The Ice Who Came In From The Cold

Guest post by Willis Eschenbach

A few days ago, Steve Goddard put up a post called “Does PIOMAS Verify?” In it, he compared the PIOMAS computer model estimate of the Arctic ice volume with the SIDADS satellite measured Arctic ice area. He noted that from 2007 on, the two datasets diverge.

Intrigued by this, I decided to compare the PIOMAS ice volume dataset with the Cryosphere Today (CT) Arctic ice area dataset.  Here is that data:

Figure 1. Arctic ice area (red line) from Cryosphere Today. Black line is a 6 year Gaussian average.

When I compared the two datasets, I expected to find something curious happening with the PIOMASS dataset. Instead, I found a puzzle regarding the CT dataset.

I compared the CT area dataset with the PIOMAS dataset, and I found the same thing that Steve Goddard had found. The datasets diverge at about 2007. So I took a hard look at the two datasets. Instead of an problem with the PIOMAS volume dataset, I found the CT area dataset contained something odd. Here is a plot of the CT daily data with the daily average variations removed:

Figure 2. Cryosphere Today daily ice area anomaly. Average daily variations have been removed.

The oddity about the data is what happens after 2007. Suddenly, there is a strong annual signal. I have put in vertical black lines to highlight this signal. The vertical lines show the end of September of each year. Before 2007, there is only a small variation in the data, and it does not have an annual signal. After 2007, the variation gets large, and there is a clear annual aspect to the signal. The area in September (the time of minimum ice) is smaller than we would expect. And the area in March (the time of maximum ice) is larger than we would expect.

I considered this for a while, and could only come to the conclusion that there was some kind of error in the CT dataset. So I decided to look at another dataset, the NOAA SIDADS dataset.

Again, I removed the monthly signal, leaving only the anomaly. Here is that result:

Figure 3. SIDADS monthly ice area anomaly. Monthly variations have been removed.

Again we see the same oddity after the start of 2007, with a large annual variation where none existed before 2007. In the SIDADS dataset the variation is even more pronounced than in the CT data.

So that is the puzzle. What has changed? Are they using a new satellite? If so, has the changeover been done properly? Since the smallest of the data has gotten smaller and the largest of the data has gotten larger, is the average data still valid? Just what the heck are we looking at here?

Despite searching, I have not been able to find the answer to this question. However, I have great faith that the assembled masses of the WUWT readership will find it very quickly. (And then some of the readers will likely tell me that this shows I am a layman and a fool, and that I should have been able to find the answer easily on my own … so sue me.)

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187 thoughts on “The Ice Who Came In From The Cold

  1. I think it may be real – maybe it’s “aftershocks” of the 2007 melt? Maybe it’s always like that when the Arctic is at the end of a warm phase? Unfortunately we don’t have good enough data from the 1940s to tell.

    Have a look at this recent post on SST by Bob Tisdale:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/05/april-2010-sst-anomaly-update.html
    Arctic Sea SST shows a similar pattern, with strong fluctuations over the last 3 years – but note the questions in the comments about which area they use to compute that SST anomaly.

  2. Is this what the future of Arctic looks like, a step change, summer of no ice and winter of a more stable amount of ice, though still declining, just at a far slower rate.

  3. Increasing seasonal variance, particularly the sharp negative anomaly at maximum melt in September, is (unfortunately) consistent with the notion of progress towards an ice-free Arctic in the summer. If that point were, ever, actually reached, what you’d see is a massive negative anomaly (equivalent to zero ice area/extent) in September, but really very little change in the March/April anomaly. I don’t think even the most ardent warmist is predicting an ice free winter. New ice currently forms each winter all the way down to the Baltic sea, and we’d expect that to continue. But if an increasing proportion of the ice within the main Arctic area is, in fact, thin new ice, that would be expected to melt each summer and reform each winter, then surely this is exactly the pattern you’d expect to see?

  4. Same pattern with AMSR-E.
    My fraud dectectors don’t find anything.
    I think there’s a good chance it’s a direct effect of the new low magnetic activity sun. Happened about the right time didn’t it?

  5. To me it looks like the instruments used in the satellites are being more fine tuned and see the ice extent better than before. What is considered as ice at the edges anyway? Is slush the same as ice and is that picked up as ice by the satellites?

    /Carl

  6. Nigel Harris,

    I agree. It is exactly the pattern that we would expect to see. 2007 changed things. It was, indeed, a tipping point (and I know how much that term is loved here. :)). I am one of those alarmists who think that the Arctic will effectively be ice free at the end of the melt period very soon. My specific guess is 2014.

  7. After following this map for about 5 years I have no doubts whatsoever that there is a consistent 5 year significant cooling anomaly for most of South America (specifically Paraguay, Southern and central Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia. Does no appear to affect sea temps anomaly land only. maybe Meteosul/Watts could comment
    http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp8.html

  8. One explanation of the pattern in the last 3 years could be, that Winter ice is a current and Sepetember ice a lagging indicator.

    Winter ice is depending on current parameters, especially temperature.

    September ice depends a lot on what is left from previous years, particularly the volume.

    So, if the overall conditions indicate a turning point to the upside, Winter ice turns up instantly, while September ice still battles with historical leftover.

  9. Phil Clarke says:
    June 1, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Pop over to Rabett Run.

    Wouldn’t go there if you paid me. First, he hides behind an alias like a common criminal. Second, he can’t say five words without abusing me, or whoever happens to disagree with him at the moment. I have no use for the man. If you want to pop over there, be my guest, don’t let me discourage you. Me, I prefer to deal with people who are polite and don’t hide their identity.

  10. Nigel Harris says:
    June 1, 2010 at 1:58 am (Edit)

    Increasing seasonal variance, particularly the sharp negative anomaly at maximum melt in September, is (unfortunately) consistent with the notion of progress towards an ice-free Arctic in the summer.

    Possible, I suppose … but why would that pattern not appear for 25 years, even though the ice cover was reducing, and then suddenly appear? And why would it appear just when the average area started to rise?

    And how would we know that it is “consistent with” progress towards an ice-free summer? What theory predicts that? This is the kind of hindcasting that drives me spare. No one (as far as I know) predicted that pattern … but now that it is happening, suddenly it is “consistent with” AGW?

  11. cark1 says:
    June 1, 2010 at 2:13 am

    To me it looks like the instruments used in the satellites are being more fine tuned and see the ice extent better than before. What is considered as ice at the edges anyway? Is slush the same as ice and is that picked up as ice by the satellites?

    From memory, the satellites count as “ice-covered” all gridcells with more than 15% ice.

  12. I’m Polite!

    Geology is my area, so I am probably not even close to asking the right question here BUT: is it possible the data is being subjected to some kind of smoothing?

    I, for one, predict a good, heavy, Thick ice by 2014.

  13. David Gould says:
    June 1, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Nigel Harris,

    I agree. It is exactly the pattern that we would expect to see. 2007 changed things. It was, indeed, a tipping point (and I know how much that term is loved here. :)). I am one of those alarmists who think that the Arctic will effectively be ice free at the end of the melt period very soon. My specific guess is 2014.

    Care to put some money on that prediction? I’m a betting man … a hundred bucks says it won’t go below a million square km of ice by 2014?

    And why is it “the pattern that we would expect to see”? Do you know of anyone who predicted it before 2007, anyone who foresaw that we would see a) increasing ice area, combined with b) greatly increased winter ice, and c) greatly reduced summer ice? This is historical revisionism.

    Me, I think this new pattern reflects a change in satellites, or a change in procedures, or something like that. But hey, I’ve been wrong before …

  14. Possibly, espen, but the graph that Bob shows for the Arctic doesn’t show anything like the pattern we see in Figure 3. In Figure 3, there is only small variation with no annual pattern until 2007, and large annual variation after that. I don’t see that pattern in the graphic Bob shows:


    The variations after 2007 in this dataset are not annual, and only one of them is unusually large.

  15. Manfred says:
    June 1, 2010 at 2:32 am (Edit)

    One explanation of the pattern in the last 3 years could be, that Winter ice is a current and Sepetember ice a lagging indicator.

    Winter ice is depending on current parameters, especially temperature.

    September ice depends a lot on what is left from previous years, particularly the volume.

    So, if the overall conditions indicate a turning point to the upside, Winter ice turns up instantly, while September ice still battles with historical leftover.

    Possible, but there was an slight upturn around 1984, and we didn’t see that pattern.

  16. Willis Eschenbach,

    No, I know of no specific prediction of this. However, ice cover is a two-dimensional model. Thus, if we have strong melting in the melt period, we would still expect the ice to recover on the surface during winter, and to roughly the same extent as usual – in other words, we would see a strong up and down signal, with more variance between the top and the bottom.

    You are correct that there would be no expectation for a higher rebound in winter. That is more likely to be noise over the last couple of years.

    As to a bet, $100 sounds fine. I am assuming that you are talking in US dollars.

    And which dataset do you want to use? They are all somewhat different in the values that they give, as they all have slightly different procedures. These guys http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm are fine with me. We should wait for corrections, though. I am not sure how long they take, but perhaps the data as presented on that site on 1 November 2014, my time (Australian time)?

  17. Willis Eschenbach asked:

    “No one (as far as I know) predicted that pattern … but now that it is happening, suddenly it is “consistent with” AGW?”

    This pattern of behaviour of the Arctic ice was indeed predicted by the models at least four years ago, and prior to the 2007 melt:

    “Sea ice evolution over the 20th and 21st centuries as simulated by current AOGCMs” Olivier Arzel, , Thierry Fichefet and Hugues Goosse, Ocean Modelling
    Volume 12, Issues 3-4, 2006, Pages 401-415

    From the abstract:

    “We show that the amplitude of the seasonal cycle of sea ice extent increases in both hemispheres in a warming climate, with a larger magnitude in the Northern Hemisphere. Furthermore, it appears that the seasonal cycle of ice extent is more affected than the one of ice volume.”

  18. Does something similar repeat in the Antarctic ice extent?
    If it does then maybe it is satellite, instrumental or processing based.
    If not then it may be inherent in the present behaviour of the Arctic ice.

  19. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Possible, I suppose … but why would that pattern not appear for 25 years, even though the ice cover was reducing, and then suddenly appear? And why would it appear just when the average area started to rise?

    If some people are right about reaching a tipping point (about which I am, genuinely, sceptical), then unfortunately this is what you’d expect to see. Maximum winter ice extent would stay high, but minimum summer extent would start to dramatically decrease. And the onset would be quite sudden – that’s what “tipping point” means, of course. All it would take is one year with unusually high level of summer ice loss – whether it was caused by air temperatures, sea temperatures, wind patterns, ice shear, or hyperactive polar bears. From then on, if changing Arctic climatic conditions have been gradually making it harder for ice to both reform and build enough thickness not to melt away the next summer, you’d get this effect.

    The increase in winter ice extent is, indeed, something that nobody predicted. But at the risk of annoying you further with my hindcasting, that also isn’t too ridiculous. If 2006-07 was a particularly “bad” year for Arctic ice formation, which triggered a tipping point in summer ice extent, then unless you’re an extremist “death spiral” type, you might expect some recovery in winter ice extent simply because we’re no longer in such a “bad” state (cooler temps, different wind patterns, whatever).

    As a genuine sceptic, I have a completely open mind as to where it is likely to go from here. Certainly, for anyone sticking their neck out for an ice-free summer in 2014, the current pattern would be supportive. But the fact that winter extent is holding up and even increasing suggests, maybe, this is only a temporary situation, and the ice will “tip” back into the previous pattern again. As other posters have pointed out, our detailed history of ice extent is too short to know whether, and how frequently, these sorts of events may have happened in the past, and, if so, how long they typically last for.

  20. I seem to remember an article here pertaining to the 2007 Arctic melt, and how it was caused by not rising temperature, but rather a shifted/unusual wind pattern which blew the ice out into warmer waters which in turn melted the ice.

