arctic sea ice … where are the ex ante selection criteria? At a minimum, it is quite curious, particularly since we have more recent data.
    Finally, simple arithmetic errors. They say the total area of the Antarctic adds up to 1,517,000 sq km. But adding their individual figures gives a total of 1,614,000 sq km. There are a number of these small errors. In total, they give a volume error of about 4% … not particularly material, but among my skills I have worked as an accountant. When I see numbers like that, numbers that don’t add up, I don’t assume that I’ve found all of the errors … they may easily conceal a larger error.
    So that’s a first cut at the mania. I invite interested folks to download and take a look at Table 1, and at my spreadsheet, to see if I’ve made a foolish mistake (wouldn’t be the first time). Also, I invite comments on whether I’ve correctly analyzed the Arctic ice calculations. I ran their Arctic ice numbers, and using their assumptions, my numbers agree with theirs … but I don’t agree with their assumptions.
    Thanks to the unknown hands that sent me the document,
    w.

  70. Hi again Willis!
    Another great ‘paper’ – now completely peer reviewed…
    From your recent posts it seems to me that there is a major University post somewhere for you to make a life pulling apart the extravagant claims being published (or not published) by these alarmists. Apparently, every time some alarming thing gets shouted about in the press there seems to be a story behind it – an unsavoury one. In the end this will do (and is doing) enormous harm to science in general and the environmental movement in particular.
    Stu

  71. Unless i am mistaken, things seem to be worse now than they were, before they were as bad as they are now.
    or is it just me?

  72. As I was surfing from my chair I met an alarmism that wasn’t there. It wasn’t there again today. I wish that alarmism would go away…

  73. FWIW, this looks like his faculty page at Leeds, has an email address. The mentioned paper is not in his list of publications. Oh, the papers where he’s the first author listed, they look like a real hoot. Like this 2007 one published in Science, Recent Sea-Level Contributions of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets. From the abstract:

    As global temperatures have risen, so have rates of snowfall, ice melting, and glacier flow. Although the balance between these opposing processes has varied considerably on a regional scale, data show that Antarctica and Greenland are each losing mass overall. Our best estimate of their combined imbalance is about 125 gigatons per year of ice, enough to raise sea level by 0.35 millimeters per year. This is only a modest contribution to the present rate of sea-level rise of 3.0 millimeters per year.

    If you’ve got the money or can convince someone else to pay for it “for professional purposes,” you better hurry up and take one of those tourist trips to Antarctica before all the ice melts away. Please consider the WWF-sponsored Adopt A Penguin program while there, as all those poor little critters will soon need a new home. Provided they can be saved before the hungry polar bears eat them all.

  74. Excerpt from: Willis Eschenbach on May 29, 2010 at 1:55 am

    These two combined mean that their total Arctic loss is overstated, and the real answer is likely about 65%/1.5 + 35%/4 = 50% of their answer, or less. If that is the case, it would reduce their loss of 746 km^3/yr down to 350 km^3/year.

    The terrifying Arctic Sea Ice Anomaly chart (PIOMAS) currently says (May 24) the trend is minus 3,400km^3/decade, 340km^3/yr, which is right about what you’ve figured. So if one puts their trust in PIOMAS, they should agree you’ve figured the correct value.

  75. And these climate scientists call sceptics “flat earthers”, “denialists” etc.
    I hate to use the word denialists against AGWers but history may reveal who is in actual denial. Money has corrupted the scientific method and skewed the search for evidence.

  76. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    May 28, 2010 at 10:39 pm
    Yes, they conveniently cherry-picked 1994 as a starting point to highlight the Arctic Sea Ice decline, while selectively ignoring the Antarctic counterpoint AND the Global Sea Ice Recovery of the last 3 years.
    That’s 3 strikes in my book.

  77. Well done Willis! It’s great to have voices like yours supporting scientists, for example in the Royal Society over here, who are starting to win little victories in their long fight to force “big science” to acknowledge the truth of Oliver Cromwell’s dictum: “think you may be wrong”.

  78. So basically this is a press release about an unpublished paper and it contains a false figure for the loss.
    An innocent extra zero, or some much need drama to big up a paper that has basically found NOTHING.

  79. Was this study peer-reviewed? If it was, then it would highlight is wrong with the peer-review system where shoddy work gets through so long as it agrees with the mantra. If it wasn’t, well, seeing how shoddy the work was, their goal was to prove the answer they already knew. In all instances, it is clear that this so-called study is only designed to scare people out of their money and rights. Sorry work like this shows why the chief advocates of climate science teach the mafia on how to keep their work hidden. Just imagine how many problems their “studies” have. Sadly, we can only imagine, despite what the law and basic tenants of science say.
    The only comfort I have is that AGW proponents are quickly running out of time.

  80. Phil. says:
    May 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm
    The loss of thickness over the whole Arctic is ~0.6m over the last 5 years (Sea Ice Cover, D. Perovich, R. Kwok, W. Meier, S. Nghiem, J. Richter-Menge). In the summer that would be 1,800 m^3 and in winter 9,000 m^3 which seems to match the figure Willis read. So the value looks right!
    _______________________________________________________________________
    So Phil, how does that tally with this Sea Ice Compaction Your stuff sure looks like the usual CAGW spin instead of real science. At this point I would not trust a scientist when he said it was dark at night:
    “…found that 80 percent of job applications contain false information regarding prior work history, while 30 percent of the information related to educational background is false.” Source: Employment Law for Business, fifth edition
    Seems lying is the norm in our society today.

  81. Is it even possible to measure (average) sea level to an accuracy of 50 microns?
    Similarly how accurate are the numbers fed into the model in the first place.

  82. MarcH says:
    May 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm
    “Here’s the abstract…perhaps a fat finger problem with the decimal point?
    Abstract
    We combine new and published satellite observations (Comiso et al., 2008; Cook and Vaughan, 2009) and the results of a coupled ice-ocean model (Zhang, 2007) to provide the first estimate of changes in the quantity of ice floating in the global oceans and the consequent sea level contribution……”

    the results of a coupled ice-ocean model When ever I hear the study was based on a “model” my BS detector goes off. It is SOOooo easy to feed garbage into a model and have something “Catastrophic” come out.

  83. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 29, 2010 at 1:55 am
    The problem with this is quite simple. They are using the average thickness of winter ice (2.75 metres, or about 9 feet) for their area loss calculations. But the Arctic is not losing winter ice. It’s losing summer ice, which in general is much thinner. And in particular, it’s losing area around the edges of the summer ice, which is the thinnest ice of all. So their calculations of the areal loss are overstated, likely by a factor of about 4 or more.

    First of all they’re calculating winter volume loss not areal. They’re using measurements to calculate that, from NSIDC for example you get a winter drop in area of 2-3%/decade and the measured loss in winter ice thickness since 1980 is about 50%. So their calculations seem reasonable for the drop in winter ice volume.

  84. Spector says:
    May 28, 2010 at 9:22 pm
    This sounds like a positive-expectation, rumor avalanche event. I assume these reports spread like a virus outbreak because many in the elite press have been conditioned to expect just such reports confirming their fear that we are now in imminent danger of a great polar meltdown and lowland flooding disaster as depicted in “An Inconvenient Truth.”
    ___________________________________________________________________________
    “many in the elite press have been conditioned to expect” No that is not the explaination. The real explanation is “he who OWNS the presses CONTROLS the news”. J P Morgan figured that out a long time ago and I doubt if it has changed much today.
    Actually I know from personal experience that it has not changed at all. A New Hampshire grade school teacher’s campaign against polystyrene went viral through out all the newspapers in the USA a month before a new process reclaiming post consumer polystyrene was to be announced to the public. Compare that to how the truth about the Climategate e-mails and the IPCC report inaccuracies have NOT been picked up by the blood hounds of the fourth estate.
    “… media to build the perception of opposing positions on key issues, while all the while building consensus on issues that were critical to social change. That’s verified in the Congressional Record for 1917, which reported that “…the J.P. Morgan [banking] interests…. and their subsidiary organizations got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press of the US…. They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. …an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information….” [9. Congressman Oscar Callaway statements were included in the Congressional Record (vol. 54, February 9, 1917, p. 2947).] http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/006/conspiracy1.htm

  85. Willis Eschenbach quotes from the forthcoming paper by Shepherd et al. as follows,
    “Published satellite microwave imager observations (Comiso et al., 2008) show that the 1996-2007 Arctic sea ice area trend was -111 ± 8 x 10^3 km2 yr-1 and, based upon our own analysis of these data, we estimate that the 1990-1999 average wintertime area of Arctic sea was 11.9 x 10^6 km2. ”
    On which Eschenbach comments,
    “The problem with this is quite simple. They are using the average thickness of winter ice (2.75 metres, or about 9 feet) for their area loss calculations. But the Arctic is not losing winter ice.”
    But the Arctic *is* losing winter ice. The last three winters were higher than the three before that, but still well below the 1979-2000 average, and consistent with an overall downward trend.

  86. But….The Arctic is melting!
    The Arctic ¡s Melting says scientist in Los Angeles (AP)
    A mysterious warming of the Arctic climate is slowly manifesting itself, said Dr Haas Ahlmann, Swedish geophysicist at the University of California yesterday.
    If the Antarctic ice regions and the major Greenland icecap should reduce at the rate of the present melting, he said, the oceanic surfaces would rise to catastrophic proportions. People living in the lowlands along the shores would be inundated. Temperatures in the Arctic had increased 10 deg fahrenheit since 1900, an “enormous” rise from the scientific standpoint. The level of waters in Spitsbergen area in the same period had risen 1 to 1.5 millimeters a year.
    The Argus Saturday 31 May 1947: http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22429983

  87. >>> ” in defiance of most scientific opinion, “.
    Notice that word: “most”.
    …-
    “Nunavut: Polar bear population is healthy
    By The Canadian Press
    Sat. May 29 – 4:54 AM
    IQALUIT, Nunavut — Ottawa should downgrade the protection status that polar bears receive under federal legislation, the Nunavut government said Friday.
    In a reversal of its previous position, and in defiance of most scientific opinion, territorial environment minister Daniel Shewchuk said bear populations are healthy and should no longer come under the Species At Risk Act.
    “We do not think bears should be listed,” said Shewchuk.”
    http://thechronicleherald.ca/Canada/1184700.html

  88. gilbert says:
    May 28, 2010 at 9:13 pm
    Phil. says:
    May 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm
    “The loss of thickness over the whole Arctic is ~0.6m over the last 5 years (Sea Ice Cover, D. Perovich, R. Kwok, W. Meier, S. Nghiem, J. Richter-Menge). In the summer that would be 1,800 m^3 and in winter 9,000 m^3 which seems to match the figure Willis read. So the value looks right!”
    Willis discusses a paper that doesn’t yet exist, which appears to discuss global sea ice in cubic kilometers. You respond with a different paper discussing arctic ice in cubic meters. It seems to me if you’re going to go trolling, you need to get some part of your response right.

    Yes you’re right I mistyped it should have been km^3, the problem of having no preview. However posting a response isn’t trolling and you could do with being less snarky.

  89. I am constantly reminded of George Orwell.
    “Choco rations have been increased to 25 grams per week, up from 30 grams per week.” (1984) Orwell?

  90. Phil. says:
    May 29, 2010 at 5:45 am
    That is the closest we will ever see from Phil saying: “I was wrong.”
    John K Sutherland,
    Great Orwell quote! Thanks.

  91. Sounds like the press released happened after submission and acceptance for publication and before the article was peer reviewed.
    It may be that the errors and inconsistencies highlighted here have been raised with the author(s) and correction or clarification sought, which might explain the publication delay.
    It is easy to get blind to your own assumptions and, when working with a like minded group, easy to omit the process of having your work scrutinised and critiqued.
    Its said that Mother-in-laws or teenaged offspring are best placed to present you with a real -life view of yourself!

  92. The only solution to this madness is to ground every airplane, garrage every car and truck, sink every ship and tugboat, build cariages and wagons and go back to horses. Oh yeah, and close down all the medical schools, Wall Street, NASA, NOAA, NAS, etc., etc.. AND The WEB, and television, and telephones, and … (the Post Office can be very efficient if they don’t have any competition and mailmen have to walk from house to house)… and Unions, NO MORE UNIONS, except for coal mines- coal miners need unions… oh there’s just so much to do, this is going to take a while.
    The world is simply too small and crowded.