    Could it be that what we’re seeing in the graph is not as a result of large temperature fluctuations, but rather, large swings in Arctic wind patterns which might be caused the current extended solar minimum? Just a thought.

    Also, looking at the historical Arctic temperature charts at I see no particularly unusual changes in the temperature patterns – apart from 2006 perhaps which shows some pretty wild readings at the beginning of that year (same with 1976 I notice too).

  21. Willis:

    and notice that in some years, the S. Hem. mirrors the N. Hem., but in other years it is in sympathy.
    The Antarctic Sea Ice can be just as volatile in range as is the Arctic.

    The Antarctic Sea Ice Area has a much greater range (diurnal I want to call it) than the Arctic.
    So, though both have year-to-year variations of roughly the same magnitude, it looks much worse with the Arctic because the range is smaller.
    I am willing to bet that, if there were another 5 years data prior to 1979, you’d see the same thing happening to the Antarctic.

  22. Willis,
    The pattern has definately changed. So, if the data itself is correct then you have to look outside the monitoring to find what changed.
    http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=12455
    This looks at ocean current changes and salinity changes.
    The salinity salt pattern have definately effected the evaporation cycle and made less cloud cover in the equatorial areas. These patterns seem to be changing as well. Before 1972, oceans around this planet had a constant salt content that was the same.
    Our sun has changed it’s sunspot pattern around that time as well, not much solar flaring as well.
    Another thing is that our species CAPTURES and holds water when no other species had in the past and this is TRILLIONS of gallons a day.

  23. Stephan says:
    June 1, 2010 at 2:30 am
    It’s too cold here in Brazil, the cold made it to the southern Amazon. This is very rare and it has happened three times this year. Brazilian station in the Antarctic Peninsula was very cold in the last three years http://antartica.cptec.inpe.br/ , Ferraz Climatology (. Xls)

  24. Perhaps this is what some are fervently wishing for:

    Now, that is faster than anyone could possibly imagine.
    Now you see it, now you don’t.
    Run for it!

  25. Is there a similar pattern for the Antarctic ice cover? Currently, the ice cover anomaly for this date (3st May) is the highest ever for the last 30 years. http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/ice_ext_s.png with the total ice cover for both caps being at the 30 year average. Is this due to the migration of the planet’s energy by means of changing wind currents and the ocean conveyors?

  26. DavidS says:
    June 1, 2010 at 3:52 am

    OMG, the Aliens just stole our Ice Cap. Independence Day.

  27. rbateman says: (June 1, 2010 at 4:09 am) So, though both have year-to-year variations of roughly the same magnitude, it looks much worse with the Arctic because the range is smaller.

    Will be very interested in responses to that thought.

  28. Perhaps the variation would look less dramatic if we considered the total areas rather than the area anomalies. Has anyone thought of rereading Hurst’s papers and considering whether what Mandelbrot calls the Noah and the Joseph effects apply to Arctic ice coverage?

  29. For the fourth time cold arrives in amazonia. Usually there are fewer episodes per year lasting 1-2 days. This “chill” lasted five days.

  30. paulo arruda says:
    June 1, 2010 at 4:15 am

    The southern hemisphere has been experiencing colder winters for the last 3 years, as has the northern hemi. This is MY observation and cannot base it on statistics. However it seems to be lagging behind the solar activity or inactivity, as is expected of a planet with a large thermal inertia.

  31. I am so very sorry Willis for using nom de blog, aargh.

    Comparing Arctic and Antartic from a dumb arse Pirate point of view has a basic inconsistency. The Artic is a floating Ice cube and the Antartic is actually a continent covered by Ice.

    Two different baselines. The Artic actually rotates, the Antarctic don’t.

    The Antarctic has perma freeze, at ground level the Arctic is effected beneath by non solid ie Ocean. It can melt in three dimensions,.

    yer I know back in the box Jack

    Apples and Oranges. Continent and an Ice cube maintained by gravitational and coriollis forces.

    Look down not up.

  32. DavidS
    …There is…It’s King Bore’s New Ice Clothes…BTW Storlien’s snowcover DID make
    it into its 10th consecutive month…Sep 29 until today, June 1 [13 cm =5 inches] Has not happened since
    at least 1951… Katterjåkk’s 30something cm disappeared from May 30 until May 31…
    A local Chinook…???

  33. Didn’t a AMSR fail in about 2007 when some period of ice measurements were lost? Or was that 2008?

  34. Me I would use Antarctica for Ice Measurement, as a zero point.

    Hole of a Place, Rum and Beer freeze, doxies without undies can’t be found there.

    A port 5 months of the year. Only the maddest of tourists go there, warmers.

  35. I am not surprised by the an increased seasonal cycle. If you have less sea ice in summer and normal in winter, then the seasonal cycle would be amplified. Even in a warming world, temperatures in winter will remain cold enough for ice to reform in winter. And in fact, you tend to have rapid ice formation during low summer ice years since you have a rapid exchange of heat between the open water and the atmosphere as air temperatures drop below freezing, causing an initial formation of thin, grease ice (that would show up in the ice extent). Thus, the winter extent is not showing all that much change (but the ice thickness might be and the few years of ICESat data did show the winter thickness decreasing).

    The Arctic is heading towards a seasonal ice cover such as what is observed in the Antarctic, thus a larger seasonal cycle will emerge.

  36. I had been noticing this annual extent pattern in another context — strong winter/spring #s followed by low summer #s. I have thought of two explanations: First, soot. The soot would not affect winter/early spring #s because there are no sun’s rays to work its effect. However, in the summer, the rays would lead to a quicker melt. The other option: Low volume/low thickness. I am not convinced of the validity of the #s in this second option, but it is a possibility.

  37. Tom P says:
    June 1, 2010 at 3:11 am
    [–snip–]
    Volume 12, Issues 3-4, 2006, Pages 401-415
    From the abstract:
    “We show that the amplitude of the seasonal cycle of sea ice extent increases in both hemispheres in a warming climate, with a larger magnitude in the Northern Hemisphere. Furthermore, it appears that the seasonal cycle of ice extent is more affected than the one of ice volume.”

    *
    *
    All of that would be true for one reason, and one reason only: There is more land mass in the northern hemisphere, and as a result of the nominal heating of that land mass by the sun, the Arctic areas would be more affected as a result.

    Additionally, and which isn’t even mentioned —much less broached— is the fact of the oceanic currents, themselves which are products of the Earth’s rotation.

  38. The signal you’re seeing is due to delayed re-freezing in 2007/2008/2009.

    In each of these years, the unprecedentedly low summer ice minima mean that open water remains for longer. Thus, the anomaly relative to long-term trends is actually highest in October, well after the minimum itself – in previous years the re-freeze is well under way by this point, whereas in 2007/2008/2009 the re-freeze was only just starting.

    Thus, for these three years, not only is the overall minimum lower each summer, but the overall *shape* of the curve is different – remaining low longer into the autumn.

  39. And then —of course— there’s been all that logging going on in Siberia …

    Certainly that would raise the heat level, wood it not?

  40. Shouldn’t the anomaly be zero when the ice extent was the same as some average (1979-2000, 1972-2008, whatever) ?

    e.g.:

    Figures 2 and 3, above, should be ± with respect to some zero anomaly.

  41. Isn’t the most likely cause a change in instrumentality or recording procedures? — Always review the source, before trying to draw conclusions.

    And who can do this best? A complete audit should be in order.

  42. 899 says:
    June 1, 2010 at 5:07 am
    Yahoo!
    Someone has finally clued into Planetary Mechanics!
    ROTATION

  43. Again, I removed the monthly signal, leaving only the anomaly.

    Should “monthly” be “daily” as for the preceding graph?

  44. Is It possible that we are looking at variations in NEW ICE (thin) vs. MATURE ICE (thick) melt rates? If so, I would expect to see the variations damp out over time.

    Also, Stephen Wilde may have some thoughts related to hemispheric jet stream winds, the AO and SOI, effects on ice movement and formation rates.

    Just thoughts.

  45. DavidS says:
    June 1, 2010 at 3:52 am
    The alarmists were right!

    PS. In my browser the image is showing no ice at all.
    *
    *
    Yeah, amazing that, eh? Yet just south of the pole there’s ice …

    Go figure.

  46. Increased winter ice extent with falling summer extent just doesn’t make physical sense. If there is increased open water area in the summer months, then solar heat accumulation in the Arctic Ocean would increase, and so tend to delay the formation of winter ice, not promote it. More likely there is some change in how the data is being processed that causes an increase in the reported seasonal variation.

  47. 899 says:
    June 1, 2010 at 3:12 am

    So Willis, what was the Sun doing in 2007?
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Here is the Cycle 23 graph. http://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov/weekly/3Page35.pdf

    Cycle 23 which was smaller than Cycle 22, peaked in the year 2000 and had hit minimum in 2007. The peak was between 125 & 150 for about two years & spiked to 175.

    The earth’s geomagnetic field at the north pole has dropped too and the magnetic pole has wandered.

    The Polar field strength goes “below average” as of year 2000
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC24.htm

    Multiple Rifts In Earth’s Magnetic Shield

    Solar geomagnetic activity is at an all time low

    “New Paper”: solar magnetic variation initiates interglacials

    The reason I mention the magnetic fields is because of the interaction with cosmic rays.
    Graph of cosmic ray count from 1965

    For those new to WUWT the theory of cosmic rays/clouds/climate:
    Did cosmic rays cause ice ages?

  48. J. D. Lindskog says:
    June 1, 2010 at 5:26 am
    Is It possible that we are looking at variations in NEW ICE (thin) vs. MATURE ICE (thick) melt rates? If so, I would expect to see the variations damp out over time.

    Well, look at the last three years of the top chart above. The tops are basically level but the bottoms are increasing year to year. There’s your dampening in action! If you didn’t already realize that, then you have a pretty good physical sense.

  49. paulo arruda says:
    June 1, 2010 at 4:31 am

    For the fourth time cold arrives in Amazonia. Usually there are fewer episodes per year lasting 1-2 days. This “chill” lasted five days.
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Paulo, did you guys steal our arctic ice to cool off the Amazon? Tisk, tisk.

  50. Maybe this is what the sea ice area looks like at the beginning of a trend toward increase.

    The ceiling moves up before the floor follows.

    That’s just a NSWAS I made up. But it has as much support as anything I have read in these comments.

  51. Though some disagree with the claim that the Sun did it, because the “effect” of solar variation is too small, any variation can have an effect over time if it is the biggest kid on the block. SC21 – SC23 were of sufficient variation and the variation was adequately cumulative to cause the variation in climate and polar ice that we have seen of late in this little piece of rock we call home. The very little time that we have tracked solar variation, a’la Sunspot’s and Radio Flux and Ap Index, etc., etc., is indeed miniscule. During that time, what precisely has happened to Mother Earth? She was in and came out of a mini-iceage. She got warmer. And warmer. And warmer.

    How? TBD- Everyone has a “special” how-it-happened opinion. Bottom line: We need to wait and see. Few, if any of us will be around when a real scientist gets a real Knoble Prize for the real discovery I’m sure.

    If we’re taking another dip (or NOT) in global temperature readings –as in another Little Ice Age– we’ll probably know something for sure in about 200 years. In the mean time, hold on to your seats sports fans, you’re going to see everything from American droughts to European flooding to Asian blizzards and African cyclones and Amazon mega-gushers and mountain glacier growths and retreats, and every variation thereof, like you’ve never seen before. Well… you will if you care to watch. It’s a real slow and boreing process.

    PS: The signal variation is curious indeed.

  52. This illustration is the best way to visualise the “new” seasonal signal.

    Here you have the yearly melt curves for 2007/8/9 and also the average across the historical record. The anomaly is the *difference* between the average and the actual yearly data.