  93. I hope, Willis, that in the spirit of proper publication, you are going to send your argument, further up this thread, to the journal as a “letter to the editor” or however they deal with these things. Publish – make it official!

  94. Phil. says:
    May 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm
    “The loss of thickness over the whole Arctic is ~0.6m over the last 5 years (Sea Ice Cover, D. Perovich, R. Kwok, W. Meier, S. Nghiem, J. Richter-Menge). In the summer that would be 1,800 m^3 and in winter 9,000 m^3 which seems to match the figure Willis read. So the value looks right!”
    The paper may be waiting for some photoshopped Poley Bear pictures. Since the number fudging is robust, they need to roll out these stout claims in the summer time. More dramatic impact.

  95. “The period of study, curiously, was 1994-2004”
    So to summarise other comments here, a study based on time frame and geography that just happens, more than any other, to support the hypothesis (did someone mention cherry-picking?) Cherry-picked observations then combined with assumption-laden computer models to deliberately blur the boundary between speculation and reality, increasing the criticism albedo. In any case, results showing a rise in sea level barely sufficient to drown an ant presented as significant to a scientifically illiterate and lazy media desperate to blow them out of proportion in order to support the ‘narrative’.
    Something tells me that when you have to resort to these kind of measures to support your hypothesis, you might want to take another look at the hypothesis.

  96. They’re saying: “If all the world’s floating ice melted it would add about 4 centimeters to sea levels.” However, I understand floating ice displaces the same volume as it does when it melts, so whence the sea level increase?

  97. I found it curious that the Reuters article (unlike all of the other ones that I looked at and which included a number of AGW topics) did not have a “comment” tab.

  98. “This study was funded by the UK National Centre for Earth Observation and the Philip Leverhulme Trust.”
    Further delving reveals in turn that the UKNCEO is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council – yet another Quango funded from my taxes , encouraging persons in second rate “universities ” to exercise their limited intelligence researching non problems.
    David Cameron has plenty of scope to cut out wasteful expenditure here.

  99. Veronica says:
    May 29, 2010 at 6:14 am
    I hope, Willis, that in the spirit of proper publication, you are going to send your argument, further up this thread, to the journal as a “letter to the editor” or however they deal with these things. Publish – make it official!
    ========
    But the paper Willis has addressed hasn’t been published, so there is no guarantee the version he reviewed will be the same as the published version, assuming it ever will be published.
    I don’t know the status of the paper, but if author Shepherd is in the process of revising it for publication, he might be interested in what Willis has found.
    His e-mail address is:
    http://www.see.leeds.ac.uk/people/a.shepherd

  100. Evidently there won´t be any lack of “toilet papers”in the near future, at least while there is a great need of them, before next Cancun´s triple X climate change scammers tropical jamboree.

  101. Somebody correct me if I am wrong but surely a fair percentage of the “ice loss”calculated by these so called “scientists” is frozen sea water, when this thaws it has no effect on sea level rise.

  102. RockyRoad: May 29, 2010 at 6:27 am
    They’re saying: “If all the world’s floating ice melted it would add about 4 centimeters to sea levels.” However, I understand floating ice displaces the same volume as it does when it melts, so whence the sea level increase?

    Surface-level sea water has a density of about 1.025 kg/liter, so 1kg of it will fit into a volume of about 976ml. A floating 1kg block of fresh-water ice will displace the same 976ml, but when it melts it will need a full 1000ml. If you do the ice-cube-in-a-glass experiment with salted (or sweetened) water, the water will spill over (a little) when the cube melts. This is just another example of a technically real effect being blown out of proportion, much like the catastrophic 0.007°C (per year) of warming we’ve had over the past 100 years or so. Ho hum.
    /dr.bill

  103. Willis, it was obvious,even before you sourced the paper, that the paper was discussing ALL floating ice ,not simply sea ice. Read the press release. Ice shelves have been going backwards in the Arctic and on the Antarctic Peninsula for a while now..and that is where the major volumes are found. As has been pointed out,pointing to a graph of extent and claiming it speaks for volume is not a good idea.

  104. Phil, that would be the loss of “modeled” thickness, would it not? Or are you referring to areas of the Arctic that have lost 24/7 ice cover? Which I believe is the primary modeled basis of thickness: the measurement of multi-year ice based on ice cover pixel loss and gain. I find it intriguing that some scientists measure thickness by counting 24/7 ice cover pixel loss and gain, in a multi-dynamical fluid system, believing that the former, pixal loss and gain, is more important than the latter. And then go on to assume, imply, or directly state that such loss or gain in this fluid system is somehow significantly catastrophic and point to man-made (at least it isn’t mothers’ fault for once) causes. So it seems to me that I am the one that figures in many different factors while you are the one-note urban cowboy, if I may paraphrase your ad hom words.
    However, I will elucidate my position so that you may avoid one-note assumptions of my thinking. When I refer to wind driven ice behavior, I am referring to the many different pressure systems (and their clouds) that come and go at both psuedo-random and oscillatory patterns. Working with or against that system are the psuedo-random and oscillatory patterns of Arctic ocean currents. And lastly, I have learned about and can factor in the two stable features: the topographical influence of land in the Arctic (instead of open ocean as in the Antarctic), and seasonal axial tilt causing solar ice-melting heating changes that are well established. So it seems to me that a proper description of my thinking would be along the lines of a right good danceable medley.

  105. There seems to be many interesting ideas floating around regarding this topic and not enough facts. (you can make up ideas — facts, not so much)
    ———————
    . . . the problem of having no preview . . . Phil @ 5:45 A.M.
    This sort of comment appears about once a week here.
    Why not use a word processor to compose, then review and edit? That won’t solve all of a writer’s problems, especially the sort mentioned by Phil, but it does help.

  106. Gneiss, your statement about the last three years showing more ice but that it is still consistent with a downward trend, should be sent by you to every statistician skilled in data analysis of psuedo-random AND oscillatory fluid systems. More than likely they will use it in their next seminar about statistical representation and interpretation do’s and don’ts.

  107. Wren
    May 29, 2010 at 7:01 am
    ..from the “School of Earth and Environment”?, is that science, poetry or what?
    I think, up there in the first world, there are many in need of industrial amounts of Castor Oil…wow!

  108. RockyRoad @6:27 A.M.
    The Reuters article (link at the top of this page) has statements such as:
    Floating ice adds very little to sea levels, because it does not add to the total weight of water already in the sea, but it does add a little because ice contains no salt and so dilutes the ocean as it melts, causing the sea to expand in volume.
    As sea water freezes the salt is lost and the ice can become salt free. You can search the web regarding these processes and the consequences, some of which have been discussed on WUWT previously.

  109. To file under science by press release is this little-known gem that is on-going:
    The Polar Bear Specialist Group (www.pbsg.npolar.no) had their last meeting in early July, 2009. A press release was issued at the conclusion (July 4) with much fanfare. Even more fanfare came two days later with the release of the meeting “Resolutions” (July 6). Many of us wait restlessly for the report. And waited.
    On March 11, 2010, they released the new status table and population reviews (assessment of each of 19 subpopulations) but still not the report which should contain the details of how the population assessments were done. All of the above are available freely from their website (as will the final report when and if it is ever released).
    It is now May 29, 2010 and the report on the PBSG 2009 meeting has still not been issued.

  110. Phil says “The loss of thickness over the whole Arctic is ~0.6m over the last 5 years (Sea Ice Cover, D. Perovich, R. Kwok, W. Meier, S. Nghiem, J. Richter-Menge). In the summer that would be 1,800 m^3 and in winter 9,000 m^3 which seems to match the figure Willis read. So the value looks right!”
    Phil, the figure “9000” might look right, but you are several orders of magnitude out with your units.
    The article quoted Km3 you calculated in m3.
    So according to you ice loss in km3 is 9000/1,000,0000 = 0.009Km3.
    i.e. about zero

  111. Looking at the graphs I don’t see a thing unusual. Everything is fine.

  112. I think it’s pretty safe to say that real world observations over the next few years will naturally debunk all of these garbage papers alongside its garbage science.
    You can only BS for so long before actual observation is so blatantly obvious to the point that it can no longer pass muster to even the most brainless of nitwits.
    Time is our friend.

  113. Phil. says:
    May 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm
    The loss of thickness over the whole Arctic is ~0.6m over the last 5 years (Sea Ice Cover, D. Perovich, R. Kwok, W. Meier, S. Nghiem, J. Richter-Menge). In the summer that would be 1,800 km^3 and in winter 9,000 km^3 which seems to match the figure Willis read. So the value looks right!
    _______________________________________________________________________
    So Phil, how does that tally with this Sea Ice Compaction Your stuff sure looks like the usual CAGW spin instead of real science.

    Really, take the published -0.6m change in winter thickness and pick your winter area from any of the extent sites and that’s the number you’re going to end up with.
    Regarding the Sea Ice Compaction that’s a model result that as I showed doesn’t agree with the satellite observations. Surprisingly it appears ‘whenever you hear the study was based on a “model” but it agrees with your prejudice your BS detector doesn’t goes off’!

  114. Don Keiller says:
    May 29, 2010 at 7:55 am
    Phil says “The loss of thickness over the whole Arctic is ~0.6m over the last 5 years (Sea Ice Cover, D. Perovich, R. Kwok, W. Meier, S. Nghiem, J. Richter-Menge). In the summer that would be 1,800 m^3 and in winter 9,000 m^3 which seems to match the figure Willis read. So the value looks right!”
    Phil, the figure “9000″ might look right, but you are several orders of magnitude out with your units.
    The article quoted Km3 you calculated in m3.
    So according to you ice loss in km3 is 9000/1,000,0000 = 0.009Km3.
    i.e. about zero

    As I posted afterwards there was a typo and the k was missing, for some reason that post didn’t make it past the moderator. So to clarify the correct version is:
    “In the summer that would be 1,800 km^3 and in winter 9,000 km^3”
    Willis realized that that was the case (0.6×10^-3 x 15×10^6 km^3).

  115. Pamela Gray says:
    May 29, 2010 at 7:20 am
    Phil, that would be the loss of “modeled” thickness, would it not?

    No, measured.
    Or are you referring to areas of the Arctic that have lost 24/7 ice cover?
    No, but that accounts for about 3% / decade in the winter.

  116. Brad says:
    May 29, 2010 at 3:38 am
    ‘Brit Hume asked “Where’s the oil?” Hey Brit, here’s the oil:’
    Hey Brad, Brit Hume hasn’t posted on this page. Is BigOil paying you to put up the video?

  117. A pause for examination of current poly-speak:
    Scientists fear… (hiding in laboratory caves)
    previously imagined… (where did that envelope get off to now?)
    much worse than we thought… (ya think?)
    faster than… (no, not the speeding bullet thing again!!)
    tipping point… (We’re taking the car keys away until you sober up)
    Catastrophic Sea Ice Loss… (Look at the globe, stupid. See…2 poles.)

  118. Pamela Gray writes,
    “Gneiss, your statement about the last three years showing more ice but that it is still consistent with a downward trend, should be sent by you to every statistician skilled in data analysis of psuedo-random AND oscillatory fluid systems. More than likely they will use it in their next seminar about statistical representation and interpretation do’s and don’ts.”
    I’m dense so please explain to me why every skilled statistician (are you one of them?) will want to use my statement in their seminars.
    You left out the middle part of my sentence, but here it is for reference.
    “The last three winters were higher than the three before that, but still well below the 1979-2000 average, and consistent with an overall downward trend.”
    To elaborate a bit on my reasoning … simple regression of maximum ice extent on year using just 1979-2006 data yields a significant downward trend. The 2008 and 2009 minima are both about one standard error from the predictions; nine other years in the series are farther from the line than that. Closeness to a trend based on previous years is what I meant by “consistent with the overall trend.”