    Check out 2007, moving from September into October. The low ice extent leads to increased heat absorption by the open ocean and a delay in the re-freeze. Thus, for 2007 the extent at the start of October was almost the same as at the start of September. In contrast, when you look at the average data, there is usually substantial re-freezing by the start of October. Thus, the *anomaly* increases throughout September and peaks in early October, well after the actual ice minimum.

    This same phenomenon (deleyed re-freeze) occurred in 2008 and 2009 – you can measure it yourself from the graph if you want and see how the slower re-freeze leads to an increase in the anomaly. It will happen on any year where the summer minimum is substantially below average, for well-understood physical reasons. It just so happens that in the Cryosphere today data set, this only applies to the last three years – because these were the three lowest years on record for summer ice!

  53. Malaga View says:
    June 1, 2010 at 4:41 am
    tarpon says:
    June 1, 2010 at 5:21 am

    “Isn’t the most likely cause a change in instrumentality or recording procedures? — Always review the source, before trying to draw conclusions.

    And who can do this best? A complete audit should be in order.”
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Magic Java had already answered your question. Yes there was an instrument change. A channel failed and now is “synthetically created” that is they make up the data.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    http://magicjava.blogspot.com/2010/04/three-valued-logic-and-irreproducible_29.html

    “Example: Aqua Satellite Channel 4 Virus
    It helps to have an example, so we’ll be using channel 4 of the AMSU on the Aqua satellite. Channel 4 failed completely around December, 2007. In response to this, NASA created a new algorithm and has used it to synthetically create channel 4 data from October 1st, 2007 onward.”

  54. Interesting… 2014, 2012, 2029, 2100. Those dates don’t matter. Arctic sea ice might disappear in the summer, but not anytime soon, and it wouldn’t affect sea levels enough that anyone would notice. I think the polar bears will do OK too.

    Cryosphere is a strange word. I believe there has only been one time when the earth was even close to being a sphere covered with ice, thankfully that was way back in the PreCambrian.
    The ice is topologically no more than the equivalent of a couple of bits of orange peel.

  55. paulo arruda says:
    June 1, 2010 at 4:31 am
    For the fourth time cold arrives in amazonia. Usually there are fewer episodes per year lasting 1-2 days. This “chill” lasted five days.

    Paulo, so you finally feeling it down there! Bout time! You probably look at it as a great cool break. But as the warmists insist, that cool is not climate, that’s weather, warm is climate. :-)

  56. Providing the data hasn’t change to any significant degree, my guess would be that the changes are caused by ocean current thermal lag effects and changed wind patterns. Both of these being effected by the transition from a highly active to a quiet sun.

    Perhaps this change will lead to a recovery of Arctic sea ice, which has been in decline since the start of the 80’s. We do not have a sufficiently long record of sea ice cover to know whether this is a new phenomenon or not or how it relates to longer term climate quasi-cycles.

    1410-1500 cold – Low Solar Activity(LSA?)-(Sporer minimum)
    1510-1600 warm – High Solar Activity(HSA?)
    1610-1700 cold – (LSA) (Maunder minimum)
    1710-1800 warm – (HSA)
    1810-1900 cold – (LSA) (Dalton minimum)
    1910-2000 warm – (HSA)
    2010-2100 (cold???) – (LSA???)

  57. Willis, this is interesting.

    The loss of thick multi-year ice in 2007 reduced a buffering mechanism which tended to stabilize the numbers prior to 2007. Thick ice acts somewhat like a low pass filter. As the ice thickens again, we should expect to see less intra-annual variation in the future.

  58. Isn’t the scale wrong on Fig 2 and 3? If it’s anomaly it should be between + and – 3 million?
    When it’s graphed properly like here

    then it becomes more obvious that since 2007 it’s been slower to recover and faster to get melting presumably because it’s thinner. The final maximum ice extent in winter is little changed. I guess the question is whether this is a reaction to 2007 or part of the long term cycle. Many pro-AGW people seem to accept that 2007 was an exception that stood outside the long term downward trend. Why shouldn’t the recovery from that exception also.

    I thought short termism was dangerous.

  59. Interestingly enough, total sea ice extent, Arctic plus Antarctic still stays remarkably constant. I still think there could be a hypothesis that something is making this happen. What exactly, I have no idea whatsoever. It does not surprise me that after the dramatic loss if ice in 2007, that something like an annual signature has developed. This merely goes to show, that, like what is currently happening magneticly to the sun, there is an awful lot in science that we simply do not understand.

  60. Kevin Cave says: June 1, 2010 at 3:47 am Could it be that what we’re seeing in the graph is not as a result of large temperature fluctuations, but rather, large swings in Arctic wind patterns which might be caused the current extended solar minimum? Just a thought.
    Seems most likely to me. The 2007 minimum area in the arctic was wind and currents not temperatures. Interesting if solar activity affects the polar wind and/or currents.
    Good observation Willis.

  61. Well two NOAA sat.s was decomissioned in 07. One new was put into operational status that same year which is now primary AM. The primary PM was upped last year.

    The graph do look some what odd at the end if one considers that newer tech ought to give higher resolution and that that should show up in the statistics as well. From your graph it looks like the resolution dropped like someone emphasized the highest and the lowest and smoothed out the in between. Of course when using less precise stuff one ups the resolution by taking more points, so maybe they just don’t have to take as many points with the new primaries. And they probably do update their software as well with time.

  62. I am a skeptic, but I agree with Nigel’s interpretation. If the Arctic is going to melt in the summer, it will re-freeze in the winter, and the intra-annual variation will be higher.

  63. Peter Ellis says:
    June 1, 2010 at 6:25 am
    Here you have the yearly melt curves for 2007/8/9 and also the average across the historical record. The anomaly is the *difference* between the average and the actual yearly data.

    Sorry, even you and N others above can also be wrong. Seems Willis is politely searching for the answer to a question. He clearly described what he was showing in those two charts above. Just go and look up the word “anomaly” please, your Wikipedia will do:
    “An anomaly is any occurrence or object that is strange, unusual, or unique.”
    His two chart were “unusual”, so he told you, exactly where, why, and how he made them.

  64. Is that ICE a guy WHO came, or is it ICE THAT came from the cold?
    However we know there is somebody behind…these wet things, some bedwetter…

  65. Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 1, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Increased winter ice extent with falling summer extent just doesn’t make physical sense. If there is increased open water area in the summer months, then solar heat accumulation in the Arctic Ocean would increase, and so tend to delay the formation of winter ice, not promote it. More likely there is some change in how the data is being processed that causes an increase in the reported seasonal variation.
    —————————–

    Steve, I disagree with what you are saying here. There is nothing in the data processing that has changed in recent years. And there are several institutions showing the same thing.

    While it is true that the ocean must first release the heat it gained during summer before it can refreeze, freeze up rates have been quite fast during autumn once that happens. And all you require is a thin ice cover for the extent to go back up. So even if the ocean is warmer than it used to be, a thin layer of ice can still form in winter resulting in a larger seasonal variation.

    In fact as ice cover thins in winter, the standard deviation in the September ice extent goes up. This makes sense since thin ice is more vulnerable to atmospheric circulation variability. At some point however the ice becomes too thin to survive summer melt and that is when the Arctic becomes more like the Antarctic.

    but even if we ignore changes in variability, it is clear from the data that the trend in winter ice cover is small whereas the trend in summer ice cover is large. Thus, that would naturally result in larger seasonal variation. 2007 was incredibly anomalous in terms of its summer ice cover, and hence the fact that seasonal variability increased at that time is no surprise at all (and note it is smaller since then reflecting more summer ice cover in 2008 and 2009)

  66. I think the abnormal blowout of floating ice in 2007 is the culprit. Deep dive, then quick refreeze, but ice was thinner/younger, then it melted rather quickly in the summer and so on. But the multiyear ice extent should increase, if the summer minimum will go up.

  67. Steven Kopits says:
    June 1, 2010 at 6:53 am
    I am a skeptic, but I agree with Nigel’s interpretation. If the Arctic is going to melt in the summer, it will re-freeze in the winter, and the intra-annual variation will be higher.
    *
    *
    That doesn’t make sense, for it presumes an offset differential.

  68. Thanks to toby (June 1, 2010 at 6:27 am) for providing that clip of Dr. David Barber of the U. of Manitoba. What I found most interesting about that clip is confirmation from a scientist in the field that satellite data may be giving data that should not be trusted. (In Dr. Barber’s clip, it was that his ship was able to sail along at a speed of 13 nautical miles per hour, which is about what it would be able to do in open water, in an area where that shouldn’t have been possible if the ice had been what the satellites were saying it was: thick multiyear ice.)
    If we can’t trust the data, how do we proceed? Get better data!

  69. According to my wife (who knows such thing) when a system moves in the direction of
    least resistance the amplitude/volatility goes up. Thus, increases in arctic ice are the
    natural bias of the cryosphere from where we are today. That is, it is easier for the ice to increase than to decrease. Expect rapid rises and slow declines.

  70. Anthony,

    I recall that CT had to recalibrate its sensor because the data was over estimating the ice LOSS. No attempt was mad to repair legacy data to reflect the repair. Also afterward there seemed to be greater “gain” in the variation , as you put it, greater annual variation. I emailed CT 2 years back but they did not respond to me.

    During the first deep minimum ~ 2007, CT sent out an email saying they has problems with the data. They never tried to explain it more than that.

    There is something going on in the way the area is calculated, and there is serious doubt that the entire data set was generated using the same rule and calibration. In fact I am certain that rather than a contiguous data set, the plot should be broken into discrete data sets identifying the boundary when the recalibration and software change were made. Good luck getting that kind of discipline from the sandal sporting “experts”.

    Paul

  71. The northwest passage opened up briefly in 2007 and 2008. Guys were driving their power boats through it. I’m guessing all the exhaust fumes upset the entire arctic region. Yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket.

    The same thing may have happened in 1906 when Roald Amundson made the first successful passage right before it froze back up for 100 years. They didn’t have power boats but they had cookstoves, campfires, and they all smoked tobacco. The moral of the story is don’t blow smoke up mother nature’s ass.

  72. In 1999, Don Easterbrook predicted that a 30 year global cooling period would begin within a few years because of the change in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

    See:
    WHERE ARE WE HEADED DURING THE COMING CENTURY?

    Consequently, I reject David Gould’s prediction of the Artic being ice free by 2014, and vote with Willis.

  73. It’s perfectly possible to get the post-2007 data.

    2007 was the minimum of minimums, meaning that for the next few years, a large amount of young ice, more susceptible to subsequent melt, would be formed each winter.

    If you say that the next two winters were colder than normal in the arctic waters and seas, then you can easily get higher winter maximums, but with that ice being thin, a large melt would still happen.

    Now it appears that there is more thicker ice this year, that change may start to drop a little.

    Time will tell.

  74. Tenuc says:
    June 1, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Providing the data hasn’t change to any significant degree, my guess would be that the changes are caused by ocean current thermal lag effects and changed wind patterns. Both of these being effected by the transition from a highly active to a quiet sun.

    Perhaps this change will lead to a recovery of Arctic sea ice, which has been in decline since the start of the 80′s. We do not have a sufficiently long record of sea ice cover to know whether this is a new phenomenon or not or how it relates to longer term climate quasi-cycles.

    1410-1500 cold – Low Solar Activity(LSA?)-(Sporer minimum)…..
    _______________________________________________________________________
    You forgot the Norse not to mention the Romans. The Norse were seafarers and they hunted on the seas, so they were aware of the sea ice. Here are the Greenland temperatures from Ice Core data The temperature at that time was 2C warmer than today.