  119. Good morning, all. I ran the numbers again this morning, a different way, and I came up with the same conclusion. They have assumed that the arctic ice is the same thickness everywhere, so that an area loss is a loss of full thickness ice. I re-ran the numbers assuming that the thickness is greatest up by the North Pole, and that it decreases to zero out at the edges.
    The difference is quite significant. Above I had estimated that the true figure would be around half of the 891 km^3 / year loss in the Arctic. My actual calculations, using a conical shape for the ice, give a 452 km^3 loss.
    This, of course, means that instead of a total global 742 km^3 loss, the loss would be only about 40% of that, 303 km^3. So this is a significant difference.
    It also highlights the ad-hoc nature of their calculations. Surely with five years of ICESAT data for the northern regions, we can do better than simply assuming a constant thickness ice pack, and using a guesstimated annual loss rather than seasonal losses …
    Sunshine today for the first time in a while, I’m off to ride my bicycle.

  120. Self-correction: in my post above, I wrote that
    “The 2008 and 2009 minima are both about one standard error from the predictions”
    but what I meant to write was
    “The 2008 and 2009 maxima are both about one standard error from the predictions”

  121. A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
    Mark Twain,

  122. Rocky Road,
    “If all the world’s floating ice melted it would add about 4 centimeters to sea levels.”
    I came across a study some time ago that said melting sea ice did indeed produce a very, very small increase in sea level. (Sorry I no longer have the source). It may amount to 4 centimetres if all the sea ice melted but, really, what are the chances that this will occur?

  123. Mari Warcwm says:
    May 29, 2010 at 1:34 am
    Does anyone else think that someone is deliberately orchestrating this kind of marketing for AGW? So many organisation have their snouts in the very large trough that a PR department could easily be affordable to support the collective delusion.
    Or am I becoming paranoid?
    No Marie you aren’t becoming paranoid. Gore has a very big PR player by the name of James Hoggan working for and with him.
    Google James Hoggan.
    He is the director of Gore’s Canadian “The Climate Project”, and runs desmogblog.com Mr. Watts has had several run ins with him.
    Having read his book, “Climate Cover-Up” I see his hand in a lot of the things going on in this realm of light vs. darkness, good vs. evil.
    Make no mistake this is a battle. If we lose this battle or slack in our efforts cap and trade and worse will be crammed down our throats. We cannot sleep or slumber, we must be ever vigilant.
    You might want to click my login name or go to http://tinyurl.com/29mywmo
    to see my comment about a column James Hoggan wrote in a Canadian on line newspaper. I’m sure Mr. Hoggan isn’t the only PR person on the side of Darth Gore and Darth Mann but he is certainly the most outspoken one.

  124. Mari Warcwm says:
    May 29, 2010 at 1:34 am
    Does anyone else think that someone is deliberately orchestrating this kind of marketing for AGW? So many organisation have their snouts in the very large trough that a PR department could easily be affordable to support the collective delusion.
    Or am I becoming paranoid?
    ________________________________________________________________________
    No you are not paranoid. Here is another Spinmeister. Stan Greenberg is married to Rosa Delauro and the pair have gone from pauper to multimillionaire along with other members of Congress. Guess who the wealthiest are?
    John Kerry (D) $900 Million
    Herb Kohl (D) $315 Million
    Jay Rockefeller (D) $275 Million
    Nancey Pelosi (D) $268 Million
    “Republican pollster Frank Luntz says “Stan Greenberg scares the hell out of me. He doesn’t just have a finger on the people’s pulse; he’s got an IV injected into it.” http://ilf.ndi.org/panelists#StanleyGreenberg
    “…He is also a strategic consultant to the Climate Center of the Natural Resources Defense Council on its multi-year campaign on global warming….” http://tpm.apperceptive.com/profile/Stan%20Greenberg
    “Stan Greenberg provides strategic advice and research for leaders, companies, campaigns, and NGOs trying to advance their issues in tumultuous times.” http://www.americanprogressaction.org/events/2010/05/inf/GreenbergStan.html
    Stanley Greenberg “ Greenberg’s work for private sector organizations – including major corporations, trade associations and public interest organizations – focuses on managing change and reform….Greenberg has conducted extensive research in Europe (particularly Great Britain, Germany and France), Central and South America (Argentina and Brazil), and Africa (South Africa). He specializes in research on globalization, international trade, corporate consolidation, technology and the Internet. For organizations, Greenberg has helped manage and frame a number of issues – including education, school financing, American identity, the economy, environmental regulation, international trade, managed care, biotechnology, copyrights, privacy and the Internet….
    Greenberg has advised a broad range of political campaigns, including those of President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore, Senators Chris Dodd, Joe Lieberman and Jeff Bingaman; Governor Jim Florio and gubernatorial candidate, Andy Young; former Vice-President Walter Mondale; and a number of candidates for the U.S. Congress. For many years, he served as principal polling advisor to the Democratic National Committee. ” http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Stanley_Greenberg
    There is a lot of money to be made with the global warming scam and a lot of power to be consolidated. “They” can afford the best and pay them very well.

  125. From Willis Eschenbach’s post on
    May 29, 2010 at 1:55 am
    “The problem with this is quite simple. They are using the average thickness of winter ice (2.75 metres, or about 9 feet) for their area loss calculations. But the Arctic is not losing winter ice. It’s losing summer ice, which in general is much thinner. And in particular, it’s losing area around the edges of the summer ice, which is the thinnest ice of all. So their calculations of the areal loss are overstated, likely by a factor of about 4 or more.”
    ======
    Perhaps I am misinterpreting your statement “the Arctic is not losing winter ice,” but NSIDC says the Arctic is losing ice in all months, which I presume means the trend.
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq.html#really_declining
    If there is a trend to less Arctic ice in summer, I don’t know why there wouldn’t be a trend to less in winter.

  126. Dave Andrews says:
    May 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm
    Rocky Road,
    “If all the world’s floating ice melted it would add about 4 centimeters to sea levels.”
    I came across a study some time ago that said melting sea ice did indeed produce a very, very small increase in sea level. (Sorry I no longer have the source). It may amount to 4 centimetres if all the sea ice melted but, really, what are the chances that this will occur?