    “…..When the Norsemen arrived in Greenland, they had the island and its waters to themselves. Now they had to contend with the Inuit, who were competing with them for animal resources. This was especially true in the Nordseta, the Greenlanders’ traditional summer hunting grounds 240 miles north of the Eastern Settlement. For years the Norsemen had been traveling to the area; they killed the walruses, narwahls, and polar bears they needed for trade with Europe and for payment of Church tithes and royal taxes. They also boiled seal blubber, filled skin bags with the oil, and gathered valuable driftwood……Upright stones divided the cow stalls; a whale shoulder blade (white partition on right) also served as a divider…” http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/

    “…The settlers found that the area to the north of the Western Settlement, called the Nordseta, was good for hunting, fishing and gathering driftwood. A stone inscribed with runes has been found telling that in 1333, three Greenlanders wintered on the island of Kingigtorssuaq just below 73 degrees north. There is also evidence of voyages to the Canadian arctic. Two cairns have been discovered in Jones Sound above 76 degrees North and two more have been found on Washington Irving Island at 79 degrees north….” http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/vikings/Greenland.html

    For you information Washington Irving Island is at the entrance to Dobbin Bay, eastern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada. See the map and notice this area is well within the arctic circle and not that far from the north pole (about 600 miles) and certainly within the Beaufort Sea Gyro.

    Detailed Chronology of Late Holocene Climatic Change: http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/ice/lec19/holocene.htm

    An interesting description of Norse habitation of North America plus a Norse map of the arctic area, north pole islands and all: http://www.heritage.nf.ca/exploration/norse.html

  75. I believe the annual variation since 2007 is real and will damp out over time. I suspect that it is due to the loss of a large amount of very old thick ice in 2007. That is the sort of ice that stands up well to summer conditions. After 2007 we are left with a smaller inventory of “old” ice and it must be built up again. It takes 5 years to make 5 year old ice. I would not expect inventories of old ice to return to “normal” until roughly 10 years after the anomaly. So basically it takes 5 years to make the first new 5 year old ice and about 5 more years of that to come to some stable inventory of it.

    I would expect to see that annual signature to damp out over about a 10 year period. It should be simple math. In 2007 you look at the inventories of 1,2,3,4, and 5+ year old ice and you watch the old ice inventory build over time until they are back to something close to what they were.

    Old ice is important to maintaining summer ice cover as older ice has had more of the salt worked out of it and it is fresher. That gives it a melting point at a higher temperature than fresher sea ice with a higher salt content. The unusual loss of old ice in the 2007 event removes a sort of “flywheel” effect that the old ice provides.

    “New” ice will melt somewhere around -2C whereas “old” ice melts closer to 0C and two degrees of difference is huge in the Arctic. The more old ice you have, the harder it is to melt it.

  76. JJB:
    “While it is true that the ocean must first release the heat it gained during summer before it can refreeze, freeze up rates have been quite fast during autumn once that happens. And all you require is a thin ice cover for the extent to go back up.”

    I think you are missing the point. It is the increase in extent of winter ice at the same time that the summer minimum extent is falling that makes no physical sense. Sure, a more rapid decline in summer ice is consistent with thinner ice, tipping points, etc, etc. But a more rapid summer decline most certainly is not consistent with increasing winter ice extent: more heat absorbed by the ocean does not logically suggest more ice formation, it suggests less. Observations that appear inconsistent with simple concepts like energy balance should be critically examined for accuracy, not immediately accepted at face value.

  77. Wow, how many people here share my initials? I’ve changed my name for a second time to avoid confusion. Might have to start using my full name soon, but Greenpeace already know where I live, so, you know..

    How do 31 years of satellite measurements (and less than a decade of accurate ones) make a ‘trend’, a ‘tipping point’ or a ‘death spiral’? Even if as some have asserted / wildly speculated, the summer Arctic does become ice-free by 2014, why, particularly in the light of early 20th century observations of severe Arctic melt, and longer term proxy observations of temperature oscillations on a millennial timescale, should that be taken as unusual, let alone support of an AGW hypothesis? Satellite observations might be useful as an observational tool, but using them as a basis for prediction and modelling from an insignificant sliver of data goes beyond clutching at straws. It is no surprise that people who deal with these observations for a living (or an obsessive hobby) might imbue them with more significance and predictive value than they actually hold, but really, I am in a better position to make alarming pronouncements on ‘tipping points’ in the global economy having looked at three minutes worth of stock market graphs, especially, to further the metaphor, with my vague and incomplete understanding of the economics involved.

  78. Willis,

    This is very interesting. I want to point to something quite off topic that I may have missed at this site on previous posts. That is, your presentation at the ICCC 4 conference was BRILLIANT! I could not attend so I have been watching the videos at Heartland.org. Yours was easily one of the best presentations I’ve watched. Bravo, sir!

  79. Joe Lalonde says:

    “Another thing is that our species CAPTURES and holds water when no other species had in the past and this is TRILLIONS of gallons a day.”

    Not even beavers?

  80. Although the main focus on Arctic ice is summer albedo, come winter is the ice not acting as an insulator for the relatively warm waters flowing in? Significantly lower ice area by sept 07 would leave the ocean exposed to Arctic storms such that it looses more energy than “usual” into the subsequent re-freeze eventually resulting in more ice by thaw time which in turn has retained more ocean heat for the coming thaw and so on into subsequent years.

    Looks like a pretty poor control loop (under damped) that will take a few years to return to the previous narrower range after the initial (07 type) “shock”.

    Just a thought.

  81. It is the result of ever thinning Arctic Ice. When that ice has reached a threshold thickness of about two feet, it breaks up and melts away very quickly over vast areas. This happens in the second half of summer as of 2005.

    The signal you see in the extent graph is a classic example of dissipation containing a catastroph motive. The latter depicts a physics/mathematical term, of course.
    In late autumn the sea freezes again, of course, en by virtue of its relative closedness it freezes up over the entire extent, rendering winter and early spring extent near normal every year.

    What has been totally missing van Arctic Sea-ice analysis untill very recently is this simple catastrophe concept, which totally delinearizes the melting process. This is why 2007 came as a big suprise. But the holes in half that sea ice that appeared in august 2005 made a melting season like 2007 in fact very easy to predict.
    The sea ice has become very weak and a first ice free summer might just be this year. Or in five years.
    It is like predicting the exact moment a melting icicle will drop off the gutter. You only know it will drop soon.

  82. IIRC, Summer 2009 arctic sea ice extent minimum was greater than Summer 2008 arctic sea ice extent which in turn was larger than that recorded in Summer 2007. That pattern does not agree with the CT & SIDADS arctic sea ice anomaly charts presented here which show greater negative anomalies for 2009 than for 2008.

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm,
    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic, and
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php all confirm greater 2009 sea ice extent minimum than that observed in 2008.

    Seems to me grounds exist to question CT and SIDADS sea ice extent anomalies.

  83. My guess would be new processing software installed in 2007. Giving a different result from then on.

  84. The annual variation appears in independent datasets so we cannot blame instruments or anything else. It is clearly a real variation.

    From the videos I’ve made, it is my opinion that the Arctic has shifted to a different weather pattern where the ice is buffeted from the Bering strait each year. Warm ocean water gets pushed into the ice melting it for the last 3 years. Visually it is different from previous years and IMHO has nothing to do with warming.

  85. JJB MKI says:
    June 1, 2010 at 9:57 am

    How do 31 years of satellite measurements (and less than a decade of accurate ones) make a ‘trend’, a ‘tipping point’ or a ‘death spiral’? Even if as some have asserted / wildly speculated, the summer Arctic does become ice-free by 2014, why, particularly in the light of early 20th century observations of severe Arctic melt, and longer term proxy observations of temperature oscillations on a millennial timescale, should that be taken as unusual, let alone support of an AGW hypothesis? Satellite observations might be useful as an observational tool, but using them as a basis for prediction and modelling from an insignificant sliver of data goes beyond clutching at straws. It is no surprise that people who deal with these observations for a living (or an obsessive hobby) might imbue them with more significance and predictive value than they actually hold, but really, I am in a better position to make alarming pronouncements on ‘tipping points’ in the global economy having looked at three minutes worth of stock market graphs, especially, to further the metaphor, with my vague and incomplete understanding of the economics involved.

    The most salient point in 100+ comments. It will be ignored. Where’s the fun in it?

  86. “Dave says:
    June 1, 2010 at 10:31 am
    IIRC, Summer 2009 arctic sea ice extent minimum was greater than Summer 2008 arctic sea ice extent which in turn was larger than that recorded in Summer 2007. That pattern does not agree with the CT & SIDADS arctic sea ice anomaly charts presented here which show greater negative anomalies for 2009 than for 2008.

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm,
    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic, and
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php all confirm greater 2009 sea ice extent minimum than that observed in 2008.

    Seems to me grounds exist to question CT and SIDADS sea ice extent anomalies.”

    The largest negative anomaly values don’t necessarily occur at the summer minimum, they lag by a month or more depending on the rapidity of the refreeze.

    BTW, whatssup with the vertical scales on the anomaly graphs? Anomalies ranging from 8-11 million km2, what am I missing here?

  87. chopbox says:
    June 1, 2010 at 8:17 am

    So we are going to believe this guy’s anecdotal information and discount measurements when it suits us?

    Frankly, this guy looks a little squirrely to me. If you want to believe him, go right ahead. I’m afraid that the two recent expeditions to the North Pole that got frostbite and had to be rescued, because they could not negotiate the floating ice mountains and record low temperatures, believed him and others of his ilk. To their surprise.

    One guy’s bread is another man’s poison. That is why we have to get good hard RAW data.

  88. Jeff Id says:
    June 1, 2010 at 11:01 am

    “The annual variation appears in independent datasets so we cannot blame instruments or anything else.”

    That depends. Then we would need a flow-chart of really, really raw data and all the way to the plots. Just like for groundstations. Are there any common points?
    Are all those plots from different satelites? Just asking, because I havent got a clue.

    The really,really raw data is of course just gibberish. Time values for reflected radar waves? Whatever it is,it will need heavy processing to get something one could call ice thickness.

    If it comes from different satelites maybe the processing software is outsourced to the same software company in china….just kidding.

  89. 2006/7 marked the transition from a predominantly MY ice regime to a predominantly FY ice regime. FY ice not only melts faster but breaks up easier and moves around more easily. The Arctic is now showing seasonal sea ice now like the Antarctic.

  90. Yes, a different weather or flow pattern is a likely explanation. Mathematically (not much math but graphically) if the nearly sinusoidal variation shifts phase slightly when compared to the average for previous years, a larger fluctuation will be seen. Find a new norm for the past three years and all the previous years will show seasonal fluctuations. The variation in extent clearly has not changed that much. Things may or may not slip back in phase, but whether or not this has anything to do with global warming is TBD.

  91. JJB MKI says:
    June 1, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Ice is being used as a diversion from the real fact that CO2 does not cause global warming. They tried to substitute “climate change” for “global warming”, but that did not work, so they are throwing lots of mud darts around hoping for “stick”.

    Ice is what they have left. It is another multivariate system that defies easy explanation (although it is much simpler, even, than the “global” climate). Ice extent is like the Chewbakka defense – “Look at the silly monkey” while the magician picks our pockets. It is neither global, nor climate, nor if it all melted would sea levels rise.

    Let us always, after all this speculative icicle fun is over, focus on the main event. Does man cause catastrophic climate changes globally?

    If AGW were true, the climastrologers would not be focused on ancillary issues, like ice, or malaria, or who someone’s mother is!

    Remember, more CO2 = good times, not bad.

  92. @ 899 says:
    June 1, 2010 at 3:12 am
    “So Willis, what was the Sun doing in 2007?”

    The solar wind velocity was very generous through 2006/7 winter:
    http://www.solen.info/solar/coronal_holes.html

    This led to a very warm winter in England:
    http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/tcet.dat
    this is a common denominator in years with more ice melt, look at temperatures from October to February in 1989/90, 1992/3 (see ice increase mid `92, {not Pinatubo!}), 1993/4, and 2006/7. Notice that the high ice loss years are also hotter on the yearly figure.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/01/the-ice-who-came-in-from-the-cold/#comment-401337

    The next thing to factor in is Sudden Stratospheric Warmings:
    http://www.geo.fu-berlin.de/en/met/ag/strat/produkte/northpole/index.html

    There was a serious lack of SSW`s through the 1990`s. Late warmings seem to correlate well to high ice loss years. With the SSW comes the mixing of sub tropical, and polar air through a colapse of the polar vortex.