    Thats correct but somewhat overstated. You would have to look back a few months ago on a post here at WUWT that addressed that very topic and I included figures within, seems it was a bit over 1 cm or the thickness of the soles of your shoes. (by the way, a search for “sole of your shoes” should lead you directly to it)

  127. Wren says:
    May 29, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    From Willis Eschenbach’s post on
    May 29, 2010 at 1:55 am

    “The problem with this is quite simple. They are using the average thickness of winter ice (2.75 metres, or about 9 feet) for their area loss calculations. But the Arctic is not losing winter ice. It’s losing summer ice, which in general is much thinner. And in particular, it’s losing area around the edges of the summer ice, which is the thinnest ice of all. So their calculations of the areal loss are overstated, likely by a factor of about 4 or more.”

    ======
    Perhaps I am misinterpreting your statement “the Arctic is not losing winter ice,” but NSIDC says the Arctic is losing ice in all months, which I presume means the trend.
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq.html#really_declining
    If there is a trend to less Arctic ice in summer, I don’t know why there wouldn’t be a trend to less in winter.

    Wren, you are correct. I should have said that the majority of the ice loss is in the summer months. The trend in September is about twice as large as the trend in February.

  128. Willis: “Thanks to subterranean channels underneath the ice…”
    Subterranean means “beneath the earth” — so your channels weren’t subterranean and underneath the ice unless they came via Greenland or Antarctica… perhaps the channels are subglacial? 😉
    Your excerpt indicates that thickness estimates for 5 ice shelves (at least) were obtained from “airborne ice penetrating radar measurements (Lythe and Vaughan, 2001) and satellite altimeter elevation observations (Bamber and Bindschadler, 1997).” Given the dates of those citations, how did they estimate volume in 2008? Or are those the items with the extraordinarily large error bars?

  129. Net global sea ice area has fallen by about 400,000 sq km in the last 10 years, with a larger loss in the arctic but an increase in the antarctic.
    http://i50.tinypic.com/35iackn.gif
    If you assume 1.5 meter thickness, as per Eschenbach, that accounts for 600 cubic km loss.
    However, in the arctic, the melt is not just around the edges but presumably across a large area of the ice, and also there is data claiming a loss of arctic ice thickness. [Sorry, no reference]
    If we assume an average arctic sea ice area of 12MM km (in round numbers, as per Willis Eschenbach’s polar bear family portrait-ice area disk graphic), then a 7420 cubic km ice loss, minus the 600, amounts to an average arctic ice thickness loss of

                     0.57 meters (1' 10") over 10 years,
                     or about 2 inches per year.  

    However the quote also speaks of loss in “ice shelves”. Antarctic ice shelves are reportedly thinning due to warming of the southern ocean. This ice loss is not reflected by sea ice area statistics. Anybody remember how some years ago a large Antarctic ice shelf suddenly and unexpectedly disintegrated in a matter of hours? Throwing in the amount of ice volume lost to ice shelf thinning and permanent ice shelf loss further reduces the above-estimated required loss of arctic sea ice thickness.
    In this context, is a 7420 km3 ice loss in 10 years really so hard to believe??
    So I agree with the moral of this tale.
    Perhaps the moral is what my Grandma said, which was, “Kids, you can believe half of what you read, a quarter of what you hear … and an eighth of what you say.”
    Yes, Grandma was wise. We can believe an eighth of what Mr. Eschenbach says!
    did I mention how much I dislike the current practice of “science by press release”?
    But you are completely OK with “science by blog”??
    Pardon me, but isn’t that holding two mutually-contradictory beliefs simultaneously???

  130. Jbar says:
    May 30, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Net global sea ice area has fallen by about 400,000 sq km in the last 10 years, with a larger loss in the arctic but an increase in the antarctic.
    http://i50.tinypic.com/35iackn.gif

    Using a random graph with no provenance is a poor way to start a discussion. In fact, global sea ice area is currently right at the “historical” average. See my Figure 3 in the head post, as well as the linked site. (“Historical” is in quotes because we only have satellite records since 1979, which was a cold period in the Arctic.)
    But even if you were correct, so what? 40,000 km^2 per year is a tenth of one percent change in the total ice area. You may think we should hyperventilate over that. I find it to be another example of the fact that climate is always changing. At any given moment the area of the sea ice is either increasing or decreasing. You seem to think that there is some preferred value that it should maintain, such that the current decrease is a bad thing. Me, not so much.

    did I mention how much I dislike the current practice of “science by press release”?

    But you are completely OK with “science by blog”??
    Pardon me, but isn’t that holding two mutually-contradictory beliefs simultaneously???

    My friend, if you can’t tell the difference between on the one hand, a scientific blog such as this one, with vibrant discussion, dispute, exchange of ideas, and back-and-forth debate, and on the other hand, a press release, I fear that what ails you is far beyond my “poor power to add or detract” …

    So I agree with the moral of this tale.

    Perhaps the moral is what my Grandma said, which was, “Kids, you can believe half of what you read, a quarter of what you hear … and an eighth of what you say.”

    Yes, Grandma was wise. We can believe an eighth of what Mr. Eschenbach says!

    Indeed, and we can believe an eighth of what you say as well. This is because belief in general is lethal. My advice is don’t blindly believe my numbers, or anyone’s numbers, or what anyone says. Eschew the belief, in me or anyone else, and go straight for the facts. Check the data. Look at the evidence.

  131. HaroldW says:
    May 30, 2010 at 8:01 am (Edit)

    Willis: “Thanks to subterranean channels underneath the ice…”

    Subterranean means “beneath the earth” — so your channels weren’t subterranean and underneath the ice unless they came via Greenland or Antarctica… perhaps the channels are subglacial? 😉

    I wondered when I wrote that if someone was going to bust me for it … busted.

    Your excerpt indicates that thickness estimates for 5 ice shelves (at least) were obtained from “airborne ice penetrating radar measurements (Lythe and Vaughan, 2001) and satellite altimeter elevation observations (Bamber and Bindschadler, 1997).” Given the dates of those citations, how did they estimate volume in 2008? Or are those the items with the extraordinarily large error bars?

    I don’t know the answer. Regarding the ice shelves, I’m investigating and wondering, not drawing any conclusions.