    So if its not one thing, its another.

  93. That pattern makes sense to me. It’s not much different than saying the May and June NSIDC extent graphs are bottlenecked, and why (as are generally November and December). Extent is not volume. 4 inches thick and a mile x mile wide in March counts for the same extent as 4 feet thick and a mile x mile wide in March. And in the core areas of the Arctic, you’re always going to get at least that 4″ thick during growth season. Global warming will have gone a very far way down the road indeed before that was no longer true!

  94. Tom P says:
    June 1, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Willis Eschenbach asked:

    “No one (as far as I know) predicted that pattern … but now that it is happening, suddenly it is “consistent with” AGW?”

    This pattern of behaviour of the Arctic ice was indeed predicted by the models at least four years ago, and prior to the 2007 melt:

    “Sea ice evolution over the 20th and 21st centuries as simulated by current AOGCMs” Olivier Arzel, , Thierry Fichefet and Hugues Goosse, Ocean Modelling
    Volume 12, Issues 3-4, 2006, Pages 401-415

    From the abstract:

    “We show that the amplitude of the seasonal cycle of sea ice extent increases in both hemispheres in a warming climate, with a larger magnitude in the Northern Hemisphere. Furthermore, it appears that the seasonal cycle of ice extent is more affected than the one of ice volume.”

    Thanks, Tom P. Some problems with that.

    1. There was no increase in the seasonal cycle from 1979 to 2007. Where is the model prediction during that time?

    2. There has been no statistically significant warming in the last 15 years. Why would the seasonal cycle suddenly jump in 2007?

    3. The models also predict a decreasing ice area …

    Here’s what I asked:

    Do you know of anyone who predicted it before 2007, anyone who foresaw that we would see a) increasing ice area, combined with b) greatly increased winter ice, and c) greatly reduced summer ice?

    w.

  95. 899 says:
    June 1, 2010 at 3:12 am

    So Willis, what was the Sun doing in 2007?

    Taking a nap?

  96. The explanation may be simpler than we think. In 2007, the ice melt was substantial. The new ice is necessarily thiner now, and will take some time to reach its previous thickness. In the mean time, that thiner ice is more subject to wider fluctuation (warming in spring melts more thiner ice, and cold temperature can reach previous extand levels, resulting in wide fluctuation) . The volatility will remain until the thickness is back to previous levels.

  97. @ bubbagyro says:
    June 1, 2010 at 12:50 pm
    “Remember, more CO2 = good times, not bad.”

    And a warmer World will have enough rain to feed us all, and shrink the deserts, just look at East Australia bloom, locusts and all. The history lesson about the collapse of all the great civilisations of the past, due to cold and drought, seems to have gone over the heads of many. Our only climatic threat in reality, is run away Global cooling. How often does the Sun actually make it too hot here?

  98. Malaga View says:
    June 1, 2010 at 4:41 am

    http://magicjava.blogspot.com/2010/04/three-valued-logic-and-irreproducible_29.html

    Example: Aqua Satellite Channel 4 Virus
    It helps to have an example, so we’ll be using channel 4 of the AMSU on the Aqua satellite. Channel 4 failed completely around December, 2007. In response to this, NASA created a new algorithm and has used it to synthetically create channel 4 data from October 1st, 2007 onward.

    Well, this makes sense. The article goes on to say:

    It helps to have an example, so we’ll be using channel 4 of the AMSU on the Aqua satellite. Channel 4 failed completely around December, 2007. In response to this, NASA created a new algorithm and has used it to synthetically create channel 4 data from October 1st, 2007 onward.

    While NASA publishes the algorithm used to create synthetic channel 4 values, that algorithm requires certain data that is not available to anyone outside of NASA. Even the folks at NASA’s JPL, who are in charge of the Aqua satellite, have said they don’t have access to the data.

    Without this data it’s impossible to verify if the algorithm for synthesizing channel 4 data is correct, even though the algorithm itself is published. Similarly, we cannot demonstrate that the algorithm fails to correctly synthesis channel 4 data. Therefore, the ability of the algorithm to correctly synthesis data must be classified as Unknown because the statement that the algorithm is accurate cannot independently be shown to be True or False.

    I think we may have a winner. From AIRS/AMSU/HSB Version 5 Modification of Algorithm to Account for Increased NeDT in AMSU Channel 4 (emphasis in original).

    As a result of this comparison, Option 2, using predicted values of AMSU channel 4 brightness temperatures in an otherwise unchanged AIRS/AMSU Version 5 retrieval algorithm, was selected for use in future Version 5 processing of AIRS/AMSU data.
    Previously processed AIRS/AMSU data during the period from October 1, 2007 to March 2, 2008 will be reprocessed with the modified algorithm and the data products replaced. Beginning on March 3, 2008 all forward processing is via the V5.2.2 algorithm. Thus the Version 5 Level 2 and Level 3 data products previous to October 1,2007 will remain as V5.0.14. After reprocessing has been completed, the Version 5 Level 2 and Level 3 data products will be the result of V5.2.2 processing from October 1,2007 onward.

  99. ɳʊ says:
    June 1, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Shouldn’t the anomaly be zero when the ice extent was the same as some average (1979-2000, 1972-2008, whatever) ?

    e.g.:

    Figures 2 and 3, above, should be ± with respect to some zero anomaly.

    You can express an anomaly around any value. I find it most useful to express the anomaly around the mean of the actual values, so that we can see the changes in the proper scale.

    w.

  100. AnonyMoose says:
    June 1, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Again, I removed the monthly signal, leaving only the anomaly.

    Should “monthly” be “daily” as for the preceding graph?

    One is using monthly data, one is using daily.

  101. stevengoddard says:
    June 1, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Willis, this is interesting.

    The loss of thick multi-year ice in 2007 reduced a buffering mechanism which tended to stabilize the numbers prior to 2007. Thick ice acts somewhat like a low pass filter. As the ice thickens again, we should expect to see less intra-annual variation in the future.

    Possible, but the lack of the reduction in the anomalous swing in 2008 and 2009 argues against it. I think it is the introduction of the new algorith (see above).

  102. For my 2 pence worth I would guess that Tenuc is on the right lines pointing to ocean current changes. Tsonis showed a chaotic interference effect in which when a certain phase relationship is reached between major ocean oscillatory systems such as PDO and AMO, this triggers a step change in pcean current pattern leading to a climate shift, one way or another.

    If Tsonis is right, this is a hugely significant insight into climate temporal pattern – such a shift, which may have taken place in 2007, should be called a Tsonis shift or transition.

    At 2007 the Arctic ice minimum dropped and the max rose. Since then the min shows a suggestive increase while the max holds steady. If this pattern continues, and a climate cooling takes hold, this would strengthen evidence of a “Tsonis transition”.

  103. Enneagram says:
    June 1, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Is that ICE a guy WHO came, or is it ICE THAT came from the cold?
    However we know there is somebody behind…these wet things, some bedwetter…

    “ICE” is an acronym. It stands for “Incognito Cryosphere Expert” …

  104. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    899 says:
    June 1, 2010 at 3:12 am

    So Willis, what was the Sun doing in 2007?

    “Taking a nap?”
    ______________________________________________________
    That was Maunder yes?

    Sunspots and coronal holes not do get on well. At Dec 2006, Feb 2007 and June 2007, we can see a drop in SSN, this is precisely when the solar wind from coronal holes becomes stronger, and provides more warming: C23/24:
    http://www.solen.info/solar/solcycle.html

    Note the higher SSN in Nov 2006 and lower solar wind speed, then see it pick up at the above dates:
    http://www.solen.info/solar/coronal_holes.html
    If you look at the velocity in the last 2 yrs, it has generally been very low, this not the norm with a solar minimum with a lower SSN count, typically, minimums with higher SSN are more likely to have colder winters, due to suppressed coronal hole activity, and maximums with higher SSN are more likely to have colder winters. Last winter had some significant gaps in coronal hole activity, and a quick tally will show that yearly hole totals have been well down from the norm over the last 2 years. I use N.Hemisphere winter as a reference, as this is the largest global temp` variable.
    The “modern winters” that we had a run of until recently, can all be seen to have much higher solar wind velocity occurring through them, scorching summer months again can be seen occurring at high solar wind speed times. Its global warming in a nutshell if you think about it.

  105. Paul Westhaver says:
    June 1, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Anthony,

    I recall that CT had to recalibrate its sensor because the data was over estimating the ice LOSS. No attempt was mad to repair legacy data to reflect the repair. Also afterward there seemed to be greater “gain” in the variation , as you put it, greater annual variation. I emailed CT 2 years back but they did not respond to me.

    During the first deep minimum ~ 2007, CT sent out an email saying they has problems with the data. They never tried to explain it more than that.

    There is something going on in the way the area is calculated, and there is serious doubt that the entire data set was generated using the same rule and calibration. In fact I am certain that rather than a contiguous data set, the plot should be broken into discrete data sets identifying the boundary when the recalibration and software change were made. Good luck getting that kind of discipline from the sandal sporting “experts”.

    Paul

    Thanks, Paul. I agree that if there is “recalibration” and the like, it should be clearly marked in datasets, use a different color in the graphs, something …

  106. And Tsonis predicted this several years ago (I dont have the paper to hand), unlike the Asterix and soothsayer “this I had also foreseen” type of retro prophecy from the AGW camp.

  107. There was an article awhile back that mentioned an ice arch that had melted and let the wind blow more ice into the open ocean. Clearly, if this arch was a blocking mechanism and it suddenly disappeared, that could change the entire dynamics of the ice melt. If this is true, then don’t expect any changes unless the arch reforms.

  108. Dr. Dave says:
    June 1, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Willis,

    This is very interesting. I want to point to something quite off topic that I may have missed at this site on previous posts. That is, your presentation at the ICCC 4 conference was BRILLIANT! I could not attend so I have been watching the videos at Heartland.org. Yours was easily one of the best presentations I’ve watched. Bravo, sir!

    Many thanks for the vote of confidence, Dr. Dave. The presentations are here. I encourage people to watch the ones that are in your field of interest. There’s a lot of very interesting presentations.

  109. Willis Eschenbach:
    In response to this, NASA created a new algorithm and has used it to synthetically create channel 4 data from October 1st, 2007 onward.
    Wow!, why not replace NOAA, GISS, Hansen, Mann et Al. by an algorithm, and perhaps, IT would openly provide its invented data.
    Just imagine!: Instead of a Global Government, an algorithm; but that would be an Al- Gore-rithm.
    We, third world’ers, better just watch. These things will become dangerous in the near future.
    We’ ll need a psychiatrist to post here in WUWT.

  110. I don’t think many people predicted the record melt rates of Arctic sea ice this Spring:

    The fastest melt rate in the decade of deepest summer melt.
    They need more information on the warm ocean waters underneath the sea ice – the minus 20° C air temperatures right above some sea ice has little to do with the melting from below.

    The US Navy realizes the amount of summertime ice coverage has decreased by half over the past 50 years, and the icecap is also about 50 percent thinner, resulting in greater seasonal variations. The climate changes are expected to cause several weeks of annual “ice-free” conditions, meaning there will be less than one-tenth ice coverage. This would likely bring a flotilla of trans-Arctic container shipping, fleets of fishermen and even the ill-advised thrill seekers.

    And all these will meet in a resource-rich region buried beneath disputed claims, untested treaties and amidst five nations vying for their share of sovereignty.

    Indeed, the Arctic is opening. The fundamental question is not if, but when?

    And the answer is, sooner than you may think.

    http://www.afji.com/2010/03/4437078
    “The Arctic is changing, and it is changing rapidly,” said Rear Adm. David W. Titley, oceanographer of the Navy.