  132. Dear friend Willis Eschenbach,
    The point of your post seemed to be that a 7420 km3 ice loss in 10 years is a preposterously high number. However, clearly it is plausible and reasonable.
    The data in my plot was derived from the peaks in the same graph as your figure 3, and from the peaks in this http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.area.arctic.png graph. (If anybody can tell me a simple way to get the raw data for these source plots, that would be very helpful. I’ve been all over the NSIDC site and they seem to want to make it difficult.)
    I can see that any further discussion hinges on whether or not one is convinced that AGW theory is correct, which you clearly are not. Therefore rather than waste time on discussing the future of the ice sheets, we should all go to a post dealing more directly with AGW theory as a prerequisite.
    Besides, everyone else seems to have gone home!

  133. Jbar, you asked about NSIDC data files concerning sea ice. Best I could do with a little wandering round their website is a set of ASCII files which can be ftp’d:
    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/Dec/N_12_area.txt
    is an example which contains the historical records for sea ice in December in the Northern Hemisphere. Replace “Dec” with “Jan”, “Feb”, etc. and the “12” with the corresponding two-digit month index to get data for other months; and the “N_” with “S_” to get southern hemisphere data. I didn’t notice any consolidated files. More information about these files is available at
    I copy/pasted the 12 months’ files for the Northern Hemisphere, and with a few clicks in Calc, produced
    Note that these are monthly averages, so they will not reproduce e.g. which contains daily variation. Actually, there must be some other difference(s) as well, because the monthly average for the Sept 2007 minimum is given in the files as 2.78 million km^2, while the UIUC graph above just grazes 3 million km^2. For daily values, it seems that one must process images, e.g. those described by
    Best of luck with finding the source data for that graph.

  134. [mod — sorry, I ruined the links in previous post. Fixed, I think.]
    Jbar, you asked about NSIDC data files concerning sea ice. Best I could do with a little wandering round their website is a set of ASCII files which can be ftp’d:
    ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/Dec/N_12_area.txt
    is an example which contains the historical records for sea ice in December in the Northern Hemisphere. Replace “Dec” with “Jan”, “Feb”, etc. and the “12” with the corresponding two-digit month index to get data for other months; and the “N_” with “S_” to get southern hemisphere data. I didn’t notice any consolidated files. More information about these files is available at http://nsidc.org/data/docs/noaa/g02135_seaice_index/index.html .
    I copy/pasted the 12 months’ files for the Northern Hemisphere, and with a few clicks in Calc, produced this.
    Note that these are monthly averages, so they will not reproduce http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.area.arctic.png which contains daily variation. Actually, there must be some other difference(s) as well, because the monthly average for the Sept 2007 minimum is given in the files as 2.78 million km^2, while the UIUC graph above just grazes 3 million km^2. For daily values, it seems that one must process images, e.g. those described by http://nsidc.org/data/docs/daac/nsidc0079_bootstrap_seaice.gd.html
    Best of luck with finding the source data for that graph.

  135. Jbar says:
    May 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm (Edit)

    Dear friend Willis Eschenbach,
    The point of your post seemed to be that a 7420 km3 ice loss in 10 years is a preposterously high number. However, clearly it is plausible and reasonable.
    The data in my plot was derived from the peaks in the same graph as your figure 3, and from the peaks in this http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.area.arctic.png graph. (If anybody can tell me a simple way to get the raw data for these source plots, that would be very helpful. I’ve been all over the NSIDC site and they seem to want to make it difficult.)

    I’m not following this, Jbar. You had said that your graph showed global sea ice. But you now say that you got the information from a graph of the Arctic sea ice, from Cryosphere Today.
    If you go back to the Cryosphere Today page and look around, you’ll see a graph of global sea ice. It gives a very different result from your graph.

    I can see that any further discussion hinges on whether or not one is convinced that AGW theory is correct, which you clearly are not. Therefore rather than waste time on discussing the future of the ice sheets, we should all go to a post dealing more directly with AGW theory as a prerequisite.
    Besides, everyone else seems to have gone home!

    Huh? Whether or not we are losing huge amounts of sea ice is a factual question, one which is totally unrelated to my (or your) ideas about possible human influence on the science.
    Why would you want to not discuss a factual question about the size of a phenomenon in favor of a question about possible causes of the phenomenon? First we have to determine the facts, before we can discuss possible causes.
    Regarding sources, I’m in the same boat as you. What I do is digitize the graphs. Not the best, I know, but with care it can be done very accurately.

  136. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 30, 2010 at 11:14 pm
    Regarding sources, I’m in the same boat as you. What I do is digitize the graphs. Not the best, I know, but with care it can be done very accurately.

    The CT data is available (see below), date, anomaly, area, 1979-2008 mean
    Arctic area: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/timeseries.anom.1979-2008
    Antarctic area: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/timeseries.south.anom.1979-2008
    Global area: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/timeseries.global.anom.1979-2008

  137. Phil. May 31, 2010 at 7:00 am –
    Thanks! You’re a better web-detective than I am! Much appreciated.
    Any idea why the UIUC figures differ from the monthly averages stored at NSIDC (cf. my earlier post at 8:03 pm)? Obviously the NSIDC’s figures are monthly averages, vs. UIUC’s daily values — but NSIDC’s averages are definitely not equal to the average of the UIUC numbers.
    I don’t think it makes much difference in the end — both show quite similar trends — but as each poster has his/her preferred data set, I’d like to be able to translate from one to another.

  138. Outstanding, Phil, that’s a superb find. Many thanks. I’ve looked all over the Cryosphere Today page for that data and never been able to find it.
    All the best,
    w.

  139. HaroldW says:
    May 31, 2010 at 10:44 am
    Phil. May 31, 2010 at 7:00 am –
    Thanks! You’re a better web-detective than I am! Much appreciated.
    Any idea why the UIUC figures differ from the monthly averages stored at NSIDC (cf. my earlier post at 8:03 pm)? Obviously the NSIDC’s figures are monthly averages, vs. UIUC’s daily values — but NSIDC’s averages are definitely not equal to the average of the UIUC numbers.
    I don’t think it makes much difference in the end — both show quite similar trends — but as each poster has his/her preferred data set, I’d like to be able to translate from one to another.

    CT data is ice area not extent, extent will always be greater than area, closest in winter.

  140. Phil. says:
    May 31, 2010 at 7:49 pm
    CT data is ice area not extent, extent will always be greater than area, closest in winter.