    As few as four years ago, leading experts anticipated ice-free summers by the end of the century. Now, such conditions are expected in the 2030s — and many key scientists say those may be conservative estimates; some put the earliest ice-free summer at 2016.

    With rights to much of this resource-rich region in dispute, and previously inaccessible areas open to exploration for their abundant reserves of oil and natural gas, the Arctic has been likened to a 21st century gold rush.

    Diminishing ice fields mean Russia has a new active border to protect, and one that is close to many of its key oil and gas fields. As such, Russian Bears have been flying frequent patrols in the region and missile tests have been conducted near the North Pole.

    “This opening of the Arctic may lead to increased resource development, research, tourism, and could reshape the global transportation system,” the road map says. “These developments offer opportunities for growth, but also are potential sources of competition and conflict for access and natural resources.”

    Even four to six weeks of ice-free conditions would offer lucrative resource extraction, fishing and commercial shipping. That means the Navy must prepare itself for potential mission requirements in the far north.

    But as the Navy looks to map and forecast oceanographic conditions, all eyes are not on multibillion-dollar submarines or satellites, but instead on a few small, relatively inexpensive gliders. These $110,000 gliders collect salinity, depth and temperature data and can measure optical properties such as water clarity. The information is then fed real-time into ocean models.

    Such data is invaluable to naval operations in the Arctic. For example, a glider released from the Healy in 2009 recorded temperatures dropping from 3.5 degrees Celsius at the surface, to -1.5 degrees at 100 meters then rising to 0.5 degrees in deeper waters.

    The glider fleet will expand from 20 to 170 by 2015.

    These gliders are very interesting – and they are built by the University of Washington.
    Yup, that University of Washington:
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/
    The Navy is getting serious about understanding the Arctic sea ice, and so is collaborating with the experts.

  111. These annual cycles happen to coincide with a sharp decrease in the annual arctic sea ice minimum beginning in 2007.

    Willis E says: “And why would it appear just when the average area started to rise?”
    Offhand, I would say it appears precisely because the average area started to rise at the same time sea ice was making record September lows.

    Arctic ice minimum has been decreasing faster than the ice maximum on average for 30 years, from 9.5 MM sq km to about 10.5 MM more recently, and there is no sign of this differential rate of change abating, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this annual cycle becomes a regular feature of arctic ice. The lines have to get between those deepening minima up to the lagging maxima somehow. On the OTHER hand, the 2007/8 winter was a sharp La Nina cooling phase of ENSO, which may explain while winter ice increased so much over 2006 even though 2007 summer ice was a record low.
    So who knows?! Interesting observation though.

    As long as people are making predictions, arctic summer ice will reach zero between 2040 and 2050. Hope to still be here.

  112. ₳ɳʊ says: June 1, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    They need more information on the warm ocean waters underneath the sea ice – the minus 20° C air temperatures right above some sea ice has little to do with the melting from below

    Not sure that minus 20 even begins to describe the Arctic. Imagine open (relatively ice free) water being whipped up by 100mph winds into an energy loss frenzy. Imagine the same water “isolated” by a few feet of “calming” ice. A SWAG of the differing energy loss I will leave to others.

  113. Jbar says:
    June 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    These annual cycles happen to coincide with a sharp decrease in the annual arctic sea ice minimum beginning in 2007.

    Willis E says: “And why would it appear just when the average area started to rise?”
    Offhand, I would say it appears precisely because the average area started to rise at the same time sea ice was making record September lows.

    Jbar (and others), the reason that I made the post is that I have created and looked at hundreds and hundreds of anomaly graphs. To create one is simple. You take the average of the monthly values of the detrended data. You subtract the monthly averages from the data. You end up with a dataset which does not contain monthly (and thus annual) variations. This can be very useful in seeing underlying changes which may be masked by the size of the annual cycle.

    I don’t think that you and other folks understand how truly unusual the pattern seen in the CT and SIDADS data really is. In the hundreds of anomaly graphs that I have either created or looked at, I have never seen an annual pattern suddenly emerge after a quarter century of no annual pattern. Nature just doesn’t seem to work that way, whether the records are of rainfall, or of temperature, or of any other natural variable. If you have another example of that happening, please produce it. Until then, I will hold that this is not a natural change, but is a problem with the data.

    As a result, my hypothesis was that there was some change in satellites or in the processing of the satellite data which was responsible for the alteration in the results. And in fact, we have found out (thanks to Malaga View) that there was a change in the processing algorithm at the exact time that the change in data occurred.

    Now, you can believe that is just coincidence … me, not so much.

  114. If you want to get a handle on the veracity of satellite data then I would suggest taking a look at the Magic Java site: http://magicjava.blogspot.com

    The bottom line is that the quality of “the data” is unknown because it cannot be verified.

    chopbox says:
    June 1, 2010 at 8:17 am
    Thanks to toby (June 1, 2010 at 6:27 am) for providing that clip of Dr. David Barber of the U. of Manitoba. What I found most interesting about that clip is confirmation from a scientist in the field that satellite data may be giving data that should not be trusted.

    So the validity of satellite data is moving from UNKNOWN towards FALSE.

    http://magicjava.blogspot.com/2010/04/three-valued-logic-and-irreproducible_29.html

    A concrete example of the spreading of Unknown results in published research is provided by NASA’s claims of increased yield due to synthetic channel 4 data. We’ll assume that these claims are True and that yields are in fact increasing. However, even with this assumption, we cannot demonstrate that yields should be increasing. Because it cannot be verified that the synthetic channel 4 data is valid, we cannot verify that the synthetic data causes bad data to pass QA or good data to fail QA. The quality of the data in these increased yields is Unknown. This is because the quality of the synthetic data is Unknown.

    This cascading of the Unknown value continues through anything that uses the data from these increased yields. In practice, it turns out that all processes referred to by NASA as “Level 2” or higher that use Aqua AMSU data will be infected by the Unknown values. That is, all such data sets have an Unknown truth value themselves due to their dependence upon the increased yield data. These “Level 2” products include:

    ● Temperature profile from 3 mbar (45 km) to the surface.
    ● Water vapor profiles.
    ● Snow and ice coverage.
    ● Cloud liquid water.
    ● Cloud-cleared IR radiances.
    ● Rain Rate.
    ● Ozone.
    ● Carbon Dioxide Support Products.

  115. Jbar says: June 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    These annual cycles happen to coincide with a sharp decrease in the annual Arctic sea ice minimum beginning in 2007.

    Willis E says: “And why would it appear just when the average area started to rise?”

    Offhand, I would say it appears precisely because the average area started to rise at the same time sea ice was making record September lows.

    Will try my previous comment on a different form …

    (A) By Sept 07 we have record low ice area (for whatever reason) [the initial shock/disturbance]. This exposes (?) 2.5 million Km2 more of the incoming “warm” water to Arctic conditions (storms). Energy loss (water to atmosphere) is fast and large (see the bob Tisdale SST graph for that period and view any increase as energy loss rather than a warming).

    (B) Having lost energy so quickly, the following freeze is rapid and by mid (no sun) season there is plenty of ice. Ice has two aspects at this time of year, insulation and isolation. Water under the ice is protected from storms so severe that they would kill any exposed life.

    (C) Come sunrise (08), water under the ice is “warmer” and that, together with insolation (rapidly reducing albedo), means the ice melt over “summer” is rapid.

    (D) Sept 08 – ice back toward Sept 07 level though “exposed water” has reduced to (say) 2 Million Km2. Same annual process (above) only slightly reduced.

    (E) Sept 09 – back through same cycle though “exposed water” has reduced to (say) 1.5 Million Km2. Same annual process ….

    (F) Sept 10 – back through same cycle though “exposed water” has reduced to (say) 1 Million Km2. Same annual process …

    We progress from the original 07 “shock” back, year on year, to an ever narrower freeze/thaw range until the next “shock”.

  116. Perhaps I am really slow, but when someone talks about an anomoly, I assume that they are talking about a departure from normal, and I expect to see a graph that is centered around zero (average or normal). I am looking at this graph and seeing an anomoly running around 8-11 km^2 for years on end. That’s not really an anomoly.

    You say that you removed the average daily variation, I not sure what that means exactly, but I would expect a much greater daily variation at the time of the minimum. Variation can only occur at the linear edge of the ice that’s open to water. When the entire arctic basin is frozen solid in the winter there isn’t very much variation at the boundaries, the shoreline is static. During the min, there is much greater boundary to add variability.

    Question – what was the purpose of backing out the average varibility (monthly or daily). It seems to me that you have mixed apples and oranges here. I suspect that the data is showing more very short term varibility starting in 2007 which has nothing to do with climate, but everything to do with a change in methodology (different sensor or algorithm) that has more short term noise. Perhaps the daily data is more accurate, and therefore is capable of showing greater variabilty from day to day.

    As for this “being what you would expect”, nonsense. There is just more noise at the edges, and there is more edge or less edge on a seasonal basis. I own a large pond and when it is frozen solid there is no daily variation in the area period, it only varies when it is melting.

  117. @ Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm
    “Nature just doesn’t seem to work that way, whether the records are of rainfall, or of temperature, or of any other natural variable. If you have another example of that happening, please produce it.”

    These clusters in paricular, are following the 17yr coronal hole cycle. You can track them backwards on CET for centuries without many exceptions. Look at 4/5yr chunks from 2005, 1988, 1971, ect ect, clusters of warmer winters every 17yrs, yearly temp`s usually are higher as a result. It breaks down through Dalton and Maunder though:
    http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/tcet.dat
    There are many monthly strings in temperature series, but the 17yr is the most robust. If you look at every 17th July in CET, going back from 2006, restarting at 1852, tracks a string of very hot July`s over 350yrs. This is one the Cicada beetle are following.
    There is a 23yr string, look on CET from Nov 2006 back every 23rd Nov for a hot string.
    10 and 20yr yearly temp` and precipitation can also be seen.
    I won`t bore you with astronomical heiocentric syzygies driving these at this point.

  118. Carl McIntosh says:
    June 1, 2010 at 10:12 am
    Not even beavers?

    At least the water that beavers disrupt is still in the evaporation system.
    90% of what man does takes it right out of the evaporation system being held hostage or dumped into the ground for oil. But a great amount per day is taken out of the evaporation cycle.

  119. Willis,

    OK I have read your reply at 4:42, I think I understand what you did to produce the graph. If I’m reading it correctly. you calculated an average monthly (or daily) departure from the annual average (I’m not sure whether that was each years average or over the entire data set) and substrated that from each months or each days total. The chart represents a running annual average with the average monthly or daily departure from average removed. Or another way of seeing it is that it’s the anomoly with the annual average added back in, each year’s average or the whole period isn’t clear.

    When I look at the sea ice extent chart (assume area is similar) I am struck by the fact that there is some small amount of variability from year to year at the maximum extent and it’s very noisy, there is very little varibility during the periods of the melt and the period of the freeze, but there is still short term noise. Only during the minimum is there an opportunity for great varibility and only the last three years has there been any great departure of the monthly averages for those months.

    I think that the annual signal is there due to the nature of the enclosed arctic basin. There is no real opportunity for large departures from the monthly averages except for the 6 weeks either side of the minimum. For years there wasn’t much departure from the monthly averages but in 2007, the ice bridges didn’t form between Greenland and the Canadian islands and a great deal of ice was flushed out into the Atlantic.

    The annual signal will disappear when the summer minimum returns to normal, which is likely this year since the ice has thickened up again.

  120. Dunno, looks like an issue for the null hypothesis. ice cycling like its never cycled before.

  121. It might be worth noting that changes in sea-ice extent are occurring in very different locations at different times of the year. In January, the Arctic Ocean (except the area north of Norway warmed by the Gulf Stream) is always frozen. The January differences between high and low coverage may be occurring mostly in, Hudson Bay, the Bering Sea, off Laborador and off Kamchatka. At other times of the year, differences between high and low coverage are occurring the the Arctic Ocean itself and a potentially thousands of miles apart.

    You are correct in pointing out that anomaly plots can exaggerate the importance of changes by providing no reference to the absolute magnitude of the signal. However, anomalies should probably always be reported so that the average anomaly is zero. You can, however, report the vertical scale as a percentage of average annual sea ice coverage. An anomaly change with a vertical scale of +/-20% is instantly recognizable as being more significant that one with a vertical scale of +/-2%.

  122. David Gould,

    Is there any way I can get in on your bet with Willis? In fairness, I think you said the Arctic would be “effectively ice free” by the end of the 2014 melt season but I’m willing to go with Willis’ 1M sq. km. number and plunk down my $100. If you are game to make it a bit more interesting, I’m happy to add another zero on there as well.

    Eric

  123. D Gallagher says:
    June 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Perhaps I am really slow, but when someone talks about an anomoly, I assume that they are talking about a departure from normal, and I expect to see a graph that is centered around zero (average or normal). I am looking at this graph and seeing an anomoly running around 8-11 km^2 for years on end. That’s not really an anomoly.

    As I said before, you can center an anomaly anywhere you want. I, like you, think about it as a departure from normal … and “normal’ for the ice record is not zero, it is the long term average.

    However, if you don’t like it, just subtract the average from it, and it will be centered around zero.

  124. Steven mosher says:
    June 1, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Dunno, looks like an issue for the null hypothesis. ice cycling like its never cycled before.

    It would … if I thought it was real. I don’t, I think it is from the known change in the satellite and the way that is being dealt with by means of a new algorithm.

    w.

  125. Well, Willis,

    As I always tell people, data doesnt falsify a theory. When data contradicts a theory we have a choice: question the data ( like you choose), modify the theory, throw out the theory.

    So, What leads you to believe the a new algorithm is the cause? That seems like saying divergence is due to some anthropogenic cause.. special pleading?

    When do you see the annual signal starting.. Perhaps a test is in order

  126. Carl McIntosh says:
    June 1, 2010 at 10:12 am
    Joe Lalonde says:

    “Another thing is that our species CAPTURES and holds water when no other species had in the past and this is TRILLIONS of gallons a day.”

    Not even beavers?
    *
    *
    Shaved, or unshaved? :-)

  127. Willis,

    As I said before, you can center an anomaly anywhere you want. I, like you, think about it as a departure from normal … and “normal’ for the ice record is not zero, it is the long term average.

    Actually, if normal is the long term average then normal should be removed from the anomaly, ergo centered around zero. Did you back out monthly or daily averages from each years average or the long term average?

    Heres an experiment – graph each months departure from normal from normal by the long term average monthly departures. I think that you will again see the annual cycle show up for the last three years, however this time you will be looking at the ratio of each months departure to the long term average.

    What I believe it will show is that the last three years have had a much larger departures from normal – and that it only happens just either side of the melt – again because that’s the only time that it can. You really can’t have too much departure at max or during the melt or freeze only during the min can the departure vary much from the long term average. Which is exactly what happened when the ice flushed in ’07. The annual signal shows up because the opportunity for a large departure only occurs on an annual basis due to the confined nature of the arctic basin.

  128. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm
    899 says:
    June 1, 2010 at 3:12 am

    So Willis, what was the Sun doing in 2007?

    Taking a nap?
    *
    *
    Could’a been.

    As Ulric Lyons pointed out earlier:
    The solar wind velocity was very generous through 2006/7 winter:
    http://www.solen.info/solar/coronal_holes.html

    When all of this was being discussed a few years ago here, I was wont to take Frank Sinatra’s mood piece ‘Summer Wind’ and slightly modify the lyrics to say ‘Solar Wind.’

    See here:
    http://www.lyrics007.com/Frank%20Sinatra%20Lyrics/The%20Summer%20Wind%20Lyrics.html

    It actually fits quite nicely, all things considered …

  129. I would look at wind patterns in the same number of years before the period under question as a control, and then the wind pattern during the period under question, as a start. I would center my wind data over Fram Strait in order to narrow the scope to the most effective area where wind can flush or not, depending on its parameters. Would it also be possible to overlay anomalous wind patterns to this graph? Or maybe the AO (though it may be too much of an overall statistic with the wind patterns we want buried in its noise).

  130. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 2, 2010 at 12:00 am
    Steven mosher says:
    June 1, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    “Dunno, looks like an issue for the null hypothesis. ice cycling like its never cycled before.”

    It would … if I thought it was real. I don’t, I think it is from the known change in the satellite and the way that is being dealt with by means of a new algorithm.

    w.

    But a known change in the satellite that Spencer uses for his tropospheric temperature not the satellite that is used to produce the sea ice extent.

    Also a similar fluctuation occurred in the Antarctic sea ice in the 70’s following a marked decrease in sea ice coverage there, the fluctuation has since petered out.

  131. Phil.

    yes. I suspect we are seeing a real change in the way ice melts and reforms. Also changes in the character of the ice, changes that MAY have never been see before, like rotten ice. Didn’t some guy take a research ship into the ice and report back on a change in the character of ice..

    The Null aint looking so good.

  132. Willis:

    “Me, I think this new pattern reflects a change in satellites, or a change in procedures, or something like that. But hey, I’ve been wrong before”

    on what evidence? you have the data. It indicates a divergence from past normal behavior. It challenges the Null. I wouldn’t think the first response is to challenge the instrument on no colorable basis. but hey, its climate science. Now surely, we must accept the data and in the absence of any concrete evidence that the instrument is bad, we cant speculate that the instrument might be bad. As I pointed out, that would be exactly like the special pleading that Briffa did WRT his divergence problem.

  133. Willis:

    “I think we may have a winner. From AIRS/AMSU/HSB Version 5 Modification of Algorithm to Account for Increased NeDT in AMSU Channel 4 (emphasis in original).”

    Confirmation Bias. You assumed it had to be a sensor problem because the data falsifies the Null.

    Checking the metadata for the data you showed.. gimme a second

    SIDADS, which you refer to says this:

    “The Sea Ice Index provides a quick look at sea ice changes in spatial and historical context, and gives a consistent, up-to-date source of sea ice extent and sea ice concentration values and images. The NSIDC Near-Real-Time DMSP SSM/I Daily Polar Gridded Sea Ice Concentrations and the Sea Ice Concentrations from Nimbus-7 SSMR and DMSP SSM/I Passive Microwave Data data sets are used to generate the monthly records of sea ice extent and sea ice concentration for the Arctic and Antarctica from satellite passive microwave data.”

    http://nsidc.org/data/g02135.html

    Instrument

    * SMMR Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer
    * SSM/I Special Sensor Microwave/Imager

    This data set is generated from brightness temperature data derived from Nimbus-7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) and Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) -F8, -F11 and -F13 Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) radiances at a grid cell size of 25 x 25 km. The data are provided in the polar stereographic projection

    Nimbus-7
    http://www.geog.ucsb.edu/~jeff/115a/history/nimbus7.html

    not operational in 2007.

    DSMP: F8 is operational: F11 blew up in 2004. F13 lost

    “Notice to Data Users: Processing of this data set is temporarily suspended due to the loss of the DMSP F-13 satellite. NSIDC is working with our data source, Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), to acquire data for this product from the DMSP F-17 satellite. We hope to have the data processed and available by late Spring 2010.”

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1987-053A

    f13:
    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1995-015A

    http://microwave.msfc.nasa.gov:5721/source_documents/dmsp_f13.html

    Should be a simple matter to contact them and ask the question.

    magicjava is talking about a different platform

  134. Jim Cripwell says:
    June 1, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Interestingly enough, total sea ice extent, Arctic plus Antarctic still stays remarkably constant.

    Well, as their minimums occur at different months (September / February), that’s not true. When plotting each year’s minimums, one gets this chart, http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/UpdatedFigures/Storms_Fig20.gif (Warm season sea ice area in the Arctic and Antarctic, Fig 20, Makiko Sato’s website).

  135. D Gallagher says:
    June 2, 2010 at 3:01 am

    … What I believe it will show is that the last three years have had a much larger departures from normal – and that it only happens just either side of the melt – again because that’s the only time that it can. You really can’t have too much departure at max or during the melt or freeze only during the min can the departure vary much from the long term average. Which is exactly what happened when the ice flushed in ’07. The annual signal shows up because the opportunity for a large departure only occurs on an annual basis due to the confined nature of the arctic basin.

    While that is possible, if that were the case we’d see the largest swing in 2007, followed by progressively smaller and smaller swings in 2008 and 2009 as the ice recovered from the 2007 flushing event.

    But that’s not the case, see Figs. 2 & 3 above.

  136. Phil. says:
    June 2, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 2, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Steven mosher says:
    June 1, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    “Dunno, looks like an issue for the null hypothesis. ice cycling like its never cycled before.”

    It would … if I thought it was real. I don’t, I think it is from the known change in the satellite and the way that is being dealt with by means of a new algorithm.

    w.

    But a known change in the satellite that Spencer uses for his tropospheric temperature not the satellite that is used to produce the sea ice extent.

    The change was in the Aqua AMSR-E satellite, which as you point out, is used by Spencer. It is also used for Arctic sea ice analysis.

  137. Steven mosher says:
    June 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Willis:

    “Me, I think this new pattern reflects a change in satellites, or a change in procedures, or something like that. But hey, I’ve been wrong before”

    on what evidence? you have the data. It indicates a divergence from past normal behavior. It challenges the Null. I wouldn’t think the first response is to challenge the instrument on no colorable basis. but hey, its climate science.

    On what evidence? Well, the change in the satellite algorithm seems like evidence. My first response, however, was not to challenge the instrument. It was to pose the question to the assembled masses.

  138. Steven mosher says:
    June 2, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Willis:

    “I think we may have a winner. From AIRS/AMSU/HSB Version 5 Modification of Algorithm to Account for Increased NeDT in AMSU Channel 4 (emphasis in original).”

    Confirmation Bias. You assumed it had to be a sensor problem because the data falsifies the Null.

    Checking the metadata for the data you showed.. gimme a second

    SIDADS, which you refer to says this: …

    Good find, Mosh. I’ll take a look and see what’s going on there. I’ve written to Dr. Bilitza to see what I can find out.

  139. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    The change was in the Aqua AMSR-E satellite, which as you point out, is used by Spencer. It is also used for Arctic sea ice analysis.

    No the change was in AMSU channel 4 not in the AMSR-E.

    “we (Spencer and Christy) don’t even use NOAA-15 right now…we are using the AMSU data from NASA’s Aqua satellite in the final UAH product.”

  140. Eric Anderson,

    No, I am not amazingly confident. But that is more to do with my personality than my prediction. :) I am not actually a betting kind of guy. Willis made the challenge; I took it up. Then I start to panic. ;)

  141. Willis wrote:
    “I have never seen an annual pattern suddenly emerge after a quarter century of no annual pattern.”
    Well, we’ve not seen such a change in the sun in quarter of a century.

    “I think we may have a winner.
    Previously processed AIRS/AMSU data during the period from October 1, 2007 to March 2, 2008 will be reprocessed with the modified algorithm and the data products replaced.”

    That can’t be the culprit. The anomalies started about 3 months prior to Oct 1, 2007.

  142. Malaga View says:
    June 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    If you want to get a handle on the veracity of satellite data then I would suggest taking a look at the Magic Java site: http://magicjava.blogspot.com

    The bottom line is that the quality of “the data” is unknown because it cannot be verified.

    As I mentioned before, Malaga View, I find this very interesting. Until now, I had no idea the the satellite data wasn’t perfect! (Silly me.) Now I see a video of a scientist cruising along at an “open water” speed where the satellite says “ice” and you point out links showing serious difficulties with the data coming in. (By the way, thanks for the links.)

    Why are most people discussing this as if there is a solid base for discussion?

  143. Ulric Lyons says:
    June 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    899 says:
    June 1, 2010 at 3:12 am
    So Willis, what was the Sun doing in 2007?