    Phil, thanks for the reply, but I don’t think that’s it. The NSIDC monthly files contain columns for both extent and area, and I was comparing the area column to the CT data. For example, Sept 2007 monthly averages for the Arctic (from NSIDC file ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135/Sep/N_09_area.txt ) were: extent 4.3 MM km^2; area 2.78 MM km^2.
    The CT data ( http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/timeseries.anom.1979-2008 ) averages 3.02 MM km^2. [I might be off by a day or two in figuring which set of 30 days to average, but this would lead at most to an error of ~0.01 MM km^2.]
    Hunting for more detail, I found that NSIDC defines their area calculation precisely at http://nsidc.org/data/smmr_ssmi_ancillary/area_extent.html . They use all pixels with an ice concentration of 15% or higher, multiply the area of each such pixel by the concentration in order to get ice area. They mention that their area does not include the “polar hole” above latitude 87.2 degrees, which represents around 0.31 MM km^2. [The polar hole changed in 1987 when they switched from SMMR to SSM/I; the 0.31 MM km^2 figure applies for July 1987 to present.] They describe two algorithms (“bootstrap” and “NASA team”) — the monthly averages cited above apparently derive from the “NASA team” algorithm. That same web page points to daily archives of Arctic sea ice area: “NASA team” at ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/pub/DATASETS/seaice/polar-stereo/trends-climatologies/ice-extent/nasateam/gsfc.nasateam.daily.area.1978-2007.n and “bootstrap” at ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/pub/DATASETS/seaice/polar-stereo/trends-climatologies/ice-extent/bootstrap/gsfc.bootstrap.daily.area.1978-2006.n
    Unfortunately, adding 0.31 MM km^2 to the values in either file does not reproduce the CT sequence. So CT must have a slightly different calculation of sea ice area, which I’ve been unable to locate on their website. Since you managed to find the daily area values, I was hoping you also knew where they described their calculation of area.
    By the way, NSIDC discusses the pros and cons of the two algorithms at http://nsidc.org/data/seaice/faq.html#2 , which has links to details of how the concentrations are derived from measurements.

  141. “”” Using the data of (Cook and Vaughan, 2009), we delimited the area of five Antarctic ice shelves (Table 1), each on four separate occasions. Their combined area reduced from 33,416 km2 in the mid 1980’s to 14,098 km2 in the late 2000’s. “””
    Wow! what astounding information. So we know the total area of five shelves (well delimited of course) to five significant digits; with no error bands; but we only know when that was so to within about 5 years ; say 1982 1/2 to 1987 1/2; and then that changed to less than half as much still good to five digits; but we don’t know when that was either to better than from 2005 to 2010.
    So who was it said that Heisenberg’s principle doesn’t apply to macro things ? But perhaps it depends on what your definition of delimited is; or why delimiting makes a difference; and is it any different or de-differentiated from measured or calculated ?
    I need a more up to date gobbledegook dictionary.

  142. “”” wayne says:
    May 29, 2010 at 10:18 pm
    Dave Andrews says:
    May 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm
    Rocky Road,
    “If all the world’s floating ice melted it would add about 4 centimeters to sea levels.”
    I came across a study some time ago that said melting sea ice did indeed produce a very, very small increase in sea level. (Sorry I no longer have the source). It may amount to 4 centimetres if all the sea ice melted but, really, what are the chances that this will occur? “””
    So how would that work ? The sea ice is fresh water; perhaps with included brine pockets. So it shrinks when it melts ( max FWD at 4 deg C); then it soaks up the salt from the brines and from the ocean and becomes even denser than just fresh water would be.
    And then there’s that 80 cal per gm of Latent heat of freezing; which presumably would mostly come out of the ocean water that melted most of the ice; so that cools a whole lot of previously warmed sea water, which then should shrink.
    The 2006 satellite results said the arctic ocen is falling 2 mm per year; well that was from about 1996 to 2006 when the ice was generally shrinking; so net melting.
    But then barefoot girl didn’t seem too happy with the idea that most of that heat comes out of the ocean.
    If she is right, and it all comes either from the air or the sun (maybe it melts before the sea temperature gets up to zero deg C.), then of course that shrinkage wouldn’t happen.
    But four cm rise seems to me to be an astronomical sea level rise from melting all the floating sea ice.

  143. “”” dr.bill says:
    May 29, 2010 at 7:17 am
    RockyRoad: May 29, 2010 at 6:27 am
    They’re saying: “If all the world’s floating ice melted it would add about 4 centimeters to sea levels.” However, I understand floating ice displaces the same volume as it does when it melts, so whence the sea level increase?
    Surface-level sea water has a density of about 1.025 kg/liter, so 1kg of it will fit into a volume of about 976ml. A floating 1kg block of fresh-water ice will displace the same 976ml, but when it melts it will need a full 1000ml. If you do the ice-cube-in-a-glass experiment with salted (or sweetened) water, the water will spill over (a little) when the cube melts. This is just another example of a technically real effect being blown out of proportion, much like the catastrophic 0.007°C (per year) of warming we’ve had over the past 100 years or so. Ho hum.
    /dr.bill “””
    But why would the melted freshwater ice remain fresh after it melts ? Any occluded brine pockets, which contain much of the salt that was expelled from the sea water when it froze; will be taken up by that water as it melts, and then mixture with the salty sea water; which itself should be saltier than normal by virtue of the extra salt that was rejected by the ice as it formed; should restore the original condition.
    I suspect the actual change is a whole lot less than that 0.025 density change suggests. As the ice melted at the interface; resalinization of the newly melted fresh water, would likely keep pace with the melt rate, so I doubt that one would see much density difference due to salinity difference.
    The whole process goes back and forth each year as the summer melt progresses followed by the fall/winter refreeze.

  144. Willis-
    Global annual min/ max is taken from Cryosphere’s global sea ice area plot, digitization as you say.
    Arctic min/max is taken from the plot I linked.
    Remember, I ONLY plotted the annual minima and maxima, so my plots won’t look like CTs.
    There was no point in continuing with my thread because it would have concerned forecasting, which depends on whether or not one thinks there is AGW or something else going on.

  145. Harold W and Phil –
    AWESOME GUYS!!!
    Looks like I have some work to do!
    Monthly data is GREAT, with or without slicing and dicing.

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