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm
    “Taking a nap?”
    ______________________________________________________
    That was Maunder yes?
    *
    *
    Back then, when all the hoopla was making the daily nooze, I gave consideration to taking liberty with Frank Sinatra’s mood piece ‘Summer Wind,’ and employ the term ‘Solar Wind.’

    A slight change in a few of the other lyrics would have made for an interesting assessment of the realities.

    See this for the Summer Wind lyrics:
    http://www.lyrics007.com/Frank%20Sinatra%20Lyrics/The%20Summer%20Wind%20Lyrics.html

    Maybe an enterprising and budding artist might produce something interesting there …

  144. Summary so far of reasons to be skeptical that the recent pattern is an artifact
    1. Willis’ best lead only affects data from 1st Oct 2007, while new pattern starts in Aug 2007.
    2. Willis’ argument of ‘pattern is suspect because it is unprecedented’ doesn’t hold because the input pattern ( new magnetic behaviour of sun ) is unprecendented, for ice satellite data.
    3. The pattern is also observed by SSM/I. For ‘artifact’ hypothesis to hold, SSM/I is required to have broke at same time as AMSR, and in such a way as to produce the same pattern.

  145. You know, from visual inspection of SC graphs vs ice extent graphs alone it’s easy to see a corelation between arctic ice area & extent deviation and solar magnetic activity.
    It strongly suggests
    Low solar mag activity -> high deviation of arctic sea ice
    High solar mag activity -> Low deviation of arctic sea ice

    For both the 1987 and 1996 solar minimum, there were spikes in the ice graphs.
    Anyone going to do a proper corelation analysis?

  146. Willis
    “On what evidence? Well, the change in the satellite algorithm seems like evidence.”

    but Wrong Satellite.

    Now that you are contacting the scientist in charge of the correct one, I’m looking forward to his response. if its an adverse result ( to the theory that its a bad algorithm) then I expect that adverse result will be disclosed.

  147. Steven mosher says:
    June 3, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Willis

    Now that you are contacting the scientist in charge of the correct one, I’m looking forward to his response. if its an adverse result ( to the theory that its a bad algorithm) then I expect that adverse result will be disclosed.

    I’m surprised you feel the need to say this.

  148. Steven mosher says:
    June 3, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Willis

    “On what evidence? Well, the change in the satellite algorithm seems like evidence.”

    but Wrong Satellite.

    It’s a bit more complex than that. As I showed above, that satellite is in fact used for ice area studies. However, as you pointed out, it’s not the only one.

    Now that you are contacting the scientist in charge of the correct one, I’m looking forward to his response. if its an adverse result ( to the theory that its a bad algorithm) then I expect that adverse result will be disclosed.

    [sarcasm] Gosh, here I was planning to just hit the delete button if it was adverse, because nobody would ever possibly notice that or follow up in a public discussion on WUWT or find out from another source … but you’ve set me on the right path, I have seen the light and I repent of my sinful thoughts. [/sarcasm]

    So far, no answer, but you’ll get the full text as soon as I know. At present, I’m trending more towards your point of view, but all the dogs aren’t hung yet …

  149. A layman says; We need keep track of the temp of the ocean floor. My guess this has allot to do with deep earth magma flows. The earth’s core is one big induction furnace with the Sun being the power source. During active phases of the Sun, the earth’s core heats up and the interior flows change. Think about the recent volcanic activity in the area. There have been too few articles in this area. It really has to be added to the mix.


  150. Steven mosher says:
    June 3, 2010 at 9:45 am
    Now that you are contacting the scientist in charge of the correct one, I’m looking forward to his response.

    Well if the Magic Java example is anything go to by it takes a lot of digging and checking to get anywhere near the truth… especially when you have to resort to FOI requests…..

    I think WUWT has also demonstrated that it takes a lot more than the word of the scientist in charge to verify any climate related data these days… a whole lot more!!!!

    I get the feeling that satellite data is the last bastion of faith for the average sceptic of climate science. I am more sceptic.

    I am unlikely to remove all my clothes and bend over just because I am told to do so by a person wearing a white coat with a stethoscope around their neck…. If they say “Trust me, I’m a doctor” then I am more likely to tell them to take a hike… And if an onlooker says “Trust them, they know best” then I hope their words are based upon verified data – not faith – otherwise they will be asked to take a hike as well.

  151. Interesting stuff, I hadn’t looked at this thread before today.
    First thought of course what what they had changed about the data gathering ? I suppose you have to believe the data, before you can attempt to understand it.

    Gail Combs says that in fact the sensors have changed. Well hopefully someone will chase that down to see what really happened.
    I did find Dr David Barber’s on the ‘ground’ observations to be persuasive as to correct remote sensing. I think we’ve been referred to his clip before; seems like that where we forst heard of rotten ice. I had heard of it before from an ex Navy nuke-Sub chap, regarding the appearance and disappearance of that slushy stuff.

    The explanations about the effect of a big open ocen hole; such as what happened in 2007; for whatever reason it happened, I can see somewhat how that could change the behavior; because of an anomalous amount of open water.

    Willis gave a graph of SSTs; and unlike Willis, I believe there is a hint of the same appearance of a somewhat annual signal; maybe starting around 2005, or even 2004. Not as crisp a signal, as the ice but even my rather lousy eyes seem to think they see a signal appear. Mind you, I have looked at one hell of a lot of noisy oscilloscope traces in my time; and specially in recent years of ones that have pronouced 1/f noise signatures; so maybe I see things that aren’t. Well age can do that.
    But bottom line is, I would not be surprised to learn, that someone has a cause and effect linkage explanation for how these two can interract once a really train wreck situation like 2007 shows up (and once again; maybe it doesn’t matter how it happened.)

    Outsiders like me are always trapped by the data availability. I’m naturally skeptical of odd results, and tend to want to get down to the bare metal, to find out what really happened. Unfortunately, so much of modern data collection seems to happen in the machine shop. When I was more experimental; if we read a thermometer or measured the length of a coax cable; for some strange reason; we actually wrote down the number that was indicated on the thermometer; or the yardstick.

    Evidently, in todays experimental world you can’t tell how good the hay is, until you run it at least once, through the horse.

    As to bringing in the Antarctic Continent to this matter; I don’t see any point in that. Why would anyone ever expect some linkage between two totally different environments. Yes if we were seeing several degrees rise in what some say passes for a mean global temperature; then I would expect some common meltings; but absent such a large temperature shift; I don’t think they are linked.

    But I think that one would dismiss Arctic ocean SSTs in regard to this (apparent) effect, only at great risk.

    Of course the length of the data stream is still pretty short; so I guess that means that Sept 2010 is going to be of even greater interest. Will it return to ‘normalcy’ or will it crash ? Damned if I know but I’m sure going to be watching.

    I got a good feeling watching that Dr David Barber clip. The polar bear fur threw me off at first; but once he opened his mouth and started to tell his story; he looked clean shaven to me.

    I’m still nervous about the sensor issue that Gail raised; I sure hope they haven’t gone and done anything silly that they haven’t told us about; or if they have; maybe they can come here and tell us what they did.

    Maybe if barefoot girl gets done with her Mai-Tai, she might tell us what she knows; since she said she is in the loop on these instruments and that data.

    I sure hope this isn’t the data; I get so tired of trying to keep up with the value de jour for the Pyramid Inch. And I’d be even happier if they just wrote down the number that is read on the thermometer; instead of ‘educating’ it.

  152. George E. Smith says:
    June 4, 2010 at 9:25 am
    Interesting stuff, I hadn’t looked at this thread before today.
    First thought of course what what they had changed about the data gathering ? I suppose you have to believe the data, before you can attempt to understand it.

    Gail Combs says that in fact the sensors have changed. Well hopefully someone will chase that down to see what really happened.

    The sensor referred to is the Aqua AMSU channel 4 which isn’t used for sea ice monitoring, they use the other channels to create a synthetic channel 4 in much the same way that UAH create a synthetic LT channel to remove the influence of the stratosphere. The two different datasets plotted above show the same effect but are compiled using different sensors which suggests that it isn’t sensor change that is the issue.

  153. Malaga View says:

    “I think WUWT has also demonstrated that it takes a lot more than the word of the scientist in charge to verify any climate related data these days… a whole lot more!!!!”

    So if we contacted the scientist and he said that the algorithm HAD changed, then you would not take his word. You cannot have your skepticism both ways. You basically have this situation.

    1. You have presentation of data that disconfirms Willis’ “null hypothesis”
    2. You have the following choices:
    A. Accept the data and reject the null
    B. Reject the data and keep the null
    C. Accept the data and MODIFY the Null.

    The decision about which to do is largely a pragmatic question. But there are always additional checks that we like to make. For example, if we found out that the alogorithm had been changed, then we would probably give more weight to option B. But, we would have a new path of investigation. what was the algorithm and how did it change. Speculating about these things is not really scientific behavior and I don’t think you gain credibility as a critic of climate science by being unscientific yourself.

  154. george smith.

    The issue on the table is the falsification of the Null. I will point out that the Null Willis puts forward is not very well formed. Its not quantitative. However, it’s clear that if this data holds up the pattern we see is unprecedented. That it would seem should pique peoples curiousity. Abduction, it’s called.


  155. Steven mosher says:
    June 4, 2010 at 12:07 pm
    You cannot have your skepticism both ways.

    Sorry but i am sceptical both ways… reading WUWT just reinforces that view!


    Speculating about these things is not really scientific behaviour and I don’t think you gain credibility as a critic of climate science by being unscientific yourself.

    Sorry but I find climate science very unscientific… and I have no desire to gain credibility in climate science as that would be like gaining credibility with the inmates of a lunatic asylum…

  156. PS
    I don’t believe all inmates of a lunatic asylum are crazy… some are fairly sane… the problem is that it drives you crazy trying to tell the difference…

  157. “”” Phil. says:
    June 4, 2010 at 9:57 am
    George E. Smith says:
    June 4, 2010 at 9:25 am
    Interesting stuff, I hadn’t looked at this thread before today.
    First thought of course what what they had changed about the data gathering ? I suppose you have to believe the data, before you can attempt to understand it.

    Gail Combs says that in fact the sensors have changed. Well hopefully someone will chase that down to see what really happened.

    The sensor referred to is the Aqua AMSU channel 4 which isn’t used for sea ice monitoring, they use the other channels to create a synthetic channel 4 in much the same way that UAH create a synthetic LT channel to remove the influence of the stratosphere. The two different datasets plotted above show the same effect but are compiled using different sensors which suggests that it isn’t sensor change that is the issue. “””

    Thanks Phil,

    I don’t want to wear out my brain wondering about something; if somehow they switched balls on me; and didn’t say so.

    I can believe that a somewhat sudden change like the 2007 ice extent ‘meltback’ might change the whole behavior; and I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody claimed that the sea surface temperatures were involved; as some ‘tipping point’ had been breached.

    Not the foggiest idea why though; but it will be interesting to watch. And my eyes do see vague ghosts of a similar change in Willis’ SST graph; but as I remarked before that could be just accidental since the odd behavior record is not that long yet.

    Makes for an interesting fall coming up anyway.

    Thanks again.

    George

  158. “”” Steven mosher says:
    June 4, 2010 at 12:10 pm
    george smith.

    The issue on the table is the falsification of the Null. I will point out that the Null Willis puts forward is not very well formed. Its not quantitative. However, it’s clear that if this data holds up the pattern we see is unprecedented. That it would seem should pique peoples curiousity. Abduction, it’s called. “””

    Well Steven; you aren’t about to see me get un curious; I’m about as piqued as anybody. But also as I said utterly clueless as to what might cause such a change; but would not be surprised if it involves some SST linkage. So not throwing mud at Willis or anybody.

  159. UPDATE: Sorry, there is no update. Still no answer from the good folks at the satellite site as to whether there were changes circa 2007.

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